🌊 Are You Not… Educated?

Plus: Right-wing “gladiator” school wins court battle in the UK

Happy National Proofreading Day.

It never siezes to amaze us how frequently we encounter typos in articles from "top-notch" publications. Its really a shame because proofreading is a critical part of any editor's job. If there missing simple grammatical errors, what assurance do we have that their fact-checking properly? Irregardless, we appreciate it when you all catch the occasional Roca typo. We promise that we take grammar serious.

Note: There were six typos in this intro. See if you can find them — answers are in Final Thoughts. Also, here’s the link to 20 Questions!

In today's edition:

🇺🇸 The State of the Union

💊 LSD for Anxiety

🧐 College sports-themed 20 Questions!

And so much more!

–Max, Max, Jen, and Alex

KEY STORY

Alabama Passes IVF Law

Alabama’s governor signed into law legislation that will shield IVF clinics from civil or criminal liability

  • Last month, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that “unborn children” – i.e., frozen embryos used for IVF – “are ‘children,’” exposing IVF clinics to wrongful death liability. In response, several of the state’s largest IVF clinics paused treatment, citing the ruling

  • Many politicians, including Donald Trump, urged Alabama to pass legislation to protect IVF clinics

  • On Thursday, Alabama’s governor signed into law a bill shielding clinics from liability for the “damage or death of an embryo.” The law does not address whether frozen embryos are considered children

Dig Deeper

  • Some praised the bill, with its Republican sponsor saying it will allow “couples in Alabama hoping and praying to be parents [to] grow their families through IVF”

  • Yet some health organizations criticized it, claiming it didn’t go far enough

  • Two of the state’s largest IVF clinics have announced they will resume IVF procedures, although one – which was sued as part of the prior lawsuit – said it will not, saying the bill isn’t robust enough

SPONSORED

Find Your Security Blanket

Imagine the comfort of your softest, heaviest and favorite blanket! That's Surfshark for your online privacy

  • VPNs offer a valuable layer of security and privacy for internet users, especially in an era where online threats and privacy concerns are increasingly prevalent

  • They turn your online activity into an untraceable code with the help of a VPN – so you browse the internet in pure blissful virtual comfort! 

  • Privacy: A VPN encrypts your traffic to effectively eliminate bad actors from tracking your activity online 

  • Security: Creates a secure internet connection by changing your IP address that protects you from external threats 

Dig Deeper

KEY STORY

Gladiator School Fights On

A British right-wing activist won a legal battle in Italy, reviving his and Steve Bannon’s attempt to establish an “Academy for the Judeo-Christian West”

  • In 2017, British right-wing activist Benjamin Harnwell leased a monastery near Rome for the Academy, which Bannon – a former Trump advisor who was integral to Trump’s rise – called a “gladiator school for cultural warriors.” Its mission was to train the next generation of Republican politicians and activists

  • But the project ran into legal trouble when Italian prosecutors accused the enterprise of fraud and failure to pay €200,000 in rent

  • On Thursday, after a years-long battle, a judge ruled in Harnwell’s favor on a series of charges, reviving the Academy’s prospects

Dig Deeper

  • The school would have a conservative curriculum – including topics like “Cultural Marxism” and “The Church as an Early Business Enterprise” – and would seek to train conservative politicians

KEY STORY

Card’s Brain Damage

Robert Card, the Army reservist who killed 18 people last year in Maine’s worst-ever mass shooting, had brain damage, a brain tissue analysis found

  • On Wednesday, the Card family released the findings of Card’s autopsy through the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF). That included a brain tissue analysis showing that he suffered from traumatic brain injury and “significant degeneration” of nerve fibers

  • A doctor said, “While I cannot say with certainty that [these findings] underlie Card’s behavioral changes” – including hearing voices – “brain injury likely played a role in his symptoms”

  • The CLF noted that Card was a “longtime” instructor at an Army hand grenade range, during which time he was exposed to “thousands of low-level blasts.” Longstanding Army guidelines claim that repeated exposure to hand grenade blasts during training (i.e., not during combat) have no negative health effects

Dig Deeper

  • The US Army released a statement calling the findings “concerning”

  • The findings “underscore the Army’s need to do all it can to protect Soldiers against blast-induced injury,” it said, adding that it is “updating guidance on how to mitigate risks from [blasts]”

KEY STORY

The State of the Union

President Biden laid out his vision for the year ahead in his third State of the Union address

  • Biden listed what he described as a series of accomplishments, including on domestic manufacturing, inflation, and job creation. He also called for further aid to Ukraine; a 25% minimum tax on billionaires; Republican support for a border security spending bill; a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines; and more

  • He said he has instructed the US military to construct a port off Gaza’s coast to help deliver aid. He added that he is pushing for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza that would last for at least six weeks

  • At one point, Biden clashed with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) – who wore a “Biden Border Crisis” pin – over Laken Riley, a University of Georgia student killed by an illegal immigrant

Dig Deeper

  • Biden took frequent shots at former President Trump, who he only referred to as “my predecessor”

  • Katie Britt (R-AL) – the youngest woman ever elected to the Senate – delivered the Republicans’ response from her family home

  • Britt said Biden has “been in office longer than I’ve been alive” and accused him of overseeing declining living and security standards

RUNDOWN
Some Quick Stories for the Office

🇸🇪 Sweden has officially become the 32nd NATO member, ending decades of neutrality. Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in 2022

😴 The number of children who visited emergency rooms for melatonin consumption increased 420% between 2009 and 2020, federal data showed. However, most of those visits didn’t result in hospitalization

🔥 Last month was the hottest February on record, marking the ninth month in a row of record monthly temperatures. Per the UN, carbon dioxide concentrations are also at record highs over the past 2M years

💊 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted breakthrough therapy status to an LSD therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. The drug, produced by Mind Medicine Inc., will now enter Phase 3 clinical trials

🇺🇸 The US House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 50-0 to advance a bill that would force TikTok owner ByteDance to sell the app or face a US ban

COMMUNITY

Today's Poll:

What was your childhood ‘comfort’ item?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today’s poll is sponsored by Surfshark, a leading virtual private network (VPN) provider. Browse the web like a ghost!

POPCORN
Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🥊 Binge fighting: Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, 57, will fight social media influencer and boxer Jake Paul, 27, in a boxing match that will stream on Netflix

🛥 Savior of the Seas: Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas – the world’s largest cruise ship – rescued 14 individuals stranded for eight days at sea on a small boat

🏀 WTF, REF?! Refs waved off a game-winning buzzer beater in the New Jersey high school boys’ basketball state semifinals, even though video showed the shot was good. The team has appealed

🦘 Pouch-in-one: An Australian golfer captured a “stampede” of kangaroos (seen above) hopping across his home country club outside Melbourne

🧉 Okay, Yzma from Emperor’s New Groove: Police arrested a Texas mother after a drink she concocted for her son to give to his bully hospitalized the child

✖️ Bro really loves TI-84s: Police arrested a 33-year-old Wisconsin man for allegedly stealing $90,000 worth of calculators from Target. His thefts spanned from Georgia to Indiana

ON-THE-GROUND
Roca in Serbia

We send our co-founder Max Frost to investigate topics around the world and he writes about them here. He’s currently writing from Serbia. Subscribers receive the full stories.

In the US, the term “based” is used for people who say or do things that may go against mainstream culture. Urban Dictionary defines it as, “A word used when you agree with something; or when you want to recognize someone for being themselves, i.e. courageous and unique or not caring what others think.”

As I interviewed Jovana, I kept imagining a group of “free-thinking” friends (you know the type) saying “based” as she spoke. 

Jovana is from a small town in northern Serbia. She moved to Belgrade in pursuit of a more interesting and better life. She now teaches English to Chinese students and moonlights as an artist. I met her at a café and heard her thoughts on the world. 

“We’re not so feminist here,” she said early in the conversation. 

“We don’t have to push this agenda. It’s not a thing here. If you’re gay, for example, you don’t have to push this agenda. If you are, it’s okay. But it’s not that crazy. You can be whatever you want, but we should have different opinions.”

Jovana had traveled around Western Europe and said that while she loved it, she could never live there: “Here, I feel free. There, I have to watch what I say. People tell me, ‘You wouldn’t be able to say that there.’”

“Here it's free. Our government doesn't care what we do, so you can say anything…it’s more free because they don't have such power over everyone.”

Jovana had no interest in moving to Western Europe. There, “You're just working and that's it… Here, it's more chill. It's not just work, work, work. But also you have to suffer the consequences of not being rich.”

The conversation shifted toward the war in Ukraine.

“It's not like we support the war,” Jovana said. “We support Russia because it’s political, because Russia always supported us. Even when we got bombed in the nineties, they didn't bomb us. So why would we sanction them? If we were to not support them and sanction them it would be hypocritical.”

And then to the United States.

Jovanna said TikTok and the Israel-Hamas war had opened her eyes.

“I was watching all this news about Israel and Palestine. At first, I was only getting all this news supporting Israel. I didn't know much about it. I was just listening about it and then everything shifted and every TikTok that I see, it's some American guy or girl having their mind blown. They're just now realizing that America is not a good guy and they've been doing some bad stuff throughout their history.” 

“They happen to just realize it now and to me that's so mind-blowing. People go their whole lifetime in America not realizing [America isn’t the good guy] even though these people are intelligent.”

Finally, vaccines: “I got it and I regret it. I regret it because I was not forced to get it, if I was forced to by my job, I wouldn’t regret it.”

Jovana worried the vaccine’s side effects were lethal and that corporations and the government had covered that up. 

“I think that's the only thing I regret in my life, the vaccine.”

“If I had the information back then that I have now, and these views – I would never get the vaccine. I would just move in the mountains, plant my garden, and have sheep and cows.”

I imagined a friend of mine nodding his head, “Based Jovana.”

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

COMMUNITY
Treasure Hunt

Welcome to the weekly Roca treasure hunt! The rules are simple:

  • Every day we give a hint. You get one guess, which you submit by emailing [email protected] with a Google street view screenshot

  • Unlock an extra hint each Thursday once you refer five friends

  • The first person to guess the answer wins this week’s prize: A free year of Roca premium!

Clue 1: 311

Clue 2: A King's game and a companion's check

Clue 3: Two by two (or add 10 and 3)

Clue 4: I don't hear Mick, but I hear a tambourine

Clue 5: Record it here, name it that

Know the answer? Send the Google street view screenshot to [email protected].

COMMUNITY
20 Questions

As is Roca tradition, every Friday we ask our readers 20 questions or polls and include the answers the following Friday. Let us know your thoughts!

20 questions logo

Ladies and gentlemen, the Weeknd. With March Madness around the corner, the theme of today's 20 Questions is... college sports! Put your regional biases on display, and let's have some fun. As a side note, we should give a shoutout to the colleges that have been most helpful to Roca: The University of Georgia, the University of Virginia, Notre Dame, and the University of Alabama. Without further ado, let's ride.

Here’s the link! Have a great weekend.

Last Week’s 20 questions:

Last week, we asked you nostalgia-themed questions in which we gave throw-back items to rate on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. Below is Roca’s median answer per prompt!

Vinyl Record Player

8

Poodle Skirts

4

Leg Warmers

3

G.I. Joe Action Figures

5

Cabbage Patch Kids

5

MTV Live Performances

7

Lava Lamps

7

My Little Pony

4

Moon Shoes

3

Pet Rocks

3

VHS Tapes

7

Afros

6

Mullets

2

Disco Balls

7

Disco dancing

6

Bell Bottom Jeans

6

Levi's 501 Jeans

8

Walkman

8

Tamagotchi

4

AI Not Being a Thing

10

EDITOR’S NOTE
Final Thoughts

Thank you for celebrating National Proofreading Day with us. Here are the errors:

1) seizes —> ceases 2) Its —> It’s 3) there —> they’re 4) their —> they’re 5) Irregardless —> Regardless 6) serious —> seriously

Must be weird seeing typos in Roca, huh?!

Have a great weekend,

— Max, Max, Alex and Jen