🌊 Donald’s Rocky Mountain Low

Trump is ineligible from Colorado ballot, a state gets a new flag and Roca Reports Finland conclusion

If you feel like you’ve been unproductive lately, just wait until you hear about the 118th Congress. This year, the House and Senate have passed a mere 24 bills, putting it on pace to be the least productive Congress by far since at least 1974 (don’t have reliable data before then). Congress typically passes hundreds of bills per year, but in 2023 it seems our representatives are trying out the zero-day workweek.

In today's edition:

  • Trump is ineligible from Colorado ballot

  • A state gets a new flag

  • Roca Reports Finland conclusion

 🔑 Key Stories

Trump Disqualified in Colorado

Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump is ineligible for the 2024 ballot

  • Section 3 of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment says that “no person” who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US can serve as “an officer of the United States.” That ban applies to any “civil or military” office but doesn’t specifically name the presidency

  • Trump’s opponents have argued that the January 6th riot was an insurrection and that Trump incited it, invalidating him from running in 2024

  • On Tuesday, Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled that the January 6th riot was an insurrection; Trump did incite it; Section 3 does apply to the presidency; and courts have the authority to invoke the 14th Amendment in this context. It ruled that Trump is disqualified, and because of that, the state shouldn’t list him in its Republican primary

  • Courts in Minnesota and New Hampshire rejected similar arguments, and a similar case is currently headed to Michigan’s Supreme Court. The Trump campaign is expected to appeal to the US Supreme Court

Microwave Weapons

The Pentagon is developing high-power microwave weapons to destroy drones

  • Relatively cheap and easy to make, drones have become a favored weapon among terror groups and some militaries. Pentagon officials have warned that US air defenses are insufficient to meet the threat

  • Per several Pentagon officials, microwave weapons may be the solution: “We believe that high-power microwave tech is critical to help us mitigate the threat of swarming small drones,” one official said

  • Several defense companies have received contracts to develop such systems, which officials believe will be effective at destroying drones

Autism Case Dismissed

A court dismissed hundreds of lawsuits alleging Tylenol use during pregnancy is linked to autism and ADHD

  • Tylenol is a brand-name drug for acetaminophen, a common pain reliever. Doctors often recommend it to pregnant women experiencing pain or discomfort

  • In recent years, parents of hundreds of children with autism or ADHD have sued Kenvue, Tylenol’s manufacturer, and other companies over allegations that acetaminophen use during pregnancy is linked to those conditions

  • On Tuesday, a judge rejected data purporting to prove that link, dealing the plaintiffs a major blow

Farmers vs. Government

Hundreds of German farmers gathered in Berlin in their tractors to protest proposed subsidy cuts

  • Germany has strict rules that limit government spending. Last month, a court struck down $66B the government had allocated to a climate fund, leading to a budget crisis and major spending cuts

  • As part of those cuts, Germany cut diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles

  • Farmers lobbies have since protested, and on Monday, a protest was held in Berlin. The lobbies have threatened even larger protests. Germany’s government has said the 2024 budget is already set

All I Want for Christmas is Hydration

LMNT wishes Roca Readers a great holiday season with the best self-care gift out there: A healthy and hydrated 2024! 

  • Sure, we can't promise to fulfill all your New Year’s resolutions (like finally learning to yodel or mastering the art of origami), but we do have your electrolyte needs covered. Our packs are bursting with 1,000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium, and 60 mg of magnesium – a recipe to make your body feel rejuvenated and recovered

  • Right now Roca Readers can unwrap a bonus sample pack of all eight LMNT flavors with any order – perfect for stocking stuffers! Plus, our no-questions-asked, risk-free refund policy is as comforting as grandma's holiday cookies

  • Don’t miss the last chance to stock up on LMNT before 2024! But don’t worry, we’ll be back faster than Rudolph on a foggy night to help you smash your 2024 goals. Happy Holidays Roca and here’s to making next year your best — and saltiest — yet!

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Chick-fil-Sunday: New York lawmakers introduced a bill mandating the daily operation of restaurants at the New York Thruway’s 27 rest stops, specifically targeting Chick-fil-A

  • Land of one new flag: Minnesota finalized a new state flag design on Tuesday after a commission selected it from thousands of submissions

  • British Airways turns around: British Airways reversed its decision to postpone adding “Hapless” – a sitcom about a British reporter at a Jewish newspaper – to its in-flight entertainment systems

Wildcard

  • Away from the manger: Spanish police arrested two men, 19 and 21, for stealing a Baby Jesus figurine from their local nativity scene and demanding a €2,000 ransom on TikTok

  • Space Taters: NASA streamed an ultra-high-definition video of an employee’s cat named Taters from space, showing him chasing a laser beam back on Earth

  • Shipping up to Boston: A MSC Cruises ship that left New York City for Florida and the Bahamas surprised passengers by rerouting to Boston, Maine and Canada instead

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Do you prefer

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Today's Question:

Should Colorado have disqualified Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

Farmers are turning this country’s signs upside down.

French farmers have turned thousands of road signs upside down across rural France as a protest against EU regulations and government policies. Starting in southwest France, the movement has spread nationwide, often accompanied by stickers reading “C’est le monde à l’envers,” meaning, “The world’s turned upside down.”

The farmers criticize the government for increasingly imposing regulations on their practices, including by increasing the cost of farm diesel and exposing them to greater competition from imports. They also say they are frustrated about having to balance competing regulations.

"On one side, [the government] asks us to change our practices, to make them more ecological,” said the head of a French farmer’s union. “On the other, [we’re told] to produce as much as possible so France can achieve food sovereignty.”

The farmers decided the best way to show their frustration with contradictory instructions was to turn road signs in their communities upside down.

“If someone tells us to do one thing one day and then the opposite the next, we say we're walking on our heads,” the union lead said. “That's where the idea came from.”

The farmers' union claims the campaign has already helped them secure lower taxes for next year. Yet there remains no indication the signs will return upright soon.

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you keep your passwords on your phone?
Yes: 46%
No: 54%

Yesterday's Question:

In honor of Eric Adams, what is the worst gaffe you’ve ever made?

Nancy: "One time at a meeting, I referred to a doctor's second wife as his mother. When speaking to her I said" does your son etc., etc. " then said to someone else does "Dr so and so's mother live with him or have her own place? " they then CORRECTED me, and I could have just died. This happened many years ago and I am still so embarassed about it"

Sarah from Ontario, Canada: “Was walking downtown and ran into an old friend from university and exclaimed happily, “When are you due!” She was in fact, not pregnant. It was windy and it was blowing her dress. 12 years later and I still cringe when I think about it.”

Corrine from New York: “I once threw my boyfriend out and the cops came. I asked them to just keep him downstairs until I could change the cylinder on my door. I changed it and I heard him coming back upstairs and I stood inside my apt with my arms crossed and a smug look on my face....And he turned the knob and walked in!!! I forgot to lock the friggin door.”

Cameron: “My uncle and cousins showed up to my sister’s wedding, and noticing my aunt wasn’t with them, I asked where she was. She had just left my uncle for another man earlier that week.”

🧠 Intermission

We hope you all have nice Wednesdays. We don’t have much else to say today, so we’ll leave it at that.

For Roca Premium, we wrap up the Finland trip below.

–Max and Max

🌎 Roca Reports

Last week our Roca Reports series moved to Finland to answer the pivotal question: Is it truly the world’s happiest country? The series continues today.

Roca Reports is part of our premium newsletter with on-the-ground investigations of stories no one else is covering. If you’re not a member, you can start your 14-day free trial here!

This April, Finland held elections. In them, 20.1% of the country voted for the far-right Finns Party, which won 46 seats in parliament – second only to the 48 seats/20.9% won by the leading centrist party. Neither of those parties won a majority, so they combined forces and took power. The resulting government is likely the furthest-right in Finland’s modern history.

Before coming to Finland, I didn’t understand how that was possible. Why would a progressive country elect a far-right party? After all, in most countries, far-left or right parties seek to change the status quo. Why shake up the world’s happiest country?

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