In This Episode
- Family members of Israeli hostages held by Hamas are currently on a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with plans to end the march in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home. Meanwhile, a protest calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war was held outside the Democratic Party headquarters in D.C on Wednesday. And across the country in the Bay Area, dozens of protestors shut down the westbound lanes of the Bay Bridge for roughly four hours on Thursday.
- Republican Representative George Santos announced that he will not seek re-election in next year’s elections after the House Ethics Committee released its highly-anticipated report on Thursday. The report found that there was “substantial evidence” that Santos used campaign money for personal expenses, and concluded that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
- And in headlines: the Senate passed a stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown, the Supreme Court declined to enforce Florida’s anti-drag show law, and China’s President Xi Jinping suggested that his country might lend more giant pandas to the U.S. in the future.
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, November 17th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What a Day. The podcast that is sad that Gannett never even interviewed us to be their new Beyonce reporters.
Tre’vell Anderson: Journalist Caché McClay got the job. Maybe we didn’t get it because we didn’t even apply. But like, they should know that we are the leading experts on all things Beyonce.
Priyanka Aribindi: We’re here every day. Come on Gannett. That that was a big oversight on your part. [music break] On today’s show, the Senate passed a bill to prevent a government shutdown and it now heads to President Biden. Plus, the Supreme Court issues a temporary win that protects drag shows in Florida.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, we have the latest on the war in Gaza. For the second day, Israeli forces raided the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, though the hospital has effectively not been serving as a hospital in the last week or so because they don’t have the necessary resources to treat patients. The hospital is still a refuge space of sorts for civilians. But Israel continued to raid the establishment under the guise that Hamas leadership is or was supposedly hiding out in underground tunnels beneath the hospital. Reportedly, Israeli hostages from the October 7th attack were also, in theory, held there. And while the IDF says that they discovered AK 47s, hand grenades, military uniforms and a laptop with a photo of a kidnapped Israeli soldier on it in the hospital, that has not been independently verified. And both Hamas and doctors at the hospital have forcefully denied the idea that a Hamas command center is there. That said, Israel did say that the body of one of the hostages that was kidnapped was found in a structure adjacent to the hospital. We do not yet know exactly what they mean by adjacent, whether it was under the hospital in these tunnels or next door or down the street. We just don’t have clarity yet.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right. A lot throughout this conflict that has not been clear, not been able to be independently verified, making it very difficult for all of us who are trying to make sense of this from home. It’s been well over a month since Hamas’s attack on October 7th. We have seen folks all over the world calling for a ceasefire, disagreeing with the Israeli government’s response in this conflict. But how are people in Israel responding to this.
Tre’vell Anderson: Public anger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of this all is definitely growing in Israel, so much so that now other elected officials are speaking up. Yair Lapid, for example, he leads Israel’s parliamentary opposition, and he told the press that the country has lost faith in Netanyahu. That’s because he and others believe the ruling government failed to prevent the initial attack and that they were slow to respond. Lapid said, quote, “We cannot allow ourselves to conduct an extended war with a prime minister that the public does not trust.” Adding that Netanyahu, quote, “must go now.” Now, of course, political opposition against Netanyahu is not new to be clear.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: But in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s attack, most of his opposition really rallied behind the war effort. The fact that someone like Lapid is publicly critiquing the response at this point is definitely notable considering. And interestingly enough, some of the family members of the hostages are saying similar things regarding a lack of faith in the government. As we speak, in fact, some family members are currently on day four of a five day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with plans to end the march in front of Netanyahu’s home tomorrow. The nephew of a 72 year old hostage told Reuters, quote, “I don’t feel like we are in good hands. We don’t feel like we get enough information. I don’t have a solution, but it’s not my job to get a solution. It’s my job to demand my family back.”
Priyanka Aribindi: How has the latest in the war, what’s going on on the ground impacted things stateside?
Tre’vell Anderson: President Biden is repeating what we’ve heard Secretary of State Antony Blinken say in recent days, which is that the conflict must end with a two state solution. That’s a position that isn’t necessarily new for our country. But the last major effort to pursue such a thing happened under President Obama when John Kerry was secretary of state. But the Biden administration is simultaneously still full throatededly supporting what’s been called Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas. And so many people see those two positions as contradictory. As demonstrated by recent protests. On Wednesday, for example, a protest was held outside the Democratic Party headquarters in D.C. with folks calling for a cease fire. It unfortunately turned a bit violent.
[clip from protest held outside Democratic Party headquarters] [indistinct crowd noise] –got thrown. People getting thrown down these stairs, people getting thrown down the stairs.
Tre’vell Anderson: Capitol police and demonstrators on the ground have conflicting reports about how and why the protest turned. But Eva Borgwardt, a spokesperson for the group If Not Now, which is one of the groups involved in the protests. And we had her on the show a couple of weeks ago.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: She said to Politico, quote, “As protesters engaged in a moral act of nonviolent civil disobedience outside of the building, police charged at protesters and attacked them without giving any warning or order to disperse. The police pepper sprayed us, pulling them by their hair and throwing them down stairs, resulting in over 90 injuries to protesters.” And then across the country, in the Bay Area, dozens of protesters shut down the westbound lanes of the Bay Bridge for roughly four hours yesterday.
[clip of protesters from the Bay Area] [indistinct chatter] [singing] Which side are you on?
Tre’vell Anderson: They were demanding President Biden, who was in town for the APEC summit, to call for a cease fire as well. Some of the protesters did a die in as well, covering themselves in white sheets and placards that read 11,000 dead. That, of course, being a reference to the number of Palestinians that have been killed in the conflict. Some 80 folks were cited by police in the Bay Area demonstration.
Priyanka Aribindi: And there is also an update in the case of the pro-Israel protester who died after a clash with a pro-Palestinian protester in the L.A. area. Can you tell us what is happening there?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So earlier this month, Paul Kessler, who was Jewish, got into an altercation of some sort with Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji. They were on opposing sides of a demonstration in Thousand Oaks. And somehow Paul fell. He hit his head and died hours later. We don’t know yet the specifics of the altercation between them. But yesterday, Alnaji was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. He is slated to appear in court Monday afternoon by when we should have clarity on what criminal charges he will actually face.
Priyanka Aribindi: Thank you for all of those updates Tre’vell. I know there is so much happening on the ground in Gaza, so much happening in Israel, so much happening here stateside and around the world. We will obviously continue to keep up with all of it right here on the show. But now we are going to switch gears to some news out of Washington. It’s been a crazy week in Washington, D.C., but yesterday was not to be outdone by the rest of the week. It really was going for a title of its own. Everyone needs to pour one out right now for one of the most prolific scam artists of our time. That is Republican Representative George Santos. Yesterday, he announced that he will not be seeking reelection to the House in next year’s elections finally, after the House Ethics Committee released its highly anticipated report on its investigation into him. Quick refresher on Santos. He is a freshman Republican representative from New York. And over the past year, we have come to learn that almost every personal and professional detail he provided about himself was a lie. And not only that, he has been uh stealing left, right and center from uh his campaign, constituents, donors, all of the above.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, it really has been a shit show for all things as it relates to him. That report must have been pretty big, though, for it to finally get him to leave.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Tre’vell Anderson: What exactly was in it?
Priyanka Aribindi: The Ethics Committee’s report found that there was, quote, “substantial evidence that Santos used campaign money for personal expenses.” More on those in just a moment, because they really are something. And in addition to the federal indictment he caught last month for financial fraud and identity theft, they found evidence of additional unlawful conduct that Santos had not yet been charged with. That evidence was immediately referred to the Justice Department. Their ultimate conclusion was that Santos, quote, “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.” He, quote, “blatantly stole from his campaign” and that he, quote, “cannot be trusted.” That last one really like a page from the burn book.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: Come to life. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the juicy, juicy details.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, my God. I’ve been seeing the headlines. I know it gets just a little bit worse. What else did we learn about this man?
Priyanka Aribindi: So much more than we ever wanted to know. [laughter] A whole section of this report detailed how Santos deposited campaign money, nearly $200,000 into his personal account, and then used that for a number of things, including cosmetic procedures like Botox, trips to casinos in Atlantic City and out to the Hamptons, shopping trips at Sephora, Hermes, Ferragamo. I mean, at least the man has good taste, I guess. [laughter] But the real cherry on top were the charges from OnlyFans, a platform that hosts content that we will not be discussing right here on this family friendly program. [laughter] Nuh uh, not for us. [laughter] Santos, of course, denounced all of this as a politicized smear. He went off on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. But he did ultimately say for the first time that he will not be seeking reelection next year because, quote, “My family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time,” as if that’s the issue at hand.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, if your family is indeed under the gun from the press, it is because of your own activity. Mr. Santos.
Priyanka Aribindi: I agree. They probably deserve better, but [laughter] not for that reason.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. I will also just note that I love that, you know, our elected officials are, you know, supporting sex workers, hopefully not with money from their campaign because you’re not supposed to be doing that, sir.
Priyanka Aribindi: He didn’t get that memo.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. He did not get the memo. Okay. So what happens now at this point?
Priyanka Aribindi: Well, I mean, Santos is not running in 2024, but many of his colleagues and constituents, for that matter, think that that is not soon enough to be rid of this man. There has been an ongoing effort to expel Santos from Congress. An effort actually failed earlier this month despite having some Republican support. But that is expected to change now that this report is out. A new resolution to expel him could be filed as soon as today. And if two thirds of the House votes in favor of that, Santos would become the first member of Congress to be expelled since 2002. This is not something that they are doing regularly at all. Many members of Congress who previously voted against his expulsion last time have already said that in light of this report, their votes will change. So while Santos might be bowing out of the race on his own terms, he might get the boot a lot sooner than that. And as he should. I don’t think anyone is sitting here being like this man should keep his job. Anyways, we’ll be following all of this more on all of this very soon. But that is the latest for now. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Starting with some relieving news, a government shutdown has been averted. That’s because the Senate on Wednesday night passed a stopgap spending bill by a 87 to 11 vote. The House approved the bill on Tuesday, and it’s now headed to President Biden’s desk for his signature. He’s expected to sign it before tonight’s midnight deadline. So we can all collectively catch our breath, but only for now, because the bill only fully funds the government through January 19th. So we will be doing this thing here again very soon, unfortunately.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, guys, we got to stop meeting like this.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] Truly.
Priyanka Aribindi: A jury has found David DePape guilty on two counts. DePape attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband in their San Francisco home last year. He was convicted in federal court of one count of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and a second count of attempted kidnapping of a federal official. He could face a maximum of 20 years and 30 years, respectively, based on those convictions. Pelosi suffered a skull fracture after DePape struck him in the head with a hammer just days before the midterm elections. During his trial day, DePape said that he wanted to talk to Nancy Pelosi about interference in the 2016 election and wasn’t expecting to run into her husband. The incident was captured on police body camera footage and released publicly earlier this year. The sentencing date hasn’t been selected yet, but DePape will face another trial on state charges. His court date for that is November 29th.
Tre’vell Anderson: Drag queens, you’re a winner, baby. The Supreme Court yesterday declined to enforce Florida’s anti-drag show law. That’s the law we’ve talked about that targets drag shows by banning children from any adult live performances that feature, quote, “lewd exposure.” And while the law doesn’t specifically call out drag shows, it’s widely regarded as aimed at them. So to get you up to speed. Back in May, Hamburger Mary’s Restaurant in Orlando, a restaurant that hosts drag performances, including family friendly shows, challenged the constitutionality of the law, saying that it violates the First Amendment right to free speech. Then a federal judge in Orlando temporarily blocked the state law from going into effect, saying it was vague and overbroad. Florida then asked the Supreme Court to step in and reinstate the law. Which brings us back to yesterday, when justices refused to enforce it by a six three vote. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented. Of course they did. And in a short statement, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said, quote, “The court’s denial of the stay indicates nothing about our view on whether Florida’s new law violates the First Amendment.” Interesting response Kavanaugh. In the meantime, the legal challenge to the law continues back down in the lower courts. So the TLDR of it all, the drag show can go on in Florida for now at least.
Priyanka Aribindi: Now to a roundup of some union news. First, thousands of Starbucks workers at more than 200 locations across the country walked off the job yesterday on one of the busiest days of the year. That is according to Starbucks Workers United, the union that represents more than 9000 workers at the coffee giant. Take a listen to what they had to say.
[clip of protesting Starbucks workers] Why do we want? A contract. When do we want it? Now! When do we want it? Now. And if we don’t get it? Shut it down.
Priyanka Aribindi: Unionized workers demanded contract negotiations and protested the company’s scheduling and staffing practices, and they chose to walk off the job on Starbucks’ annual Red Cup day when the coffee shops gave out red reusable cups to anyone who orders holiday themed drinks. But the union said that the day is also, quote, “one of the most infamously hard, understaffed days for baristas that work them.” Meanwhile, unionized workers at REI stores across the country have filed unfair labor practices against the retailer on Wednesday. In total, the union representing the workers said 80 complaints were filed with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board over stalled bargaining and workplace changes that, quote, “show a pattern of egregious anti-union behavior, emotional manipulation and retaliatory actions against workers.” And over in the world of automobiles, United automobile workers at General Motors voted to ratify a new contract. It was a close call, but ultimately, about 55% of unionized workers voted in favor of it. As for Ford and Stellantis, as of our recording time at 9:30 p.m. Eastern, workers appear to be headed towards approving their respective contracts as well.
Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, the unlikely crossover of pandas in politics. China’s President Xi Jinping suggested that his country might lend more giant pandas to the US in the future. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for panda lovers across the U.S. who learned that America’s remaining pandas now at Zoo Atlanta are slated to return to China next year. The beloved pandas at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., were actually sent back to China earlier this month. But at a dinner with business leaders in San Francisco this week. Xi called the pandas, and this is pretty cute, envoy’s of friendship between China and the U.S.
Priyanka Aribindi: That is pretty cute.
Tre’vell Anderson: It is so cute.
Priyanka Aribindi: I love that.
Tre’vell Anderson: He said, quote, “I was told that many American people, especially children, were really reluctant to say goodbye to the pandas and went to the zoo to see them off.” Xi didn’t specify when the pandas would arrive or how many they would send. But listen, if you have not seen a panda in real life, maybe you need to get yourself down to Atlanta to see them before they leave.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s me. Honestly, I’m like the closest I’ve gotten is Kung Fu Panda. And that’s what I’m imagining as my little envoy of friendship. [laughter] Anyways.
Tre’vell Anderson: I love that shout out to you and everyone else who has only seen pandas via Kung Fu Panda.
Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, I like this, but I’m a little hesitant because now he knows. Xi knows where to hit us where it hurts. [laughter] He knows our soft spot for the pandas. He knows that denying us pandas will ruin our collective spirits. So I don’t know how good I feel about that information. But I do like the envoys of friendship.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And those are the headlines. We will be back after some ads to hear from you, the WAD Squad.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday WAD squad and we’re going to wrap up the week by opening up our mailbag again. Last week, there were a bunch of elections, so many that we couldn’t cover them all. But a loyal WAD listener wrote to us to share some exciting news out of their own local races in Minnesota. Celeste Harlow told us that Saint Paul just elected its first ever all female city council, and six of the seven seats are held by women of color. [cheer] Celeste told us in her email, quote, “I know we aren’t New York or L.A., but we are a capital city. And this is huge to me as a citizen.”
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, this is huge to us too. I love this. This is very, very exciting. And the incoming council members issued a statement just a few days after Election Day. They said, quote, “Despite over a quarter million dollars of conservative special interest spending citywide, organized people beat organized money. Saint Paul Voters united and through thousands of volunteer hours and grassroots donations elected a diverse progressive new council for our city.”
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Shout out to those folks who worked super hard to get these badass women elected.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Tre’vell Anderson: Local politics matter, y’all. Hopefully it’s inspiring for some of you out there in your own local neck of the woods to get involved.
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s do it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s do more.
Tre’vell Anderson: Thank you so much, Celeste, for pointing a spotlight on this win for us. And if you out there have got a fun story or a passion related to something we talk about on the show, or you just want to say hi. You can reach us at email@example.com. Or tell us on our Discord Channel once you’ve joined at crooked.com/friends.
Priyanka Aribindi: One more thing before we go. Shout out to the What a Day newsletter team who just hit 200,000 subscribers. The What a Day newsletter is a go to source for the day’s latest news that’s sent straight to your inbox every night. If you have not already subscribed, head over to Crooked.com/daily.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Keep winning drag queens and tell your friends to listen. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
[spoken together] And we don’t mean drag queens like Kitara.
Priyanka Aribindi: Though I think George–
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: –Santos will have a little more time um for his hobbies now.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] Shout out to him. Or maybe not. Okay?
Priyanka Aribindi: Maybe not. [laughter] How long until this man’s on OnlyFans?
Tre’vell Anderson: Screaming. [laugh] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: 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 show runner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.