In This Episode
- Congresswoman Liz Cheney was ousted from the House GOP leadership, yesterday, over a failure to pretend that Donald Trump won the election he lost by more than 7 million votes. In the aftermath of this action from House Republicans, 100 members of the party say they plan to release a letter threatening to form a third political party unless the GOP gets less Trumpy.
- Yesterday afternoon, the operator of the Colonial Pipeline said it was resuming operations after last week’s ransomware attack with the caveat being that it will take a few more days for things to return to normal. During the temporary shutdown, there were reports of something like 10,000 stations in southeastern states that effectively ran out of gas… with much of the shortages driven by panic buying.
- And in headlines: more Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, anti-government protests in Colombia, and Ellen DeGeneres announces her show will end next year. Plus, Hysteria’s Erin Ryan fills in for Akilah Hughes.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Thursday, May 13th.
Erin Ryan: I’m Erin Ryan, in for Akilah Hughes.
Gideon Resnick: And I’m Gideon Resnick, and this is What A Day where loud noises startled us because we think they might be Major Biden.
Erin Ryan: Personally, I’ve started wearing the clothes that attack dog trainers wear in case he ever escapes the White House.
Gideon Resnick: I carry T-bone steaks with me that I can throw at him as needed. On today’s show the Colonial Pipeline is back in action and we look at how its shut-down by hackers messed with drivers, plus some headlines. But first, the latest:
[clip of Rep. Liz Cheney] We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution. I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office. We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president.
Erin Ryan: That’s Congresswoman Liz Cheney right after her fellow House Republicans ousted her from party leadership by a voice vote yesterday. Cheney was the number three ranking Republican in the House. She was removed from leadership over a failure to pretend that Donald Trump won the election that he lost by more than seven million votes. Meanwhile, Representative Matt Gaetz, who is currently being investigated for sex trafficking teenage girls, remains on the House Judiciary Committee. So that about sums up the state of the Republican Party in 2021.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, all is definitely in order. We’ve seen reports that some Cheney-esque Republicans are thinking about breaking off and creating their own party. What is up with that?
Erin Ryan: Yeah, it’s not going to be a very fun—I think it’s going to be a party like how a wedding in 2020 was a party where like: we’re going to have a party, you guys can come to this party—uh, actually, we’re not having a party, we’re not having a party at all. Yeah. More than one hundred Republicans, many of whom are current and former high-level elected officials, are planning on releasing a letter threatening to form a third political party unless the Trump-ist arm of the Republican Party gets less Trumpy. Although judging by how quickly they dispensed of Liz Cheney, I’m not sure the way to show them the error of their ways is to yell: sir, sir! At them in a newspaper way.
Gideon Resnick: Oy.
Erin Ryan: Yeah. The effort was organized by Miles Taylor, the former Trump official behind a strongly-worded letter in The New York Times, and a strongly-worded book about how Donald Trump is bad. Neither Taylor’s letter nor Taylor’s book made any discernible impact on the behavior of Trump or of Trump voters. We also don’t know specifics of what the letter will propose, but I’m guessing that it will be very strongly worded.
Gideon Resnick: I think that’s a good guess and I think this will definitely sink Trump. This is it.
Erin Ryan: This is it. We got him. And just to drive home the fact that Republican officials will do just about anything to avoid actually fucking governing, President Biden met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers yesterday to discuss his 2.25 trillion dollar infrastructure bill. They were in a closed-door meeting in the Oval Office and in attendance were such obstructionist all stars as Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell. Unsurprisingly, no progress was made because they reportedly vowed to never budge on raising corporate tax rates to help pay for it, and said they would only back it if Biden made massive cuts from the proposal.
Gideon Resnick: You know, hard to relate to these guys. Having a job is no fun. Amirite? Like, it’s just, it’s just a drag. So then why do we think Biden is even trying to negotiate with Republicans at this stage?
Erin Ryan: If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the optics. I hate that phrase, but it’s probably what’s at play here. He has to at least look like he tried, because it seems that now Republicans have made it clear that they have no interest in working across the aisle with the president. Biden can turn his attention to getting all the Senate Democrats aboard, including Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. As the kids say, Biden can just ignore the haters.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, and those two are going to be a handful for potentially ever.
Erin Ryan: Yeah. They don’t caucus with the haters, but they tend to vote along with the haters in many cases.
Gideon Resnick: Correct. So these guys, the Republicans that is, wanted to take action on infrastructure when Trump was president, or did I imagine that?
Erin Ryan: No, you didn’t imagine it. They definitely wanted to take action on infrastructure when Trump was president. And it’s not like the need for infrastructure reform has diminished. Like you implied, President Trump himself promised he would prioritize infrastructure, but he didn’t actually end up doing anything. Classic Trump. And across the country not only has COVID unmasked the dire need to shore up parts of the economy that enable American workers to actually go to work, there are roads and bridges that are literally falling apart. For example, on Tuesday, the I-40 bridge in Tennessee was closed down after inspectors noticed there was an enormous crack in one of its beams during a visual inspection. Gideon, did you see pictures of this?
Gideon Resnick: No, and I will not look at it. You cannot make me look at it.
Erin Ryan: It is like a horrible, like it is like a cartoon-size large crack. It looks like the bridge is like about to fall down.
Gideon Resnick: I can’t I can’t even handle the description.
Erin Ryan: So, yeah, the bridge connects Memphis and West Memphis, so it’s pretty heavily used. And yesterday officials said they weren’t sure when it could reopen. Still, both of Tennessee’s Republican senators seem unmoved by this urgent need facing their own citizens, because Mitch McConnell has said that his only goal is to keep President Biden from accomplishing anything. And the only thing the current GOP loves more than not governing, is cutting off its own nose to spite its face. Gideon, let’s turn to some domestic news. The pipeline is back. The Florida Mad Max reality reboot has been canceled. Tell me more.
Gideon Resnick: Yes, we are all going to Valhalla now. So late afternoon yesterday, the operator of the Colonial Pipeline said it was resuming operations with the caveat being that it’s going to take a few more days for everything to actually get back to full normal. And as a reminder here, the pipeline covers a massive area from Texas to New York. It had been shut down following a ransomware attack last week. And it’s a pretty important pipeline. It transports 45% of all gas, jet fuel and diesel along the East Coast. That’s roughly three million barrels of fuel each day.
Erin Ryan: Wow, I bet Americans are reacting this in a calm and measured manner.
Gideon Resnick: Yes, you guessed it exactly right. We’ll going to get to that in a second. But like we had mentioned on yesterday’s show, during the temporary shutdown, there are reports of something like 10,000 stations in southeastern states that effectively ran out of gas. And to that very question, a lot of it was driven by panic buying. You remember that familiar feeling? Then panic buying led to some actual shortages, which led to more panic buying. This is all while people are getting ready to drive, presumably like maniacs this summer. And the problem is particularly acute in states like North Carolina, where something like a massive 65% of stations were out of gas as of yesterday. And the consumer behavior as a result of just freaking out about this led to a reported shortage in central Florida, which, according to The Washington Post, doesn’t even get fuel supplies by this pipeline.
Erin Ryan: I feel like the state of Florida should replace its flag with a new design and like in the middle of the seal should be a guy panic buying something. I feel like Florida is America’s capital of being like: all right, we got to fucking panic buy guys! Let’s go! Let’s go! This is what we’ve been training for. So, yeah, it doesn’t surprise me at all that people in Florida are flocking to panic buy something that isn’t even supplied by a pipeline that just got shut down.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, being surrounded by gators clearly does something to the brain. I don’t know. The group who is said to be responsible for this though, identified by the middle school death metal band moniker ‘DarkSide,’ apparently wanted millions in Bitcoin payment as ransom. Reportedly, though, Colonial was able to recover most of the important information that could restart the pipes computer system. And so the company isn’t likely to pay anything.
Erin Ryan: So DarkSide got paid like an early blogger: in exposure. Not money, just exposure.
Gideon Resnick: [clock] your way up.
Erin Ryan: Yes, exactly. So we saw governors declaring states of emergency, encouraging people not to panic buy—that didn’t work. And even a notice from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to not put fuel in plastic bags. Yikes. People were doing that? Seriously. But what was the Biden administration trying to do during all this?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, we often don’t tell people what to do, but one time I think we’ll make an exception: is probably don’t put gas in a plastic bag. Just my personal advice.
Erin Ryan: That’s good advice, that’s solid advice.
Gideon Resnick: Thank you. First, the Department of Transportation let a number of affected states use interstate highways to transport, quote “overweight loads of gasoline.” The administration also reportedly relaxed work hour limits for truckers in 10 states, as well as certain regulations on gas blending. It also offered to waive the Jones Act, this federal law which normally blocks foreign ships from taking cargo from one US port to another. And if that act were to actually be waived, hypothetically, both U.S. and foreign ships would be able to transport fuel to areas that need it.
Erin Ryan: The other major aspect of this is cybersecurity and the fact that something like this could even happen. So now that we’re here, what’s the word on that?
Gideon Resnick: I kid you not Erin. I kid you not. There was a job posting going around from Colonial about needing a cybersecurity manager. It does appear that it was from a while before this all happened. But that obviously says a lot about where we are.
Erin Ryan: I, for one, cannot believe that during the Trump administration, he siphoned money off from the Air Force to create space Force instead of creating a new branch of the military that focused exclusively on stuff happening in cyberspace! I feel like the wars are not in the stars, the wars are in the online, and we should be focusing on that. And I wish I knew more about computers.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. He is a reliable spender. So that is that is unlike him. He’s responsible with everything he’s done. The Biden administration had been reportedly working on this cybersecurity executive order for quite some time, which Biden ended up signing yesterday. It had actually been aimed at first, at events like the major hack early last year where Russian-linked hackers were able to breach the data of several big government agencies and tons of companies. This executive order does a number of things, like requiring IT service providers to report breaches that could impact networks, create a playbook for responses to such events that seem to continue happening, update standards on government networks and create a review board. As of early this week, we still don’t quite know exactly how this particular incident happened, but it doesn’t inspire much confidence, to say the least.
Erin Ryan: I’m sure this problem will never come up again. Let’s just move on.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. We’re going to check back in on this soon, but that is the latest for now.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Thursday, WAD squad, and for today’s temp check, we are discussing a type of found footage that isn’t long for this world: funny leaked Zoom mishaps. Today’s clip comes from court proceedings in Michigan. Judge Jeffrey Middleton was overseeing a man’s trial for possession of drug paraphernalia, and when the man’s username appeared on the official courtroom Zoom, it featured some language that is decidedly not safe for WAD. Here’s the clip:
[trial clip] Good morning, sir. What’s your name?
Yeah. You, yes.
Nathaniel Saxon, sir.
Your name’s not Butt Fucker 3000, you yohoo. Logging into my court with that as your screen name, what kind of idiot logs into court like that?
Gideon Resnick: He put a lot of sauce on that. He was excited to say it. I will say. [laughter] So, Erin with any luck soon we will be leaving behind the era of these kinds of clips. Do you have any favorites?
Erin Ryan: Oh gosh. The Cat-man stands out as one of the best moments and I believe that had something to do with court, Zoom court as well. I think when you have people that tend to be in a demographic that is not necessarily digital-native demographic, like, let’s say like the legal system, there are a lot of people that aren’t the most savvy with Internet—you get the most hilarious mishaps. And I think the man who had to say “I’m here and I’m not a cat” I laughed about that so hard that I became like, helpless. Like I had trouble breathing. And I, even thinking about it, I feel like the giggles bubbling up. Like if I think about it for too long, I’m going to have to, like, get up and leave and collect myself. So that’s definitely my favorite one. Gideon same question for you.
Gideon Resnick: I’m honestly drawing a blank because I can only think of that one. And this man like saying the name of this person with so much emphasis, the most emphasis I’ve ever heard on those two words ever being said in succession.
Erin Ryan: Are you going to make it your ringtone?
Gideon Resnick: I honestly might. I mean, we wanted to bring back ringtones just to have this man doing a Southern drawl of “butt fucker.” Sorry, we’ll cut, we’ll cut what I actually said. But just like that, we have checked our temps. Stay safe. Make sure to check your Zoom name before you log on, and we’ll be back after some ads.
Gideon Resnick: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Gideon Resnick: Israel continuing to launch intensive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip yesterday, bringing down multistory buildings and killing several senior members of the militant group Hamas. This is the latest in the escalation of violence against Palestinians that began earlier this week at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. As of recording, the overall death toll of Palestinians killed from the air raid stood at 67, including 16 children. Hamas has also continued its response to Israel’s attacks with rockets. Military officials in Israel implied they’re preparing to send their troops in a ground invasion in addition to the airstrikes. Violence on the streets across Israel has also been on the rise with the reports of mobs attacking presumed Arab civilians. There are even multiple reports of these mobs carrying out attempted lynchings. Over 300 people across the country were arrested in relation to the violence.
Erin Ryan: Somehow the story just keeps getting worse and more tragic. Meanwhile, in Colombia, people across the country came out for a third week of anti-government protests. It all started last month after the right-wing government proposed a controversial tax plan that disproportionately hiked taxes for poorer people. After a widespread backlash, the plan was scrapped and the finance minister stepped down, but demonstrators had since expanded their list of demands. One of those demands was that police end their response against protesters. Just last week, officers opened fire on protesters in the major city, Cali, leading to several deaths. The death toll from the ongoing unrest is still unclear. Demonstrators also called to rescind new policies that would further privatize health care. On top of everything, Colombia is experiencing skyrocketing unemployment levels, fueling nearly everyone’s unhappiness with the government’s handling of the pandemic
Gideon Resnick: The landscape of TV you watch when you’re home with the flu is changing forever because Ellen DeGeneres announced yesterday that she will end her long-running daytime talk show next year. And this comes after a year of major controversies for the show. That all began last July when BuzzFeed published reports of a culture of, quote “racism, fear and intimidation” experienced by current and former staff members. Following those reports, plus the firings of three high-level producers and an on-air apology from Ellen, viewership dropped off dramatically. Since September, Ellen lost more than a million viewers, leading to a 22% decline in advertising revenue. Still, Ellen said in an interview yesterday that her decision to end the show was not related to the allegations of a toxic workplace, but had more to do with her desire to take on greater creative challenges. If you’re a production assistant involved in these challenges, please be careful.
Erin Ryan: The justice system is cracking down on clout chasing. Sorry Gideon. This Monday, a 28-year old woman was arrested in Florida for infiltrating a high school to recruit followers to her Instagram. The woman’s plan involved pretending to be a student. She carried a painting and a skateboard, apparently basing her disguise exclusively on the popular meme of Steve Buscemi saying: how do you do fellow kids? Then she handed out fliers with her Instagram handle printed on them in the same way young people have done for hundreds of years. A school security guard thought something was off and got the woman to leave after repeated attempts. Afterwards, hotshot detectives were able to track the woman down because she’d made the common criminal mistake of putting her identifying information on a paper and giving it to lots of people. The woman was charged with felony trespassing, misdemeanor interfering with the school—curious about that charge—and resisting arrest without violence. That means this was only worth it if her follower count went up by more than 100.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I think that this is clearly a stunt for some 21 Jump Street sequel. And we’re going to find out one day. And those are the headlines.
Gideon Resnick: That is all for today and Eid Mubarak to those who are celebrating. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, pick an appropriate name for Zoom, and tell your friends to listen.
Erin Ryan: And if you are into reading, and not just anthropological studies of teens so you can become one for Instagram like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Erin Ryan.
Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.
[together] And hire us to host Ellen!
Erin Ryan: What if we just kept the show name Ellen?
Gideon Resnick: That’d be cool. We’ll keep the sign as well. Isn’t there a big sign in there with the lights on?
Erin Ryan: Absolutely. Yes.
Gideon Resnick: Keep it. That’s for us.
Akilah Hughes: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media.
Gideon Resnick: It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes.
Akilah Hughes: Sonia Htoon and Jazzi Marine are our associate producers.
Gideon Resnick: Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran, Akilah Hughes and me.
Akilah Hughes: Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.