In This Episode
- President Biden traveled to Buffalo, New York, yesterday to speak with the families of victims of the white supremacist mass shooting, as well as other community members. Without invoking any particular names, Biden also referenced political and media figures who have attempted to gain from spreading the racist lie of the so-called “replacement theory.”
- A judge in Michigan temporarily blocked the state’s nearly century-old abortion ban from going back into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Michigan is one of nine states with one of these pre-Roe-era abortion bans on their books.
- And in headlines: a senior Trump official met with two prominent activists from the ‘Stop The Steal Movement’ on January 6th, children aged 5 to 11 can now get COVID vaccine boosters, and federal lawmakers held the first congressional hearing about UFOs in over 50 years.
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For a transcript of this episode, please visit crooked.com/whataday
Gideon Resnick: It’s Wednesday, May 18th. I’m Gideon Resnick.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi, and this is What A Day, where we’re reminding anyone who bought NFTs of our old episodes to sell them as quickly as humanly possible.
Gideon Resnick: That’s right. We may have hyped it as a great investment back in March 2021, but we take it back and advise you to get out.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. What A Day, not a licensed financial adviser.
Gideon Resnick: Not in any state or jurisdiction. On today’s show, a Michigan judge ruled that the state’s unenforced abortion ban cannot go into effect if Roe is overturned. Plus, we’ll have updates on recent mass shootings in Texas and Southern California.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, we focus on Saturday’s shooting in Buffalo, New York. President Biden traveled to Buffalo yesterday to speak with the families of victims of the white supremacist mass shooting, and other community members. In a speech, he strongly condemned white supremacy and referred repeatedly to the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.
[clip of President Biden] White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison running through our–[applause]–it really is. Through our body politic. And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. I mean, no more. We need to say, as clearly and forces we can, that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. [applause] None. And look, failing to say that is going to be complicity. Silence is complicity. It’s complicity. We cannot remain silent.
Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t actually know if previous presidents have ever talked about white supremacy before. It kind of feels like it’s a big deal for him to be calling it out in this way, and good on him for doing that. But Gideon, what else does President Biden have to say during his visit?
Gideon Resnick: Yes. He also paid tribute to the victims in sometimes emotional moments, and without invoking any particular names, Biden also referenced political and media figures who have attempted to gain politically or financially from spreading the racist lie of the so-called replacement theory.
[clip of President Biden] I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit.
Gideon Resnick: Yes, this is not entirely new territory for Biden. He has condemned white supremacy strongly in the past, as recently as the 2017 Charlottesville rally that compelled him, he said, to actually run for president. But some people are now asking what the actual plan is to try and prevent attacks like this in the future. NAACP President Derrick Johnson told the Associated Press that it was important for Biden to show up in Buffalo, but, quote, “We’re more concerned with preventing this from happening in the future.” And Tony Arrington, a hairstylist in Buffalo, told The New York Times, quote, “I could care less about what Biden said. I want to see action.”
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that response does make a lot of sense. I think a lot of us really do feel fed up at this point. But one thing that we talk about a lot after these horrific mass shootings is federal gun control legislation. What are people saying about that at this point?
Gideon Resnick: Yes, so Joe Biden was asked about that by reporters on Tuesday at the Buffalo airport and he said this.
[clip of President Biden] The answer is going to be very difficult. It’s going to very difficult. But I’m not going to give up trying.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. And that is how it has historically been after all of this happened. Most of that difficulty stems from intractable problems in Congress that have plagued tons of other would-be popular pieces of legislation like background checks in the past. Though a number of Democratic senators, including Dick Durbin and Chris Murphy, have reportedly met recently to discuss a proposal that they say could possibly pass amid this ever-growing frustration from gun control activists. But again, that is all easier said than done.
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s talk about state laws for a second, because on the federal side, myself, at least, it’s frustrating to talk about. How is this shooter even able to obtain this weapon?
Gideon Resnick: That’s a question that a lot of people have been asking in the days since this horrific attack, right? So New York, for some context, is one of 19 states that has a so-called red flag law, which is intended to keep people from possessing firearms if they might be a danger to themselves or to others. The process for invoking this involves filing an application with the state court system, and the person applying has to include, quote, “specific facts and circumstances to back it up.” After that, a judge would hold a hearing in which both sides could be heard. And then if the order is granted, the person would have to surrender all of their guns and would not be able to buy others for up to a year.
Priyanka Aribindi: Just a year!?
Gideon Resnick: I think it can get renewed, but it starts at that point, if I’m not mistaken.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s so wild.
Gideon Resnick: But it is a pretty involved process to get through all of that. And since it took effect in 2019, there have been almost 600 orders barring people in the state from having guns, according to the State Office of Court Administration.
Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. That feels like maybe should be a one and done situation in my book, but, did this law apply to the gunman in this case?
Gideon Resnick: It was not used here. The shooter’s family, law enforcement, schools, could have started an application process, but reportedly none of them did. And in hindsight, they could have had some justification. Authorities say that last year, when the shooter was still in high school near Binghamton, New York, there was this project where students were asked about their plans after graduation. The shooter, who was 17 at the time, apparently responded by saying his were to commit murder-suicide. So he claimed that was a joke. But a vice principal reported the remark and the future shooter was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation and was released just a few days later. There is later reporting that revealed that the shooter said in an online post that he was lying about it being a joke. A state police said on Monday that they had not sought a red flag order against him. They also previously said that there hadn’t been a specific threat mentioned–that is apparently the threshold. And it’s a point that New York Governor Kathy Hochul raised as well, though she also said this situation leads to questions about whether changes need to be made to the law. Additionally, the Governor is going to reportedly unveil a new set of gun control bills as soon as today. So we’re going to keep an eye on that as well.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. And now turning back to another story that we’ve been following for a while: abortion rights nationwide. I am happy to report that we actually have some good news for a change.
Gideon Resnick: OK.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Yesterday, a judge in Michigan temporarily blocked the state’s nearly century-old abortion ban from going back into effect if Roe v Wade is overturned.
Gideon Resnick: I think hearing that a near-century law was going to take effect, something to pause on for just a moment. So how did this actually happen?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. It is wild, but I’m happy to give the backstory here. So there is a law in Michigan from back in 1931 that made providing an abortion a felony without any exceptions for rape and incest. It also criminalized selling or advertising medications that could induce an abortion. When Roe became law of the land in 1973, that 1931 law became dormant, but it was still on the books, meaning that if Roe was overturned, it could be enforced again. Literally, it would be like living like we did 100 years ago.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, wow.
Priyanka Aribindi: So completely wild. Would have been great if they just tied up that loose end and got rid of it. But it’s, it’s fine, I guess. Both Planned Parenthood and Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, challenged this rule in hopes of blocking its enforcement. And in response to Planned Parenthood’s case, a judge issued a preliminary injunction against this law.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Do we know why the judge made that injunction?
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m not a lawyer. Sadly, Josie is not here with us today but I’m going to do my best impression here. As I said earlier, this isn’t a permanent decision. It basically means that the law will not be enforced while the court is still examining it. And if Roe is overturned, you know, in that period of time, it will not be enforced. In the ruling, the judge actually said that in the end, Planned Parenthood would most likely win the case challenging the law’s constitutionality, so this is just a precursor and great news for everybody who cares about abortion rights.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. So to that end, what was the immediate reaction to all of this?
Priyanka Aribindi: Governor Whitmer called the decision, quote, “an important victory for Michiganders” and that, quote, “no matter what, I’ll keep fighting like hell to protect access to abortion in Michigan.” And Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is the defendant in this case–because her job is to defend laws on the books, even if she doesn’t like them, this abortion ban, being one of those laws–agreed that yesterday’s ruling was a victory and promised not to appeal this decision.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, so obviously great news for Michigan, for Michiganders, but what about the other states with these kinds of old laws that are on the books that are not being enforced but could, if Roe is overturned?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, simply A, we’ll never get over the word Michiganders, but I will get back to your question. We’ve talked about this on the show before. Michigan is one of nine states with one of these pre-Roe era abortion bans on their books. But in this case, we have Governor Whitmer. She is a Democrat. She is an ardent supporter of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. That is not something that the rest of the states can say about their governors. Most of them are Republicans who in many cases are hoping to add more abortion restrictions, not really help people get that kind of care. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the status of those other states and where things stand, but that is the latest for now.
Gideon Resnick: Let’s get to some headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: Here is a quick update on what we know from yesterday’s primary elections. Results were still coming in as we went to record last night, but in Pennsylvania, Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman won his Senate primary by a wide margin. That is great news. And in the state’s governor’s race, Republican Douglas Mastriano won his party’s primary. North Carolina’s Senate primaries had both been settled, too. Former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley won the Democratic primary, while the recipient of Trump’s endorsement, Ted Budd, won the Republican primary. Meanwhile, North Carolina Republican congressman and walking talking controversy factory, Madison Cawthorn has lost his reelection bid to challenger Chuck Edwards. This one really goes out to the Republican oppo machine. Congratulations, you guys did it and hopefully, thanks to your work, we can all stop hearing about Madison Cawthorn. I would love to never hear his name ever again. We’ll share more results from these states tomorrow, plus ones from Kentucky, Oregon and Idaho. Whatever we get, you get.
Gideon Resnick: That is our gift to you, as well as our financial advice. Amid news of the shooting in Buffalo, the FBI and the Justice Department said on Tuesday that they’re investigating yet another mass shooting as a hate crime. Last week, a gunman shot and wounded three Korean women at a hair salon in Dallas, Texas. Thankfully, they all survived with no life-threatening injuries, but local authorities believe that the incident may be linked to two other recent attacks in the area that targeted Asian-owned businesses. On Tuesday, police arrested a man named Jeremy Smith in connection to the Dallas shooting and charged him with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. And Smith’s girlfriend told authorities that whenever Smith is near Asian Americans, he, quote, “begins having delusions that the Asian mob is after him or attempting to harm him.” One of the victims who was shot three times in Dallas spoke at a town hall on Monday night and said, quote, “We are very nervous. We’re very tired. This happened to us for no reason.” Meanwhile, in California, the man who was arrested in connection to the Taiwanese church shooting in Laguna Woods was charged with first degree murder and five counts of attempted murder. If convicted on all counts, he could face life in prison or the death penalty. The federal hate crimes investigation into that shooting remains ongoing.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, this is the third mass shooting that we have talked about on this 20-minute show. That’s just horrifying and really hard to wrap your head around. That is the country we live in. We are still learning about how friendly Trump’s White House was to the people who wanted him to live there forever. The Washington Post reported yesterday that a senior Trump official at the State Department met with two prominent activists from the Stop the Steal movement on January 6th–I personally wouldn’t call them activists, but that is the title in this headline. The official Robert Destro, Trump’s former assistant secretary of state, confirmed the meeting. The two activists previously alluded to high-level meetings with State Department officials. One of them later ran for attorney general in Michigan, and as part of his campaign materials, he gave this not-so-subtle quote. “On January six, 2021, I was in the State Department briefing Mike Pompeo’s staff on how the election was stolen. Note to reader, Don’t tell the feds!”.
Gideon Resnick: Okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Really professional, I guess. That’s just not what I would ever put on campaign materials, but sure. This is the latest example of people in Trump’s orbit working behind the scenes to spread false narratives about the election. Meanwhile, in other January 6th news, Attorney General Merrick Garland is ramping up his investigation of the insurrection. Yesterday, the Justice Department asked the House committee investigating the Capitol riot to hand over transcripts from interviews that they’ve conducted. The DOJ has been working on a separate investigation from the committee, but it seems as though the two are wrapping up before hearings begin in just a few weeks.
Gideon Resnick: There are quite a lot of January 6th-affiliated folks running for office in the mix in a lot of places. It’s something to behold.
Priyanka Aribindi: You really hate to see it. You really hate to see it.
Gideon Resnick: It’s wild. Hard to wrap your head around. Great news for little kids who understand that nothing good comes without at least 1 second of pain: children ages 5 to 11 can now get COVID vaccine booster shots. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the first COVID booster for this age group yesterday. The FDA OK’d Pfizer-BioNTech third shot of its lower dose pediatric vaccine for children who got their second shot at least five months ago. It is somewhat unclear how big the demand for this is. The CDC’s data tracker shows that less than a third of 5 to 11-year olds are fully vaccinated, but many doctors say it’s important for kids to have resources to protect themselves against the virus because their immunity wanes just like adults. In other COVID news, the Biden administration announced yesterday that Americans can now get a third round of free at-home test kits. People can go to the site COVIDtest dot gov, which allows all US households to order an additional eight tests. This comes as cases are on the rise, but Congress has yet to pass additional funding for COVID resources. The White House released a fact sheet yesterday on that subject, noting that, quote, “Due to Congress’s failure to provide additional funding for the nation’s COVID-19 response, the administration cannot continue making the types of federal investments needed to sustain domestic testing manufacturing capacity.” So we may not know how many people, in fact, have COVID in the U.S., I guess.
Priyanka Aribindi: Will we ever? That is just a really bold call out, I was going to say, like on their fact sheet, they’re just like, hey, it’s their fault. They fucked us over.
Gideon Resnick: Facts are being shared.
Priyanka Aribindi: The C-SPAN/X-Files crossover episode we have all been waiting for aired yesterday when members of a House subcommittee convened for the first congressional hearing about UFOs in over 50 years.
Gideon Resnick: That’s right.
Priyanka Aribindi: Lawmakers were able to ask Pentagon officials exactly what they knew about UFOs and whether or not they believe that they pose a threat to national security. Pentagon officials did say that they have absolutely not collected any proof of aliens landing on Earth, which is exactly what you’d expect someone with proof of aliens landing on Earth to say. During the hearing, Pentagon officials played multiple previously-classified videos of what they’re now-calling UAPs, short for unidentified aerial phenomena–an acronym that we hate here at WAD. Lawmakers looked critically at things like a clip of a small flying sphere, which we at WAD are interpreting as either a spaceship for a little alien or sporting equipment for a giant alien.
Gideon Resnick: True, ultimate Frisbee.
Priyanka Aribindi: Really. Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie also testified as leaders of the Pentagon’s new UAP task force, but their answers to questions about what they actually knew about these UAPs was just one big shrug. Take a listen to Bray right here.
[clip of Scott Bray] There are a number of events in which we do not have an explanation, and there are a small handful in which there are flight characteristics or signature management that we can’t explain.
Gideon Resnick: All right.
Priyanka Aribindi: What more do you need? Like something’s happening, and we don’t know what it is.
Gideon Resnick: Something is afoot. And we’re going to find out.
Priyanka Aribindi: WAD investigates. Both Bray and Moultrie did, however, commit to destigmatizing UAP reporting, combating UAP misinformation, and being more transparent with the public about their task force’s findings moving forward.
Gideon Resnick: This is all really great news for 6-year old me who wanted to be all of the characters in Independence Day because I can either somehow find my way on to like a UAP subcommittee or get myself elected to Congress and just ask these people questions.
Priyanka Aribindi: You heard it here first, guys. Gideon is running for office because he wants to know the classified stuff about the UAPs.
Gideon Resnick: Yes.
Priyanka Aribindi: Even though they’re saying they’re going to be more transparent, like, release everything. I want to know.
Gideon Resnick: Well, we have an open invitation for these gentlemen to come on here and explain what we’re seeing in our skies.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you want to leak something to us here at WAD, our podcast, even though we can’t really show it to people, will describe it in great detail on this show.
Gideon Resnick: Yes.
Priyanka Aribindi: So please slide into our emails.
Gideon Resnick: In vivid detail. Thank you so much in advance for helping me live my dream of being in a Roland Emmerich movie. Those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Wednesday WAD squad and today we’re doing a segment called WAD Recommends where we share an under the radar news story, movie, book, or even a rude bumper sticker that caught our attention.
[deep announcer voice] WAD recommends!
Gideon Resnick: Correct. Today’s recommendation is more of an action than a story: it is to avoid being at the same party or event as model slash/actress Cara Delevingne.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. This is a wild story. I mean, it’s a collection of stories, but really boils down to this. Cara Delevingne has been acting like an absolute menace to society at parties, large gatherings, award shows, lately, and there is lots of video evidence to back this up.
Gideon Resnick: Ample, ample.
Priyanka Aribindi: Most recently, she attended the Billboard Music Awards this past Sunday and engaged in some very questionable behavior towards Megan Thee Stallion. When Megan was posing for photos on the red carpet, Cara turned the photoshoot into a sort of Chaplin-esque physical comedy routine by grabbing the tail of Meghan’s dress and repeatedly throwing it into the air for the cameras, with lots of encouragement from the photographers but absolutely zero from Meghan herself. She somehow ended up seated next to Meghan during the show with, Doja Cat in front of them. And when Megan stood up to accept her award for Best Female Rap Artist, Cara did her patented dress grab again and generally seemed to get into Meghan’s personal space in a way that felt very uncomfortable to me as a viewer, probably felt more uncomfortable to Meghan as a person.
Gideon Resnick: I’m sure.
Priyanka Aribindi: To get a sense of Meghan’s take on the situation, she later posted a photo of herself and Doja cat from the event where Cara had been fully cropped out of the center of the photo. Cara’s recent behavior led people to resurface a clip from a performance by Azealia Banks in 2021, when Cara took things to another level. During that show, she rushed onto the stage, grabbed Azealia’s mic, and at one point got on her knees to lick Azealia’s leg mid-song–this is like while she’s performing to a crowd of people and it’s incredibly odd.
Gideon Resnick: Okay. Sure.
Priyanka Aribindi: So, Gideon, how are you processing all of this and how do you recommend not getting caught at the same party as this huge celebrity?
Gideon Resnick: I saw all of this video evidence prior, during her research session, before this section.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s what we call this.
Gideon Resnick: It was a lot of in-depth research. I think that my recommendation is, Don’t get nominated for a Grammy, or, Don’t be in consideration for a Grammy as a female performer, because it seems as though Cara may find you, try to befriend, you may try to lick you.
Priyanka Aribindi: May try to befriend you with this type of frenzied energy that is really just seems chaotic and like a lot.
Gideon Resnick: It’s going to an 11, when you may be asked for 1, when you were like, Hey nice to see you.
Priyanka Aribindi: When it’s like, Hey, nice to meet you.
Gideon Resnick: Right, right. So that would be my recommendation, never create music that could subject you to a Grammy, which by the transitive property will also subject you to Cara doing stuff near you. But same question for you, Priyanka.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I think if you steer clear from award shows, you’re probably safe. I do want to say she probably has no idea that is coming off this way, but like really, the videos, like she probably thinks she’s being like really friendly. Like, this almost like causes me to have more social anxiety because like, she probably thinks that she’s being, like, friendly and cool and making friends, but like, everybody else is like, Hey, you’re going way overboard and this is like a lot. Please leave my personal space alone–which that’s not okay to do. I sincerely hope for everyone listening to this that people don’t talk about you one day on a podcast invading their personal space and making them feel uncomfortable.
Gideon Resnick: That would not be good. The other recommendation is to not become the Mayor of New York City.
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, my God!
Gideon Resnick: She is also in a video next to him.
Priyanka Aribindi: That is, it’s hard to say, which is the worst video. Should we include all of them in our show notes? it’s really not usually what we include.
Gideon Resnick: We can we can make an exception. We did a lot of research.
Priyanka Aribindi: A selection of Cara Delevingne videos of her being wild in our shown notes guys. Yeah, check it out.
Gideon Resnick: That was WAD Recommends. Stay safe and please look at the clips we talked about so you can understand the threat we are all currently facing.
Priyanka Aribindi: Stay safe out there.
[deep announcer voice WAD recommends.
Gideon Resnick: Two more things before we go: this week on Strict Scrutiny, Kate and Lea interview reproductive health researcher Diana Green Foster about her ten-year study on the differences in outcomes for people who seek abortions but cannot obtain them.
Priyanka Aribindi: And on America Dissected, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed has a conversation with Dr. Heather Irobunda about what the fall of Roe would mean for millions of people. Check out these great episodes and more on the Strict Scrutiny and America Dissected feeds.
Gideon Resnick: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, look out for you UPAs, and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading, and not just the guest list for events to make sure they are Cara Delevingne-free like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Gideon Resnick: I am Gideon Resnick.
[together] And sell your WAD NFTs!
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, drop those.
Gideon Resnick: You can get three slurp juices for the price of one if you sell right now.
Priyanka Aribindi: What’s a slurp juice?
Gideon Resnick: I don’t know.
Priyanka Aribindi: What\?! Are these NFT references?
Gideon Resnick: I don’t know anything either.
Priyanka Aribindi: This whole outro, no idea what we’re talking about.
Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzy Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.