🌊 No More Pronouns in Oklahoma?

Plus: Mickey Mouse for all, a bull on the train tracks, and 20 Questions!

Happy final day of Hanukkah to all who celebrate. According to our calendar, it’s also Bill of Rights Day, but it would be a little weird if you celebrated that…

Quick update on Grow for Good: We are on the brink of the next 1,000-signup milestone. Please help us get there by sending this link to a friend, family member, coworker, or even someone who celebrates Bill of Rights Day.

In today's edition:

 🔑 Key Stories

Oklahoma Defunding DEI

Oklahoma’s governor defunded diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in public agencies and universities

  • On Wednesday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) passed an executive order calling for a review of DEI in state agencies and universities. The goal is to “eliminate and dismiss” DEI staff and initiatives

  • The order also banned funding for DEI programs and DEI training, and for anything that requires pronouns to be used

  • Some welcomed the order; others, including the University of Oklahoma’s president, blasted it

Free Mickey

“Mickey Mouse” will enter the public domain on January 1, 2024

  • US copyright laws protect creative works, such as films, from being copied without the owner’s permission for 95 years. After that point, they enter the public domain and can be used by anybody

  • On January 1, 2024, the earliest version of Mickey Mouse – from the 1928 short “Steamboat Willie” – is set to hit the public domain

  • That means anybody can use that version of Mickey Mouse, with some caveats. Other characters going public next year include Minnie Mouse and Tigger

Someone Doesn’t Belong

A letter signed by 40 White House interns demanding a Gaza ceasefire was written by an unidentified person, Politico reported

  • On December 5, NBC News reported that “40+” interns had written a letter to President Biden demanding a ceasefire

  • On Wednesday, Politico reported that an unknown person named “Thara Nagarajan” joined the White House intern group chat, dropped the link to sign the letter, and then immediately left the chat

  • Several interns told Politico they have no idea who Nagarajan is

EU Want In?

European leaders voted to begin EU membership negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova 

  • Ukraine and Moldova, a neighboring country, applied to join in the weeks after Russia’s invasion

  • During a current EU summit, Hungarian president Viktor Orban – a critic of Ukraine’s bid to join the EU – was expected to use his veto power to stop membership negotiations, a step toward joining

  • Yet Orban instead abstained, allowing membership negotiations to begin. In a statement, Orban called the vote a “bad decision.” Ukrainian President Zelensky called the vote “a victory for all of Europe”

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🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Bull on parade: A loose bull ran down the New Jersey Transit tracks, causing up-to-45-minute delays between Newark and New York Penn Stations. The origins of the bull are unknown

  • Nachos on the rocks, please: Doritos is launching a 42% alcohol Nacho Cheese drink. It debuts next month in select New York and California stores for ~$65

  • 500-foot fall: A New Hampshire backcountry skier triggered an avalanche on Mount Washington and fell 500 feet down a remote gully. A helicopter transported him to a nearby hospital

Wildcard

  • Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Andrew Ngai: 36-year-old Australian Andrew “the Annihilator” Ngai won the 2023 Microsoft Excel World Championship

  • Cops x Florida Man crossover: A 28-year-old Florida man resisted arrest by dragging a deputy nearly 50 feet while handcuffed and withstanding Taser shots

  • Mamba mentality: A Mississippi court sentenced a 10-year-old boy to three months of probation and writing a two-page report on Kobe Bryant for urinating in a lawyer’s office parking lot

👇🏻 What do you think?

Today's Poll:

Have you finished wrapping your gifts?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today’s poll is sponsored by Surfshark, a leading virtual private network (VPN) provider. Block those annoying pop-up ads with Surfshark!

Today's Question:

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🗣 20 Questions

20 questions logo

"All I want for Christmas is the return of 'would you rather' on Roca 20 Questions." - Mariah Carey

Okay, Mariah, we hear you. Today we bring back the long-dormant "Would you rather?” edition of 20 Questions. It's been far too long since we last did one of these, and we look forward to seeing your answer to these super important and never unrealistic hypotheticals.

Here is the form! Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Have you been to McDonald’s in the past month?

Yes: 35%
No: 65%

Yesterday's Question:

What is your favorite word?

Mike from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania: "Onomatopoeia. Seriously. Slowly savor repeating that word. Doesn't get better than that."

Steve from Wellington, Florida: "For the last 6 years it’s been, ‘Daddy’”

Riley from Austin, Texas: "Definitely... it's so sexy! Something adverbs just does it for me.”

Brigid from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin: “Avuncular, meaning ‘like an uncle,’ is my favorite adjective. Not only is it fun to have such a specific word, but I've used it to describe the manner of a lot of older male bosses and friends' dads (in good ways).”

Karyn from Williamsburg, Virginia: “Cleave. To rip apart AND to bind together?  Thats crazy fun.”

Ryan from San Diego: “My favorite word is smorgasbord, because it's just so damn fun to say.”

Last Week's 20 Qs Responses:

  1. “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby: 7

  2. “Last Christmas” by Wham!: 7

  3. Dasher: 9

  4. Dancer: 9

  5. Blitzen: 9

  6. Listening to Christmas music sipping eggnog: 4

  7. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee: 8

  8. Michael Buble’s Christmas album: 6

  9. “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande: 5

  10. Christmas carolers at your doorstep: 9

  11. “Elf” soundtrack: 9 

  12. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney: 9

  13. “Die Hard” as a Christmas movie: 4

  14. “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber: 3

  15. Justin Bieber singing anything else: 3

  16. “Baby It’s Cold Outside”: 8

  17. “O Holy Night”: 7

  18. “Mary, Did You Know” by Pentatonix: 7

  19. “Auld Lang Syne”: 8

  20. Santa being real: 9.5

🧠 Intermission

The results above let us know that the Roca People are OUR people: A 3/10 for Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe; a 9.5/10 for Santa being real. We feel like we’ve found our soul mates.

For premium subscribers, Roca Reports continues below. Enjoy!

–Max and Max

🌎 Roca Reports

Last week our Roca Reports series moved to Finland to answer the pivotal question: Is it truly the world’s happiest country? The series continues today.

Roca Reports is part of our premium newsletter with on-the-ground investigations of stories no one else is covering. If you’re not a member, you can start your 14-day free trial here!

If you read yesterday’s installment, you may have noticed a strange phrase used by Marjaana. 

“Nokia mobile phone glory.”

You might be wondering: Why is this woman in the Finnish countryside referencing “Nokia mobile phone glory”?

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