Blogs

Dunkin' Donuts Goes Green...Sort Of

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 5:59 PM EDT

DONUT.jpgOn Friday, Dunkin' Donuts opened a LEED-certified store in St. Petersburg, FL which will donate leftover food, use worm composting, green cleaning products, and paper cups, and has insulated walls to cut 40 percent of air conditioning needs. But when every other Dunkin' Donuts still uses Styrofoam cups, can we really expect significant changes among fast-food behemoths?

Chipotle, which used to be owned in part by McDonald's, opened its first restaurant with a wind turbine in Gurnee, IL earlier this month. The storefront gets 10 percent of its electricity from an on-site wind turbine, has an underground cistern to collect rainwater for the landscaping, and is built with recycled drywall and barn material, among other things. Another similar-though-lacking-a-wind-turbine location opened last week in Long Island.

Yet Chipotle already has two other green storefronts in Austin, TX, plus four more in the works. Its "Food With Integrity" mission entails that all of its chicken and pork, plus more than 60 percent of its beef, is "naturally raised" without antibiotics or hormones, on vegetarian feed, and with space to roam. They started doing this with their pork in 2001.

Will other fast-food joints follow suit? Here's what McDonald's, Taco Bell, Subway, and Hardee's are doing.

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Omaha Dispatch: Things Are So Much Worse For McCain Than You Realize

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 5:04 PM EDT

mojo-photo-huskersforobama.jpgLately, we've seen a lot of press about Obama making inroads in traditionally Republican areas, perhaps none more intriguingly than Nebraska's second congressional district, comprised of Omaha and its suburbs. I grew up in outstate Nebraska (not far from where Children of the Corn was filmed, to give you an idea) and while I'm proud to say the state is no Kansas, with its anti-abortion billboards and evolution-denying school boards, it's still incredibly hostile territory for national Democrats. However, I just got back from a quick trip to see family in Omaha, and without even trying, I ran across ample evidence that my home state may be ready for change, in Gotham bold.

Barack Obama: Marketer of the Year

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 4:36 PM EDT

obama-progress.jpg

Sure, Apple's done a good job advertising the ubiqituous iPhone. But according to Advertising Age, Barack Obama's done a better job advertising…Barack Obama.

At this year's annual National Advertisers' conference, hundreds of marketers, agency heads and marketing-service vendors chose Obama as Marketer of the Year, besting Apple, Zappos, Coors, and Nike. The presidential hopeful was honored for his hugely successful web-based campaign, which has utilized Facebook , MySpace, and outreach sites such as voteforchange.com.

Said Advertising Age:

Just weeks before he demonstrates whether his campaign's blend of grass-roots appeal and big media-budget know-how has converted the American electorate, Sen. Barack Obama has shown he's already won over the nation's brand builders.

Obama garnered an impressive 36.1 percent of the vote, compared to second-place Apple's 27.3 percent. As for McCain? He walked away with just 4.5 percent of the vote.

—Nikki Gloudeman

We May See Jeremiah Wright Yet

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 4:18 PM EDT

I've long assumed that this campaign would get really ugly in its final weeks. Today, HuffPost finds evidence that my premonition will come to pass.

Here's McCain campaign manager Rick Davis speaking to a conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt late last week:

Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign.
Now since then, I must say, when Congressman Lewis calls John McCain and Sarah Palin and his entire group of supporters, fifty million people strong around this country, that we're all racists and we should be compared to George Wallace and the kind of horrible segregation and evil and horrible politics that was played at that time, you know, that you've got to rethink all these things.
And so I think we're in the process of looking at how we're going to close this campaign. We've got 19 days, and we're taking serious all these issues.

Shorter Rick Davis: if we're going to be accused of being racists, we might as well be racists.

VIDEO: The GOP's Internal Struggle Over Racism and Xenophobia

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 3:30 PM EDT

This is heartening — anti-Islamic bigots at a McCain rally on Saturday were confronted by other attendees and actually sent packing.

A couple points: (1) I hope we seen a post-election rehabilitation of the image of Muslims in America. It's sorely needed. Colin Powell is already helping. (2) There is a war currently ongoing for the soul of the Republican Party. On the one hand you've got the folks in this video who decry racism, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. On the other hand you've got folks like the the man below and the party leaders who seek to exploit him. The positions the party takes on any number of issues — including military detainees, civil liberties, hate crime legislation, gay marriage, and immigration — depend on which kind of GOP voter wins this battle.

Frankly, I wish the nativists all the luck in the world. Their ascent in the Republican Party will only lead to its increased marginalization in a changing world.

Economic Update

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 3:30 PM EDT

ECONOMIC UPDATE....The latest economic news might not quite qualify as "good," but it's slightly encouraging at least. (1) Germany, the Netherlands, and South Korea are implementing some stunningly large bank rescue operations. (Relative to GDP, all are as large or larger than the U.S. rescue.) (2) Iceland is nearing an IMF rescue plan. (3) Ben Bernanke says a fiscal stimulus plan "seems appropriate." (4) After a price drop of 33% since their peak last year, home sales in Southern California shot up 65% in September. (5) And Calculated Risk tots up the evidence and says it looks like the credit crisis is finally easing a bit.

Don't go getting too excited or anything. More bailouts and a long recession are still ahead. But there might finally be a few tiny rays of sunshine on the horizon.

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Goodbye, TV Dinners: New Study Says Technology Improves Family Interactions

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 3:24 PM EDT

laptops.jpgThe image of four family members sitting silently around their living room and tapping on their keyboards does not exactly evoke a Norman Rockwell evening. Conventional wisdom has it that everyone in the family is absorbed in his or her own online life—and that the real people in the room are probably not part of it.

But a new report suggests that the situation may be more complex than we think. The internet, after all, is an interactive medium, and using it is not the passive experience of watching television.

The study, conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, found that roughly 95% of married-with-children households—the traditional nuclear families—own at least one cell phone and at least one computer with internet access. That's compared to around 80% for the country overall. And nearly half the people surveyed said that all the technology actually encourages communication—the "hey, look at this!" phenomenon that makes YouTube so successful.

The Candidates' Health Mysteries

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 2:58 PM EDT

Take a look at this New York Times article about the unprecedented lengths both campaigns have gone to conceal the health histories of their candidates. It's worth reading in full, but here are the Cliff Notes:

McCain: Granted a limited number reporters brief access to over a 1,000 pages of medical documents. Questions remain on the severity of his melanoma, which has reoccurred a number of times.

Obama: Released only a one-page letter from his doctor testifying to "excellent" health. Appears to nurse an on-again, off-again smoking habit, the full extent of which is unknown.

Biden: Campaign-approved doctors have been interviewed about Biden and records pertaining to his 1988 brain aneurysm have been released. According to the Times, "it is not known whether Mr. Biden has had recent brain imaging scans or has been evaluated by a neurologist or neurosurgeon recently."

Palin: No medical records of any kind have been released, keeping persistent rumors about the birth of her youngest son from being dispelled.

McCain Picks Tailhook Sexual Harassment Scandal Vet To Oversee Transition

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 2:57 PM EDT


On October 29, 1991, Senator John McCain went to the floor of the US Senate. The former Navy pilot was angry and disgusted. In recent days, the news had broken that the previous month Navy airmen and others had gone wild—engaging in sexual molestation, out-of-control drinking, and other misconduct—at the Tailhook Association convention in Las Vegas, an annual gathering of retired and active-duty naval aviators. "I cannot tell you," McCain proclaimed, "the distaste and displeasure that I have as a naval aviator…concerning this incident." He bemoaned the fact that senior ranking naval officers and civilian leaders had been at the meeting. He called for an investigation and urged the Navy to suspend its traditional participation with the Tailhook reunions. "There is no time in the history of this country that something like this is more inappropriate," McCain said, "and we cannot allow it. It is unconscionable. And we in the military...should be ashamed and embarrassed...that this kind of activity went on. And there is no excuse for it."

Now, McCain has placed one of the men responsible for permitting—and encouraging-- loutish activity at the Tailhook meetings in a powerful position: heading up his transition team.

McCain recently named John Lehman to oversee his transition effort and figure out how a McCain administration ought to get started—and whom it ought to hire for the most senior jobs—should McCain win the November 4 election. Lehman, now an investment banker, was secretary of the Navy during the 1980s, and he played a R-rated role in the Tailhook scandal.

Lehman was no longer Navy secretary when the Tailhook scandal exploded. But in 1991 and 1992, as military investigators and journalists probed what had happened at the 1991 convention—which included the so-called Gauntlet, a line of rowdy and drunk junior officers who harassed and assaulted women passing by--they learned that the events at the Tailhook convention of 1991 were predated by similar behavior in early years. And they discovered that Lehman, as Navy secretary, had been an enthusiastic participant.

In his 1995 book, Fall from Glory: The Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy, Greg Vistica, the San Diego Union-Tribune reporter who broke the Tailhook scandal, described a scene from the 1986 Tailhook meeting:

When the door to the suite at the Las Vegas Hilton opened, a prominent member of President Ronald Reagan's administration and a naked woman were clearly visible. He was lying on his back, stretched out in front of a throng of naval officers. There were probably one hundred men watching him, laughing with him….

Why Amy Poehler Was the Real Winner of SNL's Sarah Palin/Tiny Fey Palin-Off

| Mon Oct. 20, 2008 2:31 PM EDT

When McCain's VP pick showed up on Saturday Night Live this weekend, was it funny or excruciating? Either way, SNL won—drawing the show's highest ratings in 14 years.

Palin's brief performances yielded a couple chuckles—after Alec Baldwin went off on an anti-Palin rant, she responded with "I must say, your brother Stephen is my favorite Baldwin."

But most of the humor heavy-hitting came from Amy Poehler, who did an Alaskan rap while Palin bobbed along, and Fey. Indeed, with her exaggerated Alaskan twang, wink, and smirks, Fey made for a far more entertaining Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin.

See the videos here: