Three stories that aren’t big enough for blog posts of their own … well, they are actually, but I don’t have time to tear into them.
First, you may have heard that the FDA is taking the unprecedented step of banning trans-fats. Actually, they’ve removed them from the list of foods that are GRAS (generally regarded as safe), a first step toward a ban. This despite the fact that trans fats are not dangerous per se. They raise LDL levels and lower HDL levels which may contribute to heart disease. I have no problem with encouraging people not to use them (always keeping in mind that it was the food snatchers who put it there in the first place). But banning?
The trans-fat ban is not the worst thing about the trans-fat ban, though. The worst is the precedent it is setting for banning a substance that does not make people sick and the inspiration this is giving to various Nanny State dunderheads, who are now hoping the FDA will heavily regulate (or ban) genetically modified food — technically speaking, all food is genetically modified. THey also want to regulate sugar. Yes, sugar:
The most outspoken enemies of sugar, like Robert Lustig, are trying to take it off the GRAS list–something that CSPI petitioned the FDA to do last February, asking it to study and determine safe levels of high-fructose corn syrup. The chance of an FDA announcement of that in six years seems pretty unlikely now. But soda makers already have more than dozens of low-sugar and sugar-free drinks: they have scores and scores of them. They’ve quietly been working to solve the problem, while spending (often literally) untold sums not to risk their core products. The advocates against trans fats who seemed so crazy even six years ago, when the New York trans fat ban went into effect, are seeming a lot less crazy today.
No, the advocates against trans fats still seem crazy. They’ve just found an Administration that listens to crazies. Needless to say, the idea of the FDA removing sugar from the GRAS list is insanely stupid. Sugar is natural substance that occurs in many foods and refining it has been around for millennia. Sugar is not dangerous. I repeat, sugar is not dangerous. Eating too much of it can make you fat but that is true of every food in existence. In fact, there is some evidence that the artificial sweeteners he touts are actually worse because they fool the palate and thus interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its sugar intake.
This is a perfect illustration of why you can never given the Nanny Staters an inch; they will demand ten miles and demand that you jog all of them. And without any bottled water.
Our second story comes from my home state of Georgia where Circle K has thrown their lot in for dumbest business of the year:
Johnny Jarriel Jr. has a state permit to carry a concealed weapon. He said that he often carried his pistol in his three years of working at the Circle K on West Stewart’s Mill Road in Douglasville.
Jarriel said he was in the office at the Circle K on West Stewart’s Mill Road on Saturday morning when armed suspect attempted to rob him. He said the man used pepper spray, demanded money and threatened to kill everyone in the store.
“Pointed it directly at my head and said, ‘Give me the money or I’m going to kill you,'” Jarriel said.
Instead of panicking, Jarriel convinced the attempted robber to follow him to the front for the money. When the gunman turned away, Jarriel reached for his pistol.
“He was turning around towards me, but before he got fully…I aimed at him this way and fired three shots,” Jarriel said.
The gunman fled, apparently wounded by one of the shots.
Authorities cleared Jarriel of wrongdoing and gave him back his .45, but the assistant manager was given the pink slip from his employer.
Circle K says this is corporate policy. Circle K is also an idiot. Forbidding employees for carrying guns is corporate policy, not holy writ. They’re acting like waving the rule violation is setting a Supreme Court precedent. In fact, a clerk was killed at that store four years ago. If I ran a store and one of my clerks was murdered, I’d be asking my employees to carry weapons, preferably in open holsters so everyone knows that the store is protected.
The final entry in our Trilogy of Error is that Seattle has elected a socialist to its City Council. Granted, the difference between an admitted socialist and everyone else on the city council is probably minor. But she hilariously calls for rent control, which even liberals admit destroys the supply of housing. She also supports a $15 minimum wage. That may sound swell to you, but if you look at Europe, you’ll find that countries without minimum wages have lower unemployment rates than those with them. Germany, for example, abolished its minimum wage and has 5.2% unemployment.
(Germany and other non-minimum wage countries like Sweden (!!) balance this with stronger unions and social safety nets. There’s a debate to be had whether a no-minimum-wage+safety net system is preferable to a minimum-wage system (although a system with neither might be best). Personally, I think we need people working. The strength of any economy is the total productivity of its citizens. If we’re going to give money away, we might as well give it away to people working for a living. Say what you want about Germany’s system, but if we had 5.2% unemployment in this country, we’d be dancing in the streets.)
So there you have it. Three stories that show our society at its dumbest. Work hard this week, my friends. Someone has to support these cretins.