Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Columns

November 27, 2006

THEREFORE I AM: Merry Christmas and a happy blue vest

It’s starting to feel like Christmas. The signs are unmistakable. The stores are packed. You can see the holiday stress inching up people’s spines. My neighbor is stringing up enough lights to put Clark Griswold to shame. I’ve already watched A Christmas Story in its entirety. Two-thirds of the TV commercials you see are pitching toys. (There are plenty of times during my day when I’d love to pitch a toy, if you know what I mean.) Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Christmas means shopping, and shopping means Wal-Mart, for better or worse. One thing you may notice at Wal-Mart this year is an abundance of name-badge-wearing folks wishing you a “merry Christmas.” Wait, wait, wait. Isn’t there something about separation of church and state? Wal-Mart is larger and more powerful than most industrialized countries. The chain is, in some ways, an Arkansas-based government. How can it endorse one particular religion?

It turns out that Wal-Mart has green-lighted its blue-vested employees, associates, assistants, helpers, colleagues, partners, subordinates (they call them one of those, I think) to once again wish their customers a “merry Christmas” instead of a generic “happy holidays” like they’ve done in the past. Apparently the world’s top retailer didn’t want to exclude anyone by using “merry Christmas,” but the folks in Bentonville have had a change of heart.

According to CNN.com, the announcement comes a year after religious groups such as The American Family Association and The Catholic League boycotted retailers including Wal-Mart last holiday season for excluding the word "Christmas" from products sold in stores.

"We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley said. "We're not afraid to use the term 'merry Christmas.' We'll use it early, and we'll use it often."

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Columns
  • veteran GARY'S WORLD: Thank our veterans this weekend A tremendous opportunity presents itself in our community this weekend — an opportunity to honor those who served in the Vietnam War. Personally, after attending last year's first Welcome Home celebration, I wouldn't want to miss this. It was an emotional event for both Vietnam veterans and ordinary citizens. It was a great way to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day in Tennessee, March 29.

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  • antique RANDOM THOUGHTS: "Antiques Roadshow" comes to Tennessee If you are one of the 10 million who watch each episode of the “Antiques Roadshow” mark your calendar. The three upcoming Mondays, March 30, April 6 and April 13, were all taped in Chattanooga last July.

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  • LION AND THE LAMB: An open letter to Sharon Baier I was happy to read your well-written article, printed in last week's Chronicle. It makes a strong case, in the story of Al and Jennifer, that "To make money, you have to spend money." That misguided couple thought that they ought to cut down on their purchase of supplies, to save money. They did so, week after week, until they lost their business.

    March 24, 2009

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Veterans storm the Hill When young men and women risk their lives and sacrifice both physical and mental health for their country, a grateful country should at least provide them with shelter, food, and health care. But there is a lot of hypocrisy between what some windbag says on Veterans Day and what the country actually does for veterans.

    March 24, 2009

  • child crying THEREFORE I AM: Kids stress out parents? Well, duh! This just in: According to an expert, children can add stress and strain to a marriage. In other news, further expert studies have indicated that the sky is in fact blue, Paris Hilton is a tad spoiled, peanut butter and chocolate taste great together, and the Middle East has issues. Thank goodness we have experts to tell us these things.

    March 23, 2009 1 Photo

  • shackles INSIDE THE FIRST AMENDMENT: With shekels come shackles When President Obama launched his faith-based initiative at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 5, he promised not only to sustain the Bush administration’s signature domestic program — but to expand it.

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  • loneranger THEREFORE I AM: Jim Croce and I will keep you safe and sound My philosophy of life is simple: When in doubt, follow the advice of a dead folk-rock star. I always found Jim Croce to be particularly handy in this capacity. Don’t tug on Superman’s cape. Don’t spit into the wind. Don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger, and regardless of how badly you may want to, do not, under any circumstances, mess around with Jim.

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  • STUMPTALK: Stimulating a war on prosperity and freedom Near Bush’s sunset, Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed chairman Bernanke terrified the nation with “the sky’s falling and America is doomed” unless the government steps in with new regulations, institutional takeovers and massive lending.

    March 16, 2009

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Thoughts on bringing a recession to heel Responding to the recent full-throated baying of conservative “economic watchdogs,” I slogged into the swamp of their icon Adam Smith’s murky tome, “The Wealth of Nations,” to see if they had finally treed anything of value.

    March 10, 2009

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Reality Dim blue of early morning shines into the living room

    while you flip through television channels.

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