🌊 This Pope Sure Is Frank

Plus: Senator ate 250 steak dinners at Morton’s in one year

AI is on the ballot in the UK. Literally.

Remember the good ol’ days when we thought the AI robot takeover would happen against our will? Well, great news — now you can vote it in! The first AI candidate AI Steve, and it’s running for Parliament in the UK. It has a human representative that will stand in for it, but AI Steve will “control” the human. Will be very strange to have a politican controlled by outside interests.

🥩 250 Steak Dinners?

🦬 Good Times Ahead

🏫 Roca Spelling Test

–Max and Max


Say It Once…

Pope Francis has reportedly used a slur for gay people twice in a month

  • In May, the Pope was quoted as saying that there is too much “frociaggine” – an Italian slur that roughly translates to “faggotry” – in Catholic seminaries

  • Sources close to the Pope told media the term really meant “gay climate,” yet the Vatican apologized on his behalf, saying, “The Pope never meant to offend or express himself with homophobic terms”

  • This week, though, the Pope was quoted as using the phrase again: “There is an air of frociaggine in the Vatican,” he reportedly said

Dig Deeper

  • The Vatican ruled in 2005 that men who are actively gay or have “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies cannot become priests. Pope Francis upheld that ruling in 2016 and later told Italian bishops not to accept gay candidates for the priesthood

  • Yet the Pope also has been one of the most accepting popes of LGBTQ individuals, famously asking, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”


US to Arm Azov

The US lifted a ban on arming Ukraine’s Azov brigade

  • In 2014, the Azov Battalion formed as a nationalist militia that sought to repulse Russia’s occupation of eastern Ukraine. Azov proved effective, but the US – having determined that it held ultranationalist views and had violated human rights – blocked the group from receiving aid. Azov was later brought into Ukraine’s military, but the ban remained

  • This week, the US said a “thorough review” found “no evidence of gross violations of human rights” by Azov. It said the group will now be entitled to receive the same aid and training as all other Ukrainian units

Dig Deeper

  • A US spokesperson blamed Russian disinformation for continued and allegedly unjustified negative perceptions about Azov

  • Russia, meanwhile, said the US was “even prepared to flirt with neo-Nazis” to win in Ukraine


Last Call to Invest in a Future Household Brand

  • The window is closing to get in on the next big thing in smart-home tech. RYSE, a leader in smart shade technology, is extending the opportunity for you to invest in their company until the end of today

  • This is what getting in early on smart-home companies with retail distribution looks like:

    • 20X returns for early investors in Nest when acquired by Google for $3.2 billion

    • 10X on invested capital for Ring’s early investors when acquired by Amazon for $1 billion

  • RYSE is mirroring that playbook, with $8M in revenues, six granted patents, and a growing presence in retail stores across North America!

Dig Deeper


Abortion Pill SCOTUS Ruling

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rejected an effort to restrict access to mifepristone, an abortion pill

  • A combination of mifepristone and another drug is taken to induce most abortions in the US. In late 2022, a pro-life doctors’ group filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. In 2023, a federal judge sided with the plaintiffs, however, the Biden Administration appealed

  • On Thursday, SCOTUS ruled 9-0 that the plaintiffs lacked the standing – the justification – to challenge mifepristone’s FDA approval, thereby preserving its FDA approval

Dig Deeper

  • The ruling overturns a lower court’s position that the doctors had standing to challenge mifepristone’s approval because a patient could one day present herself to the doctors over complications from the drug

  • “A plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue,” wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh


250 Steak Dinners

Senator Bob Menendez (D. - New Jersey) ate dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse 250 times in 2019

  • Menendez is on trial over charges that he took bribes in exchange for interfering in criminal investigations, pushing aid to Egypt, and other favors. Menendez chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the Senate’s most powerful bodies

  • In recent testimony, FBI agents said Menendez and his wife appeared to negotiate corrupt dealings at Morton’s Steakhouse. Menendez’s lawyer played down the allegations, saying that Menendez ate at the steakhouse 250 nights a year

Dig Deeper

  • One of the agents testified that he overheard Menendez’s wife – who is accused of funneling the bribes to Menendez – ask someone during a 2019 dinner at Morton’s, “What else can the love of my life do for you?”

  • Menendez’s attorney told the judge, “There is nothing unusual about having dinner [at Morton’s] with a diplomat or with a friend”

  • Other testimony has included that of an insurance salesman who pleaded guilty to bribing Menendez with a Mercedes and of a government official who testified that Menendez ordered him to stop interfering with a new halal meat certification firm owned by one of the men accused of bribing the senator

Some Quick Stories for the Office

🗳️ A new Monmouth University poll found that Donald Trump’s conviction hasn’t impacted Americans’ voting intentions. Around 40% of voters – nearly the same as last fall – said they would “probably” or “definitely” vote for Biden, and a similar share said they’d do so for Trump

🚗 Tesla shareholders voted to approve Elon Musk’s $44.9B pay package and to relocate its incorporation from Delaware to Texas. A Delaware judge had previously rejected the package, which Musk unlocked by meeting performance goals

⚖️ Two female Apple employees filed a proposed class action lawsuit, alleging the company has systematically underpaid female employees in violation of California law. The suit cites Apple’s policy of paying people based on their stated expected income when applying

🇷🇺 Russian prosecutors said they finalized the indictment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, paving the way for his trial. Russia has held Gershkovich, 32, for over a year, accusing him of being a spy without providing supporting evidence

🇨🇳 China urged the EU to drop a new policy that would impose up to 38% tariffs on Chinese vehicles in response to Chinese subsidies for automakers. The EU’s move has sparked an economic dispute


Question of the Day

Yesterday’s question: If you could choose anyone(s) to moderate one of this year’s presidential debates who would you choose?

Samuel L. Jackson would be my choice to moderate.

Michael from an undisclosed location

I would ask for Sharon McMahon.

She intelligent, bi partisan, well educated in government and is kind but can be firm when the situation calls for it.

I am positive she would ask relevant questions and guide the conversation in the direction the people of America would want to know about.

CJ from Arizona

Joe Rogan

Scott from an undisclosed location

20 Questions

Roca Nation, what a week of news!

If you had told us on Monday we’d be doing two more stories on the Michigan man who showed up to his Zoom court over a suspended license while driving, we wouldn’t have believed you. I mean… only two? But we made it through it all. Now it’s time for a fresh edition of 20 Questions: A spelling test! Without cheating, you have to guess if the most commonly misspelled words are spelled correctly or not.

Here’s a link. Have a great weekend!

Last Week’s 20 Questions:

The averages to last week’s war-themed 20 Questions.

Favorite war movie?
Most common answers - Saving Private Ryan, Forest Gump, and Inglorious Bastards

The war high schoolers should spend the most time studying?
World War 2 (44.7%)

Most intimidating warrior of all time?
Most common answers - Vikings, Samurai, and Huns

Best war song?
Battle Hymn of the Republic (57.9%)

Best war song? (pop version)
Fortunate Son (50.8%)

Most iconic US general?
George Washington (41.9%)

A war you love learning about?
Most unique answer - “The Opium War in India - I had no idea that tea was the cause of it!”

Best Vietnam War movie?
Platoon (33%)

Best World War 2 movie?
Saving Private Ryan (70.9%)

Best World War 2-adjacent movie?
Casablanca (36.5%) barely beats Oppenheimer (36%)

Most powerful Holocaust movie?
Schindler’s List (73%)

Greatest history teacher you ever had? What did you love about him/her?
“My father. He taught me to love this country, serve it's people, and how fragile and important our history is.”
“Dr. Pinkney. He taught about each historical person with personal anecdotes so that you felt that you knew them.”
“Dr. Ann Ingram Smith- World Civ: She taught me to see history as stories of individual humans rather than just dates and information to memorise. She made me fall in love with history, and is the reason I’ve acted for two historical museums.”

Would our youth step up for a war like WW2 today?
No (56.6%)

Best national anthem?
USA (76.4%)

Best modern war book?
All Quiet on the Western Front (41.6%)

Country that did the most to win WW2?
United States (65.6%)

Worst war America has gotten into?
Vietnam War (62.9%)

Favorite US military branch?
Marines (26.5%)

Do you view it as a plus if a Presidential candidate served in the military?
Yes (78.7%)

A veteran you’d like to give a shoutout to?
“Hank Griffith. May he rest in peace and may God bless him for the sacrifices he made for this country.”
“my grandpa--Victor Depperschmidt” (what a name!”
“Jerry Jeffreys Army Ranger my husband.”

Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🐊 It’s the circle of life: An aboriginal community in Australia killed a 12-foot “problem crocodile” that had been threatening the community, snatching dogs and stalking humans. They cooked it and served “crocodile tail soup”

🐔 Deep-fried summer camp: A Louisiana Chick-fil-A announced Chick-fil-A Summer Camp for kids. Admission costs $35 for a three-hour session with the Chick-fil-A Cow and team leaders and comes with a kids’ meal, t-shirt, and name tag

🐫 Crazy Camels the Ride: Two camels at Ohio’s Cedar Point amusement park escaped their petting zoo enclosure onto a walkway and jumped near guests. The cause of their escape remains unclear

🦬 Better times ahead: A rare white buffalo was born in Yellowstone National Park. According to Lakota legend, the buffalo fits a 2,000-year-old prophecy in which a woman turned into a white buffalo herself

🛒 What a shocker: IKEA claims to have resolved its “unhappy worker crisis” by raising salaries, introducing flexible working, and subsidizing childcare. After implementing the changes, the retailer reported a drop in the quit rate from 22.4% in August 2022 to 17.5% in April this year

Final Thoughts

That Wraps up the week. We hope you have great weekends. If you want to work on your spelling, here is that 20 Qs spelling test link once again.

See you on Monday!

–Max and Max