Texas’s group-size limits are also repealed

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas is generally dropping COVID-related restrictions. He did this with executive order GA-34.

While not well publicized, this also repeals the group-size limits. Outside of defined exceptions (churches, etc.) and in some rural areas, Texans weren’t permitted to congregate in groups larger than 10.

GA-34 “rescinds” GA-17, GA-25, GA-29, and GA-31. Searching those on the word group, none of those reference group-size limits.

However, GA-34 “supersedes” GA-32. I am not clear why the word was changed from “rescind” to “supersede”, but they both appear to mean that GA-32 is no longer in effect. Regardless, GA-32 had language about group-size limits:

…people shall not be in groups larger than 10 and shall maintain six feet of social distancing from those not in their group

Texas Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, Oct. 7, 2020

GA-32 “supersedes” GA-30, which had the same group-size language. GA-30 supersedes GA-28, which had the same group-size language. GA-28 supersedes GA-26, which also has group-size limit language. GA-26 supersedes GA-23, which does not have group-size language, so GA-26 probably started that thread of group-size limits.

Checking the remaining EOs not mentioned above and issued since GA-08 (list of Texas Governor’s EOs), a search on “group” on each reveals that only the first COVID-related EO from March 13, 2020, GA-08, had a group-size limit. It was superseded by GA-14, from March 31, which did not include group-size limits.

Therefore, it appears Texas had a general, ten-person group-size limit from March 13, 2020 (GA-08) through March 31, 2020 (end of GA-08) and again starting June 3, 2020 (GA-26). With GA-34, Texas has no group-size limit starting March 10, 2021.

FODMAP is NOT about gluten free!

(BACKGROUND: FODMAPs are five kinds of carbohydrates: fructans, galactans, fructose, lactose, and polyols. For some people, FODMAPs cause digestive problems. A FODMAP diet is where you avoid FODMAPS.)

A lot of FODMAP resources recommend avoiding gluten. This is bad advice: the FODMAP diet is about problem carbohydrates. Gluten is not a carbohydrate; it’s a protein! Avoiding gluten is not a goal of the FODMAP diet.

Here’s why many are confused. Gluten-free products generally do not contain wheat, barley, or rye. These should be avoided on a FODMAP diet. Therefore, FODMAP-sensitive people may have success with some gluten-free products.

But not all! Some gluten-free products have FODMAPs. For example, Rudi’s Multigrain gluten-free bread has inulin. People on a FODMAP diet cannot have inulin; it’s a long-chain polymer of fructose!

So what’s my point? FODMAP dieters will probably end up buying gluten-free products. However, you’re doing it not because of the gluten–a protein–but because of the carbohydrates. Products that contain gluten but do not have the problem carbohydrates, like beer, are generally not a problem on the FODMAP diet.

Democrats are lying about the public option


Mark my words: a public option health care plan will someday be the only plan.

Don’t put any faith in today’s democrat promises. With a few votes and a sympathetic president, future liberals can (and will) alter public option’s scope. With impunity. That is government’s track record:

  • Social Security expands: At inception, a 1% tax on the first $3,000 of income funded the system. By 1940, it paid $35 million of benefits. Now it’s a 6.2% tax on the first $102,000 of income and pays $650 billion of benefits. (source)
  • Income tax expands: In 1913, when the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, the income tax was 1% of all earnings over $3,000. Now it is between 10% and 35%, depending on your bracket. (source)
  • Even the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation expands: “When the PBGC was created in 1974, Democrats running Congress assured everyone there was no taxpayer risk because the agency would be funded by fees from pension plans, as well as by the assets of plans the company takes over.” “Now the PBGC has a $33.5 billion deficit,” and this is before it is about to take on much of Delphi’s pension, a politically-motivated, union face-saving “second biggest pension bailout in PBGC history.” (source)
  • How about those automaker loans? What started in 2008 as large loans is now a giant taxpayer giveaway that just won’t end.

I could fill a whole blog post with expansionism.

Even with current democrat promises, public option probably starts out with a massive tax subsidy and forced lower payments than what private insurers can negotiate (a la Medicare). It will creep like St. Augustine grass and gradually smother all other options. Future expansionists will just seal this fate.

Don’t get me wrong: the current system is flawed. And Obama is right about a lot of its flaws. But as an expansionist liberal, anything he prescribes is quackery.

Greenwashing the Green Spot

A nearby gas station called the Green Spot recently opened. The prior owners (when it was a Mobil) had gas prices well above market, so I appreciate that the new owners charge the same for gas as everyone else.

But I had to suspend my gag reflex after reading greenwashing in my local community magazine (pages 24 and 25 of this 19MB PDF–yikes!). According to a quote they got from co-owner Alvaro Garza, “our mission is to reduce our carbon footprint by offering an alternative lifestyle…”

Specific examples of where carbon footprints aren’t being lowered:

  • They sell biodiesel gas, which has several flaws. Even if you could argue that these flaws could someday be resolved, the fact remains that current consumption of biofuels almost certainly causes more harm than good. For example:
    • Several studies show that production and use of biofuels produces more carbon emissions than just burning plain gas. (link)
    • It takes more energy to produce biofuels than they save, which in turn increases carbon emissions, oil importation, and our trade deficit. (link)
    • Biofuel production increases prices of food, starving the poor. (link)
  • They sell organic goods, production of which require more energy (carbon!) and land than conventional foods. (link)
  • The article’s feature picture depicts a Jeep Liberty SUV. In addition to being an iconic member of a gas guzzling class of vehicles, it has the worst or 2nd worst fuel economy in recent Consumer Reports small SUV comparisons. (The diesel raised it from worst to 2nd worst; several gas-engined SUVs with higher overall ratings got better mileage.)

    (This image stolen from Advocate Publishing.)

And it sounds like a lot of what they sell are carb-loaded snacky foods. Ladies and gentlemen, refined carbs are refined carbs. The refined carbs from organic sugar cane and fresh fruit juices make you just as fat and unhealthy (and ultimately requiring more carbon-intensive health care services) as the corn syrup in Coke.

You may think I hate the Green Spot. I don’t. It’s convenient, gas prices are finally fair at that location, and they have neat stuff inside. I want them to succeed.

However, I was brought up in a home where the breadwinner toiled for and was employed by a nonprofit. I work with a couple of nonprofits. I value nonprofits. They deserve our charity; supporting them achieves a higher moral purpose.

I resent when for-profits steal altruism for their own personal gain, and that’s what’s going on with greenwashing the Green Spot. Support the Green Spot where they provide a value to you, but don’t do it because you think you’re fulfilling some higher purpose. You’re not.

Open lunches are stupid

When I was in high school, I resented our closed lunch. We were forced to stay on campus for our 25 minute lunch period.

Open lunch means students can leave campus for the lunch period. Open lunches have the allure of longer lunch periods, freedom, and fun.

Now that I have a more mature perspective, I believe any school district selling reasonable lunches on-campus would be patently irresponsible to allow open lunches.
Look at the downsides of open lunches:

  1. Higher insurance. That’s what my school district told me.
  2. Hooks children on garbage foods. Where do children on open lunch go? Mostly fast food restaurants, where they eat garbage: fried, greasy, salty foods packed full of refined carbohydrates and low quality fats.
  3. Costly. A $2 class A lunch is a lot cheaper than gas, vehicle wear and tear, and any restaurant meal.
  4. Denies children a healthful lunch. A traditional cafeteria lunch is far more healthful and balanced than anything children usually select at restaurants.
  5. Exposes children to risk. What’s safer: sitting in the cafeteria or being in an old hand-me-down car piloted by fellow children rushing to get back to campus before the lunch period ends? Where are children most likely to get in trouble: at school, or in an unsupervised, off-campus environment?
  6. Longer school day. You have to allow transportation times in open lunch periods. That had to be made up with a longer school day.

The upsides are? Anything? (Do you really believe many children go home during open lunches? Ha ha!)

Having no useful purpose, open lunches are wasteful, expose children to unnecessary risk, and jump start them on debilitating health problems.

Open lunches are a terrible idea.