Tag Archives: Chick-Fil-A

Deal allows for Walmart, Chick-fil-A on rare forest land in Florida

Environmentalists are scratching their heads over a recent deal between the University of Miami and a Palm Beach County developer that will bring a Walmart store, restaurants and apartments to a section of rare forest.

The Miami Herald reports that last month the university sold some 88 acres of rockland, which is habitat to plants animals and insects found nowhere else. The developer agreed to set aside a 40-acre preserve.

The development includes a Walmart store, an LA Fitness Center, along with Chick-fil-A and Chili’s restaurants and 900 apartments.

In a statement, the university says it is committed to preserving the forests.

Federal officials told the Herald they’re closely watching the project, given the pending protection of the Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly, which need a host plant, the pineland cotton.

Chick-fil-A seeks to open restaurant in Madison

Chick-fil-A, the Bible Belt-based fast-food chain whose charitable wing funneled millions of dollars to organizations working to demonize gays and lesbians, is seeking city approval to open an outlet in Madison’s West Town Mall at 423 S. Gammon Road.The company was scheduled to present its plans to Madison’s Urban Design Commission today.

Chick-fil-A’s red-bricked façades are a common sight throughout the Southern states. But Racine is the only Wisconsin city where a Chick-fil-A has opened.

The rapidly expanding company has its sites set on Wisconsin, however, with other projects scheduled in Brookfield at 12575 W. Capitol Ave., and in Greendale at an undisclosed location later this year. Those two Milwaukee suburbs are bastions of right-wing activism.

But Madison, the state’s most liberal city, seems an odd choice for the controversial fast-food giant, which is famous for serving breasts of factory-farmed chickens on a bun and for remaining closed on Sundays so that its employees can attend church.

In 2012, LGBT people and their allies boycotted the chain and staged protests at several sites after chief operating officer Dan Cathy made remarks condemning same-sex couples. That opposition made Cathy and Chick-fil-A heroes of the evangelical Christians who want to halt same-sex marriages and re-criminalize homosexuality. The company’s sales soared — and continue to do so.

But when Chicago and Boston denied permits for the privately held company to build restaurants in those cities, Cathy agreed to stop making official donations to hate groups and organizations with anti-gay missions. Such contributions from WinShape Foundation, the company’s charitable arm, ended soon afterward. But due to the nearly impossible task of tracing bundled contributions to astroturf political action committees, donations made by the Cathy family are shielded from public view.

So far, there has been no organized effort to stop Chick-fil-A’s expansion plans in Wisconsin, including in Madison.

WiGWAG: News with a twist and sometimes a punchline

JINGLING JOE

A Kmart commercial for Joe Boxer that features boxer-clad men jiggling their junk to the tune of “Jingle Bells” is stirring ire among the world’s human-body-hating humans (i.e., the fervent religious followers of the human-body maker). The ad begins with a row of bow-tied men ringing bells in front of a white banquet table. The table is yanked away, revealing the men stripped down to their skivvies and shaking it. Whether you think it’s naughty or nice, “Show Your Joe” is less sexploitive than the average Victoria’s Secret ad.

DRIVEN TO DEFICIT

The National Organization for Marriage has come up empty in the past year or so in repeated attempts to block marriage equality in the states. NOM lost in Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Delaware, Maine, Hawaii and Illinois in the last 12 months. And the right-wing group is feeling the impact on its bank account. The political arm of NOM has borrowed $1.7 million from the educational arm to cover a deficit. The lesson: Don’t bank on hate.

MODERN FAMILY

Mom and Dad Cheney aren’t happy with the high-profile public feud their daughters are waging over same-sex marriage. Daughter Liz is running for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming and is courting the religious right vote with repeated affirmations that same-sex marriage is wrong. Daughter Mary, who is a lesbian and married her longtime partner in the District of Columbia, has responded that her sister is wrong. Their parents, in a statement to the press, said that the family has dealt privately with the issue for years and they are “pained to see it become public.” Of course, at WiG, we’ve been pained for years that the Cheney family has any public role.

BALDWIN’S MOUTH

MSNBC suspended Alec Baldwin’s new weekly talk show for two episodes after his latest videotaped public meltdown, which was laced with homophobic insults. Baldwin said he was “deeply sorry” for calling a photo
grapher what sounded like “cocksucking fag.” At first, he denied using the word “fag,” insisting that he said “fathead.” He later admitted to using that epithet, but claimed that he didn’t know “cocksucking” was offensive to gays. Up Late with Alec Baldwin airs on Fridays, if any “cocksucking fags” or their friends care to tune in.

SAD CHOICES

In the final hours of this year’s Wisconsin Assembly session, the Republican majority voted to create a special “Choose Life” license plate. Proceeds from sales of the plate will go to Choose Life Wisconsin Inc., an organization seeking to force women to bear children, whether they want them or not. Republicans in the House also killed a Democrat-proposed resolution to honor the 26 people — mostly children — killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year in Connecticut. Their vote is likely the result of allegiance to the National Rifle Association, which opposes any action that draws attention to gun violence.

DISHING IT

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently delivered a message with some spice to Jon Stewart, who mocked the city’s love for its deep-dish pizza pie on The Daily Show. Stewart said Chicago’s famed pizza was “an above-ground marina swimming pool for rats.” Not one of his craftier quips, but enough to goad Emanuel to action. The Second City mayor sent the staff of the New York-based show an anchovy-covered pizza with a note: “Jon, Deep Dish with Dead Fish. Love, Rahm.” The Daily Show staff tweeted a video of a dog sniffing and passing by the pizza, which, it turns out, was made in New York City.

RETAIL FICTION

Retailer Costco has apologized for labeling Bibles as fiction at a store in Simi Valley, Calif. A local pastor photographed the label and posted the picture on Twitter, setting off a predictable uproar from fundamentalist Christians. In an email to Fox News, Costco officials said they “deeply regretted” the incident and “meant no offense.” The reaction on Twitter has been mixed, according to USA Today.

BUY MORE AWARDS

Dan T. Cathy, president and CEO of Chick-fil-A, won an award at the Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s annual Equal Opportunity Day dinner. Cathy received the honor despite proudly boasting of his opposition to equality for LGBT people and staunchly defending his family foundation’s funding for hate groups such as the Family Research Council. The urban league explained its award to Cathy in a Facebook post, noting the “significant financial contributions” from Cathy and the Chick-fil-A Foundation.

Right-wing Chick-fil-A exec honored at Equal Opportunity Day dinner in Atlanta

To the dismay of LGBT civil rights advocates across the country, the Urban League of Greater Atlanta recently honored a right-wing chief executive of Chick-fil-A at its annual Equal Opportunity Day dinner.

A community empowerment award was presented during the Equal Opportunity Day dinner in Atlanta on Nov. 16 to Dan T. Cathy, who made headlines last year for proudly boasting about his anti-gay politics and his foundation’s anti-gay donor work, including to the Family Research Council, a right-wing hate group, and to an organization that promoted so-called “ex-gay” therapy.

The theme of the event was Celebrating Champions of Justice and Equality. It took place in the same city where a number of LGBT civil rights actions have been staged to protest Cathy, who tweeted after the landmark Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality, “Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.”

Cathy, last year, also prompted a boycott of Chick-fil-A after appearing on a radio show and saying that he prayed for God’s mercy on for a generation that has shown tolerance of same-sex marriage. He also stressed that Chick-fil-A was a family-owned and family-led business guided by the family’s anti-gay politics.

In response to criticism of the award, the ULGA posted an explanation on its Facebook page, stating that Cathy and the Chick-fil-A Foundation received the community empowerment award because of “significant financial contributions that support programs that empower communities — including funding for a signature program that teaches inner city youth financial literacy, a local food bank.”

The organization, in its statement, also said, “Please be assured that the Urban League of Greater Atlanta supports and works for equal rights for all people, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or physical ability. This includes the recent Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was passed out of the U.S. Senate” recently.

Virginia man sentenced to 25 years for shooting at Family Research Council office

The 25-year-old Virginia man convicted of shooting an unarmed security guard at the offices of the right-wing Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C., was sentenced on Sept. 19 to 25 years in prison.

Floyd Lee Corkins II has said he wanted to kill as many as possible at conservative organizations such as the FRC, which promote discrimination against LGBT people.

Corkins, according to federal authorities, had once volunteered at an LGBT community center in the D.C. area.

He was arrested at the FRC office building in August 2012 after he was tackled to the ground by the security guard he shot and wounded.

Corkins was in possession of a gun and also 15 day-old of Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which he apparently planned to smash in victims’ faces.

The judge on the case, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts, called Corkins’ crime horrific, according to the Washington Post.

The Post quoted the judge as saying, “The carnage you wanted did not happen only because an ordinary man showing extraordinary courage stopped you. Killing human beings is not political activism. It is criminal behavior.”

Corkins had pleaded guilty in February to three felony charges: transporting a firearm or ammunition across state lines, assault with intent to kill and committing an act of terrorism while armed. The first was a federal charge and the second and third were D.C. charges.

Six months before the shooting, Corkins was committed to a mental hospital because he was hallucinating and thinking about killing his parents and right-wing Christians, according to the Post report.

He purchased the 9mm SIG Sauer pistol he used in the shooting from a Virginia gun shop six days before the incident.

2013 LGBT community survey results: Starbucks does well, Chick-fil-A doesn’t

Starbucks has moved to the No. 1 position of brands perceived as most supportive of the LGBT community, according to a new survey.

JCPenney, Target, Apple and Amazon round out the top 5.

The broad Community Market & Insights 2013 LGBT survey is based on the opinions of more than 30,000 people in more than 100 countries. To collect the information, CMI partnered with more than 180 media outlets and organizations, including the Wisconsin Gazette.

CMI noted that “obviously the media consumption, purchasing patterns and motivations of a 25 year old single gay man living in New York City are completely different than those of a lesbian couple in their 60s living in Sedona, Ariz.” So, it said, the study “helps organizations understand how the LGBT community sometimes responds as one voice, or when demographic differences such as gender, age, and geographic residence are far more important.”

A sampling of what CMI found in the United States:

• 75 percent of LGBT people are actively boycotting Chick-fil-A.

• The term “LGBT” has strengthened its lead as the preferred term to describe the community. “GLBT” is continuing to lose favor – even among gay men. Bisexual men and women and the transgender community strongly prefer the term “LGBT.”

• The LGBT community demonstrates strong support for the performing arts, with more than 60 percent having purchased tickets in the past 12 months.

• Nearly half of all gay/bisexual men and lesbian/bisexual women surveyed make financial contributions to a charity or nonprofit at least annually.

• Lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to purchase spa services than gay and bisexual men.

• Lesbians consume beer on similar levels as gay men, but are far less likely to drink “spirits.”

• Transgender men and women drink far less alcohol than gays or lesbians.

• Facebook is a dominant media force within the LGBT community. However, LGBT-specific websites are showing notable growth in LGBT readership.

• During the past week, 42 percent of lesbian/bi women “liked” a business on Facebook, 28 percent of gay/bi men “checked in” at a business to get deals or discounts and 17 percent of lesbian/bi women purchased a deal from Groupon, Living Social, etc.

• 56 percent of lesbians watched an NFL game on television in the past year, compared to 40 percent of gay men.

• Lesbians support the WNBA, with 34 percent watching a game on television and 12 percent attending a game.

Patent office protects Chick-fil-A’s ‘Eat mor chikin’

A Vermont folk artist who built a T-shirt business around the phrase “eat more kale” says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has given him a “preliminary no” in his effort to protect it after the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain complained.

Montpelier resident Bo Muller-Moore says he had expected the ruling on April 22 to be more definitive. He says he has six months to respond to it.

Chick-fil-A has argued Muller-Moore’s T-shirt infringes on its trademarked “eat mor chikin” slogan.

The legal fight over “eat more kale” prompted Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin to say in December 2011 the state would do all it could to help Muller-Moore against Chick-fil-A.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A sells chicken sandwiches and sides. It made headlines last year over its president’s comments opposing gay marriage and stong support – verbally and financially – for anti-gay campaigns and organizations. The controversy prompted a boycott of the restaurant on the left and buy-ins on the right.

The company hasn’t responded to an emailed request for comment on the “eat more kale” ruling.

Poll: Ronald McDonald defeats the Burger King in presidential race

In a hypothetical presidential race, Ronald McDonald would beat out the Burger King, according to a survey of voters conducted by Public Policy Polling.

PPP conducted multiple polls over the weekend, including a survey of Wisconsin voters that found a drop in Gov. Scott Walker’s approval rating, but also a survey of U.S. voters on food and beverage choices.

A look at the findings:

• Democrats are the party of bagels – 34 percent – and croissants – 32 percent – while Republicans prefer to eat doughnuts – 35 percent.

• Democrats like KFC better than Chick-Fil-A while Republicans take Chick-Fil-A over KFC by a 48/29 spread.

• Democrats are cool with vegans but GOP voters have a negative opinion of them.

• Democrats prefer regular soda while Republicans prefer diet soft drinks.

• Republicans narrowly believe that Olive Garden constitutes ‘a quality source of authentic ethnic food,’ Democrats think it does not.

• 52 percent of Americans say that dinner is their favorite meal of the day. Democrats and Republicans both strongly back dinner.

• Coke beats out Pepsi in the soft drink wars, drawing support from both Republicans (47/33) and Democrats (44/37).

• 54 percent of voters say they’d be willing to pay more for their restaurant meals to help employees have health insurance. Democrats are more willing to pay more for that purpose, but Republicans by a narrow margin (41/38) as well.

• Voters narrowly prefer pancakes over French toast, with waffles finishing third.

Man pleads guilty to Family Research Council shooting

A Virginia man pleaded guilty on Feb. 6 to shooting a security guard at the Washington headquarters of the far-right Family Research Council.

The man, Floyd Corkins II, 28, admitted in a plea deal that he went to the FRC in mid-August 2012 to shoot as many people as possible and that he also had plans to target other right-wing groups that oppose gay marriage.

Corkins, when he was arrested, was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in a backpack – at that time, the family-run restaurant chain was embroiled in controversy over support for anti-gay groups. Corkins, according to a prosecutor at the plea hearing, planned to rub the sandwiches in his victims’ faces.

But he never got beyond the lobby of the FRC headquarters, where he was stopped by security guard Leonardo Johnson. Corkins fired three sots in the lobby. One of them hit Johnson, but the guard still wrestled Corkins to the ground.

Corkins pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition because he had to travel from Virginia to D.C., assault with intent to kill while armed and act of terrorism while armed.

He could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison on April 29.

After the shooting, FRC placed blame for the incident on the Southern Poverty Law Center, which had characterized the FRC as a “hate group.”

Of droughts and foie gras angst – the year in food

Most Americans never will sip the watermelon margarita at Guy Fieri’s behemoth Times Square restaurant, nor savor the chicken Alfredo at the Olive Garden in Grand Forks, N.D.

Yet both eateries somehow shot to the top of the nation’s culinary zeitgeist in 2012, for this was the year of the viral restaurant review, when the rants and raves of seasoned pros and naive octogenarians alike got superstar treatment on the world wide smorgasbord.

It was a year when drought crippled farmers while Californians clamored for foie gras. Twinkies died and Paula Deen endorsed a diabetes drug. Which is to say, it was a year when the unlikely was the norm.

While restaurateurs bemoaned the influence of Yelp and other social media review sites, 85-year-old Grand Forks Herald restaurant columnist Marilyn Hagerty cut through the noise, heaping near rhapsodic praise on the fine dining at her community’s latest chain restaurant. All she wanted to do was get to her bridge game, but her review became a must-read sensation.

And lest they be considered elite for dissing her devotion to this fine fare, the nation’s culinary upper crust rushed to praise her. It was an amusing – and embarrassing – display of the food world’s split personality, an ever growing chasm between how real Americans eat, and how real foodies want real Americans to eat. Either way, Hagerty did OK for herself, landing a book deal with Anthony Bourdain.

Meanwhile, New York Times reviewer Pete Wells scored a celeb smackdown when he slammed Fieri’s New York restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, in a scathing 1,000-word review written almost entirely in questions. Wells took heat for beating on Food Network’s bad boy, but the review – which tore across Twitter the instant it was posted – certainly drove hordes to Fieri’s tables, even if only to rubberneck the culinary accident.

Speaking of restaurants taking a beating, the Chick-fil-A chain earned plenty of scorn – and some support – this summer when company president Dan Cathy came out about his opposition to same-sex marriage. The dustup spawned online “Chick-fil-Gay” mockery.

Another revelation – Twinkies may not last forever. Blaming a labor dispute for ongoing financial woes, Hostess Brands decided to close shop this year, taking with it lunch box staples such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder bread. The company said it would try to sell off its many storied brands, so maybe there is hope for the mysteriously enduring snack cakes.

California’s foie gras fans may not get a similar second chance. Despite opposition by the state’s restaurant industry, as of July it became illegal to sell foie gras – which is made from goose or duck livers enlarged by force-feeding through funnel-like tubes.

Back in New York, the too-cool-for-you folks spent the summer angsting over whether Brooklyn really did have a hip dining scene. Not that anyone outside New York gives a flying (artisanal bacon-wrapped) fig. But silly one-upmanship gave way to legit worry – and unity – when Superstorm Sandy dealt a devastating blow to the city’s restaurant scene.

For this year’s truly hot food scene, you needed to head south. Because The South is where it’s happening. Hugh Acheson, Tim Love, John Besh and a gaggle of others are putting a fresh face on what it means to eat well when you’re below the Mason-Dixon Line, and the rest of the country started to wake up to this.

And then there’s Paula Deen, the doyenne of butter, deep-frying and – at least this year – public relations travesties. Though diagnosed with diabetes several years ago, she waited until January – coincidentally when she also had lined up a lucrative drug endorsement deal – to go public with it. She came off looking money-grubbing, and an opportunity to educate Americans about a devastating disease was mostly lost.

But Americans did learn plenty about their hamburgers. In March, the Internet exploded with worry over so-called pink slime, or what the meat industry prefers to call lean finely textured beef. Though it had been part of the food chain for years, by the end of the kerfuffle the product had all but disappeared.

Filling your grocery cart was – and will continue to be – costly. This summer’s massive drought in the U.S. devastated famers and drove up global food prices. And the hardship isn’t over. Analysts say we can expect food prices here to go up by as much as 4 percent in 2013.

Food safety also was a headline grabber. For the first time ever, the Food and Drug Administration used newly granted authority to shutter a company without a court hearing. In November, the government shut down Sunland Inc., the country’s largest organic peanut butter processor, after repeated food safety violations.

Meanwhile, the nation’s kids seem to be sick of being told to eat healthier. Nutritionists praised the most significant overhaul of federal school lunch standards in years, but the kids in the lunch lines were less impressed; schools reported more food landing uneaten in the trash.

But the kids won’t get much sympathy in New York City, where a first-in-the-nation ban on eateries selling sodas larger than 16 ounces means slurping a monster gulper is going to require double fisting.

At times this year it felt like the food world belonged to the geeks, and the rest of us just eat in it. Nathan Myhrvold’s science chic approach to cooking continued to woo foodies, and even the more populist folks at Cook’s Illustrated magazine got in on the act with a new cookbook, “The Science of Good Cooking.”

Now let’s talk trends. Kale was the unlikely darling of 2011, but it started to lose its luster this year. Beets are making a bid for top slot, and would actually stand a chance if they didn’t stain your fingers so much. Americans fell in love with dark meat, finally realizing what chefs have known all along – chicken breasts are the tofu of the meat world. Dark meat actually has flavor.

Craft beer remains a growing market, but hipster drinkers know it’s the hard stuff that’s happening. Barrel aged cocktails and micro distilleries are raging hot. Chia seeds also are trying to be hip, and though they’ve wormed their way into numerous bottled drinks, they will forever suffer from the Ch-ch-ch-chia! effect. If you want to seem impossibly hip, saute or bake something with coconut oil. But don’t be caught dead sipping coconut water. That’s so 2011.

By the way, we get it! Any food served out of a truck or from a restaurant that “pops up” is outrageously better than any other food. And eating it makes you impossibly cool. Now can we please move on to another food world flavor of the week?

And would somebody please, for the love of all that is good, please kill off the cake pop phenomenon?

WiG wants to know: What’s the best bite you had in 2012? Send tweets about #2012eats to @wigazette.