Bad News in this Holiday Season

LI was going to write about the NYT piece about the vaunted return of Iraq’s refugees. This was floated a month ago as a definite sign that the surge was working, but – as was obvious from the illogic of the reports – it turned out to be another big lie. Some refugees are returning, especially Shi’ites, but in the main, the drivers are economic – these refugees, it turns out, are simply going to another station on the downhill slope. This story almost effected me, although as an American proud to support our troops, and helping freedom wind its way around the world, I immediately forgot it as soon as I read it:

“Afraah Kadhom’s family is among the uprooted. She is 36, and usually shrouded in a billowing black abaya, a symbol of mourning. Her father and four brothers were killed two years ago when gunmen broke through the doors to the family’s house in Huriya, a neighborhood in north central Baghdad, and methodically hunted the men down. One of her brother’s sons, Mustafa, cradled his father’s head as the man lay dying. Mustafa, who is 9 now and shy, is the oldest surviving male member of the family. “The man of our house,” Ms. Kadhom said.”

Oh well, what was that again? But then, then, black news came. Lauren Goldstein Crowe writes a helpful post on her blog in Portfolio about what to get for those multimillionaires on your Christmas list. This is a bitter problem for LI. We have six hundred bucks in the bank, and we had our heart set on buying a limo or something for a few of our multimillionaire friends when this pesky credit squeeze came up. Crowe quotes from a poll which shows, pretty conclusively, that multimillionaires want quality in their gifts:

“Product quality and value for money top the list, though quality is slightly less important -- mentioned by only 60 percent -- to the really, really rich (with assets over $3 million) than it was to the just a little rich (with assets less than $1 million), 78 percent of whom thought it mattered.” O percent ascribed to the phrase; it’s the thought that counts. Those rich!

So I was absorbing this information when Crowe moves on to a matter that eclipses any petty difficulty some Iraqi hussy might be having:

“WGSN, subscription only, reports today that in order to keep prices of European goods reasonable in the US, some producers have been switching materials. "At Saks Fifth Avenue, there has recently been some price resistance among customers for some European apparel, according to Saks Inc chief executive Stephen I Sadove, who said Saks was working more closely with suppliers who are either changing fabrics, absorbing costs or raising prices."

Sadly they don't say which brands are changing fabrics, but whoever you are keep in mind the short-term gain could well lead to a long-term devaluation of your brand.”

My heart literally fluttered. Are we talking polyester???? Surely our forefathers, and our brave statesmen of the last two decades, have not fought and bled for the system the fruits of which we all enjoy so abundantly today in order for our wives and daughters to find… ‘changed’ fabrics hanging at Saks! Sadly, as Ms. Crowe puts it, European fabrics are being withheld from our Successful people. This is the kind of thing that deeply touches each and every one of us in this holiday season. Remember the wealthy in your prayers tonight, quietly weeping in Westport, in Morristown, and in many other fine gated communities.


Scruggs said…
I met someone from Westport once, at a nightclub party. He horked all the cocaine that a kindly dealer had intended for the staff and then tried to tell me about his personality disorder. He thought it was ironic that the people around him suffered much more from it than he did.

LI, it's good of you to think of your multimillionaire friends in these troubled times. But I'm sure they're being comforted by the cocaine-stealing nightclub cretin.
roger said…
When I lived in Connecticut, the boss at the company I worked for was building his dream house in Westport. Next door to... that children's singer. Yami? That doesn't sound right. Anyway, the guy couldn't really afford to live in Westport, hence the occasional bouncing paycheck I would get. His ambition to live in Westport was sheer madness, but I'm prone to mad ambition myself.
Anyway, your cocaine stealing acquaintance sounds to me like he is headed towards being the perfect houseguest, like my hero, Kato Kaelin. That ability to lounge familiarly in an alien and monstrous mansion, that instinct for knowing instinctively the exact location of the bar - there's just a genius in certain people!