How Meddlesome Government is Making your Barbecue More Expensive and Less Tasty

The Houston Rodeo Barbecue Grand Champion Kerry Fellows with the pit he used from Pitts by JJ on the Eastex Freeway Saturday March 09, 2013.(Dave Rossman/ For the Chronicle)

The Houston Rodeo Barbecue Grand Champion Kerry Fellows with the pit he used from Pitts by JJ on the Eastex Freeway Saturday March 09, 2013.(Dave Rossman/ For the Chronicle)

Why Freddy’s Barbecue Couldn’t Really Exist

 writes: Between taking bites out of his political opponents, Frank Underwood, in the first two seasons of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” liked to visit a hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint called Freddy’s. Freddy’s BBQ is fictional and the 100-best-bbqshow used a shack in Baltimore for the set.

[Check out Johnny Fugitt’s book “The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America” at Amazon.com]

DC tourists may be disappointed to learn they cannot sample Frank’s favorite ribs, but the most disappointing fact is not that Freddy’s is fictional. The sad truth is that Freddy’s could simply not exist in DC or in most major cities today.

While researching barbecue restaurants for my recently released book, The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America I visited 365 barbecue restaurants across 48 states. Many owners shared with me that their businesses are hampered by local environmental, safety, and health regulations

Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press Kevin Spacey as the ruthless American politician Francis Underwood with Robin Wright as his wife, Claire. Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press

No Tasty Barbecue For You

In Houston, for example, Pizzitola’s Barbecue hangs its hat on being the only remaining Houston barbecue restaurant to cook with a traditional open pit. Pizzitola’s has been smoking barbecue this way for 50 years and was grandfathered into the local safety law banning their traditional method of smoking meat.

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“The White Swan came under federal regulations and were required to use electric cookers rather than continuing to smoke as they had for generations.”

As newer barbecue restaurants popped up just outside city limits, Houston lost tax revenue and residents had to leave the city for great barbecue—everyone lost.

[Read the full story here, at TheFederalist.com]freddysbbq

Houston lost tax revenue and residents had to leave the city for great barbecue—everyone lost.

“Today, cities require restaurants to invest tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in safety hoods and equipment.”

It might seem unfair for Pizzitola’s to have such an exemption and, thus, an advantage over their competition, but it’s actually a blessing and a curse. If Pizzitola’s were to make any major changes to the restaurant—like adding a patio or dining-room space—they would lose their grandfathered-in status.

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Pizzitola’s cannot adapt to compete with other restaurants because this risks losing the way they have been preparing barbecue for 50 years. Eventually this handicap will catch up to them.

No More Opportunities For the Little Guys

Although local regulations have done the most damage, federal regulations are also to blame. From the 1940s until 2009, The White Swan smoked traditional North Carolina pork over smoldering oak.

“It was a shame to see a historic, small town, family-run barbecue joint forced to serve cooked pork rather than traditional smoked barbecue simply to comply with federal food regulations.”

When they franchised in 2009 (and created a number of new jobs), The White Swan came under federal regulations and were required to use electric cookers rather than continuing to smoke as they had for generations.  It was a shame to see a historic, small town, family-run barbecue joint forced to serve cooked pork rather than traditional smoked barbecue simply to comply with federal food regulations. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: U.S. Senate Building Evacuated After Suspicious Package Report

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Senate Office Building Briefly Evacuated After Threat, Nothing Hazardous Found

Several floors of a Senate office building on Capitol Hill were briefly evacuated Tuesday afternoon, following a report of a suspicious package that Capitol Police described as a bomb threat.

Investigators did not find anything hazardous.

Staff, lawmakers and reporters were kept out of parts of the building for about an hour while police investigated the scene. U.S. Capitol Police told Fox News they received the call reporting a suspicious package in a third-floor room of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Read the rest of this entry »


Yes, New Kansas Law Will Allow Concealed Carry Without Gun Permit or Training

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“It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right”

A bill signed Thursday by Gov. Sam Brownback will allow residents in Kansas to carry concealed firearms without a permit or training.Concealed-Carry-Women2

Kansans aged 21 or older will be permitted to carry concealed guns starting July 1 when the law takes effect, even if they’re not trained or don’t have a permit, the Kansas City Star reports. That will make the state one of six to allow “constitutional carry.”

Anyone who would like to carry a concealed gun in any of the three dozen states that accept Kansas permits must go through training, a requirement that Brownback emphasized. But even with regard to Kansans, who won’t be required to go through training, he acknowledged that his youngest son had “got a lot out of” a hunter safety course recently and urged others “to take advantage of that.”

“We’re saying that if you want to do that in this state, then you don’t have to get the permission slip from the government,” Brownback said. “It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right.” Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Top U.S. Veterans Health Care Official Resigns Amid Scandal

Shinseki addresses reporters after testifying before a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on VA health care, on Capitol Hill in Washington

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki addresses reporters after testifying before a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on VA health care, on Capitol Hill in Washington May 15, 2014. REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST

(Reuters) – The top health official at the Department of Veterans Affairs resigned on Friday amid a growing scandal about healthcare delays that has also seen calls for the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Shinseki, in a statement, said he accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA’s undersecretary for health who had already been expected to retire, and acknowledged the need to ensure more timely treatment of America’s military veterans.

“As we know from the veteran community, most veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care,” Shinseki said.

He stopped short of blaming Petzel for delays, however, and did not explicitly say why Petzel resigned. In a statement last September, the VA said Petzel already had planned to retire in 2014 and it was taking steps to find candidates to replace him.

Read the rest of this entry »


Re: CNN’s Dumbest Column Ever

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CNN is irrelevant, and the SPLC should be recognized and branded in polite society as a “Hate group”

NRODavid French asks some good questions:

I’d like to thank Kevin Williamson for pointing us to perhaps the dumbest column I’ve ever read on CNN – an actual argument that allegedly “right-wing” extremists are more deadly than jihadists. In addition to Mr. Williamson’s spot-on critique, can we also say something else about jihad since 9/11? The death toll in the U.S. may be “only” 21, but the American toll overseas is at least 6,802 with well over 50,000 injuries, including 16,000 serious injuries. Peter Bergen evidently does not think this important enough to explore, but in the aftermath of the actual worst terrorist attack in American history we engaged in direct combat against jihadists in two separate countries, combat that continues in Afghanistan to this day. In that process, these jihadists not only killed thousands of Americans, they inflicted an unholy death toll on allied soldiers and civilians.

Are these American lives any less precious or important because they were lost overseas? Does the fact that jihadists have proven capable of killing thousands of the best-equipped and best-trained soldiers in the world tell him anything about the destructive potential of jihad compared to the allegedly “right-wing” Klan? (read more)

Unmentioned in some of these critiques of the discredited CNN column: Since when is a KKK member a “right wing” figure? Except in the imagination of dishonest journalists and political propagandists? The Klan was the military-terror arm of the Democratic party in the south, this is not exactly news. The accusation that the KKK is connected to conservative or right-wing ideology is pure fantasy. The famous white supremacist, anti-Semitic murderer Frazier Glenn Millerran for public office as a Democrat. 

On the other hand, Miller ran for office as both a Democrat and a Republican, making any effort to use his ideological profile to score political points a useless exercise, as the Daily Caller‘s Neil Munro reports:

The gunman who murdered three people in Kansas on Sunday was defeated in primary races in the Democratic and the Republican parties, which could complicate any partisan effort to associate either party with the unusual anti-Semitic attack.

Frazier Glenn Miller was reportedly arrested after the attacks in Kansas, which killed one Jewish woman, and two non-Jews, a grandfather and his 14 year-old grandson.

Read the rest of this entry »


Who’s Sleeping With The Ghost Of Truman Capote?

Truman Capote

Life in a Famous House, From Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Townhouse to Jackie O’s Park Avenue Spread

Legends pass away, but their New York apartments live on, relics of an age when poets could afford Village townhouses and not-yet-famous painters could swing a Soho loft. Those were the days! Truman Capote’s contemporaries thought he was slumming it when he crashed in the 9,000-square-foot, 28-room house his friend owned. (You see, it was only in Brooklyn Heights.) How could those friends have known that a gaming mogul would pay $12.5 million for the place nearly 60 years later? Of course, a lawyer is now living in Andy Warhol’s Upper East Side townhouse, while a doctor and her billionaire hedgefunder husband now occupy Jackie O’s 5,300 square-foot place. What’s it like to sleep in a famous person’s former home? Rent Jean-Michel Basquiat’s place on AirBnB to find out—or read what the new owners of a handful of historic homes have to say. Read the rest of this entry »


The Amnesty Mob vs. America

The mask has slipped from pro-reform vigilantes — now it’s death threats and intimidation.

National Review Online

By  Michelle Malkin

You can try to put “conservative” lipstick on the lawless amnesty mob. But in the end, it’s still a lawless mob. The big government–big business alliance to protect illegal immigration got a lot of mileage using foolish Republicans Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan as front men. But the true colors of the open-borders grievance-mongers always show through.

After America said no to a pork-filled security-undermining amnesty bill in 2007, the No Illegal Alien Left Behind lobbyists changed their overtly thuggish tactics. They put down their upside-down American flags, stopped wearing their Commie Che Guevara T-shirts, and cloaked their radical “Aztlan” aspirations in the less divisive rhetoric of “reform” and “opportunity.”

It was all just an act, of course. Inevitably, the mask has slipped. Over the weekend, illegal-alien protesters descended on the private residence of Kansas secretary of state and immigration-enforcement lawyer Kris Kobach. As Twitchy.com reported on Saturday, 300 amnesty activists marched into Kobach’s neighborhood and barged up his driveway and right onto his doorstep. It’s how the Alinskyite “community organizers” roll.

Shouting into a bullhorn and waving their fists from his front porch, the property-rights invaders dubbed Kobach “King of Hate” for his work representing border-security activists and federal customs-enforcement agents who are fighting the systemic sabotage of immigration law. Thankfully, Kobach, his wife, and their four young daughters were not home at the time.

But the aggrieved amnesty demanders are not done yet. And Kobach is not the only one in their crosshairs.

Read the rest of this entry »