Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Game of Chicken (Tuesday LINKS)

I attended a party this weekend at which one of the party-goers brought a tray of Chick-fil-a nuggets and wore a Chick-fil-a t-shirt (the latter being something that I had never seen before Saturday).  It was clear that the individual was trying to send a message and I don't think it was "I'm not a very good baker".

I've steered clear of the Chick-fil-a debate, mostly because I think it is a lot of smoke with little fire.  There will be plenty of folks attending the Huckabee sponsored Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day on August 1.  There will also be plenty of other folks...hmm...attending for other reasons

For those who have avoided the debate/Facebook screed, this relates to Chick-fil-a donating $2 million in profits to groups opposing same-sex marriage and President Dan Cathy saying "guilty as charged" in an interview with Baptist Press regarding those donations.  Cathy went on to say that he was supportive of the "Biblical definition of the family".  One could argue that a more appropriate question for a fast food tycoon would relate to the Biblical definition of dietary restrictions, but that is neither here nor there.

I'm fine with a boycott and think people should be able to "vote with their dollars" when it comes to causes they support or do not support.  If you don't like Walmart's practice of building products overseas, buy local.  If you are offended by stores that say "Happy Holidays" instead of specifically sponsoring your religion and forsaking all others, I'm sure you can find another place to buy your stocking stuffers.

However, I have a significant problem with the Mayors of San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., and Chicago telling the company that they are no longer welcome inside City limits.  Notably, most of these cities do not have Chick-Fil-A restaurants to begin with, the franchise only recently emerging out from its Southern roots, but the precedent is concerning.  Imagine if it was reversed.  Consider a circumstance in which Oreo packages are pulled from the shelves of grocery stores at the order of the local council due to their rainbow ad.  Even worse, think of the spoils at play if our political views define our ability to do business.  Is it all that far removed to describe a circumstance in which a Governor looks at the donor rolls from the previous election and defines what businesses are "acceptable" within the State's borders on that basis?  Sure, that is a stretch, but once you start defining the terms of conducting business on political views, the question is not whether you draw the line at certain speech, but rather "what speech is allowed".

Thankfully, this is mostly posturing.  Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has acknowledged that he can't stop a Chick-fil-a store from opening in Boston.  But this posturing gives me the creeps.  "I can't arrest you without probable cause, but I can have a police car drive by your house every ten minutes."

I don't agree with the way Chick-fil-a spends its lobbying dollars.  As a result, I have chosen not to eat at Chick-fil-a.  But I don't want my government getting involved.  I certainly don't want them telling me what I can think.


O's pull in a nice win over the Yankees 5-4.  Looked like Jim Johnson was going to blow yet another save, but he ended up closing the door with the winning run on second base.

If you wanted a liquor store at Wegman's and didn't testify, it seems as if your absence played a large role in the application being denied at last night's Liquor Board hearing.  Making the motion to deny the license, Board member Anne Santos said "I'm not hearing the community come out and tell me there's a need for this."  It also appears that the Board fairly applied the law that states liquor stores may not be used "in conjunction with" chain stores or grocery stores.  It may be an antiquated law and you may not agree with it, but it is what is on the books.

Attorney General Doug Gansler may get another shot at preserving Maryland's law allowing DNA collection for those arrested of certain felonies.  Even better for the budding gubernatorial candidate, he will get the chance to argue in front of the Supreme Court at a time when has otherwise been a low profile front-runner, ceding the stage to Ulman, Franchot, and Brown.

Western Maryland's wind turbines may set the terms for wind farms on the East Coast.  So far, its not looking too hot.  A "habitat conservation plan" drafted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has dictated that the turbines will be required to slow down during certain times "to reduce the number of endangered bats that might be killed by the long, spinning blades."  I wonder if they've tried "meandering blades".

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Yet another local contributor may have been cut by The Patch, reinvigorating a sometimes tepid blogger pool.  HoCo Loco has rebooted her blog with some great pictures from around town.  I would warn against the presumption that "no one reads this stuff".  It is not "how many" but "who" that matters.

That's all for today.  Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!