Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show.
Kerry, a 19-year veteran of the Senate who fought and won four expensive political campaigns, has received nearly $640,000 from lobbyists, many representing telecommunications and financial companies with business before his committee, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
I swear, weekends are Michael Jackson & Scott Peterson fests on FNC! How on earth can they spend so many hours on these two??
TV off, CD on.
This one isn't finished, but it's being updated fairly regularly: Grasping at Normality. It's a Hermione centered fic, beginning of seventh year, very dark.
Just had a nice little email rant on the President shirking his responsibilities during Vietnam. What drives me crazy is that even people who are sympathetic to the President seem to labour under the illusion that there was shady dealing going on during his National Guard service! And I can't believe I'm still having to write long emails on the subject. Okay, I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised.
There seems to be a lot of history rewriting going on that puts up a picture that bears no resemblance to what it was really like during the Vietnam years. I was only a child, but I certainly remember the adults around me talking about how to stay out of the military. I remember watching the news, seeing things in the newspaper. I'm sure most of GWB's contemporaries would have thought he was an ass for signing up for the National Guard when he could have used his family connections to avoid military service of any kind. But he didn't, not only did he join a unit that could go overseas at any time, he chose a dangerous field of work. I don't know, if all he were trying to do was stay safe and sound, I think he could have found better ways to go about it.
Update: Jim shares his perspective.
Another Thought: After reading Jim's post, and looking back at mine, I was struck even more on how our own past shapes how we think and feel. I mentioned in my post I was a child during Vietnam, what I should have added was that I was a child living in Berkeley, CA with riots, tear gas, bombings and bomb scares, curfews, and a military presence in the city. People's Park was out our back window. I thought what was going on was happening everywhere. It took me awhile to realize that my experience wasn't the same as every child's in America.
And while I'm here, (where else would I be, you ask) thanks for all the thoughtful comments. But I have to say that I think the first person who says "Haliburton" should lose points just on principal!
Really want to go back there some day.
Don't forget, if you like to read, and want a place to chat about your favourite books, we'd love to welcome you here.
I have the button.
Really! I finally knocked off a button/logo thing for A&C. I was creating a blog ad (yes, I'm giving it a whirl thanks to the very generous fellow Bear Flagger, Citizen Smash) and realized it would serve as a button. So for those that have wanted one, here you be.
Right clicking -- of course -- to save to your own server!
As disappointed as I've been with Stargate the last few eps, Angel has rocked! Last night's ep was excellent. It had that perfect mix of Joss banter and deadly seriousness. Finally, we get some news on what's up with all the Slayers that Willow's spell called last year, and Andrew made an appearance as Buffy's representative. Andrew has always cracked me up, and he sure did this time around too. I'm going to have to go back and listen to some of his scenes again since Nin and I were laughing so hard, I didn't hear some of it. The end of the ep was pretty heartbreaking when Andrew told Angel that Buffy didn't trust him anymore since he was working for Wolfram & Hart. I have to wonder if placing divisions amongst friends and allies is part of whatever the senior partners have planned. I don't think anything good is going to come of our heroes working for them no matter how gingerly they do it. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think Angel needs that tattooed on his forehead!
A member of my current affairs email list posted this morning about the President increasing funding for the NEA, and he wasn't happy about it. I figured my response was killing two birds with one stone if I made it the basis of a blog post:
So more money for the NEA. And here I didn't vote for John McCain because he was too liberal for me! I have to admit, I have not been happy with many of the President's domestic policies. If I wanted massive increases in social spending, I would have voted for Gore. I thought I was voting for a small government conservative. My bad.
That being said, for me, the most important thing is national security. All the prescription drugs and feces covered paintings won't matter if we have dirty nukes going off in our cities. So I'll still be voting for Bush because there really isn't any alternative I can see for me on this issue.
Of course, the other aspect of this is that by ticking off his base, people like me
will be voting, but may not be enthused enough to go get out the vote. That's not a good thing. I'm not ruling out volunteering here locally on the campaign, but it sure gets harder to be enthusiastic with every liberal policy he enacts, and every dollar he spends on things like the NEA.
Update: Connected? I wonder as I read this article. Now, bearing in mind that my brain isn't working on all cylinders this morning, this is what I'm pondering: I'm a lot more conservative than the average Californian, so trying to look at this from the perspective of the typical CA "moderate", could the very policies I'm annoyed with the President over be the very thing that's giving him a chance to win this state? Is it all in aid of getting the amount of electoral votes you just can't sneeze at? A devil's bargain: figure your base will hold their nose and vote for you anyway, and bring in people who wouldn't vote for you without the big spending government programs, thereby winning the election.
Does this make any sort of sense? Or am I being too convoluted and cynical?
BFT has a bright and shiny new domain and MT blog! Go play welcome wagon :)
I think it's a result of not feeling well. Or being tired. Or stress. Pick one, pick any. Whichever or whatever, it seems I've lost the ability to do a serious news blog post. I don't think this is a permanent condition though.
I did find it interesting that Dean got himself a new campaign manager. I've only seen the headline so far, so don't know the details, but isn't it usually a bad sign to be making a change like that after the primary season has started? At the very least, it seems kind of odd.
As for the Dem nomination in general, I'm still thinking Edwards could go somewhere.
And how about American Idol? My brother, who has always dissed me over watching it, has gotten hooked this time around. I am so going to rub it on! I'm enjoying it yet again, and am not ashamed to say so!
Angel looks like it'll be good tonight. Overall, I've enjoyed the new eps since they've come back from their break. Can't say the same for Stargate. I've found the first few to be disappointing. But I'm hoping it's a temporary slump!
The new book list has been hopping! I can't believe how many fine folks have joined up.
Oh, yes, the Oscar noms! First, I'm a happy camper for the most part with the noms RotK got. I am a little bummed that Sean Astin at the very least, didn't get a nod. A friend said that she was told by someone in the biz that the reason he didn't get a nomination was because his performance was so strong that it overshadowed Elijah Wood's weaker performance. Ummm... okay. But on the bright side of the acting nominations: Johnny Depp! Now I think he deserves it, but movies like Pirates of the Caribbean just don't get noticed by the academy. I could hardly believe it when I saw the list on Tuesday.
I suppose that's enough rambling for one day.
Remember how cruddy I was feeling yesterday? Well, today's worse. Decided to stay home with my pounding head and non stop sneezing and sniffing.
So, back to bed for me. And tea. Lots of tea.
Oh, and that email list -- A Little Right Reading -- is up and running. Rothy has a more descriptive post on her blog. Hey, you could be the first member!
I go away now.
I was going to post about a couple things today, but I can't remember what....
I'm fighting the cold that won't die. Seems like I've had it for over a week. This weekend was miserable, and today isn't better.
I do have one announcement to make though! Rothy and I are starting an email list. Okay, so I really don't need another list to run, but this seemed like a good idea. It was inspired by this post of Rothy's, and we sort of ran with it. I'd link to the list now, but I'm still waiting to hear from my co-list mistress on how she likes the setup so far. So stay tuned!
It's my second Blogiversary!
Thanks to all who read, comment and link. Wouldn't still be here without you.
Kel, who used to blog here when it was a group blog, wrote a very interesting post on writing fanfic and playing in someone else's world on an email list we're both on. I told her it would make a great blog post, so she's put it up on her blog. You can find it here.
Posts like this are the reason that Michele's blog is one of my first stops of the day. She took the President Match test, and well, you'll have to go read what the reuslts were.
Whether I agree or disagree with her, there's never any debate that the woman can write!
With days to spare, I hit the 50,000 mark! The lucky winner was using AOL and clicked through from Lead & Gold.
And thank you to each and every visitor over the last two years. And to everyone who sent traffic this way trying to help me reach my goal. Y'all are kewl!
A post I'll be adding to over the next few hours...
Check out the latest BFL roundup.
Go answer Julie's North Dakota survey.
And I'm 12 hits away from 50,000!!
Lawren has post graduation job! Way to go, girlfriend!
I'd never really seen Dennis Kucinich "in action" so to speak, till last night's debate. Oddly enough, I was struck by his uncanny resemblance to a House Elf -- just without the ears. I can only imagine that this must be what Kreecher looks like!
(I figure if director guy can make current event comparisons, so can I!)
Clark's blaming FNC now. What a whinger.
And The Corner has posted a Michael Moore screed on Kosovo followed by a question for Moore fans and for Clark supporters.
So right now, Nin hates me. She even was thinking the "B" word (Brabara Streisand) at me!!
Because I told her, while we were discussing Quidditch, that the "Golden Snitch" always maske me think "Lilo & Stitich". Then I added that, wouldn't it make a great crossover if it turned out Lilo was a witch and went to Hogwarts? Bringing Stitch with her as her "pet", of course. And that Cobra Bubbles was a wizard? (I mean, what a perfect Wizarding name!) And of course, Lilo would be sorted into Slytherin, just to make Snape's life hell.
So now she's feeling compelled to write the story, and she hates me for it.
Update: she informs me she's written 4 pages so far, and that she still hates me.
Call for Aid!: Nin thinks she can weasel out of posting the story because she doesn't have a last name for Lilo. I know one of you can reccomend a suitable last name for her!
No real posting tonight -- it's just been a bummer of a day. More problems with the same coworker which had me in anxiety attack mode, and a friend of mine is having some health problems and dealing with an ill parent, so I'm concerned and hating being so far away. I wish I was closer so I could do something.
My head hurts, and I just want to sleep till spring.
But, I'm going to take my mum out to dinner since I have a little extra money this check, what with the raise I just got and all. Margaritas are a must tonight.
Today, Leon Panetta came into the pharmacy.
I was so tempted to go up to him and say that my friend admires him greatly and could I get his autograph for her.
Then, give it to Denise.
Just to see the look on her face.
Interesting article on NRO about the Dem convention and all that's involved in a brokered nomination.
... Newsflash for mainstream journalists: Democratic presidential hopefuls do not actually win states. They win delegates proportionate to their support within that state (Article 2, Section 4b of their charter). The Democratic party's primary system is not winner-take-all, like the GOP's.
As an example, in 2000 Al Gore won 64 percent of the vote in Iowa. Bill Bradley won 35 percent of the vote. Gore received 29 delegates from Iowa and Bradley received 18 delegates. A similar split occurred in New York that year. Gore received 65 percent of the vote and 158 delegates. Bradley received 34 percent of the vote and 85 delegates.
John Kerry did not win all of Iowa's convention delegates Monday night. He won approximately 38 percent of its delegates. This means that if we were to see the results in Iowa replicated in each and every upcoming primary contest (which we won't), there would be no nominee with the delegates to lay claim to the nomination. Democratic presidential wannabes would then begin to wheel and deal and seek support from the roughly 800 Democratic super-delegates and from each other.
Will this happen? It is more possible than people think.
Another fic rec. I'm partway through The Fire & the Rose, and am enjoying it so much, I thought I'd pass it on before I'm actually done reading it.
Short summary: Neville has an accident in potions class causing Snape and Hemione to switch bodies. Takes place in seventh year, very well written and engaging.
It is listed under "adult", but so far, nothing that would qualify for that rating has happened. But you've been warned! :)
As a new Harry Potter fan, I now have all these extra articles to read, and I found a gem today! This is from an interview with Alfonso Cuaron who is directing Prisoner of Azkaban:
"It's a myth for our times," Cuaron tells Entertainment Weekly magazine in its Jan. 23 issue. "You read about Fudge and the Ministry of Magic — that's Tony Blair! And Guantanamo is not that different from Azkaban. There are Dementors there, too."
Viggo, call your agent! Here's a guy you can not only work with but share silly current event comparisons with too! It's a match made in heaven.
(a little lunchtime posting)
There's a pharmacist at work who is very liberal. However, every time he starts a rant, I blow him out of the water (the last one was about space exploration).
Today he decided to bash Bush and Republicans in general.
I started walking towards him, and he got quieter and quieter.
Finally, when I was standing next to him, he shut up.
I grinned madly and walked away.
Michele is suffering temporary insanity and letting just anyone post to her blog.
I have one thing to say for myself : saki (and lots of it)
Now I know the proper care and cleaning routine for my cast iron (thanks to LW) I've been using them more. Sunday night, I used the griddle to sear the steaks we were having, and they were the closet I've had at home that compares to a restaurant steak. Last night, I used it to make pancakes. now, not to be immodest, but I make a damn fine pancake! But using the cast iron resulted in probably the best pancakes I've ever made. They were full of yummy pancake perfection!
Here's a question for you all: Hypothetically (of course) (knocking wood), if you had to pick one of the Dems running to be President -- that seems to have an actual chance of getting the nomination -- which would be the least scary choice to you as Commander in Chief? And if you feel so inclined, explain why.
I'm curious to see if the responses match the mental conversation I've been having with myself today.
I'm watching Dean's speech on the news, and he is eerily similar to a cross between a WWE announcer and a televangelist -- just without the powder blue polyester suit.
Now he's talking about taking the country back for ordinary Americans. Gee, someone took my country away? I guess I didn't get the freakin' memo.
It's going to be one of those weeks, I can tell. Woke up with a bad sore throat and wanting nothing more than to pull the covers over my head. [sigh] Not to be though. It's a payweek, which means payroll has to be done today. So to work I shall go, even though I'll hate pretty much every moment of it.
I've been remiss in awarding the coveted "Silver Snickerdoodle of Excellence", so I'm going to give out two this time as a sort of New Year's bonus!
and the winners are....
Congratulations and please, no auctioning off your award on Ebay!
(I know, I still haven't created a button for the award)
Go say, "hi"!
And here's my vote for this week's blog showcase.
...I want humanity to go to space. If the government wants to spend money on it, fine; if the government wants to get out of the way and leave it to "ordinary" Americans, even better. I don't care. I don't care how much it costs; I don't care what else doesn't get funded.
Yes, I cleaned. But there is still more to do tomorrow. I also made dinner -- one of my faves, roasted garlic and baked brie. MMMM!! And let me add a Harry Potter fic rec: Falling Further. Very angsty Snape fic that made me weepy in spots. If you read it, let me know what you think.
Now on to Iron Chef in Las Vegas! The first non FNC TV of the day.
I'm just not feeling very bloggy lately, as you can tell, I'm sure. Think of it as the lull before the storm.
Today, I need to clean house in a major way, and that's so not exciting.
Oh, a little side note: watching FNC and they're talking about Gwyneth Paltrow who is going to raise her baby in England, for the usual goofy lefty celeb reasons. [rolls eyes] Whatever.
Anyway, cleaning, yes.
A little more info for my post yesterday. The fic site I've been reading the Buffy/HP fic on is "Twisting the Hellmouth". Most of the fic are Buffy xovers with various fandoms, but there are some straight HP stories there as well.
I've particularly liked stories by Jinni, echo, magicharm, and houses.
This interview of Kim Stanley Robinson was touted as Mars-centric, but it turned out to be pretty much about KSR's far left political views. I've read his Mars series -- long ago -- but his newest series seems to be all about making his political point.
As I mentioned a bit ago, Nin finally got me to read "Harry Potter", and once that was done, she passed me a link for a good fanfic site. This site is a "Buffy" xover site, so almost all the fic I'm reading is HP/Buffy. The two universes actually fit to together quite well. (Yes, there is a point, and I'm getting to it) Now, one of the most popular pairings is Snape/Willow, and the disconcerting bit is that another popular theme is Willow being Snape's daughter. You really have to shift gears when you finish off a Snape/Willow fic and jump right into the parental style story! See? There was a point. Of sorts.
(One of the other popular pairings is Ginny/Draco)
(Really hoping that in the books, Draco doesn't become a Death Eater like his father)
(Trying to convince Nin to write an HP/PotC xover) (Jack Sparrow as the new DADA teacher -- it could work!)
I wanted to thank everyone who has given my "50,000 by Two" goal a plug. I'm amazed at how many of you have, so thank you!
Here's the list so far (and if I've missed you, it's not intentional, I just haven't found you yet)
Adding to the list:
To continue from my last post and some of the comments...
Something you don't hear much about, and something I think we should talk about more, is simply that a presence in space is vital to our security. There seems to be some sort of attitude that space exploration should be pure. That discussing the military aspect of space is poor form and something we don't want to really talk about. The Chinese aren't moving into space for the heck of it. If we don't go, others certainly will, and they won't be going because they want peace and brotherhood with all peoples of the Earth.
Yes, I'm feeling cynical this morning. Can you tell?
Not that I'm surprised:
President Bush's plan to build a space station on the moon and eventually send astronauts to Mars hasn't grabbed the public's imagination, an Associated Press poll suggests.
More than half in the poll said it would be better to spend the money on domestic programs rather than on space research.
Will the American public ever have anything but a shortsighted view of space exploration?
We drove back from Fremont this morning after just generally hanging out over the weekend. Jen had a bad cold, so we didn't leave the house. We played pool on the new table -- which was awesome as the felt is tournament grade with waxed threads so the balls just whiz around -- and we watched the first Harry Potter movie along with all the bonus stuff. And we also opened Xmas gifts. I got two pirate type books, a CD of ancient music, some "little green men" from Toy Story, and a DVD. Sunday, we had Grand Marnier French Toast, Jen made apple fritters in the new deep fat fryer I got her for Xmas, and I cooked up a mess o' bacon. Then we watched the second Harry Potter movie and all the extras. Jen had company for dinner and we did rotating games of pool, LotR Monopoly, and I read HP/Buffy fic on Jen's computer. I went to bed, while everyone else stayed up late to watch a Looney Tunes collection DVD.
I think that about covers it!
This was from today's entertainment column on FNC:
..... So where was Peter Jackson? In New Zealand, finishing up an
extended DVD version of "Return of the King." The film now playing clocks
in at three hours, 12 minutes, but Jackson — via a filmed acceptance speech
— promised the DVD will be "much longer."
That's good news for Hill, who plays King Theoden in the trilogy (not the
king who returns, though). He told me that many of his best scenes were cut
when it was decided that Christopher Lee's character, the evil wizard
Saruman, would be completely excised from the final installment. Luckily,
it will all be restored when Jackson is finished.
Sorry for the lack of posting, but I've been on a reading jag the last few days and have hardly come up for air :) Getting ready to head up to Jen's to help her and her spousal unit break in their brand new pool table.
See y'all Monday!
We're fast approaching the second aniversary of the blog -- Jan. 26 in fact! And I'm moving ever closer to my goal of 50,000 visits by that time. I've got 2197 to go, and I think if I keep my daily average up where it is now, I should make it.
Hey, everyone has to have a dream!
Some lighthearted blogger predictions for the New Year from Don Quixote. (who was my Secret Santa giftee)
Don't you hate it when your site starts being wonky in one browser, but not another? Last week, out of the blue my entire sidebar started showing up all bold -- but only in Mozilla. In IE it still is only bold where I coded it so.
I finally gave into massive peer pressure and read the Harry Potter books. Got through four of them this weekend, and read number five yesterday. I'm blaming it on Cold Mountain and the loopy punctuation that drove me to reading anything else!
Verdict? They're enjoyable books, I liked the last two best, despite my favourite character being killed off. I'll read six when it comes out, but unlike some people I know, I won't be first in line to buy it. Nor will I be searching out Snape/Dumbledore fic [weg] (that one's for Nin)
Found this over at Drama Queen.
I am The Lovers
The Lovers often refers to a relationship that is based on deep love - the strongest force of all. The relationship may not be sexual, although it often is or could be. More generally, the Lovers can represent the attractive force that draws any two entities together in a relationship - whether people, ideas, events, movements or groups.
For a full description of your card and other goodies, please visit LearnTarot.com
What tarot card are you? Enter your birthdate.
I'm home today, and just as I was waking up, I heard someone in the main bathroom (the head of my bed is agaisnt the bathroom wall). So I figured my father stayed home. I got up, and went into my bathroom, and heard the toilet flush. But when I went out into the main house, and I found no one is home.
So either my house is haunted, or I was having some sort of audible hallucination!
Just slightly freaked here.
Update: Mum just called and said he was home for a moment before he went to the doctor. Whew!
Kel, who used to blog here when we were Gaggle of Gals (you can still find her many great posts in the archive) has a blog of her own! You'll never guess what it's called [g].
A question for those that have upgraded to the newest version of MT: how difficult is it? I could never install MT, so I paid the MT folks to do it for me, so I'm a little leery about doing the upgrade. Is upgrading easier than installing it from scratch?
Any info greatly appreciated!
When I was a little girl, I read a book about Oak Island and its great mystery, and it's still a subject I try to look in on every once in awhile. Here at work, we get Rolling Stone, and normally, I'd just toss it to the guys, but not today. This issue has an article on Oak Island with its history, and what's happening now. Very interesting stuff! And still no resolution to the mystery! A couple of theories I hadn't heard before are Templar treasure, and the proof that Francis Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare. Supposedly someone's doing a documentary as well. Lot's to look forward to for Oak Island buffs.
It's not up on their website yet -- they're still featuring last month's issue -- but it might be at some point. Or you could take a look at your local newstand. It's the Jan. 22, 2004 issue, BTW.
Anyone know why the pics from Mars are in black and white? I figured by the 21st century, we'd be able to manage colour!
New Year, new stuff.
I changed my picture, and I figured I'd had the new blog name long enough to delete the name change explanation. I also added a verse from a song in the LotR.
Here's the whole song:
I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.
I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.
For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is adifferent green.
I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.
But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.
I still like my Royo layout, so I'm not changing that right now. so litte changes, no big ones!
.. to the birth, 112 years ago, of Professor John Ronald Ruel Tolkien.
Thank you, Professor, for all the joy you've brought to so many of us.
I want to know what your guilty pleasure of 2003 was. This can be a TV show, a movie, a book, or something I haven't thought of. Oh, hey, it could be a blog too!
So step up to the confessional and tell us all about your guilty pleasure.
I'd have to give out two to this blog. One for a very kewl domain name, and another for blog name.
Tolkien Geeks of Blogland unite!
Disney has released the first teaser trailer for "King Arthur". It looks awesome!!
From this week's SciFi Wire:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King made the first cut for nominations for the visual-effects Oscar, but neither of the Matrix sequels did, Variety reported. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last week tapped the seven movies that will compete in the effects business' annual bake-off to fill the final three Oscar nomination slots in the category, the trade paper reported.
The films that made the cut: Hulk, King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and X2.
The academy surprised observers by eliminating both the effects-laden Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The first Matrix won the Oscar for visual effects in 1999, the trade paper reported.
Other films that were in contention but failed to make the cut included Bad Boys II, Big Fish, The Haunted Mansion and The Cat in the Hat.
Final nominees will be announced Jan. 27, along with nominees in the 23 other Oscar categories.
Joss Whedon, creator of the defunct Fox SF TV show Firefly, told SCI FI Wire that his proposed series-based feature film will aim at an audience that has never seen the show, but will also contain "big giant payoffs" for faithful fans. Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) added that he's finishing up the script for the proposed movie.
"It is still just that, a possible film," Whedon said in an interview at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention. "We have a good chance, actually. It looks like it's a real possibility. But more than that I cannot say. ... I don't want to jinx anything."
Whedon acknowledged that it seems odd to try to mount a movie based on a failed television show (Fox canceled Firefly after airing only 11 of the 14 produced episodes). But, he added, referring to his hit Buffy TV series, "It also seems unusual to want to mount a show from a failed film, so you know unusual is sort of my stock in trade. The only reason I'm doing this is because I believed that there was a story to tell that I had not had the opportunity to tell. And I believed that I didn't want to work with anybody except these guys for a long while. So ... there was just too much to give away."
The rest of the scoop here.
This is the latest essay I received in email from Rabbi Lapin, and since it's just past "the holidays", I thought I'd share it:
Well, 2004 has arrived which means that dreaded "C word" is behind us. Put politely, "the holiday season" has passed. Having shopped in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle lately and having listened to talk radio in each city I couldn't help noticing a startling double standard.
Overwhelmingly, store assistants and talk radio hosts bid farewell to Jewish guests with a cheerful "Happy Chanukah" while others, including those identified as Christians, received the generic "Happy holidays." With each passing year, secular fundamentalism more successfully injects into American culture the notion that the word "Christmas" is deeply offensive. Well, after watching this year's repeat of the annual "hate Christianity ritual" I think we may be mistaken in allowing this assault to go unchallenged.
Okay, maybe referring to it as a "hate Christianity ritual" is a little over the top. But it certainly is obsequious regard for faiths like Judaism and even Islam, while treating Christianity with contempt and disrespect. It is not that I want Judaism treated with less respect it is just that I think that Christianity deserves just as much respect. And I say this as an Orthodox rabbi who has spent a lifetime teaching Torah and devoting myself to the long term interests of Judaism.
Click "MORE" for the rest.
I don't think that America's Jewish community does itself any long term good by denouncing every public _expression of Christian faith as if it were a force-fed dose of castor oil. This anti-Christianism is not only unhealthy for all Americans; I think it is particularly destructive for Jews to be leading the extirpation of all signs of Christian fervor from the village square.
Palm Beach, Florida, prohibited a Christian group from placing a depiction of Christ in the manger alongside a menorah on public property. One of the plaintiffs, Maureen Donnell, told Fox News, "They've discriminated against us, they allow the menorahs but they have absolutely no interest in these Nativity scenes." Donnell and her co-plaintiff want the menorah and the Nativity scene to be displayed next to each other. But Palm Beach officials remained unmoved. Today, Palm Beach is a city with a large Jewish population. It would be wonderful to be able to believe that Palm Beach's Jews fought as valiantly for Christian religious rights as they have had to do in the past for their own.
Many Jewish parents, who remain indifferent when their children bop to rap music's obscene lyrics, recoil in horror at the same kids' exposure to Christmas carols. It is invariably a local rabbi who teams up with the ACLU to file a lawsuit against the school singing carols or the town unwary enough to allow a Nativity scene on the library lawn.
A music teacher in a Washington school removed the "C word" from the lyrics in Dale Wood's "Carol from an Irish Cabin" to read: "The harsh wind blows down from the mountains and blows a white winter to me."
Parent Darla Dowell, whose 7-year-old daughter sang the song, called the decision "absurd." "I think the most important thing that angers me is that they sent a message to my child that there's something wrong with Christmas and saying Christmas and celebrating it and performing it at her school with her peers," Dowell told Fox News. She couldn't understand why it's okay to exclude Christmas when her daughter was forced to sing Hanukkah tunes that included lyrics about the "mighty miracle" of Israel's ancient days. In that song, there were at least six mentions of the Jewish holiday.
Although I suppose it is possible, does anyone feel confident that Mrs. Dowell will think better of Jews in 2004 than she did in 2003? How exactly does this aggressively applied double standard help to maintain the mutual respect that used to characterize the relations between American Jews and Christians?
A 1989 Supreme Court decision in Allegheny County v. ACLU found a Nativity scene on the main staircase of the county courthouse to be unconstitutional. The court emphasized that the privately owned crèche which included a banner proclaiming "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" ("Glory to God in the Highest") was indisputably religious. In the same case, however, a five-judge majority found that a nearby display, featuring an 18-foot Hanukkah menorah did not violate the Establishment Clause. In the interests of truth and friendship, it ought to be the entire Jewish community protesting the court's actions. Instead, in a bizarre inversion of truth, many of us Jews triumph at Christianity's suppression as if we had just replayed the two millennia-old victory of the Macabees against secularism.
Holiday greeting cards also demonstrate this syndrome quite well. Don't take my word for it, step up to the greeting card racks in your local drug store and see what I mean. Virtually every Chanukah card is tasteful, well okay, deferential at least. Similarly, every Kwanza card is a paper paean to this rootless, recent invention. Cards intended for blacks and Jews are respectful. No sir, you won't find too many cards taking vulgar, humorous shots at those holidays.
Now check out the Christmas cards. Oh sorry, I should have said "check out the holiday cards" or "check out the winter season cards." You'll be hard pressed to even find a card that mentions the word "Christmas." It is as if word is deemed so offensive that casual card browsers should be protected from accidental contamination. Alongside the decent cards you'd expect, you will also find tasteless Christmas cards that mock the holiday. You'll even find off-color risqué Christmas cards that you'd be embarrassed to be caught looking at. What secularism seems to be saying is, if we can't completely banish Christmas, let's at least turn it into a bad joke.
New York City schools encourage their students to bring decorations that reflect Judaism and Islam but Christian decorations are prohibited. Yes, that is right. Holiday displays of the Jewish menorah and Islam's star and crescent are allowed in some 1,200 public schools in New York City, but the creche, or nativity display, are verboten. (The case is currently being heard in Federal Court in Brooklyn. The suit, which should have been brought in a spirit of brotherhood by a Jewish organization, doesn't seek to prohibit the Jewish and Muslim exhibits, but to end discrimination against Christianity.) Nationwide, Christmas Nativity scenes are banned from city halls and shopping malls but Chanukah menorah's are permitted. (They are only cultural symbols, not religious, you see.) Seattle city employees are prohibited from wishing one another a merry Christmas but permitted to say "Happy Holidays" or even, "Happy Chanukah".
The storm troopers of secularism who so diligently guard the rest of us from inadvertent exposure to the Christmas virus can rest for another year. Their work is done for now, but right after Thanksgiving, they'll be back, you'll see. Hey! I have a great idea-this year, let's be ready for 'em.
Radio talk show host, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, is president of
Toward Tradition, a Seattle-based, bridge-building
organization providing a voice for all Americans who defend
the Judeo-Christian values vital for our nation’s survival.
This entire article is just begging for a complete Fisking, but I'm going to just pick two gems:
Dean said his own education about unconscious racism began at Yale, where he graduated in 1971. He was trying to get a child from the inner city of New Haven that he was tutoring to talk "proper" English. One of his African-American roommates told him, "Why don't you leave him alone?" He said he had the "traditional white liberal idea that if black people were like us then we'd all be fine. Sort of like the Republican idea. If we all played golf at the same country club, then there wouldn't be any racial problems."
So, trying to teach a child how to speak proper English is racist in the mind of Howard Dean. How about teaching a child math? Social Studies? How about teaching a child anything that might possibly help them make an honest living when they grow up? Why send kids to school at all?
This is a man who wants to be President of the United States, and he thinks that teaching proper English is wrong.
Lord help us.
Then there's this one:
Another seminal moment was during his freshman winter. One of his roommates became a leader in the black student alliance, which resulted in frequent, large gatherings of African-American men in his dorm room. At one of these gatherings, Dean said, "I suddenly realized I was the only white person in the room, and literally the hair went up in the back of my neck. 'Cause I thought, what if it was always like this? What if everywhere in your world you were the only white person and everyone else was black? For one instant I had some tiny inkling what it was like to be black in America."
Gads! Get over yourself! Being the only white person in the room makes the hair go up on the back of your neck? Lord, if that was a universal reaction, how would I have ever made it through elementary school? Or, for that matter, get through a work day. Believe it or now, Howard, there are days when I'm the only white person in the office.
And Howard Dean thinks he's not a racist.
Hey baby, let's go to Vegas Kiss the single life good-bye Hey baby, let's go to Vegas Bet on love and let it ride
Lyin' on the bank of the river
Stars are dancin', Lord it's hot
Holdin' you is what I live for
I just had a crazy thought
Hey baby, let's go to Vegas
Kiss the single life good-bye
Hey baby, let's go to Vegas
Bet on love and let it ride
We'll find a little wedding chapel
A pair of rings and a preacher too
Underneath the neon steeple
We'll take a gamble and say "I do"
Hey baby, let's go to Vegas
Kiss the single life good-bye
Hey baby, let's go to Vegas
Bet on love and let it ride
Viva Las Vegas, sparklin' lights
Dangerous livin', tumblin' dice
You're my ace in the hole now honey
And I'm your lady luck
Pack a few things and a little money
And put 'em in the truck
Hey baby, let's go to Vegas
Kiss the single life good-bye
Hey baby, let's go to Vegas
Bet on love and let it ride
Much happiness on your new life together! I'm glad I got to be there for part of the grand courtship [hugs]
Feeling very lazy this afternoon. Cider is on my lap, bunting me while I type and purring up a storm. He's a very warm kitty, so it's like having a rumbling hot water bottle!
Last night, we decided to cook up a storm, and we had shrimp in cheese grits, salad with a raspberry vineger splash, nice fresh bread, and some very good wine. For dessert I made crepes with warm fruit, ice cream, whipped cream, and some more very good wine. In between, we watched the Iron Chef marathon on the food network.
Late this morning, me, mum, and Nin did brunch. I made hash brown casserole -- trying to recreate the one at Cracker Barrel, and cream eggs, while mum made biscuits and sausage gravy. All was topped off with mimosas and blood & swash. I'm still full.
Now we're waiting to hear from Glenn because he may be stuck at work in Big Sur as the road is blocked by downed trees/slide. We're hoping that at least we can take the truck south and maybe he can leave his car, walk over the slide and we can bring him home. so keep your fingers crossed!
Hope one and all had a great New Year's!