- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 21, 2010

IT’S STARTING

The war on Christmas, that is. Fed up with ‘Godless’ trees and other inclusive holiday fare, two Chester County, Pa., commissioners have voted to stop letting groups with multiple political or cultural agendas set up holiday decorations on the courthouse lawn of West Chester. The commissioners resolved that the historic spot would now “erect and maintain its own seasonal holiday displays” themed around “liberty and freedom,” with special recognition to honor U.S. troops.

During a recent public hearing on the decision, the noisiest critics of the change were members of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia, a group that has erected a 12-foot “Godless Holiday Tree” — aka “The Tree of Knowledge” — to the mix of displays for four years, The tree was decorated with book covers promoting atheism and winter solstice celebrations.

Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell, a Republican, proclaimed during the hearing that the town should abandon the “first come, first served” approach to holiday displays and harken to recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that permit traditional secular and religious elements — Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, a Nativity scene and a menorah.

But even mounting a display to honor the American military is fraught with peril, apparently. “We need to consult with our attorneys,” Mr. Farrell says.

TURKOLOGY

The bird in question has a chauffeur, a title and an “alternate.” Just like Miss America.

President Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden on Wednesday, the 63rd year the leader of the free world has confronted and made peace with a real turkey, rather than the turkeys of the political and diplomatic worlds. And as the White House officially puts it:

“After the pardoning, the turkeys will be driven to George Washingtons Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during ‘Christmas at Mount Vernon,’ a special program through Jan. 6. After the holidays, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernons nationally recognized livestock facility.”

AN AIRBORNE MOMENT

Obama joked he’d have AF-1 fly home via South America so he could see Hugo Chavez. Some joke.” (A Tweet by CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller)

“POTUS a little punchy — comes to press cabin on AF-1 and jokes he’s stopping in South Am on way home from Europe to see Chazez.” (A near simultaneous Tweet from CNN correspondent Ed Henry).

The observations from both newsmen were made Saturday as President Obama and the White House press corps flew home from a summit with European Union leaders in Lisbon.

GOREVILLE

The 16th United Nations climate change summit in Cancun, Mexico, is just a week away. But Al Gore may be getting revved up in advance; he appeared Saturday with the Dalai Lama and others at a Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2010 that addressed global warming and its esoteric implications. During his “What’s to Be Done” lecture, Mr. Gore was asked why a similar U.N. event “failed” about a year ago in Copenhagen.

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