Stephen Meets The Bidens

Today is family day in my household … putting up the tree, wrapping, and other holiday-related tasks, so in the interest of having time to spend with my gorgeous girls, but still not letting my wonderful readers down, I have asked Stephen Colbert to fill in for me today.  This is his interview with Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, the next President and First Lady of the United States!  We get to know a bit more about Dr. Jill Biden and frankly, I was impressed!  Such a difference from the current holder of that title.

Take a look, and I’ll be back tomorrow with my usual fare!

Just A Wee Bit Of Snarky

Steve Bannon has been banned from Twitter … I hope for the rest of his days.  What did he do?  He called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the FBI director, Christopher Wray, and the posting of their heads outside the White House as a “warning”.

“Second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci … no I actually want to go a step farther but the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man. I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put their heads on pikes, right, I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats, you either get with the program or you’re gone.”

I have long said that Steve Bannon is a nasty piece of work … there can no longer be any doubt in anyone’s mind.  Trump & Co have been inciting violence with their constant charges of voter fraud (virtually non-existent) and their claims that ‘democrats are stealing the election’.  Newt Gingrich, former Republican House Speaker, went so far as to say that the people counting the ballots should be ‘locked up’, but at least he didn’t call for their execution.  All of this does nothing but encourage Trump supporters who already seem prone to violence.  Thus far, there have been no reports of incidents involving injury or death, but gun sales are up again, and it’s only a matter of time.

Philadelphia police arrested two men who were allegedly involved in a plot to attack the Pennsylvania Convention Center where ballots were being counted on Thursday night. Police were tipped off, possibly from a concerned family member of one of the men, who had driven 300 miles from Virginia.  But what if the plot had been successful?  People would have died, ballots would have been lost … and all for what?


Paula White – remember who she is?  She is a televangelist and Trump’s “spiritual advisor”, chairperson of his “evangelical advisory board”, and a nutcase by any definition of the word.  I’ve written about Ms. White before, and in fact back in 2017 she won the cherished “Idiot of the Week” award. Since then, she has featured in a few other posts here, mostly ‘Snarky Snippets’, for there is much in Ms. White to snark about.

On Wednesday night, Ms. White led a ‘prayer service’ to ensure Trump’s victory {cough, cough}.  She called for help from ‘angels’ in Africa and South America … no idea why she picked those two continents, both of which are comprised of countries that Trump has referred to as ‘shithole countries’.  But, if there was ever any doubt that this woman is a lunatic … just watch this short clip of her Wednesday night service …

All l can do is shake my head and wonder what this woman has been smoking.


Comedian Stephen Colbert led into his nightly monologue on Thursday night with a serious moment …

Words To Ponder …

Ibram-X-KendiMost every one of us would say, if asked, that we are not racist.  We don’t think of Black people as intellectually inferior as our ancestors did, we don’t see them as someone to be feared or hated simply based on skin colour.  We have spoken out for equal rights for Blacks and other minorities, defend equal voting rights, housing rights, and employment rights for all.  But, is there a difference between being ‘not racist’ and being ‘antiracist’?  Dr. Ibram X. Kendi thinks there is, and after listening to him explain last night, I’m inclined to agree.

Dr. Kendi is an author, historian, and scholar of race and discriminatory policy in the U.S.  He currently serves as director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, and previously held the same position at the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at the American University.  I have read one of his books, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and am hoping to read his next to latest, How to be an Antiracist, for which he won the 2016 National Book Award for Non-Fiction.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019, as well as numerous other awards and honours.

In the U.S. today, in light of the recent killings of innocent, unarmed black people by police, the Black Lives Matter movement is more widespread than at any other time.  Unfortunately, it has taken a back seat to such matters as the upcoming election and the coronavirus pandemic, but still, many more people are, it seems, becoming aware of the systemic racism that never went away in this country.  And now, we have a president who would re-write the history of our nation to eliminate such dark eras as slavery, making it more important than ever that we stand up, that we do not allow the darkest days of our history to be whitewashed, but that we own them and learn from them.

I’d like to direct you to the clip my friend Herb sent me last night that I found thought-provoking, and that made me take a closer look within my own self.  This is a 12-minute clip from a June interview of Dr. Kendi with Stephen Colbert, where Colbert steps outside his jokester persona and asks serious, intelligent questions of Dr. Kendi.  Please take the time to watch, listen, and think about Dr. Kendi’s words.

What did you think?  Did it make you stop and ponder a bit?  If you’re interested in Dr. Kendi and his work, please check out his website.

♫ Fire and Rain ♫ (Redux)

My apologies for yet another redux … I was working on a different song, but found that my heart just wasn’t into it, and this one has been playing in my mind for several days now, so … nothing wrong with replaying one that makes me happy (and that I actually know most of the words to), is there?  And … I have added something to the original!  Taylor refers to a clip he did with late night comedian Stephen Colbert … I went in search of, found it, and have added it here for a bit of humour added to the music!


I love James Taylor’s voice … it is sensual, somehow.  It is … as if he is singing to me and only me.  I did not know, until doing a brief bit of research for this music post, that he had been heavily into drugs.  Silly me, eh … what else should I have expected?  Sigh.

Taylor wrote this in 1968 at three different times. He started it in London, where he auditioned for The Beatles’ Apple Records. He later worked on it in a Manhattan Hospital, and finished it while in drug rehab at The Austin Riggs Center in Massachusetts. In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor explained: “The first verse is about my reactions to the death of a friend (that would be Suzanne – explained below). The second verse is about my arrival in this country with a monkey on my back, and there Jesus is an expression of my desperation in trying to get through the time when my body was aching and the time was at hand when I had to do it. And the third verse of that song refers to my recuperation in Austin Riggs which lasted about five months.”

“It concerned a girl called Susanne I knew who they put into an isolation cell and she couldn’t take it and committed suicide.”  Her name was Susie Schnerr, and Taylor also explained that it was months before he found out about her death, as his friends withheld the news so it wouldn’t distract Taylor from his burgeoning music career.

In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor added: “I always felt rather bad about the line, ‘The plans they made put an end to you,’ because ‘they’ only meant ‘ye gods,’ or basically ‘the Fates.’ I never knew her folks but I always wondered whether her folks would hear that and wonder whether it was about them.”

When Taylor performed this in 2015 on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he and Colbert had some fun, with Taylor explaining that he was still working on it. “I wrote that song in 1970, and I just hadn’t seen that much back then – mostly fire and rain, so that’s why I keep saying it over and over again in the song,” he said.

Taylor then explained that he had never seen a calzone at the time, but if he had, he would have definitely added it to the lyric. Taylor and Colbert then performed an updated version of the song with new lyrics. A sample:

“I’ve seen man buns, Myspace and the Baha Men, but I never thought I’d see a new Star Wars again”

“I’ve seen grandmas reading 50 Shades of Grey”

“Quidditch teams and skinny jeans cutting blood off from my thighs”

Oh my!

And here’s James with Stephen Colbert in the updated version …

Fire And Rain
James Taylor

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can’t remember who to send it to

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Won’t you look down upon me, jesus
You’ve got to help me make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day
My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Been walking my mind to an easy time my back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line to talk about things
To come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I’d see you one more time again
There’s just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I’d see you, thought I’d see you fire and rain, now

Songwriters: James Taylor / James V Taylor
Fire And Rain lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

A Comic Break From The Darkness

Whew … it’s been quite an onslaught of news these past few days, very little of it anything to cheer about.  I think it’s time for a comic break, don’t you?

Betsy DeVos is well-deserving of being the center of a joke, and Andy Borowitz doesn’t dissapoint:

Betsy DeVos Says She Was Planning to Close All Schools Anyway

By Andy Borowitz

borowitz-andy

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—As an increasing number of schools and universities closed down because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, revealed on Monday that she had been planning for years to close every school in the country anyway.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, DeVos said, “When I took over as Education Secretary, I came with a simple mission: to shut down all of the nation’s schools. It turns out that I was just ahead of my time.”

Noting that schools are where students learn math, science, and history, DeVos said, “I have long believed that schools are where all the bad things happen.”

Deciding to “wipe out the scourge of education once and for all,” DeVos said that, within days of taking office, she drew up an ambitious plan called No School Left Open.

In a reassuring message to the nation’s parents and students, DeVos said, “Amid the current crisis, many of you are wondering how we will close every American school overnight. Let me just say that this is the job Betsy DeVos was born to do.”

And who better than Stephen Colbert to inject a bit of levity into an otherwise humourless situation?

Remember, folks … no matter how dark things seem … we need to find balance.  Let yourself find something to laugh about today in order to keep your sanity, okay?

jollyLove ‘n hugs from Filosofa … and Jolly!

Un-Snarky Snippets … For A Change!

Tonight I came across some things that I can actually applaud, rather than snark about!  Well, okay, there may be just a wee bit of snarking woven into the tapestry, but for the most part it is a more upbeat piece.


Steve King gets a statue!

steve-king-2You all remember Steve King, right?  He is the U.S. House member from Iowa who first appeared on Filosofa’s Word when he won the honour of Idiot of the Week in March 2017, and again in July of that year when he threatened democrats if they didn’t stop talking about Russian interference in the 2016 election and proposed taking funding from Planned Parenthood to build Trump’s wall.  Then, just last year he found his way onto my radar twice … in March for making such horridly racist and homophobic remarks that even Mitch McConnell condemned him!  And then again in August when his misogynistic remarks earned him condemnation from some top congressional republicans including House Freedom Caucus leader Kevin McCarthy, and again Mitch McConnell, plus caused him to be removed from the committees on which he had served.  With the exception of Donald Trump and possibly Mitch McConnell, no other has had as much air time on Filosofa’s Word!

Well, today ol’ Steve is back on my radar, but this time it is he that is the brunt of the joke!  Comedy duo Davram Stiefler and Jason Selvig, known as The Good Liars, have placed a statue … a very tiny statue … of Mr. King in front of the Iowa statehouse in Des Moines.  The inscription on the plaque at the base of the statue reads …

“This site is dedicated to Confederate sympathizer and White Nationalist, Steve King. Here, King is honored with the world’s smallest Confederate statue. A tiny statue for a tiny man.”

Steve-King-statueKing’s history of bigotry in all its forms was what prompted the duo to create the tiny statue, according to Selvig …

“We’re just saying we should respect our ancestry and our heritage and – like it or not – Steve King’s racism is part of our heritage and we need to respect that. Racists are trying to bring down others so they can make themselves feel better. That’s the mark of somebody who is very small.”

Just how small is this statue?  Four inches.  Yep, not much bigger than your finger is long.  Fitting, don’t you think?  Oh, by the way, this team, The Good Liars, are the same ones that switched covers of Donald Trump Jr’s new book and replaced them with ones that read: “Daddy, Please Love Me: How Everything I Do Is to Try and Earn My Father’s Love”.  I like these guys!

Junior-book


Plastic Bags are … banned! 

New York is banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags statewide, effective today.  The goal is to reduce the billions of discarded bags that stream annually into landfills, rivers and oceans.  For the record, I applaud this move and wish every state in the nation would follow suit.  At the urging (actually, it was more of a threat than an urging) of my granddaughter, Miss Goose, I bought re-usable canvas bags a year or so ago, and mesh bags for produce, and rarely us the store’s plastic bags.  It’s really not much more trouble, and it feels good, knowing that something so simple can make a huge difference if we all do it.  So, thumbs up to New York, the third state after California and Oregon to take this step.  Stores will be required to sell paper bags at five cents each or offer sturdier reusable bags that can be used at least 125 times.plastic-bagNew Yorkers currently use 23 billion plastic bags each year, state officials say, many of which end up as one of the most problematic forms of garbage. They blow across streets and become caught in trees. They harm birds and marine creatures. They clog sorting machines, making recycling them cumbersome.

I imagine there will be a few bumps in the road the first few weeks, but New Yorkers are a resilient bunch and they will quickly be smoothed out … those New Yorkers who are whining today about the inconvenience will adapt quickly.  Now, to wake up the rest of the states!


Yesterday was the South Carolina Democratic primary, and late night comedian Stephen Colbert was on hand for the fun.  He shared a meal and a drink with candidate Elizabeth Warren, and they even played a little game of “Name That Billionaire”!  It was all in good fun, and I think you’ll get a few laughs from it!

And Then There Were Two … More … Snarky Snippets

I have just two bits of snark … well, actually I have around 15, but I won’t make you listen to them all …


Remember when almost immediately after moving into the White House, Trump initiated a travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslin nations?  The courts struck it down almost as quickly as he initiated it, and after much back and forth, he got some watered-down version of it.  Well, now he is considering another travel ban, this one expected to be implemented next Monday, to mark the 3-year anniversary of his original travel ban.  I am thoroughly confused by the countries he intends to include in this ban:

  • Belarus
  • Myanmar (also known as Burma)
  • Eritrea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania

I can see not one shred of justification for banning people coming from a single one of those nations, can you?  However, it is interesting to note that four of those countries are African nations.  Hmmm … nah, surely fair and equitable Trump wouldn’t discriminate based on something like skin colour … would he?  Yes, of course he would, and my guess is that for those four nations, that is precisely his reason.

I have read no less than 7 articles on this topic, trying to get a feel for the method behind the madness.  One article promised …

Trump’s call to dramatically expand the travel ban, explained

… but it lied … it explained nothing that I didn’t already know from the other articles.  Now, back in 2018, the Supreme Court affirmed that Trump has broad authority to restrict immigration where national security demands it. But to the best of anyone’s knowledge, these countries do not pose any threat to national security.  Every time somebody in Trump’s cadre mentions the threat of terrorism from the outside, I want to scream, for the terrorism we have experienced in the last several years has been domestic terrorism … homegrown nutcases.

So, I still puzzle over the connection of these seven nations, and why on earth he wishes to ban people coming to the U.S. from those countries.  I also, at this point, puzzle over why anybody from any other nation would even want to come to the U.S.  Take my word for it, folks … if you don’t have a good reason, you’d be better off going to almost anywhere but here!

It is interesting to note, however, that other, similar nations … nations where Trump, Inc. has businesses, say hotels, golf courses and the like … nations like Turkey, Egypt, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Suadi Arabia are never mentioned in talk of a travel ban.  Hmmmmm …

This has largely flown under the radar, in the shadow of the impeachment trial and Trump’s trip to Davos, but I think it bears watching.


Yesterday, our friend Scott (sklawlor) sent me an article about a proposed bill in the Kentucky State Legislature, Senate Bill 89 that would give police new powers to stop people on the street and demand that they identify themselves and explain their actions, rather like New York’s stop-and-frisk laws that ended two years ago.  The program was highly discriminatory, with officers stopping disproportionately larger numbers of African-Americans and Hispanics than others.

By the end of the day, the Kentucky Senate bill had been withdrawn, but it left a bad taste in my mouth and disturbed both Scott and me that after the experience with stop-and-frisk in New York, any lawmakers would even consider such legislation.  So, I did a bit of digging … and … I was truly shocked to find that no less than 24 states … nearly half the states in the nation … have some form of “stop-and-identify” statutes!  So, in the following states, if you are walking down the street, you can be stopped by a police officer and forced to show identification and explain why you are walking down the bloody street!

Arizona Ari. Rev. Stat. Tit. 13, §2412 (enacted 2005) & Tit. 28, §1595
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. [1]§ 5-71-213 – Loitering
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-3-103(1)
Delaware Del. Code Ann., Tit. 11, §§1902, 1321(6)
Florida Fla. Stat. §901.151 (Stop and Frisk Law); §856.021(2) (loitering and prowling)
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. §16-11-36(b) (loitering)
Illinois Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 725, §5/107-14
Indiana Indiana Code §34-28-5-3.5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2402(1)
Louisiana La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann., Art. 215.1(A); La. Rev. Stat. 14:108(B)(1)(c)
Missouri (Kansas City Only) Mo. Rev. Stat. §84.710(2)
Montana Mont. Code Ann. §46-5-401
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §29-829
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §171.123
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §594:2, §644:6
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. §30-22-3
New York N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law Laws of New York → CPL §140.50 (requires suspicion of crime)
North Carolina State v Friend + N.C. Gen.Stat. § 14–223
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code §29-29-21 (PDF)
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code §2921.29 (enacted 2006)
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §12-7-1
Utah Utah Code Ann. §77-7-15
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann., Tit. 24, §1983
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §968.24

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.  After one lawsuit, Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, made its way to the Supreme Court in 2003, the Court upheld the legality of officers stopping people so long as there was “reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement”.  Well, that’s probably fair enough … if you’re skin is pale and you speak flawless English.  But if you are black or brown, or speak with an accent … how fair do you suppose it is?

An August 16, 2019 article in the Los Angeles Times says that getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America.

My friend Rob, an African-American, told me a couple of years ago that about half the time he drives downtown, he is pulled over for no reason or some minor reason … something a white person almost certainly would not have been pulled over for.  His son has been stopped more in the few short years he’s been driving than I have been in my entire lifetime.  After the blatant racism that has resulted in killings of unarmed black men by police – Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddy Gray and more – do you trust police to act only when there is “probable cause”?

I don’t.


Okay friends … now that I’ve given you something to frown about, let me finish by giving you something to laugh at … well, sort of anyway.