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October 24, 2022
What A Day
It's Rishi, Bitch

In This Episode

  • There’s growing concern among Western countries that Russia could be planning a false flag operation in Ukraine – by deploying a so-called “dirty bomb” there, while blaming Ukraine. The Kremlin could use such an attack to justify an escalation in the war.
  • Rishi Sunak won the fight to become Britain’s next prime minister, making him the first person of color to serve in the role. This comes after Liz Truss’s abrupt resignation last week after just 45 days in office.
  • And in headlines: a school shooting in St. Louis, Missouri left two people dead and several others injured, Brittney Griner will formally appeal her nine-year Russian prison sentence, and Hollywood agency CAA dropped Kanye West over his antisemitic remarks.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It is Tuesday, October 25th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day where we’re preparing our crudités/veggie trays for tonight’s debate between Fetterman and Oz. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Ultimately, the debate was always about what those foods are called. And Fetterman won a long time ago. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That’s politics, baby. [music break]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, another company severed ties with Kanye West over his anti-Semitic outbursts. Plus, food throwing climate activists struck again, this time at Madame Tussauds in London. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But first, over the weekend, we crossed the eight month mark since Russia invaded Ukraine. As we mentioned on the show yesterday, Russia has been trying to disable Ukraine’s power grid by attacking power stations and other energy generating facilities. They’re basically trying to freeze out Ukrainian civilians as the winter approaches. And we also mentioned that Russian installed officials are evacuating residents from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, which is part of the four regions that Russia illegally annexed. The reason they cite for the evacuations is the threat of upcoming, quote unquote, “terror attacks from Kiev.” Well, it turns out that Russia might be plotting something here because on Sunday, Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, called up his counterparts in France, Britain and Turkey and reportedly made unfounded claims that Ukraine could be preparing to use what is called a dirty bomb. He’s been going around in saying that Ukraine will use this bomb within its own country and then blame Russia for it. But of course, almost everyone is giving Russia the side eye because that reasoning just doesn’t make sense considering how things have gone like this would actually be the perfect cover for Russia in particular to escalate violence while minimizing the West’s response. The governments of France, the U.K. and the U.S. even issued a joint statement saying, quote, “We all reject Russia’s transparently false allegations. The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said as much as well, quote, “If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing. Russia has already prepared all this.” 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That is true and also a little depressing to realize just how much Russia is willing to lie. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Um. Okay. So I want to go back to something that you mentioned, which is this quote unquote, “dirty bomb”. I don’t like those words together. I’m going to be honest with you. So what’s that? Tell me about it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So dirty bombs, which are technically known as radiological dispersion devices. They’re these super old school and imprecise weapons that are apparently much easier and cheaper to build than a nuclear device. But they’re also, in theory, far less dangerous as well. Dirty bombs basically hurl radioactive dust and smoke into the atmosphere. So it’s, you know, still dangerous, but it is not necessarily lethal right away. It all kind of depends on, you know, a few factors. According to experts, the main impact of a dirty bomb is largely psychological. Hence these devices often being referred to as, quote, “weapons of mass disruption”. They’re intended to sow panic, confusion and anxiety more than anything. Luckily, perhaps no dirty bomb attack has ever actually been recorded. Though interestingly enough, for the purposes of our convo today, there have been two failed attempts to detonate a dirty bomb. Both reported in the Southern Russian Republic of Chechnya over 20 years ago. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Psychological impact. Still an impact. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Also, how do we know? Because we’ve never seen one happen before. So let’s not try it out. How concerned or worried should we be like what does this actually mean? What impact would it have? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, well, most dirty bombs would not discharge enough radiation to cause death or even severe illness. And the impact of one of them being detonated would largely be confined to, you know, a particular area, depending on the type of explosives and radioactive materials used and the weather conditions at the time of the blast. For example, if it’s windy, obviously the wind might spread the stuff further. Right? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So obviously, this is something that would surely further upend the lives of Ukrainian citizens. And so it’s not good, no matter how you look at it right? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Now today, Russia will be raising its allegations against Ukraine during a closed door meeting of the United Nations Security Council. They’ve already sent a letter to UN chief Antonio Guterres imploring him to, quote, do everything in his power to prevent this heinous crime from happening, which to me is a particularly rich thing to say right after eight months of Russia decimating Ukraine under false pretenses. But, you know, here we are. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Everything in their power to prevent this heinous crime from happening is something that Russia could have handled last February. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Thank you for that, Tre’vell. Some news from the UK on Monday, Rishi Sunak won the fight to become Britain’s next prime minister. And what the New York Times is calling a remarkable political comeback. Sunak was victorious by default after his only remaining opponent withdrew after failing to reach the necessary threshold of nominating votes. He will be the first person of color to serve as prime minister. But those expecting him to break a lot of new ground are likely to be disappointed like Liz Truss before him and Boris Johnson before that. Sunak is a member of the Conservative Party, which means we can expect him to implement some of the same controversial and harmful policies as his predecessors. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Same horrible behavior. Just a different face. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Uh Huh. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You mentioned that this is a political comeback. Can you tell us a little bit more about Sunak and his political experience thus far? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. Okay. So let me start by saying that Sunak comes from finance. He’s like fundamentally a finance guy. He married the daughter of a billionaire and he and his wife are the 22nd richest people in the country. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Pretty good for them. Pretty bad for everybody else. He will be the first hedge fund prime minister. He worked for Goldman Sachs and a number of hedge funds and investment firms before becoming a big time politician in the Conservative Party. He was elected to Parliament in 2015 before being appointed to former Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration. Then he became Chief Secretary of the Treasury and then Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Now, you know, I like to think I know a few words Josie. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But Exchequer, what exactly is that? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, first, I’d like you to know it’s pronounced much more simply than it’s spelled. Basically, it’s like finance minister. So his secretary of the Treasury and then Chancellor of the Exchequer jobs were in the same realm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Dealing with finance, dealing with money. Anyway, Sunak is again a tried and true conservative. He voted for Brexit three times. And like any good conservative, he was also caught partying with Boris Johnson during the pandemic, which eventually led to his resignation. After Johnson resigned, Liz Truss and Sunak with the final two candidates for Prime Minister. Liz Truss of course, won and served a whopping six weeks before resigning. So after Sunak resigned as chancellor in July and after he lost the Conservative Party election like two months ago, he’s suddenly the next Prime Minister. So that’s what we mean when we say comeback. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So he was the third choice– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –For the job is what I’m hearing. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. [laughing] 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So how do we expect him to be any different from Truss? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I think the truth is that in many ways he probably won’t be. Again, these two are of the same party and they have the same general political leanings. This is not going to be a socialist revolution. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Now it is worth mentioning that the Conservative Party in Britain isn’t exactly the same as the Conservative party here. But there are some major similarities, right? Free markets, deregulation, strong military, lower taxes, like, you know, the vibe. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: But one place he does seem to differ is the tax cuts that got Liz Truss in so much trouble to begin with. So back in July when Sunak and Truss were vying for the Prime Minister role, Sunak said that Truss’s plan to cut taxes for the rich when inflation is so high would be, quote, “destabilizing”. He wanted to increase corporate taxes and hold off on any income tax cuts. His perspective on that has certainly been validated, right, given the economic upheaval that Truss’s tax cuts for the rich created. So, you know, he’s better than Liz Truss in that respect. But again, he’s a member of the same party, believes in the same general economic principles that time and time again have been shown to harm poor and working class people. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And over the past few weeks I know the Conservative Party in the UK, you know, has taken a hit or two or three. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: How will that affect Sunak’s new role? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it seems fair to say that this guy has a few uphill battles in his future. So first of all, plenty of people in his own party don’t like him. Lots of conservatives felt like he kind of stabbed Boris Johnson in the back during the end of Johnson’s tenure this summer. So he’s already starting off like you said, everybody’s third favorite. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Not ideal. Plus, he’s facing massive economic turmoil. The New York Times calls it the gravest economic crisis in Britain in a generation. And on top of all of that, the Conservative Party is down like pretty bad. Some polls have them 30 points behind the Labor Party. And now there have been these calls for an early general election from the Conservative Party’s opposition, basically saying that Sunak simply doesn’t have a mandate to run the country. There’s another important thing to note here, which is that given the rare circumstances of Liz Truss’s resignation, Sunak has barely like said anything about what he actually wants to do as prime minister. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That’s like kind of concerning. He’s in charge now. We don’t really know what he’s into, especially given what Britain has faced in the past few months. Plus, it looks like he might actually want to make deep spending cuts due to the fallout from Truss’s policies, which would again hurt working people in Britain who are already struggling in the tough economic circumstances. As Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, said about Sunak. He should call an early general election and he should not must not unleash another round of austerity. Our public services will not withstand that. Anyway, we will keep an eye out on how things play out across the pond. But that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. 

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: A gunman killed at least two people and injured several others at a performing arts high school in St. Louis Monday morning. According to The New York Times, students heard their principal announce over the intercom, quote, “Miles Davis is in the building”, which is the code phrase the school uses to signal that there’s an active shooter on campus. Authorities said the 19 year old shooter who was killed in a shootout with police was a former student. The nonprofit news site Education Week said it’s the 39th school shooting in the U.S. this year. That’s the most they’ve tracked in a single year since they started counting in 2018. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Horrible. Every single time. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Brittney Griner will formally appeal her nine year prison sentence in Russia today. Griner is expected to join the hearing by video from the detention center where she’s being held. She was sentenced back in August for carrying less than a gram of cannabis oil when she arrived in Moscow earlier this year to play for the Russian women’s professional basketball league. Griner’s lawyer released a statement yesterday saying she, quote, “does not expect any miracles to happen but hopes the court will at least consider reducing her sentence.” 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Devastating. A new nationwide report found that students have suffered historic learning setbacks due to the school closures that occurred during the COVID 19 pandemic. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, tested hundreds of thousands of fourth and eighth graders across the country to measure their academic progress, and the results were abysmal. According to the report, reading scores are the lowest they’ve been since 1992, and math scores saw their biggest decrease ever. The report also found evidence that racial disparities in learning have likely widened, with Black and Latino fourth graders seeing a bigger decline in scores compared to their white counterparts. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Monday called the findings, quote, “unacceptable”, and he encouraged schools to use their federal funding to get students back on track. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Kanye West, now known as Ye, continues to face fallout over his anti-Semitic remarks. Hollywood agency CAA, which has represented the rapper since 2016, is the latest business to cut ties with him. But as many have pointed out, Adidas has yet to end its working relationship with Ye. The German footwear brand said its partnership with Ye was quote, “under review”, but it hasn’t announced any updates since. On Saturday, members of an anti-Jewish white supremacist group hung anti-Semitic banners on an overpass above a Los Angeles freeway while giving the Nazi salute. One of the banners said, quote, “Kanye was right about Jews.” Since then, the Anti-Defamation League wrote a letter to Adidas saying, quote, “At this point, what more do you need to review?” 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Absolutely. It’s time for that partnership to be over. Here’s the latest on our nation’s ethically troubled highest court. Insurrection wife guy and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily blocked a subpoena calling for Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to testify before a Georgia special grand jury. The panel is investigating whether former President Trump and his allies tried to overturn his loss in Georgia in the 2020 presidential election, an effort you can read all about in Ginni Thomas’s texts. The temporary stay comes a few days after Graham’s lawyers asked Thomas to delay his court appearance, which is currently scheduled for November 17th. Georgia prosecutors must respond to the move by Thursday. Justice Thomas made the decision on his own because he oversees the lower court that issued the original order to appear. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Of course he does. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And a follow from yesterday’s show, the climate protesters who throw food at art have moved on to the art world’s most holy site, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London. Yesterday morning, two members of the activist group Just Stop Oil smushed chocolate cakes in the face of a brand new wax, King Charles the third. To their credit, they took everyone’s notes this time they obviously were listening to us and they drew a connection between the method of protest and the thing they were protesting. They said, quote, “The demand is simple. Just stop new oil and gas. It’s a piece of cake.” On Just Stop Oil’s website, they said yesterday’s action was part of a three week campaign of civil resistance in which police have made nearly 600 arrests. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: You know, of all the stupid protests, this is my favorite one. [laughter]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You’ve changed your mind. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I did. I’m like, yes. New wax version of the King. It’s anti-monarchy. It’s replaceable. I feel like it’s camp. That’s just my personal opinion. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It is camp. I will cosign that. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Okay, great. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I am interested to know what exactly brand of, like, chocolate cake it was like was it a ding dong? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Was it a, I don’t know, a flourless chocolate cake that you get at like– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right right.

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –cheesecake factory or something. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. And was it dairy free? [laughter] And those are the headlines. 

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Smoosh a chocolate cake and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just Ginni Thomas’s texts like me. What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

[spoken together] And enjoy your veggie trays. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I’ll be with the lemon pepper wings. But y’all can have the vegetables. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Absolutely. I will not be eating your vegetables either. And I will not be watching this debate. [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 Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.