Boy, I really thought we were done with this "War on Christmas" crap, but apparently we're not: right-wing evangelicals say that coffee corporation Starbucks has, in handing out red coffeecups with no snowflakes, reindeer, or Santas on them, "REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus" (caps in original). My memory of the stations of the cross isn't airtight, but I don't remember seeing snowflakes, reindeer, or Santa Claus at any of them. 'Tis the season, apparently, for folks to throw tantrums so they can get attention.
Robert Reich reveals "What I Learned on My Red State Book Tour." Spoiler alert: "many of the conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers I met agreed with much of what I had to say, and I agreed with them," which will only surprise folks who believe in "liberal" media stereotypes. Yes, "crony capitalism," "factory farms," "'free' trade," and "too big to fail banks" all meet with broad bipartisan opposition, and this is the precise opposite of what the "liberal" media tells you when they talk about "bipartisanship."
Elias Isquith at Salon interviews New York Times journalist Charlie Savage about how President Obama seemed to change his mind about the "security (sic) state." Mr. Savage points to two main factors: one, Mr. Obama objected to Mr. Bush's warrantless wiretapping because he felt they were lawless, but when Congress rewrote the laws to conform to what Mr. Bush was doing, that objection disappeared. Two, the "underwear bomber" seemed to have put a scare into Mr. Obama. A potential third factor, the "deep state" described by Michael Glennon among others, gets some mention at the end.
Julia Angwin at ProPublica tells us that Vizio "Smart TVs" can "track your viewing habits and share (them) with advertisers," who can then target you on your smartphone. You can opt out, but why should you have to opt out? Really, they should give you the option of opting in, like Samsung and LG smart TVs. Apparently a loophole in the law (specifically, the Video Privacy Protection Act) allows smart TV makers to do this. Don't worry, though -- Congress is always looking out for the consumer and will offer a fix post-haste. I kid, of course.
Ben Carson actually blames "political correctness" for drug addiction. No, that really is the way to read his answer to an admittedly vague John Dickerson question on Face the Nation: people get addicted to drugs because they "lack something," and what do they lack? Contact with other people, as very bright folks have lately said? Well, no -- they lack "the values and principles" that make America great, and since people have apparently replaced that with "political correctness," then political correctness causes drug addiction. Political correctness is an evil, but right-wingers indulge in it all the time (see first paragraph above), and folks who treat it as the worst evil in America are themselves "lacking something."
Finally, former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson offers an extraordinarily lucid description of some of the real moral crises plaguing this nation. He likes college kids, but says they're being conditioned to be "consumers" rather than citizens, and he uses "class warfare" the way it should be used, against the forces that would make everyone work for less money. I'll admit I never liked Mr. Simpson as a youth -- I thought he was as out there as Newt Gingrich, and maybe he sounds better now because Out There 2015 is hardly visible from Out There 1987. But maybe, just maybe, I wasn't listening to him as well as I should have back then.