Monday, March 6th, 2023


Yanking Your Food Chain

What exactly does it mean when an item in a grocery store is labeled, healthy? According to the FDA, you should take that designation with a grain of salt (plenty of which can be found in most of these recipes). Now the department is looking to add (and remove) some ingredients to its list of requirements, and big food is going bananas. "Under the proposal, manufacturers can label their products 'healthy' only if they contain a meaningful amount of food from at least one of the main food groups such as fruit, vegetable or dairy, as recommended by federal dietary guidelines. They must also adhere to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
It's the added sugar limit that has been the sticking point for many food executives. The FDA's previous rules put limits around saturated fat and sodium but did not include limits on added sugars." WaPo (Gift Article): Food fight: FDA is redefining ‘healthy' and food industry is pushing back. For now, it's a piece of cake for a product to be classified as healthy—so easy that a piece a cake may qualify.

+ Related: Diabetes and obesity are on the rise in young adults.


The Year of Living Courageously

For several days, we've been getting reports that Bakhmut was going to fall to the Russians, a rare victory in their murderous invasion of Ukraine. But for now, the small city is holding on and Russian troops have been 'forced to fight with shovels' as an ammo shortage undermines their advance. For a look at why it's best not to underestimate Ukraine's military, political, and civilian determination, take some time watch YEAR - a documentary project by Dmytro Komarov, an incredible look the year of war in Ukraine, with full access to the president and top military officials.


Taking the Knowledge Out of College

"The troubles culminated last month in a letter from the regional higher education commission, which warned that the 90-year-old college could be stripped of its accreditation if changes were not made in a matter of weeks — an effective threat of closure and a potential catastrophe for Coeur d'Alene, a town of 56,000 in the Idaho Panhandle. The college is the sixth-largest employer in Kootenai County and a source of skilled labor for much of the local economy." This is an extreme example of a movement that's taking place at many schools. NYT (Gift Article): The MAGA-fication of North Idaho College. Being an imbecile is all the rage these days.


Czech Swing

"It is quite likely that on Saturday a full-time firefighter will pitch to Ohtani — 2022 salary: $30 million — and other talented Japanese batters in a unique matchup between the Czech Republic and Japan at the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo. If not the firefighter on that mound, then perhaps it will be the team's public relations manager or a real estate agent or a schoolteacher." NYT (Gift Article): Can a Czech Firefighter Compete With M.L.B.'s Biggest Stars? "The World Baseball Classic is a battle of the game's top professional players. A scrappy Czech Republic team, full of guys with regular jobs, just might win your heart."


Extra, Extra

Re-Fugee: "About two months later an FBI special agent interrupted Michél at brunch near his apartment in SoHo. The agent had 12 photos of Chinese officials and many questions: Who did Michél meet at the Four Seasons? Who else had contacted him from the Chinese government? And of course: How had a famous rapper and record producer found himself in the middle of a high-stakes negotiation between global superpowers?" Bloomberg (Gift Article): The Fugee, the Fugitive and the FBI.

+ The Voice: "Card, 73, and her husband, Greg Grace, 75, dashed to their bank in Regina, Saskatchewan, and withdrew 3,000 Canadian dollars ($2,207 in U.S. currency), the daily maximum. They hurried to a second branch for more money. But a bank manager pulled them into his office: Another patron had gotten a similar call and learned the eerily accurate voice had been faked, Card recalled the banker saying. The man on the phone probably wasn't their grandson." They thought loved ones were calling for help. It was an AI scam.

+ Knicks and Stones: "'It's the architecture that tells you where to go in a train station,' Chakrabarti said. In Penn, the architecture generally tells you to go away." The New Yorker's excellent William Finnegan on The Fight Over Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.

+ Salvador Slammer: "Successive presidential administrations have taken different approaches — many have adopted the mano dura, or 'iron hand' tack, instituting harsh crackdowns to mitigate the violence. But Bukele is on an entirely different level; his administration has imprisoned tens of thousands, many arbitrarily, repeatedly extended a state of emergency severely curtailing the rights of ordinary citizens, and attacked and even detained his critics in the press." El Salvador's massive new prison and the strongman behind it. "What's more, Bukele's tough tactics appear to be popular with Salvadorans overwhelmed by years of living under the brutal rule of gang violence."

+ Island Hopped: "Some 10% of the local population in the tropical island nation of Seychelles is dependent on heroin in what is now an epidemic, according to the country's government. Even being locked away offers no protection for those dependent on the drug." The island paradise held prisoner by heroin.

+ School Poisonings: "A crisis over suspected poisonings targeting Iranian schoolgirls escalated Sunday as authorities acknowledged over 50 schools were struck in a wave of possible cases. The poisonings have spread further fear among parents as Iran has faced months of unrest."

+ Ice Cream of Crop: America is about to get to know the new speed skating phenom from Kewaskum, Wisconsin. They already know about him in the Netherlands where the 18 year-old just dominated the world championship.


Bottom of the News

"The inventory has filled the company's warehouses to the brim, forcing [the company] to rent storage containers to hold the excess product. And now, the product is worth less than it costs to keep on hand." The Funko bubble has Popped.

+ "A growing number of men – often motivated by the darkest corners of the web – are paying vast sums to have their jaws broken and reshaped in the hope that a manlier mandible might transform them into alphas or Chads." Meet the men paying to have their jaws broken in the name of manliness. I guess my double chin now means I'm twice the man you are!

+ The winners of the World Nature Photography Awards.