KFC Against Cancer?…Really, America?

Only in this money-driven, capitalistic, can’t see any further than 3 months in the future society, can a company with “fried chicken” as its money-maker be national partners with Susan G. Komen for the Cure (SGKC), a breast cancer education and research non-profit based out of Dallas.

Are we serious, America?

Am I the only one aware that oily, greasy, deep-fried meats increase the chances of developing cancer?

Probably not. But perhaps no one at the SGKC is aware of that, because they are taking fifty-cents for every bucket of KFC chicken sold, guaranteeing them a check for anywhere between $1 million and $8.5 million. It’s quite astounding, don’t you think?

After all, SGKC is trying to fight cancer, yet here they are, using their charity as a marketing tool to promote the selling of cancer in a bucket. And don’t give me that crap that KFC has other kinds of chicken that aren’t as unhealthy as fried chicken. On the contrary, KFC’s grilled chicken is probably more cancerous than fried chicken.

According to Dr. Neal Barnard, 2007 President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Grilled chicken can cause cancer, and consumers deserve to know that this supposedly healthy product is actually just as bad for them as high-fat fried chicken.” [Source: NaturalNews.com]

So how can SGKC accept a check from a company that is everything they should be fighting in their battle against cancer? Forget the mere fact that grilled chicken can cause cancer, what about the fact that gaining weight increases one’s chances for cancer? A bucket of KFC chicken can contain as much as 160 grams of fat! If that doesn’t put cancer in you, it’s because it has probably killed you off first!

Isn’t SGKC supposed to be an educational organization as well? They go out and give away guides and publish all kinds of literature about understanding breast cancer, and then they go out and help push pink, chicken buckets to the general populace? If that’s not blasphemous, what is?

Of course, as angry as most people are and should be about a cancer research organization contradicting its own objective, it’s easy to see why SGKC and KFC are doing this—it’s a match made in heaven.

KFC is getting all kinds of crap for pushing a sandwich made with two fried chicken filets as bread, and they could use some good PR as a company helping fight what their product may cause. It is kind of like an oil company donating money to research on green technology, and quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that.

For SGKC, however, they are a philanthropic organization, which means they need to be above the fray, even though they need people to give them money. Obviously, It benefits everyone they serve each and every time they take in one, red cent of capital. So who are they to turn down somebody’s dollar, especially when KFC is going to sell chicken no matter what? Why shouldn’t they profit off of it? That’s a good question, and if I worked for SGKC, it might be one that I couldn’t answer.

But speaking as someone on the outside, this just isn’t right. I’m the first one to blow the timeout whistle on PETA when they go overboard, but you have to respect them for the fact that they always stick to defending their cause. Like the Humane Society, PETA could have easily partnered with Michael Vick and used his celebrity to further promote their cause, but that’s not who they are. Instead, they blasted Vick, went after him, and condemned him for being the exact antithesis of what their company does for animal rights.

SGKC could do themselves a favor and learn a thing or two about being a charitable organization from the folks at PETA. SGKC shouldn’t just go around collecting every dollar thrown at them, giving credence to companies that negate the very efforts and objectives of their foundation. Hopefully, the PR for SGKC will be bad enough so that they never do this again. Unfortunately, KFC has a lot of money and they need the good PR. So next time around, the fried chicken company will find somebody else to give their money to; that is of course assuming that SGKC won’t be just as willing to sell out by accepting yet another check from what should be their mortal enemy.

I Don’t See the GOP Lasting…

The G.O.P. Party will not last—at least not in its current composition.

Of course, this is not news. This is not even noteworthy. All I am really saying is that history is repeating itself.

The Republican Party has been devastated by every major cultural advancement in our nation’s history. From slavery and suffrage, to environmentalism and civil rights, the G.O.P. rarely manages to hold its stuff together when the times around them are changing.

Of course, that is not to say that Democrats haven’t changed over the years, but they certainly haven’t been as direly affected by the cultural shifts as Republicans have. Being tied to liberalism gives the Democrats some advantage in changing with the times and moving on to a much more inclusive future.

However, Republicans are tied to conservatism. By the very definition of the term, they are hesitant to change, they are hesitant to be more inclusive, and they are hesitant to take on the risk of trying to do more for this young, growing and somewhat naïve country. You saw it in the healthcare debate. Republicans wanted to slow things down. And you’re seeing it again now; they want to slow down talks on financial reform and immigration.

That’s not going to go on for too much longer. Say what you will about the G.O.P. standing the test of time, but the clock is about to run out.

Everybody is convinced that the Republicans are about to have this sweeping victory in November’s mid-term elections, but the truth is, as angry as the American populace is with the present government; the Democrats are still going to have majority rule in both houses.

So what does that say about the Republican Party, when their only hope at regaining control in the legislature is for the Democrats to inherit the mess they created? And yet all they can do is chip away at the Democratic majority?

That tells me that even though there will always be a strong opposition to the party in power, the Democrats will remain in charge for quite a while, and at least until a new party, or a newly formed Republican Party is created. Democrats won’t get a pass because they aren’t any better at governing than the Republicans are. In fact, they are worse. However, Democrats are more willing to accept changes to the status quo—even if those changes don’t always makes sense—making them more becoming of the times.

Besides, do you really think that 25 years from now there is going to be room for a party that doesn’t accept gay marriage? Do you think there is going to be room for a party that basically wants to close down our borders in a country set to be a nation made up of more non-whites than whites? And how on Earth will the Republican Party last if they honestly run on the premise of revoking healthcare reform in favor of—in favor of nothing!?

But I’m no fool, and neither are Republicans, which is why when change seems inevitable, they will quietly, slickly and misleadingly cross over to the good side. Unfortunately, crossing over won’t be as easy as it used to be. Not in in this world of 24/7 cable news. You cross over now, and you can kiss reelection good bye. John McCain might learn that really soon.

For all of my fellow fans of “The Office,” the G.O.P. is essentially Dunder Mifflin. They are a paper company in a paperless world, trying to convince everyone that email and workflow software will never replace good, old-fashioned paper. And while the Democrats aren’t exactly the burgeoning, clever-thinking equivalent of Staples, they at least make an effort to sell the American public on something more than paper.

Of course, in juxtaposition to a less than personal email, there is something to be said for a nice, well-written, stationary-based letter from one person to another. The only problem with that is by the time I actually get around to reading such a letter, I’ve probably already read a million other text messages and emails, rendering the message of that letter about as useful as the paper it was written on.

Labor Rules in the NFL (and the NBA)

For those of you who don’t read Mark Cuban’s blog, you need to get on board, because the man knows what he is talking about.

The billionaire is most known for his exploits as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. While owning a professional basketball team alone makes him an expert on media and entertainment, he happens to be much more than a basketball owner. Cuban is the chairman of HDNet, and was the founder of Broadcast.com.

Thus, when the man speaks about the state of media, people should listen…or read in this case. Recently, on his blog, Cuban tried to enlighten sports fans, as well media executives, on the prevailing issues of both the broadcast industry and sports entertainment.

In this post, Cuban highlights the possible changes coming to broadcast television legislation, in which the quality of TV signals may be compromised for cost savings. If this happens, it could effect the quality of your football or basketball games, which could have an impact on viewership, which ultimately could impact future contracts between the NFL and television stations. Cuban ties that to the impending negotiations between the NFL and its players’ union, saying that with the risk of future television agreements being what they are, players must concede to taking on some risk, and owners must concede to giving up some of the backend profits.

Cuban also compares the NFL & Players’ Union lack of regard for the impending risk of TV legislation to that of the recent Subprime Mortgage crisis:

Which makes all of this analogous to the Sub Prime Mortgage mess that helped put us in this Great Recession.

There was so much money being made in banking and syndicating loans that everyone who had money at stake ignored the risk involved. They modeled their finances thinking that there was no way housing prices could drop 30pct. They modeled their businesses thinking there was no way 10pct or more of the loans they bought could default. They bought bonds in companies they thought could never go out of business.

All of these things that never happened until they did, in hindsight, were not complete surprises. The surprise was that the ratings agencies, the bankers, the brokers, the mortgage syndicators, every one involved with the buying and selling of money ignored things they never should have ignored.

That is what the NFL and other pro leagues need to remember. You cant ignore risk. Nor can you assume 100pct of the risk and hope the real bad stuff never happens. The NFL and its owners, since we are using them in our example, are assuming 100pct of the risk of the economy falling again. They are assuming 100pct risk of their bigggest TV customers having their primary delivery systems eliminated. They are assuming 100pct of the risk of trying to convey money from big markets to small markets to try to compensate for an irrational cap system. They are assuming 10opct risk on the capital invested in their franchises, PLUS capital they may have to add to cover any losses.

The players side ? While individual NFL players take on significant risk, the players as a whole take on ZERO risk. If their membership just shows up for games, 53 guys on each team are getting paid. They never have to give the money back or contribute capital to make up losses. ~ Mark Cuban, BlogMaverick.com

Cuban makes some good points, and I think he is right to ask whether or not the NFL is tackling the possible risk of losing perhaps billions of dollars in value should TV signals not be as strong as they once were. However, I don’t think the NFL’s Players Union should have to assume any of the risk. To be fair though, I don’t think they should get any of the benefit of franchises and the NFL increasing their value. Whatever deal the Players Union reaches with the NFL as to what percentage of the revenues they should receive as players should have nothing to do with the fluctuating income of the league.

Why do I feel that way?

Well, if you work at McDonald’s, your salary isn’t based on whether or not McDonald’s stock price goes up or down, or whether the company had a good or bad quarter? That’s just not how the rest of the American business world works.

Sure, McDonald’s will hire and fire people based on their profits, but the salary of labor is not affected by changes in the economy. A worker’s value does not drop because the company’s stock price falls. And just as a McDonald’s worker isn’t affected by a decline in my company, they gain nothing when the state of the business is on the rise. So why does the NFL think it can treat its laborers any differently than McDonald’s does?

They can’t, and they shouldn’t.

Of course, Mark Cuban is treating this from the standpoint of an owner, a guy who would like to hedge his bets and minimize his losses in the event that his sport (the NBA) loses money (which it is doing). And I understand that; he’s got to protect his.

But from an outside perspective, it would make absolutely zero sense for the Players Union of the NFL, NBA or any other league to enter into a fixed-agreement where over that period of time, they agree that their income should go fluctuate with the owner’s overall revenue.

That’s just my opinion though; what’s yours?

Food Review: Pranna Restaurant & Lounge

Pranna - 79 Madison Avenue, NYC

79 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016

So I’m not exactly sure how to approach reviewing food from a lounge/restaurant/bar/winery/night club, but I will give it a shot anyway.

Located in that area that meanders between Flat Iron District and Gramercy, Pranna certainly brings in a very diverse clientele, especially on a Saturday night when the clubgoers embark upon Pranna. Come here on a weekday, however, and you are sure to see a much different array of customers with bankers, lawyers and business men and women of all sorts stopping in for lunch or a post work meal.

As for the décor, you would be hard pressed to find a more eye-appealing restaurant. With architectural design that might even make Fallingwater look bland, Pranna’s maze-looking interior is the epitome of sexy, sleek designs you’re used to seeing in contemporary New York City nightclubs. The dining area is relatively small, but quaint and spacious enough for fairly large groups. And the upstairs lounge can take you away from the hustle and bustle of the downstairs bar and dancing areas, and is a great place for an afterwork cocktail or a late night gathering.

While the décor makes for a great late night spot, the menu is more befitting of a weekday lunch than an evening entrée. Because the menu is not the most grandiose of menus ever created, and the service is less than stellar after 6 or 7 o’clock on a weekend, this place just doesn’t lend itself to those looking for their weekly culinary experience.

That said, I cannot complain about the food. I went with a group of friends for a birthday party and overall got mixed reviews. The poor service would probably prevent most of them from returning, but the food wasn’t all bad. The food at Pranna is classified by Menupages.com as Pan-Asian & Pacific Rim, Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian. Now, I’m not cultural expert, but the menu really doesn’t consists of more than a few foods that fit any of those individual descriptions. Thus, the best way to classify this food is a fusion mix of Pan-Asian, Indonesian and I would even throw American in there. With their Bacon-wrapped Prawns, Short Ribs and Honey Chicken Wings, American tastes are definitely present.

The menu is said to have derived from chef Chai Trivedi’s motorcycle trip across the South of Asia, which is how he came to put San Luam Fried Chicken and Pan Seared Cod on the menu. I had the Grilled Sirloin with Mussaman Curry and Fried Potatoes, and I could have been happier. The Sirloin was a moderate sized portion, cooked to my liking (well done), and was very flavorful for a non-steakhouse environment. However, it was the taste of the Sirloin combined with that of the Mussaman Curry that blew my tastebuds out of the water. I found myself washing my Sirloin in every bit of Curry I had across my plate. When I ran out of Curry, I actually was quite sad, because I had a few extra pieces of steak left.

As for my compadres, as I said, there were mixed reviews. The Honey Chicken Wings got great reviews; however, at $7 for about 4 wings, it really wasn’t all that fulfilling.

The Braised Lamb Shank in Cocunot Sambal was also well-received by one of my friends, although you have to order a side with it if you want more than just “shank.”

The Choo-Chee Vegetable Curry, however, was ordered by a few people and did not receive flattering comments from my friends. It was described as too bland and lacking the proper consistency. They also said it was incredibly spicy, so let the mild-tongued beware.

Other dishes people liked included the Tandoori Grilled Lamb Chops and the Paneer and Potato Croquettes.

The Malaysian Goat Curry was off, the Crispy Black Pepper Chicken was overly seasoned and you’re better off going to a soul food spot for the BBQ Chicken platter.

All and all, this is a nice place to meet with friends, have a drink or two or even dance the night away, but when it comes to actual food and food service, that is not what Pranna’s does best. So don’t try to impress any of your out-of-town friends by taking them here, and certainly don’t come here hoping to have your best meal of the week.

Atmosphere: Low-Rise
Prices: Low-Rise
Services: Low-Rise
Menu: Low-Rise
Food: Mid-Rise

Overall: Low-Rise