Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas to All

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
he stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bernie Kerik

It's is of course late in the game for this, but I for one am very glad that this particular appointment has been derailed.

Kerik was, and is, all about self-promotion. In 2001, he chose to leave the NYPD, despite the trauma of 9/11, essentially so he could promote his book. He went to Iraq to "train the police" but left after about three months. He has never shown himself to be accomplished in any particular way, other than doing the hack work that ingratiates him to politicians (i.e. Rudy and Junior).

But perhaps his crowning moment is that, even as the reasons why he should never have been appointed to anything are becoming abundantly clear (mob connections; a love nest; his use of on duty officers for political purposes; undisclosed gifts), his self-professed reason for withdrawing from the position of Secretary of Homeland Security is falling apart. After reading this New York Times article, it is hard to come to any conclusion but that this "nanny" never existed, or if she does, that her lack of documentation is entirely fictious.

Now if only Rumsfeld had a nanny as well . . .

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Social Security Debate

TPM has a very interesting post on the upcoming debate on privatizing social security. I agree with much, but not necessarily all, of what he says.

But this debate is more than just about retirement funds. It is a battle that puts the philosophies of the two parties against each other. Our party believes in government, and specifically believes that government has a duty to insure those who are least able to provide for themselves. The Republicans don't really believe in government (or at least believe that government is generally obstructionist). Specifically on social security, they believe that people would be better off with the markets dictating retirement funds. History has shown otherwise.

Now there is some middle ground on the specifics of social security privatization, but this is not really about social security, it is a much bigger debate. And on the bigger issue, Democrats cannot afford to cede any more ground.