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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

25 December - The Christmas Spirit

Christmas throughout Christendom The Christ-ch...
Christmas throughout Christendom The Christ-child and Hans Trapp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Scrooge's third visitor, from Charles Dickens:...
Scrooge's third visitor, from Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. With Illustrations by John Leech. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843. First edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Christ Jesus Mormon
Christ Jesus Mormon (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)
Distribution of Christianity
Distribution of Christianity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The sign says, "Merry Christmas!", i...
The sign says, "Merry Christmas!", in English only. (Hmm... I wonder what percentage of the student body there are Christians...) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)
The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Icon of Jesus Christ
English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Picture of Christ used to reveal practicing Ca...
Picture of Christ used to reveal practicing Catholics and sympathizers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
X and P are the first two letters of Christ fr...
X and P are the first two letters of Christ from greek Χριστός; this is a very old symbol of christians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Did Christians Steal Christmas?
Did Christians Steal Christmas? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cover of "The Virtue of Selfishness (Sign...
Cover of The Virtue of Selfishness (Signet)
An image from the necropolis under the Vatican...
An image from the necropolis under the Vatican in which Jesus = Mithras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The point of this particular little Christmas homily is that if Christians want to put Christ back into Christmas, an excellent place to start would be by paying attention to what Christ taught them – which seemingly nowadays has very little to do with the things that most concern a very large percentage of practicing Christians.

Jesus didn’t have anything good at all to say about the “virtue of selfishness,” which to hear a lot of Christians nowadays you’d think was part of the Gospel of Jesus, not the gospel of Ayn Rand. Rather, he taught us about the need to provide food and drink for the hungry, clothing to the poor, offer mercy to those in prison, and proper care to the sick. 
If Christians want us to put Christ back into Christmas – where, arguably, he belongs – they need to start the process themselves by letting his teachings govern their actions.
If they won’t, who but Christians themselves can be blamed for the “war on Christmas”?

4:40 am MST

Breaking: We’re reliably told that it’s Christmas today!

bob somerby at the daily howler - 1 hour ago
*TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012* *With all the season entails:* We’re reliably informed by the analysts that it’s Christmas morning. For that reason, we’re off to clean the pasture spring! We don’t expect to post until the weekend. Did you happen to watch It’s A Wonderful Life last night? We’ll guess that Zuzu broke a few extra hearts at the end of the movie this year, what with the problems folk have had with J. Crew’s gift-wrap policies. We had forgotten: It’s “teacher” who told this adorable child that, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. To check Zuzu’s sourcing, go ... more »

Putting Christ back in Christmas: maybe Christians themselves need to ‘press reset’

david at Alberta Diary - 1 hour ago
Jesus, centre, separates the sheep from the goats. Don’t ask what happens to the goats. Below: St. Paul and modern Evangelical favourite Ayn Rand. Today is Christmas, and thus an opportunity for many who think of themselves as adherents of the Christian faith to lecture everyone else sternly about the need to “put Christ back ... more »

Will Ohio legislation reveal secret fracking chemicals?

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 1 hour ago
Each year, tanker trucks carrying fracking fluid or fracking wastewater log hundreds of miles on Ohio’s rural roads. What if one crashes into a car and tips, injuring and spilling fracking fluid on the car’s passenger? Or what if gas-laden wastewater explodes, destroying an on-site impoundment and drenching onlookers with the chemical-laden water? Accidents like these have happened before, and they can expose people to fracking fluid or wastewater, which holds a cocktail of potentially hazardous chemicals. http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2012/12/10/will-ohio-legislation-reveal-secr... more »

Rise in renewable energy will require more use of fossil fuels

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 1 hour ago
The Delta Energy Center, a power plant about an hour outside San Francisco, was roaring at nearly full bore one day last month, its four gas and steam turbines churning out 880 megawatts of electricity to the California grid. On the horizon, across an industrial shipping channel on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, scores of wind turbines stood dead still. The air was too calm to turn their blades — or many others across the state that day. Wind provided just 33 megawatts of power statewide in the midafternoon, less than 1% of the potential from wind farms capable of producing ... more »

Conflicts, Errors Revealed In Positive Fracking Study

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 1 hour ago
A University of Texas study that says hydraulic natural gas fracturing is safe has been withdrawn, and its author has retired and left the university. From Dallas, NPR's Wade Goodwyn has the story. WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The fracking study is now a black eye to the University of Texas after an independent review of national experts found it scientifically unsound and tainted by conflicts of interest. The author of the study, Dr. Charles Groat, retired in the wake of the scathing review, and the university announced that Dr. Raymond Orbach, head of the university's Energy Institute th... more »

Merry Marxmas!

Phil at A Very Public Sociologist - 1 hour ago
(Image courtesy of Inveresk Street Ingrate)

Afghanistan’s forgotten deaths: Why money won’t silence these civilians

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 1 hour ago
No one can put a price on life – except for the US army who has had their fair share of accidental kills. But, it is no matter, because if a bystander is killed the family will be given cash. Is saying sorry with money morally acceptable or is this tradition asking for trouble? More than a decade has passed since the US set foot in Afghanistan, demanding retribution for the horrid terrorist attacks of September 11, but much has changed. In this Middle Eastern country, people walk the streets with worry on their faces, as they never know what day will be their last. The mission for U... more »

The second revolution: 1792

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 1 hour ago
France 1792 was the year of ‘the second revolution’. On 10 August, the king was overthrown, bringing to an end three years of uneasy ‘constitutional monarchy’. For months the legislative assembly had been locked in conflict with Louis XVI, while at the same time fighting a war against invading Austrians and Prussians. The Parisian masses resolved that conflict by direct action, invading the Tuileries palace and arresting the king. In response, the assembly called a general election – the first election in Europe conducted under universal adult male suffrage. Eighty years would pass... more »

How the Globalists Write The Script, And What Can Be Done to Change the Story

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 1 hour ago
In the movie the Matrix, Morpheus and Trinity knew that something in reality had suddenly changed when Neo experienced a deja-vu. The deja-vu resulted as a bit of the virtual world reformatted changing reality enough so a new ’reality’ presented with an advantage to the controllers. It is interesting to pay attention to the Matrix of ‘real’ life because there are many similarities to the inspired ideas communicated in the movie of the same name. If you pay attention long enough you’ll notice some deja-vu. This ‘real’ life appears to have scripted components that when noticed chang... more »

Swiss Study Shows 147 Technocratic “Super Entities” Rule the World

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 1 hour ago
The Swiss Federal Institute (SFI) in Zurich released a study entitled “The Network of Global Corporate Control” that proves a small consortiums of corporations – mainly banks – run the world. A mere 147 corporations which form a “super entity” have control 40% of the world’s wealth; which is the real economy. These mega-corporations are at the center of the global economy. The banks found to be most influential include: *• Barclays* *• Goldman Sachs* *• JPMorgan Chase & Co* *• Vanguard Group* *• UBS* *• Deutsche Bank* *• Bank of New York Melon Corp* *• Morgan Stanley* *• Bank of Amer... more »

Pesticide-Chemical in Tap Water Linked to Increase in Food Allergies

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 2 hours ago
There is no question that pesticides are fueling numerous health complications; the research shows it time and time again. It’s also interesting that many health conditions such as obesity and cancer are simultaneously escalating with pesticide use, revealing a very serious connection. New research has just shown that yet another health problem is also increasing along with pesticide use – food allergies. Using government data, researchers at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology sought out to find the potential link between pesticides and food allergies. They were ... more »

Are corporations masquerading as government in Australia & world

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 2 hours ago
Would you be surprised to find a company with the same name as your country registered with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington DC? Well, guess what?! Among those listed as corporate entities by the United States SEC are: Image: Left: The Great Seal of the United Kingdom, atop the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900. Right: The Great Seal of Australia, a trademark registered with United States Patent and Trademark Office. http://www.hangthebankers.com/are-corporations-masquerading-as-government-in-australia-world-wide/

Report: 21 States’ Pension Systems Not Fiscally Sound

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 2 hours ago
State pension systems suffered a significant blow during the recession, but it didn’t hit all systems equally; some fared much worse than others. A study by investment research firm Morningstar, Inc., published earlier this week assesses the financial health of each state system, highlighting a wide disparity in the actuarial adequacy of funding levels. An alarming number of funds face a steep uphill climb in fully funding their plans. The report found 21 states’ aggregate funded ratios fell below 70 percent, which Morningstar considers the threshold for “fiscally sound” systems. Il... more »

The Folly of Energy Independence

Lynsey at The Coming Crisis - 2 hours ago
The United States stands on the cusp of a global strategic advantage of huge significance. It is now within our grasp to cut the Gordian knot of energy policy, transforming our economic prospects in a fairly short period. Seizing this advantage does not require or depend on an esoteric technological breakthrough. It does not require allied assistance. It does not require a great deal of citizen sacrifice, discipline or patience. It does not require new taxes or convoluted cap-and-trade schemes. It merely requires that the Administration and the U.S. Congress get their collective hea... more »

The World's BIGGEST Blog - day two

Roobin at THROUGH THE SCARY DOOR - 2 hours ago
Biggedy-Biggedy BONG!


Anon at aangirfan - 2 hours ago
*Ronan Parke at Sandringham Church* Ronan Parke has been at a church on the Queen's Sandringham Estate. At a Christmas carol concert, he helped raise money for the* Ormiston Children and Families Trust*, a charity for vulnerable children. SANDRINGHAM: Britain's Got Talent star sings to help other children In Norfolk, the charity helps families affected by imprisonment, and offers family intervention projects, parenting support programmes and initiatives to support gypsy or traveller families. We have just received Christmas greetings from Moslem friends in Indonesia. In Indones... more »

A Different Take on the URI Statement 2.0

Daniel Nexon at Duck of Minerva - 2 hours ago
Kindred Winecoff disagrees that this was a modest victory: I must completely disagree with his (“modest”) level of satisfaction. This represents no victory at all because this new statement from URI officials, like the first one, completely misses the point. This is not about First Amendment rights. Nobody was saying that Loomis should be thrown into Continue reading

Chinese Data Reliability

arclein at Terra Forming Terra - 3 hours ago
Fundamentally, China embarked on a capital driven economic expansion guided by flooding the global market with everything the world needs without having to sweat capital costs or the costs of sourcing capital. Why it works of course is that the internal Chinese market also kicked in to allow massive production runs which drove even marginal costs down. All well and good so long as you never sweat the word profit which becomes critical if you must access private money. The problem facing China now is that the working population is now fully engaged and rising costs re... more »

Star Jelly

arclein at Terra Forming Terra - 3 hours ago
When I encountered this phenomena, I had already posited the possibility of slime molds forming a huge bubble full of methane and then soaring into the stratosphere. Slime fall on the ground is a reasonable outcome of such a theory. The prospective mass of the Pennsylvania blog does not. Possibly it was a methane filled bladder shrunken down to a smaller size. My core point is that the atmosphere is prospective for life's exploitation once enough elevation is reached. Yet tales of invisible rods moving too fast to focus begged those explanations. This is way more robust ... more »

Christian Growth Momentum

arclein at Terra Forming Terra - 3 hours ago
It is easy in the haste and noise to take the Islamic threat seriously. This article reminds of the reality of the situation. Failure to modernize merely means postponement of the inevitable as populations escape through immigration and potential integration into a secular life way. Modernization, sooner than later means equality of women and freedom of religion. In that environment, Islam is at a proven disadvantage. For that reason alone, Christianity as a movement can easily afford to be patient. More critically, Christianity happens to be world view that is been ado... more »

Composites for Large Scale Manafacturing

arclein at Terra Forming Terra - 3 hours ago
A neat picture from the Company but unrelated This is obviously a major improvement in composite manufacture although limited to specific low viscosity monomers. This will be quickly taken up by industry and we will see a huge drop in component cost in all consumer manufacturing. This will actually have significant impact on corporate bottom lines and tracking first adopters is worth while because of the huge production runs possible. Superior plumbing may come out of this in time. There are plenty of obvious markets not tackled by composites yet because of co... more »

‘I Find your Lack of Cheer Disturbing’ – Merry Christmas

Robert Kelly at Duck of Minerva - 3 hours ago
This is awesome.

Tim Minchin – "White Wine in the Sun"

Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar - 3 hours ago
The animated verison of a lovely Christmas song by a nonbeliever. Minchin can be very funny, but here's he's quite touching. (I was first introduced to this a year or so back through the Balloon Juice community, and reminded again of it through a recent Digby post.)

Are We Headed for Bedford Falls or Pottersville? (Or Are Many Already Trapped In Pottersville?)

If Lionel Barrymore's "Mr. Potter" were alive today he'd call himself a "job creator" and condemn George Bailey as a socialist. He'd be financing a fleet of lobbyists to get lower taxes on multi-millionaires like himself, overturn environmental laws, trample on workers' rights, and shred social safety nets. He'd fight any form of gun control. He'd want the citizens of Pottersville to be

Turkey resumes NATO ties with Israel: Prelinary steps towards cooperation against Syria?

Matt at The Coming Crisis - 6 hours ago
Turkey dropped its ban on cooperating with Israel as a third-nation NATO partner at the 28-member alliance meeting in Brussels on Dec. 4, in response to a reprimand from Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that the ban had "created a lack of confidence among the partners." The same meeting approved the deployment of Patriots on the Turkish border with Syria. Turkey’s consent to effectively revive its strategic cooperation with Israel represents a major breakthrough for Binyamin Netanyahu. As he runs for reelection on Jan. 22, he is constantly accused by opposition leaders of br... more »

Merry Christmas: Just think of the Campaign to Fix the Debt as economy-wrecking former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's holiday gift to us all

KenInNY at DownWithTyranny! - 6 hours ago
*Even at the age of 125, our Alan never tires of public service.* *by Ken* As I've written here numerous times, even now I'm frequently fascinated by how similarly Howie and I have reacted to so many things in the (gasp) 50-plus years we've known each other. The other day it was a wonderful quote from economist Dean Baker which had independently charmed both of us. On the subject of the current oligarchs' crusade to inflict the "chained CPI" on us for calculating cost-of-living-based benefit increases, as a devious way to cut things like Social Security benefits without having to ... more »

Digby's 10th Blogiversary

Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar - 7 hours ago
The insightful and indefatigable Digby is celebrating her 10th blogiversary. As usual, she's running an end-of-the-year fundraiser, and re-running some of her greatest (and most relevant) hits. Head on over!

Calvin and Hobbes Prep Santa Ambush

Jay Allbritton at Jay Allbritton - 7 hours ago
Merry Christmas people.

Getting Rid of the Welfare State Is the Deadly Aim of the Deficit Fiscal Cliff Madness?

Unraveling the Welfare State By Noam Chomsky, Stuart A. Brown, Chris Gilson, European Politics and Policy 23 December 12 hat do you think the use of technocratic governments in Europe says about European democracy? There are two problems with it. First of all it shouldn’t happen, at least if anybody believes in democracy. Secondly, the policies that they’re following are just driving

Merry Christmas From The Northerntruthseeker

Northerntruthseeker at Northerntruthseeker - 8 hours ago
I want to wish all of my friends, and my readers, a happy and joyous Christmas. I will be spending the next few days with family, and may not be able to post up that many articles. In the meantime, take the time to again view the fine works by those who I think are the finest bloggers I know. You will not be disappointed. I will be back in a few days. There is so much going on in the world right now, and like I said, the upcoming year will indeed be a very rocky one for everyone. All the best to everyone, and to their families, and remember the true meaning of Christmas, whi... more »

South Africa's New Apartheid

Rocker at MSM Monitor - 8 hours ago
*No longer a race thing:** * * **"**18 years after white racist rule ended [there is]** **growing inequality** between a **white minority joined by a small black elite**while most blacks endure high unemployment and inadequate housing, health care, and **education**.... the **country’s governing party, the venerable African National Congress, [and] many of [its] senior members have joined a wealthy elite a world away** from the downtrodden **masses**.... The plight of **miners living in tin shacks while they produce the raw materials for luxury goods under dangerous conditions has put... more »

'Fixer' movement fights today's throw-away society one tinker session at a time

Matt at The Coming Crisis - 8 hours ago
Everything old is new again at the West Seattle Fixers Collective. From sewing machines to fans to lawn mowers, if it's broke, they'll try to fix it. "It's just a group of us that like to get together and help each other fix whatever we own," said Greg Kono, who runs the group, which meets on the first Thursday of every month. The concept started several years ago in the Netherlands, where people would come together about once a month, meet over coffee and bring in items they would like to have repaired. Members would learn how to fix the items or watch other volunteers who are han... more »

Assault-weapons ban no guarantee mass shootings would decrease, data shows

Matt at The Coming Crisis - 8 hours ago
Congress is poised to launch into a contentious debate next year over reinstating the assault-weapons ban. In the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., already has vowed to introduce such a bill at the start of the session. President Obama is voicing support. But crime trends over the past few decades offer a mixed verdict on whether renewing the ban would reduce the kinds of mass shootings that have spurred calls for its re-enactment in the first place. Data published earlier this year showed that while the ban was in place, from 199... more »

South African Miners Strike

Rocker at MSM Monitor - 9 hours ago
*So the authorities opened fire????!!!! * "S. Africa death toll at 34; Striking miners vow to fight on" by Thomas Phakaneand Michelle Faul | Associated Press, August 18, 2012 MARIKANA, South Africa — Frantic wives searched for missing loved ones, President Jacob Zuma rushed home from a summit, and some miners vowed a fight to the death Friday as police announced a shocking casualty toll from the previous day’s *shooting by officers* of striking platinum miners: *34 dead* and 78 wounded. *Wives* of miners at the Lonmin platinum mine northwest of Johannesburg *took the place of dea... more »

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Way Way Up at Fort McMurray Adventures - 9 hours ago
While I find myself working over the holiday (with with some much-needed time booked off in the near year), the house is a bit brighter this holiday season with our little tree here. It comes courtesy of one of my tenants who asked if she could put one up. Not having much in the way of decorative skills myself, I had no problem with her request. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Maybe the NRA's "Crazy Wayne" LaPierre wants us to call him "crazy" so we won't call him worse

KenInNY at DownWithTyranny! - 9 hours ago
*by Ken* From today's New York *Daily News*: *Wayne 'Call Me Crazy' LaPierre might just be**Psychiatrists say the NRA vice president specializes in fear and paranoia* BY ERIN DURKIN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Mental health experts recoiled at comments by NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre blaming violence on "lunatics" and "monsters" roaming the streets -- and touting more guns as a form of protection. The American Psychiatric Association and a number of leading researchers denounced the comments as offensive and inaccurate. "If it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our ... more »

Christmas in the Trenches

Karen Garcia at Sardonicky - 10 hours ago
It's Christmas, and time for 12,000,000 bloggers blogging to post their favorite holiday videos and songs. I hadn't heard "Christmas in the Trenches" by John McCutcheon in awhile, so I'll add it to the internet symphony here. The song is based on the series of spontaneous Christmas truces during the first year of World War I. British and German soldiers would regularly put down their arms, and engage in impromptu soccer matches, sing-alongs, picnics and gift exchanges. Although the Yuletide ceasefires continued for another year or two, by the time chemical weapons came into play, th... more »

Wired's Weird Propaganda and the Most Dangerous Man in the World

Nima Shirazi at Wide Asleep in America - 10 hours ago
Iranian Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani, Wired writer Robert Beckhusen The wizards of Wired's Danger Room blog have posted a year-end click-bait listicle identifying who they - Spencer Ackerman, David Axe, Nathan Shachtman, and Robert Beckhusen - believe to be "The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World." While Paul Broadwell starts the list for some strange reason, Obama's top

Christmas spirits

Libby Spencer at The Impolitic - 11 hours ago
With the all the mayhem going on, didn't really get into the Christmas spirit this year until just this afternoon when Mike Finnigan posted his rendition of a classic Christmas carol that he did for the TV show ER in the 90s. Which happened to be one of my favorite shows back then. I probably heard it live. He's such a great musician. Feel lucky to be internet friends with him. Meanwhile, if you're pining for a White Christmas and live somewhere where that's just not going to happen, then you can do what I do. Live vicariously through the twitpics. These days I'm just as hap... more »

Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.

Penny at Penny for your thoughts - 12 hours ago
A Christmas Carol is flat out the best of the holiday movies, though I prefer the black and white over the coloured version. Sadly, the only clip I could find was the one below `You are fettered,'' said Scrooge, trembling. ``Tell me why?'' ``I wear the chain I forged in life,'' replied the Ghost. ``I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to *you*?'' Scrooge trembled more and more. ``Or would you know,'' pursued the Ghost, ``the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself... more »

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