Posting part of an old standup routine last week reminded me to be on the lookout for people developing their own comedy bits as I went through my inbox over the weekend. Sure enough, I found plenty of them. So here’s a version of From the News in which we pay homage to the funny, funny people out there.

‘Simpsons’ creator giving away his fortune to … ?

One of the co-creators of The Simpsons is giving away a lot of money:

Since word got out about Sam Simon’s cancer, this co-creator of “The Simpsons” and fervent philanthropist has heard from many people online asking to help rid him of his sizable wealth.

“Some people just want a million dollars. Or help with college tuition. And the rest have business propositions,” he chortles. “Like that should be my legacy: to lose money on your movie or your moisturizer line.

“I’m bedridden,” says Simon, milking the scenario for all its tragicomic worth, “weighing whether to dole my money to people lined up outside the house!”

He laughs, flashing a piano-keys grin. Then he gets serious.

“I’m supporting the charities that I supported during my lifetime,” he states, “and I want to continue to do that.” With every cent of his fortune.

Sam Simon has had much to think about since his advanced colon cancer was diagnosed last November after a year of inconclusive tests and mysterious discomfort.

Sam Simon sounds like a great guy and I sincerely wish he could pull off a miraculous recovery. I don’t think it’s funny that he’s dying. But this is:

In March, the headquarters of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Norfolk, Va., was christened the Sam Simon Center in recognition of his support for that organization. Simon’s largesse carries over to humans, too, including a Los Angeles food bank that feeds 200 families each day in Simon style: with a vegan menu.

Sam Simon has been a vegan for decades, but he’s dying of colon cancer at age 58. So naturally, he supports a vegan food bank and is giving a huge chunk of his fortune to PETA – the same people who post billboards around the country warning people that eating meat causes colon cancer.

Good joke, Sam.

McMedia McWarnings over McVeggie wraps

Speaking of PETA, did you hear the one about the vegan who ate lunch at McDonald’s? Okay, neither did I, but perhaps that will change if McDonald’s has its way:

The new Santa Fe and Mediterranean Veggie wraps from McDonald’s, prepared at the head office in Toronto for a select audience, are delicious, brimming with flavour and texture.

Nice setup. Let’s see where this is going.

Finally, something new that adults can order when picky-eater offspring insist on Chicken McNuggets and fries: the restaurant chain announced Tuesday that it’s introducing the two new meatless items to its menu Canada-wide.

You’re suggesting adults are delighted they can finally order veggie wraps instead of cheeseburgers? Good one.

But consumers need to understand what they’re eating: The Santa Fe Signature McWrap contains 490 calories, 24 grams of fat, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 980 mg of sodium, 8 grams of fibre and 15 grams of protein.

A Big Mac contains 540 calories, 29 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 1,020 mg of sodium, 3 grams of fibre and 24 grams of protein.

So compared to a Big Mac, the veggie wrap has less protein, less fat and more carbohydrates. And people are going to order this as the “healthier” option. Okay, that’s worth a chuckle. But I had to glance up at the headline to see the real joke:

McDonald’s new veggie wrap: Delicious but high in fat, calories

When McMedia types look at a McMeal high in refined carbohydrates and warn readers about the fat, that just cracks me up.

The first two articles were one-off jokes. I like one-off jokes, but I always admired comedians who could weave together extended routines. (Bill Cosby was a master of the extended form.) So let’s move on to the long-form comedy routine, which was developed largely by the U.S. government.

The first part isn’t funny, but it’s part of the setup, so bear with me.

More kids getting fatty liver disease

Remember when Dr. Robert Lustig said giving your kids sugary drinks is like giving them alcohol minus the buzz? That may explain this:

A type of liver disease once thought to afflict primarily adult alcoholics appears to be rampant in children. Some 1 in 10 children in the U.S., or more than 7 million, are thought to have the disease, according to recent studies.

The condition, in which the normally rust-colored organ becomes bloated and discolored by yellowish fat cells, has become so common in non-drinkers that it has been dubbed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

“Sir, I pulled you over because you were weaving into the oncoming lane. Are you drunk?”

“No, officer, I swear! I’m not drunk.”

“Yes we are!”

“Sir, who said that?”

“Uh … my liver.   But he’s not drunk.  He just acts like it.”

The condition’s rise is tied to the obesity epidemic—about 40% of obese children have it—but isn’t caused solely by being overweight. The disease appears to be growing among normal-weight children too, experts say.

And even though obesity rates are starting to level off, the prevalence of fatty liver disease continues to rise, they say.

It’s likely there are multiple factors that worsen fatty liver disease. Early research shows that the disease is partly genetic but likely needs to be triggered by environmental conditions, like obesity or insulin resistance. Much of the current research has focused on genes and specific nutrients in the diet that might cause the disease. One culprit is fructose, a type of sugar found in corn syrup and fruit juice, which are widely consumed in western diets, according to Dr. Vos’s research.

So adults, obese kids and even normal-weight kids are getting fatty liver disease at records rates.  Corn syrup – which is dirt-cheap because it’s subsidized by the federal government – is part of the problem. Okay, that’s the setup. Moving on …

My health-insurance premiums are going to skyrocket

This one wasn’t from an online article or an email, so there’s nothing to link to and I’ll paraphrase instead of doing my usual copy-and-paste.

Remember when the Affordable Care Act was being debated and Obama promised that if you like your current policy you can keep it and insisted that rates in the individual market won’t go up?

Man, what a comedian he is. I received a letter from my insurance carrier last week informing me that the Affordable Care Act will ban my current high-deductible plan, that I’ll be required under the law to buy a “comprehensive” plan (meaning way more coverage than I want or need), and that my rates will rise “sharply” as a result. So the Affordable Care Act will force me to buy a much less affordable policy. Joke’s on me.

(Quick joke within the larger routine: how do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.)

Moving on again …

Schools dropping out of USDA’s “healthier” lunch program

Some schools apparently don’t like being part an extended comedy routine:

After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program, complaining that so many students turned up their noses at meals packed with whole grains, fruits and vegetables that the cafeterias were losing money.

Federal officials say they don’t have exact numbers but have seen isolated reports of schools cutting ties with the $11 billion National School Lunch Program, which reimburses schools for meals served and gives them access to lower-priced food. Districts that rejected the program say the reimbursement was not enough to offset losses from students who began avoiding the lunch line and bringing food from home or, in some cases, going hungry. The food is so bad, schools participating in a lunch program subsidized by the federal government are losing money. You can’t write this stuff. Kids in Kentucky were a little more colorful in their contributions to the routine: Students in a rural Kentucky county — and their parents — are the latest to join a growing national chorus of scorn for the healthy school lunches touted by first lady Michelle Obama. “They say it tastes like vomit,” said Harlan County Public Schools board member Myra Mosley at a contentious board meeting last week, reports The Harlan Daily Enterprise. Not bad, kids, but here’s a lesson from a former pro: it’s funnier if you imply the gross thought instead of saying it. Next time, try something like, “I found this grey, smelly stuff on my lunch tray and thought one of the cafeteria workers must have gotten sick on it. Turns out it was the main course. Oh, and we’re not allowed to have seconds anymore. Yeah, that’s a big disappointment. Like we were all thinking, Hey, the guy flipping the veggie wraps looks like he has the flu. Maybe we’ll get dessert today.” The growing body of USDA meal regulations implemented by the Department of Agriculture under the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010″ has long been a signature issue for the first lady. Denizens of Harlan County don’t much care, though. Their primary concern at the board meeting was a bevy of complaints that local children are starving at lunch — and for the remainder of the school day — because the food on offer in the cafeteria is crappy and there isn’t nearly enough of it. This is what comedians call a trap-door joke or a switch. The idea is to set up an expectation with words and then defeat the expectation. Politicians are brilliant at coming up with switch jokes. They pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and the result is kids who are hungry despite drinking sugary milk that will help give them fatty liver disease. They pass the Affordable Care Act and the result is a spike in my premiums. Just wait until they pass something called the Citizen Privacy Act or the Debt Reduction Act. Then the laughs will be huge. Good comedians also know how to follow a joke with a second punchline called a tag or a topper. Here’s someone from the USDA demonstrating the technique: Dr. Janey Thornton, deputy undersecretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, which oversees the program, said she is aware of reports of districts quitting but is still optimistic about the program’s long-term prospects. “Many of these children have never seen or tasted some of the fruits and vegetables that are being served before, and it takes a while to adapt and learn,” she said. Friggin’ hilarious, Dr. Thornton. Great topper. Let me toss one into the routine: I’m aware of the letter from my insurance company warning me that that Affordable Care Act will cause my premiums to increase “sharply,” but I’m still optimistic that my insurance will be more affordable in the long run. It’ll just take awhile for me to learn and adapt. Thank you. I’ll be here all week. So the USDA mandates low-fat, low-salt, low-calorie foods in schools and – surprise! — kids don’t like them. Hmmm, how is the USDA going to justify subsidizing the big food producers if parents, students and local schools don’t want to buy their products? Let the routine continue … USDA giving away free school meals regardless of need “Why are the kids all laughing over there?” “Some smart-ass senior is cracking jokes about how awful the new lunches are.” “Geez … Do you think maybe they’d be interested in eating breakfast here too?” Exactly what a government that’s almost$17 trillion in debt should do … start giving every kid two “free” meals per day:

The nation’s oldest school system has joined a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that has spread to 10 states and the District of Columbia that offers students two free meals every school day, whether or not their families can afford them.

Known as Community Eligibility Option, the program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that authorized $4.5 billion in new program funding. “It’s one less weight and one less burden for parents,” said Joshua Rivera, whose son is a second-grader at the Maurice J. Tobin School in Boston’s Roxbury section. Efrain Toledano, principal of the Tobin School, said he expects the program will cut down on potential disruptions at the K-8 school by easing hunger pangs that could be linked to classroom misbehavior. Brilliant bit. They’re going to ease hunger pangs by encouraging even more kids to eat the “free” meals that kids all over the country say are leaving them hungry. I wonder if we’ll get a topper for that one. And, officials say, serving more kids actually saves them money. Okay, it’s technically a topper, but as a comedian I’m a bit offended because it’s also a very old joke. Lyndon Johnson came up with the first version of that joke when he claimed that Great Society programs costing trillions of dollars would save money in the long run. Unfortunately, Johnson’s delivery was so dry, people didn’t know he was joking. Frustrated by his inability to get a laugh with what he considered his best punchlines, he dropped out of the presidential race in 1968. Richard Nixon won the election and went on to entertain the public with lines like “I have a secret plan to end the war” and “I am not a crook” that people at least recognized as jokes. Among the many jokes buried in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is a line that goes something like this: We don’t want kids to be fat, so we’re going to forbid schools from serving them whole milk but allow chocolate skim milk and strawberry skim milk. The joke is that ounce for ounce, those milks have as much sugar in them as Coca-Cola Classic. The topper is the part where the USDA offers to give kids “free” meals that include sugary milk twice per day – regardless of need! – and government officials claim this will save money in the long run. You know, because it’s so cheap to treat kids for fatty liver disease. I swear, they’ve got a million of them. It’s quite an extended comedy routine we’ve witnessed over the years, so let’s review: The federal government discourages people from eating natural fats and encourages them to suck down processed vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates. To help ensure that people follow the advice, the federal government subsidizes those foods with our tax dollars to make them dirt cheap. High fructose corn syrup ends up in almost everything people buy at the grocery store. As a result, people get fatter and sicker. Both kids and adults start coming down with type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease at record levels. The federal government responds by spending more of our tax dollars to subsidize school lunches and encourage kids to eat more of the foods that made them fat and sick. Strangely enough, kids continue to get fatter and sicker, so the USDA doubles down and mandates even less fat in their school meals while encouraging them to drink sugar-laden fat-free milk. When kids say they can’t stand the low-fat meals and rebel, the USDA responds by announcing it is optimistic about the long-term results and begins giving away the food twice a day for free — regardless of need! Meanwhile, the rise in obesity, diabetes, and other conditions caused by consuming too many federally-subsidized sugars, grains and processed vegetable oils causes health-care costs and therefore health-insurance premiums to skyrocket. Wanting to participate in the extended comedy routine, the voters demand the federal government step in and DO SOMETHING about this problem. So the federal government passes the Affordable Care Act, which makes insurance more affordable by forcing people to drop their inexpensive high-deductible polices and buy “comprehensive” coverage they don’t want or need. As a final topper, the agency in charge of fining people who don’t participate in the Affordable Care Act has asked for its employees to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act. All of this will, of course, save us money in the long run. Pure. Comic. Genius. 98 Responses to “From The News … The Comedy Version” 1. Elenor says: Nah, I can’t even laugh about it any more… Nice try, Tom, but I’m (also) facing a terrible problem with (a friend calls it) “Commie-Care”! My Obama-loving sister protested (when I said I’ll end up “just” paying the penalty (oops, sorry, the TAX {eye roll}), “well, it won’t be too bad the first year, just 2% of your income…” Except, as a small business owner (of a small American manufacturing co.), the “profit” of the company is taxed as “my income” even though I only paid myself 1/3 of what the IRS considers my income! (They pretend that I could actually take every single penny of profit out and still keep the company in operation.) So, I can’t find any humor in my situation (or yours, or pretty much anyone’s!). I can’t afford a (much-desired) catastrophic plan (much less a comprehensive one!) and the penalty I’ll get stuck with is based on an “income” I cannot pay myself without destroying the company. (Oh, and no subsidies or exchanges for me! The Obama doesn’t CARE about small business owners!) {sigh} (I could write “the end of America” — but I think we’ve passed that point!) I’m hoping some of the economic illiterates who thought this was a good idea get the same letter I got. There’s a small chance they’ll wake the @#$% up.

• Elle says:

“I’m hoping some of the economic illiterates who thought this was a good idea get the same letter I got. There’s a small chance they’ll wake the @#$% up.” Oh, you’re so adorable when you’re hopeful. They won’t wake up. They will start screaming about the evil money-hungry, high profit, corporate insurance companies who are needlessly raising their rates. In fact, they’ll be pretty sure these rate raises are in violation of the ACA. It was a moment of wild optimism. The more likely result is the economic illiterates will receive a subsidy to pay their jacked-up premiums and conclude all is well with the world. • Jill says: America could have got rid of Obama and his Commie policies had 8 or 9 million Americans actually bothered to vote. They decided to stay home and sulk instead. Was it worth it? Clearly not. Maybe next time voting season rolls around people will realise votes actually do count as to what kind of govt you get and they will make that terrible half-hour journey and elect a real person, not cede territory to the Marxist mob. I read some of the comments under th linmked article. So many people saying “since when do tyou let children choose their food” “Americans so spoiled” yada yada. Yeah, don’t listen your kids, and go with free food just becuase it’s free,never mind that it’s junk opr your kids are hungry! (though some of the salads loooked tasty to me!) Skim milk with flavouring does not sound appetising at all! 2. Jose Vila says: I remember sitting in the biopsy recovery section of an Oncology department in which my girlfriend’s Mother was recuperating (Lung cancer removed successfully!), where I conversed with a sweet though justifiably frightened woman waiting to hear the results of her test. She told me how her doctor discovered a mass on her left lung in a CT scan while trying to figure out the root of her IBS problem. The woman’s daughter surprised her with a corner-store carrot cake, and upon eating it, complained how her IBS was “acting up again….” My GF’s mother doesn’t smoke, though she pounds Pepsi cans like an alcoholic, which explains her pre-diabetic state. The carb-cancer connection is mind-blowing, and it seems like every person I know who’s had cancer, also had a co-morbidity of some sort, usually a dietary metabolic disease like Gall stones, IBS, or diabetes – but I digress… Here’s a great post by a vegan/medical practitioner who is very aware of the vegan/colorectal cancer link: http://www.theveganrd.com/2012/05/when-vegans-get-cancer.html His saving grace is his closing paragraph: “At any age, we vegans can expect that our compassionate diet has the added advantage of lowering our risk for certain diseases. But, vegan diets are not “miracle” cures or guaranteed prevention and it’s a mistake to ever believe that they are. As always, the only true promise that comes with veganism is that it will remove your contribution to the use and abuse of animals.” Dr. John McDougall can$#@& it. Seriously.

Nice to see a vegan being honest about the “bulletproof” nonsense. If people choose to be vegans based on their moral beliefs, more power to them. But when PETA goes around trying to scare people into believing eating meat means an early grave, they’re flat-out lying. And I think they know they’re lying.

• Jose Vila says:

LCHF Keto Primal Slow-Burn Intermittent Fasters (Like Myself!) might not necessarily be “bulletproof” either, according to Paul Jaminet – at least based on the colorectal cancer rates among followers of Jan Kwasniewski’s “Optimal Diet:”

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/category/diets/optimal-diet/

He mentions how there are several possible confounding variables, notably Iodine, Selenium, and Vitamin D deficiencies, as well as low glucose levels, which might reduce the moistness of mucous membranes, leading to injury/mutations – not a lack of dietary fiber. He argues that gluconeogenesis might help to maintain mucus levels, but it would be unfair to put the body through that stress (he seems to not know about the benefits of cellular protein autophagy in relation to cancer)…

It’s tough to say which diet and lifestyle might help to make the average person “Cancer-Proof,” but one thing’s for sure: pasture-raised pork belly won’t contribute to unhealthy glucose uptake on a PET scan! Carbs, on the other hand….

No diet makes us bulletproof and no diet is right for everyone. Paul is no doubt correct that some people experience the symptoms he described if they try to stay zero-carb long-term.

• Nitpickey McNazi O'Nitpick says:

Actually it isn’t tough to “say” which diet makes one cancer-proof at all. Just rread Gary Taubes’ GCBC & Nick Lane’s Sex Poer Suicide and look up the Warburg Effect and use your thinking brain. Cancer feeds off of a broken carb metabolism, high blood sugar and high insulin/IGF.
Human mammals are the only animals that get cancer in their “natural” habitat; they’re also the only animals that eat far too many carbs than they were designed for on a day-to-day basis.
Cancer can’t burn fat or ketones; only sugar and alcohol. It burns sugar so much they use irradiated sugar to detect cancer in PET scans. Think about that.
If you look at this evidence and are still on the fence you’re either an intellectual coward or seriously lacking in critical thinking ability. You don’t need an authority figure or even that one brain tumour study that proves I’m right; all you need to do is use deductive reasoning & connect the dots.

• Bret says:

Jose, have you heard Jimmy Moore’s relatively recent interview of McDougall? It was painful to listen to. McDougall was one of the most hypocritical, arrogant, and not to mention flat-out wrong people I have ever heard speak on diet, health, and medicine. He is indeed an absolute disgrace, as is that nasty, assaultive vegan web site he runs.

3. JW says:

I was struck by this bit from one of the articles about school lunches:

“Districts that leave the program are free to develop their own guidelines. Voorheesville’s chef began serving such dishes as salad topped with flank steak and crumbled cheese, pasta with chicken and mushrooms, and a panini with chicken, red peppers and cheese.”

Whoa. That sounds like real food. In a public school cafeteria.

I did some digging around to find out more about their school lunch program. The chef, Tim Mulligan, was trained at the nearby Culinary Institute of America. The district is aggressively pushing his menu, as you can see at: http://vcsd.neric.org/foodservice/pdfs/Presentation%2012-10-12%20b.pdf

There are some great pictures towards the end. Talk about a bright spot. The food is not perfect by any stretch, but it’s hugely better than anything the NSLP mandates. It looks like real meals that humans would actually eat.

And it seems to be working. The school district reports that, since adopting the chef’s menu, their “participation rate has soared and the students have been vocal in their approval of the changes” (see: http://vcsd.neric.org/newsarchives/2012-13/121211%20BlackbirdCafe.htm).

Clearly this indicates there’s a bigger problem with school lunch than just the government’s meddling. Food service is a science just like nutrition, and it can be effectively managed by intelligent, trained professionals like this school district’s chef.

This is very interesting stuff indeed, because it points to a real solution to our country’s awful school lunches: opt out of the NSLP and hire competent people to run the cafeterias. And now that the program has become so costly due to attrition, perhaps it will be the lever to make that happen elsewhere.

Let’s hope. The other possibility is that the USDA will recognize a threat and find a way to shut down the program.

• Lori says:

The Culinary Institute of America? I had pork chops made from one of their recipes today out of More Cooking Secrets of the CIA. Their recipes are wonderful, but the book, being from the carb-lovin’ 1990s, are low-fat and full of carbs, and so they need a dozen ingredients for flavor. But there are a few gems I still make.

• Jill says:

They need to shut down the FLOTUS! Nutrition is not her area and all she’s donbe is to waste money and starve kids.
But then she’s a radical anti American too. She and the First Family eat hamburgers and steaks and want the masses to eat grass.

The meddling of people who have nothing to do in other people’s lives is truly astonishing.

TIME magazine ran a cover story back in 1991 titled “Busybodies and Crybabies: what’s happening to the American character?”

It’s gotten worse since then.

• Jill says:

Thanks Tom, that was a good link.

But meddlers -causing truly incredible damage to people – have always been around, in families and out of them, in bureaucracies and out of them. I think these days they’re just more visible because people communciate more and media is far more accessible.
Also, with the increased competence of people running campaigns it puts more pressure on the media landscape.

Sure, meddlers have always been around. The difference is that they’ve increasingly gotten their hands on the levers of government.

4. erik van altena says:

I would be glad to read that (US) schools are dropping that idiotic program, but they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons – money, not for the good of the kids. So now a different program can be created which is loaded with chemicals to make all the vomit taste nice and we’re back in business

Yeah, I was hoping some schools would tell the USDA to stick it based on something like a belief that bureaucrats in Washington shouldn’t be issuing orders to local schools districts.

5. Bex says:

Some slightly good news…FINALLY we’re getting it

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/07/britain-sweet-tooth-sugar?

It’s a start.

6. Ash Simmonds says:

“Sam Simon has been a vegan for decades, but he’s dying of colon cancer at age 58″

Exactly the thing they say avoiding meat and eating a high fiber diet will save you from. :\

FWIW I’m collecting stuff that is more fiber logical here: http://highsteaks.com/forum/whatever/fiber-not-good-you-198.0.html

7. Jana says:

I was talking with my 8th grader niece about her school lunches. She told me that she was grilled about throwing away an apple that came with her school lunch. They asked why she was throwing it away and she said it didn’t taste good. I know she eats apples at home so I asked her to clarify for me why it did’t taste good. According to her the apple wasn’t ripe. I wouldn’t eat an unripe piece of fruit either. Too bad the people at school don’t qualify their questions to find out what the kid really means when they say something doesn’t taste good.

Good grief. So now the plan to “encourage” kids to eat better includes giving them the third degree if they don’t eat food they don’t like? Brilliant.

8. Lisa McClure says:

I think there must be a special circle in hell for these people who are killing us with their good intentions. You are a very funny guy, Tom, but this stuff is just too depressingly true to be humorous to me.

I feel ya, but laughing at these arrogant statists is how I keep my sanity.

• Jill says:

What makes you think they have good intentions?
Their control-freakery?
Their interrogation of kids?
Their lack of nutritive knowledge?
Their complete groupthink?

9. Ellen says:

What’s up with all these healthy vegetarian types getting cancer and heart disease? Howard Stern’s co-host Robin Quivers just announced she recently battled cancer… she’s been a vegan for several years. My latest trig/hdl ratio is <1, and a recent injury at work where I thought for sure I broke my hand showed no broken bones and is healing amazingly fast. But how can that be? I'm eating so much meat and saturated fat!

When you die at age 95 or so, you’ll know they’ll say your diet killed you.

• Firebird7478 says:

My go to guy, Lewis Black (around 4:15 in). NSFW:

• Paul B. says:

It’s not just Sam Simon. This doesn’t prove anything, of course, but it seems like lots of well-known vegans have died of cancer. Simon, Steve Jobs, Linda McCartney, Robin Gibb (of the Bee Gees), and some others.

There’s a long list of them. Being a vegan does not make one “bulletproof,” no matter what some of the vegan evangelists like to believe.

• James says:

Ellen,

Apropos:

A few days ago I tripped on an uneven sidewalk while doing a slow jog. Landing with all the grace of a drunken hippo, my elbow and knee acquired road-rashes that are amazing to behold. The oddity here is the rapidity at which they are healing. Only four days have passed and all the shallower wounds are now scab-free and the scabs on the two deeper wounds are already loose.

My (mostly) carb-free, fatty, and protein-rich menu is an astounding thing.

James

• K2 says:

Hi James,

I wrote a year or so ago in another comment here that my father had aortic valve replacement surgery 18 months ago. While he was in intensive care right after the surgery, I was talking to one of his nurses. She told me about a new-ish (5 years or so) protocol where they give patients a tiny bit of insulin pretty frequently and check their blood glucose levels often while there…because lower blood sugar promotes healing.

Of course, when he got out of intensive care, the menu included “healing promoting” items such as corn flakes, low fat milk, white bread, jello, etc. All low fat, of course. Sigh.

Glad to know the lower carbs are supporting your healing process. Just confirms the theory.

K2

• James says:

K2,

Yepper, this menu is definitely the way to go. I’ve been paleo for about four years and VLC-to-zero-carb for about two months. This road rash is the first time I’ve had enough damage done to observe it with interest. I was caught off guard when I saw the lesser wounds already healed.

James

10. Cyborcat says:

I have a hard time having respect for anyone who supports PeTA–they kill more animals than they save. More people really need to do some research on that organization before donating to it.

In case anyone doubts your statement:

11. Laura says:

“…because the food on offer in the cafeteria is crappy and there isn’t nearly enough of it.”

(Relevant content in the first 10 seconds.)

• Firebird7478 says:

My nephew just started high school and he was telling me the same thing…the food is lousy and he comes home hungry. He mentioned the chow line is stocked with unripe bananas.

• Jill says:

Amazing – they’re not even giving them the good vegetables and fruit!

12. rudy-in-la says:

McDonalds could come up with a burger line that cured cancer and if it had meat in it, you’d be told by the food police to avoid it or eat it “occasionally as a special treat.”
Polticians are just trying to move the inventory of their lobbyists when they want to offer 2 meals a day to kids whether they need/want it or not. Heaven forbid a kid’s parent feed a kid breakfast and make or pack them a lunch. That’s a lot of work right? We’re doomed.

I think moving the inventory of their lobbyists is spot-on.

13. j says:

“Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. []…, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear.”

And that used be an example of comedic exaggeration. Ahh, the good old days.

• SB says:

I loved the Sci-Fi channel when I was a kid…especially The Outer Limits and the Twilight Zone.

14. Tim Keating says:

I received a letter from my insurance carrier last week informing me that the Affordable Care Act will ban my current high-deductible plan, that I’ll be required under the law to buy a “comprehensive” plan (meaning way more coverage than I want or need), and that my rates will rise “sharply” as a result.

So, you essentially have no health coverage now except to account for catastrophic illness, and under the new plan you are required to have comprehensive coverage, and you’re surprised that your premiums are going up? That’s just common sense.

Of course my rates will go up when I’m forced to buy far more coverage than I need.

I had exactly the coverage I wanted. For $389 per month, I insured a family of four against serious illness or injuries — i.e., the kind of unexpected health disasters that could wipe me out financially. I paid for routine care out of pocket, which is what I prefer to do. Since we’re rarely sick, those out-of-pocket expenses are almost nothing. Doubling my premiums to avoid paying a couple of hundred bucks per year in medical expenses would be stupid. The insurance did exactly what it was designed to do the one time I really needed it: when I tore a meniscus in my knee and required surgery, the insurance covered most of it, including the post-surgery physical therapy. My total contribution was around$2,000.

Buying “comprehensive” insurance when you’re generally healthy is financially stupid. Now, of course, the arrogant statists running the country are forcing me to be financially stupid. They’ll fine me if I don’t agree to be financially stupid.

• Bret says:

By the same law, those arrogant statists are also giving businesses plenty of reason to freeze hiring, reduce hours, and/or fire people. Luckily, only 13.7% of the nation is unemployed or underemployed (per the U6).

Speaking of which, Tom, do you recommend any books for potential upstart freelance programmers?

FDR gave businesses all kinds of reason not to hire as well, so we had the only recession in American history that lasted 10 years. Most ended within two years. Politicians never learn. They always convince themselves little groups of experts can fix entire industries.

For programming, it would depend on what languages you want to learn. In addition to books, I like watching tutorials at VTC. Lots of good stuff there besides programming tutorials.

http://www.vtc.com

• Bret says:

(I feel I ought to prepare for the unthinkable. And since I like computers and am good at math, this is one avenue I might look into.)

Go for it. You’ll stay employed.

15. Ham-Bone says:

way to bring the thunder today Tom, awesome recap

16. susan says:

More comedy for you. When I heard about this on the radio this morning, I thought they were kidding. Beyond Eggs. A vegan egg substitute made from ground up peas, beans and grains. Urrk!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2416808/Artificial-egg-PLANTS-backed-Bill-Gates-set-revolutionize-cooking-goes-sale-Whole-Foods.html

Awesome. The world needs more fake foods.

• rudy-in-la says:

While vegetarian/vegan types try to make fake bacon, turkey, hamburgers, milk, cheese and who knows what else, I’ve often wondered by people who eat REAL food never try to make a hamburger or cheese taste like tofu. Weird huh? NOT!

• SB says:

Best quote from the article: “Eggs are functionally incredible, they do everything from hold oil and water in mayo to making the muffin rise and HOLDING SCRAMBLED EGGS TOGETHER”

Eggs are incredible at being eggs. *facepalm*.

Article also mentions, as an option, a bean that tastes great with scrambled eggs. Well ok, bacon, cheese, and spinach are great in eggs too, but I’m not replacing the egg in my baking with them.

• Jill says:

BIll Gates is in favour of polualtion control. By force if necessary. Who is he to push a food product!?
YOu can bet HIS kids won’t be fed that rubbish!

• Jill says:

Oops I meant population control.

• Daci says:

Hey Jill, since this franken food will be so cheap to make,I think the reason is $. The more something is processed,the higher the profits. Gates knows this, and so does everyone involved in making this garbage..Ok,everyone except the general pubic and all the vegans. 17. steep says: “To help ensure that people follow the advice, the federal government subsidizes those foods with our tax dollars to make them dirt cheap. High fructose corn syrup ends up in almost everything people buy at the grocery store.” You’re forgetting about the sugar tariffs. Just think how much healthier we all are because Big Guv makes us pay twice the price for our sucrose. Well, it certainly was a boon to the Corn Refiners Association. 18. Jesrad says: We Discordians know that, if you are feeling the terrilarity (that sentiment where you cannot decide between bursting out laughing or collapse in terror) is definitive proof that you are a sane human and they are mad. I didn’t know I’m a Discordian, but the description fits. 19. js290 says: We can have universal healthcare by shutting down the USDA & FDA… 20. Paul B. says: “It’s one less weight and one less burden for parents,” said Joshua Rivera, whose son is a second-grader at the Maurice J. Tobin School in Boston’s Roxbury section. ——– Yes, Mr. Rivera… feeding your eight year old is a burden… [explicatives deleted] That makes my blood boil that someone would refer to feeding their child as a burden. No, it’s a burden for me to unwillingly feed your child, Mr. Rivera. I don’t have a choice, the government takes my money to feed your son. That’s your responsibility. If I choose to give your son food, that’s my choice. If I choose not to give your son food that’s my choice. I don’t have hope for people to understand the complexities of the human body’s interaction with nutrients if they can’t understand a most basic concept such as one’s child being a blessing to them and their responsibility. I agree, but I’m not surprised by his attitude. We live in an age where the responsibilities our grandparents didn’t think twice about shouldering are now considered too much to bear. After all, we recently saw a law student become a media star and a speaker at a political convention by whining to Congress about how she can’t afford her own birth control and really, really, really needed them to force someone else to buy it for her. Who’d-a-thunk sitting up there and essentially singing “I Am Woman, Hear Me Beg” would turn someone into a feminist hero? Oh say, does that star-bangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the Regulated and the home of the Entitled? • Lori says: Somebody needs to tell the law student that even cheapo men will spring for birth control. Surely her parents would rather help her out in that department than have her move back in with a baby. I’ve tried explaining that to my socialist friends who got all caught up in the idea that millions of women out there just can’t afford birth control and really, really, really need the government to force someone else to buy it for them. It’s as simple as this: “Wait, Big Guy. Do you have a dollar so we can buy a condom?” “Uh, no, I don’t have a dollar for a condom.” “Then forget it.” “Because you’re afraid you’ll get pregnant?” “No, because I don’t have sex with losers.” • MITBeta says: How blessed you must be never to have experienced true poverty. 21. Craig says: The section about fatty liver disease reminded me of the scene in Super Size Me where the doctor warns Morgan Sporlock that his blood tests reveal he is turning his liver into fois gras. And of course they blamed his “high fat diet.” Meanwhile it is common knowledge that you give ducks fatty livers, thus creating fois gras, by overfeeding them corn. Proving just how little some doctors know. • Walter Bushell says: And it’s well known that saturated fat protects agains fatty liver. • Sally Myles says: It’s the fact that the buckets of corn they shove down the gullets of the birds have a little grease/lard/other oil added to aid ‘slippage’ they can blame the oil for making the liver fatty and not the corn. 22. So now, compulsive web-surfing is a disease, but obesity and insulin resistance are “environmental conditions.” Do you suppose that means they’re caused by living too close to the power lines, or is it from cell phone radiation? The situatuon is indeed hopeless, but not serious. Cheers! • Pierson says: Hasn’t obesity already been declared a disease? Also, isn’t insulin resistance a medical condition as well? Yes, obesity is now a disease. • Pierson says: I figured just as much. Also, where are the other two comments (replies) I posted? Were they not registered? I haven’t deleted any comments. They may have gone in the spam folder for some reason. I used to check that folder, but now I get thousands of spam comments per day and have to just clear it. • Pierson says: Okay. Would it be okay if re-posted it as a standalone comment? Of course. • Pierson says: Do comments past a certain length not get published? I just tried to post it again, and it didn’t post It was in the spam folder. No idea why. It wasn’t longer than other posts that have gone through. 23. K2 says: Hi Tom, As always, I love reading your take on the “information” we are bombarded with, especially your deconstruction of what the federal government is doing to “help” its citizenry. Lest anyone think we can trust what they do or say, take a look at this: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/chinese-raised-chicken-96490.html This part gives me chills and makes me so envious of you and your farm, Tom: “The USDA notified China last week that four of its processing plants were cleared by inspectors to begin processing U.S.-origin chicken and selling it back into the American market. Officials have also been inspecting Chinese slaughtering facilities to make sure they are up to U.S. standards, a key prerequisite for China to begin selling its own, homegrown chicken to the U.S.” Yep, that last part says this insane act of sending US raised chickens to China for processing and reintroducing into the US market is paving the way for China to sell Chinese raised chickens in US markets. Thank you, USDA. Way to go. If anything could turn one vegetarian….. Take care and keep fighting the good fight. K2 Yikes. Our plan to raise meat birds is looking better and better. • Marilyn says: Ugh! Aren’t pets still dying from contaminated pet food processed in China? 24. Dan says: Tom, I was allowed to keep my high deductible plan because I’ve had it for so long, but the deductible and premiums went way, way up (nearly 400% in total). We’re all getting screwed with the ACA. A 400% increase as a result of the “Affordable” Care Act. Lovely. That’s what happens when economically illiterate voters believe the government can step into an industry and make it more efficient — you know, because government is so darned efficient in its own operations. My suspicious side says they knew this would happen and wanted it to happen. The goal is to make private insurance too expensive for the vast majority of the population. Then they’ll rush in to save the day with the all-government-run system they’ve wanted to impose on us all along. As P.J. O’Rourke once wrote, if you think health care costs too much now, wait until it’s “free.” • Dan says: It’s the Cloward-Piven strategy. • Jill says: Yay, some who knows about this!! Cloward and Piven, two of the most gutter-level Marxists -along with all the other Marxists infesting various democratic governements-in the world. You’ll be pleased (sarc) to note their strategy bankrupted the city of New York several decades (I think) ago. 25. Martin S says: And no trap-door joke about the PATRIOT Act… I’m a bit disappointed in you, Tom. I figured the Citizen Privacy Act covered that area. Same can of worms. 26. Pamela says: 1. The news report I read on schools opting out of the school lunch program also pointed out that wealthy school districts could afford drop the gvmt program when it started losing money, but poorer districts that depend on subsidies from the free & reduced lunch program couldn’t afford to drop out. 2. The report on feeding kids breakfast and lunch struck me as very odd: it cited statistics on the number of “kids that don’t eat breakfast” — maybe 30% of elementary school kids, 50% of middle-schoolers and 70% of high-schoolers. Let’s not make anyone feel bad here! How about 50% of moms & dads of middle-schoolers don’t fix breakfast for them and 70% of moms & dads of high-schoolers don’t fix breakfast for them? 3. We’re going to get screwed on health insurance, too. We’re very healthy, rarely see a doctor and do just fine on major medical. We’ve purchased our own, very affordable insurance for years. A few years ago my husband landed a job with a Fortune-500 company that gave him insurance. Last year they laid him off, so he isn’t grandfathered into our current, affordable insurance plan. He started his own business, so we’re trying to make our savings last as long as we can till his business gets off the ground. According to the “affordable” care act, our premiums will be based on his last-year’s six-figure income. We work hard, pay our (disproportionately high) taxes, live responsibly, and don’t ask much of anybody and the gvmt ends up sticking it to us every time! If you own a business and (heaven forbid) make any money, they don’t view you as citizens and themselves as your public servants. They view themselves as your overlords and you as a government-support system. • Elle says: “How about 50% of moms & dads of middle-schoolers don’t fix breakfast for them and 70% of moms & dads of high-schoolers don’t fix breakfast for them?” To be fair to parents, I don’t think I ate a single breakfast before school for at least the last two years of high school – by my own choice. And that was a habit of mine that started in middle school. It was largely true of my peers as well. Our school *did* offer breakfast but no one in the cliques I traveled in ate there. • Toni says: “To be fair to parents, I don’t think I ate a single breakfast before school for at least the last two years of high school – by my own choice.” This. By the time I was in high school mommy and daddy were no longer waking me up and micromanaging my morning. If I opted to skip breakfast it was my decision. Had my parents gotten up and fixed something for me odds are great that I wouldn’t have bothered eating it. I valued those extra 20 minutes of sleep way more than food at that age • Alyssa says: I don’t eat breakfast, I never have. I know lots of people who don’t eat breakfast either, and lots when I was in school. People just need to realise that there is a large portion of the population that is not hungry in the morning and quit trying to stuff food into our faces. I’m one of them. I’m rarely hungry in the morning. • lee says: Your aca premiums are NOT based on last year’s income but 2013 income. It’s not that difficult to get accurate information about the ACA! Our premium is going from$1829 (yes you read that right) to $389 per month for better coverage and very low copays and deductibles. One of the benefits of living in a blue state (CT). You don’t seriously believe the blue states are getting better rates than the red states? I take it that low rate means you’re getting a subsidy, since you said it’s based on income. If so, congratulations on living off the labors of your fellow citizens. Be sure to send them all a thank-you note. Our rates would go from$389 to more than $1200 per month for the bronze (lowest level) plan … even though His Highness promised that if I liked my plan (which I did), I could keep it. I say “would go” to more than$1200 because I’m not going to sign up. I’ll go uninsured before I let the arrogant socialists in D.C. raise my premiums by more than $10,000 per year so I can serve as their ObamaCare support system. 27. Babs says: Do you and your wife homeschool your kids? I have about decided Im going to homeschool mine. No, they attend school. 28. Babs says: Also, is bologna *healthy*? My toddlers eat that better than anything, even sweets. In relative terms, I’d say it’s not bad. It’s processed, of course, and whole foods are better. But it’s a better choice than sugary junk. 29. Peggy Holloway says: I am also very healthy and never see a doctor. However, I discovered the loophole in catastrophic insurance plans last summer. Would your policy cover an unexpected “no-fault” pedestrian accident? What would you do? I sat on a curb in Denver bleeding from every facial orifice screaming “don’t call an ambulance, I don’t have insurance.” In the ensuing days and weeks, I learned quickly that my policy would only cover me if I was hospitalized and you practically have to be dying to get admitted in this day and age. When I talked to the BCBS agent, I ended up saying “Then I have been paying this premium every month and this policy is virtually useless.” Money down a rathole, it appears. I have continuing issues with my mouth and gums and haven’t seen a doctor after 4 months because of the anticipated costs. I’m a single person and I guess I can (pardon the pun) “grin and bear it” but I can’t imagine what I would do if it were one of my kids who had been injured that way with nothing but a catastrophic policy. Meanwhile, an acquaintance of Medicare age fell last week in Kiev and required a total hip replacement. Medicare would not cover her overseas so she bought traveler’s health insurance. The bill for everything will be around$2000. What’s wrong with this country? The same accident would cost at least $20,000 here and if it had been me, I would be up s*** creek. I’ll admit that the PPACA is flawed and I would much prefer universal, single-payer with no insurance companies involved. I also received my letter saying my crappy plan will not longer be offered. I say “good riddance.” According to the Kaiser calculator, I will be able to get a “silver” plan for less than$100 a month more than my current worthless junk policy. It seems like a winning situation to me, but I might be one of those deluded “economic illiterates” you mention.

I am (soon to say “was”) covered for accidents, yes. My torn meniscus was labeled an accident, even though I was just walking down my driveway when it happened.

What’s wrong with this country is that market forces disappeared from health care long ago, driven out at least in part by the federal government. In the one area of medical care where there’s still a buyer and seller relationship with upfront costs — elective procedures — prices have gone down even as quality has gone up. The cure isn’t to have the feds step and in drive up premiums even higher.

When we get that universal, government-run system that the ACA fiasco is intended to eventually usher in, the end result will be massive deficits followed some years later by a massive default on our debts. We’re already facing upwards of $50 trillion in unfunded liabilities that we’ll never pay because it’s impossible to pay them. Politicians promised more can be delivered, no matter who we tax and how much we tax them. Adding trillions more will only hasten the default, and then all the government goodies will go away. • Peggy Holloway says: So what is the cure? What do people do when a catastrophic event happens? I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. I won’t be destroyed financially, but many would be by this sort of thing. What is the answer? The answer is to put competition back into both medical care and insurance. In the one area of medicine where there’s a buyer-and-seller relationship with upfront costs — elective procedures — prices have gone down relative to inflation, not up. Market forces have largely been removed from the healthcare industry, and then people are surprised costs are out of control. It’s insane that you can only buy a policy from company within your own state. Some states only have two or three insurance carriers. If they all suck, you have nowhere to go. Knowing people can’t shop outside their own states, state legislators (sucking up to lobbyists) have piled on all kinds of mandates, which jacks up rates. I have car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, corporate business insurance and life insurance. Not one is from a company headquartered in Tennessee. With national competition in health insurance, the ripoff companies would be put out of business by rivals who had better reputations. I also have no problem with government going after companies that don’t deliver on their contractual promises. Enforcing contracts is a legitimate function of government. Forcing me to buy “comprehensive” insurance I don’t want and prohibiting me from buying across state lines isn’t. • lee says: Right so you can shop around while you or your kid is bleeding to death. 30. J. says: Is there a point at which you would leave the USA, Tom? I’m curious. It’s highly unlikely, but if things get bad enough, who knows? I’d much rather see America return to its supposed principles than have to leave and bore my grandkids someday with tales of a once-great country. 31. Lori says: @Peggy, why not see a dentist and get an estimate? I don’t know what your injuries are, but maybe you just need braces. Mine were$1,550 after I did a face plant myself last year. My “good insurance” didn’t cover them.

• Peggy Holloway says:

Thanks. I did see a dentist who recommended putting crowns on all four top front teeth for $4000. I’m not really comfortable with that idea and it is a lot of money for me. I am going to see an orthodontist for an estimate. Sigh. And while I’m commenting, I am an adjunct college instructor and the trend to hire predominately adjuncts started years ago. The estimate is now at 70% of faculty members are part-time and adjunct across the country. The reason has always been the high-cost of benefits. I have no doubt one of the reasons the institution where I was a full-time, tenured faculty member (with health insurance) closed in 2010 was the increasing cost of providing employee insurance. We need a system that does not tie health insurance to employment. I am not shy to say on this site that I support universal single-payer with NO INSURANCE COMPANIES. Sorry for yelling. I love Tom and Fathead but I disagree with him on this issue. I totally agree that health insurance should be decoupled from employment. Either make health insurance deductible for everyone (and for pete’s sake, let people buy a policy from any company in any state!) or it shouldn’t be deductible at all. Making it deductible only for an employer distorts the market and keeps people tethered to jobs they no longer want for fear of losing their insurance. Bit of history: During WWII, FDR (one the biggest economic nincompoops ever to hold office) decided to impose wage and price freezes. Since employers could no longer offer higher wages as an enticement to employees they wanted to recruit, they started offering “free” health insurance, which they were allowed to deduct as a business expense. That’s how the two first became connected. Is there a dental school in your area? Often you can get the same procedures done at one of those for a fraction the cost. • Lori says: My dentist originally said I’d probably need a crown: I had concrete embedded in my front tooth. In the end, though, I think one of the techs at the orthodontist just ground it out, and nobody said anything else about a crown. Again, not sure how similar our cases are, but I was in braces (just half my top teeth) for nine months. It was almost a year before my teeth felt like they were firmly back in place and I still have to wear a retainer at night. But since I broke a tooth and knocked two others out of place so badly that my teeth didn’t fit together well enough to even chew anything, I had to get something done. (The account of my whole misadventure is on my blog.) 32. James Gegner says: Regarding the item on school lunches: There is a video on YouTube in which author and journalist Michael Pollan calls the National School Lunch Program a “food disposal system” for the USDA. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bauJhztUQA Pollan also talks about how the rules of the NSLP make it extremely difficult for school districts to buy food from local farmers. One of the rules of the program requires schools to buy food from the lowest bidder. The example he used was that if a school district wants to serve hamburgers made from grass-fed beef produced by local farmers, they wouldn’t be able to because the farmer wouldn’t be able to give them the best price. The rules of the program basically disallow competition. James “A food disposal system” is the perfect term. I just wish Pollan would get over the idea that it’s fat and salt that make the food bad. 33. Erin says: For a comedy routine, it really makes me want to cry. That’s understandable. • Jill says: Comedy contains gravitas and drama as well as laughs. It’s the comedy of life. 34. Firebird7478 says: I just received a menu in the mail from a new pizzeria/Italian restaurant nearby. There are low carb meals on the menu. The heading over these meals: “Healthy Heart”. We’re winning. Excellent. 35. Ed says: One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here about Obamacare is the future availability of Doctors. In my area many will no longer accept Medicare patients, some are closing their practices altogether in anticipation of the ACA. If you can find a Doctor it very well may become ” The Doctor can see you in two years”. By the way what’s wrong with PETA? Our local chapter just held a steak fry. PETA…People Eating Tasty Animals. And that’s just the effect on the medical profession. It’s also going to seriously depress employment as employers cut back, don’t hire, and reduce employees’ hours under the threshold to avoid ObamaCare mandates. Congress should have named it The Guaranteed High Unemployment Act. • Firebird7478 says: Besides the bribed politicians, Big Pharma and the insurance industry, I don’t see who benefits from this. • Jill says: Reducing private sector employment is exactly why they brought it in. It – and many other Obama-anythings – is meant to impoverish America so everything will be govt.-controlled. Don’t run away – get into local govt. 36. Pierson says: “I agree, but I’m not surprised by his attitude. We live in an age where the responsibilities our grandparents didn’t think twice about shouldering are now considered too much to bear. After all, we recently saw a law student become a media star and a speaker at a political convention by whining to Congress about how she can’t afford her own birth control and really, really, really needed them to force someone else to buy it for her.” It’s not that easy, Tom. Really, birth control has evolved beyond simple condoms and pills, and saying ‘women shouldn’t sleep w\guys who won’t spend a dollar for some condoms’, is akin to that ‘eat less, move more’ deal. Really, plenty of women can’t use standard plastic\latex-based protection due to allergies, and many can’t use standard hormonal contraceptives due to certain sensitivities. As such, IUDs and specialized hormones are all that’s available to them, and those can easily go into the hundreds of dollars. Moreover, since they are often not covered by insurance (assuming the woman in question even has insurance), that leaves a lot of women w\out adequate birth control–something that parents or family can’t always help. This is even true with charities, as even if she did open up a local charity to help her cause (which isn’t always so easy to do), how’s that going to help though several million women nationwide who have this problem? As such, what’s wrong with lending help in that department? Really, it’s not ‘socialist’ to realize that having 500 people give$1 each to help prevent an unwanted pregnancy is better than having the same 500 people have to pay $50 each when years of malnutrition (and probably a terrible upbringing in a foster home) turns them into a violent criminal. You’ll never have to worry about getting pregnant, and your financial\psychological\professional\socioeconomic stability (which isn’t available to everyone) ensures that your daughters will (probably) never be in such a bind. As such, talking about how it’s an issue of entitlement and cheap contraception seems a bit out of touch (seriously,$1 condoms? What decade are you talking about?). After all, the government’s attempts at social help don’t always result in economic catastrophes (remember the smoking ban?).

1) The media hero in question asked Congress to force her others to buy birth control pills, not IUDs. Congress then ordered the Catholic Church among others to provide birth control pills for employees — never mind that birth control is against Catholic theology.

2) REALIZING that having 500 people “lending help” in the form of $1 would buy birth control for someone isn’t socialist, but FORCING them to do so is. Labeling it as people “lending help” doesn’t change what it is. It’s just another form of theft under threat of violence. (All laws are enforced under threat of violence. That’s why “force” is in the word “enforce.”) I have more respect for criminals who rob people with guns than I do for people who ask the government to rob others on their behalf and then consider themselves compassionate liberals for doing so. At least the criminal risks his own life while committing robbery and doesn’t tell himself he’s morally superior because of his compassionate willingness to take from others. 3) You can take any expense and show how cheap it would be if only everyone were willing to kick in a buck or two. But if your contention that “millions” of women need expensive birth control costing hundreds of dollars per month is true, then we’re up into the billions already. 4) The “this will save money in the long run” argument has been tossed around so often, if it were true we would be awash in surpluses right now. We should dump all those “this will save money in the long run” programs. Then we’d actually save money. 5) I don’t mind governments deciding to ban smoking on government property, including government parks. I’m 100% against governments telling owners of bars, restaurants, comedy clubs, etc., that they can’t allow smoking on their own property. No one is forcing anyone to go into a bar or restaurant, and in states where smoking is allowed, quite a few restaurants and bars don’t allow smoking at all or have non-smoking nights in order to attract customers who don’t like the smoke. • Pierson says: 1) Again, pills can get pretty expensive if you’re sensitive enough, so that some assistance may be required in acquiring them isn’t so surprising. Really, I don’t kid when I say these things 2) Fair enough. We will have to contribute our money regardless, so why not spend it on something that helps others? 3) Okay? It seems like billions of dollars is spent on social services already, with considerably more being spent on other enterprises (roads, defense, etc.), so it seems like a drop in the bucket 4) Eh, possibly. I was a ‘C’ student in economics, so I’ll leave your assertion alone. For what it’s worth, though, it’s not to say that there’s definitely no benefit. Indeed, a rainstorm may seem like bad weather, until you realize that it’s keeping a nearby forest fire from consuming your home 5) You’re a bit out of touch here. Case in point, my oldest brother worked as a server in the late 90′s-early 00′s, and (since he was paying for college w\out loans and limited family help) didn’t have the option of just not going. Moreover, since he lived in a small college town where–much like now–a good deal of the student body smoked\s, you could be certain that all of the bars\restaurants allowed smoking. Really, you can only have but so many servers working the ‘non-smoking’ section, and 1 or 2 non-smoking nights a month doesn’t really help when you’re working there 7 nights a week for years. Both of us have respiratory issues, and had he not been able to find work after graduation, that job could easily have caused a LOT of health problems for him. He really lucked out, but what about all of the people who–due to socioeconomic, geographic, educational, etc. constraints would be stuck in such situations? Remember, there are always other things going on, which I would contend are always important to be mindful of Also, thank you for sorting out the issue with my comment 1) The fact that pills are expensive doesn’t entitle those who need them to demand the government commit theft on their behalf and force others to pay for them. And again, we’re talking about a Georgetown Law student who whined to Congress that she needed them to force someone else to pay for her birth-control pills. When I was a college student, I somehow managed to pay for my girlfriend’s birth control pills despite only working part-time. I even drove her to Planned Parenthood to get them. 2) We only have to contribute as much as we do because government spends money on things government has no business spending money on. A country nearly$17 trillion in debt has no business adding new expenses of any kind. When they finally drive us into a major debt crisis, all the government goodies will go away.

3) The “it’s only another drop in the bucket” theory is how we ended up $17 trillion in debt. As former senator Everett Dirkson quipped, a million here, a million there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. 4) You don’t have to be an “A” student in economics to realize that piling up more debt we’ll never pay back (not to mention upwards of$50 trillion in unfunded liabilities) is a bad idea. You also don’t have to be an “A” student in economics to realize that when the government forces millions of people to pay more for insurance, that’s money they can’t spend on other products or services, which will reduce employment in other industries. So more people will get “free” birth control, and fewer people will have jobs.

5) I’m sorry you and your brother have respiratory issues, but that doesn’t justify telling a bar or restaurant owner he can’t allow smoking on his own property. People who can’t handle smoke — including potential employees — aren’t being forced to go there. I have hearing loss and loud noises hurt my ears. Same goes for lots of other people. I would never in a million years decide that fact entitles me to demand that nightclubs put a limit on how loud the band or D.J. can crank up the music so I could work there or go there as a patron without having my ears hurt. I just don’t go to those places.

Your comment happened to be near the top of the spam folder when I looked. No idea why it ended up there. I didn’t see anything that would cause it to flagged as spam.

• Pierson says:

1) Well you’re entitled to your opinion about when people should ask for help, but again, it seems out of touch. It was really fantastic that you could pay for your girlfriend’s birth control, especially considering that you didn’t have to break your neck to do it. As such, what does that have to do with the struggles of the millions who can’t? Really, it’s like saying that since my cousin has done just fine on a low-fat vegetarian diet, your inability to do so proves that you weren’t doing it right. Moreover, theft? Isn’t that like complaining about the requirement you have to pull to the side whenever a firetruck\ambulance\police vehicle is speeding by? Again, perspective is important

[They're not "asking" for help. They're demanding the government force someone else to pay for their pills under threat of violence. Sugar-coating it as "asking" doesn't change what it is. If you really believe there are "millions" of women out there who can't afford birth control pills, you and everyone else who feels their pain are free to voluntarily contribute to Planned Parenthood to help them out.

I don't get the ambulance analogy. I don't have any problem with governments requiring that people driving on government roads pull over when government emergency vehicles need to speed by. That has no bearing on people demanding government confiscate someone else's income for their personal benefit -- and yes, that's theft.]

2) Again, you’re entitled to that opinion. Still, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t helped, and when exactly is this horrible major crisis supposed to happen?

[I'm sure if I robbed my rich neighbors at gunpoint and distributed the money on the poor side of town, people would be helped. That doesn't mean it isn't theft. The horrible crisis will happen in your lifetime, assuming you're not old and sick or prone to accidents.]

3) Tom, isn’t this country worth something like $200 trillion dollars? All things considered,$17 trillion really is a drop in the bucket. Really, that’s like my doctor who complains of my ‘high’ cholesterol, while ignoring that my triglycerides are in the 40s, and my HDL is in the 80s.

[If you believe a $17 trillion dollar debt is a drop in the bucket, I can only suggest you start doing some reading up on government debt, interest on the debt and future unfunded liabilities. If you're assuring yourself that all is well because we're a rich country and could easily pay back the debt, you are sadly mistaken. Interest on the debt already exceeds what we spend on Medicare and will eventually squeeze out most other government spending. Then my kids will be paying high taxes with few benefits in return, mostly just paying back what previous generations spent on themselves. Making their future circumstances worse by dumping debt on them so we can live better today is immoral. It's as immoral as if I personally went out and bought a bunch of goodies on a credit card I took out in my son's name, sticking him with the bills.] 4) Isn’t paying back interest more important than paying back debt alone? Moreover, isn’t interest at historic lows right now, meaning that the (easily payable)$50 trillion dollar backlogs aren’t that big a deal? Moreover, if it really is true that charging people more for health insurance may create joblessness through having less money to put in the system, then isn’t it that much more important that programs which prevent people from unnecessary expenses (like unexpected children) be pushed? It’s a roundabout way of doing things, sure, but what’s wrong with working with what you have?

[Head. Bang. On. Desk. Really. Hard. That's the equivalent of saying a family living on credit cards doesn't have to worry about going even deeper into debt because what really matters is paying the interest, not reducing the debt.

As we pile up more debt, the interest burden will continue to pile up as well. It will squeeze out other spending. Interest rates are at historic lows only because the Fed is trying to goose the economy with cheap money, which means encouraging people to spend on credit, i.e., taking on more debt. That's a recipe for disaster. A healthy economy requires investment and savings. Stupidly low interest rates discourage savings. There is a limit to how much debt a country can take on without sinking itself.]

5) Again, perspective. My brother didn’t work as a server in smokey bars\restaurants because it was fun, but because it was the only way he could pay for his tuition and housing, meaning that he was somewhat ‘forced’ into that position. Really, you don’t need to have a gun held to your head to be coerced into bad situations. Moreover, something tells me that if for whatever reason your only options were working in a noisy club or being homeless, your tune would be quite different. I don’t know what libertarianism says about workers rights, but I hope it’s more broad than what you’ve said.

[It is a matter of perspective. We basically have two types of people in the country: those who believe government's job is to protect you against those who would deprive you of life, liberty or property by force or by fraud (libertarians), and those who believe government's job is to give you what you want or need, even if that means taking it from others by force or restricting their freedoms (socialists). I'm the first type. You're the second.

You are not "coerced" if your need for money convinces you to take a job you don't like or don't find pleasant.

And no, I wouldn't change my tune if the only option was to work in a noisy club (although I can't imagine a town where the only two options are working in one specific club or being homeless). I don't support property rights and freedom from coercion only when it's convenient or beneficial for me.]

• Pierson says:

[It's easier for me to reply after each point, so pardon the brackets -- TN.]

1) Again, who says I (and others) don’t volunteer, donate to charity, and all that good stuff? Like I said before, though; what is my donation in NY going to do for women in OK, FL, and such? Nevertheless, I’m just as much against coercive anything as you are (believe it or not), so fair enough. I’ll explain the analogy further down the line…

[Then you contribute to an organization with a national reach. If you're against coercion, I'm not seeing it.]

2) In my lifetime? So, anywhere from now to 85 years from now, then? Well with specificity like that, I’m sure I’ll have time to prepare.

[I don't know how old you are. We're already seeing the effects manifesting as a stagnant economy that depends on borrowing from the Chinese to stay afloat. Once interest rates begin squeezing out other spending, you'll see worse effects as people are heavily taxed to mostly pay off debts accumulated by previous generations. When the Chinese and others decide to stop lending us money because they no longer trust us to pay it back or merely fear that we'll try to inflate our way out of our debts, then you'll see the @#$% really hit the fan. Could be five years, could be ten. Eighty? Not a chance. Social Security and Medicare will both go broke long before then.] 3) So higher taxes and later retirement are the only real problems? So, major economic collapse isn’t imminent? Fair enough. [Who said higher taxes and later retirement are the only real problems? Were those the only problems in Argentina and Greece? Our debt is a ticking time bomb. At the very least, our children and grandchildren will be heavily taxed to pay back our massive debts. Money that is taxed away to pay for debts racked up by previous generations is money that can't be spent to support businesses and thus jobs. We'll be looking at high unemployment rates for years, if not an economic crash of 1930s proportions. And even if it's just later retirement (which it won't be), why the hell should my daughters have to retire later so they can work several extra years just to pay back debts incurred by people today? Like I said before, spending money you don't have to make your life better today and then dumping the debt on your kids and making their lives worse as a result is immoral. You are spending their future labor on yourself.] 4) I’m sure there is a limit to how much debt a country can get to without imploding, and it seems like we’re far from it now. Again, I’m hardly learned in economics, so I’ll leave it alone. [Based on what data have you decided that we're far from the level of debt that would cause the economy to implode? We have$17 trillion in debt and upwards of $50 trillion in unfunded liabilities. That is a massive debt burden. We have future financial obligations that we will not and cannot meet, no matter how high we raise taxes.] 5) No, Tom, I’m not a socialist. Really, I’ll never give anyone that ‘the needs of the many’ shpeil, and I know full well that Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc. were fully in the wrong for what they did\promoted. [But you're arguing that the needs of women to have free birth control entitles them to demand the government force others to pay for it. You're arguing that if you perceive a benefit to society (thus serving the needs of the many), it's okay to confiscate the funds to provide those benefits from other people. That certainly sounds socialist to me. I'm not seeing any respect for individual economic liberty or property rights in your arguments so far.] I’ve just come to accept (without necessarily condoning) that bad things will happen so worse things can be avoided, meaning that in order for the government to prevent others from losing life, liberty, or property, the restriction of freedom or taking things by force will be done, hence my ambulance analogy. [I have no problem with government protecting life, liberty and property. And I accept that to do so, we need a government to enforce laws protecting life, liberty and property and that we'll have to pay taxes to support those functions. But that's a far cry from demanding that government take your neighbor's money to pay for your birth-control pills.] Really, having to pull over for an ambulance\firetruck\police vehicle ‘robs’ you of time, and may make you late for work\to pick up your child\miss the bank before it closes\etc., yet you have no problem with it. [Of course I have no problem with it. Government isn't taking anything from me when it tells me that if I'm on a government road, I must move over for government emergency vehicles. That road is government property and they can set the rules for driving on it, just like they can decide to ban smoking on government property. I sincerely doubt anyone has ever suffered a calamity due to pulling aside for 30 seconds to let an ambulance pass.] The same thing is done with (small amounts of) money, however, for the same purpose of preventing greater problems, and you do. I personally don’t get it, but maybe it’s a consequence of not being a libertarian. [It's not the same thing, and that's why you don't get it. Telling me to pull over if an ambulance is coming down the road is in no way related to telling me that I must pay for some law student's birth control pills. All of these social programs have been sold with the line about how "this will save money in the long run!" and yet we're$17 trillion in debt. And I hope you don't believe ObamaCare is going to be a small amount of money.]

All I know from this is that if needing money so you can get an education to take you out of poverty doesn’t strike you as a type of socioeconomic ‘coercion’, then we’ve lived lives which are too different to meaningfully compare. For what it’s worth though, I think it’s good that you’ve lived a stable enough life to be able to stick to your morals.

[Coercion requires force or intimidation. It's something one person does to another. Not giving you something at my expense that you believe would improve your life (such as birth control or a college education) isn't a form of coercion. When you demand that I provide those for you under threat of violence, then it's coercion. If you're broke and take a job you don't like so you can stop being broke, or to pay for an education, no one is coercing you.

I've spent the past several weeks at work trying to decipher thousands and thousands of lines of very badly-written, undocumented, convoluted code because I was assigned to fix the errors in an old database system. It's not pleasant, and the only reason I'm doing it is to keep my job and pay my bills. That doesn't mean I'm being socioeconomically coerced. It means I'm a responsible adult and choose to do the work instead of being unemployed.

In paleo times, you had to hunt and gather food successfully or you starved. In farming societies, you either worked hard and farmed successfully or you starved. (Sometimes bad weather ruined the crops and people starved anyway.) My grandfathers and great-grandfathers labored on railroads or in coal mines. I doubt they enjoyed the work, but those were the jobs that were available. None of these people were being socioeconomically coerced, any more than animals in the wild are being socioeconomically coerced by the never-ending need to hunt for food. That's just life. The world doesn't owe you anything and isn't obligated to fulfill your needs.

I became a libertarian when I was flat-ass broke. I'm still a libertarian now that I work as a programmer and get paid well for it. Like I said, my principles aren't a matter of convenience.]

• Pierson says:

[Pardon the brackets again. Saves me having to scroll up and down to reply -- TN]

Again, thank you for solving the issue with my comments. Since I’ve no interest in clogging up your comment section though, this’ll be my last one here:

Like I said before, this country is terribly wealthy, which (I would contend) is more important than it’s debt. As such, in a manner similar to how Donald Trump is far from living in a box despite his many declarations of bankruptcy, so too will we not have any truly major concerns for quite a long time. Really, it’d be terribly unwise of China to cut the US off (considering we’re there biggest buyer of, well, everything really), we have lots of stock in valuable foreign goods, and who says the debt w\China (and other countries) isn’t being paid off w\something besides money (like unlimited employment for their people, for instance)? Like I said before, though, I’m no scholar in the fields of economics, so I’ll leave the subject alone.

[We'll agree to disagree there. Given our massive debts, I'd say we're more like a family that was once wealthy and is now keeping up the appearance of wealth by going ever deeper into debt. We're buying Chinese goods with money we borrow from the Chinese. At some point, they won't trust us to pay them back and will stop lending us money. As other economies mature, they'll replace us as China's market and China will have no need for us.]

Again, I’m really not a socialist. I don’t condone or support the taking of other’s resources to fund one’s own plans, so much as I’ve taken a more neutral stance, and don’t condemn or fight against it either. It’s just a fact that bad things will be done to prevent worse things from happening, and if this means that the money of others will be taken for proactive measures (making sure that potential criminals are never born) than reactive measures (hiring more cops and building more jails for criminals that were created by socioeconomic circumstances), then that’s something that will happen. I’ve simply accepted that it’s a thing that happens, and that the people who are for or against it certainly do think that they’re in the right. Really, I see that the law student is ‘entitled’ to ask for the support of others, in the same way that you’re ‘entitled’ to ask someone speaking loudly in a theater to quiet down, and that’s neither a bad nor good thing, so much as it’s something that’s done regardless of our judgments. I really don’t know how else to explain my position, so if you take nothing else from this statement, I hope that the message that I’m not an entitled socialist hippie shines through.

[I don't see those as equivalent at all. The person gabbing in a theater is depriving others of the ability to enjoy the film undisturbed. It's the old "your right to swing your arm stops at my nose" idea. No one is depriving the law student of anything. No is telling her she can't buy birth control. No one is stealing her birth control. She's demanding that people she doesn't even know pony up to buy her what she wants. So the definition of "reproductive freedom" has gone from "don't prohibit me from using birth control" to "you must buy my birth control for me."]

Finally, Tom, at the heart of coercion is the presence intimidation or force which compels one to do something they would not normally do, so as to avoid any kind of harm. As such, people who take jobs which can cause them real health problems so as to avoid poverty are every bit as coerced as a mugging victim with a gun pointed to their head.

[No, they're not being coerced. They're choosing the job over unemployment. People take jobs all the time that require driving to work, even though driving a car is one of most dangerous things you can do. Pro football players take a job where it's almost certain they'll suffer at least one significant injury before retiring, if not several. Cops and firefighters take jobs they know are dangerous and can end with them being killed. That doesn't make it coercion. No one is applying force or the threat of force. The only "force" is coming from the need to earn a living, which is just part of life. Sometimes we don't like any of our choices, but we still have those choices. The mugger doesn't leave his victim any choice and is intentionally using the threat of violence against another person. That's coercion. Let's not cheapen the word by redefining it as being a situation where you don't like your options.]

It’s not limited to just Humans, and saying that it is would be like saying that those raccoons didn’t actually steal anything from you, because they’re non-Humans which are not bound to our legal understandings. Really, though being broke is certainly no good, unless you’ve actually had to have lived through true poverty (like real homelessness as I have, and near destitution as my siblings and I have), then of course you’re going to say that ‘nobody is forcing you to do it’, much like how a (not poor) farmer would be angry that they’re prohibited from growing a certain crop, because doing so would displace native plants that a local endangered species requires exclusively for sustenance.

[If the government tells the farmer he can't grow a certain crop, that is indeed coercion. If he disobeys, they'll apply force. I didn't consider the raccoon to be "stealing." The raccoon was hunting and eating. Since he was killing my chickens and I don't want my chickens killed, I removed him from the equation. He wasn't stealing and I didn't commit murder.]

Really Tom, I didn’t go on any government anything to get out of poverty, and I’ve seen first hand how shelters can overcrowd, food can be scarce, crime goes unchecked, and how adequate medical resources can be hard to find. I was lucky enough to find someone who was willing to allow me to use labor instead of rent to live w\them until I could finish school and land a decent job (the vegan farmer I mentioned way back), but that’s not true for everyone, and I would’ve been in really hot water had I not known her. I volunteer and donate now as much as I ever did, but I’ve seen first hand that shortages still occur (very frequently), and there’ no getting around that. Again, far from saying that we should force people to pay for others, I instead would contend that it calls for a little more understanding than calling desperate people who see no other option for preventing such possibilities ‘entitled’. Really, I have no idea where you got the idea that I said that not giving people free stuff is a form of coercion, but maybe it’s because we see the world in such drastically different ways.

[You referred to the need to work at an unpleasant job to pay for college as "socioeconomic coercion." The only interpretation I see there is that if someone has a need that isn't being paid for by others (college funds, birth control, etc.), the person is being coerced. Ergo, not getting free stuff is coercion. If you have another interpretation of "socioeconomic coercion," let me know.]

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. Thank you again for sorting out the issues with my comments.

[Sorry they went in the spam folder. Still no idea why.]

• SB says:

As a woman, I find the whole birth control bit insulting, as though birth control MUST be provided or else we would automatically become pregnant.

We all make economic choices based on the resources we have and are willing (or able) to spend. We make these choices in regards to food and recreation and yes, sometimes medical decisions. Admittedly, I am fortunate enough not to have any special “sensitivities” to hormonal bc, but given that there are MANY versions of the pill, most available in generic (at a cost starting at $9/month and on up to ~$30/month). I have a hard time believing that there are that many women who 1) require the name brand pills and 2) straight up cannot afford any alternative. Doctors should be willing to work with patients to provide effective AND affordable solutions. Women should take responsibility for their actions and decisions.

I had a girlfriend in college who was on birth-control pills. So was Chareva before we decided it was time to become parents. I don’t recall the pills being a financial burden in either case.

• Pierson says:

SB, believe it or not, many women do in fact become pregnant when they have inadequate access to birth control, regardless of how you feel. Really, just because you couldn’t possibly imagine that pills could cost as much as >$30 dollars a month doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and using your financial stability as a reference point is a terrible idea for trying to understand the position of people who are considerably poorer\sicker than you. Remember, life doesn’t always work as we’d like it to, ad just because doctors ‘should’ help female patients to find affordable birth control doesn’t mean that they always can or will, hence the suggestion for such programs. Really, though it may be hard to believe many women who unexpectedly become parents aren’t irresponsible partiers, anymore than overweight\obese people are slothful gluttons. After all, we’ve all seen the effects bad advice can have on those who really are just trying to do the right thing. I guess we should stop inseminating those women with sperm against their will. • SB says: Women become pregnant by having sexual relations with men. I decided not to spell it out, but I thought it was a given that lack of birth control does not cause pregnancy in itself. I know that there are pills that cost more than$30/month. The point was that there are many alternatives that are affordable, and if someone cannot afford to spend the equivalent of $.30-$1/day in order to prevent pregnancy (which will cost a LOT more), then they either need budget assistance or some sort of charity (if her income is that low, then she is probably eligible for food stamps and can then use the money that was otherwise going to food to pay for the birth control).

Now, while there may be doctors out there who will prescribe the expensive stuff without any regard to whether the patient can afford it, a simple statement “Hey, I don’t have prescription insurance, so I won’t fill anything that costs too much.” is a direct message. I used that statement with a dermatologist and a campus nurse and guess what, they prescribed me affordable options.

Again, life is about choices. The choice not to pay for and take birth control (we’re assuming here that the purpose of birth control is to prevent pregnancy) should lead a woman to maintain control of her body and not allow herself to have unprotected relations with a man unless she intends to get pregnant.

According to the Planned Parenthood site, birth control pills range from $15 to$50 per month, depending on where you get them. I also read online that while the law student was busy whining to Congress about how she couldn’t afford birth control pills, there was a Wal-Mart within three miles of her university selling a 28-day supply for $9. Apparently forcing other people to pick up the cost of your sex life is what is now meant by “Reproductive Justice.” • Pierson says: I agree. I would suggest some sort of publicly-funded campaign which taught boys to not be sexually\psychologically coercive, taught girls how to resist coercion, eliminated any extenuating psychosocial factors which encourage unsafe sexual behavior, and did everything possible to make sure that everyone had adequate access to effective birth control, and the knowledge necessary to make good judgments. Nevertheless that would probably be a waste of good taxpayer dollars which could be used to build more jails, and hire more cops. You do realize all those sex-ed programs didn’t reduce the teen pregnancy rate, don’t you? They were about as successful as the low-fat diet campaign. I have nothing against teaching teens the biology of pregnancy, but the idea that we’ll educate them on how to have safe sex without getting pregnant and that will magically reduce teen pregnancy rates didn’t pan out. If you want to make sure people have access to birth control, contribute to Planned Parenthood. I promise nobody will stop you. 37. Paul B. says: My favorite whisky is Lagavulin. It’s about$90 a bottle. Not as expensive as some whiskies, but still expensive. At one drink per day, it would only last about half a month. That’s $180 per month… more than$2,000 per year! I can’t buy the cheap stuff because it makes me feel ill.

I have trouble sleeping… was it my time in Iraq? I don’t know, but liquor helps me sleep, and a lot of other troops experience the same thing. Unfortunately it usually takes about three or more drinks to get me sleepy, upping the cost to more than six grand per year.

If only my employer (who happens to be the US government) would be forced, by law, to provide me and my fellow veterans whisky, we could then sleep. If everyone in the country just chipped in a dollar or two, it would be so simple.

Good point. If we ever meet in person, I will happily volunteer to buy you a drink. Or two. Or three. No force required.

• Paul B. says:

Thanks, Tom. When I go to TN, I only go to East TN (family lives south of Knoxville), so the chance of us meeting is unlikely. But if it does happen, I like to buy my own drinks! The internets is hard to catch sarcasm, so I hope that you were able to see my equating liquor to birth control.

I caught the sarcasm and liked it. That’s why I volunteered to buy you a drink.

38. As for the debt “only” being $17 trillion and those low interest rates, another thing to keep in mind is that for the last couple of years, the Fed has been buying about 2/3 of the government debt issued — over$2T and zooming along. That doesn’t include the \$1.3T in bogus mortgage paper they’ve “bought.”

In other words, no one is really lending the government that money, the Fed is just creating it. Tick. Tick. Tick.

As far as the whole birth control thing, I think if people can’t afford to buy their own, but still want to exercise their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and screwing without consequences, then the government should give them mandatory sterilization. I don’t mean for it to be coercive. I’m just asking for the government to “help out” us poor schlubs who keep getting stuck with the tab. The beauty of this plan is, for every dollar we’d spend, we’d prevent 7 future Democrats!

Cheers

39. Ed says:

There is a lot of talk about the National debt and the interest on it. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the reason that the “Puppet Masters” aren’t worried about it is because they never had any intention of repaying it. If it gets too burdensome (ie: when even the low information voters catch on) they will call for a major devaluation of the currency. Presto. Problem solved and ready for the next cycle.

The Puppet Masters love deficit spending. It makes them rich. Briefly as I can describe it, the process works like this: the government goes into debt, the Fed covers the debt by creating magic money out of nothing (except the obligation of the taxpayers to pay back the government’s debts), the new magic money ends up in large commercial banks, which can now call the magic money an “asset” and write loans against it, then collect interest on the loans. And the really good news is that the government and the big banks get to spend the money before its existence creates inflation. The inflation devalues your money and thus reduces your wealth. In other words, this process transfers wealth from you to them, all without the embarrassment of raising your taxes.

So big deficits make your grandmother on a fixed income poorer, while making rich bankers and others at the top of the food chain richer. Any liberal whose bleeding heart is still beating should be screaming bloody murder about the whole thing … but that require the liberal to understand the economics involved, which is why there is no screaming.

• So far, this hasn’t resulted in massive inflation because we’ve managed to “export” it. That is, as long as the dollar continues to be the world’s reserve currency, many of the dollars we print move outside the US economy. So it’s our trading partners who take the hit.

Those days are numbered, however, as the basis for a reserve currency comes down to faith that the issuing country will preserve the value of its currency, which we have been in the process of destroying at rates never before imagined possible.

The problem with getting a liberal to understand economics is that as soon as you do, BAM, you don’t have a liberal anymore.

Cheers

And once the suckers — er, trading partners — lose faith in those dollars, the dollars will be re-imported.

40. Jill says:

Of course it’ll save you money in the long run.

You can’t spend money if you’re dead, and if kids end up dead from this diet the US regime will save money on them and their non-existent offspring.

QED.

41. Jill says:

And that’s why they call it a DIEt!

42.