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Talk About Your Vulgar Excess

Honestly, how can we live with ourselves?

Every day, in the name of progress, we humans cut down the equivalent of two Parises worth of forests -- 33 football fields of trees EACH MINUTE.

All in the name of stuff. Glorious stuff, junky stuff, expensive stuff, cheap stuff. It's like human heroin, at least for consumerist humans like us. Annie Leonard's book, ''The Story of Stuff,'' should make us ashamed of ourselves.

She chronicles the real price of the objects we're so eager to buy and so quick to throw away. The real price means how much in the way of forest/mountainside/riverbed/ocean floor is dug up and despoiled for the raw materials, then how much underpaid labor is required to make it for the ''bargain'' price we pay, how much yuck is spewed into the environment in the process, and how that object ultimately damages the environment yet again when it's thrown away.

Every pound of garbage we throw away -- it took all those raw materials and an additional 70 -- seven-oh -- pounds of trash just to create. Even recycling is just a token gesture -- we need to stop the gluttony for stuff in the first place.

You can find a link to her short video, ''The Story of Stuff,'' on the Patt Morrison page, and while Leonard tells the story with humor, I sure wasn't laughing.

We also spent time on the LA Times poll about the fact that 20% of Californian voters call themselves ''decline to state'' -- they'd rather not be seen in the company of Democrats or Republicans. This doesn't necessarily mean they're crazy for third parties -- it just means that, politically, they ``vant to be left alone,'' which is really a very California trait, and has been, since the political reforms of nearly a hundred years ago de-fanged the political parties locally.

Next time, Afghanistan, a place that makes me think of the title of that Clint Eastwood movie, ``Every Which Way But Loose.'' There's a reason they call the place the Graveyard of Empires.

-- Patt Morrison