Posted by: sweeneyblog | August 3, 2012

Friday Odds and Ends: Anti-Gay Chicken, Economic Chicken, and Mitt Romney

Hello Loyal Readers,

Once again, it is time for Friday Odds and Ends. All the news that is fit to print, but not really big enough for its own post.

1) First, the good news. The jobs report came out for July and it is pretty good. 172,000 new private sector jobs were created, although 9,000 public sector jobs were eliminated, giving us a net gain of 163,000 jobs. Here’s a chart that shows job changes over the last couple of years.

Number of jobs added or lost each month

While the numbers aren’t stellar, it is still positive growth. Each month we add jobs, more people are getting a paycheck and fueling the economy.

2) Mitt Romney, fearing the bad publicity, decided against watching his wife’s show horse compete in the Olympics. Yes, because before that point you could totally claim this trip as a success. Here’s what I don’t get, why not just sit with his wife and watch the show? How humanizing is that? What partner hasn’t sat through something they weren’t that interested in for their significant other, like say, the BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre? The four hour version. Sigh. My point is that it would have been a moment to show the Romney’s (Romnies? Rom-knees? Damn you snarky readers!) doing something positive together, rather than just being on stage, and would help soften his robotic image. No such luck. Oh, and their horse didn’t win the medal 😦

3) Chick-fil-a. I cannot express how sick to death I am of this issue. People have every right to vote with their dollars, and since Chick-fil-a contributes several million dollars to groups trying to strip LGBT citizens of their civil rights, it is completely fair to call for a boycott and not eat there. The counter boycott, while weirdly forceful, is fine as well. Huckabee and Palin can encourage people to support Chick-fil-a all they like. Here’s what is driving me batty:


Why in the name of Col. Sander’s ghost is this news? Seriously, I understand that the summer months are the slack time for political reporters. They’ve got lots of news space to fill and most candidates are holding their fire until closer to election day, but seriously, fast food-themed activism? Is this how lazy we have become that our most dramatic way of protesting is to choose a different corporate giant to give our money to? Why is the media still juggling this story?

Oh yeah, that’s right. It’s a really easy story to cover. Why cover the rising tensions in Syria, or the roll out of the Affordable Care Act when you can just get a few talking heads to banter about fried chicken for twenty minutes.

Final note on this subject, this year Woods Coffee petitioned the city to require the Pride Parade not to go past their store. This wasn’t an economic decision, considering the hundreds of cups of coffee they sold as a result of the pride festival being on their doorstep, this was a religious decision by the owner who objected to the Pride Parade. So, if you are looking for a local way to continue the boycott with your dollars, avoiding Woods Coffee would be itEDIT: I have heard this from two activists involved in the Pride Parade, I am currently seeking more documentation.
UPDATE 8/21/12 – 
I spoke to the Bellingham Police who approved the parade permit and they seem to collaborate Wes Herman’s story, that there was no comments of any kind on the parade route. So if there were any objections, I am unable to verify them. I try to keep all the information on this blog accurate, and in this case, it looks like I was wrong. I still have a few phone calls out to Bham Pride, but in the meantime, I’m marking this as false.

4) Election night is this Tuesday, and I will be live-blogging all the fun. In year’s past, I have leap-frogged from party to party, but this year, most of the election night parties I want to attend are consolidated into one event at the Chuckanut Brewery starting at 7 p.m. You can join me in person or follow the fun right here.



  1. Woods Coffee is anti gay, huh? I’d stop getting coffee there if they start donating money to hate groups like Chick Fil A, or discriminated against gay employees, or posted signs for the paraders telling them they will be judged by the baby Jesus, or kept pushing the issue to the city council until they acquiesced to his demands. But as it is, I’m a little meh. That’s just, like, they’re opinion, man. A petition is a far cry from anything serious.

    Perhaps a lot of people could walk in and write in the suggestion box: “Man! You sure have the best coffee in Bham! Me and my life partner get mochas here every saturday! Stay awesome!”

    I’d have to move back to North America first, tho, for any of this to matter.

    • Their owners also dropped several thousand towards No on Ref 74. So yeah, anti-gay.

      • “The best coffee in Bham.” (??). I moved up to Bham from Seattle, the home of Starucks overly roasted, burnt coffee, and too strong to savour, so when I tried Woods, I was expecting greatness from the hype, but I thought, “OMG, this is awful.” It’s bitter, and every subsequent blend I’ve had there has been hard to swill.” I’m going to Mount Bakery where they have the best coffee I’ve had in a long, long time.

      • I can’t find any record of Wes Herman funding No on 74. Source?

  2. Protip – proofread.

    plural of Romney is Romneys.

    The counter boycott, while weird, if fine too. ???

    • Yeah, that’s what I get for posting pre-coffee. Did some tweaks. I should have my actual editor look at these first. #rileyfail.

      • “. . .that there was no comments. . . .” Here editor, where are you?
        It’s: that there were no comments.

  3. I thought that plural of Romney was… Romni.

    • I thought the plural was Romulans…

      • I have to disagree with you there, Romney is clearly a Ferengi.

  4. Riley! Did you really blame the media for the Chick Fil A story? Shame on you. I thought I taught you better. It wasn’t the media that created this story but the mayors and other politicians wanting to make hay with it that made it a story. And in many cases, they used social media to make it news for them. For a good romp on this issue, check out the New York TImes piece:

    So Political Junkie? Talk to us about why you think making the Chick Fil A story is a good or bad idea from a political standpoint but please, please don’t be banging that old “media’s fault” drum.

    By the way, if you want to know about the rising tensions in Syria, or the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, listen to NPR. . .you know: the media.

    • I supposed I could have couched it with, a majority of the mainstream media is focusing on the Chick Fil A story. Why is this a bad thing? Because right before a primary, rather than investigating candidates, providing context and basically informing the voters, the media is focusing on whether or not eating a chicken sandwich is homophobic. That is negligence of their duty as the fourth estate and damaging to our society. So yes, I’m beating the drum of blaming the media because they decide which issues the American people are going to be educated on, and which issues will be ignored. During the air-time the chick-fil-a story occupied, we could have had discussions of class, foreign policy, military priorities or education reform. Instead, we got chickens.

      Yes this story was helped along by mayors and politicians greedy for a headline, but when CNN is breathlessly reporting which celebrities are tweaking their support or opposition to this, then they are culpable in this dereliction of duty.

      • And I was really hoping someone would point out the irony of this blog blaming the media for focusing on this story . . . while itself focusing on this story.

  5. If you’re talking air time then you must mean television news, possibly radio. So is that what you mean by “mainstream.” I guess the traditional print media with real reporters doesn’t fall into the mainstream definition then. Yesterday, I met with the editorial writer for the Spokane daily paper and I can assure, despite shrinking news holes and reporting staff, they are doing everything they can to inform voters about the issues. But they can’t make people read, or buy the newspaper.

    Stop watching that shit and buy a paper.

    • I agree that print news is doing a better job of covering the issues than cable news, but taking the New York Times as an example, they published TEN stories about the Chick-Fil-A issue in the last week.

      Like a growing segment of the population, I get my news exclusively online, since I have neither a television nor a newspaper subscription, but I do read both print media stories and broadcast media and I feel like both of them have spent way too much time on this issue.

      Yes, there are some very good reporters out there doing solid work, but when I look at the CNN home page this morning on the central story is Chick-fil-a, I wonder about the disservice being done to our news-consuming public.

      Finally, while I’m glad that you are promoting better media consumption habits, the fact remains that a solid majority of the american public get their news from sources other than a newspaper. I don’t have the national averages, but in Whatcom County, 28% of the average voters get their local news from television and radio, 22% get their local news from the internet and 35% receive it from the Bellingham Herald. Looking down your nose at their media consumption habits aren’t going to get them to change how they get their news, but showing them that they are receiving a flawed product might.

  6. Thank you, Riley, for a reason other than weak coffee not to go to Woods. And why did they move in so clase to my old hangout, Rumours?

  7. Commenters are clearly missing the real issue which is this: Jane Eyre, and any BBC adaptation of 19th century English literature, is awesome.

    • I agree, and I’m a guy.

  8. Sorry if this has already been covered, but I was wondering where I can locate the record of Woods petitioning the city to not have the pride parade not go past their location?

    • I heard this from multiple organizers with Bellingham Pride, but I will see if I can get some documentation for you, Sean.


    Censorship. Discrimination. False Advertising. Disrespect. Failure to Permit Corporate Advertising. Failure to pay taxes…. failure to not get convicted in federal court for fraud to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars…. telling the wwu womens’ business club that “women can’t keep their mouths shut”… why even bother to keep listing reasons?

    Check it out and spread the word.

    Demand answers.

  10. Have you been able to find any documentation about the woods coffee petition, I would love to see it to substantiate my argument for boycott with those I discuss it with.

    • I’ve got some emails out. The organizers that I spoke to were with the Pride parade and I’m trying get some sort of comment out of the City or the Police Department, but it is summer and things move slowly.

  11. I emailed woods coffee to see what they had to say about the matter. This was Wes Hermans personal response to that email.

    Woods Coffee response via email:


    Thanks for the email. No there is no truth to this. In fact, I have no idea what the route even is. Nor have I petitioned the city for any reason.

    I do know where this comes from…those who preach tolerance, yet are the least tolerant.

    We do not discriminate for any reason or against anyone.

    Feel free to contact us any time for any reason. Thanks for asking rather than assuming or simply accepting what others say!

    Wes Herman

    • That is a good response. I’m waiting to hear back from the people who let me know and we will see where it ends up. I try and keep this blog as accurate as possible.

      • Here is another email he sent me clarifying his statement about his knowledge of the parade route.

        “Clarification…I did know it comes by our RR store, I just didn’t know the complete route. On parade day we gear up for the increased traffic…and welcome the traffic every year.

        Wes Herman”

  12. Herman– convicted felon with a history of defrauding people. Do you really trust him at his word?

  13. Herman, who owes local government thousands in unpaid taxes, is playing the victim again. What is disturbing here is that Herman is outright denying the allegation. Do we have any reason NOT to doubt him? Oh wait, clarification coming… he didn’t know it went by that other location but he knew it went by somewhere else… SHIFTY. Fits in with the pattern of behavior he demonstrated when the WC boycott caught him falsely advertising his products as fair-trade certified. Fits in with the history of criminal fraud. Herman, I would posit, is a liar.

    On an unrelated note, if Herman is so charitable and open-minded, why doesn’t he give some of that money that he is NOT using to pay off the liens on his properties to PFLAG or take out an ad in the “Betty Pages” clarifying his views?

    • Any word on the documentation or information from event organizers?

  14. It seems the harassment of Woods Coffee is constantly initiated by one guy with an axe to grind. All you need do is Google him and you’ll see that he’s not a prince either. Moral: check your facts before blogging them, people. (I also note that the woodscoffeeboycott page is still reporting your original “Woods petitioned the city” story as true, and quoting you as having said it. No retraction over there.)

    • I do the best I can to maintain accurate information here, I can’t change what is on other sites. I regret not sourcing the story beyond the two people I talked to at the day of the Pride festival (neither of which were Evan, who commented here) and that’s why I’ve got it retracted here.

      Citizen journalism is tricky and I will do my best in the future to keep everything accurate.

    • Actually, on consideration, this would be a great subject for a blog post. I’ll set up an interview with Mr. Herman and clear the air.

      • Riley, while you are interviewing Herman, maybe you could ask him about his other misdeeds. I for one would like a straight answer to the question of why Herman refuses to make a statement clarifying the fact that LGBTQ folks are equal and important members of the community. It seems simple enough, and many other businesses have made such statements when there was a question on the issue.

        When Stephanie and others tried to confront Herman last year, it was always the same thing: Herman refusing to talk except in a one-on-one setting. I have faith that you will be able to see past the con-man behavior (Herman is a convicted con-man) and look forward to reading your post!

    • Harassment? Really, Woods Coffee and Wes Herman must be desperate to play the “victim” card so often.

      All I am trying to do is get the word out about Wes Herman’s failures to pay taxes, false advertising, and theocratic politics.

      But if you are going to stoop to the level of ad hominem here, who do you think has more credibility: a convicted felon fraudster with a profit motive? Or a disabled veteran with a justice motive?

      • ps: woods coffee boycott website is getting 20-100 unique hits every day. I am glad that the word is finally getting out about Herman and his manipulative business practices. the truth will always win in the end.

  15. […] Everyone is biased. They start out with notions of right and wrong, of people they identify with and people who make them nervous. Naturally, these influences (culture, education, upbringing, social circles) affect my writing too. My goal has always been to be upfront about my biases and my associations so that you know what is possibly coloring my views. I always try to do my best to bring all the relevant facts to the table, even when it rubs me the wrong way. Despite being naturally predisposed to believing them, I debunked coal claims from Dan Pike last year, and debunked accusations that The Woods was anti-gay. […]

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