Saturday, December 21, 2002
Friday, December 20, 2002
"It was Inauguration Day. Washington rang with happy Rebel Yells, while bands all over town played 'Dixie.' An associate of the new president warned that since the South ran the nation, Negroes should expect to be treated as a servile race."
This is not fanciful speculation about what things might have been like had Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrats prevailed in 1948. It is historian Lawrence Friedman's description of the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Wilson. Intellectual. Pacifist idealist. Democrat. Bigot.
"I thought this might be a one or two day story, but it really grew and took hold of the country. (It) may be a reminder to political leaders that if you're going to say something wildly stupid try not to do it during a slow news time."
- Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) on the Lott affair
1) What was the reason for choosing December 18th for the arrests? What new evidence caused the urgency to act on the long-standing allegations listed in the indictment? It is no secret that Muslims nationwide have been publicizing this day for months. It was the day that the documentary about the life of the prophet Muhammad on PBS was scheduled to air nationwide. We hoped to defuse some of the bigoted remarks about Islam made by many hateful prominent figures, including the US Attorney General himself!
Muslims nationwide may have been publicizing this day for months but that doesn't mean the FBI was listening. Somehow I don't think they give a crap when some documentary on Muhammad airs. Anyway, propaganda on taxpayer supported television isn't going to diffuse distrust of Islam. Members of Islam no longer constituting the vast majority of terrorists targetting this country will.
2) Why did the FBI arrest these men in such a humiliating manner with utter disregard for their families? The children involved witnessed demeaning treatment of their fathers during the pre-dawn raid on their homes.
If children witnessing the arrest was so abhorrent then why didn't their mothers send them to their rooms while this was going on?
3) How did some news media become aware of the pre-dawn raids before hand and were available on hand to film one of the men arrested in handcuffs while being escorted by FBI agents out of his house in his pajamas? This shameful scene added to the humiliation and lack of decency by law enforcement officials.
There's humiliation again. In Saudi Arabia people are executed in the public square for everyone to see. Here we arrest them in front of cameras. Somehow I'm pretty sure that, given the choice, the suspects would choose the latter treatment.
Also, I love how humiliation seems to be the worst possible thing in the universe to these people. They say that humiliation is what leads them to murder Israelis and Americans. Everyone is humiliated from time to time, get over it.
4) How does the arrest of these four men make America safer? The significance of these arrests is clearly exaggerated for political purposes. One is left wondering whether these arrest orders were issued from Tel Aviv or Washington, D.C!
I can tell you how four men could make a difference. If we had arrested four men on September 10, then maybe one of the planes wouldn't have been hijacked and hundreds or thousands of people would be alive today. Also, would they rather the FBI arrest every Muslim? I just love their logic. If mass arrests take place then it's simple racism. If its a low number then it's insignificant and is being done to please the Israelis.
Anybody else see how psychotic these people obviously are?
"She was such a bitch."
--Congressman Cass Ballenger (R-NC) on former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
Did the Republican members of Congress drink a truth serum or something? I don't seem to remember politicians saying what they really think so much.
"It is a shock. You don't expect this to happen. It is really putting fright and apprehension in the community. People who come from these countries -- this is what they expect from their government. Not from America."
Yes I realize right now we are told that people all over the world hate America. But this isn't true at all. The people who hate America are European leftists, Islamic radicals or foreign government officials who yearn for power. Normal, ordinary people don't hate America. It is still known all over the world as the "land of the free." And if we want to continue to get the best and the brightest coming here to work and make lives for themselves we will have to continue to be the "land of the free."
Make a crack about “Women’s Studies” departments, as I did in yesterday’s screed, and people think you’re opposed to women’s studies. I’m not. Any study of humanity in any manifestation is worthy; I’m just suspicious of the tendency to parcel the species into chunks and hand it off to people who live in intellectual clean-rooms. It’s like studying an MRI slice of the abdomen in hopes you’ll figure out why the patient likes Bing Crosby songs. Gender is too important an issue to be left to people who think it’s more important than anything else.
I definitely agree with what he is saying, though I will go one step further. I am opposed to Women's Studies majors at colleges, at least from a practical angle. People voluntarily getting together and studying women's issues is totally fine. I have no problem with the Lifetime network or Oxygen or any of those. I also don't really have a problem with a few Women's Studies courses being offered. When I have a problem is when I think about one day having my daughter (who is yet to be conceived so is purely a figment of my imagination) tell me that she is going to major in women's studies. What a friggin waste of money! Currently private college costs about $36,000 per year or $144,000 for 4 years. And I don't even want to think about what it could cost by the time I have a child ready to go to college. If you are so interested in women, buy a few books on the issue and visit some chat rooms or discussion boards. That is a lot cheaper and I bet just as gratifying, unless you are there to pick up other women (not that there is anything wrong with that). And what exactly do you do with a Women's Studies degree? Other that become a lawyer like the rest of the humanities major dregs?
Another problem I have with Women's Studies is it seems to breed persecution complexes in women. Perfectly nice and reasonable women often will leave these courses thinking that men are constantly trying to oppress women like its some sort of conspiracy or something. I'm constantly hearing about how some female public figure is being defended by a feminist on the grounds that she is only being attacked because she is female and men are threatened by her. Or I'm hearing about the "glass ceiling". Guess what? It's not all about gender. When men get together to hang out we don't discuss how we are going to "get" some woman who threatens us. We talk about sports or politics or how we think someone at the bar is hot. Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you, but it doesn't mean that they are either.
And just so you know, as occassionally someone from the other side does read this blog, I am not at all against strong women. I am very for women being strong in fact. It is simply that I don't think that Women's Studies is something that breeds strength in women. I think what breeds strength is having them succeed in the same classes and fields where men are trying to succeed. Inbred ideas that sometimes border on paranoia probably won't do the trick.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
North Korea remains, for now, immune to attack, even as it tests ballistic missiles and develops nuclear warheads. Now is not too soon, the Americans figure, for a missile defence system, just in case the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il, decides to go out with a bang.
Canada, however, is above such petty concerns. We are more worried that a fully deployed missile system might, in a couple of decades, involve space-based weapons, which Mr. Graham described as "immoral, illegal and a bad mistake." For that reason, Canada still refuses to participate in NMD.
The Americans are coping with the loss. Since we have informally asked them not to request access to Canadian radar sites, the Yanks have asked the Danish and British governments for permission to upgrade radar instillations in Greenland and Yorkshire. Both governments have tentatively agreed. Strangely, they think keeping Third World missiles from destroying First World cities is desirable.
I never did understand anyone opposing "star wars" or SDI. If it increases the chance of saving lives, how could it possibly be bad? The Soviets opposed it and for good reason. A successful system would have meant they would no longer be able to blow us sky high, which would have cost them just about all their international leverage. It's not like anyone was ever afraid of a Soviet economic embargo.
On Jan. 28, 1931, in the House of Commons, Winston Churchill expressed his disgust at Ramsey MacDonald's government:
"I remember, when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as the 'Boneless Wonder.' My parents judged that the spectacle would be too revolting and demoralizing to my youthful eye, and I have waited 50 years to see the Boneless Wonder sitting on the Treasury Bench."
Like some election night drama, the counting of checks and PayPal receipts kept the suspense going. But in the interests of full disclosure, we can now let you know that our one-week pledge drive garnered payments from 3,339 people for a grand total of $79,020 - enough to pay for our burgeoning band-width, an intern/assistant, and a salary for yours truly. It's not exactly venture-capitalism but it's a great start. We've proved, I think, that the web has the potential to deliver truly independent, reader-supported journalism. Well, in fact, you proved it. Thanks so much again.
Actually it was much better than a pledge drive as I didn't even notice he was having one. When I think of pledge drives I think of PBS who are so high and mighty about not having commercials but then interrupt documentaries every five minutes to ask you for money in exchange for a tote bag. So what's the point of PBS again?
The result can be seen on a billboard looming over the Pat Bay Highway near Victoria, where commuters, rushing no doubt to buy gifts, are faced with this stark message: "Gluttony. Envy. Insincerity. Greed. Enjoy Your Christmas."
Pretension, Hatred, Conspictuous Arseholery, Snobfoolishness. Enjoy your life!
In truth, my Christmas will be nothing like the event the billboard pillories. Gluttony? We have a small turkey the size of a big dog's head, a cud of stuffing, a cup of gravy, a tin of peppermint chocolate. We live in an old house, you see; we don't have a vomitorium like most folks in the suburbs. I’m sure there are many who stuff their maws until their pants buttons pop off and ping against the walls like rivets on a sub that hits the ocean floor; I'm sure that all over this wretched land, gouty zeppelin-bellied men will stagger to their feet, raise a glass and shout ONE MORE WHALE LIVER SMOOTHIE FOR JESUS! I've never seen it happen, but I take the word of an insular, disapproving Canadian scold that it must happen, somewhere. Remember: the people who have no first-hand experience with the people they hate are always the keenest critics. (See also, Kulaks, Soviet Ukraine, disemboweling of)
Envy? Methinks thou doth project too much.
Insincerity? There might be a little of that, if I find myself at a Christmas party talking to some bitter, self-satisfied Christmas-hating jackass who doesn’t consider the season complete until he’s pissed in everyone’s wassail and told us we’re all greedy want-bots programmed to pour into malls and fill up our carts when we hear “Jingle Bells.” I might react with insincerity, nodding and smiling instead of grinding my heel hard on his forehead like I'd want to do. Greed? I don’t care if my wife gives me nothing more than a kiss and a refill. We want for nothing. Even on a day when we’re all sick, sniffing and hacking and puking and moaning, we’re still all doing it together, and that’s all we need. For gravy, there’s Jasperwood, and for biscuits, there’s Jasper. Who wants only a biscuit. And some gravy, dammit.
And then there's Ward Connerly, a black man who spends his days dancing passionately to the tune of the anti-affirmative-action zealots. Some of the folks in that crowd are less than progressive when it comes to race relations, and it looks as if Mr. Connerly, who heads the ironically named American Civil Rights Coalition, has decided to shimmy with the worst of their beliefs. In a television interview last week he argued that segregation of the races was not necessarily racist.
That is extremely strange.
How come you never hear about "pro-affirmative action zealots"? Aren't you one of them Bob? And also, if I remember correctly, Malcolm X also believed in segregation of the races. I don't hear you bringing that up, but oh yeah, black people can't possibly be racist now can they? And now for Conrad Burns:
Back in 1994, while campaigning for a second term, Mr. Burns dropped by a local newspaper, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and told an editor an anecdote about one of his constituents, a rancher who wanted to know what life was like in Washington, D.C.
The senator said the rancher asked him, "Conrad, how can you live back there with all those niggers?"
Senator Burns said he told the rancher it was "a hell of a challenge."
The anecdote was published and Senator Burns apologized. When he was asked why he hadn't expressed to the rancher any disapproval of the use of the word nigger, Senator Burns said, "I don't know. I never give it much thought."
Okay, now this is probably the worst thing that Bob Herbert has brought up and even I am offended by it. But then again, I live in the northeast. Conrad Burns is from Montana. The only thing black out there are cellphones. We are talking about Wonder Bread country. He probably never even saw a black person until he got to Washington DC. So he probably didn't give it much thought since there isn't a lot of racial tension in Montana as it is pretty homogenous. And if you are from such a place, dealing with a multicultural environment would be pretty challenging. The same would be true if you moved from East Harlem to Greenwich. This doesn't prove he is a racist, just a hick.
In 1991, immediately after a civil rights bill had been passed, Senator Burns invited a group of lobbyists, some of them white and some of them black, to accompany him to an auction.
When asked what was being auctioned, he replied, "Slaves."
The Washington Post quoted one of the lobbyists as saying, "We were floored. We couldn't believe it." Senator Burns later said he was talking about a charitable auction in which the services of individuals are sold.
Immediately after a civil rights bill was passed? Do you have the timing down cold there Bob? Was in passed at noon and at 12:01 he made a slave joke? And according to your next line, it wasn't even a joke at all. That is what those types of auctions are called and they are in good fun. So what exactly is the problem?
In 1999 he gave a speech in Billings in which he referred to Arabs as "ragheads."
Okay, you get this one. But isn't this the equivalent of calling a French Canadian a "pea-soup eater"?
A year later, while visiting an office in Billings, the senator spotted a woman named Angela Warren, who happened to be wearing a nose ring. He asked, "What is that thing in your nose? What tribe are you from?"
Ms. Warren said she was upset by the remark, and told Senator Burns, "It's a nose ring. And I am obviously not from a tribe."
I don't even know how this could be construed as racist. I think it was just his way of making fun of a contemporary fashion that he disapproves of. Notice how Bob Herbert doesn't mention the race of the woman. I bet she was white which would make this obviously a joke.
Considering Burns is from a hick state and is constantly followed by reporters and other people who write down what he says, the fact that this is all you can come up with is pretty telling. Bob, imagine if you had someone following you around for 10 years, I'm sure we could come up with a lot of items showing you to be a major racist. I think that's true for just about anyone.
Some 51 percent of women and a full 58 percent of men said they felt more pressured than aroused during sex, citing a range of reasons: too little time, not enough conversation, an absence of affection or a lack of skill, the magazine Fit For Fun reported.
Make up your own comments.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
The device, which Potter calls a hybrot, is in essence a rat-controlled robot, and marks the first instance in which cultured neurons have been used to control a robotic mechanism. And while the hybrot’s movements may appear less than graceful, the knowledge gained could lead to computer chips modeled on biological systems—and perhaps even to computers that incorporate biological components. Such computers might one day learn, repair themselves, and perform certain tasks—such as dictation—at which binary-based systems are miserable. “I’m banking my whole career on the fact that there is a world of emergent properties in these neural networks that we don’t know anything about,” says Potter, who is a professor of biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC—Flanked by key members of Congress and his administration, President Bush approved Monday a streamlined version of the Bill of Rights that pares its 10 original amendments down to a "tight, no-nonsense" six.
A Republican initiative that went unopposed by congressional Democrats, the revised Bill of Rights provides citizens with a "more manageable" set of privacy and due-process rights by eliminating four amendments and condensing and/or restructuring five others. The Second Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms, was the only article left unchanged.
Calling the historic reduction "a victory for America," Bush promised that the new document would do away with "bureaucratic impediments to the flourishing of democracy at home and abroad."
A council of religious leaders from the Vatican, rabbis and various Protestant ministers will be working on cleaning up the ten commandments next.
A respected Saskatchewan Indian leader said Friday Hitler did the right thing when he "fried" six million Jews during the Second World War.
"That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe. That's why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the goddamned world. And look what they're doing. They're killing people in Arab countries."
The 68-year-old Ahenakew made his remarks after giving a 45-minute, profanity-laced address to between 150 and 200 delegates attending an FSIN conference on a new Health Canada policy requiring Indians to sign a consent form before receiving certain health services.
During his wide-ranging speech, in which he complained about bigotry in Canadian society, accused the media of creating racial conflict and continually referred to non-Indian Canadians as "immigrants," Ahenakew said he lived in Germany during the late 1950s when he was with the Canadian army.
Approached afterwards to clarify his comments on Jews and the Second World War, Ahenakew said he agreed with his German friends. When asked how he could justify the Holocaust, Ahenakew said: "How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over, that's going to dominate?"
Ahenakew said when he served in Egypt in 1964. he saw Jews kill people. When asked for details, he said mines planted by the Israeli army killed civilians.
"All I know is what the Germans told me. Of course, I believe them. I saw the Jews kill people in Egypt when I was there. The Palestinians, Arabs. I saw them (Israel) f---ing dominate everything."
Let us imagine a country with nine inhabitants: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h and i. If a, b, and c have incomes of 100 per year, d has 90, e and f have 50, h has 30 and i has 20, then total income is 540, average income is 60 and the poverty line is 30 if calculated as 50 per cent of average, or 36 if calculated as 60 per cent of average.
The next year Bill Gates arrives with an income of 500. He employs h and i for an extra 20 per year (more than they were getting before). The result is: Bill Gates 460, a, b and c 100 each, d has 90, e and f have 50, h now also has 50 and i has 40. So everyone is out of the poverty level of the year before.
But this is where relativism kicks in: the new poverty line is 52 or 57.2 (depending on the 50 or 60 percent definition). So Bill Gates has not only 'failed' to lift h and i out of poverty by giving them jobs that paid better, he has impoverished e and f, who were previously not poor, even though neither e nor f has lost any income.
In the British case executing all elderly people aged over 60 who live alone on less than average household incomes would statistically eliminate poverty: either they would be dead, or more likely they would choose to live in groups of two or three and therefore rise towards average household income levels. Executing all students would also have a similar effect. Slaughtering everyone who lives alone would be a guaranteed success in a "War on Want".
This may appear insanely evil. Yet I have just described the policies of the Cambodian holocaust: Pol Pot really was 'tackling poverty'.
Thirty years of high-minded pontificating has produced little in the way of solutions, save for the truly idiotic and universally ignored 55 mph national speed limit and fuel-mileage CAFE standards that have had zero effect on reducing the nation's appetite for petroleum. The most futile efforts come from the elitists at the Times and other left-wing Chicken Littles in the form of demonizing Sport Utility Vehicles as the paradigm of American gluttony and Veblenesque conspicuous consumption. A new ad campaign will even suggest that driving an SUV offers tacit support to terrorists.
The movement of goods and services is the lifeblood of this mobile, versatile and highly creative economy. We cannot depend on the ever-increasing fleet of diesel-powered tractor trailers - which now number over 60 million - to haul intercity freight over crowded, crumbling interstates that in the last twenty years have seen traffic loads almost double (now involving 220 million motor vehicles) while road mileage has increased a paltry six percent. Add to that a weakened, smaller network of railroad freight capacity, suburban sprawl (motivated by high crime and other unpleasantries in our city centers), lousy rail and commuter bus systems and an airline industry that is, with a few exceptions like Jet Blue, on the rocks and we face disaster.
2. Likewise, ignore the baby food factories, the glorious arts and entertainment facilities, and the city's best eating establishment. If you want to be taken seriously, learn to at least recognize when someone is trying to blow sunshine up your ass. Potemkin villages have fooled nitwits like you for decades. By now, you should know better.
3. For God's sake ask some tough questions, will you? If you don't come home having made a few enemies, you weren't doing your job right. Instead of just complimenting them on the food and the sanitary conditions of the one room of the one hospital they allowed you to see, how about waving a few Amnesty International reports under their noses? Why not name some names? Ask what really happened to Saddam's architect. Get under their skin. If you expect them to slip up and tell you something important, you need to rattle them and knock them off script, much like you were in "I Am Sam".
9. Make that Hollywood power work for you. If you really want to do some good, tell Saddam that if he doesn't come clean the U.S. government is going to jam his palace TV and replace all the shows with a very special Rosie O'Donnell network. All Rosie, all the time! No man can withstand that kind of threat.
1) Allow schools to fall into useless decay. Do not teach civics or history except to describe America as a hopelessly fascistic, reactionary pit. Do not expect students to know the basics of mathematics, chemistry and physics.
3) Create a culture that blames the other guy for everything and discourages any form of individual self-restraint or self-control.
10) Enact a tax system that encourages class antagonism and punishes saving, while rewarding indebtedness, frivolity and consumption. Tax the fruits of labor many times:
First tax it as income. Then tax it as real or personal property. Then tax it as capital gains. Then tax it again, at a staggeringly high level, at death.
Monday, December 16, 2002
"The more they fight the business, the better the business gets. All the merchandising and propaganda and advertising is done by them. And the price is kept high."
Billionaire cocaine trafficker from Medellin, Columbia
From Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography by Dominic Streatfeild
An article on Nov. 10 about animal rights referred erroneously to an island in the Indian Ocean and to events there involving goats and endangered giant sea sparrows that could possibly lead to the killing of goats by environmental groups. Wrightson Island does not exist; both the island and the events are hypothetical figments from a book (also mentioned in the article), ''Beginning Again,'' by David Ehrenfeld. No giant sea sparrow is known to be endangered by the eating habits of goats.
"You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen?" Mr Pinter asked rhetorically. "Forgotten. No longer referred to. Millions of dead reindeer slaughtered, their blood streaking the ice all around Santa's Workshop. Never mentioned. Millions of elves born without genitals. But you never hear about them.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose," he continued, "and, if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. You know why that is? Depleted uranium. Oh, yes, don't worry, he can still guide your sleigh tonight. It's not hard to follow a reindeer whose rectum is leaking radioactive blood across the sky, is it?"
Without any official public notice, and without any congressional hearings, the Bush administration—with an initial appropriation of $200 million—is constructing the Total Information Awareness System. It will extensively mine government and commercial data banks, enabling the FBI, the CIA, and other intelligence agencies to collect information that will allow the government—as noted on ABC-TV's November 14 Nightline—"to essentially reconstruct the movements of citizens." This will be done without warrants from courts, thereby making individual privacy as obsolete as the sauropods of the Mesozoic era. (Intelligence from and to foreign sources will also be involved.)
Our government's unblinking eyes will try to find suspicious patterns in your credit-card and bank data, medical records, the movies you click for on pay-per-view, passport applications, prescription purchases, e-mail messages, telephone calls, and anything you've done that winds up in court records, like divorces. Almost anything you do will leave a trace for these omnivorous computers, which will now contain records of your library book withdrawals, your loans and debts, and whatever you order by mail or on the Web.
As Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley pointed out in the November 17 Los Angeles Times: "For more than 200 years, our liberties have been protected primarily by practical barriers rather than constitutional barriers to government abuse. Because of the sheer size of the nation and its population, the government could not practically abuse a great number of citizens at any given time. In the last decade, however, these practical barriers have fallen to technology."
- Republicans say "Merry Christmas!" Democrats say "Happy Holidays!"
- Republicans help the poor during the holidays by sending $50 to the Salvation Army. Democrats help the poor by giving $50, one buck at a time, to panhandlers on the street.
- Democrats get back at the Republicans on their Christmas list by giving them fruitcakes. Republicans re-wrap them and send them to in-laws.
- Democrats let their kids open all the gifts on Christmas Eve. Republicans make their kids wait until Christmas morning.
- When toasting the holidays, Republicans ask for eggnog or mulled wine. Democrats ask for a "Bud."
- When not in stores, Republicans shop from a catalog. Democrats watch for "incredible TV offers" on late night television.
- Democrats do much of their shopping at Target and Wal-Mart. So do Republicans, but they don't admit it.
- Republican parents have no problem buying toy guns for their kids. Democrats refuse to do so. That is why their kids pretend to shoot each other with dolls.
- Republicans spends hundreds of dollars and hours of work decorating the yard with outdoor lights and Christmas displays. Democrats save their time and money, and drive around at night to look at other people's lights.
- Democrats' favorite Christmas movie is "Miracle on 34th Street." Republicans' favorite Christmas movie is "It's a Wonderful Life." Right-Wing Republicans' favorite Christmas movie is "Die Hard."
- Republicans always take the price tag off expensive gifts before wrapping. Democrats also remove price tags off pricey gifts ... and reposition them to make sure they are seen.
- Republicans wear wide red ties and green sports jackets during the festive season. Democrats do too, all year round.
- Most Republicans try, at least once, enclosing indulgent, wretchedly maudlin form letters about their families in their Christmas cards. Public ridicule from Democrats usually discourages them from doing it again.
- Democrats' favorite Christmas carol is "Deck the Halls." Young Democrats' favorite Christmas carol is "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Republicans'
favorite Christmas carol is "White Christmas." Young Republicans' favorite Christmas carol is "White Christmas."
- Cheapskate Republicans buy an artificial Christmas tree. Tight-fisted Democrats buy a real tree, but they wait until the week before Christmas when the lots lower their prices.
- Democrat men like to watch football while the women fix holiday meals. On this, Republicans are in full agreement.
- Republicans see nothing wrong with letting their children play "Cowboys and Indians." Democrats don't either, as long as the Indians win.
- Republicans first began thinking like Republicans when they stopped believing in Santa Claus. Democrats became Democrats because they never stopped believing in Santa Claus.