Friday, October 24, 2008

A company with (Christmas) balls

It's nearing that time of year again - Christmas music playing on the radio and in the stores, halloween decorations being replaced with pilgrims and turkeys and then eventually reindeer and sleighs. As a kid, I lived for these holidays, especially after spending hours drooling over the Sears and JCPenney catalogs.

Now that I'm an adult (opinions vary on that point), Christmas has lost a little of its charm for me. The presents under the tree for me are more practical gifts like pants and socks, and I gave up the catalog daydreams a long time ago. All of the joy in Christmas that really remains for me is the sparkle in my kids' eyes when they open presents on Christmas morning. And I'm okay with that.

However, what I'm not okay with is the annual anti-Christmas movement that goes on all around the country. Companies and organizations have been distancing themselves from the holiday by not using words like Christmas in their ads and events. Never mind the fact that without Christmas, they'd have no holiday shopping rush (who really is out there doing last-minute Kwanzaa or Hanukkah shopping?).

They say it's not inclusive enough. Non-Christians will be offended. I don't really understand this mindset - I was never offended over my Jewish friend's holidays, and Kwanzaa wasn't something I'd ever heard about until the last few years.

But every now and then, something beautiful happens. Something that reminds me that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Something like this:

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. - A famed fireworks company is pulling out of a holiday boat parade because "Christmas" was dropped from the event's name.

Fireworks by Grucci won't lend its sparkle to Patchogue's Nov. 23 parade — decorated yachts on the Patchogue River — because the organizers have renamed it the Patchogue Holiday Boat Parade. It was the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade last year, when the Grucci company donated $5,000 worth of fireworks.

The company's vice president, Philip Butler, who has criticized the secularization of Christmas in the past, said parade organizers were "using all the themes of Christmas and plagiarizing all those themes."

Bravo, I say. This is a move that puts the lie to the notion of greedy corporate America. Mr. Butler has principles and has made a stand, profit be damned. I doubt you'll hear any liberals complimenting him on it though.

As a consumer, I'm not really a direct customer of a company like Grucci, but if I was on a town committee that organizes fireworks displays, I'd definitely consider throwing them our business.

So this December, have yourself a Merry Christmas, and if that offends you, tough shit. I'll wish it for you anyway.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Static cling to go with my guns and religion

How this asshole keeps getting elected in Pennsylvania is beyond me. Today he tells the Post-Gazette that there's "no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area".

Of course he apologized later:

(CNN) -- Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, a supporter of Barack Obama's presidential bid, apologized Thursday for calling western Pennsylvania "a racist area."

"While we cannot deny that race is a factor in this election, I believe we've been able to look beyond race these past few months, and that voters today are concerned with the policy differences of our two candidates and their vision for the future of our great country," he said in a statement issued by his office.

"Senator Obama has shown sound judgment and has presented us with a change from the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain. I believe he will win both Pennsylvania and the White House."

Murtha represents Pennsylvania's 12th District in the southwest corner of the state.

Murtha's apology came after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted a story on its Web site Wednesday that quotes the veteran Democratic congressman as saying, "no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area," and predicting that those attitudes could cost the Illinois senator on Election Day.

I don't know if you can really call that an apology, just like I'm not sure you can really call him a human being, even if he decides to apologize to the Marines involved in the Haditha case.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Finding the silver lining

Apparently the current financial crisis does indeed have a bright side.

(CNN) -- The flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States has slowed in the past three years, a major think tank reported Thursday.

The Pew Hispanic Center report cites no statistical reasons for the decreased rate. It notes the U.S. economy has suffered a downturn and greater immigration enforcement measures have been enacted, which a Pew survey "indicates has generated worry among many Hispanics."

That's one way to put the brakes on the illegal alien issue. Set Wall Street afire and the border problem seems to dry up. I wish someone would have thought of this sooner.