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Santa Parade

As we wind down the the work week and many head home for an extended holiday break, here’s a few bits of year-end cheer.

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Thankfully, Fox News host Megyn Kelly — who declared that Santa Clause was, in fact, white — has been silenced.  It turns out that the big guy takes on many different colors and ethnicities, not a tough act to pull off when you’re a fictional character. Kelly, by the way, was not the first to land in hot water this past month for casting Santa in a single mold.

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Pope Francis joins in a selfie ( (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

Pope Francis joins in a selfie ( (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

“Who am I to judge?”  With those five simple words, spoken in response to questions about gay priests, Pope Francis shocked the world and managed to recast Catholicism as a more inclusive, open-minded and compassionate institution.  Here’s why Time magazine named him Person of the Year:

He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century.

Read more about Pope Francis in this New Yorker profile.

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Jan. 3, 2013. Sydney Festival's the giant Rubber Duck installation, Darling Harbour, Australia. This is the latest incarnation of artist Florentijn Hofman's famous oversized toy which measures 15m high and 18m wide and has been commissioned especially for this year's Sydney Festival. (Photo Damian Shaw—EPA)

Sydney Festival’s the giant Rubber Duck installation, by artist Florentijn Hofman. (Photo Damian Shaw—EPA)

The annual ritual of capturing the past year’s best and worst is well underway. Time magazine selected these photos as the top 10 — a choice that just gets tougher as more of us equipped with cell phones fancy ourselves photographers.

“Dizzying technological advances allow a mind-boggling number of images—half-a-billion a day—to be shot and posted online,” writes David Rohde in this Atlantic piece. Rohde argues that the world still needs professional photographers, though, who capture the moments that change history.

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Speaking of photos, here’s one that’s stirred up a bit of a controversy and raises this important question: Can you be a Springsteen fan and a Carolina fan at the same time?

(Twitter)

Springsteen catching a Duke Men’s basketball game last night with his daughter, a Duke senior, at Madison Square Garden. (Twitter)

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Merry Christmas, all!   See you next year . . . . .

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Alex Kotch, who blogs at Progresivo and has offered some contributions here at The Pulse has an amusing take on some recent criticisms leveled at the Moral Mondays protests:

Fox News finally came out with their story on Moral Mondays this week, reporting that protestors “claim” the poor are harmed by legislation passed by conservatives, interviewing state Sen. Thom Goolsby but failing to mention that he called his own constituents “morons,” and giving NC GOP Chairman Claude Pope another chance to put down the protestors, this time comparing them to a losing football team:

“Would the losing team of the Super Bowl go protest the winning team’s locker room because they lost the game and they fumbled the ball? Come on! They are wasting taxpayer resources.”

That’s not the first time a conservative has made an unsavory sports comparison. But let’s clean up that analogy a little bit. Here’s something more accurate: Read More

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I don’t spend a lot of time trolling Fox Noise (er, ah, News) and missed this when it came out last week, so pardon me if you’ve already seen it. For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure, however, this commentary clearly is the dumbest in a long line of certifiably loony takes from the Murdochians.