Category Archives: Links

The LeBron James Redemption

Friend and former colleague Scott Campbell shares this excellent rendition of LeBron James’s quasi-apology letter… in the voice of Morgan Freeman in the classic film The Shawshank Redemption as performed by comedian Frank Caliendo. (Which was, to those who don’t know, filmed an hour away from James’s home in Akron at the former Mansfield Reformatory.)

I highly suggest watching the video. Caliendo is very talented and does an amazing impression (his specialty.) Had never heard him do Morgan Freeman before.

I wondered what the Caliendo track would sound like put to the score of The Shawshank Redemption. So I put the track to music to find out.

Here it is:

EDIT: Apparently there was music when it ran, but it was edited out.

Yoga Mats ARE Scary

Meet Vani Hari. She’s a self-described organic “food activist” who apparently hates chemicals in commercially produced food.

Today, it seems, she’s won a big battle with Subway saying it will remove an ingredient from its bread called azodicarbonamide. It’s super scary, guys, because it’s used in the production of Yoga Mats.

Vani’s blog/online organic food store, called “Food Babe” says this ingredient is DANGEROUS. The Chicago Tribune, regrettably, weighed in with the headline: “Subway removing yoga mat chemical from bread.” Which is like saying that Coca Cola is “removing a packing peanuts ingredient from soda” by switching from corn-based sugar to cane sugar. Or, as friend of the blog Jeryl Bier notes on Twitter:


Vani’s campaign against azodicarbonamide is a classic scare campaign, a common theme on her website. She urges readers “beware of MONSANTO Butter” because “Choosing the wrong type of butter can secretly ruin your health without you even knowing it!” And, she made it on television with LABEL GMOs signs during Tom Vilsack’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. A real go-getter.

Don’t worry, though, Vani’s blog has you covered with an “Organic, Non-GMO, Real Food, Weight Loss” plan that you can sign up for at the low, low price of $17.99 a month. Beware of people who immediately have the solution to the problems they are complaining about.

Vani is not a scientist or medical expert. (Nor am I, for that matter.) In an interview, she shared her unique take on appendicitis:

“One night, I felt a sharp, intense pain in my stomach. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I discovered my appendix was going to burst and I needed to have surgery immediately to have it removed. Since that day, my life has been changed forever. They say having appendicitis is random, but I think that is just not true. I know my lifestyle of high stress and poor nutrition caused this horrible thing to happen to my body.

And a star was born!

Yes, lots of countries have banned azodicarbonamide because they’re fearful it could cause health problems. But the World Health Organization isn’t so sure those studies were done very well. They conclude in their evaluation of azodicarbonamide’s health effects that:

“The limited toxicology database and lack of exposure data make it difficult to adequately assess the risk to humans potentially exposed; hence, there is a need for further information.”

Website Food Navigator USA notes, correctly, that the FDA has deemed azodicarbonamide safe for human consumption. It also notes, incorrectly, that the WHO “linked the chemical to asthma and other respiratory issues, concluding that ‘exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible.'”

The World Health Organization did not link azodicarbonamide to asthma and respiratory issues regarding food consumption, as they suggest. Here’s the line from the report:


The key word, here is occupational exposure. Unless your job is to eat Subway sandwich bread, your exposure to azodicarbonamide is not occupational. I kid, but the azodicarbonamide skeptics at understand this, saying: “Even a chemical that produces a disease such as asthma in its raw concentrated form is not tuned to the natural state of the human metabolism and does not belong in our food at any ANY dosage.”

And I don’t agree with that logic because lots of airborne things can cause asthma. According to the NIH:

Many substances in the workplace can trigger asthma symptoms, leading to occupational asthma. The most common triggers are wood dust, grain dust, animal dander, fungi, or chemicals.

I suppose by the logic that fungi can cause occupational asthma, we should ban the consumption of mushrooms, too.

Azodicarbonamide should be celebrated, not scorned. It keeps bread fresher for a longer period of time. You know, like “eat fresh”? It saves consumers money that way. The smear campaign against it comes from people who also wrongly smear GMO crops that save millions of lives.

And yes, yoga mats really ARE scary. Hopefully they’ll remove the bread ingredients from them as soon as possible.


Further Reading: A Canadian chemist from McGill University shares his thoughts here.

Update from Maker’s Mark

I take it that my die-hard Maker’s friends have seen the news by now. If not, you can read Sonny Bunch’s take on it over at the Free Beacon.

Here’s the latest update from Bill Samuels, Jr.:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding our recent announcement. We always appreciate open and honest conversation about Maker’s Mark, and we’ve gotten plenty of feedback, both supportive and otherwise. In order to respond to everybody quickly, please allow me to offer several thoughts that might answer most of the questions we’re hearing.

And by the way, I asked Rob if I could write this response since many people have wondered if I’m on board with the decision to lower the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) level. I am, and here’s why.

First, it’s important to understand that our primary focus now and for the past 50 years hasn’t changed. It’s product quality and consistency, batch-to-batch, year-to-year, with the primary measure of that consistency being the unique Maker’s Mark taste profile. That’s all that truly matters in the end.

Since we’re a one-brand company that’s never purchased bourbon from other distillers when supplies are short, forecasting is very difficult. Over the years, our one variable that helps us avoid market shortages has been the age of the whisky in the Maker’s bottle. That range is between five years nine months and seven years. Because Maker’s Mark is aged to taste, Dad never put a specific age statement on the bottle. It wasn’t the age that mattered; it was the taste, the quality and the consistency.

Some people are asking why we didn’t just raise the price if demand is an issue. We don’t want to price Maker’s Mark out of reach. Dad’s intention when he created this brand was to make good-tasting bourbon accessible and to bring more fans into the fold, not to make it exclusive. And, with regard to the price, the value of Maker’s Mark isn’t set by alcohol volume. It’s about the quality of the recipe and ingredients that go into it, all the handcrafting that goes into the production and how it tastes.

Some of you have questioned how we reduce the alcohol content. The fact is, other than barrel-strength bourbons, all bourbons are cut with water to achieve the desired proof for bottling. This is a natural step in the bourbon-making process. Maker’s Mark has always been made this way and will continue to be made this way.

As we looked at potential solutions to address the shortage, we agreed again that the most important thing was whether it tastes the same. The distillery made up different batches that Rob and I tested every evening over the course of a month. Every batch at 42% ABV had the same taste profile that we’ve always had. Then, we validated our own tastings with structured consumer research and the Tasting Panel at the distillery, who all agreed: there’s no difference in the taste.

For those of you who have questioned if the supply problem is real, I can assure you that it is. While not every part of the country has seen shortages yet, many have, and the demand is continuing to grow at a pace we’ve never before experienced. While we are investing today to expand capacity for the future, by producing 42% ABV Maker’s Mark we’ll be able to better meet our ongoing supply issues without compromising the taste.

Ultimately, all I can ask is that you reserve judgment until you actually taste the whisky, like I did. If you can make it down to the distillery, we’re doing tastings every day with the 42% ABV whisky to give you a first-hand opportunity to try it for yourself. If you can’t make it to the distillery, please give it a try when it gets to your city. And please write me back at that point. I want to hear what you think.

In the meantime, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write. It shows that you care about Maker’s Mark, and that’s what we’ve been striving for over the past 50 years. I hope you’ll give us the chance to continue earning that devotion and allow us to prove that we didn’t screw up your whisky. All the best.

Bill Samuels, Jr.

Chairman Emeritus

Maker’s Mark Distillery
3350 Burks Spring Road
Maker’s Mark® Bourbon Whisky and Maker’s 46® Bourbon Whisky. 42% and 47% ABV.
© 2013 Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc. Loretto, KY.

Bomblecast #18

Thanks for dropping by for episode 18 of the bomblecast. If you like reddit and we’re not reddit friends, make sure you add me. I’m still figuring out this whole reddit thing, so shoot me a message with your user name and I’ll add you back.

Links from today’s episode:

Here’s episode 18 of the Bomblecast:

Fake Bane TDKR Outtakes

OK, this is one of the best things I’ve seen all week.

Monday Links


Via TWS’s Mark Hemingway:

“Remember folks, Mitt Romney is an out of touch rich guy who just can’t relate to the struggles of ordinary Americans:”

[poll id=”34″]

DailyCaller: Of course Octomom is a stripper now

WSJ: Factory Orders Decline | A J.D. Program for Alaskans

DCist: Ancient D.C. Taxicabs to be Taken Out of Circulation (That won’t raise costs one bit!!)

Tickets go on sale for the Congressional Baseball Game!

Attention Clevelanders: 10 cent beer night cups are, well, 10 cents! h/t Foremann

Bomblr: Man turns dead cat into helicopter (I can see it now: My cat is a helicopter, your argument is invalid.)

Consumerist: Higher Than Usual Dry Cleaning Bill? Blame Those Wire Hangers (Alt Headline: Blame bad US Trade policy..)

Photo of the day: Power Stance

Happy Birthday, Matt Fuller!

Boing Boing: The little 747 who dared to dream

Reason: Sorry, students! Obamacare leads colleges to cease insurance plans

Mrs. Landingham dies (for real this time) West Wing Reference

RIP Mr. Trololo

WashPost: Maryland requires (by law) its local breweries to “buy local.”

PoP: This Guy Does Not Think Cleveland Park Is Steelers Country h/t Kenn

Excellent video by the Tribe:

Forbes: A Generation of sissies

Wired: First Test Flight for Military’s Mega-Drone

Thursday Links


[poll id=”32″]

Tyler Cowen: My personal tech ecosystem

New Romney Commercial

AP: Unabomber updates Harvard University alumni book

Reason: Haiti’s Pepe Trade: How Secondhand American Clothes Became a First-Rate Business

CafeHayek: Both Are Successful Movies!

WCP: Broken Windows Theory (A conundrum for the preservationist crowd…)

Cheese? Or Font?

Reason: Rand Paul Introduces Amendment to End the FDA’s Insane Police Powers: “I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.”

MR: Monkey markets in everything, game theory edition

WashTimes: Paycheck unfairness: Women paid less by female senators

NYTimes: Beijing Accuses U.S. of Trade Violations in Energy Sector

How to Not Kill a Cyclist (I should do a post, How To Kill Yourself: Cyclist Edition)

Heaton: Gadgets of Alienation

Bloomberg: Half Of Detroit’s Streetlights May Go Out As City Shrinks

STL Today: Cardinal Nation shows its class

WTOP Commuter Idle: From Fredericksburg to College Park

The Athens Debt Metro

Update on the Alexandria Wegmans

Roll Call: Undercover Congressman

Volokh: Flashing Headlights to Warn Oncoming Drivers of a Speed Trap = Constitutionally Protected Speech

Tuesday Links

The Law Door

Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from.

– Thomas Sowell.

Mankiw: Faulty Memories

MR: Markets in Everything: Torturer


RollCall: Get to know Marcia Fudge (D-Shaker Heights/Warrensville)

Through Softball, Whiskey Caucus Honors Former Teammate

Gaffney: Bad Timing for Law of the Sea

HotAir: Trent Lott explains support for treaty he once said would create ‘UN on steroids’ 

A Message From Congressman Davis (KY-4)

Matt Yglesias shouts it from the rooftops on occupational licensing (h/t Marginal Revolution)

Mediaite: Former Democratic Congressman: Cory Booker Was Right, ‘Private Equity Is A Good Thing’

Rasmussen: 40% Now Say Trayvon Martin Shot in Self-Defense; 24% Say It Was Murder

HEATON: How to Be a Kickass Segway Tour Guide

BoingBoing: Disneyland’s tiki bar has its own tiki mugs

Reason: Multi-Millionaire Tax Avoider Bono of U2: Only “brain-dead, heart-dead ideologues or professional controversialists” Are Against Government Aid For His Preferred Charities

RollCall: Ohio Senate Race Evolves Into Battleground

WSJ: Benihana Agrees to $296 Million Buyout


NYTimes: Lucasfilm Retreats in Battle With Wealthy Neighbors

Cannes Film Preview: The Ayatollah’s Holy Rollers

BoingBoing: 50,000 new visitors to cartoonist’s site results in an extra 23 books sold

dvice: Man scammed Target by slapping homemade barcodes to Lego sets

Edward Conard in Bloomberg: Investment, the Engine of U.S. Prosperity, Is Underrated

HuffPost: Missouri/Kansas Rivalry: KU Alum Compares Missouri Rep. Stephen Webber To Napoleon Dynamite

Volokh:EEOC: Wearing Confederate Flag T-Shirts May Be “Hostile Work Environment Harassment”

Thursday Links

09-22-11 at 19-14-43

Photo by bryanta1

Boudreaux: Ptolemaic Economics…

Jonathan Macey: Losing Money Isn’t a Crime

[poll id=”31″]

Alphaville on Tumblr? Sweeeeeeeeeet

ClotureClub: A staffer discusses Capitol Tours (so true.)

Reason: Steve Chapman on the Implausibility of Nuclear Terrorism

Consumerist: Jam Band Fights The Ticketmaster Man By Scalping Its Own Tickets

Zerohedge: How JPM’s “Hedge” Blew Up In One Easy Chart

Danger Room: Face Down, Cash Up, Then Pakistan Lets in Our Trucks 

HotAir: Republicans’ Capitol Hill offices being burgled: An inside job?

Stossel: Making life fair

Jim Swifts in the news

AP: As Facebook grows, millions say, ‘no, thanks’

Ben Stein: Obama’s not very smart

Wednesday Links

The salaries of administrative agency federal employees for 2011

HuffPo: Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland Casino, Opens To The Public (Related: There is a GHOST BUSTERS SLOT MACHINE.)

Wonkette: Empress of Outer Space Orly Taitz Has New Senate Campaign Ad (VIDEO)

ESPN: Kings up 2-0 after Jeff Carter’s hat trick, Jonathan Quick’s shutout

Landsburg: The Economics of Teen Pregnancy

Your (somewhat daily) Krugman criticism

BBC: What if we limited gadgets to one photo per day?

Reason:  Why We’re Entering the Age of Ron Paul

Dingbats: Man Claims He Found A Gun On The Job & Was Fired For Turning It In (Michigan didn’t give him the upper hand…)

Weekly Standard: Conservative Insurgent Fischer Wins Senate GOP Nomination in Nebraska

Alan Simpson: Paul Krugman near ‘hysteria’

Only on the Hill: When I see Rep. Paul Ryan

Heaton: Dealing with hecklers 

Grover: Why Romney should tap Jindal

Adler: When Is an Earmark not an Earmark?

Daily Caller: Senate spokesman vs. TheDC [VIDEO]

NYTimes: The Purpose of Spectacular Wealth, According to a Spectacularly Wealthy Guy (Conard is a great writer, and his book is GREAT. Please excuse the NY Times bias.)

NYTimes: Last Ones Left in a Toxic Kansas Town

Post Dispatch: Provelology: The study of a made-up cheese with a made-up name California’s Two-Hundred-and-Fifty-Thousandaires