This is a public safety announcement: 1951 vs. 2012

There was a time when the government put out silly little public safety films on how to deal with far fetched disasters, like how to hide under a desk when an atom bomb went off:

But today, the disasters aren’t far fetched, and the videos aren’t silly, they’re terrifying:

Who’d have thought we’d need a training film that tells us what to do when a psychopath loaded with guns starts shooting up our buildings? But this is the kind of stuff I worry about because:

— Two years after I left one of my former jobs, a guy armed with an AK-47 and several handguns entered the building went on a rampage and killed eight people, wounded 12 and then killed himself.

— Three years after I left my state job, a state official pulled out a .357 Magnum during a press conference, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. I had met him a couple of times and attended numerous press conferences in the room he killed himself in.

— When I was working in Europe, I read that a former co-worker in New York slipped into insanity, went into a pizzeria and shot a guy to death, then shot to death two auxiliary police officers who were chasing him. Police had to shoot him to death. He had two guns and 100 rounds of ammunition. I used to work with him daily. He was odd, but I didn’t know he was going insane.

Guns don’t kill people. Crazy people with guns kill people.

I cannot condemn the gun lobby and the NRA enough for putting us through this.

Mitt Romney: blowin’ in the wind


Well, Mitt Romney left a lasting impression with the Brits. Here’s Edward Luce at the Financial Times:

The fact that within 24 hours Mr Romney went from describing himself as “disconcerted” with London’s preparations to being “very delighted” also drew attention to his best known flaw – a tendency to say one thing then contradict it soon afterwards with the same robotic certainty.

All good politicians bend to the wind. With the exception of his hair, Mr Romney gets blown all over the place at the slightest gust.

Romney’s just finished up his Israel trip and is headed to Poland. Let’s hope he doesn’t tell any jokes to impress the Poles.


Something I have in common with Mitt Romney

We both think the Brits are going to screw up the Olympics. Fortunately for me, I’m not running for president and going on a global tour to show the world what a great guy I am.

Mitt Romney struggled Friday to stem political fallout at home after insulting Britain’s handling of the London Games. The stumble at least briefly pitted the Republican presidential candidate against America’s strongest ally while limiting his ability to capitalize on more troubling U.S. economic news.

At the same time, President Barack Obama used his office to try to take advantage of the Republican’s missteps abroad, praising Britain for its Olympics preparations one day and sending money to Israel the next – just as Romney prepared to visit that nation.

The confluence of events – just as the world focused on London’s opening ceremonies – confounded Republicans and tickled Democrats. People in both parties wondered aloud how the former Massachusetts governor could have complicated the opening leg of a three-nation tour carefully crafted to highlight his diplomatic strengths and personal Olympic experience.

“You have to shake your head,” GOP strategist Karl Rove said Friday on Fox News.

Here’s London Mayor Boris Johnson, a conservative, giving Romney a hard time:

And here’s British PM David Cameron, a conservative, pissing on Romney’s Olympics:

Just to make sure you caught it:

“Of course, it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

There’s a buzz going around, where people are saying Romney really wants to lose the election, and Fox News wants him to lose as well. By losing, Romney gets to be the GOP guy to go to in the future, gets all kinds of business deals and still gets to spew out weird messages without having anyone in the “lame stream media” point out that what just came out of his mouth contradicts what came out of his mouth an hour ago. (Horses are my passion. I’m not going to watch my horse in the Olympics.)

And Fox gets to have Obama around for a whipping boy for four more years, a true ratings grabber, instead of having to tow the Romney line, a real snooze.

That’s all a little too 11-dimensional Machiavellian chess for me.

We’ll have to see whom he chooses as his running mate to determine how much he really wants to lose.

Chick-Fil-A speaks from both sides of its beak

If you’ve been following the Chick-Fil-A saga (if not, look here), you know that the anti-gay ramblings of the company’s president, Dan Cathy, have created a backlash among a ton of groups, right down to the Muppets.

Now with all fast-food companies, Chick-Fil-A is franchised, so independent store owners run the business, receiving supplies and following menus from corporate headquarters. Not all of its franchisees agree with the top guy. One in Hollywood put out the following letter:

A very sincere and honorable response. Kind of like this letter from a franchisee in Georgia:

Our Agenda is Providing Genuine Hospitality & Service to All: Chick-fil-A Downtown Decatur

Since opening in March of 2005, Chick-fil-A Downtown Decatur has been dedicated to serving our guests with honor, dignity and respect. We work our hearts out to make sure every guest receives amazing food and service regardless of belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. Nothing about our agenda has changed.

My wife and I are the owner/Operators of this restaurant, and our commitment to the city goes back many years. My wife has been in the Decatur area since 1990 when she began college at Agnes Scott and then worked for the College for several years after graduating. When we learned of the Chick-fil-A opening in this city we jumped at the chance to open up our business here. We are not a corporation – we are real people and taxpayers as each Chick-fil-A franchise is independently owned and operated.

We are a family and a business dedicated to serving our community. We have consistently been generous donating food, money and coupons to the local Decatur community including DCM, CSD, the DBA, Bulldog Boosters, Decatur City Hall and Economic Development, and local churches. The list goes on and on… This weekend we are feeding the artists and volunteers during the Poverty is for Real benefit at Eddie’s Attic and next month we are donating food for a Volleyball Tournament at Decatur High School (DHS) and feeding the Decatur Book Festival volunteers.

We employ more than 70 people — many of which are DHS students. We have provided more than 20 college scholarships to team members in our restaurant alone with many of those awarded to DHS students. Our passion is building leaders for future generations, regardless of sexual orientation or beliefs.

We know that some of our guests are upset by comments made by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A Inc. He has made it clear to me those were his personal views, and that his intent was not to speak on behalf of every Chick-fil-A owner. We hope those who are upset will look at their relationship with our restaurant and allow us to continue to serve them. If you have questions or concerns, please come into the restaurant and speak with me personally.

Until then, we will continue to serve our guests in the only way we know how – with great food, exceptional service and a lot of fun.

Thank you.

John and Cristina Crays
Owner/Operator and Director of Customer Service
Chick-fil-A Downtown Decatur

And we can’t overlook this letter from an owner in Chicago:

Since our opening last year, Chick-fil-A Loyola Water Tower has been dedicated to serving all of our guests with honor, dignity and respect.

In response to the recent controversy regarding an additional location in Logan Square and comments by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I would like to invite Mayor Emanuel into my restaurant to meet me, my husband Steve, and my management staff.

We are a family of deep Chicago roots—my husband and I both came from city worker families (teachers, police, laborers) and Steve is a city worker.

We are not a corporation—we are real people and taxpayers as each Chick-fil-A franchise is independently owned and operated. We are Chicagoans who are dedicated to serving our community. We hold fundraisers for hospitals, school, fallen police and we donate to a wide variety of causes, including everything from churches to gay and lesbian organizations.

We alone created 97 jobs this past year and our passion is building leaders for future generations, regardless of sexual orientation or beliefs.

In addition to my personal invitation to Mayor Emanuel, we would like to extend the invitation to any Chicagoan to visit and experience our Restaurant. We will continue to serve our guests in the only way we know how—with great food, exceptional service and a lot of fun.

You know, it’s almost as if the franchisees had a Vulcan mind meld. I’d like to think they all got together and decided they’d speak as one against owner Dan Cathy.

But being the suspicious type (and a realist), the smart money says this is a form letter from corporate headquarters. Use the same first paragraph, personalize the middle to your region, and pickup the closing message.

Maybe the franchisees should pledge allegiance to the Colonel?

And speaking of Kentucky:

The Chick-fil-A controversy over the company’s stance on gay marriage has come to University of Louisville.

A petition to remove the Chick-fil-A from the Student Activities Center on campus has been circulating on the web.

The Colonel is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. Who knows. If he were alive, he probably would have agreed with Dan Cathy. But he was also a shrewd businessman and probably would have taken advantage of this to screw the competition.

Shoot first. Don’t ask questions later.

Tom Tomorrow released this cartoon last year after Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six other people were killed in Arizona: Nothing has changed.

Oh, and last week, there was an antigun rally at the National Rifle Association offices in Washington. The reason you didn’t see any news coverage of it was only 12 people showed up. And no one wants to address the issue of gun control, because “We shouldn’t politicize the issue.” God forbid we talk about gun control when a mass murder occurs in an election year.

We don’t have a chance.

Poultry excuses defame the Muppets

The message in the following photo is a lie:

This is what happened:

Last Friday, the company behind beloved shows such as “Fraggle Rock,” “Labyrinth,” and “The Muppets,” severed ties with Chick-Fil-A due to the fast food chain’s CEO’s opposition to same sex marriage.

According to “Muppets” fan site, The Jim Henson Company had partnered with Chick-Fil-A to feature Jim Henson’s Creature Shop toys — “essentially a plastic tube with cut-out features for customizing your own puppet” — in their kid’s meals from mid-July until August 18th.

However, on Friday, the Jim Henson Company posted the following statement to their Facebook page:

“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD. (”

So, since the Muppets called Chick-Fil-A out because of its bigoted CEO, the company responds with a blatant lie saying it’s pulled its Muppet toys because they’re unsafe. Seems like Henson Co. has grounds for a libel suit.

John Stewart captures the issue (before the toy safety lie) here.

A few orbits around the globe


Time to leave the planet. I’ll be back in a few minutes:

That’s from the International Space Station. Despite the end of the manned U.S. space program, there are still people orbiting the planet. Three from Russia, two from the U.S. and one from Japan.

There’s a woman on the ISS, American Sunita Williams, who knows a little something about space travel.

She holds the record of the longest space flight (195 days) among female space travelers. Williams also holds two other records for women space travelers: most number of spacewalks (four as of 15 July 2012), and total time spent on spacewalks (29 hours and 17 minutes).