Thursday, June 29, 2006

High Gas Prices Hit Popular Cracker Barrel Hard

I have said many times on this blog that the high gas prices we currently have are affecting everything from our daily commute, where we travel this summer, the price to ship and receive things, the price of other goods and services, among other things.

However, I never would have thought it would get this bad.

A new report finds that gas prices have hit the very popular, Tennessee based restaurant chain Cracker Barrel pretty hard.

The report says, "The operator of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain said sales have fallen at the country-style diners, most of which are located near interstate highways, amid higher gasoline prices.

For the four weeks ended Friday, sales at restaurants open at least a year were down 3.5 percent, CBRL Group Inc. said Tuesday. The drop came even though the average check rose 1.2 percent.

Sales at retail shops attached to the restaurants were down 7.3 percent during the same period, said CBRL, which is based in Lebanon, Tenn.

CBRL spokeswoman Julie Davis said the company is concerned that gas prices and other pressures on consumers' wallets have crimped sales. CBRL operates 543 Cracker Barrels in 41 states, including Florida.

CBRL shares fell 81 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $35.65 on the Nasdaq Stock Market."

This is not good. The Cracker Barrel chain is one of the, if not the most, popular restaurant chain here in rural Tennessee, as well as other states.

For us to see big impacts in their sales like this, you know it must be terrible for small business owners and other people who are just trying to get by.

This has to change quickly for two reasons.

Number one, folks simply cannot afford to continue to spend this kind of money at the pump. With the cost of living at an all time high, the last thing people should have to worry about is how they are going to pay for their travel to and from work.

As I mentioned above, the high gas prices are affecting everything. From the price of groceries at the store, to the price to clothing--everything has went up in cost because of gas.

The second reason why our current course of action must change quickly is because we are the first generation of Americans to fight a war and pay for both sides of that war. We fund our troops by our tax dollars at home and fund the terrorists by our dangerous addiction to oil everytime we fill up at the pump.

That is a dangerous trend we simply cannot continue.

We need real leadership on this issue and only one candidate is providing that leadership and that is Harold Ford Jr.

Ford has proposed a suspension of the 19 cents a gallon gas tax, which would be paid for by a tax on the huge profits of Big Oil.

Last month, the Congressman launched new television and radio ads, which took on Big Oil and high gas prices.

Further, Ford has an energy plan, unlike his opponents, which will actually make our nation energy independent in the future.

And just recently, Ford proposed an emergency energy summit, which would look to create solutions to our nation's dangerous energy crisis.

On the other hand, Bob Corker, Van Hilleary, and Ed Bryant have said or did nothing when it comes to gas prices and our energy crisis. Instead of offering real solutions that could help us solve this problem, all they do is take huge amounts of money from Big Oil.

In a day and time when gas prices are affecting everything in our lives, we need a U.S. Senator who will fight to ease the pinch on everyday Tennesseans and who will take the initiative to make our nation energy independent.

Harold Ford Jr. is the only candidate who has shown the political will to do just that.

So if you are fed up when you fill up, vote Harold Ford Jr. this fall!

177 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!