The Brownsville States-Graphic
Thursday, December 23, 2010
By 28th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Clayburn Peeples
Whether they like it or not I had planned to write this week about what has become known as the “War Against Christmas” and how it seems that Christmas appears to have won. I hadn’t seen any news stories about goofy school board or town council decisions outlawing Christmas decorations and such, and a few weeks ago President Obama wished everyone “Merry Christmas” three different times during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. But then I came upon this bit of information so bizarrely unbelievable it could only have happened in America. It seems Head Start authorities in St. Peter, Minn., have banned Santa from visiting classes there because of complaints by Muslim Somali refugees who have children in the classes. “We have Somali families in the program,” the regional coordinator of the program explained. “We’re respecting the wishes of the families in the program. . . . The simple truth is that southern Minnesota has become a much more culturally diverse society than it was a few decades ago.” I’ll say. One of the most liberal states in the country, Minnesota has been welcoming political refugees into the country since the 1980s, and they have come by the thousands. More than 46,000 Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia live there, and about 50,000 Somali refugees, nearly one out of three in the entire nation, have moved there as well. Just under 10 percent of the population, about 450,000 people speak a foreign language at home. And Santa, even though a cultural, and not a religious, figure, offends some Somali refugees, so he has been banned. This is the way societies die. This is the way cultures commit
suicide. But here at home we haven’t banned the jolly old gent yet, and you can say you read it right here; “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” What a great song! It was my first favorite Christmas song, way back in the ‘50s, the end of the greatest era in the history of Christmas song writing. When it was written, in 1932, hardly anyone wrote Christmas songs, because no one would publish or record them. Why buy rights to a song you could only sell during December? But one day in June of 1932, so the story goes, a composer named Fred Coots was on a subway in Brooklyn when he saw a man who looked familiar. “Aren’t you Fred Coots,” the other man asked? “Yeah, and you are?” “Gillespie. Haven Gillespie. Lyric writer. From Covington, Ky.” Coots was familiar with Gillespie’s work. He had written “You Go to My Head,” among other songs, and Gillespie was familiar with Coots, whose past offerings included “Love Letters in the Sand.” “What are you doing up here,” asked Coots? “Taking some lyrics to a composer friend,” replied Gillespie. “I’ve got an idea for a Christmas song.” That ended the conversation, but Gillespie’s composer friend had gone to California, so he went to see Coots, who was not impressed with the song. “You got a love song? A ballad?” “No, this is all I have.” “A kid song,” Coots said dismissively, but he sat down and plunked out a tune for it anyway. “I figured I’d humor the guy,” he said later. “Maybe he’d bring me his next ballad.” Coots then took the song to his publisher, who reluctantly published the “kid’s song.” But who wanted it? No one, until November of
STATES-GRAPHIC Scott Whaley,
Editor & Publisher
Ceree Peace Poston Receptionist
1934. By then Coots was working for The Eddie Canter Radio Show, and he talked a reluctant Canter into singing it. The audience went wild, and the next day the song’s publisher had orders for 100,000 copies. By Christmas, sales had passed 400,000. Bing Crosby, who knew a good Christmas song when he heard it, recorded it with the Andrews Sisters, and a Christmas “standard,” the first of the modern age, was born. Tin Pan Alley suddenly realized that even though Christmas music sold only in December, it sold every December, and for some songs, profit would go on for decades and decades. And it has. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is now the third best selling Christmas song in history, right behind “Rudolph” and “White Christmas.” Its “sudden” popularity in 1934 ushered in a golden age of Christmas song writing. Pretty soon came “Winter Wonderland,” and then “Carol of the Bells” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” Every year seemed to produce a new “standard.” In 1942, the biggest Christmas song of all time, “White Christmas” came along, followed by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” “Let it Snow,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Rudolph,” “Frosty,” and “Silver Bells” all followed, and were made possible in part by “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” So here’s a warning for the folks at the St. Peter, Minnesota Head Start Program. You better watch out, because “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” whether you like it or not, and “you-knowwho” is making a list, and checking it twice. Let’s hope all those switches and lumps of coal don’t weigh down his sleigh. Merry Christmas everyone!
Our arms are too extended Approximately 30,000 lives have been lost so far as a result of the ongoing Mexican Drug War. If you’ve been casually following it, then the grim number of lives lost may come as no surprise. However, a recent revelation as to where some of the drug cartels have been getting their weapons may be a little shocking. N e w s p a p e r s worldwide have been reporting that many of the Mexican drug cartels have received their guns from the United States. U.S. firearms agents have estimated that approximately 80 to 90 percent of the weapons used by Mexican drug traffickers come from the United States. Approximately 90,000 weapons from the U.S. have been discovered and seized from the past four years. These aren’t lowend pistols and rifles. Drug traffickers are going after AK47 or AR-15 clones or high capacity 9 mm pistols. So what is the method used to acquire these weapons? Many drug traffickers will hire Americans with clean records to buy the guns. The help in acquiring these has even included U.S.
On the Agenda Brownsville City Board Meeting 2nd Tuesday of each month – 5:30 p.m. Brownsville City Planning Commission 4th Thursday of each month – 4 p.m. Brownsville Historic Zoning Commission Third Thursday of every month - 4 p.m. Brownsville City Court Room Brownsville Utility Board 1st Tuesday – 5 p.m. at the Utility Office
Mary Dunbar, Calvin Carter,Calvin Carter, Matt GarrettMatt GarrettJeff Perry Julie Pickard, Julie Pickard, WriterStaff Writer Staff WriterStaff WriterStaff Graphic Designer Graphic Designer Staff Writer Sports Writer
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agents. The reason for this is, of course, money, as American buyers can make up to $200 per weapon sold. I’m sorry, but this seems kind of funny to me that the country has been spending all this time, energy and effort and money on fighting illegal immigration when really its part of the reason so many lives have been lost in a violent and horrible drug war. Am I the only one who thinks we missed the logic train on that one? Or are we on a different train altogether? We are? And no one told me? Well, dang it; guess I’ll be late for my date with reason. You only get so many chances with that mistress. Okay, Mr. Carter, here you are complaining about something wrong with the country like any other young person but not offering any solutions. What should we do? Well, older critic who apparently lives inside my head, I don’t really know. Whenever the words “stricter gun laws” are thrown around, a storm brews up between gun enthusiasts and the people that loathe
them. Look, I’m not offering anything extreme like saying we need to get rid of our right to bear arms, but something needs to be done. The weapons being 80 to 90 percent rooted from the U.S. is a percent way too high to just ignore and pretend like the problem will solve itself. And it’s not like these guns are being used for more noble actions like family protection and hunting. Lives are being lost and destroyed. You would think that no one wants to be in any part responsible for that. So for those that may have an idea, what do you think can be done? What do you think the country needs to do? If we place stronger restrictions on gun laws, what type should they be? How would they work? And finally, should the U.S. make a better effort to get involved in the drug war? Better yet, can the U.S. even get involved? I know I’m offering more questions than I am answers, but I don’t have them. It’s my hope that perhaps, someone else does.
Governor Phil Bredesen
Office of the Governor State Capitol Nashville, TN 37243-0001 Telephone: (615) 741-2001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Dolores R. Gresham 13 Legislative Plaza Nashville, TN 37243 Telephone: (615) 741-2368 Email: email@example.com
State Rep. Jimmy Naifeh 301 6th Ave. North G 19A War Memorial Bldg. Nashville, TN 38301 Telephone: (615) 741-3774 Email: spk.eme.jimmy.naifeh@ capitol.tn.gov
Congressman John Tanner 109 S. Highland Street Room B-7 Federal Bldg. Jackson, TN 38301 Email: www.house.gove/tanner
Senator Lamar Alexander
840 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-4944 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Bob Corker
185Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-3344 Website: www.corker.senate.gov