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May 30, 2023
What A Day
McCarthy, Come Get Your Party

In This Episode

  • The debt limit deal struck between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is headed to a full House vote today despite hard-right Republicans opposing the legislation. Lawmakers have until June 5th to reach a consensus to avoid a default.
  • A drone attack hit Moscow Tuesday morning, marking the first strike in a Russian civilian area since the Kremlin launched its Ukraine invasion last year. The attack comes after Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, has seen a relentless onslaught of bombing over the past two weeks.
  • And in headlines: nine people were injured in a shooting in Hollywood, Florida on Memorial Day, the Republican-controlled Texas House voted to impeach Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Minnesota became the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, May 31st. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What A Day where, unlike the new Little Mermaid, we promise to never surprise you with a bonus rap written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. At the very least, we will give you a heads up any time there is a rap by Lin-Manuel [laughter] on the show. 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, this man isn’t going anywhere until he gets that EGOT. And honestly, I don’t blame him. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show. Nine people were injured in a shooting near a beach boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida. Plus, Minnesota has become the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is getting ate up by these House Republicans over the debt limit deal he struck with the White House last weekend that takes food out of poor people’s mouths via work requirements, rescinds $28 billion dollars in unspent COVID money from states and cuts $20 billion dollars in IRS funding, restarts student loan payments, and does everything to protect tax cuts for the ultra wealthy and corporations. But even with all that, some Republicans aren’t happy. And during the House Republicans Rules Committee vote yesterday, two GOP hardliners put up an effort to reject the bill, while the other seven Republicans on the committee successfully voted to advance the debt limit deal to a floor vote. When I tell you these Republicans are acting like they only want cruelty times 1000, I’m not exaggerating. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay, you said getting ate up, but I did not expect by House Republicans to be what followed it. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Like that is surprising to me. What exactly do they have to complain about here? Because you know what you’re outlining sounds like things that they would like. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. The primary argument from House Republicans is essentially that the cruelty doesn’t go far enough, the harm doesn’t go far enough. And some Republicans, like Representative Ralph Norman, are even admitting to not even reading the bill. So do with that what you will. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Like, I feel like that is probably the reason that this is the first time I’m ever hearing of this man, um but–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I, probably not the way you want to uh introduce yourself to the world. But congrats, sir. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s giving sorry to that man. I don’t know you. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Big time. Back to your hole Ralph Norman. Goodbye. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] But yesterday, Republicans from the House Freedom Caucus spent the entire day condemning Speaker McCarthy, including Representative Chip Roy of Texas, who declared that, quote, “Not one Republican should vote for this bill.” And he added, quote, “There’s going to be a reckoning about what just occurred unless we stop this bill.” Take a listen to what Republican Representative Dan Bishop told CNN yesterday:


[clip of CNN reporter] I mean, how much confidence do you have in the speaker right now? 


[clip of Representative Dan Bishop] None. Zero. What basis is there for confidence? You cannot forfeit the tool of Republican unity. It was not necessary to do. 


[clip of CNN reporter] Is the speaker lying about the way he’s characterizing this bill? 


[clip of Representative Dan Bishop] Yes, he’s lying. But the bill is chock full of things that are cosmetic and artificial, that have the same exact effect. 


Juanita Tolliver: Again, no specific detail or provision of the bill was named in that criticism. But homie doesn’t think the debt limit terms McCarthy got go far enough and he’s big mad. It’s also a great time to remember that with all these mad Republicans around McCarthy, it only takes one of them to call for a vote to remove him from his speakership. So the pressure is on to make his conference happy, but also to not push them too far for their votes, thus potentially turning to Democrats to try to get this over the finish line. And that entire notion is pretty fucking gross. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So now that this has passed a Rules committee vote by, you know, just a narrow margin, what comes next for this package? 


Juanita Tolliver: So later today, the debt limit deal will go to the House floor for a vote. And apparently McCarthy only has to produce two thirds of the GOP conference, which is a ridiculously low lift, because that means McCarthy will, in fact, need Democrats to support this deal to get it across the finish line. And with all the Republican rancor, there’s absolutely no way McCarthy could have gotten the entire conference on board and with commitments to reject the bill from the House Freedom Caucus and other Republican members, it’s clear the bill would die in a floor vote if Democrats withheld their votes. Here’s what House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters about a potential floor vote yesterday.


[clip of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries] It’s our expectation that House Republicans will keep their promise and deliver at least 150 votes as it relates to an agreement that they themselves negotiated, [indistinct voice in background] with the White House. 


[clip of unidentified reporter 1] So is that a no, is that a no? 


[clip of unidentified reporter 2] So what [?] 


[clip of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries] No no. House Democrats will make sure that the country does not default. 


Juanita Tolliver: Default. Okay, I’ll be real right here. This is a horrible position for Democrats to be in, to have to clean up a disgusting mess that McCarthy and House Republicans created when they decided to take the nation’s economy hostage under the threat of default. And no one should be looking to Democrats to bail out Republicans on the mess that they created, especially when it comes with cruel provisions that will harm people with low incomes, people living with disabilities, people who are struggling to make ends meet and have been struggling for years, well before the pandemic. But once this makes it through the House, it will head to the Senate, where both Democratic and Republican leadership members have already released statements of support for the bill. So we should expect similar Democratic support in that chamber, too. Because the clock is ticking. Remember, this all needs to be handled and on Biden’s desk by June 5th to avoid, you know, that casual global economic crisis and national recession that would come with default. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. And I mean, still, even with this bill that as Minority Leader Jeffries was pointing out, there is one party that got what they wanted out of this deal, negotiated this, uh and there is one that is committed to making sure the country doesn’t default on its bills. And they’re not the same party. 


Juanita Tolliver: Not at all. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s just the truth of this matter. But anyways, switching over to another story that we’re following, the latest out of Russia. On Tuesday morning, a drone attack hit Moscow, becoming the first strike in a Russian civilian area since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started over a year ago. 


Juanita Tolliver: So what exactly do we know about this attack? 


Priyanka Aribindi: So according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, five of the eight drones in this attack were shot down. The other three had their systems jammed, but that didn’t stop them from damaging at least three residential buildings, though there aren’t currently any reports of serious injuries. I should also add that Ukraine denies having any involvement in this attack. This follows a pair of recent explosions over the Kremlin, if you remember. And it’s another indication that the effects of this war are coming closer to Russian civilian areas rather than just being isolated to the cities of Ukraine. But this also came just hours after the latest Russian airstrikes on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Kyiv has been experiencing a relentless onslaught of bombings for months and months now. But nearly every single night of the past couple of weeks, hours before this drone attack hit Moscow, Kyiv was attacked by at least 20 drones, leaving one person dead. 


Juanita Tolliver: Another report is that Ukraine is saying this ain’t us, but it’s giving a little bit of offensive posture, whoever it is. Wink, wink. What has Russia’s response been so far? 


Priyanka Aribindi: The Russian Defense Ministry blamed Ukraine, they described Tuesday’s drone strike as a terrorist attack. An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kyiv was, quote, “not directly involved, but happy to watch.” 


Juanita Tolliver: Ooh, whee. Petty.


Priyanka Aribindi: So there’s that. But um, you know, this is escalating on both sides. Moscow seems to be working hard to pummel Ukraine’s air defenses with these strikes ahead of the counteroffensive that Zelensky has been promising is coming. But Ukraine is also hitting back. There were shelling yesterday in Russian towns in the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border. Despite their claims of noninvolvement with this drone attack, the action is moving into more Russian residential areas rather than just Ukrainian ones. 


Juanita Tolliver: What about the US? What’s our government’s stance on all this? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so White House Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the U.S. is still gathering information about what happened. She didn’t say whether officials had spoken to their counterparts in Ukraine about the attack quite yet. But she reiterated that the U.S. does not support Ukraine using American arms in Russian territory. It is not clear that these drones were American arms. And she also noted that Russia, on the same day started their 17th round of airstrikes on Kyiv and that they started this, quote, “unprovoked aggression and unprovoked war.” 


Juanita Tolliver: That part. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s a little bit of a we don’t agree with them using our things to wage this um conflict, but uh they started it. So do with that what you will. We will obviously continue to keep you updated as the situation continues to unfold. But that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Police in Hollywood, Florida, are searching for suspects that they believe to have opened fire near a beach boardwalk on Memorial Day, wounding nine people, including a one year old child. Authorities say that the shooting began as an altercation between two groups that spiraled out of control on Monday evening. Police responded immediately with dozens of officers who were already stationed at the scene for the busy weekend. And thankfully, all of the victims survived their wounds. Three of them have been treated and discharged from the hospital, while six remain there in stable condition. Authorities said that they detained two men they believe were involved in the incident on firearms charges. But as of our recording time at 9:30 p.m. Eastern, they are still searching for three additional suspects and have enlisted the public to help find them. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the Memorial Day shooting is one of 262 mass shootings that have happened in the U.S. this year alone. Just a reminder, we’re not even halfway through this year yet, so um this is not looking good for anybody. I don’t think this is the world anyone wants to be living in. 


Juanita Tolliver: On Saturday, the Republican controlled Texas House of Representatives voted to impeach Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton over a long list of accusations, including bribery and abuse of public trust. In total, 20 articles of impeachment were outlined against Paxton, including allegations that he misused his office to benefit real estate investor Nate Paul, whoever that is, and that he violated the state’s whistleblower law by terminating the whistleblowers on his staff. I know exactly what that is. The 121 to 23 vote means Paxton has been immediately suspended from office until the state Senate votes on the matter, where a two thirds majority is required to convict Paxton. That vote will take place no later than August 28th. And Paxton’s wife, Senator Angela Paxton, could be among the voting members, since she has not indicated whether or not she will recuse herself from the proceedings. Paxton has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and called the impeachment trial illegal and, quote, “a sham.” Number one, homie’s wife should not be participating in it and it should not be her call. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Number two, twenty articles of impeachment are pretty ridiculous. And you can’t call that a sham friend. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I, he’s like one step away from calling it a witch hunt, but [laughter] whatever. Miss Angela, I’m so sorry, but you probably should sit this one out. After endless attempts to delay the inevitable, disgraced Girlboss and Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, finally began her 11 year prison sentence yesterday for her company’s multibillion dollar blood testing hoax. Holmes, who is 39 years old, will be incarcerated at a minimum security women’s prison camp in Bryan, Texas, perhaps most well known for currently housing fellow fraudster Jen Shah, a former Real Housewife of Salt Lake City. Oh, my God. 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, this is explicitly the context that we all need. This is what– 


Priyanka Aribindi: This is. 


Juanita Tolliver: –I understand. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, yeah, this just got a lot more real. But I also feel like they did not know what they were doing, putting these two like, arguably the biggest fraudsters in American history together in– 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh! Queen scammers unite. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know if the government really thought this through. Like, they could have contacted us and we could’ve told them in a heartbeat. But big oversight here. Anyways. Holmes is the mother of two young children, two years and three months old, uh both of which she will never let us forget. Uh. Nor will the New York Times who would like to rebrand her as Liz. Both of them were conceived after Holmes’ June 2018 federal indictment for criminal fraud charges. Her young children were the basis of her legal team’s unsuccessful appeals to further delay her sentence, which were denied by the U.S. district judge who presided over her trial, as well as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. You know uh, Liz, apparently that’s not your real voice, which I feel like all of us knew, but I’m glad we can say it now. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my gosh. Actually, she might revert back to the voice to, like, build a persona, her prison persona. You know, she– 


Priyanka Aribindi: My god. 


Juanita Tolliver: –likes to put on different hats in different environments. You know.


Priyanka Aribindi: Shit. You’re right. You’re right. What a talent. In other uh spheres. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Maybe she could be after the WEGOT. But nope, sorry. Only uh Lin-Manuel. Anyways, best of luck to you in prison. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] And finally, to Minnesota, where Democratic Governor Tim Walz yesterday signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in the state for Minnesotans over the age of 21, making Minnesota the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize that sticky icky. The new law will go into effect this summer, meaning cannabis will be legal to possess, use and even grow at home by August 1st. Of course, there are regulations around those amounts limiting folks’ possession to two pounds at home and two ounces in public. According to state officials, folks with minor marijuana convictions will have their records automatically expunged, although that process will not happen overnight. And I got to probe here what does minor mean, because I’m thinking about all the Black and Brown people who have been locked up for years for these types of charges. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: And as for people with more serious offensive, the state plans to establish a board to review those cases and potentially reduce sentences. In a statement yesterday, Governor Walz said, quote, “We’ve known for too long that prohibiting the use of cannabis hasn’t worked. By legalizing adult use cannabis, we’re expanding our economy, creating jobs and regulating the industry to keep Minnesotans safe.” And of course, creating a new pathway for wealth and business making for predominately white people, while Black people and Brown people still potentially suffer. So there’s that. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Governor Walz, I don’t disagree with your decision. I think you made uh the right choice here, but I feel like presenting it as a as something that you failed at and then as as simply pro-business is uh maybe not the right way to do it. Like, I think you also could probably include something about how we know that it’s just not that bad for you and actually very helpful to many people. 


Juanita Tolliver: Imagine. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, maybe that’s a step too far. Maybe we haven’t gotten there yet, anyways. Those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Juanita Tolliver: It’s Wednesday, WAD squad and today we are doing a segment that we like to call Geeks WAD, where we apply high level scientific analysis to an important story from the world of tech. For people who are wondering, Geeks WAD is spelled with the word geeks space and then the acronym WAD, no relation to the place where they sell you Norton Antivirus at Best Buy. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, our legal team made us say that. Let’s move on. [laughter]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yesterday, a coalition of scientists, tech industry leaders and high level executives issued a brief one sentence statement with the intention of drawing attention to the existential risk of A.I. technology. The statement reads, quote, “Mitigating the risk of extinction from A.I. should be a global priority alongside other societal scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”. 


Juanita Tolliver: Hmm. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay then. 


Juanita Tolliver: Casual. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Among the hundreds of endorsers of that are the CEO of Google’s A.I. Research Lab and Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, a.k.a. the company behind Chat GPT. While the warning speaks to a real and rapid shift in technological advancement, organizers of the statement say that the language is purposefully open ended in an attempt to encompass the broadest view shared by industry leaders, a.k.a. A.I. uh may be bad. Possibly. 


Juanita Tolliver: No. [laughing] AKA, AI may kill us all possibly. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Yeah. But the critics of this statement say that the dire warnings voiced by the very companies driving the new technologies growth only distract from the work of addressing the actual current day ramifications of their technology, uh which uh they appear to not be that willing to do. So Juanita, as a certified Geeks WAD expert, what is your take on this? 


Juanita Tolliver: I’ve got alarm bells ringing. All I hear in my head is it ain’t safe. It ain’t safe. I don’t trust none of these white men. I don’t trust none of these men because they’re not all white. But I don’t trust them. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Mm mm. 


Juanita Tolliver: To regulate this. I don’t trust them to not extinct us all in the process. [laughing] Like I keep coming back to Will Smith in I, Robot like because that is going to be us. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No. 


Juanita Tolliver: They’re going to kill us. Like I’m so scared. Like [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Am I wrong to be this afraid? 


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. I mean, I want to say yes, but I don’t know. I feel like I’m not qualified to give that answer. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes, you are! We’re smart. We’re in the Geeks WAD. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m not a card carrying member of the Geeks WAD, you know, but I will say this statement, they seem to, like, preempt it by being like, they wanted to keep it open and broad so everyone would agree. But like, you aren’t even presenting anything as like a and here’s what to do about it. Like you just said, like this could be really, really bad. Just like–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –nuclear war and the pandemic that killed a lot of fucking people like and you have nothing? Nothing at all. 


Juanita Tolliver: And this is why, I remember we talked about Sam Altman presenting his case to the Senate, and I was just like, I don’t trust you because you’re still going to do it anyway. As much as you claim this is dangerous, you’re still going to do it anyway. And here we are. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s like an attempt to look like you’re being hands on, but it’s so hands off to be like, this is dangerous, but we’re going to keep doing it. Like, they didn’t say– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –the second part, but that’s implied and they’re going to keep doing it and they’re kind of just [?] in that like, I guess that’s not their responsibility or that like maybe it’s someone else with more authority than them. But like, the reality is they’re the ones working on this. So like, why can’t you work in your concerns that you supposedly have? 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s a little confusing. 


Juanita Tolliver: So as you’re using A.I. to plan your future vacations or be your personal assistant, just know it’s coming for your life next. [laughter]


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, Juanita said it all. That’s a card carrying member of the Geeks WAD, if I’ve ever seen one. That was Geeks WAD. Remember to always use a unique and complex passcode when signing up for a new online account. [laughter] I mean, I’m sure the AI will be able to guess that in about– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –three and a half seconds– 


Juanita Tolliver: Easy! 


Priyanka Aribindi: Anyways, so uh there’s no point. Just use password. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, politely ask chatGPT to help prevent human extinction. Ask nicely and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just fan fiction about Jen Shah and Elizabeth Holmes joint scam venture like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And now presenting Lin-Manuel Miranda. 


Priyanka Aribindi: My God. [laughter]


Juanita Tolliver: No. But actually all his songs on Moanna actually slapped. [laughter] 


Priyanka Aribindi: I can’t say I’m familiar with the Moanna soundtrack. I’m so sorry. 


Juanita Tolliver: [gasp] You haven’t seen Moanna?! 


Priyanka Aribindi: No. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, man. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I know. 


Juanita Tolliver: We’ve got to–


Priyanka Aribindi: I know. 


Juanita Tolliver: –rectify this immediately. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla, and Raven Yamamoto is our associate producer. We had production assistance this week from Fiona Pestana. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.