Have a happy ‘Sparkle season’?

Well, Thanksgiving has passed and yes it will soon be…(should I say it?) Christmas. Ah yes, the very holiday that has sparked a war between the right and left. Some say it’s crazy-no one has declared war on Christmas; however it wasn’t that long ago when Mayor Bloomberg of New York City had announced that there were to be no decorations that could be considered religious symbols in stores or public schools. Recently, the Lincoln Tunnel erected a new billboard to commemorate the holiday season. American Atheists spent $20,000 on a campaign to put up billboards that depict a scene consisting of the three wise men on camels following the "Star of Bethlehem" which is located above a stable, containing the phrase: "You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON."

I find this to be offensive. Is that the best use of $20,000 during a major recession?

Since the so-called "war on Christmas" began, the pine trees that are often associated with the Christmas holiday have been renamed. Mayor Bloomberg might have started this craze when he called the huge tree that is brought in and set up in front of Rockefeller Center, which is adorned with sparkling decorations and covered in lights, a "Holiday" tree. Perhaps he wasn’t aware that it was actually known as a "Christmas" tree. However, some public schools have become somewhat confused and are now calling these trees "friendship" trees. Call me old fashioned but I prefer "Christmas" trees.

Another public display of holiday spirit has been curtailed. It is the greeting "Merry Christmas." Many stores have taken to playing it safe, as not to offend anyone, and are now using the generic greeting, "Happy Holidays." Funny thing, the "Christmas Tree Shop" has told their employees that they must use the Happy Holiday greeting instead of saying Merry Christmas. Maybe they should change the store name? Macy’s, which has been the epitome of Christmas, has done away with the greeting, "Merry Christmas" and instead replaced it with "Happy Holidays." How can this be, after all, it was Macy’s that was responsible for helping prove there is a Santa Claus in the movie "Miracle on 34th Street."

Maybe we should take a look at this character called Santa Claus. Should we continue to encourage parents and other adults to keep the notion that there is a Santa Claus? If you think about it, Santa Claus could be considered a somewhat questionable character. This is a man who clearly discriminates in his employment policies. Notice that all the employees are under four feet tall, have pointed ears and are referred to as elves. I don’t think he got the current memo regarding political correctness-elf is out-and the term is "vertically challenged."

Another consideration should be his obesity. Today, we realize that obesity is in epidemic proportions. The first lady, Michelle Obama, has launched a campaign to get Americans to lose weight. She has made it a priority to help make fat kids thin by outlawing sugary drinks in vending machines and replacing desserts with vegetables. Even McDonald’s has come under attack because of the toys that have lured young children to want Happy Meals which according to some government agencies causes children to become obese. So should we allow our children to contribute to Santa’s weight problem by leaving milk and cookies? I bet you didn’t know Santa smokes a pipe indoors, while delivering presents, clearly a violation of the "Clean Air Act." Smoking has been banned in most indoor building throughout the country.

Here’s something you may not have known but in Australia, Santa Claus can no longer say "Ho Ho Ho." Apparently the Aussies believe it is a derogatory term associated with certain women. Santa can be fired and or fined for saying "ho ho" instead of "ha ha." I’m not even going to comment on this one.

Many believe the "War on Christmas" is between the left and the right within our country; however it might not be. It hasn’t been proven but, in a document that is now part of the WikiLeaks scandal, the "War on Christmas" is really a plot used by terrorists. In 2009, Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber" was accused of trying to blow up a jetliner over Detroit last Christmas. In 2001, Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" attempted to blow up a plane on Christmas. Recently, authorities say 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud was determined to ignite a bomb during Portland, Oregon’s annual Christmas tree lighting celebration. I think I’m seeing a pattern here. But you don’t need to worry, Homeland Security is doing everything they can to keep us safe this holiday season.

Janet Napolitano who is in charge of the Department of Homeland Security has given Immigration and Customs Enforcement authority to seize dozens of domain names over the past few days, according to The Washington Times. ICE appears to be targeting sites that help Internet users download copyrighted music, as well as sites that sell bootleg goods, such as fake designer handbags. The sites are replaced with a note from the government: "This domain named has been seized by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations." This was reported by "The Hill’s" Sara Jerome.

Have you traveled lately by air? You may have experienced a new security measure put in place by Napolitano. The Obama administration has taken the initiative to cut spending. Obama has managed to consolidate Homeland Security’s TSA airport screening with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide Obamacare to those who fly. Now men can have a prostate exam-remember to turn your head and cough-prior to boarding the plane. Women are receiving free cancer screening, breast exams and pap tests are performed by qualified TSA agents. Napolitano is working on extending this new form of Obamacare to those who ride trains, buses and subways.

Well, just remember, regardless of what you wish to call it, Christmas (or if you are like the city of Pittsburgh, then you are already referring to it as "sparkle season,") is a time to enjoy with family and friends. So have yourself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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