RocaNews - 🌊 Congress Capital LLC


January 19, 2022

Roca has some exciting news to share: After raising $4.4M and acquiring a top-rated news app (Axios article here), we are growing our team, expanding our content, and launching a news platform that will make the news more enjoyable, transparent, and interactive than anything that exists today.

We started Roca in late 2020 in a Washington, DC apartment with a big dream and a handful of Red Bull cans in the fridge. It's hard to believe how far we've come, and it's all because of YOU, our Roca Riders. We will continue to work hard every single day to bring you factual and enjoyable news. Let's ride!

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Key Stories

Call of Duty: Microsoft Ops

  • Microsoft announced a deal to buy Activision for $69B. It's Microsoft's biggest deal ever
  • Activision is one of the largest video game companies. Its franchises include Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush
  • Since last summer, Activision has faced allegations of having a "frat boy" culture, where women were harassed and mistreated. Since then, it's faced walkouts, resignations, and boycotts
  • Microsoft will spend more on the acquisition than it has total on acquisitions in the last 5 years. There are ~400M monthly players of Activision games

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. The deal comes a week after major video game companies Take-Two Interactive (Grand Theft Auto) and Zynga (Words with Friends) announced a merger. 

Chamath in Hot Water

  • Golden State Warriors co-owner and billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya is in hot water for comments about the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority
  • China has placed 1M+ Uyghurs in internment camps it says are for assimilation and education. Uyghurs say they face egregious rights abuses
  • “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, OK?” he said on his podcast, All-In. “I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, OK? Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line”
  • Chamath has 1.5M+ Twitter followers as a podcast host and venture capitalist. He later said he was "lacking empathy"

The Warriors, known for having a coach who is outspoken on social justice issues, said, “Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.” On Twitter, Chamath said, “To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States or elsewhere.”

5G Expansion is Here

  • The US' 2 largest telecoms companies, AT&T and Verizon, are rolling out expanded 5G networks today
  • The companies face fierce opposition from airlines, which have warned of "chaos" and cancelations. Airlines say 5G interferes with cockpit equipment
  • The concerns have forced AT&T and Verizon to delay the rollout twice since December 5. This time they say they are pressing ahead, although they are limiting 5G service near some airports
  • While 5G service already exists in the US and elsewhere, the expanded US service shares more of the same bandwidth used by plane devices, causing the concerns

Both AT&T and Verizon will limit the use of 5G towers near certain airports. They and the government say the compromise will keep flights safe and running on time, however some airlines – including Emirates, Air India, and Japan Airlines – canceled flights into the US.

Pressure Builds on Stock-Trading Politicians


  • Amid a bipartisan push, lawmakers are facing pressure about their ability to trade individual stocks
  • Last week, 2 Democratic senators introduced a bill that would ban politicians from trading specific stocks. A similar bipartisan bill exists in the House
  • Sponsors of the bills say politicians shouldn't be allowed to trade stocks, given their information and power. Currently, lawmakers can trade stocks but must disclose their trades 
  • In 2021, Congress members bought $25M in Microsoft stock – more than 5x the next most-bought company (Alphabet/Google, $4.6M)

Since 2020, the FBI has investigated politicians from both parties for breaking Congressional trading rules. A spokesperson for President Biden said last week that banning lawmakers from trading individual stocks would help “restore faith in our institutions.” 

finger What do you think?

Today's Poll:
Better movie genre: Rom-Coms or Thrillers?


Today's Question:
In your lifetime, what celebrity death hit you the hardest? Why?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap!

popcorn Popcorn

Culture & Sports 
  • "You're a parody singer, Harry!" Daniel Radcliffe will play "Weird Al" Yankovic in the forthcoming biopic about the comedy musician
  • The Grammy Awards are moving to Las Vegas! The music industry's biggest awards ceremony will now take place in Sin City. It normally happens in LA
  • ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith opened up about his bout with Covid and said he "didn't know if [he] was going to make it"
  • New year, new paycheck: A new survey finds that US companies are expecting to pay workers an average 3.4% raise in 2022
  • "Sparkling, tap, or Purell?" Cracker Barrel has been ordered to pay $9.4M after a man was served sanitizer instead of water
  • YouTube is shuttering its original content group after 6 years. It will continue to fund its Black Voices and YouTube Kids programs

  • A US Senate candidate from Louisiana unveiled a new ad that showed him lighting up a rolled blunt and smoking it...
  • Pulled croc, please: Demand for crocodile meat is spiking in Thailand as the price of pork rises. 20,000 crocs are slaughtered for meat each month
  • Paris is declaring a war against trash with a "manifesto for beauty," as it tries to re-discover its allegedly lost cleanliness
  • A $533M Roman villa containing a Caravaggio mural failed to sell after receiving no bids. The auction concluded early and will resume later

Roca Wrap

A Newsletter Exclusive

When cars first appeared on New York’s streets in the late 1800s, official identification wasn’t necessary: Only the wealthiest people could afford them; most were stuck with horses. 

As their increasing numbers clogged the streets, though, they sparked conflict: Police and horse drivers wanted them off the roads. The city was soon in chaos, and the state’s governor decided cars should register with the state. To do so, he implemented license plates.  

To register their car, owners had to construct a license plate with their initials. Each owner was responsible for making their own plate, leading to plates made from wood, leather, metal, and paint. 

As cars increasingly replaced horses, that system started to fail: Too many people shared initials. To confront the same issue, Massachusetts issued state-specific plates. Other states soon followed, and by 1918, all US states issued their own plates, eventually in the same 12x6-inch size. 

From early days, states made prisoners responsible for producing license plates. Today, companies – most notably industrial giant 3M – furnish jails with license plate manufacturing machines, and prisoners produce plates at cut rates. Prisoners’ low wages have sparked controversy: They often earn less than $1/hour for their labor. 

In 1928, Idaho became the first state to spice up its plates, stamping “Idaho Potatoes” on them. Other states followed with mottos and symbolic images. By 1965, the government realized the plates were valuable real estate: For a small fee, they offered car owners the chance to personalize numbers and letters on state-issued plates. 

The “vanity plate” has since surged in popularity – 9.3M issued at last count – and become a significant revenue source. States also sold specialty plates, such as a “Don’t Tread on Me” plate in Virginia or a “Future Farmers of America” one in Louisiana, to bring in revenue for government and charity. Over 19% of Virginians own vanity plates, making Virginia the vainest state. 

To block inappropriate plates, states created lists of banned words, phrases, or letter/number combinations. Florida, for example, has banned "PIMPALA,” while New York plates can’t read "FDNY," "NYPD," or "GOD.” 

The ability of a state’s licensing agency to decide what a plate can and can’t say has angered some Americans, who call it a free speech violation. In 2001, a Vermont woman sued the DMV when they recalled her plate: SHTHPNS. In 2019, a New Hampshire woman with the plate PB4WEGO won a battle against the state to keep it.

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

think Games

Name the famous TV comedy show by the first names of its main characters.
  1. Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross
  2. Leonard, Sheldon, Penny, Howard, Raj
  3. Peter, Lois, Meg, Chris, Stewie, Brian
  4. Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, Waldorf, Scooter
Find out the answer at the bottom of Roca Clubhouse.

wave Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Better all-time comedy actor? Only counting movies...

Will Ferrell: 60.1%
Adam Sandler: 39.9%

Yesterday's Question:

What is your favorite late-night comedy movie of all time? Elaborate.

Kareem from Los Angeles: "Superbad"

Griffin from Alabama: "Old School. Such an original idea for a comedy and so many quotable lines ("We're going streaking!!", "YOU'RE MY BOY BLUE!!", etc.)"

Francesca from New York: "The Week Of (on Netflix). I'm from Long Island and although the movie sort of makes fun of people living on LI, it's rather  accurate and hysterical....highly recommend!"

General Feedback:

Bill from Kansas: "I had no idea who Jake Paul was, so I googled him. I didn't read anything. Just looked at the pictures provided. I already want Mike Tyson to beat him."

Sam from Austin: "The 79% who chose Gangnam Style over Baby Shark don't have kids, because those who do already listen to Baby Shark on repeat every day of existence, so we know it's possible and it fades out in your mind after the 4000th time!"

20 Questions: 6-10

Every Friday, we ask the Roca Riders 20 questions and feature a few of our favorite answers.

6. How many days after the sell-by date will you drink milk?
"Negative 3"
"I gave up on cow milk due to this very struggle"
"Smell is way more important. So see if it's wonky"

7. What's the coolest kind of hobby someone could have?
"Knitting obviously"
"Building Lego sets, which I do!"
"Wingsuit-ing (not a real word, but MAN does jumping off a cliff like a giant, crazy, flying squirrel look FUN!!)"

8. Least cool?
"Drugs are bad, mmmk?"
"Coloring books"

9. Are you handy? (Good with power tools etc.)
"Yes, my dad had 5 girls we learned how to do many things!"
"Yup, currently rebuilding my 6G72 (Mitsubishi 3L v6 engine)"
"Maybe in the Metaverse"

10. One thing you would add to your apartment/home if you were able?
"Towel warmer"
"A fully stocked bar"
"A soundproofed room. I have a drumset in my parents basement I want to play daily, but my apartment neighbors get mad if I vacuum too often so I don't think they'd like me hitting stuff with sticks every day."
Games Answer(s):
1. Friends 2. Big Bang Theory 3. Family Guy 4. The Muppets

Final Thoughts 

Riders: We can't thank you enough for your support thus far. Roca's mission is to forever change the way people consume news – to make the experience as enjoyable, informative, and beneficial as possible. Your early support has made us believe our goals are achievable.

So thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you!  

-Max, Max, Billy, and Jen

wave Today's Instagram Wrap is on the origins of Seinfeld, and why the wildly successful show about nothing almost never happened.
Thanks for reading! See you again tomorrow!
As always, send thoughts and feedback to
Written by Max Frost and Max Towey | Graphics by Billy Carney

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