Archive | July, 2012

Update on Stupidity vs. Chick-fil-A: Emanuel backs off but STILL is wrong

27 Jul

Last we left the comedic reality show known as “Stupidity vs. Chick-fil-A“, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago alderman Joe Moreno and Philadelphia councilman Jim Kenney promised to block any Chick-fil-A plans to expand in their areas.

Aside from the obvious hypocrisy—which Moreno still refused to recognize—there was the issue of unconstitutional abuse of government authority.

We now have an update on the situation. (Side note: the liberal Chicago Tribune side publication RedEye—of which I am the token conservative columnist—rejected my article on the subject. Well, blogging is more real-time than a newspaper—this is now my second column on the topic before RedEye published its first—so I guess it’s providential that I wrote online rather than having RedEye print it.)

Chick-fil-A Support Keeps Pouring In

Amusingly, several other liberal, gay-marriage-supporting writers have also condemned Emanuel, Moreno, etc. since my original article.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Reuters)

Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic points out Emanuel’s double standard that Emanuel campaigned for two presidents who opposed gay marriage.

The liberal Boston Globe Editorial Page denounced the same conduct by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and wrote: “which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand? A business owner’s political or religious beliefs should not be a test for the worthiness of his or her application for a business license.”

Doug Mataconis from Outside the Beltway blasted Alderman Moreno not only as a liar but also as a heavy-handed law-breaker: “Chicago Alderman have extraordinary power over the issuance of building permits in their wards. [Since] an Alderman can grant or deny a permit for any reason,…there’s nothing to stop him, at least not inside the Chicago political system. Regardless of Chicago politics, though, it is really rather obvious that what Moreno is attempting to do here is completely unconstitutional.”

Glenn Greewald of Salon added, “[A business owner’s personal beliefs being irrelevant to a business license] is so basic that it’s just astounding that anyone, let alone Mayors of big cities, need to be told this.”

Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times is in disbelief: “[T]he city shouldn’t be bullying this CEO because an alderman disagrees with his interpretation of the Bible. If this is allowed, what’s next? Will the city start granting business permits based on whether or not a company’s owner supports gay marriage? Will prospective business investors be required to check off a box indicating they believe marriage can be between same sex couples before they are allowed to do business in the city? Is that where we’ve arrived?”

Adam Serwer of the blog Mother Jones wrote: “Blocking construction of Chick-fil-a restaurants over Cathy’s views is a violation of Cathy’s First Amendment rights. If Chick-fil-A discriminates in hiring or refuses to serve customers on the basis of sexual orientation, the local authorities can and should hold him accountable. Until then, the politicians should get out of the way.”

Digby at Hullabaloo wrote: “[I]f this fellow wants to open his business there and conduct himself within the laws of the state, the beliefs of the owner is none of the state’s business.”

Atrios at his Eschaton blog wasn’t surprised that Rahm Emanuel said something “really horrible and stupid” regarding Chick-fil-A.

Scott Lemieux, John Cole and many others have echoed those sentiments.

Remember, these people are all liberal and support gay marriage, not conservative Christians.

But here’s the real kicker.

The ACLU—of all voices—criticized Emanuel and Moreno, saying, “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination. We don’t think the government should exclude Chick-fil-A because of the anti-LGBT message. We believe this is clear cut.”

Wow. When the ACLU tells a liberal he is doing something wrong, that is the ultimate slap in the face.

Revisionist History

With the proverbial handwriting on the wall as they continue to get hammered by even their liberal comrades, both Emanuel and Moreno have backtracked from their stances, arguing that they never said they were going to block Chick-fil-A’s expansion plans.

In a statement to FoxNews.com, Sarah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Emanuel, said: “He did not say that he would block or play any role in the company opening a new restaurant here. If they meet all the usual requirements, then they can open their restaurant, but their values aren’t reflective of our city.”

Really? But Emanuel is on record saying:

“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the First Ward.”

Alderman Moreno also has tried to rewrite history. When Fox News reached him Thursday, he said traffic concerns were the basis of his objections to the store.

Really? But Moreno is on record saying:

“Initially, I had some traffic concerns with their plan. But then I heard the bigoted, homophobic comments by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, who recently came out against same-sex marriage. There are consequences for one’s actions, statements and beliefs. Because of this man’s ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward.” (emphasis added)

Please. Spare us the revisionist history. Just admit you were wrong. And stupid.

Still Wrong

Even when backtracking, Emanuel and Moreno are still wrong.

Recall Emanuel said, “If they meet all the usual requirements, then they can open their restaurant, but their values aren’t reflective of our city.”

Maybe Emanuel needs to get out more.

As explained in my original post, at least half the city opposes gay marriage.

Take me, for example. I live in the city. And Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s values reflect mine.

So, Rahm, you’re wrong. (What a surprise.)

As for Moreno, recall he tried to blame traffic concerns as his reason for blocking Chick-fil-A from his ward.

But when pressed further and asked if his objection to the restaurant had nothing to do with Cathy’s beliefs, Moreno backtracked on his backtrack: “No, I’m not saying that, I’m not walking back from that. That’s another part of it. I think businesses should be neutral on that. They should be selling chicken.”

Apparently Moreno needs to get out more too. Newsflash, Joe: Chick-fil-A does sell chicken.

And Chick-fil-A, as a business, is neutral on the issue of homosexuality. As pointed out by me as well as liberal commentators, Chick-fil-A has never discriminated against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation.

So Moreno is still wrong. (What a surprise.)

Even when backtracking, Emanuel and Moreno still don’t get it.

Chick-fil-A 2, Stupidity 0.

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Stupidity vs. Chick-fil-A

26 Jul Alderman Joe Moreno

Politicians from Illinois can be some of the most nonsensical in the nation.

Alderman Joe Moore once famously sponsored legislation to ban foie gras, being mocked and derided until the bizarre law was thankfully repealed.

Now comes two extremist empty-headed Chicago politicians who make Joe Moore look like a normal person.

Chicago’s Two Stooges

First is Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel entered the Chick-fil-A saga—and into lunkhead infamy—by saying that “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.”

Elaborating, Emanuel explained, “What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it’s not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope … is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO’s comments … reflects who we are as a city. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

Emanuel’s reference was to Chick-fil-A CEO president Dan Cathy’s defense of traditional marriage and anti-gay marriage stance.

That’s funny. Apparently, Rahm’s values are not Chicago values either. Looks like Emanuel is a bad investment too.

Anyway, despite having had the best public education money could buy, Emanuel apparently flunked math. A 2010 Chicago Tribune poll showed 42% of Chicago-area residents support gay marriage while 42% opposed it.

In other words, dead even.

Looks to me like Chick-fil-A values are at least half Chicago’s values, Rahm.

Alderman Joe Moreno

Alderman Joe Moreno (Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune / January 7, 2011)

Then there’s Alderman Joe Moreno.

Like the enlightened mayor, Moreno said he refuses to allow Chick-fil-A to build a new restaurant in his ward because of Cathy’s anti-gay marriage viewpoint.

David Smith of Illinois Family Institute, a conservative Christian organization, said Moreno’s actions were “hypocritical.”

“Here’s the alderman turning around and being intolerant and discriminatory because somebody has a different view than he does. Would he do that to a Muslim company?”

Moreno angrily responded with an unwittingly self-indicting reply.

“It’s not about someone having a different view than you,” Moreno said. “That’s not what it’s about. What it’s about is discriminating against individuals in our society. Okay?”

Okay, Moreno, but that’s what you’re doing too: discriminating against individuals in our society—namely Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy.

Hypocrisy upheld.

Moreno revealed more stupidity with this nugget of wisdom: “This is a restaurant whose CEO has practices that are anti-against the rights of individuals that live in my ward and I’m not gonna stand on the sidelines and allow that to happen.”

Newsflash, Joe: neither the restaurant nor its CEO has any discriminatory “practices”. As a matter of fact, the Chicago Chick-fil-A has gay employees. And it serves gay customers.

Cathy has a personal viewpoint. That’s, um, not the same as a restaurant practice of discrimination.

But wait, there’s more. And this one’s a doozy.

Breaking the law

Apparently, Chicago does not have the patent on political stupidity.

Boston’s mayor preceded Chicago’s by saying he didn’t want Chick-fil-A opening up a restaurant there.

Then Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney followed Chicago alderman Moreno by saying “as…an elected member of [sic] Philadelphia City Council, …There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”

Here’s where it gets funny.

Emanuel, Moreno, Kenny and all others like them emphasized that as elected officials, they are going to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening up restaurants based solely on an executive’s personal beliefs.

There’s a word for that kind of political action: unconstitutional.

So not only do these people not have logic, but they don’t know the law either.

In fact, liberals are—ironically—coming to Chick-fil-A’s defense against this onslaught of stupidity and ignorance.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Steve Chapman, who agrees with gay marriage, disagreed with Moreno. Calling Moreno seemingly “ignorant”, Chapman said the First Amendment “forbids the government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech.'”

“It’s as black-and-white a case of illegal censorship as anyone could find,” Chapman continued. “And if the company wants to challenge Moreno’s decision in court, he wouldn’t stand a chance.”

There’s more.

Glenn Greewald of Salon, a gay marriage supporter, said, “Free speech rights means that government officials are barred from creating lists of approved and disapproved political ideas and then using the power of the state to enforce those preferences.”

Kevin Drum of the blog Mother Jones said, “[T]here’s really no excuse for Emanuel’s and Menino’s (sic) actions. If you don’t want to eat at Chick-fil-A, don’t eat there. If you want to picket them, go ahead. If they violate the law, go after them. But you don’t hand out business licenses based on whether you agree with the political views of the executives. Not in America, anyway.”

Eugene Volokh of the blog The Volokh Conspiracy said, “[D]enying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation.”

As Time magazine blogger Michael Scherer points out, Emanuel, Moreno and others have run into an illegal “First Amendment Buzzsaw.”

I find it funny that this saga has united conservatives and liberals, as both come to Chick-fil-A’s defense. In fact, Boston’s mayor Menino has backtracked from some of his statements, chalking it up to a Menino-ism.

That doesn’t excuse the obvious stupidity, ignorance and hypocrisy of Emanuel, Moreno and others. But it’s refreshing to see it spotlighted by so many.

Chick-fil-A 1, Stupidity 0