Like most everyone, you've got a full calendar for December: shopping, presents, parties, plans, preparations, cooking, cleaning, hosting, visiting. But stop for a minute and reflect: Why am I doing all this? Who am I trying to please—or just impress?
This holiday is meant to be a celebration of the purest, simplest and most complete love ever known—the love of a heavenly Father who sent His Son to live among us, to teach us how to love, to make our lives better and happier. He eliminated the need for complex rules and rituals, and taught us that we didn't have to be perfect, get everything right and live up to unrealistic high expectations. All we had to do was love Him and love our neighbor, and with that, we'd please Him and find happiness.
Why not try something different this year and strive for simplicity in your Yuletide celebrations? Clear out some of the unnecessary clutter of events and expenses. Leave yourself time to concentrate on the things that will have lasting meaning for you and others: spend time with the people you care about; give gifts that will show not merely your good taste, but your care and concern; find someone with fewer blessings than you, and reach out to fulfill some need he or she has.
Torture. Sadistic, immature bullies with badges and Tazers and guns but no training to de-escalate situations and empathize, as with the responsive mentally ill inmates deposited in jails and prisons in lieu of treatment.
Honor, integrity, restraint, empathy, respect for humanity, civil liberties and life are abundantly rare in law enforcement. Screening new applicants for law enforcement jobs ignores "character" and "ethics." Training could be summed up as "We, the Blue Badges, are brothers and sisters. It's us against the citizens. At all times, back your fellow law enforcement officer, get your stories straight, lie and fudge if needed. You are part of a team. Everyone up and down the chain, including the district attorney and FBI and internal affairs, has your back. You are better than the riff-raff, which is why you have a badge and a gun and a license to kill. And your culture doesn't just disdain officers snitching on fellow officers, it resolutely demands lying to cover the lies of your colleagues. Best of all, you will be rewarded for lying and never held accountable."
When I grow up, I want to be in law enforcement. Now hand over your lunch money.
How many of you remember the ill famed movie that came out around 1941 called The Great Dictator, a satire of Hitler and his close associates? Well, Jesse Owens, a track and field star from Cleveland, captured many gold medals. The crowd at the Munich Germany stadium (1936 Olympics) was stunned. Hitler and his cronies walked out boycotting the games and events. However, nothing infuriated Hitler like the movie The Great Dictator. And so if he ever disliked Jewish Hollywood, he sure did after screening the movie at his compound. He wasn't very fond of Charlie Chaplin, either, the talented comic playing the dictator.
So we can offer this: Why infuriate someone who is already infuriated?
Last week's "Feeling the Pinch" got a little confused over the details of a refinanced loan offer made to commercial fishermen. We said the bill would drop interest rates from 5 percent, but we were wrong. Our sources at NOAA wrote in with the correct info, and here it is: the bill lowers the interest rate charged on the loan (currently 6.97 percent) and lowers the maximum fee amount that can be collected from 5 percent to 3 percent.
Also, in "High times at Emerald Cup," we errantly reported that a recent cannabis conference in Las Vegas was hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association. It was not. The Marijuana Business Daily sponsored that conference.
Sipping hot buttered rums by the water cooler
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.