Saturday, February 02, 2008

Overweight? No Food For You In Mississippi Restaurants

Never let it be said the people in Mississippi are not trying, but the latest law proposed by the state legislature is going to meet some heavy resistance. Sorry for the pun, but the Mississippi legislature has proposed a new ordinance barring restaurants from serving obese people. House Bill 282 requires dining establishments with seating capacity of five or more to follow guidelines set by the state's health department to determine a prospective customer's obesity, turning away those considered too fat to serve.

Considering the weight of a large number of Americans, I suspect most restaurants in the state will be out of business long before their patrons lose enough weight to qualify for service. Maybe they should just have fat people eat in the back of the restaurant. Separate but equal?

Obscene Oil Profits - $40+ Billion For Exxon-Mobil

It’s hard to not be shocked by the record profit posted by Exxon-Mobil this week. It is the largest in the history of any US company. $40.6 billion dollars is a lot of money by any standard, and though I have no problem with a company making an honest profit, this figure is obscene.

When people are struggling to make ends meet, charging $3.00 and up a gallon for gas is putting a real hardship on lots of people who have no alternative by to fuel their cars with gasoline in order to get to their jobs.

Back in the late 40’s and 50’s the internal combustion cartel headed by General Motors began buying up the countries Inter-Urban rail systems and other light rail mass transit systems. GM specifically had started a PR push in the pate 1930’s to characterize mass transit as undignified and not family friendly. Their massive Futurama pavilion at both the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs emphasized this tone and today all but a few historic light rail lines remain. The family car became an icon to be aspired to and the only “reasonable” method of transportation.

By buying into the GM dream, Americans became dependant on gasoline, and that worked just fine with the directors of the big corporations who sold petroleum products. Today we are reaping the seeds of that dream. The oil companies are making more money than they had ever imagined, and we poor suckers who call ourselves American’s are stuck with the bill. Deregulation has assured the oil companies that they can continue to charge as much as they wish for gasoline with impunity.

They will point to oil at $100 a barrel and plead that they had no choice but to raise gas prices. The truth is much simpler, they are greedy and by tagging their profits to a percentage of the cost of oil their profits rise as does the price of oil. They know we have no choice but to keep paying whatever they charge, like junkies strung out on heroin, we will pay whatever the pusher wants.

Now our President has even admitted that we need to get off our dependence on foreign oil, but the truth is he and his entire administration are mere lackeys for the oil industry. If you don’t believe this, just try to find out who Dick Cheney consulted when writing national energy policy. The stonewalling betrays the fact that big oil wrote the law and now we just have to live with it.

So how can we change this spiral of emptying our pockets to line the coffers of big oil? Well buying more efficient vehicles is a start, A Hybrid car is a measure that really works, but the real solution will be to develop electric cars and alternative fuel vehicles that decrease greenhouse gasses and use no petroleum products. Additionally, a national high speed rail transportation system as well as local light rail mass transit can drastically reduce the cost and pollution being generated by our addiction to gasoline.

Now the first question would be, “how do we pay for such a system?” One answer would be to insist that oil companies either accept government regulation or a massive oil profit tax. The shareholders of Exxon Mobil would balk, but if they only made $20 billion this year instead of $40 billion they would sitill be in record profit territory.

Call me a socialist if you will , but something has to be done and private industry has shown, especially in the petroleum sector, that they are interested only in robbing the public blind. It’s time to end the Regan era deregulation myth and get back to a country that is run for the “common good’ as opposed to the “corporate greed”.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Mentally Disabled Women Used As Human Bombs In Iraq

If the idea of human bombs isn’t enough, how about this twist? Guerilla factions in Iraq are strapping explosives to mentally disabled women and detonating them via cell phone. To make matters worse, they are doing it on the Muslim Holy Day. If that was not enough, the attacks took place in a giant outdoor pet market in Baghdad.

Explosives wrapped with steel ball bearings were strapped to the women’s bodies and they were sent into the markets. Iraqi’s government spokespeople detailed the story and said the women probably didn’t know they were human bombs. True to form, the US government calls the attacks suicide bombings and blames Al Qaida.

Additionally the Iraq death toll is higher than that given by the US authorities.
So we have a heartless inhuman crime being made worse by twisting the facts. Who is telling the truth? My guess is this time it’s the Iraqis.

MoveOn Endorses Obama

Looks like has seen the light. They held an online poll for a presidential nominee and Barack Obama won with a 70.4% lead. The sign is clear, motivated voters will carry Obama to the White House. Comments on the website from members and people being polled are overwhelming.

The following is from a young woman in New Jersey.

"I've never felt so strongly about any one candidate in my entire life. He's truly an inspiration to all of us—especially the younger generation. I will stand by him 100% for as long as he's willing to stand up and fight for this country!"

That is a ringing endorsement and because of thousands more like that, has endorsed Obama for the Democratic nominee.

Here’s my take on it. Hillary Clinton is a good woman and probably would make a capable President, however she is a polarizing figure and cannot bring the kind of enthusiasm Obama can to an election. Look at the totals in the recent primaries. Record number of voters and most of the new ones voting for Obama. In a national election those numbers are power and they can effectively fight the right-wing evangelical vote in the South and the conservatives across the country. Obama will infuse new energy into the Democratic Party and he is the right choice.

Shameless Plug - New Comedy Club Opens In Dallas

For laugh starved folks in Dallas a new comedy venue is opening. Inside Dave & Buster's on Composite Drive the Comedy Zone USA will open tonight. Two shows are planned for Friday and Saturday night’s. A dinner show features a meal and the performance and a later cocktail show is presented in a more traditional club setting.

Information on the club is online at . I'll be there tonight with a to help our friends who opened the club with the event. Hope to see some of my readers there.

Opening weekend features the comedy of, Shawn Jones & Dave Glardon. Should be a blast.

Straight Students Sue Florida High School For Right To Support Gay Rights

The more I speak with young people the more I am encouraged about the future of our country. It seems today’s generation of young adults is not hung up with many of the prejudices that were present in my generation. Not to say bigotry is gone, but it’s on the decline.

A case in point comes from Ponce de Leon High School in Northern Florida. In that school, a young lesbian was being harassed. When she brought the matter up to the principal, he told her to stop wearing gay pride T-shirts. Not much of a solution, but it s Florida. In the meantime some of her straight friends came to her cause and began to wear slogans such as “I Support My Gay Friends”. The school cracked down on them as well. Now the students have taken it to the ACLU. In the words of a straight student Heather Gillman, a 16-year-old junior at the school. "Nobody should have to worry about being kicked out of school just for having a rainbow sticker on your notebook."

The ACLU agreed and has taken up the case and sought an injunction to stop Ponce de Leon High School officials from suppressing students' First Amendment rights in the future. For some students at the school the issue of gay rights in not just a gay issue, and that is a hopeful sign.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Britney Back In Psych Hospital

Watching the news about Britney Spears is like watching a train wreck in slow motion, I just can’t turn away even though I know it’s going to be horrible. Hauled to a hospital again last night, Britney is being held for observation. But Britney being Britney, she can’t even go to a hospital without an entourage.

Her ambulance was escorted by police motorcycles, two cruisers, and two helicopters. How can you not watch that? Her recent affair with a paparazzo, shows how far down the rabbit hole she has gone. The very kind of person who is making her life a nightmare is the person she chooses to date. Now that is a pathological problem.

This time I hope Dr. Phil stays home and a real specialist has a look at her. Committing her involuntarily seems a good idea to me. Maybe that way she can stay out of the limelight and really get some help and much needed therapy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Giuliani Endorses McCain

Just watched Rudy Giuliani speaking from the Regan Library endorsing John McCain for the GOP nominee. I have to think Giuliani may not be the best person to endorses McCain, since a lot of conservatives really don't like him, but I guess McCain sees it as a chance to look like a moderate. He is anything but a moderate, but that's a different story.

On another note Giuliani doesn't understand how the government works. He referred to McCain as a great choice for "Commander in Chief of the country." Well Rudy, contrary to what you and Bush think, the President is only Commander in Chief of the military!

John Edwards Dropping Out

CNN is reporting that John Edwards will drop out of the Presidential race. He is expected to make the announcement at 1:00pm Eastern Time this afternoon in New Orleans. More soon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bush Adds Unconstitutional Signing Statement to Defense Bill

After pressuring Congress to change the original version of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act President Bush added a “signing statement” to his signature of the bill which according to his legal team allows him to ignore key parts of the law.

Here are a few things Bush has decided he does not want to follow.

1. Setting up a a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. Expanding protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors.
3. Require U.S. intelligence agencies to promptly respond to congressional requests for documents.
4. Bar funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.

As a further outrage, he has added a “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” between Iraq and the United States.

This is most likely unconstitutional since it was enacted without the agreement of the legislation branch and the President cannot enter into treaties without approval of Congress.

Looks like Bush is really trying to do the most outrageously illegal things he can in his last year at the White House. His next residence should be a prison, but unfortunately it will probably be here in Dallas. Oh joy!

McCain Uses Robo Calls To Gay-Bait in Florida

Same song different singer. John McCain is using a robo-call to pull a gay-baiting trick on Romney in Florida. It’s the same kind of tactic that was used to torpedo McCain in his last run for the White House.

The call goes like this:

"Mitt Romney thinks he can fool us. He supported abortion on demand, even allowed a law mandating taxpayer-funding for abortion. He says he changed his mind, but he still hasn't changed the law. He told gay organizers in Massachusetts he would be a stronger advocate for special rights than even Ted Kennedy. Now, it's something different."

That line “Special Rights” is the code word used by the Republicans whenever they want to target the GLBT community. They figure that any rights awarded to gays or lesbians must be “special” and therefore worthy of contempt. IN the GOP vernacular, only rights that are given to citizens of heterosexual orientation are human rights. Anyone else is asking them to bend the rules.

This is the old tyranny of the “norm” that permeates GOP thinking. If you vary from what they consider the normal state for human beings, that is white, Christian and heterosexual, then you are “abnormal”. It is an old illusion and it’s time to stop it in its tracks. That McCain is using this kind of crap is proof that he is wrong for America and very wrong for GLBT Americans.

I sincerely hope the Republican voters of Florida can see through this crude and bigoted attempt. But then again, if they did, they might decide to vote Democratic!

McCain Abandons His Post as Senator of Arizona - Skips State of the Union

I have to find it interesting that one of the few high points of the State of the Union fiasco last night was who attended. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were both in attendance, taking time from their campaign trail to do their duty and attend the speech representing their constituents as Senators. Meanwhile, John McCain, Senator from Arizona was AWOL. He was campaigning in Florida, apparently attempting to distance himself from Bush and the stinking odor his name leaves on every Republican candidate.

Interesting that McCain shirked his duty as a Senator and both Democratic front runners attended. That says something about principals and duty. McCain skipping out shows his real agenda. He has no problem brushing off his constituents and going after the voters in Florida to forward his own agenda of getting elected President. That shows a raw lust for power and that’s a dangerous thing in a President. We already have that problem in the White House and the last thing we need is a replay of the last 4 years.

Monday, January 28, 2008

SOTU Live Blog 3

Now he is talking about what else? September 11!

He has explained that we are bogged down in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because we are "spreading the hope of freedom."

He got a standing ovation from the GOP only and a very tame one at that. I just can't do this anymore. He is making me want to chew my computer!

SOTU Live Blog 2

Another line another lie. Bush just spoke about the tax breaks he instituted that benefit toe richest Americans. He describes it as follows:

We have other work to do on taxes. Unless the Congress acts, most of the tax relief we have delivered over the past 7 years will be taken away. Some in Washington argue that letting tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 116 million American taxpayers who would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800.

That is like the old joke, Bill Gates walks into a bar and everyones average income goes up $20,000,000.

I am not sure I can take any more of this crap!

SOTU Live Part 1

Bush opened his speech with a "booga booga" implying that the 110th Congress had to make the right decision to assure the security of the country. He is referring to the FISA law and the extension being debated, Obviously, Bush wants it changed,. He wants his illegal activities made legal by a new law.

Hope he doesn't get it.

Live Blogging Tonight During SOTU Speach

I’m planning to blog live during the State of the Union address tonight. It should be fun to do a fact check as the President speaks. I suspect I will be busy since Bush has a real problem with facts.

Hope to see you all there.

Writers Sign Deal WIth Marvel and Lionsgate

The writer’s strike is beginning to crack the monolith block of producers. The latest companies to pen an agreement with the striking WGA are Lionsgate and Marvel Studios. These studios join the list of producers who have already reached agreements with the writers. The others include the Weinstein Company, United Artists, Worldwide Pants, Spyglass Entertainment, MRC, Jackson Bites, Mandate Films, and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.

The agreement puts a few Marvel projects back into production and will aid in the release of several films scheduled for this summer. Let’s hope the other producers follow suit soon. I am darned tired of re-runs!

NASA Scientist Says White House Edits All Scientific Testimony

Republican have long been known to create their own reality, but it’s starting to affect the rest of us and that is a big problem. NASA scientist James Hansen has stated that the White House edits and reviews all testimony by government scientists. That means the White House is manipulation the data reported by scientists to jibe with the party line. Every day our government sounds more and more like the old Soviet Union.

Hansen’s story is reported in a NY Times story saying that the government has tried numerous times to silence him. Luckily he has refused to be squelches and has spoken out to tell the truth. Truth if you will remember is the GOP’s enemy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama Is Still Not A Muslim - The Email That Won't Die

Despite the emails, Barack Obama is not a Muslim. He is a member of the United Church of Christ and pledges allegiance just like the rest of us. Despite the truth, there is an email circulating that just won’t die. It reads like a paranoid diatribe from a GOP operative, but according to the Obama campaign it does not appear to have been a deliberate political ploy.

The truth may be more dark than a political trick. Apparently this lie filled has its origin, according to a report in The Nation, in an August 2004 press release from an obscure conservative publicist. Another little-known conservative author – who had also speculated that John McCain was a KGB agent – regurgitated the charges in December of 2006, and from there they rapidly made their way into the widely circulated e-mails. The fact that they continue to circulate is the dark part. It shows a general xenophobia that is shared by many Americans. Though Obama is American, his name may seem strange to some people and so, based only on the sound of his name, they are willing to believe the lies.

Though the Obama campaign has actively refuted the false email, it still circulates. I was sent a copy by a friends sister who wanted to know if I thought it was real. What I sent her was a reply which I hope will circulate as well. The email I returned follows this blog, and it is my hope that she and her friends will circulate it as freely as the one filled with hatred and lies.

Feel free to copy it and send it to your friends and relatives. Maybe, just maybe we can diffuse the viral campaign that is spreading so much misinformation.

Dear Friend,

I read the email you sent me and felt compelled to reply. You see, that email was designed to spread lies about Barack Obama and does not have a shred of truth to it. Here is the real story and if you do a little research on the web you will find it is true.

Barack Obama is not a Muslim. He has attended Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago for over 20 years with his family. He is a Christian and a native born American citizen.

He pledges allegiance to our flag and leads that pledge often in Congress. His hand rested on his family bible when he was sworn in as a Senator from Illinois and he has no other allegiances than to our country.

He is being attacked with these lies because he is different. His skin is darker, his name is unusual and he represents a threat to the radical right-wing faction that has tried to control Washington. The attacks are bigotry, plain and simple and as such are not worthy of your consideration.

I know you to be an honest and sincere American, and you believe in the principals that made our country great. Barack Obama shares that with you, and as a fellow American he deserves to be treated with equality and fairness. Whether you vote for him or not, I know you would not want to be responsible for spreading hatred and lies. So I ask you to share this email with your friends and family in an effort to set the record straight and stop the insidious effects of the disinformation campaign.


Hardy Haberman