Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Obama Slashes Heating Assistance, May Help Fight Obesity Epidemic

Explaining that the program had too much money in it, President Obama this week defended cutting funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  He's facing a barrage of criticism for taking $2.5 billion from the $5 billion agency, which assists elderly, disabled and low-income citizens in staying warm in winter and cool in summer.  Increasing numbers of people have been applying for assistance in paying energy bills due to rising joblessness and record cold temperatures.  But Obama's rationale for cutting funding is that home energy costs are decreasing and that more money can always be added to assist "folks" in the future, on a need-to-stay-alive basis.

In keeping with the White House anti-obesity initiative, what he should have said is that too much heat makes us fat anyway.  He might have explained that we really don't need all that heat. A recent study proves that living in a 60-degree house, rather than a stuffy 72-degree environment, actually generates extra body heat without shivering - a process called thermogenesis.  Scientists estimate that actual shivering burns a whopping 400 calories an hour.  But simply living in cool conditions on a consistent basis enables the body to burn what is called "brown fat" to raise body temperature naturally.  Harvard researcher C. Ronald Kahn theorizes that people can actually lose weight over time by lowering their thermostats - he estimates most people will burn 3,500 calories and lose one pound a month living in a cool home. Presumably, when summer comes around and poor people can't get assistance for air conditioning, they'll be told that excessive perspiration also causes those pounds to disappear. 

Naturally, all the money being saved by keeping poor people uncomfortable, unsafe and prone to disease is going toward the trillion dollar war effort, and of course, subsidizing Afghan President Karzai and his opium-dealing brother. It helps train illiterate security forces and keeps them flush in the hashish they smoke before starting their patrols, only to abandon them halfway through their shifts. Making less fortunate people suffer also enables the richest one percent of Americans  to hoard even more wealth than the poorest 95 percent have, combined.  It's Robin Hood in reverse: the government takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association(NEADA) , the number of households served by LIHEAP increased from 5.8 million in 2008 to 8.3 million in 2010. NEADA Director Martin Wolfe estimates about 3.1 million households, many of them middle class families suffering a job loss, will be cut from the program under Obama's budget proposal.  But think of all the calories burned in the process.  People will freeze to death before they even get the chance to develop diabetes.


Metro Journalist said...

Or they can just huddle together in buses headed for demonstrations in Washington, D.C. That will keep the fire in their bellies.

Gina said...

Great NYT comment when you said: "All we have seen from Obama is a Gallery of Appeasement and Capitulation to the oligarchy which now owns and operates the United States of America in all but name.

FDR told the wealthy corporations he welcomed their hatred, and was elected four times. Obama has told them he craves their approval."

Really what is going on is this: Obama was told by his Xe services infiltrated core secret service members that, unlike JFK, they will not merely shoot him if he does not obey the corporations, but that they will shoot his two daughters, and let him and Michelle live through it as president and first lady in mourning: you think Lewinsky was a distraction...

And by doing this, we see what was the most liberal member of the US Senate, go and crawl along Wall Street and hire their handlers for the last 2 years of his one term presidency, we saw him capitulate to republicans and basically walk off any real leadership for the people. I'd be a terrible president because I would do the same for my two children.

Anonymous said...

That's right, Gina, it has NOTHING to do with the grotesque amount of money President Obama willingly accepted from the banking sector during the 08 campaign.
Never ascribe to conspiracy that which has a clear transactional explanation.

Anonymous said...

Can Gina be serious?

Haley Simon

Anonymous said...

Of course she is! Ask her about the 9-11 conspiracy where Dick Cheney dynamited the buildings himself.

Anonymous said...

I've heard conspiracy theories similar to Gina's from other women who volunteered with OFA. It seems to attach to uppermiddle class Anglo women of the same generation that was once swept off its feet by Sidney Poitier.

Since Poitier could do no wrong, neither is anything Obama's fault. It's makes citizenship an extended exercise in recreating the set of "Six Degrees of Separation." This entire administration is excused by polite, faux-liberal Anglo guilt, even though it behaves in much the same vein as W.'s administration.
Give me an angry colored person. I'll take Cornel West. Or an angry disgraced Jewish former governor. I'll take Spitz. But enough with the polite little old white ladies condoning torture in the name of someone who reminds them of Mr. Poitier.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Karen, no comment on the blackout of news out of Wisconsin?

Phenomenally huge protests. Next to zero coverage on NPR or in Times.