You wouldn’t mind if we just arrested you a little bit, would you, since you look like you might hate America?

Did you ever run across something that’s so bizarre, so out there, so freakin’ weird, that you think you must have heard it or read it wrong?  I did recently, when I read the story that the Congress of These United States was ready to pass a law making it perfectly legal for the government to use the Army to arrest American citizens here in America and hold them in custody, indefinitely, without charges or trial, if in the government’s wisdom that person was a terrorist threat.

Wait, what?

Yes.  Apparently still shivering with fear over the possibility of another September 11-type attack, Congress was ready to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would authorize the use of the military as a domestic police force and give clearance to arrest and detain citizens on the mere suspicion of terrorist complicity; there would be no messy and time-consuming need for formal charges to be filed, or for due process or habeas corpus to be respected.  Congress seemed confident that the American sheeple either wouldn’t notice or were so scared of terrorists that they would happily line up to trade in some of their Constitutionally-protected liberties for an unkeepable promise of safety in the future and the warm confidence that comes from thoughtlessly submitting to government authority over their lives.

(When, please, are we going to stop being scared of terrorists?  I’m not saying we should ignore threats, or even that we should demand to keep our shoes on at the airport, but living our lives in quaking fear of possible terrorism isn’t much different from looking over your shoulder all day every day just in case there’s a tornado following you.)

But Congress didn’t pass that law, because enough people saw what was coming and made enough noise to shame the members into backing off.  They approved an additional amendment that specifically disallows the arresting-American-citizens-here-in-America-without-charges part.

What in the wide, wide world of sports were they thinking?  Seriously: what drives the thought process of supposedly mature and rational adults to think it’d be OK to do this, even though the Constitution expressly forbids using the military as a domestic police force and forbids indefinite detention without charges?

One of the richly ironic results of this misadventure is that it caused political enemies and philosophical opposites to unite: the “Say what?” reaction came from liberals and conservatives and moderates, who all recognized a ham-handed attempt to take a big bite out of the personal liberties that America promises to all of its citizens.  And they rose together—as Americans—to emulate Buckley and yell “Stop!”.

The lesson?  Keep your eyes and your ears open, because someone will try something like this again; they always do.  It’s up to us—all of us—to see that they don’t get away with it.

OK, now that you’ve eaten all your vegetables, here’s dessert:

3338df600dac012f2fc600163e41dd5b Thanks to Tom the Dancing Bug and his friend Ruben Bolling.

The war (that never should have been fought) is over

OK, I’d really like to put aside for a minute the ideological arguments about the beginning of the U.S. war in Iraq, in order to focus on good news: the war is over. Brave young Americans who have sworn to serve their country will always be subject to the whims of corrupt politicians, but today the war in Iraq is over and I’m thankful that those men and women are coming home.

There’s nothing contradictory or hypocritical about opposing the war while also supporting the men and women who were called on to fight it; we’ve learned that lesson since Vietnam. Driving to work this morning I teared up listening to this story about the return of soldiers of the 112th Cavalry 3rd Brigade First Cavalry Division to Fort Hood…this is what today is about.

Thank you all, and welcome home.

It’s about the feeling you get after waiting so long for something good to happen

It’s about finally having the team you cheer for look like it can actually have a good year

It’s about a team of good guys that hasn’t given up all year despite the injuries of top players

It’s about an uncharacteristic and thrilling game-winning touchdown drive with no timeouts in the last two and a half minutes

It’s about winning it with a rookie third-string quarterback in charge

It’s about seeing his parents cheering him on while banished to the last row in the far-from-filled stadium of the cheapest-ass team in the league

It’s about the first time making the playoffs after years of miserable performances

It’s about the first division championship in your team’s ten-year history

It’s about the feeling you get after waiting so long for something good to happen

Today, it’s about being a fan of the 10-3 Houston Texans, your NFL AFC South Division Champions!


Kevin Walter with the winning catch


DeMeco Ryans carries Danieal Manning off the field as AFC South Division champs

Photos thanks to Houston Chronicle

The surest sign of the season: the return of the War on Christmas on Fox News Channel

Those first few strands of garland on the shopping center signpost the week before Halloween could be innocent enough, and the early signs that the local nursery is saving space for a lot of trees can be misleading.  But there’s only one explanation for the sudden glut of reports of controversy over “holiday” trees at the statehouse and proposed changes to the lyrics of Christmas carols: Fox News Channel has cranked up its reports on the War on Christmas.  And I do mean crank.

Jason Linkins notes that FNC is reporting a major victory on behalf of Christmas in this on-going clash, a phantom battle that is high high high on the list of the stupidest things ever to be the cause of wasted breath.  It’s another asinine cry for attention from a pampered majority of Americans who inexplicably feel threatened by any attempt by government or business to recognize that there are Americans with other beliefs that deserve respect, too.

For most mainstream Christians, the Yuletide season is one in which enormous accommodations are made to those who practice the Christian faith. You get time off from work, and schools get out so your kids can visit family, and on every block, there is an illuminated reminder that Christmas has arrived. You’ve probably noticed that this began about mid-October.

No holiday is as well accommodated in America as Christmas. It is perhaps one of the best celebrated religious holidays in the history of mankind.

Yet these people are peeved because some choose to wish others “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” even if only for crassly commercial reasons.

…the continuing use of the term “war on Christmas” to describe the reaction of people who do not receive full validation of their religious beliefs from cashiers 100 percent of the time is still a grievous insult to people around the world who are legitimately persecuted for expressing their religious faith, and who look to the way religious freedom is accommodated in America with envy.

And well they should, for they recognize that the Europeans who settled America were people who fled religious persecution in search of religious freedom.   Of course, the fine folks at FNC like to pull that plum from the pudding and stick it in the eye of the Christmas-haters, claiming that “religious freedom is on the rocks” in the land of the Pilgrims.  I leave it to Jon Stewart to set that straw man on fire (click the pics for a two-part pertinent and amusing holiday-themed retort):