The Christmas Holiday Push

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” so goes the 1963 hit Christmas song made popular by the late singer Andy Williams.  Many would argue, however, that the holidays are just another push among retailers to sell more widgets and electronic gizmos.

Aside from all the hoopla around Black Friday, and now Small Business Saturday, a quieter more subtle movement is emerging: Merry Christmas.

Advertisers, business organizations and even political figures over the years have replaced “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” to be more inclusive and politically correct.  This always has irked many of those who celebrate Christmas and feel that the true meaning of the holiday has been watered down to fit a mass retail audience.

According to a Pew Research poll conducted in 2008, 60 percent of Americans choose to be greeted by “Merry Christmas” when entering a store or business, while only 23 percent prefer “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.”  Still, ads and marketing efforts continue to push the “Happy Holidays” theme, even though nearly half of Americans (45 percent) have no greeting preference when specifically given “doesn’t matter” as a polling option.

Not so, says former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in her new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” who calls for bringing back the freedom to express the Christian values of the season.  The push to “bring back Merry Christmas” also is evident in Canada as online polls, websites and even a Facebook page is dedicated to restoring the holiday greeting to national prominence.

Whether Sarah Palin and America’s conservative right have enough marketing muscle to reignite the war on Christmas remains unclear, although a book tour while the holiday season gets into full swing is a great start.  Either way, Santa will be watching.

It’s the Polar Ice Caps, Stupid

Polar Ice Caps

Polar Ice Caps

It’s getting hot in here.  That’s what the lyrics say from hip-hop artist Nelly’s 2002 hit single “Hot in Herre.”  It’s also what the World Meteorological Organization is saying, reporting this week that 2000 to 2009 appears to be the warmest decade on modern record and that climate extremes were recorded in many parts of the world.

Not so, says former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.  The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate penned an Op-Ed Wednesday in the Washington Post citing “Climate-gate” and that the “agenda-driven policies being pushed in Copenhagen won’t change the weather, but they would change our economy for the worse.”

Palin’s reference to “Climate-gate” was in response to a series of e-mails taken from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom), where researchers there apparently manipulated data and destroyed records that pointed to a less drastic outlook in global temperatures.  

Whether the university’s research is flawed is irrelevant.  The fact is that there is more than enough worldwide evidence that global temperatures are rising.  The polar ice cap as a whole is shrinking and average temperatures in the U.S. Arctic region are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. 

Palin is plain wrong and to say that global warming is part of a “radical environmental movement” only further politicizes the issue.  She obviously is engaging in party politics saying President Obama’s trip to Copenhagen later this month is a partisan move to help sell the Democrats “cap and trade” legislation.

Politics may be at play here, but they are of a different kind.  The president needs to push for a cut in greenhouse gases, especially after the U.S. declined to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, due to strong opposition from the Bush administration.  This has left the U.S. in a precarious situation on the global stage regarding environmental issues.  

Will a cut in greenhouse gases affect America’s economy?  Sure it will.  As America looks to repair its economy from the ground up, we must engage in a new world order that supports greener, environmentally friendly technologies. This will create many new jobs for the 21st century and also cut down emissions and greenhouse gases.  This is the inevitable truth.

Sarah Palin has Gone Rogue

Sarah Palin and Katie Couric

Sarah Palin and Katie Couric

Going Rogue” has gone gangbusters. Sales of former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s new book surpassed 300,000 copies on its first day debut, pushing HarperCollins to print 300,000 extra copies, on top of the 1.5 million already published.

While the book sits number one on top of Amazon’s best-seller list, “Going Rogue” isn’t even mentioned on the New York Times’ book index, an ironic depiction of how Palin’s memoirs have been viewed by those who do not support her.

She has many followers however. Just take a peek at her Facebook page and you’ll find that Sarah Palin has 1,057, 066 fans, a sobering wakeup call into the former Alaska governor’s true popularity. Despite her fame, most people feel Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president. Many believe it was the Katie Couric interview that sank Palin. Even though Americans gave her another chance, they still weren’t impressed by her knowledge, or lack thereof, of domestic and international issues, and ultimately did not vote the McCain-Palin ticket last November.

Palin is now on a multi-city book tour, mostly hitting conservative towns across the country. Reviews of “Going Rogue” have been less than favorable, often describing the book as “petty” and “revengeful,” rather than some kind of political manifesto outlining Sarah Palin’s issue platform.

She is no dummy either. Even though the chance of her running for president in 2012 is highly unlikely, much of the continuing media coverage is focused on a possible candidacy. This media phenomenon undoubtedly helps sell more books as the fascination with Sarah Palin grows.

Palin needs to watch the media frenzy however. Too much coverage coupled with a negative perception will not only deter media interest, but damage her credibility among her own supporters, which is an essential lifeline to continued book sales or political aspirations, neither of which will have the success of recent events.