- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2013

On bookshelves Tuesday: “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” Sarah Palin’s unapologetic book that seeks to preserve the faith in a holiday that has been homogenized, commercialized and stripped of its authentic and meaningful appeal. “It’s not about one holiday at all. It’s about that little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes who arrived long before hope and change became political manipulations,” the author says.

The Christmas wars persist. The Wausau, Wis., school district, for example, has planned seasonal entertainment for youngsters “in a manner that satisfies legal and educational requirements,” the local office says. Student choirs must sing “seasonal and Christmas selections that do not involve the celebration of the religious holiday of Christmas.”

Christmas programs in local elementary schools were canceled anyway; and an outside lawyer has been called in to conduct an inquiry into “the emotional and political uproar regarding the performance of sacred music,” says the Wausau Daily Herald. The former Alaska governor, meanwhile, has embarked on a 15-city book tour, beginning in appropriately named Bethlehem, Pa. She’ll be in Wausau on Thursday, in fact.

“We’ve all — at times — lost sight of the true meaning of the season,” Mrs. Palin writes in her new book. “But there are many people who haven’t merely lost, misplaced, or forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, they’re trying to actively target it to destroy it. And these true Scrooges have a frightening amount of power.”

HIGHER EDUCATION

“Yale’s Sexual Literacy Forum — a student-run course that aims to ‘create an open and respectful environment for discussion of boundaries, desires, identities, and experiences’ in sex — will be hosting a lecture entitled ‘Why do we watch porn?’” points out Alec Torres, a journalism fellow with the National Review Institute.

“The event features a speech by Nica Noelle an ‘award-winning writer, producer, and director of adult films,’ as a promotional e-mail describes her. Noelle is also a pornographic actress and sex columnist for Hustler,” Mr. Torres says. “Snacks will be provided at the event.”

Keep in mind that the yearly tuition at Yale is $42,300. This does not include snacks, room or board, books or personal expenses.

THE CHRISTIE COMBO

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could be an amalgamation of several presidents. “In an era of wrenching economic and social change, voters bet their hopes on a little-tested leader who a) echoed their disillusionment, b) pledged to end polarization, c) defied his party’s extremists, d) embraced the task of tackling big problems, and e) seemed authentic,” observes Ron Fournier, editorial director of the National Journal.

“And so it happened in 1992, 2000 and 2008 that Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama became president,” continues Mr. Fournier, suggesting that Mr. Christie may hope to package himself as a similar “perfect candidate” in troubled times.

“Voters crave — and the nation needs — a transformational president to lead America into the post-industrial era, just as Theodore Roosevelt reset U.S. political and social institutions for the post-agricultural era. But after three less-than-promised presidencies, voters may not be inclined to buy the hype,” Mr. Fournier predicts.

And Mr. Christie?

“Staunch conservatives will try to stop him, his shadowy background may not stand the glare of a national campaign, and his blunt style may not wear well on voters. In many ways, the New Jersey governor is the closest thing we’ve got to Clinton, Bush and Obama — a packaged-for-the-times candidate, Version 4.0, glitches included,” Mr. Fournier says.

THE NEW YORK TIMES COMBO

“Daring to Complain About Obamacare: Has Obamacare made it un-P.C. to be concerned by a serious burden on a middle-class family’s well-being?”

This is the exact title of a lead op-ed in (drum roll please) The New York Times.

“President Obama doesn’t care much about the relatively small percentage of us with canceled coverage and no viable replacement. He keeps apologizing while maintaining that it’s for the good of the country, a vast improvement ‘over all’,” writes Lori Gottlieb, a contributing editor for The Atlantic

“And the ‘over all’ might agree. But the self-employed middle class is being sacrificed at the altar of politically correct rhetoric, with nobody helping to ensure our health, fiscal or otherwise, because it’s trendy to cheer for the underdog,” Ms. Gottlieb continues. “Embracing the noble cause is all very well — as long as yours isn’t the ‘fortunate’ family that loses its access to comprehensive, affordable health care while the rest of the nation gets it.”

BOUND FOR THE PHILIPPINES

In the post-typhoon world, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has ordered the aircraft carrier USS George Washington with 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft “to make best speed” for the Philippines from its current port visit to Hong Kong. Also on the way: the cruisers USS Antietam and USS Cowpens, the destroyer USS Mustin, and the supply ship USNS Charles Drew. The ships should arrive in 48 hours.

“These ships and aircraft will be able to provide humanitarian assistance, supplies and medical care in support of the ongoing efforts led by the government and military of the Republic of the Philippines,” says Defense Department spokesman George Little.

BENEFICIAL TIMING

The documentary film “Rescue in the Philippines” recounting the rescue of 1,300 Jews from Nazi Germany from 1937 to 1941 by Manuel Quezon, first president of the Philippines; then-Army Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippines Paul V. McNutt, and Cincinnati-based cigar makers Philip, Alex, Morris and Herbert Frieder. The conscientious folks behind the film, however, have been at work for the past month on their own rescue project. The Maryland filmmakers and Pennsylvania-based Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics will donate $750,000 worth of prosthetic limbs to the Philippines.

Their efforts predate the typhoon. The need for the limbs, however, likely has intensified.

“What had been planned as a way to thank the people of the Philippines for their heroic generosity for welcoming the refugees from Nazi Germany has taken on a new and more vital importance in the wake of the typhoon,” says Russ Hodge, president of Three Roads Communications, which produced the film.

With co-producer Cynthia Scott, and Ability CEO Jeffrey M. Brandt, Mr. Hodge will screen the film at the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday for House Speaker John A. Boehner and other lawmakers. The prosthetic limbs will be distributed in the Philippines through Physicians for Peace, a nonprofit group.

POLL DU JOUR

54 percent of Americans currently work for a male boss, 30 percent work for a female boss.

41 percent say it makes “no difference” if they have a male or a female boss; 51 percent of men, 32 percent of women, 42 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats agree.

35 percent overall would prefer a male boss; 29 percent of men, 40 percent of women, 40 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

23 percent overall would prefer a female boss; 18 percent of men, 27 percent of women, 16 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 2,0159 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 7 to 11 and released Monday.

Reasonable doubts, cranky commentary to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.