394 posts categorized "Consumers and Business"

April 16, 2015

Not a hoax: Jim Graham will promote male strip club

Former D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham is now promoting a gay night at a strip club on Georgia Avenue. Someone was just asking me the other day what he was up to. Now we know. One odd detail:

In a takeoff on his well-known use of bowties as a fashion statement during his years as a Council member, Graham said all of the nude male dancers will be wearing one of the hundreds of bowties he has in his wardrobe.

“They are going to put them on and at some point they will dispose of the bow ties in the audience,” said Graham. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

I look forward to hearing reports of the erotic frisson experienced by customers at the use of Jim's bowties by his dancers. (I'm kidding.) I confess I initially thought the entire story was a hoax.

April 07, 2015

Evan Wolfson eats his Wheaties

EvanWheaties

April 04, 2015

The #Indiana Memories Pizza fundraiser is a conservative media scam

Forward Progressives reports on "another publicity stunt designed to gin up the conservative base."

CO: shop not wrong for refusing anti-gay cake

In the minds of some on the right, a shop that discriminates out of bias against a gay customer is the same as one that refuses to participate in an expression of anti-gay bias. This Colorado ruling shows otherwise.

What the Indiana fix does and doesn't do

HRCIndianaGraphic

The Human Rights Campaign reports:

Facing tremendous economic damage and mounting public pressure from fair-minded Americans and business leaders, today Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed legislation limiting the damage of the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) but falling far short of providing a full solution. The measure fails to explicitly ensure that the RFRA won’t be used to undermine the full scope of Indiana existing non-discrimination laws, and does not add LGBT non-discrimination protections to the state’s civil rights laws.

In response, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a graphic explaining the new law and the risks for LGBT Hoosiers that remain.

April 03, 2015

Sarah Brady dies at 73

One evening thirty years ago, as I approached La Fonda Restaurant at 17th and R Streets NW (which has been gone for twenty years now), a friend and I saw White House press secretary Jim Brady being helped down the few steps into the restaurant and back into his wheelchair by his wife Sarah and a friend. Mrs. Brady urged us to go ahead of them. We said we were in no hurry, and to take their time. I remember the exact day in 1981 when Jim was gravely injured by a bullet from John Hinckley meant for President Reagan, because it was my 25th birthday. The Bradys received bipartisan respect from the people of Washington. No public servant should have to face gunfire. And the Bradys were nice people.

The 1993 Brady Act required background checks on firearm purchasers. In later years, politics shifted to the point where even background checks were blocked. America's Wild West infatuation with guns has only gotten worse. It is a sad thing to contemplate as we mark Sara Brady's passing. Her husband died eight months ago. May they both rest in peace.

Cutting holes in the law

Tattered_flag

Given the persistence of would-be discriminators in portraying themselves as victims, I reiterate what I wrote in December on faith-based exemptions: "To preserve civil society, we cannot permit ad hoc exclusions from equal protection."

IndyStar editorial: A historic step forward for Indiana

For the first time, [Indiana] elected leaders have inserted the phrases "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" into a state law that protects against discrimination. And there are promises — credible promises — to go farther in the future.

A note of caution:

Phase 1 reopens

April 02, 2015

Final Four coaches issue joint statement against Indiana law

What a remarkable outpouring we have seen of LGBT-affirming statements in response to Gov. Pence's signing of an anti-gay law disguised as a defense of religious freedom.

April 01, 2015

Ark. Gov. Hutchinson will not sign 'religious freedom' bill without changes

Thanks to Hutchinson's son Seth, and to Walmart and other companies that weighed in with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Below, hundreds rally for changes to the Arkansas RFRA bill. Our voices, and the looming consequences for persisting in bigotry, are having an effect.

Bowser bans D.C. government travel to Indiana

Thanks to Mayor Bowser for this sensible action that makes it clear that Indiana’s extreme RFRA law cannot be squared with the District’s values. She has added our city’s voice to the growing chorus of condemnation around the country. This nationwide reaction is a welcome illustration of how times have changed.

March 31, 2015

Backlash to a bad bill and a disastrous interview

Above is the notorious interview in which Indiana Gov. Mike Pence repeatedly refuses to answer George Stephanopoulos's question on Sunday. Here are several takes on the matter, which has stirred up a huge nationwide reaction:

Here are some thoughts of mine:

  1. Contrary to Gov. Pence, the Indiana RFRA is not the same as the 1993 federal version, nor the Illinois version Obama voted for 17 years ago.
  2. A lot has happened since the 1990s. The religious right routinely plays the victim as a cover. Their real objection is that everyone does not believe the same as they do.
  3. Without an anti-gay motivation, there is no reason for the law at all. That motivation has been amply reported in the past few days--the statements, the 'phobes in the signing photo, the bakers and florists etc.
  4. Most Americans support anti-discrimination laws, which are not just a basis for lawsuits, they are a statement of public policy. It matters which symbolic statement you make.
  5. Indiana has no LGBT protections in public accommodations. If there is no intent to discriminate, they should clarify that by adding LGBT protections.
  6. The libertarian view on anti-discrimination laws is at least coherent, which I respect, but it lost the public policy argument long ago, and I don't see libertarians demanding repeal of the Civil Rights Act beyond its application to the government. It has seeped in too deeply.
  7. The public reaction to the Indiana law has shown a sea change in views on the place of gay folk in society. That is a good thing in itself. If the backlash means businesses making clear their support for their gay employees and customers, and posting "We serve everyone" signs, that is surely welcome.
  8. At the same time, the doubling down by Republican presidential candidates, and by politicians in Arkansas, in their eagerness to pander to their base by making an anti-gay statement, shows how out of step the GOP is politically.
  9. We are too diverse religiously to cohere socially if we go down the road of encouraging people to impose their religious anathemas in the public square, whether that be in shops, pharmacies, or professional services. It is true that much of this can be handled by the market; I certainly would not demand that someone who despises me prepare food for me and my guests. But again, a clear statement of public policy is a good in itself.
  10. Anyone who wants to go off on their own like Thoreau should try it. I don't know where that would be. Short of that, we are interconnected in innumerable ways on a daily basis, and I will not consent to being carved out from equal protection at people's whim.

The telltale bill signing photo

Spot_the_phobe

Crooks and Liars reports on who was standing behind Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in the private bill signing ceremony for the so-called "religious freedom" bill.

Bryan Fischer on #BigGay

March 26, 2015

Quick backlash to reckless Indiana 'religious freedom' law enactment

Advocate reports on the quick and harsh reactions to Indiana Governor Pence signing what is in fact a religious supremacy bill, not a religious freedom bill--unless you mean the freedom to discriminate and split apart our diverse society.

My God is not a bully. I will not worship a god who is a bully. I will not obey a bullying god. I will not attend a bullying church. I will not respect bullying clergy. I will not remain silent as religious bullies seek to impose their beliefs on others in the guise of "religious freedom" bills. I live in a religiously and culturally diverse society, where faith-based discrimination in the public square undermines the civic order and social cohesion. I will fight the bullies. I will demand that editors and reporters call religious supremacy what it is, and not let them swallow the right-wing spin about religious freedom. Please join me in this recognition and this fight to uphold secular American values.

March 24, 2015

Phase 1 reopening postponed

Phase1

Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports:

The Capitol Hill lesbian bar Phase 1, which has been closed for renovation since early January was scheduled to reopen last Friday, March 20, according to an ad that the club placed in the Jan. 19 issue of Metro Weekly.

But customers attempting to go to Phase 1 on Friday night discovered that the door was locked and noticed through a window on the door that the bar was dark and empty, adding to the mystery surrounding its future.

Apparently, posting a note on the door was too much trouble for the owner.

March 23, 2015

Starbucks ends #RaceTogether initiative

Hardly shocking news, given the mockery Starbucks brought upon itself with this ill-thought-out initiative.

One further thought: The racial oppression in the history of the coffee trade is hardly redeemed by Starbucks hiring lots of black baristas.

March 19, 2015

Fact-checking Obama's critics on the economy

Those who cannot bring themselves to give President Obama credit for anything ever have to work overtime making up excuses for setting aside all the positive news.

Starbucks #RaceTogether conversation starters

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My friend Lateefah on Facebook asked, "Ok, out of sheer curiosity, I have to ask. Have any of you been engaged in a conversation about race while in Starbucks?"

I replied:

I thought of ordering a "Malcolm Xpresso and please don't weaken it with cream," but I didn't want to start trouble, and I don't like Starbucks coffee, so I skipped it. But now I keep thinking of things to say to start a dialog in the coffee line:

  • "Tom Robinson should have been more gangsta and told that cracker freak Boo Radley to mind his own business."
  • "Who stole my black crayon?"
  • "So I told that white b*tch Shirley Temple to take her hands off Bojangles and get over her Mandingo complex."
  • "I would have voted for him, but he wasn't black enough."
  • "Is it racist if I order a pound of Blonde Veranda Blend?"
  • "You know, these 15-second seminars on race are how I am doing my part for reparations."
  • "I know how to pronounce Ta-Nehisi properly. What more do you people want from me?!!"

I'm just trying to help.

(Ducking now)

D&G, call your marketing office

Can you say hypocrisy?

March 18, 2015

Starbucks #RaceTogether moment: "I’m actually black, but you assumed otherwise"

Joanna Rothkopf at Salon writes:

On Tuesday evening’s edition of MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” host Chris Hayes spoke with “CBS Sunday Morning’s” Nancy Giles and video blogger, writer and DJ Jay Smooth about Starbucks’ bizarre attempt at rectifying hundreds of years of systemic racism in the United States.

Score one for Jay Smooth.

March 02, 2015

Carly Fiorina as the GOP answer to Hillary Clinton? Please.

Carly_Fiorina

Just saw this absurd month-old piece touting Carly Fiorina as the GOP answer to Hillary Clinton. This is the sneering fraud who ran Hewlett-Packard into the ground before exiting with a golden parachute ten years ago, and five years ago ran for Senate with the notoriously idiotic "demon sheep" ad. Republican voters have done a lot worse, the article says. This fails the laugh test.

March 01, 2015

They met on Grindr at CPAC

Ah, the homocons and their privileged play in the gardens of the oppressor.

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