In This Episode
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked in their San Francisco home early Friday morning. The alleged assailant was reportedly looking for the Speaker – who was in Washington, D.C. at the time. The attack comes amid heightened fears of political violence before the midterm elections.
- In Nigeria, more than 600 people have died and 1.4 million others have been displaced from their homes due to severe flooding since September. Mary Annaïse Heglar, co-host of Crooked’s Hot Take, tells us how climate change has contributed to the disaster.
- And in headlines: a massive crowd surge in Seoul left at least 153 people dead, a pair of car bombings killed at least 100 people in Somalia, and leftist Lula da Silva won Brazil’s presidential election over right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
- Vote Save America: Every Last Vote – https://votesaveamerica.com/every-last-vote/
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, October 31st. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day, where we’re encouraging you to read all future tweets from our social media accounts in the voice of someone who doesn’t want to be there anymore.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, although to be honest, you could have been doing that for a while.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s not all Elon’s fault, but he’s certainly not helping.
Tre’vell Anderson: Not at all. [music break] On today’s show, officials in South Korea are searching for answers after a deadly stampede during Halloween festivities in Seoul. Plus, Lula defeated Bolsonaro to become Brazil’s next president.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, the latest on the attack against Paul Pelosi. Early Friday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 82 year old husband was attacked in their San Francisco home. The assailant, who was identified as 42 year old David DePape, was reportedly looking for the speaker, shouting, Where is Nancy? As he broke into their home. She was in Washington, D.C. at the time, but obviously Paul was not.
Tre’vell Anderson: What do we know about what happened? I remember it being, you know, just a lot of stuff on social media as it was going down.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s really scary, actually. So DePape broke into their home through the back door, according to law enforcement sources who spoke to CNN. He had a bag with him that had zip ties and duct tape, like not planning anything good here. Pelosi was able to call 911 around 2:30 a.m. after telling DePape that he needed to use the bathroom, which is where his phone was charging. When the police arrived, they found the two men fighting over a hammer. They told them to drop it, which is when DePape grabbed it and began hitting Pelosi with it before he was arrested. Pelosi was taken to the hospital. He needed surgery to repair a skull fracture, and he had serious injuries to his right arm and hands. He is expected to make a full recovery. But in a letter to all members of the House on Saturday, Nancy Pelosi said that she and her family are, quote, “heartbroken and traumatized over what happened.”
Tre’vell Anderson: I can’t imagine. So what do we know about this guy.
Priyanka Aribindi: Since this happened a lot of news outlets have reviewed DePape’s online presence. He spread a lot of QAnon far right conspiracy theories on his blog, he shared anti-Semitic and hateful posts, he referenced 4Chan, just like a real cesspool of shit on there. It’s also important to note that this happened less than two weeks away from the midterm elections. That call of where is Nancy really echoes what we saw during the January 6th insurrection when rioters invaded the Capitol building and were actively looking for her.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: According to San Francisco Police Chief William Scott quote, “This was not a random act. This was intentional.” He went on to lament this growing political violence and violence against elected officials in this country.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And this is definitely not the only instance of this we’ve seen in recent years. Obviously, there was January 6th, as you mentioned. There were attacks on the FBI after the raid on Mar-a-Lago. Back in 2019, a man sent homemade pipe bombs to a bunch of Democrats who criticized Trump like it’s been happening more and more.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, over the last few years. What’s been the response to this latest attack?
Priyanka Aribindi: Like you said, the conversation around political violence and security has been growing for a while now. So senior leaders like Nancy Pelosi typically have a security detail while they’re traveling or if they’re in the capital. But that does not extend to everybody in Congress. Certainly doesn’t extend to their family members. According to one Democratic aide, lawmakers were looking at this attack like an attempted assassination against the speaker, which it very well could have been had she been home. I would say that lawmakers are definitely more on edge about their security, especially after this happened. And that’s not just Democrats. This extends to Republicans as well. Many Republican politicians condemned the assault. However, they are very quick to say that it’s a both sides issue. They don’t really seem to take much responsibility for the right wing conspiracy theories that have seemed to motivate many of the more recent acts of violence.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: But speaking of conspiracy theories, Elon Musk, who finalized his deal to acquire Twitter late last week, posted a now deleted tweet, basically questioning the circumstances of this attack on Pelosi. He promoted a baseless article from a site that has been notorious for publishing fake news. So, you know, just everything you expected from his rise here at Twitter.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: The day he took over on Twitter, the site was flooded by anonymous trolls who were spewing slurs and hate speech in order to celebrate. A lot of them were apparently trying to test how much, quote unquote, “free speech” is now allowed on the site. But Musk says he’s going to create a content moderation council so that Twitter isn’t just like this free for all where people can say whatever they want. But, you know, reports that he’s planning huge cuts at the company aren’t really inspiring confidence that he’ll be able to do this and moderate the content on the platform in a sufficient way.
Tre’vell Anderson: I don’t think anyone is actually expecting this to be like a net positive as it relates to Twitter?
Priyanka Aribindi: No, certainly not.
Tre’vell Anderson: And that’s unfortunate.
Priyanka Aribindi: If he’s leading by example, like we’re going in a terrible direction.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Absolutely. Thanks for that, Priyanka. Now on to an international story with implications for us all. Over in Nigeria, more than 600 people have died and 1.4 million others have been displaced from their homes. This is a result of severe flooding the country has faced since September, which, according to government officials, is the most devastating episode of seasonal floods Nigeria has seen in a decade. 32 out of the country’s 36 states have been hit by these catastrophic floods, and nearly 440,000 hectares of farmland have been damaged or destroyed. For reference, that’s over a million acres. Extreme rainfall and the release of excess water from a dam in neighboring Cameroon have both led to these floods. Some have also noted a supposed lack of infrastructure and proper early preparation by Nigerian officials as reasons why the damage is so bad, which unfortunately all of this is expected to impact the food supply there soon. Humanitarian agencies also fear that a health disaster could be brewing as stagnant flood water is the only available alternative for drinking, cooking and bathing. And the country has already seen a rise in cholera infections. According to UNICEF, quote, “more than 2.5 million people in Nigeria are in need of humanitarian assistance, 60% of which are children and are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition.” By the way, a continued rise in cholera infections could be even more devastating for the country. As the World Health Organization warns there’s already a global shortage of cholera vaccines. But the ultimate reason we’re seeing this devastation, which is similar to what we’ve reported is happening in Pakistan, in Puerto Rico, in Florida and other places ravaged by natural disasters. It all comes back to, you guessed it, climate change. To talk a bit more about why we should all be aware of what’s happening in Nigeria, I spoke to Mary Annaïse Heglar, co-host of Crooked’s Hot Take. I started by asking her about the current situation on the ground in Nigeria:
Mary Annaïse Heglar: Some of the areas that have been flooded the worst have not received any relief at all yet, partially because it’s so difficult to get there. I’ve read a lot that lots of folks on the ground are very frustrated with the federal government and their reliance on a personal responsibility sort of thing for people to prepare or evacuate from the storms. It was kind of like on them, like, well, warn y’all, but we’re not really going to do anything else. But I as an American citizen, I feel kind of uncomfortable criticizing the Nigerian government, that’s $100 billion dollars in debt for not having the sort of response that people deserved.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. So from your vantage point, what needs to be done kind of in the long term to prevent these types of disasters, these types of catastrophes from happening again? We’ve seen flooding has been a huge concern across the globe over the last year in particular.
Mary Annaïse Heglar: There’s a couple of different ways to approach the prevention of this, right? Like you could prevent the unusual rainfall from happening. And so that’s one way to prevent them. The other way is to invest in infrastructure such that the unusual rainfall does not create these sorts of circumstances. We have to do both of those things. That’s what we call in the climate world mitigation versus adaptation. And they’re not versus at all. Um. You know, especially at this point, you can’t adapt to something you don’t mitigate because [laugh] then you just wake up with a whole new crazy world every day. It don’t even make sense. I think we have to do both of those things. And in order for Nigeria to be able to invest in its infrastructure, um it’s going to need to get out from under that amount of debt. And that’s going to need to look like some sort of form of climate reparations, which is uh shaping a lot of the discourse around COP. The Conference of the Parties at the UN in Egypt this year uh it’s the biggest international climate talks and is taking place starting November 8th and going for about two weeks.
Tre’vell Anderson: Speaking of long term promises and plans as it relates to this entire conversation we’re having. What are you expecting to come out of that?
Mary Annaïse Heglar: I never know. With the U.N. conferences. I mean, the whole purpose of them was supposed to have been to stave off climate change, um to stop us from getting to this point. This is the 27th COP. So as far as achieving its goal, my hopes are not high. But what is useful about COP is that countries from the frontlines of the climate crises get to confront those most responsible for the climate crisis. And so I expect to see a lot of those sorts of confrontations. It’ll be interesting to see how folks respond to that. And I think that, you know, there’s a lot of really brilliant analysts and activists going and I’m sure they’ve got all sorts of events planned for talking about the responsibilities for climate change. Reparations for climate change, which people call loss and damages, it’s basically reparations. And the need for that is getting clearer and clearer. I know that they call them the V20. The 20 countries designated most vulnerable to climate change are talking about stalling their debt payments because they they need that money to invest in their infrastructure and protect their people through climate change.
Tre’vell Anderson: The scale of this devastation, it feels like it should make this a major news story, but it isn’t apparently being treated that way. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to talk to you a little bit about it, because I was looking at the numbers and I was like, oh, this is a huge impact that we’re seeing. From your vantage point. Why should disasters like this or the floods that caused so much damage in Pakistan be a concern for us here in the U.S. or really, you know, anywhere in the so-called developed world.
Mary Annaïse Heglar: We should care about what happens to one another. It shouldn’t matter to us because the United States is the biggest historical contributor to climate change. This is our responsibility as a country to do something about this. They should not be suffering for the sins of the global north. You know, people will be quick to say, well, Nigeria is an oil giant um [laugh] um and Nigeria’s not an oil giant. It just has a lot of oil. And Nigeria has not getting rich off of that oil. Other companies have gotten rich off of Nigeria’s oil. We should also care about it because that’s looking dead at our climate future. And particularly for Black folks in the United States and and people of color in the global south, just period. But I look at what’s happening in Nigeria and I see myself, I look at what’s happening in Nigeria, and I see Katrina.
Tre’vell Anderson: As a climate change advocate and activist. Are you seeing the type of action and response that you think is like necessary to kind of [laugh] turn back? Uh oh, I heard that chuckle. [laugh] To turn back the clock. [laughter]
Mary Annaïse Heglar: Girl no. [laughing] The conversations around climate change, the fact that climate reparations is front and center is both evidence of how bad things have gotten, but also how much more advanced the climate conversation has gotten. And I think that that is an improvement. And clean cars have gotten way further than they used to be. You know, like that’s an instance where the industry itself has embraced the need for this and found a way to make electric cars cool. And there are plenty of examples of small victories in this fight. No victory is too small to celebrate. There’s also some cases of big victories. But compared to the climate crisis, compared to the challenge that we face, the things is that the stakes are really, really, really high.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Mary Annaïse Heglar: And the bar is really, really low.
Tre’vell Anderson: That was my conversation with Mary Annaïse Heglar of Crooked’s Hot Take. That is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: A massive crowd surge in Seoul left at least 153 people dead and dozens of others injured on Saturday, becoming one of the worst peacetime disasters in South Korea’s history. Tens of thousands of people had gathered in Itaewon, a popular nightlife district, to celebrate Halloween. But the festivities took a deadly turn when part of the crowd surged into an alley. Survivors said there was no room to escape and people were packed together so tightly that they couldn’t even breathe. According to officials, most of the victims were in their twenties or thirties, and some were still in their teens. South Korea’s president declared a period of national mourning for the dead until November 5th.
Priyanka Aribindi: So scary and it’s so sad. At least 120 people are dead after a century old bridge collapsed in western India on Sunday. Local media reported that about 350 people were on the pedestrian bridge when it crashed down into the river below it. The bridge, which was built during Britain’s colonial rule, reopened to the public just last week after undergoing months of repairs. There are questions about whether the private company that owns the bridge received the proper safety clearances from the government.
Tre’vell Anderson: A pair of car bombings killed at least 100 people in the Somali capital of Mogadishu this weekend. The country’s president said at least 300 people were hurt in the blasts and warned the death toll could rise. The al Qaeda aligned extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabab militants have fought the Somali government for over a decade and have also launched attacks in neighboring Kenya.
Priyanka Aribindi: Just a deadly weekend all over the world.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: Florida’s Board of Medicine voted on Friday to draft a rule that would ban all trans youth in the state from receiving gender affirming care. This marks the first time that a state’s medical board has pursued such an extreme measure, and the move would block anyone under 18 from receiving puberty, blockers, hormone treatments, or gender affirming surgeries. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration have led the effort towards this kind of ban for months. As a reminder, transition related care is backed by multiple major accredited medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Tre’vell Anderson: In the word of the great songwriter, why are y’all so obsessed with me?
Priyanka Aribindi: Why?
Tre’vell Anderson: Leave us alone.
Priyanka Aribindi: Why?
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s getting weird? Come on. [sigh] And some possible positive news. Some sort of justice has come for two men convicted of killing Malcolm X, even if it is 50 plus years too late. New York has agreed to pay $26 million dollars to Khalil Islam and Muhammed Aziz, whose convictions related to Malcolm X’s assassination were thrown out last November, but not before they each spent 20 years in prison. The exonerations were the result of a 22 month investigation by former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, which found that prosecutors, the FBI, and the NYPD all withheld evidence in the 1966 trial of Aziz and Islam that likely would have led the jury to find them innocent. Islam passed away in 2009. He didn’t live to see the courts clear his name, unfortunately. But Aziz is 84.
Priyanka Aribindi: You know it’s a rough day on WAD if this is our happiest story.
Tre’vell Anderson: It is. It is.
Priyanka Aribindi: The trees that are left standing in the Amazon breathed a heavy sigh of relief last night as Brazil’s right wing and anti-environmental president Jair Bolsonaro lost his runoff election to leftist hero Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula won by a razor thin margin, receiving 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. In his acceptance speech, Lula called for an end to hunger inequality and pledged to stop the destruction of Brazil’s rainforest. As we went to record at 9:30 p.m. Eastern last night, Bolsonaro predictably had not yet conceded. Be on the lookout for some voter fraud conspiracies from him that push the entire genre forward in the coming days.
Tre’vell Anderson: Not looking forward to that.
Priyanka Aribindi: But you know what? At least we got a good result. Happy there.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. We’ll take it. Absolutely. Wrapping up with some slightly lighter news, a store that seems like it was created so its workers could file for a union election has seen its workers file for a union election. It’s a Starbucks that’s also an Amazon store in Manhattan. [laugh] And its employees say they have two jobs worth of responsibilities, but only one jobs worth of paychecks. The store is officially called a, quote, “Starbucks pick up with Amazon go.” And what that means is it incorporates Amazon’s cashierless checkout system with a Starbucks mobile order counter. If that sounds like it’d be hard to administer, it’s because it is. And workers there say they don’t have the resources they need to keep things running smoothly. TBD on how Starbucks and Amazon will respond. We can only hope that their respective efforts at union busting somehow cancel each other out.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. Couple of thoughts here. One Starbucks pick up with Amazon go. That name just does not [laughter] roll off the tongue. Please keep it snappy. Two, still no fucking id– we read this during uh our read through. We read this before reading this now. Still no idea how this concept works. Makes no sense to me. [laughter] But you know what? I do hope that what results from this is just a mega union that–
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely.
Priyanka Aribindi: –Cancels each other out. This is the biggest union the world has ever seen.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. It’s what we’ve been waiting for. And those are the headlines. [music break] That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Hug a tree in the Amazon and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just election results coming out of Brazil like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[spoken together] And don’t make me go back on Twitter.
Priyanka Aribindi: Please, Mom, [laughter] do not make me go back there. I am not having a good time. I just want to go home.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not gonna be cute and I hate that for us.
Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, the party’s on Instagram now, give us a follow. It’s a good time. [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 Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.