Voices from Russia

Friday, 23 November 2012

Black Friday Shopping Madness Starts on Thursday

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This year, many American retailers opened at 20.00 late Thursday and left Americans with no choice but to drop out of the oldest of American rituals… giving thanks and eating turkey, to head for the stores in pursuit of Black Friday bargains. Retailers used to open at dawn on Friday, and the Thanksgiving tradition was quite safe. Then, just a few years ago, suddenly, they opened at midnight. Last year, Black Friday crept into Thursday, as stores threw open their doors at 22.00. This year, stores decided to go even further and announced they’d start at 20.00. Many Americans had to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner earlier so that they could get to the stores on time. Michelle Vanaelst said, “It’s not the typical Black Friday. I like the way it always used to be”. Although many people are unhappy about it, the stores say that consumers have only themselves to blame. They explain that as much as people want to celebrate, they want to shop, too.

23 November 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_23/Black-Friday-shopping-madness-starts-on-Thursday/

Editor’s Note:

I’ve NEVER shopped on “Black Friday”… I find it offensive and beyond the pale. Indeed, I do my best to stay away from malls on that day. To speak bluntly, no one “demanded” that the malls open early. If you needed proof that the crapitalist system’s crank and perverted at its core, this is it. It does speak to the cupidity of all too many, doesn’t it? I’m no spoil-sport or wet blanket, but “Black Friday” isn’t a real holiday, it’s a businessman’s artifice to fleece people and get more money. The sooner it goes into the dustbin of history, the better.

BMD

Thursday, 22 November 2012

President Obama Pardons Turkeys as the USA Marks Thanksgiving


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As millions of Americans sit down to turkey dinner today, US President Barack Obama pardoned two birds in an annual White House Thanksgiving ceremony to mark the national holiday. Now, the birds will live at George Washington’s restored Mount Vernon estate. Two 40-pound turkeys, named Cobbler and Gobbler, came from Virginia. Gobbler’s role was to replace Cobbler, should the latter be unable to fulfil his duties. Obama pardoned both birds. Whilst granting his ‘presidential’ pardon, Obama joked about his recent re-election, saying, “You know, they say that life is all about second chances. This November, I couldn’t agree more. So, in the spirit of the season, I have one more gift to give. It goes to a pair of turkeys named Cobbler and Gobbler. The American people have spoken, and these birds are moving forward”. Americans chose the turkeys through an online vote.

According to the White House website, the traditional pardon dates back to President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s son Tad begged his father to write out a presidential pardon for the bird meant to be the main dish in the First Family’s Christmas feast. The young boy argued that the turkey had as much right to live as anyone. However, not all US Presidents followed this tradition. Some didn’t pardon their gift turkeys; they ate them. In November 1963, just four days before his assassination, President John F Kennedy spontaneously spared a turkey. The bird he was presented wore a sign reading, “Good Eatin’, Mr President”. Kennedy responded, “Let’s just keep him”. Since 1989, the tradition was formalised.

The estimated number of turkeys that Americans will eat on Thanksgiving 2012 exceeds 46 million. Some 13 percent of Americans won’t be feasting on turkeys this Thanksgiving season, as they’re dependent of food stamps. Officials say the figure will only increase, given the economic slump and the devastation in the Northeastern USA caused by the recent Hurricane Sandy. According to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit government watchdog group, today, as many as 42.2 million Americans, which equal the population of California and Connecticut combined, are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to the report, SNAP estimates that a meal costs 1.00 to 1.25 USD (31 to 38 Roubles. 0.80 to 1.00 Euros. 0.65 to 0.80 UK Pounds) per person.

The number of Americans dependent on SNAP has increased by 70 percent since 2007. Last year, it involved approximately 44.7 million Americans and cost the US government a record 72 billion USD (2.25 trillion Roubles. 56 billion Euros. 45 billion UK Pounds). Meanwhile, due to past summer’s drought food prices have skyrocketed while supplies remain low. For some low-income families, a turkey for Thanksgiving is an unaffordable luxury.

22 November 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_22/Obama-pardons-turkeys-as-US-marks-Thanksgiving/

Editor’s Note:

The main cause of the increase in SNAP cases is the meltdown caused by Republican deregulation and crackbrained giveaways to the Affluent Effluent (coupled with inordinate spending on unnecessary warfare in foreign parts). Another reason is the “givebacks” demanded by management as they increase their own pay and bonuses (case in point being Hostess, where the management gave themselves an 80 percent pay hike and demanded “concessions” of the workers). Many of those “employed” at Wal-Mart are on SNAP… bear that in mind as you hear fatcat investors bleat about the cost of the ACA. I find that reprehensible and vile. Yet, they’re going to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner without a care and with the lunatic notion that they’re the oppressed in this nation. If nothing’s done, there’ll be an explosion… and they’ll have no one else to blame but themselves (the same was true in 1917… ponder that).

By the way, the cost of SNAP is only some 10 percent of the bloated war budget. If there are 42.2 million people on SNAP, and the entire programme costs 72 billion USD, that means, if all monies were spent on benefits (and they’re not, for there’s administrative overhead in that figure), each individual on SNAP would receive 1,707 USD (53,300 Roubles. 1,325 Euros. 1,070 UK Pounds) a year, which works out to 142.25 USD (4.440 Roubles. 110 Euros. 90 UK Pounds) a month. That’s not a princely sum; all the bloviating that you hear about “welfare queens” and “welfare Cadillacs” is lies, and what’s more, those who spread such falsehood, do so knowingly. That’s called evil, kids.

The cost to taxpayers is 240 USD (7,500 Roubles. 186 Euros. 150 UK Pounds) a year per person… the US war budget eats up 2,500 USD (78,000 Roubles. 1,941 Euros. 1,566 UK Pounds) per person per year (much of that is kickbacks to corrupt pols and bloated management compensation)… now, can you tell me where the fat in the budget is? It’s NOT in “entitlements!” It’s not quite what the rightwing fanatics are telling you, is it? Reflect on that as you hear such unrepentant greedy cretins as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity scream about “entitlements”. They spend more than that on their country club dues or on one meal out. Let God see and judge…

BMD 

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