Archives for December 2010

Journalism malpractice

The New York Times once ruled the world as the premier source of news and information.

Publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger, Jr. continues to drive the formerly great paper into the ground. A caricature of what his father built, the Grey Lady is now a sad joke.

Most recently a “news analysis” article credited comedian Jon Stewart with passage of the 9/11 responders bill to overturn Republican filibusters that represented ““an outrageous abdication of our responsibility to those who were most heroic on 9/11.”

Did the Democrat party actually write the article published under the names of Bill Carter and Brian Stelter? It could not have been more slanted toward their point of view if Nancy Pelosi had penned it herself!

Senator Tom Coburn (a Republican) did delay this legislation (already a decade after the incident) a few days more….in order to eliminate billions of dollars in federal pork. In case the New York Times reporters are oblivious to this information, the U.S. government is currently drowning in debt. We cannot afford to squander the inheritance of our children any longer.

Taking care of those who served nobly on September 11th is certainly the right thing to do. Eliminating billions of dollars in payments to attorneys by capping legal fees associated with those payments is prudent, responsible and it was also the right thing to do.

Senator Tom Coburn is a hero for standing up for the American taxpayers in face of harsh (and misguided) public criticism like that coming from the New York Times. Our federal government must stop spending tax dollars like drunken sailors on weekend leave.

No longer the standard bearer, the Times lacks any credibility as an objective source of information. Comparatively speaking, they do make Jon Stewart resemble Edwin R. Murrow, but it is a pale reflection created by a serious lack of competition as a credible news source.

The War on Christmas trees

Researcher Michael Schmitt of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada recently conducted an experiment in social psychology.

The findings were published November in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The study concluded that reminders of Christmas can make “religious minorities” uncomfortable, even if they remain unaware of the fact.

Stephanie Pappas reported in LiveScience that “When people who did not celebrate Christmas or who did not identify as Christian filled out surveys about their moods while in the same room as a small Christmas tree, they reported less self-assurance and fewer positive feelings than if they hadn’t been reminded of the holiday, according to a new study.”

How small? The tree used in the study was only twelve inches — a mere one foot tall. How bad or intimidated can one become by a miniature Christmas tree? Now, the infamous Abu Dhabi $11 million dollar Christmas tree is another story entirely.

Schmitt defended the study by saying, “I don’t think it’s really going to undermine anyone’s experience of Christmas to tone it down,” he said. “We’re not suggesting ‘no Christmas’ or ‘no Christmas displays at all,’ but in contexts where we really do value respecting and including diversity in terms of religion, the safest option is not to have these kinds of displays.”

The first several comments left by readers of the article indicate they understand better than the author of the study that Christmas trees are not specifically Christian but trace their roots to pagan customs. A Christmas tree isn’t that much more religious than Frosty the snowman.

Nativity scenes are another matter entirely. In the effort to maintain a true Christmas spirit this season, this writer heartily recommends watching the movie The Nativity Story.

Christmas is about the possibility that our creator God would stoop to physically manifest part of himself in human form. It is somewhat interesting to note those same people who scoff at the impossibility of an Immaculate Conception have no trouble at all believing that we share a common ancestor with an oak tree….or, in the spirit of Christmas, a Douglas fir.

According to the LiveScience article, Schmitt himself “celebrates” Christmas but recommends we tone it down for our secular friends. The safest option (in order to avoid offending anyone) is not to have any overt display of religiosity.

Christmas is a time of great joy and celebration of life. Whether or not you also believe it’s a time to recognize how our creator God honored a covenant with mankind is up to you. Rather than destroying our Christmas decorations or demanding we not display Christmas trees, why not put up tasteful decorations of your own, in the spirit of the holiday season?

Heck, put up a Festivus pole and gather around it to complain about Christmas, if that’s what floats your boat. This writer could not personally care less how you choose to (not) celebrate the holiday.

As for me, I prefer to say, “Merry Christmas!”

If you find that offensive, you need to develop thicker skin.

Christmas shopping at the mall

Everybody hates going to the mall to do their Christmas shopping, don’t they? Well, not everyone.

No, I’m not thinking about the shoplifters, taking their five finger discounts.

I’m thinking about some people simply enjoying their lunch in the mall food court.  Recently such a gathering was blessed at lunch to hear a “flash mob” give a short performance virtually guaranteed to uplift one’s spirits this year during the holidays.

If the video embedded below doesn’t elevate your soul after watching this “impromptu” concert, you may wish to make an attitude adjustment.  Maybe you need to check and see if you still have one.  The performers in the video aren’t the only people smiling; just look at the faces of their “audience.”

Especially in these troubled economic times, always remember “the reason for the season.”

Merry Christmas, everyone.