🌊 When Life Gives You Lemon

Plus: Sports Illustrated is coming back?

How about a good news story?

Former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman evidently saved his best move for outside the octagon. The Hall of Fame fighter was visiting his childhood home in Ohio last week when one night his dog Hammer awoke him to a fire. Coleman rushed to his elderly parents’ room and carried them out to safety. Unfortunately, Coleman succumbed to the smoke and collapsed. He spent three days in the hospital hooked up to a ventilation machine. Well, yesterday, he got out of the hospital and declared himself the luckiest man in the world. Coleman 1, Fire 0.

In today's edition:

💰 How much TikTok will cost

🐊 New York gator gets evicted

🇺🇸 RFK Jr. Part 1

And so much more!

–Max, Max, Jen, and Alex

KEY STORY

Lemon, Musk Beef

Don Lemon released the Elon Musk interview that reportedly cost Lemon his deal with X

  • Lemon – a CNN anchor who was fired last year – was scheduled to host a show on X, reportedly as part of an effort by X to counter claims of conservative bias on the platform

  • Lemon interviewed Musk this month ahead of the launch. Hours after the interview, though, Musk canceled Lemon’s partnership with X. Musk later called Lemon a “fool who spouts nonsense”

  • Lemon released the interview on Monday. During it, he pressed Musk on the “great replacement theory,” which alleges a plot to replace white people with non-white people; Musk’s use of ketamine; and race issues. At one point, Musk said society is overly fixated on race and that people should be judged based on individual characteristics; Lemon called Musk’s response “insulting.” At another point, Lemon asked Musk to define “woke” (“To me, it’s being aware of inequities in society,” Lemon said)

Dig Deeper

  • Musk became increasingly frustrated throughout the interview, saying at one point, “Don, the only reason I’m doing this interview is because you’re on the X platform, and you asked for it. Otherwise, we’re not going to be doing this interview”

  • Lemon challenged Musk to “actually watch [the interview] and then tell me it isn’t exactly what you said you want on your platform”

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The answer? Collagen — a.k.a. the buzzword that everyone's talking about lately. After digging into the hype, we found NativePath, which offers one of the highest-quality collagen products

  • Collagen is essential for healthy skin, joints, and bones, but most collagen supplements on the market are made from animal byproducts and contain artificial ingredients

  • NativePath, though, offers a collagen powder that’s truly native—or as close to nature as humanly possible

  • Each scoop offers 10g of Type 1 and 3 collagen – over 90% of your body's requirement – sourced from grass-fed cows. Plus, each scoop is flavorless and easy to mix

Dig Deeper

KEY STORY

Trump Will Not Post Bond

Donald Trump’s lawyers said that he can’t afford to post the $464M bond required for him to postpone the enforcement of a fraud ruling against him

  • Last month, a New York judge ordered Trump and his co-defendants to pay $464M in damages and interest, of which Trump is liable for $454M. To suspend enforcement of that ruling during appeals, Trump is required to pay a $464M bond

  • Trump’s lawyers said Monday that securing an underwriter for that bond is “impossible,” as the penalty is so large. If he doesn’t post bond by next week, enforcement of the penalty ($454M) will begin

Dig Deeper

  • Trump testified last year that he has “substantially in excess of $400 million in cash” on hand, although it is unclear if that is still true

  • Earlier this month, Trump posted a ~$92M bond to appeal the $83M in damages awarded to E. Jean Carroll, who had sued Trump for defamation for denying her sexual assault allegation

KEY STORY

Niger Expels US Troops

Niger’s military leadership terminated a deal with the US, expelling 650+ US soldiers from the country

  • Niger – on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert – is vital to US counterterrorism and surveillance strategy in the region. The US built a $100M drone base there in 2018 and became close with the government as anti-West governments took power in nearby countries

  • But last July, a military coup toppled Niger’s democratically-elected leader. The new government tilted the country away from the US, which paused aid

  • On Saturday, Niger terminated its military deal with the US, expelling all US troops from the country

Dig Deeper

  • The US ouster represents a major setback for US security operations in the region, and will likely adversely affect its ability to conduct combat operations against ISIS and other groups

  • The US is reportedly in conversations with other African countries to open new air bases there

KEY STORY

UK Climate Defense Closed

A judge stripped climate activists accused of property damage in England and Wales of one of their most effective defenses

  • Some UK climate protesters damage property, such as by vandalizing paintings or breaking storefront windows

  • They then commonly use the “consent” defense in court, under which they argue that they honestly believed property owners would have given their consent for the action if they understood what was being protested about – in this case, the effects of climate change

  • On Monday, a UK judge ruled against that, calling evidence of climate change in this context “inadmissible” in court

Dig Deeper

  • The ruling essentially ends climate activists’ ability to evoke the consent defense while at trial for property crimes and opens members of activist groups, such as Just Stop Oil, to increased criminal liability

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

🇨🇺 Facing its worst economic crisis in decades with blackouts and food shortages, protests broke out in Cuba’s second-largest city

🎖️ Drones made numerous incursions on Langley Air Force Base, a key US military base, last December, the government confirmed. Their origins and motives remain unclear

🎤 Olivia Rodrigo has stopped distributing contraceptives at her concerts, which she offered in collaboration with abortion providers, due to concerns about her young audience

🇮🇱 On the same day that President Biden warned an invasion of Rafah “would be a mistake,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to send a delegation to the US to discuss options surrounding Rafah

👑 Kate Middleton was seen shopping with her husband, Prince Williams, in one of her first sightings since she disappeared from public view in January

💻 Nvidia unveiled a new chip it says is many times faster and more energy-efficient at training large AI models than current industry standards

🇪🇸Embark on Indus Travels' Spain tours that unveil its vibrant culture from Barcelona's streets to Granada's Alhambra. Explore Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, and more architectural wonders, enriched with guided excursions and culinary delights. Enjoy comfortable accommodation, airfare, and daily breakfast, ensuring an unforgettable Spanish adventure. Up to $300 off pp w/air*

COMMUNITY

Weekly Debate

Most news companies repress ideas they don’t agree with. We are different. To prove it, we’re making this a place where people can have a free and open debate. Each week we lay out a debate on Monday and feature responses below, replies to those the following day, and so on.

This week’s Roca Votes asks: Is the dating market dominance of Match Group — the company behind 40+ dating apps including Tinder, Hinge and Match.com — concerning?

Reply to this email with replies to the below or additional thoughts!

It’s not the monopoly that’s the problem. I don’t think dating apps are an important enough service for that to be concerning. What’s concerning is that there are now so many dating apps, it’s now taboo to meet someone the “normal” way. And it’s allowed people to have such outrageous standards that “average” people are left behind. And since it’s weird to meet people in person, you have a large group of people that are just lost. And it may be controversial, but men bear the brunt of that problem

Zach from Pennsylvania

Having one company behind all those dating platforms could lead to one way of thinking about dating and who daters are presented with as possible matches. However humans are very specific in who we like/dislike.  I've never heard anyone say they were in a long term relationship only because an app paired them. I have, however heard of people ditching an app that didn't match them "correctly". Therfore i don't believe serious matches will be "created" but I believe apps facilitate meeting those you might not on your own (like me and my husband!). 

Kristie from San Antonio, Texas

It’s very concerning that Match Group owns so many of the dating apps. This means variety and innovation are less likely in any of the apps. 

Annie

Owning all the major dating apps doesn't really give a free market opportunities. Plus those aps are not very fair. They want singles, especially single males, to buy subscriptions and stay on the apps for months at a time to get more money out of them. If they really worked would they still be in business since everyone would "match"...no pun intended. 

Will

Yesterday’s Poll:

Have you ever used a dating app?

Yes: 33%
No: 67%

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🚌 Everyday hereaux: A New Orleans school bus driver evacuated nine students from her bus just before it exploded. She noticed the bus emitting smoke and evacuated the kids immediately

🧴 Bath & Body Doesn’t Work: A Tennessee woman was hospitalized due to an exploding Bath & Body Works car air freshener, causing eye damage and chemical burns

🪳 Real bugs wear pink: A nine-year-old Arkansas girl – aspiring to become a veterinarian – caught a pink grasshopper missing a leg while walking to her family farm

😇 Sports Illustrated coming back?! Minute Media, the owner of The Players’ Tribune and Fansided, is taking over as Sports Illustrated’s new publisher and might rehire some staff laid off in January

🪦 “Dang, guess I’m dead”: After returning from an extended vacation in Costa Rica, a 34-year-old Montreal man discovered a letter from the Quebec government mistakenly declaring him dead

💥 Blast from the past: While cleaning her deceased father’s home in Quebec, a woman discovered a live grenade in a toolbox in his “sacred” tool room

ROCA WRAP
RFK Jr. Part 1: The Activist

This is part 1 of a 2-part Wrap on presidential candidate Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. Tomorrow’s newsletter will have part 2.

The opponent Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. was “determined to beat” in 1983 wasn’t a politician, a corporation, or a hostile media platform. It was a heroin addiction that had landed him in a South Dakota courtroom.

Kennedy was born in Washington, DC, in 1954. By the time he was a boy, his initials were already well known: His father, RFK, had led the Senate’s effort to challenge the alliance of labor unions and the mafia overseen by union president Jimmy Hoffa.

When John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, he made RFK the US’ attorney general.

RFK Jr. was nine years old when his uncle, JFK, was assassinated. Then at 14, he received a call: His father – then a US senator running for president – had been shot while campaigning in California. RFK Jr. flew to Los Angeles and was at the hospital when his father died.

He proceeded to be thrown out of two boarding schools for drug use and was arrested for marijuana possession, but he managed to graduate from Harvard in 1976.

Over the next eight years, RFK wrote a book, studied in London, and received a law degree from the University of Virginia. He landed a job as a Manhattan assistant district attorney, but failed his first bar exam and walked out during the second. Within a year of taking his job, he had resigned – allegedly to study for the bar full-time – and became addicted to heroin.

While flying to South Dakota several months later, the 29-year-old became dazed and ill on the airplane, prompting first responders to meet it upon landing. Police, suspecting a drug overdose, searched his bag and found “a small amount” of heroin.

RFK proceeded to announce, “With the best medical help I can find, I am determined to beat this problem.”

He pleaded guilty, checked himself into rehab, and was placed on probation, which required him to work as a volunteer. He did so with Bob Boyle, an environmentalist and a fisherman.

Boyle co-founded Hudson Riverkeeper, a group dedicated to protecting the Hudson River, which runs the length of New York State and through New York City. So many factories, energy companies, sewers, and cities had been pumping their waste into the Hudson that fish couldn’t live in much of it and areas were rainbow-colored and flammable. Riverkeeper sought to hold those polluters accountable, and RFK became their lead prosecutor.

One early target was General Electric, which had disposed of over 1M tons of hazardous chemicals (PCBs) in the river 200 miles north of New York City, making the water carcinogenic and the fish full of chemicals. The Riverkeepers provided evidence so the government could deem a 200-mile stretch of the river a contamination zone and bring a lawsuit against GE, which resulted in a multi-billion dollar cleanup effort.

RFK also led negotiations to fix New York City’s water supply, which in 1989 had at least 85 sewage treatment plants disposing waste into it. The city was responding by pumping chemicals into the contaminated water, which was killing aquatic life.

RFK’s efforts helped bring about a deal in which the City would fund projects to protect upstream drinking water sources. The deal became a template for sustainable drinking water management that has been replicated around the world.

In 2003, Kennedy came across a pair of government-funded studies.

One showed that all freshwater fish in America had dangerous levels of mercury; the other showed that one in six American women had dangerous levels of mercury in their blood.

“The mercury was largely coming from coal-burning power plants…and it precipitates out when there's rain. When you burn the coal…[mercury] falls onto the landscapes and it washes off the landscapes into the rivers and the fish were all contaminated,” Kennedy has explained. That led to lawsuits against coal plants and lectures about what they had been doing.

The same group of women kept coming to his lectures, sitting in the front row, and trying to talk to him afterward, Kennedy has said.

“As it turns out, they were all the mothers of intellectually disabled children, and they believed that their children had been injured by the vaccines, by mercury in the vaccines. So they would say to me in kind of a respectful, but vaguely scolding way, if you're really interested in mercury contamination and exposure to children, you need to look at the vaccines.”

“Now, this is something I didn't want to do, because…I'm not a public health person. I wanted to do environmental stuff.”

But RFK relented: He would look at the vaccines – and everything would change.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

Reply to this email to let us know what you think!

COMMUNITY

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EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

We have some exciting changes upcoming for Roca in the next few weeks and you all will be the first to know about those — coming soon!

In the meantime, we hope you found value from our Wrap on RFK Jr. We promise to always give you all sides to every story and never cancel someone just because they have controversial policies. Stay tuned for part 2 in tomorrow’s newsletter.

Happy Tuesday!

— Max, Max, Alex and Jen