All posts by John Band

Crooked Timber, an exception to general comment-thread-y rules of thumb

The rule of thumb is that on any blog where posts regularly attract more than about 50 comments, none of said comments will be worth reading due to the preponderance of idiot trolls, clueless newbies, and the generally hard-of-thinking.

At Crooked Timber, this is not the case. Viz:

Newbie CT commenter:

I wouldn’t much care to live in a world where you can’t eat animal (including marine) flesh

Regular CT commenter:

Shocking. The men of the naval infantry may be rough, tough, sometimes even brutal; but it goes too far to class them amongst the animals. Unless you mean to place all humans in that category, of course, which would be biologically correct. In that case, though, your typical marine is a poor choice for the table. Lots of meat there, yes, but it will be tough and stringy; made palatable, if at all, only through long slow braising.

Update – we have a new winner:

A system where the England coach gets to release three lions per game would increase the current entertainment value of England games, if not their match-win chances. (As players from other lands would be taught, you don’t need to faster than the lion, you only need to be faster than Terry, Heskey, etc…)

Eggscerable reporting, or ‘no, the EU won’t ban eggs by the dozen’

The latest insane euromyth, as faithfully invented by the Daily Mail, is that the EU is planning to ban the sale of eggs by the dozen or half-dozen. As usual, the Littlejohn Rule applies here: if the story sounds like something you “really couldn’t make up” (thanks, Mr Dale), then somebody doubtless has made it up.

The main thrust of the Daily Mail’s story is that under proposed EU legislation, it will be illegal to print “six eggs” on a box of six eggs. Instead, the quantity of eggage will have to be listed solely in kilogrammes. This is simply – and really really obviously – false, and if you believe it then you’re doubtless someone who’s checked whether the word ‘gullible’ is really in the dictionary.

Here’s the actual legislation, proposed by the European Parliament. The quote that the press have misunderstood (or, more likely, lied about) is:

1. The net quantity of a food shall be expressed, using litres, centilitres, millilitres, kilograms or grams, as appropriate:
(a) in units of liquid in the case of liquids within the meaning of Council Directive 85/339/EEC of 27 June 1985 on containers of liquids for human consumption ;
(b) in units of mass in the case of other products.

In other words, all food that is sold in the EU will need to list either its volume (for liquids) or its mass (for solids) in metric units on the pack. Note the absence of anything banning the use of other indicators on the pack, such as “number of eggs”, “mass in pounds”, “number of moles of hydrogen atoms in the packet”, etc. Anyone who wishes to do so can advertise any or all of the above, as long as the metric unit of volume or mass is clearly marked. See: a pint of milk.

So the more outlandish claim, that the legislation would ban the sale of eggs in packs labelled as ‘six’ or ’12’, is obvious, total nonsense.

The only thing substantiating the piece at all is the Mail’s quote from an unnamed source at the UK’s Food Standards Agency, “Retailers would not be allowed to put ‘Six eggs’ on the front of the box.“. Whether the Mail has grossly misquoted the FSA spokesman, or whether the FSA spokesman is an idiot, is not clear. Either way, the quote is wrong.

A more sensible criticism of the proposed rule comes from The Devil’s Knife – that the change would cost food packagers money for very little benefit, wasting everyone’s time and resources:

Well, I would imagine that selling a 500g box of eggs that does not, in fact, contain 500g of produce is illegal under Trading Standards. So now the egg producers are going to have to weigh each and every box, and stamp the exact weight on each box. Not only will they have to buy the stamping equipment (because you can bet your bottom dollar that just writing the weight on is not legal: they even have to stamp each individual egg now, for fuck’s sake) but it is also labour-intensive.

Well, this would be true, except that eggs are already graded by weight – e.g. a ‘large’ egg weighs 63-73g – which requires them to be weighed. And under EU labelling rules, positive errors are allowed on packaging, as are negative errors of 3% (for a package that weighs 300-500g, like six large eggs).

So if the new rules do come in, an egg producer who wished to comply with them at zero cost could just add ‘weight 385g’ to all their boxes of large eggs, and otherwise carry on as before.

Meanwhile, an egg producer who wanted to emphasise the fact that their large eggs were super-large could put the actual weight if they chose, based on the grading by weight that they would have done anyway. Obviously, this would require more complicated software for labelling; whether the producer views it as worthwhile or not depends on whether they reckon it’ll help them make money. Like, erm, most commercial decisions…

Update: John Harrison of Allotment.co.uk has helpfully clarified the (current and not planned to change) rules for small producers in comments:

It’s currently perfectly legal to engage in farm gate sales (or front door sales for backgarden chicken keepers) so long as you do not grade the eggs and provide a use-by date.

This means the box sold at the door of six eggs will be various sizes, which is actually quite useful when cooking. Some things a small egg is perfect for and you can hardly use ‘half a large egg’. The useby date is generally just a matter of adding 30 days to the laid date.

Home producers do not need to stamp the eggs etc. It’s when you supply shops etc that the weight of regulation comes in.

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2010-06-27

  • Snaptu is much uglier than Nokia Communities, but has the massive advantage that, erm, it works. #nokiafail #
  • Blimey. The Penrith result doesn't look good for the whole 'avoiding PM Abbott' thing. *prepares to be deported as undesirable alien* #
  • Half-relatedly, only realised today that Tony's originally a Pom. Sorry about that, guys. #
  • Even by XKCD standards, today's is exceptionally good: http://xkcd.com/756/ #
  • Wow, the US version of Inbetweeners will surely be terrible… http://bit.ly/d8JHg3 #
  • Make Your Own Cuts! – http://www.noshockdoctrine.org.uk/?page_id=185 #
  • RT @MrKimHambley WORLD CUP BREAKING NEWS England have been appointed a new coach.. it arrives Thursday to bring them home (via @lesanto) #
  • Brilliant. LGW's new owners are going to drop 'London' and adopt a new logo that looks like a low-rent hotel: http://bit.ly/b8YWU2 #
  • Tomorrow is my first day at work, so #ebz and bed is definitely a better call than footy. We'll see. http://fallenlondon.com/c/124748 #
  • In general, this is good advice for Yoofs – but I'm sceptical of 9.iv http://bit.ly/brFPaW #
  • Rep Ed Markey in "is prick" shock – 'worst internal estimate' != 'what you tell the press': http://tinyurl.com/24nhkxz #
  • Fucking hell. Outrageous fail. Pls can FIFA sack all refs, and hire some blind lunatics to randomly scatter cards about like confetti? #
  • Srsly, does anyone think that the World Cup would be worse, rather than better, if the refs were told to halve the number of cards awarded? #
  • Fuck, I get annoyed by people who think that Gary McKinnon did any harm (as opposed to 'breaking the law', which he certainly did do). #
  • He exposed that US military IT security was run by assclowns, and briefly interrupted some of said assclowns' timewasting. That is all. #
  • It's disappointing to see @libcon republishing shitty pro-US propaganda on the McKinnon case: http://bit.ly/bsxs88 #
  • I get irate when people slate airports for being big malls with runways. YES, OF COURSE THEY ARE. This makes a 5-hour connection bearable. #
  • 3rd world airports (except the newish Indian PFI ones) on the other hand, are not big malls with runways. This makes them utterly shit. #
  • Best thing ever: http://i.imgur.com/17Kkt.jpg – well, if you like MUDs. #
  • After last big Gulf of Mex oil spill, all rapidly went back to normal apart from a few angry hippies: http://bit.ly/dBJanL (via @thabet1979) #
  • Sad about Frank Sidebottom – his recent public statements seemed to imply he wasn't about to cark it. But he has :-( http://bit.ly/bQ3Tts #
  • First day of real work in six months. To my surprise, am still alive. #
  • Tickets booked to Melbourne and Brisbane – next up, Isle of Man and Manchester. Carbon footprinty woo. #
  • RT @unslugged: #budget update: Tax on Burberry increased to 85%, tweed reduced to 2%. #
  • Bedtime. #ebz http://fallenlondon.com/c/126117 #
  • Cocaine mixed with PCP and LSD #linesthatgetmemad #
  • Shame; I preferred it when he was floating -> RT @MrDavidOcelot Just trying out Gravity #
  • My football predictions so far have been disastrous, but tipping ENG 2 – SVN 1 (I've got my winnings from ALG game on SVN win or draw, tho') #
  • Christ. My friend's dad has just been remanded in prison for arson, after setting fire to the local courthouse. Fail, indeed. #
  • I'm running out of appendages to cross. C'mon England, don't fuck it up. #
  • Thank fuck for that. #
  • End of USA-ALG game is kinda sad – would've been aces to see ALG holding on, and sending off the captain was academic-but-unfair. #
  • W00t – my ISP has just doubled my quota gratis. Thanks, iiNet! #
  • Dispelling footy adrenaline with a spot of #ebz. Next, BED. http://fallenlondon.com/c/127667 #
  • NL, UK, Australia have best health systems; US worst. People who aren't mouth-breathing right-wing nutters unsurprised: http://bit.ly/bnUn4d #
  • So the next Federal election will be between two Poms for PM, then? Maybe I'll stand next time round… #
  • "Australians are disturbed when they see boats come to our shore unannounced" – senior citizens who live north of the Brisbane Line, maybe? #
  • Haha, this is aces: http://www.b3ta.com/board/10097448 #socialmediaexperts #
  • Overheard bloke "…is 6 times the speed of sound". American girl: "wow, that's almost the speed of light!" *fetches cluebat* #
  • Quick #ebz before going out… http://fallenlondon.com/c/130814 #
  • #ebz We can't get enough gas down here, see. So you know what we burn for heat? … sinners. http://fallenlondon.com/c/131982 #
  • Bemused by opposition to English tests for immigrants. We should let in everyone who speaks English – but nobody who can't be bothered to. #
  • Dear the next person to post a bit.ly-ed Times link without warning that clicking it is useless: you're a cunt. #
  • #Worldcup prediction: #eng 1-0 #ger #
  • When the ref gets death threats from England fans, he'll fucking deserve them. #
  • Craig Foster: "before you call for video ref, how about a 2nd ref who can see?" <- yes, or you could not allow blind people to be refs. #
  • To 'could've been 3-0 types' – yes, *if James hadn't saved a goal and Lampard scored one*. But they did. Ref fail is different from ENG fail #
  • FAIL. Oh well. Go #ENG. More realistically, go #MEX so I don't have to support Germany in the next game… #
  • I think we can all agree, a well-deserved 4-2 victory to Germany. #
  • Also, that was a sodding good game, one of the best in the tournament so far. Unlike the #bra-#por dullfest. #
  • Go #mex. #asif #itdbenicethoughwouldntit #
  • #ger played very well; #eng played far better than #usa or #gha. But for utter #alg fail, we'd be in last eight. And then out, I'll grant. #
  • RT @timjana: Let's challenge the Germans in Cricket then! #

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What I’ve been up to, week ending 2010-06-20

  • Off to the Belgian Beer Cafe. Belgian beer FTW. #
  • No Belgian beer available, so drank Australian beer as well. Which is nearly as good. Now #ebz o'clock http://fallenlondon.com/c/115119 #
  • RT @feral_pigeon peck at rob green's humble pie #
  • Amusing spammers are OK by me: RT @diamondauction But for my lawyer, I’d still be in prison. It went a lot faster with two people digging. #
  • Part of why I quit > RT @adambanksdotcom Dear media. When you advertise for an "experienced intern", you are now taking the piss @karasimsek #
  • Did anyone really think 'dumb Yanks' at 'USA wins 1-1'? Background v/@qwghlm is interesting http://bit.ly/aCKblg but joke is obvious anyway #
  • Cross about Tim Cahill's completely undeserved red card, having realised he'll miss #gha and so #aus will probably lose group. #hangtheref #
  • Most interesting match to watch so far, and the only one where the two teams abbreviate to palindromes #ned #den #
  • Punchline follows: RT @amyvernon How do you measure the ROI with geolocation. #twtrconure #
  • RT @johnb78 @AmyVernon with geolocation from 51.43ºN to 55.38ºN north-south, and 6.01°W to 10.27°W east-west. Hope this helps… #
  • If we're applying transitivity, and excluding hari-kiri, then based on #eng-#Jpn friendly and #jpn-#cmr fail, #eng have no chance. #
  • See also, my last tweet about Japan's insipid play. Maybe #eng have a chance > RT @thejimsmith Well, that'll show *me*, won't it? #worldcup #
  • Have any other transport geeks ever accidentally inspired pub confusion by asking for a pint of Bom-Bar-Di-Eh? #
  • "Honda and Matsui need to dominate". Luckily, Kawasaki and Sony are happy to play second fiddle. #worldcup #
  • The Japanese did win. According to my voodoo science, that implies England will get to the quarter-finals. #
  • So Google Calendar is broken in Chrome – I've had to fire up Safari to use it. #epicgooglefail #
  • RT @mpesce Apparently teh Fail Whale is one of the official logos of teh Whurled Cup… #
  • This is a masterpiece of the 'shorter' genre – Melanie Phillips' latest book, digested: http://is.gd/cPl7h (via @dnotice) #
  • Android sales now level with iPhone: http://bit.ly/9W68qi – also analysts *still* saying 'mcommerce works in Japan so will work elsewhere'. #
  • Coincidentally, this is exactly what they were saying when I worked in technology news in 2000-2002… #
  • RT @wallaceme: Ironically, people complaining about Vuvuzelas has now become an endless drone in the background. (via @mrpower) #
  • I don't want to be a neo-colonial dick, but why does every country apart from Ivory Coast say its name in either local or English? #
  • I mean, if the residents of said venue were to call it by its African name, then fair play, but why on earth do they insist on #civ? #
  • People are bastards and life is shit #sixwordnovels #thomashardy #
  • People are bastards and life is shit #sixwordnovels #charlesdickens #
  • People are bastards and life is shit #sixwordnovels #kingleyamis #
  • People are bastards and life is shit #sixwordnovels #martinamis #
  • People are bastards and life is shit #sixwordnovels #everyRussianauthor #
  • People are bastards and life is shit #sixwordnovels #everyIrishauthor #exceptFlannOBrienwhosgreatfun #
  • People are bastards and life is shit #sixwordnovels #ohandsamuelbeckett #not #
  • #allnightfreeboozefail – and other seven word Twitter taglines. #
  • Nearly bed, but #ebz first, obviously. http://fallenlondon.com/c/116869 #
  • Ignorant Brit alert: I'm actually shocked that it's only now we've admitted that #bloodysunday was a horrific, sick massacre of civilians #
  • Is news basically like Premiership football and professionally valuable information, or is it basically not? #isrupertmurdochanidiot #
  • Hehe: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/monologues/15comicsans.html #
  • Best Student Activity Ever: http://bit.ly/dlROCH (via @iamtef) #
  • Enjoying the #Tooheys adverts. "Changing a lightbulb for your nan, while she's in the bath, with her boyfriend", indeed… #
  • So today I didn't play any #ebz until 3pm, how restrained of me… http://fallenlondon.com/c/119501 #
  • My hopes for tonight: #ger (for #aus's sake), #svk (both generally, and for #eng's sake), and #eng (duh). #
  • If #ger can beat #srb 5-0 or more, that'd be particularly good. #
  • You misspelt 'funniest' -> RT @jgrindal http://imdb.to/aB7D1 – Saddest IMDB page ever (via @BigGibb) #
  • I've got a friend whose only listed IMDB role is as a dead child; sadly their character had a name so the entry doesn't work quite so well. #
  • I hope they upgrade #ebz soon, I've almost reached the level cap… http://fallenlondon.com/c/120933 #
  • Just put a bet on for #alg win or draw tonight – so either #eng win, or I get a wodge of cash to drown my sorrows… #
  • I should also point out that the bet in question is from a bookies' "One Free Bet On World Cup!" email, rather than my own cash money… #
  • I'm anti-death-penalty, but if people are going to have it, firing squads are both relatively painless and appropriately savage. #
  • Lethal injection's a cop-out – you're pretending that ending someone's life is a medical procedure, not a brutal-but-necessary (IYO) act. #
  • Anyone ever notice that you can't spell 'crucifiction' without 'fiction'? Well, as long as you spell the first word a bit incorrectly. #
  • This is a good, obvious, & *shouldn't be necessary*, & *one cries that it is in 2010* piece from Laurie re abortion – http://bit.ly/d3Q3m0 #
  • Specifically, you forget as middle-class educated grownup that whilst abortion is available on demand for you, that isn't what the law says. #
  • So my mum killed herself from post-natal depression: http://bit.ly/drtGlv – and even she would have given this lady a kick in the fanny. #
  • Bigoted moron of the week: http://is.gd/cUO41 (via @anattendantlord) #
  • Anyone know why #usa are listed above #eng in Group C, even though we've the same points and the same goal difference? #
  • Halfway up the mountains. No hillbilly action as yet… #
  • Thanks to @mudlarklives @mjturner1975 @griefoftwats @jonniemarbles for alleviating my footy ignorance. Although @pchallinor made me laugh. #
  • RT @siwhite0: England team visit orphanage in Soweto. "It's good to put a smile on the faces of people with no hope" said Mbutto aged 6. #
  • Loving the idiots abusing @dianainheaven. Do follow. #
  • Horne & Corden #horrorsketchshows #
  • A delightful weekend in the country. Now, RSS catchup and #ebz http://fallenlondon.com/c/123571 #
  • This is some fun, semi-pointful number-crunching: http://bit.ly/d7g5SR #
  • GO #NZL! Aces. Yes, I know it won't last, etc. #
  • This is brilliant – BP and the Axis of Evil http://ht.ly/20QCB (saw on RSS, reminded to Tweet by @thabet1979) #
  • Unsurprising but disappointing equaliser. #nzl 2-1 would be lovely but unlikely; do prove me wrong, the All-Whites… #
  • 1x offside goal, 1x dodgy penalty. I hope #nzl at least hold #ita to a draw, since that's what's deserved so far… #
  • Helen Keller -> RT @manipillai Who is the ref in this game? #nzl #ITA #
  • While England may be very very tenuously gripping to the off-chance of qualifying, nonetheless haha France hahahahahaha! #lagreve #
  • Oh fuck. I was following @sarahpalinusa as a @dianainheaven jolly parody. Clicked link, and realised was her verified account. #theendtimes #
  • Just found out Dermot O'Leary is on Twitter. For 2 seconds, I thought "yay, D O'L is on Twitter". Then I thought, "oh wait, D O'L is a dick" #
  • OK, so nearly everyone non-Maori in NZ is of British descent, right? So we could hire their keeper…? #
  • CLUE: don't. RT @LDN How to queue for Wimbledon tickets http://bit.ly/cdTPFR #
  • GO NZ! Absolutely best result of the World Cup so far. #
  • On #eng: @herring1967's point "the team were all playing like they'd all found out they were fucking each other's wives" has some relevance #
  • OK, so 'Toby Young is a dick' aside (TRUE), is there any difference between ConDem 'Free Schools' and Labour's 'Academies'? #

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In praise of firing squads

I oppose the death penalty, but if countries are going to impose it, then the firing squad is a pretty decent method. It’s rapid and painless enough not to be sick torture, but it’s also brutal enough to remind everyone concerned that they are, actually, violently and prematurely ending a life.

Which is good, because that’s what the death penalty involves, whether or not you personally support it. You’re either saying “it is right for the state to violently and prematurely end this person’s life for the good of society/justice”, or you are saying “it is not right for the state to violently and prematurely end people’s lives”.

Shooting – as with UK-style hanging by the days of Albert Pierrepont – doesn’t try and cover up the fact that a human being is being violently killed, whilst also not revelling in the person’s suffering (unlike, say, crucifixion or stoning). Lethal injections and gas chambers, by removing the element of violence and disguising the taking of a life as a medical or scientific procedure, are no more humane than shooting or hanging – but far more dishonest and hypocritical.

If firing squads turn your stomach because they involve killing a person, then that’s all to the good. But don’t kid yourself that any of the other methods of execution are any better.

Well, apart from the one administered to Arthur Charles Herbert Runcie MacAdam Jarrett (unbelievably, not available on YouTube), of course.

Best comment evah

From the Awl, which you should read anyway, this short article:

“A bolt of lightning struck the ship capturing oil from the blown-out BP well in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, igniting a fire that halted containment efforts in another setback for the embattled company in its nearly two-month struggle to stop the spill, the company said.” BP expects to resume operations later this afternoon, unless it is confronted by boils, locusts, lice and darkness, which it almost certainly will be.

…was followed by:

As a firstborn son I am very uncomfortable with this.

Good work, commenter HiredGoons. You win the Internets.

What makes me angriest? Quebec.

There are many things in life that rile me. But in terms of ‘obvious, absurd, insane unfairness that’s tolerated for absolutely no sensible reason at all’, Quebec is top.

In most countries that have real languages and joke languages that are indulged, the joke language that’s indulged is the language of the people the land was stolen from, and it’s a pathetic token attempt to make amends. Which is fair play.

And even in those places, the joke language isn’t actually required to be taught as a second national language outside those communities. All signs, ad campaigns and media don’t need to be shown in the real language and the joke language nationwide.

But the white people who stole Quebec couldn’t even be arsed to learn English – and Britain in the 1770s was so lame (and, in fairness, distracted) that we didn’t compel our inherited Frog-speaking subjects to learn our language, give up their disgraceful religion, and generally follow the wise example of our settlers elsewhere in Canada. Together, these poor decisions have created one of the worst pathetic cultures of fake victimhood ever to have existed.

So in the rest of Canada, French is an official second language that must be indulged and written in for product labelling and all official purposes. But in Quebec, English isn’t a second language for signing and official purposes; it’s forbidden for any of that kind of thing. This fact highlights the fact that Quebecers aren’t just stroppy, they’re total bastards.

The only reason the rest of Canada puts up with Quebec is to annoy the USA. Actually, that’s an excellent evolutionary example of ‘high cost signals': “yes, we’re willing to put up with a province full of the most dislikeable Frenchmen ever, on the grounds that you’re even worse than them”.

Oh, and Leonard Cohen’s a Jew who sings in English, so totally doesn’t count.

‘Anti-Europe’ is an accurate term for UKIPpers

There are two possible meanings that the phrase ‘anti-Europe’ can carry.

One is the Fox News interpretation, under which Europe is full of gay, garlic-eating communists, and therefore should be bombed, or at least avoided. The other is the opposition to European political integration, or to the view of Europe as a political rather than solely a geographic entity.

If someone’s from Europe and/or voluntarily in Europe [*] – which includes almost everyone with any interest at all in the debate on European political integration – to describe that person as ‘anti-Europe’ in its first meaning would make no sense at all, unless they were actually an insane self-loather (Melanie Phillips is not a counterexample here).

Hence, people opposed to European political integration who complaining about the use of ‘anti-European’ to describe them are silly. Nobody’s claiming that you hate yourself, football, the Parthenon, black pudding, the English language and motorways. You do, however, hate the concept of Europe as a political entity. And that’s why you’re being described as ‘anti-Europe’.

There is some truth in the complaint, in that there’s a genuine conceptual difference between ‘anti-Europe’ and ‘anti-EU’. While most anti-EU types are also anti-Europe, there are a few people who favour European political integration but also believe that the EU is so hopelessly corrupt and useless that it should be abolished and we should start again. But they’re the only ones to whom that distinction applies, there really aren’t very many of them, and they’re not the people who join UKIP…

[*] a reminder to UKIPpers: the UK is, geographically, in Europe.

Shorter US public response to Deepwater Horizon

“Dear Big Oil. Yes, we know this sort of thing is inherent to oil extraction, and we do still want cheap oil extracted – but please can you do it in places where instead of oiling up a few American pelicans and ruining American banjo-playing yokels’ weekends by making them kill land animals instead of sea animals for fun, it instead kills large numbers of foreigners? Nigerian, Iraqi, Timorese, Uzbek, Scottish, whatever, as long as we don’t have to think about the consequences of our actions. Thanks, The US Public”

Semi-relatedly, I hadn’t realised that Tony Hayward was a drilling engineer by background, rather than a generalist suit. That’ll be why BP has been focusing on containing the spill, rather than running a super-slick PR campaign, then.

On third-columnists, deliberate or otherwise

I’m a Keynesian who believes in fiscal expansion in tough times, and I’m a market-favouring leftie who believes in progressive taxation (whilst trying to minimise disincentives to work at all levels).

However, I’m embarrassed by Richard Murphy of TaxResearch.org.uk, and the way in which the press tend to print his daft views as a serious example of Keynesianism economics and left-wing thinking.

He isn’t an economist, he’s a man who knows a great deal about the specifics of UK tax accounting, and has lots of other views that aren’t really based on much sensible – and are only paid any attention to due to the spurious argument-from-authority that his tax accountant background gives him.

It’s the equivalent of someone dealing with the (serious, real) debate on pharmaceutical companies pushing too many overpriced lifestyle drugs based on cherry-picked trials that don’t reflect real clinical benefits over generics or non-pharmaceutical responses, by interviewing a loony quack like Gillian McKeith.