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December 24, 2011 04:01 PM UTC

Christmas Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.”

–Benjamin Franklin


44 thoughts on “Christmas Weekend Open Thread

  1. from an article by Lynn Bartels in the Denver paper.

    “Like many Republicans, state Rep. Robert Ramirez was furious at new legislative boundaries drawn by Democrats – until he took a closer look.”

      1. When crafted by thoughtful, intelligent people, opposing viewpoints are among the most valuable things in a thinking person’s arsenal. Even if they don’t convince you to change your opinion, at least it forces you to question your beliefs, think a little harder and refine your position.

        Anyone feel pressured by any of our “rightie” friends well thought out positions here?

        1. Good to see you here, Sir Robin.  Hope all is well with you and yours and have a  Merry Christmas and/or whatever is appropriate and a Happy, Healthy New Year.

          Wonder if NASA tracking Santa Claus is part of the government’s dastardly war on Christmas, a war our original virulently anti-Christmas Pilgrims apparently lost even though they got to use fines and stocks.

          What chance do today’s anti-Christmas warriors have with nothing more scary than semantics? Calling obvious Christmas decorations and celebrations “Holiday” when everyone knows that the holiday in question is Christmas in a country where Christmas is the only federally recognized religious holiday, despite a constitutional ban on establishing any state religion, is pretty weak stuff. Unless NASA is tracking Santa with missiles?

          But I forgot…Santa is secular even though he is exclusively connected with the celebration of a particular Christian holiday… wink, wink and Merry Christmas, I mean Happy Holidays!

  2. The Holiday season is a time we often hear the phrase “peace on earth and good will to men”. FDR took the principles embodied in our own Constitution and expanded upon them and applied them to people of all nations. Worth repeating this time of year – the year of the Protester everywhere still fighting to make these Freedoms a reality.

    In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression-everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way-everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want-which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear-which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor-anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

    -Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941

  3. Both Perry and Gingrich have fallen short of being on the Virginia primary ballot. Has a successful nominee ever missed a state for lack of signatures?

    And a side note: Gingrich apparently has lived in Virginia for a long time. (Insert Nelson laugh.)

    1. I just emailed it to Doris Kearns Goodwin through the contact form on her web site.  Let’s see if she’s any faster than Scott Tipton about returning emails.

      Gingrich missed Missouri, too.

      And yes, Gingrich has lived in McLean for 10 years.  I spent 10 years in McLean one July working on a proposal team.

    2. The closest I can find is McCain, who screwed up his Indiana ballot access in 2008. (After Virginia, Indiana is the second most difficult state in which to get on a primary ballot.)

      He managed to get on anyway, because their Secretary of State was a Republican who didn’t much care about the rules. Go figure.

  4. I’m esp glad that the Army moved up some redeployment schedules, and 500 more soldiers got back to Fort Cartoon sooner than expect so they could be with their families for the holidays.

    If this quote seems to ring true for you, then maybe it’s time to turn it a notch down for next holiday season….

    The approach of Christmas brings harrassment and dread to many excellent people. They have to buy a cart-load of presents, and they never know what to buy to hit the various tastes; they put in three weeks of hard and anxious work, and when Christmas morning comes they are so dissatisfied with the result, and so disappointed that they want to sit down and cry. Then they give thanks that Christmas comes but once a year.

    – Mark Twain, Following the Equator

  5. I want to make a donation to support STEM education, in honor of a branch of my family that is almost 100% employed in the sciences — but my Web searches so far haven’t turned up anything exciting. David? Anyone? Any suggestions?

    1. FIRST = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

      It’s basically teams of kids that get to build robots and put them in competitions. Seems really cool. I’m going to check out a high school competition in March then I might try to get a team together at my daughter’s elementary school.

      1. I just did the Donors Choose gift card thing since this branch of the family isn’t in CO or NJ and doesn’t have any real connection to either state, but I am celebrating with my CO family on New Year’s Day… may have to do this one as my gift to sis, the mother of a future scientist 🙂

  6. I wanted to do a quick search to make sure that Barron X hadn’t beaten me to it….but SGT Bowe Bergdahl is still a prisoner of the Taliban. He is still an American soldier, attempting to resist however he can – he attempted an escape earlier this month, but was recaptured.

    Never heard about it? Of course you didn’t – Ashton Kutcher didn’t bang him, or he wasn’t divorced by a Kardasian:

    Captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl ‘recaptured by the Taliban after three days on the run following daring escape’

    A U.S. soldier held by the Taliban since 2009 has been recaptured after he went on the run for three days.

    Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s daring escape failed when a manhunt was launched in Pakistan to find him, Taliban commanders said.

    He is now facing his third Christmas in captivity.

    Sgt Bergdahl has been a prisoner of the Taliban since his capture on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan.

    Since then, he has appeared in a least five Taliban propoganda videos, one of which was released in May.

    He is the only known U.S. soldier to be captive of the Taliban.

    I had hoped for a Son Tay-like raid to free him during the winter months, but it appears he is in Pakistan. I’m sure the ISS was completely unaware he was there, just like OBL……

    Instead, I urge the CiC to MAKE THE DEAL to bring SGT Bergdhal home. If not, then send in Special Ops to bring him back, regardless if the freakin’ Pakistani govt likes it or not.

  7. to you and yours, all, — Felix Navidad, Froliche Weinachten, Happy (5th night?  . . . lucky, partying tribe members . . .)  Hannukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Stupendous Saturnalia, Merry Chistmas, Peaceful Solstice, Salam, Yule Greetings . . . Oh, whatever — everybody, best wishes and have a great weekend!

    As I write, me and a few of mine are frantically wrapping hundreds of dolmates to go with our humble lamb feast and celebration . . .

    While you’ve still got time, why not take a few extra minutes today to be especially gracious to someone today?  That chubby, bearded guy isn’t finished keeping score quite yet.  

    1. that Caplis should get off the air?

      Tebow Baptists don’t celebrate Christmas anyway.  (If the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and provides all the good news and guidance we need, sow me where it says anything about Santa Claus or celebrating the most pagan of pagan celebrations.  Either way – Lupercalia for Everyone – Festivus for the Rest of Us)


      1. who is the president of the local AFT (Atheists and Free Thinkers) group who recommended I use “Heathens Greetings”.

        Under any circumstances, I wish you all a very happy holiday season and a Merry Christmas. I will be traveling for the next several days so I won’t be checking in much.

        My Best to All!!

  8. this may not be a very happy holiday season, regardless of the holiday in question, may your deepest wounds be healed as well can be, pain softened by the love of your dear ones and memories that bring smiles and even laughter, and may next year’s sorrows and worries all be very small, very inconsequential ones.  

  9. Good will toward men, no matter the color of their skin or their religion or even their political beliefs.  God Bless and may your Christmas be truly merry and bright.

  10. And an extraordinarily pleasant day to those who aren’t.

    My not at all religious family has declared Christmas a family feast day. Today we ate steaks raised kindly and slaughtered humanely on the island I’m visiting. I’m not sure what’s planned for the Christmas meal, but I’ve heard it involves pie. Yummmm….

    Oh, and I solved my charity dilemma: Though the recommendations here were lovely, I ended up remembering — duh — DONORS CHOOSE! Got the folks I was thinking of “gift cards” that allow them to pick a classroom and donate toward its specific needs. I have a feeling I’ll be buying lots of microscopes, since most of that side of the family is in biology.

  11. Here’s a brief little history lesson on the holiday season.

    December 21st – Winter Solstice, longest night/shortest day. Around the world on the solstice:

    In North America, the Hopi created a ritual to give aid to the sun to push it back up into the sky.

    The Druids celebrated the death of the old sun and the rebirth of the new sun.

    The Persians celebrated the festival of Yalda, building great bonfires to burn through the longest night of the year.

    The ancient Egyptians who worshipped Osiris recognized the death of their resurrected god on the Solstice.

    There is some evidence that the origin of candlelighting that became the Hannukah story predates the Macabees as a preparation for the Solstice.

    The Roman Saturnalia was a huge harvest festival celebrated at the Solstice.

    By the 3rd century CE (Common Era, also known as AD), various mystery cults in the Roman Empire celbrated the birth of their God/Heroes (Apollo, Dionysus, Helios, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, Theseus among others) at the Solstice.

    Emperor Aurelius combined those varied celebrations into one celebration on the Solstice called the Birthday of the Unconquered Son.

    Christians began celebrating the birth of Jesus with a mass at the end of December around the 4th century CE. Jesus was likley born in the spring (if you assume the gospel narrative of the shepherds is accurate) but the newly adopted religion of the Empire was adapting the practices of the pagan people who were converting to Christianity.

    Other adaptations that Christianity made to the incoming pagan practice were the decorating of trees with gilded apples and candles, the Yule log,and the presence of mistletoe, holly, and ivy in the Christmas celebrations.

    So, whether you celebrate Christmas, Yule, or Hannukah, Yalda or the Celebration of the Unconquered Sun, or simply acknowledge the astronomical significance of the Solstice, it is a season of hope for all of us as we move from the longest night of the year toward the longest day.

    (Unless, you live south of the equator. Then you are buggered and it is all doom and gloom from here on out cuz you just reached your peak.)

    Happy Holidays!

    1. because I got a guided fishing trip. Unfortunately can’t use it for several months, maybe until around the summer solstice.

      Here fishy, fishy.

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