Mark Bittman Talks Food Policy with Ezra Klein

July 30, 2014

Mark Bittman Talks Food Policy with Ezra Klein

Mark Bittman of the New York Times talks with Ezra Klein of Vox about how Americans are spending less money on food than folks in other countries, but getting less for it.

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Appeals Court Rules for Virginia Marriage Equality

July 29, 2014

Appeals Court Rules for Virginia Marriage Equality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond upheld a lower court’s decision that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The decision is stayed for at least 21 days, but then may become effective in Virginia and other areas under the court’s jurisdiction, which includes Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Maryland already permits same-sex marriage.

 More:

“Appeals court upholds decision overturning Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban,” Robert Barnes and Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post

“Another Court Rules Virginia’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional,” Sarah Ann Hughes, DCist

“Appeals Panel Rejects Virginia Gay-Marriage Ban,” Erik Eckholm, New York Times

“Virginia gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, federal court rules,” By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times

“Virginia same-sex marriage ban violates fundamental right, appeals court says,” Warren Richey, Christian Science Monitor

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Sarah Palin Launches TV Network

July 28, 2014

Sarah Palin Launches TV Network

Sarah Palin, former Miss Wasilla, once part-time Temp-Governor of Alaska, losing GOP Vice Presidential candidate and failed Fox News commentator, is launching her own on-line TV network, the Sarah Palin Channel. Run on free-market principles, it’ll cost you $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year. A comment on Gawker suggests you go monthly, since Palin will probably quit after 6 months, like she did as Governor of Alaska.

More:

“Sarah Palin Launches Her Own Channel Online,” Todd Spangler, Variety

“Sarah Palin begins her own online channel,” Catalina Camia, USA Today

“Sarah Palin Launches Subscription-Based Online Video Channel,” Andrew Kirell, Mediaite

“Millions Pay for Rare Opportunity to Hear Sarah Palin Speak,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

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Fries & Faith, Burgers & Bibles

July 27, 2014

Fries & Faith, Burgers & Bibles

McDonald’s gives you toys with their fast food; In-N-Out Burger gives you the Bible. They don’t shove it down your throat, they write it on their burger wrappers. Here’s the menu:

Burger and cheeseburger wrappers – Revelation 3:20

Soda cups — John 3:16

Milkshake cups — Proverbs 3:5

Double-Double wrapper — Nahum 1:7

Fry Boat — Proverbs 24:16

So if you need inspiration, drive thru and get a Double-Double and a shake. And if you’re vegetarian or broke, look for the snappy In-N-Out logo in all that roadside litter.

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Better Health Care Through Astrology

July 26, 2014

Better Health Care Through Astrology

“A Conservative MP has spoken of his belief in astrology and his desire to incorporate it into medicine.

David Tredinnick said he had spent 20 years studying astrology and healthcare and was convinced it could work.

The MP for Bosworth, a member of the health committee and the science and technology committee, said he was not afraid of ridicule or abuse.

‘There is no logic in attacking something that has a proven track record,’ he told BBC News.

He said he had studied the Indian astrological system Iahiri and the way it was used by that country’s government and recalled how Chris Patten, Britain’s last governor of Hong Kong, had an official astrologer, whom Mr Tredinnick had consulted while on a parliamentary delegation there.”

– “Astrology-loving MP seeks health answers in the stars,” BBC News

More:

“Astrology-loving MP David Tredinnick ‘convinced’ practise can reduce strain on NHS,” Kashmira Gander, The Independent

“Combining astrology and healthcare: your medical horoscopes,” Dean Burnett, The Guardian

“Tory MP says astrology is good for the health,”  Laura Donnelly, The Telegraph

 Related:

“Tory MP David Tredinnick claimed £755 for astrology software,” Polly Curtis, The Guardian

Medical astrology,” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bachmann Eyes 2016 Presidential Run

July 25, 2014

Bachmann Eyes 2016 Presidential Run

Congress-creature Michele Bachmann, the “Crazy Eyes” Republican currently representing the 6th District of Minnesota, the Planet Mars, the Tea Party Caucus, and the voice of the Lord, is considering another run for the presidency of the United States. God Bless America.

 More:

 “Michele Bachmann: ‘There’s a chance I could run’ for President in 2016,” Terence Cullen, New York Daily News

“Michele Bachmann on running for president: ‘There’s a chance,'” Scott Conroy, RCP via CBS News

“What’s behind Michele Bachmann’s 2016 tease,” Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post

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Pistol Packin’ Pork Lobbyist

July 24, 2014

Pistol Packin' Pork Lobbyist

Ronald Prestage, President-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, went to the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning because, you know, pork barrel politics. Mr. Prestage, a veterinarian who runs a 170,000-sow swine operation, was carrying a Ruger 9mm pistol. You never know when you’ll run across a fierce feral hog on The Hill, or a raging, veggie-wearin’ PETA protester. Unsympathetic Capitol Hill Police arrested him. House Republicans want everyone in DC to pack heat, just not around them.

When Dr. Prestage realized he had his gun in his bag, you can imagine how he felt. He’s a former Chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

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Judge Serves Obamacare Pizza

July 23, 2014

Judge Serves Obamacare Pizza

Two Federal appellate courts ruled on Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies in most states. So are they legal? No, repeat Yes.

Two judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said they’re not, so poor people in states too lazy to set up their own insurance exchanges have to pay as much as wealthier folks for health insurance, making the law the Unaffordable Care Act.

Hours later the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond decided not to punish the poor just because Congress can’t write clearly. The ultimate rationale for the Fourth Circuit’s decision? Pizza. Federal Judge Roger Gregory explained:

“If I ask for pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch but clarify that I would be fine with a pizza from Domino’s, and I then specify that I want ham and pepperoni on my pizza from Pizza Hut, my friend who returns from Domino’s with a ham and pepperoni pizza has still complied with a literal construction of my lunch order.”

“Judge Uses Domino’s Pizza to Explain Obamacare Exchanges,” Arit John, The Wire

 Looks like Pappa John’s CEO John Schnatter has another reason to hate Obamacare.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear the case in a few months, and the issue may make it to the Supreme Court in a couple of years.

More:

“Here’s what Obamacare’s authors said they actually meant,” Emily Badger, Washington Post

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China: Musty Meat at McDonald’s?

July 21, 2014

China: Musty Meat at McDonald's?

McDonald’s in China has stopped using meat from a local supplier after Shanghai authorities halted the firm’s operations over food safety concerns. The meat processor is suspected of supplying meat well past its due date and mislabeling it. KFC and Pizza Hut in China have also stopped using products from the supplier, Shanghai Husi, which is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois.

More:

“Yum, McDonald’s in Shanghai food safety investigation,” Engen Tham and Adam Jourdan, Reuters

“KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonald’s are hit with a new China food scandal: expired meat products,” Lily Kuo, Quartz

“China’s latest fast food scandal: McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut sold expired meat,” Lindsay Abrams, Salon

“China food scandal spreads to Japan as Burger King, Starbucks admit using tainted supplier,” Reuters via South China Post

Updates:

“Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food,” Brenda Goh and Paul Carsten, Reuters via 7 News/AUNews Yahoo

“Using expired meat in China was allegedly company policy for a US-owned supplier,” Lily Kuo, Quartz

“McDonald’s Japan Stops Sourcing All Chicken From China,” Chang-Ran Kim and Chris Gallagher, Reuters via New York Times

“McDonald’s China plans to continue using scandal-hit meat supplier OSI Group,” Nectar Gan, South China Morning Post

Further Updates:

“McDonald’s Food Supplier OSI Recalls Shanghai Products,” Liza Lin, Bloomberg News

“Some Chinese McDonalds are only selling fries and drinks due to a meat recall,” Lily Kuo, Quartz

“Fast-Food Scandal Revives China’s Food Safety Anxieties,” Anthony Kuhn, NPR

“McDonald’s Pulls Meat From China Restaurants,” Liza Lin, Bloomberg News

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Germany: Wurst Crime Ever

July 20, 2014

Germany: Wurst Crime Ever

Germany’s anti-trust agency (Bundeskartellamt) has fined 21 sausage manufacturers and 33 individuals $460 million for illegal price-fixing over two decades.  Gott im Himmel!

The ring is alleged to have met in Hamburg’s luxurious Hotel Atlantic. Wonder what they ate?

Sausages are central to the German identity, second only to beer. In related German crime news, thieves in the city of Krefeld broke into a warehouse and stole 300,000 liters (80,000 gallons) of beer. Ten truckloads. Worth $3 million. Right before Germany’s big World Cup celebration party.

More:

“German sausage makers in meaty fine over price-fixing,” BBC News

“Bundeskartellamt imposes fines on sausage manufacturers,” press release

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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