In This Episode
- The United Nations released a major report on climate change yesterday, offering perhaps the most comprehensive understanding of how the planet is changing. Experts are urging industrialized nations to slash greenhouse gasses roughly in half by 2030.
- French President Emmanuel Macron survived two no confidence votes in parliament on Monday, all but ensuring that the French retirement age will be raised. This comes amid widespread protests led by labor unions across the country who want the policy thrown out.
- And in headlines: Los Angeles Unified School District campuses will be closed today as teachers and staff begin their 3-day strike, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and six more Oath Keepers were convicted of charges related to January 6th.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, March 21st. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day where we’re celebrating what the Labor Department tells us is Rosie the Riveter day.
Josie Duffy Rice: So you know what that means. You got to get riveting people.
Tre’vell Anderson: We definitely know what a rivet is and we–
Josie Duffy Rice: Sure do.
Tre’vell Anderson: –aren’t afraid to use them.
Josie Duffy Rice: We are not. We will rivet it up, rivet all day. [laughter] [music break] On today’s show, Amazon announced another round of layoffs. Plus, billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who is a sprightly 92 year old, will be saying, I do for the fifth time.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know. No comment. I’ll save it for later. I’ll save it for later.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s crazy how billionaires find love, uh they’re so lucky. They always find love. I don’t know how that works.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, the clock is ticking on global warming. According to a new major report, Planet Earth will likely cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next ten years if we don’t get our collective shit together. The report comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, and it offers perhaps the most comprehensive understanding to date of ways that the planet is changing. Perhaps one of the most pressing things it notes is that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, sometime around the first half of the 2030s. That’s because, you know, we keep burning coal and oil and natural gas. We can’t get enough of it, apparently. But that 1.5 degrees Celsius number, which might sound like nothing is important because back in 2015, virtually every nation agreed to pursue efforts to hold global warming below that level because of what it would mean for things like heatwaves, flooding, and drought, among other things. But guess what? Earth has already warmed an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial Age, so we’re not too far off from that 1.5 degrees Celsius number already.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that is upsetting um because we had all the warnings and yet we’re still here. Does this mean it’s too late? Like, where are we in the end of the world scenario?
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Well, it is not too late, but we are definitely getting close, according to the report. There could be an opportunity to change directions, but it would require industrialized nations to immediately join together to slash greenhouse gases roughly in half by 2030. That is in just seven years. And then after that, we would have to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere completely by the 2050s. If both of those things are done, the world would have about a 50% chance of limiting global warming below that 1.5 degrees Celsius. And we’ve obviously covered this issue on the show before and the different steps that various governments were said to be taking. But as the chair of the climate panel said, quote, “The pace and scale of what has been done so far and current plans are insufficient to tackle climate change. We are walking when we should be sprinting.” Take, for example, the concept of net zero emissions, right? Which almost every country has made commitments to achieve as a means of changing course. Both the United States and the European Union have set goals of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. China set a goal of 2060 and India is aiming for 2070. But in light of the report’s findings, every country has to move just a bit faster. And one of the recommendations from the report is that wealthy countries in particular, that they should be aiming to reach net zero by 2040. And emerging economies have been called on to reach net zero by 2050.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s very upsetting that we know what needs to be done. We have professionals telling us what needs to be done, and there’s still so little movement by people in power to actually do it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, it’s kind of absurd when you think about it. Right. And it’ll be interesting to see in particular how our officials here in the U.S. respond to all of this, especially considering one side of the aisle doesn’t believe in science at all and the other side of the aisle that does believe in science doesn’t control Congress. President Biden actually just used the first veto of his presidency yesterday to reject a Republican proposal that would block a Labor Department rule allowing retirement plans to weigh the long term impacts of social factors and climate change on investments, a move that Republicans say is, quote unquote, “woke policy.” They call everything woke these days because they don’t really know what it means.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s crazy.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s fine.
Josie Duffy Rice: Trying to save the planet.
Tre’vell Anderson: Trying to save the planet. But before we clap it up for Biden and his administration, we should also note that they recently approved an enormous oil drilling project to take place on federal land in Alaska. So there obviously needs to be some reevaluating on our end about the commitment to the future of the planet. There’s a lot more work to be done here.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, and other news about pushing things back and making life harder for us as we get older. On Monday French President Emmanuel Macron survived two no confidence votes in parliament, all but ensuring that the French retirement age will increase to 64 instead of 62. Most of us won’t make it to 64 because of climate change, but that’s a different story entirely. [laughter] One of the motions got close to hitting the necessary threshold for a no confidence vote, receiving 278 votes, just nine short of the 287 needed to pass. Though Macron was able to maintain power, it was still a sign of an increasing dissatisfaction with the French government.
Tre’vell Anderson: 278 votes out of 287 just nine short. I would be very concerned if I was Mr. Macron.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s not good.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, not good at all.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s like kind of being framed as like a victory right, but it’s like if you’re this close, it’s not good news. Right?
Tre’vell Anderson: You mentioned that he survived two no confidence votes. Why exactly were there two?
Josie Duffy Rice: Well, it turns out that lots of people are dissatisfied with Macron’s leadership right now. So the first no confidence motion was brought by a group of centrist and left wing leaders um that’s how they’ve been described. That’s the motion that got close to passing. The other one was brought by the far right party national rally. That one was much less successful, it only got 94 votes in in parliament, but still not nothing. Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. A lot of people are mad. I mean, even 90 some odd votes would be a little bit too much for my personal liking. But what was driving the no confidence votes? Is it primarily about the increased retirement age? Is there more behind it beyond that?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well, certainly the substance of the bill has a lot to do with the backlash. So according to The New York Times, two thirds of the population opposes increasing the retirement age. And over the past two months, there’s been this surge of protests, strikes, and demonstrations pushing back against the change. So it really is not popular with the general public. Right. But there’s also the method through which this bill was passed. So rather than putting the bill to a vote in the National Assembly, which is the lower house of Parliament, like our House of Representatives basically. Macron decided to use this constitutional exception called the 49.3 clause that allows certain bills to be passed without even a vote. So as you can imagine, that didn’t go over too well with people. And it’s not the first time it’s happened either. This is the 11th time in less than a year that the French government has used this clause, according to The New York Times. Now, this is constitutional, to be clear, like technically, but it’s still a major issue for many residents of France and French lawmakers. As one lawmaker said to the French prime minister, Elizabeth Bourne, you failed to unite, you failed to convince, he said, increasing the retirement age without a full vote from parliament violated, quote, “the spirit of the Constitution.”
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, I don’t care that it is technically constitutionally appropriate.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: I guess like if the general populace is not pleased with the idea that feels like we should be leaning in that direction.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. And if you’re doing this once a month.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. [laughing]
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not good.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not good. So obviously he survived the vote, even if just barely. What would happen if he had not survived it, though?
Josie Duffy Rice: So the Prime Minister and her cabinet would have had to resign. And the pension bill that is at issue would have been DOA. Obviously, if he hadn’t survived, it would have been a real sign that Macron could not kind of lead the country. Now we’re in a weird position where, like he did survive the vote, but not overwhelmingly. And so it’s still they’re still kind of faced with some of the same issues.
Tre’vell Anderson: So what happens now? Is this all over? Will we be talking about this for another few months to come?
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s looking more like the latter than the former. It certainly doesn’t seem like the fight is totally over yet. Certain French lawmakers want to challenge this new pension law, the one that increases the retirement age with France’s constitutional Council, which, by the way, love that name for [laughter] you know, I just think that’s great. Constitutional council, great name. So they basically want to challenge the law to see if it’s even constitutional. So that’s a whole issue, right? Macron barely has the support of his own people. According to The New York Times, 19 center right lawmakers, which was more than expected, voted in favor of the no confidence measure, quote, “rejecting the instructions of their party leader.” So these are the people that were supposed to be on his side. 19 of them go against protocol and vote against him. And that’s just the politicians. Right? There’s even more dissatisfaction among the French population. People are, I mean, truly furious. And the backlash is really intense. Protests in France increased after the no confidence vote failed, even after police banned protests in some of the quote unquote, “hotspots.” Right. We talked about some of this yesterday with the trash in France. Many of these protests are peaceful, but some are more aggressive than others. Smoke bombs were lit in a shopping mall in Paris. Highways have been blocked. And in Lyon, protesters tried to break into a town hall according to The New York Times. And this is coming from opposition parties on both ends, both sides are calling for more protests. Unions and others are signaling that there will be more opposition, including strikes in the coming days. And meanwhile, the police have behaved increasingly violently towards protesters. So using water cannons and tear gas throughout the last week. So the tension is not subsiding. Right. It’s getting more intense. And this is far from over. As one member of parliament stated, it’s as if tomorrow they want to decapitate us.
Tre’vell Anderson: Ooh. What a statement.
Josie Duffy Rice: So it’s not not a casual thing to say. So that is the latest for now. We will surely be following this story in the weeks to come, and we will be back after some ads. [music break].
Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Teachers and staff of the Los Angeles Unified School District are set to begin their 72 hour long strike this morning, priming the second largest school district in the country for disruption. More than 420,000 students will be impacted by this walk off, led by SEIU Local 99, a unit that represents about 30,000 workers, including bus drivers, custodians, teaching assistants and more. And in solidarity, members of the United Teachers Los Angeles Union, which includes teachers, nurses and more, are set to strike for the next three days as well. Last minute negotiations between school district officials and union leaders failed yesterday after the union’s demands, including a 30% wage increase, weren’t met.
Josie Duffy Rice: Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday in a state visit that was closely watched by Ukraine and its Western allies. The two world leaders met for over 4 hours, and according to a summary of their conversation from China’s official news agency, Xi told Putin that China is, quote, “willing to continue playing a constructive role and promoting a political settlement of the Ukraine issue.” And he referred to China and Russia as, quote, “good neighbors and reliable partners.” Tre’vell, I just want you to try to imagine a worse neighbor than Russia. [laughter] Just try to think of a worse neighbor in the world than Vladimir Putin right now. It’s just a word–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: –I wouldn’t use. I wouldn’t bring it up. I wouldn’t bring–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Same.
Josie Duffy Rice: –neighbors up. Kyiv brushed off the remarks, but U.S. officials have been wary of China potentially getting involved in the war. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has long warned about the possibility of China providing weapons to Russia, called the visit, quote, “diplomatic cover for Russia’s war crimes.”
Tre’vell Anderson: Six more Oath Keepers were convicted of multiple charges related to their involvement in the January 6th insurrection yesterday. Four of the six members of the far right militia group accused of reaching the Capitol and attempting to enter the Senate chamber were found guilty of all charges they faced, including conspiracy to obstruct and destruction of government property, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The other two defendants in the case were convicted on the lesser charge of entering and remaining on restricted grounds. But they were acquitted of the more serious charges the Oath Keepers faced, including conspiring to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory. The jury in the case remains deadlocked on two other criminal counts the pair faces and will continue deliberating until they reach a verdict.
Josie Duffy Rice: Amazon announced another round of layoffs on Monday, marking the second largest wave of job cuts in the company’s history. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy sent a memo to employees saying that the retail giant is set to cut 9000 more jobs in the coming weeks. And when you add that number to the 18,000 jobs they cut in January, the company has now laid off 27,000 people this year alone. Reminder that it is March. It is March. The latest job reductions will hit some of Amazon’s most profitable departments, including its PXT organization that handles human resources and its massively successful gaming platform, Twitch. Like other big tech companies that have announced layoffs in recent months, Amazon ramped up hiring during the pandemic to meet an increase in demand for its services and is now downsizing amid fears of a potential recession.
Tre’vell Anderson: A bill pending in Illinois state government would provide one of the country’s strongest protections for whistleblowers against retaliation from their employers. Workers are often intimidated to not report labor violations like discrimination or unsafe working conditions out of fear, especially workers who aren’t originally from the U.S.. The Work Without Fear Act specifically protects workers who raise concerns from employers who threaten to investigate their immigration status or ask them to provide immigration documents. Under this legislation, the state’s attorney general could probe and fine bosses who retaliate against or intimidate whistleblowers.
Josie Duffy Rice: Sorry, ladies. The most eligible bachelor of the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit simply cannot stay single. Less than a year after his last divorce, 92 year old media billionaire Rupert Murdoch is engaged yet again, this time to Ann Lesley Smith, a 66 year old San Francisco police chaplain. That is my idea of the most cursed sentence personally. [laughter] That is the Josie Duffy Rice most cursed possible sentence. Said Murdoch, who proposed to Smith on St. Patrick’s Day quote, “We’re looking forward to spending the second half of our life together.”
Tre’vell Anderson: Hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: I hope he’s kidding. Or I just feel like people need to talk to him and sit him down and let him know what’s up. The two reportedly bonded over knowledge of the media business, as well as having both owned vineyards. You know, when you know, you know, I guess. This will be the fifth marriage for Murdoch, who is currently tied up in a $1.6 billion dollar defamation lawsuit for the role his network Fox News played in undermining its viewers trust in the 2020 election results. Said Murdoch about his engagement, quote, “I dreaded falling in love, but I knew this would be my last. It better be.” That is the most loaded quote, the dread knowing it’ll be your last. It better be. That’s a threat. I feel complicated. The couple plans to spend their time between California, the U.K., Montana, and New York now.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, I typically am a fan of, like, you know, never giving up on love and–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: Just keep going even if–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –something unfortunate happens, however. Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: At 92 years old, let me say it this way. At 92, I will not be interested in giving half of my earnings to not nary a person. I don’t care how much I love you.
Josie Duffy Rice: A single person. Agreed. Also, sometimes marriage isn’t for you. I feel like he’s demonstrated that. I think the last time he got married was in his mid-eighties. He’s already divorced again. Like, maybe marriage is just not for Rupert Murdoch. Like democracy and kindness, right? Like, some things are just not [laughter] for people, and I just feel as if he should give give, you know, give it up.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, he is holding on until the last breath. And that, I guess, is something we should commend. Right. Like, the–
Josie Duffy Rice: No.
Tre’vell Anderson: –commitment.
Josie Duffy Rice: No. Mmm mm. [laughter] No. Getting married at 92 is not a commitment that is the least that’s like, you know, it’s like asking someone to prom. The chances of this man making it that much longer. No offense. My grandma is 92. I hope she lives forever, but she has a good heart. And so, like, it’s different. [laughter] Do you know what I mean? Also, if my grandma was like, I’m getting married tomorrow, we’d have questions. Anyway, those are the headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, dust off your rivet gun, and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just the Vegas odds on Rupert Murdoch’s next marriage 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 solidarity LAUSD.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, give the teachers and the other support staff the money that they deserve. Okay. They work very hard.
Josie Duffy Rice: And send those kids back to school [laugh] because those parents did not sign up to be watching those kids all day every day for more days. Mm mm. [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 Jocey Coffman and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka. [music break]