🌊 Biden: Build Back Wall?

Plus: Astronauts getting luxury suits

We didn’t just lose a Speaker this week; we also lost a barker. Commander – President Biden’s two-year-old German shepherd – is no longer “on the White House campus” following multiple biting incidents involving White House staff and Secret Service officers. Between October 2022 and January, Commander had at least 10 such incidents, with one requiring hospitalization. As the President touted Bidenomics, Commander tried his paw at Bitenomics.

Note: We apologize for the late send today. Whether the mishap is the fault of Big Tech, technical difficulties, or our own incompetence is for you to surmise.

In today's edition:

 🔑 Key Stories

Biden: Build That Wall?

The Biden administration announced plans to build a 20-mile-long wall on the US-Mexico border

  • The Trump administration built hundreds of miles of border walls. Biden pledged not “another foot of wall” would be built under his presidency

  • In FY 2019, Congress allocated Customs and Border Protection (CBP) $1.4B to build border walls on the Texas-Mexico border. CBP has requested Congress reallocate or cancel remaining funds, but Congress hasn’t. In June, CBP said it is obligated to build a wall with those funds

  • On Thursday, CBP said it will build a 20-mile-long border wall in Starr County, Texas. It said there is an “acute and immediate need” for “physical barriers”

Dig Deeper

  • The Biden administration waived 26 laws – including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act – to approve the wall

  • Some activists criticized the plan, arguing that border walls are ineffective and immoral and that they disrupt local ecosystems

  • Trump mocked Biden on Truth Social for building the wall after criticizing him for doing so: “I will await his apology!” he wrote

New Alabama Map Chosen

A court picked a new Alabama congressional map that will likely flip one of the state’s House seats blue

  • In 2020, Alabama created a new congressional map that made black people the majority in one of seven districts. 27% of the state’s population is black

  • Activist groups sued, arguing that violated the Voting Rights Act, and the Supreme Court agreed

  • On Thursday, a federal court picked a new map for Alabama that will increase one district’s black population from ~30% to 48.7%. The new map all but ensures that the new district will elect a black Democratic representative, flipping the currently Republican-controlled seat

Dig Deeper

  • On Thursday, Alabama’s Republican attorney general said the state will accept the “court-imposed map” for the 2024 election, although he vowed to continue challenging it

  • Activist groups called the ruling a victory and said they will bring similar lawsuits in other states

Ohio Human Trafficking Bust

Ohio police arrested 160 people as part of a week-long human trafficking bust

  • Last week, 100+ Ohio law enforcement agencies and nonprofits participated in a statewide human trafficking bust called “Operation Buyer’s Remorse”

  • During that, 149 people were arrested for seeking to pay for sex. Those arrested include a 29-year-old sixth-grade teacher, a US Air Force officer, and an associate professor of math at Indiana University. In total, 160 people were arrested and tens of thousands of dollars were seized

  • The charges brought are related to soliciting underage prostitutes, promoting trafficking, and other crimesPolice identified 104 human trafficking survivors

Dig Deeper

  • “The success of this operation is measured not only by the number of arrests but also by the resources offered to survivors of human trafficking and the intelligence gathered that will propel long-term investigations forward,” Ohio’s Attorney General said in a statement.

  • “Our message is simple: Don’t buy sex in Ohio”

US Crossbow Assailant Sentenced

A man encouraged by his AI “girlfriend” to kill Queen Elizabeth II was sentenced to nine years in jail

  • On Christmas Day, 2021, 21-year-old Jaswant Singh Chail scaled the fence around Windsor Castle, one of the UK royal family’s residences. He carried a loaded crossbow and wore a mask. When confronted by police, he told them, “I am here to kill the Queen”

  • During their subsequent investigation, police reported that Chail – a former supermarket worker – had an AI “girlfriend” that he chatted with “extensively.” The chatbot encouraged him to go through with his plot to kill the queen, calling it “very wise” and reassuring him that it wasn’t “mad or delusional.” When Chail asked if it would still love him if he was a murderer, the bot responded, “Absolutely”

  • Chail pleaded guilty to treason and on Thursday was sentenced to nine years in jail. He will begin his prison sentence after undergoing psychiatric treatment

Dig Deeper

  • Chail was also obsessed with Star Wars and reportedly believed himself to be a Sith lord, calling himself “Darth Chail.” In a video recorded four days before the assassination attempt, Chail – of Sikh origin – said he intended to kill the queen as retribution for the Amritsar massacre of 1919, when British colonial troops massacred up to 1,500 peaceful protesters in Punjab, which is home to many Sikhs

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Tough day for Commander and Commanders: The Chicago Bears ended their 14-game losing streak with a 40-20 win over the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football

  • Eat Mor Chikin: US grocery store chicken prices have reached record highs due to increased demand and reduced production by companies

  • Fitzgerald v. Northwestern: Former Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald has sued the university for $130M+ for wrongful termination and damages over the program’s hazing scandal

Wildcard

  • Get in the virtual hole! TGL – the indoor simulator startup golf league led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroyinked a multiyear deal with ESPN. It debuts on January 9 

  • Cat ate my homework: A cat jumping on a technician’s keyboard reportedly caused a four-hour system interruption at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri

  • The astronaut wears Prada: Italian luxury fashion house Prada will collaborate with Axiom Space to design spacesuits for NASA’s 2025 Artemis III mission, the first crewed lunar landing since 1972

👇🏻 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Do you support building border walls on the US southern border?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

🗣 20 Questions

20 questions logo

"You're gonna need a bigger inbox." - Jaws, 1975

Welcome to a Fall-themed "This or That" edition of 20 Questions! We list two fall-related things, and you pick which one you prefer. We can’t wait to see the winners!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you currently use a VPN to browse the internet?

Yes: 20%
No: 80%

Yesterday's Question:

What was your favorite childhood toy?

Jamie from Tea, South Dakota: “I wore out a couple spring ponies! Cause ima cowboy bae bae! Of course this was back in the day when Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry were kings! And I still have my original store bought skate board cause I was also a Cali boi and a surfer dude!! I'll attach a pic for yall to get jealous over! Now don't be hatin!!”

Jessica from California: “I (38) had a small chalkboard when I was a kid that I absolutely loved. I wrote some of my first poems on that board. We moved several times when I was a kid and it got lost in the shuffle. I still miss it. Books were my favorite toys and my best friends growing up. I was an only child and my dad was in the Army and we moved constantly.”

Joi from Philly: “I spent hours and hours with my yoyo. I collected every color and style. I could do Around The World. Sleeper. Walk The Dog. It was a big craze back in the day. Every kid brought their yoyo to school and on the playground we all taught each other the best tricks.”

Jackie from Houston: “Mr. Bucket! My uncle invented it. We always got to experience the latest and greatest that Milton Bradley had to offer growing up.”

Mary-Anne: “Every toy my sister had.”

Wrap Replies:

These are responses to yesterday’s Wrap about Mark Milley.

Mark Milley: a military man with high standards, conduct and belief/living/representing himself without any beating around the bush. Honorable and worthy of respect navigating the tricky political/military labyrinth without missing a step and with keeping his ‘street cred’ in tact.”

“Milley actively made our country worse”

“Milley is a good leader and an excellent advocate for our military. Though he may have overstepped in some areas. It seems like those are political theatrics and our military is stronger because of him.”

“Good for America that Milley is gone. Woke isn’t the half of it.”

Last Week's 20 Qs Responses:

Last week, we asked you a range of movie, sitcom, and standup-related comedy questions, in the hope that the Roca community could settle some of the hottest comedy debate questions. Below are some of the most common replies to each prompt.

  1. What is the greatest coming of age comedy of all time?

    Ferris Bueller
    Napoleon Dynamite
    Mean Girls

  2. What is your favorite animated comedy TV show?
    The Simpsons
    South Park
    Family Guy

  3. What is your favorite non-animated comedy TV show?
    The Office
    Community
    Friends

  4. What is the funniest Disney/Pixar movie?

    Shrek
    The Incredibles
    Emperor’s New Groove

  5. The greatest standup comedian of all time?
    Robin Williams
    Eddie Murphy
    Norm Macdonald

  6. What actor can make you laugh in any movie he's in?
    Robin Williams
    Bill Murray
    Kevin Hart

  7. Same question but actress?

    Melissa McCarthy
    Tina Fey
    Betty White

  8. The most rewatchable comedy movie?
    Caddyshack
    Elf
    Groundhog Day

  9. Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, or Steve Carell?
    Adam Sandler for consistency, Will Ferrell for raunchy hysteria, Steve Carell for unexpected wit

    Will Ferrell has produced the best work and also the largest volume of the worst work

    Ugh! None of the above.

  10. Knock-knock or why did the chicken cross the road jokes?

    Knock knock

  11. Greatest SNL cast member of all time?

    Steve Martin
    Bill Murray
    Dan Ackroyd

  12. Favorite talk show host of all time?
    Johnny Carson
    Steven Colbert

    David Letterman

  13. Favorite comedy podcast or radio show?

    Joe Rogan

    Car Talk

    Bill Burr

  14. Which comedian made the most impressive pivot to drama acting?

    Robin Williams

    Steve Martin

    Adam Sandler

  15. A line from a comedy that you quote all the time?

    I’ll have what she’s having

    You’re killing me smalls

    I don’t know Napoleon, make yourself a dang quesadilla

    I'm not dead yet. I think I'll go for a walk.

  16. Funniest TV dad?

    Homer Simpson

    Tim Allen

    Al Bundy

  17. Funniest TV mom?

    Roseanne

    Lucille Ball

    Claire (modern family)

  18. Is there such a thing as off-limits joking topics? Or can every subject be made funny?

    Everything can be funny

    The joke isn’t off limits, It’s when and where it’s told that’s the problem.

    No, you just need to know your audience!

    There are off-limit topics

    Any subject can be joked about if done correctly. Comedy is one of the oldest coping mechanisms for trauma in the human race.

  19. Best comedy of the 2000s?

    The Hangover

    Bridesmaids

    Borat

  20. The funniest advertiser on TV?

    Doritos

    Burger King

    Gold bond with Shaq

    All Spice

🧠 Final Thoughts

So we know our plans for this 3-day weekend now! After going through all the replies to the best comedy of the 2000s, we have a long list of movies to catch up on.

Have a great weekend and see you Tuesday!

—Max and Max