Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Mashup (8/14/09)

(The kid in the pic ends up capturing what I think of Whole Foods based on the following information - also, I pretty much "phoned in" a post over here.)

  • I’m a little late on this I realize (another item tied to health care reform), but HuffPo tells us the following (from here)…

    Whole Foods CEO John Mackey penned an op-ed on health care reform in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal in which he pressed, amidst more standard conservative talking points, a "simple" solution.

    "Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat."

    As TPM's Brian Beutler put it: "Translation: Whole Foods is the solution to all of America's health care woes."

    However, for those of you who are tempted to follow Mackey's advice (and can afford it!) be warned: not all of the foods found at Whole Foods will actually make you healthy. As Mackey himself admitted last week, "Basically, we used to think it was enough just to sell healthy food, but we know it is not enough. We sell all kinds of candy. We sell a bunch of junk."
    And in addition to fighting the Obama Administration and the Democrats on health care reform, Whole Foods and its CEO John Mackey have also opposed the Employee Free Choice Act.

    As Young Philly Politics blogger Dan U-A notes here… is worth remembering a few things for when you have a choice of where to shop. First, in an industry that is largely unionized, Whole Foods stands out as being anti-labor. This is a comment from their CEO:

    The union is like having herpes. It doesn't kill you, but it's unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.
    My, what a charming sentiment.

    What to do in response? Click here to find out how you can join a boycott of Whole Foods.

    I don’t know if doing so would “stop someone from becoming your lover,” as Mackey puts it, but at the very lest, we could make it “unpleasant and inconvenient” for him.

  • And on the subject of boycotts, I give you the first of two media pundits; here's a column by Brian Stelter in the New York Times today…

    ABOUT a dozen companies have withdrawn their commercials from “Glenn Beck,” the Fox News Channel program, after Glenn Beck, the person, said late last month that President Obama was a racist with a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

    The companies that have moved their ads elsewhere in recent days included ConAgra, Geico, Procter & Gamble and the insurance company Progressive. In a statement that echoed the comments of other companies, ConAgra said on Thursday that “we are firmly committed to diversity, and we would like to prevent the potential perception that advertising during this program was an endorsement of the viewpoints shared.”

    The campaign against Mr. Beck is rooted in an advocacy group’s objection to the commentator’s remarks on July 28. Given the number of advertisers that have pledged to remove their spots, it appears to have been unusually successful.
    And by the way, if anyone else wants to bail on Beck (or anybody else on Fix Noise), click here.

    Further down in the column, though, Stelter tells us the following…

    Past efforts to put pressure on cable news advertisers have met more resistance. In the spring, when the liberal group ThinkProgress protested Bill O’Reilly of Fox News by contacting corporate sponsors, most wrote back by blandly thanking them for taking the time to write. One Ford Motor employee even suggested they abandon the petition tactic, writing, “the silly form letters are just annoying and easy to delete.”
    It would have been nice of Stelter to point out (as noted here) that UPS withdrew as a sponsor from O’Reilly, and that, while not withdrawing support, Capital One said it “did not endorse O’Reilly’s views” here, and Ford spokesman Mark Schirmer called O’Reilly “hopelessly pig-headed” here.

    However, I should emphasize that Ford’s director of corporate communications was quick to disavow Schirmer (another reason not to buy Ford as far as I’m concerned); unfortunately, I can only point out exceptions here – Stelter is basically correct, though the exceptions are important to note.

    Update: Better and better (here - and here is a link)

  • Also, I should note that I haven’t checked in with David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun for a little while, but I did today, and he uncorked a real doozy here, as they say…

    One of the huge puzzlements to me as I watch the rising tide of angry town hall meetings on healthcare is why the clear link between the rancor in meeting halls across the country to what passes for political conversation on so-called all-news cable TV isn't being more discussed.

    The mock-your-opponent, shout-'em-down, insist-lies-are-truths style of discourse seen in the rancorous exchanges in town halls this week from Maryland to California is on display every night five nights a week on our shiny new flat screens. It has been for years, and not just on the Fox News Channels with Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

    Now we have Lou Dobbs trying to drag the muck of his radio show into the CNN newsroom on some nights, while Keith Olbermann at MSNBC has become one of the ugliest, nastiest, most dishonest character assassins in American political life since Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. And NBC News lets him get away in violation of almost everything that once proud brand stood for.
    See, according “Z on TV” (cute), the town hall meeting disruptions aren’t just the fault of the right-wing propagandists (and by the way, this is fine reporting on the subject today in the New York Times by Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes) or Dick Armey or Rick Scott’s “Astroturf” groups.

    Naah, it’s Keith Olbermann’s fault too.

    Sure it is.

    Seriously, now, if that were true, would I link to so many videos from the “Countdown” home page?

    Name me one example where Olbermann has baselessly accused someone without proof. Name me one instance where he has charged someone without facts to back him up. Provide for me a single example where he has smeared someone to the point where that person’s career was utterly ruined.

    Go ahead, “Z,” take your time. I’ll wait.

    You can’t, can you?

    So maybe it would be a good idea for you to actually know what you’re talking about the next time you accuse someone of being dishonest, wouldn’t it?

  • Finally, I’ve had a little more time to process the news of the Philadelphia Eagles’ signing of quarterback Michael Vick, and I’d like to share some thoughts.

    To be fair, I should note here that he intends to work with the Humane Society in an effort to try and keep people away from dog fighting (here), though, as noted here, there wasn’t much of a response to his initial effort, commendable though it was (and this tells us that dog fighting is actually a problem in the Philadelphia area, so he could really act in a beneficial manner to try and stop it).

    However, to me, nothing else about this situation makes sense.

    From purely a football standpoint, the Eagles’ offensive line needs to get its act together. This is partly due to injury and partly due to new personnel, which is no one’s fault. It is also partly due to the fact that Winston Justice is no longer trying to do his impression of a human revolving door. Also, I haven’t read anyone who knows exactly what’s going on with Shawn Andrews.

    Defensively, aside from Trent Cole, there are questions up and down the defensive line. Their best linebacker is now out for the year, and their secondary has some skilled players, including a disgruntled (rightly, I think) cornerback and a lot of guys who are also learning to play together.

    There are a lot of questions. And Michael Vick can’t help answer any of them.

    And this from an organization that doesn’t like controversy?

    You thought T.O. was an issue (off the field, anyway)? Assuming Vick will be a “solid citizen,” he’s going to have to fend off a sh*tstorm like this town may never have seen before.

    Also, I actually tuned into some of the talk radio stations after the news broke, and I heard one late-night host on WIP who said he thought the Eagles did this out of jealousy because the Phillies were getting all of the sports headlines (it is to laugh, truly). I should note, though, that the latest polling at is pretty close, with about 47 percent currently in favor of the move (the Eagles often act as if they believe the fans will go along with anything they do, and that arrogance is usually vindicated).

    Another thing…I heard the press conferences from Andy Reid and Donavan McNabb last night, and I think Reid was pretty forthright. However, though McNabb may at heart be a good guy, he often comes across as the most arrogant guy on the planet (laughing at his own jokes, cutting off reporters’ questions, cracking remarks about how he doesn’t pay attention to the media…the sports press in this town is hardly innocent, but neither are our athletes). Also, McNabb said something like, “oh, I’ll be happy if I run 60-65 plays a game, and Vick runs about 5” (or words to that effect), and I’m thinking “they’re going to pay Vick $1.2 million with an option for about $5 million a year to run five plays a game??!! Are you serious??!!”

    And as far as I’m concerned, if I’m backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, I’ve got about a 10-foot-by-10-foot piece of poster board that I’m writing on with a Sharpie making three big letters, and they would be “WTF?”

    So welcome to Philadelphia, Michael Vick.

    You can imagine how hard the road ahead is going to be.
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