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🌊 Life, Liberty, and Ultra-Processed Food

Plus: Washington Post drama boiling over

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👨🏻‍⚖️ No guns for abusers per SCOTUS

😈 Goblin attacks in Zimbabwe?

🍞 The land of ultra-processed food

–Max and Max


No Guns for Abusers?

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that domestic abusers can be prohibited from possessing guns

  • In 2022, SCOTUS wrote that a gun regulation can only be constitutional if it is “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” – a decision that significantly expanded gun rights

  • One of that stance’s first major tests was a case about whether a federal law prohibiting domestic abusers from owning guns was constitutional

  • On Friday, SCOTUS voted 8-1 to uphold that law, restricting gun rights

Dig Deeper

  • Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, “Since the Founding, the Nation’s firearm laws have included regulations to stop individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms”

  • The 2022 ruling was “not meant to suggest a law trapped in amber,” he added

  • Clarence Thomas, a conservative, dissented. He wrote that with this ruling, “One can easily imagine a world where political minorities or those with disfavored cultural views are deemed the next ‘dangers’ to society [and disarmed]”


Zimbabwe Goes Goblin Mode

Police officers in Zimbabwe abandoned their station after a series of alleged goblin attacks

  • In parts of Africa, especially rural areas, belief in the supernatural is widespread. That can include a belief in goblins, which often are considered short, sometimes invisible, terrifying, or mischievous beings

  • Earlier this month, a group of Zimbabwean police officers announced that they had to abandon their police station because of goblin attacks. A local official told Zimbabwean media that the officers “described being harassed – bodies being violated, doors opening on their own, and things climbing on the roof – making it impossible to sleep”

Dig Deeper

  • The official blamed the attacks on female goblins

  • The situation has drawn comparisons to 2013 when goblin reports forced the closure of four Zimbabwean schools

  • “Children are constantly being attacked by goblins during lessons and some faint,” one local chief told media at the time. He added, “Some villagers who live close to Tokwe Secondary School have revealed that they hear strange noises coming from the school at night. On some occasions, villagers who have passed by the school during odd hours have reported strange objects”


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Plot or Paranoia?

The US arrested 8 Tajik migrants for potential IS ties

  • Tajikistan is a formerly Soviet country, thousands of whose people are believed to have joined IS

  • This month, US authorities detained 8 Tajiks who were placed under surveillance after entering the US illegally. A wiretap recorded one saying, “I’m afraid something like [the Boston Bombing] might happen again or worse.” The group was arrested based on this and other evidence

  • Last week, federal data revealed that 1,500+ Tajik migrants entered the US illegally between 2020 and 2024, up from just 26 total in the preceding 14 years

Dig Deeper

  • Terrorism charges have not been brought

  • People from Tajikistan – a formerly-Soviet Central Asian country that borders Afghanistan – have been linked to terror plots, including the recent Moscow attack that killed 145, ones in Turkey and Iran, and foiled ones in Europe

  • The arrests come as the CIA and FBI directors warn that the US is facing an abnormally high terror risk: FBI Director Christopher Wray recently said he sees “blinking lights everywhere I turn,” while the acting CIA head said terror warnings are “blinking red”


WaPo Rebellion

The Washington Post’s new editor backed out amid a rebellion at the paper

  • In May, the CEO of the WaPo – one of the US’ most influential outlets – disclosed that the WaPo had lost $77M in 2023 and experienced a 50% audience drop since 2020. “We are in a hole,” he told staff

  • He proceeded to reorganize the company and make an old colleague – Robert Winnett, editor of the right-leaning Telegraph in London – editor. WaPo staff proceeded to rebel, challenging the changes and publishing negative pieces

  • On Friday, Winnett “withdrew” from the job

Dig Deeper

  • The WaPo’s CEO – Will Lewis – is a seasoned British media executive who was brought in to shake things up at the paper. His efforts led its executive editor to leave, while staffers expressed discontent at Lewis’ hiring, his decision to bring in a potentially conservative editor, and the lack of women in leadership

  • Since then, a slew of negative press has been published about Lewis and Winnett, including a Washington Post article that accused Winnett of relying on stolen materials in his reporting

  • The paper’s path is now uncertain

Some Quick Stories for the Office

🏠️ In May, prices for existing US houses hit an all-time high of $419,300, 5.8% higher than a year prior. Home sales have decreased in each of the last three months and are down 2.8% from a year prior 

⚖️ French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte brought libel lawsuits against two influencers who spread rumors that she is trans

🤔 Donald Trump said he’s picked a running mate but claims the person has no idea it’s them

🗽 Manhattan prosecutors dropped charges against 30 of the 46 Columbia University students who barricaded themselves inside a campus building during Palestine protests. Columbia also suspended three university leaders over their behavior during the protests

💨 Sha’Carri Richardson – the US track and field star banned from the 2020 Olympics for a positive marijuana test – qualified for the 2024 Olympics by winning the 100-meter qualifying race in 10.71 seconds

Question of the Day

🧠 CNN recently announced that RFK Jr. won’t be in the presidential debate this week. Should he be on stage with Trump and Biden?

 Reply to this email to let us know what you think!

Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🤭 Can’t have s*it in Florida: Thieves stole a newly installed playground from a Jacksonville school for children with autism. Security camera shows two figures taking the 30-foot playground around 3:30 AM on Monday

🏠 See you in 2054: A three-bedroom San Francisco home is selling for $488,000, but the buyer cannot move in for nearly 30 years due to a long-term lease with the current tenant

🚔 #JustStopElon? Vandals spray-painted “F*ck Elon” on 34 new Tesla Cybertrucks in a parking lot in Fort Lauderdale, FL

3,800 Cybertrucks have sold, so that means roughly 1% now say “F*ck Elon”

🧑‍⚖️ Naked and arraigned: A woman is suing a New York county and its police after being arraigned while naked in a jail cell during a virtual court hearing last year

💰 No good deed goes unpunished: A disabled French woman sued the telecommunications company Orange, alleging they paid her salary for 20 years without assigning any work


Ultra-Processed Country

Around 60% of all calories consumed by Americans come from ultra-processed foods. It wasn’t always that way.

In 1938, the US Food and Drug Administration enacted the “imitation rule,” which said that “if a food resembles a standardized food but does not comply with the standard, that food must be labeled as an ‘imitation.’”

As foods became increasingly processed, though, companies were forced to label them as “imitation,” hurting sales. They and health groups like the American Heart Association – alleging that labeling dissuaded Americans from eating processed foods with added nutrients – pressured the FDA to repeal the rule, and in 1973, it did.

In the decades after World War 2, a surge in heart disease and lobbying by health groups and food companies gave rise to “nutritionism,” which attempted to measure a food’s value by its components, like nutrients and vitamins. That influenced the US government, which in 1982, released nutrient-based – rather than food-based – dietary guidelines that made recommendations about specific nutrients rather than actual foods.

One impact was that foods could become ever more processed and still be accepted by consumers and regulators, so long as they maintained their nutrients.

Food processing isn’t inherently bad: “Processed foods” have merely undergone some form of change before reaching the grocery cart. They may have been heated, frozen, diced, or juiced, including frozen fish, canned tomatoes, or cheese. People have been processing foods since the earliest civilizations.

“Ultra-processed foods” (UPFs), on the other hand, have undergone so much processing that they often bear no resemblance to the foods they claim to be.

These processes seek to make them last longer, taste better, and sometimes be more addicting, often by packing them with additives like preservatives, texture modifiers, sugar, and salt. The resulting products can contain ingredient mixes not found in natural foods, such as high levels of both salt and sugar. Typical supermarket foods – from breads to granola bars and yogurt – are often ultra-processed.

While processing was once touted as a way to boost foods’ nutritional value, a new consensus is emerging that challenges that, namely, by arguing that excessive food processing deteriorates the “food matrix” – the physical and chemical structure of food – which affects how food is digested and metabolized.

The impacts of that will be shown in tomorrow’s Wrap, part two of this series.

Final Thoughts

How about that weather, huh? If it makes you feel better, it’s not just the US that is experiencing the wrath of whichever gods oversee warm weather: Mexico recorded its hottest day in its history last week, as the Sonoran Desert hit 125 degrees.

We’re starting to feel a little less sympathy for the Brits who recently endured a high of 78 degrees — and issued a heat advisory for it! No wonder they blew a 13 colony lead…

–Max and Max