Item - Amidst the front page news of today's Wall Street Journal (featured above the fold: the proposed merger of Sears and K-Mart) was a small item from North Korea: "Dear Leader" Kim is now no longer being referred to as "Dear Leader." The country has been run so far into the ground that even the state press can't ignore it. (I link for you, but be advised that most of the content on WSJ.com is subscriber-only.)
Update - Your path to the Dissident Frogman's dacha is now repaired below, thanks to next-day feedback. Of course, you may be tired; your scroll wheel may be stuck; you may have only the scant energy required for one last mouse click. I am at your service: click here and enjoy the bilingual smackdown.
Item - Here in Crappy New Jersey™, the latest thing in South Orange/Maplewood schools is a tightening of the restriction of religious-themed music at Christmas. The policy was adopted last decade as part of the ever-widening restriction of religious-themed anything, anytime. Now that policy has been "clarified" - even instrumental versions of innocuous songs about Santa Claus are verboten.
But never fear: "On October 29, Nicholas Santoro, the chair of the district's Fine Arts Department, issued a memo ... suggesting that songs such as 'Winter Wonderland' or 'Frosty the Snowman' are acceptable. 'Music centered on peace is also a nice touch,' he wrote."
Perhaps these lyrics, Mr. Santoro?
Said the King to the people everywhere
'Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people everywhere!'
Leave aside, for the moment, the Blinding Flash of the Obvious - that this absolutely alienates everyone whose faith matters to him. I'd like to know exactly when the Lords of Education decided that high school was NOT the place for young adults to prepare to encounter a world full of competing ideas.
Really - from 13-18 years of age, these kids ought to be getting as many facts as possible and learning how to critically analyze them and draw their own conclusions. By the end of this time one hopes to see young adults prepared to lay out a position coherently, based on something less ephemeral than feelings. But, no: "Ellen Relkin, a Maplewood resident and parent of three children in the district, said she supports the ban. ... 'To have it as a school activity for people who don't observe Christmas, whether they're Jewish or Hindu, they feel out of it,' she said." [empahsis mine]
Oh, by all means, let's make sure that the kids are so paralyzed by their feelings that they can't think straight. Let's keep the widdle bittums so isolated from foreign concepts that their own minds and hearts grow brittle, unable to withstand the slightest brush with reality. We see how well it's worked so far.
And these collective heads of knuckle call us narrow-minded and intolerant?