In This Episode
- President Biden unveiled his $6.8 trillion budget plan for the 2024 fiscal year. The plan would cut deficits by $2.9 trillion over the next decade while shoring up Medicare, bolstering military spending, and raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
- A third Norfolk Southern train derailed in Alabama – just hours before the company’s CEO testified before Congress about the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio last month.
- And in headlines: Russia launched its largest airstrike in weeks into Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will remain hospitalized after he fell at a fundraising dinner, and Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the U.S. on Sunday.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, March 10th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What A Day, the only podcast that apparently adheres to California’s indoor smoking laws.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, Cole Sprouse, we want to hear about your childhood for sure, but the effects of secondhand smoke are well documented.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, we just got to look out for ourselves here. Sorry buddy. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, Russia launched one of its biggest airstrikes on Ukraine in weeks. Plus, Tennessee’s lieutenant governor has apparently fallen for someone’s thirst traps.
Priyanka Aribindi: Happens to the best of us so [laughter] it’s fine. But first, President Biden unveiled his $6.8 trillion dollar budget plan for the 2024 fiscal year yesterday. The plan would cut deficits by $2.9 trillion dollars over the next decade while shoring up Medicare, bolstering military spending and raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Tre’vell Anderson: $6.8 trillion dollars is a lot of money.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’d say.
Tre’vell Anderson: Tell us more Priyanka. What is in this budget?
Priyanka Aribindi: So this budget is how Biden is showing us his priorities. They include reining in our deficit. The primary way he plans to do that is through new taxes on corporations and the ultra wealthy. The plan calls for a new 25% minimum tax on billionaires income, an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and raising the tax on stock buybacks to 4%. I believe that’s up from 1%. It would also get rid of the carried interest loophole for certain financial professionals and raise the top tax rate back to 39.6% from 37% that it’s been at since Donald Trump’s presidency. But aside from these changes to the tax code, Biden is also offering new savings for the government through more aggressive negotiation over prescription drug pricing. The White House estimates that their proposal would save the government an additional $200 billion dollars over ten years. And his proposed tax increases would end up extending the life of Medicare by at least 25 years. This is explicitly named, stuff that he clearly cares about.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: Of course, you know, this is an American budget. Large request for defense spending. No way around it. The $885 billion dollars in overall defense spending requested would go towards supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia, countering Russian efforts more generally with things like cybersecurity, increasing the Pentagon’s budget and making investments to, quote, “outcompete China,” that is also explicitly outlined. And aside from all of that, it allocates spending towards some of Biden’s long standing pledges like universal preschool, paid parental leave, and increasing funding for child care, things that would have a huge impact for many, many families across the country.
Tre’vell Anderson: All of that sounds cute or most of it. I don’t know about the whole, you know, more defense spending part. But will this plan ever become a reality?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I might have buried the lead here uh it’s the not happening with this Congress. [laughter] I’ll tell you that much. Republicans control the House, but they are very unenthusiastic about increases to government spending and any plan that would raise taxes at all. They have been demanding spending cuts in return for their votes to lift the debt ceiling ahead of the summer, but they haven’t offered any kind of blueprint of their own. Biden’s budget is really like a challenge to them to present their alternative to the American people, preferably one that doesn’t cut things that people like, like Social Security and Medicare.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: But aside from, you know, daring Republicans to do it better, this proposal is being discussed as a campaign blueprint for Biden as he heads towards a possible run for reelection. He unveiled this plan in Philadelphia. It’s a city in a major swing state with the message that this budget will lift the burden off of American families and generate economic growth. You can kind of see how he might carry this message through to 2024.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. But I’m old enough Priyanka to remember when we were talking about him being just a one term president.
Priyanka Aribindi: No, no, we don’t do that conversation anymore. Sorry. [laughter] I don’t know where it went, but we don’t do that anymore. [laughing]
Tre’vell Anderson: We just don’t. We don’t know her. We don’t acknowledge her–
Priyanka Aribindi: We no–
Tre’vell Anderson: –anymore I guess.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m sorry.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. Hate that for us. Okay. Onto an update in the story about Norfolk Southern. That is the company that’s been having all these train derailment over the last month or so. The first was in East Palestine, Ohio, which we’ve talked about before. The second was near Springfield, Ohio, this past weekend. We mentioned that earlier in the week. And then yesterday morning, a third train derailed in Alabama, just hours before Norfolk Southern’s CEO Alan Shaw testified before Congress.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. It’s a little difficult for me to think of any entity that is having a worse year than Norfolk Southern.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: Uh. Before we get to what the CEO said. Can you give us more details about this latest derailment? Because this is wild that this happened a third time.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So the train was traveling from Atlanta to Meridian, Mississippi, when it derailed in Calhoun County, Alabama. According to officials, 30 cars in total derailed um and there have been no reports of injuries thankfully, there are also no reports of any sort of hazardous materials leaking, anything of the sort. None of that. So no danger to the public. Good news there.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Uh. Very good news for the people nearby. I know that is very much not the case for other people in areas where this has happened.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: But what did the CEO have to say for himself?
Tre’vell Anderson: In testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Shaw could do nothing but apologize right to the communities that have been impacted, particularly in East Palestine with the derailment there. He said, quote, “I am determined to make this right. Norfolk Southern will clean the site safely, thoroughly and with urgency.” Shaw then outlined some financial commitments that the company is undertaking. We’ve already talked about them on the show before. This includes what they say is a direct investment of over $21 million dollars to the East Palestine community, which he called a, quote, “down payment,” which, you know, I guess we’re supposed to think of that as just like a place to start?
Priyanka Aribindi: A start. Yeah. Going to hold you to that one.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Well, and we know, right, that there is like well over 4000 families–
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –that were impacted in East Palestine and $21 million dollars for over 4000 families is not actually a lot of money when we’re talking about the type of impact.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right, that this had.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. That this had for them. But he also, you know, had to face some fairly tough questioning, especially from Senator Bernie Sanders, regarding some of the companies labor practices that may have led to these derailments. For example, just a few months ago, Norfolk Southern rail workers did not get a single day of paid sick leave. Take a listen to this exchange from the hearing between Sanders and Shaw.
[clip of Senator Bernie Sanders] What I’m asking you right now, you provided paid sick days to some of your employees. I got it. Thank you. Will you now do it? What most Ameri– what we get here in Congress. Our employees get sick. They get paid sick days. Will you make that commitment right now to guarantee paid sick days to all of your workers. That’s not a radical demand. It really is not. Will, you make that commitment, sir.
[clip of Alan Shaw] Senator, I share your focus on our employees. I will commit to continuing to discuss with them important quality of life issues with our local craft colleagues.
[clip of Senator Bernie Sanders] With all due respect, you sound like a politician here, Mr. Shaw.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I mean, you got to love Bernie for saying it how it is. That was like the what kind of word salad answer was that? I’m sorry. No, that made no sense.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: Congress has been discussing the potential need for rail safety legislation. Did Shaw have anything to say about those efforts?
Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, he kinda sorta did, but basically did not I would say. Because earlier in the hearing, Right. One of the lawmakers who introduced this new bill called the Railway Safety Act of 2023. That’s Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey. He literally said that he wanted to hear CEO Shaw endorse the bill. The bill, by the way, includes new safety requirements and procedures for trains carrying hazardous materials, a requirement for advanced notice from railways to state emergency response officials about what their trains are carrying through their states. Requirements to prevent blocked railway crossings and new rules for train size and weight. But Shaw didn’t fully endorse the legislation. He’d only say that the company supported tighter railroad tank car standards and more training and funding for first responders. And he said, quote, “We are committed to the legislative intent to make rails safer,” which, you know. Okay. But no specifics there. If you know what I mean.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s exactly what Bernie said like, what a great way to say absolutely nothing. Thank you, sir.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: So what happens now with Norfolk Southern?
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, the National Transportation Safety Board has opened a special investigation into the company’s safety practices and culture. In a statement they released earlier this week, they noted that they’ve had to look into the company since 2021 when an employee was killed on the job. So, you know, there’s a history of safety issues at the company.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah jeez.
Tre’vell Anderson: We will obviously have to wait for those results. But in the meantime, right. There’s a lot of political and public pressure on the company to get their shit together and to support the communities that they’ve harmed. We will, of course, be following this story and I’m sure more is to come. But that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: A massive Russian air strike struck several Ukrainian cities on Thursday, killing at least six people. Most of the deaths were reported in the western region of the country, in the city of Lviv. The attack also knocked out power in several areas, including the capital of Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said that dozens of missiles were launched in the attack and that at least six of the missiles they intercepted were Kinzhals. Those are Russian made missiles that travel at hypersonic speed and are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. This isn’t the first time that Russia has used these missiles in combat. But a spokesman for Ukraine’s air force said that these are the most they’ve seen in a single attack. The strike also temporarily cut off power from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from the rest of the country’s power grid. The plant, which also happens to be the largest atomic energy facility in all of Europe, has been under Russian control for months. And U.N. officials renewed their calls to keep the plant safe.
Priyanka Aribindi: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will remain hospitalized for the next few days after he fell Wednesday night at a fundraising dinner at a Washington, D.C. hotel. A spokesperson for the Kentucky senator said that he suffered a concussion but didn’t say how long he’s expected to be away from the Senate. McConnell, who is 81 years old, is the longest serving Senate leader in that chambers history and has had at least one other fall since he’s been in office. Back in 2019, he fractured his shoulder after tripping on his home patio. On the Senate floor yesterday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this:
[clip of Chuck Schumer] I offer a prayer of strength and healing for the leader. I join every single one of my colleagues in wishing Leader McConnell a speedy and full recovery.
Priyanka Aribindi: Sending our thoughts and prayers to whoever is sharing a hospital room with Mitch, who is probably watching C-SPAN on full volume, dying to get back into the action.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. Yelling at the screen like the grandfather in The Simpsons, I’m sure, because he’s missing out on all the hot action [laughter] happening in the chamber.
Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. Hopefully C-SPAN scratches the itch for him.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] We will see. As Tennessee lawmakers continue to push for even more anti-LGBTQ legislation. The state’s lieutenant governor is sending a very different message to the people he follows on Instagram. According to the advocacy site Tennessee Holler, Randy McNally used his official verified account to leave some, shall we say, encouraging comments on a young gay man’s racy post.
Priyanka Aribindi: Shall we? Shall we say that?
Tre’vell Anderson: Shall we? [laughter] The images in question show Knoxville native Franklyn MClur in varying stages of undress, mm hmm with McNally responding with heart and flame emojis, or with some unusual words of encouragement. In one particularly revealing post, McNally commented quote, “You can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine.” It’s giving like old school mac daddy pickup line. That’s the vibe it gives to me.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. The vibe it gives me is very discordant. Like it’s basically a nude. The photo is like a nude. And that is what this man is commenting, it’s wild.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. You know, he basically said that this guy turned his very rainy day into one filled with sunshine. And that’s how you flirt these days, I guess. You know, I don’t know. [laugh] When approached by reporters yesterday about the post, the lieutenant governor had this to say:
[clip of Randy McNally] I try to encourage people on my post and I try to support people. Just because he’s gay. I also have friends that are gay, uh relatives who are gay, but I don’t feel any animosity towards gay people.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s interesting because your policies uh definitely do.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s a weird thing–
Tre’vell Anderson: Exactly.
Priyanka Aribindi: –weird thing to say.
Tre’vell Anderson: Make it make sense. Okay? And in a statement, a spokesperson for McNally added, quote, “Trying to imply something sinister or inappropriate about a great grandfather’s use of social media says more about the mind of the left wing operative making the implication than it does about Randy McNally.” But you know how the old saying goes Priyanka. Where there’s smoke, there are flame emojis. [laugh]
Priyanka Aribindi: Get ready to spring forward this weekend, whether you like it or not. As daylight saving begins for most of the U.S. on Sunday. But if you’re tired of throwing off your sleep cycle twice a year, trust that we are keeping a close eye on the Sunshine Protection Act. It would make daylight saving permanent and is one of the few truly bipartisan bills hoping for a shot in this year’s deeply divided Congress. You may remember that we covered it on the show last year. The bill unanimously passed the Senate, but ended up going dark, as they say, in the House. It was reintroduced last week and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, who has been championing this cause since 1985. That is such a long time.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow.
Priyanka Aribindi: Told The Washington Post that he thinks this could finally be the year that it passes because quote, “The sun doesn’t have any enemies.”
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t get what that means. But uh best of luck to you, sir.
Tre’vell Anderson: And you can bet that you’ll definitely have a better weekend than former President Donald Trump. That’s because the Manhattan DA’s office gave him a chance to testify next week before the grand jury investigating his alleged payoff to adult film actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. We’re not legal experts here, but it could mean that prosecutors are gearing up to indict him on criminal charges. In the meantime, if you’re eager to read up on his missives with other celebrities. Mark your calendar for April 25th. That’s when his new coffee table book, aptly named Letters to Trump, comes out. It will feature 150 private letters that were sent to him over the years from the likes of former President Richard Nixon, Princess Diana, the one and only Oprah Winfrey, and even his good friend, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. It can be yours for just $99 or $399 for a signed edition. Though the publisher has stated on its website that all sales are final so you can’t get your money back. Okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: Even if you like Donald Trump. This just sounds like it won’t be an esthetically pleasing coffee table book. I just can’t see that being the case. So this feels like a terrible way to waste, you know, either a hundred or $400. Nobody do this. Please. This is just dumb.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Please don’t do this. Don’t buy anything. And hopefully he will, you know, leave us alone. And those are the headlines will be back after some ads to tell you about an old school Boston brawl on Capitol Hill. [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Friday WAD squad. So that calls for a little section that we like to call rent free.
Tre’vell Anderson: My fave. We love this.
Priyanka Aribindi: You may have heard us mention this in you know every single episode we have done, but in addition to the pitch perfect podcast that you hear five days a week, we also put out an equally hilarious nightly newsletter.
Tre’vell Anderson: Joining us again is Crooked associate editor Julia Claire. Julia, welcome back to WAD.
Julia Claire: Hello my friends. Happy Friday to us all.
Tre’vell Anderson: So, Julia, another week of foolishness. Okay. From finding out what Tucker Carlson really thinks of former President Trump to JetBlue trying to buy Spirit Airlines. But Julia, what’s the one headline that’s been living rent free in your brain this week?
Julia Claire: The Senate Committee for Health Care, Education, Labor and Pensions, also known as Help. They held hearings with a bunch of labor leaders this week. And there was this exchange between the president of the Teamsters Union, who is a man from Boston named Sean O’Brien. Imagine a man from Boston, a middle aged man from Boston named Sean O’Brien. Whatever you’re imagining, it’s correct. [laughter] He and Senator Markwayne Mullin. I can’t believe that we have a senator named–
Priyanka Aribindi: Nope.
Julia Claire: –Markwayne. One word, Markwayne. Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin got into a heated exchange. And I would love to play the clip.
[clip of Senator Bernie Sanders] [?] That’s the question.
[clip of Sean O’Brien] [?] You’re out of line man.
[clip of Senator Bernie Sanders] Let him answer the question.
[clip of Markwayne Mullin] Actually I have been and no, don’t tell me I’m out of line.
[clip of Sean O’Brien] You’re out of line.
[clip of Markwayne Mullin] Don’t tell me I’m out of line.
[clip of Sean O’Brien] Well, you frame–
[clip of Markwayne Mullin] Yeah don’t tell me I made a mis–
[clip of Sean O’Brien] You framed you frame the statement like a tough guy.
[clip of Markwayne Mullin] You need to shut your mouth.
[clip of Sean O’Brien] Yeah.
[clip of Markwayne Mullin] Because you don’t know what you’re talking about.
[clip of Sean O’Brien] You’re going to tell me to shut my mouth. [gavel sound in background]
[clip of Markwayne Mullin] Yes, I did.
[clip of Sean O’Brien] Oh, look, tough guy, I’m not afraid of physical [?]– [banter]
[clip of Senator Bernie Sanders] No no, hold it.
[clip of Markwayne Mullin] But don’t sit there and tell me I’m out of line.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, my.
Priyanka Aribindi: He’s not afraid of physical what exactly?
Tre’vell Anderson: The girls are fighting.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, they are.
Julia Claire: The girls are fighting. And poor chairman of the committee Bernie Sanders is in the back, just [laughter] like sadly banging his chairman’s gavel. And you can hear that exchange back and forth. Senator Markwayne Mullin telling a witness, someone being deposed in a hearing, shut your mouth.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow.
Julia Claire: Which is bat shit in and of itself. And also, what I’ve learned from this clip is that I would die for the president of the Teamsters Union, and I feel comfortable putting my life on the line for him. I’m trash from Boston as well. Okay. I just I love to see my people represented in the highest levels of government. And he just reminds me of so many of my uncles. I’m not afraid of ya tough guy act.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Julia Claire: It made me very fired up. It’s clearly just such a corporate villain versus Joe Everyman moment that I think we should be running those ads in perpetuity. And I think that Teamsters Sean O’Brien should be the next secretary of labor.
Priyanka Aribindi: A new fav.
Priyanka Aribindi: That was Crooked associate editor, Julia Claire. She works tirelessly through this news cycle to bring you What A Day’s nightly newsletter. It is fantastic. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to it at Crooked.com/subscribe. Julia, thank you so much for joining us. This is great as always.
Julia Claire: Ugh. Priyanka, Tre’vell an honor and a privilege. Love you both. [laughter]
Priyanka Aribindi: Love you, too. See you again next week. [laughter] One more thing before we go. If you are looking for more ways to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world, or just need to cleanse your timeline, give us a follow on TikTok. Just do a quick search for Crooked Media to see our daily curation of the hottest takes, biggest news, and funniest jokes from around the network. Some of us also have personal TikToks. Feel free to follow us there.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, what she said. [laughter] [music break] That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, figure out how to change the time on your microwave and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just letters to Donald Trump like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[spoken together] And stop commenting on our posts Randy McNally.
Priyanka Aribindi: Ahh.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. I know I’m cute, I look good, but you know it’s not welcome, sir. [laugh]
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s not the vibe. Stop. [laughter] [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 producers are Lita Martinez, Michael Martinez, and Sandy Girard. Production support comes from Leo Duran, Ari Schwartz, and Matt DeGroot with additional promotional and social support from Ewa Okulate, Julia Beach, and Jordan Silver. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.