Shorter Question Everything
• Nancy Pelosi Turns the Tables on Darrell Issa and He Could Be In Big Trouble: Nancy Pelosi has had enough of Darrell Collateral Damage Issa. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is calling for a high level security briefing on the operations of Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in which he would have to be forthcoming about what information he has released and to whom after he got his hands on sensitive documents surrounding HealthCare.Gov. It would then be up to the Department of Justice to make a determination. Issa finally got his hands on sensitive information about HealthCare.Gov that were it to be leaked, panelist E.J. Dionne pointed out, would make the site vulnerable to a cyber attack and would endanger national security. The release of the information could jeopardize the security of websites across the government, according to cyber security experts from across the administration IT departments.
In other news
• Congress sends defense bill to Obama: The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. The Senate voted 84-15 Thursday night for the $632.8 billion bill that covers combat pay, new ships, aircraft and military bases. Drawing the greatest attention were provisions cracking down on perpetrators of sexual assault and rape. The military’s handling of high-profile cases united Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate in a concerted effort to change the Uniform Code of Military Justice, with Senate women leading the fight.
• Good Grief and Great Tits: Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly and Fox News and the Family Research Council and the woman who allegedly punched another woman outside Walmart earlier this week for saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” managed to break me of the “merry Christmas” habit. I suspect I’m not alone. This constant bitching from the right about “happy holidays”—a perfectly lovely expression that embraces Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Pancha Ganapati, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Hanukkah, the Epiphany, Saint Nicholas’s Day, Hogmanay, Twelfth Night, and Kwanzaa—has made one thing clear. Not that there is now, or ever was, a war on Christmas. But that saying “merry Christmas” is an asshole move. Just as conservatives made patriotism toxic during the Vietnam War by conflating it with blind obedience to authority (“My country, right or wrong!”), modern conservatives have made “merry Christmas” toxic by associating it with Christian fundamentalism, religious intolerance, and the politics of imagined persecution. Unfortunately, the war on Christmas is a game Palin and O’Reilly and Fox News and the Family Research Council can’t lose. The more they complain about people saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas,” the fewer people will say “merry Christmas.” This will be held up as proof that the war on Christmas is real. But people like me aren’t replacing “merry Christmas” with “happy holidays” to be “politically correct,” as Palin insists in the introduction to her stupid book, we’re doing it because we don’t want people to think we’re assholes.