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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 64,140

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What Would Happen If We Really Went to War Against Christmas?

You've heard about the "War on Christmas," a cynical but largely successful attempt by grown men and women to drive up cable news ratings and sell terrible books. But what about an actual war on Christmas? If President Barack Obama wanted to take down Santa Claus*, how would he do it? And would it work? A classified report obtained by Mother Jones sheds new light on the Department of Defense's plans. Take a look:

Overwhelming force: On paper, it looks possible. The United States has 16,000 military personnel in Alaska, mostly at major Air Force bases outside Anchorage and Fairbanks (home to the 354th fighter wing). A military airstrip at Barrow, the country's northernmost point, could also be used a forward operating base, as could Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland, 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The Navy and Air Force regularly conduct carrier group exercises in the Gulf of Alaska; so they're not exactly coming in cold.

But Santa's best defense is that the North Pole is—spoiler—really cold. The US Navy doesn't have any icebreakers, and the Coast Guard only has two, both of which are research vessels. (An amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act would have commissioned four new icebreakers, but that's still pending congressional approval.) And unlike the Russians and the Finns, the United States doesn't have any ground units specifically trained to handle polar climates.

Nor is Santa himself a pushover. Some images of the old man depict him with a Kalashnikov. Elsewhere, he's armed with a sword. Futurama's Robot Santa has some sort of laser blaster. In Scrooged, Santa is able to repel a terrorist attack with an M16A2; his elves carry M60 machine guns. Oh, and about those elves. According to NorthPole.com, "There are an unlimited number of elves because it takes a lot of help to keep the northpole maintained and the presents made every year" . Even if an expeditionary force succeeds in taking the workshop, the elves' sheer numbers make the possibility of a post-invasion insurgency likely. And then there's Santa's sidekick Krampus, a massive goat-demon who according to Germanic legend, captures his enemies in a bathtub, eats them, and transports them to hell. How do you stab the devil in the back? No, really—it's our only hope.


Night and Day

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department hires officers accused of sex abuse and other misconduct

By Travis Gettys
Monday, December 2, 2013 14:19 EST

Dozens of applicants were hired by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department although background checks turned up evidence of serious misconduct, according to a newspaper analysis.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that the department made the hires in 2010 after taking over patrol of parks and government buildings from the county police force’s Office of Public Safety, and officers from that agency were given first shot at the newly created jobs.

Many of those officers manipulated their lie detector tests, although others were hired despite histories of accidentally firing their weapons, having sex at work or soliciting prostitutes.

Another officer was hired after admitting to kissing and groping a 14-year-old girl when he was 28, although he insists he was in love and did nothing wrong.

According to a Los Angeles Times review, about 280 county officers were hired by the sheriff’s department, including nearly 100 who made untrue statements, falsified police records or engaged in other acts of dishonesty, and at least 15 were caught cheating on the department’s own polygraph exams.


Republican says poor children should be required to work for food

by Hunter

I'm still fairly convinced that Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston is not a real congressman but an elaborate hoax, but everyone insists to me he's real. Either way, he would appear to be the illegitimate love child of Newt Gingrich and the New York Post editorial page.

(O)n Saturday, Kingston came out against free lunches, saying that children should have to pay at least a nominal amount or do some work like sweeping cafeteria floors.

"But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria -- and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people -- getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch," he said.

Because nothing instills a good sense of American whats-what in a child like being forced to perform janitorial duties in school while the kids with better parents go off to play or learn or something. What's a little more lost government money when you can subject all the poor kids in America to a little bit more of that?


States with higher black turnout are more likely to restrict voting

December 17 at 2:59 pm

This is a guest post by University of Massachusetts at Boston sociologist Keith Bentele and political scientist Erin O’Brien.

In most elections, the intricacies of voting procedures rarely warrant headlines or interest most Americans. But in 2012, voter identification laws took center stage. In fact, in the five years preceding the 2012 election, almost half of states enacted some form of legislation restricting voter access — such as requiring photo identification or proof of citizenship to vote, more stringently regulating voter registration drives, shortening early voting periods, repealing same-day voter registration, or further restricting voting by felons.

These are the legislative realities. But the real intent of this legislation remains highly contested. On the left, voter identification laws are viewed as thinly veiled attempts by Republicans to depress turnout among Democratic-leaning constituencies, such as minorities, new immigrants, the elderly, disabled, and young. On the right, these laws are viewed as a bulwark against electoral fraud and a means of preserving electoral legitimacy. In a new article, we examined the dominant explanations (and accusations) advanced by both the right and left, as well as the factors political scientists know are important for understanding state legislative activity. We began with no assumptions about the veracity of any claim. What we found was that restrictions on voting derived from both race and class. The more that minorities and lower-income individuals in a state voted, the more likely such restrictions were to be proposed. Where minorities turned out at the polls at higher rates the legislation was more likely enacted.

More specifically, restrictive proposals were more likely to be introduced in states with larger African-American and non-citizen populations and with higher minority turnout in the previous presidential election. These proposals were also more likely to be introduced in states where both minority and low-income turnout had increased in recent elections. A similar picture emerged for the actual passage of these proposals. States in which minority turnout had increased since the previous presidential election were more likely to pass restrictive legislation.


Truman's Truth:

Map: The Astonishing Concentration of High-Income Earners Around Washington, D.C.

Six of the top-ten richest counties are in Virginia and Maryland, and 13 of the top-30 richest counties form a continuous circle around the nation's capital.


Six of the ten richest counties in America are in Virginia and Maryland, clustered around the Washington, D.C., metro area. Six of the ten poorest counties in America are in Mississippi or Kentucky. These figures, from the Census, are in median household income dollars.

To be clear, this isn't telling you that the richest people in America live one commute from D.C. In fact, parts of Connecticut, New York, and California are much, much richer than the richest parts of the Greater DC Area. Instead, it's telling you that these counties, of varying sizes, have the highest median income, because there is a striking concentration of high-earning (if not quite vertiginously rich) households around the district.

On the Virginia side, Falls Church City (#1 richest county in the country) is enveloped by Arlington (#7) and east rim of Fairfax County (#5), which borders Loudoun (#2) on its west side. From Loudoun, you pass south through Prince William (#13) to Stafford (#9).

In Maryland, encircling Washington, you have, clockwise from the noon position, Montgomery (#12), Howard (#4), Anne Arundel (#24), Calvert (#23), St. Mary's (#29), ​and Charles (#18). All of these counties border each other, forming a kind of reverse-C (or Hebrew Fe) around the District.


In The Wealthiest Area Of The Country, 7 Homeless People Have Frozen To Death This Winter

Joe White, a homeless man who died during a Bay Area cold snap last weekend, in a photograph with his mother Mary Archuleta

Joe White was this close to making it.

A 50-year-old California man described by relatives as a “loving father and a doting grandfather,” White had been living on the streets of Hayward for years. He wanted to work and was able to find odd jobs here and there, but it was never much or consistent enough to afford a place to live. Hayward has no emergency shelter with beds for single men, so White slept outside.

But things were looking up. Last Saturday, White was second on a long list to get permanent supportive housing in Hayward. He had been waiting in line for months and it seemed as though he might finally catch a break.

White died on Sunday.

Temperatures in the Bay Area plummeted to near-freezing on December 10, an uncommon occurrence in a region generally known for its lack of inclement weather. White’s body was found in the old Hayward City Hall courtyard. He’d been beaten up and robbed by multiple men, who took the new winter coat White’s sister had given him on Friday. He was wearing just a hoodie and shorts. His cause of death is still being determined, but police speculated that his death was weather-related.

White is now the seventh homeless person in the Bay Area to die in the cold since November 28. The others were Daniel Brillhart, 52; Enrique Rubio, 56; Andrew Greenleaf, 48; Daniel Moore, 53; and two men in the East Bay and Peninsula whose names have not been released.


Is Megyn Kelly a white supremacist?

I know that this question is almost rhetorical in its essence, but in spite of this, I haven't yet seen anyone attach that particular label on her in light of her insistence that both Jesus Christ and Santa Claus were white men. Troubling enough that she made a point of calling a Palestinian Jew Laborer, "white", someone, based on his heritage, occupation and geographical origin should have resembled a person more like Yasser Arafat than Jeffrey Hunter, but she made a point of declaring a completely made up person like Santa Claus a definitive caucasian.

This woman is (supposed to be) an adult. Surely she KNOWS that Santa Claus doesn't really exist. So why did she make of a point of insisting to any viewers of her program that were children that both Jesus and Santa were white? (Children? What child would watch her program?)

And there in lies the clue to her adherence to White supremacy, that's it important for her to emphasize the inherent whiteness of her own imagination. She wasn't making a statement of irrefutable fact, she was clearly expressing her own cultural mindset. A mindset hinged upon belief systems that prop up particular cultural icons with a White image.

Now, if you were go elsewhere in this world, particularly to any number of culturally homogenous societies that subscribe to either the Jesus and/or Santa Claus iconography, you'll find either one particular depiction of these figures, or another, or perhaps both, in that the figures are either representative of that particular culture, or are representative of a figure of the culture that imposed those images through a process of colonial inculturation.

Basically, Jesus and Santa could be Asian, African, Latino or anything else other than White. It's pretty much a toss up wherever you go. However, it's all too necessary in Megyn Kelly's mind, that for a culture composed of many other cultures, nationalities of origin and racial configurations that these wholly amorphously pliable figures be white.

Now of course, white supremacy is quite rampant throughout Fox News. That's a well established FACT. However, it was quite plain to see that Megyn Kelly's statement was essentially a visceral reaction against a perceived attack on her own white supremacy. In spite of the fact that she was talking about mythical figures, she was insistent that her own belief system remain bolstered by impressionable children, whose main duty would be to carry on that adherence to white supremacist principles. It's not just good enough that she believed in the intrinsic whiteness of Jesus and Santa, but as belief systems are always wont, there must be other believers as well, otherwise the value of those beliefs stand to be diminished through any absences of subscription.

God help this woman and her fear of a non-white planet… I wonder what she'd do if she ever realizes that most of the world is anything BUT white.

So there's my argument, what do you think?

Someone in Georgia and someone in California are happy tonight...

Or are in store for a special brand of hell…

Well, it's not me.
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