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Since it's just before Christmas, what better (?) screed to read than this Guardian blog post (screed?) by George Monbiot?  (His name, incidentally, is the source of the term "moonbat" used by right-wing whackjobs to deride our side generally, so I understand.)  In a nutshell, Monbiot is railing against how we're eating the planet to make useless junk, as you can tell from....

.....this passage, for example:

"When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers."
Monbiot sums it up further later on, that we're "trashing the living world through pointless consumption".  He says further:
"This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask, "spending on what?" When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless."
Monbiot goes on to mention one episode of the BBC Radio 4 program(me) The Moral Maze, the December 8 episode, where, as he puts it:
".....most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it somehow with authoritarianism."
What GM didn't mention was that he was on that episode, as one of the "witnesses".  He receives a load of brickbats at the end, particularly from Portillo, which is the source of Monbiot's riposte above, if you listen through the program to the end.  (It takes about 43 minutes.)

I confess that I'd actually never heard of this particular BBC program, so hearing it was a bit of a shock at how relatively hostile the panelists were to the witnesses.  Monbiot was the second witness in this episode.  I suppose the presence of UK Conservative Michael Portillo was one sign of this particular episode, although since I've not heard any others, I can't made judgment on the overall program.  I don't know if the panelists are deliberately trying to be devil's advocate with all the guests, regardless of whether they agree with the witness' particular ideology or not, or if they are generally confrontational as a rule.  In the case of Portillo, since he's obviously right-wing and Monbiot is clearly left-wing, however, Portillo's smarmy hostility is more palpable.

As far as buying Christmas gifts goes, I'll admit that I'm not much good at that, with my family.  Pretty much what I do is to call my brother and ask what he wants, or what he's thinking of getting my parents.  Then I'll offer to go in for half and write him a check.  Not very surprising or emotional, to be sure, but then my family has never been that kind of Norman Rockwell-type of family.

At the holiday party at work this week, there was a gift-snatching game, for those who wished to donate a gift (request was for ~$10 in value).  It was interesting to see how many gifts turned out to be chocolate and cookies.  Yet in a strange way, in keeping somewhat with Monbiot's statement, gifts like that are almost preferable, because you eat the chocolate or cookies and enjoy them, and then they're gone, not cluttering up your household, the way some tchotchke would (like what I ended up getting, but never mind).  Of course, you could argue that the packaging for the chocolates and cookies is its own contribution to environmental problems.  As the line from the glory days of Saturday Night Live goes, "it's always something".

Obviously this is the time for me to give the usual SNLC sign-off as to the SOP below, about time for you to post loser stories of the week.  However, I should state also that this autobot posting is even more so than usual, in that I will most likely not be around at all tonight to reply to any comments and spread mojo.  If one of the (ir)regulars shows up and wants to take the helm, please feel free.  Of course, it's probably an incredibly stupid thing on 3CM's part to say that he's not around to run the asylum tonight :) ......

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