Pick your carol!

A friend wrote a Facebook post in which she mentioned the Christmas song she loathes most (Little Drummer Boy). Suffice to say she is not alone.

Let’s be positive. What Christmas song do you like best? If that’s too narrow, what Christmas album or collection do you enjoy most?

I’m partial to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s now seven-year-old Come Darkness Come Light, but I found a new one last year that’s all instrumental renditions of mostly-traditional carols. It’s called Midnight Clear: Solo Acoustic Guitar For the Holidays by a man named Mike Marshall.

Trot out your choices!

Time wastrels

That’s what the Republicans in the House and Senate are. The Senators have voted and the Representatives are going to vote this week to “rebuke” President Obama for issuing executive orders instituting a Clean Power Plan for the nation.

What on earth offends them so?

The Clean Power Plan aims to dramatically boost U.S. energy production from wind, solar and other “green” sources and, over time, reduce the nation’s reliance on carbon-based power.

Oh, of course. Reduce the use of coal and oil and natural gas, then. Well, can’t have that! Too much lobbying money has gone into Congresspersons’ pockets to just sit and take this!

With bipartisan backing, the resolutions of disapproval had ample support to clear the Senate with simple majority votes. The House of Representatives is expected to approve identical measures, meaning the resolutions are all but certain to reach Obama’s desk.

But presidential vetoes also are a foregone conclusion, and neither chamber has the two-thirds backing that would be required to override them.

Taking this stand for their base is far more important than appropriations bills still being discussed, the transportation bill that the House passed which the Senate needs to agree to and the numerous Presidential appointments still to be confirmed.

We really have to get as many of these hacks out of office next fall as we can.

Colorado Springs shooting

At one time Colorado Springs “was counted to be the national headquarters for 81 different religious organizations,” which would give me pause if I wanted to establish a Planned Parenthood clinic which provided abortion services in the city. Whoever runs that branch of the organization has a lot of courage.

The WaPo says it’s still unclear what Robert Lewis Dear’s motive was for entering that office today with a rifle and “other items” which might have been explosives, but it’s hard to believe it had nothing to do with the clinic and its work. It wouldn’t be the first time this year that Planned Parenthood clinics have been attacked.

Abortion rights groups say threats against abortion providers rose sharply this summer in the wake of an undercover “sting” mounted by an antiabortion group that filmed one of its videos at a clinic in Denver.

At least four Planned Parenthood clinics have been targeted with arson since the videos were released. The increase in threats has led abortion rights groups to increase cooperation with local police and the FBI.

Never mind that those videos were made to falsely accuse the organization of wrongdoing and that they were made and edited without the knowledge of the Planned Parenthood staff members.

I suspect that’s why none of the Republican Presidential candidates had as of an hour ago issued any statement of sympathy or support for the victims of the shooting. Here’s the thought process: “Nope. Don’t want to upset my base by saying anything which might show support for abortion providers.” If you’re Jeb Bush you probably add “Can’t be done. Wouldn’t be prudent.”

The Second Amendment is interpreted in such a way that guys like this can have guns, and the SCOTUS decision in Roe v. Wade has been interpreted down by states in such a way that it’s nearly open season on clinics which minister to women’s health needs including reproductive ones like abortions.

What a lovely country this has become in my lifetime.

Questions about the McDonald shooting

Or really only one big question: Why did none of the other cops who were there tell their colleague to stop firing his weapon?

Here’s some of the story. Granted the kid had PCP in his system and was behaving erratically, he didn’t appear to be threatening the cop who shot him in the video that’s been released. He looked to be veering away from the two cops closest to him. Why shoot at all? Why not use a Taser?

There are plenty of other questions, to be sure, not the least of which is why it took 13 months to get an indictment laid against Van Dyke, the cop who fired 16 rounds into the youngster. I’d have thought once the city decided to pay Mr. McDonald’s family $5 million in April of this year that was tantamount to an admission of police misconduct, if not guilt.

Streisand receives Medal of Freedom

In her honor I’ll put a video up.

This is from Barbra’s Live Concert at the Forum recorded at the LA Forum in April, 1972. It was a fundraiser for Senator George McGovern; according to Wikipedia after expenses the campaign got $18K.

“Make Your Own Kind of Music” is a regular earworm of mine. I don’t know why. I played this album a lot back in 1972 when I bought it, but while I own nearly a dozen of Streisand’s albums I don’t binge on them. It’s a Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil composition, written in 1968. Mama Cass recorded it for her second solo album.

WaPo Republican columnist worries

Michael Gerson, who used to write speeches for George W. Bush, has been a columnist at the Washington Post for several years. He’s mostly been a reliable mouthpiece for the Republican Establishment with a side dose of evangelical lecturing.

He is expressing concern for the direction his party is heading, particularly with Trump in the lead for the Presidential nomination. Gerson does not like Trump.

The presidential candidate who has consistently led the Republican field for four months, Donald Trump, has proposed: to forcibly expel 11 million people from the country, requiring a massive apparatus of enforcement, courts and concentration camps; to rewrite or reinterpret the 14th Amendment to end the Civil War-era Republican principle of birthright citizenship; to build a 2,000-mile wall on our southern border while forcing Mexico to pay the cost. He has characterized undocumented Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers, and opposed the speaking of Spanish in the United States.


There are, of course, Republican presidential hopefuls who have vigorously opposed each of these proposals, arguments and stereotypes. But Trump has, so far, set the terms of the primary debate and dragged other candidates in the direction of ethnic and religious exclusion.


And Trump would make — has already half-made — the GOP into an anti-immigrant party. Much of Trump’s appeal is reactionary. He has tapped into a sense that an older America is being lost.


It does not take much political talent to turn this sense of cultural displacement into anti-immigrant resentment; only a reckless disregard for the moral and political consequences.

As denial in the GOP fades, a question is laid upon the table: Is it possible, and morally permissible, for economic and foreign policy conservatives, and for Republicans motivated by their faith, to share a coalition with the advocates of an increasingly raw and repugnant nativism?

Well, Mr. Gerson, it seems to me that all those folks you just called out are somehow hoping he’ll go away, a victim of his own bluster and its effect on voters. Veteran GOP strategist and former Congressman Vin Weber asks a pertinent question: “How can you be the leader in national polls,” Weber says, “and in the early states, and maybe even in money, and be counted out?”

How indeed?

Trump is no longer amusing

This guy has stopped being funny. He leans too much toward violence for me. It’s not just this incident in which he approves of his supporters beating up a protester; Think Progress lists a few more in this post. There’s also his advocacy of war, his plan to “bomb the hell out of ISIS” and the idiotic idea of a wall along the Mexican border.

There’s his suggestion that all Americans who practice Islam be forced to register in some kind of Homeland Security database, his plan to deport 11 million immigrants without immigration court hearings, and his idiotic handwaving cure for everything that ails us: management, as in “it’s all about management, our country has no management…”. In that instance he was talking about getting Americans of Muslim faith to register in one of those databases (but no badges! None of that stuff reminiscent of Nazi Germany! Nosiree!), but he’s often used the all-encompassing “management” as shorthand for policy answers he doesn’t have.

He’s not fading away, either.

Trump leads Carson 32% to 22%, in a new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News [between November 16-19].

And the real estate mogul leads the retired neurosurgeon 28% to 18% in a new Fox News poll.

The two are trailed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In the Washington Post/ABC News poll, Rubio is in third at 11%, followed by Cruz at 8%, Bush at 6% and former tech CEO Carly Fiorina at 4%. In the Fox News poll, Rubio and Cruz are tied at 14% and Bush has 5%.

I’m getting a little worried about this. Iowa’s caucuses are less than three months away in February; New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina all hold primaries or caucuses that month too. If Trump wins any of those he’s liable to stir up a bandwagon. I can’t imagine why people would vote for the blow-dried blowhard, but they might.