Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gluten-free lifestyle Nimrods: Stop screwing things up for those of us who are actually Celiac

I was diagnosed with Celiac disease around 11 years ago after almost 10 years of semi-misery. I feel better, I'm happier, I'm more productive. It's been an amazing transformation.

And, due to many life-style nimrods, there are more and more gluten free products on the market.

But, people who are GF dilettantes can cause real problems for those of us who really are in trouble if we glutenize.

Here is a great example from WAPO (hat tip to LeBron):

"How much do you think the rise of diet fads and awareness about food allergies has played into that?

A lot. But I'm not a fan of the attitude some people have about it.

A woman recently came into the restaurant, and asked whether the couscous that was part of a dish was gluten free. I said no, because couscous isn't, I think we can all agree, gluten free. Anyone who is gluten free, I thought at the time, should know this, that couscous is not gluten free. Couscous is full of gluten. Anyway, I told her that we could replace it for potatoes, but that the sauce that comes with the dish is made with flour, so I'll leave that off. And she said, 'Oh no, you can leave the sauce on, because some gluten is okay with me.'

That person is clearly then not gluten free. And they are making it difficult for people who do have celiacs disease, and depend on restaurants to make sure that there is no gluten in their meal. Those are the people who really upset servers, and I think rightly.

The ones that say they're gluten free and then order a beer. Does that happen often?

Oh yeah. It happens with beer, and it happens with desserts. Someone will say they are gluten free, that they can't have pasta, or need this or that removed from their plate, and then order like a chocolate brown or a piece of cake or something else that clearly has tons of gluten."

My Mom once told a waiter she was a vegetarian and then ordered pork tenderloin.

People, don't be like my mom!

Me and people of my digestive ilk need to be taken seriously when we say we need a gluten free meal.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lily, Rosemary & the Jack of Hearts

Longtime KPC friend and advisor @GaddieWindage interrupted his pilgrimage to St. Andrews to commune with us about SCOTUS, the ACA, and the GOP.

Here’s Keith:

Why was a vague liberal law passed by Congress upheld by a conservative Court?

And why is Congress actually lucky that the Court upheld the law?

Precedent and legislative intent saved the law.  The Court, confronted with ambiguity in the law, looked to the broader structure of the law.  Chief Justice Roberts and the 6-3 majority assessed Congress’s intent, determining that it “passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.” 

In looking at the act, the Court determined that ‘inartful drafting’ of the massive law was insufficient grounds to strike down a key provision.  Congress’s larger intent was to have all Americans be eligible for insurance tax credits, regardless of technical failures in the legislative language.

The outcome saved the Republican-controlled Congress from a potentially disastrous situation. Had the Court overturned the PPACA tax credit for individuals covered by the national health exchange, it would have wiped out expanded coverage for millions of low-income earners. The result would be two health insurance systems: one made of state health exchanges where people had broad-based coverage and also received a national subsidy; and another made up of states with far more uninsured who nonetheless paid taxes to subsidize healthcare elsewhere.

The chaotic disruption of the marketplaces in those states would have created a ‘death spiral’ for insurers who had organized and invested based on the new regulatory regime. Those insurers are also major campaign donors.  If Congress failed to restore the tax credit, voters who lost health coverage might have mobilized against congressional Republicans in the 2016 elections.

I have seen a lot of people excoriating John Roberts and talking about how liberal SCOTUS has turned under his leadership, but I am not buying it.

This decision was a no-brainer, and was far from a liberal decision, just as the ACA is not really a liberal policy.

Here’s Keith again:

It is, in many ways, a conservative decision. The Court has moved to protect a rent-seeking market.

Indeed.  The ACA is a massive, fugly, boondoggle that just backs more voters and more firms up to the trough.

A liberal policy would be government-run single-payer with tough price controls that ate into the incomes of doctors and cut the profits of big medicine.

A libertarian policy would be to stop the AMA from shrinking the supply of doctors, loosen licensing on many types of health care, allowing interstate competition among insurers, and so on.

The ACA is rent seeking on steroids. You know, just the way most conservatives like things.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Umpire Strikes Back

Some thoughts on Uber, and the California Labor Commission decision....

In August of 2011, my Twitter pal @pmarca (Marc Andreessen) wrote an article that will still be discussed 10 years from now, maybe longer. The title was “Why Software is Eating the World.” What was important about that article is that it recognized, and spelled out pretty clearly, the destructive power of smart phones with software apps that provide services. 

Not employees, mind you. Software. “Eats the world” was Andreessen's way of describing the death of traditional ways of doing business. 

Of course, one of the key examples of software eating the world is Uber. The company claims that it is not a provider of taxi services, but rather a software platform that helps a willing buyer and a qualified, nearby seller to find each other. 

And Uber is exactly right about that: Uber is not an employer of drivers, and it is not a seller of transport services. Uber is selling reductions in transactions costs: I want a ride, and you have a car and a few minutes. We could never find each other on our own, but with Uber we can make a convenient, mutually beneficial exchange in safety and with minimal fuss on clearing the payment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jackie Blue and the Coyote

So, Jackie Blue was out on the water, as folks in N'Ohlins often are.

About 10 miles north of Grand Isle.

And they (Sue was along) imagine they see...something swimming in the water.  This is not exactly open water, but it's not inland.  It's a good 1.5 miles from one marsh island to another, and they are pretty much halfway between them.

There ain't half been some clever bastards



Now, this is not a Chicago voting deal with more ballots than voters.

This is for realz.

They apparently are solving all current cases and going back to solve leftover open cases from previous years, giving them a 109% success rate.

Of course there were only 52 murders in the last financial year in the whole country (for comparison, the District of Columbia recorded 108 homicides in 2014).

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Frampton Comes Into Some Money!

Our long national nightmare is over.

UNC physics prof, and self-proclaimed dater of Argentine bikini models, has had his back salary restored (at least up until the time that he was fired).

More importantly, the rule of law has been restored.  Yes, you can go off to Argentina on some delusional quest, be fooled into selling drugs, and be jailed for years, and still keep your university job!

If you haven't been following the story, here is our previous coverage.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Scotland Denies Angus!

Our "Man in Scotland," K. "Haggis Man" Gaddie, sends this message from the field:

Scottish transit WiFi blocks "Kids Prefer Cheese" ... did you upset Adam Smith?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NY Times Causes Head of Mungowitz to Explode

With thanks to Greg Barkimer, who saw this and knew it was gold. An actual headline, seriously, in the New York Times:

Bird Flu Sends Egg Prices Up, but Slowing Demand Prevents Shortages 

Um....yes.  How economically illiterate would you have to be to write that headline?  Answer:  illiterate enough to work for the New York Times.  

Because this is on the order of "Water:  Still Wet!" or "That Crazy Sun:  Rising in the East Again This Morning."

There can never, NEVER be a shortage if prices are free to adjust.  Because a shortage is insufficient supply at current prices.  Lagniappe:  This was in the "Science" section.  Yes, it was.

(updated to correct typos)

(Update 2:  Ya know.... I'm not so sure. Maybe it's a dumb headline. But maybe it was clever clickbait. The whole thing is a little too pat. If so, well played, NYTimes. You used me like an old toilet seat.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WalMart Fight

I didn't even know that WalMart fights were a "thing."

Josh Hall, not surprisingly, was fully aware.  Not gonna say any more, just gonna give him credit for the find.

Problem:  Now I've seen the best one.  Even the after-story is excellent.

So I went from ignorant to done in 3 minutes.  The LMM says that that reminds her of me on our wedding night.  She's hilarious, that lady.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Goin' All Boudreaux: Paying Attention....

So, Gene Nichol (who I like, personally) wrote a piece about ID requirements.

I had to respond.  So I went all Boudreaux on him.


It appears my good friend Gene Nichol has done some field work and discovered (“An unforgivable quest for ID,” June 12 Point of View) that government agencies are inefficient and that state “service” workers are rude and indifferent to the public. 

 Until now, it seemed that he wanted the state to run nearly every aspect of our lives. But he has seen the light. 

Well, better late than never! Everyone becomes a Libertarian eventually, if they are paying attention. 

Michael Munger

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Essential Hayek

A very interesting and useful new set of resources, from Don Boudreaux and the Fraser Institute.

The Essential Hayek.
(Doesn't come live until tomorrow...)

From the book, the Table of Contents:

Foreword, by Václav Klaus / 1
Introduction / 7
Selected Hayek passages explained
1. How we make sense of an incredibly complex world / 12
2. Knowledge and prices / 17
3. Individual flourishing and spontaneous order / 24
4. The rule of law, freedom, and prosperity / 28
5. Legislation is distinct from law / 32
6. False economic security and the road to serfdom / 39
7. Economic booms and busts / 46
8. The curse of inflation / 56
9. The challenge of living successfully in modern society / 62
10. Ideas have consequences / 71
Suggestions for further reading / 77

I'll be using it in class!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lemonade Scofflaws Brought to Justice

I guess I just read the news differently from most folks.

When most people read this, they seem to think, "Those terrible police!"


Television station KLTV reports that 8-year-old Andria Green and her 7-year-old sister, Zoey, will take only donations for lemonade Saturday in Overton, about 120 miles east of Dallas. 

A police officer on Monday approached the stand, which offered lemonade for 50 cents and "kettle korn" for $1. In patrol-car video, the officer can be heard asking the girls' mother, Sandi Evans, for a permit. She says she wasn't aware they needed one. 

A family friend went to City Hall to get one. Authorities waived the $150 fee, but said health department officials needed to inspect the stand. Overton's police chief says police must follow state health guidelines.

When I read it, I think, "Well, I don't fault the police.  The people that run 'em got 'em on a short leash."  (Yes, that's from Corporate Avenger.)  They have to enforce the law.  That's their job.  The law has specific meaning, and is made up of words selected by legislators, NOT the police.  These words, and not some other words, are THE law.  One law for everybody.  If it's a law, the police have to enforce it.  Not only is the police chief right, he is obviously right.

The THING.  The THING ITSELF, folks.  The law is an ass.  If you want less injustice, have fewer laws.  I don't fault the police.  And you shouldn't, either.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Framed! Philosophers are no better at this than the rest of us

Interesting that they found this result.  I guess I'm surprised, at least a little.  Although "Fiery Cushman" is an excellent name, I have to admit.

Philosophers’ biased judgments persist despite training, expertise and reflection 

Eric Schwitzgebel & Fiery Cushman
Cognition, August 2015, Pages 127–137

Abstract: We examined the effects of framing and order of presentation on professional philosophers’ judgments about a moral puzzle case (the “trolley problem”) and a version of the Tversky & Kahneman “Asian disease” scenario. Professional philosophers exhibited substantial framing effects and order effects, and were no less subject to such effects than was a comparison group of non-philosopher academic participants. Framing and order effects were not reduced by a forced delay during which participants were encouraged to consider “different variants of the scenario or different ways of describing the case”. Nor were framing and order effects lower among participants reporting familiarity with the trolley problem or with loss-aversion framing effects, nor among those reporting having had a stable opinion on the issues before participating in the experiment, nor among those reporting expertise on the very issues in question. Thus, for these scenario types, neither framing effects nor order effects appear to be reduced even by high levels of academic expertise.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

lookin' for love (in all the wrong places)

Nicci Taylor wants love. So she came up with a plan:

1. Sell all your stuff
2. Buy a camper
3. Drive it around looking for your soulmate

So far so good. But people, SHE IS GOING TO DRIVE IT AROUND SCOTLAND!!!


Look I understand she's in England, and when the mean is that low any variance can be welfare improving, but Scotland?

People, here is the best looking human ever to come from Scotland:

Nicci is doomed.

Monday, June 08, 2015

An old lesson....

A shortage is when there is an insufficient amount to satisfy demand at the existing price.

I have lived during shortages.  I knew shortages.  Shortages are something I learned to deal with.  Egg supply shock, you're no shortage.  

Unless we make it one:

The desire to believe....

One has to feel sorry for this man.

But the thing reads like an "Onion" story.  I mean...reincarnated?  Pay me more, so when she is reincarnated you can marry her then?  An 80 mile bridge to nowhere?

On second thought, this sounds more like the Congressional Record than the Onion.