Save Our Beef (SOB)

Save Our Beef (SOB)

Ron DeSantis, I am sorry to tell you, has signed a law banning lab-grown beef in his state. “Florida is fighting back against the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals,” he said in a statement, gesturing toward the shadowy, unnamed cabal (The UN, perhaps? The World Economic Forum?) that will one day surely force us to eat bugs for its sick satisfaction.

“We will save our beef,” he added.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), exploring his newfound hobby of trolling progressives, agreed.

Pains me deeply to agree with Crash-and-Burn Ron, but I co-sign this.

As a member of @SenateAgDems and as some dude who would never serve that slop to my kids, I stand with our American ranchers and farmers. 🇺🇸

— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) May 2, 2024

Like much coming out of the Florida legislature, this new law checks a few now-standard boxes: it is 1) a culture war provocation to, in the fantasies of its drafters, wring out some lib tears, 2) pushed by conservative lobbying interests and 3) a heavy-handed response to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Yet protecting beef, the food of patriots, has in recent years often been a cause du jour on the right, due to the baseless idea that environmentalists, vegans, and, probably, Antifa are on the cusp of banning it outright. A mini outrage cycle ensued in 2021 (explained here by Kate Riga) when the Daily Mail speculated falsely that Biden’s climate plan would “limit you to eat just one burger a MONTH.” Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Don Jr., and other such figures professed to be quaking with rage.

Anyway, it’s an exhausting time in the news, but spring has arrived in much of the U.S. Get out there and grill some meat — real, lab-grown, plant-based, or made-from-bugs. Whatever you want. Here are some other stories to sate your appetite until Monday.

  • In a new episode of her podcast Belaboring The Point, Kate Riga spoke with TPM alum Matt Shuham about how the war in Gaza is refracting domestically, from college protests to presidential politics.
  • Khaya Himmelman shares some insights from her reporting on election experts’ efforts to keep tabs on legislative power grabs when it comes to administering elections ahead of 2024.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Hunter Walker discusses Kimberly Guilfoyle’s new children’s book and her apparent vehement disdain for dog killers.

Let’s dig in.

— John Light & Nicole Lafond

The Anti-Twitter

It can be a harrowing thing, in this media environment, to confront a major, much-discussed event in which you’re not particularly steeped. 

On Twitter and its social media ilk, this stops approximately no one from sounding off. Many have swapped their COVID epidemiologist hats for constitutional law ones, habitually playing armchair psychologist and detective, all within a couple hundred characters. 

The war in Gaza is outside of my wheelhouse — it’s not in the universe of anything I’ve reported on, and has a complex and rich history of which I only know the contours. Coming in with a shallow foundation makes it hard to sort truth from spin, insight from clickbait. 

My conversation with HuffPost reporter (and TPM alum) Matt Shuham for my show Belaboring The Point this week was an antidote to the Twitter rabble. He’s reported from college campuses, and writes stories related to the war near-weekly. He has deeply considered and thoughtful takes on many facets: police reaction to the protests, why this is such a wedge for Democrats, how Donald Trump is positioning himself, what happens if Israel invades Rafah.

I hope you take a listen — I learned an awful lot.

— Kate Riga

Experts Keep An Eye On Legislative Power Grabs Ahead Of 2024

Ahead of 2024, election experts are keeping a watchful eye on power grab legislation that has the potential to disrupt the 2024 election. 

According to a new report from Voting Rights Lab — which tracks voting-related legislation — recently enacted legislation in eight states will give state legislatures greater authority in election administration and the certification process.

“We really saw, after the 2020 election, we saw a number of states introduce this type of legislation that gives the state legislatures themselves more power over the running of elections,” Liz Avore, senior policy advisor at Voting Rights Lab, told TPM in an interview. 

Since 2021, per data tracked by Voting Rights Lab, legislatures in 25 different states have introduced 82 total pieces of legislation that, if passed, would give power to the legislature to run elections. 

Georgia and North Carolina for example, Avore noted, both passed legislation that gives the legislature a role in determining who is on the board of elections. In 2021, Georgia passed SB202, giving Georgia legislators the authority to appoint the chair of the State of Election Board, which also has the power to remove and replace members of county election boards. 

“In Georgia, the bill gave the legislature the ability to appoint the authority to appoint the chair of State Board of Elections,” she explained. “So this, for the first time, meant that the State Board of Elections was beholden to this obviously very partisan legislature in the state.” 

Avore describes the legislation as a “a threat that’s hanging over the heads of county boards of elections.”

Similarly, in North Carolina, she added, Republican backed legislation known as Senate Bill 749 that passed last year, but is now blocked pending ongoing litigation, would also give the state legislature authority to appoint all the members of a county board of elections. 

— Khaya Himmelman

The Puppy ‘Princess’ Of Trumpworld

Believe it or not, this is not a story about Kristi Noem, the South Dakota governor who was rumored to be on former President Trump’s shortlist for potential running mates before she committed political suicide by admitting to having once killed a puppy in a book that leaked out last week. There’s actually another Trump campaign hanger on who has a puppy book of a far different sort. 

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the erstwhile Trump campaign adviser and fiancee of the former president’s son, Don Jr., is releasing a new children’s book entitled “The Princess & Her Pup.” According to the publisher’s website, the book is about the “sweet and caring ‘Princess Kimberly’” who is “afraid” and learns to be courageous after meeting a “little pup” named Jack. In a social media broadcast, Guilfoyle suggested it is a semi-autobiographical tale based on “how I was raised” and “a real-life rescue puppy that Don Jr. and I adopted.”

The book is being published by Brave Books, a publisher that has teamed up with right-wing influencers and political figures to make children’s books with conservative messages. Other highlights of their catalog include books by Dinesh D’Souza, retired Army general and conspiracy theorist Michael Flynn, and my personal favorite, “The Parrots Go Bananas!” by former Trump White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, which features the residents of Mushroom Village learning about “fake information.” There’s also another happy puppy book by Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, campaign adviser, and Republican National Committee co-chair. 

Guilfoyle’s book is special for so very many reasons but also because it is being sold along with a “Joe Bite’em Chew Toy” in a package that Brave calls “the perfect bundle for conservative canines and their owners.” Apparently, along with lessons about courage, this book can also teach children about seeing their political enemies ripped to shreds by dogs. 

In her social media broadcast, Guilfoyle pointed out that 10 percent of the proceeds are going to Furry Friends, a nonprofit dedicated to the welfare of abused animals. With clear anger in her voice, she also offered what was hard not to see as a loud message to Noem given the recent headlines. 

“Animal cruelty is a real thing and I’ve fought as a prosecutor taking cases and trying them as felonies for people that abused, and injured, and killed animals,” Guilfoyle said. “Together we can all make a difference.”

Looks like children aren’t the only ones Guilfoyle is eager to teach a lesson to.

— Hunter Walker

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