LA restaurant imposes surcharge to pay for #Obamacare

February 18, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

What is it we like to say, folks? That’s right, “Elections have consequences!” When you vote for a party that insists against all sound reason on passing legislation that raises a business’ cost, said business is likely to pass that cost along to the consumer — us.

It’s called economics, progressives. You should acquaint yourselves with it, sometime.

Anyway, a hot new Los Angeles restaurant, Republique (1), has added a 3% surcharge to all tickets to cover the cost of their new, more expensive, Obamacare-mandated insurance:

Republique has taken heat from patrons for the tacked-on cost, but managing partner Bill Chait told Southern California Public Radio there is a method behind the madness.

The restaurant wanted its 80-plus workers to be full-time workers, but the health care law in the coming years will require large employers to provide health coverage to its full-timers or pay fines.

Although the Obama administration has delayed the mandate for companies of 50 to 99 employees to 2016, critics say the rule is forcing employers to trim payroll or move people to part-time status ahead of time.

From there, employees can fend for themselves on new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare.

“There’s an inherent incentive to put people in the exchanges and not through the restaurant and their employers if they’re part-time employees,” Mr. Chait told SCPR.

But that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Chait or chef Walter Manzke.

Chait and Manzke decided that they needed full-time staff to provide the best service possible to their customers, and that in turn meant paying more for insurance. And that in its turn lead to the decision to charge customers more. All of these are reasonable business decisions, and I have no problem with Chait and Manzke’s decision. It’s their business, their property. And they seem to have made their peace with it. (2)

(Or maybe they don’t want to tick off their trendy, mostly liberal customers by complaining…)

What I do have a problem with is government forcing them to make a choice that leads to higher prices for consumers, especially when it’s clearer every day that this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law, which a majority of the nation has never wanted and which was shoved down our throats, is not going to do a bloody thing it promised and in fact is going to make things worse. (For the latest example…)

Obamacare doesn’t just need to be repealed. It needs to be staked and buried under a crossroads at midnight.

Here’s a video report from KCAL 9.

via The Right Scoop.

Footnote:
(1) No menu online? Dudes, really?
(2) You can have fun watching customers argue with each other over the surcharge in their Yelp reviews.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


County government crushes little girl’s cupcake business

January 31, 2014
I said, no fun allowed!

I said, no fun allowed!

And you thought the Nanny State’s “war on child entrepreneurs” was over, after the Great Lemonade Stand War of 2010-11. I’m sorry to say, my friends, that the enemy, enterprising children who want to earn a little money, has opened a new front, threatening us all with the horror of unregulated micro-businesses.

Thank God, however, that the Madison County, Illinois, Health Department is there to protect us from the danger of unlicensed cupcakes:

After-school jobs are tougher to keep, apparently, than they used to be.

On Sunday, a Belleville News-Democrat story featured 11-year-old Chloe Stirling of Troy, Ill., a sixth-grader at Triad Middle School who makes about $200 a month selling cupcakes.

According to a report I watched on Megyn Kelly’s show last night, her parents, seeing Chloe was both serious at her new hobby and good at it, made her an offer: if she saves the money she earns through selling cupcakes, they will match it when she’s 16 and help her buy a car. Great idea, right? Chloe learns some skills and responsibility, how to set and meet goals, and, who knows, maybe she goes on to open her own bakery and creates jobs for other people. “Women’s empowerment,” know what I’m saying?

Winning situation all-around, right?

Well, Nanny State is right there to put an end to this nonsense!

“[The county] called and said they were shutting us down,” Heather Stirling, Chloe’s mother, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Officials told Stirling Chloe could continue selling cupcakes on the condition that the family “buy a bakery or build her a kitchen separate from the one we have.”

“Obviously, we can’t do that,” Heather Stirling told reporters. “We’ve already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in, and her grandparents bought her a stand mixer.”

The elder Stirling said that she was willing to get her daughter any necessary licenses or permits to operate a business, but could not meet the health department’s other demands.

“But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?” asked an astonished Stirling.

When asked why they were curb-stomping an 11-year old’s business, martinets for Madison county started channeling Judge Dredd:

Health department spokeswoman Amy Yeager said they had no choice but to ask Chloe to close Hey Cupcake.

The rules are the rules. It’s for the protection of the public health. The guidelines apply to everyone,’ she said.

Sharon Valentine, environmental health manager at St Clair County (1) Health Department, added: ‘If we let one person do it, how can we tell the person with 30 cats in their home that they can’t do it? A line has to be drawn.’

The local health department had been tipped off to Chloe’s baking business after she appeared on the front page of Belleville News Democrat at the weekend.

Somehow –and you can call me “naive”– but I think the “crazy cat lady” scenario is a bit different than a grade-schooler in her parents’ kitchen.

Now, lest I sound like a foaming at the mouth anarcho-capitalist, I’m not averse to regulating food businesses for public health. Restaurants, commercial bakeries, butcher shops and so forth, sure. There is a legit public health interest.

Still, let’s be reasonable here. This is the equivalent of making little Julie Murphy cry in the name of enforcing regulations really meant for adults and real businesses. Asking the parents to buy an inexpensive license, which they were willing to do, and maybe submit the kitchen to a health inspection should be enough.

But “buy a bakery or build a separate kitchen??” That smacks of a petty bureaucrat being bored and needing some enforcement actions to show for the annual review.

And maybe a little bit of cartelism, too. Reason has written several good articles about how occupational licenses are used to limit competition.

Such as from little girls who are saving for their first car.

License required.

License required

Footnote:
(1) Not sure why the Mail reporter called St. Clair county, which is next door to Madison county. I guess from a UK point of view, all those American counties look alike.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Herb-roasted chicken

January 17, 2014

Because it’s Friday and because I’ve had today off and because I just don’t feel like ranting about politics today (1), we’re going to take a digression today into one of my hobbies, cooking.

A lifelong bachelor whose mother didn’t believe in kids in the kitchen, I had to teach myself when I left home. And, while I’m a pretty good cook, my self-education has been spotty in the basics; there are just some things I’ve never tried, and one of those is the basic roast chicken. (Cue shocked gasps from the audience)

Anyway, I found this great web site, No Recipes Required, which provides tasty recipes and, most importantly for me, videos of the techniques used. I can’t tell you how much it helps to know “Oh, it’s supposed to look like that!”

So, back to roast chicken. Here’s site owner Dave Beaulieu’s (2) video of how to make a roast chicken with fresh herbs. (Recipe at the link).

See? So easy, even a progressive could do it without government help.

Enjoy.

smiley eating gluttony

Footnotes:
(1) Oh, okay, just one. (ahem…) “Impeach Eric Holder!!” There, happy now?
(2) I wonder if Dave’s related to the Beaulieu wine family? Here in California, that would make him a demi-god.


#Obamacare: If we bought coffee the way we now buy health insurance

December 10, 2013

Via David Freddoso, this is a funny little satire of what we’re now experiencing under the Affordable Care Act:

Quote:

“Ha-ha-ha! Of course it’s a free country! Or, we like to tell people that…”

Scary thing is, I worry Starbucks might go for this…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


School confiscates cupcakes decorated with plastic “Army men”

March 8, 2013
"Quick, children! Cover your eyes!"

“Quick, children! Cover your eyes!”

Because, you know, someone might be scarred for life at the sight of a tiny plastic rifle.

Or, even worse, they might want to –*gulp!*– “play Army.”

Thank God our courageous educators were there to prevent a crisis:

A Michigan elementary school is defending its decision to confiscate a third-graders batch of homemade cupcakes because the birthday treats were decorated with plastic green Army soldiers.

Casey Fountain told Fox News that the principal of his son’s elementary school called the cupcakes “insensitive” — in light of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

“It disgusted me,” he said. “It’s vile they lump true American heroes with psychopathic killers.”

Fountain’s wife made a batch of 30 chocolate cupcakes for their son Hunter’s classmates at Schall Elementary School in the town of Caro. The 9-year-old helped decorate the treats with plastic figurines representing World War Two soldiers.

The following morning Fountain said his wife delivered the cupcakes to the front office. The secretary complimented her on the decorations and then took the cakes to Hunter’s class.

“About 15 minutes later the school called my wife and told her the couldn’t serve the cupcakes because the soldiers had guns,” Fountain told Fox News. “My wife told them to remove the soldiers and serve the cupcakes anyway — and I believe she may have used more colorful language.”

The school complied and confiscated the soldiers — sending them home with Hunter in a bag.

Because representations of American soldiers, who’ve been fighting and dying for human liberty since 1775, and especially little figurines of U.S. WWII soldiers, who only liberated half the danged planet, are no different than gunmen who shoot up schools and movie theaters; they’re just too horrifying to behold.

If you’re a Michigan school official.

I swear I’m getting more and more sympathetic toward home-schooling with each passing day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Egyptian Government to Egyptians: “It’s your fault there’s not enough food.”

February 6, 2013

That’s the message from the government of President Mohammad Mursi when, faced with the reality that they cannot afford to buy enough food to feed everyone in a country with 40% unemployment, they tell Egyptians to shut up and eat less:

“Even Islamists have to eat,” I wrote under the headline “Food and Failed Arab States” in February 2011. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government takes a different view, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The trouble, the government says, is that Egyptians are eating too much. In a separate report, the government proposed to cut back its bread subsidy to three hand-sized loaves of pita bread per person per day, about 400 calories’ worth. A state that can’t feed its people is a failed state, and that’s why the Egyptian state is at the brink of collapse, as Egypt’s defense minister warned last week.

According to the Post report, the government is telling Egyptians (almost half of whom live on less than $2 a day) to eat less. You can’t make this sort of thing up. Egypt lost another $1.4 billion in foreign exchange reserves in January, and probably is flat broke after figuring in arrears to oil and food suppliers, and it imports half its food, so something had to give. In response, Egypt’s Islamist government is emulating North Korea’s approach to food shortages..”

Read the rest: Egypt is a mass famine just waiting to happen. Though the Islamist government owns the response to the crisis, the problem isn’t of their making; Egyptian governments have long subsidized the price of basic commodities, trying, as authoritarian regimes the world over have tried, to buy social peace by shielding consumers from the real prices of necessities like food and fuel. When the inevitable happens and the government can no longer afford to maintain those subsidies, thus leading to massive price increases, you get social disorder and, in Egypt’s case, a likely failing state.

Given Egypt’s love of conspiracy theories, don’t be surprised if the government plays the “blame the Jews” card and the people buy it.

Good thing Team Smart Power is carrying out on its promise to sell F-16s and Abrams tanks to a Jew-hating, Islamist government that just might want a nice distraction.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Restaurant to charge surcharge to pay for Obamacare

November 15, 2012

Obamacare economist in action

It’s the iron logic of economics, really: either you recoup your costs and make a sufficient profit to justify staying in business, or you go out of business. In this case, not only is the owner of several Denny’s restaurants cutting employee hours to balance the cost, he’s also adding an explicit Obamacare surcharge to each check:

Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny’s and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers’ bills and will reduce his employees’ hours.

With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is ‘the only alternative. I’ve got to pass on the cost to the customer.’

The fast-food business owner is set to hold meetings at his restaurants in December where he will tell employees, ‘that because of Obamacare, we are going to be cutting front-of-the-house employees to under 30 hours, effective immediately.’

Obamacare requires employers with 50 or more workers to offer a state-approved (and more expensive) health plan or face fines of $2,000 per uncovered full-time employee. For operations run on typically thin margins, like restaurants, and with a bad economy already making things tough, the options offered are potentially crippling or even fatal to a business. Thus Obamacare creates a perverse incentive to contain costs by cutting hours, which hurts employees, and raising prices, which hurts the consumer.

(And, I don’t know about your area, but a lot of Denny’s customers I see are on fixed incomes. As anyone who understands basic economics (1) knows, businesses usually deal with increased costs by passing them on to the customer. Ergo, Obamacare harms people on fixed incomes.)

Metz recognizes he may lose a fair amount of business by making the Obamacare surcharge explicit, but I say “Good for him” and I hope other service industries make that same decision. Why shouldn’t people know just what goes into their bill, aside from the cost of the meal, itself? We break out sales tax, don’t we? And there’s a separate line for tips, so why not one for our glorious new “free” health care plan?

Maybe, if there’s enough pain and it’s made clear where it comes from, voters will be motivated to do something about it in 2014 and 2016.

And maybe they’ll finally realize that elections have consequences.

via Pirate’s Cove, which has more.

Footnote:
(1) This of course excludes leftists, Democratic members of Congress, the President, and the average Obama voter.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mitt Romney pays his own way… and tips well, too!

October 6, 2012

After a campaign stop in Florida, Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, had a craving for Cuban food, so they stopped for takeout at La Teresita in St. Petersburg (1). The staff didn’t want to let them pay, but the Romneys wouldn’t hear of it:

Mitt Romney is believed to have amassed a fortune of more than $200million from his career as a private equity boss.

So he can certainly afford to pay for his own takeout food as he travels around America on the campaign trail.

And when the Republican presidential candidate visited a Cuban diner in Florida yesterday, he insisted on being treated like an average customer.

(…)

During the unscheduled visit, the couple picked up some pastries and a serving of soup.

The restaurant staff refused to allow the multi-millionaire to pay for his order – but Mr Romney eventually prevailed, leaving a $40 tip.

Contrast that with a certain other candidate who, um… “forgot” to pay.

Good move all around on the Romney’s part: not only does he have to woo Cuban-Americans to win Florida’s electoral votes, not only do they see that the multi-millionaire pays like anyone else, but Cuban food is also good. I love Cubano sandwiches. Throw in some fried plantains and lemonade and I’m one happy blogger.

And, of course, no candidate can go without posing with babies:

(Courtesy Daily Mail)

Awww….

via Blue Crab Boulevard

Footnote:
(1) The article says St. Petersburg, but the Web says Tampa. Judging from the photos, I think I have the right web site…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tomatoes are a Crusader plot against Islam!!

June 18, 2012

And they wonder why we laugh and point sometimes:

OMG! A cross!!

A Salafist group called the Popular Egyptian Islamic Association has come under fire after sending out a warning on Facebook urging its followers not to eat tomatoes because the vegetable (or fruit) is a Christian food.

The group posted a photo on its page of a tomato – which appears to reveal the shape of a cross after being cut in half – along with the message: “Eating tomatoes is forbidden because they are Christian. [The tomato] praises the cross instead of Allah and says that Allah is three (a reference to the Trinity).

We all know this is ridiculous, of course. Tomatoes in no way offend Islam. Besides, they’re great in kebabs.

Ice cream cones, on the other hand, are an insult worthy of jihad.

UPDATE: And how could I forget that other decadent, anti-Islamic food, pizza?

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Moving from tragedy to farce, the UN condemns the evil that is… Canada

May 17, 2012

Well, at least they’re on the same wavelength as South Park.

No, seriously. The “Special Rapporteur on the right to food” for the UN Human Rights Council (We’ve met them before) has decried the lack of “a national right to food strategy” in one of the wealthiest, best-run democracies on the planet:

“Canada has long been seen as a land of plenty. Yet today one in ten families with a child under six is unable to meet their daily food needs. These rates of food insecurity are unacceptable, and it is time for Canada to adopt a national right to food strategy,” said Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, on the last day of his official visit to the country.*

“What I’ve seen in Canada is a system that presents barriers for the poor to access nutritious diets and that tolerates increased inequalities between rich and poor, and Aboriginal non-Aboriginal peoples. Canada is much admired for its achievements in the area of human rights, which it has championed for many years. But hunger and access to adequate diets, too, are human rights issues — and here much remains to be done.”

The UN human rights expert was nonetheless confident that the country could move towards establishing food systems that deliver adequate and affordable diets for all, and called upon the Canadian government to convene a national food conference that would clarify the allocation of responsibilities between the federal level, the provinces and territories. “All political parties have expressed support for the establishment of a national food policy, and the engagement of citizens through food policy councils across the country is truly impressive. But in order to address them, Canada must first recognize the reality of the challenges it faces,” he stated.

And, at the same time that Canada is heartlessly letting people starve, De Schutter covers all his bases by warning an even great number are obese:

Second, more than one in four Canadian adults are obese, and almost two thirds of the population is overweight or obese, costing at least 5 billion Canadian dollars annually in health care costs and in lost productivity. “This is also a result of poverty: adequate diets have become too expensive for poor Canadians, and it is precisely these people who have to pay the most when they live in food deserts and depend on convenience stores that charge higher prices than the main retailers.”

Over-fed, under-fed, wrongly-fed… Canada just can’t win.

Of course, the UN bureaucrat’s recommendation is… Wait for it… more government intervention in the economy, including (he hints) price regulations and income guarantees for farmers. And, of course, it’s a shame that school meal policies are left to the locals. National planning is the answer.

And it’s not just for access to food. When complaining about the lack of access to nutritious diets, De Schutter subtly suggests a need to control what Canadians eat, too. This guy would be right at home in a North Carolina preschool. Or maybe De Schutter, Mayor Bloomberg, and Michelle Obama could get their own FoodTV show, “Nanny cooks — and you’ll like it!”

Gosh, I don’t know. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that the democratically elected governments of Canada –federal, provincial, and local– can decide for themselves what kind of food policy Canadians need. If Canadians need any at all, since they’re perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what they want to eat and whether they have access to what they need.

Though I’ll grant it’s a bit much to expect a transnationalist statist bureaucrat from the mack-daddy of transnationalist statist organizations to grasp that simple concept, since it means he’d have fewer opportunities for globe-hopping, expenses-paid  trips to hector other people.

Naturally, the Canadian government wasn’t amused, as Reuters reports:

After De Schutter complained in a newspaper interview that no federal cabinet minister had agreed to meet him, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, from Canada’s aboriginal Inuit population, met him on Wednesday.

But the meeting did not seem to go well.

“I met with the individual this morning and I found him to be an ill-informed, patronizing academic studying, once again, the aboriginal people, Inuit and Canada’s Arctic from afar,” Aglukkaq told Parliament.

Looks like DeSchutter’s report will get the reception it deserves — a trip to the ash can.

via Nile Gardiner, to whom I give the last observation:

One would think the United Nations would be concerned with real deprivation and hunger, in places like North Korea and Zimbabwe, instead of focusing on one of the richest countries in the world, with among the highest overall living standards on the planet. Even the UN’s own Human Development Index (HDI) ranks Canada sixth in the world out of 187 countries. But then again, De Schutter represents the discredited UN Human Rights Council, which includes in its membership some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, such as China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Its bar has been set so low that even Libya under Colonel Gaddafi was elected to membership. The HRC is a farce, and their latest report on Canada is further proof of it.

Indeed.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Great Norwegian Butter Crisis

December 23, 2011

Apparently there’s a country-wide shortage of butter in Norway, just as Christmas approaches and everyone needs butter for their Christmas cakes. The horror!

Anyway, some insensitive American comics have been making jokes about Norway’s butter trauma, and one brave Norwegian lad has decided to give us a piece of his butter-deprived mind:

So there. Don’t you butter-hogging Americans feel ashamed?

For background, read this article at Canada’s National Post. It seems the Great Norwegian Butter Crisis of 2011is a sterling example of why government monopolies are far inferior to free markets.

Meanwhile, let’s have some pity on the poor, butter-less Norwegians, okay? No fair laughing! 

via exJon

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Chronicles of the new barbarians — #OccupySanDiego

November 8, 2011

They just want to spread the wealth around.

My blog-buddy Sister Toldjah has a post up about the appalling behavior of those who claim to represent “the little guy” in San Diego: two small businesses (micro, really) made the mistake of trying to be nice and started giving free food and drink to the “Occupiers,” then learned that the “requests” were really endless demands and that they would be bankrupted if this kept up. So the vendors, “little guys” like the rest of us, did the logical thing: they cut the “Occupiers” moochers off. What did the valiant warriors for the 99% do in return?

They trashed the two businesses, including hitting them with blood and urine. The owners may well be forced out of business because of this.

And, like Oakland’s Mayor Quan, San Diego’s mayor is a spineless appeaser.

Occupy really are the new Vandals, and violence is their core.

PS:
Do visit ST’s post. She’s posted information about how we can help the vendors recover their businesses.

PPS:
Remember, Democrats: your party supports these thugs.


Science: why cold pizza tastes so good

November 4, 2011

No better breakfast

Now this is Nobel Prize-worthy!

A Scottish chemistry lecturer believes she has discovered the scientific reason why cold, left-over pizza, tastes so good the morning after.

Dr Maureen Cooper, from Stirling University, says the answer lies in the properties of the tomato puree.

The traditional pizza base has fibres which trap water, preventing it from seeping through to the cooked dough and making it soggy.

Given that fat and water do not mix, the melted cheese topping then sits nicely above the puree.

Dr Cooper explained: “We all see the grease on plates which causes washing-up liquid to float on top.

“That is because oil and water do not mix. That same phenomenon can be applied to the cold pizza.

“Because the fat does not go through to the base, the pizza itself tastes so much better.

Sure, it’s an old article, but this is important stuff.

Besides, we all know cold pizza is Nature’s perfect food.

PS: Just, please, Dear God. Tell me they don’t use haggis as a topping….


North Carolina’s Nanny-Stater of the Month

June 1, 2011

Yes, this month’s award goes to a busybody in the backyard of my blog-buddy, ST. Now, you may think you want your hamburger rare or medium-rare (1). You might even be looking forward to it.

Well, forget it! Nanny knows best what you can eat, so nothing less than (flavorless) medium for you, Bub!

Presenting Reason.TV‘s Nanny of the Month for May 2011, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources:

Thank goodness the State is there to make the choices we can’t be trusted with. 

(1) FWIW, I’m a “rare side of medium-rare” kind of guy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pizza is a conspiracy against Iran!

February 8, 2011

An obvious agent of Western imperialism

It’s a fundamental feature of totalitarian societies that they have to control all aspects of life: politics, economics, religious beliefs, what we know of the past and how we see the present and future — nothing is too small to escape the need for control.

Not even the food we eat. In fascist Iran, cooking shows may no longer teach people how to fix decadent Western dishes:

After ridding Iranian universities of “Western subjects,” authorities in Tehran are making sure that local cooking shows also adhere to the spirit of the Ayatollah regime.

On Sunday, Iran’s broadcasting authority forbade television channels in the country to air cooking shows featuring “Western” dishes. As it turns out, the dozes of official TV stations in Iran currently feature shows that offer their viewers recipes for Italian and French dishes, an apparently grave sin in the Islamic republic.

“Television should show viewers abroad and Persian speakers the great and important achievements of the Islamic revolution,” the broadcasting authority’s deputy director, Ali Darabi, was quoted as saying as he explained the move. The decision was taken ahead of “Islamic Revolution Day,” which will mark the 32nd anniversary of the Persian shah’s downfall.

Let’s hope Michelle Obama doesn’t get any ideas… .

via Big Peace

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Meet the living incarnation of the Nanny State

December 14, 2010

No, it’s not Barack Obama or Michael Bloomberg, though they’re both worthy choices. And, in Obama’s case, you’re close; the Great American Nanny Award for best exemplifying the need to mind everyone else’s business goes to his wife, Michelle Obama, for this quote:

“Childhood obesity isn’t just a public health threat, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well…. We can’t just leave it up to the parents.”

Get that parents? You’re not only a priori incompetent to raise your children, but you’re a danger to the nation, too! Good thing the State is here to save us from ourselves.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have this unaccountable urge to read Brave New World again, followed by Liberal Fascism.

LINK: More from Fausta.

(via Jennifer Rubin)


When bureaucrats get bored

June 30, 2010

Boredom must be a real problem for bureaucrats, especially in the European Union. How else does one explain jackassery such as this?

EU to ban selling eggs by dozen

Shoppers will be banned from buying bread rolls or eggs priced by the dozen under new food labelling regulations proposed by the European parliament.

Under the draft legislation, to come into force as early as next year, the sale of groceries using the simple measurement of numbers will be replaced by an EU-wide system based on weight.

It would mean an end to packaging descriptions such as eggs by the dozen, four-packs of apples, six bread rolls or boxes of 12 fish fingers.

The Government appeared to have been caught out by the change, but yesterday Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, signalled Britain would now step in to prevent the rule being enforced.

MEPs last week voted against an amendment to new food labelling regulations that would allow individual states to nominate products that can be sold by number rather than by weight.

Individual countries are currently allowed to specify exemptions but the new rules under discussion make no such provisions.

The changes would cost the food and retail industries millions of pounds as items would have to be individually weighed to ensure the accuracy of the label.

That last should read “…needlessly cost the food and retail industries millions of pounds…” Sure, standardization has some benefits, but how much will EU consumer benefit as compared to the expenses born by the companies (which they’ll pass on to consumers)? Is it really worth it?

And why even bother? What pressing Union-wide need was there for this rule? Doesn’t Brussels have anything better to do? Doesn’t the European Parliament care about this further micromanagement of daily life by a distant bureaucracy?

I think we know the answer to that.

PS. And America is on the same path.

(via Dan Mitchell)


Making fudge, EU-style

May 28, 2010

Here’s another video from the TaxPayer’s Alliance, this one explaining how the European Union’s agricultural policies leave Britons paying £398/$575 more than they should for their groceries. Maybe it’s because I like to cook and I’m a Jamie Oliver fan, but I think it’s effective – and it made me laugh:

More seriously, the trade barriers set up against agricultural goods from outside the EU is a real scandal: they preach sanctimoniously about “helping the Third World,” yet they block African goods from their markets, denying farmers there a chance to make good money and lift themselves from poverty, all to support a highly subsidized EU farm sector.

And, yeah, I support getting rid of agricultural subsidies and tariffs here, too. They’re mostly welfare for the big agribusiness farms.


Nanny says “No salt!!”

April 20, 2010

I guess the FDA was feeling left out after the EPA decided that carbon dioxide was a pollutant and a public danger.  I mean, why shouldn’t they join the party and make themselves look ridiculous, too? But how best to do it… I know! Let’s regulate the salt you’re allowed to eat!

The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according to FDA sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the initiative had not been formally announced.

Officials have not determined the salt limits. In a complicated undertaking, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market, sources said. Working with food manufacturers, the government would set limits for salt in these categories, designed to gradually ratchet down sodium consumption. The changes would be calibrated so that consumers barely notice the modification.

The legal limits would be open to public comment, but administration officials do not think they need additional authority from Congress.

Maybe they don’t need any additional authority (maybe), but they need a good dose of common sense. Processed foods are already required to list their ingredients; if someone has to monitor their sodium intake, then treat them as an adult and let them make those choices for themselves. We don’t need a multi-billion dollar program (Come on, you just know it will cost that much.) to pay for government regulators to guard us from the dangers inherent in the humble potato chip.

But there’s the problem: the essence of the progressive-statist mindset is exactly that you are not competent to decide for yourselves, that government has to watch over you, protect you from yourself. For the good of all, it has to treat you like a child. Snack foods, health care, how your money is spent… There is no end to Nanny’s need to, well, nanny you.

Of course, science really doesn’t enter into this decision: the consensus has been that salt is related to heart disease, thus giving the FDA its reason for action. Yet recent studies have called that consensus into question; the science may not be so settled. (via Hot Air) Not that this utterly disproves salt’s connection to heart disease, but it should give reasonable people pause before creating an expensive (and taste-killing) regulatory regime.

But Nanny isn’t reasonable.

LINKS: At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson thinks the government has finally found its jobs plan. Fausta calls it lunacy.


I’ll have the specialty of the gulag, please

December 21, 2009

We in Los Angeles are lucky to have restaurants serving fine cuisines from around the world, from as familiar as Mexican and Middle-Eastern to as exotic as Tibetan. But if you hanker for real North Korean home-cooking, you’ll have to go to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. You’ll be treated to the Dear Leader Dinner Show, but don’t try to take any pictures:

Thank you, thank you! We'll be here all weekend!

“A flat-screen TV on the stage showed a contiuous video of The Wonderful World of North Korea. The film consisted mainly of nature shots. But my favorite scenes showed traffic in North Korea: in one scene, you saw a train travelling the countryside, in another you saw city streets that were absolutely deserted – except for a lone bus. Both the train and the bus looked like ca 1950. Almost like the kind of miniature trains and vehicles you sometimes find on nostalgic kiddie karoussels. Unfortunately, we can safely assume that that train and that bus in the video must be cutting-edge technology and design in North Korea.”

Do read the rest. It sounds positively surreal.

I wonder what happens if you complain about the service? Nailbiting

(via Exurban League)


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