Monthly Archives: November 2008

Crazy Californians Fight Over Paper Hats

From the Los Angeles Times:

Protesters descended Tuesday on Condit Elementary School in Claremont, tersely arguing over the construction-paper pilgrim and Native American costumes worn by kindergartners at a decades-old Thanksgiving tradition. Police were called to the school when tensions rose.

Officers also were monitoring Claremont Unified Supt. David Cash’s home after he received hate mail and told police that he feared for his safety.

So what gives?

For four decades, children at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools have taken annual turns dressing up and visiting each other to share a Thanksgiving feast. Controversy erupted after district officials last week decided to eliminate the Native American and pilgrim costumes from this year’s event after some parents complained that they were demeaning and stereotypical. Other parents were infuriated by the district’s modifications of the event, saying that administrators had bowed to political correctness.

 Now the children can learn another interesting historical lesson, the one about how, in the early 21st century, people were so bitterly and mindlessly divided over petty politics and cultural battles that they fought over construction paper costumes worn by children. What a thrilling era.


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Christmas Music, Love or Hate?

I’m thinking about columnizing on Christmas music.

What are your favorites? What do you loathe? Is there too much of it or not enough? Do you wear earplugs to the mall? How does music fit or not fit into your traditions?

Just curious.


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Snow More Bragging for Bud Light

Bud Light is losing its world title, to a Chinese lager called “Snow.” From The Guardian:

The self-styled king of beers has been toppled by a drink that most Budweiser lovers have never heard of: Snow.

The ascension of Snow, which is expected to outsell world leader Bud Light this year, is due to the growing thirst of Chinese drinkers for beer.

While beer consumption is on the wane in developed markets such as the UK, the Chinese have been developing a taste for home-grown lagers and there is plenty of scope for growth in a country with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants.

 I feel somewhat responsible, having not consumed a Bud Light in years. Although, really, who cares? Let the Bud-owning Belgians and SABMIller, Snow’smaker, battle it out. Eventually, they’ll all merge to form Beeratron or Beercon or InBuzz or whatever.

Tired of the battling big boys? Here’s a list of Iowa breweries.

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Yepsen a Saluki?

The dean of Iowa’s political journalistas, The Des Moines Register’s David Yepsen, is among three finalists for a job at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. From the Daily Egyptian (the college paper):

Paul Simon described his public policy institute as a “do tank,” not a think tank.

The three candidates in the search for a new director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, whose names were released Wednesday, said this idea was the basis of the position’s appeal.

John Jackson, director of the committee in charge of the search, said the candidates the committee recommended are: Bill Freivogel, director of the School of Journalism; Arthur Turner, deputy majority leader in the Illinois House; and David Yepsen, chief political correspondent for the Des Moines Register.

The university president, interim chancellor and interim provost will select which of the candidates will take the post, Jackson said.

Interim Director Matt Baughman said he hopes to have a new director in place early in 2009.

A Saluki, by the way, is the school’s nickname. It’s a breed of dog that traces its origins back to the Middle East thousands of years ago. What? I just thought you might be wondering.

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DMR — Mari Breaks Chet’s Smoking Law

After being seen smoking by a Des Moines Register reporter in a state-owned vehicle (a “workplace” under the statewide smoking ban) Mari Culver owns up:

Iowa’s first lady admitted today that she smoked in a state-owned vehicle, breaking a law that her husband signed with fanfare in April.

The law bans smoking in most workplaces, including employers’ vehicles. It specifically bans smoking in government-owned cars.

Mari Culver released a statement today acknowledging the misstep. “Like many Iowans, I have struggled to quit smoking. I successfully quit last year, but unfortunately started again a few months ago,” she wrote. “I did smoke in a state vehicle, which I regret, and I promise that it will not happen again.”

Culver’s admission came a day after a Des Moines Register reporter noticed her openly smoking in a Chevrolet Tahoe that the state provides to her family.

Ouch. But the law’s the law, and it applies to everyone. It’s fair game.

Still, there’s a part of me that feels bad for the crap she’s going to take for this. I can throw snark at politicians all day long. They ask for it. But Mari Culver didn’t run for anything.

Oh well, at least Republicans can smile again.

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How I lost 20 Minutes

Reading a Slate article on mail carriers who hide mail to avoid delivering it.

Reading a Micheal Kinsley column urging us to let Obama smoke, for God’s sake.

Finding out what Nanobamas are.

Eating a Butterfinger.

Now, you try it.

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Michelle O Taps Iowan as Chief of Staff

From the Washington Post:

Incoming first lady Michelle Obama has tapped Jackie Norris, President-elect Barack Obama’s Iowa state director to be her chief of staff. Norris, a high school government and history teacher and long-time Iowa Democrat, was former vice president Al Gore’s Iowa political director in the 2000 presidential campaign and was finance director for former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack in 1998.

Norris is half of one of Iowa’s premier political couples. Her husband is Iowa political honcho John Norris, who was Sen. John Kerry’s state director during Kerry’s 2004 presidential run and had been Vilsack’s chief of staff. John Norris also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2002.

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