🌊 Bulls Are Back in Town

PLUS: Pokémon with guns…?

Guess what day it is... Hump Day!

With New Hampshire wrapped up, the latest odds for the 2024 White House show no odds-on favorite. The closest thing to it is Trump at +108, followed by Biden at +200. Michelle Obama, Gavin Newsom, Nikki Haley, and RFK Jr. fall next in line. All signs point to it being a chaotic election, and we promise to calmly report the facts throughout it. We also promise to cover much more than the election. It’s a big world out there — much bigger and brighter than what Legacy News wants us to think.

In today's edition:

🗞️ Key Stories: The bulls are back in town

💸 Happy Hour: A pastor's $1M+ cyrpto fraud

🤔 Roca Votes: 2024's Biggest Issue

🔑 Key Story

US in Bull Market

Two of the US’ three major indexes hit record-highs over consecutive days of trading, fueling optimism that the US is in a bull market

  • A “bull market” is an unofficial designation for when stock prices witness sustained growth. It is variously defined as when stocks rise 20%+ from a recent low or when stock indexes reach new highs

  • By the first definition – 20%+ growth from a recent low – the US entered a bull market in June 2023. Yet amid high interest rates and recession fears, many analysts warned that what appeared to be a bull market could actually be a short spike driven by excess optimism

  • On Friday, the S&P 500 closed at a record-high; on Monday, it and the Dow hit records. That fueled optimism that the US is in a bull market

🔑 Key Story

Alzheimer’s Blood Test

A new blood test is effective at detecting Alzheimer’s, a study found

  • Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disorder that affects 6M Americans. It is usually diagnosed with spinal taps or brain scans, both of which are expensive

  • Per a new study published in JAMA Neurology, a new test can screen for Alzheimer’s with “high accuracy” before patients exhibit symptoms of the disease. The test screens patients for the “blood-based biomarkers for Alzheimer’s”

  • Researchers involved in the study expressed optimism the test will revolutionize Alzheimer’s care and enable routine screening for it 

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🔑 Key Story

New Hampshire Primary Round-up

President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump won their respective parties’ New Hampshire primaries

  • Polls showed Biden and Trump with large leads going into the event despite the fact that Biden – engaged in a long-running dispute with New Hampshire over the date of its primary – did not have his name appear on the ballot

  • With 95% of the vote counted, Biden led the Democratic primary with 53% of the vote. Trump received 54% of the Republican primary, defeating second-place finisher Nikki Haley by 11 percentage points. She vowed not to drop out

🔑 Key Story

Pokemon With Guns?

Shooter-survival game called Palworld has gone viral amid accusations that it is “Pokemon with guns”

  • On Friday, a small Japanese gaming studio released an early access version of Palworld, a survival game in which users are challenged to shoot, capture, and train monsters

  • The game was an instant hit, selling 5M copies in three days and becoming the most-played game on gaming platform Steam

  • The game has since faced criticism that it is “Pokemon with guns.” Palworld’s studio denied ripping off Pokemon, but its CEO said that amid the controversy, some of its artists were receiving death threats

⚓ Dive Deeper

⚓ Dive Deeper

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🗣 Community

Daily Poll

Today's Poll:

Did you play Pokémon as a kid?

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Yesterday’s Poll: Which of these financial goals is your priority in 2024?

Investing: 25%
Saving: 32%
Paying down debt: 28%
Budgeting: 15%

🍿 Happy Hour

🐾 RIP, Uga X: The University of Georgia’s English bulldog mascot Uga X died at age 10. During his tenure as mascot, Georgia went 91-18 and won two national championships

⚽️ Blessed are the bitcoin: A Colorado online church pastor accused of pocketing $1.3M through a cryptocurrency fraud scheme said that the Lord told him to do it

🏊🏻‍♀️ Just keep swimming: 99-year-old Betty Brussel set world records in the 400m freestyle, 50m backstroke, and 50m breaststroke at a swim meet in Canada. “Swimming is my love,” she said

Here comes Betty! Here’s the full clip of her 400m freestyle.

🥖 Let’s get that bread: A Jewish congregation and a Brooklyn bakery collaborated to break the Guinness World Record with a 35-foot-long, two-inch-thick challah bread

🛫 Impulse control for $400…: An elderly man in “a state of crisis” attempted to open a door mid-flight on an Air Canada plane from London to Toronto

😹 Ex marks the spot: The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is writing the names of supporters’ exes in a litter box for a $5 donation, allowing shelter cats to defecate on them

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🌯 Deep Dive

Roca (Votes) Wrap

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 the “Roca Votes” story each weekend, in which we summarize a controversial topic and see how Roca Nation feels about it.

An Associated Press survey from December found that 62% of US adults – including a majority of Democrats and Republicans – believe democracy could be at risk depending on who wins the 2024 presidential election. The stakes are high for this year’s election, and pundits are once again dubbing it the “most important election ever.”

Regardless of whether that is true or hyperbole, our question for you today is: What is the single biggest issue in this election?

In 1992, Democratic strategist James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid” when crafting the top messages for Bill Clinton’s campaign. In most recent election cycles, the economy has ranked as the top issue for voters.

Most recently, in 2020, a Gallup survey among registered voters found that the economy was the most important issue, followed by health care and Supreme Court appointments. 79% of registered voters dubbed the economy “very important,” 11% higher than for health care. The economy was also the top issue in the 2016 election.

That trend appears to be holding among voters for 2024. A December survey from Emerson College found that the economy remains the top issue for voters this year – and the gap between it and second place is significant. 38% of those surveyed said it was the issue they’re most concerned about, compared to 15% who said ‘threats to democracy’ and 11% who cited immigration as their top issue.

Following those three were healthcare, education, crime, and housing affordability. Other surveys that have focused on more specific issues also list abortion, ‘Wokeism,’ climate change, and transgender rights as top issues.

There are substantial partisan gaps on issues in every survey we reviewed. In an AP survey from December, for example, Republicans and Democrats have vastly different views on the importance of several issues.

On climate change, 65% of Democrats said the outcome of the 2024 election will be very or extremely important for the issue, compared to just 24% of Republicans. On immigration, 78% of Republicans checked the “very or extremely important” box, compared to 53% of Democrats. The issue where the partisan gap was smallest was ‘foreign policy,’ where there was just a 7-point differential.

So now we ask you: What is the most important issue this election cycle? If you’re not American, please feel free to reply, too.

What is the most important issue for the 2024 election?

Which of these issues do you think is the most important for this election? Economy, immigration, health care, climate change, or foreign policy?

What’s an issue that isn’t receiving enough attention in the media and among candidates?

Let us know what you think by replying to this email!

🌎 On-the-Ground

Roca Reports

Will Bosnia still exist in 10 years? 20? 30?

The dozens of people I spoke to during this trip made clear that few people are happy with the country’s status quo. Politicians may be, but not ordinary people.

Bosniaks certainly seem to have pride in the country, but many say they can’t even be comfortable in their own home because of tensions around the Republika Srpska and the Serbs’ genocide denial. Politics aside, many express discontent around unemployment, wages, and corruption, the combination of which is leading to the mass emigration of some of the country’s brightest minds.

Many Serbs, meanwhile, don’t think the country should exist at all. They variously accuse Bosniaks and foreign powers of unjustly accusing them of genocide, cutting them off from their kin in Serbia, and misunderstanding their history. 

So why should the country stay together? 

Some people on both sides flatly said it should not. Others, mainly Bosniaks and outsiders, said that allowing Republika Srpska to secede would be rewarding ethnic cleansing and genocide. The land belongs not to Serbs, they said, but to all the Catholics and Muslims who were pushed off it in the 1990s. 

While Bosnia is a multi-ethnic country, it’s clear that Sarajevo, the capital, sees Serbs as the bad guy: There’s a memorial to genocide victims, a museum to the Srebrenica massacre, a plaque to murdered Bosnians, cemeteries full of Bosniaks killed in the siege. 

Regardless of whether the allegations against Serbs are true, why would they want to exist in a country where they are the villains? 

The short answer is that many don’t, but those with power don’t yet have the will to shatter the status quo, for fear of losing their power, money, or starting another war. How much longer can that hold?

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

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The Clubhouse

Question of the Day: Today’s question is related to the Roca Votes Wrap.

What is the most important issue for the 2024 election?

Which of these issues do you think is the most important for this election? Economy, immigration, health care, climate change, or foreign policy?

What’s an issue that isn’t receiving enough attention in the media and among candidates?

🧠 Editor’s Note

Final Thoughts

We live in a football country. The Chiefs-Bills divisional playoff game averaged over 50M viewers, which is more than last year’s Oscar’s, Grammy’s, and Emmy’s combined. Now did Taylor Swift have something to do with that? Roger Goodell seems to think so and just tapped a referee who has apparently favored away teams this year for the AFC Championship. Note: The Chiefs are the away team in that AFC Championship.
Alright, we’ll take off our tinfoil hats now. Have a great Wednesday.

—Max and Max