In This Episode
- House Speaker Kevin McCarthy proposed a one-year debt ceiling increase on Monday, calling the idea a “responsible, sensible” solution — but it’s unclear if he has the support of his own party to pass the divisive measure.
- A new report from the Washington Post revealed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas claimed income for two decades from a now-defunct real estate firm. This is the latest in a series of recent reports that call into question the justice’s willingness to skirt ethical guidelines — including those around financial disclosure.
- And in headlines: the death toll continues to rise as rival military groups fight for power in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum, Writers Guild of America West members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike, and the Love Is Blind Season 4 reunion is finally on Netflix after the live event didn’t air when promised.
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, April 18th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day where we have a great chiropractor to recommend for some of the Coachella looks y’all pulled.
Josie Duffy Rice: [laugh] Oh, man. And to think we still have another weekend of desert festival fashion ahead of us.
Tre’vell Anderson: Stay hydrated and we will see you on the gram. [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, more than 185 people have been killed in Sudan as fighting between military rivals continues. Plus, what really went down with the Love is Blind Season four reunion. Which I have to admit I watched even though I didn’t watch the season. [laughter] All the Twitter interest just got me involved.
Tre’vell Anderson: It got you in. I love that. But first, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he’s got a, quote, “responsible, sensible solution regarding the country’s debt ceiling.” On Monday, he delivered a speech from the New York Stock Exchange proposing a one year debt ceiling increase alongside a set of spending cuts and policy changes. As a quick refresher, the nation hit its $31.4 trillion dollar borrowing cap back in January, and that forced the Treasury Department to employ a series of, quote, “extraordinary measures” to help ensure the government could continue paying its bills without breaching the debt limit. But those measures can’t last forever, and it’s projected that the Treasury could run out of funds before July, which means Congress needs to either raise or suspend the debt limit. But as we know, there is a split about how to address things. You’ve got President Biden and the Democrats who want Congress to raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached. They see it as the government’s duty to increase the limit. And then you have McCarthy and the Republicans who have said they won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling without tying it to spending cuts.
Josie Duffy Rice: Once again, I’m so puzzled, so perplexed as to why Kevin McCarthy wanted this job so bad that he went up for like 11 votes [laughter] before actually getting it. I would not want this job. So what exactly are these conditions that McCarthy is proposing?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So he’s proposing to freeze spending at last fiscal years levels and rescind tens of billions of dollars in unspent pandemic relief funds. He also wants to enact stricter work requirements on folks who get food stamps and Medicaid, expanded domestic mining and fossil fuel production, and roll back a number of federal regulations Republicans view as overly burdensome. But while the plan might sound good to McCarthy, it’s not clear if he actually has enough support from his party to pass the measure, because when asked if he had said support in an interview for CNBC minutes after his speech, he said, quote, “I think I have the support of America. I’ll get the party behind it.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s the Republican Party I know. [laughter] Sacrificing for the people. Oh, man. So the White House, the Democratic Party, what are they saying? How are they like responding to this? What’s the deal?
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told The New York Times, quote, “A speech isn’t a plan, but it’s clear that extreme MAGA Republicans wishlists will impose devastating cuts on hardworking families, send manufacturing overseas, take health care and food assistance away from millions of people, and increase energy costs, all while adding trillions to the debt with tax cuts skewed to the super wealthy and corporations.” But Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer was a bit more direct, if you want to say he said, quote, “If Speaker McCarthy continues in this direction, we are headed to default,” which, you know, is basically the political equivalent of fuck around and find out.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I do sort of resent that political equivalent because I’m like, I did not fuck around.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] We do not want to find out at all right?
Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t really feel like we should have to find out personally.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. As I mentioned, it’s projected that we’ll breach the debt limit as early as July. And considering that increasing the debt ceiling is often, it seems, an 11th hour agreement, I’m sure we’ll have plenty more updates in the coming months.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m sure this is going to go really smoothly and the Republican Party is going to do what’s in all of our best interest, definitely. But in more news about Republicans inability to make strong financial decisions. Uh. Clarence Thomas.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: He continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, or in this case, the opposite of that, meaning he has never actually given us anything a single time in his life. But he continues to receive gifts and not report them.
Tre’vell Anderson: Tell us, what is the latest with Mr. Thomas?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So on Sunday, The Washington Post reported that for 20 years, Supreme Court Justice Thomas has reported rental income totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars on financial disclosure forms. And that money supposedly came from a firm called Ginger Limited Partnership, a Nebraska real estate firm started by his wife’s family back in the 1980s. I would already say there might be some ethical issues there of getting rental income from your wife’s family’s real estate firm. But that aside, that’s not even the problem here. The real problem is that that firm was shut down in 2006. Afterwards, the family started another company called Ginger Holdings. But Thomas has continued to report income from the old firm, sometimes as much as a 50 to $100,000 a year. And this was described on his forms as, quote, “rent” which is just funny to me, just rent on your financial disclosure forms as a Supreme Court justice. So that could seem like just a small maybe like clerical error. But again, 20 years of that and this recent report comes after a series of other reports really calling into question the Justice’s willingness to play fast and loose with ethical guidelines, including those around financial disclosure.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, he’s been in the news a lot lately around his moneys and whatnot. Refresh our memory on those other incidents reported as of late.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So earlier this month, ProPublica reported that Thomas accepted luxury trips around the world from a Republican megadonor named Harlan Crow, which I’m pretty positive was the name of the dead guy in the First Knives Out. And I’m not going to Google it because I want to believe they have the same name. So anyway, ProPublica reported that Harlan Crow, who I will exclusively refer to by his full name because it’s absurd, took Thomas on his super yacht and his private jet multiple times. Apparently they go to Harlan Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks every year. They’ve also gone to his ranch in East Texas. Thomas and his wife, Virginia Ginni Thomas, uh more on her in a second, have also gone to Indonesia with Harlan Crow just a few years ago, which included a private jet trip and to quote The Washington Post, quote, “Island hopping on a super yacht.” It’s a trip that ProPublica says would have cost them more than $500,000 if they had paid for it themselves.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is a very, very expensive vacation. They could give me an eighth of that and I could have a great time somewhere. Just saying.
Josie Duffy Rice: I do feel like it’s worth pointing out that you and I are available for super yacht trips at any point.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely.
Josie Duffy Rice: We’re not on the Supreme Court. I’m happy to go on anybody’s super yacht. That sounds great.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’ll take a regular yacht. It doesn’t have to be super.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’ll take any yacht. [laughter] Yes.
Tre’vell Anderson: But also tell the people about this other weird place that they went.
Josie Duffy Rice: So they went to this other place called Bohemian Grove, described as a, quote, “exclusive, all male retreat in California.” It’s also worth mentioning that Harlan Crow apparently collects extensive Nazi memorabilia, including a signed copy of Mein Kampf and multiple of Hitler’s paintings. He says he collects these things because he hates Nazis. I don’t know. I find that suspicious. Like I don’t collect slave owner paintings–
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: –because I hate slavery. Also, can you imagine going to someone’s house?
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Seeing the Hitler stuff and then, like, staying friends with them for a few decades.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, okay? I barely want to go into people’s houses who have the American flag hanging outside. Not because I hate America, to be clear. But because–
Josie Duffy Rice: No, but it just is giving something.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know what it is?
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s giving something.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. It’s–
Josie Duffy Rice: If you have a signed copy of Mein Kampf.
Tre’vell Anderson: We’re not friends.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m just not coming back.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m not coming back.
Tre’vell Anderson: Lose my number.
Josie Duffy Rice: Lose my number.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] Okay. So I want to know what happens next. But first, you mentioned his wife, Ginni. How does she fit into all of this?
Josie Duffy Rice: Ginni is a walking, talking ethical violation. Who, no joke, she actively tried to get Trump to overturn the election. You all may remember this. We covered it a lot. She texted the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, encouraging him to tell Trump to, like, stand down and get this. She emailed Arizona lawmakers in November and December 2020, basically pushing them to choose Trump supporting electors over the preference of their voters. I mean, she was like literally in her email trying to overturn democracy. I don’t actually have any white aunts personally, but she reminds me of the racist white boomer aunts that a lot of people seemingly have to interact with at Thanksgiving. Like she was posting stupid pro-Trump memes on her Facebook page for a while. Except she’s actually married to a Supreme Court Justice. Not to get too off topic here, but please also remember that Ginni Thomas called Anita Hill in 2010, almost 20 years after Hill accused Justice Thomas of sexual harassment and left a message on her voicemail where she insisted Anita Hill apologize to Clarence Thomas. I’m trying not to say too much, but these are the people we’re dealing with. And also, relatedly, in 2011, Clarence Thomas had to amend 20 years of financial disclosures to include his wife’s places of employment, many of which seem to be conservative organizations. So this is a pattern, a pretty longstanding one.
Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. So there seems to be some possible conflicts of interest, a little bad judgment, maybe some absolute ethical violations, etc., as it relates to the Thomas’s, Both of them. So what now? Where do we go from here?
Josie Duffy Rice: What should happen is a thorough investigation and the Democratic Party holding Justice Thomas accountable. Right. Like being a lifetime appointee on the highest court in the land who gets to functionally make law for the rest of us, there are very high ethical standards and he is violating them. And that is a serious problem. I think he should be impeached. I think he should have been impeached like three violations ago, minimum. But what will actually happen, though, is likely far less than that if we take the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Democratic majority statement as evidence. Basically, last week, they called for Chief Justice John Roberts to, quote, “immediately open an investigation into Thomas” and look into quote, “how such conduct could take place on his watch,” which is truly so funny. It’s like you can’t ask the wolf to guard–
Tre’vell Anderson: He’s not doing that.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, he’s a wolf guarding the wolf, guarding the hen house. Right. And so it is disappointing to see that basically that has been the major move so far. The Judiciary Committee has also said that they will hold a hearing sometime in the future. So I guess we’ll see about that. And we will keep following this story. But that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: More than 185 people have been killed and at least 1800 others have been wounded in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum, where fighting between military rivals has continued for three days straight. The violence broke out Saturday morning between the country’s military, which is led by Sudan’s de facto leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group. The two factions have been rivals ever since Sudan’s former dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019. The country was supposed to transition to a Democratic civilian led government last Tuesday on the fourth anniversary of al-Bashir’s removal. But the transition was disrupted after existing tensions between the groups further escalated. Now both sides are fighting for control with tanks, artillery, and tens of thousands of armed troops. And millions of residents have been trapped in their homes amid heavy gunfire and explosions. Multiple hospitals were damaged and several others had to be completely shut down. The UN has called for a cease fire. While the White House commented on the situation yesterday, saying, quote, “We deplore the escalating violence out of Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan,” though they did not extend support to either side. The Biden administration also called for, quote, “an immediate cease fire without conditions.”
Tre’vell Anderson: Now we turn to a devastating story out of Kansas City, Missouri, where hundreds of people have taken to the streets over the shooting of Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager who was shot twice by a white homeowner after ringing the wrong doorbell. According to authorities, the incident took place in Clay County last week. Yarl went to pick up his younger siblings from a friend’s house. And when the 16 year old mistakenly rang the wrong doorbell, a white man opened the door and shot Yarl in the head and then shot him again after he hit the ground. Yarl was hospitalized with life threatening injuries for three nights before he was released on Sunday. The white homeowner, who has now been identified as 85 year old Andrew Lester, was taken into custody the night of the incident but was released after 24 hours with no charges, sparking intense backlash from the public. Clay County prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced yesterday that he charged Lester with first degree assault and armed criminal action. He also told reporters that there was a quote unquote, “racial component to the case and that a warrant has been issued for Lester’s arrest.” If convicted of first degree assault, Lester could face life in prison under Missouri law.
Josie Duffy Rice: All of this, this whole case is just devastating. Residents near the warehouse that caught fire in Richmond, Indiana, last week are being warned not to touch any debris from the blaze because it may contain asbestos. As you’ll remember, an industrial fire broke out at a former plastic recycling plant last Tuesday, forcing nearby residents to evacuate their homes. The evacuation order was lifted on Sunday, but the Environmental Protection Agency is now saying that some debris samples from the fire have tested positive for asbestos, which is a known carcinogen that has been linked to cancer. The federal agency said they started collecting debris on Saturday at schools, city parks and daycares in Indiana and neighboring Ohio and are urging those who suspect fire debris could have landed on their property to call the Richmond Community Helpline.
Tre’vell Anderson: Hollywood is inching ever closer to a pencils down moment. Members of the Writers Guild of America West on Monday overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike amid stalled negotiations for a new labor contract with their employers. The union said that participating members voted in favor of a strike by nearly 98%, and the move gives the guild the power to call a strike if they can’t come to a tentative labor agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers by May 1st, the day that their current contract expires. Writers are organizing to increase pay minimums and residuals on streaming platforms, as well as create a minimum staffing requirement for all TV shows. Negotiations began late last month, but have stalled ever since. If the Guild does go on strike, Hollywood would be short more than 11,000 writers. The last time the Guild went on strike was in 2007. That work stoppage lasted 100 days and dramatically halted production throughout the industry. Negotiations were scheduled to resume yesterday afternoon.
Josie Duffy Rice: For a nice change of pace. The most chaotic primetime television event of the weekend had nothing to do with Succession. Yesterday, Netflix finally made The Love is Blind Season four reunion special viewable to all subscribers a day after it had initially been promised. On Sunday, viewers hoping to discover the post-wedding fates of the five couples who got engaged, quote, “sight unseen,” were asked to join a waiting room 10 minutes before the live event was set to begin at 5 p.m. Pacific. However, the live broadcast didn’t start until around 6:16 p.m. and even then only to a random smattering of Netflix subscribers. And this mess went all the way to the top. Even House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the delay. Meanwhile, Vanessa Lachey, who hosts the show alongside husband Nick Lachey, took to Instagram live to address the broadcast delay telling her followers to be patient and that, quote, “This is so 2023.” Mmm. And cable TV’s Bravo took the opportunity to remind everyone who’s still top brass in the world of reality television and throwing shade, simply tweeting, “We would never keep you waiting for a reunion.” And you know what? We believe them.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. This is why y’all got to go back to cable and back to broadcast, y’all doing all that streaming stuff and it’s getting messed up.
Josie Duffy Rice: It is very weird that Vanessa Lachey said, this is so 2023 because I’m like, this is actually so 2011.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right? We’ve been like livestreaming stuff for a little minute. What’s going on?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] But I love that the drama around it right got you to watch.
Josie Duffy Rice: It did.
Tre’vell Anderson: Even though you haven’t seen the season.
Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t know how many viewers they lost, but they gained one because people online were so mad that I simply had to know what it was all about. It was fine. It was good. [laughter] And those are the headlines. We will be back after some ads to dive into the dramatic world of daytime television. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Tuesday, WAD squad. And for today’s temp check, we’re talking about Kelly Ripa making every day bring your husband to work day. Yesterday morning marked a new era of America’s top AM talk show as actor Mark Consuelos joined his wife, Kelly Ripa, on ABC as the new co-host of the television show formerly known as Live with Kelly and Ryan. After six seasons, Ryan Seacrest signed off for the last time last Friday joining the ranks of Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford and Michael Strahan, all former hosts of ABC’s signature morning program. Ripa and Consuelos, who will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary next month, are no strangers to working together. The couple met and fell in love while playing love interests on the soap opera All My Children. And as far as what’s on the table for discussion. Consuelos told The Hollywood Reporter that while they have their boundaries, the couple is open to talking about everything, including the details of their families, marriage and sex lives. On the bright side we’ll no longer have to speculate too hard as to whether or not two co-anchors are sleeping together. But Josie, I have to know. Do you think this new work arrangement will bode well for one of Hollywood’s most stable couples?
Josie Duffy Rice: Look, I’m rooting for them and they’re getting paid. So more power to them.
Tre’vell Anderson: Twice, right? You know, we love that.
Josie Duffy Rice: Twice. And as someone who works with their spouse, meaning in the same building, it can work. However, if I forced him to get on daytime television every day, I am sure we would be divorced. So I feel hopeful. I do not want to hear about their sex lives though. So I have to say it’s too early. It’s too much for me personally. What do you think?
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s going to be interesting to see how deep the rabbit hole goes in terms of like how much of their personal life they will reveal and end up talking about. But also, I am not married. But you know how like when you get into an argument with your partner at home, but now you have to like also go with your partner to work. And like y’all haven’t–
Josie Duffy Rice: See–
Tre’vell Anderson: –resolved the argument.
Josie Duffy Rice: No, right.
Tre’vell Anderson: This could make for great fireworks on screen. I don’t know. It could be interesting.
Josie Duffy Rice: I hope they get super passive aggressive some days. [laughter] We need it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: We need it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. We need it. Add some new energy, some new drama to daytime talk. Why not?
Josie Duffy Rice: They should do a whole segment where they do like marriage counseling on TV.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And just like that, we have checked our temps. They’re a little lukewarm. Like we’re kind–
Josie Duffy Rice: Lukewarm.
Tre’vell Anderson: –of interested, but, like, not really.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: So we’ll find out soon. Stay tuned.
Josie Duffy Rice: I wasn’t interested in Love Is Blind yesterday, and I watched the reunion today, so [laughter] I’m easily convinced. [music break].
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, promote your husband to co-host and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just angry tweets directed at Netflix like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
[spoken together] And is love truly blind?
Josie Duffy Rice: Mmm deep. [laughter] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is the production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lantz. Our producers are Itxy Quintanilla and Raven Yamamoto. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.