Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

September 10, 2017

What if You Knew Trump Gulf Club Members, Pay for Play? Click,They're Here

 On this week's Cup of Politics podcast, reporter Fredreka Schouten explained how our team found the information and why it was newsworthy., USA TODAY

February 8, 2017

Pentagon Wants to Lease Floors at Trump Towers (SecSvce.leases 5 floors)

 Trump Tower NYC
 Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan boasts a full-time doorman, luxury amenities, private elevators and sweeping views of the New York City skyline.
And it could soon be home to a high-profile tenant: the Department of Defense.
A Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday that the department is interested in leasing a “ limited” amount of space at the 68-story skyscraper where President Donald Trump resides when he's not in the White House.

"The space is necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building," Lt. Col. JB Brindle, a Pentagon spokesman, told NBC News. He said the Defense Department would work through “ appropriate channels and in accordance with all applicable legal requirements" during the leasing process.

 There is already a large contingent of Secret Service personnel who maintain a round-the-clock presence at the Fifth Avenue address, which accommodates both residential and commercial tenants. But in addition to the Secret Service, the president as commander in chief is also afforded security via the White House Military Office that oversees his travel itinerary. Rental costs at Trump Tower come at a pretty penny.

Available commercial space there runs $80 to $100 per square foot — and a full floor can pull $1.2 million to $1.5 million a year, said Jared Horowitz, of the real estate firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which leases commercial space at the building.
Any Pentagon rental is sure to raise questions of conflict as the federal government would be sending tax dollars to the Trump Organization, which is run by the Trump family and owns the building.

Trump's business dealings remain under scrutiny even after he resigned from his namesake company and more than 400 affiliated entities because of his job as president. The Trump Organization said he transferred title, management and authority of the companies to a trust under the management of his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, and Allen Weisselberg, its chief financial officer.

Meanwhile, the tower remains a hive of activity.
The street outside — featuring luxe shops such as Gucci and Tiffany & Co. — has been shut down to vehicular traffic and remains a popular staging ground for protesters upset by the president and his policies.

First lady Melania Trump and son Barron continue to live in the towers penthouse suite, but they are expected to move into the White House after the end of the school year.

October 4, 2014

The Effort to keep Openly Gay MBA’s out of the Closet

Corey Hodges spent several years keeping his sexuality off the record at work while he was a naval officer, and plans to never do that again. Hodges, a 27-year-old MBA student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Isenberg School of Business, says he’d rather hold out for an employer that isn’t squeamish about hiring a gay man.
“With our generation, there’s enough of a mentality where it’s like, ‘I’m not going to deal with this,’” says Hodges, who has paw prints tattooed on his right arm. “I will find someone who will find the value in what I have to provide, and if that’s not you, that’s fine.”
Hodges is one of about 1,350 people who are in San Francisco this week for a conference celebrating MBAs who are lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual. His desire to be openly gay in his professional life is one encouraged by Reaching Out MBA, the nonprofit running the conference. To make their support for this stance official, the group is announcing a new set of scholarships today, each which will offer at least $10,000 per year toward tuition for one LGBT student at six top business schools. “Our goal is to make it clear to those who are entering their career with MBAs that business is a place for them, and that they should be proud to be out,” says Matt Kidd, the executive director of Reaching Out MBA.
So far, the business schools at ColumbiaUniversity of ChicagoNorthwesternDartmouthMIT, and NYU have all agreed to fund one of the scholarships, which will be called Reaching Out MBA fellowships.
The initiative is designed in part to resolve a fundamental issue: The business world has not always been the perfect place for a coming-out party. There are still only two openly gay chief executives of public companies in the country, C1 Bank’s Trevor Burgess and IGI Laboratories’ Jason Grenfell-Gardner, according to news reports.
“We see a lot of MBAs in particular going back into the closet,” Kidd says.
Indeed, despite a marked increase in LGBT support groups in the workplace in recent years, 53 percent of LGBT workers conceal their sexual identity on the job, according to a report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation this year (PDF). A by-product of the Reaching Out MBA Fellowship is that accepting the funding would make it harder for young professionals to go back to keeping their sexuality under wraps once they finished their degree: Accepting the funding more or less requires making one’s sexual identity official.
“It is easier to be out in an academic setting,” says Sprague, explaining that the stakes are higher at the office. “In certain states, you could get fired. You could have a supervisor who is never going to mentor you.” It is legal under federal law to fire someone for being gay, although many states have protections for LGBT workers.
Hodges, the naval officer turned MBA student, says that living in the closet is a personal sacrifice he isn’t willing to make, even if it would boost his career. “For some people, it’s worth it. I’m not one of those people.”

May 21, 2014

Thanks to the Roberts Court Corporations have more Rights than individuals: The New American Way!

Members of the Supreme Court (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The big media talk a lot about stalemate in Congress, but they are missing the real story. While representative democracy is dysfunctional, the Supreme Court has taken over with its own reactionary power grab. In case after case, the court’s right-wing majority is making its own law—expanding the power of corporations and the very wealthy, while making it harder for ordinary citizens to fight back.
Worst of all, the Roberts Court is trying to permanently inhibit the federal government’s ability to help people cope with the country’s vast social and economic disorders.
This is not a theoretical complaint. Led by Chief Justice John Roberts, the conservative Republican Court is building a barbed wire fence around the federal government—creating constitutional obstacles to progressive legislation in ways that resemble the Supreme Court’s notorious Lochner decision of 1905. That case held that property rights prevail over people and the common good.
For more than thirty years, the conservative Justices used that twisted precedent to invalidate more than 200 state and federal laws on major social and economic concerns like child labor, the minimum wage, bank regulation and union organizing. New Deal reformers were stymied by Lochner at first, and they only managed to overturn it in 1937 and only then when FDR mobilized a take-no-prisoners campaign to reform the Supreme Court by weakening its unaccountable power.
The Roberts Court has so far produced a slew of precedent-smashing decisions designed to hobble left-liberal reform movements before they can gain political traction. Citizens Unitedopened the floodgates for corporate money; McCutcheon scrapped the dollar limits on fat-cat donors. Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, implicitly endorsing the GOP’s crude campaign to block racial minorities from voting. The US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable have won numerous victories, large and small, expanding the rights of their corporate sponsors.
“We are in an era of very aggressive corporate litigation to expand the constitutional prerogatives of business,” Kent Greenfield, Boston College law professor, explained. “We are on the verge of going back to the Lochner era where every new regulation will be subject to numerous constitutional attacks—any regulation of content in commercial speech attacked on First Amendment grounds, anti-discrimination law or healthcare legislation attacked on religious grounds. You’ll see financial legislation challenged on due-process grounds.”
Despite his genteel manner, Justice Roberts is a “smart strategist” who plants provocative phrases in his decisions that he can cite later as false precedents, according to Law Professor Gregory Magarian of Washington University in St. Louis. “Roberts tells a story that sounds like they are not making radical change,” Magarain said. “But they are still making things up, still making up social policy. And the judgments are still pointed toward the past.”
Anxious Democrats applauded Roberts when he upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare, but many realized after-the-fact that Roberts rejected the Commerce Clause of the Constitution as the standard basis for justifying federal interventions on social and economic problems. This means the Supreme Court now has a five-vote majority in favor of shrinking federal authority. In effect, the Roberts Court was mimicking the narrow logic of the Lochnercourt 100 year before. The words and reasoning are there, just waiting for the right case to apply them.
Magarian sees a reactionary perspective motivating Roberts and his brethren. The Justices are trying to thwart a future of renewed activism and social rebellion, Magarian suspects, because they were rattled by political unrest they saw in their youth.
“The Court believes that corporate power is virtuous,” Magarian explained. “They are empowering corporations to help maintain a kind of political stability. The First Amendment in the view of the Roberts Court is not about people at the political margins. I think the Roberts Court wants to empower large, stable, wealthy and powerful institutions like the corporation so as to help maintain political and social order. These guys don’t want any social upheaval. They are like interesting echoes of the sixties.”
In the absence of aggressive political resistance, there is nothing to prevent this right-wing power grab from succeeding. But corporations are vulnerable in numerous ways that timid Democrats have not exploited. To stop the Roberts Court, the other side must get serious and begin to attack corporate power and air grievances that the public fully shares.
The corporation, after all, is not a “person” who possesses “inalienable rights.” The corporation is a legal artifice created by the government and given special protections and privileges. When the Supreme Court treats corporations as though they are living, breathing creatures who have constitutional rights just like human beings, they are embracing the fundamental contradiction in the nature of the corporation. Sometimes, they want to be people. Other times, they want to be treated better than people—that is, legally shielded from the consequences of their actions.
Companies and their owners want to have it both ways. The Roberts Court is helping them do so. The Hobby Lobby case now before the Supreme Court illustrates this contradiction. On one hand, the company’s conservative owners claim their religious rights under the First Amendment are violated when the federal government insists they include birth control coverage in their healthcare plans. If Roberts buys that argument, any employer can dream up religious values that exempt it for almost any regulatory law they choose.
On the other hand, the Hobby Lobby owners are not about to surrender their own “limited liability” protection from lawsuits against the company or criminal liability for the company’s violations of law or its failure to pay its debts. You can’t sue the shareholders for wrongful actions by their company. That is a cornerstone of American capitalism. It is also a principal source of corporate irresponsibility.
What we need now is a ferocious counterattack against these corporate owners—a campaign that demands they surrender these special privileges the government has given them. Why protect shareholders from blame when they claim the same constitutional rights—free speech, freedom of religion—that people possess? Human beings are held responsible for their debts, they go to prison for their crimes. Perhaps the owners of corporations should be made to take responsibility for theirs.
A similar contradiction is embedded in the Roberts Court decisions that have effectively destroyed the laws on campaign finance. The billionaires and their mammoth companies, banks and investment houses have been granted unlimited power to influence elections or, as we might say, buy the candidates. The Supreme Court has unilaterally unhinged the standard meaning of elections. Elections are no longer collective decisions among citizens choosing their governors. They have become bidding wars among fat cats and powerful economic interests, choosing representatives for the rest of us and thereby choosing our laws.
“We don’t let people stand up and shout in town meetings and drown out everyone else,” Greenfield observed. “When we come to elections where we make collective decisions, an equality norm comes into play, especially when the money comes from corporations. Corporations are creatures of the state; their purpose is not to affect the state and change. A reasonable thing to say to corporations is we are not going to let you skew the political process that created you.”
Magarian expands the point. “The limited liability corporation,” he observed, “owes its form and existence to a particular act of government, then the corporation turns around and says, ‘We are going to use our advantages and leverage them to influence the political process.’ Given the advantages corporations gain from government largesse and protections, the society should not have to suffer the loss of its influence. We want to sever their corporate influence from the decisions we the people make about economic questions.”
“In the long view,” Greenfield said, “we are in this bind because of the nature of corporations, not the nature of constitutional law. Over the last generation, the rise of shareholder primacy has meant that managers manage the company to maximize the share price. Willing to serve Wall Street, the corporation has really become the tool for the 1 percent. We need to rethink the nature of corporations. Rather than be a servant of a tiny sliver of the American people, the corporation should have a much more robust public obligation and should be managed in a more pluralistic way.”
Meanwhile, angry citizens do not need to wait on reform. They should get out their pitchforks and spread the message to those corporate lawyers who are corrupting democracy and to those cloistered right-wing justices who have such great solicitude for the privileged minority

August 22, 2013

Big Business Fighting Along Gays Against Indiana's Marriage Ban


Big Business know that refusing customers where they are headquartered is bad for them not only in that state but wherever they do business. We hear cases about a pastry shop refusing gay customers or a small bed and breakfast and even a small chain of chicken sandwiches badmouthing their gay consumers instead of thanking them for helping their stay in buisness. But these are just small foot fungus outbreaks in an otherwise good healthy body, which is the US consumer. Usually smart and updated on views on most products and makes. Big buisiness knows this. They have been in the forefront of gay equality since the 1970’s and they never left. They have only grown and become more public.  They didn’t put TV commercials advertising it because that would have been at the time unbuisines like and a fongus like athmosphere when one of the things that makes buisneses grow is peace, prosperity and lots of consumers of every kind. Sex, Orientation, politics and religion are things that are personal and is not something you can buy at a store.

A coalition of businesses and activist groups who launched a push Wednesday to defeat an amendment that would write Indiana's same-sex marriage ban into the state constitution warned that if it passes it would set the state back and undermine the rights of its gay and lesbian residents.

The push by the new Freedom Indiana coalition heralds an expected battle in Indiana's next legislative session, not just between same-sex marriage opponents and gay rights advocates, but also big corporations who contend such a ban would be bad for business .
 Two of Indiana's top employers — Indianapolis-based drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., and Columbus-based engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. — are among its members, along with Indiana Equality Action, Freedom to Marry, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and other activist grom Indiana's campaign manager is Megan Robertson, a Republican who ran U.S. Rep. Luke Messer's successful 2012 campaign to win the eastern Indiana seat Rep. Mike Pence vacated to run for governor. She said the coalition's push to defeat the amendment in the state's Republican-controlled Legislature will be a bipartisan effort.
More than 200 people, some holding blue signs reading "Liberty for All Hoosiers," filled downtown Indianapolis' Artsgarden for the lunch-hour announcement of the new group.

Robertson said lawmakers would be hearing in the next legislative session from many Republicans who oppose the amendment, which she said would threaten the rights of gay and lesbian residents and harm Indiana's reputation.
 Indiana lawmakers passed the amendment in 2011, but they must pass it a second time in 2014 in order to put it to voters for a statewide referendum. Indiana voters would have to approve the amendment for it to be added to the state's constitution.
"We want to make sure all Hoosiers enjoy liberty and freedom. It doesn't matter whether you're straight or gay, male or female, young or old, rural or urban, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian," Robertson told the gathering.
Indiana is the latest state to consider adding a gay marriage ban into its constitution. North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in May 2012.
Supporters of the bans say placing them in state constitutions makes it harder for future lawmakers to undo laws against same-sex marriages. But opponents argue such bans paint states as unfriendly places to do business.
Eli Lilly's director of corporate responsibility, Robert Smith, said passage of the amendment would hamper efforts by businesses in the competitive life sciences industry to recruit "the very best and brightest" employees from around the world.
"We want Indiana to be an attractive place to live and a wonderful place to do business. And we want those outside our state to view Indiana in the same way," Smith said.
One supporter of the constitutional amendment said there's no evidence a same-sex marriage amendment would harm Indiana corporations.
Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said same-sex marriage supporters use that as "a scare tactic" to shift the spotlight away for what he called the "real issue" of supporting traditional marriage.
"They attempt to pit economic fears against the needs of children and society provided by natural marriage," Clark said in an email.
Among Freedom Indiana's supporters at Wednesday announcement was Jacob Balash, a 36-year-old from the southern Indiana city of Spencer who brought along he and his husband's 8-month-old son, Truman.
Balash said he and his husband, Jonathan Balash, married in New York City two years ago after 10 years together, but they worry that if Indiana's amendment passes it could threaten he and Truman's medical benefits through Jonathan's employer.
The amendment would also cast Indiana in a very unflattering light, he said.
"It will make the state seem more backward, less advanced and we already have that stereotype. It will help cement that in people's minds," Balash said
Adam Gonzalez intro. and editing

April 8, 2013

Medicare Cuts are Making Cancer Clinics to Turn Away Their Patients

 The federal budget cuts that went into effect April 1 are already beginning to take their toll on cancer patients. Cancer clinics across the United States have begun turning away Medicare patients, according to a report published April 3 in theWashington Post.Truman Gray

 The Cuts 

Oncologists are blaming the federal cuts and say that they cannot treat patients with expensive drugs and stay financially solvent.
In fact, one practice has made the decision to eliminate one third of their 16,000 Medicare patients, according to the report. "If we treated the patients receiving the most expensive drugs, we'd be out of business in 6 months to a year," said Jeffrey Vacirca, MD, chief executive of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in New York. "The drugs we're going to lose money on we're not going to administer right now," he explained.
The automatic across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, have slashed Medicare payments to physicians by 2%. The reduction does not apply to the Medicare allowed charge for a given service, but it does apply to the 80% share that the government pays to a physician, as previously reported by Medscape Medical News.
Leaders of organized medicine have spoken out against the 2% Medicare cut, noting that even this seemingly small decrease can harm fragile medical practices, especially in light of rising expenses. They have warned that physicians might decide to see fewer Medicare patients to keep their practices afloat.
Unintended Consequences
Although the sequestration cuts were not a surprise, "everyone was under the belief that saner heads would prevail," said Ted Okon, MD, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA).
Healthcare reform was supposed to boost efficiency, increase coordination between patients and providers, and cut costs, Dr. Okon told Medscape Medical News. However, "it is having the exact opposite effect."
It is more expensive for Medicare when patients are treated at a hospital, he noted. "It is self-defeating."
Especially Detrimental to Cancer Patients
Medicare cuts are especially detrimental to cancer patients because of the way treatment is covered in the outpatient setting, according to a joint statement issued by the COA, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the International Oncology Network (a division of AmerisourceBergen), and the US Oncology Network.
Community cancer clinics are reimbursed on the basis of the average sales price (ASP) of the chemotherapeutic agent plus 6% for administrative costs, the statement explains. However, even before the current cuts, this payment scheme failed to adequately reimburse community cancer clinics for the total costs of essential therapies. The ASP formula produces ASP values that are below the actual prices clinics pay in the marketplace, it notes.
According to the statement, oncologists are being put in an untenable position. It would be one thing for community-based oncologists to absorb the 2% Medicare cuts being applied to physician and provider services, "but it is entirely another for the sequester cut to apply to the market-priced underlying drug costs paid by practices."
The sequester cuts apply to payments for Part B drugs and the 6% administrative fee. After patient copayments are taken into account, reimbursement will be cut to ASP plus 4.3%. This is effectively a 28% cut, and not a 2% cut, for payments intended to compensate for the significant operating expenses of procuring, storing, preparing, and handling Part B drugs, the statement points out.
It also notes that a recent survey indicated that the sequester cut will force 72% of cancer clinics to deny new Medicare patients or send all Medicare patients to the hospital for treatment.
No one with cancer should be forced out of their own doctor's officeASCO
"This potential crisis underscores that Medicare's system of reimbursement for cancer care is deeply flawed," according to a statement issued by ASCO. "We need payment approaches that maintain patient access and focus on supporting high-quality, high-value and patient-centered care. ASCO is examining a range of specific payment models that can meet this need and provide fair reimbursement for the critical services that oncologists provide to their patients."
"No one with cancer should be forced out of their own doctor's office" at such a difficult and precarious time, the ASCO statement notes. The society is urging Congress and the Administration "to take immediate action to reverse these cuts to reimbursement for life-saving cancer drugs — cuts that may, in the long run, cost the government more."
Immediate Action Needed
There are a number of ways the Administration and Congress can act to avoid these cuts. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has the authority to exempt cancer drugs from the sequester cut or to apply the 2% sequester cut only to the 6% administrative fees. In addition, Congress can pass H.R.800, which is legislation designed to help sustain community cancer care by aligning Medicare drug reimbursement with actual costs.
However this matter is addressed, the organizations warn, it must be done immediately to preserve patient access to community cancer care.
Now we are sliding backward.... Sequestration is the last strawDr. Ted Okon, COA

The organizations that issued the joint statement have sent letters to Health and Human Services and all members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Responses have come from a number of members of Congress, and all have been positive, explained Dr. Okon. "That is encouraging, but we haven't heard anything yet from the Administration."

"In the past 40 years, cancer care has evolved into one of the most efficient systems in the world by allowing patients to be treated in the community," said Dr. Okon. "Now we are sliding backward. Shortfalls have led to a consolidation in terms of cancer care, and the sequestration is the last straw."
Source: Medscape
Roxanne Nelson

adamfoxie* asks How is this cutting that medicare pays to the Doctors  going to affect us the patients?

Medicare payments to physicians for services performed beginning Monday, April 1, will shrink by 2% under the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts called sequestration.
And unlike other impending Medicare pay cuts in the past, this one will not be called off by last-minute Congressional action. Lawmakers are on spring break.
The current federal sequester was authorized by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which tasked a bipartisan "supercommittee" with proposing at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years for lawmakers to approve. Failure to achieve this goal would trigger an equal level of sequestration beginning January 1, 2013, that would apply to defense as well as domestic spending. Medicare benefits, Social Security, and Medicaid were off-limits.
The threat of arbitrary, indiscriminate cuts was intended to motivate lawmakers to devise a more nuanced approach. However, the bipartisan committee succumbed to partisan gridlock, unleashing sequestration. Congress did manage, however, to delay the first round of cuts — $85 billion worth — until March 1, 2013, as part of its recent fiscal-cliff legislation.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would need until April 1 to implement the 2% reduction in Medicare reimbursement stipulated by the BCA.
Congress could have rolled back sequestration and the physician pay cut when it passed a stopgap spending bill earlier this month to fund government operations through September 30, the last day of fiscal 2013, and avert a shutdown this Friday, when current appropriations would have run out. However, the legislation preserved sequestration.
Lawmakers have another shot at undoing sequestration as they weigh budget proposals for fiscal 2014, but that assumes a Capitol Hill miracle called compromise.

March 5, 2012

The Gayest City in America is in Mormon Territory

Banks can’t tell the difference between a gay dollar and a straight dollar. Why should anyone else?
That was the overriding message at the Utah Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s premiere event, a business expo held this weekend on the topmost floor of Zions Bank in downtown Salt Lake City.
“I am a lesbian in this community, and it’s a great way to build alliances and improve our presence,” said LeAnna Porter, designer and owner of Mountain Desert Landscape Design.
Nevertheless, and despite Salt Lake City’s recent ranking by leading gay magazine The Advocate as “the gayest city in America,” there was a sense among the expo’s almost two dozen participants that proclaiming your business savvy and sexual orientation at the same time still carries unwarranted costs — even in a state where “industry” is the motto.
“A lot of people still see gays and lesbians as ‘those people,’ not the owner of a pet store, a businessperson or the doctor that takes care of their children,” said Sasha Polak, chamber treasurer, parent of five, and owner with her partner of Pumps & Pants, a photography business catering to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. “Developing the chamber shows the community that we’re people they can trust, value, and that they can do business with.”
Incorporated in January, the chamber’s formation marked the end of a six-year road for Michael Aaron, owner of the LGBT biweekly publication QSaltLake and now chamber president. Previously, Aaron had formed a business alliance named after his publication. With the formal name change and, most importantly, he said, the right group of people ready to “grab the rails,” the idea took off.
The new chamber is also one of the few gay and lesbian business organizations nationwide that crosses county boundaries to encompass an entire state. Marketing studies over the years have shown that gay and lesbian consumers have more discretionary income and higher levels of education than the general population, but there’s also gay, lesbian and transgendered consumers at every household income level, Aaron said.
He’s most proud that “ally” straight-owned businesses count for more than half of the chamber’s current membership. Many were on display at Saturday morning’s expo, following a ribbon-cutting Friday, including Winder Farms and Brown Brothers Catering of Provo.

February 7, 2012

Goldman Sachs CEO In National Campaign {For gay Marriage}

 NYC - Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, one of Wall Street's most powerful figures, has become the first major business leader to join a national media campaign in support of same-sex marriage.

Gay rights advocacy groupHuman Rights Campaign published a video on Sunday in which 57-year-old Blankfein, who has headed investment bank Goldman Sachs since 2006, asks viewers to join a "majority of Americans who support marriage equality."

"America's corporations learned long ago that equality is just good business and it's the right thing to do," Blankfein said in the video, which was posted on popular video websiteYouTube.

Blankfein had already made his views on the issue known. Last year he was one of the financial industry executives to sign an open letter calling on New York state lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage.

Yet Sunday's video is a rare public display of support on a highly controversial issue from one of the financial world's titans whose firm has not always endeared itself among supporters of liberal causes, depicted by some lawmakers and activists as the epitome of Wall Street greed.

"Our campaign is all about recruiting unexpected spokespeople so Americans can connect the dots and realize that on an issue like this there can be agreement," Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz said.

Besides Blankfein, the Americans for Marriage Equality campaign has attracted a dozen personalities on similar videos, including SenatorAl Franken, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Oscar-winning actress Mo'Nique.

"The fact that we have Mo'Nique and Lloyd Blankfein campaigning on this should show that we can have commonality on the issue. We approached Lloyd Blankfein and literally within hours he had said yes, he would do it," Sainz said.

Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael Duvally did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gay marriage remains outlawed in more than 40 of the 50 U.S. states and the issue promises to surface in the 2012 presidential election even as economic woes seem to take priority in the minds of voters.

PresidentBarack Obama has supported rights for same sex couples but has stopped short of endorsing marriage, while most of the Republicans seeking to challenge him in November have come out against it.

  by Greg Roumeliotis  

December 10, 2011

Some of The Best Gay Friendly Companies


A newly updated Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign was released today and a few of the companies listed may surprise you.
For example, the gay-inclusiveness of companies like Abercrombie & Fitch has long been on display, most obviously in itsA&F Quarterly. And the company got some attention for parading 101 shirtless male models on the Champs-Élysées in May to celebrate the opening of its Paris flagship store. But it gets less attention for its policy of prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. 
Other companies listed in the Corporate Equality Index include:
  • Apple Inc.
  • AT&T Inc.
  • Barnes & Noble Inc
  • Best Buy Co. Inc.
  • Campbell Soup Co.
  • Cisco Systems Inc.
  • Hewlett-Packard Co.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corp.
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • Nike Inc.
  • Sprint Nextel Corp.
  • Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.
  • United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS)

December 9, 2011

Michael Brandon } Sex Sex and Lube- 'Dallas Needs Love'

I met Michael in 2008 at a Hotel Room downtown on the west side of Manhattan by the World Trade Center. Nooo it had nothing to do with sex but a business meeting in which I invited gay men in precursor to the Gay Expo at the Javitts. Before that occasion I had never met or seen him before.  I did know something of his reputation.  But when I shook hands with Michael to welcome him in, I did not even know it was him. Shorter than me (most people are), same type of beard as in the photo below and kind of shy- but shy is not the right word. The right word would be reserved. Like a brain surgeon at a dentists convention.  
As I read about him I felt good that he is doing well. I appreciate any gay man that has made it through the 40-60 years of age. Im around his age and I know how hard it's been for me. Sooo coming to the reason for this post, I wanted to introduce him to you, even though I have not spoken or seeing him since that occasion. I appreciate the article by Arnold Wayne Jones, which gives me the opportunity.  I love to talk and write about gay men that are making it in business. Adam at adamfoxie*

NAUGHTY SANTA | Michael Brandon returns to Dallas for the third time this year to launch his new lube line at Tapelenders.
Michael Brandon has been a big name in sex for decades. One of gay porn’s iconic stars, his DVDs, website and live performances have kept him in the public eye since the early 1990s — and his legendary prowess (and size) have kept young hearts fluttering for this now-46-year-old performer.
But lately, Brandon jokes, he’s feeling more like a vacuum cleaner salesman than a sex object. That’s because wherever he goes, Brandon always has his sample bag handy. It’s not Willie Loman, but big man’s Willie.
Michael Brandon has gone from porn star to lube seller.
Don’t feel too bad for him. It’s actually a good gig.
The gay-owned company Product 54 produces a wide variety of silicone-based consumer products, from a cuticle treatment to one that helps divers put on and take off their SCUBA suits. The latter is also popular in the fetish community, “helping men and women put on their rubber gear,” Brandon says. “But my expertise is lube.”
Of course it is. And the signature product of the company is its 9×6 Lube — a name that, while it sounds like it might have been named after Brandon specifically, was actually already in place before he became associated with it.
After 9×6 came into being, Brandon was approached about an endorsement deal for the start-up company. He rejected the idea.
“I was with ID Millennium and told them, I’m really not looking for anything new [to endorse]. But someone slipped a bottle in my pocket. I tried it and I liked it. And I loved the stain-free aspect — very few silicone based lubes that offer that.”
That’s when he agreed to help market the lube — mentioning it in his tweets, giving away the product at his shows, etc. But Brandon saw great potential in the product and took a bold move.
“I saw some opportunities there, so I came home from a trip and told the president I wanted to invest and benefit from what I saw as a company about to explode,” he says.
“That means I am both a vested partner and the face of the brand.”
That has its downsides, as he knows from years as a celebrity spokesperson.
 “When you become the brand, any and all questions start coming to you — whether it be a shipping problem or uses or whatever,” he says. “Of course, when they have any positive feedback, I receive that, too. Usually you have to say [to fans], ‘I’m just endorsing it — you need to direct your questions to the inner office of the company.’ I can’t do that anymore. I’m the vice president… I have everything to do with the inner office!”
This isn’t the first time Brandon has made a foray into the business world. In addition to running his own career — including the brand that is his reputation and his marketable appeal — Brandon was a partner in the Raging Stallion adult video company, which produced his Monster Bang line of DVDs (named for his sizeable member).
“It’s a very similar situation: Everywhere Michael Brandon goes, so does my product. It’s a win-win,” he says.
Of course, it helps that Brandon makes for a great salesman in the gay market.
“When I walk into a store, there’s a 50-50 chance they’ll recognize me — that’s my foot in the door. Then I tell them, ‘I want to offer them a sample of my 9×6 — that’s my second foot in the door.” He laughs. “Then I come do launch parties in sexy get-ups. In West Hollywood, I dressed down in a construction belt.”
Brandon will host his launch party Saturday at Tapelenders, the first retail outlet in the Dallas market to carry 9×6, with a holiday themed costume: Naughty Santa, a sexified bit of fur and red that Brandon tried out last week at an event and turned out the be a huge hit.
He’s happy to be back in Dallas for the third time since the summer. Before this year, Brandon admits, he had written off Texas as a forum for his talents; he could never get a club to book his live show and thought he had priced himself out of the market. But he’s already thinking of Big D as a second home — he loves visiting.
So what accounts for his sudden popularity here?
“Dallas needs love!” he exclaims.
And love usually comes with a little lube.
Michael Brandon will be signing autographs and running a stocking-stuffer special (buy an 8 oz. bottle, received six 1 oz. bottles as gifts), but a “naughty and nice” gift bag with $75 purchase.   
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 9, 2011

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