A Verdict They Couldn't Refuse

Top universities under investigation, drunk Wisconsin man picks up drunk friend from jail and Roca votes: Will the Dems pull Biden?

"Alright class, repeat after me: Roca good, Fox and CNN bad." California just became the latest state to require media literacy classes in school. In other words, identifying "fake news" will now be a school subject. Forget "mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell" or "y = mx + b," kids will now have to learn that a headline that reads “There’s a 90% Chance That Your Pizza Delivery Guy is High” from The Onion may not be true. Although, then again…

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In today's edition:

  • Top universities under investigation

  • Drunk Wisconsin man picks up drunk friend from jail

  • Roca votes: Will the Dems pull Biden?

 🔑 Key Stories

South Korea Targets Big Dog

South Korea’s government announced plans to ban dog meat by 2027

  • Dog meat is a traditional food in South Korea, although today, most people who eat it are 50+. Animal rights groups have been trying to get dog meat banned for decades

  • The country’s government has said it will propose a law to do so by year-end. The expected law will require dog farms, factories, and restaurants to submit plans for how they will phase out their operations by 2027

  • Big Dog spokespeople have blasted the ban and said companies need more time to adapt

Dig Deeper

  • The government has said it will “provide full support” to those who will be negatively affected by the ban; the head of the Korea Dog Meat Farmers’ Association called the proposal “an unsustainable option for us farmers in our 60s or 70s”

Universities Under Investigation

The US Education Department has opened anti-Semitism and Islamophobia investigations at some of the country’s top universities

  • Seven schools – including the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, and Columbia – are being investigated for failing to protect students from discrimination. The govern said five investigations involve anti-Semitism and two Islamophobia

  • While the government didn’t release details, this comes after well-publicized incidents at some of the schools, including violent threats and harassment

  • The investigations are looking into whether the schools failed to follow US civil rights law and protect students. If the schools are found to have done so, the federal government could withhold funding

200+ Gangsters Sentenced

Italy’s largest mafia trial in decades ended Monday with 200+ people convicted of working with or being part of the ‘Ndrangheta

  • The ‘Ndrangheta is one of the world’s most powerful criminal groups. It controls an estimated 80% of Europe’s cocaine supply and earns $55B+ yearly

  • Authorities arrested hundreds of alleged members in 2019 and 2020 and charged 320 simultaneously. The trial lasted three years and culminated with 200+ convictions (and 100+ acquittals) on Monday

  • Those convicted – which includes a former senator and civil servants – face a total 2,200 years in prison

Dig Deeper

  • Testimony during the trial shed light on how the group had penetrated Italian politics, media, and business and the charges included drug smuggling, money laundering, and extortion 

Voting Lawsuits Curbed

A federal court ruled that individuals can’t file lawsuits alleging discrimination in voting

  • The case arose after the Arkansas branch of the NAACP, a civil rights group, and another organization filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination on how Arkansas drew its state House districts after the 2020 census

  • The case worked its way to a federal court, which just ruled 2-1 that individuals and organizations can’t file voting discrimination lawsuits

  • The majority said that if the relevant law (1965 Voting Rights Act) had intended that, it would have made it clear. The ruling applies to seven midwestern states

Dig Deeper

  • The decision overturns decades of precedent, during which individuals were allowed to file discrimination lawsuits. As recently as this summer, a bipartisan Supreme Court majority sided with individuals and civil rights groups who had filed a lawsuit claiming that Alabama’s congressional districting was discriminatory

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🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Happy birthday, Mr. President: Joe Biden – the oldest president in US history – celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday. “I just want you to know it’s difficult turning 60,” he joked

  • Fly, Eagles, fly! The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 21-17 in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. Taylor Swift was not in attendance

  • Sooooooold: Sotheby’s will auction six Lionel Messi jerseys worn during last year’s World Cup. They’re expected to break the current record for most expensive jersey sale, currently held by Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey

Wildcard

  • Smokescreen: Snoop Dogg isn’t giving up smoking weed. His promise to “give up smoke” turned out to be a preview for a partnership with smokeless fire pit brand Solo Stove

  • Drunkception: Wisconsin police arrested a 36-year-old man for operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he arrived at a jail to pick up another intoxicated individual

  • TGL misses the cut: TGLTiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s indoor golf league – has postponed its inaugural season to 2025 due to the collapse of its new arena’s roof

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👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

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Today's Question:

Today’s question are below the Roca Votes Wrap.

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

We founded RocaNews because we wanted news companies to just give us the facts – not tell us what to think. That inspires us to do a “Roca Votes” story each week, in which we summarize a controversial topic and see how Roca feels about it.

As President Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom met with Xi Jinping, there was a giant elephant – or, rather, donkey – in the room. Biden’s popularity has dipped to historic lows and polls show a majority of voters don’t think he’s fit to be president.

Many now wonder: Will Newsom sub in for Biden to improve Democrats’ odds of winning in 2024?

The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows Biden’s approval rating at 40.5% – lower than the figures for Bush (52.2%;), Obama (43.6%), or Trump (44.2%) at this stage in their first terms.

Earlier this month, a New York Times/Siena poll found Biden trailing Trump in five of the six swing states he won in 2020. Last week, a Quinnipiac poll showed Biden losing the popular vote to Trump, 46% to 48%. Factor RFK Jr. into the mix and it’s Trump 38%, Biden 37%, and Kennedy 21%.

Prominent left-leaning and independent pundits have suggested Biden should step aside.

Obama aide David Axelrod recently said Biden needs to “get out or get going” in the race. Bill Maher – host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” and one of the world’s most-watched liberal pundits – dubbed Biden the “only Democrat who can lose to Trump.”

Apparently smelling blood, Congressman Dean Phillips said he would challenge Biden in the Democratic Primary. While claiming to support everything Biden has done, he said the Democrats need a younger candidate.

While there’s no clear backup to Biden, Governor Newsom appears the most likely successor.

Newsom, 56, was San Francisco mayor and California lieutenant governor before becoming governor in 2019. While mayor, he was married to Donald Trump Jr.’s current fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle. He bills himself a moderate, but many perceive him as a progressive.

Biden is a prominent Newsom supporter.

Last week he said, “[Newsom] has been one hell of a governor, man. Matter of fact, he could be anything he wants. He could have the job I’m looking for.” Betting odds have Newsom as the third most likely winner in 2024, after only Biden and Trump.

Also featuring in the replacement conversation are VP Kamala Harris, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama has not indicated interest in running, though oddsmakers still consider her a possibility.

That leads us to today’s questions:

If you had to bet right now, who will win the White House in 2024?

If you were the head of the Democratic National Committee, would you advise Biden against seeking re-election?

If Newsom ran, do you think he would win? What about Michelle Obama? Who do think is more likely to defeat Trump? Newsom, Obama, or Biden?

Let us know what you think by emailing [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Have you used ChatGPT?
Yes: 35%
No: 65%

Yesterday's Question:

What is your favorite cheesy pick-up line?

Carm from North Carolina: "Screw me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we met before?"

Jessica from Rock Springs, Wyoming: "How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice”

Glenda: “My husband's is: You know, you shouldn't be in the frozen food section. (Why?) Because you could melt all these things."

Spencer from Tampa, Florida: “Did you just fall from Heaven? Because your face looks like it hit the floor really damn hard and you need me to kiss your boo boo ;)”

🧠 Intermission

We look forward to reading your takes on the election. Personally speaking, one of the things we are most excited for is reporting in the lead-up to the election. We’ve been discussing a plan to interview thousands of voters across all 50 states. We’d like to see Big News try that!

–Max and Max

🌎 Roca Reports

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The four installments this week dive into the beliefs of a man named Ingo. We hope they shed light on a person and beliefs that other media would not. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

​​Ingo became a conspiracy theorist after 9/11.

“I'm a little awake and aware of what's going on, starting 9/11,” he told me over dinner. “All these coincidences and terrorist attacks where they forgot their passport. I mean, this is crazy stuff. It's hilarious. I mean, who's believing this stuff?”

“Was there ever a time when you believed the mainstream narrative on 9/11?” I asked.

“No. Not for a second. Not a second.”

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