Goodbye, Yellowstone Road | Crooked Media
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June 15, 2022
What A Day
Goodbye, Yellowstone Road

In This Episode

  • The Supreme Court released opinions on Wednesday in six different cases across a range of issues including veterans’ benefits, Medicare reimbursements, and gambling on tribal lands. Those six decisions did not include the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, but in the meantime abortion access has already ended in many states.
  • A disastrous combo of warm weather and rain in recent days caused unprecedented flooding and mudslides in Yellowstone National Park. Homes near the park were swept away into the water and brown river water engulfed roads.
  • And in headlines: Advisers to the FDA voted unanimously to authorize COVID vaccines for toddlers, President Biden signed an executive order to combat anti-LGBTQ+ bills, and the Federal Reserve raised interest rates.


Show Notes:



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Gideon Resnick: It’s Thursday, June 16th. I’m Gideon Resnick.


Priyanka Aribindi: And I am Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day, where we’re informing COVID that it made the biggest mistake of its life by infecting Dr. Anthony Fauci.


Gideon Resnick: Yes, you truly messed with the wrong doctor, and at this point, your days are numbered.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, mark my words, COVID. Fauci will destroy you, once he has been healed.


Gideon Resnick: Exactly. Exactly right. You’re done. On today’s show, the FDA authorized COVID vaccines for kids as young as six months old, and they could be in arms as soon as next week. Plus, unprecedented flooding in Yellowstone National Park may have permanently altered its landscape.


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, the latest decisions out of the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, the court released opinions in six different cases across a range of issues, including veterans’ benefits, Medicare reimbursements and gambling and tribal lands. Notably, those six decisions did not include the one that many Americans are waiting for in the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion access across the United States.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it feels like so many of the large looming ones are remaining on the board.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.


Gideon Resnick: So, let’s start with the decisions they did make yesterday. What do we know?


Priyanka Aribindi: There was a lot, but I’ll run you through a few highlights. The first one deals with immigrants. The court dismissed a bid by Republican state officials who wanted to take over the legal defense of former President Trump’s hard-line rule that barred immigrants who were deemed likely to need government benefits from receiving permanent residency in the U.S.. The Biden administration rescinded this rule. They refused to defend it. So 13 Republican state attorneys general decided that they had nothing better to do and they wanted to try and defend it. The court said no to this, and so the rule remains off the books, where it should be.


Gideon Resnick: Got it.


Priyanka Aribindi: The court also decided that the Department of Health and Human Services didn’t follow proper procedures and acted unlawfully when it varied its Medicare reimbursement rates for hospitals. And they also sided with two Native American tribes in Texas in a fight against the state that they were having over gambling on their lands. The court basically reaffirmed the tribe’s autonomy to regulate the kinds of gambling activities that are allowed by the state that take place on their lands.


Gideon Resnick: So the court, as we’re saying, is not done issuing their opinions for this term. They have about 18 left to go, I believe, including that one in Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s Health that we were talking about earlier, but as we all kind of wait for this, we do have new data about abortions in this country. Can you tell us what we need to know there?


Priyanka Aribindi: The number and rate of abortions in the U.S. increases from 2017 to 2020 after years of being on the decline, according to new figures that were released on Wednesday. The report came from the Guttmacher Institute. They are a research group that supports abortion rights. And basically they found that one in every five pregnancies in the U.S. in 2020 ended in an abortion. One in five is huge. That means that this is care that people are relying on in 20% of pregnancies. This is a critical right, obviously, that people have, and they are using it regularly. And now we have the data that really illustrates that.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it’s really an interesting thing to know and to think about, particularly when we’re talking about revoking something that is so widely integral to the process.


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. This is all coming as the Supreme Court seems ready to overturn the decision that made this care legal in the United States. And even though that decision hasn’t officially happened yet, some clinics across the country aren’t waiting for it. They are shutting down already. People can no longer get legal abortions in Oklahoma and South Dakota. Im Missouri, the state’s only clinic is fully booked. And in Wisconsin, clinics aren’t scheduling patients after the end of the court’s term later this month. We already knew that if Roe would be overturned, nearly half of the states would ban abortions, but they clearly aren’t readily available at this point in several places, and this hasn’t even happened yet. This new data just really underscores how many people are being harmed by this already, and will continue to be. It’s clearly a really high number.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. So we’re going to turn now to some ongoing stories that illustrate the climate crisis, beginning with massive flooding that swept through much of Yellowstone National Park.


[clip of The Today Show] Officials say some 10,000 visitors were evacuated from Yellowstone, even more from surrounding communities. Some airlifted out of harm’s way.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, that was just some of The Today Show on Wednesday talking about this.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that’s a huge figure. The images and videos that are coming from the area in the past couple days have been wild. And as a reminder, Yellowstone is the world’s very first national park. So let’s take a step back and talk about, you know, how this devastation began.


Gideon Resnick: In the past few days, a combination of warm weather and tons and tons of rain led to this unprecedented flooding and mudslides. There was something like 2 to 3 inches of rain this past weekend alone. And a park official said that warmer temperatures led to over five inches of snow melting. Those two things combined to create these really harrowing images that we’ve been seeing of homes near the park quite literally being swept away into the water. These aerial shots of brown river water kind of engulfing roads. The Yellowstone River at Corbin Springs, Montana, rose to its highest level ever recorded by Monday–that’s according to The Washington Post. And as that clip talked about, an estimated 10,000 people had to evacuate on the northern side of the park, and all five entrances were closed as of Monday. The park superintendent, Cam Sholly, said on Tuesday that the entire park is likely to remain closed for a week while people deal with all the damaged roads and other infrastructure throughout, but entrances on the north side, which saw the brunt of the damage, may not open at all again this summer.


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay, so I have never been to Yellowstone. I didn’t have a trip planned in the near future. Now I’m a little nervous about the future of that. But let’s talk, you know, short term. What do we know about what comes next, and also the lasting damage?


Gideon Resnick: Yes. So the short-term prognosis is not really great either. Hear is Superintendent Sholly via the local news station, KIFI:


[clip of Cam Sholly] Really want you guys to understand how dynamic this is. The water is still raging. We haven’t done damage assessments. Without those damage assessments, it’s really hard to come up with an exact timeline, or even a good general timeline.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. And he also said, quote, “I’ve heard this is a thousand-year event, whatever that means these days. They seem to be happening more and more frequently.”.


Priyanka Aribindi: Right.


Gideon Resnick: Glad I’m not the only one that feels that sentiment when we hear those sorts of things.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, truly. Whatever that means these days.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. So it is also conceivably possible, unfortunately, that there could be more flooding to come according to Sholly, as more rain and warmer temperatures are in some forecasts for the upcoming days.


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay, let’s talk about the long term now. Hopefully there’s some better news.


Gideon Resnick: I don’t know yet. So the long-term damage is also conceivably massive here as well. Bill Burg, a commissioner from Park County near Yellowstone, told the AP, quote, “The landscape literally and figuratively has changed dramatically in the last 36 hours.” And so while scientists hesitate to directly attribute isolated events like this to the climate crisis, particularly so quickly as this is happening, a warmer planet makes these sorts of extreme weather events much more common. Often afterwards, we’ll hear that there is a direct link. And there is concern that national parks throughout the country are going to be especially susceptible to the worst of it. There’s also a very good and pretty harrowing New York Times story from a few years ago that talks about how Yellowstone is expected to dramatically change over the coming decades. We’ll link to that in our show notes.


Priyanka Aribindi: Now, I’m just feeling very sad about not being able to see Yellowstone as it once was.


Gideon Resnick: I’m not going to say what the headline of the story is because it’s quite depressing. But yeah, it’s quite depressing.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m in a fragile state right now and please don’t tell me. But sticking with this point about severe weather, basically the entire country is seeing some kind of extreme weather this week, as we record on the show. Let’s talk a little bit more about that, please. What is going on?


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, so I mean, just a few examples: there were 120 million Americans under extreme heat advisories on Tuesday, about a half million people in parts of the Midwest were without power after strong storms swept through there on Monday, and there are these ongoing wildfires in the Southwest, and more things all at once it seems. In some places also the extreme weather conditions are intersecting with troubling infrastructure issues. In Odessa, Texas, as temperatures were expected to reach triple digits, a water main break on Monday left many without running water. And yesterday, the city was still under a boil-water notice with people being advised to get bottled water as officials continued to work on the water treatment plant. And the weather pattern that is contributing to all of this, conditions around Yellowstone included, it’s supposed to linger for the next week or two. We’ll link to a Washington Post article that goes over all these weather events. I encourage people to read it and also to search for the word “record” and see how many times it comes up. I believe I counted something like 17. It’s pretty illustrative, especially as we may very well see these records broken again soon.


Priyanka Aribindi: I was going to say it would be a fun drinking game, but I mean, if it’s 17, like don’t do that. I do not advise.That is bad.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Especially when every article about climate is going to include that word for the long haul. So more on Yellowstone and the climate crisis soon, but that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads.


[ad break]


Gideon Resnick: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Gideon Resnick: Good news for parents of young kids, and for young kids who like getting free, colorful Band-Aids: advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccines for toddlers yesterday. It’s a little bit of a choose your own adventure when it comes to these two different vaccines. Pfizer’s is a three-dose shot for children six months to four-years old, and Moderna’s is a two-dose shot for kids six months to five-years old. This move clears the way for the FDA to give the green light on these shots as early as Tuesday, but before that can happen, tomorrow and Saturday, a CDC advisory panel will vote on whether to endorse the shots as well. And the final step, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will have to sign off on it, which she has said that she will do. So all in all, this is exciting news on the fight against COVID. Shout out to all the parents who are excited to get their young child vaccinated–and no we are not just talking about Josie Duffy Rice, our resident parent.


Priyanka Aribindi: Here at WAD!


Gideon Resnick: Who stands in for all other parents.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. She represents the parent perspective on the show.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Sorry to put that responsibility on you, Josie, but you’re going to do great.


Priyanka Aribindi: We’re happy for you.


Gideon Resnick: We are indeed happy for you. That’s going to be great.


Priyanka Aribindi: In honor of Pride Month, President Biden signed an executive order yesterday to combat the overwhelming wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills moving through several state legislatures. One piece would crack down on conversion therapy. The administration plans to curb federal funding for the practice, and asked the Federal Trade Commission to evaluate whether it should warn consumers of its, quote, “unfair or deceptive nature”–didn’t know that already wasn’t happening, but definitely should. The executive order also calls for more protections for the LGBTQ+ youth, such as expanding access to gender-affirming care, suicide prevention resources, and inclusive school learning environments. Federal agencies are also called on to collect more data on sexual orientation and gender identity, investigate how the foster care system discriminates against LGBTQ+ parents, and establish groups to address the disproportionate rate at which the community is impacted by homelessness. These are just a few of the several actions outlined in the executive order that advocates have praised Biden for. Amit Paley, CEO of the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention nonprofit for Queer youth, said in a statement yesterday that the order will, quote, “help save young LGBTQ lives.”


Gideon Resnick: Right on. The Federal Reserve dared to ask the question, “What if money was more expensive?” yesterday, raising interest rates by three quarters of a point. This is the largest rate hike the agency has implemented since the ’90s, and like we said yesterday, it is part of the Government’s plan to fight inflation. Forward thinkers have already opted out of paper money and switched to a cheese and grain-based barter system–join me on this journey. But if that does not describe you, here are some ways that you might experience the rate hike. So if you are hoping to buy a car, auto loans could become more expensive with higher monthly payments even though used vehicle prices are already skyrocketing. If you are blessed enough to be buying a house–I’m sorry to laugh.


Priyanka Aribindi: Come talk to us, A, we’d love to hear more about how that’s happening.


Gideon Resnick: With love to hear about this foreign concept. Mortgage rates have steadily gone up over the past few months in anticipation of Wednesday’s rate hike, and will likely continue to do so. And even if you’re not thinking about taking out a loan, chances are you probably have a credit card. Home equity lines of credit and other variable interest debt rates typically go up in accordance with the Fed’s. Wednesday’s rate hike likely won’t be the last, as the Reserve continues to combat the growing threat of an economic recession.


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s not great out there, but I do want to follow up on this cheese. I would like to know what the most valuable type of cheese is. Please let me know. I’m interested in joining this little barter situation you got going on.


Gideon Resnick: It changes. It fluctuates based on region, and availability frankly.


Priyanka Aribindi: Oooh. It’s like different kinds of currency and there’s like an exchange rate. I like this. We invented money.


Gideon Resnick: We, we did. But with cheese. That’s fun.


Priyanka Aribindi: Buzz Lightyear’s journey to Infinity and Beyond has been rerouted due to homophobia. 14 markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia banned the new Disney Pixar movie Lightyear because it depicts a same-sex couple. More specifically, Walt Disney Company refused to remove depictions of two married female characters who go to first base. The markets where the movie has been banned are in majority Muslim countries and territories run by conservative leaders. Those include the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where same-sex activity is illegal and in some cases can be punished by execution. Standing in solidarity with those countries are anti-LGBTQ+ Republicans right here in Congress, who are doing anything they can to punish Mickey for being an ally. Their war on Disney that began when the company opposed Florida’s Don’t Say Gay Bill continued this week when they introduced a House bill to revoke federally authorized zones blocking flights over Disney’s parks in Florida and California. Texas Representative Troy Nehls, who introduced this bill, questioned why Disney gets such special treatment, and the answer is that the rule was introduced in 2003 after 9/11 made it clear that airborne terrorist attacks on crowded landmarks we’re a very real possibility. The no-fly zone repeal probably won’t go anywhere based on the Democratic majority in the House, and the skies above Disney will remain closed to everyone except fireworks in the shape of a mouse’s head.


Gideon Resnick: They should do the fireworks in the shape of the couple that’s in this movie.


Priyanka Aribindi: Hell, yeah. Happy Pride.


Gideon Resnick: That would be a very funny response to all of this.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’d love to see that.


Gideon Resnick: And also, I got to say, the problem with Lightyear as it’s been made apparent, is that we’re talking about a movie that is the origin story of a human for which there previously was a toy based upon this fake human–


Priyanka Aribindi: You lost me like 15 words ago, but sure.


Gideon Resnick: I think that’s the primary issue with the movie. Anyway.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that is the issue here. Nothing else.


Gideon Resnick: And those are the headlines.


Priyanka Aribindi: Two more things before we go. What are you doing this Juneteenth weekend? We want to hear about it so we can share it with the rest of the WAD squad tomorrow. You can tell us by recording a voice memo on your phone and then email it to us. Our address is WAD@Crooked dot com, and we will play some of what you say on our show Friday.


Gideon Resnick: Plus, if you have not already checked out Crooked’s new podcast, Mother Country Radicals, you are missing out. Host Zayd Ayres Dohrn takes us back to the 1970s, when his parents and their young friends started the Weather Underground Organization. You can listen to the first four episodes of Mother Country Radicals right now, wherever you get your podcasts. That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, accept my cheese for your grain, and tell your friends to listen.


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading, and not just the biography of the real man who was the basis for the toy Buzz Lightyear like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.


[together] And you’ll regret messing with Fauci, COVID!


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. He’s going to create a new variant that destroys all the other variants. It’s going to be like a Thanos situation.


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, my God. Yeah.


Gideon Resnick: Watch out. That’s all I’m saying.


Priyanka Aribindi: COVID fell into the trap.


Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzy Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.