In This Episode
- Russia launched its biggest attacks against Ukraine in months, targeting at least 14 regions – including civilian areas – on Monday. Vladimir Putin said the strikes were retaliation for a blast that damaged the only bridge connecting annexed Crimea to Russia.
- Nury Martinez stepped down as the L.A. City Council president, after she, two other council members, and a local labor leader were heard on a leaked recording making racist comments. Martinez is facing calls to resign, and the conversation has fueled concerns that some city leaders are trying to deplete the political power of Black Angelenos.
- And in headlines: Hurricane Julia made landfall on Sunday in Nicaragua, a union of railroad workers rejected a tentative agreement with freight carriers, and rapper Kanye West was locked out of Twitter and Instagram for antisemitic posts.
- L.A. Times: L.A. Council racist comments full coverage – https://tinyurl.com/vj4yp223
- Vote Save America: Fuck Bans Action Plan – http://theherschelwalkerabortionfund.com/
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Josie Duffy Rice: It is Tuesday, October 11th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day, the podcast that’s describing itself as fun sized this month in honor of Halloween Candy.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, to be clear, that description only applies to the length of the show, not the content. The content is only occasionally fun.
Tre’vell Anderson: And that part is outside of our control.
Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. [music break] On today’s show. Heavy rains have unleashed deadly flooding across Central and South America. And rapper Kanye West, also known as Ye, is in Twitter jail over anti-Semitic posts.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, a major update on Russia’s war with Ukraine. Yesterday morning, the Kremlin launched attacks against at least 14 regions of Ukraine, spanning Lviv in the west and Kharkiv in the east. According to Ukraine’s civil defense agency. At least 14 people were killed and nearly 100 people were wounded. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said about half of the Russian missiles and drones fired in this latest salvo were shot down. But the rest hit power plants, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without electricity into Monday night. And because the water system relies on electricity to run pumps and other equipment. That also means many of these folks are without water. The power shortage is so severe, Ukrainian authorities have asked citizens to conserve their energy usage and announced they will stop power exports to Europe starting today.
Josie Duffy Rice: We mentioned on yesterday’s show that Ukraine had apparently orchestrated an explosion on a major Russian bridge. Did that have anything to do with this latest attack?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So to remind folks, over the weekend there was an explosion on the bridge that connects Russia’s mainland to Crimea, the territory it illegally annexed back in 2014. That bridge known as the Kerch Strait Bridge is both the main supply route for Moscow’s forces fighting in southern Ukraine and a huge symbol of Putin’s claim over Crimea. While Ukraine did not take official responsibility for that explosion, which collapsed part of the bridge’s roadway and led to a fire that engulfed a train of fuel tanks on the bridge’s adjacent railway. Yesterday’s attacks by Russia are being seen as retaliation for it, though Russia says they were targeting military and energy facilities. Many of the attacks actually hit civilian areas far from the war’s front lines, which is not new for them because residential areas, especially the ones in Zaporizhzhia have been struck a few times over the last couple of weeks. In this latest attack, a missile even hit a playground in downtown Kiev and another struck a university while countless other residential buildings and cultural sites, including museums, were damaged, too.
Josie Duffy Rice: Can you tell us what the international community has said in response to these latest attacks and this latest info?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, well, let me start with the Russian locals, particularly hard liners in Putin’s own camp. They’ve long believed that the Russian military should be, you know, manhandling Ukraine–
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: At this point and that Putin wasn’t doing enough. His loyalists have been calling for attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure for some time in order to freeze the Ukrainian people into submission this winter, provided their soldiers can’t be beaten on the battlefield. So those folks are happy, even celebrating on social media as Ukrainian forces search through the wreckage for survivors. But as expected, much of the international community is condemning Russia’s actions. President Biden said in a statement, quote, “We will continue to impose costs on Russia for its aggression, hold Putin and Russia accountable for its atrocities and war crimes, and provide the support necessary for Ukrainian forces to defend their country and their freedom”. And even China and India, two of Russia’s allies who’ve offered the Kremlin some relief in the face of Western sanctions, are now calling for de-escalation. The spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry said, quote, “All countries deserve respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity” and that, quote, “support should be given to all efforts that are conducive to peacefully resolving the crisis”. And a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs said they were, quote, “deeply concerned”. So not quite a condemnation, but, you know, not exactly support either.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: All of this said Ukraine’s foreign minister told CNN, quote, “This is the war for the existence of Ukraine” as they vowed to keep fighting.
Josie Duffy Rice: All right. Thank you for that update, Tre’vell. Moving on to some Los Angeles drama. Are you ready?
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get into it.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. There is a major shakeup happening in Los Angeles after leaked audio revealed members of a city council making racist comments and strategizing about political redistricting. Council member Nury Martinez in particular made several explicitly racist comments. She resigned as city council president yesterday.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’ve been seeing the social media chatter about this entire story. Tell us more about the audio here, Josie. How many members of the city council were taped and what was the context?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So the audio that leaked is of a private conversation between Martinez and council members Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera. The conversation took place last October and it appeared to be about their frustration with the district maps that were created by the city’s redistricting commission. All four people in the room were Latinx, and news about the conversation fueled concerns about some city leaders willingness to deplete Black political power in the city. The leaked audio is pretty long, so we can’t even cover all the racist, offensive, obnoxious things that were said. But among other things, Martinez and De León have one very jarring exchange about the Black adopted child of one white council member. They talked about what happened during a parade for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And just a word of warning. This is pretty bad audio:
[clip of Nury Martinez] It’s like the oddest thing all that it’s like Black and Brown on this float. And then there’s these this white guy with this little Black kid who’s misbehaved. Este niño has no he’s they’re not even–
[clip of Kevin de León] –boundaries.
[clip of Nury Martinez] Yeah no. They are doing. The kid is bouncing off the effing walls on the float, practically taking it over. There’s nothing you can do to control him, parece changuito, and I’m just like, Oh, my God, I’m over here trying to parent this kid. And they’re like you can’t do that. I said, No.
Josie Duffy Rice: You can hear Martinez say in Spanish parece changuito, which means that he looks like a little monkey.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes.
Josie Duffy Rice: As a rule, we don’t like to call little Black kids monkeys. There’s a history there.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: She also called the child negrito, which, if you don’t speak Spanish, is a very demeaning term for a Black person. Martinez also said the two year old child needed a beat down. I’d just like to say, I have a two year old. They are not controllable. Put my two year old on a float and see what happens. Uh. And she even called him an accessory while Council member De León compared the child to a handbag.
Tre’vell Anderson: All of this is very yikes–
Josie Duffy Rice: Very yikes.
Tre’vell Anderson: –And concerning energy to me.
Josie Duffy Rice: Totally.
Tre’vell Anderson: Like this is. Wow.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. And Martinez didn’t save all her racism for young Black children. So she also had comments about the L.A. district attorney, George Gascón, saying, F that guy, he’s with the Blacks.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, we don’t say with the Blacks.
Tre’vell Anderson: We don’t.
Josie Duffy Rice: The Blacks is not something you say.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, we stopped saying that a few years ago, you know.
Josie Duffy Rice: A few decades, some may say. She also had racist comments about the Oaxacan community living in LA’s Koreatown, calling them, quote, “little short, dark people” and calling them “tan feos” meaning they’re so ugly.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s giving racism. It’s giving anti-Blackness. Yes.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s giving bad, bad, bad.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s giving bad.
Tre’vell Anderson: How did this audio get leaked in the first place?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s a great question. And the answer highlights this whole other dimension to the scandal. So the audio originally showed up on Reddit where someone posted it earlier this month. It seems to have been taped without the consent of the people recorded, which is legally complicated because California is a two party state when it comes to recording audio. Meaning if one person in a conversation wants to secretly record it, they can’t legally do that. They have to have the other person or in this case, the other person’s permission before recording. And according to the L.A. Times, the L.A. County Federation of Labor released a memo stating that they had gotten the Reddit user suspended and the post taken down. And they also said they planned to, quote, “make sure these crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”. So it seems like this racist debacle is not over yet.
Tre’vell Anderson: I guess, you know, whoever should be investigated for, you know, the whole recording, somebody without their permission thing. But I don’t know. The racist comments seem, you know.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: To take a little bit more precedence to me.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: But what do I know?
Josie Duffy Rice: And I have to say, they were a city official talking city official business. We should be able to record you. That’s my rule.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m down with that. So tell us, what has the reaction been like after this audio was released?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well, as I mentioned earlier, Martinez has resigned from her role as president of city council, although she hasn’t resigned from the council itself. In her statement, she said, I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments and issued apologies to the council member she had been so demeaning towards. She also said, quote, “As a mother, I know better and I am sorry. I am truly ashamed.” Kevin de León and Ron Herrera also apologized while Gil Cedillo said he didn’t remember the conversation. Incredible quote. Oh, they were racist. I don’t even remember that. [laughter] It’s weird to say that. Meanwhile, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, California Senator Alex Padilla and both mayoral candidates in L.A. have called on all three council members to resign. Now the city council is set to meet today. And keep in mind that as we’re recording this on Monday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time, anything could happen. In the meantime, we will keep you updated on this story, but that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads.
Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: A devastating landslide rushed through the Venezuelan city of Las Tejerias on Saturday, leaving at least 25 people dead and dozens more missing. It happened after days of heavy rainfall that flooded the area’s main river, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. This is Venezuela’s rainy season, though officials said as much as a month’s worth of rain fell on the region in just 8 hours. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said rescue workers have been deployed to help the affected areas.
Tre’vell Anderson: And in other severe weather news. Hurricane Julia made landfall on Sunday on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coastline as a Category one storm. Since then, at least 19 people across Central America have died as a direct result of the storm. Julia formed a little over a week after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida. Julia has since lost wind intensity and has been downgraded to a tropical depression and is now tracking northwest along the coasts of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Josie Duffy Rice: Workers represented by the third largest railroad union in the U.S. rejected a tentative agreement from their employers on Monday, renewing fears of a nationwide strike. The deal was brokered by the Biden administration last month with a dozen unions that represent 115,000 rail workers. The agreement was meant to avert a work stoppage that could potentially derail get it the nation’s economy and exacerbate the ongoing supply chain crisis. Officials with the union holding out said yesterday that while the deal did promise higher wages and more lenient attendance policies, it did not give workers a fair amount of paid sick leave. Workers with four unions have already signed onto the deal and seven others are voting over the next month. But all 12 unions must ratify their contracts by mid-November to avoid a strike during the holiday season.
Tre’vell Anderson: Rapper Kanye West, or simply Ye, as he’s now apparently legally known by, has been locked out of Twitter. This comes after he tweeted for the first time in nearly two years on Saturday, and those posts were, well, anti-Semitic. Twitter said the posts violated it’s rules on hate speech. Ye was previously suspended from Instagram on Friday for posting a separate anti-Jewish rant on that platform. He didn’t learn his lesson. But he’s no stranger to controversy, though his latest online antics follow his appearance during Paris Fashion Week, where he wore a White Lives Matter shirt. I’ve been trying to avoid this story because you can never explain why Kanye is doing what Kanye is doing.
Josie Duffy Rice: You can’t.
Tre’vell Anderson: But here we are.
Josie Duffy Rice: Some major friction between big tech and big loop de loop, as a new feature on Apple’s new iPhone 14 has been mistaking rollercoaster rides for severe car crashes and sending emergency workers to amusement parks. That is according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. For all the folks out there like me who are still getting by on an iPhone 13 or below, I think I’m in the single digits still. The new feature automatically calls 911 when it believes that the user has been in an accident using a combination of sensor data. There are reports of this feature being useful to folks in need, but the high speed movement of rollercoasters has also triggered multiple false alarms that have sent police and paramedics to parks like Six Flags, where the only real crises are kids peeing in waterslides and people paying a million dollars to get printouts of their end ride photos. Tre’vell, you already know how I feel about this.
Tre’vell Anderson: You’re not a fan of the roller coasters.
Josie Duffy Rice: They’re too crazy. They’re too much. And the iPhone is just proving it.
Tre’vell Anderson: # Not all rollercoasters. Josie. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Roller coasters lives matter. Someone tell Kanye West. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: No one is safe from misinformation any more. Not even condiments in tiny little bottles. And if you need proof, a man is suing the makers of Texas Pete Hot Sauce after discovering that it is not actually made in Texas. The hot sauce connoisseur filed the lawsuit last month and he says that he never would have bought a bottle of the sauce for $3 at the supermarket if he’d known it was made in North Carolina, a state with virtually no reputation for the heat of its sauces. He’s asking that the manufacturer pay damages and that they take Texas out of the product’s name. The lawsuit is also seeking class action status. So if you too believe that Pete is stealing Texas valor, you could someday be entitled to $3. As a fan, Josie of Texas Pete Hot Sauce. I would just like to say that this man is out of his mind. Okay?
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. But you could make $3, so are you sure you want to say that?
Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, but is the lawsuit really worth $3? Like, how much can you really get in damages for a decision you made?
Josie Duffy Rice: I do love this because the lawsuit, surely the cost to actually file it cost more than $3. And this guy was like, you know what? It’s the principle. [laughter] So. I’m just glad someone has this much free time because I don’t.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely not.
Josie Duffy Rice: I just would love to know how this guy is [?] his time. Maybe I could, like, get some pointers.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh yuh yuh yuh yuy.
Josie Duffy Rice: And those are the headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Keep your hands and feet inside the roller coaster and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just honest hot sauce labels 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 be yourself, Pete.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. But North Carolina Pete Hot Sauce does not have a ring to it. I’m just going to say.
Josie Duffy Rice: It doesn’t and also, sometimes people move.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. [laughing]
Josie Duffy Rice: Like no matter where I’m go I’m going to be Georgia Josie like, [laughter] just saying. [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.