The magi as you know were wise men….

The Gift of the Magi
The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Magi,Wise Men,Christmas

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40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Last year I recommended Handel’s Messiah A Soulful Celebration. And a couple of years back, I was on the ball enough to give advance notice of ABC’s showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. (I hope the shameless commercialism of those links doesn’t offend Chuck.)

This year, I got new music – 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas

“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid … And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord.”

“And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.”

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” – Linus Van Pelt

Some other Christmas miscellany from past postings:

Last year, I pointed to NORAD’s Santa Tracking Website. It’s still there with some improvements.

I’ll be moving The Gift of the Magi to the front page shortly, but here’s the link to where I posted it previously. A Visit from Saint Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas) will be moving to the front page Sunday afternoon, but in the meantime here’s the link to that.

Charlie Brown,Peanuts,Christmas

No More Czars, Again

So far, only the New York Post has said the word “czar”, but it was merely a matter of time before it came out in the new Czarist Amerika:

A Port Authority security task force yesterday urged that the nation adopt mandatory security standards for cargo and that the president appoint a port security czar to coordinate the federal agencies that oversee the nation’s 361 seaports.

So to reiterate what I said regarding adding an “intelligence czar” bureaucrat over the “Director of Central Intelligence”:

Titles of nobility are inherently symbolic – It’s not power that distringuishes a Cabinet Secretary from an hereditary Lord in England who is no longer even entitled to enter the House of Lords. It is the title. This habit of appointing Czars violates the spirit of the Constitutional prohibition on US Titles of nobility if not the letter. I’d maintain it actually violates the letter when every member of Congress refers to the appointee as a Czar, even if the actual bill may refer to “Office of National Drug Control Policy” or “Office of Intelligence Policy”…

or even “Office of Port Security.”

Now will the Office of Port Security be part of the Department of Homeland Security? One problem with that: Can a Czar work for a Fuhrer?

Dear Santa,

No more Czars, no more Fuhrers, no more new taxes and no more halfhearted wars.

Your biggest fan,


Czar,port security

Liberaltarians? I bet he thought it was a new word…

but I know better. That word wasn’t coined by Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute, it was coined roughly 18 years ago by a very conservative friend of mine, in reference to yours truly. I’ve drifted right and he’s sounding more libertarian every year – and we still both vote Republican. Sorry, still no great divide, still no looming breakup of the GOP. Hopefully a big backlash in the next set of Republican primaries against the politicos who betrayed their rhetoric and lost the Congress, but that’s an internal battle. The idiocy of the argument that somehow libertarians true home is in the Socialist Democratic Party shines through in this statement:

Libertarian-leaning voters started drifting away from the GOP even before Katrina, civil war in Iraq, and Mark Foley launched the general stampede.

These are libertarian-leaning issues how? Katrina? Private industry did a great job and the government didn’t, exactly as libertarians would predict. The only libertarian issue to be found here is that FEMA should be abolished, but that’s certainly not the message that the Democratic Party has been preaching on the matter. Mark Foley? Since when are libertarians against free speech and sex? Certainly the Foley affair (pardon the pun) is a perfect example of Lord Acton’s dictum regarding the tendency of power, but again that’s a matter to be solved by internal housecleaning in the GOP – Barney Frank running an escort service out of his apartment is hardly any better. (Or perhaps Foley just needs to issue a “really sincere” apology – the modern diluting of Jefferson watering the Tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants is that we now water the lawn of the rehab center with the crocodile tears of tyrants.)

Arguably there’s a libertarian issue with regard to Iraq, but not one that represents a “split” in the conservative movement. Pat “Adolf” Buchanan, the grandfather of all paleocons, opposed the resumption of hostilities against the outlaw regime of Saddam Hussein. Sometimes even conservative politics involves strange bedfellows. The real irony is that the Iraq War is as defensible as any war ever fought on libertarian grounds; barring complete pacifism in the face of all evil, there’s no philosophically consistent libertarian argument against it. Any argument against it, other than one based on pragmatism – the bane of libertarians – would also have prohibited US involvement in World War II, World War I, the War of 1812 and, as far as I can tell, the American Revolution. So, while there might be a split among conservatives on the issue, it’s a split involving the practical question of costs and benefits of a military response to ongoing aggression with libertarians and “traditional” conservatives on both sides of the debate.

At best for Lindsey’s argument, some libertarian-leaning voters considered the Iraq War, fought with a volunteer army against a brutal despot whose country forfeited its sovereignty in an act of unprovoked aggression, such an important issue that they were willing to compromise their ideals on free speech, free press, free trade, low taxes, sound money and no involuntary servitude. Others considered free speech, free press, free trade, low taxes, sound money and no involuntary servitude so important that we compromised on higher government spending including increased spending in Iraq. Such is the sausage factory if you prefer freedom enhancing results to 2% at the polls for 35 years.

liberaltarians,Iraq,Katrina,Mark Foley,draft