Did You Know?

Although people of color make up about one third of the population, they make up 46.1 percent of pedestrian deaths.

No more Hummer Nation

Americans sure do like their things big. But at what cost? 

Maureen Down wrote in the New York Times today that the country is facing an Affleunza epidemic.

How do we come to terms with the gluttony that exploded our economy and still retain our reptilian American desire for living large? How do we make the pursuit of the American dream a satisfying quest rather than a selfish one?

Many people were wringing their hands about the president forcing the resignation of Rick Wagoner, whose G.M. lost $82 billion in the last four years, took $13.4 billion in bailout money and asked for $16.6 billion more, even as the carmaker’s market share melted from 33 percent to 18 percent and its stock slid from more than $70 a share to less than $4 — about the price of a couple gallons of gas.

Wagoner stuck to gas-guzzling pickups and S.U.V.’s long after it was clear that higher gas prices meant he should vary the fleet with more fuel-efficient vehicles.

But Detroit defiantly stuck its head in the sand. A lot of longtime auto watchers felt relief and excitement at Wagoner’s crisp dismissal, knowing that the reckoning is at last here. The problems in the car industry have been so apparent for so long, and the failure to face up to them and move into a greener future has been so frustrating.

President Obama must nurse us through our affluenza, addressing both our visceral need to be big and our cerebral decision to be leaner — and much, much smarter.

The country might not know it, but it is fighting an Affleuenza epidemic.We can think of a few ways to fight the virus…it rhymes with schmiking, schmwalking and schmransit.