1. Make Chile grrrrreat again
If there is a war on sugar, then Chile is the front line. It’s taken nearly a decade for the country to enact a new series of laws that have “forced multinational behemoths like Kellogg to remove iconic cartoon characters from sugary cereal boxes and banned the sale of candy like Kinder Surprise that use trinkets to lure young consumers. The law prohibits the sale of junk food like ice cream, chocolate and potato chips in Chilean schools and proscribes such products from being advertised during television programs or on websites aimed at young audiences.” Andrew Jacobs with the latest installment of the NYT’s excellent Planet Fat series: In Sweeping War on Obesity, Chile Slays Tony the Tiger. (I guess Chile isn’t as skinny as it looks…)
2. Spare parts
“Among the parts: a pelvis and legs to a university in Malaysia; feet to medical device companies in Brazil and Turkey; and heads to hospitals in Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates.” From Reuters: US body brokers supply world with human torsos, limbs and heads. We may suffer trade deficits and bad deals in some international markets, but when it comes to moving body parts, America is second to none. It turns out that “demand for body parts from America — torsos, knees and heads — is high in countries where religious traditions or laws prohibit the dissection of the dead.”
3. Doobie brothers in arms
As bad as the opiate crisis is for the rest of Americans, it’s even worse for veterans. “A 2011 Veterans Affairs study found that veterans were twice as likely to die from an opioid overdose compared to the rest of the population.” And now some vets are telling Jeff Sessions to let them give pot a try. “We see cannabis not as a gateway drug. We see it as an exit path off opiates.”
+ “Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug to opioid addiction; it’s a safer alternative to pain medicines. Mr. Sessions’s vow to crack down on marijuana will only make the opioid epidemic worse.” NYT: Marijuana Can Save Lives.
+ Vox: Jeff Sessions: marijuana helped cause the opioid epidemic. The research: no.
+ “My take is you have to get really, really tough, really mean with the drug pushers and the drug dealers.” NPR: Trump Says He Will Focus On Opioid Law Enforcement, Not Treatment. (Poppycock.)
4. Gov actually
In a rare bipartisan moment, the Senate managed to reach a major budget deal. But that’s just the first step in the process. Here’s NY Mag’s Ed Kilgore on what still needs to happen to avoid another government shutdown. Here’s the latest from CNN as the midnight deadline approaches.
+ WaPo: 12 of the most important things in Congress’s massive spending deal. And two of the potential losers: “Dreamers and future taxpayers.”
5. Five-ring circus
There’s no doubt that international tensions will be a big part of the story, but no one wants the Olympic Games to be dominated by politics and saber rattling. So let’s get this over with now. From Vox: Here’s what war with North Korea would look like. “A full-blown war with North Korea wouldn’t be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse.”
+ “The IOC’s premise is that while it absolutely must punish Russia, it shouldn’t punish Russian athletes who can’t be proven to have cheated. To anyone who didn’t receive a share of a Ural Mountains nickel mine as a kickback, this is understood to mean the IOC isn’t really punishing Russia.” Dan Wetzel explains how Russia was banned from the Winter Olympics, but still showed up in full force.
+ “US and senior North Korean officials say they have no intention of meeting each other at the Winter Olympics – even though vice-president Mike Pence and Kim Jong-un’s younger sister will be seated just meters apart at the opening ceremony.” (I don’t see any issue. Pence has a knack for avoiding the reality right in front of him.)
+ Pence responded to news that Adam Rippon (a gay US figure skater) didn’t want to meet with him in South Korea with a tweet: “I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes.” (OK, Adam. What are you gonna believe? The Veep’s accurately covered and well-established record or the all caps?)
+ A little early controversy on the US team—about the coin toss that decided who gets to carry the flag during the opening ceremonies.
+ Jia Tolentino: “Cheerleading, by nature, is a form of propaganda—I can say this, I think, having cheered in Texas for six years. But the North Korean cheerleading squad, which will perform at the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, this Friday, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, occupies its own stratosphere of weaponized comeliness and discipline.”
+ The opening ceremonies aren’t until Friday. But the games are already underway. Things got started when the US curling team beat Russia. (What can I say? You meddle with our elections and try to destabilize our democracy, and we bring the brooms, baby!)
6. Fist pump
“Preliminary analysis of data from a 2016 Indiana University survey of more than 600 pairs of children and their parents reveals a parental naïveté gap: Half as many parents thought their 14- and 18-year-olds had seen p-rn as had in fact watched it. And depending on the sex act, parents underestimated what their kids saw by as much as 10 times.” From the NYT Mag: What Teenagers Are Learning From Online P-rn. I’m not sure all the potential viewing examples in this article are equally likely: “Imagine that you are a 14-year-old today. A friend might show you a short p-rn clip on his phone during the bus ride to school or after soccer practice. A p-rnographic GIF appears on Snapchat. Or you mistype the word ‘fishing’ and end up with a bunch of links to ‘fisting’ videos.” (Hey, if nothing else, the kid will definitely learn to be a more careful typist.)
7. Sup, Porter?
“I think it’s fair to say that we all could have done better over the last few days in dealing with this situation.” So said deputy press secretary Raj Shah as the White House faces increased scrutiny over its hiring and firing of Rob Porter.
8. Hijab application
“It was the quietest protest Iran has ever witnessed. Vida Movahed, a thirty-one-year-old mother of a toddler, stood atop a large utility box on Tehran’s busy Enghelab Street and removed the hijab head covering that all women are required to wear by law. Her jet-black hair cascaded far down her back. She then tied her white scarf to a stick and, as shoppers scurried beneath her on a busy thoroughfare, silently waved it like a flag. She stood there waving, alone, for an hour.” Robin Wright on the hijab protests that exposed Iran’s core divide.
9. Layer fake
“In five years they hope to expand production to 200 million pounds of Sunions. ‘We’re adding a whole new segment within the retail market. ‘Tearless’ and ‘onion’ haven’t gone hand-in-hand before.'” Whether you want them or not: Tear-Free Onions Are Here.
10. Bottom of the news
“Claw machines are a total ripoff, rigged to thwart your chances of walking away from an arcade with some sick prize like a plush Minion or whatever. So you can’t really blame the kid who decided to take matters into his own hands when he faced off with one of the dastardly contraptions on Wednesday.” The fire department had to rescue Mason after he managed to climb into the machine. I don’t throw around the word hero too often, but this kid is one.
+ Jacob Copeland announced that he would sign with Florida. It sure looks like his mom was hoping for Alabama. (Sidenote: These signing day events are pretty sick.)
+ Pepsi is set to come after LaCroix.