by Claire Thompson.
For all of you poor souls who can’t tell kale and chicken
apart (lord knows it can be difficult), your troubles may soon be over. Chik-fil-A, the country’s
second-largest chain chicken restaurant (after KFC), is pressuring Vermont-based
small-business owner Bo Muller-Moore to drop the phrase “Eat More Kale,” which he’s been
screen-printing by hand on T-shirts and selling online and at local farmers
markets since 2000. Chik-fil-A claims the words—a statement in support of
local agriculture and sustainable food—are too similar to its trademarked “Eat Mor Chikin” ad
slogan, and could cause confusion for its customers and “dilute” its English-challenged brand.
The irony of this artificially inflated conflict is almost
too rich to be true. In an ideal world, Chick-fil-A’s worries would be
legitimate, since Muller-Moore’s goal is to promote healthy eating and support
for small farmers—basically, the opposite of going to Chick-fil-A. In fact, the
chain’s regular customers are probably way more kale-deprived than your average
Vermont locavore, and thus constitute the target audience for a kale publicity
Despite the myriad negative health effects connected to a
diet high in fried chicken, brain damage has not (so far) proven to be one of
them, so it’s doubtful that any of these shirts have successfully confused Chick-fil-A
devotees to the point of kale worship.
Imagine how much
healthier we’d be if it were that easy! If all you had to say was “I’m lovin’
arugula, or “tomato-pickin’ good” to convince fast-food addicts to trade a Double Down for a
double serving of heirloom produce. We can dream. Of course, we’d also have a whole new set
of problems: It’s
been noted that if all Americans suddenly started eating the recommended
five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, it would quickly become clear
that our current farming system doesn’t grow enough.
Though it may be hard to believe that anyone ever told
anyone to eat more anything before Chick-fil-A said it, Muller-Moore recently
applied for a federal trademark for “Eat More Kale” to prevent others from
copying the phrase and design—something he said has happened before. Still,
it’s a little frightening to ponder what an extensive network of spies (er,
market researchers?) Chik-fil-A must employ to have even gotten wind of all this.
Though the shirts’ cult appeal appears to have spread across the world, it’s 121 miles to
the nearest Chick-fil-A from Muller-Moore’s home studio in Montpelier, Vt. It’s not like he’s parading his brash copyright infringement through their
And, apparently, this isn’t the first time they’ve targeted
him: The letter the company sent Muller-Moore Oct. 4, ordering him to stop
using the phrase and turn over his website to Chick-fil-A, was similar to a
previous one he received from them in 2006. A pro bono lawyer traded letters
with the company on Muller-Moore’s behalf and, when the correspondence stopped
without resolution, he kept making the shirts.
As was the case with various city governments who have had
the gall to fine and arrest urban farmers in recent years (only to backpedal in
response to waves of popular outrage), Chick-fil-A may have underestimated the
power of the internet. A Change.org
petition launched by Muller-Moore’s friend Jeff Weinstein already has
almost 10,000 signatures, and the story is starting to make the mainstream
media rounds. Who knows? Maybe Chick-fil-A’s paranoid reaction will end up
backfiring and causing the demand for Muller-Moore’s shirts—and,
subsequently, the leafy green they promote—to skyrocket. Like I said, we can
by Stephen Lacey.
Cross-posted from Climate Progress.
Former Massachusetts governor and presidential front-runner Mitt Romney— once a candidate who stood up to coal and supported clean energy—is now calling green jobs fake.
In an op-ed in the Orange County Register published Monday, Romney regurgitates GOP talking points on loan
guarantees to Solyndra and Fisker Automotive, two stories that have
turned leading conservative politicians and media pundits into a pack
of scandalmongers—even while many of those politicians supported the same government investments for companies in their own districts.
Romney has officially joined the herd, calling green jobs “illusory.”
First, the good news: President Barack Obama has finally
created some “green jobs.” Now for the bad news: They are not in the
United States, but in Finland.
The creation of environmentally friendly jobs has been at the top
of Barack Obama’s policy agenda since coming into office. With the
first of his now many jobs plans, the president set out to fulfill his
campaign promise of spending $ 150 billion to create 10 million green
jobs. Alas, things didn’t quite work out as planned.
… So far, approximately 100 workers are employed by Fisker in
Wilmington, Del., while an additional 500 are actually assembling the
cars in Finland.
… Even these few jobs may be illusory: Studies of Europe’s green job
experiments have found that each new green job destroys several other
jobs elsewhere in the economy.
There are numerous gaping holes in Romney’s piece. But here’s the biggest one: There are now 64,000 green jobs in his home state of Massachusetts alone, according to a report released earlier this month [PDF] by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). Hard to call that “illusory.”
Due to making green jobs a “clear economic development priority,
supported by the passage of various legislative and policy initiatives,”
on the state and federal level, MassCEC reports that the
state’s green jobs workforce grew by 6.7 percent from July 2010 to July
2011—smashing the average 1 percent growth of other industries in
Massachusetts. Employers surveyed expect to see upwards of 15 percent growth in the next year alone. From the report:
Not only is it is clear that clean energy is one of our
Commonwealth’s marquee industries, but this report affirms that this
sector has played a key role in helping the Commonwealth fare the
recession better than many other states.
The Massachusetts experience reflects growth in the clean energy
sector broadly, which saw 8.3 percent growth nationally between 2009 and 2010.
According to the Brookings Institution, the sector is creating jobs
with median wages that are more than $ 7,700 above jobs in the broader economy.
Apparently, Romney didn’t get the memo.
And that Fisker Automotive story he refers to? That’s actually a
rehashed story from 2009, too. For anyone not up on the latest
“scandal,” ABC claims it has conducted an “investigation” showing that a
loan guarantee for plug-in electric vehicle manufacturer Fisker
Automotive is creating jobs in Finland, rather than the U.S.
In fact, when Fisker first closed the loan guarantee in 2009,
officials publicly explained that the company would be doing final
assembly of its first model in Finland while it ramped up a factory in
Delaware. According to Fisker, none of the DOE funds have been used to
support jobs in Finland—all the money has been used for building new
facilities in the U.S. to develop its next EV model. The company only
began hiring workers for U.S. operations in June.
Unsurprisingly, Fox News and other outlets are running with the story and inaccurately claiming that the company is using federal money to
create jobs in Finland. And now the Romney campaign is spreading the
It appears that Romney’s version of the “facts” are the only illusory item in his op-ed.