Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Very Special Thanksgiving

Before we close up the offices for a few days and enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday, we wanted to take a moment with you, our readers, for a personal message. Of course, as it often happens, there are stories - some very crazy - that threaten to derail our intentions.

For example, the crazy idea that corporations - entities that only exist on paper - can have religious beliefs is now going before the Supreme Court. As Greg Sargent pointed out on Tuesday, that battle before the Court will also be a fight over the rights of Americans to have access to contraception - an even nuttier idea. That isn't the only crazy bit of news today, though.

Late on Tuesday, the Obama administration - specifically through the Treasury Department and IRS - released long-demanded rules clarifying the nature of 501(C)(4) groups. The effect of the new guidelines may be to force organizations that are truly political in nature to change their designation, and disclose their donors - or it may shut off the unethical flow of money from some of those kinds of groups altogether.

There is also crazy gun news. Nearly a year after the horrible events in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and in the wake of a public report on the school massacre, the notion that more guns in schools will make our kids safer looks to be staging a comeback - this time, as a proposal before the Nebraska Legislature's 2014 session.

The fact that Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah are also on the same day this year has also been a topic of discussion among our friends and colleagues. 'Thanksgivukkah', as many are calling it, even has it's own food recipes - a crazy idea for a holiday that won't happen again for another 70,000 years.

Still, amongst all the craziness of the holiday preparation - including the ugly storm striking half the nation - we realize Americans in general, and our staff in particular, have a lot to be thankful for.

For all the screaming and hollering the right-wing media has been pumping out for the last two months, the Healthcare.gov website now appears to be working about as well as the Obama administration had hoped - smooth and effective for most Americans. That nearly 70% of America still hasn't been negatively affected by the problems surrounding the website is a great reason for thanks, as are all the stories of success that are finally beginning to drown out the negativity.

One of those success stories is personal, to us. In part, because of the coverage of the ACA, our editor Amy and her family may not feel quite as pinched when they welcome their second child into the world in 2014.

We're also thankful the economy continues to improve, and that it's likely The Fed will soon have its first ever female chairperson. Along those lines - even though not all of our staff members are Catholic - we're even thankful that the current Pope has come out in favor of sane, positive economic policies, instead of the trickle-down, austerity based economic ideas that are proven failures over the last thirty years.

On a more personal note, we're thankful that you enjoy what we do for you here. We're glad you share Paul's cartoons daily, that you read our commentaries, and that you pass our news links along to your friends and family.

In short, on this long Thanksgiving weekend, we're thankful for a great number of things - for our friends and family members, our media colleagues, and especially you, our readers.

Travel safely, stay warm.

Happy Thanksgiving.