🌊 Drop the Boy... Just Scouts

Plus: Bizarre Ohio State commencement speech

No, our podcast does not have a diabolical name.

As you may know, our new podcast is called “We The 66.” The “66” stands for the 66% of people who don’t trust the news. Because numbers with lots of 6s are considered sketchy, we’ve received emails asking if the name has some Free Mason undertones. Now, this might be exactly what an undercover Free Mason would say, but we promise it doesn’t. In fact, according to a quick Google search, 66 is a harmonious and happy number. It’s that third 6 that causes the problems…

On this note, let’s do a shameless plug. We have two new videos from the last three days: 1) Interview about the campus protests with free speech expert Greg Lukianoff, the president of FIRE and co-author of the #1 NYT bestseller The Coddling of the American Mind. 2) Our trip to Philly’s worst neighborhood with Philly’s “Pastor of the Hood.” Hope you enjoy!

😲 Boy Scouts changes its name

🤯 Bizarre Ohio State commencement speech

🏠 Homes out of reach

–Max, Max, and Alex

KEY STORY

Drop the “Boy” – Just “Scouts”

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that it would rename itself “Scouting America”

  • BSA is the US wing of the Scout Movement, which was formed in 1907 England. The organization has faced numerous controversies since 1990, often around its exclusion of gay boys and leaders. It changed those policies in the 2010s, but declared bankruptcy in 2020 amid a slew of sexual abuse allegations

  • Lately, though, the government has tilted toward Russia, mainly by pushing a Russia-style law that would make many media outlets and nonprofits register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power”

  • With membership having more than halved since 2018, the organization announced Tuesday that it would rename itself to become more inclusive

Dig Deeper

  • BSA sought to become more inclusive in the 2010s: Between 2013 and 2019 it changed its rules to admit gay boys, then gay men as leaders, transgender boys, and, finally, girls

  • Yet BSA soon faced 82,000+ claims by men who claimed to have been sexually abused by BSA leaders, prompting BSA to file bankruptcy in 2020

  • Between 2018 and today, BSA membership has halved from 2M+ to ~1M

KEY STORY

Stormy Testifies

Stormy Daniels testified about having intercourse with Trump, who is accused of falsifying business docs to conceal a 2016 “hush money” payment to her

  • Trump’s lawyers had tried to block Daniels from testifying about the alleged tryst, claiming it would bias the jury against him. The judge said Daniels had “credibility issues” but let her speak broadly

  • Daniels said they “brief(ly)” made love after meeting at a golf tournament. She claimed to have resisted Trump before he told her, “I thought you were serious about what you wanted” and that he could help her “get out of that trailer park”

Dig Deeper

  • Before the testimony, Trump’s lawyers objected to Daniels sharing details about the alleged affair, claiming they would bias the jury. A judge acknowledged that Daniels had “credibility issues” but allowed her to speak in broad terms

  • After, Trump’s attorney said Daniels’ testimony was meant to “inflame the jury” and called for a mistrial, alleging the testimony was "so prejudicial that there’s a risk the jury won’t be able to focus on the evidence.” The judge denied the motion for a mistrial

KEY STORY

The Boar War Begins

Italy’s government announced it would deploy 177 soldiers to cull wild boars

  • Up to 1.5M wild boars live across Italy, where they are often seen eating trash, rampaging through farms, and sometimes menacing residents. The boars carry a disease that’s highly contagious and fatal for pigs, prompting countries to cut off Italian meat imports and harm Italy’s meat industry

  • On Monday, Italy’s cabinet approved the year-long deployment of 177 soldiers to cull the country’s wild boar population. It also approved plans to protect native clams from invasive crabs

Dig Deeper

  • 8.7M domestic pigs sustain Italy's prosciutto and sausage industry, which is worth $8.8B and employs 50,000 people

  • In announcing the cull, Italy's agriculture minister said that the government is countering a “health problem that can become an economic and social problem”

  • The policy is one of several intended to protect Italy’s cultural heritage and agriculture

KEY STORY

US Government’s “Ol’ Boys Club”

A report found widespread misconduct at the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

  • The FDIC is a US government corporation that insures US bank deposits. It was established to restore faith in the banking system during the Great Depression. In November, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report alleged it had a toxic and misogynistic workplace, sparking an investigation whose results were released on Tuesday

  • That corroborated the WSJ report, characterizing the FDIC as an “ol’ boys club” where “sexual harassment, discrimination, and other… misconduct" is rife. The chair is now facing calls to resign

Dig Deeper

  • “The FDIC has failed to provide a workplace safe from sexual harassment, discrimination, and other interpersonal misconduct," the report found, adding that the corporation’s culture is “misogynistic” and “insular”

  • It characterized the FDIC as a “good ol’ boys club where favoritism is common, wagons are circled around managers, and senior executives with well-known reputations for pursuing romantic relations with subordinates enjoy long careers without any apparent consequence.” Its leader is now facing calls for his resignation

ROCA REVIEW
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RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

🔫 Ukrainian authorities arrested two security officials for allegedly plotting to assassinate President Zelensky. Ukraine’s government said the plot had been coordinated by Russia

🗣️ Speaking at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Biden alleged a “ferocious surge of antisemitism” since the October 7 attack. “This ancient hatred of Jews didn’t begin with the Holocaust…It didn’t end with the Holocaust, either,” he said, adding, “Now here we are, not 75 years later, but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting. They are already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror. It was Hamas that brutalized Israelis”

🚀 Reddit stock jumped 16% after the company beat Wall Street’s expectations in its first-ever quarterly earnings report. Reddit IPO’d in March and disclosed its Q1 earnings on Tuesday

💥 Israel seized Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt, but the US said Israel wasn’t yet launching its long-expected full-scale offensive. With the seizure, Israel now controls all of Gaza’s borders

🏛 TikTok sued to prevent the US from forcing its sale. The suit seeks a court order to block the US from enforcing the forced-sale law, which was passed with bipartisan support and signed by President Biden last month

🖥️ Apple unveiled iPads containing a new M4 chip that the company called “Outrageously powerful…for AI.” Most AI programs run in the cloud. Apple is developing chips that can enable them to run on devices themselves

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

😳 PEDs (Performance Enhancing Dads): The winner of a California marathon has been disqualified for accepting water from his dad while leading most of the 26.2-mile course

🚌 Eight-grade Jesus, take the wheel: Wisconsin eighth-grader Acie Holland III saved his classmates by taking the wheel of his school bus after the driver lost consciousness

💩 Men are s*it: The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania, Australia, plans to circumvent a court’s order that it admit men to a women-only exhibit by converting it into a women’s bathroom

🍾 Bougie Nascar catching on: Lando Norris’ victory in Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix drew a record Formula 1 United States TV audience, averaging 3.1M viewers

✌️ Only in Ohio: Chris Pan, the speaker at Ohio State University’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, told the crowd that he used the psychedelic drug ayahuasca to draft his speech. He also had everyone stand up, sing, and stretch to “What’s Going On?” by 4 Non Blondes

Roca Wrap
Two Views on Gaza: Part 1

John Spencer – a self-described “student of war” – stressed to Roca that he sees war through a military lens and therefore talks to combatants, not civilians.

Yet, Spencer says, Hamas’ strategy is intricately linked with civilians: It is the “textbook example of human shield use,” he told Roca.

“Its leadership has literally stated…they need as many of their people to die to pursue their political objectives.”

“ISIS used human shields,” he added, “but they weren't trying to get as many of their people killed [as possible].”

Hamas’ strategy relies on tunnels, said Spencer, who has toured Hamas, Hezbollah, and North Korean tunnels. “I’ve been studying urban combat for a long time and I’ve had my own urban combat experiences, but I’ve never seen anything like the density of the urban terrain [in Gaza], the tunnels riddled underneath…and the rubble.”

The Hamas tunnels are so deep underground – up to 300 feet – that they can only be destroyed by the most powerful explosives. Those tunnels, in turn, are built beneath civilian sites: “From visiting and going into them, sometimes a tunnel was actually dug and then a school put on top of them,” Spencer said.

He said that’s why Israel has been using so many 2,000-pound bombs, which can leave a 40-foot-wide crater.

Another Hamas technique, said Spencer, was to store weapons caches in buildings and then move between them.

Because Israel doesn’t have enough precision weaponry to destroy all these buildings, it uses “dumb bombs,” which are any non-precision-guided weapon. Dumb bombs aim for a specific target but have a greater likelihood of missing it than precision weaponry.

When pressed on how many Gazan civilians Israel has killed, Spencer said it’s impossible to know. He pointed to the largest urban battle since World War II – fought against ISIS in Mosul, Iraq – during which Spencer says a civilian casualty number didn’t emerge for a year. Even then, it ranged from 9,000 to 40,000; eventually, the number 11,000 was agreed upon.

“I've never studied a war where you you have a civilian count in the moment,” says Spencer.

Civilians, aid workers, and journalists are undoubtedly being killed, Spencer said, but claimed that’s unavoidable. He views the important question as whether they are being targeted and if the sides are taking steps to minimize those casualties.

Spencer claims that Israel is, including by dropping leaflets, warning people in buildings that are being targeted. He said it is also surrounding buildings and then using facial recognition to arrest known Hamas militants.

Yet for many reasons, those techniques don’t always work. And even when they do, civilians are often caught in the middle – as Dr. Hasan explains in the next installment.

Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading with us another day. As mentioned in the intro, we have a great new pod out with one of America’s leading free-speech authorities. It’s available on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple.

— Max, Max, and Alex