CSotD: Don’t despair, but don’t lose focus

Scott Stantis (Counterpoint) notes another rate hike at the post office, but I’m not fretting over it. I don’t like how the USPS is being kicked around by the privatizers who would love to turn it over to their pals at UPS and Fedex, but the rise in postal rates doesn’t bother me.

Well, at least until Christmas. I have a scattered family, and it’s annoying to pay more to mail their gifts than I paid for the gifts themselves.

But I’ve got enough Forever stamps to last the rest of my life, and if I manage to outlive them, I’ve got half-used sheets of stamps that got put in odd places. They aren’t Forevers, but I can do the math and figure out how many to use.

However, I don’t mail much anymore. I remember laughing at the predictions of a paper-free office, but the last several years I worked involved almost no mailings, except for the kids’ press badges each fall. And now that I’m retired, there isn’t even that.

The volume of First-Class mailings is falling, but the numbers are interesting, because it seems the high point was 2001 and we’re back down to the point we were at in 1970. I suspect the numbers are skewed by changes in definitions. “Priority Mail,” for instance, began in 1968, which would cut the figures for First Class without changing the volume of that sort of mail.

In any case, it makes me no nevermind on a personal level, though I hate the political games the privatizers play to undermine the USPS.

Gotta keep our eyes on that crowd.

One way to avoid — well, offset — the cost of mailing gifts is to have Jeff Bezos do it for you. The fellow in this Edison Lee (KFS) talks of shipping and handling, but I fold most of it into the price of Amazon Prime and it becomes invisible.

Granted, part of that is made possible because Amazon screws companies by requiring them to sell under cost and by cloning their top-selling geegaws into generic Amazon products.

But if you look around that huge shopping mall Edison is in, you’ll find plenty of Great Satans doing horrible things, and I say that as someone who wrote about shopping malls for years. The mall itself is a Great Satan.

Which assumes there are still malls. There are some well-established ones, of course, but there aren’t a lot of new ones, and there are plenty of dead and dying malls littering the countryside.

As for “shopping local,” malls were putting local stores out of business back when Jeff Bezos was in junior high.

And probably hanging out at the food court.

As Megan Herbert suggests, purity is problematic.

The answer isn’t to give up, but to choose your battles. I’m also a little dubious about the effort-to-impact ratio of making your own nut milk, but I’m even more dubious about the potential for all of us to go live on the land as we dreamt of a half-century ago.

Mother Earth News made it sound romantic, but Five Acres and Independence was a bucket of cold water in the face. Still, Living on the Earth offered some less all-consuming ways to lighten your footprint.

It’s all about choices.

As Cathy Wilcox notes, a lot of things are out of our control. We can debate whether buying almonds and running them through an electric blender is more eco than buying a half gallon of almond milk at the store, but the rest of the world seems determined to make each El Niño worse than the last.

A third Aussie — Are they the only ones who really care about this? — First Dog on the Moon, explained El Niño in a recent cartoon, which is even funnier when you know that First Dog is a militant environmentalist.

Of course, raising hell as he does is one way to contribute to the solutions, as is not simply voting but encouraging others to vote and maybe carrying a clipboard around the neighborhood on occasion. Even bumperstickers help build solidarity and nudge public opinion.

Bearing in mind that, even if you can afford a few acres and have the energy to go off the grid, El Niño and the results of climate change are gonna catch up with you.

You can run, but you can’t hide.

Here’s something from Kirk Anderson for Americans to worry about,

The Roberts Court has not only taken several bites out of the 14th Amendment but indicated interests in overturning other matters based on it, claiming “history” while overturning historic decisions that were based on the interpretation of the amendment to guarantee personal liberties.

Granted, the amendment doesn’t specify women’s right to control their own bodies, which was guaranteed in Roe v Wade but overturned in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, nor does it guarantee the right to marry people of your own sex or the right to use birth control, both of which have been granted in SCOTUS decisions but have been targeted for review by Clarence Thomas.

Thomas has not said he’d like to overturn Loving v Virginia, though in his place I sure as hell would. But sarcasm aside, it’s interesting that he didn’t mention a major decision that impacts his personal life.

Interesting but hardly surprising.

As Steve Benson points out, he’s not above overturning rights once he’s done using them.

Tom the Dancing Bug attacks the court’s overturning of affirmative action, and he’s right to protest the court’s decision. However, he also provides a key for overcoming the matter, since there are any number of other ways to achieve diversity.

Biden seems reluctant to pack the court in order to change the 6-3 imbalance, and the justices are too young for the usual solution of waiting for death or retirement. It might be possible to impeach a couple on ethical grounds, but you’d need a solid majority in both Houses to pull it off.

Passive resistance and a reliance on loopholes may be the immediate solution. Most qualified Black applicants could punch two or three of those other tie-breaker buttons.

Still, voting and organizing are the long-term solution, and, as Fiona Katauskas reminds us, thank god for Gen Z, who seem eager and ready to carry the load.

But don’t leave it all up to them. Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t let nobody turn you ’round.

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Don’t despair, but don’t lose focus

  1. There’s like, one mall withing driving distance from me that isn’t totally dead, but I only go there during the Christmas season and each year it seems to have fewer and fewer stores, so it is dying. The mall that’s actually in the town where I live has been dead since the mid 2000s, the only thing that keeps it going is the theater multiplex, and even that is getting less traffic than ever.
    Personally, I try to avoid online shopping simply because it’s a little *too* convenient, and you can easily buy a ton of crap you don’t need/can’t afford.

  2. It’s said that the best TV, movies and music (and comics, for those who read them) were produced the year you, yes YOU, turned 14 years old. Everything before that is old and everything after that is junk. I think the same is true for shopping venues. Malls destroyed the Woolworths which destroyed the Mom & Pops, yet depending on when you were born you can feel great nostalgia for eating a tuna melt at a five-and-dime lunch counter or heading to Orange Julius before sneaking into three movies at the multiplex.

    Still, I don’t anticipate anyone longing for the days they could sit on their couch and order food and movies on their phone. Then as I wrote that, I remembered that my kids fondly recall the screech of a phone modem hooking up to the Internet, so I’m probably wrong.

    “The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are! We’re going away… And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.” –George Carlin, ever the optimist.

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