🌊 Big Night for Dems

Big night for Dems in off-year elections, Seminoles launch betting in Florida, Roca votes: Should we name the shooters?

In the week or so since we launched our premium newsletter Roca Reports, many of you have emailed us to request the option to get the on-the-ground reporting in The Current rather than a separate Saturday newsletter. First of all, we always love your feedback emails — they're a nice break from the "YOU GUYS ARE BIASED!" and "UNSUBSCRIBE. -DAD" emails we occasionally get. Well, next week, we will grant your request and offer a premium section at the bottom of The Current.

To all of you who don't want the reporting, everything else in the newsletter will stay free and the exact same. Thank you again, and without further ado, here's the news.

In today's edition:

  • Big night for Dems in off-year elections

  • Seminoles launch betting in Florida

  • Roca votes: Should we name the shooters?

 🔑 Key Stories

US Interest Breaks $1T

Interest on the US debt surpassed $1T on an annualized basis at the end of last month

  • The US government has spent more than it made – “ran a deficit” – in all but four years since 1970. To fund its expenses, the US issues debt with interest

  • In fiscal year 2022 (FY22), the federal government spent ~$476B on interest payments; in FY23, which ended in September, the government spent $659B

  • On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the US is now on pace to make over $1T in debt interest payments in the coming year. That higher amount is a function of more government debt and higher interest rates

Dig Deeper

  • For context, $1T is more than the US spent on defense ($751B), Medicare ($747B), and Medicaid ($592B) in FY22

  • The US is currently $33.7T in debt. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that interest costs will exceed 3.3% of US GDP by 2029, the highest percentage since at least World War II

Global Wine Production Falls

Global wine production fell to its lowest level since 1961 due to “climatic conditions,” the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) announced

  • Last year, the top wine-producing country was Italy, followed by France, Spain, the US, and Australia

  • On Tuesday, the OIV announced that global production this year is likely down 7% from last year due to poor weather worldwide. Yield was down 14% in Spain and 12% in Italy, two major wine producers

  • Extreme temperatures, droughts, early frosts, and other climatic conditions are responsible, the OIV said. France – which didn’t see a production decline – is projected to overtake Italy as the top producer

Dig Deeper

  • The OIV said that a silver lining of the lower-than-expected production is that it could “bring equilibrium to the world market,” in which demand for wine has been falling for years. The decline in supply is expected to offset the decline in demand, stabilizing wine prices

Spinal Chip Restores Walking

A man with advanced Parkinson’s disease regained the ability to walk after receiving a spinal implant

  • Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that causes difficulties with walking and balancing. In advanced cases, patients can lose the ability to walk

  • In a new study published in Nature Medicine, researchers implanted electrodes in a 63-year-old Parkinson’s patient’s spinal cord and linked them to a neurostimulator in his abdomen. The man – who prior to the study could barely walk – said that since that procedure he has almost fully regained the ability to do so

  • “Every Sunday I go to the lake, and I walk around [3.7 miles]. It’s incredible,” the man said of his recovery. “I can now walk with much more confidence and my daily life has profoundly improved”

Dig Deeper

  • “It is impressive to see how…we can correct walking disorders caused by Parkinson’s disease,” one of the researchers involved in the study said. The researchers involved in this study are currently preparing a larger clinical trial to further test the treatment

Private Equity Airbnb Host?

A private equity company has begun buying single-family homes and renting them out on Airbnb, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported

  • Investment companies have become leading buyers of single-family US homes. They usually rent them out on long-term leases

  • Per the WSJ, though, TPG – a private equity firm that manages $135B in assets – has bought roughly a dozen homes in Florida vacation areas and is renting them out on a short-term basis on Airbnb and similar platforms. That initiative is part of a “pilot program” intended to see if TPG can make more profit through short-term rentals

Dig Deeper

  • TPG is reportedly banking on the belief that travelers are willing to pay more per night to stay in a private home with higher-quality amenities than what hotels could offer

  • The WSJ noted that TPG’s strategy, if successful, would represent yet another challenge to the hotel industry, which is already struggling

Big Night for Democrats

Democrats scored major victories in Tuesday's off-year elections

  • In Ohio, a state Trump won by 8 points in 2020, voters approved a constitutional amendment that makes abortion access a right

  • In deep-red Kentucky, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear won re-election by 5 percentage points, up from 0.4 points in 2019

  • In Virginia, where Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) was looking to secure Republican control of the state legislature, Democrats kept control of the state Senate and flipped the House from Republicans

  • In deep-red Mississippi, a Democrat lost a close gubernatorial race

Dig Deeper

  • In related news, Yusef Salaam – famous for being one of the wrongfully convicted “Central Park Five” – won a seat on the New York City Council. His victory comes almost two decades after DNA evidence was used to overturn the convictions of him and four others over the 1989 rape and beating of a jogger in Central Park

  • Salaam, who ran unopposed, will represent a central Harlem district

How Do You Pronounce LMNT?

The correct answer is “element,” and it’s an electrolyte we recommend Roca Riders hydrate with this upcoming holiday season

  • LMNT electrolytes contain just what you need – sodium, potassium, and magnesium – without any sugar or other harmful additives

  • Just mix it with water and it’s perfect for hydrating, be it after a workout or night out

  • Other popular electrolyte drinks contain as much as 36 grams of sugar – 36 GRAMS! LMNT contains none – NONE! Everyone from NBA, NFL, and NHL players to Navy Seals, moms, and dads drink it

Dig Deeper

  • You can try it totally risk-free: If you don’t like it, you get your money back, no questions. Right now LMNT is offering Roca Riders a free sample pack with any purchase. That’s eight single servings FREE with any LMNT order, so you can try all eight flavors or share with a friend. Get yours here!

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Nothing to Sphere but Sphere itself: The CFO of Las Vegas’ flashy new Sphere has resigned after the project reportedly ran over budget by over $1B

  • Defund the creators: TikTok is ending its $2B creator fund on December 16. The fund – launched in 2020 to compensate creators for popular videos – applied to influencers with 10K+ followers

  • Long time ago…: Scientists discovered the universe’s oldest known black hole, dating back 13.2B years, just 470M years post-Big Bang. The black hole is 10x larger than our Milky Way’s

Wildcard

  • OnlyTeachers: A former Missouri teacher – who gained attention for her OnlyFans account – claims she has earned nearly $1M since joining the platform over the summer

  • Go Seminoles: Online sports betting launched with restricted access for some Floridians on Tuesday, as the Seminole Tribe allowed users with its pre-existing betting app to participate

  • “Fiona’s wool or dinner with Jay-Z?” The wool from Fiona – a social media star known as “Britain’s loneliest sheep” – will be up for sale to benefit charity following her rescue from cliffside isolation

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Have you ever bought or owned a US Treasury bond?

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Today's Question:

Today’s question is below the “Roca Votes” Wrap!

Reply to this email with your answers!

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 inspired us to do the “Roca Votes” story each weekend, where we summarize a controversial topic and see how Roca feels about it.

On May 3, 1999, Time magazine featured pictures of the Columbine shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, on its cover above the title, “The Monsters Next Door: What Made Them Do It?”

Seven months later, it again featured the shooters’ images on its cover.

Since then, nearly every mass shooting has minted a new celebrity: Outlets publish their manifestos; plaster their faces on their sites; and tell their stories.

News outlets have learned that people have a dark curiosity about these killers. Seemingly in an effort to drive clicks and not seem “out of it,” they choose to indulge that curiosity.

Two weeks ago, there was another mass shooting. On the evening of October 25th, a gunman killed 18 people and injured 13 at a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston, Maine. Last Friday, the suspected gunman was found dead.

The Roca team had to decide: Do we publish his name? 

On the one hand…

Every single major outlet did. Not only did they list his name – Robert Card – but many published every detail they knew about him, from his job to his mental health history.

Furthermore, the suspected gunman was on the loose for three days. He presented a legitimate threat to New Englanders, so there was a public safety argument to be made for showing his face and sharing his identity.

We also have a duty to inform our readers with facts on the day’s most important stories.

Although we aren’t in the business of imitating what Big News does, we want to ensure that Roca readers know what their friends, coworkers, and classmates are talking about.

In this case, they might have been talking about Robert Card.

On the other hand… 

Giving the shooters notoriety may inspire future shooters.

“A lot of these shooters want to be treated like celebrities,” wrote Adam Lankford, a criminologist at the University of Alabama. “They want to be famous. So the key is to not give them that treatment.”

There are some documented cases of notoriety inspiring murders: The Columbine shooters were influenced by the attention that the 1995 Oklahoma City bomber received, and the Orlando nightclub shooter claimed to have been inspired by the Boston Marathon bombers.

Furthermore, putting the spotlight on the killer takes it away from the victims. In most cases, we know far more about the murderer than the murdered.

Our questions to you are:

Should news companies name mass shooters? Should news companies provide their manifestos? If shooters are dead or arrested, should news companies show their picture?

Let us know what you think at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Better Taco Bell meal: 
Crunchwrap Supreme: 78%
Quesarito: 22%

Yesterday's Question:

What story do you feel is underreported in your town, state, or country?

Thanks for all the submissions! We hope to cover many in the coming weeks.

🧠 Final Thoughts

Happy Wednesday Roca! We’re excited to bring you original reporting in The Current each day starting next week. Have a great day!

—Max and Max