I Get Email (War on Christmas Edition)

Ken writes:

Dear Chris,

I am not an atheist (more of a non-practicing Catholic) and was curious about your take on the “War on Christmas”.

Big fan of your site!

Certainly. There is no war on Christmas. There isn’t even a police action on Christmas. The only place the “War on Christmas” exists is in the hollow minds of spittle-flinging, ratings-craving, falafal-loofahing talking heads on Fox News and their perpetually perplexed followers.

As a militant atheist who even refuses to go to TGI Fridays because I find the G offensive (Although, whether the G stands for God or Goodness, the food still sucks), I have no problem at all when somebody wishes me Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Joyous Festivus. I’ll even say Merry Christmas back to them once they make it known that is their religion of choice. Returning a holiday greeting doesn’t make me part of that religion. It’s just being polite. But if I’m in a position where I must give a holiday greeting to strangers, I would say Happy Holidays of course. Why be presumptuous?

That some Christians get their crucifixes set to stunned because clerks in retail stores wish them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” just goes to prove their own intolerance and bigotry. There are many types of people from different cultures and religions (if any) who actually do shopping in December and there are many different variants of the Winter Solstice holiday. Anybody who believes that they’re being persecuted because a clerk at The Gap wished them “Happy Holidays” needs to be thrown to the lions.

Michelle Duggar Has Premature Girl in Emergency C Section

I wouldn’t hold my breath that they’ll take this as a sign from God to stop spawning.

Michelle Duggar, star of the TLC reality show “18 Kids and Counting” has given birth to her 19th child in an emergency C-section.

New baby Josie Brooklyn, born Thursday evening, weighs 1 pound 6 ounces and is in stable condition at the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, TLC reports.

TLC reports “Michelle is resting comfortably” while Josie Brooklyn stays at the neonatal intensive care unit, and that “the family is grateful for all the prayers and well wishes during their recovery.”

Duggar’s baby was not due until March, but TLC is reporting that Duggar went into the hospital early suffering pain from a gallstone. People magazine reported Monday that Duggar had been airlifted to a hospital in Little Rock because her gallbladder problems were causing contractions.

Effort to Remove Atheist From City Council

From CBS News:

Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell believes in ending the death penalty, conserving water and reforming government – but he doesn’t believe in God. His political opponents say that’s a sin that makes him unworthy of serving in office, and they’ve got the North Carolina Constitution on their side.

Bothwell’s detractors are threatening to take the city to court for swearing him in, even though the state’s antiquated requirement that officeholders believe in God is unenforceable because it violates the U.S. Consititution.

“The question of whether or not God exists is not particularly interesting to me and it’s certainly not relevant to public office,” the recently elected 59-year-old said.

Bothwell ran this fall on a platform that also included limiting the height of downtown buildings and saving trees in the city’s core, views that appealed to voters in the liberal-leaning community at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. When Bothwell was sworn into office on Monday, he used an alternative oath that doesn’t require officials to swear on a Bible or reference “Almighty God.”

That has riled conservative activists, who cite a little-noticed quirk in North Carolina’s Constitution that disqualifies officeholders “who shall deny the being of Almighty God.” The provision was included when the document was drafted in 1868 and wasn’t revised when North Carolina amended its constitution in 1971. One foe, H.K. Edgerton, is threatening to file a lawsuit in state court against the city to challenge Bothwell’s appointment.

Christmas Light Hero

From Make:Blog:

Christmas Light Hero is using 7 light controllers from Light-O-Rama built from kits to control 21,268 lights and LEDs. Each controller has 16 outputs and 2-3 TTL level control inputs that are used by the game system to fire different programmed light sequences depending on what happens in the game. It relies on the fact that the game sequence is very consistent. If the game and the lighting sequences start together, they will stay in very good sync through the length of the song. The light program allows branching and overlays for fail, star power and “ready.” I have some ideas to automate the initial show/game sync, but for now you have to push doorbell buttons at the right moments.

To program the show a video recording was made of a perfect round of Guitar Hero playing Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover. The timing of all the dots and the light show choreography follow that video.