🌊 Ron DeFrontrunner?

Ron DeSantis leads Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nominatio.n, 2 polls found..

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's.... a casting call for Superman. DC Studios channeled their inner Lex Luthor and gave incumbent superman Henry Cavill the axe — or, the kryptonite. Cavill said it was "not the easiest news" and that he was told just 2 months ago he would return as Superman. But Henry shook it off, and now he's flying back to Krypton.

In today's edition:

  • Flight tracker sent packing

  • Influencer fraud scheme

  • Plight of Paul Whelan, Pt. 2

🔑 Key Stories

Twitter Suspends @elonjet

  • A teenager created the account in 2020. It uses an algorithm and publicly available data to track Elon Musk’s private jet and its carbon emissions

  • In November, Musk tweeted, “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk”

  • On Wednesday, Twitter banned the account, then briefly restored it, then suspended it again. At 6:12 PM ET, a company account said Twitter updated its policy to “prohibit sharing someone else’s live location”

Dig Deeper

  • Musk later said that a stalker tracked Musk's car to harass his son – whom Musk referred to as "lil X" – and that Twitter will no longer allow real-time location sharing. He said he is pursuing legal action against @elonJet's administrator. Twitter has banned nearly 2 dozen other real-time tracking accounts

Autopsy: Wahl Died of Aneurysm

Grant Wahl died from an aneurysm, his widow said

  • Wahl, widely regarded as one of the US’ top soccer experts, collapsed at a World Cup match in Qatar last Friday and died shortly after

  • His brother cried foul play: Wahl had been briefly detained at an earlier match for wearing a pride shirt and had criticized Qatar’s treatment of workers

  • Wahl, 48, had experienced chest pressure and cold-like symptoms in the weeks prior to his death. An autopsy taken in the US found that he died of a long-developing condition. “There was nothing nefarious about his death,” his widow said

Dig Deeper

  • Doctors say the aneurysm was likely growing for years and went undetected due to the lack of screening for such things at his age. Health professionals say such aneurysms are most common in people over 60 who smoke, but still possible among younger people

Poll: DeSantis Leads Trump

Ron DeSantis leads Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, 2 polls found

  • Former president Trump has already announced he will run for a second term in 2024. Florida governor DeSantis hasn’t yet declared his candidacy, but is widely seen as Trump’s top rival in the primaries

  • Per a WSJ poll, 52% of likely Republican voters would hypothetically vote for DeSantis in the 2024 primaries, vs. 38% for Trump. A USA Today poll found 56% support DeSantis, vs. 33% for Trump

  • Per WSJ, Trump’s approval rating among Republicans has fallen 11% since March (to 74%)

Dig Deeper

  • Both polls also found that Republicans overwhelmingly want somebody who will continue President Trump's policies — but not Trump himself

Top Turkish Politician Jailed

A Turkish court sentenced a major opposition politician to ~2 yrs in jail for “insulting public figures”

  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been president of Turkey since 2014. A controversial figure, he is widely seen as having restricted Turkey’s democracy

  • In 2019, opposition politician Ekrem Imamoğlu won a mayoral election in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. The victory positioned him as a top Erdoğan rival

  • Erdoğan’s party challenged the election results; in response, Imamoğlu called election officials “fools.” Wednesday, for that comment, a court sentenced him to ~2 yrs in jail and banned him from running for office

Dig Deeper

  • Erdoğan himself was Istanbul's mayor in the 1990s, before being imprisoned and stripped of his position for reading a poem that violated Turkish law. In protest of Imamoğlu's sentencing, the leader of his party said, "This song won't end here," an allusion to Erdogan's own words back then

How Do You Pronounce LMNT?

Together with LMNT

The correct answer is “element,” and it’s the electrolyte we recommend Roca Riders hydrate with this holiday season

  • Electrolytes are essential minerals that facilitate vital bodily functions, including the conduction of nerve impulses, hormonal regulation, nutrient absorption, and fluid balance

  • LMNT electrolytes contain just what you need – sodium, potassium, and magnesium – without any sugar or other harmful additives. Just mix it with water and it’s perfect for hydrating, be it after a workout or night out

  • Other popular electrolyte drinks contain as much as 36 grams of sugar – 36 GRAMS!LMNTcontains none – NONE!

  • Everyone from NBA, NFL, and NHL players to Navy Seals, moms, and dads drink it

Dig Deeper

  • You can try it totally risk-free: If you don’t like it, you get your money back, no questions asked. Right now LMNT is offering Roca Riders a free sample pack with any purchase. That’s 8 single servings FREE with any LMNT order, so you can try all 8 flavors or share with a friend.

🍿 Popcorn


  • Free me, I'm vegan: A Bahamas judge denied Sam Bankman-Fried's request for bail. SBF reportedly brought up his ADD diagnosis and vegan diet in his plea for bail

  • Merci, Messi: France moved past Morocco for a World Cup final match against Argentina. Messi confirmed that this match will be his final World Cup one

  • *YouTube apology incoming*: The SEC charged 8 social media influencers with an alleged $100M stock manipulation scheme through their Twitter and Discord accounts


  • You're a fake one, Mr. Grinch: An Arizona driver was busted for using the HOV lane with an inflatable Grinch in the front seat. Authorities cited the driver

  • Zoo-dystopia: Swedish zookeepers shot 4 chimpanzees dead after they escaped into an amusement park. The zoo said it didn't have enough tranquilizer

  • Book de la auction: A copy of Don Quixote from the 1600s sold for over $500k at auction. Miguel de Cervantes' classic was published in Spain in 1605

👇🏻 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Have you ever hit an animal on the road?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

Do you ever look through old yearbooks? What hits you the hardest about them?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

Paul Whelan in Jail Cell

This is part 2 of a 2-part series on Paul Whelan, an American jailed in Russia since 2018.

Moments after Russian agents arrested Paul Whelan in a Moscow hotel room in 2018, he claimed that they reassured him: “You’ll be traded,” they allegedly said.

Months before Whelan was arrested, the US had arrested a Russian woman, Maria Butina, whom US authorities accused of being a spy. Many speculated that Russia’s arresting Whelan – also accused of spying – was reciprocation.

Beyond Butina, the US had other high-profile Russians in jail: One, Viktor Bout, was serving a 25-year sentence for trafficking weapons to terror groups that planned to kill Americans. Another, Konstantin Yaroshenko, was serving 20 years on drug-smuggling charges.

US officials have said that Russia’s ambassador offered a direct trade: Whelan for Butina, Bout, and Yaroshenko.

The US rejected the offer: Butina would serve her 18-month sentence, they said, and Bout was too notorious and therefore off the table. Conversations continued about swapping Yaroshenko for Whelan, but a deal never manifested.

For various reasons, the negotiations stalled. Officials who worked on the matter have said Russia was convinced it had actually caught a spy and was therefore demanding too much for Whelan. Some on the US side reportedly believed the same, and were therefore hesitant to intervene on his behalf.

Others said Whelan’s family lacked the connections and political sway to get his case to the highest levels of government; Whelan’s family has said they spent years “begging people” in Washington, to little effect.

In June 2020, after 18 months in jail, Whelan went on trial. During it, while standing in a glass courtroom cage, Whelan – an outspoken Trump supporter – called on the then-president to tweet about his case. There was no response, though, and Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian penal colony.

Eventually, National Security Advisor John Bolton reportedly got Trump’s attention on the matter, and Trump raised it multiple times with President Putin. But Putin reportedly demanded either Bout or Yaroshenko, neither of whom Trump would trade.

And so Whelan’s plight continued.


At his Russian penal colony, Whelan lived in a building with 50-60 other people, all of whom shared 4 toilets, slept in a row of bunkbeds, and were allowed twice-weekly showers. Whelan’s days began with 15 minutes of exercise at 6 AM, followed by 8 hours of clothes-making in a workshop.

In a November 2020 interview, Whelan said that the other prisoners – who include some violent offenders but are mostly on smaller drug charges – have “actually been quite welcoming,” adding that "everybody works together as a team, so there is kind of a bit of a brotherhood.”

"They all laughed when I got here," he has said. "Everybody knows that it's complete crap, and they laugh and say, 'Well, yeah, this is what the FSB does. It's obviously political.'"

In a separate interview he said, “I’ve been in war, slept in the desert, in the mud—this is pretty good.” Still, he has been hospitalized multiple times, including last month.


In February, Brittney Griner, a WNBA star, touched down in Moscow. She planned to spend her offseason playing on a Russian team, but was found to be carrying cannabis oil and arrested. Days later, Russia invaded Ukraine, sending US-Russia relations to a new low.

The US declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained,” and soon entered into negotiations to secure her release. In July, it leaked that the US had offered to exchange Bout for both Griner and Whelan. On August 1, it was reported that Russia had rejected the offer; days later, Griner was sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Negotiations continued until last week, when the countries reached a deal: Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout. Both were back in their respective countries a day later; Whelan remained in prison.

Biden’s critics have said he opted to bring home a basketball player who actually broke the law over a Marine veteran jailed on made-up charges. Critics have also criticized the cost of Griner’s release: Freedom for Viktor Bout, who, in 2010, the DEA’s former chief of operations called “one of the most dangerous men on the face of the Earth.”

But the administration denies it had a chance of securing Whelan’s release: “This was not a situation where we had a choice of which American to bring home,” one official said last week. “It was a choice between bringing home one particular American – Brittney Griner – or bringing home none.” The Biden administration claims it is still working on freeing Whelan.

Politics aside, Whelan’s reality is that he is trapped in Russia with 14 years remaining on his 16-year sentence.

“I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release,” he said in an interview after Griner’s release.

“I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you prefer roundabouts or traffic lights? If you're upset that we didn't say rotary, that's also an option.Roundabouts: 58.2%Traffic lights: 36.6%They're called rotaries: 5.2%

Yesterday's Question:

What's the nicest thing you ever saw a teacher do in school? (Yesterday was the "worst" and we got some stories...)

Ana from Utah: "At the end of the year, my AP Lit teacher in High school gave each of us a book that he thought we would resonate with based on our essays, comments in class, and journals we would write every week. I still have mine!"

Lynn from Arizona: "This teacher washed and dried a child’s clothes (while providing clean things to wear) at school because they were not being taken care of at home."

Carl from California: "My 6th grade Spanish teacher came to my mom’s funeral and then stopped by the house afterwards just to let us all know that she would be there for us if we needed anything. We all were in high school by then, so we had not been at her school in years, but she still took time to come let us know she cared. I got to visit her when she was on her death bed many years later, and she was just as loving and kind all the way to the end. She was a gem."

🧠 Final Thoughts

Happy Thursday, Roca readers. Thanks for reading another newsletter. Let us know your thoughts on the Paul Whelan situation – we are curious to hear them.

Tonight we're having our office Christmas celebration at our favorite hibachi restaurant. Wish us luck in catching the broccoli in our mouths!

Max and Max