Saturday, July 31, 2010

More on the New York City Food Nazis

From the Lew Rockwell blog comes this account of another government power grab. 

The New York City Food Nazis are at it again. They are enacting a bogus restaurant hygiene grading system to “alert” the sheeple diners about the hygienic “qualities” of each restaurant in NYC. There is some good news though: They are using Lew Rockwell’s…er, I mean Karen DeCoster’s…er, I mean Walter Block’s…er, I mean Bill Anderson’s…er, I mean Wilt Alston’s…er, I mean my subjective standards as to what level of hygiene is acceptable for their grading system.

Well said, sir.  One of the first things that you learn in food service, or retail is that not everyone grew up in your mother's house.  "Clean" is one of the most subjective concepts out there.  The Whited Mama didn't have the cleanest kitchen in north Mississippi, but any time somebody was invited to show up for dinner, they found a way to make it on time.  Heck, a lot of people showed up when they weren't invited. 

Now let’s look at my subjective food hygiene standards for a moment. I GUARANTEE YOU that many of you would not find the cleanliness level of my kitchen very appetizing, yet I cook and eat in it every day—and I’m in great health. So my question to myself (and to you) is this: How do I know that if a NYC restaurant does not achieve the top letter rating of A, but a B or a C, that that particular restaurant might still be a more hygienic environment to eat in than my own kitchen? I don’t—and that’s my point. This is just another power grab on the part of the gunvernment to make the sheeple feel more “safe” now that they will “know” the hygienic quality of a restaurant that they may choose to patronize (based on, of course, the subjective standard of some Health Department bureaucRAT).

Precisely.  If the bureaucRAT in question doesn't like the owner, the cashier, the prices, or the politics of the establishment being investigated for heresy, there is no way that the bureaucRAT won't find something to downgrade.  You can find germs in a surgery center if you look hard enough. 

Okay, I’m wrong. The truth is that before this letter grading system was adopted in New York City there have been millions ofthundreds of thousands ofttens of thousands oftthousands ofthundreds of restaurant patrons dying every second minute hour day week month year…hold on a minute. You’ll notice in the linked news article that there is NO MENTION of any outbreak of food poisoning or food-related deaths that has even prompted this new restaurant hygiene grading system.

But think of the "jobs created or saved" in the Food Nazi Bureacracy. 

If this new ridiculous Food Nazi tactic doesn’t put some restaurants out of business, I GUARANTEE YOU that at the very least it will force some restaurants to waste money on unnecessary “improvements” to their restaurants to be in accordance with the “higher” standards of the NYC Food Nazis—money that could have been spent in a productive manner somewhere else.

But here's the real kicker.  Advocates of the Grocery Gestapo will tell you that trained professionals are needed to protect the ignorant public from spending their money in an unsafe place.  They'll tell you that government knows best about where you should eat, and what you should eat.  Remember, NYC is the place working on a salt ban in restaurants. 
They know what's best for you.
But which restaurant are you more likely to choose?  The "C"-rated establishment with a line out the door?  Or the place that's been given an "A" for showing a civil-service lifer what he wants to see? 

Please allow me to beat the rotting corpse of this dead horse just one more time.  I'm speaking as someone who has lost almost 50 pounds by ignoring our government's most famous piece of health advice.  (Well, maybe the anti-smoking messages are more famous, but most of those were published, by government decree, on the cig packs by their manufacturers.) 
Suppliers of gut-busting foods loved this little chart.  Loved it, loved it, loved it.  And it will kill you.  It may have caused more diabetes than the sugar industry. 
See the tag at the base of the pyramid, where Uncle Sam is recommending that you have 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta?  Do you remember seeing that on all your packages of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta?  And if you ate bread, cereal, rice and pasta in those quantities, do you remember getting fatter than the Sunday newspaper? 
But no one questioned it for years.  It was the government telling us what is best, and what they thought was best reflected what The Farm Lobby produced.  But after a few decades of increased heart attacks, plus pressure from health groups, the government decided it was time for a new set of recommendations. 
The new nazi-nanny guidelines look like this.  They kept the pyramid shape for sentimental reasons. 

Here's a guy called the Baltimore Health Coach, explaining what all they got wrong this time, and why:

1. Nobody needs to eat dairy, EVER, and many are better off NOT eating it at all.

2. Processed grain foods, even the whole grain versions, are at best a food to limit, and at worst a lead contributor to chronic and degenerative diseases.

3. The under-consumption of omega 3 fatty acids and over-consumption of omega 6 fatty acids (in the supposedly “heart healthy” vegetable oils like soy and corn oil) is clearly a major a contributor to disease.

4. No distinction is made about quality. This is especially damaging when it comes to meat, eggs and dairy. Experts in the health food world disagree about the place of animal foods, but all agree that factory-farmed animal foods are highly toxic.

5. Everyone has a different style of metabolism and requires a different ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrate. The 2005 pyramid is STILL one-size-fits-all.

6. Sweet fruits like apples, oranges and bananas are way over-emphasized as health foods. There is plenty of nutrition in them, but they are also high in sugar and should NOT be so heavily relied upon. This may surprise you, but many populations that have had incredible health thrived on little to no fruit at all.

7. Saturated fats in high quality butter and eggs, coconut, avocado and palm oil ARE healthy and should especially be consumed by children.

But why does the government put out bad advice?  Why issue these food fatwahs at all, if they aren't 100% sure?
Here's the Baltimore Health Coach again:

The USDA Food Pyramid STINKS because of the MAJOR influence of the food industry lobby. The USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the “unpaid” group of volunteers responsible for the Food Pyramid, have consistently been in bed with (i.e. ex-board members or recipients of grants) organizations like:

The National Dairy Council
The National Dairy Promotion and Research Program
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
The American Egg Board
The American Meat Institute Committee
The Dannon Research Institute, Inc.,
The Sugar Association
Grocery Manufacturers


Just look at agricultural subsidies to see where the government’s loyalty lies. $15 billion in subsidies go to the soy and corn mega-farms that make the processed and fast food industries boom. Close to ZERO money is given to support fruit and vegetable farmers. Hmm…

Yes.  Hmm.....
In closing, think back to the new New York City cleanliness inspectors.  Do you think there might be some cleaning supply companies lobbying for that program?  Do you think there might be some politically connected restauranteurs who want to see that pesky upstart deli down the street given a "C" ??   And do you think the citizens of NYC will take this like a bunch of compliant little sheep? 

Yes, yes, and yes. 

The picture of the redneck kitchen came from here

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kathie Glass for Texas Governor, Billy Miner's Saloon, Thursday July 29, 2010

W here to begin, where to begin....
Last night I went to Billy Miner's for a Kathie Glass for Texas Governor campaign rally. 

There are a lot of good reasons to support Kathie Glass, but let me get to the no-brainers first. 

The Democrat in this race, Bill White, was Secretary Of Energy for Bill Clinton/Al Gore.  According to several reliable sources, White actively campaigned for The Goracle Of Music City prior to The Goracle's decision to leave politics and enter the environmental salvation racket. 

The Republican in this race, incumbent governor Rick Perry, was Gore's Texas campaign manager in 1988.  Perry eventually left the Democrat party and had a falling-out with The Goracle over climate change. 
Well, at least Governor Perry owns a thermometer.  And compared to Bill White, his hair is stunning.   
But he has defiled himself. 

Kathie Glass, the Libertarian, is the only candidate for Texas governor who has never campaigned for Al Gore. 
'Nuff said. 

A few other reasons:
First and foremost in Glass's 5 Point Plan is a promise to use nullification and interposition to get around ObamaCare and Cap'n'Tax.  What does this mean in plain English?  Texas is a sovereign state.  We have rights.  There is nothing in the constitution that says the federal government can force you to purchase a product from a private company when the purchase has nothing to do with a government activity (i.e. - driving on the government's roads). 
"Therefore, we the Texas Legislature and Governor declare ObamaCare to be freakin' nullified between the Red River and the Gulf Of Mexico."  Next issue, please....

Also included in the 5 Point Plan - stronger protections against Eminent Domain Abuse.  It doesn't matter how well Tony Romo is throwing the football, Kathie Glass isn't going to let the government steal anyone else's house so Jerry Jones can build Tony a new playpen. 

And then there was this guy....
It's safe to call him a "single-issue voter". 
This dude, Larry Kilgore, showed up at Ms. Glass's rally, wound up tighter than a 3-day clock. 
Long before the QandA session began, I could feel his intensity level overpowering everything else in his corner of the room. 
Hell, I was just there to support our gubernatorial candidate, hang out with Spivey and Coyne, and maybe eat a cheeseburger. 
Larry Kilgore showed up ready to draw a line in the sand, splatter the blood of the traitors across Billy Miner's barroom floor, and secede from The Union. 
Here's a video of Mr. Kilgore in action.  You gotta watch it.  If you get past the first 15 seconds, I promise you, you'll watch all of it. 

Mr. Intensity stood during the Qand A, and asked Kathie something like HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SECESSION ?????  
Glass tried to respond that secession from The Union was an extreme position, and that....

Mr. Intensity was immediately outraged, and went into a well-rehearsed rant about why Texas should LEAVE THE UNITED STATES and stood to leave.  Several other people tried to throw their 2 cents in.  Even with a microphone, Kathie had trouble making herself heard. 

After Spivey restored order, Glass and Kilgore argued back and forth for a few seconds.  Kilgore didn't like the way the argument was going, and once again turned around to walk out. 

Kathie Glass, like the transplanted Georgia Peach she is, calmly and politely said "Don't you walk out on me, sir.  Please don't make me talk about you behind your back !"

But he was gone.  Gone elsewhere to pursue the dream of an independent Lone Star State. 
Glass went on to explain that we have a great system, and a great constitution.  We just need to elect politicians who understand it and respect it. 

Freakin' brilliant.  Don't make me talk about you behind your back.  Some of us think she may have hired the guy to show up.  This was a great night.  Time well spent. 

If I had to pick someone to go head-to-head with The Teleprompter Jesus, it would be Kathie Glass.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why bother with a court order, when your intentions are so good and wholesome?

From the Washington Post, here's something else for your "Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss" file:

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication.

But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

I don't know about you, but to me this sounds like a 4th Amendment violation. 

 Your communications, whether written (papers) or online (effects) are not Barack Obama's business, and he cannot have access to those communications without a court order. 
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It really is that simple. 
No one will ever convince me that Barack Obama was a constitutional law professor. 
Freakin' fascist. 
Pic came from a post-Blownstar event.  I like houses that have the 4th Amendment in a frame on the wall. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

President O'Carter - Are democrats going to distance themselves from his policies?

Talk about your Freudian slips....
Sometimes you just can't stop yourself from saying what you really think. 
Here's Chris Matthews: 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: "Will the Democrats running for the House re-election, they're all running for re-election under the Constitution and the Senate candidates, will they run away from President O'Carter? I mean, will they run away...."

I found this, like so many other good things, at Real Clear Politics. 

John Kerry walks into a bar....

John Kerry walks into a bar....

....and the bartender says "Hey, John, why such a long face?"

Go here for details.  If I voted for a ton o' tax increases, then got caught using another state's harbor as a tax haven, and then had to pay a half million dollar boat tax, I'd have a long face too.

Too many laws, too many prisoners

Here's The Economist, on a notorious smuggler:

THREE pickup trucks pulled up outside George Norris’s home in Spring, Texas. Six armed police in flak jackets jumped out. Thinking they must have come to the wrong place, Mr Norris opened his front door, and was startled to be shoved against a wall and frisked for weapons. He was forced into a chair for four hours while officers ransacked his house. They pulled out drawers, rifled through papers, dumped things on the floor and eventually loaded 37 boxes of Mr Norris’s possessions onto their pickups. They refused to tell him what he had done wrong. “It wasn’t fun, I can tell you that,” he recalls.

Mr Norris was 65 years old at the time, and a collector of orchids. He eventually discovered that he was suspected of smuggling the flowers into America, an offence under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This came as a shock. He did indeed import flowers and sell them to other orchid-lovers. And it was true that his suppliers in Latin America were sometimes sloppy about their paperwork. In a shipment of many similar-looking plants, it was rare for each permit to match each orchid precisely.

In March 2004, five months after the raid, Mr Norris was indicted, handcuffed and thrown into a cell with a suspected murderer and two suspected drug-dealers. When told why he was there, “they thought it hilarious.” One asked: “What do you do with these things? Smoke ’em?”

Prosecutors described Mr Norris as the “kingpin” of an international smuggling ring. He was dumbfounded: his annual profits were never more than about $20,000. When prosecutors suggested that he should inform on other smugglers in return for a lighter sentence, he refused, insisting he knew nothing beyond hearsay.

He pleaded innocent. But an undercover federal agent had ordered some orchids from him, a few of which arrived without the correct papers. For this, he was charged with making a false statement to a government official, a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Since he had communicated with his suppliers, he was charged with conspiracy, which also carries a potential five-year term.

The article continues:

Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country. Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan. Overcrowding is the norm. Federal prisons house 60% more inmates than they were designed for. State lock-ups are only slightly less stuffed.

The system has three big flaws, say criminologists. First, it puts too many people away for too long. Second, it criminalises acts that need not be criminalised. Third, it is unpredictable. Many laws, especially federal ones, are so vaguely written that people cannot easily tell whether they have broken them.

This creates something known as "prosecutorial discretion", in which district attorneys and other politicians can arbitrarily hammer anyone who is currently unpopular. 
Check out "Three Felonies A Day" by Harvey Silvergate if you get a chance. 
If you're curious about who is currently commiting 3 felonies every day, the really long answer is:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Milton Friedman and green spoons

Columnist George Will was the speaker at the Cato Institute biennial Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty Dinner on May 13.  He led off with this gem about Dr. Friedman:

Milton Friedman, whose name we honor tonight, was honored often for his recondite and subtle scholarship. But it was complemented by a sturdy common sense much in fashion nowhere now. About 40 years ago he found himself in an Asian country where the government was extremely eager to show off a public works project of which it was inordinately and excessively fond.
It was digging a canal.
They took Milton out to see this, and he was astonished because there were hordes of workers but no heavy equipment. He remarked on this to his government guide, who replied, "You don't understand, Mr. Friedman. This is a jobs program. That's why we only have men with shovels." To which Friedman said, "Well, if it's a jobs program, why don't they have spoons instead of shovels?"

On a related subject, here's our Vice President advocating that we begin making spoons instead of shovels, or, god forbid, draglines.  And not just spoons, but green spoons.  Think of the jobs created if we require everyone to use green spoons.  
Won't that make it all better?   

Remember when this was an outrage?

From David Keene, writing on The Hill:

Meanwhile, it turns out that while some members of Congress were being promised one thing in return for their votes (on ObamaCare®) others were being assured that such promises would never be kept. Thus, while members concerned about whether benefits would be extended to illegal immigrants were assured that this would not be the case, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the House were being told that they shouldn’t worry about any restrictions in the healthcare bill because they would be removed later … in the administration’s promised immigration reform bill.

Recent news reports that Democratic leaders promised Hispanic Caucus members that provisions inserted in the healthcare to win the votes of others would be removed later suggest that South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R) charge that President Obama’s denial that the healthcare bill would cover illegal aliens was a lie was dead on.

The healthcare bill as passed and signed into law prohibits illegals from buying into the so-called healthcare exchanges that will be established under the law and denies even temporary legal immigrants access to Medicaid unless they’ve been here for five years. Hispanic Caucus leaders are now charging that the administration specifically promised to eliminate these and other restrictions and are vowing to hold the president and congressional Democratic leaders to that promise.

Under the Obama plan, of course, Medicaid has been expanded and something like half of all illegals in the country would qualify if the restrictions written into the law are removed, increasing the costs of a program that is already expected to exceed the estimates publicized by the administration before its passage by tens of billions of dollars.

Ah, those were the days.  When someone calling The Teleprompter Jesus a liar was outrageous. 
Now it's just proof that you're still paying attention. 

Camp Blownstar - calmer, but still kinda weird

I just got back from the Camp Blownstar Blogger Meetup in Bandera.
This year's meetup was a lot calmer and mellower....
....but still kinda weird. 

Picture by Harper.
Hair by God.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

98,000 more teenagers are now earning the true minimum wage

One of the most frustrating things about economic experiments is the difficulty in establishing control groups within a large population.  You might think that economic policy "A" is helpful, while I think it's a disaster.  But we can't try out economic policy "A" on one group of citizens while giving an identical group a free pass.  (Think death taxes, Obamacare, stimulus spending, etc.  We're all influenced by these actions.)

If only we could do that with, say, the new minimum wage laws.  

Well, some economists got lucky this time, but in an upside down sort of way.  Before the new federal minimum wage laws went into effect, there were already some states with minimums set at the higher level.  So here was a great opportunity to compare the unemployment rates between the two groups of states.  Both groups would be living in the same economy, with the same fears of an economic downturn, fears of Obamacare, interest rates, etc etc etc.  

But one large group of states would suddenly go through a minimum wage hike, all at the same time.  Another group would already be dealing with the higher minimum.
This is from The Wall Street Journal, via Newsalert:

Today marks the first anniversary of Congress's decision to raise the federal minimum wage by 41% to $7.25 an hour. But hold the confetti. According to a new study, more than 100,000 fewer teens are employed today due to the wage hikes.
Economic slowdowns are tough on many job-seekers, but they're especially hard on the young and inexperienced, whose job prospects have suffered tremendously from Washington's ill-advised attempts to put a floor under wages. In a new paper published by the Employment Policies Institute, labor economists William Even of Miami University in Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University in Texas find a significant drop in teen employment as a direct result of the minimum wage hikes.
The wage hikes were implemented in three stages between 2007 and 2009, and not all states were affected because some already mandated a minimum wage above the federal requirement. But for the 19 states affected by all three stages of the federal wage increase, "there was a 6.9% decline in employment for teens aged 16 to 19," write the authors. And for those who had not completed high school, "we estimated that the hikes reduced employment by 12.4%," which translates to about 98,000 fewer teens in the work force.
The true minimum wage is zero.  You can't raise it.  
When politicians raise the "minimum wage", all they're doing is raising the "productivity threshold", making it illegal to hire people whose productivity doesn't reach the new minimum level.  
The higher they set their new minimums, the more people they condemn to earning the true minimum, which is zero.  Nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.  

Another Democrat senator with a yacht....

When it rains it pours.  See previous post.  Nominees for The Whitey Award are coming out of the woodwork.  Or in this case, the ocean.

Democrat Senator (and all-around man of the people) Jeff Greene and Democrat Senator (and all-around man of the people) John Kerry both own yachts.  Greene's is named "Summerwind".
Like Senator Kerry, the hero of the previous post, Senator Greene is doing his part to fight government waste.
He's doing this by not paying taxes on his yacht.

Here's The Miami Herald, mostly reporting on Jeff Greene's yacht anchor supposedly going through a coral reef, but eventually getting to the money quote:

Greene bought Summerwind in 2003, registering it in the Marshall Islands, a well-known tax haven.

The article doesn't say how much money Greene saved from being wasted with this maneuver, but it might rival Senatory Kerry's $500,000.00  
Congratulations, Senator Greene.  You've won The Whitey Award for eliminating government waste by not paying taxes.