by Baldilocks

On Christmas Eve, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered a photo of himself, his wife Ann, and their gazillion grandchildren.

In response to the photo, an MSNBC panel, conducted by the infamous Melissa Harris-Perry, proceeded to mock one of the grandchildren, young Kieran Romney, who is adopted and black.

“One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” panelist Pia Glenn offered as a caption for the photo, which the Romneys tweeted on Christmas Eve. (Lyrics of the original Sesame Street song are, “One of these things just doesn’t belong.”)

“And that little baby, front and center, would be the one,” Glenn said.

Comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the baby is a token.

“It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party and the RNC, where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”

Of course, these people were excoriated, and why not? Good grief, it’s like reading the banter of elementary school children! And the panelists show themselves to be what they claim to denounce: those who would isolate a child who is externally different from most of his family members–than most of his countrymen.

After taking a well-deserved Internet pummeling, Harris-Perry–who is half white and half black herself–put forth an apology.

Now, she is taking an Internet beating for that, but that’s just gratuitous.

But there’s something even more disturbing than the behavior of Harris-Perry and company. That something is the logic implicit CNN’s Dr. Marc Lamont Hill’s commentary on this incident. From Right Scoop:

Dr. Hill:

Some would say maybe that it’s an exploitative picture that they’re exploiting the kid by hauling out this black person …

Embedded in this seemingly ridiculous notion is a frightening idea: that Kieran Romney’s race was bound to be mocked and that his grandparents, knowing that he is different, set him up for ridicule by publicly acknowledging him as their grandchild.

The notion of “some,” that the Romneys are exploiting the child by including him in a family photo and by sharing it, is merely a foundation–a fabricated pretext to shift the blame from the MSNBC panel to the Romneys for the actions of the former.

The Romneys should have never post the photo; or they should have never included the child in such a photo. But because they did, the Romneys deserved what they got from the MSNBC panel…according to Dr. Hill’s logic.

“You deserve to be assaulted because you tempted us by wearing that short skirt/being out too late at night/leaving your meat uncovered. Wear a burka.”

“You and your grandson deserve what you got. He got mocked because you showed him to us. Don’t try to exploit him again by include him in pictures with your white grandchildren and we won’t be tempted to mock him or you.”

Right?

Right. The buck-passing never stops with these people.

(h/t The Other McCain)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

GoFundMe: Arlen’s Harem
GoFundMe: The Kenya Project

Over at Twitchy, I did something today which I do regularly about once a month: wade into a comment section of a blog and argue my point. I consider it blogger weight-lifting.

Now, I have occasional been accused of “enjoying being contrary” or “enjoying argument.” As for the latter, I plead guilty and I dispute the notion that ‘argument’ by itself is something bad.  The things which sometimes go along with argument, however–the logical fallacies which many persons use, the imputation of bad faith, etc.–are the problem. But, argument alone–when the arguers exercise personal restraint–is beneficial to the thinking of the participants. We get to see the perspective of others and, through this, get to question our own assumptions. In other words, we are forced to keep from navel-gazing and, if we try to hold to the “rules of engagement”–to keep truth as primary goal–we can be persuaded to a point of view, if the other participant demonstrates that his/her own points are the truth as opposed to our own assertions. And this includes truths we don’t like.

Of course, that method of argument is not used the majority of the time. Often, we are too wrapped up in ourselves: we internalize our opinion as a representation of our very being. And when another challenges that opinion, we feel it as a challenge to our soul–our intellect. It is perceived as an attack and, when this happens, the response is predictable.

I once had a commenter prove me wrong—yeah, it happens :)– and when he did, he taunted me: “See you were wrong? Now don’t you feel embarrassed?”

“No,” I said. “I’m a human being, not God. Human beings are wrong all the time and I am no different. I appreciate the fact that you corrected me.”

Now that is not a response I might have put forth, say, ten years ago. It’s one born of two things: humility, courtesy of Jesus the Christ, and ten years of learning how to argue a point while keep the logical fallacies in mind.

In short, I’ve been learning how to make Truth higher than myself. Trust me; I still have a long way to go.

BTW, humility almost always involves the pain of humiliation. To paraphrase, without pain, there is no gain.

Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the Holiday season.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

Marathon Pundit New Year
Author on the North Branch Trail

By John Ruberry

It’s time, at least for me, for a break from politics.

My blog is Marathon Pundit, I called it such because at the time I  founded it in 2005 had run about two dozen marathons. I’ve run some since then–and I hope to run a few more.

For most of December, snow has covered the Chicago area and the trails where I run–alongside the North Branch of the Chicago River.

While many runners hang up their shoes during the cold weather months–or work out on NordicTracks, I head outdoors.

The winds are stronger during winter, so my upper body becomes more toned. The uneven surface of snowy paths bolsters muscles that I would not ordinarily use. When spring comes around I am a better runner than the previous fall.

Do you want evidence? My personal records for the 5K, half-marathon, and the marathon were all achieved in spring races.

North Branch of the Chicago River
North Branch of the Chicago River

The solitude–there are far fewer runners on the paths in the winter and almost never a bicyclist–relaxes me. And nature doesn’t hibernate when snow falls–it’s just a beautiful, only in a different way.

And I achieve, for lack of a better word, a sense of power after a winter run. When someone tells me it’s too cold or too snowy to do anything outside, I smile and think of how I ran ten miles outdoors earlier that day.

But I’m still glad when spring arrives.  I can welcome long-lost friends such as leaves on the trees and the wildflowers.

By Pastor George Kelly

Every year about this time, the American Public is treated to a wonderful T.V. special called “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

There is a song that is sung during this T.V. special entitled “Christmas Time Is Here.”  One of the stanzas from that song reads as such:

“Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year”

This writer must confess that every time that he hears the words to that song that a bit of nostalgia overtakes him as he remembers the White Christmas’ of his New England youth.  However, as he has gotten older he has pondered the words of this song a little more closely.

Just what exactly is meant by the phrases “happiness and cheer” and “fun for all that children call their favorite time of year?”

What did Charles Schultz and the wonderful Peanuts crew mean when they sang this memorable song?

Is Christmas simply a time for mistletoe, pumpkin pie, family and friends, wine and merriment?

What is so great about the fact that “Christmas time is here?”

Perhaps a look at the word Christmas may yield some significant clues to the complete meaning of this season.

Christmas, beyond and above all else, is not about buying gifts for each other or even about children celebrating because they have time off from school (although time off from school is always an interesting proposition for our children – not necessarily for the parents!!!).

Christmas is about JESUS CHRIST!

Yes, the first part of the word Christmas start with divine title “CHRIST.”

The word CHRIST derives from a Greek word that means “The Anointed One” or in Hebrew it means “The Messiah.”

In the Christian Church, the four Sundays before the actual day of Christmas are called the Advent Sundays.  Advent literally means “Coming” or “Appearance.”

What Christians – and all of those who relish what the life of JESUS CHRIST has meant to the “genesis” of Western Civilization – anticipate is a time of reflection and a renewal of understanding of what took place when Christ first came to His world through the miracle of the “Incarnation.”

The “Incarnation” is the term that Christians use to describe the process in which CHRIST entered into the human race through the womb of a woman named Mary through what scholars have termed the “Virgin birth.” When we celebrate Christmas, we remember events that took place nearly 2,000 years ago.

Christmas is the realization to the Christian community – The Church – that the promises that Almighty GOD made to His Servant Abraham to bless the whole human race [Genesis 12.1-3] have been fulfilled in the life and person of the “promised Messiah” – CHRIST JESUS.

The Advent season and the celebration of Christmas represent to the followers of CHRIST that there is an ultimate and final solution – dare we say an ultimate resolution – for the spiritual, mental, and physical diseases and sicknesses that have plagued humanity for thousands of years.

Christmas reminds Christians that there will come a time when death, war, famine, diseases, and premature death will be done away with.

Perhaps what Christmas represents to the Christian community is best summed up by these words taken from another song [this time a hymn] known as “Joy To The World” which was written by the great Isaac Watts sometime around 1836:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

Christmas represents to all who embrace its meaning and profound truth that there is a final victory and triumph of a redeemed humanity against the forces of evil.

The X-Mas season is about the triumph of Christ over the forces of darkness; it is this radical proposition that represents the best reason to celebrate the holiness of this season.  This is why Christmas is “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.”

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Friday and despite a high traffic day DaTipJar remains silent. We have only managed $133 of the $340 goal for the week with two days to go in my payweek.

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White Pine seedlingBy John Ruberry

During a run through Morton Grove, Illinois’ Linne Woods on Friday, I came across a white pine seedling. White pines are rare in northeastern Illinois, so perhaps this young tree is a good omen, along the lines of the blossoming of the White Tree of Gondor in Minas Tirith in the extended version of The Return of the King when the fall of Middle-Earth’s greatest city appeared imminent.

Clearly our nation is in desperate straits. We are suffering under the longest stretch of high unemployment since the Great Depression. Yet America survived the Depression and then defeated totalitarianism–and the post-war American expansion lasted into the early 1970s.

I remember the malaise of the Jimmy Carter presidency. High unemployment and high inflation–stagflation–were just a couple of the symptoms. We also weathered the decline of American influence and power in the world–the Iranian hostage crisis was just one instance–as well as a sense of helplessness that the problems our nation faced were insurmountable.

Would the American Century end prematurely?

American power is in decline again, and it very well could be that it is the way that Barack Obama–the most liberal president ever–wants it. Leftists have decried the AmeriKKKan Empire for decades. Yet it was that “empire” that won the Cold War and brought about the longest peacetime expansion of the American economy ever–a boom that reverberated throughout the world–and it was accomplished in little more than a decade after Carter returned to Georgia.

The United States will emerge from Barack Obama’s induced malaise. The American Spirit it too strong for one man–even a president–to smother. And the United States is still the country of choice for those people seeking freedom and the opportunity to utilize their talents and create wealth.  They don’t want to come here for ObamaCare or food stamps.

Yes, there is Hope after “hope and change.”