France

France's Absurd New 'Homemade' Law Handcuffs Restaurants

France's restaurants and French cooking are under attack. The enemy comes from within-and wears a white hat.

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Chef
Jean-Christophe / Wikimedia Commons

France's restaurants and French cooking are under attack. The enemy comes from within—and wears a white hat.

This week, a French food blogger was issued an absurd fine of more than $2,000 for publishing a negative review of a restaurant there.

But it's the country's controversial "fait mason" law, which also debuted this week, that best demonstrates the troubled state of the country's restaurants.

The professed purpose of the law is to promote fresh French cooking, which has been on the wane for years.

More than half of the country's restaurant revenue last year came from fast food restaurants and sandwich shops. One figure claims nearly one-third of restaurants and bistros use packaged ingredients to prepare meals. A poll taken last year suggests the number is much higher.

Despite—or thanks to—this data, nearly three-quarters of French polled state that they're happy with restaurant meals there.

The fait maison law, passed earlier this year, requires all restaurants throughout the country to put the word homemade—"fait maison"—on menus.

So just what constitutes "homemade" under the law? Food may be labeled as fait maison "only when it's made in-house from fresh ingredients."

That sounds simple—if costly and pointless. But it's an annoyingly complex law.

The law requires each restaurant menu to state that "homemade dishes are made on site from raw produce"—even those that sell no such dishes. The law further requires that restaurants that serve only homemade food must display the words "fait maison" or display the fait maison logo—which appears to have been drawn to resemble a character from The Terrance and Phillip Show. Restaurants that sell foods that contain foods made from scratch and those that aren't must describe on the menu whether each dish is fait mason or not.

Inspectors will attempt to enforce the law beginning later this year.

One segment of French society's that's unhappy with the law is France's chefs, among whom it's "causing a revolt." In some cases at least, it appears some are unhappy because the law isn't strict enough—what with most frozen foods being exempt.

Other critics contend that France's mandatory 35-hour workweek and high labor costs—rather than the provenance of restaurant ingredients—are the reasons the country's restaurants are in decline.

Supporters of the fait maison law claim it will have several benefits. Among those benefits, supporters claim the law will create jobs by forcing restaurants to cook more of their food from scratch.

But I think it's more likely to have the opposite effect—at least in the short term. If consumers truly want homemade food, and discover that restaurants are light on such options, they're more likely to stay at home and cook themselves. Alternately, less discriminating consumers who learn that their food isn't made from scratch might just opt to stay home and heat their dinner in the microwave.

The real winner, in either case, would be France's supermarkets.

Other supporters paint the law as a Jose Bove-like stand against fast and "industrial" food.

It's "the government's way to protect diners from the many industrially prepared dishes served in most places and that are damaging the country's culinary reputation," writes Luxemborg-based Forbes contributor Cecelia Rodriquez.

That reputation is not what it appears. In fact, it looks like much of what you think you know about French food and food attitudes is either outdated or just plain wrong.

The best analysis of the state of French cuisine I've read comes from a surprising source: Epigram, the University of Bristol's student newspaper. (But then, I've always found Ratatouille to be the most profound of French movies.)

The student writer, Robin Cowie, wrote last year that a combination of bad French and EU policies, changing tastes, globalization, immigration, the ongoing economic crisis, a lack of innovation in French cuisine, and other factors are to blame for "the decline of France's food culture."

"It is this fear of multiculturalism and foreign cuisine that threatens French food culture more than anything else," writes Cowie.

If Cowie's right, the new fait maison law will do nothing to solve that problem.

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231 responses to “France's Absurd New 'Homemade' Law Handcuffs Restaurants

  1. I thought the food in Italy was better than in France anyway. Let them eat fait maison!

    1. Heaven is where the police are British, the cooks are Italian, the
      mechanics German, the lovers French and it’s all organized by the
      Swiss. Hell is where the chefs are British, the mechanics French, the
      lover’s Swiss, the police German and it’s all organized by the Italians.

      1. That’s a classic and so very true. I wonder if there’s an analogue in America: Heaven is where the police are…

        Ok, at least we could agree on the cooks being from Louisiana would be good. And being run by the Californians would be bad.

        1. Interesting. I was just thinking the other day about the possibility of creating the best state by taking the best of the others. For example, alcohol sales laws from Louisiana, speed limits from Texas or Montana, income tax from Florida (zero), etc.

          1. That is a very interesting idea.

            1. Louisiana will be more free for alcohol and guns than most, Texas and Florida will be more free for business than most, and Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have everything else you need. A combo of those states would suit me just fine.

              1. I would move there tomorrow.

          2. How about cities? In Heaven the cops are from…well, gotta think about that one…the chefs are from New York, the lovers are from L.A. and it’s run by people from Dallas/Ft. Worth.

            Hell, the cops are from Detroit, the chefs from Philadelphia (love Philly but really…) the lovers are from Seattle and it’s organized by Chicagoans.

            1. I kinda doubt the serve steak sandwiches in hell.

            2. Wouldn’t the cops be from Abuquerque or New Yawk, what’s so hellish about the detroit PD?

            3. In Heaven, in the US, the cops were outsourced to Canada and are all RCMP. The lovers would all be Latinas from Mexico. And, those running things were all surfers who when asked about legislation said, “Whatever, Dude.”

            4. You hate awesome Italian food? Because Philly is full of it.

              Weird. A person who doesn’t like Italian.

          3. Interesting. I was just thinking the other day about the possibility of creating the best state by taking the best of the others.

            So you’d have Arizona then?

        2. Where are the best cooks from in the USA? Massachusetts? Louisiana? Anywhere else? Impossible to tell?

          1. I’d say the best cooks are either in NYC or in the wealthiest areas of Cali.

            The location thing doesn’t really work for the US because actual meritocracy is dispersed in a competitive environment.

            1. I hate to say it, but the best cooks seem to gravitate to Vegas.

          2. Bah! I’ve never gotten a good piece of lutefisk outside of Sunny Minnesoda.

            Therefore, the best cooks are here in Minnesota (except those that use too much ketchup, we don’t like our food spicy).

            1. I’d make you some, but my Drano supply is running low.

              1. I thought that WAS the Drano.

      2. The tragedy of Canada is that it could have had the culture of Britain, the work ethic of the United States, and the cuisine of France; instead, it would up with the culture of the US, the cuisine of Britain, and the work ethic of France.

        1. 🙂

        2. Good one Ted.

          But in Canada, Italian and Chinese food (plus ou moin) tends to rule the day.

          Quebec has some really good French restaurants though.

          1. Poutine and Timbits are Italian and/or Chinese? 😉

            1. You’re killing me.

        3. That is an old one but a good one. And pretty much true. I love Canada and generally like Canadians. But we should never let them forget they are the little brother.

          1. John, I think we know. The sober ones among us anyway.

          2. They arent little brother, they are America’s hat.

              1. The diaper?

                I kid, I kid.

        4. Sorry guys, I’ve been around the world – France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Chile, Peru, and more.

          There’s nothing particularly great about French food.

          *Unless* you’re eating it fresh, its not even particularly good.

        5. Vancouver has great ethnic food of all sorts, and pretty cheap, too.

          The culture of Britain??? No thanks. I’ll take California culture any day over Britain.

          When people used to ask me, ‘Hey, what are you up to these days?’ I’d say ‘We’re going international, all around the world, setting up Canadian food restaurants everywhere.’ They’d say, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic!’, then hesitate for a moment and say, ‘What’s Canadian food?’ I think we’re the only country in the world without its own cuisine.

      3. The lover’s what is Swiss? :-p

      4. I’ve heard that one, but without the Swiss and Italians. I wonder how a penchant for organization comes out of an amalgam of Germans, French and Italians?

        1. Germans uber alles.

    2. Funny you say that.

      I used to visit both often and I tend to agree with that.

      1. Yes, but you’re biased. 🙂 It would be like my saying German cuisine is the best.

        That having been said, I could go for some Wei?wurst right about now.

        1. What can I say? Italy has the art of living down to an artistic science.

          And Germans I met in Italy were the biggest proponent of that statement. Germans know a good thing when they see it. Audi bought Ducati not for the money but the aura.

          /wink.

          1. Yeah, you have to have a science to living in those old cramped apartments with no modern amenities, and the government-sector workers constantly on strike.

            1. Wait.

              Isn’t that Quebec?

              Curious, ever been to Italy?

              I hope to get to Germany soon.

              1. Lived there for 3 and a half years.

                No closets, bottle gas for heating and cooking, can’t drink the tap water, electrics go out if you plug in anything with more drain than a radio.

                One supermarket in the whole city – have to drive to a half a dozen (ok, that’s hyperbole) stores every other day to grocery shop. And its not like I was getting fish fresh form the sea or vegetables trucked in that very day from the farm either.

                And don’t get me started on their pizza either.

                1. Keep in mind that this was in the late 90’s though.

            2. http://dailym.ai/1jJexNC

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juventus_Stadium

              Actually, the modern amenities in Italy are just fine. They’re just as technological as any in the G7 (robotics and engineering are part of its strengths). They do have world-class companies constructing furniture and appliances and such.

              Yeah. The mentality sucks though.

              /wink.

              (My winks don’t work).

              1. But the showers are SO. SMALL.

                1. Tiny. Like in France. It’s like they’re gnomes when they shower.

                  1. Well, it’s only an occasional inconvenience. It’s not like Europeans shower all that often.

                  2. True ethnic French are pretty tiny people. They might be direct descendants of gnomes.

    3. Not only that, with the Tour de France on, the usual debate of which is better between the Tour and Giro takes place. While there’s no doubt the Giro is much harder (mostly because of the climbs and weather), the Tour attracts the big corporate money. But above all, and I’ve consistently seen this be said by cyclists and fans alike, since the 1980s, the food at the Giro and general hospitality is far better in Italy.

      1. Sorry for the comma in the wrong place above.

    4. If you ask me about good ethnic food, I think of Italian and Chinese and Mexican and Indian and Greek – I’m not even sure what French food is. Lots of butter and sauces served with a snotty attitude?

      1. I like all those. I would add Syrian/Lebanese and Moroccan.

        1. French food is anything without ketchup or Velveeta. (I resubmitted because my comment came out about 50 replies below the first time)

      2. I wasn’t impressed with the stuff I ate in Paris except for the ham and cheese sandwiches on the street carts. France is the only country where they’ll spend more time creating a pastry than a building.

        1. Funny.

          It was, interestingly enough, the court of Catherine de Medici (L’Italienne as she was sneeringly referred to), that taught the French pastry making.

          The rest is history.

          1. Did not know that. I had heard how the French could cook a duck but honestly, had better duck in New Orleans restaurants. The pastries I ate in Nice were beautiful but nothing to write home about taste-wise.

            Now the lasagna and pasta I had in Florence and Rome…oh brother. I’m still talking about it eight years later. Never had anything so good ever.

            1. Same here.

              Anthony Bourdain apparently was talking about duck and talked about how Italians and Chinese/Asians make it well too. I wouldn’t know because I don’t like duck.

              1. *Spits*

                You don’t like duck, you say?

                One of the best meals of my life was aguadtio de pato.
                It didn’t hurt that it was prepared by Jose Garces.

                1. Rabbit too I don’t like.

                  I’m just not a big meat/game eater.

                  1. You should try roast camel hump. That would change your mind.

            2. Italian is, by far, my favorite.

              1. Coffee in Italy is so good it is amazing. France, so-so. Pretty easy to get not bad coffee everywhere in North America now. But, go to Italy and every cup is better than you can find almost everywhere here. You can stop at a gas station on the highway and get a better coffee than almost anywhere in North America. Although it is getting better here, I have to admit.

            3. Duke….I had the most beautiful pastries I had ever seen in France, that tasted…..good. I know just what you mean.

              I had good meals in France last couple of times I was there, but the best place for a quick cafe et croissant was Le McCafe. They were hugely, hugely popular. Half the price of anywhere else, and essentially as good as 90% of most places.

              However, 40 years ago…everything in France was amazing. A hot dog from a street vendor was better than pretty much any meal I had ever eaten. It could be North American food has improved so much in 40 years, and it could be France has slipped a bit. But, the food now in most places in Paris is okay. Nowhere near as good as Vancouver though.

        2. The French have perfected the ham and cheese toastie. And the problem with Paris is that there is so much tourism, a lot of the restaurants get lazy and let the quality of their food go down since there is an endless supply of tourist business no matter what they serve. Worse still, you can’t even trust the guides. I have found that once a restaurant owner bribes Foders or lets Rick Steves bang his prettiest daughter and gets recommended, the quality starts to go down as they get content because they have so many people coming to them because the guide books recommend them. They never get bad, just not as good as the guides say they are.

          It really is true that to get the best food in a place, you have to figure out where the locals go. There is fantasitic food to be had in Paris. It is just harder to find than it should be.

          1. Okay. Where in the world did you hear that about Rick Steves?

            Fucking hilarious. That nerd really pulled it off.

            1. I was being factious. I have never heard anything to indicate Steves demands hookers or young attractive daughters in return for his endorsement. But, he is so widely read and his endorsement means so much tourist business, he certainly could demand such if he wanted to. Think about it, if you owned a restaurant in some tourist area of Europe and Steves showed up at your door, would there be anything you would deny him to guarantee an endorsement?

              1. Well, then Italy owes him a lot because he point blank said Italy is his favorite place to visit and has entire seminars dedicated to it.

                1. I have traveled a fair amount in Europe and used his guides. I find them to be good but not great. If there is a restaurant in one of his guides, it will not be bad. But it won’t necessarily be the best or as good as he claims. I think some of that in his defense is the complacency problem I describe above.

                  1. I always wondered about that. Good to know. This is why I read Reason. For the comments.

          2. There is fantastic food to be had in Paris. It is just harder to find than it should be.

            Because they don’t have the common courtesy to speak English.

            1. I know. The bastards. English was good enough for Jesus, why the hell isn’t it good enough for the French?

          3. “There is fantasitic food to be had in Paris. It is just harder to find than it should be.”

            That’s getting to the heart of the matter. It shouldn’t be but it is and not the case in Italy – at all. My cousins own restaurants and food stores in Paris and I went around town with them buying food, learning about the food culture. On one occasion a Chinese restauranteur came along – lemme tell you it was right out of a movie.

            Anyway.

            They both said you have to be careful in Paris. “Just because it’s Paris doesn’t mean you won’t eat shit” the Chinese told me.

            1. The other thing to be careful of his concierges in hotels. That is one of the lessons I have learned the hard way. The hotel and restaurant business is all about kick backs and connections. And being a concierge at a big, nice hotel, is a license for graft. I always knew that sort of thing went on, but I figured the really high end hotels paid their people enough and were managed well enough to make sure it didn’t happen. Nope. I have been lead astray by concierges at some very nice hotels. Been sent to lousy tourist traps that I know good and well were paying the concierge to send unsuspecting tourists there. I have had some good concierges. But there are a lot of bad ones, even in expensive hotels. So don’t take their word as gospel.

              1. So far I’ve found concieges in the USA to be pretty good. Hard to tell when they’re on the up and up, eh?

                1. Come to think of it, I have found them to be good in the US. It may be that when they realize I am a local, they figure I am not a sucker so they tell me the truth. In Europe, they know I don’t know any better.

          4. It’s pretty common knowledge that Planet Earth’s travel writers are expected to live and get by on freebies.

            Some of their writers have said in print that they aren’t paid nearly enough to travel the distances or go where they are assigned and do all they write about on the budget they are given.

            That methodology does not allow for unbiased reporting.

        3. Paris is for tourists, so unless you know locals who can point you to good restaurants (which most of us don’t), you’ll end up eating overpriced, terrible food served by rude waiters. On all my visits, I ended up sticking to well-known chains and I’m happy that they’ve finally gotten around to opening a Chipotle there. French cuisine is overrated anyway.

          1. Last time I was in Paris, my wife and I wasted an afternoon going down this street that Rick Steves had said was this great market and such but was in reality not that great. The upshot is that the guy at a wine shop we went to told us to go to a restaurant called Le Crochet or something. It was owned by a fairly well known chef named Christian Constant. It ended up being us and a bunch of French business people getting plowed taking a long lunch on a Friday afternoon. And the food was spectacular. Beat the living shit out of every other restaurant we went to, all of which came highly recommended by the guides.

            1. That’s why I like talking to people instead. For example, when the time comes, I will stone Ted with questions about Germany.

      3. I am looking at the list of places in this group of comments and I am gonna say…..America has the best food because of the attitude displayed here.

        We take the best of what everyone else has and mix it all together and make it better.

        I am a decent cook myself and I make Cajun, mediterranean, Tex-Mex, Chinese, American, French, Italian, British, Thai, Mongolian, and Indian. I have more or less mastered at least one dish from each. I don’t turn my nose up at anything anyone has to offer. If it is good I will eat it and learn to make it myself.

        That is why we beat the hell out of everyone else in just about any contest you care to have.

        This afternoon I will be making both some killer fried beef-filled wontons and some crab filled ones.

        1. But will the Thais tell you your food isn’t spicy enough? 😉

          1. I dunno. I cooked for a Vietnamese guy. Beforehand he was skeptical, but he grudgingly admitted after eating that the food was very good and close to what he had at home. He had seconds. He was jealous because the fish here (bass and crappie) is much better than the fish native to Vietnam.

            I haven’t had a chance to cook for any Thais yet.

            1. So what time’s lunch and dinner? And what are the directions to your house?

            2. I tried to make sweet and sour soup. Missed. Gotta try again at some point.

            3. Bass? Please tell me you misspelled bream. I know you are southern, but there is no excuse for pretending that bass are anything except a fun fish to catch.

              My favorite fish to eat are jumbo perch, then come panfish (crappies, sunnies and blue gills). Walleyes are good but as overrated up here as bass are in the south (except they are not as fun to catch).

              1. Crappie are #1.

                Bass is a nice flake white meat that will taste however you make it taste. The panfish usually carry more flavor because the meat is closer to the bone than a larger fish.

                I live on the water on the Gulf Coast and fish, shrimp, and crab make up a large part of my diet. I harvest most of it myself. I run a few crab traps and cast net my shrimp or buy direct from some shrimpers I know. I catch all the specs, flounder and red fish I can eat myself. Spanish Mackerel is a seasonal favorite.

                Saltwater species offer so much more variety than freshwater does.

                But crappie is still #1 to me but only because it is a scarce commodity for me.
                Flounder is by far my most favorite fish with Spanish Mackerel coming a close second.

                1. No, crappie is number two..

          2. I forgot Thai. Thai is awesome.

        2. Excellent point. I’ve been saying the same about beer, in particular. Went to England a few years ago and was soooo looking forward to the beer I remembered from a previous, pre-craft-beer-in-the-United States trip. I was disappointed, not only in quality, but in variety.

          1. Quality in england and germany are fine, but its variety that causes problems.

          2. Have you tried San Diego? I hear things about its micro-brewery boom, but I have no idea whether it’s a beer Disneyland or the real thing.

            1. We have a lot of very good craft breweries around here. Though, It’s starting to wane a bit, because everything seems to be IPAs, which for me all taste pretty much the same. You have your well known breweries, with restaurants, but there are also a lot of small warehouse breweries, admittedly can be hit or miss, but sometimes you can find a gem. There was a great one that got burned down in the fires in May.

              1. The San Diego style is more hoppy than I like. But there are a lot of brewers working here and doing it well. You can’t beat a warehouse in a light industrial park for beer.

        3. “We take the best of what everyone else has and mix it all together and make it better.”

          THIS. No doubt about it. USA is like Italy in many ways. Italian history is but the constant absorption of other civilizations incorporated into their own. I like to say the Ferrari is the world’s car because Italian DNA has Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Spanish, French, Germanic, Arabic and endless tribes etc. in it.

          Same with the food. Italians acknowledge freely and without arrogance the influences, for example, of German, French (in the north), Arabic, Greek (in the south) etc. Its culinary runs very deep.

          http://www.epicurean.com/artic…..-food.html

          Venice was a gateway to Europe. Often Italy was the first to get all the stuff from the Middle-East and Far East. They were making raviolis with cinnamon in the 12th century for cripes sakes.

          1. I am watching this Top Gear mini series on the “Perfect Road Trip” where Clarkson and Hammond drive from Venice to Pao, France. They go through the Northern Italian lakes region on the way. If there is a place closer to heaven on earth than the Italian Lakes I have never seen it. Italy really is paradise.

            1. I felt the same way about the Salzkammergut region near Salzburg. So beautiful it looked almost unreal.

              1. And the women in Austria are amazing. You don’t hear about Austrian women being that great, but they are.

                1. For sure. Kind of like a sublime blend of Italian, German and Scandi awesomeness.

                  Austria rocks.

                  1. Is that the real Austria where they speak Austrian ?

            2. The only place I’ve ever seen in my life that lived up to its postcards.

        4. Oh…I forgot German. I love making sausage.

          1. You know what is great in Germany? The Turkish Donner Kebabs. They are a gyro sandwich they make over there. I have ate at numerous well regarded Turkish restaurants in the US and never had a Donner Kebab even close to an average one from a standing Germany. It is like a whole meal wrapped in a pita. God I miss them.

            1. I read something once about some Americans eating Donner kebabs.

              1. They are even better if you are starving to death in the middle of a blizzard. Or at least that is what I have been told.

                1. +1 California cuisine

              2. But I don’t think they had pita with their Donner.

        5. Suthenboy is the man.

          My favorite restaurant back in the day was The Cajun House in Montreal.

        6. Suthernboy,

          I really need to come down and go hog hunting in your neck of the woods. We need to have a Reason, hog hunt and boucherie sometime. Now that would be real Libertarian entertainment.

          1. If y’all want to duck hunt, we have a farm off I-20 with pit blinds in rice fields. I’m serious, just let me know.

            1. Now that is a tempting offer. Duck hunting down south would be civilized, as opposed to the way I have ever done it up North. Up North, duck hunting is for polar bears. I like the cold, but good God, sitting out on a half frozen pond at sunrise in December in Kansas with a 30 mph wind and at about 20 degrees is not fit for man nor beast.

              1. Oh, come on! That’s the essence of duck hunting. Freezing your ass off, watching the Chessie break ice to get to the downed duck.

                Good times…

                Ok, maybe Louisiana would be an upgrade.

                1. I’m spoiled. I have a spot north of Jamestown, ND where you sit on a stock dam and wait until you can shoot a big greenie so that it falls out in the field.

                  When the northerns are flying there is no need to shoot anything else and you still get your limit by noon.

                  1. I have a spot just south of Jamestown.

            2. Is it anything like Duck Dynasty?

              1. It’s exactly like Duck Dynasty (we’re about 20 minutes away from those guys) but without the beards and camo. My brother and I prefer to be snooty and wear Barbour jackets.

                John — we hunt in giant steel pit blinds. Weather is usually mild and never gets colder than 25 or 30. We use heaters and whiskey to keep warm.

                1. I warn you though Duke, I am the worst shot with a shotgun on earth. I can shoot a piston or a rifle just fine. I am not Annie Oakley or anything, but I am at least competent. I am not sure why but I am anything but with a shotgun. The ducks are never in much danger.

                  1. I used to be much better with a shotgun before I got of school and moved to the city. Just use Improved Cylinder and wait till their wings cup and are gliding in, point the bead right at him and you’ll be fine.

                    1. Yep, except if they are wood ducks. Those damn things fly like a knuckleball.

                      I always thought pass shooting was more fun.

                  2. You mentioned Kansas — do you have a bead on an affordable and reliable deer guide there?

                    1. My experience with hunting guides is that you can get an affordable one, or you can get a reliable one. Take your pick.

                    2. Any area in particular? I’m in North Central Kansas and I can ask around.

                2. Just a note, Duck Dynasty is like Duck Dynasty without the bards and camo. At least before they became “reality.”

            3. I’m in.

              Is that in La. or Miss. ?

      4. It’s anything but ketchup and Velveeta.

      5. If you ask me about good ethnic food, I think of Italian and Chinese and Mexican and Indian and Greek – I’m not even sure what French food is. Lots of butter and sauces served with a snotty attitude?

        Julia Child is rolling over in her grave.

  2. So socialism in France is destroying that culture’s signature achievement in one generation — excellent.

    1. ^This.

    2. The government knows that great art cannot come from a people who are not oppressed. It’s all part of their plan… *taps nose knowingly*

    3. It’s just that the wrong people are in charge…again.

  3. I am glad we have a POTUS who is a staunch defender of free speech so that nothing like this could happen here.

  4. France is absurd

  5. There’s a Uniform Law Commission?

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/260…..fter-death

  6. County Dog Gas Chamber Is Ruled Inhumane

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/260…..d-inhumane

    1. Just have the police use the dogs for target practice. 🙁

    2. Just give them to the French restaurants so they can make Beef bourguignon from truly fresh ingredients.

      1. Is this what they mean by hot dogs?

  7. Alt text: Needs just a pinch more socialism

  8. Is it me or does the photo look like the mouse from “Ratatouille”?

  9. “Mayonnaise: One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.” — Ambrose Bierce

  10. Father not charged. Good.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014…..latestnews

    1. Mother leaves daughter in car while she goes into the bank. Mother dies, kid lives.

      http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news…..86971.html

      Can we agree now that we need laws mandating that kids be left in the car? I mean if they save even one life…

  11. We can expect to be hearing more about this item –

    http://freebeacon.com/issues/r…..m-website/

    1. “anti Israel reading list” headline is misleading, isn’t it? I think he deleted 17 titles, only some of which addressed Israel. And “anti Israel” is of course, in the eye of the beholder, at best. Unfortunately, I think this is just another of Rand’s steps in watering down his message to garner support/votes.

    2. Yeah. Ctiticizing Isreal or US policy in the middle east is anti-semetic and criticizing Obama is racist.

      1. He better not criticize Hillary or he’ll be a sexist. They have all the bases covered with Rand.

        1. Anti-Native American for criticizing Elizabeth Warren.

  12. “One segment of French society’s that’s unhappy with the law is France’s chefs, among whom it’s “causing a revolt.” In some cases at least, it appears some are unhappy because the law isn’t strict enough?what with most frozen foods being exempt.”

    Let me guess, the restaurants this law is designed to effect don’t much employ “chef” level cooks, do they?

    1. ‘Ow dare you suggest zat we care about something as sordid as ze money? We wish to preserve ze French culture!

  13. Dutch businessman invokes recent European ruling, gets Google to remove a WSJ article about a Tantric sex workshop from search results. The article mentions the businessman as involved with the workshop.

    http://online.wsj.com/articles…..1405717183

    1. or maybe he’s an American businessman in the Netherlands. anyway –

      “Google’s decision to notify websites when they have been the subject of removals has stirred controversy. Several news organizations published stories about take-downs of their articles, prompting free-speech advocates to decry the “right to be forgotten” rule as a gateway to censorship. At the same time, the news reports have led European privacy officials to push Google to curtail its notifications, arguing the process can undermine the efficacy of the rule by drawing attention to the person who make the request.”

      1. “or maybe he’s an American businessman in the Netherlands. anyway”

        Was he a hot felon?

        1. I’m not endorsing Tantric sex, but it might calm you down a little.

          1. As long as there’s a marriage contract (so consent can be assumed) and everyone’s reproductive parts can potentially make babies, why would you object?

            1. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were being annoying.

            2. It’s all the Jooos fault anyway, right Bo?

              1. Another race baiter? Criticism of Israeli government =/= anti-semitism Zaytsev (and aren’t the Zaytseve who used to post all the racialist stuff on Volokh? You’re really something to be playing the race card now!).

                1. and aren’t the Zaytseve who used to post all the racialist stuff on Volokh?

                  No, I read Volokh but don’t comment there.

      2. “….the news reports have led European privacy officials to push Google to curtail its notifications, arguing the process can undermine the efficacy of the rule by drawing attention to the person…”

        Stop having unintended consequences, dammit! We intended the law to have the opposite effect!

        1. The first law didn’t work so they need more!

  14. In its most extensive comments yet on Lerner’s hard drive, the agency said in court filings Friday that the hard drive was destroyed in 2011 to protect confidential taxpayer information.

    Before that, the IRS said, the hard drive underwent a process designed to permanently erase stored data. That process occurred after a series of IRS technical officers examined Lerner’s hard drive, and found that it couldn’t be restored after a crash.

    The IRS’s court filings came as part of a lawsuit filed against the agency by True the Vote, a conservative activist group.

    A week ago, Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court in Washington imposed a Friday deadline for the IRS to tell the court what happened to Lerner’s hard drive, among other questions.

    The IRS said last month that Lerner’s hard drive crashed in 2011, leaving a chunk of her emails for the previous two-plus years missing.

    That admission reignited the investigations into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt groups. Lerner kicked off that controversy in May 2013 by apologizing for the IRS’s behavior, and has since become the central figure in the inquiry.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/fina…..z37vB2W0LE
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

    1. They destroyed a hard drive that was subject to a preserve order by a federal court. But it is a fake scandal. There must have been one hell of a smoking gun on that hard drive. That said, I doubt the judge is going to take that for an answer. He will tell them to hire experts and try to reconstruct her emails from other sources.

      1. Yep, and they will get right on it.

        1. At some point I think they are just going to get default judgments against them or DOJ will make the plaintiffs in these cases settlement offers so large they can’t refuse them just to make the cases go away and to get away with destroying the evidence.

          1. What’s the plaintiffs standing?

            1. They are conservative political groups who are suing because they say they were targeted by the IRS. They are claiming personal harm. These cases have been going on since 2011, before the scandal broke.

              1. Yes, that works. So much of the administrations lawlessness has been in areas where standing is problematic, but there should be grounds here for some traction

              2. You can bring a civil suit against the federal government? Where would the settlement money come from, I naively ask?

                1. Obama’s stash.

          2. Those plaintiffs appear to be awfully pure of hear — the type that would rather fight on principle than take taxpayers’ money (I assume) to go away.

            1. pure of HEART

      2. He would be an idiot to take that for an answer. These “Emails Irretrievably Lost” headlines are BS.

  15. (apologies to the Beastie boys)

    “We got the guns, they’re pointed at you
    You got three choices of what you can do
    It’s not a tough decision, as you will find
    You can join us, pay tribute, or die”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-…..ow_twitter

    1. Can you verify that source? How would you feel if you had to live in a shithole that you made for yourself? Those christians just have a better PR machine.

      1. I’m guessing this is sarcasm, having read some of the conversation to which you’re probably alluding.

      2. Somebody still upset over getting called for race baiting I see

        1. I stand by my comment last night, and I was laughing while I typed that. I just had to poke you with a stick.

          1. Whatever, Al.

  16. Meanwhile here in the land of the free didn’t Reason recently have an article about government efforts directed against people coordinating via internet to meet at homes and eat…homemade meals?

    1. Yes. They are called underground restaurants or pop up restaurants. They are pretty big in New York. New York has a lot of talented chefs who don’t have the cash or the backing to start their own restaurants. So, they go around using other people’s kitchens to create a restaurant for a night. The powers that be of course hate that since it allows people to operate outside of the control of the government and compete with those under the government’s control.

      1. Thanks, I knew I read that recently.

    2. Yes, and I have wondered what would happen if someone pulled that shit here. Cochon de laits, crawfish and seafood boils, and lots of other traditional foods are often cooked here for large groups of unrelated people at private residences. Sometimes people contribute money to cover expenses or bring their own dishes or cooking equipment. I am sure those gatherings would fall under the definition of a temporary restaurant.

      We would probably have an armed uprising.

      1. Going to one of those, a real one that I was invited to by the locals not one put on for tourists, is on my bucket list. If it wasn’t so damned hot down there, I could learn to love South Louisiana. Just too hot and too many snakes for me.

        1. We are being attacked by global warming here now. It is rainy as hell and about 77 degrees very cool and pleasant like an early fall.

          Crawfish season is in the spring when it is still coolish…and cochon de laits are typically held in the winter.

          1. The best man at my wedding grew up in New Orleans. One of his funnier stories is about going out to the country to buy crawfish directly from the fisherman. Of course you had to haggle with them about the price. And the weather, according to them, is always wrong for crawfish. If it had been cool, “oh boy, its been too cool, fishin been bad”. If it has been hot “oh I am sorry felles been too hot this summer, can’t let them go for that”. If it had been dry “oh been terrible dry this year, can’t catch nothing, got charge you more” and so forth.

            1. When I was a kid everyone caught their own crawfish. The roads with water filled ditches were lined with families. No one farmed them and everyone had traps stored in the barn.

              I remember the flood in ’72. They swarmed everywhere. Some people skidded off the roads at night there were so many.
              We went to the soybean fields at Jonesville at night and filled the bed of our pickup truck with them. Good times.

              To be fair to the crawfish farmers, it does cost a fortune to raise them. 50K just to prepare a 20 ac field and another 50 to maintain and harvest. And it is ass-busting work.

              1. I don’t think my friend ever felt ripped off. He understood there was going to be a premium charged to some New Orleans college kid and didn’t resent them wanting as much as they could get. Fishing of any kind is a tough business. But their excuse making was always funny.

          2. Where are you Suttenboy ?

  17. Since there’s some talk on Italy…

    Italy to Include Sex, Drugs in GDP:

    “There is something to be said for including black market transactions when measuring a nation’s economic activity. Murray Rothbard argued that government spending should not be counted as part of GDP. (SEE:The Fallacy of the “Public Sector”). On the other end of the spectrum, away from government spending, is black market activity, which is free exchange, displaying mutual benefit. It, thus, should be considered as part of economic activity that adds value.”

    http://www.economicpolicyjourn…..n-gdp.html

    Should USA do the same?

    http://cnn.it/1oX2HAD

    1. Italy’s GDP is about to go through the roof…

      1. Just add “skimpy male swimsuits” and “whistling at women” to the figures, and Italy will have the biggest economy in the world!

        1. And grown men living with their mothers

          1. Mammone!

            http://younginrome.com/2012/01…..y-mammone/

        2. “Skimpy male swimsuits”

          Ever see Brits and Germans in them on the beach?

          1. I haven’t done “field research,” if that’s what you mean.

          2. At least Mediterraneans are tanned!

    2. Not gonna read the article….but I have to wonder how they intend to measure that. The ‘pull numbers out of your ass’ method?

      1. Unless they change their usual methodology.

    3. Speaking of the lunacy of Italians, look up the Targa Floria on Youtube sometime. It was a sportscar race that was ran in Sicily from around 1900 until 1977. It was done on public mountain roads. The course was like 40 miles or something and you did 11 laps. This was okay back when cars were lucky to reach a hundred miles per hour. But they kept having it even though cars were getting insanely fast. Better, yet, they only closed the roads on the day of the race. The cars qualified and practiced on open public roads. Go on Youtube and you can find cockpit films from the early 70s of Porsche 908s and Ferrari 512s weaving around trucks, nuns on bicycles, kids riding donkeys and everything else. It is the most insane thing I have ever seen. Only the Italians would do something like that.

      1. Yup. Been around there. I know a group of guys (Americans) who toured car manufactures in Italy and Germany and were floored by what they witnessed in Italy.

        Few countries – except for USA – have such a rich legacy of racing in terms of circuits. There are so many legendary cycling and motor sports races there. They love speed. That’s why they build cars, motorcycles, speed boats and bicycles I guess.

        1. It is not on my bucket list since there is little or no chance I will ever do it, but going around the Monza circuit in a Ferrari or Lambo would be something else.

          And I will never be able to afford a real Italian sports car. But I could afford a Ducati. I am going to have to break down and own one at some point. Right now every vehicle I own, sans my Mustang is German. Things are getting a bit too Teutonic.

          1. Teutonic or Italic. I enjoy listening to guys in the know talk differences between the two.

            All good to me.

            For motorcyles, I should think it would come down to American, British, Italian or Japanese. But man, just saw some Ducatis at the Moto Show. Just wow.

            As much as I like Triumph, Norton and Royal Enfield, and Harley those Dukes are sick.

        1. Yeah, that is amazing too. What is so cool about the Isle of Man is that the breed of lunatic who rides it are generally amateurs. The moto GP buys don’t generally do the Isle of Mann. Most of the guys who do it, do it as a hobby. Even the professionals are not crazy enough to ride a bike at 200+ on a public road with no crash barriers except the odd stone wall.

          1. Then it makes that race unique and awesome.

        2. I’ve seen a www story on that race.

          Insane.

      2. There’s a public road “race” (no professionals, as far as I know) in West Texas every year. Looks like crazy good fun. I love the age requirements to participate:

        The Driver must be at least 18 years of age or older at the start of the event.
        A. It is recommended that the Co-Driver (Navigator) be at least 18 years of age or older, however a Navigator younger than 18 years of age will be considered – if prior arrangements are made.
        1. A parent or legal guardian’s signature and special wavier must be obtained.
        2. It is required that a Navigator under 16 years of age has a parent or legal guardian as the Driver.
        3. The parent or legal guardian has the responsibility to see that a Navigator younger than 18 years of age be outfitted with the proper safety equipment.

        http://www.bborr.com/index.html

  18. New York’s “finest” at it again…

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new…..1.1871486#

  19. So, last night, my wife surprised me with 4 ounces of fresh summer truffles flown in from France. I made some fresh pasta in wide ribbons, heated some butter, slowly cooked finely minced shallot and garlic in it, then added the truffles, sliced paper-thin with my Japanese chef’s knife. After infusing the butter sauce with truffle flavor while the pasta cooked, I drained the pasta, tossed it all together, and served with a Cote-Rotie.

    This is what makes America great.

    1. My father keeps saying that.

      America is the best of the best in his eyes.”Hanno tutto” he says. “They have everything.”

    2. And then you put ketchup on it. This is what makes America greater.

      1. Mmm… ketchup. My favorite vegetable. I could never survive in France.

  20. Mass. Rushing to Enact New Abortion Buffer Law to Replace one Struck by Scotus

    http://www.npr.org/2014/07/18/…..uffer-zone

  21. “The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted Friday on a recommendation that Congress lower certain mandatory drug sentences retroactively. The move could cut almost two years off of thousands of prisoners’ sentences.”

    http://www.npr.org/2014/07/18/…..defendants

    1. I guess this is better than nothing, but that’s all that came of the administrations talk and committee meetings? It’s like the administration has been so busy using powers it doesn’t have it’s forgotten the ones clearly granted to it, like pardon and clemency powers. Obama could get non violent drug offenders released from federal prison with a stroke of his pen if he really cared about this

    2. Before the Super Bowl, I read an article about how one of the players, I forget who, had both their mother and grandmother in federal prison doing ridiculously long sentences for selling drugs. Grandma was doing basically life and the mom was doing several decades. They had been there since the guy was 10 years old. It was one of the most heartbreaking and depressing stories I had ever read. All I could think of was “really? sending the mothers of small children to prison for decades is a price worth paying for this?” It is just barbaric and absurd. I honestly think if you took an American from 150 years ago or from the time of the founders and brought them back to life they would be appalled and ashamed by the drug war and the prison state we have created. Even people who owned slaves would be offended by what we do.

    3. If there is one thing fair to criticized as uncivilized in the U.S. today it’s the war on drugs. Not health.

      It’s absolutely brutal how the justice system destroys families in this way.

      1. Did you see Leonhart’s testimony to congress? Her stony face, ice needles in her voice and refusal to admit that pot is basically harmless, topped off with calling her boss irresponsible for admitting so himself?

        That is the kind of heartless, sociopathic jackboot we are up against.

        1. Either that or she’s really stupid and can’t understand English.

  22. Woman Files Lawsuit Over Family Planning Clinic’s Refusal to Interview Her For Job with Contraceptive Related Duties Because She a Stated She Would Not Do Such Duties as They Violate her Beliefs

    http://religionclause.blogspot…..e.html?m=1

    1. The federal funding is the issue here, as usual. Privatize everything.

    2. The article states the lawsuit claims that the nurse is unwilling to prescribe certain compounds due to her superstitions. She is in luck! In Florida, nurses do not have prescribing authority. She can never be asked to prescribe ANY medications because she is not a doctor. Her lawsuit should be tossed out.

    3. Wait.

      Clinic: Here are the job duties: x y z.

      Nurse: I won’t do x.

      Clinic: Well then, there’s no point in interviewing you.

      Nurse: Lawsuit!

      Did I get that right?

  23. My cousin just returned from a crabbing trip to Pont au Chene. Braving terrible weather, he used hand in ring nets to fill two 160 quart coolers with freshly molted crabs in a little over 3 hours. I’m gonna’ eat my weight in gumbo. Yeah… Louisiana wins in the food category.

    1. Why is freshly molted a good thing ?

      Freshly molted crab are mainly hollow inside.

      I prefer a #1 “jimmy” that might even have a barnacle growing on it.

  24. I see the piece mentioned “high labor costs,” but to be specific I’ve read that one reason for the rise of prepared-off-site food in French restaurants was the high minimum wage.

  25. If the regulators are this anal and desperate to alleviate their boredom today, I can only imagine how bad they’ll be 100 years from now. If the French standard of living improves at all, that is.

    1. In 100 years? I’m sure that it’ll be very different under Sharia law.

  26. les restaurateurs peuvent faire figurer sur la devanture ou la carte de leur ?tablissement le logo ? fait maison ?,

    Peuvent?they may use the logo. They are not required to, according to the linked article. The AP story similarly does not say restaurants are required to label their food homemade; it’s only that requirements have been established regarding what may be labeled such.

    The whole subject looks a lot more reasonable with those details cleared up.

  27. I once asked a person I knew how the food was during his trip to France and he didn’t have much to say. Seems like it isn’t too hard to push a chicken into the oven with some salt and pepper and call it French.

  28. Oh misery.
    There’s an error or evidence of ignorance in nearly every paragraph of this pitiful piece. The author is apparently equally unfamiliar with the language of Moli?re as he is with the French cuisine.
    Little hint. “Maison” doesn’t always mean “home”. Here, it means “house”. It ain’t the same thing.
    May he eat liberty fries forever!
    PS Free minds and free markets?! That’s got to be the oxymoron of the year.

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