370 posts categorized "Consumers and Business"

February 26, 2015

Stand with Mayor Bowser to defend #i71 - now the law in D.C.

NBC Washington reports:

Possessing small amounts of marijuana is now legal in the nation's capital, even after some members of Congress threatened prison time for D.C. Council members.

February 24, 2015

Discriminatory Washington state florist chooses martyrdom over $2001 settlement

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(Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom)

The Blaze reports.

If the discriminators are the victims here, then erase my life.

February 19, 2015

GLAA criticizes police sex work sting

The above tweet quotes from and links to a Blade story by Lou Chibbaro Jr. on a recent sting operation by the Metropolitan Police Department. Here is something I also said to Lou which was not quoted in the article:

Several local officials have privately agreed with us, but this law that only causes harm is considered politically untouchable. Incidentally, for the benefit of the hysterics at Family Research Council (who misrepresented our views), we are talking about consenting adults, not the victims of sex trafficking. Indeed, any resources in the area of sex crimes should go to keeping the former safe and rescuing the latter, not entrapping consenting adults. In these belt-tightening times, that public funds are expended on sting operations for victimless crimes should be considered scandalous. But the greater responsibility lies with the D.C. Council, which allows the laws that MPD uses for such operations to remain on the books.

These related GLAA documents may be of interest:

EEOC says Wal-Mart discriminated against lesbian

AP reports:

A federal agency says Wal-Mart discriminated against a lesbian employee who sought health coverage for her ailing wife and has ordered "a just resolution" for violating her civil rights.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered the retail giant to work with Jacqueline Cote of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who hopes the determination will help her pay off $100,000 in medical bills.

In a Jan. 29 EEOC ruling, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the agency said Cote "was treated differently and denied benefits because of her sex."

Our colleague Craig Howell writes, "Now that Wal-Mart has entered the 21st century [See this and this], I hope they can settle this case promptly."

February 06, 2015

Feb. 8 - DC Wedding Expo

SameLoveSameRights

The Rainbow Wedding Network asked us to share this invitation:

You & your partner are invited to the 5th Annual 'Same Love, Same Rights' LGBT Wedding Expo in Washington DC on Sunday, Feb. 8th! Dozens of gay-friendly exhibitors will participate, eager to help you and your fiancee plan the ceremony of your dreams! Photographers, DJs, Officiants, Wedding Planners, Venues, Jewelers, Invitations & more... FREE Raffle Giveaways, LGBT-Planning Tips & Trends!

Sunday Feb. 8th, 2015
12:30-3:30pm

Maggiano's Little Italy
5333 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015

Doors will open at 12:30pm with the raffles starting at 1:45pm. Bring your family, friends and wedding party!
Advance tickets FREE! Gay friendly wedding & travel professionals, wedding tips, amazing raffles, fashion, music & more!

FREE TO ATTEND - Couples, singles, and allies interested in marriage rights are all invited.
Please RSVP through the website! www.SameLoveSameRights.com

RainbowWeddingNetwork has produced over 100 Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expos throughout the nation! Join the Celebration! This is our 5th event in Washington DC!

February 04, 2015

How many pheasants died for Aaron Schock's new congressional office?

Pheasant_feathers

Ben Terris of WaPo caused quite a stir when he reported Monday on the lavishly redecorated congressional offices of Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), which have been done up in the style of the red room on "Downton Abbey." Here is a lovely display of pheasant feathers.

I am concerned that now everyone will want one, and pheasants will be driven to extinction.

The mean people at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, however, asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Schock broke House ethics rules by accepting the redecorating services.

Schock now says that he expects an invoice from decorator Annie Brahler, and dismisses his critics:

"I’ve never been an old crusty white guy -- I’m different, I came to Congress at 27, I’m not going to -- when I take a personal vacation, I don’t go sit on the beach, I go do active things. I’m also not going to live in a cave," he said, adding later: "As Taylor Swift said, haters are gonna hate."

Followed into his office by Zeleny and his crew, Schock said the walls were "Republican red."

Below, the Dowager Countess, dropping by for a visit, gave the congressman a look when he said he was heterosexual.

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February 02, 2015

Konnichiwa

A beautiful ad from MTN, a mobile telecommunications firm based in South Africa.

Konnichiwa, incidentally, is Japanese for "Good afternoon."

February 01, 2015

Michael Sam featured in Super Bowl ad for Coca Cola

Coca Cola describes this Super Bowl ad:

Michael Sam has experienced firsthand how the Internet has grown increasingly negative. Watch as he channels this negativity into positivity and provides great advice for how to #MakeItHappy.

Hallmark moment

Eugenia and Corinna are included in Hallmark's #PutYourHeartToPaper campaign. As simple as that.

January 14, 2015

Obama calls for affordable high-speed broadband for all Americans

More here.

Kordale and Kaleb defend their family in powerful Nikon ad

Chris Witherspoon at The Grio reports on this powerful ad featuring Kordale and Kaleb Lewis defending their family.

January 12, 2015

Tiffany & Co. features gay couple in ad

Tiffany_gay_couple

A first for Tiffany & Co. Mediaite reports.

December 23, 2014

U.S. drops The Gambia from free trade agreement over human rights abuses

December 19, 2014

Creampuff in Crestwood for rent

December 18, 2014

Soccer stadium deal gets final Council approval

Tim Cook makes large donation to HRC

December 17, 2014

Cutting Holes in the Law

Worn_US_Flag_insert_by_Bigstock

My column for this week is now online at the Blade. Here is an excerpt:

The Michigan House of Representatives recently passed a bill modeled on the 1993 federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, which featured in the Hobby Lobby case. The Michigan measure may allow emergency medical technicians to invoke sincerely held religious beliefs in refusing to serve LGBT people.

Where will religious demands in daily commerce end? If you view conscience clauses only in terms of gay families, the problem might seem limited. But what about people who object to interracial marriage or to second or third marriages after divorce? Assuming that gay conservatives are motivated by more than axe grinding against gay liberals, why does their solicitude for the religious right appear reserved for gay-related cases?

If an anti-gay Christian receives legal exemptions, why should a Christian Scientist parent opposed to modern medicine not be exempt from child welfare laws? Why should a Muslim devoted to the subordination of women (which, to be fair, is disputed within Islam) not invoke Sharia Law? Satanists, amusingly, have already responded to a Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma state capitol by demanding equal placement of a monument to the demon Baphomet.

Read the whole thing here.

December 16, 2014

Cory Booker defends D.C. home rule

I neglected to post this several days ago when Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spoke out against congressional interference with D.C. voters' choice to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Thank you, Senator.

December 13, 2014

Sen. Warren goes after Citigroup and its bailout provision

Sen. Elizabeth Warren lets Citigroup have it.

Update:

December 11, 2014

Congress and Initiative 71

Also:

Chris Geidner mistaken for Harvard professor in Chinese takeout dispute; hashtag #BlameChrisGeidner

Chris_geidner

Poynter reports that our friend, BuzzFeed reporter Chris Geidner, has somehow been confused for the Harvard Business School professor who got into a big fight over a $4 overcharge at a Chinese takeout.

One of my unhelpful comments was:

Screw you PC weaklings! Geidner doesn't apologize! #GeidnerianExceptionalism

Also:

It is a damned lie that Chris Geidner engaged in classified pillow talk with Dianne Feinstein!

And:

Or was it Lindsey Graham that Chris Geidner didn't sleep with? #ewww

(Hat tip: Chris Geidner)

December 07, 2014

The President on continued job growth

Another month of job growth. I have heard from some quarters what a disastrous president Barack Obama has been. For such people, the facts simply cannot be allowed to count.

November 28, 2014

Corporate liberal Hillary rakes it in

Hillary_at_UCal_with_Teleprompter
(Photo: AP / Nick Ut)

Rosalind S. Helderman and Philip Rucker at WaPo report:

When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?

The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.”

Maybe Hillary's new populist slogan will be, "Time to Get Yours." She could model herself after Prosperity Gospel televangelists. That would make me want to hurl, but it would at least be coherent. I do not see how this naked greed helps her politically. Oh, I can think up excuses, and the hacks will dutifully toss them out on command. But who will buy them?

By the way, in the above photo, doesn't she look a bit like Thomas Jefferson?

November 27, 2014

A proud moment for Dan Snyder

November 15, 2014

The Christmas Truce 1914

This year's Christmas ad by Sainsbury's, the British supermarket and convenience store chain founded in 1869, recreates the legendary Christmas Truce that occurred on the Western Front one hundred years ago during World War I. After the jump are videos about the making of the advert in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and the story behind it.

The video's moving reminder that humanity can emerge under the worst circumstances also reminds us of the pointlessness of war. It was rising anti-German sentiment during WWI, in 1917, that caused the British House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to become the House of Windsor, and Battenberg to become Mountbatten. The British, German, and Russian royals were cousins. The Tsarevitch Alexei, for example, famous hemophiliac son of Tsar Nicholas II, was the great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. If you didn't know better, you might think that as the world grows smaller, it would grow less violent.

At least at this point regarding the English and Germans, the prospect is not war but whether Britain will leave the European Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Prime Minister David Cameron that she would sooner see the UK leave the EU than limit the freedom of movement within EU, with which Britain has a problem. The Iron Lady's ghost hovers, saying "No, no, no."

Continue reading "The Christmas Truce 1914" »

November 07, 2014

Nutso pastor says Starbucks uses semen to flavor lattes

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(Harlem pastor James David Manning, via YouTube)

Pastor Manning just wants the job himself.

October 30, 2014

Coffee Frenemies

A Starbucks commercial, no less.

Non-news of the day: Tim Cook is gay

Tim_Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out in Businessweek.

I am so inspired by his bravery, I want to announce that I am gay too. There. A burden lifted!

Kidding aside, maybe courage isn't quite the right word. Sacrifice might be closer to the mark. For an intensely private person to discuss his private affairs can indeed be a big deal for that person. Of course, just mentioning you are gay is not giving blow by blow sexual details. Few straight people consider their sexual orientation a secret. That is one of the most pernicious double standards, enforced socially and tacitly. And for such an eminent man of business to break that silence is a great gift.

42 weighs in:

October 04, 2014

General Mills, the anti-Chick-fil-A

As Mark Joseph Stern at Slate writes, this Cheerios commercial for Canada, featuring Quebecois parents André and Jonathan and their daughter Raphaëlle, "hits all the right notes." For a major commercial brand to embrace gay families as part of its diverse customer base, in such contrast to Chick-fil-A, is a big deal, as Stern suggests.

(Hat tip: Bob Witeck)

September 24, 2014

Why people use aliases on Facebook

MyNameIs

Change your uninformed policy, Facebook. #MyNameIs

(Hat tip: David da Silva Cornell)

August 15, 2014

They'll always have Vegas

FCS-headshot

Rev. Graylan Hagler is a candidate for At-Large Council.

August 12, 2014

Tony Perkins: Christian Businesses Should Donate Profits From LGBT Customers To Ex-Gay Ministries

Here's a new one. Thanks to Ian Silverstone at Right Wing Watch.

July 27, 2014

Bible museum dispute in the news

The dispute between Truth Wins Out and GLAA over the right of a privately funded Bible museum to open two blocks from the National Mall was highlighted on July 23 by Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis.

And reporter Tom Sherwood at NBC Washington wrote in his notebook on July 23:

Hobby Lobby high-five? Well, kinda. The owners of Hobby Lobby craft stores won national attention when they won their Supreme Court battle to limit contraception insurance coverage for their employees because of the owners’ religious beliefs.

That recently prompted Wayne Bensen of the advocacy group Truth Wins Out to “strongly urge” District officials to make it as difficult as possible for Hobby Lobby to get all the permits it needs to build a private National Bible Museum in Southwest D.C. (the old site of the Washington Design Center).

Bensen wrote that the project near the National Mall “would make a mockery of surrounding museums, which are based on research, history and scholarship.”

Well, throwing up administrative hurdles didn’t go over so well with local activist Rick Rosendall, who is president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.

“There is no legitimate basis to block it,” Rosendall wrote this week in the Daily Chose. “GLAA has a long history of defending our opponents’ First Amendment rights. This allows us to hold the moral high ground. ... We are much better off in the long run by respecting the rights of all, not just those who agree with us.”

Goodness, we better not let that kind of high-mindedness catch on. Maybe even the warring members of Congress might start working together. And then, what would the mean ol’ media report?

Don't worry, Tom. You'll always turn up something. Besides, high-mindedness is about as likely to catch on in Washington as a coherent thought in Rep. Louie Gohmert. Oh, dear, that didn't sound terribly high-minded, did it?

July 26, 2014

Applause from an adversary

The group Faith and Action says on its "About" page:

The missionary outreaches at Faith and Action are targeted specifically toward our nation’s public policy makers and particularly to Capitol Hill. We believe such a narrowly targeted effort is the most effective method for accomplishing our mission – to challenge our leaders with Biblical TRUTH.

If you suspect they are not big fans of GLAA's work, you are right. But on Friday, I came across this tweet in response to my article, "Free Speech and the Bible Museum":

Here is the praise from Faith and Action blogger kaitlynn:

We’re often too quick to condemn and too slow to compliment. So, this time we wanted to make a point to applaud the writer of this article for standing up for religious freedom to back a cause that we happen to agree with, and HE happens to disagree with.

Richard J. Rosendall (President, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance) there are plenty of things we fully disagree with you on, but find your willingness to champion the freedom of speech and religious freedoms of everyone (despite the fact that you disagree with their views, and probably taking some heat for it) impressive.

I replied:

Oh, dear, I'm in trouble now! But thank you. I hear faint echoes of the famous Christmas ceasefire in WWI. Or to quote JFK: "We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

Best wishes and God bless America,

Rick Rosendall
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

A friend joked that I would be run out of town by angry liberals, and offered me sanctuary in another state (which I will keep confidential in case I need it); but joking aside, it is foolish and ahistorical to think we weaken our position by defending the free speech rights of our opponents. Censorship by our side is not only obnoxious and hypocritical, it is (as my article points out) unnecessary because we have the better arguments. As another friend put it yesterday, GLAA's approach demonstrates the maturity of our movement. (Or at least our corner of it, as I said back to him.)

July 15, 2014

Growing implications of Hobby Lobby ruling

Above, Jonathan Capehart (subbing for Steve Kornacki) discusses the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling with Gabriela Domenzain, Justin Snow and Chris Geidner. Below, Evan Wolfson joins the discussion.

Republican ENDA backers dig in while LGBT supporters jump ship

Ros-Lehtinen

Metro Weekly reports.

I heard the same yesterday from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who was interviewed by Atlantic Editor-at-large Steve Clemons at a Women of Washington event at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. She criticized the bill's LGBT critics for insisting on perfection, and described the religious exemption as moderate and reasonable, while acknowledging that ENDA (which has passed the Senate) only has 9 Republican co-sponsors in the House.

Sorry, Congresswoman, but nine Republicans do not a surge of bipartisan support make. As for a reasonable religious exemption, why should the standard be any different for LGBT people than for the groups protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? I am sorry, but ENDA only focuses on employment discrimination to start with, and to have an overly broad religious exemption on top of that gives us little to rally around.

Ros-Lehtinen also mentioned she is pro-life. If one of her fellow Republicans is elected president in 2016, and has a chance to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she will doubtless be pleased at the likely loss of women's reproductive rights. The gay rights movement gained a great deal from the women's rights movement. Indeed, the 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned remaining state anti-sodomy laws grew out of a string of constructive-due-process rulings starting with Griswold v. Connecticut and continuing through Eisenstadt v. Baird and Roe v. Wade.

I would love to know how Ros-Lehtinen squares supporting my rights while pulling out one of the foundations of our movement. But given the glib political answers she gave to several questions, it wouldn't leave me any more enlightened. I thanked her afterward for her support of gay rights, but given that, the last time I checked, she was the only member of the Republican caucus to have gotten a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign, if this is the best the GOP can do, we shouldn't get our hopes up.

(Photo of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen courtesy The Washington Post)

July 09, 2014

Geidner: Three Reasons LGBT Groups Are Fighting Over A Bill That Isn’t Going To Become Law

LGBT_logos

An interesting analysis by Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed.

GLAA opposes ENDA over sweeping religious exemptions

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaa.org

For Release:
July 8, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA opposes ENDA over sweeping religious exemptions

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) voted at its monthly meeting on July 8 to adopt the following statement. It may be attributed to GLAA President Rick Rosendall.

GLAA joins the growing list of LGBT rights organizations that oppose the present version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In its current form, sweeping religious exemptions in ENDA could enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination into law by allowing far more organizations to bypass civil rights protections than are permitted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Furthermore, provisions added by Senator Rob Portman through amendment seek, in his words, "to ensure that government cannot penalize a religious employer because it qualifies as exempt from the non-discrimination requirements of ENDA." These assurances could weaken existing state and city non-discrimination protections resulting in a step backwards in protecting the LGBT community.

Continue reading "GLAA opposes ENDA over sweeping religious exemptions" »

June 25, 2014

Jury finds HIV/AIDS grant money was used to build D.C. strip club

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(Photo: J.M. Eddins Jr./The Washington Times)

Matthew Cella at The Washington Times reports on a matter that we have been following for a few years:

A D.C. jury found that a nonprofit group and its director misappropriated more than $300,000 from the city’s HIV/AIDS program for renovations on a proposed job-training center that instead was used to open a strip club.

The jury found damages of $329,653 against the nonprofit Miracle Hands Inc. and its director, reformed gangster Cornell Jones, after a four-day trial in D.C. Superior Court.

GLAA wrote about this in our 2012 policy brief, which provides some context:

The contrast between Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.'s vehement opposition to gay strip clubs in 2007 and his support for straight-oriented strip clubs in 2011 suggests a gaping double standard that he has not credibly explained. [Note: As we go to press, Councilmember Thomas appears set to resign as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. We are not deleting this material because the issue continues to stir debate.] WAMU reported that Thomas "has supported the applications of the clubs and says these upscale strip clubs can be good corporate neighbors." Thomas denied being influenced by campaign donations, despite a Washington Times report (in June 2011) that "Keith Forney, a co-owner of the Stadium Club whose companies have received more than $90 million in D.C. construction funds since 2000, made separate payments to Team Thomas in 2008 and 2009 totaling $6,000." On top of this, former crack cocaine kingpin Cornell Jones is accused of diverting more than $300,000 in District HIV/AIDS funds to renovate the club. The city owes us a single standard that neither depends on campaign cash nor involves misuse of public funds.

At last, some justice in the case. As the Times story quotes D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, the verdict “should serve as a warning to all those who would attempt to misuse District grant funds.”

House Appropriations Committee votes to block D.C. mj decriminalization

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DCist reports:

An amendment introduced by a Republican Representative from Maryland to block the implementation of D.C.'s marijuana decriminalization law passed 28 to 21 in the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Andy Harris, a physician, introduced the amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill, saying today marijuana is "dangerous to the developing brain."

As D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton notes:

D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization bill is undergoing a 60-day congressional review period and is expected to take effect in mid-July. As expected, Republicans are using a rider rather than the disapproval process set forth in the Home Rule Act to try to block D.C.’s decriminalization bill.

Norton's statement includes the following:

“Representative Harris is not only trying to overrule the will of my constituents, to whom he is not accountable, he is acting contrary to the laws of his own state, which recently decriminalized marijuana,” Norton said. “It is particularly offensive that he is trying to impose on another Member’s district what he was unable to do democratically in his own. Before tomorrow’s markup, I hope Representative Harris realizes that his amendment violates his own professed principles of local control of local affairs. Even those who profoundly disagree on particular local laws adhere to the most basic American principle of local control. Representative Harris can’t overturn the marijuana decriminalization laws of the 18 states that have decriminalized marijuana so he has stooped to using autocratic, anti-democratic power to seek to overturn our local laws. His constituents are going to be surprised to learn that their Member, who argues for limiting the federal government’s power over even traditionally federal matters, is offering an amendment that would insert the federal government into a local government’s local affairs. Representative Harris has been in Congress for two terms, but has only managed to introduce 10 bills this Congress, and he has not introduced a single amendment on the House floor this Congress. Surely, he should spend more time focused on bills and amendments to benefit his own Maryland constituents instead of introducing an amendment that will harm minorities, especially African Americans, in my district. Our allies in Maryland and across the country are prepared to help us prevent this amendment from being enacted.”

GLAA's policy brief for 2014, Building on Victory, states the following:

It makes no sense for the relatively benign marijuana to be proscribed while alcohol, a proven killer, is legal. Tommy Wells' bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts, Bill 20-409, is a good beginning. We support David Grosso's legalization and regulation bill, Bill 20-466. We understand the District's caution regarding Congress; but in light of developments elsewhere, and considering the damage done to lives by incarceration for victimless crimes, we are glad that the District has joined the nationwide discussion of this issue.

Thanks to Congresswoman Norton for fighting for the District. We have some work ahead of us.