Gas, Gas and Less Gas Monday, May 5 2008 

If you are a driver, (and even if you are not), you have been watching and anguishing over the rise in prices at the pump for the past 10 months (or more).

Gas is at an all time high. In my neck of the woods (Western New York) gas is $3.78 for regular and $4.01 for premium. This is at least a 30% increase from last spring. The thing is, nothing else is changing. Wages are the same. Food is increasing as well, although there are discount options and sales, so food is still reasonable. It is the gasoline that has everyone in a pinch.
Bush was quoted by MSNBC recently as saying that the rise in gas prices troubles him and it is like “a tax on the working people.” Well, funny that just a few months ago Bush was caught on camera saying to a reporter that he had no idea the gas prices were through the roof. Could his current claim to want to help the “working people” be a last ditch effort to save face as his controversial administration comes to an end?

I can only hope he is serious about wanting to explore options as it relates to domestic gas rather than foreign gas. He said there is no quick fix – of course we all know that, but what we need is a stall in these rising prices before it gets way too expensive to drive a Honda Civic around the block.


Poor Wesley Snipes….Or is he? Tuesday, Apr 29 2008 

Mr. Wesley Snipes, actor, star of Blade (and not much else…but I digress) has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for failing to file income tax.

I make light of Wesley’s career, not because he is a bad actor (because he actually is a good actor) but mostly because I only remember him from films like Waiting to Exhale, White Men Can’t Jump, New Jack City and Mo Better Blues and…that’s all I really liked him in. Just my opinion (I’m not that into action movies).

So, Whoopi Goldberg and others have come to Snipes’ defense in saying that he is a scapegoat for the IRS, but I say that the fact that he could have gotten 16 years and only got 3 years is a step down from Leona Helmsley’s fate. It is interesting to note that Snipes was acquitted of tax fraud which would have resulted in a much longer sentence. Helmsley was convicted of tax evasion and several counts of everything anti-tax you can imagine…she was sentenced to the full 16 years and only served 18 months.

So why is Snipes really being accused? I think it has more to do with his political beliefs than anything else.

My theory is that he was being watched for a while. His arguments in court have indicated that he doesn’t believe that the IRS collecting wages is constitutional – the government hates people who challenge their authority.

In addition, Snipes is a man who, back in 2000 was targeted in the media for supposedly organizing a militia-type group called the Royal Guard of Amen-Ra. The business was a legit one, yet authorities in Putnum County Georgia had reason to believe that the group had ties with United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a religious cult known for being well-armed.

Yes a man like Snipes most likely has many complex reasons for not filing income taxes, (and not paying property taxes).

I don’t know Mr. Snipes, and I may never get to know him, but even so, I don’t wish him to spend 3 years in prison for a white collar crime, when there are so many more people out there that need to be off the streets. I think one year behind bars is plenty. The more appropriate sentence would be 2 years of probation and 5 years of community service, but 3 years in prison is too long, and that is why I believe there is more to this case than meets the eye…especially what is meeting our eyes.

Hannah Montana – Will Miley Cyrus Still Be “Hannah”? Tuesday, Apr 29 2008 

Unless you’ve been under a rock somewhere you have heard and no doubt seen, the photos of 15 year-old Miley Ray Cyrus as she posed for Vanity Fair Magazine recently.

The big uproar with the photos is that she is a “Disney Girl” and some people are saying that she has forever ruined her wholesome image and tainted the innocence of Hannah Montana…ok maybe those people haven’t used those words exactly, but that is what I gather from the controversy.

Here is the thing: she is 15, going on 16, and she is worth a billion or more…shouldn’t she be able to have some freedom to be herself and grow into herself?

What do I mean exactly? I mean that Miley is a teenager and she is growing into a young woman. I believe that she should be able to express herself artistically without it turning into some perverted version of what was intended.

Did photographer Annie Leibovitz intend to portray Miley in a “seductive and sexual” light? I don’t think so. She is an artist and take it from another artist, we view the world very differently.

Is it possible for lines to be crossed in a photo shoot…of course, but lets be real, there was no nudity, no young man posing with her, nothing that really indicates that she was trying to be sexy. Miley was just following direction and the photos turned out they way they did.

So will Hannah Montana get past this mark on her squeaky clean image? I think so. She apologized, so to me that means she has no intention of being a sex pot, or enticing men (or anyone else) in a sexual manner. I think those of us who are adults should see that she is a teenager, with two good parents who watch over her and keep her a kid…that is rare nowadays in the world of show business.  We should give them a little more credit, because if they wanted to exploit their daughter, they would have done it from the start.

Some critics say that Miley’s parents are marketing and manipulating her – I don’t believe that for one second. Even though Miley is a teen, she appears to be a very strong individual who wanted to become and entertainer like her father – why should they have stopped her in pursuing her dreams? Isn’t it written somewhere in parenting 101 that parents have to allow their kids to make their own decisions sometimes?

I am all for modesty, and chastity, but I am against drama and controversy that is created by people who themselves do not operate in those virtues.

Leave Miley alone.