Another Rail Fail | Crooked Media
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March 05, 2023
What A Day
Another Rail Fail

In This Episode

  • A second Norfolk Southern train derailed in Ohio over the weekend, just over a month after the crash in East Palestine. Local hazmat teams verified that toxins were involved in this latest accident, though it’s raising more questions about rail safety and regulations.
  • President Biden visited Selma, Alabama to mark the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Biden renewed his promise to protect voting rights, which he said was “under assault” by conservative lawmakers and the Supreme Court.
  • And in headlines: Amazon paused construction on its second headquarters in Virginia, U.N. member states agreed on an historic treaty to protect the world’s oceans, and Rachael Ray’s daytime talk show is ending after 17 seasons on the air.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, March 6th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice. And this is What A Day where Chris Rock’s new special has reminded us that the slap was only one year ago and not 1 million years ago which is crazy. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I thought we had gotten past it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I thought we had moved on. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But as we knew, here we are again. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Here we are again. What goes around comes around or something. [laughter] [music break] On today’s show, the U.N. has reached a deal to protect ocean life on the high seas. Plus, after nearly 20 years on the air, Rachael Ray is putting down the evoo.


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, a second Norfolk Southern train derailed in Ohio over the weekend. On Saturday, 28 cars of a 212 car train went off the track near Springfield, which is about a three and a half hour drive from East Palestine. But unlike the train that derailed in East Palestine, this one did not involve the release of any hazardous materials. The train was traveling from Bellevue, Ohio, to Birmingham, Alabama, with a two person crew. The train was carrying some industrial chemicals, some of which I cannot pronounce. I won’t even try to do that on the air for you all. We’re being told that none of it is toxic. But, you know, if we can’t pronounce it, then I think that that is proof enough for me that perhaps it isn’t good for the environment and residents, even if it might not also be bad. You know– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –what I’m saying? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Now officials did issue a precautionary shelter in place order for residents within 1000 feet of the crash site. But that was lifted early on Sunday. And after a few sweeps, officials have said the derailment has posed no risk to the environment or the public and no injuries were reported. 


Josie Duffy Rice: This feels bananas to me. Two Norfolk Southern? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s a lot to do this again. Do we know how this happened? Like, what’s going on? 


Tre’vell Anderson: We don’t really know much yet. The Federal Railroad Administration is going to investigate the situation, though. But as I mentioned, right, this is now the second train derailment to happen in Ohio in less than a month. And both– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –Trains were operated by Norfolk Southern. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So, of course, everybody, you know, across the political spectrum, Republicans and Democrats, have questions for the company as they debate the need for new railway safety legislation. And as part of that, Norfolk Southern’s CEO Alan Shaw will testify before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday. He was originally supposed to speak on the East Palestine derailment, but I’m sure they will be questioning him about this one near Springfield as well now. And speaking of East Palestine, just a quick update there. In the months since the derailment that released poisonous fumes into the air and killed thousands of fish, many residents are now questioning is it safe to still live in that community? Here’s a bit from a town hall that was held there last week. And you can hear some of the residents frustration. 


[clip of East Palestine, Ohio Community at the Town Hall] My grandchildren, my children, [?] it’s not safe here sir, we’re sick. 


[clip of East Palestine, Ohio Community at the Town Hall] If this had been a richer neighborhood, would it have been cleaned up a lot faster? 


[clip of East Palestine, Ohio Community at the Town Hall] People that have symptoms, they shouldn’t be displaced. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’ll just note, as you heard in the last part of that clip, even though officials have said that the air and water in the area is safe to consume, they’ve told the residents that they can come back to their homes. Residents have also been reporting a variety of new health problems, including rashes, nausea, bloody noses, and trouble breathing. 


Josie Duffy Rice: My gosh, that’s just horrifying. So how exactly are officials responding, especially given that there is a whole new derailment now? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, so we should say that Norfolk Southern did commit to paying for all of the cleanup and all of the rest of the fallout from the East Palestine derailment. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Well I would hope so. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And now the EPA is threatening a $70,000 a day fine for the company if it ends up falling short on cleaning up or paying for the impact of the train wreck. And the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has said that they’re going to investigate Norfolk Southern after receiving a criminal referral from state officials. So, you know, I think they would like us to believe that they’re doing their best, considering the circumstances. Right. No one expected either of these derailments to happen. But, you know, sometimes doing one’s best isn’t enough. The community there still has questions about their livelihood ultimately, and how this will forever change what they once considered to be their home so more to come there for sure. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Thank you for that Tre’vell. Now on to another important topic, voting rights. On Sunday, President Biden flew to Selma for the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, where he gave a speech at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The speech focused on the importance of voting rights, which Biden described as, quote, “under assault by conservative lawmakers and the Supreme Court.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: I think that is an accurate description of what we are living through. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: For those who don’t know about Bloody Sunday, though, could you give them all a little history lesson real quick? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. So Bloody Sunday happened during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, which were organized in support of voting rights for Black people. And on March 7th of that year, police and state troopers beat, harassed and teargassed hundreds of civil rights marchers, including John Lewis, as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Lewis, of course, would become a congressman here in Atlanta 20 years later. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah and if you’re not familiar with this situation, there’s a great movie recommendation I’m going to make for all my Disney kids out there. It’s called Selma Lord Selma. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Such a good one. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Um. Starring a young Jurnee Smollett. She’s really good in it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. And if you don’t know about this, you should. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You absolutely should. You absolutely should. And ever since that bridge has held significance for the fight for voting rights and the efforts to prevent Black people in particular from voting that continue even now. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah as two Black people from the South. Tre’vell and I have [laugh] been hearing about this for many years, um and we’ve seen many presidents and leaders come to the bridge over the past sixty years and speak out for voting rights. Right. And Biden’s visit, I think, has particular significance because of these renewed efforts to prevent people from voting that we’ve seen in just, you know, just recently. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Especially so right. And– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –now we’re basically in a presidential election cycle now. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Um. With– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –all of that happening. And so we’ve seen, as you mentioned, a lot of these efforts kind of ramp up, especially so after the 2020, quote unquote, “stop the steal.” 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Foolishness that– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –we’ve still been dealing with. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. And look, over the past decade or so, it’s been a troublesome time for voting rights in this country, like since we saw the VRA get gutted in Shelby. And like you said, it’s only gotten worse since 2020. And so Biden mentioned this in his speech. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] And this fundamental right remains under assault. Conservative Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act over the years. Since the 2020 election, a wave of states and dozens, dozens of anti-voting laws fueled by the big lie and the election deniers now elected to office. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The big lie is right. And under Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court is primed to go even further under this current conservative 6-3 court. Currently, they’re considering a case about what CNN calls a, quote, “long dormant legal theory” called the independent state Legislature doctrine that would give state legislatures unprecedented power to control elections without any oversight or constraints from state courts. That case, Moore v Harper is an extreme partisan attempt by Republicans to draw explicitly gerrymandered districts, prevent people from voting, and not have to deal with pesky checks and balances, basically the basis of our entire constitutional system. We talked about this case on our show from December 5th and we will link to it in our show notes. But this case is a big deal. Under a slightly more normal Supreme Court, it’s safe to say the theory wouldn’t even be considered. But under our current Supreme Court, there’s real concern that the justices will go as far to endorse it. However, just last Thursday, the court asked the parties in the case to file additional briefs, which some experts said was an indication they were basically punt the case. So maybe they won’t vote in favor of totally eradicating the right to vote. But the fact that we even have to ask that question is a concern. Right? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And we know that Biden has tried to pass voting rights legislation in his time as president, but was dealing with some issues. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Where does all that stand? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, dealing with some issues is correct. And it’s not good. It doesn’t stand in a good place. Biden mentioned in his speech the importance of passing voting rights legislation, including the legislation named after my former congressman John Lewis, who passed away months before Biden was elected. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] We know that we must get the votes in Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. And the Freedom to Vote Act. I made it clear I will not let a filibuster obstruct the sacred right to vote. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Well, yes and no, because [laugh] it did obstruct the sacred right to vote right? For the first couple of years of his presidency. And it’s not just the filibuster that stands in his way now. Now that Republicans have a majority in the House, Democrats are faced with a particularly uphill struggle. It’s not looking great for passing strong voting rights legislation under Biden, at least his first term. And we will, of course, keep you updated on these promises to protect voting rights. But that is the latest for now. [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Walgreens announced on Friday it will not sell the abortion pill Mifepristone in 20 states, even in places where abortion is still technically legal. The decision comes after Republican attorneys general from those states threatened to take legal action against the pharmacy chain if it began to dispense the drug. Back in January, Walgreens and other chains initially said they would carry it when the FDA finalized new rules to expand access to the pill. The company says it still plans to distribute mifepristone in places where access to abortion has not been contested. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Amazon paused construction on its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday. This comes two months after the Seattle based company announced it plans to cut 18,000 corporate jobs. Its largest round of layoffs ever. An Amazon spokesperson says the delay, which affects the sprawling complex known as PenPlace, comes amid a reassessment of the space to account for remote work. The company has already wrapped construction on the first phase of the campus, which is right across the street and has hired more than 8000 people to work there when it opens its doors in June. The new timeline to complete the project has yet to be determined. Amazon originally planned to finish it by 2025. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Nearly 200 UN member states have finally agreed on a historic treaty to protect the world’s oceans. It’s a long awaited update to an agreement originally signed in the 1980s that explicitly sets out to safeguard marine biodiversity in the vast parts of the ocean known as the high seas. And yes, that is an actual legal term. The more you know. Those are areas that lie at least 200 nautical miles beyond each country’s territorial waters. If you add them all together, those regions make up nearly half of the entire surface of the planet. And the world’s oceans could use a break for sure. Scientists say marine life, as well as the billions of people who rely on the ocean for food and their livelihoods, are under increasing threat from human driven climate change, overfishing, and even mining for minerals along the sea floor. Once ratified, the treaty will establish a regulatory body to enforce those protections and create new marine protected areas in international waters. 


Josie Duffy Rice: While tech journalists are out there goading A.I. into declaring its unconditional love for them. Doctors and other medical professionals are hoping to use it to save lives. According to a recent report by The New York Times, clinics in Hungary have been using artificial intelligence since 2021 to scan thousands of patients for breast cancer. So far, AI has been able to spot signs of cancer, at least as well as a human radiologist. Their success has inspired doctors in other parts of Europe to experiment with AI in their practices. But some challenges remain. Medical experts caution that the technology needs to show it can produce accurate results for a much wider population of patients. And right now, it may not be able to catch more complex types of cancers. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Daytime TV is losing one of the good ones. So, you know, we’re not talking about Dr. Oz. The Rachael Ray Show is winding down this spring after 17 seasons on the air. Ray is a protege of Oprah Winfrey who, like Dr. Oz and Phil, went on to start her own daytime talk show. But instead of promoting baseless medical claims or questionable tough love, she taught America how to cook. Her show was one of daytime television’s biggest hits, though its ratings took a dive in recent years. Ray said in a statement announcing the news last week that she plans to work on her own newly launched production company once the show ends its current season. Shout out to Rachael Ray. I stan Rachael Ray over here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Maybe you should take over her spot. Have you thought about it? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Maybe I should. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Maybe you should. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I got some recipes I could teach the people. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Look, whatever you make will be great. I’m here for it. [laughter] Almost 50 years after its inaugural race, 33 sled teams from across the globe kicked off the 2023 Iditarod Trail sled dog race departing from Willow, Alaska, for a nearly 1000 mile trek across the Alaskan wilderness. The journey, which will take the mushers across frozen lakes and streams, as well as over two mountain ranges as they race to the finish line in Nome, will take about ten days to complete. To borrow a phrase, woof. [laughter] Did it. This year’s competition pool is the smallest ever with one fewer team than the meet in 1973 race. Among this year’s competitors are two defending champions, nine rookie mushers and a reality TV star from National Geographic’s life below zero. Conspicuously missing from the lineup, Cuba Gooding Jr’s character from the 2002 movie Snow Dogs. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Cuba Gooding Jr’s busy. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Working through some things. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Dealing with some legal troubles. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Working through some things. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Absolutely.


Josie Duffy Rice: However, I do think it’s worth mentioning that another thing we could do other than taking over Rachael Ray. Yes. I inserted myself into this plan, is do some dog sledding. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm mm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. But– 


Tre’vell Anderson: We are Black people, Josie.


Josie Duffy Rice: From the south. 


Tre’vell Anderson: From the south especially. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We are not built for the cold. However, we would do terribly and we would be like comic relief for the other people. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s talk about it more off air. How about that? 


Josie Duffy Rice: We’ll talk about it more. We’ll talk about it more. Okay. Deal.


Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to mourn the end of the line for DC’s most puzzling power couple. [music break]. 




Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Monday WAD squad. And today we’re doing a segment called WAD remembers. Where you bid a fond farewell to something that’s not a person but has still enriched our lives over the years and is still about to be dead. After a Page Six report late Friday night broke this story, former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and her husband George Conway confirmed Saturday they are divorcing after 22 years of marriage. If those two crazy kids who were always arguing publicly can’t make it, what chance do the rest of us have? Kellyanne and George were truly the will they won’t they why they of the Trump administration era. So we’d like to say a few words. Tre’vell take it away. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know, I will miss the ability to, like, see Kellyanne Conway say something publicly and then see her husband tweet the exact opposite [laugh] mere minutes later. And if you ever needed lessons on marriage. Right. We had it right there. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We had it right there. Look, if you’re in a relationship and you sometimes wonder, is this normal? You could always go to George Conway’s Twitter feed and be like, it could be worse. [laughter] I could be publicly disparaging my wife, which, by the way, I’m Team George. Like his wife was an idiot. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] Well, you know, in their joint press release that they put out, you know, they say that they might disagree on a number of things, but they’re united when it comes to the children. 


Josie Duffy Rice: They’re united when it comes to not wanting to be together. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] You know, they’re consciously uncoupling. 


Josie Duffy Rice: They’re consciously uncoupling. Yeah.


Tre’vell Anderson: And we love that for them, I suppose. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I love this for George. Can’t wait to see George online dating. Will he be on Tinder, will he be on Bumble? I don’t know. [laughter] His future as a bad person that’s just not bad enough to work in the Trump administration is endless, he has so many options. Can’t wait to see who he ends up with. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Or maybe he will just, you know, go solo dolo for the rest of his life. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That would be beautiful. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That would be beautiful, in fact– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Be a bachelor. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I support both of them never finding [laughter] just keeping it to themselves for the rest of time. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Keeping it to themselves. That’s the best way to say it. That was WAD Remembers. Goodbye George and Kellyanne. Thank you both for always reminding the single people out there that it could actually be much, much worse. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, yeah. [music break]




Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Divorce your enemy and tell your friends to listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just Rachael Ray cookbooks like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


[spoken together] And mush Dogs, mush!


Josie Duffy Rice: I love mush. 


Tre’vell Anderson: No. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I just want to join so I can be a musher. I think that’s a cool name for a thing. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I think we can figure out a way for you to mush [laughter] somewhere else. You know, that’s not Alaska. 


Josie Duffy Rice: [laughing] I can’t think of anybody worse at dog sled racing than myself. I truly can’t imagine. Maybe my two year old, but I honestly think she could beat me. [laughter] [music break] 


Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jocey Coffman and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.