By David Roth on Nov 27 2013, 1:32p + The NFL has worked hard to turn football into a Thanksgiving tradition. But there are many Thanksgiving NFL games from the past that the league doesn't want you to know about. In 2013, Thanksgiving and NFL football…
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- American Family Voices
- Charles Dickens
- Immigration Reform
- Income Inequality
- John Boehner
- Low Income
- Mike's Blog round up
- OUR Walmart
- Pope Francis
- President Barack Obama
- Sally Kohn
- budget cuts
- college football
- food banks
- food stamps
- holiday schedule
- immigration policy
- safety net
- soup kitchens
A Happy Chanukah to all of our Jewish friends, who this year have the rare circumstance of celebrating Thanksgiving during their Festival of Light. Just how rare is this? Well, the last time the two holidays overlapped was in 1956–but only in Texas…
"A pretty high energy day" for employees. That's how a Walmart executive described Thanksgiving after the corporation announced that this year's "Black Friday" would begin on Thursday evening, leaving many of its workers unable to spend the holiday with family or friends.
Walmart's wages and employment practices can rightfully be described as "Dickensian." What, we wondered, would the Victorian author make of this latest development?It was the night before Thanksgiving. Walmart's top brass had assembled in the executive boardroom for a last celebration before heading home to their families. Amidst the din of laughter and chatter, nobody noticed the thin figure silhouetted in their doorway."I am a Walmart Associate," the figure finally called out, "and I beg your pardon for the intrusion."
The revelers stared in amazement. "A Happy Thanksgiving to you all!" added the shadowy Associate."Happy Thanksgiving? Happy Thanksgiving?!?" came an answering voice from inside the boardroom. "What right have you to be happy? Why would you be be happy? You're poor."
The stranger's request.
"Why are you even here?" the shadowy figure was asked.
"I've come to request better wages and working conditions," came the reply. The shocked silence was finally broken by the Chairman of the Board, one Mr. Rob Walton.
"Are there no food stamps?" Walton asked.The figure stood silently."And housing subsidies for the poor?" he demanded. "Are they still in operation?"
The silhouette nodded its head.
"Medicaid is still in full vigor, then?"
"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop these government programs in their useful course," said the Chairman. "I'm very glad to hear it."
"I, too, am glad that taxpayers are bearing the cost of our miserly wages," added the company's CEO.
A lesson in gratitude.
"I was hoping you would behave more wisely and kindly this holiday season," the figure said. "You, sirs and madams, run the largest corporation in the nation, employing more than two million souls. Your behavior shapes the entire labor market, for good or for bad -- "
"Then bad it will remain!" said a Board member to enthusiastic nods all around.
"We are proud to be the worst paying company in America!" said another Board member.
The figure stood, silent.
"And we did something for our employees. We held a food drive for you, so our customers could give you their charity while giving us our profits!"
"What is Thanksgiving, anyway?" another executive ruminated.
"A time to be grateful for all that this land has given -- "" -- to us!" another injected to general merriment.
"Do you understand, Associate?" said the first executive. "
We will be thankful tomorrow. But you have nothing to be thankful for, therefore you have no reason to spend Thanksgiving with your family."
The corporation's humbug.
"You know what I said to a reporter?" said an executive who sounded like a salesman. "I said 'Wal-Mart associates are really excited to work that day.' I really said that."
"Good one!" another executive replied.
"Thanks! I even told the reporter that employees could decide for themselves whether to work on the holiday. But I didn't tell them we've manipulated their hours so that they'll be docked if they don't work that day, or that we've rigged their work schedules so that they'll make less than they should even if they do.
"I even said," he added, "that employees who work on Thanksgiving will get 25 percent off on any single item they purchase."
"As if our employees could afford anything valuable!"
At a speech earlier this week, activist Ju Hong interrupted President Obama to speak against the wave of deportations separating families from their loved ones. The president responded affirmatively, but it was impossible to ignore the waves of frustration rolling over activists fighting for immigration reform to turn from a promise to reality.
We all know the problem isn't President Obama. It's John Boehner.
Today, I'm sure Tanning Salon John is sitting down to a fine feast with his family around him, expensive wine, a big turkey and all the trimmings. I can imagine his fatuous, self-aggrandizing pomp as he prays in fervent reverence for all he has to be thankful for.
I'm equally sure he hasn't so much as a fleeting thought for the small band of determined hunger strikers camped out in Washington DC. Today will be the 14th day they have gone without food, living on only water and hope that if they can hold on, enough pressure will be brought to bear on our erstwhile Speaker of the House to force a House vote on the Senate immigration bill.
Hope is a powerful thing. Sally Kohn:
If we limit ourselves to material things, there may not be much to be thankful about this year. But look around you: Friends, family, good books, great music -- there's always something.
This year, I am (believe it or not) most thankful for Pope Francis, who sees society's invisible. He's doing a bang-up job at changing the way the world's conversation on economic inequality. This was in the document he released this week:
I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply the appearances – of the evils in our world! Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good.
We need to be convinced that charity “is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones)”.
I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare. Why not turn to God and ask him to inspire their plans? I am firmly convinced that openness to the transcendent can bring about a new political and economic mindset which would help to break down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society.
[...] If anyone feels offended by my words, I would respond that I speak them with affection and with the best of intentions, quite apart from any personal interest or political ideology. My words are not those of a foe or an opponent. I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centred mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth.
He is the largest force for good we've seen in a very long time, and I drink to his health and an exceedingly long life.
Salud! Vivat Na zdrowie! Cent'anni!
President Barack Obama has spared two turkeys from the oven, fulfilling the annual tradition of a presidential pardon for a couple of lucky birds ahead of the American harvest holiday of Thanksgiving.
Turkeys named Popcorn and Caramel were the lucky birds whose lives were spared -- and they'll go on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate for the next several weeks.
President Obama pardoned "Popcorn," a lucky turkey that was picked from 80 contestants in the annual act of compassion on Wednesday. "It was, quite literally, The Hunger Games," Obama said of the competition, where votes came through via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
An alternate turkey, named Caramel, also received a pardon, though it did not have the benefit of a face-to-beak meeting with the president.
Popcorn’s victory, Obama said, proves “that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics.”
As for Caramel, “he’s sticking around and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign,” the president said.
“The office of the presidency, the most powerful position in the world, brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities,” Obama began. “This is not one of them."
Presidents have spared turkeys off and on as far back as the Lincoln era, according to the White House. The first official pardon was granted by President George H.W. Bush.
Later Wednesday, Obama, wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson volunteered at a local charity — the Capitol Area Food Bank — distributing bags of sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, apples and small white boxes of the presidential M&Ms. The first family also planned to deliver a couple of turkeys to the food bank, although they won't be pardoned.
“Tomorrow, as we gather with our own friends and family,” Obama said on a serious note, “we’ll count ourselves lucky that there’s more to be thankful for than we can ever say and more to be hopeful for than we can ever imagine.”
In order for C&L staffers to spend this weekend with their families, we'll be on an abbreviated holiday schedule. We'll be back to our normal posting on Monday. Have a happy Thanksgivukkah!
The United States celebrates its "land of plenty" Thanksgiving Day this week, but for the poor and most vulnerable, there is less food on the table after Congress cut aid. As Americans stock up on turkeys for Thursday's traditional Thanksgiving feast…
Many people who know me are aware that I am a rank sentimentalist. I get teary-eyed at a fair number of movies; I write long emotional notes to people I love on all sorts of occasions; and I love the traditions and sentiment around the holidays. Around Thanksgiving, I always spend a lot of time thinking about how grateful I am to my parents and my family for giving me such a great home, to my old friends who are a long term source of support and happiness, and to the new friends who add some spark to my life.
But there is a cynical side to me as well. Certainly the maudlin commercialism of the holiday season brings it out in me. What brings the cynicism out the most, though, are the politicians and big businesses that never stop exploiting people -- whether it is the season of thanksgiving and good will or not -- the big banks who use their enormous power to keep finding new ways to commit fraud and rip people off; the low-wage employers who force their workers onto public assistance to survive; the health industry which wants to be able to go back to the same old health care system that allowed them to make money by denying sick people coverage; and all those politicians who carry dirty water for the special interests in the halls of Congress.
The thing that makes me angriest of all this week is that, because of the greed and power of the corporations and politicians I mentioned above, so many people this Thanksgiving are living on the edge.
Satirical Political: How the Supreme Court ruling in the Obamacare contraceptive coverage mandate case could end the rhythm method.
Eclectablog: How Michigan Republicans could force women to purchase rape insurance.
Balloon Juice: How Joe Lieberman broke his promise to never become a lobbyist.
Colorado Pols: How--and why-- the threat of a recall election led a Democratic Colorado state senator to resign.
Huffington Post: How the Best Damned Band in the Land marked the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.
Speaking of which, your quote of the day:
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”
(President Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1863.)
Guest blogging Mike's Blog Round Up this week is Jon Perr from Perrspectives. Send your tips, recommendations, comments and angst to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.