🌊 McCarthy Shown the Gaetz

Kevin McCarthy makes history, Netflix prices going up, and Diversity or Discrimination?

Between 2:20 and 2:50 PM EST today, a message that says “THIS IS A TEST” will flash across the phone screen and TVs of our US readers. The federal government is sending the messages to test its emergency alert system. Given the events of yesterday, we wouldn’t be shocked if the government sends a follow-up text that says, “Hey! You can now apply for Speaker of the House at the link below 😀.”

In today's edition:

  • Kevin McCarthy makes history

  • Netflix prices going up

  • Diversity or Discrimination?

 🔑 Key Stories

McCarthy Ousted as Speaker

The US House voted 216-210 to oust Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the first time in US history that a Speaker has been removed from office

  • In January, Republicans elected McCarthy as Speaker – the US House’s top rank. A small group of populist Republicans led by Matt Gaetz (R-FL) opposed him. Last week, ahead of a possible government shutdown, Gaetz and others demanded major spending cuts. McCarthy ended up passing a bill with Democratic support that cut additional funding to Ukraine yet kept spending at 2023 levels until mid-November

  • On Tuesday morning, the top-ranking House Democrat reportedly instructed Democrats to vote to remove McCarthy, citing McCarthy’s “unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism” as justification

  • Just before voting began, McCarthy told reporters he had no regrets. “Keeping the government open and paying our troops was the right decision,” he said. “I stand by that decision and at the end of the day if I have to lose my job over it, so be it”

  • Eight Republicans and every Democrat voted against him, and the resolution passed 216-210. That marked the first time ever a Speaker was ousted

Dig Deeper

  • Upon McCarthy’s removal, Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was immediately appointed “speaker pro tempore,” or temporary speaker pending a vote to nominate a permanent one. Republicans must now nominate and vote on a speaker to replace McCarthy. There are no obvious candidates to replace him, and McCarthy said following the vote that he does not plan to run again

Meta to Offer EU Subscriptions

Meta is preparing to offer EU users paid, ad-free subscriptions for Instagram and Facebook, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported

  • Meta’s most-used platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – have always been free to use. Meta makes ~98% of its money off targeted advertising

  • Since the EU passed a major digital privacy law in 2018, though, it has become harder for Meta to target ads in the EU, especially since an EU court ruled this year that users must consent for Meta to target them

  • In response, Meta will soon unveil subscriptions, which will cost EU users $14/month to access Instagram ad-free on a phone or $17/month for both Facebook and Instagram ad-free on a desktop

Dig Deeper

  • Meta executives told the WSJ the new subscription model is designed to comply with EU regulations. It will reportedly begin offering the plan over the next several weeks. Meta does not plan to unveil a similar subscription plan in other markets, such as in the US, because those markets as of right now do not have similarly strict data protection regulations

9-Year-Old Girl Found

A 9-year-old girl who went missing on Saturday in New York was found safe after a days-long search

  • On Saturday, Charlotte Sena, 9, was on a family camping trip at a New York park 45 miles north of Albany. She was riding her bicycle with several other children at around 6 PM when she told them she wanted to do one last loop by herself. She subsequently disappeared, and her bicycle was later found with no trace of Charlotte

  • Police declared it an abduction and put out an Amber Alert on Sunday. On Monday morning, someone dropped a ransom note into the Sena family’s mailbox. Police dusted it for fingerprints and matched them to the prints of a 47-year-old man who had previously been booked over a DUI

  • Police raided the man’s camper, arrested him, and rescued Charlotte from a cupboard. Charlotte is in good health and was brought to a hospital for evaluation, authorities said

Dig Deeper

  • New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the abduction “every parent’s nightmare” and commended police for finding Charlotte. “It just feels like a miracle that little Charlotte is safely reunited with her parents,” she added

FCC Fines Over Space Junk

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined Dish Network $150,000 over space junk

  • The FCC is a federal agency that regulates communications by radio, TV, satellite, and other mediums; Dish is a telecommunications company

  • In 2012, the FCC approved Dish’s plan to move one of its satellites ~186 miles higher than its current orbit after its mission ended. That was to prevent the satellite from posing a threat to other satellites

  • Dish only moved it up 76 miles before the satellite ran out of fuel, though. The FCC fined it $150,000 for that – its first-ever space junk fine

Dig Deeper

  • The fine makes it “very clear the FCC has strong enforcement authority and capability to enforce its vitally important space debris rules,” the agency said.

  • As part of the settlement, Dish also agreed to take steps to prevent future space junk incidents

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Bronny bounces back: LeBron James said that his 18-year-old son, Bronny James, is “doing extremely well” and aims to play for USC this season following his cardiac arrest during a practice in July

  • Netflix and hike? The Wall Street Journal reported that Netflix plans to increase the price of its ad-free service once the Hollywood actors’ strike ends

  • Wedgie Lagoon: A woman claims she sustained severe injuries from a “dangerous wedgie” on the Humunga Kowabunga slide at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon in Florida

Wildcard

  • Illegal gas hack: A Detroit man used Bluetooth to hack and steal ~800 gallons of gas from a station. He controlled the pump remotely using Bluetooth on his phone

  • Penny pincher: Police arrested a Florida man for allegedly splashing a McDonald’s manager with hot coffee over a price dispute. The man thought McDonald’s was overcharging him by a penny

  • You’re a witch, Herminie: Authorities charged Patrick Herminie – the main opposition leader in Africa’s smallest country, Seychelles – with witchcraft after discovering two bodies exhumed from a cemetery

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Have you received an Amber Alert over the past six months?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

What is the most recent act of kindness that you’ve witnessed?

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

🌯 Roca Wrap

Hamtramck, Michigan was once so Polish it was known as Little Warsaw. Today, its government is entirely Muslim and at the center of a culture war.

Originally a German farming community, a Dodge vehicle plant opened in Hamtramck (pronounced “Ham-tram-ik”) in 1914. The factory’s need for thousands of workers drew immigrants from around the world, especially from Poland.

Between 1910 and 1920, Hamtramck’s population ballooned from 3,559 to 46,615, with Polish immigrants constituting most of the newcomers. Their culture – including pierogi restaurants, a park named for the Pope, and Catholic churches – came to characterize the city.

Hamtramck’s population was 90% Polish in 1970, but the city was already facing a decline that would accelerate as the US auto industry struggled. Every 10 years between 1940 to 1990, the city recorded double-digit population declines, falling from a peak of 56,268 in 1930 to just 18,372 in 1990.

While many Poles left for the suburbs, the vacant jobs and homes drew a new round of immigrants, this time predominantly Muslims from Yemen, Bangladesh, and Bosnia. Some Polish residents supported the shift; others were concerned by it.

In 2001, the Justice Department sent monitors to ensure Hamtramck’s Muslim residents could vote after Polish residents questioned their right to do so. Then in 2004, a Bangladeshi mosque requested permission to broadcast the Arabic call to prayer from its rooftop speaker five times a day. A fierce debate ensued that made national headlines, and in the end, the government approved the change and the call to prayer began.

By 2013, Hamtramck had become the US’ first majority-Muslim city. Two years later, it elected the US’ first majority-Muslim city council; in 2021, it elected a Muslim mayor and an all-Muslim city council, becoming the first US city to have an entirely Muslim-American elected government.

Many residents have taken issue with the changes.

Some complain that businesses within 500 feet of the city’s numerous mosques can’t obtain liquor licenses; others say they find the call to prayer offensive or obnoxious; and others simply say they don’t like the arrival of Muslim immigrants. Other residents – including the city’s growing hipster population – have celebrated its diversity.

Since June, though, that last group has been embroiled in its own dispute with Hamtramck’s Muslim-American population. During Pride Month, the city council proposed a law banning the flying of all flags except the US, state, city, and POW/MIA ones on city property. While the city’s mayor said, “We’re not targeting anybody,” the law was widely seen as blocking the flying of pride flags.

LGBT residents and their supporters called the proposal discriminatory.

A public debate on the issue devolved into shouting, with one councilman yelling at a meeting, “I’m working for the people, what the majority of the people like.” The council ended up voting unanimously to pass the flag law, prompting cheers from Muslim residents at the meeting.

Hamtramck’s former Polish-American mayor called the law a “betrayal.”

“We supported you when you were threatened, and now our rights are threatened, and you’re the one doing the threatening,” she said. “We welcomed you,” said a gay former council member. “We created nonprofits to help feed, clothe, find housing. We did everything we could to make your transition here easier, and this is how you repay us, by stabbing us in the back?”

The issue resurfaced this month, when Hamtramck’s mayor and city council resisted marching in a parade alongside the Hamtramck Queer Alliance. “Basically, they wanted to destroy our image in front of our supporters by making us look like we were leading the queer group with all those flags flying behind us,” mayor Amer Ghalib, a Democrat, said.

While the parade has passed, the tensions remain. Can Hamtramck handle its own diversity?

Have thoughts? Email your replies to [email protected] and we’ll feature some of the replies in tomorrow’s newsletter!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Better fall weekend activity:
Football: 55%
Apple picking: 45%

Yesterday's Question:

Is it fair [for a country] to ban entire dog breeds? Are there dog breeds you would like banned in your country? Can dogs be inherently violent, or is it the owner’s fault?

Susan: “I think some breeds are inherently violent. That said, I believe that is up to the owners not to train them to be violent. WhenI was growing up in Denver they outlawed pit bulls and I remember so many stories about children being killed by pitbull’s. As much as I love dogs I love kids better.”

Nancy: “Almost impossible to implement. Neutered and muzzled in public should be enough. Would the ban be for pure breds only? What about mixed breeds. would the ban be for 80% , or 50% bulldog? Good luck with that.”

Rudy from Texas: “This is the same overly simplistic logic used on gun ownership. It's never the owner, it's the gun. Now it's not the dog owner, it's the dog. It's always nice to see we are never at fault, but merely victims of choice.”

Jacob from San Francisco: “With dogs, as with people, you get what you raise. There's a reason why the FBI can profile serial killers, and it has to do with their upbringing and life experiences. Banning a breed is like banning a race. It's just short-sighted lazy legislation that doesn't address the real issue, which is irresponsible pet owners that abuse and mistreat their animals.”

Matt: “The Bully Ban is the most conservative thing the Tories have done in their 13 years in power, and possibly the smartest. Obviously pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs; everyone's pit is the sweetest little baby until it snaps and mauls a toddler. Five more years for Rishi!”

🧠 Final Thoughts

One things Congress and Roca’s office have in common: A blown speaker. Is it worse to have no Congressional leader or no music for the day?

Happy Hump Day! We hope that yours is going better than Kevin McCarthy’s.

—Max and Max