Let’s go to Saudi Arabia for the belly laugh of the day

Hey! Saudi Arabia is getting all modern. From 538 Significant Digits:

35 years

Saudi Arabia has lifted its 35-year ban on commercial movie theaters, and the Saudi government anticipates 300 theaters by 2030. Last week saw a number of screenings for the public, and they’ve wasted no time in catching up with the American classics of the past 35 years, such as “The Emoji Movie.” [The Verge]

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The Mysteries of Life: Eating Tide Pods. What????

How do fads like this spring up? I sigh, and give you what’s below which I just picked up on Daily Kos Elections. And that means you get a bonus — upcoming election and NFL playoff news to digest along with your Tide Pod snack:

Where Are They Now?: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and former GOP Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle are both trying to stop teenagers from eating Tide Pods. No, that’s not from some game of Mad Libs, this is the reality we live in.

You may have heard of the Tide Pod Challenge, where teenagers are biting into toxic laundry detergent pods. Tide understandably does not want to be associated with a craze that’s sending participants to the hospital, and they recruited Gronkowski to remind viewers that they should “[u]se Tide Pods for washing not eating.” So what’s this have to do with Buerkle, who narrowly won a Syracuse-area seat in 2010 in a shocker during the tea party wave and lost it two years later?

In 2013, even as Buerkle was considering another bout against Democrat Dan Maffei, Obama appointed Buerkle to a seat on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Buerkle has been acting chair since early 2017, and Trump picked her to lead the commission full time. Florida’s Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in particular was not happy with Buerkle, who opposes government standards to limit carbon monoxide emissions in portable power generators, and he grilled her on the issue at her September confirmation hearing. Buerkle’s nomination cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation along party lines but never made it to the full Senate, and Trump had to renominate her this month. However, Buerkle remains acting chair, and the commission has been reviewing how to make Tide Pods tougher to puncture.

We here at Daily Kos Elections are no fans of Buerkle, who was a dyed-in-the-wool conservative in the House, and whose nomination to lead the commission was met with plenty of justifiable anger from consumer watchdog groups. But she’s right on this one: Don’t eat Tide Pods.


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The god problem, from those marvelous Good Values people in MS

The good book (not mine, btw, but someone’s) raises its cover, via Kevin Underhill, in Lowering the Bar. Who, as a good lawyer, points out the constitutional problem with making the bible an “official state book.”

Oh, Good, Another “Official State Bible” Law

Jan 11, 2018 05:30 am | Kevin


So, let’s see here. In surveys of the 50 states, Mississippi is pretty consistently ranked at or near the bottom when it comes to health care, education, infrastructure, and economic opportunity. It usually has—by a wide margin—the greatest percentage of low-birthweight babies and the highest infant mortality rate, as well as the highest overall death rate, the lowest per capita income, and the lowest percentage of high-school graduates of any state in the nation. It has the fewest doctors, the fewest dentists, the highest rate of heart disease (also strokes, diabetes and septicemia), and was quite recently named the very worst state in the country in which to raise a child.

Clearly, Mississippi is in desperate need of an official state book.

You could probably have guessed which book that would be, too, even if I hadn’t put it in the headline.

Yes, HB 130, introduced on January 2 by Rep. Tom Miles, provides as follows:

SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 3-3-63,
Mississippi Code of 1972:
   3-3-63. The Holy Bible is designated as the official state
book of Mississippi.

Of course, you will have no trouble spotting the main problem with this law: which “Holy Bible” is it making official? This problem may not have occurred to Rep. Miles, just like it didn’t occur to Rep. Tom Carmody of Louisiana (usually state #49) when he tried this same stunt a while back. See “Louisiana Debates Which Holy Bible to Make Official State Book,” Lowering the Bar (Apr. 2014). But then at the time, I had also forgotten, if I ever knew, that the King James Version is, well, missing a few parts. Depending on who you ask, of course, and Carmody didn’t bother to ask any of the Catholics on his committee. The debate that then ensued about the Louisiana bill was something I found very remarkable, as well as very remarkably stupid.

That’s because of the other main problem with such bills: regardless of which Bible the sponsor means, a law that would make any religious text the “official state book” could not be more unconstitutional. (See also this, and this, which dealt with two equally pointless bills in 2016.) But virtually every year, someone who doesn’t understand that, or pretends not to understand that, wastes everybody’s time with similar nonsense.

I guess it shouldn’t be at all surprising that 2018 is no exception.

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