RocaNews - 🌊 He's A Murdaugher

July 13, 2022

Drop the "land," just "Hollywood." Today in 1923, the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles was dedicated. It originally read "Hollywoodland," but they went full Sean Parker and dropped the "land" in a 1949 renovation. They would've dropped all 13 letters if they knew Hollywood would one day release Cats.

In today's edition:

  • Murdaugh murder charge
  • Breaking Bad statues
  • Prohibition in the US, Pt. 1
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 Key Stories

Kalanick on Violence, Biden, and More

The Guardian obtained 124,000+ leaked files shedding light on Uber’s interactions with governments

  • The files contained many texts sent by former CEO and Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick. In one, he complained that then-VP Biden kept him waiting: “I’ve had my people let him know that every minute late he is, is one less minute he will have with me”
  • They also appeared to show Kalanick pushing Uber drivers to violently protest restrictions on the company in France: “I think it’s worth it. Violence guarantee[s] success”
  • Kalanick was pushed out of Uber in 2017

Murdaugh to Face Murder Charges

Authorities indicated they will charge Alex Murdaugh with murdering his wife and son

  • Murdaugh, who comes from a legal dynasty in South Carolina, told police last June that his wife and son had been murdered near his hunting lodge
  • He further came to national attention in September 2021, when he was found with a gun wound to the head. It later emerged that Murdaugh had paid someone to shoot him as part of an insurance fraud attempt
  • Murdaugh already faced several charges and 70+ years in prison. Now, he also faces murder charges, which can carry the death penalty
Dig Deeper
  • The Murdaughs were so dominant in their region of South Carolina that it was nicknamed "Murdaugh Country." From 1920 to 2006, 3 consecutive members of the family served as the district's district attorney – tasked with prosecuting all criminal charges during that period – and the family ran an influential law firm

Ukraine Plans Counteroffensive

Ukraine has begun a major counteroffensive to reclaim parts of southern Ukraine from Russia

  • Ukrainian officials said the goal is to capture the city of Kherson, which Russia has occupied since March. Kherson is the only provincial capital Russia has seized during the war, which began in late February
  • Ukraine has faced consistent losses and reports of low morale among its troops — many of whom are in trenches where they face constant bombing
  • In other Ukraine news: Several NATO members expressed concern that weapons given to Ukraine may be illegally sold back into Europe

Unmanned Plane Breaks Flight Record 

A solar-powered plane broke the record for the longest-ever flight. It’s been flying for over 26 days

  • The unmanned aircraft, known as Zephyr, flies at 70,000 ft (23 km), well above commercial planes. With a wingspan of 82 ft (25 m), its ultralight frame allows it to maintain flight using built-in solar panels and batteries
  • It set the existing flight-length record in 2018, when it flew for 25 days, 23 hours, and 57 mins. As of print, it has exceeded the 26-day threshold and is still flying somewhere over the American southwest
  • European aerospace giant Airbus owns the vehicle
Dig Deeper
  • To celebrate Zephyr's record-breaking flight, remote operators spelled the words "26," "USA," and "UK" with the plane's flight path
popcorn Popcorn
  • Venti caution: Starbucks is closing 16 stores nationwide citing "safety concerns" in Seattle, LA, DC, Philly, and Portland
  • WayStar EmmyCo: HBO's Succession broke the record for most Emmy acting nominations in a single year, including 2 "lead actor" ones
  • Say it loudoun! The wealthiest county in the US by median household income is Loudoun County, just outside DC in Northern Virginia

  • Like hell yah, Mr. White: Albuquerque is unveiling statues of Breaking Bad main characters Jesse Pinkman and Walter White
  • 1-star extortion: Restaurants say they're being threatened with 1-star Google ratings unless they pay up with a digital gift card
  • Nobody outpizzas the boar: An Italian woman bitten by a wild boar at the beach thinks the pig was attracted by the smell of her pizza

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
Brought to you by Kalshi

Will a hurricane make landfall in New Jersey in 2022?

Will 2022 be the hottest year on record?

Will high inflation (<.2%) end in any month in  2022?

Thousands of Roca Riders respond to our poll every day.

With Kalshi, you can actually profit from your convictions. Kalshi is the first federally regulated exchange where you can trade on the outcome of everyday events — from the weather to economics to political bills. It's easy, fun, and gives you the chance to take home cold hard cash. Get early access today here.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's results (hopefully the air conditioning starts working at Roca HQ if the second poll proves to be true).

Today's Question:

Do you think the new image of space from the James Webb Telescope deserves all the hype? Explain.

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

 Roca Wrap

Today's Wrap takes us to a century ago, when the United States decided it had a drinking problem. This is part 1 of a 2-part series on prohibition. 

Once upon a time, a trip to the local bar could end with jail time.

That was during prohibition – a US ban on the production, sale, or transportation of alcohol that lasted from 1920-1933. Prohibition was rooted in the temperance movement, a campaign by religious officials and women to prohibit alcohol based on the belief that it increased crime, poverty, and laziness.

By the 1900s, the temperance movement gained popularity on a national stage. Led by popular organizations such as the Anti-Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, 26 of the 48 US states had passed some type of law limiting alcohol sales by 1916. 

Prohibition politics became the hot-button issue of the day: Those in favor of such laws (the “bone-drys”) and those against them (the “wets”) soon brought the debate to Washington, D.C. In 1917, some representatives brought forward the prohibition amendment, and the Senate voted 65 – 20 in favor of it. The House passed it soon after. Large majorities of both parties supported it.

By January 1919, 45 of the US’ 48 states ratified the amendment. It took effect a year later. New Jersey would ratify it in 1922, and in the end, just 2 states – Connecticut and Rhode Island – rejected it. 

The 18th Amendment, which prohibited the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquor,” thus took effect. Congress also passed the Volstead Act in 1919, officially banning all beverages exceeding 0.5% ABV, besides those used for medicinal, religious, or industrial purposes.

Proponents of the bill rejoiced. One reverend optimistically declared: “The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile and children will laugh. Hell will be forever for rent.” And at first, prohibition seemed to be working: Reports suggested that in the year after prohibition took effect, per capita alcohol consumption dropped 75%.

In reality, though, many people were just finding other ways to drink. Since alcohol was legal for medical purposes, “pharmacies” began prescribing whiskey for ailments ranging from the common cold to syphilis. Companies began selling barrels of “grape concentrate” with labels warning their customers not to leave the contents sitting around too long, lest they turn into wine. Some people claimed to be rabbis to purchase wine for “religious” ceremonies. 

The resulting black market sparked a surge in “bootlegging,” or the illegal production and sale of alcohol. As gangs produced, transported, and sold huge quantities of liquor, and underground bars – speakeasies – became big business, gangs found themselves battling for control of the trade. 

As crime and incarceration increased, it became clear that prohibition was failing. Nothing did that more than the rise of a Chicago gangster named Al Capone. 

If you have thoughts, let us know at!
Future Wrap ideas or requests? Let us know!

 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you know the name of your (or a) local weatherman?
Yes: 50.3%
No: 49.7%

Yesterday's Question:

What did you have for breakfast today? 

Carson from Lincoln: "Chef Boyardee Ravioli"

Danielle from Michigan: "Air. Breakfast was had at noon"

Joan from Maryland: "Fat free Cottage cheese with pineapple and lots of coffee"

 RocaNews Shoutout:

Thanks to Roca Rider Eduard who referred 10+ friends to The Current! As a thank you, we're shouting out one of Eduard's favorite artists: Romanian artist Tzancă Uraganu. Go give him a listen!
Today's Clue (Day 2 of 4):

From Romania, without love - Snitch
Day 1: A melodrama, no where near the empire state

Another movie-themed Treasure Hunt! The correct answer to this week's Treasure Hunt will be a movie location. Thursday's newsletter will contain a bonus clue, which is automatically unlocked by referring 2 people to this newsletter. In total there will be 5 clues about 1 movie site.

This week, first place takes home $250; second and third place take home $100 each. 

You get one guess, which you submit by replying to a newsletter with a Google street view screenshot.


 Final Thoughts

"A night of terror" is how then-New York City mayor described this night in 1977. 

From July 13 to 14 of that year, a massive blackout shut down the power across swaths of the city. Chaos ensued, with looting and vandalism impacting over 1,600 businesses. The damage came to $1.3B in today's dollars, and resulted in the largest mass-arrest in New York City history.

At Roca, we were going to mark the anniversary of the blackout by writing this newsletter by hand. Eventually, though, we decided it would take too long to count all the poll results.  

- Max and Max

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