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June 14, 2023
What A Day
Hut, Hut, No Hike

In This Episode

  • For the first time since March 2022, the Federal Reserve decided to pause interest rate hikes. The Fed – which has raised interest rates ten times in the past fifteen months – said it wants to take some time to evaluate how the economy is reacting to previous rate increases.
  • On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Daniel Penny in connection to the death of Jordan Neely. Penny – a former marine – was charged with second degree manslaughter last month after he fatally choked Neely – an unhoused Black man – on a New York subway train May 1st.
  • And in headlines: a federal judge has allowed writer E. Jean Carroll to revise her defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, UPS drivers reached a tentative agreement with the delivery company to finally install air conditioning units in their trucks, and Instant Pot has filed for bankruptcy.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, June 15th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What A Day where we have some very serious questions for AI Jesus. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I kind of want to hear the story in his own words. Like I would love to know what went down and I feel like AI Jesus maybe could give that to us.


Josie Duffy Rice: I have a lot of questions about his friends, about the disciples, just like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: –what’s the vibes. Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: What is the vibe? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Where are they now? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Where are they now? [music break]


Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, a federal judge has allowed writer E. Jean Carroll to revise her defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump. Plus, instant pot has filed for bankruptcy. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, for once, we have a story about how the Federal Reserve didn’t raise interest rates. So for the first time since March 2022, the Fed decided to take a pause on its historic rate hiking campaign yesterday, saying that they wanted to take some time to evaluate how the economy is reacting to previous increases. If you’ve been following along for some time, you know that the Fed has raised interest rates ten times in the past 15 months in order to combat inflation. Feels like we talk about this pretty regularly. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s oh always it’s uh it’s me leading the charge on the story. Wild how that happens. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Our resident economist. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, seriously. But interest rates are now at 5.25%, which are the highest they have been in 16 years. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Casual. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yep. 


Josie Duffy Rice: No big deal. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Mm mm. Nothing to see here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Trying to do the math on that. And that’d be like 2007? 


Priyanka Aribindi: That math made it seem actually uh more recent, which I don’t think was the intended effect of that. I’m like 2007, like, 5 minutes ago. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Exactly. 2007 was 16 years ago? That’s offensive to me personally. Um. Okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So how should we be interpreting this pause like is inflation over? What does this mean? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, um it’s definitely not over. Sadly. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay cool cool cool. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Inflation does appear to be dropping, which is good, but it’s still at around 4%. And the Fed’s goal is to get it down to 2%. So we still have a bit to go to get there. Last June, things were very different. Inflation hit a peak of 9.1%. It was a bad time, if you remember. But the decrease that we have seen since then has a lot to do with the drop in gas prices. So, I mean, like we shouldn’t fully be thinking we’re in the clear and we’re out of it. It mostly is just the fact that gas prices dropped so dramatically. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But inflation is still very much affecting things like housing, service prices, food,  things that are still very central to most people’s day to day lives. And I think the Fed is being honest about why they want a pause here, that they want to see how the consumer price index, the employment rate and other indicators of our country’s economic health change over the next few months before making their next move. It gives them some more time to observe how the rate hikes that they’ve already put into place are affecting the economy. And on the flipside, it prevents any inadvertent slowing of the economy as a result of raising rates too quickly. But this probably isn’t the end of these hikes. It’s very likely that we will see 1 to 2 more rate increases before the end of the year. So this is not over quite yet. It is just a pause for now. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Great. Yeah, well, you know, I guess we’ll take what we can get. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s a tricky situation. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So what does this all mean for people who maybe spend money and should not spend as much money as they spend? Or maybe they think it’s fine, but the person they live with says they should spend less money. I’m not thinking of anybody in particular. No one’s coming to mind. No. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s not ringing any bells. Well, for that very specific situation, that is not at all relatable. I think higher interest rates generally make it tough for people who borrow money in pretty much any way, whether that is car payments, mortgage rates, credit card debt, business loans, student loans. Borrowing money in general becomes more expensive every single time the rate increases. And just because the rates didn’t increase this time doesn’t mean that it’s all solved. Most consumers will still spend but continue to be cautious because interest rates, as we said earlier, they’re still up their highest they’ve been in 16 years. Inflation, of course, is still very much here. Hopefully not to stay. It has been getting better, but it is expected to be slightly higher at the end of this year than was originally anticipated. So that’s not ideal. Again, a lot remains to be seen. We’ll see kind of, you know, how things go during this pause, what they find out about how the economy is reacting, how you know, when they make that one or two extra rate hikes, how they react. But I think the big takeaway from all of this is that inflation is really tricky to handle, to manage, to try to bring down The Fed is basically on a tightrope trying to get it to come down. You know, if they go too far, they have put a pause on the economy and growth. They’ve slowed things down to a bad level. They go too far the other way. We’re all suffering under high inflation, so like they’re sort of in a shit position. I would say it’s really not ideal. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not great. It’s also, you know, the economy is mostly vibes is the thing that I’m only recently realized. So.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I don’t know if the vibes are great, but um I think we all want the vibes to be better. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I think we can all agree on that. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We all want the vibes to be better. [laugh] That’s right.


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s my economic analysis, everybody. Hope you loved it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Thank you for joining us here on WAD Meets The Economist. Okay. In other news, Daniel Penny was indicted on Wednesday by a Manhattan grand jury about a month after he killed Jordan Neely on the New York City subway. That is according to sources familiar with the case. I’m sure we all remember this story. Penny, a former Marine held Neely in a chokehold for what some estimated to be 15 minutes. Until this point, it’s been unclear exactly whether Penny would face charges in this case. However, that question has basically been answered now that the grand jury has indicted him. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it was a little unclear for quite some time there, actually, what would happen in this case. But what do we know about the charges that he is facing? 


Josie Duffy Rice: So the Manhattan D.A. has not confirmed any of this, and we probably will not know until he’s actually arraigned, which is going to happen in the next couple of weeks, probably. The New York Post is reporting that the grand jury indicted him on one charge of second degree manslaughter and another charge of criminally negligent homicide. And I I trust the New York Post on this one. This is something The New York Post would be able to find out. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, uh would say this probably falls into their specialty, though. I probably don’t want to hear any of their opinions. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: On this situation. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. If you need a source of the Manhattan DA’s office, there are probably are people. That’s my guess. Now, keep in mind that this is happening after Penny became basically a hero on the right. I checked just like a few minutes before we started recording. His legal defense fund has raised almost $3 million dollars. 


Priyanka Aribindi: So wild. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s so nuts. You maybe remember people falling like all over themselves to explain why killing people on the subway is actually totally cool and fine just a few weeks ago Ron– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yep we’ll never forget it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Will not forget that. Ron DeSantis– 


Priyanka Aribindi: No. 


Josie Duffy Rice: –tweeted out his fundraising link. It was just really dark all around. But, you know, nobody is surprised. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, just the absolute worst people rallying around this man. And that can’t be a good sign. You can’t be like sitting there feeling like you did something right. If it’s all these people trying to boost you up. But has Daniel Penny had any response to these charges so far? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Well, not directly to the charges, um though his lawyers have said that it quote, “should be noted that the standard of proof in a grand jury is very low,” which they’re right about. Okay. There’s a famous saying any decent prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich, basically saying like it’s not hard to be indicted by a grand jury. Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So this isn’t at all a guarantee that he’s going to be convicted or anything. Got it. But it is even still sort of a surprising move given that for a second there, it looked like there was going to be no action by the DA’s office–


Priyanka Aribindi: Right, nothing was going to happen for a second. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And though he hasn’t commented about the charges, Penny did release some let’s just say like strange video just days before the charges were announced. That was like, I think, supposed to make him seem more relatable, maybe more convincing. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Sorry. It’s just not a relatable situation at all. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not a relatable situation. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m not I’ve never killed anybody so. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I didn’t relate, I’ll say that. I was not convinced. So take a listen. 


[clip of Daniel Penny] The three main threats that he repeated over and over was, I’m going to kill you. I’m prepared to go to jail for life and I’m willing to die. I was scared for myself, but I looked around. I saw women and children. He was yelling in their faces saying, saying these threats. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay, but I just want to say some things. Number one, it does feel worth noting that I have not personally read or heard of anyone claiming that Neely was making direct threats to kill people. That’s new. So who knows? I wasn’t there. You know, people definitely noticed that Neely was desperate and seemed upset and hungry. He also suffered from mental illness. But some of this Daniel Penny story is seeming, it seems interpretive. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s a bit different than what we were hearing from just about everybody else. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. And I have to say, if I were this man’s lawyer, I would not let him do interviews. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, what? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Just don’t talk. Just don’t talk.


Priyanka Aribindi: Why are you out here making videos? Like–


Josie Duffy Rice: Don’t make videos. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Stay at home. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Stay home. A few weeks ago, he told the New York Post that–


Priyanka Aribindi: The Post again. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah the Post is back. He told The New York Post that accusations of racism were, quote, “a little bit comical. Everybody who’s ever met me can tell you I love all people. I love all cultures. I was actually planning a road trip through Africa before this happened.” 


Priyanka Aribindi: Unclear how that is pertinent to– 


Josie Duffy Rice: –I’m sorry. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –anything we’re discussing, wild. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Not to make light of this situation at all. But it’s giving Michael Scott. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh my God. Yeah. This is comical. This is a crazy thing to say. 


Josie Duffy Rice: This is a nuts thing to say. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely nuts. 


Josie Duffy Rice: No one call anything about this comical. Just don’t say it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No.


Josie Duffy Rice: And don’t talk about Africa. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Don’t talk about Africa. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We get it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: This is just like some shit that you know somebody would say after they said the most absolutely horrific racist thing you have ever heard in–


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –your life. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And then they’re like, no, no, no, actually, I’m taking a vacation to Africa. So, like– 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m going to a safari. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –it’s chill, I love everybody. Did you know? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Um. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Exactly. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. That’s a lot. That’s a lot.


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s truly something. More on all of this very soon. But that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break] 


Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder and ex-CEO of failed biotech startup Theranos, is trying to get out of paying monthly restitution to the victims of her fraudulent scheme. This comes after Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison late last year for lying to investors about her company’s blood testing capabilities. Holmes is currently serving out her sentence in Bryan, Texas. But her lawyers have since appealed her conviction in hopes of getting it thrown out. Federal prosecutors filed a motion last week proposing that Holmes pay victims either $250 a month or 10% of her income after she is released from prison, whichever amount is greater. But her lawyers argued on Monday that Holmes has, quote, “limited financial resources and that mandating monthly restitution payments would significantly impact the outcome of her trial.” The only thing Holmes’s lawyers did not object to was a proposal that would have her pay $25 in restitution per quarter during her prison term. Both sides of the case have yet to comment on the issue. 


Josie Duffy Rice: A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that writer E. Jean Carroll is allowed to amend her 2019 defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and seek more damages. Carroll requested to amend the lawsuit after Trump made disparaging public comments about her during a CNN town hall last month. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Who could forget? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Who could forget? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. The day after the verdict came down, Trump was just there, uh just defaming her once again, which we all knew would happen. So thank you so much, Chris Licht, for um subjecting us all to that. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Trump’s comments came after a separate case in which a civil jury found that Trump sexually abused and defamed Carroll and ordered him to pay her $5 million in damages. The day after that verdict was delivered, Trump put on CNN in repeated claims that he didn’t know Carroll and accused her of making up the story. Carroll’s amended defamation lawsuit seeks at least $10 million dollars in damages for Trump’s comments during that town hall and the statements he made in 2019. The news came on the same day of Trump’s arraignment in Florida related to his mishandling of classified documents. When it rains, it pours. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly, that’s like three separate, massive legal things to be embroiled in, uh and I don’t even think that’s the full extent of it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Just this week, two federal judge’s ruling against you. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Justice week. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And it’s his it was his birthday yesterday. You know. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s a rough one. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Not how I would want to spend my 119th birthday or whatever. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No um having to basically be told that you’ll probably have to pay this woman another $10 million dollars. But, I mean, she should get every single cent of it. She deserves it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Look, if I had to pay someone $5 million dollars for saying not nice things about them, I would never speak their name again. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right! 


Josie Duffy Rice: For fear of me accidentally, much less on national television that same night. But, you know, he’s different. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Mmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: He’s not like us. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No no. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I think that much we know. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. The US government on Tuesday extended Temporary Protected status to over 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua, many of whose deportation protections and work permits were targeted by the Trump administration. The move reverses a Trump era decision that would end temporary protected status for these four countries and grants existing holders an extension of 18 months. Temporary Protected Status or TPS, was passed into law as part of the 1990 Immigration Act. It allows immigrants who have been in the U.S. for years to apply for driver’s licenses, get Social Security cards, and obtain work permits without fear of deportation. But it doesn’t provide a path to citizenship or permanent residency. The extension of TPS by the federal government is a big deal because immigrants will now be able to renew those work permits. The Biden administration has used TPS at an unprecedented scale compared to the Trump administration, which tried to end most TPS programs, though such attempts were blocked in federal court. 


Josie Duffy Rice: UPS drivers came to a tentative agreement with the delivery company on Tuesday night to finally install air conditioning units in their trucks amid tense ongoing labor talks between the two parties. According to the Teamsters Union, which represents 340,000 UPS workers across the country. The agreement mandates that all UPS vehicles purchased after January 1st of next year must come with an air conditioning unit as well as exhaust, heat shields and air induction vents designed to cool down their interior. Labor leaders have spent years demanding that package delivery companies increase heat safety measures for their drivers, many of whom work long hours in the summer heat that can drive temperatures up to 150 degrees inside their trucks. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Geez. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s ridiculous, the heat is so bad that more than 100 U.P.S. workers have been hospitalized for heat illnesses and some of them even have come close to kidney failure as a result. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It took you this long if hundreds of people are like having the same problem. You don’t think, like, maybe we should do something to stop these people from falling over and, like, being hospitalized? 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s so upsetting. UPS workers have threatened to strike in recent years as broader negotiations for a new five year labor contract have stalled. And while air conditioning units were one of the Teamster Union’s long standing demands for the company, Tuesday’s agreement does not avert a potential work stoppage. UPS workers have been voting on whether to authorize a strike over the past week. If they vote yes, a nationwide walkout could be called as soon as August 1st, the day after their current contract with UPS expires. The results of the strike authorization vote will be announced tomorrow. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. Okay. That wasn’t even on my radar. A UPS strike. That is something I do not think we as a as a country, as a people are equipped to handle. So I feel– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –like these workers should get absolutely–


Josie Duffy Rice: Give them– 


Priyanka Aribindi: –everything they want and then some, because our whole world will come to a grinding halt. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m glad that every vehicle built after January 1st is going to have to have air conditioning, but–


Priyanka Aribindi: They’re just not going to buy new cars. 


Josie Duffy Rice: They’re not gonna buy new cars. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah! 


Josie Duffy Rice: Tons of people are still going to be driving without it. I mean, come on. Like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s wild. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s the whole job. The whole job is driving around. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I didn’t realize it could get that hot inside those trucks. That’s–


Josie Duffy Rice: Me neither. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –crazy.


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s really wild. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Well, it appears that the instant pot has lost its steam. Instant Brands, the maker of Pyrex glassware and the famous instant pot has filed for bankruptcy. The pandemic offered a boom in spending on home goods, but Instant Brands, which has more than $500 million dollars in assets and liabilities, has suffered from decreased sales in the years since. CEO Ben Gadbois said in a statement that the tightening of credit terms and higher interest rates put a lot of financial pressure on the company and they could no longer keep up. The instant pot, which is an electric pressure cooker, became a staple appliance in kitchens across the country when it was launched in 2009. You couldn’t avoid it. It was everywhere, used in every single recipe. But its sales have fallen by half over the last three years. This bankruptcy filing comes only three months after the Federal Trade Commission said that Instant Brands had to stop falsely claiming that all Pyrex glassware was made in the U.S. when many cups are manufactured in China. Just a completely wild separate detail. The plot thickens here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Just feel like you didn’t have to tell that lie. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Why?


Josie Duffy Rice: And if it wasn’t a lie and it was just a misunderstanding, you should have googled. That feels really straightforward. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That tangent, that part of the story, very unclear how we got here. I feel really sad. Like, I don’t know. It’s a real especially if you like, watched those cooking videos, if you like, read recipes on the internet. The Instant Pot, that’ll be like a real relic of our times. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well, maybe this is the way we start our new business. Flipping instant pots. [laugh] 


Priyanka Aribindi: Flipping instant pots? Yeah. Uh. If you wonder why you can’t find them anywhere, it’s because Josie and I have bought the remaining stock of Instant Pots, and we will be selling them on eBay for three times the price. And um no one can get mad at us because we are good, nice people. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Exactly. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And it’s not like toilet paper or hand sanitizer. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Exactly. We are not keeping the real necessities out of your hands. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So it’s okay. And those are the headlines. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Two more things before we go. Summertime is here, so it might be a good time to consider leaving the house again. Uh. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We’ll see. We here at WAD recommend traveling light and the Crooked store’s new belt bag is just the thing to keep your stuff in tow. Whether you’re hitting the next Pride parade or just out and about touching grass, imagine that. You can wear it as a crossbow back or a fanny pack. You do you whatever you want. And you can also choose between four of our favorite taglines on the strap, like let women run shit or phone, keys, hush money. I like the latter one. Phone, keys, hush money. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yep. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Head over to to get yours today. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Plus, House Republicans this week advanced a resolution to censure Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, who has been one of their main bogeymen since the early days of the Trump administration. The resolution was basically a way for Republicans to take their fury out on Adam Schiff, who was instrumental to Trump’s first indictment over the insurrection. The resolution failed Wednesday afternoon. So fortunately for Schiff, he doesn’t have to pay the $16 million dollar fine, but it displays the shocking lengths that the far right will go to to try and scare politicians from pursuing justice. Here is Congressman Schiff talking with Crooked’s editor in chief Brian Beutler about the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. 


[clip of Congressman Adam Schiff] What concerns me the most, frankly, is you know this relentless assault on the Justice Department, on the FBI, by not just Trump, but all the other Republican candidates who seem to want to have it both ways. They’re either attacking Trump over what he did and attacking the Justice Department or just defending Trump and attacking the Justice Department. They’re trying to breed a lack of confidence in our justice system that’s going to have long term damage. 


Priyanka Aribindi: For more on what the Republican Party’s continued loyalty to Trump means for U.S. institutions and what Schiff thinks of his $16 million tab, tune in to this week’s episode of Positively Dreadful, airing tomorrow. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Hold onto your instant pots and tell your friends to listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just how to reduce inflation like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And pay up Liz. 


Priyanka Aribindi: You ran like a some billion dollars worth of a company. That means you have to have some money. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Really what I take from the fact that you can have a billion dollars and then have $0 is that maybe one day that will happen to Elon Musk. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t need to be a disgraced girl boss. That’s okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. No. But we’ll take, like a, a slower hill up. How about that?


Priyanka Aribindi: Sure. And and no come down. 


Josie Duffy Rice: No come down. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Perfect. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Great. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: What A 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 senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.