In This Episode
- The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the inspection of 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes after a panel blew out of an Alaska Airlines plane mid-flight on Friday. No serious injuries were immediately reported, but this isn’t the first time a Boeing plane raised passenger safety concerns.
- At least nine Palestinians including a young child were killed in the West Bank on Sunday. And on Saturday, the Israeli military said that the remaining Hamas fighters in northern Gaza were no longer “under an organized military command,” according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon escalated in recent days, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the region for the fifth time since October 7th.
- And in headlines: Congressional leaders reached a deal to potentially avoid a partial government shutdown, the Pentagon faced backlash for taking three days to inform the White House of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization, and the Golden Globes and the first installment of the Emmy Awards took place over the weekend.
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, January 8th. I’m Tre’vell Andersen.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What a Day. The pod that sends congrats to The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey and her new baby boy.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, his name is Halo, which also happens to be the name of a Beyonce song. So if I ever have a child and I name them Cozy, I don’t want to hear from any of you. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Look. I’m naming my child Partition [laughter] or XOXO.
Tre’vell Anderson: Not xoxo. No thank you. [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, the latest on the war in Gaza, including increased fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Plus, another government shutdown is on the horizon in just a few weeks. But it might get averted because of a new deal on the table.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, I want to talk about the video I’m sure everyone has seen by now of the Alaska Airlines flight that had to make an emergency landing Friday after something happened mid-air that left a big ol hole in the side of the plane.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, this is one of those times I truly wish we could show you all video because [laughter] it’s–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: –truly crazy.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. It’s wild.
Josie Duffy Rice: Catch us up to speed, what happened? And also, how can I make sure this never happens if I’m on a plane?
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Gotcha. Okay, so it’s Alaska Airlines flight 1282. They left Portland International Airport, headed to Ontario, California, that’s the Inland Empire. Okay, San Bernardino County. It’s about 5 p.m. Pacific on Friday. And shortly after takeoff, literally six minutes after takeoff. Here is how one of the passengers on that flight, Evan Smith, described what happened next to local broadcaster KPTV Fox 12.
[clip of Evan Smith] There was a really loud bang towards the left rear of the plane. And a whooshing noise and all the air masks dropped. It was about as wide as a refrigerator and about as high as two thirds of a refrigerator in height. And they said there was a kid in that row who his shirt was sucked off him and out of the plane and his mother [?] was holding on to him to make sure he didn’t go with it.
Josie Duffy Rice: His shirt?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, no. Mm mm.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: No. It’s crazy because like when you watch it everybody seems pretty calm.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Everybody’s calm. Everybody’s quiet. I was going to play a clip here on the podcast but it’s basically silent. All you hear is the like rushing wind coming through this big ol hole. But yeah all of the passengers were super calm and even the flight itself, it was super, super calm. Literally within 20 minutes of takeoff, though, the plane was safely back on the ground. No serious injuries were immediately reported. And apparently what actually happened that caused this diversion is a, quote, “explosive decompression at the window exit.” That’s how they’re framing it officially. Basically, you know, folks always want that exit row. It has a little bit of extra leg room, a little bit more cozy, if you will. Well, on this plane, okay, a Boeing 737 Max nine. That door where that exit row door typically is, it’s plugged and it’s not in use. Luckily, there were no passengers seated in the seat closest to that panel that was there. But the fact that it blew off this one plane has now kicked off a full investigation into all 171 Max nine planes that are operated in the US. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered this investigation on Saturday, causing hundreds of flight cancellations over the weekend.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I’m glad they’re investigating. What exactly will this investigation entail? Tell me how they’re going to fix this problem.
Tre’vell Anderson: So what we know is that each Max nine plane will have to undergo an inspection that will take between four and eight hours per plane, and they’re going to be checking to make sure that something like this won’t happen again. They’ll be evaluating Boeing’s manufacturing processes, the FAA’s oversight of the company, as well as any manufacturing or maintenance work Boeing or Alaska Airlines did on the plane itself. But it is important to note that this isn’t the first time that a Boeing plane has raised eyebrows and concerns regarding passenger safety. In fact, as recently as 2019, a different Boeing plane, the 737 Max eight fleet, was grounded world wide. That was after two separate crashes, within five months of each other, killed almost 350 people. So, you know, eyes are once again on Boeing. And over the next week or so, we’ll have to keep everyone updated on these developments. But you can guarantee that they’re not interested in this happening again. Obviously passengers, we don’t want this happening. It definitely isn’t good.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. It is not good. Woof. Now for the latest in the Israel-Hamas War. There’s a lot of different stories to talk about today. On Sunday at least nine Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, including a young child. You will remember that while the West Bank is not controlled by Hamas and is not considered to be a war territory, the area which is partially illegally occupied by Israel, has seen increasing violence in recent weeks. Seven of the nine Palestinians were killed in an Israeli drone strike. Meanwhile, Israeli military officials said they accidentally shot and killed a three year old Palestinian girl. They were allegedly trying to, quote, “neutralize” the occupants of a vehicle at a border checkpoint. The girl who was in another vehicle was hit by officer’s gunfire.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is to say the least, an interesting course of events that lead to the death of a little girl who wasn’t apparently even in the line of fire.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: It kind of resurfaces those same concerns we’ve already heard throughout this entire war over there about, you know, the military’s approach to doing what they’re trying to do while minimizing civilian casualties. But like, something’s off here. And then, of course, in Gaza. Right. The war continues. Can you tell us what’s happening there?
Josie Duffy Rice: The deaths in Gaza continue to rise. On Sunday, Hamza al-Dahdouh, a Palestinian journalist, was killed in an Israeli airstrike. He was the son of Wael al-Dahdouh, a well-known correspondent for Al Jazeera TV. According to the New York Times, Wael had already lost his wife, another son, daughter and infant grandson in a previous airstrike, and he was recently severely wounded himself. Now his son Hamza is also dead, along with another journalist, after an Israeli drone strike hit the car that they were in. This targeted strike comes after Israel’s repeated claims that it does not target journalists. As of Saturday, at least 70 Palestinian journalists have been killed. In total, almost 23,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Two thirds of those are women and children.
Tre’vell Anderson: And meanwhile, this weekend, The New York Times reported that Israel claims they have, quote, “dismantled Hamas’s military capabilities in northern Gaza.” What exactly does that mean? Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Josie Duffy Rice: So on Saturday, the Israeli military said that the remaining Hamas fighters in northern Gaza were no longer, quote, “under an organized military command,” according to the New York Times. Israeli officials did not provide details or specifics about that claim. They also said that the military was taking different tactics in central and southern Gaza, based on lessons quote, “learned from the fighting so far,” but again did not elaborate on what that means or what exactly would be different. Israel’s spokesperson also extinguished hopes that the fighting would end voluntarily anytime soon, saying it would continue throughout 2024 and possibly into 2025.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm mmm. No.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s a very daunting thing to say, right? Given just how much devastation there has been already.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right, in just a few months at this point. Imagine where it could go if this does continue throughout 2024 and into 2025.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hm.
Tre’vell Anderson: [sigh] Well, I know that there’s also been some fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon that’s escalated in recent days. Can you also update us about that?
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. So Saturday was what the Associated Press called, quote, “one of the heaviest days of cross-border fighting in recent weeks.” This escalation comes after last Tuesday when, as you may remember, a top Hamas leader was killed in Lebanon, presumably by Israel. As a result, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said that if his group does not strike back, quote, “all of Lebanon would be vulnerable to Israeli attacks,” according to the Associated Press. This weekend, Hezbollah and Israel both fired dozens of rockets in the other’s direction. And on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to Hezbollah, saying that they should, quote, “learn what Hamas has already learned in recent months.” So that’s ominous.
Tre’vell Anderson: Very ominous. And I know there’s one more update. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been in the Middle East yet again. What is he doing there? What’s he up to?
Josie Duffy Rice: Blinken is in the Middle East for the fifth time since October 7th. He’s been spending a lot of time on this issue. This trip is expected to take him to Turkey, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Egypt. So that is a lot of places that he’s trying to hit. And Blinken’s office has been vague about the goals of this trip. But reports say that part of his objective is to, quote, “keep Israel’s war machine in check.” According to CNN. As we’ve talked about on the show, the goal is very complicated by the enormous funding that the US gives to the Israeli military. But the Biden administration is clearly aware of the increasing public discomfort regarding the devastation in Gaza. Blinken also stated the Biden administration’s, quote, “intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading,” and said that the goal would be a quote, “big part of the conversations we’ll be having over the coming days.” Obviously, what we just talked about, about what’s happening in Lebanon just in the past few days, Lebanon and Israel. That’s a tall order now because the threat of it spreading increases. But that is a lot to go over. But it is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break].
Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Like a headline about Travis Kelce, a government shutdown disappears for a while, but never truly goes away. And here we are again. Congressional leaders reached a deal yesterday on funding for 2024 as a deadline for a partial government shutdown inches closer. Congress needs to pass four spending bills by January 19th, when funding for about 20% of the government runs out. And on Sunday, House and Senate leaders announced a nearly $1.66 trillion dollar agreement. It allocates $886 billion dollars in defense spending and nearly 773 billion towards non-defense spending. It also speeds up cuts to the IRS and rescinds about six billion dollars in unspent Covid relief funds. President Biden said in a statement that the agreement, quote, “moves us one step closer to preventing a needless government shutdown and protecting important national priorities.” A second deadline to fund the rest of the government looms just ahead on February 2nd.
Josie Duffy Rice: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized in an intensive care unit last week, and the Pentagon is facing heavy backlash because no one told the White House. According to the Pentagon’s press secretary, Austin was hospitalized last Monday night for, quote, “complications following a recent elective medical procedure.” But the Pentagon waited until Thursday to notify any national security officials in the White House. That’s fine. It’s not like there’s anything international going on. [laughter] Politico is the first to report on the delay, prompting widespread criticism from Congress amid tensions in the Middle East. The Pentagon finally released a statement on Friday notifying the public of the Secretary’s condition, and Austin himself put out a statement on Saturday apologizing for keeping his hospitalization a secret, writing quote, “I commit to doing better.” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks will fill in for Austin while he continues to recover. I’m confused.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Because my boss would have questions if I just went MIA for four days so like, what’s going on?
Tre’vell Anderson: I don’t know, maybe you need a better boss, Josie. [laughing]
Josie Duffy Rice: I know, I’m like, can I get a checked out one? Because this is feeling real good. Not for us as a country.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: But ya know.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] Winter weather is in full swing across the United States. In the northeast, a major storm brought rain and more than a foot of snow to some parts of the region over the weekend. Winter storm warnings were in effect yesterday for more than 17 million people from the northeast to northern Arizona. And forecasters predict another storm system will cause winds and heavy snow over the Plains and Midwest through Tuesday. Over on the West Coast, a winter storm warning had been in effect through Saturday in the Sierra Nevada. And in the South, severe thunderstorms are forecasted starting today in parts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. And that comes after a tornado hit Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday evening. Plus, another winter storm was expected to hit the Pacific Northwest Sunday night.
Josie Duffy Rice: And finally, some news from the entertainment world to start off your week. The Golden Globes aired last night, but the award ceremony that people actually care about began over the weekend with the first installment of the 75th Annual Emmy Awards. The ceremony usually airs in September every year, but last year’s actors strike pretty much barred most of the nominees from even attending the ceremony. So the Television Academy had no choice but to push things back. Saturday night marked night one of the Emmys creative arts categories, and let’s just say it was a good night for HBO. The Last of Us dominated with an impressive eight wins. Nick Offerman and Storm Reid won Best Guest actor and actress in a Drama Series, respectively, for their roles in the apocalyptic video game adaptation. The show’s production team also took home several titles for visual effects, makeup, and sound design. That visual effects one is real deserved. Because that show was grossing me out with the mushrooms, and the heads and the [laughter]. Other hit shows like The White Lotus, Wednesday, Beef and The Bear also won big with four trophies each. Night two of the Creative Arts categories aired last night while we were recording the show. The Primetime Emmy Awards will air next Sunday, where the Academy will crown the winners of its bigger categories like Lead Actor, Lead Actress and Best Series.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, I just want to give a shout out to the legendary Jasmine Guy of a Different World fame. She won her first Emmy over the weekend for a role in a show I’ve never heard of called The Chronicles of Jessica Wu, but I am certain that Jasmine Guy deserved it. And–
Josie Duffy Rice: Absolutely.
Tre’vell Anderson: –now I have a new show that I need to check out.
Josie Duffy Rice: We’ll be watching that. Atlanta’s own. So you know I love me some Jasmine Guy. [laughter] And those are the headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Don’t be afraid to use a sick day, Lloyd Austin and tell your friends to listen.
Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just intensely researching the model of my next plane fight like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. So check it out and subscribe at crooked.com/subscribe! I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
And we bet there are kids out there named Sasha Fierce.
Tre’vell Anderson: As there should be.
Josie Duffy Rice: As there should be.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, [laughter] luckily you can go back and change your children’s names, which I will be doing right after we get off this call. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz, our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.