🌊 Lost the Battle, Won the InfoWars

Plus: Biden and Trump agree to debate rules

Damn Strait we have a new attendance record.

Roca Nation, everything truly is bigger in Texas. On Saturday night, 110,905 people packed into Kyle Field — the home of the Texas A&M Aggies — to see country music legend George Strait in concert. That makes it the most-attended ticketed concert in US history, shattering the record set by the Grateful Dead at a New Jersey race track in 1977. Can you believe that? A concert record in 2024 not involving Taylor Swift? Hope George is ready for a Donna Kelce DM…

📺 Lost the battle, won the InfoWars

🤝 Biden and Trump agree to debate rules

🎓 24 twins graduate in same class?

–Max and Max

KEY STORY

Israel-Hezbollah Tensions

Intensifying violence on the Lebanon-Israel border is renewing fears of an Israel-Hezbollah war

  • Israel and Hezbollah – an Iran-backed militia that governs much of Lebanon – have been trading fire since October 7. The fighting has displaced ~150,000 across both sides of the border

  • Last week, Israel killed a Hezbollah commander who may have been the most senior Hezbollah official killed since October

  • In response, Hezbollah launched its largest rocket barrage since October 7

  • Reports have since said the US is concerned a war could break out, while the UN warned that a “miscalculation” may trigger a major war

Dig Deeper

  • While the sides have been attacking each other for eight months, they have calibrated those strikes to avoid major retaliation

  • Some in Israel, though, view war with Hezbollah – which is much larger and better armed than Hamas – as the only way to restore peace in northern Israel

  • Others have expressed concern that the sides could stumble into a war neither wanted

KEY STORY

Bump Stocks Back

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down a ban on bump stocks

  • Bump stocks enable semiautomatic weapons to fire at much faster speeds. The Trump Administration banned them in 2017 after a shooter killed 60 people at a concert in Las Vegas. On Friday, SCOTUS voted 6-3 along conservative/liberal lines to overturn the ban

  • While US law bans machine guns, the majority ruled the bump stock ban exceeded that law because a semiautomatic weapon with a bump stock doesn’t meet the legal definition of a machine gun. If the ban were passed as a law – not a rule – it could’ve been legal

Dig Deeper

  • This case was not a Second Amendment case but one about whether federal agencies had the power to ban bump stocks under the existing machine gun law

  • Justice Samuel Alito of the majority added that Congress could pass a law to ban bump stocks, but without that law, federal agencies aren’t entitled to do so

KEY STORY

Future of InfoWars

A judge ordered Alex Jones’ assets to be liquidated but allowed InfoWars to keep operating

  • Jones runs InfoWars, an online media outlet. On it, Jones called the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting a hoax and the victims’ families “crisis actors.” In 2022, juries ordered Jones to pay $1.4B to those families, after which he filed for bankruptcy

  • On Friday, a bankruptcy judge ordered Jones’ personal assets – valued at $5M – to be sold and the proceeds divided among the families. The judge did not order the liquidation of InfoWars, though, which means it will continue operating

Dig Deeper

  • The debate about liquidating – or shutting down – InfoWars divided the families and their lawyers

  • Some argued that the focus should be solely on securing as much money as possible from Jones, something potentially better served by allowing him to continue receiving revenue from InfoWars

  • Others argued that financial compensation was less significant than taking InfoWars off the air

  • The threat of closure boosted Jones’ business: On Friday, Jones’ lawyer said that the recent days’ InfoWars broadcasts had boosted sales of his products by 40%, to $1M a week

KEY STORY

Debate Rules

Biden and Trump agreed to the rules of their first debate

  • CNN will host the first of two presidential debates on June 27. The network’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will act as moderators

  • It will last 90 minutes with two commercial breaks. There will be no live audience – a departure from past debates – and the candidates will not be allowed to have pre-written notes. The candidates’ mics will be muted when it is not their turn to speak

  • No candidates besides Biden and Trump are currently eligible, although RFK Jr. could qualify if he gets on more states’ ballots

Dig Deeper

  • To qualify for the debate, candidates must secure at least 15% support on three qualifying polls and be on enough states’ ballots that they could theoretically win the 270 electoral votes needed to become president

  • RFK Jr. has met the polling criteria; however, he is only on six states’ ballots – enough for only 89 Electoral College votes. No other candidate meets the polling criteria

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

🇿🇦 Cyril Ramaphosa was reelected as South Africa’s president despite his party’s worst-ever election performance earlier this month. A deal with a rival party enabled him to stay in office

🏀 Legendary NBA commentator Charles Barkley announced that he will retire after the next NBA season. Barkley has been with TNT since 2000, but the network appears poised to lose its NBA broadcasting rights to NBC

🪖 A 92-nation peace conference in Switzerland aimed at ending the war in Ukraine couldn’t agree on a path forward. The conference achieved only a watered-down declaration that 12 countries didn’t sign

🥵 A weeks-long heatwave in most of the US began on Sunday, with roughly 268M Americans facing forecasts over 90°F (32°C). A “heat dome” is projected to move from the Midwest to the Northeast

🔥 Three tourists have been found dead, and three more are missing in Greece, likely due to heat strokes and other conditions caused by abnormally high temperatures

⚽️ The UEFA European Championship — the world’s second-most-watched soccer tournament — kicked off in Germany. The 24-team tournament between national teams occurs every four years

Community
Question of the Day

🧠 By popular demand, we’ve decided this week to swap out the weekly discussion for the original “Question of the Day.”

Today’s Question:

Do you think the music of today is worse than the music of 50 years ago? Make your case!

Think about it and reply to this email to let us know what you think!

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

👯 What is this Twin City? 24 sets of twins in the same eighth-grade class graduated from a Massachusetts middle school. The class had 454 students in total

🗝 Diddy evicted: Sean “Diddy” Combs gave back his key to New York City after Mayor Eric Adams demanded the disgraced rapper return it over the release of a video in which Diddy beat his girlfriend

⛳️ De-Champ-Beau: US golfer Bryson DeChambeau won the US Open in a Sunday thriller (yes, a thriller in golf). Rory McIlroy was tied for the lead on 18 but missed a 3-foot putt (below)

💵 Pixar bounces back: Disney and Pixar’s animated movie “Inside Out 2” debuted with a historic ~$155M opening at the domestic box office, the most since “Barbie” grossed $162M

😢 Fake it till you don’t make it: Wells Fargo fired over a dozen employees last month after investigating claims of faking work. The employees allegedly simulated keyboard activity to appear “online”

ROCA VOTES
Roca Votes: Wait Until 8th?

To give or not to give your kid an iPhone: That is the question parents face today – and a new movement called “Wait Until 8th” claims to have the answer.

For years, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has cited data and studies to show that there’s a mental health crisis among teens and that smartphones and social media are causing it. In his latest book – an instant #1 NYT bestseller called “The Anxious Generation” – he calls for collective action to take kids offline and delay their social media lives. Haidt claims their futures – and in some cases, their lives – may depend on it.

In the US, rates of depression and anxiety rose by over 50% between 2010 and 2019. In that time, the suicide rate jumped 48% for adolescents ages 10-19 and 131% for girls ages 10-14.

Haidt dates this change to “when adolescents in rich countries traded in their flip phones for smartphones and moved much more of their social lives online – particularly onto social-media platforms designed for virality and addiction.” Haidt argues that smartphones have caused drastic changes in teens’ patterns of friendship, dating, sexuality, exercise, sleep, academics, politics, family dynamics, and identity.

Some critics have accused Haidt of being overly reliant on self-reported data and low-quality studies, and of generating hysteria. Others say Haidt has failed to address why older people are also experiencing declines in mental health.

Yet Haidt’s message has resonated, motivating parents to start “Wait Until 8th.”

The movement has parents pledge to “delay giving children a smartphone until at least the end of 8th grade.” It accuses phones of being addictive, sleep-impairing, harmful to academic performance, bad for relationships, pathways to pornography, and poor for self-esteem.

Haidt believes there’s a collective action problem with child smartphone use. For example, if every kid in a class has a smartphone, then it might be bad for your kid not to have a smartphone, as they could be left out. But if none of them had smartphones, everyone would be better off.

In other words, the best outcome for the group would be for nobody to have a smartphone, but under current conditions, the best outcome for an individual is to have a smartphone.

“Wait Until 8th” seeks to correct that problem by having groups of parents commit to not giving their kids phones, thereby reducing the social pressure on kids to have phones and making it easier for parents to say no.

But is this necessary? And will it work?

We’re curious to hear your thoughts: Are smartphones harming kids? Are fears about youth smartphone use well-founded or a moral panic? Reply to this email to let us know!

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Today is National Eat Your Veggies Day. We just looked up the most popular veggies in the country, and it’s basically the most non-vegetable vegetable ranking you could have. The top 3 are 1) Potatoes 2) Corn 3) Garlic. That right there says everything you need to know about the American diet.

And it also happens to be the correct top 3.

–Max and Max