Saturday Morning Fun Open Thread: Florida Man Goes Gay for Festivus

Maybe I should’ve left this one for Betty Cracker — but I was never much good at resisting temptation. From Mark Joseph Stern, at Slate:

This holiday season, as many as eight state capitols will be graced with a rainbow-festooned Festivus pole—a 6.5-foot-tall display crowned by a glittering disco ball. The pole was designed by Chaz Stevens, head of The Humanity Fund, a scrappy advocacy group that champions separation of church and state, free speech, and constitutional equality. Stevens hopes to place his display in Republican-dominated states—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Michigan—as a protest against what he views as their support for laws respecting an establishment of religion

I spoke with Stevens on Thursday about his campaign to put gay pride Festivus poles in state capitols across the country.

Where did the Festivus pole idea originate?

In 2013, I got a tip saying, did you know there’s a manger up in Tallahassee in the capitol? So I write to Tallahassee, saying I want to put up a Festivus pole, thinking there’s no way in hell they’ll say yes. Three days later, they say yes. Up goes the pole. [Note: Stevens’ precedent paved the way for the Satanic Temple to put up its own capitol display, an angel falling into hellfire, in 2014.] Because of the timing—it’s Festivus, it’s a novelty, it’s Florida, there’s nobody getting killed, we’re not in a war—it goes viral.

Why did you choose a gay pride theme this year?

I am a privileged white heterosexual male in America, a lifelong ally of the gay community—some of my best friends are very homosexual, very out and proud, I love them to death—and we all cheered when the Supreme Court ruling reaffirming the rights of same-sex couples to marry came through. We thought, Finally! It’s about goddamn time!

Right around the corner, Kim Davis and her crazy people in Kentucky say, we’re not gonna give marriage licenses. That just drove me nuts. The very day that happened, I said to myself, those little fuckers! I am going to troll the living shit out of them. I’m going to wrap my pole in gay pride and put a disco ball on the top and stick it in the bowels of the Florida rotunda.

But you’re targeting more than just Florida, right?

Myself and my civil rights lawyer decided: Why not go on the road? I thought, we can take our trolling to an elite level. Let’s go to Arkansas. That’s where Huckabee is. Let’s wag this thing in front of Huckabee’s face and see if we can get him to react. Let’s go to Texas and wave this in front of Ted Cruz. New Jersey, Christie. Florida—well, I had those knuckleheads covered. I said, let’s go troll the living shit out of them.

More at the link.
Apart from applauding cheerful snark (look, a multi-colored pole with a disco ball is tame, compared to some other displays this year), what’s on the agenda as we rush towards the end of another calendar year?

90 replies
  1. 1
    ThresherK (GPad) says:

    Up too early. Later today baking for mechanic 1, mechanic 2, doctor, stylist, and neighbors.

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I think I’ll go to Walmart and wish everybody a happy Saturnalia.

  3. 3

    First morning of my two-week break/furlough and I can’t stay asleep until sunrise. So I’m up sorting through the presents that my co-workers shared, including a lot of chocolate (oh they know me SO well) and deciding if I should brave the mall today and finish my shopping for the two people I trade gifts with or just go get a haircut and that’s it for venturing out.

    Re: Festivus in Florida… Yay!

  4. 4
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think the first walmart I saw was when we were camping down at Lake Wappapello (sp)? There was also a Vida Blue carwash and a Helpee Selfee Laundromat!

  5. 5
    raven says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Same here. Got my bride’s birthday stuff all arranged in a gift bag, straightened up the house and now I’m off to the bakery with the pups to sit outside in 30 degree weather and read the paper!

  6. 6
    Botsplainer says:

    As always, sick of the mindless set of obligations that is Christmas.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: And they’ve spread like the Clap.

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    I support Stevens’ trolling activities wholeheartedly!

    Tried to sleep in this morning since tonight is our annual Drunken Aunties Cookie Bake-Off, which means I’ll be up until at least 2 AM. But I just couldn’t do it. It’s actually cold for the first time this year — in the 40s at the moment, and the high is only 68. But we’ll be back up in the 70s on Sunday and then the 80s for the rest of the week. Looks like a beachy Christmas.

  9. 9
    bemused says:

    In my email box this morning was a poem from a relative that gave me heartburn. Thanks a lot, cuz.

    Twas the month before Christmas
    When all through our land
    Not a Christian was praying
    Nor taking a stand.
    Why the PC Police had taken away
    The reason for Christmas, no one could say.
    The children were told their schools not to sing
    About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
    It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say
    December 25th is just a “Holiday”!
    Yet the shoppers ready with cash, checks and credits
    Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
    CD’s from Madonna, an XBox, an IPad
    Something was changing, something quite odd!
    Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanza
    In hopes to sell books by Franken and Fonda.
    As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
    At Lowe’s the word Christmas was nowhere to be found.
    At K-Mart and Staples and Penney’s and Sears
    You won’t hear the word Christmas. it won’t touch your ears.
    Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty
    Are words that were used to intimidate me.
    Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
    On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
    At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
    To eliminate Jesus in all public matters.
    And we spoke not a word as they took away our faith,
    Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
    The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
    The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
    So as you celebrate “Winter Break” under your “Dream Tree”,
    Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
    Choose your words carefully, choose what you say.
    not Happy Holidays!
    Please all Christians, join together and
    wish everyone you meet
    Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

    I feel like replying it’s a shame that Christmas has become so difficult for you to celebrate and it must be a bitch shopping.

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Botsplainer:The worst part of Xmas for me was always that moment when I opened up a present from someone, and I could see the look of expectation on their face and I knew, just knew, that they thought long and hard and searched far and wide to find me the most perfect Xmas present ever…. And I’m looking at this thing and all I can think is, “What the fuck???”

    Always made me feel guilty, like I was rejecting them or something. I knew better, but I could not help it.

  11. 11

    @bemused: My reply to that kind of crap is “Axial tilting is the reason for the season.”

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    On strike at 8,848 metres: Sherpa and the story of an Everest revolution

    Jennifer Peedom set out to make a documentary about the untold role the Sherpas play in helping wealthy western climbers conquer Mount Everest, but when an avalanche hit during her shoot, she ended up with an even bigger story

  13. 13
    Gimlet says:

    The Hill

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday warned Republican voters to steer clear of nominating Tea Party candidates who can’t win in next year’s general election.

    “The way you have a good election year is to nominate people who can win,” he told reporters during his final Capitol Hill press conference of 2015.

    He urged Republican primary voters to avoid the mistakes of the past, mentioning several Tea Party candidates who went down in flames in recent Senate elections.

    “What we did in 2014 was we didn’t have more Christine O’Donnell’s, Sharron Angles, Richard Mourdocks or Todd Akins. The people that were nominated [last year] were electable,” he said of the last midterm cycle.

    “That will happen again in 2016. We will not nominate anybody for the United States Senate on the Republican side who’s not appealing to a general-election audience,” he added.

  14. 14
    Botsplainer says:


    “The approach of Christmas brings harassment and dread to many excellent people. They have to buy a cart-load of presents, and they never know what to buy to hit the various tastes; they put in three weeks of hard and anxious work, and when Christmas morning comes they are so dissatisfied with the result, and so disappointed that they want to sit down and cry. Then they give thanks that Christmas comes but once a year.”

    -Mark Twain, Following the Equator

    This sums up my feeling about this suck holiday precisely.

  15. 15
    Gimlet says:

    So how did that big tax cut get the approval of the Democrats in the House, Senate and Oval Office?

    Are the Republicans really governing us? Are the Democrats just Republican-lite?

  16. 16
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I’d avoid the mall today and tomorrow, give it a go on Monday.

  17. 17
    Steeplejack says:


    Thanks for slopping that over all of us here.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Botsplainer: Yep. I checked out of it many years ago. Just give the kids money and let them spend the day with my ex and her family or in the daughter’s case, her in laws. They care. The wife and I don’t.

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gimlet: It’s called ‘compromise’ and it’s what you have to do when you only control one branch of gov’t.

  20. 20
    Satby says:

    @bemused: Poor, poor pathetic Xtians. Soooo discriminated against. I’d just mail back the most secular Happy Holidays ecard I could find.

  21. 21
    Raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We go up to Virginia, used to alternate and go out west when my folks were alive. For the second year we get our in-laws rental house so we get to host them up there! That coupled xmas dinner at The Hotel Roanoke make it ok.

  22. 22
    amk says:


    after all that we are gonna shut down gobinment over PP, 1.1 trillion spending bill. try to look at the bright side.

  23. 23
    Gimlet says:


    So it passed without any Democratic votes in the House and Senate or Obama’s signature?

  24. 24
    Raven says:

    @Gimlet: take a fucking walk

  25. 25
    Satby says:

    Christmas eve is my mother’s birthday, so my family mainly celebrated that day and chilled out on Christmas day. Now with the girls I’ve been invited to my daughter in law’s family open house at her aunt’s. Which is kind but I’d love a graceful way to get out of it, like a blizzard. Christmas is predicted to be almost 50 degrees out this year, so no such luck.

  26. 26
    bemused says:


    Apologies! Just pissed off and frustrated that otherwise normal people I know will never quit with this persecution and exclusive bullshit. Many of them are old enough to know their family immigrant history and choose to forget. Not to mention that it’s only a matter of time, not if, their immediate families will include gays, non-whites, people of different religions, agnostics or gasp, atheists, whatever doesn’t “fit” their beliefs.

  27. 27
    MomSense says:


    I once got a Christmas letter thanking God for John Ashcroft. Still don’t know what he has to do with Christmas.
    I went to a couple of local stores to buy gifts for my niece, nephew, and great nephew. Everyone else is getting something handmade. Had a bunch of requests for socks this year. We are a strange family. Tis the season for warn feet or something.

  28. 28
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Gimlet: Do you know how governing works in the real world?

  29. 29
    bemused says:


    I have only replied to her a couple of times when she sent me something that was just too offensive to ignore. Otherwise, I punch that delete key hard and swear out loud, waking the cats. I’ll send her some vids or stories that stand out for having a definite inclusive, coexist lean that would bring a tear to anyone’s eye. She seems to send mainly heartwarming stories that have a religious bent. It gives the impression that the story doesn’t count unless religion is part of it.

  30. 30
    amk says:


    Here is how the fucking dems ‘let you down’.

  31. 31
    David Koch says:

    @Gimlet: Ask liberal icons Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren who voted for it.

  32. 32
    Gimlet says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I don’t think we are supposed to talk politics at this time. However, I would be curious to learn what the Democrats got for their compromise.

    Feel free to to give an insult rather than respond.

  33. 33
    Joel says:

    I think we need to erect some monuments to Drukpa Kunley.

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Raven: A couple years ago I started taking the wife out to some of the lesser known natural wonders of Missouri and spend the day hiking about (usually places I have been, but she has not). The best part is most times we have it all to ourselves, and if we don’t, the people we are sharing it with feel the same as.we do about that whole Xmas thing.

  35. 35
    JPL says:

    @bemused: I saw a car with a Keep Christ in Christmas recently. The car had antlers on it, with a red nose on the hood. Nothing says Christmas like a car with a red nose.

  36. 36
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gimlet: Do you have any clue at all of how gov’t works?

  37. 37
    bemused says:


    Tis the season so I should be able to find at least one sweet video with people representing all americans singing, celebrating peace, good will toward others to send her. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  38. 38
    bemused says:


    Ha, ha. Those kind of incongruous displays make me laugh and shake my head at the same time.

  39. 39
    Satby says:

    @JPL: I know, right. They just like an excuse to be aggrieved and to shove their religiosity in other people’s faces.

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gimlet: A functioning gov’t for starters.

  41. 41
    Gimlet says:


    It seems like with an extra half trillion in debt the conservatives are going to use this as a future excuse to cut spending for say Social Security and Medicare (even though they are independently financed) or other social programs.

  42. 42
    PaulW says:

    To those complaining about a Republican-based budget passing Congress:

    Do a better job getting the goddamn vote out for Democrats in midterm election cycles. 39 percent turnout?! You get the crazies voting in Republican wingnuts, and then you get a bad dysfunctional Congress that can barely pass its own tax-cutting social-net-cutting agenda.

    Signed, a No-Party-Affiliate who STILL shows up to vote, you f-cking slackers.

  43. 43
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gimlet: Of course they are, it’s what they do.

  44. 44
    Satby says:

    @Gimlet: They will use any excuse to cut those programs because they don’t believe those programs should even exist. So we can’t operate on the idea that we can’t give them any openings, they don’t need one. And we do need functioning government.

  45. 45
    debbie says:


    I’ve had a few interactions this season with people who loudly say “Merry Christmas” to me and then half-stare-half-glare at me to see how I’ll respond. I smile, say “Backatcha,” and walk away.

  46. 46
    amk says:

    @Gimlet: Heh, look another cloud.

  47. 47
    Gimlet says:


    I see that I am alone in thinking the tax cut should not have been.

    If the “functioning government” shut down over tax cuts near a national election would the Democrats or Republicans bear more of the blame?

  48. 48
    Satby says:

    @Gimlet: The President almost always gets the blame. Especially this one. And everyone would have heard that the bill passed Congress.

  49. 49
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @debbie: My reply to that type of person is “Happy winter solstice celebration” but to those who are just being friendly I usually say something along the lines of “Bah! Humbug!” or “It’ll be happy when it’s over.”

  50. 50
    Sam Dobermann says:

    Good News to share with your Christofanciests so many seem to have.

    New Zealand has just allowed Pastafarians to validate marriages. They referred to them as a particular religious group.

    So lovers, hie ye to New Zealand for the tastiest marriage ceremony yet.

    I got this off of al Jazzera America (in my hotel which has cable) Fri 12/18.

  51. 51
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gimlet: No, you are not alone in that thinking, it’s just that we recognize we can’t always get what we want, especially with this GOP.

  52. 52
    Baud says:


    It depends who shuts it down. In this case, the Dems would get the blame.

  53. 53
    Elizabelle says:

    @bemused: It’s clear the “wit” who put together the War on Christmas crap had to make things up. Ask your relative what his/her local Ramadan or Kwanzaa display looks like.

    And they’re still kvetching about Jane Fonda? LOL. And “Dream Tree”? ….

    Life is too short.

  54. 54
    debbie says:


    And how rewarding is it when the GOP doesn’t get what it wants!

  55. 55
    bemused says:

    That’s the “Christian” spirit! Walk around all cranked up counting up how many people don’t say “Merry Christmas” each day before the 25th with sour faces.

    I’m not an overtly sentimental person but grade school holiday programs with the little kids grouped up by grade singing their hearts out makes my eyes water every time whether they are family members or not. I wonder if these Merry Christmas purists watch these kids sing and just wait to get outraged they are singing happy seasonal songs instead of overtly religious ones.

  56. 56
    Baud says:

    @debbie: Not rewarding enough or our midterm turnout would be higher.

  57. 57
    bemused says:


    Yes, that poem is clearly a retread but always relevant to the Merry Christmas cranks.

  58. 58
    debbie says:


    makes my eyes water

    Me too, even when they pop up on the local news.

  59. 59
    bemused says:


    Yes! So sweet, those wee ones….until adults mess them up.

  60. 60
    Sam Dobermann says:

    @Sam Dobermann: I am NOT undefined. I’m Sam. Maybe your site ananomyzed me for some reason of it own; I haven’t been my often a acerbic self..

    Any way I see that the above comment didn’t take my corrections: it’s Christofaciest not Christofanciest (but that could be a useful word too) and Pastafarians were referred to as a perculiar not particular religious group..

    Rest OK.

    I am taking my noodle appendage to sleep. Later to day I get my chemo drip beg removed. Boo Ya!

  61. 61
    Kay says:


    “Congress” is really unpopular. I think Democrats and Republicans in Congress are aware that it’s in their best interest to get something done before the Presidential election heats up and they’re obliged to follow the leader- their respective Party nominees.

    They passed a huge piece of legislation with virtually no media coverage of the play by play- ESSA, which is a replacement for NCLB. The Obama ed department tried to change the bill (making it worse, in my opinion) but the two Senators who were determined to pass it (Murphy for the D’s and Alexander for the R’s) stayed in control and pushed it thru.

  62. 62
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @debbie: Planned Parenthood lives. Increased tax incentives for solar and wind power. We are still placing Syrian refugees. and more.

  63. 63
    Elizabelle says:

    Last night, JCole tweeted about Pro Publica’s assessment of the Red Cross. It’s worth its own thread, later.

    How AT&T Execs took over the Red Cross and hurt its ability to help people

    It’s become a retirement program for AT&T executives. Who’ve cut the meat, disillusioned longtime volunteers, and rewarded themselves bonuses whether their ideas worked out or not. Oh, and their plan includes making even more labor voluntary.

    CEO says fundraising is down because there have not been enough disasters. She is speaking of the natural or environmental sort.

    Red Cross services have become so poor that local communities are writing them out of disaster response plans. Napa wildfire response (actually lack thereof) last year showed the organization’s weaknesses.

    From Pro Publica’s reporting, about the Napa debacle: about halfway down the article:

    In Northern California last year, the Red Cross shuttered the Napa County chapter and laid off disaster relief staff, according to an internal PowerPoint presentation. Then, in September, a drought-fueled fire swept through the area, consuming more than 75,000 acres and 1,200 homes.

    [Reporting on fire displacement victims having to sleep outside and not receiving basic services.]

    …. Local officials were furious. They say the Red Cross showed up lacking basic supplies such as Band-Aids, portable toilets, and tarps to protect against the rain. Instead the group’s volunteers handed out Red Cross-branded bags of items that weren’t urgently needed like lip balm and tissues.

    The Red Cross responders were inexperienced and, according to residents, not enough of them spoke Spanish, the language of many of the fire victims.

    After three days of problems, Napa County Fairgrounds CEO Carlene Moore said she went to the Red Cross official in charge and said, “I am relinquishing you of your duties and responsibilities. I’m taking over the site.”

    Residents, not Red Cross workers, were doing the necessary work of supplying tents, food, and other basic needs. After fielding complaints from donors, the city of Calistoga set up its own relief fund so people had an alternative to the Red Cross.

  64. 64
    David Koch says:

    When Obama came into office the deficit was 10% of GDP. It’s now down to 2.4% of GDP.

    The sky isn’t falling, it’s clearing.

    This is why the far left is self-marginalized – they line up with Rush Limbaugh, Trump, Ted Cruz and Ron Fournier against Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Lee, and Paul Krugman.

    If they’re concerned about wasteful expenditures adding to deficit, yes, Sanders shouldn’t have supported $1,500,000,000,000.00 for the F-35.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    Had to go into work today….busy time for us.

  66. 66
    Kay says:


    They need to show constituents they’re doing something- so, you get a budget deal that has infrastructure money to restore the 10 federal courthouses that are in the worst shape (one of which is in Toledo) and you get a press conference where Sherrod Brown, Portman, Kaptur and Latta all take credit for what will be a big federally-funded building project in Toledo. They think voters like that- D and R pulling for the home team, and they’re right. Voters will like that.

  67. 67
    debbie says:


    Planned Parenthood lives…for now. It’ll blow up in Ohio after the holidays with some of the garbage bills the right-to-lifers want to enact.

  68. 68
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wow. Great article. I would want to see this Everest movie.

  69. 69
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Botsplainer: I did not know this quote but he is so right!

    Some women I have worked with put in well over 3 weeks in, in fact.

    Say what you will about the potlatch or the medieval feast but it’s a lot simpler to put on.

  70. 70
    Kay says:


    I wish PP would do a subsidiary with a different name just to break up the insane focus. I feel as if it would be literally physically safer for the people who work there if conservatives had to spread their ire over a bunch of names and entities. I guess you could look at that like a retreat but I wouldn’t in this case- I’d look at it like a tactical shift to gain an advantage, because this is different than other issues- the people who work there are risking their lives.

  71. 71
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @JPL: Perfect.

    I kind of laughed at the Presbyterian church with two big christmas trees (they were probably synthetic, but they looked really good).

    Yes. Go on. Worship our Teutonic living tree (while you bitch about Catholics … never saw a frigging Xmas tree in our church, poinsettias and advent candles, thanks).

  72. 72
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @debbie: It will always ‘live- for now’. That is the nature of everything a gov’t does. It’s like the “permanent” tax cut that was part of the deal (forget which one, some business tax IIRC). It is nothing that can not be reenacted in the next congress (not that it will be), so it is only as “permanent” as the politics of the moment are.

  73. 73
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Elizabelle: These shits can’t even keep the “Judeo” part of “Judeo-Christian” straight. (I guess the only Jews who count are Messianic?) I got my revenge this year; put up “Happy Holidays” for 8 days of Hannukah and took that shit down for the rest of Advent. I was waiting for somebody to ask, though, and they never did. It’s not fair to point out two religions and be done but the point is that these fucks can’t even acknowledge two, never mind Diwali, Kwanzaa, Greek Orthodox Christmas, etc. Or the fact that Christmas means different things to different people. Not everybody celebrates a Christian-Western European Pagan mashup, but if YOU don’t, apparently YOU’re an asshole.

  74. 74
    scav says:

    Reason for the season? Because they stole it, good and proper, long after established other holdays at the time, it’s theirs, all theirs!!! bwahahaha! Whiney little selfish gits, worst neighbors I can think to imagine. If the can’t accept good wishes for themselves and their family expressed in holiday terms, than I’ve simply no good good wishes left to spare for them. May they have their O-so-special holiday celebrated in apparently the most Christ-honoring fashion: people sitting about, complaining vehemently about the exact paper their gifts came wrapped in.

  75. 75
    debbie says:


    PP has done that here (Central Ohio Women’s Clinic), and the protestors are out every day. It didn’t slow them down in the least.

  76. 76
    rikyrah says:

    Just dust in my eyes…yeah,that’s it. just dust.

    Get the hankies ready… | http://www.The Other Christmas Gift via @YouTube

  77. 77
    Elizabelle says:

    @Another Holocene Human: True that. Judeo-Christian is a talking point.

    (And religious political Christianity is strictly OT. They don’t follow Jesus’s teachings at all. They are Pharisees, thrilling to the sounds of their own voices.)

    Happy Hanuk – Festivus – Noel – mittens tree day!

  78. 78
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Elizabelle: Thank you for linking this. I howled in laughter at their failed attempt to jack training class rates. Comments interesting too. Apparently the blood industry could be an article in itself.

    Fail in business, go to charity and fail there too. Also, first thing, kill pensions, no word on whether they were funded. Where have I heard that before? (Rick Scott attacked state pension, which was the best funded state worker pension in the country. Then cut taxes to billionaires, which created no job. Sadface.)

  79. 79
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Kay: You’re wrong, they already have abortions at separate organizations and that doesn’t stop the forced birth terror squad all over the country. Plus PP is a good brand for fundraising.

  80. 80

    RIP Petey Rettig-Tobochnik, 2002? – December 18, 2015

    Yesterday we had to euthanize our beloved Petey–a.k.a., Pete the Sweet, Peteypie, and Petes. He had a colorful life with much pain but also much love, and he cheated death several times. His early life is a mystery, but in 2013 he was found severely injured on the streets of Kalamazoo after having been hit by a car. Although he normally would have been euthanized, the Animal Control Officer was so impressed by his sweet nature even under extreme duress that she got the folks at Kalamazoo Animal Rescue involved. He was fostered by the wonderful Dusty Reeds, a true member of James Herriot’s Army of Compassion*, who has fostered dozens of dogs and cats. And we adopted him in spring of 2014.

    During his nearly 2 years with us, Petey weathered multiple ailments, two difficult surgeries, and a neuro condition that eventually immobilized him, all with incredible grace, humor, and sweetness. He loved his food–a lot–and two days before the end, could still use his outstanding foghorn bark to defend it against the predations of his opportunistic brother Billy (a.k.a., Chucklehead). But most of all, Petey loved human contact, and he loved love. He was a great snuggler, a great soul, and an overall outstanding representative of the canine tribe. He will be missed.

    *”I had often thought when I encountered cruelty and neglect that there was a whole army of people who did these unspeakable things, a great, unheeding horde who never spared a thought for the feelings of the helpless creatures who depended on them. It was frightening in a way, but thank heavens there was another army ranged on the other side, an army who fought for the animals with everything they had – with their energy, their time, their money.” – James Herriot

  81. 81

    Anyone who goes to a mall should realize that the War Against Christmas is going badly.

  82. 82
    Barney says:

    Is there a glitch in comment editing? I just seemed to get my edit thrown away.

    OK, this is editing. First time, I got a refresh where my name changed to ‘undefined’, though my name returned when reloaded. The extra words were lost, though.

    Oh well, that seemed to go fine. Maybe I was still typing when the edit period ran out, or something.

  83. 83
    WereBear says:

    @Hillary Rettig: My sincere sympathies. It leaves such a hole when one of the Great Ones go.

  84. 84
    kindness says:

    The Festivus Pole thing is funny as hell. Sure hope no one gets shot offending someone else’s ‘Religious Freedom’.

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:


    @Gin & Tonic:

    So how did that big tax cut get the approval of the Democrats in the House, Senate and Oval Office?

    Are the Republicans really governing us? Are the Democrats just Republican-lite?

    No. The Democrats are feckless. They have never had a coherent, comprehensive tax plan, and should have had one ready when Obama was first elected. The Republicans, on the other hand, did better with this deal, and consistently look for tax cuts.

    The GOP got to make some “business tax cuts” permanent at higher levels, even though they were supposed to be temporary stimulus measures. Since these cuts will increase the deficit, the GOP will come around later and demand budget cuts in programs they don’t like, but will want to keep their pet cuts.

    And it is harder to repeal or revise an existing credit than it is to pass a law for a new one.

    By the way, CBO and other analyses suggest that some of these business cuts, such as the enhance Section 179 deduction and bonus depreciation, do not provide effective stimulus, but are expensive give-aways.

    The Democrats also got some individual credits made “permanent,” but these were enhancements to credits from the Bill Clinton era. There has been practically nothing in the way of new thought on these credits or tax law in general from the Democrats since then. And the GOP already have an attack lined up on these credits.

    Also, this was not a “last minute compromise.” The Senate version of the bill has been marked up since June 21, and the House knew and agreed with the overall direction of the bill. And GOP and Democratic leaders had agreed on it. Then they put it away and played to their constituents, pretending to hate each other.

    Then, they trot out, blubber about “compromise,” and then take their holiday break. They all but left us a card that said, “Merry Xmas, suckers.”

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  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Not everybody celebrates a Christian-Western European Pagan mashup, but if YOU don’t, apparently YOU’re an asshole.

    Xmas is the main holiday here, in England, France, etc. Big deal, we should all get over it.

    One of the best Xmas celebrations I ever had was in the city of Jaipur, complete with a Hindu Santa Claus. Indian school children get the holiday off, and the nation easily absorbed the celebration from the British and made it their own. And this in a country that is 2.3 percent Xtian. I loved it, even though I am an agnostic Festivus loving fool.

    And many of my Jewish friends and I would celebrate Xmas the right way. We would go to a movie on Xmas day and then have dinner at a Chinese restaurant. One simply must properly observe the holiday tradition.

    And Festivus pole dancing is righteously hot.

  88. 88
    NonyNony says:


    Are the Republicans really governing us?

    They have a majority in the House and the Senate. Given that we have a representative system where the Republicans have the majority the Republicans actually are the governing party right now. So yes, we are supposed to be being governed by Republicans right now.

    Obama is a veto point. The Senate Dems are a veto point. That’s it – that’s all they can do is outright veto what the Republicans in the majority want to do. They do not get to set the agenda. They do not get to have their pet items passed. They get to use their veto power to eliminate the worst of the worst of Republican excesses, but in general Republicans are going to get their way.

    The only reason that Republicans haven’t gotten their way more often since 2010 is because their dysfunctional Tea Party wing has prevented them from making the compromises necessary to make a Democratic veto hard to pull off. Had Obama been dealing with Gingrich’s Congress rather than Boehner’s a whole lot more Republican action items would likely have been ticked off in the last 6 years.

  89. 89
    Brachiator says:


    They do not get to set the agenda.

    This is not entirely the case. The president could have been more active in setting an agenda, and in working with Congress to try to get his agenda adopted. And even when there were more Democrats in Congress, when Obama was first elected, they did little to draft, propose or get passed any comprehensive tax plan.

    The compromises in this latest tax plan tend to favor the Republicans. But you are right in that the bottom line is that the Democrats need to get more Democrats elected to Congress. This means not just get out the vote efforts, but dealing with Republican district-drawing nonsense.

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