In This Episode
- Israel and Hamas reached an agreement on Wednesday to get medicine delivered to hostages held in Gaza. In exchange, humanitarian aid and medication will be delivered to Palestinian civilians. And overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday, Israeli forces advanced on the area around the Al Nasser hospital complex in Khan Younis, a city in Southern Gaza.
- Over in Texas, a floating barrier in the Rio Grande will stay for now because an appeals court reversed an order for the state to remove it. Governor Greg Abbott installed the 1,000 foot-long string of buoys and submerged netting in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass last July as part of his anti-immigration program.
- And in headlines: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decided to move his presidential campaign away from New Hampshire and instead prioritize South Carolina’s primary, Democrats filed a lawsuit to demand that the Wisconsin Supreme Court throw out the state’s congressional maps, and thousands marched the streets of Honolulu on Wednesday for the annual ‘Onipa’a Peace March that commemorates the day that the U.S. illegally overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom.
- WAD – “Hawai’i: An American Coup” – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hawaii-an-american-coup/id1483692776?i=1000594870921
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
Follow us on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crookedmedia/
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, January 18th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What a Day where we think government tracking is bad, but government tracking of dog poop. That’s good.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, by March, dog owners in Italy’s Bolzano province must register the DNA of their dogs so officials can track down and find people who don’t clean up their dog’s abandoned poop.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m 100% on board with this. I am a very much a do not poop on my lawn type girl.
Priyanka Aribindi: Love it. Love it. [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, an appeals court rules that the floating barrier in the Rio Grande must stay for now. Plus, DeSantis largely gives up on campaigning in New Hampshire before next Tuesday’s primary.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, we focus on getting aid to those in the Middle East. Yesterday, Israel and Hamas reached an agreement to get medicine delivered to Israeli hostages who have been held in Gaza in exchange for the delivery of humanitarian aid and medication for Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This deal was brokered by Qatar and France, and a shipment meant for Israeli hostages already entered the Gaza Strip yesterday as part of this deal.
Juanita Tolliver: We know this is critical, long overdue aid based on all the aid being slowed down or blocked in the recent weeks. So tell us more about this deal and any details that we know now.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, these medications are being delivered because of calls from the relatives of the over 100 remaining Israeli hostages who are believed to still be alive in Gaza. At least one third of those people have chronic illnesses that require medication. They have been held captive and have been away from their homes for upwards of 100 days. The calls still remain for them to be returned home. Hamas stipulated that for every box of medication provided for those hostages, 1000 boxes of medication should be provided for Palestinian civilians. That medication is being supplied by Qatar. And as everyone knows, Palestinians in Gaza have been experiencing an increasingly bleak humanitarian crisis over the past several months, with severe shortages of food, medication, supplies and so much more. In addition to the nearly 25,000 person death toll in Gaza, according to the U.N. Gazans make up 80% of the people who are facing famine or catastrophic levels of hunger in the entire world. Every child under the age of five in Gaza is at high risk of severe malnutrition. And in addition to sweeping infections, medication shortages have led to a whole host of issues like operations being performed on children without anesthesia.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh my goodness.
Priyanka Aribindi: Just things that are completely, completely unfathomable. As every expert continues to reiterate, the scale of this crisis is simply unparalleled.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, unparalleled is the right word. And speaking of that, tell us more about the latest on the ground and the devastation we’re seeing.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, so overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday, Israeli forces advanced on the area around the Al Nasser Hospital complex in Khan Younis, which is a city in southern Gaza. According to NBC news, there was intense bombardment and gunfire. Videos posted on social media and verified by NBC show scenes of chaos around the hospital, which has become a refuge for the many, many displaced people in Gaza since the start of the war, nearly 1.9 million people have been displaced. There were no prior evacuation orders issued or anything like that. Here is Palestinian journalist Bisan Owda who has been reporting from the Al Nasser Hospital.
[clip of Bisan Owda] But Al Nasser medical complex is now near to be invaded. It’s the last functioning hospital. I’m trying to find any internet connection so I can tell you what is happening. The carpet bombing, the the ambulances could not even reach the entries or the people who were killed and injured because of the carpet bombing.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m just so grateful to Bisan for continuing to share as much as she can on a daily basis.
Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. You can hear it in in the background of that–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: –scene. Just pure chaos. Israel’s military has denied striking the hospital itself. They say that they opened fire after encountering a, quote, “terrorist cell next to the hospital,” that has not been verified. During all of this. Gaza has also been in its sixth consecutive day without phone or internet service, so people haven’t been able to call for help. It’s been very difficult for aid workers to get into contact and reach people who are in need. A lot of teams of aid workers have lost contact with the organizations that dispatch them. It’s really a dire situation. According to the area’s largest telecommunications provider, the downed lines have persisted because of the damaged infrastructure in Khan Younis, but this is the longest communications blackout of the nine total that Gaza has experienced since the start of this war.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, just the juxtaposition of Bisan’s reporting with this statement from Israel’s military. Like, you heard everything, y’all. The math’s not quite mathing. At the start, you mentioned the new aid coming into Gaza. What else is happening on an international level at this point regarding this conflict?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. Some new developments yesterday, actually from the U.S., the U.S. Senate shelved a resolution proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders that would have frozen U.S. aid to Israel unless the State Department produced a timely report on whether or not Israel had committed human rights violations over the course of this war. Sanders didn’t just come up with this resolution out of nowhere. It was filed under the Foreign Assistance Act, which lets Congress ask the State Department for this kind of information on any country that gets security assistance from the US. And Israel receives around $3.8 billion dollars in that assistance from the U.S. every single year. Sanders’ bill reflected growing concerns from some people here at home over the US’s continued supply of assistance and arms to Israel, despite the staggering civilian death toll in Gaza. But at the end, only 11 senators voted to keep that resolution alive, while 72 Democrats and Republicans voted to table it, effectively killing the proposal. So as of now, U.S. aid to Israel will continue as usual.
Juanita Tolliver: I just appreciate Senator Sanders and those 11 senators who broached this resolution who are asking vital questions right now and voting for it. And thanks for that update, Priyanka. Now looking to Texas, where for now, a floating barrier in the Rio Grande will stay. Yesterday, an appeals court reversed an order requiring the state to remove it. As we’ve previously discussed on the show, these barriers have been the center of legal disputes between President Biden and Texas Governor Greg Abbott since they were installed last summer. And this latest reversal is a big setback for the Biden administration.
Priyanka Aribindi: All right, let’s rewind for a second before we get into it. What led to this latest decision from the courts?
Juanita Tolliver: So last July, Governor Abbott installed a 1000 foot long string of buoys and submerged netting in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, as part of his anti-immigration program. But since the Rio Grande is considered an international waterway, the Biden administration promptly filed a lawsuit calling for its removal. Now, this is where we begin the legal ping pong match. In September 2023, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Biden administration and ordered the removal of the barrier. Abbott immediately appealed the decision, and the next day, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a halt on the removal order while it considered the case. Fast forward to December, when the Fifth Circuit made its decision and a three judge panel sided with the lower court’s ruling that the barrier was illegal. At that point, it seemed like the issue was settled with this specific court. I mean, that is until all 17 judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals voted yesterday, and a majority wanted to vacate the previous ruling and rehear the case. If it all sounds like a mess, that’s because it is a complete mess. Also, there is no date for the new hearing yet, but for now the barrier can stay in place.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Absolute mess as you said. How does this all tie into the politics and the conversation around the border and the restrictions that Republicans have been pushing for?
Juanita Tolliver: Governor Abbott and Republicans have leveraged every single opportunity and court decision to hit President Biden on the border. And Republicans have consistently had a negative view of how President Biden is handling immigration issues. Recent polling by CBS-YouGov shows that two thirds of GOP voters want U.S. policy to focus on preventing border crossings, and nearly 70% of Republicans blame the Biden administration’s policy changes as the reason why more migrants are attempting to cross the border. Conversely, three quarters of Democratic voters want the Biden administration to focus on making the asylum seeking process more efficient, and 72% of Democrats understand that migrants are trying to cross the border due to worsening economic conditions and danger in their current locations. Of course, this data will tie into what voters want to see Biden deliver ahead of 2024, especially as House Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans are pushing for the reinstatement of Trump’s extremist immigration policies, including, you know those throwbacks, remain in Mexico policy and building a wall. After a meeting at the White House yesterday, Johnson said he’s making stuff like that a condition if Biden wants Congress to send more aid to Ukraine. Take a listen to what he said to reporters.
[clip of House Speaker Mike Johnson] We understand that all these things are important, but we must insist. We must insist that the border be the top priority.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. Okay, sir. So politics aside, the barriers that Texas has constructed at the borders are creating life threatening situations for migrants. Can you tell us more about how that has been playing out?
Juanita Tolliver: Right, as we’ve previously discussed on the show this week. A woman and two children drowned near Eagle Pass, Texas. According to a Department of Homeland Security official, Federal Border Patrol agents were physically blocked from entering the area by Texas officials, and as a result, they couldn’t respond to the distress call about the children and the woman who ultimately lost their lives. The Texas Military Department maintains that Mexican authorities were responding to an incident and did not require support, and that Texas officials did not see any migrants in distress. I mean, even this response is inhumane.
Priyanka Aribindi: Totally.
Juanita Tolliver: It’s fully representative of the cruelty we’re seeing from Texas’s government. Of course, we’ll keep following all of the legal drama and the border policy negotiations, but that’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break].
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: Starting with some updates on the campaign trail. With less than a week until the Republican primary in New Hampshire, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has decided to move his campaign away from the Granite State. Instead, he will prioritize South Carolina’s primary, which is February 24th. Juanita is laughing.
Juanita Tolliver: I am–
Priyanka Aribindi: As should all of you.
Juanita Tolliver: –giggling.
Priyanka Aribindi: Honestly.
Juanita Tolliver: Tickled pink.
Priyanka Aribindi: Truly, [laughter] South Carolina is the home state of his opponent, Nikki Haley, who is the former governor of the state. DeSantis is moving a majority of his staff there, and he will be in the state over the weekend to attend campaign events. His strategic decision, no quotes around that but should be, to shift his campaign to South Carolina comes after he finished a distant second place in Iowa’s caucuses on Monday. Nikki Haley herself is in New Hampshire this week, where she is polling ahead of DeSantis. Meanwhile, she had this to say when asked if the GOP is a racist party during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. Just brace yourself.
[clip of Nikki Haley on Fox News] No, we’re we’re not a racist country, Brian. We’ve never been a racist country.
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, okay. Do they teach history in South Carolina? Just wondering.
Juanita Tolliver: I mean. [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: Haley’s campaign later said in a statement, quote, “America has always had racism, but America has never been a racist country–”
Juanita Tolliver: –This is–
Priyanka Aribindi: “–the liberal media always fails–”
Juanita Tolliver: –painful.
Priyanka Aribindi: “–to get that distinction.” All right. Not like two minutes later uh Donald Trump was out there making racist remarks about her. So–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: Uh. Her opinion probably is unchanged, but it just is not correct. If you’re wondering where the frontrunner is, well former President Donald Trump was actually in a New York courtroom much of yesterday for the defamation trial against him, and after repeatedly ignoring requests to keep it down during writer E. Jean Carroll’s testimony, the judge threatened to boot him from the trial. So that is where the Republican Party is at. We have them all, not on find my friends, because they’re not our friends, but like we’re keeping tabs. Not looking great.
Juanita Tolliver: Begrudgingly. [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: Begrudgingly.
Juanita Tolliver: Switching gears to the Supreme Court. The justices began hearing a couple of cases yesterday that could determine if federal agencies’ regulatory power should be rolled back. Those two related cases involve a fisheries regulation. But what’s really at stake is the 1984 Supreme Court ruling of Chevron versus Natural Resources Defense Council. That’s the precedent that says judges should defer to federal agencies in interpreting the law when the language of a statute is too vague. But it’s been a long time goal of the conservative movement to have this ruling overturned and weaken the power of federal agencies. I mean, it seems like that’s their playbook, you know, overturning decades of precedent a la Roe.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, exactly.
Juanita Tolliver: The high court’s three liberal members defended the Chevron ruling. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson came ready, as per usual.
[clip of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson] And my concern is that if we take away something like Chevron, the court will then suddenly become a policy maker.
Juanita Tolliver: I mean, pinpointing again why they should not be overturning decades and decades of precedent. The decision is expected to drop early this summer like your favorite mixtape.
Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know if this will be our favorite decision, [laughter] but it’s stuff like this that really it kind of flies under the radar of so much other news, but this is the stuff that really should be like, kind of. I mean, there are many things that can get you animated about elections, but like–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: This is a long term thing that it’s like these are the risks of not paying attention to who is who is prevailing in our society and who is not. Just really nefarious, what they are doing here.
Juanita Tolliver: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: In Wisconsin, Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday demanding that the state’s Supreme Court throw out Wisconsin’s congressional maps ahead of the presidential election. The lawsuit was filed by the Elias Law Group, a Washington law firm that works to get Democrats into elected office nationwide. And the group argues that because Wisconsin’s Supreme Court threw out the state’s legislative maps and ordered new ones to be drawn back in December, replacing the state’s congressional maps should also be on the table. The Liberal majority court is currently reviewing seven proposed new maps. Wisconsin election officials say that the state’s congressional maps must be replaced by March 15th, to give them enough time to prepare for the state’s primary in August.
Juanita Tolliver: We love new fair maps. I feel like that’s a vibe.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yep, the fair ones, keep ’em coming.
Juanita Tolliver: Federal prosecutors in Colorado filed 74 hate crime and weapon charges against the mass shooter who killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in 2022. We’re choosing not to name him to avoid giving him notoriety. He’s expected to plead guilty and may be sentenced for more than a century in prison for the shooting. The shooter already pleaded guilty to the state charges against him and is currently serving five life sentences without the possibility of parole. But this new development is part of a plea agreement with the Justice Department that it will not seek the death penalty against him. And just for context, the death penalty is not legal in Colorado, but the DOJ does have the option of seeking it with a limited set of crimes. Relatedly, there’s an update on the 2022 mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Federal prosecutors said last week that they will seek the death penalty against a white supremacist who killed ten Black people in that tragedy.
Priyanka Aribindi: Moving on to the latest on the inspections into Boeing 737 Max nine planes. You’ll remember that the Federal Aviation Administration grounded 171 Max nines earlier this month after a door panel blew off of an Alaska Airlines plane mid-flight. Continues to be the source of my nightmares. Well, yesterday, the FAA said that the first round of inspections of 40 of those planes have been completed. Next, the agency will review the data from them. But all Max nines with door panels will remain grounded while the FAA finalizes the inspection and maintenance process. In a statement, the agency said, quote, “the safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the timeline for returning these aircraft to service.” That is the correct answer.
Juanita Tolliver: Yes.
Priyanka Aribindi: And in relevant news, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip from Switzerland back to Washington, D.C. was actually delayed yesterday due to an issue with his plane, which was a modified Boeing 737 business jet, though it was an older model than the Max nine. According to Politico, Blinken and his team were told that the plane was unsafe to fly due to a previously detected oxygen leak. They were then forced to deplane and switch planes. The secretary of state was still expected to return yesterday night, though later than planned. Understandably, Secretary of States they get delayed just like us.
Juanita Tolliver: For–
Priyanka Aribindi: They aren’t flying Spirit though.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: Not like us. But like–
Juanita Tolliver: This ain’t Spirit. [laughter]
Priyanka Aribindi: Like some of you out there. [laughter] They’re not doing Spirit.
Juanita Tolliver: And finally [clip of Hawaiian peach march participants plays] thousands marched the streets of Honolulu on Wednesday for the annual Onipa’a Peace March, a tradition that commemorates the day that the United States illegally overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom. Wednesday marked 131 years since armed American troops stormed Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s first queen and the kingdom’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani. On January 17th, 1893 they held her at gunpoint, demanding that she give up her throne, and she surrendered on the condition that the Hawaiian people would be protected from violence and that she would one day be reinstated. Obviously, that never happened. And decades later, the islands became the nation’s 50th state. I feel like this is another important reminder to know your history and the history of America as a racist nation, you know. Every year, large crowds gather on January 17th to walk from Mauna Ala Royal Mausoleum, the resting place of Hawaii’s monarchs, to Iolani Palace in honor of the Queen and her legacy. If you want to dive deeper into this day in history, listen to our special episode, Hawaii An American Coup, from last year to learn more. The link is in our show notes again, folks, educate yourself. The information is there.
Priyanka Aribindi: The information is there. Even if you listened to it last year. Now is a great time to just refresh your memory. I’m sure there are things you forgot. Someone who should listen to it, Nikki Haley I don’t–
Juanita Tolliver: Come on.
Priyanka Aribindi: She didn’t. She didn’t get this lesson in school. She didn’t get a lot of them, apparently.
Juanita Tolliver: And those are the headlines.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Trade in that 737 Blinken and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you are into reading and not just 23 and Me reports about dog poop like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe a Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver.
[spoken together] And scoop that poop.
Priyanka Aribindi: The proposed fines for this are apparently like over 1,000 US dollars, which is absolutely wild. I don’t know how I feel about it. I know you’re still pro.
Juanita Tolliver: I feel like even though it’s a big amount, it’s all about changing the behavior. And if you just throwing around $1,100 casually over dog poo, then you you operate in a whole another plane. [laughing] [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: What 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.