Paper, or Even More Plastic?

I hope that everyone is having a great holiday weekend. A few things have stuck out about mine: First, of course, was being able to celebrate my fifth wedding anniversary with my wonderful wife by following our daughter around a water park as she frolicked in waist-deep water and enjoyed kiddie water-slides, and by enjoying a nice dinner with just the two of us; second, gorging myself on chicken and spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, a few ethnic dishes and some good Polish beer at a family cookout yesterday; and third, watching my daughter wave a flag and applaud the veterans in an area Fourth of July parade.

At the latter, I also had the chance to shake the hand of my liberal Democrat congressman, Joe Sestak, and ask that he please kick Arlen Specter’s behind in the Democratic primary next year.

“I intend to,” he said. “Thanks for your support.”

“Oh, Joe?” I mentioned. “I wouldn’t call it support. I’m a conservative Republican.”

That was enough to make him stop in his tracks. But it’s true — I’m a conservative Republican (with increasingly Libertarian leanings), and I’d like nothing more than to see Sestak beat the snot out of expedient opportunist Specter in the primary . . . and then lose to Pat Toomey in the general election.

Yes, I know that Sestak is a rabid, raging liberal. And that’s fine. Because, if it comes down to it, I’d rather have someone in office that has convictions, even if they’re the wrong kind. Look at Specter, for example — with regard to “card check,” the man voted with the Democrats in 2007 but, back in March of this year while he was still a Republican, said that he didn’t know which side of the debate on which he would come down, and that he was being “lobbied pretty heavily” on the issue.

Lobbied pretty heavily? By whom? If it’s the American people, calling his office and demanding that he vote one way or another, that’s one thing, but if it’s his colleagues in the Senate looking to trade favors or if it’s Gov. Ed Rendell looking to push him one way or another or if its the labor unions themselves making veiled political threats, it’s another.

When I called Sestak’s office recently asking that he vote against the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, I knew I wouldn’t be getting anywhere. Like them or not, Sestak has convictions, he has core values that he takes to his office. I knew this when I voted in November 2008 for Craig Williams–the other guy–and I’ll know this when I vote for Pat Toomey in 2010. I may not agree with Joe Sestak on pretty much anything, but the man makes decisions based on his beliefs rather than political expedience, and I respect that.

Another thing that stuck out this weekend was a short conversation I had with a young tree-hugger. My wife and I were at the supermarket on Friday night after dinner–romantic fifth anniversary, I know–looking to buy a few things for the family cookout the next day. Our cashier was a crunchy-looking kid who had been talking with the lady in front of us about his classes at a nearby college I like to refer to as “Pennsylvania’s Berkeley.” When I went to pay for our stuff, I noticed a small sign next to the debit card reading device. The sign read something like this:

In an effort to preserve our natural resources, Genuardi’s will be using smaller plastic bags with 15% less plastic, our goal being less plastic in area landfills. Of course, Genuardi’s encourages you to recycle your plastic bags in recepticles at the front of the store, and reusable bags are also available for purchase.

“Less plastic in the bags, huh?” I asked the crunchy guy in the apron, ringing up our stuff.

“Yep, just doing what we can to help the environment, I guess,” he said.

“But the bags are smaller, right?” I asked.”


“So you’re putting less groceries in every bag?”


“So, won’t you be just using more bags, anyway?” I asked.

He stopped, glanced at the can of olives in his hand, then at his buddy bagging groceries, then at me.

“Yeah, I guess so. That doesn’t make much sense,” he said. “I mean, it’s just our company policy.”

I smiled. My wife smiled. We took our groceries and left.



  1. Gail B says:

    Yesterday I called my 8th grade teacher to let her know I was thinking about her on July 4. During the conversation, I gave her the bad news: that one of our high school superlatives was a contemporary Democratic liberal!

    Well, she and I got to talking politics, of course. (It's hard to talk with me about anything else!) I made a comment about the destruction being wrought on our economy by Obama's regime. She said she didn't believe that–she believed that Obama is doing everything he can to help the economy. We then differed on another point.

    After a pause, I told her that I never thought I would disagree with one of my teachers! At least I planted the seed for her to think about.

    She did tell me that she wanted me to continue writing. She had recently pulled out a story about her in the paper and said she felt it imperative for me to keep writing. I told her there is a book or two in me that is screaming to get out. I promised her I'd send each chapter to her as I write. "Good!" (It surely will free up some of Jeff's time, not having to wade through so many of my comments!)

    Jeff, I am happy that you had a memorable July 4 weekend, that you had a nice anniversary, and could spend quality time with your and your wife's family. Also, we are glad you're back at your computer, keeping watch over things so we will not be caught off guard!

    As Herman Cain says, "Those of you out on the road driving, be careful–there are some NUTS out there!"

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with every word about Congressman Sestak, *plus*… no matter what happens, he won't be my representative any more. That's worth the price of admission right there!

  3. Bodenzee says:


    Curiosity about your new “green – eco friendly” grocery bags caused me to measure the ones we get. Roughly ours measure 14 high x 11 wide x 5.5 inches deep. The volume is 847 cu in. and the area of the five sides in 522.5 sq in. The bags we get couldn’t be made thinner (I think I can breath through them now) so the 15% material reduction must be made in the area of the five surfaces. If I shrink the three dimensions proportionally to reduce the surface area by 15% the ‘new and improved green – eco friendly” bag will have a surface area of 444.2 sq in (15% less) but the volume drops to 27% to 663.9 cu in.

    Now it takes 28% more bags to save 15% in material. Once again the green solution is brown or black. Sure seems like a liberal approach; ignore facts and advertise incorrect opinions as the solution.

  4. Anonymous says:

    And that's why Savage said "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder". Enough said!

  5. T.I.M. says:

    The grocery bags make a nice analogy for our economy: More places to put less and less. Plus, since we've got less money (bills) and more credit, we are as a country shifting from "paper" to "plastic".

  6. John Feeny says:

    Useful Idiots.


    Subject: I want a divorce



    Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists,
    Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:

    We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the whole of this
    latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I
    know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future
    generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two
    ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what
    is right so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and
    chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

    Here is a model separation agreement:

    Our two groups can equitably divide up this country by landmass each
    taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our
    two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be
    relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly
    divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate

    We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are
    welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and
    war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You
    can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell (You are, however,
    responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all
    three of them).

    We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical
    companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.. You can have your beloved
    homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan
    hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give
    you NBC and Hollywood .

    You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'l l retain the
    right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the
    peaceniks and war protesters.
    When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help
    provide them security.

    We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.. You are welcome to Islam,
    Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N..
    but we will no longer be paying the bill.

    We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can
    take every Volkswagon you can find.

    We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem.
    I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the
    World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.

    We'll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up
    poverty your best shot. Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our
    history, our name and our flag.

    Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like
    minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just
    hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you which one
    of us will need whose help in 15 years.


    John J. Wall
    Law Student and an American

    P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda with you.

  8. Gail B says:

    I'd hate to be as smart as you are! I never would get any sleep because I'd be too busy figuring things out!

    As it is, I bore myself to sleep with Sudoku and listen to talk radio replays.

    Why don't people just get one of those "green" bags, fill it with plastic bags, and take it to the grocery store?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, I hope you and your writers will do an analysis soon of the Sara Palin "saga" now going on. As my undergraduate students so often say, "I am confused!"

    Also, there's a nice article in the Ft. Lauderdale paper (Sun-Sentinel) about that city's tea party this weekend. Alan Keyes was there, along with some colorful signs and tee-shirts saying things like "Send Barry Back to Kenya." Good idea.


  10. Rix says:

    In Russia, we used to call this saving technology "chopping the dog's tail off to feed the dog". It sums up the Democrats' economic plan nicely.

  11. David Diano says:

    Not every bag gets filled to capacity. I often go to pick up a few items, so my plastic bag is half full, so, I'd be saving plastic.

    Also, I take those bags and reuse them in my wastebaskets. Another savings.

    Bodenzee, lots of numbers, but maybe the bags are already 15% thinner, and the same size, surface area and volume capacity. Also, the manufacturer may just be using a different process that uses 15% less waste. Or maybe, they are using recycled bags.

    As for Sestak… the guy's got little integrity or conviction. This is the guy that ran and won in 2006 as an anti-war candidate (timetables, timetables, timetables.. until our ears bled), then voted to give Bush a blank check WITHOUT timetables. He then had the audacity to claim that he still believed timetables where the "only viable option".
    So, he voted for a plan that he believed wasn't viable!!
    During his 2006 campaign, his staffers make it clear that they were hired guns for Sestak and didn't care if all the other Dems in his district lost. (So much for "leave no man behind".

    If you think Sestak's a liberal Democrat, then you don't know the meaning of the word. Sure, he's rabid and raving, but more lunatic than liberal.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, Your Genuardi's story made me laugh, especially when you consider the additional energy it likely requires to produce the extra bags needed per customer. Smaller packages of the same product almost always have a higher per unit cost which actually makes sense when you consider the extra steps involved in production, packaging, labeling etc.

    Yet, when government gets involved, spending our tax dollars – it's Topsy Turvy. A few days ago while grocery shopping, I was looking for juice for my grandson and found Juicy Juice – 32oz for $2.94. On the other end of the aisle, I found the exact same Juicy Juice – 64oz for $2.38. Twice as much product, for less! Seemed weird, but I didn't ask myself why, I just picked up the "double for less" deal and continued shopping. As I was leaving the juice aisle, I observed a young mother putting two 32oz Juicy Juice containers in her basket. I politely asked: "Did you know that you can buy the same amount of Juicy Juice at the other end of the aisle and save $3.50?" She politely said: "Yes, thank you – but only this one is WIC approved."

    "WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk." (

    There is absolutely nothing in the above WIC statement that I disagree with – it's the gouging of our tax dollars that I have an issue with.

  13. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    Jeff, I hope you and your writers will do an analysis soon of the Sara Palin "saga" now going on. As my undergraduate students so often say, "I am confused!"

    Yeah. I've been going over that curious bit of news over and over again in my mind this weekend. I may write about that today.

  14. Katherine says:

    Either Genuardi's new bag policy is a load of crap or the people who wrote the sign are idiots. (We don't know for a fact that the plastic composition is the same and that all of the savings are in the smaller size.) But if so, it is an idiotic policy.

    As an environmentalist, I'm seriously annoyed by polices like this that perhaps appear to make a company look like they're doing something good when in fact they're doing nothing. They should stick to touting the reusable bags and the plastic bag recycling program.


    Two ACORN mechanical engineers were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking up.

    Sarah Palin walked by and asked what they were doing.

    'We're supposed to find the height of the flagpole,' said Bubba 'but we don't have a ladder…'

    Sarah took a wrench from her purse, loosened a few bolts, and laid the pole down. Then she took a tape measure from her pocket, took a measurement, announced, 'Eighteen feet, six inches,' and walked away.

    Ray shook his head and laughed. 'Ain't that just like a woman!

    We ask for the height and she gives us the length!'

    Bubba and Ray are currently working for the government….

    … and helping to design the "stimulus package."

  16. TWO BAGGERS says:

    One plastic bag over the head of each and every greenie would solve this supposed 'crisis'.

  17. Anonymous says:


    Nice move!!! Such calculated, quick thinking sounds like a future lawyer! Ha ha! (We are urging our oldest son, who is a business student at UT Austin, to get his law degree directly after he completes his 5 yr. degree of BBA/MPA). He is a staunch conservative, and would be a great addition to the law profession!

    Our daughter, who has been an avowed "greenie" is starting to wake up and "smell the coffee" (preferably fair-trade, of course!). She loves nature, but has enough common sense to see that Al Gore is a fraud-extraordinaire! I know better than to try to force my knowledge of the fraudulent green movement down her throat, but I think she is starting to discern the truths from the deceptions!

    Jeff, do you have any thoughts on how we can battle the total deception going on in every level of our schools? That is the REAL THREAT to our republic!!!

    BRAINWASHIG OUR YOUNG…the progressives' most brilliant tactic!

    Lisa in TX

  18. Anonymous says:

    I plan to switch to Democrat just so I can vote against Specter in the Democratic primary.

    Then I will switch back to Republican so I can vote for Toomey (or Luksik, whoever) wins the Republican primary.

    And btw I know many other PA Republicans who plan to do the same. We will not let Benedict Arlen take away our right to vote against him..even if we have to do it as "Democrats"!

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