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)