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Christmas Aftermath Open Thread

My big surprise this Christmas was my middle child and his girlfriend came down from Olympia Washington. So I saw both my sons and grandsons, spoke to my daughter in Indiana and got new pictures of my granddaughter.

Not my best Christmas ever, but it’s better than average. Maybe even top ten.

So how was yours? What went right, what went wrong, did you get what you wanted from Santa?

Tell us about your day.

For his next trick he’ll prove that water is wet

This is what a birther looks like

I thought they were already extinct:

For Hawaii governor, discrediting anti-Obama ‘birthers’ is a top priority

Reporting from Honolulu —
Neil Abercrombie knew Barack Obama’s parents when the future president was born here in 1961, and he has been aggravated by the so-called birther movement, which alleges Obama was not born in the United States and thus should be expelled from office.

Now Abercrombie has an office of his own — he became governor of Hawaii on Dec. 6. — and he intends to do something about it.

What, exactly, is unclear. But in an interview this week at the state Capitol, he left little doubt that torpedoing the conspiracy theorists was a priority.

“What bothers me is that some people who should know better are trying to use this for political reasons,” said Abercrombie, 72. “Maybe I’m the only one in the country that could look you right in the eye right now and tell you, ‘I was here when that baby was born.’ ”

One of Abercrombie’s aides said the governor is voicing the frustration of many Hawaiians who continue to be troubled by the rumors, which they see as emblematic of the view that Hawaiians are not Americans in the same way as those who live in the continental United States.

Abercrombie’s Hawaiian pride may be trumping practical politics. Ample evidence has been produced to discredit the “birther” movement, so in the view of the White House, the Democratic governor’s comments are reviving an issue that most people see as resolved.

Although Abercrombie’s goal may be to support Obama, experts who study political extremism say the release of additional evidence would only perpetuate the conspiracy theory. They say people who embrace such theories are guided by suspicion and, therefore, view any contrary evidence as part of the conspiracy.

We banned birthers from TC a long time ago and told Spammy to ixnay any comments suggesting that Obama was not eligible to be POTUS. I looked into the topic and concluded there were only two things wrong with the birthers’ arguments: the facts and the law.

But there are two varieties of birther. There are the Kenyanisians who think for inexplicable reasons that 18 year old Stanley Ann Dunham traveled to Africa to give birth back in 1961.

The other birther sect concedes that Obama was born in Hawaii but argues for an interpretation of the term “natural born citizen” that means born in the United States to two U.S. citizens. Unfortunately for them there isn’t a single statute or case holding that supports that proposition.

Obots like to blame PUMA for the birthers. They also blame PUMA for global warming, Ryan Seacrest and the designated hitter.

To any birthers who are reading this I’ll warn you now – don’t even try it. I don’t care if it’s Christmas, I’ll still ban your ass.

This is an open thread

The Anti-Palin?

Kamala Harris

(I mentioned this in the comments yesterday but I decided to front page it.)


Kamala Harris: Democrats’ anti-Palin

It’s easy to understand why Kamala Harris, California’s next attorney general, is being called the future of the Democratic Party, a rising political star in the mold of one of her big supporters — President Barack Obama.

At first glance, the president and Harris have much in common: Both are mixed-race children of immigrants raised by a single mother; both are eloquent, telegenic big-city lawyers with strong liberal credentials who catapulted from relative obscurity to the national stage. And like the first African-American president, Harris has broken a long-standing barrier — she’s California’s first African-American attorney general and the first woman to hold the office.


When she broke out of a six-candidate primary field in the race for attorney general, the San Francisco prosecutor won big endorsements from party heavyweights, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as endorsements from labor unions like the Service Employees International Union and most of California’s top newspapers. She also was the only down-ballot Democrat for whom President Obama raised funds this year.

That level of support — coupled with glowing profiles in national magazines like Ebony and The Daily Beast, as well as appearances on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and a Matt Lauer interview on Today — lead top Democrats to predict she will soon become a household name.

“She’s a rare talent who will be a national figure shortly,” said Chris Lehane, a former Clinton aide who is now a consultant in California. “People call her the female Obama. It’s more apt to say she is the female Obama that progressives thought they were voting for.”

I like Kamala Harris. I voted for her in the primary as well as the general election. Of course since she’s a former prosecutor who believes in the rule of law that probably makes me an authoritarian follower or something.

I have no problem calling her a “rising star.” But shouldn’t we let her spend a few years at her new job before we start talking about promoting her again?

I would also point out that in a election where Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer won handily over their GOP opponents, Harris won by the skin of her teeth.

A couple wingnut blogs raise interesting points. Conservatives4Palin:

First of all, the Democrat Party is probably too foolish to recognize that it is effectively conceding that Governor Palin has national appeal by making the comparison between Harris and Palin. If the Democrat Party views Harris as the liberal version/mirror image of Palin and at the same time believes that Harris plays well nationally, then the Democrat Party is logically conceding that Palin has national appeal as well because it wouldn’t make sense otherwise to make the comparison between Palin and Harris.


I guess that means that Kamala Harris is ugly, angry, divorced, has had abortions, is anti-gun, fiscally irresponsible, uncoordinated, America hating… what else?

WTH does The Anti-Palin even mean?

Kamala Harris is supposed to be the next Barack Obama, which means that she will rise meteorically based on nothing and then sink like a stone in a morass of inability, paranoia and egotism.

We don’t need any anti-Palins or female Obamas. We need quality candidates of all races, genders and sexual orientations who have spent years gaining experience while demonstrating competence and integrity.

When we try to rush the process we not only end up with leaders who are unqualified and inexperienced (see: Obama, Barack) but we also pass over qualified and experienced candidates (see: Clinton, Hillary).

Kamala Harris is gaining experience while demonstrating competence and integrity. Let’s be patient and see how far her star will rise on its own.

A Confluence Christmas Classic

Back 2008 I wrote this Christmas post:

Jeebus Was a DFH Moonbat Librul

I was raised in one of those fundie churches. I’m not gonna say which one, but we thought Baptists were gonna burn in Hell for having too much fun.

I stayed in that church from Pre-K to high school. I left the church shortly after the preacher’s daughter took me out back and showed me the holy ghost and since then I’ve only been back for an occasional wedding. But what I learned while I was there is a lot of the reason I’m a liberal.

I believe there once was a man who we know today as Jesus Christ, but it’s almost certain he was not born on December 25th 2008 years ago. If you take the Bible literally then he wasn’t even born during the winter, otherwise the shepards wouldn’t have been “keeping watch over their flocks by night.”

He may have been a composite of two or more people, but someone (singular or plural) triggered a religious movement we now know as “Christianity.” Whoever he was, his name wasn’t Jesus (Gee-zus) because that’s the anglicized version of Jesus (Hay-soos) that the Romans used as his name. His real name was probably something more like “Yeshua.”

He wasn’t a blond, blue-eyed European either. He was a Jew, and not the part-European kind, he was the full-blooded Semite type. Jesus probably looked more like Yasser Arafat than Fabio. When you consider that he was allegedly a carpenter who grew up hewing wood with hand tools, it’s unlikely he looked like the effeminate character we see in art. I’m not making a sexist observation, I’m using the English language. If Jesus was a carpenter, he would have looked a lot more like a Charles Atlas body builder than a 98 pound weakling.

The whole “born in a manger” meme is a bunch of hooey too. The Romans did use the census to figure out how many subjects they had, but they could give a shit about where their subjects were born, they wanted to know where people lived. The stuff in the New Testament about Bethlehem was just put there to “fulfill” a prophecy that the messiah would be born in the “City of David.”

The man we think of as Jesus was probably a Rabbi of the Essene sect of Judaism. A big hint is that he was frequently critical of Sadducees and Pharisees, the two other major sects of Judaism of that era. Dan Brown was correct that Jesus probably had a wife, whether it was Mary Magdalene or some other woman. Celibacy has never been part of Jewish dogma, they are into that whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing. In fact, everything we know about Jewish law and custom of that era says that a respectable adult male in his thirties would be expected to be married.

When I was young and dumb and full of shit I voted for Ronnie Raygun. Part of the reason for that was that I grew up in a church that was hyper-conservative, and even after I left I carried that baggage with me. But as I grew older I realized that Jesus was the original liberal.

If you look at the actual words and deeds of Jesus that are printed in the New Testament, there is no other possible conclusion. He spent his time feeding the hungry and healing the sick, and he didn’t ask for money first.

Jesus said a lot of things that don’t exactly conform to “Christian” doctrine. First of all, Jesus preached about minding your own business. He used the words “brother” and “neighbor” a lot (according to King James) but he used those words in the context of not concerning yourself with what your brother/neighbor was doing.

Matthew 7:5 says:

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

And then there was his position on capital punishment:

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the Law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou?”

This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him.

But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

She said, “No man, Lord.”

And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

BTW – If they caught her in the act, where was the man she was “in the act” with? Never mind, let’s move on.

Prayer in schools?

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

What about that Joel Osteen “greed is good” thingie?:

The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

It goes on and on. My reading of the Gospels says that Jesus would be in favor of universal health care, welfare and desegregation, and he would oppose pretty much all of the teachings of his loudmouthed so-called followers, especially the ones making lots of money spewing bigotry on television.

I’m guessing the “Prince of Peace” wouldn’t approve of pre-emptive war, “enhanced interrogation” or domestic violence. He said “Turn the other cheek” not “shock and awe.”

Jesus consistently spoke against a top-down rule-oriented version of religion, and instead taught that religion was about a personal and individualized relationship with God:

But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, who was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him and saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said unto him, “`Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: `Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

I didn’t see anything in the Gospels about hating women, gays or minorities. If you have the right to get married, why shouldn’t everybody have that right? If you don’t want to be abused or discriminated against, why would you want to abuse or discriminate against others?

It’s Christmas. Spread His Word.