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China syndrome


How does a mayor and two city council people get to steal (and essentially that is what they did) almost $18,000 of our tax money for a sightseeing trip? How is there not more outrage about this?

I have posted numerous times about our local leaders dropping the ball with local businesses but this is a whole new ballgame. I pay my taxes promptly every year in hopes that our local, state, and federal government will further our education systems, national security, etc. I cannot believe that in such economic turmoil these “leaders”/”thiefs” decided it was intelligent to waste $18,000 in our money.

Georgia is going to have state budget cuts for next year. That means our local schools are going to be forced to choose which programs are getting cut next year. How many of those programs could have survived with an extra $18,000? My guess is more than one.

This city needs to stand up and show their outrage. People need to write to Ms. Jackson and both Mr. Johnsons to let them know that they will not get re-elected for their many shortcomings; to include this major one.

David Wayne

Welcome to the lower middle class


Couldn’t agree more with your last piece, “Economies of Scale.” Every day I keep hearing how Americans are hurting, how times are tight and we are going to have to live differently.

It makes me so angry. Not because I will have to change my lifestyle — I will not have to — but because apparently so many will.

People who own four cars, who own a summer home, who have the most modern television in every room of their overpriced house, etc, etc. People with 8 credit cards and imaginary money riding on corrupt companies.

Egads! people may actually have to keep a car for a couple years. They may have to rebudget that week-long Disney ten-family-member vacation next summer because Daddy’s stock didn’t pan out. They may have to.... Oh my God!.. RENT(!) a house or apartment. Good lord! Living like...TRASH!

Well, welcome to America, home of the lower middle class. Where have you been, people?

I’m restraining my glee. My urge to say I told you so. Holding back the desire to reference the Ant and the Grasshopper, or to remind traders and speculators that their occupational lifestyle is no less than gambling with other peoples (often imaginary) money.

I imagine if your occupation is trading in imaginary commodities, or working for those that do, your job may be fucked right now. And to a certain extent those things MAY trickle down a bit.

I hear catering and entertainment for bankrupt companies has not been hit hard yet, so the service industry will be just fine.

I have always felt that if you can’t pay for it in cash, you shouldn’t buy it. I also don’t trust putting my money into a system where others can profit by moving it around or letting other people borrow it, or saying there is more there than there is.

I only begrudgingly got a credit card again. I eat enough to live comfortably. My home is simple, clean and uncluttered. I’ve owned a scooter for four years before most everyone freaked out and jumped on the bandwagon.

I’m actually making and saving more than I ever have in my life because I’ve been living this way for years, and it’s finally paying off. That is what real investment is.

So maybe now, Jim, we can hold seminars to teach all the people who have been living in their world of imaginary wealth, how to live simpler yet more meaningful lives. Maybe we can profit.

Right now I am too busy chuckling and gloating inside my anthill at the frantic chaos of the grasshoppers outside.

Travis Pitts

What we need is a Good Depression


Efforts to address the economic meltdown have mostly focused on symptoms. The disease itself has seen less treatment or even comment.

This disease is a consumerism driven blend of greed and stupidity that if not wholly American is universally recognized as one of our primary traits. Except for scheming on how to get it we don’t think much when we want something.

Want a car. Want a house. Want a boat. Want a life.

We only ask how and generally don’t consider the real, long-term costs when we let the hungry pit bull consumption slip its leash. As a nation of consumers we don’t have much savings. We create a lot of waste.

We need to tighten things up. What we need is a Good Depression.

Yes. A Good Depression. Capitalized.

This great obese country of ours needs to learn something. The Great Depression taught people how to make the most of limited resources instead of how to get the most of seemingly limitless resources.

What we need is some of that good old-fashioned common sense that helped pioneers lead lives of relative comfort in a wilderness. We need the industry and skills to make more things for ourselves, to fix or maintain mechanical devices rather than throwing them away and even to cook sensibly healthy food economically.

We need to be responsible for ourselves and limit our waste in relentless recycling. We have been deluded that value resides in money instead of the simple satisfaction of accomplishment. We need to be content with living instead of getting.

We need a good lesson. We need a Good Depression instead of the Great Depression we appear destined for if we don’t rationalize our way of life.

We need to relearn values like frugality and thrift. We need to learn to save and preserve instead of acquire and use, to be stewards rather than looters.

Jess C. Henderson

Tale of 2 Christophers


Many of us had a pleasant surprise to sweeten our coffee one recent morning. It came in the form of an announcement from Christopher Hitchens, the former British liberal and intellectual who has turned into an American conservative, one of the articulate few who continues to support George Bush and the Iraq war.

He’s not a George Bush sycophant, however--his main criticism has been that we haven’t flexed our muscles enough. But I digress.

The sweet surprise was Hitchens’ announced support of Barack Obama, especially coming as it did with a fervent denouncement of John Sidney McCain. His beef with McCain took many forms but he focused on McCain’s erratic behavior, especially his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“The most insulting thing that a politician can do is to compel you to ask yourself: ‘What does he take me for?’”

In summation, Mr. Hitchens offered an observation and a call for action:

“The Republican Party has invited not just defeat but discredit this year...Its nominees for the highest offices...should be decisively repudiated, along with any senators, congressmen, and governors who endorse them.”

My, this morning’s coffee was sweet!

Since this is a tale of two Christophers you might be wondering who else weighed in recently. Well, last week we heard from a Mr. Christopher Buckley, son of the arch-conservative and founder of the National Review, William F. Buckley. The younger Buckley writes the back page column for the publication founded by his father.

Young Mr. Buckley chose not to make his announcement in his column for fear of attracting hate mail. Instead, he chose the iconoclastic and outspoken blog, TheDailyBeast.

After a few mutterings about fathers rolling over in graves, Christopher Buckley expressed his extreme displeasure with McCain and Palin, going on to say, “Obama has in him...the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.

“So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America.”

Archie Wilson

Green is the new red, white and blue


If I had $700 billion, or even $18 billion like the Walmart heirs, I’d know how to make my next billion. I would design, build, market and sell an American Made, environmentally friendly car, either electric or solar. I would put Americans to work at this new company building the best most environmentally conscious cars in the world. Americans are patriotic people instilled with nationalism from our youth, and the idea that buying these cars could bankrupt Al Qaeda, create american manufacturing jobs, and help reduce our carbon footprint all at the same time would sell these cars in an instant. I want one of these cars already.

Paul Allen, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet you are philanthropists, and kings of capitalism. Make an investment in the future that will change the world......Please!

Sean Farrell

What’s really going on in local shipping


The federal funding for Savannah Harbor deepening and for beach replenishment is highly suspicious. Someone is already floating the idea of making a beach of dredge from the bottom of the river.

I have taken it upon myself to ask Ralph Nader to do a follow-up study of The Water Lords, his 1970 study of the industrial and sewage pollution of the Savannah River. A follow-up would include sampling the bottom of the Savannah Harbor for toxic waste and radioactive materials.

The potential of dredging the harbor also represents a structural problem for River Street and the Historic District.

This represents one of the hugest public health and safety hazards I can imagine, and for what? A dying oil empire? Alternative energy is the way to go.

Centralized power is never eco-friendly, and Savannah as a tourist town and historic site does not need industrial development to create good jobs.

If we revisit the idea of being the Hostess City of the South in a publicly demonstrative way, such as creating a user-friendly public transportation system, we would have a treasure no one could take away or compete with.

Hope this generates some lively discussion.

Katharine C. Otto