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December 14, 2005

Sorry, guys, no `War on Christmas' here

This 'n that...

The thing I detest most about Fox newsies John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly is their unthinking determination to manufacture controversy and division out of thin air. Thus they would turn "happy holidays" into a "War on Christmas."

Nice try, guys. But I'm not warring on Christmas or Jesus if I say happy holidays, any more than I'm warring on Judeaism if I say Merry Christmas to my Jewish friends. They respond with a Happy Hanukkah and we go about our rounds wrapped in the warmth of the season. Pretty much the way it is with most folks, I'm guessing.

Whether "Christmas" appears in a store's advertising won't determine whether I shop there; neither will whether the greeters say happy holidays or Merry Christmas. Or, for that matter, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa or Happy Ramadan. I'll proceed into the store, wrapped in the season's warmth, which will be retained if the place has hired enough checkout people to handle the rush.

Anyway, John, Bill, you guys have a Merry Christmas. Hope your presents include a life.

Any of the rest of you who are masochistic enough to want to read more, there are a couple of links below.


Meanwhile, in Davenport, what outgoing mayor, incoming aldman Charlie Brooke wants for Christmas is a new chambers for the city council. Seems kind of silly to me, notwithstanding this is season of giving.

Davenport's chambers are actually pretty nice. There's more public seating than any other Q-C council meeting place. The sound system works pretty good most of the time; you can hear what's being said, though that isn't always a blessing.

The place, course, isn't perfect. There are a couple of support poles that could obstruct someone's vision on those rare occasions when the room is packed.

It is dimly lit, and the dark wood paneling soaks up light. It could use some brighter bulbs, but what city council room can't?


A couple of weeks back, at the public hearing on East Moline's proposed pig plant deal with Triumph Foods, someone sitting at a table full of city officials said the proposed agreement would be posted on the city website the next day. As I write this 10 days later, it still hasn't been posted.

May not matter that much. More than 600 people have read it on Quad-Cities Online. (Here's the link)

Be nice, though, if the city managed to post the revised version being worked on. Maybe even in advance of the next council meeting, so people could be better informed if they want to go ask questions.

I'm guessing, though, that even the alderpeople will get to see the revisions about five minutes before they're asked to vote on them.

Be nice if the alderpeople, in the spirit of the season, are in a giving mood -- and what we all need is time, to make sure this is a dotted line we want to sign on.


Links promised above:

(Secular extremists still lying about their war on Christmas)

(Bill O'Reilly - War on Christmas Liar?)

Posted by jcb at December 14, 2005 02:41 PM


Thanks for the info about the war on Christmas. I hadn't heard anything about that Bill O'Reilly thing, as its not (usually) in the interests of the press to report on their own errors.

Posted by: QuadCityImages at December 14, 2005 05:03 PM

You may not be warring on Christmas by saying "happy holidays", but you slight Christmas by characterizing it as just one winter holiday among many. Kwanzaa is made-up nonsense, as you probably know. Ramadan does not coincide with Christmas, at least most years, and is a Muslim holiday anyway. There are two legitimate holidays: Christmas and Hanukkah. If I walk into a store and am greeted with "happy Kwanzaa" I will make immiediately for the exit.

There are obviously much larger problems than whether department stores spurn Christmas or not. But seeing as how cable news shows are generally good for absolutely nothing, I approve of O-Reilly's little crusade. Don't be blinded by your personal dislike for the guy.

Posted by: le biel at December 14, 2005 10:51 PM

BRAVO! John, on "No War On Christmas Here"... Making this holiday season of 'peace on earth and good will towards men' another issue of 'political correctness' just makes me sick at heart. I can hear John Lennon singing... "and so happy Christmas, for black and for white, for the yellow and red ones, let's all stop the fight... WAR IS OVER, if you want it." Unity in Diversity, All Are One... yeah, that's the ticket.
Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!

Posted by: EK at December 15, 2005 10:28 AM

Who is to say what is and what is not legitimate? And I hate to break it to you, but Christmas *is* one winter holiday among many.

Conservatives amuse me. It's okay for a business to make its decisions without regard to people, the environment, etc, as long as it is good for the economy. That is, unless a business decides to take a religion-neural approach to the holidays, which is good for business - last time I checked, Muslims, Jews and agnostics like myself shop at stores. A business does that then they're deplorable.

This is an example of the right keeping up its end of the mythical "culture war". Thankfully, we will never live in a society where homosexuals are outcast, where abortion is completely illegal, or where government completely favors one religion over another. Those making decisions know this will never happen, but as long as they can use it as a carrot-on-a-stick to get religious conservatives to vote for them they will keep on doing this.

Posted by: t at December 15, 2005 10:29 AM

Unfortunately, it's not just Fox that likes to gin up controversy. Consider the Plastic Turkey kerfuffle when Bush made a suprise visit to Iraq. Or the Bush Never Goes To Military Funerals (even though no other president did either) ginned up by the NYTimes-Democrat. Yes, the press loves to gin up scandals. They think that's their job. Sell More Papers! Or whatever.

As for the cultural wars that t mentions---consider this: Democrats whine and control criticism when they---say anyone who is anti-abortion is for back-alleys and coat hangers; anyone who is against affirmative action is against black progress; anyone who questions a Democrats stance against Iraq is "questioning their patriotism; anyone who wants to reform social security wants old people to eat dog food; etc. we've all heard it before. Why can't the Democrats stand up and defend their policies (such as they are) instead of demonizing the opposition? Inquiring minds want to know. Nevermind, I think we already know.

Posted by: paladin at December 15, 2005 01:58 PM

t, most days I agree with your point that "we will never live in a society where homosexuals are outcast, where abortion is completely illegal, or where government completely favors one religion over another." Therefore, the temptation to ignore the babblings of the conservative cultural warriors is strong. But ...
there are other days when it seems dangerous to leave the field to them.

Posted by: jcb at December 16, 2005 08:03 PM

It appears the liberal cultural warriors are backing down because----they want to win elections. Duh!

Today the Boston Globe (not exactly a right wing publication) had an article about how the Democrats were softening their stance on gun control so they would have a chance to win elections in the west.

And don't forget Hillary Clinton who came out for abortion as safe-legal-rare, instead of shrieking that a woman's right to choose included late term abortion, non-notification of parents and/or spouse. Hillary finally figured out that the "abortion without restriction" crowd is now out of the mainstream.

So yeah, the liberal cultural warriors can continue to rock on with their bad selves---but the public has moved on, and said liberal cultural warriors are finding themselves increasingly marginalized. Amazingly, politicians on the left are starting to take notice.

Posted by: paladin at December 17, 2005 01:14 PM

I agree with paladin and I am happy the party is moving toward the center on some of these things. It is not without dissent but I think for the first time in a while we're headed in the right direction (pun intended).

I also agree that some of these blowhards cannot be ignored. I have very conservative in-laws who would tell you the sky was falling if Bill O'Reilly said so. This doesn't annoy me - it scares the crap out of me.

I would *love* to see the culture war put to rest by both sides, or at least toned down enough to let the real issues take center stage. Probably won't ever happen but it would sure be nice.

Posted by: t at December 17, 2005 11:08 PM

t, I blame the press, in part, for the polarization (not the D/A, of course!) in our country. The middle ground is neither sexy nor interesting (abortion, but with restrictions; conservation {not conservatism, you dolt!} but with allowances for job growth, not gay marriage, but civil unions, gun control in the cities, where guns are mostly used to kill people, as opposed to guns in the wild west and countryside, where we use guns to kill critters harming our stock and to kill intruders, since we don't have a policeman on every corner, etc.).

Bottom line---it's a more interesting story when you have opposites clashing---not so much when you have people seeking common ground.

Posted by: paladin at December 18, 2005 02:03 PM