Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Do Marlboro Man And Don Draper Have In Common? Death.

Despite the much anticipated return of smoke-fiends Don Draper, Joan Harris, et al., we can all agree that lighting up in this modern era is simply gross. And for once it appears the government is squarely on our side, as evidenced by its 1999 lawsuit against the tobacco industry. But wait, what’s that? Despite the proven health risks we continue to subsidize tobacco farmers? What sort of two-faced BS is this?!

The United States government has poured a little extra dough to tobacco farmers ever since the Great Depression. People were totally broke and so the government was subsidizing many of the products deemed "necessary." Black Tuesday, the dust bowl, and the deepest depression of the 20th Century - it's enough to make
anyone turn to vices. But it's been 80+ years. We know better, right?
Nope. Just last year over $200 million went from our treasury to tobacco farmers’ coffers. And don’t even get us started on the $96 billion a year smoking drains the United States in direct health care costs, and an additional $97 billion a year in lost productivity. Glad you care about a healthy and productive workforce, America.

We at B4GM couldn't be more pissed our tax dollars are being funneled into the supply chain of an expensive, filthy, and
destructive habit. If only Uncle Sam could put down the death stick and spare a moment of his legislative time to let us get married.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Calorie Nation: How To Induce a Heart Attack

Our great nation was built on freedom and independence. We as citizens have the privilege (and responsibility) of controlling our own lives and choices. Which means that we always have to come up with new and innovative ways to end those lives. Today we're not talking about guns, cigarettes, or semi-legal drugs. We are talking about fat -- lots and lots of fat.

Naturally, the government does not regulate the amount of calories Americans are allowed to consume (that would be as ridiculous as regulating who we're allowed to marry!), but the Food and Drug Administration does post a suggested caloric intake. For men, the FDA advises an average consumption of 2,500 calories, while women should be able to get by with 2,000. Surprisingly, certain restaurants have flown in the face of these recommended standards! Imagine consuming 75% of your daily caloric quota in one, heart-attack-inducing sitting. Now that artery-clogging dream can come true with the help of your friends at IHOP, Burger King, KFC, and Sonic, among others.

Our senses have already been assaulted with the KFC "Double-Down." Consisting of four pieces of bacon, two slices of swiss-cheese slathered in special sauce and flanked by two breasts of world famous fried chicken, the Double Down clocks in at 540 calories. Although the Double Down has been getting a lot of negative press, the Burger King Quad Stacker (bun, burger paddy, bacon, chee, paddy, bacon, chee, paddy, bacon, chee, paddy, bacon, chee, bun) accounts for half a day's caloric intake: 1,000 calories! Sonic is responsible for the Pancake on a Stick, one of which can put you back 400 calories, but the prize, the ultimate chest-clutcher belongs to IHOP. The International House of Pancakes has presented the Pancake-Cheesecake Sandwich, aka the "Pancake Stacker." Imagine a stack of fluffy flap-jacks, each one separated by a dense layer of cheesecake. This shocking amount of carbohydrates easily accounts for half of ones daily intake: 1,250 calories.

How can this possibly seem like a good idea? And why do "restaurants" like KFC and IHOP take such pride in out-doing each other with their wax-paper-wrapped heart attacks? Sure, it's your right to kill yourself one Pancake-Cheesecake Sandwich at a time, but maybe you wouldn't self medicate with food if you could marry the person of your choice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Feeling Flushed: Public Toilet Regulations

Does our nation's standard of inequality have you running to the restroom to check your smudged guy-liner? Well, hold onto your mascara, Children of Lambert, because with the woeful lack of regulations on public bathrooms in this country you might want to consider waiting. Not only are there generally no restrooms to be had, but those that are available are filthsome at best.

On a scale of one to ten how big of a priority is using the bathroom to you? For us, it's somewhere in between food, shelter and Harry Potter. While the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) requires employers to provide access to clean restrooms to all of their workers, there are no government regulations requiring businesses to supply latrines to their patrons. Similarly disappointing is the lack of any federal requirement for water-closets on state property. So if you plan on leaving the house today, you'd better pack your stadium pal or be prepared to break some public urination laws.

The American Restroom Association (ARA) maintains that the people's bladders deserve a defender. Some ARA research revealed that the inability to access safe/clean/non-rat-infested bathrooms can dramatically affect one's health. For example, it was discovered that people would rather risk dehydration than drink enough water to send them to a municipal toilet in New York City. Additionally, public schools don't answer to the DHHS's standards of restroom facilities. Imagine America's children. Now imagine them without bathrooms. Look again: they are forced to urinate into trashcans, empty bottles, and shrubbery. Now, back to me: these unbelievable circumstances are real -- there are accounts of "bathroom lock-downs" in Minnesota, Florida, and South Carolina, et al.

Wouldn't you agree that access to a restroom is a serious health issue? Especially since we know (some of us all too well) that emergency street-peeing is an imprisonable offense! So why should we be law breakers for answering the call of nature when the lawmakers don't seem to respond to this vital concern. You're telling me that the government can tell me who I can and cannot marry but doesn't have to enforce simple health standards? Guess I'll be crossing my legs for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pen Guns: Does Size Really Matter?

Does the government's prohibition on same-sex unions have you on a vengeful bender? Why not go James Bond on their asses?* That's right, whip out those super stealthy pen guns, cane rifles and flashlight grenades! Even though you can't get gay married, there's nothing stopping you from making an artillery of improvisational weapons.

If you think hidden firearms are just for 007, think again. Since the National Firearms Act of 1934 the government has tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to control "non-sporting" weapons. While the NFA does cover many different kinds of guns, 48 states allow AOW's, or "any other weapons." An AOW is defined as "any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person, from which a shot can be discharged..." Pretty vague, right? Essentially, AOW's are anything and everything that can be rigged, duct-tapped, and jiggered to fire a bullet. In many ways, these weapons are legal by omission -- there's just no way to make a law that covers guns made from . . . well, whatever you want to make them from.

DIY guns might seem bangin', but do you really need a secret cell-phone gun? Those babies have terrible service coverage and are totally inaccurate. A lot of these weapons have super short barrels, which makes them only good for shooting things that are slightly larger than barn doors. Of course, one might argue that this actually makes them more dangerous, but hey, it's a free country. (Also, if you are questioning how fatal these weapons can be, consider this.)

So go ahead, call up Q and have him make you a combination crazy-straw/assault rifle, I hear they're efficient and festive! But, if you're allowed to make a gun out of a PVC pipe and two soda cans then why on earth can't I get gay married?

*We aren't actually condoning violence. We happen to be conscientious objectors (re:Quakers).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Marriage Quota: X Time's the Charm!

People say that your wedding day is that happiest day of your life (not that we would know. . .). But why limit yourself to only one memorable experience? Date, marry, divorce, rinse and repeat, right? Conveniently, neither the state or federal governments have any restriction on the number of times a (straight) person can get divorced/remarried.

Now, we at B4GayMarriage are a "live and let live" bunch. If you'd like to get married a couple (dozen) times, who are we to say boo on that? But we can't help noticing that there doesn't seem to be a quota on the number of times one can get hetero-married. Everyone's got an uncle or cousin who has been hitched 2, 3 or 10 times. However, the Grand Poobah of Knot Tying is Glynn Wolfe, a California minister who has said "I do" 29 times.

Twenty-nine marriages in 89 years of life. That's pretty prolific. I mean, this guy puts Henry VIII to shame. Most of the unions seem to have lasted less than a few months, with the spectrum ranging from nineteen days to 11 years. When Wolfe died in 1997, his only son reported that Wolfe detested "living in sin" and so he would marry every chance he got (translation: let's hump on God's time). Most of his marriages ended in divorce, including the expulsion of one wife over her habit of eating sunflower seeds in bed. I guess that's better than beheading. Nice to know that the State sanctions even these trivial dismissals of marital bonds.

By the end of his life, it became clear that Wolfe was not looking for that one perfect soul mate. Instead, his 29th marriage was merely for publicity - by exchanging vows he got his matrimony-lovin' mug in the Guinness Book of World Records. Good to know that straight couples have the option of marrying (innumerable times) for sport. We just want to do it once, and we want it to last forever.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Roller Coaster . . . Of Love (Whoo, whoo, whoo!)

Has the government's regulation on gay marriage got you spinning? Does it feel like you're climbing ever higher toward some gut-scrambling nose-dive? It probably does, but just to be sure - are you presently riding on a roller coaster? If your answer to our previous query is yes, get the hell off.

Some might say that by strapping into that rickety ol' cart on Death Mountain you are taking responsibility for your own actions. I mean, there is truth in branding. But would you feel better or worse knowing that there are no universal safety standards for amusement parks? What about the fact that there is a federal ban prohibiting ride experts from investigating amusement park accidents . . . including the incident of fatality?

Unlike other areas where government agencies regulate public health and safety, there is no organization that promulgates policies to control these popular thrills. That leaves local governments responsible for planning their own ordinances. Unfortunately, 21 of our 50 states don't have any programs overseeing their amusement parks. And isn't it ironic (don't you think?) that the Mickey Mouse state has the loosest regulations? Or is it just convenient that the state with the biggest and most famous theme park has some of the most lenient restrictions, allowing these attractions to function without federal oversight? Perhaps we should stop being so cynical and simply say: Congratulations Florida, you're #1!

So, next time you're down at Disney World for their annual homo-fest, remember that although Florida won't let you get gay-married, you're still encouraged to have a Fantasmic Cinderellabration!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Something In The Water: Packaged Ice

Feeling a little down as a result of the state's involvement in your love life? Chewing on ice as a way to alleviate your sexual frustration? Well, stop! That crap is poisonous! Do you even know what's in packaged ice? Unfortunately, we just found out.

People often worry about rancid food or contaminated beverages, but what about the other things we consume? If bad food and drink can make you sick, can't bad ice as well? The Food and Drug Administration doesn't seem to think so. Despite the fact that studies show that packaged and manufactured ice chips are about as clean as toilet water, the FDA does not regulate packaged ice producers or the ice made at food retailers. That's right, the ice in your Big Gulp has never been inspected and is not held to any standard.

So what, it's just a little bit of ice, right? That's not how the Beeman family of Phoenix, Arizona feel. In 2002 their son died after drinking beverages chilled in a public cooler. The cause was filthy ice, which infected him and 80 other youngsters. Noroviruses, like the one that killed Scott Beeman, are rarely fatal, but they can (and should) be easily avoided. Maybe this wouldn't happen if the FDA had a standard for the production and handling of ice? No, that's too much to ask.

If the United States government is so worried about the health and well-being of its citizenship then why allow contaminated ice on the market? It's almost as though they are too busy regulating our private lives to notice that some of these companies are getting away with murder. Does it sound like we are suggesting that there's a discrepancy between how corporations and citizens are expected to operate? Because we totally are.