Too Much Stuff

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The big thing around here this weekend, is this poor guy who got trampled too death at WalMart recently by Holiday Shoppers.  I don’t know how many emails I have received on this in the past 72 hours.

Being as it is a slow weekend, and I have not been mauled recently or had my bones picked over like carrion lying on the floor of Death Valley, I will take the shot.  This deadly holiday shoppin is getting out of hand ladies, someone needs to cool it. When people are actually dying for a cheap pair of shoes in America, it is time to draw the line.

The name for this apparently deadly rite of fall ritual in America, is known as “Black Friday” which is the day after the day before and someone evidently is going to die.  And they think that deer hunting in Wisconsin is bad news?

Women desperate for a sale, will buy anything.  I remember one year, Cup Cake came home with an escalator!  Another year she shows up with a jock strap!  I kid you not.  So I say, “What the hell are we going to do with that.”  She smiles and says, “it was on sale.  I will figure something out.”  Today it is in our kitchen, she uses it to store garlic balls!

Bad shopper, bad, bad, shopper.

God Bless America — A thirty-something woman is never slender enough, a credit limit is never fat enough.  Yesterday in a frenzy to load up on more stuff, a temporary worker at WalMart was thrown to the floor and then literally trampled too death.  Have we sunk this low in our quest for even more made in China junk?

Evidently so.

So what are the effects of over-consumption for many years?  The more you have the more you want, which of course leads to unhappiness and insecurity often initiated in the quest for wealth. I recently read a study on this.  It mainly dealt with kids, in these three studies with adolescents, they showed that those with aspirations for wealth and fame were more depressed and had lower self-esteem than peers whose aspirations centered on self-acceptance, family and friends, and community feeling.

“The wealth seekers also had a higher incidence of headaches, stomach-aches and runny noses, people with extrinsic goals sharpen their egos to conquer the “outer space’ around them, but they don’t have a clue how to navigate inner space.”

Too Much Stuff.

We lose control of our own lives when we surrender long-term wealth (like the natural systems that support us and literally ground us) in exchange for short-term bargains (like cheap socks and burgers). Certainly, it can’t be denied that as a percentage of income, we have the cheapest (and fastest) food in the world. But we also have the most expensive health care.

What’s the connection?

The painful truth is it’s very expensive to treat a feverish lifestyle that tears up the environment, creates chronic stress, and invents strange new forms of food. Because of our culture’s frantic, conveyor-belt consumption, we spend more for garbage bags than 90 of the world’s countries spend for everything! (it’s normal for us to buy a wastebasket and carry it home in a plastic bag, then take the basket out of the bag, and put the bag in the basket.)

Seventy percent of Americans visit malls each week, more than attend houses of worship.

Each year more than a million Americans file for personal bankruptcy – more than graduate from college. We spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($80 billion) than on higher education ($65 billion). We can do so much better, if we redistribute our wealth.

Here’s the dilemma: Even in hard times, we’ve programmed our economy for surplus rather than sufficiency. We produce more than we need. One of the greatest underlying stresses we’re feeling is “How can we possibly consume all this stuff?” But every time that thought crosses our minds, a mental game-show buzzer sounds and the program takes over, instructing us to “keep eating, keep shopping.”

The truth is, maybe we just can’t eat anymore.  Truth is, maybe we just have too much stuff.

Well, I would like to stay and chat some more girl, but like I said, “I need to get to my leaf blower that is tucked wayyyyyyyyyyyy back in a corner of the garage, buried under all my stuff.”

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Movin’ On

112508In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, Karl Rove applauds Barack Obama’s appointment of a “first-rate economic team,” cheering the selections of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers, Council of Economic Advisers chief Christina Romer, and OMB head Peter Orszag.

Man, if Karl Rove likes it then we are really in trouble.

Internet is abuzz with Obama news this morning, believe it or not, some folks actually advocating that Bush step down now and turn it all over to the new elect.  Thank goodness we have a system of rules and stop-gap measures in place, for people like this.

Your turn is coming, be patient.

Having visited Washington DC twice in my lifetime I did come away with one observation.  Washington has a lot of one-way streets.  Never could figure it out, then one day it occurred to me.  “This is so the bunch leaving, won’t be running into the new bunch coming in.”

Pretty smart planning.

President Bush recently told staffers at a meeting at the White House that “he understood how difficult it would be for them to move, locate new employment, and get on with a new life.  He said that he felt their concerns.”  He is however, in considerably much better shape, leaving Washington with estimated assets of some $21 million dollars.  He also said that he would be “bored” living on his 1,500 acre ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Ranch?  The Ponderosa was a ranch, I never understood that Crawford, Texas ranch observation at all.

The Crawford spread surely doesn’t fit the definition of “ranch” I have never observed any livestock of any kind on it, don’t believe it grows anything other than brush and chainsaws.  At least Ronald Reagan had a horse or two around for him and Barbara Walters to ride.  The “ranch in Crawford” is reminiscent of all those old Hollywood movies where they show the home of the cattle baron bad guy, and you hear all of these cows in the background lowing (moo’ing) but you never actually see any of them.

Bush the impossible dreamer has another iron in the fire now.  He is now dreaming of setting up “A Fantastic Freedom Institute” (his words not mine) to promote democracy around the world, no word on which country they plan on invading in order to pull of this lofty goal.  Stay tuned, when we hear where it is located, we will let you know.

One thing for sure, he said it is not Cleveland.

It is all kind of moot anyway, “he won’t know until Cheney tells him.”  He also said that “he would be giving some speeches, to replenish the coffers.”  Now there is a definite yawner there, that is like paying for tickets to see the Partridge Family in concert ….. Pass.

We haven’t had a “class act” president in a long, long time.  Mr Obama is now our present hope.

The last president we had that had a modicum of good taste or class would be (this is my opinion) Harry Truman.  Nowadays presidents line up on the speaking tour circuit, it is lucrative and of course there is the “presidential library gambit” which provides a neat, legal avenue for the rich to funnel money to ex-presidents without reporting the stipend to anyone.

That works out just swell and the majority of the outgoing presidents have taken advantage of it.

When Harry S. Truman, left the White House, he had to take out a bank loan to tide him over in private life.  He had no official government income or support except for his Army pension of $112.56 a month.  Yet he turned down every lucrative consulting engagement, and tidy-sum endorsement offer that came his way.  When asked about it, he replied, “I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency.”

But that is back when our leadership had a moral conscience, direction and backbone.  All we have now is a bunch of pandering clowns with their hands out headed for the next free $1,000 a plate fund raiser and book signing.  Which is kind of sad, for the dignity of the office and the country as a whole.

A Fantastic Freedom Institute, that is a real hoot.

This from another elected political thug in a long line that has made the name America as Tom Hetland said in his book “synonymous with Viet Nam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the toppling of El Salvador, Allende in Chile and now Iraq, Afghanistan and Guanta’namo. A dark twisted country that sends its best men off to die.”

Needlessly sacrificed in parts of the world most folks cannot locate on a map.  All in the name of democracy … War is good business … Invest your kid.  Just go home Dubya and be quiet, we are all tired of your speeches and policies that emptied our coffers, and killed the best of our sons.

Some eight years ago, America welcomed Mr. Bush with open arms in Philadelphia to the strains of “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood.  As he leaves I am reminded of a John Lennon song, “Imagine.” Imagine there’s no Heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us, only sky.  Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill for or die for and no religion too. You can play it over and over in the elevators of your new Fantastic Freedom Institute, a good anthem for you.

It is time to bring the troops home each and everyone of them, and it is also time for you El President’e , El Majordomo, to just move on.


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The cartoon courtesy of Center for American Progress” (online)

Risk Free – Buy Back

Unbelievable!  I am seeing this right?  Stores opening at four in the morning for after Thanksgiving Day sales?  Are people actually going down there in droves, much like lemmings rushing headlong to the edge of the cliff, in order to get huge discounts.  Some poor temp. worker at WalMart was actually stampeded and killed in a holiday rush throng, I read it in the news.  How tragic and sad is that?

Which makes me wonder about this.  “If they can offer these tremendous savings as they imply now, why cannot they offer them during the year?”

Chasing the buck!

Late night car sales, the promotions are running rampant, every channel.  Employee pricing, like that is a good deal?  Risk Free Buy Back, now that sounds interesting, Risk Free, yeah, I am sure.  Incredible deals, and I wonder, “If they were so incredible, how come they have all this stock left over?”

“TAKE THE CREDIT CHALLENGE!”

“ALL APPLICATIONS WILL BE SUBMITTED!”

Huh?  What else would you do with the applications?  As for taking a credit challenge, that is pretty stupid, it doesn’t take much sense to take a “credit challenge.”  Thanks to the Bush Administration, “credit these days IS a challenge” even folks with good credit cannot get a loan.

The American Psyche:  Who can believe this?  General Motors is running a commercial that says to purchase a new vehicle from them, then flatly states “Restore Your Manhood.”  Yeah, I am sure.  72 months worth of payments to an outfit that may or may not be there at the end of the loan, would be enough to restore a woody to the best of men.

Going down the tubes for a $400-600 a month car payment is going to bring a testosterone rush and put me back on the Highway of Happiness.  Sign Me Up!

In the distance, I can hear the pipes of a motorcycle bark

I’ve owned five or six Harley’s,

All of them paid for, but I haven’t one to my name

I find myself surrounded by cheap junk

In a house full of the trash of man

Never the feeling of happiness or joy

My credit cards are eating my lunch,

I barely have enough money to make a trip outside,

To fill my days, I sit in quiet desperation

I have lost more battles that I care to count

Mostly beaten down and sad

Is what I am now all about.

My candle flickers as life passes me by

No more horizons within my view

No more mountains left for me to climb

No more adventures,

or valleys to pass thru

Nothing no longer remains simple I have found

Too many questions

No easy answers

This Friday night in the Big Town

I sit patiently in my assigned spot

Waiting for the numbers to roll

Emptying my heart

and soothing my injured tortured soul

Once again,

I feel so very lost,

As if there is no place for me to go

The ghosts of my past whisper in my ear

They taunt me

One single thought does not escape me

“I am truly, my own worst enemy.”

Buy something …. Be happy …. Unbelievable.

If only it were that simple.

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Obama’s Interview

imagesThe other night during the interview with Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, I did something that is totally out of character for me.  “I watched the entire episode, from start to finish.”

Now I have to admit, when it comes to political types, I have a very low tolerance for stupidity.  And I have been known in the past to throw things at my television set, grab the remote out of the hands of other people, and change channels.

The mere sight of George Bush was enough to set me off on most days, and I thank my lucky stars for the feature on my remote that says … “Mute.”

Thankfully Bush is headed back to Texas where his most important question of the day asked of him will be “what is your zip code” at Lowe’s or Home Depot (don’t worry he will have his entourage of Secret Service to assist him).

Fully expecting to see but one more episode of Tom Cruise jumping on a couch or something like that, I was pleasantly pleased to see Mr. Obama and his wife.  So it was rather different around here the other night observing this man with the engaging smile and the propensity to “actually finish his sentences” on Barbara Walters.

Carefully I listened to what he had to say, and low and behold, a closet intellectual emerged before my very eyes.  Here is someone who actually thinks before he opens his mouth, who can skillfully address a point or an idea, and make sense.

What is this?

After eight years of down-home country wit, cutesy little folklore sayings, the occasional wink and smirk, it is refreshing to have something now that resembles a thinker in the White House.  Living in a country with a long attitude of hostility towards politicians it might not be all that smart however to illustrate early on how smart we are.  Bill Clinton deliberately played down his superior intelligence on occasion.  Bush however didn’t have that luxury, and for the most part, spurned any kind of intellectual thought that differed from his own.

Not even pretending to know the answers, I will venture this.

I find it somewhat curious that Barack is taking the “Lincoln approach” to his cabinet positions, filling them with enemies and known underachievers.  Leftovers from the Clinton administration.  Lincoln did this during his tenure and it worked for awhile, but at the end, it all came unraveled and ended up in a sorry mess.

A lot of talk about Ronald Reagan and his leadership style these days, but in most respects, he was hated and often criticized to the nineteenth degree behind his back.  Most democrats hated him with a teeth grinding fury and a lot of republicans were the same.

But it is so nice to hear genuine thought coming from a man, instead of some lame sound bite, written by some 19 year old college kid working on staff.

I don’t know if Mr. Obama has “the right stuff” or not.  If he will be able to transcend the ideology that seems to be gripping the country right now.  He may have the stamina because of his apparent youth and vigor, to beat them down, those who do not see it his way, which to me is the only way he is going to be able to pull this off.

Barbara Walters much like Andy Rooney has become an American institution.  But it is refreshing to see someone that is open minded and inquisitive in this new political role answering her questions.  Something that has been missing around here for a long, long time.

It has been an interesting week for sure.

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Sleep Zoned

Heard a story told of how a preacher would talk about how his wife would wake him up in the middle of the night and say to him, “I hear something downstairs.  Go check it out.”

Over and over she would do this, and he never, ever found a thing downstairs.  But she would wake him in the middle of the night, get him up at all hours, to go downstairs and check it out.

One night he grabbed the baseball bat as usual, and went down the stairs and low and behold, he found this stranger standing in his kitchen.  Bold as all get out, an intruder in his house.  So he said, “Listen, I am not going to call the cops if you do one thing.”

And the intruder said, “Okay, what is it?”

The preacher said, “I just want you to come upstairs with me for one minute.  There is someone up there that has been wanting to meet you all her life.”

I should be so lucky.

The other night, I am lying in the bed, everything is cool, four AM in the morning and the wife violently shakes me saying ……. “Wake up!  Wake up!” and I come alive and say, “What’s up?  Smell smoke?  Noise, what is going on?”

Then she sez ……… “I have dream.  We are in middle of Arizona desert, you drive off and leave me!”

So as much as I cannot believe she has woken me up in the middle of a sound sleep I reply, “Oh hell woman, go back to sleep, I will drive back there and pick you up!”

Most likely she would have been alright … Most sand storms only last about an hour so I have been told.

Like I said … I should be so lucky.

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Related: Tell Me Your Dreams

At A Glance

By The Numbers

In the wake of Barack Obama’s election as president a record number of American’s are optimistic that relations between blacks and whites in America will improve.  67% said racial problems would eventually be worked out, while 30% said race would always be a problem in America, and the remaining 3% in the swamps of the Everglades could not be reached for comment.

By a margin of 55% to 37% most are Americans are not confident that Iraq will be successful in developing a stable and “reasonably democratic” government.  A significant number of Americans, 37% still believe that Iaq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in 2003.

Sign Here and Trust Me

Hong Kong – Asia’s richest woman allegedly gave away her multi-billion-US-dollar fortune to a Hong Kong feng shui master in return for a promise of eternal life.  Nina Wang, who died of cancer last year at age 69, signed over her vast fortune to previously unknown feng shui master as a result of the promise, a lawyer quoted by the South China Morning Post said.

The claim was made by a barrister for the late billionaire’s charitable foundation in a preliminary hearing Monday to challenge the will.  Well, I hope so, geeeze.

Phylis used to do that but they laid her off last year.

(Any resemblance to anyone living or dead named Phylis is purely coincidental.  Lawyer boys said for me to put that in there … Hah!)

Phoenix Arizona – Arizonans who have lost their jobs will have to wait nearly a month to get their first unemployment benefits. Normal wait time is 10 days. The delays are because of a surge in applicants and a lack of workers processing claims. Last week, the state received more than 9,100 first-time unemployment claims, more than double in the same week a year ago.

Get Out And Pick Up Your Trash

Louisville, Kentucky – James Gissendaner, 47, said he gathered nearly 1,000 campaign signs that were incorrectly placed in state rights of way – such as the area between sidewalks and roads, or the medians separating traffic lanes.

The final batch of more than 300 signs, from Republican and Democratic candidates, went to a city facility that will hold them for 30 days then offer them back to the candidates.  Also trash related, the Federal government reports that they pick up “nine times the national average in trash alongside Oklahoma Interstate highways” what does that tell you about the people that live in Oklahoma.  Here is a clue …. “Oink-Oink.”

Three Years For Your Thoughts

Santa Fe, New Mexico – A jury found a Japanese man guilty but mentally ill in the stabbing of an English biologist who was speaking on “thought transference” during an international conference. The verdict requires the state to treat Kazuki Hirano, 34, if he is incarcerated. Hirano accused the victim of controlling his thoughts. Hirano faces up to three years behind bars.

No Happy Trails In Utah

Logan Utah – People aren’t the only ones to suffer in this lousy economy.  Cache County has a growing population of abandoned horses because of tough economic times and the loss of horse processing facilities, according to equine experts. Utah State University veterinarian Kerry Rood said some owners mistakenly think an abandoned horse will adapt, but most horses are unable to find enough food.

New Math In The Sunshine State

Naples, Florida – The Collier County school district has replaced zero with 50 as the lowest score an elementary school student can get on an assignment. Officials said zeros are punitive and rarely reflect a student’s overall abilities. The union that represents most of the district’s teachers said the new scoring system undermines teachers’ credibility.

The last time Cup Cake and I had problems with “zero’s” was when that plumber came by, looked at the work to be done, and then whispered to the idiot kid assistant with him …. “Go out to the truck and fetch me some zero’s for this estimate.”

(Any resemblance to anyone living or dead who is or has been described as an idiot is purely coincidental)

Hide it in there somewhere … They won’t notice at all.

In case you missed this story in Creative Endeavors the other day, USA Today writes “Airlines last week eliminated or significantly lowered fuel surcharges for tens of thousands of domestic fares, but consumers are not paying less for most tickets.  We have seen a tectonic shift in domestic airfares, but it’s not great news for consumers, because the major airlines have, for the most part, simply shifted the surcharge amount into the base airfare,”  I swear it is almost as if they are reading my mind.  Check out the full story online.

Bad Taste

Now I am not a big fan of Sarah Palin, but writing articles on “her children s underwear?”  C’mon, give me a break.  That is just lame, downright lame.  That isn’t news.  What a crock that is.  Link is here. Be sure to look at comment #2 it is a hoot.  Today’s big story on the CNN Political line is how the Bush people sent out a Christmas card to a bunch of Jewish folks with a Christmas tree on it.  (Which in some circles would be considered offensive)  This is news?

Give us a break, find some news or just be quiet.  How about an article on the ghosts that live in the White House, the fundead of Washington DC.  Corpses who walk around at night with lampshades on their heads.  Yeah that would be news.

Bad Roads … Even Badder News.

SEATTLE, Washington – Expect a bumpier drive. An asphalt shortage is delaying road maintenance projects in communities nationwide. Asphalt is becoming scarce as U.S. refiners overhaul their equipment to maximize output of highly profitable fuels such as diesel and gasoline, using inexpensive — and hard to process — crude oil.

Meanwhile rumors are circulating that Exxon has sent representatives nationwide to seek out old drive in theaters because the understand a lot of there was a lot of ass felt there in the eighties ….. Wait that is not right.

(Any resemblance to anyone living or dead who ever went to a drive in and in the backseat had their … Oh never mind!)

There you go … All the news that is fit to be in print, or causes fits in print.

You be the judge, I am now going to retire to the TV Room and wait on a “settlement” of my bird and my stuffing

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Turkey Day

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Speaking of turkeys?  A day off for our new ramrod of the Fed. Mr. Paulson, who is currently heading into his THIRD PLAN on solving the banking crisis.  It seems that you just cannot get anything concrete or decisive any more, $800 billion just doesn’t buy what it used to buy.

Most certainly nothing in Leadership or problem solving skills.

The first Thanksgiving feast was a large turkey dinner that took place in November and lasted for hours.  That is what everyone is lead to believe, not exactly the way it went down.  It took place at some time between late September and Mid-October 1621 according to historians.

It wasn’t a solemn feast, but a raucous celebration that lasted for some three days.  And the main dish was deer … not turkey.  More than likely there wasn’t any turkey eaten at this celebration at all.  The celebrants did eat some kind of bird as a side dish, but the nature of that bird to this day is unknown.  No one actually knows what kind of bird it was.

Most Americans are suffering thru what they call “Turkey Trepidation.”  About 15% of Americans have refused to host Thanksgiving because they are wanting to avoid cooking the entire dinner.  There biggest fears are:  It will be too dry 43%, it will be overcooked 28%, that they will have to touch or clean a raw turkey 8%, it will taste bland 6% or my favorite, “if it is cooked by me” it will be burned beyond recognition and will be the centerpiece of black residue in the middle of the table.

Say No To Crack

Valentine Nebraska – Nine misdemeanor counts of public indecency and one count of disturbing the peace were filed against Tom Larvie, 35. He’s suspected of leaving greasy, graphic imprints of his naked behind – and sometimes his groin – on the windows of stores, churches and schools in Valentine since the spring of 2007.

Too Much Camouflage

Wausau Wisconsin – Five hunters were shot and one died during the opening weekend of Wisconsin’s deer hunt – a number that a state safety expert described as fairly typical. The death and two other accidental shootings happened during deer drives, in which groups of hunters walk forward, pushing deer toward other hunters. The nine-day hunt opened Saturday, it will close in a few more days if the rest of the hunting population can manage to survive it.

Oops, did I say that?

Anyone catch Barbara Walters slip up on the interview with Michelle and Barack Obama last night?  During the interview while talking about the Barack girls living in the white house, Barbara said that “they had to adapt as they would be living there for the next “8” years?” Isn’t Mr. Barack’s term for “4” years?  I found that interesting, she will take some flack for that one.

All The Luck

In a span of 10 days, a man learned he won two automobiles in separate contests.  Michel Horton picked up his newest ride on Friday, a 2008 .  He was notified of the win on Oct. 15.

The entry also netted him a guitar and gold-plated Bon Jovi records.  But that was his second Lancer in a contest sponsored by Bic lighter. free vehicle. Horton was notified Oct. 5 he had won a Mitsubishi

As if that weren’t enough, he also won tickets to a recent Kansas City Chiefs game in
another drawing.  As he opted to take the cash-in value of $28,800 for the car. He said that will help pay the income tax and personal property taxes on his winnings.  When was the last time anyone ever won anything, certainly not me.  I won something for free when I was in the service, but I had to get shots for it later on.

Come Back When You’re Ready

Kalispell Montana- The Forest Service suspended work on an environmental analysis for a natural gas pipeline that NorthWestern Energy proposed building in the Flathead National Forest. NorthWestern said the pipeline won’t be needed until the heating season of 2012 or 2013. The Forest Service said its analysis can resume when the company is prepared to go forward.  Now someone needs to explain why if it has already been funded, why suspend it?

Why not, do the prudent thing, and finish the project, so that when the company is ready to build the pipeline the working documents are already in place.  Oh wait, that makes sense, we don’t want to do anything that actually makes sense, do we?  Sorry.  What was I thinking?

Down and Out In America

Food banks around the country are showing a sharp decline in donations to stock their shelves and at the same time a very marked increase in the amount of people needing their services.  It doesn’t look good for those that are out of work and out of luck.

I’m not sure if this is true, but it’s interesting.

1.      At Wal-Mart, Americans spend $36,000,000 every hour of every day.

2.      This works out to $20,928 profit.  Every minute!

3.      Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.

4.      Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.

5.      Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer. And most can’t speak English

6.       Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.

7.       Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years.

8.      During this same period, 31 supermarket chains sought bankruptcy (including Winn-Dixie).

9.      Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.

10.  Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are SuperCenters;  This is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.

11.  This year, 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal-Mart store (Earth’s population is approximately 6.5 billion.)

12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.

Let’s fire Paulson and let WalMart bail out Wall Street.

Enjoy your holiday everyone.

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“The cartoon courtesy of Center for American Progress” (online)