Forget blue states and red states. The new great American divide is centered around chicken. Since Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy announced his stance against gay marriage and warned of "God’s judgment on our nation," the national debate over the chicken joint and its values has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire and brimstone. Supporters of chain held an appreciation day, opponents are responding with a Kiss In, politicians are staking their positions, and even competing fast food outlets are getting pulled into the fracas. Ultimately, we all know who the big loser will be in the Chick-fil-A controversy: The chickens. The chickens are always the big losers.
+ This WSJ piece has a couple of very interesting infographics that show the overlap between the Chick-fil-A positon and the views held by its regional customer base: "Whatever your views on God or gay marriage, it's logical to think this event can't be good for sales of chicken sandwiches, right? ... Not necessarily."
+ Chick-fil-A is a massive brand with often feverish fans. When the first outlet opened in a mall, there was no such thing as a food court. Total sales last year were $4.1 billion. From BusinessWeek: "[Religious] principles are at the center of the controversy that's now engulfing [the] chicken chain. The dilemma for Chick-fil-A is that those principles are also at the center of its success."
+ Bird of a Different Feather: One Chick-fil-A franchise is going rogue. The manager of the Nashua, New Hampshire outlet has become a sponsor of the local gay pride festival. "It would make me sad if someone felt they were not openly welcomed into my life or restaurant based on their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
+ If you're thinking about avoiding chicken altogether, you should probably check out this Center for Investigative Reporting piece on The Hidden Cost of the Hamburger.
2. Bubblin' Crude
What if there were a place in America with one percent unemployment? You'd imagine a rush on the place. Crowded schools. Soaring property values. And indeed that's what's happening in places like Williston, North Dakota. There's always been oil beneath the state, but a few years ago, they figured out how to more effectively extract it. And now we'll find out what happens when North Dakota becomes the place where the jobs are.
+ The impact on North Dakota goes beyond financial and environmental factors (there's a whole lotta fracking going on). As one resident explains: "I don't like what it's done to our communities and lifestyle. We had a good life, and now it's gone forever." From WaPo: The Gritty Side of an Oil Boom.
3. It's Who You Know
Parents spend a lot of time encouraging their kids to get good grades, which they hope will lead to good colleges, good jobs, and general adult well-being. But to achieve that end goal, it might make more sense to focus on a kid's friends. A 30 year study has "found that social connectedness was highly correlated with adult well-being. Academic achievement, however, was not." I can vouch for this. I've had the same small group of great friends since my preschool days, and we really have been happy underachieving together over the years.
4. If Looks Could Kill (Or Imprison)
Don't do the crime if a guy who looks just like you can't do the time. In China, some rich people who get busted for major crimes hire body doubles to serve their prison sentences.
5. Five Ring Circus: The Gift of Gabby
"You just have to not be afraid and go out there and just dominate." Gabby Douglas did just that as she took the Women's Gymnastics All-Around Gold. In addition to getting a gold medal, her win may have led to the best photograph from the Olympics.