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October 09, 2022
What A Day
Kerch Strait Bridge Is Falling Down

In This Episode

  • Over the weekend, 20 Russian missiles hit civilian areas of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least 13 people and injuring 60 more. These air strikes followed an explosion on Saturday on the bridge between Russia and Crimea, which has both economic and symbolic importance.
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency on Friday after the city’s primary shelter system became overloaded, due in part to the influx of asylum seekers from Latin America. We discuss what Adams is and isn’t doing to help people in New York City find shelter… and the efforts of Republican governors like Texas’s Greg Abbott and Arizona’s Doug Ducey to exacerbate the city’s houselessness crisis.
  • And in headlines: Nationwide protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini entered their fourth week, Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial starts today, and a NLRB judge ruled that a Michigan Starbucks illegally fired one of its baristas for union organizing.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, October 10th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice. And this is What A Day where we are celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day by remembering that Columbus did not actually discover America because people already lived here. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That’s right. At best he popped over uninvited and then refused to leave. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That makes him maybe the worst house guest in human history. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And we’ve had some bad ones. Okay. [music break]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, Harvey Weinstein’s second sex crimes trial begins in Los Angeles. Plus, Starbucks is in hot water yet again with the National Labor Relations Board. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But first, an update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Over the weekend, 20 Russian missiles hit civilian areas of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least 13 people and injuring 60 more. According to local Ukrainian officials, at least 20 houses and 50 apartment buildings were damaged by the shelling. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attack, calling it, quote, “absolute evil”. He noted that rescue teams are still looking for survivors in the rubble and so the casualties could increase. Now, this attack is at least the second one to hit Zaporizhzhia in just a few days. As last Thursday, Russian missiles killed another 20 people there and caused, quote, “significant destruction to residential buildings”. And late last month, a rocket strike on the outskirts of the city killed yet another 30 civilians at a checkpoint in [?] as they tried to flee the area. About the latest attack, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, quote, “The only goal of Russia’s deliberate attacks was to cause death and destruction to civilian people”. So terror and fear. The Russia has continually denied targeting civilians throughout the war. They basically lie and say that the assaults are the work of Ukrainian forces trying to drum up support. It’s believed that yesterday’s missile strike was in retaliation for an explosion that happened on Saturday on the bridge between Russia and Crimea. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Wow. Okay. So can you tell us a little bit more about this bridge? Why is it important here? Why is it a subject of retaliation? Just tell us a little bit more if you can. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So it’s called the Kerch Strait Bridge. It’s the longest one in Europe at 12 miles. And the only connection between Russia’s mainland and Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed back in 2014. The bridge is not only the primary supply route for Moscow’s forces fighting in southern Ukraine, but it also is a symbol of Russia’s claim over Crimea. So all of that was compromised on Saturday when a blast on the bridge collapsed part of its roadway, killing at least three people. A subsequent fire engulfed a train of fuel tanks on a separate adjacent rail portion of the bridge. Now, Putin is blaming Ukraine for the explosion, even calling it a, quote, “terrorist act”. But the Ukrainian government did not officially claim responsibility. One of Zelensky’s advisers told the press, quote, “Putin accuses Ukraine of terrorism? No. There is only one state terrorist and the whole world knows who he is”. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: His whole like, no, it’s actually them bit is getting real old real fast. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s getting very, very old. Now that being said, a senior Ukrainian official did tell The New York Times anonymously that Ukraine’s intelligence services orchestrated that explosion using a bomb loaded onto a truck being driven across the bridge. But of course, this war wouldn’t even be happening if Russia didn’t start it the first place. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Nearly eight months ago. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That’s right, yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So it is still Russia’s fault regardless. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. Correct. Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And in related news, Putin turned 70 years old last Friday. So if you were wondering what to get the 70 year old murderous dictator in your life, perhaps here’s a lesson for you. Tajikistan’s president gifted Putin with multiple enormous pyramids of melons while Belarus’s president gave him a gift card for a tractor. Apparently, you know, tractors are an industrial staple for Belarus. They’re all the rage there, apparently. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Of course. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Then Steven Seagal. Yes, that Steven Seagal. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Excuse me? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Uh huh. Uh huh. Apparently, he’s besties with Putin. He posted a video to Instagram that included this little note: 

 

[clip of Steven Seagal] He is one of the greatest world leaders and one of the greatest presidents in the world. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Okay, first of all, that sounds like Donald Trump. [laughter] So what’s going on? Are we serious? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: These are great questions. But, you know, I will say there is a history of Steven Seagal being celebrated by Putin and the Russians, earlier this year for his 70th birthday. They have a whole little relationship going on Josie. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. No, thanks. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But my particular favorite gift was a congratulatory message from a group of Ukrainian hackers who posted a note on the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s website that read, quote, “We want to congratulate Putin on his last birthday and wish him a comfortable trip to The Hague” 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I love that, too. That’s a great troll. [laughter] I love it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s perfect. We’ll obviously keep you all updated on the latest in Ukraine. But for now, let’s move to a story that’s unfolding in New York City. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. So on Friday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency after the city’s primary shelter system became overloaded due to what The New York Times calls the, quote, “influx of thousands of migrants from Latin America.” This influx is partially due to political grandstanding from Republicans in border states, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Any time I hear those two names in particular. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Along with DeSantis. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not good. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not good. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So before we get into what this declaration of a state of emergency even means, let’s talk about the numbers. How many people are currently in the New York City shelter system? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: As of Thursday, the number of people in the city shelter system was 61,379. That’s just below the all time record for the system, which was set in 2019. And according to Mayor Adams, the shelter population is on pace to exceed 100,000 this fiscal year. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. That’s a lot of folks. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That’s a lot of folks. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But that number includes all people in the city shelter system. How many of those are considered migrants? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Good question. So about 12,700 are considered migrants, meaning migrants make up about a fifth of the city’s current shelter population. About 17,000 migrants have arrived in the city since April, but those numbers are not letting up. On Friday three more busloads of migrants arrived in New York City and many of them are coming from border states. But they’re originally coming from Venezuela, where the economy has collapsed and many people are unable to feed their families or themselves, and many of them are seeking asylum, meaning they are in this country legally, but they don’t have work permits. So there’s very little they can do to support themselves. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And this is an increase from the past, right? Why is that? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well, it’s because of Republicans playing politics again. Right. I mean, we talked on the show about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sending a plane full of asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard. That was just the latest in the recent history of Republican hijinx. For months, Republican governors, especially Greg Abbott, have been loading migrants onto busses and sending them north to places like D.C., Chicago and yes, New York. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And many of them don’t even know where they’re going– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –until they get there. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So it’s really horrible. You mentioned that Adams declared a state of emergency. What does this do to, you know, alleviate the current strain on the city’s resources? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, declaring a state of emergency allows the mayor to open up emergency relief centers more quickly by, quote, “exempting them from the normal land use and community review process that often slows the opening of shelters.” So this basically allows those in the shelter system to get resources like medical care and help from caseworkers more quickly. So the declaration is basically a way of getting around the red tape that can often impact the ability to help in dire situations. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. And you also mentioned that only about one fifth of the people in the city’s overburdened shelters were migrants. So what else is going on to kind of drive this increase in people needing shelter? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well people need shelter when they’re experiencing houselessness. Right? And the factors that contribute to houselessness continue to really impact New York City. In fact, in general, the city is increasingly unlivable. There’s not enough affordable housing. Evictions resumed after the pandemic moratorium, rising rents, etc.. And so it’s important to keep in mind that Adams has not actually handled this issue of houselessness well in the past. For example, in March, he started his sweeps program where basically unhoused people were offered shelter, but any belongings they couldn’t take with them were destroyed, which isn’t the kindest thing. He’s also proposed some particularly loony policy solutions, like putting unhoused people on a cruise ship. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: In other words, I don’t feel super, super positive about his ability to weather the rising numbers that New York City’s shelter system is seeing right now. We will continue to follow Adams’s attempts to address the houselessness crisis in New York, and we’ll continue to follow the actions of Republican governors to inflame it. But that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Nationwide protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini have entered a fourth week and things are not cooling down. As we’ve said before, Amini died while in custody of Iran’s so-called morality police for not abiding by the country’s strict dress code. A report released by Iran’s state coroner on Friday described her cause of death as an underlying illness rather than blows to her head by police as her family has stated. After protests raged on throughout the weekend, authorities shut down all schools in the central Kurdistan region where Amini was from. And on Saturday night, a state run news program was hacked by anti-government demonstrators. The news report was quickly interrupted with pictures of four young women who have died in Iran in the last month and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, surrounded by flames. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: We’d like to warn listeners that this next headline reference is suicide. So if you need to, go ahead and skip the next minute or so of the show. Last week, attorney Carrie Goldberg accused CBS News of cancelling a segment about her firm’s lawsuit against Amazon, a lawsuit that accuses Amazon of selling, quote, unquote, “suicide kits” to teenagers. Goldberg is representing two families whose kids took their own lives, both of whom ingested fatal doses of a chemical that they bought on Amazon. Goldberg’s suit also alleges that when you buy this particular chemical online, Amazon encourages you to bundle it with other products, like an antacid that keeps you from vomiting it up. And an Amazon edition of a literal suicide handbook, which why are you selling that in the first place? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Amazon claims that it’s not responsible for people who misuse the chemical in question, but Goldberg and the families she represents want to hold the company accountable for making it so easy to buy such a deadly product in the first place. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it turns out there is no other way to use the chemical. There’s no reason you would need this. Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein goes to trial in Los Angeles today. This comes five years after allegations were first made against Weinstein. More than 90 women to date have accused the former movie producer of sexual misconduct. 90. I just want to reiterate that number because it’s shocking. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Weinstein is currently serving a 23 year sentence for rape and sexual assault in New York. This new trial expected to last a couple of months, could put him behind bars for up to 140 years. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I don’t really like prisons and whatnot, but, you know, it’s what he deserves. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I got to say, he’s not going to make it 140 years. It’s not looking great for him. You know? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not. After Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered two concussions in five days. The NFL is modifying its concussion protocol to include ataxia, a term that describes impaired balance and dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue. I’m not a doctor, but those symptoms seem like they should have already been in there. Maybe? I don’t know. We’ve been talking about this for a little minute now with the football. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Tua was seen falling down twice while attempting to leave the field after his first concussion two weeks ago. Ironically, a day after the NFL and the NFL Players Association made this announcement, the Miami Dolphins backup quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater suffered a possible concussion on the first play of this Sunday’s loss to the Jets and was removed from the game. By the time the NFL finally gets a handle on this issue, there may not be any dolphins left to save. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. If your quarterback and your backup quarterback both suffer concussions by playing the game, it might be a problem with the game. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: There might be. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled on Friday that a Michigan Starbucks illegally fired one of its baristas for union organizing and that the company must offer to reinstate the worker with back pay. The ruling also requires that Starbucks officials meet with the location’s employees to re-emphasize their right to unionize and admit that the company broke the law by retaliating against the former barista. The Starbucks Workers United Union has accused the coffee chain of firing over 80 employees for union organizing, which the company has denied. Finally, justice is served the Starbucks way in a cup with your name spelled incorrectly on the side. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You know, as somebody who has a little extra punctuation in um their name, let’s just say Starbucks can never get my name correct. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I was gonna say, have they ever spelled it correctly? Ever once? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Never. Even when I spell it out for them. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Of course. No no no. Naturally. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: An American tourist in Italy showed why everyone hates American tourists last week when he was arrested for toppling two ancient Roman sculptures in anger after being denied, get this, a meeting with the pope. A police spokesman said on Thursday that the 65 year old man had seemed psychologically stressed, their words, not mine, which really could describe anyone in 2022, me included. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: One Roman bust, the man threw to the floor lost part of its nose and an ear. A common injury among 2000 year old statues which they say will take over 300 hours to repair. The two damaged pieces have been described as, quote, “culturally insignificant”. And it is assumed that the pope was not impressed enough by the hissy fit to grant the man a meeting, because that’s not how it works, actually. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I have to say, it is the most American thing on earth to just destroy things because you don’t get a meeting with the guy you want. [laughter]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: The American way. And those are the headlines. 

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, get your coffee at a unionized Starbucks and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just smashing old statues in anger like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. So check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

[spoken together] And always remember Steven Seagal loves Putin. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Which that was not on my 2022 bingo card. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I think it should have been. We knew. We knew it was coming. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. I’m the wrong one here. Okay? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I’m the problem. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. [laugh] 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.