February 19, 2015

Single Best Argument for Libertarianism

If I could sell one single idea, I would think it might be: "Government has no valid role in diet and nutrition."

You can attack it with consequentialist arguments: "they suck!" Or you can attack it with first principles: there is a very vibrant market in literature and ideas in the nutrition and exercise space; government is not needed.

But the Feds have fallen on their face, repeatedly, from the Four Best Lobbyists 4 Food Groups , the Food Pyramid. MyPlate.gov. Once again. Emily Litella style, they say "nevermind." This time on cholesterol. But rather than humility (I do kid myself sometimes), the new guidelines just airbrush out all the b******t they told you last time, while hectoring you on several new and very dubious fronts.

But the broadminded approach extends a little too far; now everything from environmental sustainability to helping immigrants adjust to a new food culture falls under the DGAC's purview. And the committee hasn't really abandoned its tendency to single out specific nutrients as special diet dangers, suggesting that drinks with added sugars are a good candidate for targeted taxation:

For all those who did not DIE (all caps and ****-ed out swear words, damn, this is a rant) from the previous Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recommendations, you now have to be hectored on environmental concerns as well:
In addition to recommending particularly dietary patterns based on their ability to promote health, the report for the first time notes the advantages of "sustainable diets"

All this for an industry with a most vibrant private-sector discussion. Walmart* does not wait ten years -- they offer low-carb dieters a marvelous bucket of meat and cheese and cheese wrapped with meat. Capitalism rules!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:02 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I suspect all of us grew up with the Four Basic Food Groups* being drummed into us. The USDA has always been unduly influenced by parties seeking to tilt the scales to increase their industry's share of the shopping cart, and more recently, parties bound and determined to stigmatize meat. The way I hear it, meat is to the rest of the menu what fossil fuels are to wind and solar - the energy-density champion.

I'd sooner do away with the USDA entirely, its welfare programs and its bad regulations, and trust my family doctor, my high school health sciences teacher, and private experts whose opinion I value, and let me buy as I see fit**. When you all vote me into office, it'll happen.

*(I was once asked by a friend to name the Four Basic Food Groups in the REAL American diet as practiced, and to name one common dish that had it all. I quickly came up with lasagna, but I was wrong. The four food groups in the REAL American diet center around alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat -- and therefore Irish Coffee represents a balanced diet.)

** We'll see what the free market does with Little Caesar's latest concoction, linked here. I'm torn; Little Caesar's is the second-worst pizza chain around after Pizza Hut, but it's wrapped in three and a half feet of bacon. http://www.usatoday.com/…/little-caesars-fast-foo…/23565411/

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Errrr, let's try that again... http://usat.ly/1BrbuRW

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 19, 2015 11:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Cholesterol, Cholesterol! Good thing it's okay now.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2015 10:27 AM

January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolution

In the interest of all the creatures of the world except myself, I herewith resolve:

- To become a vegetarian,
- To purchase an electric car,
- To wear clothing woven from hemp fiber,
- To shower weekly instead of daily,
- To install solar panels on my home, battery storage in the basement, and break my unhealthy connection to the filthy industrial power grid,
- To stop resisting humanitarian efforts to improve the lives of everyone on earth at the expense of American prosperity,
- To say, "Yeah man" more often.

I realize that this is, in itself, not enough to atone for my selfish lifestyle for the past five plus decades, but it is only a beginning and I intend to redouble my efforts again next year. And I don't even consider it a sacrifice, as it is for the good of all life on earth. (Well, maybe not so good for plant life but we can't all be winners, right?] I have no doubt about the power of my intellect to wean myself from the unhealthy foods made from other creatures, like hamburgers, steak, chicken wings, bacon, ... ... ... nevermind.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:38 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. This is getting slightly better play on Facebook.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

A popular gag at my place of employment is to get on somebody else's (unlocked) computer and send group emails swearing gay love or antithetical opinions in the person's name. I got a queasy "he's been hacked by the NorKs" feeling before I hot the punchline.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2015 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps you were expecting an "unfriend" announcement as well? LOL

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 4:11 PM

November 4, 2014

Why America Can't Lose Weight

Hint: This post is categorized under "food" and not "exercise."

The Adkins diet has earned approbation on these pages, and here's another data point in favor. The new Qdoba burrito configurator web app that I stumbled upon shows, interactively, how many calories and how much fat is in your delicious, foil-wrapped "football." And the first question is the most important one: Tortilla or bowl? choose carefully... it is a 300 calorie decision you are making. Depending on your other choices that could double the calories of your meal. Or conversely, cut them in half.

But that bowl just adds more trash to the landfill! Boo hoo. You would protect the landfill from overflowing, rather than your beltline?

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2014

Imagine there's a paycheck

Have you seen the new Chipotle bag slogan, offering "people something to read while dining?"

"Hope that, in future, all is well, everyone eats free, and anyone who works actually gets paid for it."

Okay, I made that up from a collision of two stories about Chipotle this week:

Useful Idiots: Chipotle Espouses Communist Rhetoric On To-Go Bags from 'Tea Party News Network', and;

Chipotle workers say they work extra hours for no pay from CNN Money.

So is the bag slogan a proletarian fig-leaf for the Bourgeiose Chipotle corporatists? For its part I am critical of TPNN's take that "the Mexican grill took another step to the left by writing slogans on their bags that include plainly Communist rhetoric" with the slogan:

"Hope that, in future, all is well, everyone eats free, no one must work, all just sit around feeling love for one another."

I wrote on their FB post, "Am I the only one who recognizes the difference between "no one must work" and "no one DOES work?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I had also hoped to parlay this story into a "what would you spend your time doing if you didn't HAVE to work" comment fest.

My answer: I would build more and invent more. And maybe also farm more.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2014 6:15 PM
But jk thinks:

You were a little more generous than I with Chipoltle. I heard the strains of Merle Haggard warning us of "drinking free Bubble Up and eatin' that Rainbow Stew."

I think of the dumpster divers ("Freegans " -- that's the name) who are already there. They enjoy a lifestyle for which Willa Cathers' characters labored seven days a week and they are not impeded by work.

Likewise, I would hope for a future where yes, you could have a 2014 lifestyle without work, but that those choosing that would be equally derided. And the rest would still fervently produce to afford the latest flying car.

My public sector relatives are all retiring or discussing it, though most are younger than I am. I -- in perfect health -- would not dream of stopping in less than 12 years and then would hope to work half-days-most-days-a-week as my father did: a splendid "half-retirement" that lasted several years.

With my imperfect health, I worry monstrously that I might be shunted off to disability before then and I dread the idea. Playing guitar and reading on the weekend is a joy but I need the structure imposed by employment.

Which was the Vonnegut book where nobody works? It was a dystopia and the protagonist's best day is when he helps a person repair a car and gets $5. My economics and Vonnegut's are less than identical, but I think he nailed that one.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2014 7:38 PM
But dagny thinks:

Try a Heinlein book called Beyond this Horizon. It concludes that humans are basically productive and even when not, "working," per se they still create stuff that increases wealth.

Posted by: dagny at November 3, 2014 11:55 AM

May 29, 2014

C2H5OH Review Corner

The Centennial State is arguably the top micro brew state in the Union. The Refugee does not have visibility into the other 49 states, but it seems that the "micro" thing has also taken hold across the state in the realm of distilled spirits, specifically whiskeys. Daveco Liquors, named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest liquor store, is just five miles from The Refugee's house (and within shouting distance of several blog brethren); Daveco has a nice section of Colorado whiskeys. It just seemed like a really good idea for The Refugee to sample every one made in Colorado and report on them to Three Sourcers. So, prepare to grab one of JK's recommended readings and settle in with a wee dram.

First, The Refugee must explain his impeccable review credentials and methodology. He is specifically qualified to review whiskeys because he has two key attributes: a tongue and a keyboard. Oh, yeah - and a third thing - a credit card to pay for the stuff. For methodology, he puts a nice two-ounce pour over four ice cubes (made with filtered water) - never any extra water or other additives. If you've gotta mix it, then it can't be good. Of course, one sample is not enough. One must drink at least half the bottle (no, not in one sitting) to appreciate how the taste evolves over time. Just as there are different varieties of beers, there are different varieties of whiskeys. The Refugee does not try to categorize them for comparison, but just to make note of the variety. Whiskeys are evaluated based on five taste characteristics: smokiness, bitterness, sourness, astringency and taste strength. (Astringency is to whiskey as hoppiness is to beer.)

For a first review subject, The Refugee chose 303 Whiskey from Boulder Distillery. Interestingly, 303 (presumably named for the Denver/Boulder area code) is made from potatoes, not corn or grain as most whiskeys are. There is considerable debate in online discussion forums as to the authenticity of a potato-based whiskey. To The Refugee, it looks and tastes like whiskey, so he'll leave the labeling purity to others.

303 is a lighter color than many other whiskeys. It is packaged is a very plain bottle with a boring label, perhaps testimony that the makers are distillers and not marketers. Nevertheless, the bottle contents are a decent drink. Astringency, the first thing that hits your tongue with any whiskey, is moderate in 303. It's a little stronger than The Refugee cares for, but not so much that it interferes with tasting the drink. 303 has virtually no bitterness and very little sourness; in fact, it finishes with a bit of a sweet note. It's taste strength is rather nondescript: while pleasing enough, it does not leave you looking forward to the next glass. Nevertheless, The Refugee's impression of 303 improved over time. It gets better as you get deeper into the glass and the bottle.

At under $30 a bottle, 303 is a satisfactory drink and worth a try. Three tumblers.

Next up: Tincup Whiskey.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 4:35 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

303 seems a popular product name these days. And there is some congruity in a distilled spirit made from fermented potatoes being produced in the People's Democratic Republic of Boulder.

I appreciate the new column, and eagerly anticipate the next installment. I just unsealed my third bottle of Tincup since discovering it, also at Daveco, last year. Spoiler alert: It leaves me looking forward to the next glass.

Posted by: johngalt at May 29, 2014 7:25 PM
But jk thinks:

I eagerly await the series as well!

Stuck for weeks in the land of the greatest beer (sorry, lads, that's Britain) while on the Atkins Diet! I tried to transfer my affection to Scotch. My benefactor/CEO did a great job on your third point, covering the check. But he told my companions, out of earshot, that I lacked the discipline to sip and was poorly suited to the pastime.

Well, I was never a natural bike rider or hockey player either. But I always tried to compensate with enthusiasm -- and did the same for Scotch.

I question the rocks. Of course, in the UK you cannot buy ice for a million quid but don't you have to try it neat?

Posted by: jk at May 29, 2014 7:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder what the sage of the British Isles considers "disciplined sipping?" No more than 1 ounce per hour? Maybe two? You weren't shooting the stuff were you?

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2014 5:55 PM
But Jk thinks:

"Give every tooth a taste" was the buzzphrase.

RAH would like me; sipping, small bites, and moderation really are not my strong suits.

Posted by: Jk at May 30, 2014 6:10 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

OK, a neat sipping will be added to the test. At least one glass will be had neat.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 30, 2014 6:12 PM
But Jk thinks:

Sorry to add to your workload.

Posted by: Jk at May 30, 2014 10:14 PM

November 16, 2012

"Nut up or shut up"

"Someday very soon, life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go ... empty."


Is it too late to get Twinkies added to the endangered species list? Where's the EPA when we really NEED it!

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:29 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Mondo heh!

However, this being ThreeSources, I am going to warn good people not to allow non-union animus to cloud their economic thinking.

Greedy Bakers (Lochner v New York anybody?) may have hastened the demise of the yellow alleged food. But -- as Governor Romney tried to explain -- plants and brands of value will survive bankruptcy. If somebody wants to invest in Chrysler or Hostess, they can; else the assets will be put to greater use.

And if they are not wanted, it is the loud voice of the free market saying "we are wealthier now and have access to better tasting snacks."

Posted by: jk at November 16, 2012 12:23 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

New hashtag trending on Twitter, to the certain delight of readers and authors here:


Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 16, 2012 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Cloud? The movie clip tie-in is two-fold: First as evidence that the Zombie Apocalypse is surely nigh. Second, not to lament the demise of the Twinkie, but to celebrate the fungibility of capital, recipes and trademark rights. I fully expect, in due time, the Twinkie to be reborn. Perhaps even with the original brand name but under new ownership and not a whiff of union labor.

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2012 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Apologies if I misconstrued. We're into that C-word "Conservatism" again. I see some, if not y'all, waxing poetic about a snack of their youth at the expense of realizing that demand might be a bigger issue than bakers' benefits.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2012 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Waning demand may have soon sent Twinkies the way of buggy whips but free men willingly risked their capital on the bet that it would not. By refusing to make bakers' pension payments no longer the most expensive ingredient, the labor union's "consistently poor management" has decided the bet before it was placed.

And why does the union refuse to accomodate? Because doing so is an admission that everything free-market advocates have been saying is sustainably true - and everything the redistributionists say only works for as long as the faith holds out. In the case of Hostess the music has stopped and it's time to scramble for a seat. I look forward to seeing how the public reacts when the workers are left standing, despite the "protection" offered by their unionization.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2012 2:44 PM

October 20, 2012

Soi Disant -- or is that soy disant -- free people

We sure allow ourselves to be bullied by the Feds on food. Baylen J. Linnekin, Executive Director of Keep Food Legal, takes to Reason to list Ten Federal Food-Policy Issues Obama and Romney Should Discuss.

All ten are deeply depressing reminders of what we've given away. The Federal government performs paramilitary raids on raw milk, approves brand logos and packaging, gives (traditionally very bad) advice on nutrition, &c.

Trade all ten for the Tenth Amendment, good people.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:
"I've worked hard for every lump of coal I've taken out of the ground. And what do I have to show for it? I can't set my prices. I can't choose to whom I sell my product. The government takes what it wants, and taxes what it leaves behind!"

-Ken Dannager, Dannager Coal, Atlas Shrugged Part 2 (the movie)

It hasn't been as sudden or as obvious as 'Directive 10-289' but we are most of the way there, nonetheless.

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2012 2:45 PM

December 4, 2011

Colorado Native Lager

Last spring I made my first attempt at growing hops. The plants never sprouted and I was quite disappointed, but others had better luck than I and the 100% Colorado brew from Coors brewing has been completed.

As soon as today, a batch of Colorado Native made with homegrown hops will hit store shelves, thanks to the efforts of 130 volunteer growers.

A year ago, AC Golden Brewing put out an invitation to its Facebook fans to accept a free hops rhizome, plant it and donate the harvested crop to the brewer.

The intent was to get AC Golden closer to its goal of producing a beer with all-Colorado ingredients. It's 99.89 percent local with Colorado barley, water and yeast. The missing fraction is hops the flowery green herb that gives beer its sublime bitterness.

The yield was not enough to produce a year's worth of the brew, but it's a start. As for the product? I posted the following on the beer's Facebook page:

My two rhizomes never broke ground - perhaps they languished in the fridge too long before I planted them. I'll try again in the spring. But I picked up a 12-pack yesterday and ... love it! I love highly hopped beers but the first bottle I drank (from a glass) almost blew me away. I got a headache it was so hoppy! (Had just returned from a day near Blackhawk though so was perhaps O2 deprived.) Second bottle today was more mellow but very tasty, well balanced and on its way to being the only beer I drink for as long as I can get it. Lovely red-amber. Five stars!

Back in the day, Coors Banquet Beer, brewed only in Colorado, was not available east of the Mississipi River (a fact capitalized on in the storyline for the movie "Smokey and the Bandit.) Coors is now also bottled in Virginia and available nationwide. CO Native, however - only in Colorado, brothers and sisters.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:49 PM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:


Posted by: Terri at December 5, 2011 11:40 AM
But jk thinks:

I remember sneaking Coors was a big deal when I was a lad. Visiting easterners would load a couple of cases in their car. My folks shipped a case to a relative in Alabama. When Reverend <name changed to protect the guilty> showed up to pick up his "canned goods" shipped from Denver, the wrapping was torn. The Huntsville postal workers delivered the contraband amid much jocularity.

I will try the native, though I had some of the New Belgium seasonal Snow Day and I am under its spell.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2011 11:57 AM

September 17, 2011

O zapft ist!

Or translated literally, "O" taps is!

Oktoberfest 2011: September 17th until October 3rd

It is tapped!

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

This calls for a song!
Du, du liegst mir im Herzen
du, du liegst mir im Sinn.
Du, du machst mir viel Schmerzen,
weißt nicht wie gut ich dir bin.
Ja, ja, ja, ja, weißt nicht wie gut ich dir bin.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2011 12:36 PM

September 24, 2008

Que Sera Sera

A little-known Chilean wine known as Palin Syrah has apparently lost favor in the City by the Bay. Sales in San Francisco of this boutique product have fallen faster than a thermometer on the North Slope in January. Texas, however, seems to be picking up the slack.

The Refugee will confess to being a bit of a wine snob and may have to see about picking up a bottle at the local Daveco Liquors. He may need to find out how it pairs with a certain $8 cheese.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 1:11 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Mon Dieu!

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2008 1:30 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Thermostats on the northslope in January are pretty much bottomed out!

But the larger point.... A pair of my very best North Slope co-workers were visting our nation's capitol, and when carded at a bar, they were "accosted" by crazy Lib-tards for daring to bare an Alaska driver license.


Posted by: AlexC at September 24, 2008 2:42 PM