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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:13 PM
Original message
Darden linked to lawmaker's improper trips (Red Lobster)
WASHINGTON -- Darden Restaurants of Orlando has helped bankroll a foundation that improperly treated a powerful congressman to trips abroad, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Public Integrity.

Darden gave $574,000 to the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources from 2000 to 2004 -- about one-third of the nonprofit group's donations, according to a study of tax records by CPI and the radio group American Public Media.

The foundation has defended Darden on its Web site against protests from animal-rights groups. Those groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States, are angry that the Orlando restaurant chain hasn't boycotted Canadian seafood to draw attention to the clubbing of baby seals there. Darden owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden.

Full story here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-da...


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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. I would boycott, but I wouldn't step foot in a Red Lobster or Olive Garden
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 06:26 PM by alcibiades_mystery
anyway.

I once saw a stand up comic in NY going off on the Olive Garden commercials. He said something like "Your relatives come in from Italy and you take them to a fucking OLIVE GARDEN??? What happened - did they run out of fucking Chef-Boy-Ardee in the local A & P?"

I near pissed myself.

If your only experience of Italian food is an Olive Garden, you may not be aware of how truly awful it is, but trust me, it's terrible. Wait for it, though. I'm about to be slammed as an "elitist" by plenty of Olive Garden loving DUers. Apparently, you can't make judgments about the quality of shite anymore without be labelled an elitist...
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kwyjibo Donating Member (612 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. No, you're right, Olive Garden blows.
especially those nasty breadsticks. They're disgusting.
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Ok .... Ill be the one .......
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 08:22 PM by Trajan
Firstly: Let's establish this: Your commentary was an expression of your opinion .... a subjective assertion based on your subective interpretation, based on your 'objective' criteria of what italian cuisine should consist of ...

Secondly: Let's admit that EVERYONE has such opinions, about everything .....

Thirdly: Let's admit that some may enjoy Olive Garden food, whether or not it meets your objective criteria for 'italian food' .... Heck .. they may just LIKE it for what it is; whatever that means to them ....

Fourthly: I am Italian (1/4), and I personally dislike Olive Garden food, and do not feel it 'represents' the best of what italian food 'is' .... Yet: arent they just riffing on a theme ? ... Arent they simply providing a food option that some people will like and others wont ? .... Some people like Wendy's, some people dont .... It isnt much different .....

Fifthly: Your not elitist: you are just exclaiming a strongly felt hatred of a particular thing: ... Hatred can be a strong motivator for some people .... it made you scream the bloody dickens, didnt it ? .....

Same as it ever was .....
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Oh sure
And it's only my subjective opinion (is there any other kind?) that John Coltrane is better than Kenny G. Maybe some people like Kenny G's music for what it is, and maybe some people think Kenny G is nicer to listen to than John Coltrane. Why bother discussing quality at all? Tra la la...opinions are like assholes, you know?

By the way, I don't hate Olive Garden. I'd describe the emotion more as disdain and pity - disdain for their bastardization of (OK..."riffing on")a slow cuisine hooked into community life into mass-marketed half-assed crapola divorced from care or community, and pity for those who think the latter bears the slightest resemblance to the former. For those who don't think so, and merely enjoy Olive Garden for what it is, more inscrutable, confused power to them. And I wouldn't characterize my response as screaming like the Dickens so much as a tragi-comic head shake.

Cheers, anyway. Or rather, salute. (We need a vino smiley)
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. I love their food
I like Olive Garden. Yes, there are better and more authentic italian restaurants, but they are more expensive.

I like the breadsticks, the salad, the zuppa toscana and the seafood portofino there. You get a lot of food for your money, too.

Red Lobster, on the other hand, is a rip off. Their food isn't all that great, and their portions are tiny. The cheese bread is good, though.
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wow. Where did you get the Sea Shepherd pic?
Is that from their website . . . gee, maybe I should go look. doh.
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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Sea Shepherd Unveils "Dead Lobster" T-shirt Design
http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_050711_2.html

Sea Shepherd artist/activist Geert-Jan Vons fresh from an artistic victory over Disneyland has now set his sights on Red Lobster or as he refers to them Dead Lobster.

Geerts design of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck evilly cutting up and eating sharks made the headlines in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the London Times, and numerous newspapers around the world. Within a week of the stories, Disney announced that they would not be serving shark fin soup at their restaurants in Hong Kong. It was a major victory for the sharks, and sent a message loud and clear that sharks need to be protected.

Red Lobster does not kill seals but they have the power to stop the killing of hundreds of thousands of baby seals in Canada every year. All they have to do is to agree to join the international Boycott of Canadian Seafood. Red Lobster alone purchases enough seafood from Canada to negate the profits of the annual Canadian seal slaughter.

Full info here: http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_050711_2.html



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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. I emailed Disney to substitute deep fried Jiminy Cricket for sharkfin soup
Guess it worked! LOL . They never responded to my emails, which were a bit more detailed re extinction of shark species. I am glad to read they took sharkfin soup off the menu.
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #3
15. Thanks.
Found it -- downloaded -- printed and ready to post.

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
19. Martin Sheen's seal hunt sea shepherd PSA
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
4. Every time I read about the tricks and policies of these huge
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 06:44 PM by higher class
corporations and when I realize that people like myself will remember it (consequently do something also, such as, not go there), I immediately think about the poor employees. A drop off in business means loss of jobs (unless the born agains and the environment destroyers triple their business with them).
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cosmicdot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. Darden's Board of Directors
corporate and political connections

LEONARD L. BERRY, 62, Director since 2001

Distinguished Professor of Marketing and M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, since 1982, and Professor of Humanities in Medicine, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University, since 2004.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Genesco Inc.
Lowes Companies, Inc.


ODIE C. DONALD, 55, Director since 1998

President of Odie Donald Investment Enterprises, LLC, a private investment firm, since August 2003.
Consultant to (from July 2001 through December 2002) and former President of (from April 2000 to July 2001) DIRECTV, Inc., a direct broadcast satellite television service and a unit of Hughes Electronics Corporation.
Chief Executive Officer of Cable & Wireless Plc, a communications company serving the Caribbean and Atlantic Islands, from 1999 to 2000.
Retired after a 26-year career with BellSouth Corporation, where he held various positions, including:
Group President Customer Operations for BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., a provider of tariffed wireline telecommunications services and a wholly owned subsidiary of BellSouth Corporation, from 1998 to 1999.
President of BellSouth Mobility, a cellular communications company, from 1992 to 1998.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Syniverse Holdings, Inc.


DAVID H. HUGHES, 61, Director since 2001

Chairman since 1986 and Chief Executive Officer from 1974 through May 2003 of Hughes Supply, Inc., a diversified wholesale distributor of construction and industrial materials, equipment and supplies.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Brown & Brown, Inc.
Hughes Supply, Inc.
SunTrust Banks, Inc.


CHARLES A. LEDSINGER, JR., 55, Director since June 2005.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Choice Hotels International, Inc., a lodging franchisor, since August 1998.
President and Chief Operating Officer of St. Joe Company, a diversified real estate operating company, from April 1998 to August 1998, and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from May 1997 to March 1998.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Harrahs Entertainment, Inc., a casino operator, from June 1995 to April 1997.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Promus Companies, Incorporated, a hotel operator and the former parent of Harrahs Entertainment, Inc., from August 1990 to June 1995.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Choice Hotels International, Inc.
FelCor Lodging Trust Incorporated
TBC Corporation
Mr. Ledsinger has agreed to serve on no more than one other public company board besides ours and Choice Hotels by the first annual meeting in calendar 2006 of a board of which he is a member.


JOE R. LEE, 64, Director since 1995

Chairman of our Board since April 1995.
Our Chief Executive Officer from December 1994 to November 2004.
Joined Red Lobster in 1967 as a member of its opening management team and became its President in 1975.
From 1970 to 1995, held various positions with General Mills, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of consumer food products and our former parent company, including Vice Chairman, with responsibility for various consumer foods businesses and corporate staff functions, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Finance and International Restaurants.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Tupperware Corporation


WILLIAM M. LEWIS, JR., 49, Director since June 2005

Managing Director and Co-Chairman of Investment Banking for Lazard Frres & Co. LLC, an investment banking firm, since April 2004.
From 1978 to 1980 and from 1982 to April 2004, held various positions with Morgan Stanley, an investment banking firm, including Managing Director and Co-Head of the Global Banking Department from 1999 to 2004.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)


SENATOR CONNIE MACK, III, 64, Director since 2001

Senior Policy Advisor for King & Spalding LLP, a law firm, since February 2005.
Senior Policy Advisor for Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, a law firm, from February 2001 to February 2005.
United States Senator (R-Florida) from 1988 to 2000.
United States Congressman (R-Florida) from 1982 to 1988.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
EXACT Sciences Corporation
Genzyme Corporation
Moodys Corporation


ANDREW H. (DREW) MADSEN, 49, Director since 2004

Our President and Chief Operating Officer since November 2004.
Our Senior Vice President and President of Olive Garden from March 2002 to November 2004.
Our Executive Vice President of Marketing for Olive Garden from December 1998 to March 2002.
President of International Master Publishers, Inc., a developer and marketer of consumer information products, from 1997 until December 1998.
From 1993 to 1997, held various positions at James River Corporation (now part of Georgia-Pacific Corporation, a diversified paper and building products manufacturer), including Vice President and General Manager for the Dixie consumer products unit.


CLARENCE OTIS, JR., 49, Director since 2004

Our Chief Executive Officer since November 2004.
Our Executive Vice President from March 2002 until November 2004 and President of Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill from December 2002 until November 2004.
Our Senior Vice President from December 1999 until April 2002, and Chief Financial Officer from December 1999 until December 2002.
Joined us in 1995 as Vice President and Treasurer, and served as Senior Vice President, Investor Relations from July 1997 to August 1998, and as Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer from August 1998 until December 1999.
Managing Director and Manager of Public Finance, Chemical Securities, Inc. (now J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc.), an investment banking firm, from 1991 to 1995.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc.
VF Corp.


MICHAEL D. ROSE, 63, Director since 1995

Chairman, Executive Committee, of Gaylord Entertainment Company, a diversified entertainment company, since April 2001.
Chairman of Gaylord Entertainment Company from April 2001 to May 2005.
Private investor and Chairman of Midaro Investments, Inc., a privately held investment firm, from 1998 to present.
Chairman of the Board of Promus Hotel Corporation, a franchiser and operator of hotel brands, from 1995 to 1997.
Chairman of the Board of Harrahs Entertainment, Inc., a casino operator, from 1995 to 1996.
Chairman from 1990 to 1995 and Chief Executive Officer from 1990 to 1994 of The Promus Companies, Incorporated, a hotel operator.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Felcor Lodging Trust Incorporated
First Horizon National Corp.
Gaylord Entertainment Company
General Mills, Inc.
SteinMart, Inc.


MARIA A. SASTRE, 50, Director since 1998

Vice President, International, Latin America, Caribbean & Asia, Sales & Marketing, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, both units of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., a global cruise line company, since January 2005.
Vice President, Total Guest Satisfaction Services for Royal Caribbean International, a unit of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., from 2000 to January 2005.
Vice President for Latin America and Miami from 1995 to 1999 and Director of International Sales and Marketing for Asia, Europe and Latin America from 1994 to 1995 for United Air Lines, Inc., a commercial air transportation company.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Laidlaw International, Inc.
Publix Super Markets, Inc.


JACK A. SMITH, 70, Director since 1995

Retired; Chairman from 1994 until 1999 and Chief Executive Officer from 1987 to 1998 of The Sports Authority, Inc., a national sporting goods chain, which he founded in 1987.
Prior to founding The Sports Authority, held various executive management positions with major national retailers, including Hermans Sporting Goods (Chief Operating Officer), Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Montgomery Ward & Co.

Member of the Board of Directors of:
Compex Technologies


BLAINE SWEATT, III, 57, Director since 1995
Our President, New Business Development since February 1996 and Executive Vice President since April 1995.
Led teams that developed Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52 concepts, among others.
Joined Red Lobster in 1976 and named Director of New Restaurant Concept Development in 1981.
From 1986 to 1989, held various positions with General Mills, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of consumer food products and our former parent company.


RITA P. WILSON, 58, Director since 2000
Retired; President from 1999 until 2000 of Allstate Indemnity Company, an insurance provider and subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company.
Senior Vice President - Corporate Relations of Allstate Insurance Company, an insurance provider, from 1996 to 1999.

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/940944/000119312...
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. Let's peek around the IFCNR website:
There's a 10/19/05 call to "reform" the endangered species act, praising the courage of the congresscritters willing to take this on
http://fisheries.ifcnr.com/article.cfm?NewsID=586

Here's a 10/18/05 article attacking "Greenpeace bullies," including the defense of Darden: "When corporate attorneys took over the company's environmental affairs, the firm's environmental shield all but disappeared ..."
http://fisheries.ifcnr.com/article.cfm?NewsID=585
GASP! The Humane Society is conducting a covert campaign against corporate attorneys!

How about the 11/20/04 expose of the "NGO War on Fisheries"?
"Other NGOs move in with sophisticated legislative and legal tactics while still others such as PEW Charitable Trusts, World Wildlife Fund/World Wide Fund for Animals (WWF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) et al build 'credibility' through contacts in academia, the scientific community, international policy making circles, and national news networks. The cumulative effect is to wear down seafood interests from fisheries to processors to retailers and popular restaurants with millions of dollars in bad publicity, health scare allegations, law suits, and litigation (at the national and international levels)."
http://fisheries.ifcnr.com/article.cfm?NewsID=553
Because, of course, if you want to protect the oceans, your first priority will be ending litigation against seafood restaurants!

Well, there's plenty more there, but I don't think I'm confused about who IFCNR is ...
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
7. Group Accuses Pombo of Not Paying Taxes on Foreign Trips
Written for the web by C. Johnson, Internet News Producer


A group that investigates public policy issues is shining the light on a Tracy congressman who allegedly failed to pay taxes on two overseas trips he took at the expense of a private foundation.

The nonprofit Washington-based Center for Public Integrity charges Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, with failing to pay required taxes on trips to New Zealand and Japan worth more than $23,000. Pombo made the trips in 2000 and 2002 while serving as honorary chairperson of The International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources.

The IFCNR is a non-profit organization that seeks to offer economic incentives to local populations for the preservation of animal populations. The group is primarily funded donations from chain restaurants, agribusiness, and the fur industry.

According to Internal Revenue Service regulations, non-domestic trips for elected officials paid for by private foundations are not tax-exempt. The CPI contends that Pombo must re-imburse the foundation for the cost of the trips or he and the foundation could face stiff IRS tax penalities. <snip>

http://www.news10.net/storyfull2.aspx?storyid=13763
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
10. Pombo is a scumbag!! I would love to see him go down.
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Carla in Ca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I posted this thread earlier
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NorthernSpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
14. buy New England seafood -- it's illegal to hurt seals here!
One of my happy memories is of a time my parents and sister and I went down to the seashore in early winter to find seashells and look for seals. Harbor seals spend the winter in the Gulf of Maine.

While they are in American waters, those seals are helped by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Or buy locally --unless you live in Omaha.
We've got fine seafood on the Gulf Coast & no seals at all. Red Lobster charges a lot for mostly-thawed seafood. (Not sure, I haven't been there in a long time.)

The only time I went to Olive Garden, the tomato sauce reeked of Garlic Powder! Fresh Garlic is lots cheaper than truffles. Some of Houston's finest restaurants are Italian & there are plenty of good neighborhood places--just not as many as up North.
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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
17. RED LOBSTER IN HOT WATER OVER LINK TO ILLEGALITIES
RED LOBSTER IN HOT WATER OVER LINK TO ILLEGALITIES



The Humane Society of the United States Asks Darden to Discontinue Ties to So-Called Sustainable Use Group



WASHINGTON (October 20, 2005) The Humane Society of the United States sent a letter today to the CEO and Director of Darden Restaurants, whose subsidiaries include Red Lobster, asking that the company discontinue their association with the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (IFCNR). A recently released report co-authored by the Center for Public Integrity (CFPI) and NPRs Marketplace implicates the IFCNR in apparent illegal expenditures and advocating for the dismantling of the Endangered Species Act. Darden is listed as the principal contributor to the group, providing more than one-third of the support between 2000 and 2004. Other contributors include the National Trappers Association, The International Fur Trade Association, and the Japan Whaling Association.



In addition, according to a newspaper article, a person listed in the CFPI report as responsible for the IFCNRs financial affairs is a felon who pled guilty to embezzlement and has identified himself publicly through his organization, Strategic Resources International, as a consultant to Darden.



The Humane Society of the United States has attempted for months to negotiate with you in good faith to have Red Lobster join in opposing Canadas brutal commercial seal hunt and join the boycott of Canadian seafood until the slaughter of baby seals is ended for good, wrote Dr. John W. Grandy, senior vice president for The HSUS. Based on this report, we now are left to wonder if there was ever good faith on the part of Darden and Red Lobster.



The HSUS Protect Seals campaign has been advocating for a boycott of Canadian seafood to pressure the Canadian government into canceling its yearly commercial slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seals. As the largest seafood restaurant chain in the United States, Red Lobster has been repeatedly asked to join the boycott. A demonstration was held outside the companys stockholder meeting in Florida this September. Other restaurants across the country such as Tavern on the Green, and companies like Legal Sea Foods, Down East Seafood, Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats Markets, Original Fish, and Spectrum Organics have all taken steps to reduce or end their Canadian seafood sales.



The Humane Society of the United States is urging Darden to abandon any association with this anti-environmental group and their consultant, and join immediately and fully in the boycott of Canadian seafood to end the commercial seal slaughter, Grandy concluded.



The Humane Society of the United States is the nations largest animal protection organization representing more than 9 million members and constituents. The non-profit organization is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy, and field work. The group is based in Washington and has numerous field representatives across the country. On the web at www.hsus.org .

The hunt video from HSUS.
http://www.hsus.org/video_clips/page.jsp?itemID=2726069...
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