♫ You’ve Got A Friend ♫ (Redux)

I was looking for an appropriate song to play tonight … something that suited my mood.  And then the first line of this song came to mind, and ‘down and troubled’ seemed a perfect description of where my head is.  I played this one almost two years ago, so it’s not too soon for a redux and it has an interesting story to go with it …


This song was written by Carole King during the January 1971 recording sessions for her album Tapestry. According to King …

“The song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.”

She also said that the inspiration for the song was a line from Taylor’s song, Fire and Rain … “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.” When the song was released in 1971, James Taylor was only 23 years old, and the song would go on to be his only #1 U.S. hit.  But now for the really interesting history …

James Taylor sang this after the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo murders in France at a rally in Paris, which Secretary of State John Kerry attended. He explained to Billboard magazine how that performance came about:

“At the time of the attacks, my wife and I were in Switzerland, taking vacation time before I went to Paris to do press for a tour of Europe. John and Teresa Kerry are, I would say, our good friends. Kim was texting him after the attacks and said, ‘John, I think you need to go to Paris.’ They were having a solidarity march two days after the attack. But John had to be in Peshawar, for a secret meeting. He said, ‘I’ll be there as soon as I can.’

When he came to Paris, we had dinner and he said, “I’m giving a speech with the mayor tomorrow. James, will you sing ‘You’ve Got a Friend’?” It was done at the drop of a hat. When I stood up to sing, my guitar wasn’t working. So the mayor [Anne Hidalgo] came over and held her mic in front of my guitar.”

You’ve Got a Friend
James Taylor

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, ye
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud now
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at you door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall, ye
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, yeah

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them, oh yeah, don’t you let ’em now

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again, oh baby, don’t you know
Winter, spring, summer or fall
Hey now, all you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve got a friend
You’ve got a friend, yeah

Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend

Oh, ye yeah, you’ve got a friend

Songwriters: Carole King
You’ve Got a Friend lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

FINALLY — Some Good News!

I lost count of how many “Breaking News” updates hit my phone yesterday, but most contained good news, so I’m not complaining.  Four things among the maelstrom of pings, dings and knocks from my phone stand out, all of them positive, at least from where I stand, though I’m sure there are those who would disagree with me.

  • The first was that Joe Biden announced several of his choices for key cabinet positions. I’ll have more about this in future posts, for I will need time to research these people, some of whom I’m not familiar with.  But the one that caught my eye first was Biden’s appointment of John Kerry as special presidential envoy for climate.  This sends a message, loud and clear, that no longer will we shirk our duty toward climate change and the environment.  As Secretary of State under President Obama, John Kerry played a key role in negotiating the landmark Paris Climate Accord, which was adopted by nearly 200 nations in 2015 and was aimed at addressing the negative impacts of climate change. Trump withdrew the US from agreement, and Biden has pledged to rejoin it on his first day in office.

  • Next came the news that the election officials in Michigan certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. I let out a few YAHOOOOOOs over this one and found myself, inexplicably, with tears in my eyes.  Too much stress lately, I guess.  Pennsylvania and Arizona are close to certifying Biden’s victory, but despite having a BA and an MA in Political Science, I simply do not understand what the holdup is.  Yes, I know Donnie Darkness is protesting, continuing to claim that he actually won, and suing everybody and their brother, but his cases are consistently being thrown out of the courts because there is zero evidence of any widescale aberrations anywhere.  Trump’s legal eagles have failed to provide a shred of evidence.  It’s time for every state to certify the vote, to follow the law and the will of the people.  Trump lost by more than 6 million votes – he’d have to find a hell of a lot of “voter fraud” to overturn that!

  • Then there was this headline in the New York Times: G.M. Drops Its Support for Trump Climate Rollbacks and Aligns With Biden.  Trump is suing the state of California (isn’t that rather like suing one’s own family member?  Perhaps he forgot that California is one of the 50 ‘United’ States?) in an effort to strip California of its ability to set its own, strict fuel economy standards.  Initially, three U.S. automakers joined in the lawsuit:  General Motors, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler.  With G.M. dropping their support, it is likely only a matter of days before Toyota and Fiat Chrysler join their competitor in dropping out.  In fact, G.M.’s CEO, Mary Barra, urged the other two to follow G.M.’s lead.  Score one for the environment!

  • And last, but certainly not least, came the news just around supper time, that Emily Murphy at the General Services Administration (GSA) acknowledged Joe Biden as the ‘apparent’ winner of the election. This move will give the Biden transition team access to federal transition funds, and will also allow the team to establish contact and working relations with federal agencies.  A day late and a dollar short, as they say, but … better late than never.  Trump attempted to take credit for the decision, but made a point of saying that he is not conceding the election, and that … “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good … fight, and I believe we will prevail!”  I laughed at this … I really no longer care what he says, for he is quickly becoming irrelevant.  The sooner he, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Kayleigh McEnany figure that out, the sooner our lives will become more peaceful!

I still have concerns, still do not trust Donald Trump, nor the congressional republicans, nor the Supreme Court, nor the white supremacist gun freaks who say they are planning violence when Joe Biden is inaugurated, but overall I think yesterday was a red-letter day for positive news … something we were sorely in need of.  We still have many problems, and yesterday was not quite a ‘jump for joy’ moment, but more a ‘sigh of relief’ one.  Perhaps soon we’ll even be able to sleep for more than an hour at a time.

Damn You, Donald Trump!

If the top experts in a field don’t give you the answers you wanted, don’t tell you exactly what you wanted to hear, then the best thing is to find people who will say precisely what you want to hear and abide by their opinions.  For example … say your tax accountant, a long-trusted Certified Public Accountant tells you that you owe a few thousand dollars in federal income taxes, and you don’t want to pay any more taxes, you can always find a shyster who will find illegitimate deductions and with a bit of creative accounting, can make your tax bill vanish into thin air.  This is what all the smart, wealthy businessmen do all the time … businessmen with last names like DeVos, Ross, Mercer, Koch, Craft and Trump.  That’s why they are so wealthy!

Now, my point today has nothing to do with income taxes, though I have spent the last three hours working on them, but with the science of climate change.  Trump doesn’t like the report that was issued last November by the National Climate Assessment (NCA).  He doesn’t like it largely because the results do not fit in with his grand scheme to roll back all environmental protections and give free rein to the fossil fuel industries, as well as others such as the auto industry.  And so, if the puzzle piece doesn’t fit where you want it, then grab a knife and whittle it until it does fit!

The NCA report is a result of the work of 13 different federal agencies, and I urge you to take a look at the section titled Summary Findings, at a minimum.  When the report was first issued, Trump summarily dismissed it, saying he is not among the “believers” who see climate change as a pressing problem.  Go figure, huh?

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers.”

Did he really say “high levels of intelligence” as referring to himself???  What a son of a b**ch!  But on to the business at hand …

Trump has now decided to set up his own ad hoc group of select federal scientists to reassess the government’s analysis of climate science and counter conclusions that the continued burning of fossil fuels is harming the planet.  In other words, Trump is going to establish a group of climate deniers to state that the NCA report is wrong, thus giving him free rein to follow through on his policies that will bring about, in short shrift, the extinction of not only the human species, but likely all life on earth as we know it today.  Alarmist?  Nope … ask the real scientists.

Trump has tasked the National Security Council with establishing the initiative that would include scientists who question the severity of climate impacts and the extent to which humans contribute to the problem.  The group would not be subject to the same level of public disclosure as a formal advisory committee.  NSC officials said they would take steps to assemble a group of researchers within the government. The group will not be tasked with scrutinizing recent intelligence community assessments of climate change.

Understand that the NCA report was subjected to intense scrutiny by scientists worldwide before it was released and is not the only report to provide similar warnings.  Last year, a military-funded study warned sea level rise and other climate impacts could make more than a thousand low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean “uninhabitable” by midcentury.  Just last month, the national intelligence director delivered a worldwide threat assessment that “climate hazards” including extreme weather, wildfires, droughts and acidifying oceans are worsening, “threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security.”  In the words of Camilo Mora, a geographer and environmental professor at the University of Hawaii …

“When it comes down to climate change, we are talking about thousands of independent papers, from everywhere, finding exactly the same thing: that the climate is changing, that we are doing it and that most often than not, the impacts are pretty bad.”

A few very important things should be noted.  While I am admittedly ‘science-challenged’, I am fully convinced that humans have created environmental problems that have been ignored for far too long and are now at crisis stage.  Every other nation on the globe … every single one … have signed the Paris Climate Accord and are diligently finding ways to reduce their carbon emissions, as well as other climate initiatives.  But the United State, the second largest emitter of CO2, and the largest per capita, has reversed course and is actively increasing fossil fuel usage, refusing to take advantage of technology that allows vehicles to become more fuel efficient, and has taken every step imaginable to further increase carbon emissions!Co2 emissions by nationOur carbon emissions do not simply affect the atmosphere directly over the U.S.!  Our emissions affect people in every nation on the globe! Put yourself in the place of a citizen of the United Kingdom, a country that has reduced its carbon emissions by some 43% since 1990, a country where clean, renewable energy has reduced much of its reliance on coal, where industrial pollutants are strictly regulated.  Yes, there is a price … some industries have taken a hit and there are other ramifications, but at the end of the day, they are doing their part … the U.S. is not.  Plain and simple.  Germany is doing its part. Even China is taking climate change far more seriously than the U.S.!

And now, the head of our government has undertaken a new mission to form a group of climate deniers to tell the American people that CO2 is not actually harmful to the atmosphere and that we should all support the coal and oil industries, that we should all drive big vehicles that get 10-12 miles per gallon as opposed to more fuel efficient cars that average more than 40 miles per gallon.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry has written an OpEd in The Washington Post titled “Disband Your Climate Denial Panel, Mr. President” that is well worth the short read and is further proof that those who are thinkers, those who have education, knowledge and intellect, understand that man has abused the environment just about as long as he can, and we are on a path to destroying the very resources we need to survive.

When our cities look like this …China-pollutionThere is one person who bears the responsibility:  Donald J. Trump.  Damn you, Donald Trump!

♫ You’ve Got A Friend ♫

This song was written by Carole King during the January 1971 recording sessions for her album Tapestry. According to King …

“The song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.”

She also said that the inspiration for the song was a line from Taylor’s song, Fire and Rain … “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.” When the song was released in 1971, James Taylor was only 23 years old, and the song would go on to be his only #1 U.S. hit.  But now for the really interesting history …

James Taylor sang this after the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo murders in France at a rally in Paris, which Secretary of State John Kerry attended. He explained to Billboard magazine how that performance came about:

“At the time of the attacks, my wife and I were in Switzerland, taking vacation time before I went to Paris to do press for a tour of Europe. John and Teresa Kerry are, I would say, our good friends. Kim was texting him after the attacks and said, ‘John, I think you need to go to Paris.’ They were having a solidarity march two days after the attack. But John had to be in Peshawar, for a secret meeting. He said, ‘I’ll be there as soon as I can.’

When he came to Paris, we had dinner and he said, “I’m giving a speech with the mayor tomorrow. James, will you sing ‘You’ve Got a Friend’?” It was done at the drop of a hat. When I stood up to sing, my guitar wasn’t working. So the mayor [Anne Hidalgo] came over and held her mic in front of my guitar.”

You’ve Got a Friend
James Taylor

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, ye
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud now
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at you door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall, ye
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, yeah

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them, oh yeah, don’t you let ’em now

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again, oh baby, don’t you know
Winter, spring, summer or fall
Hey now, all you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve got a friend
You’ve got a friend, yeah

Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend

Oh, ye yeah, you’ve got a friend

Songwriters: Carole King
You’ve Got a Friend lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC