- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

“The holiday season is filled with food, traveling, and lively discussions with Republican relatives about politics — sometimes laced with statements that are just not true. Here are the most common myths spouted by your family members who spend too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh — and the perfect response to each of them,” says the Democratic National Committee in a holiday message that includes talking points for health care, pay equity, climate issues, economy and immigration for those who have a “Republican uncle.” How about a version for a Democratic uncle? Investigate at YourRepublicanUncle.com.

“Looking forward to a new year and a new secular Congress! It’s that time of year again! And no matter what you choose to celebrate we at the Secular Coalition wish you and yours a very happy holiday season filled with peace and happiness. Here in D.C. we have been working hard and despite the holidays, we’re not letting up. The upcoming new year means a new Congress. On January 6, Congress will take the ceremonial oath of office, during which each member will solemnly swear, or affirm, that he or she will ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ While members are not required to swear or affirm on a specific text, or any at all, many choose to swear on the Bible,” advises the Secular Coalition for America, a national lobby representing “atheists, humanists, agnostics, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans,” in their official holiday message.

“This year, the Secular Coalition will seek to remind Congress that it was elected to support and defend the Constitution, not the Bible or any other religious text. We will be circulating letters on the Hill and lobbying in person to get as many members of Congress as we can to take the oath on the Constitution,” the group says.


“He’s still concerned about the world in which we live, and he sees, especially as we come to Christmas, that the answer to the problems of the world is the prince of peace, Jesus Christ. Politicians aren’t going to solve the mess that we have. It’s not going to be Republicans or Democrats or tea party, but it’s going to be God himself, and his son, Jesus Christ.”

— Franklin Graham — speaking of a recent conversation he had with his father Billy Graham, now 96 — told to Fox News.

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“On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man. Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year. Nancy and I ask you to join us in a prayer that prudence, wisdom, and understanding might descend on the people of all nations’ so that during the year ahead we may realize an ancient and wondrous dream: peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”

— From Ronald Reagan’s Christmas message to the nation, 1981.


Aware that many Americans are skittish about fruitcake, the California-based House of Bread bakery offers a recipe for holiday bread guaranteed to be free of “little red and green gummy objects,” says owner Sheila McCann. And here it is, verbatim from the veteran baker: Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 2 packages of active dry yeast, 4 cups of unbleached flour, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 cup dried fruit: we suggest cranberries, apricots, apples and golden raisins. Combine all dried fruit into a container, and add water to reach about half the height of the dried fruit.

Proof the yeast — place the yeast in a 1/2 cup of the warm water until yeast dissolves. Add the honey to the mixture and within a few minutes, small bubbles will appear as the yeast ferments. Place the remaining water, vanilla, flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and then add the yeast.

Using an electric mixer, mix on low for one minute and then increase to medium setting for 4 — 6 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour, and if too tough mix a few minutes longer until it feels soft. Add drained dried fruit when done mixing. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hours or until the dough doubles in size. Punch down and place on flat, floured surface, shape as desired.

Brush an egg wash on bread surface and place dough on a thoroughly greased cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Allow the dough to rise second time, 15—40 minutes. Place pan in the middle of the preheated oven for 30—35 minutes. Check for doneness by tapping bottom of the loaf, it is done when it is firm and sounds hollow. Place on a wire rack to cool for a couple hours before slicing, or tear off a hunk, slather with butter and enjoy. Yield: 1 large two-pound loaf or two one-pound loaves.


America entered a cyberwar over a movie set to open on Christmas Day, with massive media coverage and lone critics suggesting all the hubbub over Sony’s “The Interview” was a publicity stunt. It doesn’t matter. The nation’s has learned a lesson about cybersecurity and its dangerous mysteries. Meanwhile, will the movie in question make money as it meanders into 200 smaller theaters and an online version?

“In terms of the holiday box-office chart, it’s unclear where ‘The Interview’ will place considering its limited footprint. It could earn $2 million or $3 million,” says Pamela McClintock, an analyst for the Hollywood Reporter — this compared to other Christmas Day film offerings which could fetch from $30 to $50 million — each.


“According to a recent poll, 9 out of 10 Americans celebrate Christmas. Sadly, however, there is a troubling effort in America, by a vocal minority, to remove the symbols and traditions of Christmas from the public arena,” Rep. Doug Lamborn said in a recent speech on the House floor. “There have been countless examples of various atheist, and humanist groups working to public nativity displays, and other Christmas decorations These petty by a small group offended by Christmas, violates the freedom of religion our founding fathers provided for us in the Constitution. I have introduced a resolution to protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas for use by those who celebrate the holiday. The resolution also disapproves of efforts to ban references to Christmas. We must not allow those who choose to take offense to shut down the religious celebration or acknowledgment of every other American. I urge its passage,” the Colorado Republican concluded.


85 percent of Americans prefer to buy their Christmas gifts, rather than make them.

77 percent of Americans overall exchange Christmas gifts.

80 percent of Christians and 73 percent of those with ‘no religious beliefs” also exchange gifts.

62 percent prefer a store-bought gift; 35 percent prefer a handmade gift.

48 percent send out Christmas or seasonal greeting cards; 54 percent of Christians and 40 percent of those with no religious beliefs agree.

Source: An AP/GFK poll of 1,010 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 4-8 and released Monday.

A very merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa, happy Boxing Day to you — and thanks for reading Inside the Beltway.

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