You don’t have to get up very early to see the stars at this day-dwindling, night-lengthening time of the year, and there were plenty to be viewed when Koko and I went out walking this morning. A patchwork of clouds made it hard to discern some of the constellations, which, like incomplete jigsaw puzzles, were missing pieces, but there was no mistaking the twinkling light of Venus in the east.
And there’s no mistaking that the holiday season is now upon us. It’s the time of the year when Americans are urged to consume, consume, consume, be it stuff, food, sports or alcohol, so for more than a week the mainstream media have been carrying “news” stories about all the huge sales planned for “Black Friday,” even though it’s not yet even Thanksgiving. As a result of all this pump priming, a phone survey shows that 49 percent of all Americans plan to shop that day, up from 40 percent last year.
“It’ll be a madhouse, like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” [C. Britt Beemer, founder of America’s Research Group] said.
Oh, joy. To the world, of course….
Meanwhile, the number of Americans seeking emergency food aid more than doubled between 2007 and 2009, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, and the number of households experiencing food insecurity is at its highest since statistics were first kept in 1995. And that’s despite getting more folks on SNAP (formerly known as food stamps).
That disturbing story got little mainstream media coverage in the U.S. — I picked it up from Democracy Now! and Times of India — because we like to pretend that hunger is something that happens in Third World nations.
I’ve seen the shortages at the Food Bank, where every month our food pantry’s allotment of the free staples provided by USDA shrinks a little more, even though the number of folks coming in for food steadily expands. In fact, it doubled in just the last month.
“What do you think’s gonna happen when people can't get food?” I asked a friend, after telling him that even the government can't kick down enough food to meet demand.
“Revolution,” he said.
Yeah, this is America, damn it. We’ve got a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of Happy Meals. Besides, haven’t you heard? The recession is over so get out there and shop.
If you keep telling people stuff long enough, they believe it — until something smacks them into reality. Or not. Like the way we kept hearing “there are no burials at Wailua” from the folks who want to jam The Path, a wider road and a bigger bridge through there without doing a full archaeological inventory. Until the state ran into some burials while fixing the bathrooms by the river in Wailua State Park.
The state also disturbed burials at Kalalau and other locales in Napali Coast State Wilderness Park while doing work in there.
But since those burials were discovered “inadvertently,” the state decides what to do with them and the Kauai-Niihau Island Burial Council just gets an update at its meeting tomorrow. Yes, that's how the system has been working under the Lingle Administration. You avoid doing an archaeological survey, so when you run into the burials, you don't have to bother with those pesky Burial Council consultations.
It's bad enough when private developers pull that stunt, but the state really has no excuse for disturbing burials. Other than it just doesn't give a rip about preserving and protecting the Hawaiian culture.
For some strange reason, the Burial Council agenda is not posted on the State Historic Preservation Division website, even though agendas for other island meetings are.
But thanks to the professional services generously donated by Roger of DataSpace Industries, I am now able to post PDF documents, like the Burial Council agenda.
Mahalo nui, Roger, for helping me to make primary documents more available to my readers.