Not Lovin' It | Crooked Media
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May 03, 2023
What A Day
Not Lovin' It

In This Episode

  • On Wednesday, Russia accused Ukraine of trying to assassinate President Vladimir Putin in a drone attack on the Kremlin. Ukraine has denied the accusations, but Russia says it has the right to retaliate.
  • An investigation by the Department of Labor found that McDonald’s franchises in at least four states had employed over 300 children to work in their restaurants, including two 10 year-old workers in Kentucky. This comes amid a sharp rise in federal child labor law violations over the past five years.
  • And in headlines: the man accused of fatally shooting five of his neighbors in Texas was arrested Tuesday night, Florida Republicans passed a sweeping anti-immigration bill, and the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the tenth consecutive time.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, May 4th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What A Day. Though we are officially changing our name to nerdy political ramblings so we can take over NPR’s Twitter handle. I mean, since Elon Musk is giving it away or whatever. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We have a whole team here, but apparently that is the best acronym [laughter] we could come up with.


Juanita Tolliver: Somebody already took @WAD so we got to get creative over here. You know, we’re trying. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: We’re doing our best. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show Florida Republicans passed a sweeping anti-immigration bill. Plus, late night TV shows are feeling the crunch from the writers strike. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, Russia claimed on Wednesday that Ukraine tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin in a drone attack on the Kremlin, a claim that has been vehemently denied by Ukraine. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean if nothing else, this is screaming propaganda, but that’s just me. What do we know about what actually happened? 


Priyanka Aribindi: If the red flags are waving you are not wrong to be thinking that. Uh. Two explosions actually did happen 15 minutes apart over the Kremlin. Early on Wednesday morning, The New York Times has verified video footage of this taking place. So we are not just taking Russia’s word for it here. But that is really all we do know for fact. So according to the Kremlin, Russian military and special services disabled the attacking drones. And afterwards, they announced the attacks and very quickly blamed Ukraine. That is not surprising given the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia after Russia invaded the country. But as of now, the Kremlin hasn’t released any real evidence that points to Ukraine as the perpetrators here. This is Russia. Facts, or lack thereof, have not particularly stood in the way of doing what they want before. Those are kind of light suggestions, if at all. They are very happy to let things kind of fall into place in their narrative or delete them as they see fit. But Russia has already called this a terrorist attack. They have reserved the right to take, quote, “retaliatory measures.” Former Russian president and deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said, quote, “After today’s terrorist attack, no variant remains other than the physical elimination of Zelensky and his clique,” which is quite an escalation and does not sound good to anybody. 


Juanita Tolliver: Not at all, especially when we know Russia has been targeting Zelensky from day one of this invasion. But I appreciate that Zelensky made it absolutely clear in Finland yesterday that they didn’t attack Russia. They’re not attacking the Kremlin. This ain’t them, right? Like that was clear. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Meanwhile, as you said, Ukraine is maintaining that they had nothing to do with this. They are suggesting that Russia is trying to use this as pretext for new attacks to escalate the ongoing conflict. But I will say on the flipside, Russia admitting that this happened doesn’t really look that good for them at all. I mean, the fact that drones could get that close to the Kremlin and evade their defenses wouldn’t be good. So, I mean, people have been casting doubt on whether that could actually happen. You know, was that staged? Did they manufacture this? But, you know, announcing this is a failure in that sense. And it comes after a series of setbacks and difficulties that Russia has faced throughout this conflict that they expected to kind of start and, you know, emerge from with ease. They thought this whole thing would kind of be a cakewalk. And it really has been the total opposite. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, Ukrainians said essentially Russia has another thing coming because that ain’t what’s– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: –going down. But this isn’t the first accusation against Ukraine after something like this. Right? 


Priyanka Aribindi: U.S. intelligence agencies themselves actually believe that the Ukrainian government authorized an attack last year that killed Darya Dugina. She was the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist. It also wasn’t clear if Ukraine was behind a bombing at a St. Petersburg cafe that killed a popular pro-Russian blogger that could have also been Russian infighting. But, you know, incidents like this, it isn’t fully clear Ukraine’s involvement or not have really been fodder for conspiracy theories as this conflict continues. 


Juanita Tolliver: Now, speaking of the invasion itself, what do we know now about what’s going on on the front lines? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so this alleged drone strike came as Moscow launched new attacks all across Ukraine on Wednesday. According to Ukrainian officials, at least 21 people were killed yesterday in Kherson. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced yesterday a new $300 million dollar security assistance package from the U.S. to help Ukraine continue to defend itself. But all of this is really kind of showing that this conflict is nowhere close to being finished. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s exactly right, because Russia is not going to stop. And I’m glad to see additional U.S. aid is heading to Ukraine because it is clear with this escalation, they need it now more than ever. So. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: [sigh] But on the home front, y’all? It’s time to put down those Micky D’s fries and frappes because something is truly amiss with the famous golden arches. As a Department of Labor investigation has found that 305 children, including two 10 year olds, are working illegally across franchises in four states. And when I tell you that I audibly gasped when I read that ten year olds were not only working but working sometimes as late as 2:00 in the morning, like, what the hell is happening McDonald’s? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Okay. This is completely batshit crazy. Can you tell us more about what is going on here? How they didn’t know about this? Like what’s the deal? 305 is a lot of kids. That’s not a coincidence. [laughing]


Juanita Tolliver: According to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, they investigated three separate franchisees that operate a total of 62 McDonald’s locations across Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio. They found that the franchisees employed 305 children to work more than the legally permitted hours and perform tasks prohibited by law for young workers. I’m talking about kids who were cleaning the store, working at the drive thru window and operating a deep fryer, and some of the children were actually working during school hours. And that’s just egregious. Like, what the fuck? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that’s crazy. 


Juanita Tolliver: And it gets worse in the case of the two 10 year olds. Not only were they well below the legal minimum age to be hired, they were also unpaid. According to the franchisee Bower Food LLC, The children were, quote, “visiting their parent at work and were not approved by franchisee organization management to be in that part of the restaurant.” But the math ain’t mathing for me because if you’re just visiting your parent, why are you taking orders and why are you working the deep fryer until 2 a.m.? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that’s very, very different than like 17 years old working your afterschool job. Like ten years old. You’re a child. You’re in elementary school at that age, that is– 


Juanita Tolliver: Baby. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely not okay. Should be alarming to everybody. So what does McDonald’s have to say about this whole mess? 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, McDonald’s corporate took a break from promoting its Big Mac sauce to tell the press, quote, “These reports are unacceptable, deeply troubling and run afoul of the high expectations we have for the entire McDonald’s brand.” And that, quote, “We are committed to ensuring our franchisees have the resources they need to foster safe workplaces for all employees and maintain compliance with all labor laws.” But beyond that, there was no mention of specific steps or follow ups McDonald’s corporate would take with these franchisees. And if you ask me, everyone involved is getting off easy with fines that total about $212,000. And this is nothing new for McDonald’s, as just five months ago, franchisees in Pennsylvania were hit with similar fines for similar violations of child labor laws. And it just goes to show how prevalent this problem is at a time when Republicans in particular have been pushing to weaken child labor laws. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I remember that story out of Pennsylvania. So is this happening all over the place now? Just how prevalent is this issue? Because this seems to be popping up left and right now and is very alarming to those of us who are like kids should not be working a deep fryer at 2 a.m. That’s not okay. [laugh]


Juanita Tolliver: Sounds real basic, right? But number one, according to the Department of Labor, there has been a 70% increase in child labor law violations in the past five years, which is beyond alarming because– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Employers at this point are not only breaking the law, they’re being blatant about it. Number two, as these violations are surging, during the past two years 11 states have weakened their child labor laws. And this is being driven largely by Republicans, as I mentioned before. But get this, in Iowa, a 16 year old can legally serve alcohol. And in Wisconsin, they’re looking to lower that age to 14 years old because that’s 100% safe? You know, I can’t see anything going wrong there. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s crazy. 


Juanita Tolliver: And number three, in February, Josie broke down how children who are unaccompanied migrants are targeted for the most dangerous labor, like construction jobs, slaughterhouses and food processing factories. These are all examples of child labor law violations. And efforts to roll them back will only make things worse. Now, the Biden administration is reportedly cracking down on all of this. And we can see that from these Department of Labor investigations. But there is so much more work to do and we should absolutely all be questioning if fines are sufficient penalty for employers when these violations are found. I mean, of course, we’re going to continue to track this issue and bring you updates, But that’s the latest for now. And we’ll be back after some ads. [music break]. 




Priyanka Aribindi:  Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Atlanta police have arrested a man that they say killed one person and wounded at least four others at a medical center waiting room yesterday. All five victims are women between the ages of 25 and 71. Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, whose two children were put on lockdown at school because of the shooting, blasted Congress’s inaction on gun control from the Senate floor yesterday. Take a listen: 


[clip of Raphael Warnock] We’re not safe at concerts. We’re not safe at banks. We’re not safe at parades. We’re not safe in our own yards and in our own homes. And now today, we can add medical facilities to that list. And still we have done so very little in this building to respond. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, there is not a place that you can go in public or at home, really, that you can feel safe here. And that [laughing] should be alarming to absolutely everybody. Meanwhile, in Texas, the search for a man who allegedly shot and killed five of his neighbors, including a nine year old boy, ended on Tuesday night. Authorities found him less than 20 miles away from where the shooting took place, hiding out in a pile of laundry in a closet. The suspect’s wife and several other people were also arrested yesterday for allegedly helping him hide. 


Juanita Tolliver: The Florida legislature passed a sweeping anti-immigration bill Tuesday that’s backed by Governor Ron DeSantis. It’s now headed to his desk and will likely be signed into law. The measure, known as SB1718, would earmark $12 million dollars for Desantis’s controversial migrant quote unquote, “relocation program,” which, as I’m sure you’ll remember, he used to transport migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last year. It would also require many employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check if new hires are legally allowed to work in the United States, force hospitals that accept Medicaid to ask patients about their citizenship status, and even make it illegal for someone who is undocumented to drive a car even if they have an out-of-state license. Honestly, his goal here is to make Florida a living hell for any undocumented person, any person who has a migrant in their family. Like what the fuck? Immigration advocacy groups have vowed to challenge the bill in court, but it seems like it’s headed into law. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, Ron DeSantis is, as everyone knows, an absolutely awful human being. But in addition to all of these other things, they’ve just earmarked $12 million dollars for him to use people, real life people, as political pawns to own the libs. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And while Tucker Carlson’s long winded, racist nonsense made millions of dollars for Fox News, we have just learned that it took only one long winded racist text message to fire him. According to The New York Times. The text was first revealed in records the network was ordered to release ahead of its anticipated trial with Dominion Voting Systems, which had sued Fox for defamation. The 189 word message in question, which was originally redacted from documents that were made public, was sent to one of his producers the day after the January 6th insurrection. In it, he described a video showing at least three Trump supporters assaulting someone he described as, quote, “an Antifa kid.” To which Carlson remarked, quote, “It’s not how white men fight.” That alarmed members of the Fox executive board so much that they hired a law firm to investigate Carlson’s conduct, which ultimately led to his sudden termination just last month. The Times and other media outlets this week have asked the judge presiding over the Dominion case to release more of Carlson’s redacted texts. Something I’m not looking forward to covering at all on this show, but I’m sure we’ll have to, because– 


Juanita Tolliver: Child. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s news. 


Juanita Tolliver: You all knew he was a white supremacist long before this text, but okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Go off. Whatever. 


Priyanka Aribindi: You only needed to tune into the show to see that times like 85, but okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: That part. The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by yet another quarter percentage point yesterday in its ongoing effort to curb inflation. The Fed’s decision marks the 10th consecutive time that rates have increased and moves its benchmark rate to between five and 5.25%, the highest it’s been since 2007. The move could also be the last, at least for a little while, because the Fed removed language from their previous policy statement that said additional rate increases might be necessary. For consumers the interest hike means that rates on credit cards, auto loans and mortgages will be going up once again. But if you’re a capitalist at heart, it also means higher rates on savings accounts. According to the Fed’s inflation gauge, prices were up 4.2% in March compared to last year. And the core inflation rate, which doesn’t include food and energy prices, was up 4.6% in March. The Federal Reserve is hoping to eventually lower inflation to 2%. And as I’m reading those numbers, all I think about is low income people who rely on credit cards more than a lot of people and rely on auto loans more than a lot of people and how screwed they’re going to be. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And speaking of things that remind us of 2007. Late night talk show hosts Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon, along with their network, NBC, plan to pay their writers while their shows are off the air, effectively paying them for missed work amid the WGA strike. According to a report from Variety magazine. NBC plans to pay staffers on both shows two weeks worth of salary. Meyers and Fallon will cover a third week of pay out of their own pockets. Health care for striking employees will also be paid out until September. This is not the first time that this has happened during the last WGA strike 15 years ago, Conan O’Brien covered his entire writing and production staff’s wages throughout the 100 day work stoppage himself. Despite being the lowest paid out of the big three late night hosts at the time. Meanwhile, Meyers and Fallon, who are both members of the Writers Guild themselves, have publicly pledged their support for the strike, along with other late night talk show hosts. Here’s what Meyers had to say on his show Monday night before it went dark. 


[clip of Seth Meyers] Look, no one is entitled to a job in show business, but for those people who have a job in show business, they are entitled to fair compensation. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s that simple. Yes?


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. We stand with our friends on the picket lines in the WGA, and we hope that they reach a deal soon that is fair for all of you and covers all of your concerns that are super valid and legitimate because that is what you deserve. 


Juanita Tolliver: Also on top of the network providing their pay while they’re striking, I hope networks are applying pressure to decision makers at their parent companies to reach a deal that respects these writers. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Totally, that respects the people that are responsible for all the content on their network. That feels like it might make sense. Just maybe, I don’t know. And those are the headlines. 




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review. Resist the urge to buy a McFlurry. No one should want them after hearing that. And tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just scathing one liners on picket line signs 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 may the fourth be with you.


Juanita Tolliver: It’s so corny. I love it. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Just delete from your brain the time like about a week ago that I was making fun of May memes. [laughter] Because now I’m participating. And you know what? It’s okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s a sign of growth. Priyanka. That’s growth. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s a sign of growth. It’s a sign of reversion. Who knows? [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: 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. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.