In This Episode
- The G7 summit ended on Sunday, with President Joe Biden and several other world leaders pledging to send one billion COVID vaccines to poorer nations and endorsing the idea of a global minimum tax. Today, Biden is set to meet with NATO leaders before meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.
- Yesterday in Israel, the Knesset voted to approve the new coalition government which includes eight different parties of varying politics who unified to oust former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Naftali Bennett was sworn in as the new prime minister. He and most of his cabinet worked in Netanyahu’s at various times during his 12 year tenure, indicating that massive changes won’t come quickly.
- And in headlines: Darnella Frazier receives an honorary Pulitzer Prize, Nancy Pelosi promises to probe the Trump DOJ, and a ride on Bezos’s rocket sells for $28 million.
Akilah Hughes: It’s Monday, June 14th. I’m Akilah Hughes.
Gideon Resnick: And I’m Gideon Resnick, and this is What A Day, winners of the prize at Westminster Dog Show for wanting to pet every athlete.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah. And I also just found out we won the award for telling the most dogs that they’re a good boy. So, you know, we’re really cleaning up.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. No one has ever done it as much as us. It was a historic event, quite honestly.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah. They were going to kick us out. On today’s show, the future of Israel with Benjamin Netanyahu no longer prime minister. Plus, we’ll have headlines.
Gideon Resnick: But first, the latest:
[clip of President Biden] America’s back at the table. The lack of participation in the past and full engagement was noticed significantly, not only by the leaders of those countries, but by the people in the G7 countries. And, uh, America’s back in the business of leading the world alongside nations who share our most deeply-held values.
Gideon Resnick: That is President Biden speaking in Cornwall, England, yesterday, wrapping up his first meeting with other world leaders as part of the G7 summit. So Akilah, there was a lot on the agenda here, so catch us up on what they agreed to.
Akilah Hughes: All right. So in good step forward news, leaders pledged one billion COVID vaccines to poorer nations, but obviously there are more than one billion vaccines needed to protect the whole world and U.N. head Antonio Guterres said as much. And another actionable item, leaders endorsed the idea of a global minimum tax to prevent companies from shifting zip codes to outrun their tax obligations. But then again, for that to take shape, other big countries need to get on board. China has entered the chat, so TBD on how to even the playing field. There will be a meeting next month among more world leaders called the G20, where this is expected to be high on the agenda. And representatives from countries like China, Brazil and Russia are expected to be there.
Gideon Resnick: Right. But there was some inaction as well here and stagnation of discussions that disappointed critics as well.
Akilah Hughes: Of course. So we were all waiting with bated breath to find out if climate change was finally going to be taken seriously on a global stage since there have been a bunch of half steps and, well, it seems to be more of the same. The leaders failed to set an end date on the use of coal, and they failed to set a target date for when most new cars are supposed to be greener. The year 2030 was thrown out. But what is the plan? Like, are they just going to come and tow my Nissan Cube in January of that year? Like, what are we talking about?
Gideon Resnick: They are, yeah.
Akilah Hughes: And you know, let’s not forget that we live in a global car-buying market, so if you’re not going to seriously spell out how to enforce greener mandates for cars, how do you expect to stop the sale of foreign vehicles that don’t meet the standard? The G7 summit would have been an excellent time to discuss those finer details. But I guess a video of the queen of England cutting a cake with a sword is going to have to suffice.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, that sword can also be used on carbon emissions. Kind of interesting. So Biden is set to meet with NATO leaders today and tomorrow before meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday. Any further updates there?
Akilah Hughes: Yes. So unlike in the Trump years, there won’t be a joint conference afterwards, because like what even was that? You know, it’s truly maddening to think of all the stuff that we just put up with for four years. But we’re going to get even deeper into it on tomorrow’s show with Pod Save The World host and former Deputy National Security Adviser for President Obama, Ben Rhodes. He joins to tell us more about what to watch in this new relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Turning to some other international news, Gideon, there was a big changing of the guard in Israel.
[sounds of cheering, clapping]
Akilah Hughes: So that was sound ABC News captured yesterday of people in Jerusalem celebrating the ousting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A week ago, we talked about his long tenure coming to an end, but take us through the final stretch.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it was chaotic. So yesterday in Israel, the parliament, or Knesset, held their vote of confidence on this new coalition government that had been in the works for a while. As a reminder that coalition includes eight, yes, eight different parties of varying politics who basically unified essentially only to oust Netanyahu. And that’s exactly what happened. Extremely narrowly, though. The vote to approve the new government was 60 to 59, with one abstention. So now Naftali Bennett, a far-right religious conservative who made millions in tech back in the day, was sworn in as the new prime minister. He’s going to serve for two years before Yair Lapid, a former journalist who has attempted to position himself as a kind of center politically, ends up taking over. Meanwhile, Netanyahu, who faces a trial on corruption charges, has thrown around the word ‘fraud’ in regards to this new government more times than I can conceivably count. He’s also clearly going to remain a strong presence as the leader of the opposition to this government. This is him in the Knesset yesterday:
[clip of Netanyahu] [Hebrew]
Gideon Resnick: OK, so part of what he’s saying there in the speech ahead of the vote that took place is, quote “I will lead you in a daily battle against this bad and dangerous left-wing government and bring it down.”
Akilah Hughes: I mean, kind of weird to be bragging about how you want to bring down the government. But, you know, we’re living in weird times.
Gideon Resnick: Indeed we are. So, yeah, I think it’s pretty clear what he’s going to end up being up to in the next couple of years.
Akilah Hughes: Totally. Yeah, it’s all of his plans. But what are people expecting from how these new prime ministers will actually lead?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the kind of open questions people have at the moment is how and if this coalition actually does hold together. Plus, they could avoid crucial issues like Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which would mean much of the same for the lives of Palestinians. Here’s how Haggai Matar, the executive director of +972 magazine in Israel, described this coalition when we spoke about it last week.
[clip of Haggai Matar] You have a hard right settlement, pro-settlement fundamentalists in a sense, on the one hand. And you have Palestinian Islamists and you have Jewish secular liberals, and all of them really were kind of at each other’s throats up until recently. And the one combining factor keeping them all together for now is their common hatred to Benjamin Netanyahu, basically.
Akilah Hughes: [laughs] Sorry, just, yeah, a whole coalition of people are just like: I hate that guy.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. No, seriously, that is like the one thing. And one of the other indications that we’re not likely to see some kind of massive change in Israel is that Bennett and most of his cabinet actually worked in Netanyahu’s at various times over his 12 year tenure.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah. And what could this new leadership mean for U.S.-Israel relations? like how has President Biden been handling it so far?
Gideon Resnick: Well, he reportedly spoke with and congratulated Bennett. While Secretary of State Anthony Blinken invited Yair Lapid, who right now is serving as the foreign minister to meet in the US. So despite resistance from the left and pushes for the U.S. to rethink its unwavering military support for Israel, it doesn’t seem, at least for now, that the crux of the relationship is going to change drastically. Here’s how Matar was thinking through what the new post-Netanyahu dynamic might look like.
[clip of Haggai Matar] So I think there’s definitely a history between the Democratic Party and Netanyahu, and not a good one. The Biden administration seems to be growingly concerned with Netanyahu’s ongoing government. The question is how they’ll see an even further-to-the-right prime minister stepping in, someone who really comes from the heart of the settlement movement.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, and Matar said some of that dynamic could be countered by Yair Lapid, who has this good relationship with several politicians in the US, including within the Democratic Party. So much remains to be seen with all of this, and we’ll keep following it in the days ahead. But that is the latest from now.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Monday, WAD squad, and today we are doing a segment called The Solution, where we propose a fix to a news story that has created chaos in our world. Last Friday, a veteran lobster diver in Cape Cod visited one of the least popular places to swim in the entire world: the pitch black mouth of a humpback whale. 56-year old Michael Packard was diving when he felt a huge shove and everything went dark. He was inside the whale for an estimated 30 or 40 seconds before it started shaking its head and then released him back into the water, presumably via spitting or puking—common methods for whales. Packard suffered significant injuries, but no broken bones. But of course, one thing has consistently been overlooked in the story: the experience of the gentle giant who accidentally swallowed a man. So for the man versus whale’s mouth incident in Cape Cod, here is the solution:
Akilah Hughes: The enormous whale who ate a man needs to know it did absolutely nothing wrong. I mean, if any of us were 66,000 pounds and half asleep from always singing sad songs, it’s likely we’d mistake a man for an edible sea creature. I mean, after all, men and wetsuits basically look like little turtles at the center of four wiggly eels. And furthermore, whales who eat men are way overrepresented in media, whether their food is guys from the Bible or the dads of wood toys who want to be alive. If this whale did eat the man on purpose, it would be our fault for failing to give him positive male role models. And lastly, while everyone is talking about the bones and body of the man who was eaten. Has anybody stopped to ask about the soft pink mouth of the whale? Like those who have eaten too many kids in their Sour Patch form know it can be so painful. I mean, we must assume the same about non-Sour Patch men. So to the confused whale from Massachusetts, even if you ate a man on purpose, we forgive you.
Gideon Resnick: Wow. That was the solution to this whole problem. We’ll be back after some ads.
Akilah Hughes: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Gideon Resnick: The Black teenager who recorded the tragic video of George Floyd being pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer last year was awarded an honorary Pulitzer. The board gave a special citation to Darnella Frazier to, quote “highlight the crucial role of citizens in journalist’s quest for truth and justice.” The recording went on to become a crucial piece of evidence at Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. Frazier recently described her experience of recording Floyd’s death as traumatic and life changing, but also said she was proud of herself for helping to get out the truth. She was just 17 at the time, trying to buy snacks from the corner store with her nine-year old cousin. She also became a key witness during Chauvin’s trial. Chauvin is set to be sentenced next week, and the three other officers involved in Floyd’s fatal arrest are scheduled to face trial next year.
Akilah Hughes: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to probe Trump’s Justice Department over recently uncovered subpoenas this past weekend. In case you missed it, tech giant Apple revealed last week that it was subpoenaed by the FBI in 2018 to share communication records and other data about 100 accounts, including those of journalists and Democratic Congress members like representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, and their staff. The subpoenas included a gag order which expired recently. This mass effort to harvest information happened during the investigation into whether Trump and his team received help from Russia during the 2016 election. Trump’s DOJ also notably subpoenaed Apple for data on an account belonging to Don McGahn, who was part of Trump’s White House counsel at the time. It’s not clear why, but some suspect it could have something to do with his involvement with a leak related to the Russia investigation. In addition to a congressional probe, Biden’s Justice Department is currently leading its own internal investigation into the subpoenas.
Gideon Resnick: A pharmaceutical company’s powerful stand against perfectionism has led the FDA to tell them to throw away 75 million COVID vaccines.
Akilah Hughes: Come on.
Gideon Resnick: That company is Emergent BioSolutions.
Akilah Hughes: It’s really emerging.
Gideon Resnick: We’ve spoken previously about lax production standards at their Baltimore plant that allowed 15 million Johnson & Johnson doses to be contaminated. But last Friday, the FDA ordered an additional 60 million doses to be Marie Kondo-ed, later explaining that they were manufactured at the same time as the contaminated ones and might also be impure. The main issue was that AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines were being produced too closely together, and vaccine prep areas were used to transport production waste.
Akilah Hughes: Ew.
Gideon Resnick: But thankfully no shrimp tails covered in cinnamon, as far as we know, thus far. The FDA did approve 10 million J&J doses from the factory for use, but Canada rejected their shipment of 300,000 of them on Saturday.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, they’re nice, but they’re not that nice. Consumer goods prices are rising and rocketship tickets are no exception. The auction for a ride to space alongside Jeff Bezos and his brother ended this weekend, netting $28 million from a yet unidentified beneficiary of our country’s craven and perverted tax code. The July 20th trip aboard a Blue Origin spaceship will take the auction winner just above the so-called Karman Line, considered to be the official height at which space begins—I thought we were in space this whole time, but I was wrong. From launch to landing, the ride will last about 11 minutes, barely exceeding the max length of one Quibi. If you crunch the numbers, that works out to be about two and a half million dollars per minute for the lucky person who gets to network with the Bezos brothers while emptying their bladder into a space suit from Amazon Basics. The $28 million will be donated to Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s foundation to inspire kids to pursue careers in STEM, so that one day they can join a team that sends billionaires on tiny little space vacations.
Gideon Resnick: Man do I hope this is the middle seat.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, honestly, I hope that they don’t have any dating service. And those are the headlines.
Akilah Hughes: One thing before we go, this Pride month, Lovett or Leave It host Jon Lovett returns to the stage for an exclusive Pride performance called “Out of the Closets, Into the Streets.” On June 24th, join Jon Lovett and a lineup of your favorite LGBTQ+ acts as they bring the celebration right to you. Out of the Closets, and Into the Streets will be streamed live on June 24th at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Join the fun on Crooked Media’s YouTube and Twitch pages.
Gideon Resnick: That is all for today, if you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, avoid the mouths of whales if you can, and tell your friend’s to listen.
Akilah Hughes: And if you’re into reading, and not just very reasonable selling prices of rocket rides like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Akilah Hughes.
Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.
[together] And wash your spacesuit from Amazon Basics!
Akilah Hughes: Yeah. I mean, Lord knows we don’t know what fabric it’s made of.
Gideon Resnick: No. Once you get into space too, it’s going to need another wash. You don’t know what happens up there.
Akilah Hughes: Maybe buy two, but not from Amazon.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah.
Akilah Hughes: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media.
Gideon Resnick: It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes.
Akilah Hughes: Sonia Htoon and Jazzi Marine are our associate producers.
Gideon Resnick: Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran, Akilah Hughes and me.
Akilah Hughes: Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.