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NORAD's Santa tracker catches readers' eye

Children aren’t the only ones interested in Santa’s whereabouts this holiday season. Our coverage of the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Santa tracker, which tracks and secures Santa Claus during his epic Christmas Eve journey, brought out the Scrooge in one reader but warmed the hearts of others.

More on this topic:

NORAD enhances Santa tracking capabilities
Official Norad Santa tracker
Norad Santa tracker on Facebook

The first comment we received about the story questioned the propriety of using tax dollars for the Santa tracker, and believed an ulterior motive was behind the exercise:

Is this really an appropriate use of our tax dollars, to now involve OnStar, mobile devices, etc.? Are we aiding and abetting our kids even further into the electronic age?

A resounding “Bah humbug!” was the response by other readers, who see NORAD’s Santa tracker as a public service. A “Taxpayer” from Racine, Wis., commented that:

I would have to say this is an appropriate use of tax dollars (if any tax dollars are actually used). Private companies and 12,000 volunteers are helping to preserve the innocence of hundreds of thousands of kids. Heck, I bet there are older kids, young adults and "grown ups" (what ever that means) who also will check on Santa’s status.

Another “Taxpayer” from Gulfport, Miss., wrote that:

[Santa tracker] is a wonderful program, reminding us all to lighten up for the holidays. I don't mind that my tax dollars may be helping to support it.

A pair of readers noted that the Santa tracker also has practical applications as a training exercise and stress reliever for the servicemen and women who are part of NORAD.

I have had the pleasure of serving at NORAD/NORTHCOM headquarters, and many of the staff—both military and civilian—volunteer their time to answer phones calls [about Santa tracker]. Even though I have a bit of 'humbug' [in me] it's pretty cool—especially because the rest of NORAD/NORTHCOM’s mission is intense and critical to homeland security.

“M” in Reston, Va., reports an additional value of the Santa tracker this year:

I hear [NORAD is] on guard to determine whether it's really Santa, or if it's the White House party crashers trying to slip across the sky undetected on that night of nights. (Also watch out for balloon boy!)

Posted by Jonathan Byus on Dec 07, 2009 at 9:39 AM

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Reader Comments

Mon, Dec 21, 2009 Jim The United States

Just a point of clarification, following Santa (or believing in Santa) is not part of any religion. Christians follow the Christmas for the birth of Christ, not for Santa. Santa is obviously associated with Christmas, but is not part of a religious service.

Fri, Dec 18, 2009 abbie williams 7 crombie place gorgetown ontario

Its almost Christmas and i just got my tree up and i love how you can track santa were he is and what house he is in and what town or countrie that is soo intresing and you can know how many more hours minutes or seconds he is going to be at your house well g2g bye

Mon, Dec 14, 2009 Jim Biloxi

To the reader that says “not everybody in this country is Christian” I have to say it’s obvious you aren’t. First, you need to read the Constitution. If you can find any place in it that expressly forbids the expenditure of public monies on religion, post it here. I’ll even throw in the Bill of Rights and the 17 amendments that follow. If you read the Constitution, you’ll find that one of the things that it expressly does is guarantee that all religions (not just Christians) may worship without interference from the government. For too long people have tried to turn things around and say that religion has no place in this country. The truth is that this country was established based on Christian values. Our Constitution and our government exist because our founding fathers wanted to be able to worship without government interference. If you look closely you’ll even find “God” in the original document. As for being ignorant of the Constitution, you better look in a mirror if you want to see the real idiot. I can only assume that you are an atheist. Whether you are or not is unimportant to me. I respect your right to believe whatever you like and to practice what you believe as long as it doesn't harm anyone. I demand that you respect my right to do the same. My Constitution guarantees my right to do that. Second, you should be thankful that you live in a country that allows the freedom that you enjoy. In many countries you could be put in prison or even killed for saying the wrong thing. There’s that pesky Constitution again!

Fri, Dec 11, 2009

The expenditure of public monies on religion is expressly forbidden by the constitution YOU IDIOTS. What you are gushing about is a serious breach of the law. If sued you would doubtless lose, and I certainly hope someone is looking into it. How a bunch of federal employees and ex employees could be so abysmally ignorant of the Constitution is beyond me. This is a travesty and I for one will not stand for it. You are all a bunch of Christian chauvinists and should be very ashamed!!! NOT EVERYBODY IN THIS COUNTRY IS CHRISTIAN!

Tue, Dec 8, 2009 Stacia Colorado

As the former (5 year) manager of the NORAD Tracks Santa Program, I have to let you know, virtually NO tax payer dollars are spent on the NTS program. Thanks to corporate partners like GOOGLE and Booz Allen Hamilton practically everything is donated to the program. This is a true volunteer/donation program, a great example of the Good Will of Corporate America! For more info go to the Partner Page at www.noradsanta.org. As far as the kids and electronics - let me just say that adults across the world enjoy the NTS program as much as the kids! Cheers! Stacia

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