Monthly Archives: November 2010

shop locally and save the world!

Aughh! The holiday season is upon us! The holiday season is upon us! Run! Hide! Be a bear and sleep until springtime! Put away your firearms! Overly self-medicate! Make your list and check it twice! Three times! No, not three times! There’s no time! Get to the mall! Overnight special delivery! It’s already too late! Never shop at a store that doesn’t gift-wrap. Intravenous slow-drip double-espresso. A motorcycle to weave in and out of traffic. With a trailer to tow all your goodies back home with you. You forgot a shawl for Aunt Gertrude! If only you had taken up knitting, last year, when going through this same insane duststorm experience, you could have knitted everyone mittens. That would have been … so … quaint … Ahhhh … But now it’s too late! Just get a gift card!!! Aughhhhh!!!!!

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, which means that the next day is … THE BUSIEST SHOPPING DAY OF THE YEAR!

Once upon a time, the holidays were less hectic. Maybe they can be less hectic again?

Blessed, or cursed, with an inability to withstand parking lot traffic, I, mostly for selfish survival reasons, tend to do most of my holiday shopping at a downtown near you. Any downtown will do, really. Park on the outskirts, walk around for a bit, making mental notes as I go, then sweep through specifically chosen stores on my way back to the car. Repeat if necessary.

Is shopping “locally” more expensive? Probably, even though it shouldn’t be. Either way, though, it’s tough to put a price on sanity. And in that way, I’ve always felt that shopping locally is already money well spent.  Continue reading

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Filed under Consumerism

rachel maddow calls out chicago cubs owners

During the Debunktion Junction segment of her show last night, Rachel Maddow noted that the Ricketts family, who own not just the Chicago Cubs, but also their home, Wrigley Field, “are emerging as real players in the anti-spending advocacy world.” And that the senior Ricketts family member has extensively funded groups “crusading against government spending,” such as the Ending Spending Fund, and Taxpayers Against Earmarks.

However, in the case of Wrigley Field, as the Windy City Watch reports, the anti-government family is seeking $300 million in tax revenue to renovate Chicago’s beloved ballpark. So, in effect, the Ricketts family is hoping to take $300 million, allocated by the goverment from Illinois taxpayers, and then use those government-mandated millions to fund anti-government spending advocacy groups. Which seems a bit inconsistent, if not plain outright hypocritical.

Or, as John V. Moore noted in his post for the Windy City Watch, “The Ricketts’ family is a perfect example of [the] so called fiscal conservatives who gin up the outrage against government spending while at the same time using corporate welfare to increase their profit margins.”

At least Maddow’s segment had me humming Conjunction Junction to myself for the remainder of the night.

The section on the Ricketts family’s janus-faced, self-serving assessment of government spending starts at 2:15 in the video below.


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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Economic Justice, Fair Taxation

quote of the intermittent time period III

“Culture always moves before politics. Think of how Jackie Robinson’s Major League debut preceded Brown vs. Board of Education, or how Ellen Degeneres’ coming-out preceded court rulings on same-sex marriage and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Cultural change is often the dress-rehearsal for political change. Or put in another way, political change is the final manifestation of cultural shifts that have already occurred.” – Jeff Chang

from Jamilah King’s excellent recent interview with Jeff Chang in ColorLines


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Filed under Activism, Social Change

voting and politics and money, oh my! imagining representative democracy by class

Ah, Election Day. Here’s to exercising our right as citizens to vote for politicians to represent our various best interests, all in the hope that the multitude of campaign advertisements and robo calls will finally come to an abrupt and satisfying end. Or so it often seems with our current system of representational democracy.

Who is best represented in our democracy? And what if we were represented differently? Say, instead of voting as an individual person of a town, county or state, what if our elected officials represented us on the basis of our class? Just such a question was posed by Annie Lowrey in her Washington Post article “What if Senators Represented People by Income or Race, Not by State?”

“Imagine a chamber in which senators were elected by different income brackets,” challenges Lowrey, “with two senators representing the poorest 2 percent of the electorate, two senators representing the richest 2 percent and so on.”

Okay, let’s do it. (Wait! “It was my understanding that there would be no math.”) Here’s the representational breakdown of the income groups (number of senators doesn’t add up to 100) she came up with, using data from the Census Bureau:  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Advertising, Class, Economic Justice