Christmas open thread

Merry Christmas to those in the Bleeding Heartland community who are celebrating the holiday.

Christmas-related links and background on the history of the peace symbol are after the jump. This is an open thread.

Peace symbol wreath

The peace wreath pictured above came from the Paint Me Plaid website.

The peace symbol grew out of the British anti-nuclear movement in the late 1950s. From

One of the most widely known symbols in the world, in Britain it is recognised as standing for nuclear disarmament -and in particular as the logo of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). In the United States and much of the rest of the world it is known more broadly as the peace symbol. It was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist and a graduate of the Royal College of Arts. He showed his preliminary sketches to a small group of people in the Peace News office in North London and to the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War, one of several smaller organisations that came together to set up CND.

The Direct Action Committee had already planned what was to be the first major anti-nuclear march, from London to Aldermaston, where British nuclear weapons were and still are manufactured. It was on that march, over the 1958 Easter weekend that the symbol first appeared in public. Five hundred cardboard lollipops on sticks were produced. Half were black on white and half white on green. Just as the church’s liturgical colours change over Easter, so the colours were to change, “from Winter to Spring, from Death to Life.” Black and white would be displayed on Good Friday and Saturday, green and white on Easter Sunday and Monday. […]

What does it mean?

Gerald Holtom, a conscientious objector who had worked on a farm in Norfolk during the Second World War, explained that the symbol incorporated the semaphore letters N(uclear) and D(isarmament). He later wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, explaining the genesis of his idea in greater, more personal depth:

I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it.

The early Christians do not appear to have celebrated the birth of Jesus, and a few centuries after he lived, the festival was celebrated at different times in different areas.

Although the Magi are often depicted as three Kings in nativity scenes and Christmas plays, the Bible does not make clear how many kings or wise men came to look for Jesus. Henry Morris posted an interesting discussion here of the wise men and the bright star they supposedly saw in the eastern sky.

This website debunks many common theories about the Star of Bethlehem, including the idea that it was a supernova.

Kenneth Bailey argues in this article that “Jesus was born in a private home and that the ‘inn’ of Luke 2:7 is best understood as the guest room of the family in whose house the birth took place.” He notes that the typical Palestinian home of the time would have a manger “built into the floor of the raised terrace,” where animals were brought in at night, and that “a room full of people sleeping together with the animals on a lower level in the same room is snug and comfortable in the eyes of the traditional Middle Eastern gregarious peasant.” It is highly unlikely that a hotel-like “inn” as we perceive the concept existed in Bethlehem at that time.

Tags: Holidays
  • Let the Games Begin !

    According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, there is no dearth of Democrats pondering a run against TB in 2014. Let’s see if I can do it from memory –  Chet Culver, Tyler Olson, Rob Hogg, John Norris, Jack Hatch, Mike Gronstal, one of the Vilsacks…here is the link:…

    No women here, except in the unlikely event Christie Vilsack would choose to run.  If women don’t run, they won’t get elected. Can anyone think of a viable woman candidate, besides CV?  

    I really like Rob Hogg.  He has been barnstorming the state for a couple of years on an environmental crusade, but I worry that he would be viewed as a single issue candidate. Would luv luv luv to see him take on the Farm Bureau.  

    • no way will Gronstal run for governor

      The problem with Rob Hogg running is that he would have to give up his Iowa Senate seat, and we need him in the Senate. Too bad he’s not up for re-election in the presidential years.

      It is not going to be easy to run against Branstad. I suspect a lot of people buy his false narrative about turning around the non-existent “deficit spending” of the Culver years. I think Democrats need an outside the box candidate, but I don’t have anyone specific in mind.

  • Candidates

    John Norris would be an interesting candidate.  It’s a shame Mike Blouin is probably too old and too realistic on business issues for the liberal wing of the party to run again.  I became a Culver supporter in 2006 when he put Patty Judge on the ticket.  

    Susan Judkins would make an interesting candidate and I think she would have a lot of fundraising connections.  I know she wouldn’t run, but I think someone should ask her.

    • 43

      I know I must move on, but her loss by 22 votes still stings….ggggrrrrrrrr……what a good candidate, and would’ve been a good legislator…

    • I would be surprised

      if John Norris wanted to give up his position on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and I think it would be tough to campaign for governor while holding that job.

      Blouin would have won the nomination in 2006 if not for his wobbly stand on choice. I don’t think he was perceived as too pro-business; most of the labor unions and a lot of state legislators endorsed him.

      • Great points

        You’re right about Blouin and the unions.  I thought most of those endorsements were lined up simply because the insiders really knew him the best, but Culver and Judge were insiders as well.

        Blouin’s stance on choice had an impact on me as well.  I will always wonder whether the business climate would have been better, more vibrant around the WHOLE state however.  I guess we’ll never know.

        Tyler Olson would be great, but the question is whether a young legislator like that really wants a probable L on their record.  Jack Hatch really doesn’t have many more rungs on the ladder that he can climb to.  I think Hogg would excite the base more than Hatch, but Hogg has a true political future.

        Norris would be a good candidate and there are a lot of activists and business people that we can discuss or even ask about the race.  I think your bottom on a race against Branstad is 42 percent, but your ceiling doesn’t go much higher than 47 barring unforseen events.  There may be some people out there who willing to make the effort to simply run a credible campaign, coming in second for the Governorship in Iowa is not a terrible thing to have written in your obituary,    


        • whoever takes it on

          has to understand that it’s going to be a long-shot to beat Branstad. He is not as unpopular as many of the other governors elected in 2010. The irony is that the Democratic Senate (for which we’re all thankful) has also protected Branstad from having to take heat for some of his worst ideas. For instance, people aren’t going to blame him for ending state support for voluntary preschool, because the Iowa Senate saved the preschool program.

  • This'll likely get lost

    now since it’s three threads down.

    Am I the only one perceiving that Hillary has become a target now for repubs to besmirch? Seems to be unusually-so and I tend to trace the intensity and vindictiveness of it back to the same time a couple weeks ago that Newt commented that there is currently no repub who can compete at her level.

    I see it somewhat analogous to the Obama Campaign’s early, successful effort at defining Romney. Of course no one knows now if she’ll run, but if she does they’ll have all kinds of negative stuff out there that will show up in future searches.

    • speaking of which

      Maggie Haberman wrote an article about the "anti-Hillary Clinton industrial-entertainment complex, a source of income and headlines for conservatives over much of the past two decades."

    • Tabloids

      …reporting HRC is undergoing secret testing for brain cancer. Vehement denials all around.  She is reporting for work next week. Her whole illness and concussion somehow doesn’t ring true to me, tho. Given her age, I’m sure there is a lot of testing going on as a precaution.

      Hope the brain cancer is false, but sometimes the tabs manage to get it right, before anyone else.  

      • supermarket tabloids

        have periodically said Bill Clinton is at death’s door for years.

        I don’t know what is going on with Hillary, but I think only a significant health problem would stop her from running for president.

    • there are deeply committed Hillary haters

      but they are more marginal now than they used to be. I think it would be very difficult for them to throw this stuff out to define her negatively. Most Americans already have a favorable opinion of her. Romney was much less well-known.

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