I Guess It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

I have watched “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at Christmastime for years. I thought it was a wonderful story about how someone who was different finally found his usefulness and gained friends and a place in society. Evidently I just didn’t understand the movie.

Fox News is reporting today on the HuffPost’s reaction to the movie.

These are some of the HuffPost’s comments on the movie:

“Yearly reminder that #Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a parable on racism & homophobia w/Santa as a bigoted exploitative prick,” read one comment shared by HuffPost. “Santa’s operation is an HR nightmare and in serious need of diversity and inclusion training. #Rudolph,” read another.

The video also suggests it was problematic that Rudolph’s father verbally abused him by forcing him to wear a fake nose to be accepted by others.

Some eagle-eyed social media critics also said the cartoon is sexist because Rudolph’s mom was snubbed after she wanted to help reindeer husband Donner to search for their son after he goes missing. “No, this is man’s work,” Donner says.

But HuffPost’s effort to highlight the perceived bigotry of the beloved movie attracted tens of thousands of negative comments, most of them mocking the video.

“Oh look! Something people like and enjoy; let’s go ruin it!” tweeted Rebeccah Heinrichs.“If you try hard enough you can find offence in almost anything,” Chloe Westley seconded.

Others pointed out that HuffPost misunderstood the cartoon as the troubling characters learn their lesson in the end. “But… but… the bigoted characters learn they were wrong. It teaches a lesson. It doesn’t endorse the problematic stuff,” tweeted Robby Soave.

Even President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on the topic, tweeting “Liberalism is a disease.”

Does anyone really believe that children don’t sometimes treat other children badly? Does this movie not show the error of that? Do parents sometimes make mistakes? Isn’t it nice to see a parent’s mistake corrected? Do liberals have a problem with happy endings? Has anyone ever educated liberals to the fact that a good story needs a conflict at some point to make it interesting? Have we reached the point where we are afraid to let our children see a conflict–even when it is beautifully resolved?

Things Are Changing In The World Of Retail

For many years, Lord & Taylor sat at the corner of Fifth Ave and 38th Street in New York City. You would think that in the world of high-income earners in the City, the store would continue to prosper as it has for so many years. Unfortunately that has not been the case.

Fox News is reporting today that Lord & Taylor is planning to close its Fifth Avenue location. The windows at Lord & Taylor were one of the highlights of a trip to New York City during the Christmas season. I attended school in New York City and always looked forward to seeing the windows at Christmastime.

The article reports:

Lord & Taylor plans to close its longtime flagship in January after one last blowout sale. Next year, the 11-story, Italian Renaissance-style building covering a whole city block will be taken over by WeWork, the workspace leasing company.

About 40 Lord & Taylor branches will continue on elsewhere. Holiday window gazers will have to turn to competitors like Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman, which competed with Lord & Taylor every year for the most eye-popping display.

The article explains changes in retail sales:

The demise of the Fifth Avenue store fits into the bigger picture of a shifting economy in which brick-and-mortar retail has taken a hit from online sales.

In June, Hudson’s Bay Co., the Canadian behemoth that has owned Lord & Taylor since 2012, announced it was closing various stores due to the company’s “increasing focus on its digital opportunity and commitment to improving profitability.”

WeWork and several investors aim to close the $850 million deal to buy the Fifth Avenue building by the end of January.

Founded in 1826 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Lord & Taylor became one of the nation’s first big department stores, run by two English-born cousins, Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor. The store occupied several locations before opening at Fifth Ave and 38th Street in 1914 in a regal home that included a concert hall with a pipe organ, elaborate dining rooms, a gymnasium, and a doctor’s and dentist’s office.

Lord & Taylor established itself as a pioneer of holiday windows by adding motion to what had been static displays. During an unseasonably warm November in 1938, Lord & Taylor created a snow “blizzard” behind glass using cornflakes, with signs announcing “It’s coming! Sooner or later!”

Saks Fifth Avenue soon emulated Lord & Taylor with its own crowd-pleasing display. Other department stores followed. Over the years, the displays became a creative arms race, featuring the most lavish, fantastical holiday scene designers could imagine.

Theoretically this is progress, but Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue was a beautiful store, and it will be missed.

The Message Hidden Inside The Message

I have been a fan of Peanuts cartoons ever since I was old enough to read them. I have visited the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. I have eaten at the Warm Puppy Cafe and watched the skaters skate. I have Tivo‘d the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I watched it this morning. Then I read something that made me realize I had missed a major truth in the cartoon.

Yesterday The Federalist Papers posted an article about the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I love the special–it deals with the feeling some of us get when we are up to our necks in shopping and responsibilities and we are in danger of losing the meaning of Christmas. Obviously, the most important scene in the cartoon is the scene where Linus schools Charlie Brown in the true meaning of Christmas, but there is a hidden message in that scene which I had missed.

Here is the scene as posted on YouTube:

Notice that as Linus begins quoting the Biblical story of Christmas he is still holding on to his security blanket. That is not unusual, Linus is rarely seen not holding on to his security blanket. However, notice that just as Linus quotes the angel saying, “Fear not,” he drops his blanket. The message here is that Linus understands that his security is not in that blanket–it has a bigger source. Previously I had not noticed that.

Merry Christmas to everyone, and may you follow the example of Linus and ‘fear not.’

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Below are some of the provisions in the current farm bill being debated on by the House and the Senate. Are these really things we need to do when we are currently more than $17 trillion in debt?

Some highlights:

…provide for “Economic Adjustment Assistance” that would pay domestic manufacturers of cotton products $66 for each ton they use of “upland cotton”—the most common type of the fiber grown in the United States

…grants have included $1,055,996 to the Unison Resource Company, San Francisco Carbon collaborative, and EcoAnalytics to prevent global warming by reducing intestinal methane emissions from cattle

…transforming goat manure into “biochar” (a.k.a. charcoal) to mitigate global warming. Said biochar is buried to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise occur from the natural degradation of goat manure

…a tax of 15 cents per (Christmas) tree on sellers to support a marketing program for enhancing the image of the industry

…$100 million and the House $225 million for the “Rural Energy for America” program. Recipients have included the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona, which was awarded $45,263 to install a solar energy system. The center is dedicated to “whole-person enlightenment” under the direction of an ordained rabbi, “acknowledged” yogi, and four-year Native American Sundancer. (Just FYI: The body-cleansing regimen starts at $3,159.)

…subsidies for “Access to Broadband Telecommunications Services in Rural Areas.” The Senate would double the current spending—to $250 million—and include subsidies for “ultra-high speed broadband.” The House proposes to maintain spending at $125 million

Just as some of the smart phone commercials used to say, “There’s an app for that,” Americans can say in almost any case, “There’s a government program for that.” I don’t think that is a good thing.

 

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Why We Should All Move To Texas

Rick Perry has done it again. Politico reported on Thursday that Rick Perry has signed a bill passed by the Texas legislature that makes it legal to say “Merry Christmas.”

The bill states:

“a school district may educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ and ‘happy holidays…“a school district may display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas tree, if the display includes a scene or symbol of more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol.”

It is sad that we need a bill like this to protect the religious rights of all students, but we do. Thank you, Governor Perry, for signing this bill.

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Let’s Put The Budget Together Right After The Company Christmas Party

Putting the budget together for a business right after the company Christmas party is ridiculous, right? Well, evidently the United Nations has done that consistently in the past.

ABC News posted a story today quoting Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella, who represents the U.S. on the U.N.’s budget committee.

The story reports:

Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella, who represents the U.S. on the U.N.’s budget committee, said Monday that the tense process of negotiating the world body’s annual budget is made more complicated by the number of diplomats who turn up drunk.

The U.N. budget is finalized in December, when holiday parties apparently lead to some revelry spilling over into budget negotiations.

The U.S. is making “the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” Torsella said during a private meeting of the budget committee. The U.S. mission released a transcript of his remarks.

It’s mostly American money, so why should they worry?Enhanced by Zemanta

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Has Been Arrested In Iran Again

CBN News is reporting today that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was re-arrested in Iran on Christmas Day. Pastor Nadarkhani has been told that he will have to serve out the remainder of his three-year sentence because he is guilty of the crime of evangelizing Muslims. Iran is governed by Sharia Law, which makes it illegal (and punishable by death) to evangelize Muslims or to preach Christianity. Wishing someone Merry Christmas is considered slander against the prophet Mohammad, and is also punishable by death.

The article reports:

Christian activists worry that Nadarkhani still may not be safe, even if he is released after the 45 days are finished.

“We hope that Pastor Nadarkhani will be released without delay once this alleged sentence has been fully served,” Thomas said. “We are also asking for prayers for the pastor’s safety, and for his family at this difficult time.”

Please pray for the Pastor and while you are at it, thank God for the religious freedom we have in America.

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One Place We Need To Consider Cutting The Budget

I realize that I am about to sound like Scrooge at Christmas, but I really feel this situation is getting out of hand.

From The Weekly Standard:

The article is not clear on how much of that money goes to the recipient and how much supports the bureaucracy; but either way, I think we need to do some re-evaluating of the success of our poverty programs.

There is no incentive for someone in government to help someone on welfare get off of welfare–if there is no one on welfare, the government worker has no program to administer. There is no incentive for the person on welfare to get off of welfare because not working takes less effort than working. Also, in many cases, welfare pays more than working. Thus our welfare programs have become the government equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

The article at The Weekly Standard states:

For fiscal year 2011, CRS identified roughly 80 overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense.

…The diffuse and overlapping nature of federal welfare spending has led to some confusion regarding the scope and nature of benefits. For instance, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has recently received a great deal of attention for adopting the “food stamp diet” in which he spends only $4 a day on food (the median individual benefit) to apparently illustrate the insufficiency of food stamp spending ($80 billion a year) or the impossibility of reductions. The situation Booker presents, however, is not accurate: a low-income individual on food stamps may qualify for $25,000 in various forms of welfare support from the federal government on top of his or her existing income and resources—including access to 15 different food assistance programs. Further, even if one unrealistically assumes that no other welfare benefits are available, the size of the food stamp benefit increases as one’s income decreases, as the benefit is designed as a supplement to existing resources; it is explicitly not intended to be the sole source of funds for purchasing food.

It’s time for a Mulligan on welfare programs. We fought the war on poverty and we lost.

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I Love Happy Endings But I Wish I Knew The Entire Story

 

Морковь - Carrot

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The Local (Sweden’s news in English) posted a wonderful story on Friday. In 1995, Lena Påhlsson lost her wedding ring after placing it on the counter during holiday baking. Lena had designed the ring herself and was heartbroken after losing it. She and her husband looked everywhere in the kitchen and had given up hope of ever finding the ring.

The article reports what followed:

But as Lena was about to gather the last of the carrots from the family vegetable patch last October, she pulled out a carrot that had something attached to it.

As the carrot was so small, she was about to throw it away when she realized what it was that appeared to be “growing” around the finger-sized vegetable.

“Our daughter Anna was at home at the time and she heard an almighty scream from the garden,” Ola Påhlsson told The Local, recalling the day of the miraculous find.

Anna thought Lena had hurt herself and went running to her mother.

She instead found Lena sitting on a chair looking rather shocked.

“It was Lena’s wedding ring that had been missing since 1995 after Lenas annual Christmas baking. It had surfaced, wrapped around a carrot. Quite amazing,” said Ola.

Needless to say, there has been a lot of speculation on how the ring got to the vegetable patch. Please follow the link to the article to read the various scenarios.

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The True Christmas Spirit

Stonewood Rd. in Baltimore Maryland cropped fo...

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There are people among us who practice Christmas all year long. The Los Angeles Times posted a story about some of them today.

Earl Johnson, a former Army Ranger who served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Rich Blake, 32, a Marine Corps veteran; and Jeremy Johnson, 34, a Navy veteran, are part of Operation Oliver, a mission to clean up one of Baltimore Maryland’s worst neighborhoods.

The article at the Los Angeles Times reports:

Operation Oliver, which began in July, is a one-year commitment to the neighborhood, the veterans say. It involves cleaning up alleys, rehabilitating homes, organizing volunteers and notifying police about illegal dumping sites and drug dealing.

To say the idea has caught on would be an understatement. Word of the intensive yearlong service project has spread throughout Maryland — and the nation.

Tons of trash have been hauled away, homes have been rehabilitated, and the drug dealers and prostitutes are being pushed out of the neighborhood.

These men have already served their country abroad. Now they are making a considerable difference at home.

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Rubbing Salt In An Open Wound

I am sure it’s not what he meant to do, but did it occur to Harry Reid what the following statement sounded like to most Americans? The Huffington Post reported yesterday:

The Senate and President Obama will not go on their Christmas vacations until Congress extends the expiring payroll tax cut, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed Wednesday, outlining an attempt to shame the GOP into backing a middle-class tax break.

Generally Congress would begin its Christmas break next week. How many other adults get three weeks off at Christmas? In today’s economy, how many of us can afford to spend three weeks in Hawaii?

The Hill posted a story yesterday stating:

“We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen,” Obama said Friday. “Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery. Right now, it’s time to step on the gas. We need to get this done. And I expect that it’s going to get done before Congress leaves. Otherwise, Congress may not be leaving, and we can all spend Christmas here together.”

I’m sorry–I’m just not impressed.

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I Think I Understand Free Speech–But This Is Not It

A picture of the inside of a remodeled Walmart...

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Yesterday Human Events posted a video and account of a flash mob that attacked (yes, that is the right word) Walmart in San Diego on Black Friday. Now, I can agree that Christmas is too commercial and that some of the Black Friday shoppers were nuts, but that is no excuse for bad behavior.

The article reports the actions of the San Diego Occupy Wall Street people:

Meanwhile, the San Diego occupiers stormed into a Wal-Mart, filled 75 carts with merchandise, disrupted shoppers by chanting their nonsense for several minutes at the cash registers, then fled the store leaving behind 75 full carts for the employees to put away.

Didn’t their parents teach them any manners?

This is a first-hand account of the incident reported at Human Events:

Their idea on the flash mob was that we’d all enter Walmart inconspicuously and shop for 30 minutes, filling up our carts as much as possible. Then we’d meet at the front to check out and the first person to get up to a checker calls asks the cashier to page their child (Michael Check) to the checkstand cause they’re ready to leave, and then right after the page: MIC CHECK! Citizens of Walmart!! Greetings and welcome back from the food coma!! In the spirit of holiday giving, we believe a discussion is in order about the meaning of value and low cost. For every low-priced product purchased at Walmart, your communities pay the difference. Every price drop represents mistreated workers who STILL cannot feed their families, STILL cannot afford their homes, and STILL cannot payoff their tuitions. Every sweet deal can be attributed to our jobs being outsourced from American communities. Each item on sale helps bankrupt small businesses. YOU, YOUR COMMUNITIES, AND YOUR WORKERS ARE BEING ABUSED!!

That really does not sound like the way free speech is supposed to work. I personally think that Occupy San Diego abused the workers–Walmart gave them jobs!

America is not perfect, but these people need to learn some manners. The people working at Walmart work hard enough without having to put away 75 baskets of merchandise collected by idiots. I’m sorry if that statement offends anyone, but it represents the way I feel. If these people want to truly make a difference, they need to start their own company, treat their workers the way they believe the workers should be treated and change the system from within. Making extra work for hard-working employees is just tacky.

 

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