URLs du Jour

2017-12-24

■ We keep hoping for a miracle. Specifically, that our mindless clomping through the Book of Proverbs will come up with something Christmas-relevant. We need to scrunch up our eyes a bit today, but let's say Proverbs 17:14 is good advice to anyone likely to attend a Christmas dinner with people who like to bring up politics:

14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
    so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

For some reason, dinner-table political discussion seems to be more common at Thanksgiving than Christmas. Why is that?


■ George F. Will relates how the little folks are standing up to big-union avariciousness and Washington's state government: Public Workers Could Stand to Benefit from Janus v. AFSCME.

It is protected by Washington state’s lopsidedly Democratic political class, which knows who butters its bread. It has been provided with bespoke law, tailored for its comfort. Nevertheless, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been so avaricious in its objectives and so thuggish in its methods that it has been bested by the Freedom Foundation.

This small conservative outfit, which punches above its weight and is led by Tom McCabe, relishes the SEIU’s accusation that it has committed “tortious interference” with “business expectancy.” This melodious legalese means that the Foundation is guilty of informing SEIU members and fee-payers — many of them reluctant participants — of their right not to fill the SEIU’s coffers, from which flow contributions to Democrats.

The dirty-trick details of how SEIU and its buddies in the state government have fought to maintain the cash flow to the union may raise your blood pressure a bit.


■ The Union Leader reports on the botched prosecution of Cliven Bundy: Mistrial for rancher who led land revolt in Nevada in 2014.

A federal judge on Wednesday declared a mistrial in the criminal case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and three others for their role in a 2014 armed standoff with U.S. government agents, and rebuked prosecutors for withholding evidence from the defense.

Bundy, two of his sons and another man were charged with 15 counts of conspiracy, assault and other offenses stemming from the confrontation, which galvanized right-wing militia groups challenging federal authority over vast tracts of public lands in the American West.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro told federal prosecutors they had willfully violated evidence rules in failing to turn over pertinent documents to the defense, adding that “the failure is prejudicial” to ensuring a fair trial.

I believe the sole person in jail as a result of the "standoff" remains Rochester, New Hampshire's Jerry DeLemus, 62 years old, serving a six-year sentence at Fort Devens.

I think Jerry's kind of a nut, but President Trump should pardon him. (Previous Pun Salad defense of DeLemus's antics here.)


Michael Ramirez on Project Cassandra:

Should you need to be brought up to speed on the subject matter of the cartoon, see the Politico scoop: The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

I wonder how many years it will take for an honest assessment of Obama's foreign policy to work its way into general public consciousness? Articles like Politico's will help.


@kevinNR has a Christmas reflection worth reading: ‘He Himself Carried the Fire’.

It was impossible. Mary may have lived in a time before science, before the polite and clinical agents of reason had scrubbed the angels and demons and desert spirits away from all but the dark outer edges of our minds, but she was a woman—she knew where babies came from and how they got made. She knew that she was a virgin and that she had not become a wife to the man to whom she was engaged. She also knew what being pregnant and unmarried was likely to mean to her—socially, religiously, economically, physically—in first-century Palestine.

She’d probably witnessed her share of stonings.

Religious people sometimes get a pat on the head from their non-believing friends, who say things like, “All that stuff must be very comforting. I wish I could believe it.” But why would Mary have wished to believe it when the angel Gabriel visited her with that joyous and terrible announcement—“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus; He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High”—when it would have been so much more comforting to believe that she’d simply had a strange dream? “Mary was greatly troubled at his words,” Luke’s gospel says.

“Do not be afraid,” the angel said. Easy for you to say, Gabriel.

I'm not particularly religious myself, but I know it's far from easy.