🌊 Bull, Bear, or Roaring Kitty?

Plus: Swing state polls spell trouble for Biden

Guess how many people tuned in for the Seinfeld finale.

1998 was a big year for American entertainment: The Titanic became the highest-grossing movie of all time, Michael Jordan won his 6th ring and delivered the NBA’s most-watched game of all time, the House impeached Bill Clinton (well, it depends on your definition of “entertainment”), and Seinfeld aired its finale to an audience of 76.3M. No series finale has topped it — or come close — since. So all eyes on you, Young Sheldon!

📈 Meme stocks come roaring back

🗳️ Swing state polls spell trouble for Biden

🤣 California man gets petty revenge

–Max, Max, and Alex

KEY STORY

The (Multi)Billion-Dollar Post

GameStop stock doubled early Monday after the trader who led the 2021 “meme stock” craze resurfaced this weekend, more than doubling the company’s value from $5.3B on Friday night to $11.2B Monday morning

  • Keith Gill, who goes by “Roaring Kitty” on X, led the 2021 movement to boost GameStop’s and other companies’ stocks, costing short-sellers billions. Then in June 2021, his accounts went silent – until Sunday

  • On Sunday at 8PM EST, Roaring Kitty shared a picture of a gamer sitting forward in his chair. GameStop’s stock proceeded to double Monday morning before ending the day up 75%, costing short-sellers $1B+. Fellow meme stock AMC ended the day up 78%

Dig Deeper

  • On Monday, Roaring Kitty posted a nearly one-minute-long video that featured Marvel villain Thanos saying, “Fine, I’ll do it myself”

  • In pre-market trading on Tuesday morning, GameStop and AMC stocks spiked again. As of 10 AM EST, GameStop was up 76%

KEY STORY

Court Says AfD Poses Threat

A German court ruled there is enough evidence to warrant surveillance of the right-wing AfD party

  • AfD (“Alternative for Germany”) opposes the EU, immigration, and support for Ukraine. Polls show it’s Germany’s second-most-popular party, with 19% support

  • In 2021, Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the BfV, listed AfD as a “suspected extremist” party, which allowed it to begin surveilling the party to determine whether it could be classified as “confirmed extremist,” which would open the way for it to be banned

  • AfD challenged that designation, but on Monday, a court ruled that due to AfD’s stances on immigration, it can be listed as “suspected extremist.” That means the BfV can officially surveil the party

Dig Deeper

  • In justifying that designation, the court cited statements by AfD officials that “questioned whether [immigrants] really belonged to the German nation,” which “represents a form of racial discrimination which is unlawful”

  • Germany’s interior minister praised the ruling, saying it proves the “state has instruments that protect our democracy from threats from within”

  • The AfD blasted the ruling as politically motivated

Roca’s Partners

Limited Window Left to Invest

Finding the next big investment opportunity and getting in early isn’t easy. If it were, we’d all be rich! Even the sharks from Shark Tank get it wrong - like when they declined the offer to buy 10% of Ring for $700,000. Bet they regretted that when Amazon bought Ring for $1.2B

KEY STORY

Elon Musk’s X Win

An Australian judge sided with Elon Musk in a landmark content moderation case

  • In April, an assailant stabbed a bishop in what Australia’s government called a terror attack. Australia’s online regulator requested social media companies take down videos of the attack

  • X blocked the videos in Australia but refused to block them globally, as it claimed Australia was requesting. That started a feud in which Australia’s prime minister called Musk an “arrogant billionaire.” Musk, in turn, accused Australia of attempted censorship

  • On Monday, an Australian judge refused to extend a court order banning X from showing the video in Australia, handing Musk a win. The judge didn’t immediately explain his justification for doing so

  • A final court ruling on the issue is expected at a future date

Dig Deeper

  • “Not trying to win anything. I just don’t think we should be suppressing Australian’s rights to free speech,” Musk wrote on X following the ruling

  • The Australian case is one of several disputes between Musk and governments: He is feuding with a Brazilian judge over what Musk called an illegal order for X to block accounts and has also pledged to help fund legal challenges to an upcoming Irish hate speech law

KEY STORY

Cohen Testifies

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, testified at Trump’s trial on Monday

  • Cohen served as Trump’s attorney until 2018, when he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and other charges and received a three-year prison sentence. Amid those developments, Cohen became a vocal critic of Trump, alleging he instructed Cohen to break the law

  • New York prosecutors allege Trump ordered Cohen to pay porn star Stormy Daniels, then falsified business records to disguise the reimbursement

  • On Monday, Cohen testified that when Trump heard Daniels was going to take her alleged affair with Trump public, he told Cohen, “Take care of it.” Cohen added, “Everything required Mr. Trump’s sign-off"

Dig Deeper

  • Cohen also testified that Trump was in the room when the discussion of how to reimburse Cohen took place

  • Prosecutors will continue questioning Cohen on Tuesday, with cross-examination to follow

  • During that, the defense is expected to try to discredit Cohen, including by arguing that Cohen has a history of lying and a deep-rooted desire for revenge against Trump


Some Quick Stories for the Office

🗳️ A new Siena College/New York Times poll showed Donald Trump leading Joe Biden in five of six battleground states. Per the poll, Trump’s up in Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, while Biden still leads in Wisconsin

💰 Melinda French Gates, Bill Gates’ ex-wife, announced her departure from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Melinda said she would leave the foundation with $12.5B to direct toward her future charitable work

🇺🇦 The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said the country is “on the edge” three days after Russia launched an offensive in the Kharkiv region. He told The New York Times that Ukrainian forces are thinly stretched between two fronts and warned Russia may soon open a third

📊 Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed an economist with no military experience as his new defense minister. He replaces Sergei Shoigu, who served as defense minister since 2012. Analysts said the move shows the importance of Russia’s economy to its success in Ukraine

⛵ On Sunday, orcas rammed – and eventually sank – a 49-foot-long yacht off the coast of Morocco. The vessel began taking on water, forcing the two sailors aboard to abandon ship. Nobody was injured in the attack

🌐 OpenAI released GPT-4o, an updated version of its flagship GPT-4 model that the company says “is much faster” than the previous version. GPT-4o will be free for all users, although paying customers will still receive “up to five times the capacity limits” of non-paying users

COMMUNITY
Weekly Discussion

🧠 We founded RocaNews because we wanted news companies to give us just the facts – not tell us what to think. That inspires us to do “Roca Votes” each week, where we summarize a hot topic and hear Roca Nation’s thoughts about it.

Given the US Congress is considering a bill that would define “antisemitism,” this week we asked if it should do so.

Some of your responses:

In this case, the problem posed by this question isn't if the government should be defining antisemitism - it's the government's enforcement of IHRA's definition. It is subjective and likely to change, especially over the course of time. What strikes me most about this bill, apart from being anti-First Amendment, is that the definition outlined includes criticism of the state of Israel. Israel is technically a Jewish state, but not every Jew is Israeli, I don't see the correlation. Isn't antisemitism attacking a Jewish person for their ethnicity or religion? Apparently not anymore.

Andrew J

Do it. Define it. I’ve had enough of the anti Israel propaganda. If you give people an inch with anti-semitism, things take a very ugly turn. Hamas are suddenly freedom fighters bc the targets were Jews? I don’t think so. Any other country would have exploded into a response. Incoherent? Yes. The guy is a nut. But who would expect rational from a country who experienced such demonic atrocities?! And the numbers are suddenly cut in half? That means what? They were inflated.

Normally I would say something like this was ludicrous. But sadly, we cannot keep these citizens safe.

Kathy C from Ireland

I think something like "anti-semitism" is a little hard to define. It would be less difficult if we didn't associate it with a country. Lots of Jews were against the formation of an Israeli state, but hardly anti-semitic. Yet now we tend to equate being pro Palestinian as anti-semitic. The waters are definitely muddied. But western civilization has a long history of anti-semitism that allowed for the horrors of the Holocaust. I don't think any legal code will work nearly as well as education, not just education about the Holocaust but about Judaism and the roots of anti-semitism that are rooted in misguided ideas often propagated through Christianity over the ages. (And I am a Christian.)

Brian from Potlatch, Idaho

Thoughts on the above responses? Reply to this email and let us know who you’re replying to, and we’ll feature the responses tomorrow!

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🤣 Captain Petty: A California man who was ordered to build a six-foot fence to hide his boat from his neighbors’ view commissioned an artist to paint a realistic image of the boat on the fence

💸 “What did you buy, honey?”: After learning the Coney Island theme park in Ohio would close, a park superfan bought the Silver Bullet, one of the park’s waterslides. “I thought why not?” he said

🎤 To Pimp a Billboard List: Two of the top three songs on the latest Billboard Hot 100 are Kendrick Lamar diss tracks in his rap battle with Drake. “Not Like Us” is No. 1

Find your bleach: An Arizona woman who tried to poison her husband’s coffee with bleach has avoided jail time. Her husband caught her in the act on camera but told the court he didn’t want her to go to prison

🏀 LeCleared: Bronny James, the 19-year-old son of LeBron James, reportedly plans to stay in the 2024 NBA Draft after receiving medical clearance. He suffered a cardiac arrest last year

Roca Wrap
The Pastor of the Hood

Carl Day “succumbed” to his environment. He doesn’t want others to do the same.

Pastor Day was born in north Philadelphia to an 18-year-old mother and a father who was in and out of jail. Growing up there, he and his friends would “run the streets” – look for girls, sell drugs, and go after those who disrespected them.

“When people say they become a product of their environment, I literally succumbed to my environment,” Day told Roca.

He had a child at 19; at 22, he was charged with attempted murder. He put up bail but was then charged with armed robbery and couldn’t come up with the $500,000.

Sitting in prison, he realized he had already squandered his life.

Shortly before going to jail, Day went to church. He doesn’t know why, but the church’s pastor singled him out after a single service: “‘I feel like God really wants you to help me start something for young adults,’” Day recalled the pastor telling him.

“‘God's calling you to really help, to build with these young folk, these young adults,’” the pastor told Day, who said he “was just laughing cause I'm like, ‘Dude, I got a gun in the car.’”

But before Day had a chance to take the pastor’s word seriously, he was in prison.

While acquitted of attempted murder, Day spent 13 months in jail on the robbery charge, much of it in an isolated cell reserved for violent criminals.

While he said prison was “de-humanizing” – between the horrible food, bad hygiene, and 10-minute phone calls with loved ones – there was an upside: He could go to church every day. After getting out, Day was put on strict house arrest, for which he couldn’t leave his home for a year.

Unable to do anything but “read the Bible and talk to my reverend,” he became the leader of a phone-based Bible study group – and was set on the path to becoming the Pastor of the Hood.

Day ended up becoming a reverend. His mission was to help inner-city men avoid lives of violence, drugs, and crime, which led him to found Culture Changing Christians (CCC).

CCC brings together high-risk young people from Philadelphia’s roughest neighborhoods. It organizes camps, trips, workshops, meals, and more, where Pastor Day and other leaders try to help them break the cycles that risk putting them in jail – or worse.

Pastor Day took Roca to Beat the Block, a CCC initiative that seeks to help inner-city 18-to-24-year-olds “beat the block culture.” Participants are referred to Pastor Day, after which they can go through a series of classes that train them to be responsible men, sons, fathers, and friends.

The organization pays them throughout the process and teaches them how to run businesses.

The day of our visit, the lesson was on brotherhood. He asked people to share their thoughts. “I don’t understand what a ‘brother’s keeper’ is,” one young man said. “Can someone explain that to me?”

Pastor Day responded: “It’s like, I hold my brother down. Not even just from a physical or financial standpoint, but like I hold his position – I call him out and I hold him accountable.”

“I’m not just gonna be my brother’s cheerleader. I’m gonna tell him the truth: That you’re slippin’. That’s being my brother’s keeper – making those tough decisions, having those tough conversations.”

Pastor Day said that many of the men who come through his programs have never heard such ideas before. They’ve grown up in places where “brotherhood” is about drugs, money, and guns – not about keeping someone on a path to success. His job is to demonstrate that growing up in a difficult environment doesn’t have to dictate your life.

And for that, he’s living proof.

If you have thoughts or concerns, contact us by replying to this email!

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Thank you all for your many and thoughtful responses to yesterday’s Roca Votes. We appreciate reading them and it seems like you all enjoy seeing what the community thinks. We hope to hear more thoughts from you today!

See you tomorrow.

–Max, Max, and Alex