As always, we're thinking of all the men and women in the military who can't be home with their families for Christmas. Thank you for your service.
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- Bill Clinton
- Brady Bill
- Darlene Love. David Letterman
- Good Samaritan
- Ken Cuccinelli
- Occupy Wall Street
- Open Thread
- Paul Shaffer
- Sandy Hook shooting
- The One Percent
- Wall Street
- sandy hook elementary school shooting
- tea party
The Pug and I wish you Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!
I can at least say that it's going to be a far better 2013 than it otherwise would have been. A 2013 without Mitt Romney and with Obamacare is one to look forward to. Also, one kid will be graduating from college and another one is getting married next year, so there are many blessings here in the Pug House.
Thanks to all of you for sticking with me, reading my random rants about Internet life, Twitter, and wingnuts every day. This is a terrific community and I count myself privileged to be a part of it.
For a little bit cheerier view of Christmas, here is my daughter's version:
This fanvid of Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick's "2600" has some fun clips from "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians."
All the Martians want is an Atari 2600. Open thread below....
This might be my favorite Christmas tradition: Darlene Love's annual return to David Letterman to sing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". And Paul Shaffer does such a great job on recreating Phil Spector's Wall of Sound.
What are your favorite Christmas tunes?
Everyone here at Casa DG/BG wishes everyone at Crooks and Liars a very happy holiday season. We've had to amend our Christmas decorating a bit since we adopted a kitten from our county shelter earlier this fall. Barack Hussein the Kenyan Usurper is going to have a terrific Christmas -- he thinks everything is a toy, especially wrapping paper.
Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!
There's been some commentary in the media about the extra sadness and irony of this latest horrific school shooting coming during the Christmas season, but according to the book of Matthew in the Christian Bible, the first Christmas was one of intense sadness and pain due to unthinkable violence as well. According to this account, King Herod heard about the birth of a baby prophesied to be "a leader who will shepherd my people Israel", and he immediately saw this as a potential threat to his family's, and Rome's, power. Herod ordered the killing of all male children under the age of two years old. Matthew then refers back to a verse from the prophet Jeremiah:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loudly lamenting:
it was Rachel weeping for her children,
refusing to be comforted
because they were no more.
All Americans with a living heart today are weeping for our children, sobbing and lamenting those beautiful children and their teachers slaughtered in Sandy Hook on Friday. Our little ones are being killed in front of our eyes: why aren't we doing something to stop it? My weeping is turning into anger, but not only at the NRA and the gun industry (which are as inextricably locked together as the machinery of one of their automatic gun killing machines) and the politicians who worship at their altar, but at Democrats too gutless to lift a finger to try and end the madness.
The ironic thing is that the politics of the gun issue is actually a plus for Democrats willing to take this on. When Bill Clinton pushed through the Brady Bill and the ban on assault rifles in his first term, his vote among rural and small town voters in 1996 actually went up in comparison to 1992. In fact, with the NRA in all-out attack mode and running against a rural state, small town icon Bob Dole, Bill Clinton did better among rural and small town voters than any Democratic candidate since LBJ in the '64 landslide, and far better than all the Democratic Presidential candidates who haven't mentioned a peep about gun control since.And with the 52%+ majority Obama has gotten twice being overwhelmingly urban/suburban, women, and people of color, the gun control issue just doesn't have the capacity to shave much from a Democratic majority at the national level.
There are a couple of reasons Democrats are so terrified of this issue, and both of them are based far more on fear than fact. One is that the 1994 tide that swept the Democrats out of power after being in control of the House for 40 years did include a lot of Democrats from the South, where the gun issue mattered a lot. But those seats are mostly not coming back anyway, and it is clear that based on the 2006/8 House majorities that we can win a majority in the House, as we can in Presidential elections, by winning big in the parts of the country where guns are not only not a negative, but can help us win votes.
That may not be how the artist meant it, but it's what I thought of immediately.
I mean, sometimes you really have to hit these shameless shills where it hurts when they keep telling us more guns are the answer.
Offered with real love for our religious brethren--and dedicated to the memory of the late, great, Christopher Hitchens.
Ol' Hitch, of course, would have just hated this video. He was a brilliant man not given to seasonal cheer:
"I absolutely abominate absolutely everything about this season of the year...it's not just that attendance and observance are compulsory and conscripted (though that would be bloody bad enough). It's that ENTHUSIASM is COMPULSORY TOO. You can't just conform and get by. You are always being urged to join in. Of what does this remind me? Of Dear Leader's Birthday in some godawful one-party banana republic or people's democracy, that's what." (The Nation, 1/13/97)
Sounds like fun! Uncompromising genius doesn't take holidays.
But though the world of infidels has lost an intellectual giant, it has a chance to grow and evolve. The shrill atheism voiced by the likes of Hitchens and Dawkins is fine for another generation, but there are plenty of atheists nowadays confident enough in their non-belief that they don't feel like they have to be f--king dicks about it.
So, nonbelievers, free to bow your head in insincere reverence as often as necessary--or hell, possible--this holiday season. Part of being a humanist is loving the weird, weird s--t that humans do. Fellow atheist, you probably do all sorts of weird ritualistic s--t that seems strange to outsiders and doesn't do anything but make you feel better about stuff--you just call it "line dancing," or "must-see TV," or "moderate opiate use."
As for Hitchens, all this glad-handing would have just pissed him off.
And that's cool, he has no idea this is happening. Because when you die, you're just dead.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
But as far as I'm concerned, Mary is always going to look a lot like Imogene Herdman - sort of nervous and bewildered, but ready to clobber anyone who laid a hand on her baby. And the Wise Men are always going to be Leroy and his brothers, bearing ham. When we came out of the church that night it was cold and clear, with crunchy snow underfoot and bright, bright stars overhead. And I thought about the Angel of the Lord - Gladys, with her skinny legs and her dirty sneakers sticking out from under her robe, yelling at all of us everywhere: 'Hey! Unto you a child is born!'
"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" - Barbara Robinson
Here is how this book begins: "The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker's old broken-down toolhouse." These truly nasty kids bully their way into the lead roles in a church Christmas pageant to get free hot chocolate and cookies, but by the end of the book, their unexpected Christmas spirit has us in tears.
What can I say? I'm such a sucker for a redemption story. Whether it's Scrooge, the Herdmans, George Bailey, the Grinch, little Susan Walker - or me, I just can't resist the story of someone who once was blind, but now they see.
This is what I wish for all of you this Christmas: To see, to fly above the despair. To understand why Christmas resonates throughout the world, even in places where they don't especially care (or even believe) that Jesus was born in a
Christmas is that Spirit which transforms and you don't have to be a Christian to let it work its magic. It might have been a different day designated by so many of the human race as the time to transcend our pain and fear, to reach out to each other in a way we don't allow ourselves to do the other 364 days of the year, but this seems to be the one. So let's celebrate it.
This new generation of Republicans, the self-styled Tea Partiers, want to repeal just about all of the 20th century. They don’t like Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, or any of those Kennedy brothers. They say they want to repeal child labor laws, the 40 hour work week, food safety laws, environmental laws, the income tax, direct election of Senators, Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage, banking regulation, Pell Grants, Head Start, civil rights, voting rights, and just about every other form of progress the 1900s brought us. You know, William Buckley used to say that “a conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling stop.” These guys are standing athwart history yelling “go back!” They will happily shut down government at the drop of a hat, for any reason at any time- even when they get what they asked for in terms of policy concessions. Backed by the 1%, the Wall Street elite and the captains of industry who destroyed the economy but are deeply hurt and offended when anyone tries to hold them accountable for it, these Republicans are hell-bent are creating an economy based on the ideas of Ayn Rand and Gordon Gekko, where greed is good, generosity and kindness are weaknesses, and we are taught that it is everyone for themselves and devil take the hindmost.
And speaking of the Wall Street big boys (not being sexist, virtually all of them are) who are not just the top 1% but part of the top 0.1 %, they set new records in 2011 for arrogance that even I didn’t think they could. I had assumed that after some of their more ridiculous moments of the last few years (like one financier comparing Obama to a Nazi because he wanted to take away one of their loopholes), that their very well paid PR guys would tell them “hey, the anger level at us is really rising, we should try to avoid public displays of unbearable hubris”. But the PR team’s nightmares continue multiplying because of quotes like these referring to protesters, one 0.1 percenter said "who gives a crap about some imbecile?” And here’s another 0.1 percenter: “instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive.”
But this was also the year when the movement of, by, and for the bottom 99% started to rise up. This 99er movement is forcing economic issues- and yes, issues of class and economic inequity- onto the American table to be debated and talked about in new ways. The push and shove of these two fundamental ideas- that society should be organized on behalf of the 99% not the 1% vs. the Social Darwinism of greed being good- will dominate our political debate not only in 2012 but for years to come.