In This Episode
- Senate Democrats reached a deal on a historic climate spending package – thanks to a surprise reversal from West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who previously rejected the measure.
- Judges in North Dakota and Wyoming both put temporary holds on abortion bans that would have taken effect in those states this week.
- And in headlines: the U.S. economy shrank again, torrential rains triggered devastating floods in eastern Kentucky, and Pope Francis ends his week-long tour of Canada today.
- The Guardian: “‘Hunted’: one in three people killed by US police were fleeing, data reveals” – https://bit.ly/3BnpUan
- Vote Save America: Fuck Bans Action Plan – https://votesaveamerica.com/roe/
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, July 29th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi, and this is What A Day, where we were sadly unable to get our hands on the dinosaur skeleton that was auctioned off yesterday for $6 million.
Tre’vell Anderson: Raptor and Barney are somewhere trying to figure out how their ancestors bones got taken away from them.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Give the money to who it belongs to–Barney.
Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, we’ve got some small wins to share on abortion access from North Dakota and Wyoming. Plus, we bring our hive minds together to talk about Beyoncé’s new album out today.
Priyanka Aribindi: You’re definitely going to want to stick around for that. But first, Senate Democrats reached a surprise deal on climate legislation and a domestic spending package earlier this week, thanks to everyone’s absolute last guess in this scenario: Senator Joe Manchin.
[clip of Sen. Joe Manchin] All of you I know might be surprised, but there should be no surprise because I’ve never walked away from anything in my life.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, girl.
Priyanka Aribindi: Excuse me, what!? Yeah, we’re all surprised, suffice to say.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Well, honestly, though, this is a little bit shocking, right?
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. I mean, even to people who were involved in negotiating this legislation. This comes after a year of negotiations and is a major reversal for Manchin, who just earlier this month was saying that he couldn’t support a climate bill like this because he was concerned about inflation.
Tre’vell Anderson: Because he doesn’t know how to walk and chew gum at the same time. Gotcha.
Priyanka Aribindi: Apparently.
Tre’vell Anderson: So tell us more about what’s in the bill and why it’s such a big deal.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So it’s a large domestic spending package. It clocks in at $369 billion. And it would be the US’s most ambitious action ever to try and combat global warming. It includes billions of dollars devoted to clean energy technology, and is aimed at cutting carbon emissions an estimated 40% from 2005 levels by 2030, which is a huge deal and very soon. It also includes other non-climate-related provisions. It allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices and lowers Affordable Care Act premiums. It also closes a bunch of tax loopholes by giving more funding to the IRS. It’s all stuff that’s going to help bring down inflation. The whole thing is actually called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, formerly known as Build Back Better. It got this new name that is, you know, a little on the nose, but we like it.
Tre’vell Anderson: We’ll take what we can get.
Priyanka Aribindi: We will take it.
Tre’vell Anderson: So tell me, what changed Manchin’s mind here.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it was apparently a lot of people working really hard behind the scenes. Just two weeks ago, Manchin rejected the proposed Democratic package, but apparently everybody from fellow lawmakers to labor leaders to climate experts to executives–even former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers–were there behind the scenes, trying to address Manchin’s concerns about inflation, and making the case for the new technologies that this package supports.
Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. So with Manchin’s support, are Democrats in the clear to get this actually passed ahead of midterms?
Priyanka Aribindi: You know, hopefully. That much isn’t quite clear yet. Senator Kyrsten Sinema hasn’t weighed in on the package. In the past she’s stood in the way just as often as our guy, Joe Manchin, so who knows what she’ll have to say? And in the house, there is still a contingent of swing district Democrats that could make things difficult as well. But here’s what President Biden had to say yesterday:
[clip of President Biden] My message to Congress is this: This is the strongest bill you can pass to lower inflation, cut the deficit, reduce health care cost, tackle the climate crisis, and promote energy security, all the time while reducing the burdens facing working class and middle class families.
Priyanka Aribindi: You heard the man. So it does have a real chance at becoming law as early as this August. The Senate is supposed to vote on the package next week, and after that it will go to the House. Passing it would be a huge deal for Democrats as we head into the midterm elections, but it also be a huge deal for just about everybody who isn’t interested in being burnt to a crisp during our lifetimes, here on Earth.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mother Nature has been telling us to get our shit together for some time. So, you know, maybe we’re ready to listen to her for a while.
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s hope.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now, let’s talk about the state of abortion bans across the country, because there’s some good things to report on on the local level. As we all know, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month like fools, triggering a number of bans on the procedure nationwide. Since abortion rights proponents have been taking legal action to challenge several of these restrictions. And I’m happy to say that over the last couple of days, we’ve gotten some positive news regarding a few of them, even if it is just temporarily.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So let’s start with North Dakota. What is happening there?
Tre’vell Anderson: So North Dakota is one of the states that had a trigger law which would have outlawed abortions in the state starting yesterday. But on Wednesday, a judge put a hold on the ban while a lawsuit arguing that it violates the state constitution moves forward. In this case, the judge is siding with the state’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota. Now, the reasoning behind this judgment, which is a positive among the local organizing community, is that the judge agrees with the clinic. Red River argued that the state’s attorney general was basically too eager to institute the ban, and that he prematurely calculated the date it should take effect. The clinic argues that the date should have been 30 days from the official certified judgment of the Supreme Court, which happened earlier this week, and not when their opinions were released last month. This temporary hold on the North Dakota ban, which would make abortion illegal in the state except in cases of rape, incest, and the endangering of the parent’s life, gives Red River Women’s Clinic more time to get their ducks in a row. They’re considering relocating a few miles down the road to Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion remains legal.
Priyanka Aribindi: So another judge in Wyoming also blocked their state’s ban. Can tell us more about what’s happening there.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. So Wyoming’s ban, which would outlaw abortions also, except in cases of rape or incest or to protect the parent’s life or health, was supposed to take effect Wednesday. Under it, doctors and others who provide the services could also get up to 14 years in prison. Well, four women and two nonprofits challenged the Wyoming law, saying it too violates rights guaranteed in their state constitution. While that case is being considered, the judge here did agree with them that the ban would leave pregnant patients with dangerous complications and their doctors in a difficult position as they balance serious medical risks against the possibility of prosecution.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, definitely would.
Tre’vell Anderson: And then in Minnesota, their Democratic attorney general, Keith Ellison, said Thursday that he will not appeal a state judge’s ruling that invalidated several of their abortion-related restrictions. That ruling actually came down earlier this month, and it struck down a 24-hour waiting period, a two-parent notification requirement for minors, and certain hospitalization rules, among other laws. But by the AG saying he won’t appeal, folks in Minnesota have a bit of security in making the decisions they need to regarding their bodies.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Just a side note about this: it really highlights the importance of the role of an attorney general. Like your job as an AG is to stick up for the laws of your state. And, you know, by doing this, by not appealing here, Keith Ellison basically was like, this is the right decision, not what’s on the books for the state’s law. And I don’t know, as you go to the voting booth this November, when you’re filling out your ballot, if you do it early, pay attention to that position because it is important. They’re making decisions like this that have real consequences on your everyday life.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And then one quick note about Kansas: voters there on Tuesday will decide whether to strip abortion rights from their state constitution or not. They will be the first state in the country to actually vote on abortion rights since the reversal. We will be sure to let y’all know how that turns out, and plan to cover this heavily in the coming days. But you can help out now. In our show notes, we’ve got a link to Vote Save America’s Fuck Bands Action Plan, where you can help donate to local organizations on the ground who are mobilizing people in Kansas to go and vote. More on all of this very soon, but that is the latest for now. Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: First off, more not-so-great news on the economy: a report put out by the federal government yesterday found the US economy shrank again in the second quarter. The specific nerdy thing to know is that this means that the gross domestic product, or GDP, dropped two quarters back to back. Now, there’s no hard and fast rule on this, but many economists agree that if that happens, that’s a sign we’re headed toward a recession. But President Biden has insisted that’s not the case, and reiterated that message Thursday to business leaders at the White House.
[clip of President Biden] There’s going to be a lot of chatter today on Wall Street and among pundits about whether we are in a recession. But if you look at our job market, consumer spending, business investment, we see signs of economic progress in the second quarter as well.
Tre’vell Anderson: So even though there’s a fight whether to use the R word or not, we’ll obviously be watching to see what happens and putting our money where it is safe.
Priyanka Aribindi: Torrential rains have battered eastern Kentucky since Wednesday, which triggered massive flooding. At least eight people are dead and many others are missing as of our recording time, 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday night. And Governor Andy Beshear warned that the floods could be among the deadliest in recent memory, and said that the death toll could reach double digits. Rescue crews rushed to save dozens of people stranded on their rooftops, as days of the relentless downpour dumped several inches of rain across the Appalachian region. And thousands of people in the hardest hit areas could be without electricity or clean water for days to come, and mudslides have cut off road access to many rural communities. This sounds horrific.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Almost one third of people killed by police in the U.S. were trying to flee, with Black people making up a disproportionate amount of those dead. That’s according to a new report from The Guardian, which used stats collected by the research group, Mapping Police Violence, from 2015 up to this year. The newspaper notes that out of the more than 2,500 people killed in that span, just nine officers were convicted. It goes on to say that police reform efforts are still necessary so officers aren’t allowed to kill without consequences. And it’s important to note that in 1985, the Supreme Court said police can only use lethal force to stop a fleeing person if they might be a reasonable threat to bystanders or other officers. We’ll link to this Guardian story in our show notes so you can read more.
Priyanka Aribindi: Pope Francis ends his weeklong tour of Canada today with a visit to the predominantly Inuit city of Iqaluit. He’s been in the country all week long to apologize for the historic abuses that the Catholic Church has inflicted on indigenous populations, where for decades children were routinely ripped away from their families. But many indigenous people say that his sorries aren’t enough. Yesterday in Quebec, while the Pope was celebrating mass, two protesters unrolled a large banner to demand that he also rescind the Doctrine of Discovery. That is the papal decree from the 1400s, which allowed colonizers to justify taking land and abusing native populations under the claim that they, quote, “discovered” them. The Vatican is reportedly preparing a statement about the doctrine but won’t release it until after the Pope’s visit.
Tre’vell Anderson: Hollywood is one of many industries scrambling to protect its employees in the wake of recent political events. Yesterday, a group of over 400 TV creators and showrunners sent a letter to top execs at Netflix, Disney, Warner Brothers, NBCUniversal, and more. They demanded new and specific protocols to keep their employees safe when working in states where abortion is outlawed. Signed by industry heavy hitters such as Shonda Rhimes, Issa Rae, and Amy Sherman-Palladino. The letter outlines the need for protocols in states where anti-abortion trigger laws have gone into effect. That includes production-heavy states like Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. They’re also looking to legally shield anyone who helps a colleague obtain an abortion. Meanwhile, many of the same media companies who received the letter have also been organized by the Human Rights Campaign to sign their own letter in support of the Respect for Marriage Act, which, if passed in the Senate, would federally protect same-sex marriage. Hopefully, Hollywood can help move the needle on these issues of safety and equality. Use your money and your influence for good.
Priyanka Aribindi: Do it. Do it. Sometimes Hollywood gets it wrong. In this case, they definitely did not. Please help us. Republican senator and 100 meter race gold medalist, Josh Hawley, has announced that he’s coming out with a new book. Hawley has been desperate to change the narrative around his public cowardice on January 6th, when last week the Insurrection Committee showed a video of him fleeing the mobs. But instead of just buying a Hummer like most guys, Hawley has decided to gripe about the downfall of masculinity. Hawley’s book, titled “Manhood” will hit shelves next May, a few weeks after he is slated to speak at the, quote, “Stronger Men’s Conference” where men go to re-learn how to be masculine, complete with bull riding and monster trucks–oh, my God! This sounds like some, like, Men’s Health nightmare. No word yet from the 8-year old who planned this conference.
Tre’vell Anderson: Do we really need a book on manhood from him?
Priyanka Aribindi: No.
Tre’vell Anderson: Like what publisher said? Yes. You are the person.
Priyanka Aribindi: Like, do we really need any of these, like, political peoples books? I’m not really understanding why they’re writing them. Who is buying them? I don’t really get it.
Tre’vell Anderson: But it makes no sense. And those are the headlines. Will be back after some ads, with our picks for the Tracks. You don’t skip off of Beyoncé’s new album, which is finally out today.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday WAD squad and it’s time for The Un-Skippables, where we tell you which tracks of a new album you cannot skip. Today, we have been blessed by the queen herself. Beyoncé has dropped her new album, Renaissance, which she has promised is act one of a three-act experience, people. Okay? It is officially out today and I am loving it and have been loving it for three days. Y’all know what it is. Okay? Don’t tell me anything, okay?
Priyanka Aribindi: This will never get back to Beyoncé because this is a secret between us and the WAD squad. I, of course, waited until today to listen to it out of respect for my president. I set my alarm clock for midnight and have been listening all day long.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, so I will go first. After the song, Thick gained an early lead, okay, in my consciousness, my un-skippable actually now is the song Church Girl. D.J., take us to church, honey.
Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, come on, Priyanka. Come on!
Priyanka Aribindi: Our whole room is dancing. It is wild. And I didn’t want to laugh because I didn’t want to get in the way of the audio. But it’s a good time.
Tre’vell Anderson: So good. And I know it doesn’t sound like any church song you have ever heard, and that’s okay. Okay? Because we need to redefine what church means. Okay? Church can be on the dance floor as well, Priyanka.
Priyanka Aribindi: And she just brought us there. That is a great one, Tre’vell. I love it too. My in-skippable actually had a little bit of a journey too. So like this is definitely a new sound for Beyoncé, as we talked about before we went to record. I like heated personally for like a vintage Beyoncé vibe, but like if we’re talking like this new energy, my un-skippable is Virgo’s Groove. It’s a fun vibe. Let’s play a clip.
Priyanka Aribindi: I think our clips are the max amount we can do without getting sued by Beyoncé.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely.
Priyanka Aribindi: So please, if we went a little over the limit, Beyoncé, it is just in the interest of sharing your genius with the WAD squad, who also loves you. So please do not sue us.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. And if you want to hear more, which we know you do, go get the daggone album, yo self. Go on, give her your streams, Okay? She deserves.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes! She does.
Tre’vell Anderson: Give her a little bit of your money you’ve been hiding under your mattress. Okay? She deserves it as well.
Priyanka Aribindi: Inflation can wait.
Tre’vell Anderson: Inflation can absolutely wait. Okay. This has been the Un-Skippables.
Priyanka Aribindi: One more thing before we go: this week on Hot Take, Mary and Amy are back together. The duo is sitting down with Ilene Brown, a New York-based reporter focused on environmental justice issues, to discuss the unique intersection of climate change and the prison industrial system. Listen to new episodes of Hot Take every Friday wherever you get your podcasts.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. You like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave the review, promise me we’re not headed toward a recession, and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading, and not just books about how to be a big, strong, masculine man like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[together] And if Joe Manchin can change, anything is possible!
Priyanka Aribindi: I believe it.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, Whitney Houston in the Cinderella movie was talking about Joe Manchin. Okay? That’s a deep cut.
Priyanka Aribindi: It is, it really is. 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 Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.