A Simple Observation on Chick-Fil-A

I’m not going to weigh in on the ethics or efficacy of recent tactics by local politicians to punish Chick-Fil-A for its bigotry; you can get that many other places. I just want to point out a simple similarity: when local politicians in Boston and Chicago use zoning or licensure or similar to ban Chick-Fil-A, they’re using tactics that conservatives have used for decades in the abortion fight. Not able (yet) to muster sweeping reform at the national level, they have taken to bending the rules and pushing the envelope at the local level, in thousands of discrete steps. Abortion rights, I’m very sorry to say, have been severely curtailed for thousands of American women, despite the fact that Roe is still the law of the land. Pro-life activists have gotten there not through large-scale national legislation or litigation but through a thousand little cuts.

I see the Chick-Fil-A thing as a similar set of tactics: absent widespread reform, you take a few stabs at it in friendly confines peppered across the country.

The question is, how do you feel about that sort of thing? You can take it in any number of directions: fear of a backlash, concern over the undermining of democratic principles, pragmatic happiness in scoring a few points for your side, concern that such efforts divert attention from national reform, and certainly the sense that if your opponents play dirty, you’ve got to, too. All I can say for sure is that this is the kind of situation where our ethical stances tend to be determined  by our positions on the issue at hand. If you’re a pro-life conservative, you should recognize that your compatriots have opened this door. If you’re a liberal, you should recognize that, when people say that we need to adopt more of conservatism’s methods if we want to win, this is what they’re talking about. For good or for ill.

180 replies
  1. 1
    terraformer says:

    That’s a pretty salient observation, and one that I had not considered before.

    Although I would rather not stoop to their level, I really don’t see how to fight them otherwise, alas.

  2. 2
    rollSound says:

    The question is, how do you feel about that sort of thing?

    I may feel squeamish about the tactics, but I’m tired of unilateral disarmament. Use their petards to give them atomic wedgies; we can enjoy the irony and the sweet bully tears that always happen when we remember to punch back.

  3. 3
    liberal says:

    If you’re a liberal, you should recognize that, when people say that we need to adopt more of conservatism’s methods if we want to win, this is what they’re talking about.

    Not really, insofar the zoning attacks on abortion clinics are probably much more effective and to the point than anti-anti-gay attacks on C-F-A.

  4. 4
    different-church-lady says:

    Yesterday, on this very site, I was told that it’s a very simple question: you just listen to what Glenn Greenwald says about it and agree with him. Because otherwise you’re just making it complicated.

  5. 5
    Chet says:

    This is what we have to do to “win”? Attack a chicken place? What do we “win” by doing this, exactly?

  6. 6
    Raya says:

    Finally, a reasonable commentary on this (wholly theoretical) issue.

    Yes, this is what conservatives have been doing for ages. No, it’s not illegal. Yes, I’m opposed to it for all the reasons that everyone has stated: I just think we have to be better than that.

    But I also think we need to pay attention to the actual facts and not get all hysterical about a few sensationalist headlines. No actions have been taken in Chicago or Boston to stop Chick-Fil-A from opening there. All that happened was that the mayors of those towns used THEIR free speech rights to state that C-F-A was “out of step with our values” and “unwelcome in [insert city name here].” It’s not clear at all that they either could, or would, do anything concrete to stop Chick-Fil-A from opening if it really wanted to. It’s just politicians sounding off (aka, “making a statement”), as they always do.

    In the event that any politician does want to BLOCK Chick-Fil-A from opening, they will have to make a legal case for it, and if the case is bogus (or even if it’s not), Chick-Fil-A can challenge it in court. That’s what their legal department is for, after all.

  7. 7
    rikyrah says:

    he exercised his free speech rights.

    and, if I, as a consumer, decide that his free speech offends me, then I have the right never to come into his store again.

  8. 8
    Tonal Crow says:

    If you’re a liberal, you should recognize that, when people say that we need to adopt more of conservatism’s methods if we want to win, this is what they’re talking about.

    It’s definitely not what I’m talking about. What we need to adopt is the core of conservatism’s rhetorical strategy, which is simply to talk to voters’ emotions.

    We needn’t become Orcs to fight them, nor should we.

  9. 9
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Let them open the stores, and then watch them fail….

    The range of options for your chicken sandwiches in Boston or Chicago isn’t as choice-constrained as your options for a Kansas abortion.

    I think here we can let the magic of the market do the rest.

    In other retail news, Jeff Bezos took a moment off from his slave-labor-powered drive to reduce all local retail to rubble to donate $2.5 million to the campaign to preserve Washington state’s same-sex marriage law.

  10. 10
    Tonal Crow says:

    Let them open the stores, and then watch them fail….

    Yes. And exercise your power to Go Galt on them. And when you do, tell your friends and family why.

  11. 11
    taylormattd says:

    Chick Fil A is violating civil right laws.

    So no, denying a permit to a legally operating entity such as Planned Parenthood is really not comparable at all to what you Rahm-obsessed “progressive” bloggers are so concerned about.

  12. 12
    Ten Bears says:

    I have long striven to turn it back into their faces, to use their tactics, their language and their own dog-whistles to draw attention to their miscreant behavior (to be polite). I don’t why you libs won’t do that: turn it back in their faces. Sure, it’s gutter pool, but they win playing gutter pool, you (we), don’t.

    For example: Historians will mark the appointment by an ideologically stacked activist court of a dynastic frat-boy with limited education, marginal intelligence and questionable military service to the highest office in the land as The End of America.

  13. 13
    maurinsky says:

    I really don’t think there is a fair comparison to make between Chick-Fil-A and an abortion clinic. They don’t operate as the same kind of entity.

  14. 14
    Shane Taylor says:

    You’re getting to the heart of the matter, Freddie. I just don’t see this particular constriction of some bigot’s freedom as justified, because I do not see how it advances GLBT rights. Also, there is an especially unwise aspect to this tactic, considering the other side. As Sarah Posner said in this post, the last thing you want to do is validate these fanatic’s claims of religious persecution.

  15. 15
    bobbo says:

    Obama will be asked about this and he will denounce Rahm’s tactics in no uncertain terms. And there you have your 2012 campaign Sister Souljah moment.
    11-dimensional chess, my friends.

  16. 16
    Mattminus says:

    @taylormattd:

    Shouldn’t that be “is accused of violating civil rights laws” ?

  17. 17
    GeneJockey says:

    I think it’s a really bad idea for Liberal local pols to bend the rules for things like this, for two reasons. First, it undercuts any moral high ground we might have when THEY do it, and at the same time allows them to say, “You see? Liberals don’t believe in free speech!”

    Second, it would be far better to organize boycotts and information campaigns, and see Chik-fil-A fail in the marketplace.

  18. 18
    taylormattd says:

    I also find amusing all of this “progressive” blogger support for stringent application of the First Amendment to corporate entities.

  19. 19
    krahbedad says:

    How does this compare to the tactics of unions and Living Wage Campaigns against Walmart and other Corporate Big Box entities in metro areas? I support the movements and I feel the tactics are moral how does using political power against those who abuse human rights differ?

  20. 20

    @Mattminus:

    Shouldn’t that be “is accused of violating civil rights laws” ?

    Well of course it should be, but that’s not nearly as attention grabbing, now is it?

  21. 21
    MattR says:

    It’s a pretty good analogy but I wonder if it makes a difference that conservatives object to the business being done in abortion clinics as well as the politics of the owners. Should a community have more leeway to keep an entire business out (whether it is abortion or sex shops) than to exclude a single otherwise acceptable business that is owned by someone with odious political beliefs?

  22. 22
    taylormattd says:

    @Mattminus: Uh, ok.

    What, you think it’s such a stretch that an openly right wing, christianist, anti-gay organization would engage in employment discrimination against women?

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    I just want to point out a simple similarity: when local politicians in Boston and Chicago use zoning or licensure or similar to ban Chick-Fil-A, they’re using tactics that conservatives have used for decades in the abortion fight.

    Yes, because a health care clinic and a fast-food chicken place are morally equivalent when it comes to blocking them.

    Jaysus. At least it’s not as bad as the people who were claiming yesterday that blocking a mosque and blocking a fast-food place are equally as bad.

  24. 24
    patroclus says:

    If Chick-fil-A wants that parking lot zoning variance to asphaltize Logan Square, they’re gonna have to grovel and make lots of pro-gay statements, including signing the city’s non-discriminatory paperwork. This would only happen after we get to review the documents concerning the 12 legal cases they’ve had in just 24 years and to question CFA execs rigorously and closely about all relevant matters concerning their request for a zoning variance.

    Otherwise, no problema.

  25. 25
    taylormattd says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Thank god all of you people are here to defend the poor, downtrodden heroes at Chick-Fil-A, from History’s Greatest Monster, Raaahhhhmm.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @taylormattd: Um, no. We’re expecting government employees to follow the first amendment. That’s why we don’t think Rahm should be allowed to prevent a store from being opened for political purposes.

  27. 27
    taylormattd says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thank you. Fucking libertariantard wanking, this is.

  28. 28

    Yup, we certainly should validate the claims of “both sides do it.” When the claim has a real questionable relationship to the truth pushing back isn’t too hard to do – the efficacy is questionable, but…

  29. 29
    taylormattd says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Right, so you are super supportive of full on application of the Bill of Rights to corporate entities then.

  30. 30
    Mattminus says:

    @taylormattd:

    Why have trials when we have your gut instinct?

    GO TEAM BLUE!

  31. 31
    lacp says:

    @taylormattd: Dan Cathy may be a primo asshole, but he’s not a corporate entity. CFA is a corporate entity, but it does not have a policy endorsing homophobia. Given that, I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    And if CFA is promoting gender discrimination, it should have its ass sued off, which action appears to be in progress.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @taylormattd:

    Mattminus doesn’t want to believe that Chik-fil-A might actually be breaking the law because then he’d have to get off his high horse about the horrible, horrible infringement of their First Amendment rights. I gave him information about the pending discrimination lawsuits against them but, hey, every company has those, so the mayors of Boston and Chicago are both still totally wrong.

  33. 33
    jl says:

    I don’t understand how the place stays in business. I think that their main product is trivial to make at home.

    So, just don’t buy their goofy sandwiches and remind people that this joint’s main product is trivial to make at home.

    Won’t take a position on whether the mayors are being mean or not.

  34. 34
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @krahbedad: What you’re saying doesn’t contradict the idea that a mayor cannot keep a restaurant opening because of something that is essentially speech. To relate to what you bring up, if the head of Wal-Mart were to say that he thinks anyone making less than a million a year is a slave and should be treated as such, the mayor cannot keep a new store from being built if Wal-Mart is following the law, including paying minimum wage. Now, there’s nothing preventing your group from protesting to the point that it either makes Wal-Mart decide to not build or that the city decides that the citizens don’t want it. But that’s not the mayor bending the rules.

  35. 35
    taylormattd says:

    @Mattminus: You’re a half wit. We all should withhold our opinion about the bigoted anti-gay company, because trial in a civil suit hasn’t happened yet.

  36. 36
    Dave says:

    There is no political demand anywhere to ban a fucking chick-fil-a. I never considered chick fil a in any way other than to register vague disgust at the product. This was entirely one dude’s doing, and it has no bearing on “liberalism” or “liberal tactics” versus conservative ones. When liberals start banning corporations that donate money to conservative politicians, or when liberals start zoning out gun shops, then I will consider the merits of “stooping to their level.”

  37. 37
    patroclus says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): The store is already open and operating. It just doesn’t have a asphalt parking lot, the construction of which requires a zoning variance because of the destruction of buildings (which provide sales tax revenue) for the parking lot (which provides no sales tax revenue). There is no First Amendment right to a zoning variance, but there are city legal requirements that CFA has heretofore, refused to sign. The issue is more complicated than as explained by the Brazil-located Greenwald. I suggest you read up on it.

  38. 38
    eemom says:

    I just want to point out a simple similarity: when local politicians in Boston and Chicago use zoning or licensure or similar to ban Chick-Fil-A, they’re using tactics that conservatives have used for decades in the abortion fight. Not able (yet) to muster sweeping reform at the national level, they have taken to bending the rules and pushing the envelope at the local level, in thousands of discrete steps.

    The similarity — like the simplicity — is in your dear little mind.

    There is rather an enormous difference between anti-abortion legislation duly enacted by republican-controlled legislatures, and fucking around with zoning/licensing requirements as in the CFA case.

    As to what, if any, are the similarities between any situations other than those two to which you refer with your copious redundancies “bending the rules,” “pushing the envelope,” “thousands of discrete steps,” “thousand little cuts” and “few stabs,” there’s no clue as to what those might be, so who knows.

  39. 39
    the Conster says:

    Fucking put your boots on the motherfuckers’ necks every chance you get, and let them make a stink about the rules so much that by the time it’s all litigated and done for, they’ll remember not to drive through all the red lights the next time they’ve got the wheel. Like that will ever happen, but it’s just the way these fuckwads need to be treated. I’m sick of the OH NOES ITS WRONG ELEVENTY! That’s why we don’t have nice things.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    That’s why we don’t think Rahm should be allowed to prevent a store from being opened for political purposes.

    In both Boston and Chicago, CfA is refusing to sign documentation stating that they understand that anti-gay discrimination is illegal in those cities.

    So it should be a-okay for them to not follow the rules and refuse to acknowledge what the laws of those municipalities are as long as they’re only discriminating against gay people?

  41. 41
    taylormattd says:

    @lacp: “but it does not have a policy endorsing homophobia”

    Where are you getting this information?

  42. 42
    taylormattd says:

    @Mnemosyne: The bottom line is that these people hate Rahm Emmanuel so much, they are now defending the shit out of a proudly anti-gay company. It’s pathetic.

  43. 43
    patroclus says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Yet again, the store is already open. CFA wants to build a parking lot next to it, which requires a zoning variance; the granting of which would be a favor, not a right. Please read up on the facts – you are embarrassing yourself.

  44. 44
    Mattminus says:

    @taylormattd:

    It’s fine to have an opinion. What’s not fine is to make statements of fact that are not supported by the article that you link to.

  45. 45
    Liberty60 says:

    @GeneJockey:

    I think it’s a really bad idea for Liberal local pols to bend the rules for things like this, for two reasons. First, it undercuts any moral high ground we might have when THEY do it, and at the same time allows them to say, “You see? Liberals don’t believe in free speech!”

    Traditionally that has been my viewpoint as well.
    However, I have noticed that the conservative movement has not paid any price for their abortion rule-bending, and their curtailment of free speech hasn’t ever resulted in them losing an election.

    As other mention, I am tired of showing up at a gunfight with a rubber knife.

  46. 46
    LGRooney says:

    “absent widespread reform”

    That’s where I get lost. Reform of what? I don’t want laws or regs that will outlaw this behavior except among anyone wishing for a government contract. I want to know who the morons, bigots, and other assorted assholes among us are and not do business with them. I agree with boycotts and I am sure there are enough idiots in agreement that said behavior won’t be driven underground completely.

  47. 47
    MattR says:

    @taylormattd: Of course it has to be Rahm hate. It can’t be a matter of principle for people. After all, a stellar organization like the ACLU would never defend such odious groups as the KKK or Neo-Nazis.

    @patroclus: I thought the issue in Chicago was related to the opening of a second store which would require building a new parkling lot next to the location they selected.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    The question is, how do you feel about that sort of thing?

    I take it as changing the matrix of political discourse in this land, or moving the Overton Window in the direction that refuses to give the cover of legitimacy to bigotry as even a topic FOR debate under the banner of deeply held beliefs. And stomps it properly into the dustbin of history. Only way to be sure.

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    IANAL but this keeps reminding me of the fight over Catholic-affiliated institutions and employee health insurance. Does the case they make for “religious freedom,” which I find to be utter bullshit, correlate to Chick Fil A and “free speech”?

    Also, I once saw on a Food Network show with Guy Fieri a diner that was part gas station because, as the (black) owner/cook told it, the bank would lend him money to start a gas station, but not a restaurant. Seems like locals have been using economic power to keep people they don’t much like from running businesses in their neighborhoods since time immemorial. This Chick Fil A case just happened to get spun as having something to do with “free speech” — by blogosphere libertarians and their easy marks.

  50. 50
    patroclus says:

    @MattR: Please explain why you think the granting of zoning variances for parking lots is a matter of free speech and a “principle” which must be upheld legally. Are you guys even acquainted with the facts here? Do you think CFA should sign the city’s non-discrimination paperwork or not?

  51. 51
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m surprised they haven’t broken out the “religious freedom” defense beloved by conservatives opposed to ordinances about hate speech and bias crime.

  52. 52
    jl says:

    @patroclus:

    Thanks for info. I can’t tell which city you are talking about.

    Whichever city that is, if what you say is true, then in that case, I sure do support the mayor saying he sees no reason to do this company any favors.

    Do you have a link to the details?

  53. 53
    SBJules says:

    I’m in Santa Barbara & we don’t have that chicken place, but I boycotted grapes for years to support farm workers. How does that compare?

  54. 54
    Pinkamena Panic says:

    Good to know that the emoprogs have their priorities in order: Rahm bad, therefore Hate-Fil-A good.

  55. 55
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @patroclus: I think the idea is that municipal authorities have the right to turn down requests for variances, but that they shouldn’t _say_ that the reason has anything to do with politics or viewpoint. But to me that’s a very minor distinction. If the authority can do it purely for spite, they might as well be able to do it for any reason at all.

  56. 56
    patroclus says:

    I live in Chicago – three blocks from Logan Square, where Glenn Greenwald, from his Brazil perch, is endeavoring to inflict the parking lot on gay Chicagoans, who just want to exercise our free speech rights. The links are in yesterday’s thread, which were ignored by the OP for another day of ill-informed navel-gazing by the commentariat. Trust me – it’s for a parking lot zoning variance request – which is NOT a free speech issue. That request would obliterate free standing buildings from which the City can derive more tax revenue than from parking lots. CFA has refused to sign the City’s non-discrimination paperwork.

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    The question is, how do you feel about that sort of thing?

    I feel fine.

    The authorities in Boston and Chicago are not trying to undermine a law or even trying to prevent anyone from eating chicken. No one is trying to root out the chicken stores from the cities. As of yet, neither of the mayors have even actually blocked any new store from opening.

    So from the jump, the analogies are just plain wrong.

    Many of you have no problem with New York passing laws preventing people from buying big cup drinks. You have no problems outlawing fast food franchises or liquor stores in poor neighborhoods because you want to control how and when poor people eat. Here you are perfectly willing to seek to control behavior for what you perceive as a greater good, just as the wingnut conservatives are doing with respect to abortion.

    But somehow, your reveries about chicken stores and freedom of speech represents the heights of moral purity?

    And so you quake at the knees and clutch the pearls, and look to the Great and Good Greenwald to give you guidance over what is for now mainly a rhetorical exercise by politicians.

    Can’t get excited over this one.

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @patroclus: I guess the argument — as spun by Chick Fil A in the media — is that it isn’t REALLY about parking lots, it’s about a political vendetta. I don’t think we have to fall for that, any more than we have to fall for the Catholic bishops whinging about how Obama hates Mother Church by making them give money to a company that might use it to partially compensate a doctor who performed an abortion on some random person somewhere.

  59. 59
    Mattminus says:

    @patroclus:

    Oh, the facts were left behind long ago. This abstract argument is all about whether or not it would be OK to refuse a permit strictly on the basis of thoughtcrime.

  60. 60
    patroclus says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It DOES have to do with compliance with local laws. The City of Chicago has some boilerplate non-discriminatory paperwork for CFA to sign and they have refused to do so. There are revenue reasons to deny the variance request and there are legal reasons too.

    No parking lot – unless they grovel and comply with the law. Rahmbo is standing on solid legal grounds here.

  61. 61
    lacp says:

    @taylormattd: CFA doesn’t have a written policy period, as far as I can tell. It has given money to anti-gay initiatives, which is (or should be) a pretty big tell; and from some of the comments above, it appears CFA is unwilling to agree in writing to abide by municipal anti-discrimination laws. But that’s not what has prompted all the news stories – it’s Cathy’s personal comments.

    I think we’re talking about two different things. It’s entirely appropriate to unload on a company for its actions; it’s not appropriate to unload on it for what an individual says. If he weren’t the big gun there, but instead was making comments in his capacity as a midnight-to-eight drive-through-window server, would anybody care? By all means, people should go after CFA for what it does – and it looks like it does plenty of shitty things – but I don’t see what the corporation should do about what somebody says. If he were a low-level employee and they fired him, they’d get sued; as it is, there isn’t anything they could do anyway. A boycott I can get behind – that certainly is an exercise in free speech, not an infringement of it, and in that case it doesn’t matter whether it’s Dan Cathy or the CFA corporate website making anti-gay statements.

  62. 62
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mattminus: But it’s already OK to refuse a permit for just plain spite. How is it different to refuse a permit for “thoughtcrime”? And isn’t it up to the entity claiming mistreatment to establish that The Real Issue is “thoughtcrime” and not, say, parking lots, or the desire to keep a stretch of municipal space for a different use?

  63. 63
    Tonal Crow says:

    @patroclus:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): The store is already open and operating. It just doesn’t have a asphalt parking lot, the construction of which requires a zoning variance because of the destruction of buildings (which provide sales tax revenue) for the parking lot (which provides no sales tax revenue). There is no First Amendment right to a zoning variance, but there are city legal requirements that CFA has heretofore, refused to sign.

    There is no right to a zoning variance, but that does not mean that a municipality can deny one for any reason it chooses. Its criteria still must be uniformly applied and not be used as a back-door way to penalize speech. (Of course, in reality, many municipalities deny variances that are nearly indistinguishable from variances that they’ve previously granted, and vice versa. I think these schemes are legally vulnerable to equal-protection challenges, but they’re seldom challenged because of the costs of delay and of litigation).

  64. 64
    MattR says:

    @patroclus: I think part of the problem is that some people are having a conversation about the rhetoric/hypothetical and others are having one about the details. The fact that Rahm talked about blocking it makes it reasonable to have a conversation about the limits of what local government can do, at least IMO. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask if the tactic is morally acceptable even if it is legal and to ask if there is a limit to how far we should go with it.

    As to your other questions: I don’t think there is any right to a parking variance. However, I also don’t think it would be acceptable to say “we would give you the parking variance, but you’re black (or jewish or female)”. On the third hand, I accept that peronal feelings do influence decisions and that the zoning board may decide not to approve something because they just don’t like the guy. Personally, I don’t like it as it is just one more way of perpetuating the good ole boy network, but AFAIK it is legal so I can’t complain. Similarly, I think CFA should have to sign the agreement just like every other company. But (and I understnad this is completely hypothetical) if they do sign it and they did not need a parking variance I think they should not be refused just because of the owner’s political views. (EDIT: To be clear, actions taken by the company are a completely different story.)

  65. 65
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @lacp:

    It’s entirely appropriate to unload on a company for its actions; it’s not appropriate to unload on it for what an individual says

    “Appropriate” for a government, you mean, right?

  66. 66
    General Stuck says:

    There is a long trail of activism by Chick A Fill, including lots of donated cash, and other assistance to the forces that practice anti gay bigotry as a matter of enshrining these deeply held religious beliefs into laws of the land. It is not just some personal opinion of the CEO, it is their business credo to operate their business according to the tenets of these beliefs.

    What Rahm, and the other mayors and Aldermen are saying is that this business entity of exclusion of some Americans for who they are, does not represent the values of the places they govern. With the profits of this business going to continue to promulgate injustice. And then there is all the unsigned paperwork promises to not discriminate, that backs up these observations as more than just the personal opinions of the owners and operators of Chick Fil A.

    The Cult of Chick-fil-A

    The fast-food purveyor seeks loyal employees and operators who believe serving chicken is God’s work. Careful screening of new hires keeps it out of trouble.

    Not so much this time.

  67. 67
    patroclus says:

    Chicago has valid reasons to deny the zoning variance request for a parking lot. If CFA wants to take the City to court over a decision about tax revenues and compliance with local non-discrimination laws, by my guest!

  68. 68
    Mattminus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Somehow, I doubt it is OK to deny a permit out of spite. I’m sure it’s effectively the case in many events, but they likely come up with some legal or procedural fig leaf.

    For example, it seems doubtful that an application would come back as rejected with an explanation of “Fuck You, Demoncrap”.

  69. 69
    Mattminus says:

    @patroclus:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing this. These are all perfectly cromulent reasons to deny a permit.

    Please, lets keep the discussion moving and tell us whether you hate or worship Glen Greenwald.

  70. 70
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Tonal Crow: Seems like the easy way out of that bind is to invoke a standard like “the best interests of the community.” We said no to Chick Fil A because it wasn’t in the best interests of the community, and we reserve the right to say yes to Flamers’ Super Gay Chicken Ranch if we think it is.

  71. 71
    lacp says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yes, and thanks for clarifying that. Government may not have a role, but the rest of us can say what we like and take our business elsewhere, too.

  72. 72
    Rafer Janders says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    But it’s already OK to refuse a permit for just plain spite. How is it different to refuse a permit for “thoughtcrime”?

    Because there is a long, long line of court cases establishing that, while state actors can deny permits and similar governmental licenses for NO reason, they cannot deny them for ANY reason. (I.e. the city can deny you a permit because it’s Tuesday, or because it doesn’t like your shirt, or because the sky is blue, but it can’t deny you a permit because you’re Jewish or black or a woman or you won’t praise Jesus).

  73. 73
    burnspbesq says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Yesterday, on this very site, I was told that it’s a very simple question: you just listen to what Glenn Greenwald says about it and agree with him. Because otherwise you’re just making it complicated.

    And you LISTENED?

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mattminus: They just say things like how in the board’s view it’s not in the interests of the community. Employment discrimination walks a similar line. We didn’t fire him because he was gay, we fired him because his performance was declining, or because we thought we should go in a different direction, etc. I don’t see why the “fig leaf” is that important. You can uniformly and consistently apply a nebulous standard, and Bob’s your uncle.

  75. 75
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Rafer Janders: Yes, I realize that, and we talked about it a bit yesterday. But it will always reduce to a semantic game about the meaning of the word “because.” You can do it because this, but you can’t do it because that, but there’s always a way to say with a straight face that it was “this” and not “that.” And I think that becomes a distinction without a difference.

  76. 76
    Tonal Crow says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    @Tonal Crow: Seems like the easy way out of that bind is to invoke a standard like “the best interests of the community.” We said no to Chick Fil A because it wasn’t in the best interests of the community, and we reserve the right to say yes to Flamers’ Super Gay Chicken Ranch if we think it is.

    It doesn’t work quite that baldly, because “best interests of the community” is not a usual variance criterion, but the effect is the same. The ZA will find that project A doesn’t satisfy one of the (usually squishy) criteria, and that project B (which looks very similar) does. This often happens with the “special circumstances of the property…depriving the property of privileges enjoyed by similarly-situated properties” criterion.

  77. 77
    General Stuck says:

    @patroclus:

    Chicago has valid reasons to deny the zoning variance request for a parking lot. If CFA wants to take the City to court over a decision about tax revenues and compliance with local non-discrimination laws, by my guest!

    It’s the American way, and fully jeebus approved.

  78. 78
    Mattminus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Oh, I’m with you on this, and it’s why I think the pols fucked up by grandstanding.

    To use your example, you can always skew performance reviews to justify getting rid of a gay employee, but if his boss also calls him “fag” every day you’ve just screwed up that strategy.

  79. 79
    Mattminus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Oh, I’m with you on this, and it’s why I think the pols fucked up by grandstanding.

    To use your example, you can always skew performance reviews to justify getting rid of a gay employee, but if his boss also calls him “Butt Pirate” every day you’ve just screwed up that strategy.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Tonal Crow: Thanks for the correction. I’m less informed than I should be for participating here…

  81. 81
    MattR says:

    You win WP. I give up trying to post that link.

  82. 82
    burnspbesq says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    the argument—as spun by Chick Fil A in the media—is that it isn’t REALLY about parking lots, it’s about a political vendetta

    Chick-Fil-A would love to have you buy into that framing, because it’s the only way it is ever going to get that variance. It can’t be justified on its own terms, for the reasons that Patrocius has been reiterating for the last 24 hours.

    It’s just unfortunate that Rahm couldn’t keep his yap shut and let the process play out.

  83. 83

    Chick-fil-A’s Vice President of PR just died. Literally.

    Now I feel kinda bad.

  84. 84
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mattminus: Who grandstanded (? grandstood?) first? I heard about it only after the city authorities made statements, but as the discussion has proceeded I feel like the ground had already been prepared by Chick Fil A to say that the real issue was that they were being singled out for politics.

  85. 85
    Mattminus says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Oh, c’mon, whats funnier than a fastfood PR man dying of a heart attack?

  86. 86
    TG Chicago says:

    One difference: when the Right puts onerous restrictions on abortion providers, they directly impact abortion availability.

    When the Left puts onerous restrictions on a Chick-Fil-A, they do not directly impact same sex marriage availability. In fact, once it becomes a big culure war issue, any revenue lost in Chicago or Boston is likely made up by wingers in the south who will go to CFA all the more often due to their bigotry.

  87. 87
    Cassidy says:

    Fuck all this. People with abhorrent views, who then actively seek to force said abhorrent views on the rest of us culminating in the second class status of our fellow citizens deserve to be kicked in the teeth. Does a virulent racist have the right to spew his nonsense? Absolutely. Would I be well within the bounds of common decency to cause that pile of shit to need an oral surgeon? You’re damn right I would.

    As far as I’m concerned, every Mayor, every City Council needs to let these vile people know that they’re kind is not welcome here. The sooner they are exiled from our communities and from society, the better we’ll be. They need to be made to feel uncomfortable and unwanted and they can go back under their death cult worshipin’ rocks.

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @burnspbesq: Chick Fil A would love it, and libertarians in the blogosphere seem to love it too.

  89. 89
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It was Chick A Fill that trotted out the religious card and deeply held beliefs bullshit after months of stalled negotiations on other matters that included sandbagging on written assurances to not discriminate. They were the grandstanding ones, at least the first to do so.

  90. 90
    The Moar You Know says:

    What a great thread. 90% of the comments are proof that 21st century liberals are of a mindset that they’d rather look good losing, than be effective and win.

    Enjoy that high road. It goes nowhere.

  91. 91
    TG Chicago says:

    @krahbedad: To expand on what Belafon said, Living Wage proposals relate to Wal-Mart’s business practices. These actions relate to the opinions of the CEO, not CFA’s business practices.

  92. 92
    k9ml says:

    Chicago was my birthplace and I was a footsoldier in the old political system. We had building inspectors that were famous for developing alternative revenue streams. That’s all changed and gone now much for the better. A business follows the codes and procedures for permission should not be turned away, but if the people of the community want to rally against the practices of that business peacefully, go for it!
    Chicago is that kinda town. I’ve handed out leaflets and made phone calls. Fun and educational we say.

  93. 93
    Mattminus says:

    @Cassidy:

    Internet tough guy is in the house! Woot woot!

    And, yeah, you’d be wrong to punch someone for speech. Grow the fuck up.

  94. 94
    General Stuck says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Heart attack. RIP and a bucket of wings.

  95. 95
    Cassidy says:

    @Mattminus: Shit, son, that used to be called Friday night. We had a pretty heavy contingent of hammer skins when I was growing up.

    But keep your purity ring. It’ll look pretty when your whining.

  96. 96
    Mattminus says:

    @Cassidy:

    Was this in Everquest or World of Warcraft?

  97. 97
    Cassidy says:

    @Mattminus: Jacksonville, Fl. People like you make me laugh.

  98. 98
    beergoggles says:

    This isn’t restricted to PP, republicans down south also do this with gay bookstores, gay bars and gay health centers.

  99. 99
    LanceThruster says:

    @terraformer:

    I prefer to be consistent with the moral highground (though not a suicide pact, to be sure) because otherwise is to play into the hands the wingnuts when they cry about govt overreach.

    IOKIYAR is meant to be a condemnation, not permission.

    I’m just as po’d that BO is abusing the Bill of Rights as much as I was when Shrub did it, but I’m still glad he’s the one in charge instead of a Rethuglican.

  100. 100
    different-church-lady says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    We’re expecting government employees to follow the first amendment.

    Whether permits are granted or not, Dan Cathy’s first amendment rights will still be intact.

    Should permits be denied, I assume it will be up to the courts to untangle whether they were denied with any legal standing. But it won’t be a constitutional issue, as Dan Cathy’s right to say whatever the flip he wants will still be intact.

    Other than cage-ratting from the usual suspect, I have no idea why people have latched on to this as solely a first amendment issue.

  101. 101
    abc says:

    Thanks, Freddie! I’ve been hoping someone would elevate this point, which I’ve only seen raised in comments so far.

  102. 102
    Quicksand says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Chick-fil-A’s Vice President of PR just died was smited.

    There ya go.

  103. 103
    different-church-lady says:

    @patroclus:

    There is no First Amendment right to a zoning variance

    QFT.

    The issue is more complicated than as explained by the…

    OK, you’re doing really well here…

    Brazil-located Greenwald.

    Oh, you were SO close! Unnecessary ad hominem, 10 yard penalty.

  104. 104
    beergoggles says:

    @Quicksand: I think that would be smit or smote.

  105. 105
    different-church-lady says:

    @MattR:

    I think part of the problem is that some people are having a conversation about the rhetoric/hypothetical and others are having one about the details.

    Which is additionally complicated by some people talking about legalities and others talking about ethics.

    I find it to be a fascinating case with no easy answers. But then again, some people feel quite strongly I’m making things unnecessarily complicated by not simply doing a liberal/libertarian version of “Ditto, Rush!”

  106. 106
    different-church-lady says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    90% of the comments are proof that 21st century liberals internet “liberals” of “intellectual consistency” are of a mindset that they’d rather look good losing, than be effective and win blow hard through the tubes than explore all the angles.

    Patched that tire for you.

  107. 107
    artem1s says:

    letting an employer into the community that refuses to recognize the civil rights of its workers has real ramifications to city leaders. While they may not be able to block them from doing business they can and should refuse to give preferences or otherwise pander to businesses that make it harder for the citizens in that community to work, live, pursuit of happiness, etc, etc, etc.

    there are real reasons for communities to be disdainful of these businesses. If Chick-fil-A refuses to employ or serve the citizens of that community why in the world should any elected official go to bat for them when it comes to zoning changes, easements, economic development funds, or any number of ways that elected officials do their jobs.

    and for the record, I am offended that this comparison is even being made. Planned Parenthood is operating within the legal parameters of the communities they operate in. the wingnuts are trying to retroactively make it impossible for them to operate AND at the same time deny necessary LEGAL services to the citizens of that community. AND they are using ILLEGAL means to terrorize the workers and citizens who use those facilities.

    NO ONE is suggesting that Chick-fil-A should be firebombed or the store manager be shot in his church while ushering on Sunday morning.

  108. 108
    TheF79 says:

    Not sure why this is so complicated. If CFA is not following a law written by the local government, then the local government is free to tell them to go fly a kite. If CFA is in accordance with local law, then denying them operation based solely on the opinions and beliefs of their senior management is treading on a line that I don’t think should be crossed. Beliefs shouldn’t be regulated, but actions can and should be (i.e. if they won’t sign an non-discriminatory agreement, fuck ’em).

    To me, this isn’t a moral highground issue, it’s a core enlightenment/liberal value – ‘my neighbor’s opinion on the divine neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg’ sort of thing – and one of the core values that to some extent protects me as an atheist from being punished by local assholes for my lack of belief in a magic sky fairy.

    Also,

    As far as I’m concerned, every Mayor, every City Council needs to let these vile people know that they’re kind is not welcome here. The sooner they are exiled from our communities and from society, the better we’ll be. They need to be made to feel uncomfortable and unwanted and they can go back under their death cult worshipin’ rocks.

    Did that sound better in the original German?

  109. 109
    Rafer Janders says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Until, that is, your politicians go on record as saying that they’re going to deny the permit based on the applicant’s beliefs. Then you’ve torn away your own fig leaf.

  110. 110
    Quicksand says:

    @beergoggles:

    I think that would be smit or smote.

    Actually, “was smitten” is probably most correct, but I didn’t want to convey that he really liked or was infatuated with something.

  111. 111
    different-church-lady says:

    @MattR:

    Of course it has to be Rahm hate. It can’t be a matter of principle for people.

    “General propositions do not decide concrete cases.”

    Who said that?

  112. 112
    Jess says:

    Is it just a coincidence that this is playing out in Chicago just before the presidential election? I think not… I hope Rahm is smart enough not to let the right make too much hay out of “corrupt Chicago-style politics” rhetoric.

  113. 113
    Jess says:

    @TheF79:

    If CFA is not following a law written by the local government, then the local government is free to tell them to go fly a kite. If CFA is in accordance with local law, then denying them operation based solely on the opinions and beliefs of their senior management is treading on a line that I don’t think should be crossed. Beliefs shouldn’t be regulated, but actions can and should be (i.e. if they won’t sign an non-discriminatory agreement, fuck ‘em).

    Exactly. Well said.
    Why is this so hard for people to wrap their head around?

  114. 114
    different-church-lady says:

    @taylormattd:

    The bottom line is that these people hate Rahm Emmanuel so much, they are now defending the shit out of a proudly anti-gay company. It’s pathetic.

    I don’t think this is quite right: they’re not defending C-F-A, they’re ignoring it altogether in the service of abstract “principle”.

    The sane ones might say, “Bad tactic in the service of another valuable principle.” And then have to make a decision about whether the bad tactic was worth it. And they’d acknowledge this in their arguments.

    The less sane ones write for Salon.

  115. 115
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jess:

    Why is this so hard for people to wrap their head around?

    Because they don’t want to?

  116. 116
    prettyfreakinliberal says:

    This made me think enough that I had to say thank you. First time commenter, long time troll. I think this is why I don’t like the Ed show, but love Rachel.

  117. 117
    Joel says:

    @Davis X. Machina: That is a horrendously confusing article. Translated: Bezos donated $2.5M to *protect* existing laws that legalize same-sex marriage in Washington State.

  118. 118
    j says:

    @patroclus: Howdy. The Logan Square store isn’t open (pending zoning variance). The one in the tourist trap area of the Old Water Tower is and has been open for some time, but parking in that area is as scarce as the day after Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over that lantern. They rely exclusively on foot traffic.

  119. 119
    taylormattd says:

    @lacp: “CFA doesn’t have a written policy period”

    It doesn’t need a written policy. Let’s look at what the president of the company says:

    Cathy puts on the record what critics say his company’s actions have indicated for years. “Well, guilty as charged,” he said in the interview when asked about Chick-fil-A’s backing of families led by a man and a woman. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” Cathy said.

  120. 120
    taylormattd says:

    @different-church-lady: I think that is giving them way too much credit. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen WAY too many incidents of prematurely leaping to the ZOMG HE’S EVIL VIOLATING THE CONSTITUSHUN to believe otherwise.

  121. 121
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cassidy:

    Would I be well within the bounds of common decency to cause that pile of shit to need an oral surgeon? You’re damn right I would.

    You would also be guilty of a crime if you were to do that. Is the jail time worth it?

  122. 122
    different-church-lady says:

    @taylormattd: I think you’re missing what I’m saying: they’re simply ignoring altogether the fact that C-F-A are bad guys because they’re hell-bent on proving that someone else is the bad guy. Because in their world you can’t have two black hats cluttering up the same narrative.

    Which, actually, is a bit different from what I said — yeah, they genuinely believe in the principle, but they’re also not going to forgo the synergy between their hate for anyone connected to the administration and their fetish for “principle”. I don’t think they’re so far gone that second is nothing but an excuse to engage in the first, but I also don’t see that they have any interest in being sane about the first if it’s going to weaken their screeching about the second by even the slightest degree.

  123. 123
    LanceThruster says:

    @beergoggles: I prefer the archaic “smited”

  124. 124
    General Stuck says:

    My first reading of this matter was a scan of the comments of the CEO, plus the news that there were folks like Jim Henson and co pulling their business from these people. And also that this company was family run ON biblical principle as expressed by the CEO without apology, as beliefs that dovetailed predictably into the anti gay marriage comments. I did not know about the failure to sign anti discrimination pledges, nor the other issues of the zoning change unrelated to the social matters. It never for a second dawned on me that this company was not run on those anti gay beliefs, of more than just an orphaned religious belief not practiced as such by its family member and CEO who clued us in on where they were coming from as a family and business. These people don’t take a shit without asking jeevus first. As the details unfolded, my first reactions were confirmed as such, and the fumbling of expression by the Chicago Alderman, was in fact backed up by months of refusal of the company to comply with the requirements for getting a special zoning preference, as well as other considerations. I hope Chick fil A exercises their right to a hearing of whatever sort is appropriate for this kind of thing. It should then become clear this was more than an errant reaction by the pols, to a personal opinion by the company CEO. It has preamble and recent history. But best wishes for the Chickenpeeps and their work of the fast food lords of cholesterol, and let the drumsticks fall where they may. It is a process, not a one off final declaration, with rights afforded to review the matter with additional objective scrutiny.

  125. 125
    LanceThruster says:

    @Jess: My cynical friend Bernie the Attorney would say that Rahm knows exactly what he’s doing (and then go on to expound on Rahm’s fealty to Israel).

  126. 126
    Rex Everything says:

    Freddie, I think you got it wrong here.

    The parellel to this isn’t conservatives abusing local clout to block abortion clinics: It’s conservatives abusing their clout to keep business owners from doing business–business entirely unrelated to abortion–because those business owners have pro-choice views. Has the Right been doing this? “In thousands of discrete steps”? I don’t think so. I could be wrong. But I don’t think this is even what you meant.

    Blocking local abortion clinics is a bad thing and should be countered. But blocking a freakin’ fast food joint, because the owner thinks bad thoughts, is not an equivalent move.

  127. 127
    General Stuck says:

    @Rex Everything:

    But blocking a freakin’ fast food joint, because the owner thinks bad thoughts, is not an equivalent move.

    Are you stupid? This might have been operable at the beginning of yesterday’s thread on the matter, but much more information has come to light, than ‘just because the owner thinks bad thoughts’

  128. 128
    j says:

    @Rafer Janders: But neither Rahm nor Moreno said anything of the sort. Rahm even said something like “I don’t know why they want to invest all that money into a place that will be empty”. And BTW Rahm has little to no authority over zoning matters. Those are handled at the Ward level, so his opinion is pretty much moot.

    Other Aldermen are saying they would love to have CfA in their Wards. Read this. It gives a very slight overview of how the zoning process works in Chicago.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.....-open-arms

    And as usual, the crack “reporters” are acting like the last 3 months of zoning hearings never happened and are sticking to that “he hates baby Jeebus” story.

  129. 129
    different-church-lady says:

    @LanceThruster: Bernie says, “we sue,” we sue
    Bernie says, “we sign,” we sign

  130. 130
    Rex Everything says:

    @General Stuck:

    Are you stupid?

    Not too stupid to know what “operable” means.

  131. 131
    General Stuck says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Not too stupid to know what “operable” means.

    Good for you. Now practice it.

  132. 132
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck: Easy, Stuck… yesterday’s thread was about Chicago and how Rahm eats baby owls and posts the videos on Facebook. Today’s thread is a lot more theoretical by intent. Let’s allow for all the vectors.

    Postscript: Oh, wait a minute… it’s Rex. Carry on. Sorry to make it all “complicated” again.

  133. 133
    gwangung says:

    @Rex Everything: Evidence not visible.

  134. 134
    Rex Everything says:

    @General Stuck:

    Good for you. Now practice it.

    OK: Menino and Emmanuel have decided that blocking CfA to score easy political points is no longer operable.

  135. 135
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: Standing against homophobia is now “easy political points”, eh?

    I guess taylormattd had it right after all. My bad.

  136. 136
    General Stuck says:

    @Rex Everything:

    OK: Menino and Emmanuel have decided that blocking CfA to score easy political points is no longer operable.

    They haven’t decided anything. Because it isn’t their decision. What they said, that IS operable, is that the values of Chickenfill are not those of their constituents. That is what politicians do, that are doing it right. Taking a stand, as neither has authority to usurp zoning boards procedure. The voters can decide to dole out political points, or not. It is the cacophony of silly humans practicing democracy on this mortal coil. And is profoundly un pure.

  137. 137
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Standing against homophobia is now “easy political points”, eh?

    For blue state urban Democrats, yes; it’s practically the definition of low-hanging fruit.

    This is not a statement on the importance of gay rights. This is a plain observation. It’s about 1,000 times easier for an urban Democrat in a liberal region to go to bat for gay rights than to go to bat for, say, labor rights.

  138. 138
    Rex Everything says:

    @General Stuck: Your understanding of “mortal coil” is about on par with your understanding of “operable.”

    Maybe you’re good at math?

  139. 139
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: So, you feel that they should not stand against homophobia because the degree of difficulty is not high enough. Glad we cleared that up.

  140. 140
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady:

    So, you feel that they should not stand against homophobia because the degree of difficulty is not high enough.

    Arguing in bad faith already? Check and mate, baby!

  141. 141
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Arguing in bad faith already?

    Why should you be the only one?

    If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re far more interested in competing with people online than examining issues.

  142. 142
    General Stuck says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Your understanding of “mortal coil” is about on par with your understanding of “operable.”

    So now you are reduced to kvetching about my grammar and semantics, or whatever. “operable” is a political word play from Ron Ziegler faced with the daily reality he was working for a crook, as Nixon’s press secretary during Watergate. And mortal coil, well that means life is hard then we die. Or something along those lines. So are you going to kvetch some more about my use of kvetching. Maybe you can sign up as my personal grammar nazi. You will never be short of work.

  143. 143
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck: Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown Calvinball.

  144. 144
    General Stuck says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I know, but sometimes can’t resist a little cat and mouse fun.

  145. 145
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: It’s absolutely not true that I’ve been arguing in bad faith here. If you feel I have misrepresented any of your points or mischaracterized what you were saying (a la your “you feel that they should not stand against homophobia“), please show me where I have done so.

  146. 146
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: I don’t suppose yesterday counts in your mind, eh?

  147. 147
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: You wanna rehash yesterday, fine. Do it on yesterday’s thread and I’ll respond there.

    (But this may save you some time: Saying “I suspect my opponents oppose liberal principle” is not the same as misrepresenting what your opponents have actually said.)

  148. 148
    Brian R. says:

    @the Conster:

    Fucking put your boots on the motherfuckers’ necks every chance you get, and let them make a stink about the rules so much that by the time it’s all litigated and done for, they’ll remember not to drive through all the red lights the next time they’ve got the wheel. Like that will ever happen, but it’s just the way these fuckwads need to be treated. I’m sick of the OH NOES ITS WRONG ELEVENTY! That’s why we don’t have nice things.

    Just thought that deserved to be reposted in full.

    They’re coming at us with MMA moves like a spider monkey on crack and we insist on playing like a proper gentleman by the Marquess of Queensbury rules. Fuck that noise.

  149. 149
    Rex Everything says:

    @Brian R.:

    They’re coming at us with MMA moves like a spider monkey on crack and we insist on playing like a proper gentleman by the Marquess of Queensbury rules.

    1) We can play by the rules and still beat them.
    2) Playing by the rules does not go unnoticed by the swing voter. It strengthens the Democratic position.
    3) When we don’t play by the rules, it’s not only the opposition that gets hurt. The whole value system of a free society gets damaged. If we want to join the GOP in tearing that system down, it will only get torn down that much faster.

    And regardless of (1) and (2) above, the thing you refer to as “the Marquess of Queensbury rules” is a more valuable thing than the Democratic Party.

  150. 150
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: It’s been an hour and you still got nothin’? One would almost conclude that you got nothin’.

  151. 151
    Donut says:

    @GeneJockey:

    If you worry about the moral high ground, you’re already losing. Our counterparts in the GOP don’t play that, homie. Liberals need to come to grips with this. Too many of us worry about perception as opposed to reality. We liberals perceive that the moral high ground will win arguments. It doesn’t. Reality is that playing hard and playing to win on every issue is what gets you your desired result. Saying you refuse to stoop to their level gets you nothing but righteous indignation.

  152. 152
    Rex Everything says:

    @Donut: You’re right. And Martin Luther King should’ve said “hang em from the trees; they did it to us.”

    I mean, if you can’t see the moral value of a principle, couldn’t you at least see the pragmatic value…

  153. 153
    j says:

    STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!!!

    This Chick-fil-A bullshit isn’t a forum for Libertarians to argue with Moronarians.

    It’s a SWIFT BOATING OPERATION!

    ALL of “YOU” need to have at least `some familiarity with the ACTUAL situation.

    What are you all? FOX mouth breathers and regurgitaters?

    FACTS:

    CfA already has a franchise about 100 feet off “The Magnificent Mile” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnificent_Mile

    Sidewalk frontage costs BIG BUCKS (over $100 per sq/ft) just to open your doors. The Mag Mile CfA exists on tourist and shopper foot traffic. They have lines going down the block on some days (Hillbilly day, I’m guessing). NOt really, they are between Loyola U. and that tourist trap known as Michigan Ave.

    The CfA in dispute wants to open a store in a formerly depressed former factory area that has been Yuppified for the last decade, and they want to set to tone for the community. (Lots of stand alone franchise stores who can contract with their own tow companies and make more bucks on the side.

    The alderman said Nuh Uh!

    So they started this Christ eats Shit campaign.

    I say let them open in November. Then (if I was the Mayor) I would decide that Elston Ave. REALLY needs to be torn up for 2 years in order to replace the sewers that CfA has been dumping grease into. And OH, BTW we are going to widen the sidewalks because this is a walking community, so you have to replace all of your entrance and exit aprons.

    This shit can go on for years.

    THAT is what’s called “Chicago style politics”.

    The republitards think it has to do with elections. Huh? Whoever wins the Democratic primary WINS. Politics has nothing to do with elections.

    As King Richard the First said “Good government is good politics, and good politics is good government.”.

    OK he was kind of an ass in his senile years, but what the hell.

    F CfA for making this a swiftboating exercise.

    And if it is discovered that that old racist Rickets who gave the Cubs to his kids for a cute plaything is involved…

    Say good bye to that dump you play in! You ain’t getting a penny of tax dollars.

  154. 154
    Rex Everything says:

    @j: Now that is a good post.

  155. 155
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: You know, as hard as this might be for you to believe, I actually leave the house now and again. You know, to go out and do things like have a life.

    And while I was out, I was thinking, “Hey, what if we put this pissing match aside and I ask him a question in good faith? Maybe find some common ground” But now I see you’re not really interested in having an adult conversation about things as much as you are in trash talk. So screw it.

  156. 156
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: Yeah, I hear you, I’m only around for one more half hour. Ask me whatever. I’m innerested in all those adult things.

  157. 157
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: God help me, I’m an idiot for believing you but…

    okay: when you say that Menino and Emmanuel are blocking CFA to “score easy political points”, do you believe that is their only motivation?

  158. 158
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: Yes. It’s not central to my argument, and I may be wrong, but I think, knowing Menino and Rahm, this is a bit of a stunt for them.

  159. 159
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: But is it the *sole* motivation? I’ll not argue that they aren’t grandstanding. I just want to know whether you think they might *also* have an interest in standing against homophobia.

  160. 160
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: Yeah, maybe.

  161. 161
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: Let’s say that we agree denying permits is the wrong tool for the job in this case: do you think Emmanuel made his statements because he was interested in making an attack on free speech?

  162. 162
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: No. I think he did make an attack on free speech, and that’s why I object, but I don’t think he set out expressly to do so.

  163. 163
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: I would put a finer point on it: he did not attack free speech itself, but did make threats in reaction to the free speech of a specific person.

    In light of this, do you not find Greenwald’s headline, “Rahm Emanuel’s dangerous free speech attack” to be a bit… hyperbolic, shall we say?

  164. 164
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady:

    do you not find Greenwald’s headline, “Rahm Emanuel’s dangerous free speech attack” to be a bit… hyperbolic, shall we say?

    No. Getting carried away to the point where you attack free speech without necessarily intending to, and needing to be reminded that it’s important not to step on it, is something that’s liable to happen to politicians often (especially combative ones who don’t exactly specialize in civil liberties).

  165. 165
    Donut says:

    @Rex Everything:

    Bullshit analogy. Don’t play historical parlor games, because it is just silly to think you are comparing apples to apples. No historian worth their salt dabbles in this kind of crap. If we were living in the mid 20th century still, it might hold water. But this is Chicago in 2012, not Montgomery in 1955. We don’t live in an era when non-violent direct action gets the same results. The world moves at a different pace and conservatives play by a completely different set of rules. Moral persuasion only works ob people with morals, and that ain’t who we are up against. While you worry about whether or not one extra person finds love I their heart, they eat your lunch and drink your milkshake. So be it.

  166. 166
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: So, rather than saying, “Emmanuel had good intent in one way, but blew it in another,” the proper way to frame this is that Emmanuel is an enemy of free speech?

  167. 167
    Rex Everything says:

    @Donut: You’re right, those southern rednecks were just a bunch of pussycats and MLK would have had to employ a whole different set of tactics against the vicious & terrifying 2012 opposition: a geriatric lardass who owns a sandwich shop.

  168. 168
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady: The headline, to me, communicates urgency. If your subject is free speech and how one is tempted to violate it for the sake of one’s own causes, then equivocating on that very point, right in your headline, would weaken your case immeasurably.

    I gotta go now, but would be glad to pick this up again …

  169. 169
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rex Everything: It most certainly communicates urgency, but I feel it does so in a disingenuous way — a way that is at least somewhat similar to the grandstanding of the Mayors.

    I thank you for the civil exchange. Let’s take this route again some time.

  170. 170
    Donut says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Duh. Isn’t that totally obvious?

    Look, I think just the threat of Alderman Moreno using his prerogative to block the development, as is legal and customary in Chicago, has made the point crystal clear. He now has leverage and has drawn out the problem in stark terms. I get that we are skating in the edge if constitutionality and pushing the enveleope, but the threat of the same has produced debate and possibly a better result than if Moreno had just rubber-stamped the deal and went on with his life. I am just tired of pitching whiffle balls while the other side wields a giant aluminum softball bat.

  171. 171
    different-church-lady says:

    @Donut:

    Duh. Isn’t that totally obvious?

    Not for everyone, quite evidently.

    If someone wanted to say “You’re up against the edge here, and I understand why you’re doing it but it’s probably not the right thing to do” I wouldn’t give that any argument. But no, someone wants to say RAHM’S THE ENEMY OF FREE SPEECH!!!™

    My personal opinion is that if you’re gonna push the envelope this is a good spot to pick. Sports analogies are always facile, but I’ve got to go for it: every player on every team is trying to get away with as much as they can without actually getting penalized. Sometimes you go right up to the line, and sometimes you go to far and cross it. But nobody goes, “Hey, I better give this guy an extra yard of room to protect my integrity.”

    I’m not in favor of denying permits over speech. But I’m damn well in favor of the leader of a community making it quite clear that homophobia isn’t welcome.

  172. 172
    different-church-lady says:

    @Donut: Also:

    I think just the threat of Alderman Moreno using his prerogative to block the development…

    Which I think is a fascinating side topic: just how much prerogative should a city official have, and how does one determine whether any given use of that prerogative is right or wrong?

  173. 173
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Donut:

    If you worry about the moral high ground, you’re already losing. Our counterparts in the GOP don’t play that, homie. Liberals need to come to grips with this. Too many of us worry about perception as opposed to reality. We liberals perceive that the moral high ground will win arguments. It doesn’t. Reality is that playing hard and playing to win on every issue is what gets you your desired result. Saying you refuse to stoop to their level gets you nothing but righteous indignation.

    Sure, just ask Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez or Nelson Mandela. They didn’t stand on no “moral high ground”, they didn’t care about how they made their cause look to the undecided middle by appealing to any sense of fair play and justice, instead they got right down there in the muck and fought just as nasty and dirty as did their opponen….oh, never mind.

  174. 174
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Donut:

    But this is Chicago in 2012, not Montgomery in 1955. We don’t live in an era when non-violent direct action gets the same results. The world moves at a different pace and conservatives play by a completely different set of rules. Moral persuasion only works ob people with morals, and that ain’t who we are up against.

    You think the people in 1955 Montgomery, the people who conducted a terrorist campaign against blacks, were more moral than the citizens of 2012 Chicago? Were more persuable by sweet reason? Are you high?

  175. 175
    Rex Everything says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I thank you for the civil exchange. Let’s take this route again some time.

    Indeed. Thank you, DCL, and I apologize for lumping you together with some company that’s not worthy a ya.

  176. 176

    @Rex Everything:

    The headline, to me, communicates urgency.

    As did the body of the story. But in his urgency Greenwald failed to note that Moreno had been negotiating with CFA’s lawyers for nine months (per Moreno’s op-ed in Thursday’s Trib), presumably to get CFA to acknowledge and sign off on Chicago’s anti-discrimination ordinance, when Dan Cathy- the President and COO of CFA- shot his mouth off. So you’ve got CFA’s lawyers in Chicago saying one thing while their boss is saying something quite the opposite…And Greenwald plays it off thus:

    Indeed, Joe Moreno, the Chicago alderman who represents a “hipster ward” and who initially blocked the business’ expansion, made clear that he was motivated not by any alleged discriminatory business practices but solely by “bigoted, homophobic comments”: namely, the Chick-fil-A President’s view that the Bible mandates marriages be between men and women only.

    [emphasis added]

    Solely? Well, sure, if you read only the Trib’s initial reporting. But surely a journalist like Glenn Greenwald could make a phone call to Moreno’s office to get some clarification on this, no?

    Well…No. Because getting the column up was a pressing matter. The circumstances at hand called for urgency on Greenwald’s part.

    But there was nothing urgent about it. Not a damned thing. Nine months of negotiations didn’t rate a word from Greenwald. Then, after nine months, the Chicago Tribune attaches Rahm Emanuel’s name to the latest turn of events and it’s time to fly into action. But Greenwald wasn’t acting urgently, he was acting rashly…At best.

  177. 177
    Rex Everything says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Greenwald failed to note that Moreno had been negotiating with CFA’s lawyers for nine months (per Moreno’s op-ed in Thursday’s Trib), presumably to get CFA to acknowledge and sign off on Chicago’s anti-discrimination ordinance…Greenwald wasn’t acting urgently, he was acting rashly…At best.

    That’s quite a bit of baggage to hang on one little “presumably.”

    Presumably, if Greenwald (along with all the other writers who’ve piped up in agreement) had gotten it so wrong, Moreno at some point during the past couple days would have said so.

  178. 178
    Nicole says:

    As a few other people have already pointed out, the Romneys didn’t get a $77,000 deduction; they declared a $77,000 loss on the horse, netting a $50 deduction. I don’t understand why this falsehood keeps making the rounds. We’re liberals; we’re better than that.

    Articles about this keep trying to make the case that they could someday make enough money on the horse to later offset the loss (just as future business profits can be reduced by applying previous years’ losses) but I’m skeptical. There just isn’t the money in dressage on the breeding side that there is for Thoroughbred racehorses. Yes, Rafalca’s foals might sell, but as dressage horses don’t start training until they are full grown, and the horse has to be cared for during all those years of growing up, I just don’t see the sale price on a foal of Rafalca’s ever equaling the cost of rearing and training it.

  179. 179
    Nicole says:

    @Nicole: Crudbuckets; this totally went into the wrong thread. WTF?

  180. 180

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