Saturday: Let It Snow

Good morning everyone! Wonk the Vote here, wishing you a merry and a happy on this Saturday, December the 25th, 2010.

Whatever you celebrate or do not celebrate. I hope your inner child is finding a little peace, a little hope, and a little laughter this holiday season and that as we edge closer to 2011, we are able to keep on keeping on–with a little help from our family and from our friends.

In some ways, blog communities feel like a little of both family and friendship. We have been through a lot side-by-side in the past three years since we gathered together around Hillary 2008.

As a token of gratitude to each and every one of you, I want to share my all-time favorite holiday carol youtube with y’all — Rosemary Clooney’s rendition of “Let It Snow”:

I cannot help but be happy watching that footage! I hope if that doesn’t do the trick for you, you share what makes you happy downthread in the comments.

And, speaking of pure happiness–I am typing this from a brand new MacBook Air! Santa came a little early in the Wonk household, so I got my present on Christmas Eve. My laptop woes are over. Hooray! I can finally get back into the swing of all things news junkie.

Before I get to the news though, let’s take a look back on Christmases past.

On this day, December 25th, in history:

1223 – St. Francis of Assisi assembles the first Nativity scene.

When I went to Italy, I visited a lot of churches. I won’t lie. They all started to blur together for me. Assisi was the one place that really stood out for some reason. Something about St. Francis I guess. Probably also has a lot to do with the first time I ever heard this prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

–St. Francis

Doubt is as important to me as faith. That’s just the way I am. I do, however, like the idea of reframing all the destructive energy in this world–in other words, turning oneself into an instrument for the universe’s creative energy. I also think that reflexive doubt, just like blind faith, is a corrosive force. It blinds us as individuals and as a populace. It makes us deaf to our own inner voices. I feel that in some ways, this is where America is at right now.

At any rate, St. Francis’ prayer always seems to me a sort of prototype for cognitive-behavioral therapy before its time, as portions of religious texts and prayers often do. I would add one more line to it…

Where there is pain, let there be healing.

All this mythos stuff–in all its purest forms, unadulterated by institutionalism and authoritarianism–reads like one big self-help section on how to understand the world around us and how to do life. We human beings love to understand our world through storytelling–different stories pull us in, but we are all trying to understand some pretty universal themes when it comes down to it–human bonding, suffering, loss, and resilience. That’s what ties us all together. And, we want to hear our human story retold over and over again, in as many ways as possible, until it makes some sort of sense. It’s just the way we are.

Alright, enough of my existential ramblings. I want to touch on some actual newsy items in my holiday roundup.

First, a moment of remembrance for Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated on December 27, 2007. CNN has this clip up of an interview with Duane Baughman, director of the recent documentary Bhutto.

Now, for some quick headlines that caught my eye from the top of my news feeds at the moment–keep in mind that between computer chaos and holiday mayhem, I’ve been out of the news junkie loop for about a week, so some of this might be old news to you by now… Karl Rove: Hillary Clinton Will Be A Presidential Candidate In 2016 – Huffington Post December 23, 2010:

“I suspect she will be a candidate. I suspect she is going to think about being a candidate in 2016, and we’ll know by about 2014,”Rove said on Fox News. “If she leaves the administration in 2014 or 2015, in order to give herself a chance to write a book about her experiences and reconnect with the grassroots, then she might entertain it.”

We’ll see about that. I know I’m like a broken record on this one, but it’s all I can think: I can’t blame Hillary if she never runs again.

Former Hillary Clinton political director named executive director at DSCC – The Hill (blog) December 22, 2010:

Longtime Democratic operative Guy Cecil will serve as executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2012 cycle, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced Wednesday. Cecil succeeds J.B. Poersch and is tasked with helping Democrats keep their tenuous majority in the Senate given a tough 2012 map for the party. […] Cecil served as national political director for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Interesting little shift of the Democratic political winds there. Something to keep an eye on, methinks.

Bill and Hillary Clinton surprise Steve Tyrell at Cafe Carlyle on the eve of … – CultureMap December 24, 2010

Christmas came early for song man Steve Tyrell and his glam fiancéKaren Pulaski when former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton popped in at the Cafe Carlyle in New York on Thursday night to catch the holiday show by Tyrell, one of the former president’s favorite singers. The Clintons, including daughter Chelsea, had primo seats, posed for photos with the Tyrell/Pulaski clan and wished the couple all the best with their wedding, which will take place at the Carlyle Hotel on Sunday. Yes, the day after Christmas. When Tyrell dedicated The Way You Look Tonight to the Clintons, Chelsea moved to sit next to her father. They held hands, and according to Tyrell, the former president wiped a tear from his eye. You might remember The Way You Look Tonight as the song that Tyrell sang inFather of the Bride and it was his version of the tune that Bill and Chelsea chose as their first dance at her wedding.

So that’s a little of what the Clintons have been up to for the holidays. Sounds delightful! Check out the links for a few nice photos.

NM Gov Bill Richardson to replace Hillary Clinton at State Dept? – December 24, 2010.

I’m not even going to excerpt on that one. Mostly my reaction is no comment. It’s an Examiner article, so grains of salt and all that.

Fierce Urgency of Inevitably Sometime? Via

Biden sees ‘inevitability’ for gay marriage (Russell Berman/The Hill)December 24, 2010

Another story I saw pop up on memeorandum:

Kamala Harris: Democrats’ anti-Palin (Ben Smith/The Politico)December 25, 2010

I really wanted to read the profile on Kamala, but the constant defining of her as “the anti-Palin” or “the female” Obama made me tune out before I could get past the first page. The genius messengers of the Democratic party just don’t quit, do they?

Going to switch from memeorandum to Raw Story for the next few stories…

Manning’s message on Christmas Eve: ‘I greatly appreciate everyone’s support’ December 24, 2010

From the link:

“When told of the Pentagon’s statement that he did indeed receive exercise, Manning’s reply was that he is able to exercise insofar as walking in chains is a form of exercise,” House wrote.

Firedoglake was also featuring an online petition asking supporters to demand an improvement to the conditions of Manning’s detention.

Sigh. What continues to go on in our names is a disgrace to all the hope this season is supposed to bring. I’m not sure a petition is enough to make a dent here, but at least it’s something.

Also from Raw Story:

New rules to allow Blackberries, iPads on House floor December 24, 2010 David Edwards

One more RS link:

Device uses sunlight to make liquid fuel December 24, 2010 Eric W. Dolan

I’m intrigued. I’d love to hear from someone with some expertise.

Like I said, I’m just playing catch up here. Y’all can probably add some fresher links of what’s going on in the world in the comments.

Moving away from the headlines back to a holiday link, here’s a concise history on Thomas Nast’s Christmas illustrations, including “Santa Claus and His Works,featured in Harper’s Weekly on December 1866. (via the Gray Lady):

Nast was instrumental in standardizing and nationalizing the image of a jolly, kind, and portly Santa in a red, fur-trimmed suit delivering toys from his North Pole workshop. This was accomplished through his work in the pages of Harper’s Weekly, his contributions to other publications, and by Christmas-card merchants in the 1870s and 1880s who relied heavily upon his portraiture.


As Nast’s own children entered and left their teen years, knowing that Santa was really their father, the artist’s illustrations finally showed direct communication and interaction between Santa Claus and the pictured children.  In a postdated January 1879 issue, a girl drops a letter to Santa in a mailbox (the first time the artist depicted a letter from a child to Santa), and in December 1884, Santa and a girl are able to speak with each other by using a relatively new invention, the telephone.  In the January 1879 issue, another Nast cartoon portrays Santa Claus in the midst of a group of gleeful children who he embraces affectionately. Santa is now recognized as part of the family, whose shared love is the greatest gift.  Nast’s Santa makes his last appearance in Harper’s Weeklythe next year when the jolly old (man-size) elf offers himself as a present. Nast’s last two Christmas illustrations in Harper’s Weekly appeared in December 1886, when he resigned from the newspaper, but his impact on the popular image of Santa Claus continued and remains potent to this day.

Well, that’s all I’ve got! I know today is busy for lots of people, so if you made it all the way to the end, thanks for reading and here’s wishing you a day of whatever brings you peace and joy. I’ve got to get going. I’m out of town and have a Christmas breakfast to go to this morning. As always, treat this as an open thread to share your Saturday reads and thoughts.

93 Comments on “Saturday: Let It Snow”

  1. Sima says:

    Woo Hoo! Happy Holidaze, Merry Catsmas! Hope everyone has a great day and evening!

    Me, I’m off to bed to get some sleep before the family and friends arrive later today. *waves*

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Happy day, Wonk and everyone.

    Wonk, I loved your “existential ramblings.” And thanks for the Rosemary Clooney video. I just love Rosemary. I have several of her CD’s.

  3. purplefinn says:

    Happy Merry to all.

    It just started to snow here.

    Re Carl’s prediction. I think he’s politically astute, but deceptive and cynical. I think these guys predict a Clinton run, judging from themselves or from fear. Deep ingrained fear. 😈

    I enjoyed that evil thought on this Christmas day. I love how the world slows down and nearly everyone has the day off today.

    Happy Merry

    • bostonboomer says:

      I hope the Bill Richardson prediction is nonsense. That would be like George W. Bush replacing Bill Clinton. Ugh!

      Happy Merry to you Purplefinn!

      • purplefinn, I agree with you about Rove’s prediction. The political elites want her to run so they can have another scapegoat to run against all over again. If I were Hillary and all systems looked go and people giving me the green light to run again, I’d think long and hard before I’d even be willing to say yes.

        Merry happy to you!

        And, BB I agree about the Bill Richardson nonsense. We have enough jokers in the Administration.

  4. Branjor says:

    Morning, folks. May you all have a happy and healthy holiday!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Right back at ya, Branjor!

      [Translation: Same to you (have a lovely and and good new year).

      I know it has been a tough year for you too, Branjor. I hope you’re going to be in touch with family and friends today.

      • Branjor says:

        I’m not sure how to interpret that. What does it mean?

      • Branjor says:

        Oh, OK, good!

        Yes, this is my hardest christmas because it is the first one without my father and without any immediate family to my name at all. I am going to my cousin’s later. It should be fine as long as he doesn’t lecture me on how I should default on my credit cards. My other cousin is in upstate New York, but she called this morning to say hi and merry christmas.

  5. Boo Radly says:

    Feliz Naughty Dogs! Merry Cat Mess to all. It started snowing as I walked my dog – he’s happy and that is good for a 13 year old hearing dog that is almost blind now. The kittehs, Emma and Tut are casually watching the flakes pile up. My son made it back into the mountains safely last night. The Wonk is back in fine mind as usual. May you all enjoy a day of peace and love.

  6. boogieman7167 says:

    merry x-mas everone

  7. bostonboomer says:

    My mother’s best friend died during the night. It’s been such a tough year. I just loved this post by Peter Daou on death and dying. I’m almost starting to get used to losing people.

    • Delphyne says:

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, BB – it really has been a tough year for her and your family.

      Peter’s article is quite a nice one – Death, a great transformer. THanks for sharing it and my condolences to your mom’s loss of her best friend.

    • mablue2 says:

      I remember reading it a couple of days ago. I found it very moving.

      Bob Herbert has a nice column about Aretha Franklin today.
      Thinking of Aretha

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I hope you have a reflective day BB, it is hard when you are experiencing a holiday without a loved one. (Your dad is missed…and now your Mama’s friend.) We lost my Nana this past July. It is difficult. Sending hugs and good thoughts your way BB.

    • Branjor says:

      I’m so sorry. You and your mom have had so many losses this year.

      Thanks for the Peter Daou post. It’s one of the best I’ve read on death and dying, it describes the terror and loneliness we the living experience around it perfectly. I wonder what it’s like for the dying person.

      • Boo Radly says:

        Banjor – your loss this year has been on my mind and I was hoping your mention of going to SD was for Christmas with family – hope you have loved ones around you. I lost both my parents within two months of each other a few years back. You stayed with your father and you were alone except in spirit.

        BB – sorry for your mother’s loss , glad you are together and have a safe trip to your sister’s home. Thank you for the Peter Daou article.

      • dakinikat says:

        I can tell you’re not a Buddhist. I died a few times during my Cancer treatment. Really, it’s no big deal. You need to reprogram your mind to accept it as a natural part of every one’s life. Death has become a stranger these days to modern people and as such their attitudes have changed. It makes them vulnerable to creepy funeral home salesmen and other things. Death is a shared human experience and the most natural thing in the world. We exist in death denial these days and it’s really not a good thing because when some one dies, we’re at a loss to handle it. We also can’t prepare and deal rationally with our own coming deaths.

        • HT says:

          I totally agree, but I also died – the doctors were setting a badly broken wrist (every single bone broken) and gave me morphine for the pain. Didn’t realize it before, but I can add morphine to the list of drugs to which I’m allergic, and I expired on the table – took them several minutes to revive me but when I came around, I realized that they and my neighbour who was with me were terrified, and I was just groggy but peaceful. Perhaps that gives one a different perspective?

          Merry and Happy to all Skydancers. Hope you are all safe, warm, well fed and surrounded with love.

    • Teresa says:

      I’m glad your mother has you right now. I’m glad you have each other.

      Hugs and have the best Saturday possible, even if you don’t formally “celebrate!”

    • dakinikat says:

      All those recent pneumonia episodes were indicative that she was struggling. I’m glad she went peacefully.

    • BB @ 9:22

      I’m so sorry to hear that. What a rough ending to a rough year. Thinking of you and your mom and hoping for some peace to find its way to you this weekend.

      Oh, and I always love hearing from Daou. Thanks for that link.

    • NW Luna says:

      So sorry; that’s tough.

    • Sima says:

      Wow, that’s really sad. I’m very sorry to hear about your Mom’s friend, BB. Your Mom and you have had quite a hard year. I hope the next one is better.

  8. Delphyne says:

    I’m in the moderation booth – can someone please release me and let me go?

  9. Delphyne says:

    Thanks for getting me out – that las sentence should read condolences to your mom on the loss of her best friend.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Great post Wonk, thank you for it! And I am so glad to hear that Santa was so good to you…happy day with your new Mac.

    To everyone, I wish you all a magical day. This is such a wonderful place and I am so glad to be a part of this Sky Dancing family. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Safe New Year to all!

    The snow is falling steadily, the mountains are covered in white, the kids are playing with their gifts, and the roast pork is in the oven… and the Black Beans are on the stove making the house smell delicious. Happy Day all!

    • Thank you Minx and all the best of holiday/Christmas wishes back at you.

      Minx wrote:

      “The snow is falling steadily, the mountains are covered in white, the kids are playing with their gifts, and the roast pork is in the oven… and the Black Beans are on the stove making the house smell delicious. Happy Day all!”

      You have a lovely way with words at the holiday times–you could write greeting cards for a pretty penny you know!

      (((Minx))) thanks for being such a good friend this year.

      Love, Wonk

  11. foxyladi14 says:

    Merry Christmas..Sky Dancers. :mrgreen:

  12. grayslady says:

    Lovely Christmas day post, Wonk. I empathize about the laptop. Mine died early in December after just purchasing a new motherboard a year ago. Was not happy about having an unexpected expense right now.

    I read the article on the alternative fuel possibility. Just wish someone would focus on something more stable than hydrogen.

    • Thanks for chiming in on the alternative energy story and for the kind words, grayslady. Sorry you can relate on the computer troubles. Glad to be back to Mac. I gave PCs a good 15 years of patience, but this last round of problems was just too much.

  13. native1 says:

    Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays everyone!

  14. dakinikat says:

    Why, Wonk, that was a great post! I love St. Francis. He was a terrific aesthetic. I was reading an interview with Ram Dass last night in my current issue of Shambala Sun. I first read Be Here Now as a young teen and he’s written a new book called Be Love Now. This struck me as I read about your tour of churches in Italy which is something I did in the late 60s with my parents as a kid.

    Andrea Miller:

    Some people of my generation-Generation X-criticize Westerners who practice Eastern religions. They think it’s silly to look to Eastern Philosophy; or to Eastern teachers, as being a font of wisdom that is superior to what we have here in the West. What do you think about that?

    Ram Daas:

    Eastern philosophy teaches us to go inwards. In the West, there’s a god with a beard. In the East there’s the god within, and the East meditates. Eastern cultures have always welcomed holy people, and we haven’t in the West. You can go to a village in India, and they’ll find you the holiest person they know. In our culture,it’s all about the wealthiest person you know, the best-looking person. It’s different culture.”

    St. Francis always reminded me of some one with a more Eastern practice. He was really close to mysticism. That going into a village and having some one point you to the holiest man statement really struck me last night.

  15. dakinikat says:

    Here’s a good christmas gift:

    Perry on 2012: ‘A definite no, brother’

    A governor eyed by some as a 2012 Republican contender for the White House stressed that his focus is on leading the nation’s GOP governors and working with new leadership on Capitol Hill to assert states’ rights.

  16. dakinikat says:

    I also thought this was so cute:

    While President Obama and his daughters enjoyed a day at the beach in Hawaii, First Lady Michelle Obama fielded phone calls on Christmas Eve from children hoping to know the exact location of Santa Claus.

    The calls are part of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command’s, “NORAD Tracks Santa” program, which receives hundreds of thousands of calls every Christmas from children around the world.

    I really think she’s genuinely serious about being a good advocate for children. I hope

    • I saw that NORAD story yesterday–a little hokey for me, but I do think MO is great with kids (actually, I find BO his most ‘likeable enough’ when he’s around kids too).

    • Sima says:

      I too hope she’s serious. I saw that last night, (yes I was following Santa on Norad while doing my Dad’s present) and thought it was cute too.

  17. dakinikat says:

    Another interesting read at The Atlantic if you get a chance:

    Hacker Culture: A Response to Bruce Sterling on WikiLeaks

    Putting aside the fact that we still don’t know for a fact whether Manning leaked the cables, we certainly don’t know much of anything about Manning’s personality, desires, or political intentions, much less his relationship to hacker circles. All we have are some chat logs reported in Wired and shrouded in considerable mystery. Hypothetically what Sterling says could be true and I would not be surprised if it were the case that Manning is “a hacker-in-uniform.” However, it seems deeply irresponsible to claim Manning is a hacker when he in solitary confinement unable to respond in any form. In fact, this narrative feels like the erection of the mythological picture of the events, which Sterling is supposedly dismantling.

  18. dakinikat says:

    Paul Krugman reminds of us of important history:

    It’s just getting dark here in New Jersey, which means that at just about this time, 234 years ago, George Washington’s men began crossing the ice-filled Delaware, on their way to the battle of Trenton — the battle that saved the American Revolution.

  19. dakinikat says:

    Category of True dat:

    Julian Assange: FOX News Is Closer to Terrorism Than WikiLeaks

    Say what you will about Julian Assange, but the guy’s smart as a whip. In an interview with MSNBC yesterday, the WIkiLeaks captain eloquently and vehemently defended his First Amendment rights, while decrying the U.S. media’s “digital McCarthyism,” entailing a call for his assassination. As he sat in the English manor home where he is under house arrest, Assange looked cool under fire, dismissive of his detractors and befuddled by their fury

    Fox led the drumbeat to unnecessary war. Think of how many folks died because of that confusion they created between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein?

    • Fox was the worst but really the entire MSM led us into this war. This isn’t the case with Sky Dancers, but I hate when MSNBC/CNN fans act like it was Fox who led us in. No! They all did. MSNBC cancelled Phil Donahue’s antiwar show before Keith and Tweety went antiwar. Even Dan Rather, who I like, seemed like he was carrying the water for the war machine for a split second right before/at the time this unnecessary war began.

  20. NW Luna says:

    Wonk, thanks for starting with those lovely, calm words of St. Francis. “…make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”

    Much-needed words in these times.

    And a MacBook Air! Kewl; enjoy.

  21. Hey NW Luna, you are most welcome. I always love this cheesy old greeting card saying–“A little peace here, a little peace there, a little peace everywhere” 😉

    A very happy holiday weekend to you and yours.

  22. dakinikat says:

    Wow, the NYTIMES finally speaks up!!!

    This is obvious and about time!!

    The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.

    But a bank’s ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Honk (HaPpy Hilidays to Wonk 🙂 and all ) !

      Yup , it’s about time that the missing Due Process is noticed

    • Last para of the NYT editorial:

      “What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was ‘too risky’? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.

      That really is the crux of the problem here, especially that last sentence.

  23. dakinikat says:

    One for you wonk: