Cleveland: Keeping Christmas at Home
Ramona: The War on Happy Holidays
As God had promised, Sarah gave birth to a son at the age of 91. She and Abraham were very happy. Abraham named the boy Isaac and cut off his foreskin.
All was well in the Abraham clan until Sarah remembered Abraham's bastard, Ishmael, and his slave-mother, Hagar. She said to her husband, "Drive away this slave together with her son. The son of this slave will not share the inheritance with my son Isaac!"
Commentary: Readers may remember that fifteen years earlier, Sarah had encouraged Abraham to impregnate Hagar, but after the girl became pregnant, Sarah jealously tortured her until she ran away. Hagar eventually returned after God encouraged her to submit to Sarah's abuse. [Read more]
I'm a freelancer and pay for my own health insurance. Since I'm (relatively) young and healthy, and since I rarely see a doctor more than once a year, I have a fairly inexpensive plan with a pretty high deductible.
Stupid question: If the House health care bill is adopted, shouldn't I opt for the cheapest plan that I can find?
Who cares about the deductible, the benefits cap, or the allowable procedures? Since the health care bill prohibits insurance companies from rejecting customers based on preexisting positions, couldn't I buy the "Kia" plan and upgrade to a "Cadillac" if I were to get sick? [Read more]
In a unanimous resolution, the United Nations declared the Afghan presidential election to be "credible" and "legitimate" despite widespread fraud allegations and the withdrawal of President Karzai's opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. In a separate unanimous resolution, the U.N. declared Pope Benedict XVI to be "Jewish" and "possibly Buddhist" despite his Catholic baptism, confirmation, papal election, and long history of pro-Jesus sentiment. [Read more]
One of the recent propaganda tactics of the right wing has been to appropriate the leftist language of discrimination and civil rights to argue that liberal elites are persecuting white Christian conservatives. The most extreme form of this tactic is the Nazi attack, according to which liberals are portrayed as Nazis or fascists in order to represent them as brutal oppressors of helpless conservative victims. Commentators on the right have revised history to represent fascism as a leftist movement. They have invented or exaggerated associations between Democrats and Nazis. They have belabored the slightest similarities between Nazi doctrine and liberalism. And they have darkly hinted at the possibility of a fascist revolution in America. [Read more]
In his book, What's the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank documented the emergence of an angry populist movement in the prairielands. Christian fundamentalists and anti-abortion activists had exploited the anxiety of working class midwesterners by fabricating a persuasive myth of persecution. According to the myth, a tyrannical minority of liberal elites in control of the media and judiciary seek to repress the religious practices and traditions of "regular Americans" whom they despise and disdain. [Read more]
Hello dagsters. I'm happy to announce the marriage of one of our legendary founders, the man who puts the D in dagblog, the blogger with a thousand questions and inordinately large sunglasses: Deadman. He was married to the lovely Mrs. Deadman on Halloween night in Saratoga Springs, New York. There have been reports of widespread despair among eligible women across the nation. One distraught young woman was so upset that she ate seven pints of passionfruit Pinkberry yogurt with gummy bears and had to be hospitalized. (Sales of the popular frozen dessert spiked immediately after the ceremony.) [Read more]
Last month, Glenn Beck accused the Obama administration of deliberately instigating a national emergency in order to justify a totalitarian revolution. No disrespect to Mr. Beck's investigative skills, but his account was short on details. He had not determined what kind of emergency would occur, when it would happen, or whether the revolution would be communist, fascist, or some monstrous hybrid of the two. (Fascmunism?) [Read more]
One reason that right-wing commentators continue to spout paranoid hysteria is that no one has told them to shut up. OK, Keith Olbermann and a bunch of left-wing bloggers have told them to shut up, and the White House has indirectly implied that they should please keep it down. But the people who really have the power to undermine the conspiracists--the non-paranoid conservative leaders, or what's left of them--have not said a damn word about the wild accusations hurled by Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Michele Bachmann. Some may be afraid, particularly after Limbaugh schooled RNC Chair Michael Steele when Steele called him an "entertainer." But others have cynically calculated that the paranoia works for the party, so they just let it ride. [Read more]
When I worked for a software company, a fellow computer programmer once lamented that the salespeople earned so much more than the coders, despite the fact that the coders were generally better educated, more intelligent, and more essential to the company's core value: its products. The reason for the disparity is straightforward. Salespeople are closer to the money. It is very difficult for executives to perceive the value good programmers, who represent cogs somewhere deep in the machine, but the value of good salespeople is obvious from their sales numbers. For instance, it is easy to justify paying $200,000 in salary and bonus to a salesperson who makes sales worth $500,000 in annual profits. [Read more]
In early August, I began working on a book to document a growing sense of paranoia among right-wing conservatives. At the time, the media was fairly quiet on the subject. With the exception of liberal blogs (ahem), no one paid much attention to the wild rhetoric of the tea parties and occasional paranoid outbursts from commentators like Rush Limbaugh and politicians like Michelle Bachman. Then Sarah Palin loosed her "death panels" broadside, and the floodgates opened. [Read more]
Just because Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell refuses to let interracial couples marry doesn't mean that he's a racist. He just doesn't believe in "mixing the races that way," which raises the question, in what way does he believe in mixing the races? Native American-Tibetan? They both have a brownish hue and wear colorful traditional costumes, so maybe that's OK. Or perhaps he means that the races can mix in other ways. They can be bridge partners, for instance. [Read more]
Abraham the wandering Jew moved south again to the Negev, where he frequently visited the city of Gerar in the land of the Philistines.
Commentary: The Great Rabbi Ezekiel Bezekiel has written, "The Torah does not say why Abraham visited Gerar, but doubtless it was for a holy purpose known to God." Holy purpose my hairy Hebrew hiney. Read on, friends, read on.
In Gerar, Abraham told everyone that his wife Sarah was sister. Abimelekh, the king of the Philistines, took a fancy to Sarah, even though she was well past 100 years old, and took her to his palace. [Read more]
While President Obama's recent Nobel Peace Prize has been attracting media attention, he has been quietly reaping a number of other prizes, including the New York Marathon, the Heisman Trophy, Best Cooking Blog, Sikh Man of the Year, and West Duluth High School's Most Likely to Succeed.
Critics have decried the flood of awards on the grounds that Obama has been selected for political reasons over more deserving candidates. The New York Marathon has been the subject of the widest scorn because the event has yet to take place. Ron Faerly, Chairman of Concerned Citizens for Marathon Transparency, protested: [Read more]
So screams today's Drudge Report headline in a thunderous "xx-large" Arial font. The linked AFP article discusses the possibility that the dollar might lose its place as the preferred global currency, but based on the headline, the reader might be excused for thinking that the nation is about to return to the barter system or else adopt Chinese renminbi. [Read more]
Sometimes I become so enmeshed in the daily dramas of life that I forget to recognize the important milestones of those I hold dear. In such cases of neglect, the sin is not selfishness--I care, I really do--but rather self-absorption. My life is like a gripping suspense film. I...just...can't...turn...away. Not because my life is particularly interesting. It just happens to be mine. In addition, I have an attention absorption problem. I can't even turn away from an episode of Elmo's World. (My nephew and I like to spend quality time with our furry red monster friend.) [Read more]
Two angels disguised as men came to the town of Sodom one evening. Abraham's nephew Lot met them at the city gate and invited them to stay with him. That night, all the men of Sodom, young and old alike, gathered at Lot's door and demanded that he release the strangers to them so that they could butt-rape* them.
Commentary: Sodom was not a popular tourist destination.
Lot, being a good host, refused this request and offered the mob his two virgin daughters instead. [Read more]
Three strangers on their way to Sodom stopped at Abraham’s house, and he offered them food and shelter. One of the strangers promised Abraham that Sarah would give birth in one year’s time. Sarah, who was eavesdropping on the conversation, heard the stranger and laughed, for at 90, she was post-menopausal.
God, who was eavesdropping on Sarah, asked Abraham why Sarah had laughed, for was he not all-powerful and could he not enable a 90-year-old woman to conceive if he chose? So Abraham confronted Sarah. She denied the laughing, and they had a boring argument about whether or not she had laughed. [Read more]
One of the recurrent themes that contribute to right-wing paranoia is the fantasy that white people suffer from discrimination in Obama's America. This conceit erupted on the talk shows during the Sotomayor hearings and after Henry Louis Gates' arrest, when Rush Limbaugh said, "President Obama is black, and I think he's got a chip on his shoulder," and Glenn Beck exclaimed that Obama "has a deep seated hatred for white people." [Read more]