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).