In This Episode
- Just hours before the Saturday night deadline, a bill to fund the government through mid-November passed both chambers of Congress and was signed by President Biden. The bill – which ensures the federal government can keep paying its workers for about 45 more days – included funds for natural disaster relief, but notably did not include any added funding for Ukraine.
- Senator Dianne Feinstein, the longest-serving woman in the U.S. Senate, died Thursday night from natural causes at her home in Washington, D.C. She was 90 years old. Now, it’s up to California Governor Gavin Newsom to choose her replacement ahead of next year’s primary election, though he has promised to name a Black woman for the role.
- And in headlines: at least 13 people were killed after a fire broke out at a nightclub in the Spanish city of Murcia, New York City is still drying out after Friday’s round of heavy rain, and Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour could be coming soon to a theater near you.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
Crooked Coffee is officially here. Our first blend, What A Morning, is available in medium and dark roasts. Wake up with your own bag at crooked.com/coffee
Follow us on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crookedmedia/
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday October 2nd. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What a Day with another fun fact about Donald Trump’s fraud trial in New York.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, we just learned that the judge used to be a cab driver. So, you know, who knows, maybe Trump is going to go for a long, long ride.
Josie Duffy Rice: Or maybe when someone tells you that judges are extra smart and that’s why they get to be judges and they’re not cab drivers, it just means that it’s the luck of the draw, you know? [laughter] [music break] On today’s show. New York City is still drying out after Friday’s round of heavy rain. Plus, Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour could be coming soon to a theater near you.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, the government has not shut down, not yet, at least we told you on Friday’s show that it seemed like we needed a miracle for this type of outcome. And apparently somebody’s deity of choice picked up the mainline because just hours before the Saturday night deadline, a bill to fund the government through mid-November passed both chambers of Congress and was signed by President Biden. In addition to ensuring that the federal government, which is our country’s largest employer, can keep paying its workers for about 45 more days, the bill also included funds for disaster relief.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, this is a surprising and welcome piece of news. I think we all thought this was a pretty done deal. But how exactly did this new deal come together?
Tre’vell Anderson: To keep things short, because this is kind of a long, winding tale and journey. Let’s just say that folks got tired of the so called Freedom Caucus in the House. That’s the group of absurd far right Republican representatives that basically were holding the government hostage. I’d say they were committed to forcing a shutdown if they couldn’t get their way, their way being increased provisions for border security, no more money to support Ukraine against Russia and perhaps most consequentially, 30% cuts in government spending, which Democrats would have never voted for. And so a group of slightly less absurd Republicans who wanted to avoid a shutdown, they got together Friday night to figure out a deal that could pass the chamber with Democratic support, circumventing the so-called Freedom Caucus altogether. The continuing resolution that they came up with is what ultimately passed both the House and the Senate. Notably, while it did not include any cuts to government spending and there weren’t any problematic border policies as part of it, the bill did not include any added funding for Ukraine, though that was something many Democrats wanted. They settled for a bipartisan pledge from Senate leadership to, quote, “work to ensure the U.S. government continues to provide critical and sustained security and economic support for Ukraine.” That commitment is according to a statement from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and four top senators on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s a really bad sign when Mitch McConnell is like one of the reasonable Republicans on a deal. You have not mentioned Kevin McCarthy. He has basically been like letting these far righters like run the show. But obviously, something has changed. So what’s going on there?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, So I’m sure we all remember that back in January, Kevin McCarthy went through what felt like a million rounds of votes to become House speaker.
Josie Duffy Rice: A million. I loved every one.
Tre’vell Anderson: It was a lot. Lets be real. [laughing]
Josie Duffy Rice: It was a lot. It was ups. It was downs. It was theater. It was camp. And I loved it.
Tre’vell Anderson: It was. Well, that was because of those far righters who McCarthy ended up cutting a deal with that now allows any one member to motion that he should be removed from the post for a vote to happen. And so he’s really been trying to appease these fools and their hyper conservative ideologies all year and initially was basically advocating for a forced shutdown alongside them. But here’s where that miracle came in, because McCarthy ended up doing some back channel finagling that got this continuing resolution passed. And so now Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, who is one of those foolish far righters, he is planning to attempt to oust McCarthy this coming week.
[clip of Matt Gaetz] I do intend to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week. I think we need to just rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with new leadership that can be trustworthy. Look, the one thing everybody has in common is that nobody trusts Kevin McCarthy. He lied to Biden. He lied to House conservatives. The only way Kevin McCarthy is speaker of the House at the end of this coming week is if Democrats bail him out.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay.
Tre’vell Anderson: So that was Matt Gaetz on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. So it’s looking like the chickens might be coming home to roost for McCarthy in this regard. For his part, though, McCarthy is welcoming the challenge. Here’s what he said in response on CBS’s Face the Nation.
[clip of Kevin McCarthy] Yes, I’ll survive. You know, this is personal with Matt. Matt voted against the most conservative ability to protect our border, secure our border. He’s more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something. He wanted to push us into a shutdown, even threatening his own district with all the military people there who would not be paid. Only because he wants to take this motion, so be it. Bring it on. Let’s get over with it and let’s start governing.
Josie Duffy Rice: Broken clock twice a day, Kevin McCarthy. It’s like [laughter] we can all agree Matt Gaetz is just a clown. He’s the clowniest of the clowns.
Tre’vell Anderson: Clowniest of the clowns. That said right, it is still too soon to tell if Gaetz will actually get McCarthy unseated. He’d definitely have to get a sizable amount of Democrats to join that vote. But some reports are saying that considering how polarizing a figure McCarthy is, literally anything is possible. So we will definitely be keeping our eye on this story, especially.
Josie Duffy Rice: [sigh] [laughter] Anyway. In other news about Congress, on Saturday night Dianne Feinstein’s body returned to San Francisco after her death at 90 years old. Feinstein was the oldest member of Congress and had been in the Senate over 30 years where she had a pretty controversial history. She was often kind of a confounding figure in the Senate. For example, she pretty disappointingly supported the Iraq war, but then spearheaded the investigation of the CIA torture and misconduct. Recently, though, she had become most well-known, arguably, for staying in office far too long, right, Even after her cognitive decline was evident to not only her colleagues, but the public. She actually cast her final vote on Thursday, just like hours before she died.
Tre’vell Anderson: Which is to be clear, a really kind of like problematic note that like you were working literally as you were dying is basically what that amounts to.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s very American.
Tre’vell Anderson: Well.
Josie Duffy Rice: Congressmen, they’re one of us.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes.
Josie Duffy Rice: Dark.
Tre’vell Anderson: So Feinstein’s death means there is a single senator representing the most populous state right now. What happens now to make sure that that seat is actually filled?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So there will be an election for Feinstein’s seat next year. But in the meantime, California Governor Gavin Newsom has to appoint an interim senator for this seat. And this is, cannot underscore enough, not something he wants to do. He has said this publicly. He does not want to have to appoint a senator to the seat. And his reticence makes a lot of sense. As the San Francisco Chronicle put it, no matter who he appoints on an interim basis, Newsom is going to tick off someone. And the reason for this goes back to three years ago when former Senator Kamala Harris became vice president. Newsom had to appoint someone to the other California senate seat. Kamala Harris’ senate seat. He appointed then California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. And many were frustrated that he didn’t appoint a Black woman. Given how rare Black women are in the Senate. In response to this like backlash about the fact that he appointed someone who is neither Black nor a woman to Harris’ seat, Newsom promised to appoint a Black woman to Feinstein’s seat if it were to open up. Now that exact thing has happened. And so now he’s under a lot of pressure to fulfill his promise.
Tre’vell Anderson: Which seems, you know, fairly easy, given how many qualified Black women there must be in California. I remember all of the articles after Kamala was elected about these are, you know, seven Black women that–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: Governor Newsom can appoint.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: And obviously he went in a different direction. But why is this decision so controversial now?
Josie Duffy Rice: The reason is because of the upcoming election in 2024. Right. So there have been a lot of calls for him to appoint Representative Barbara Lee, a very popular representative in California. And recently, Newsom said that he would not choose her as the interim replacement. Lee, a Black woman, is running for Feinstein’s Senate seat in the upcoming election. And so Newsom said in early September that he wouldn’t appoint her because he doesn’t want to get involved in the primary. He kind of feels like he may be stacking the deck for her and he doesn’t feel like that would be fair or that’s the implication, right? Lee then made a statement that she was, quote, “troubled by the governor’s remarks” and noted that Black women have carried the Democratic Party and basically said, like he doesn’t seem to actually be interested in appointing, like the best person for the seat. The implication, obviously, being that that would be her.
Tre’vell Anderson: So he won’t appoint Lee, but is he still expected to appoint a Black woman?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. So actually, as recently as September 10th, he said, quote, “We hope we never have to make this decision, but I abide by what I’ve said very publicly on a consistent basis.” I have to say that is like not an enthusiastic like, yes, I’m thrilled to appoint a Black woman to the seat statement but it does seem like he’s been pretty unequivocal and his dedication, his willingness to appoint a Black woman to the seat. And, you know, he said he hopes he never has to make this decision. That was like three weeks ago. That hope has been dashed. Right. All of this being said, right as we were gearing up to finish this episode, Governor Newsom’s office confirmed to multiple news outlets that he plans to appoint Laphonza Butler to fill Feinstein’s seat. Butler, a Black woman, is currently the president of Emily’s List, a national organization dedicated to getting Democratic women elected to political office. She’s also openly gay, so this would make her the first out person of color to serve in the United States Senate.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Now, Newsom hasn’t made the decision public just yet, but we’ll be sure to follow this story in the days ahead. But that is the latest for now. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: At least 13 people were killed and several others injured after a fire broke out at a nightclub in the Spanish city of Murcia yesterday. Officials say it started around 6 a.m. local time and quickly spread through adjoining nightclubs. A cause for the fire was not immediately clear and investigators are still looking into where exactly the fire started. But according to a spokesperson with the Spanish National Police, the majority of the victims were found at the Fonda Milagros nightclub. Authorities warned that the death toll could rise as the search through the wreckage continues. Murcia city government has declared three days of mourning for those who died. It’s the deadliest nightclub fire in Spain in more than 30 years. In 1990, 43 people were killed when a fire broke out at a club in the northeastern city of Zaragoza.
Josie Duffy Rice: Nearly 30 years after the killing of rapper Tupac Shakur, a Las Vegas man was arrested and charged with his murder last Friday. Duane “Keffe D” Davis was indicted by a Nevada grand jury on one count of murder with a deadly weapon, plus a sentencing enhancement for gang activity. Prosecutors said Davis wasn’t the gunman, but called the shots to have Shakur killed. Under Nevada state law, someone can be charged with a crime, even murder, if they help carry it out. Davis, who was ID’d as a suspect early on in the investigation, is the last living person from the group that allegedly conspired to kill Shakur. He also admitted in interviews and in his own memoir that he provided the gun that was used in the 1996 drive by shooting and that he was in the passenger seat of the white Cadillac that drove up alongside Shakur the moment he was shot. Davis is due in court later this week. I want to say we’ve seen a lot of headlines saying now we know who killed Tupac Shakur and we explicitly don’t because nobody is claiming that this man arrested for murder, committed murder. Nobody is claiming that. And I just want to remind everybody that arresting people for a murder when they did not commit murder is a kind of incongruous and abusive thing to do for prosecutors in power, and so are gang enhancements. So that’s what I have to say about this.
Tre’vell Anderson: The streets of New York City turned into raging rivers on Friday after the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia dumped more than seven inches of rain on the city in less than 24 hours. New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency by midmorning on Friday, and Mayor Eric Adams told residents to shelter in place and stay home. But for many New Yorkers, even home wasn’t safe, as water inundated many ground and basement level apartments. Videos posted on social media showed flooded subway stations and highways. Submerged cars and busses on the streets, and the flooding even reached LaGuardia Airport, where travelers were forced to wade through several inches of water inside one terminal. While the water has now mostly subsided. The need to address the city’s aging infrastructure is far from over. With human driven climate change making storms like this more powerful and more frequent. Experts warned that New York and other major cities need to rethink how to adapt to extreme weather.
Josie Duffy Rice: A Tennessee judge has ordered the end of the conservatorship between former NFL player Michael Oher and the Tuohy family. Both subjects of the Oscar winning film The Blind Side. Oher filed a lawsuit in August after he discovered earlier this year that Leigh Anne and Seann Tuohy never legally adopted him as a teenager, despite what he was led to believe. Instead, he was put under the conservatorship in 2004 when he was 18, which meant that Oher could not signed any contracts, handle his own finances or even make medical decisions on his own. Oher also alleges that the Tuohy’s profited off of his name and were paid for their involvement in the Blind Side. Oher claims he never received any money from the movie himself, even though it’s about his own life story. The Tuohy’s have denied the allegations, so the judge overseeing the case even said that in her career she had never seen a conservatorship agreement reached with someone who is not disabled. I have to say, this movie never sat right with me. The politics are weird and I am not surprised to hear this news at all.
Tre’vell Anderson: I will just say Sandra Bullock plays a white savior very well.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, move all the way over Taylor Swift, because another concert film may be hitting the big screen this year. According to Variety, AMC Theaters is in talks with the one, the only Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, to release a Renaissance World tour movie in December. Sources familiar with the project said Beyoncé’s talent agency CAA, has been telling studios and streaming services to get ready to bid on the project that’s been in the works for years now. It’s set to feature scenes from Queen B’s tour that began back in May, along with some documentary style footage of how Renaissance came to be and what went into designing the tours’ dazzling visuals, choreography and set pieces. The film will also include the long awaited visual Renaissance album that fans like myself have been dying to see ever since the album came out. And the news comes after the Renaissance Tour made its final stop yesterday in Kansas City. It’s estimated to have raked in a total of $560 million dollars in ticket sales.
Josie Duffy Rice: I cannot express my joy about this enough. [laughter] I still watch Homecoming on Netflix like–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes.
Josie Duffy Rice: –multiple times a month.
Tre’vell Anderson: As you should. I’m super excited about this. Beyonce told us a few months ago that we were the the visuals and she was correct. We are the visuals.
Josie Duffy Rice: I pray that there is no concert footage of me at that concert, so I don’t think I was holding it together like, excellently. So, Beyonce, if you’re listening, please leave me out.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after a short break to catch a ride on the hippest trip in America.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, WAD squad. And we want to kick this week off with a new segment that we are calling Union Station. [train whistle plays]
Josie Duffy Rice: Choo choo.
Tre’vell Anderson: If you’re a long time listener of the show, you’ve been with us through a lot of historic moments for organized labor from the first ever Amazon Warehouse Worker Union in Manhattan to the end of the second longest Hollywood writers strike. We’ve been here to give you all the important info and context you need to stay in tune with workers across the country who are standing up for themselves.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, uh but sometimes there are just so many stories out there that we can’t even fit them all into our show, which is, by the way, great news. That means the Union train is really moving. So to break down a few worker victories we saw over just this weekend, we are joined by our producer, Raven Yamamoto, who has been following the labor beat all year long. Raven, you angel, welcome back.
Raven Yamamoto: Oh my god. Thank you. Oh my god, this is what? My third time on the show? I feel so special. Um. Happy strike-tober also.
Josie Duffy Rice: You are so special.
Tre’vell Anderson: Strike-tober.
Josie Duffy Rice: Happy strike-tober.
Raven Yamamoto: Yeah, yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: That only kind of works because strike doesn’t really sound like Oct, but I love it as a vibe. [laughter]
Raven Yamamoto: Yeah, no, no, no. Absolutely. Yeah, that’s what I was going for. Yeah. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: All right. So as we all know, I’m an entertainment girlie, and I know we saw some developments in the industry over the weekend. Can you tell us about some of those?
Raven Yamamoto: Yes, I sure can. So the first was that the Actors Equity Union, we love them, we stan has filed with the NLRB to represent Broadway production assistants. So for a bit of background production assistance or PAs, Tre’vell, you probably know this are some of the few non unionized workers in the Broadway industry. It’s very rare to come across someone who works in Broadway, who isn’t part of a union, but these folks aren’t. And so we’re talking about roughly like 100 people who work behind the scenes on shows that we all know and love to prepare materials for rehearsals, run errands, basically anything that has to do with stage management. Um and these are folks who are usually paid by the hour as opposed to a salary from before a show starts rehearsals to the show’s opening night. So for that stretch of time, from starting the entire production process to getting it to the finish line. So a lot of these people like are essential to the productions that we all know and love, and they wouldn’t be able to put on a lot of these productions without them.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, this is very exciting news.
Tre’vell Anderson: It is. You know, I want everybody to be unionized. Why not? Since you’re forcing people to go to this point to get the support, the pay, the resources that they are due, unionizing for everyone, Shout out to the PAs on Broadway.
Raven Yamamoto: Absolutely.
Tre’vell Anderson: What’s the other story you have?
Raven Yamamoto: So another development we saw over the weekend was in the world of competitive reality TV, my favorite. So folks who work in post-production for The Amazing Race have officially unionized with the Motion Picture Editors Guild. So these are the editors, assistant editors who sort through hours and hours and hours of footage and make it watchable for folks like us. Uh. They’re also most notably the transcribers who caption the show and make it accessible, which I’m sure you can imagine is super fun and not hard at all. Um. So according to The Hollywood Reporter, the producers of the show voluntarily recognized the union on September 23rd. Labor contract was finalized last Wednesday, and the union ratified the agreement the next day. So super quick, super easy win, ten out of ten no notes. Wish this was more common when we talk about stuff like this. So yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. I wish it was more common. I’m curious though, what pushed these workers to unionize now. I love The Amazing Race. I’ve watched almost every season. I know–
Raven Yamamoto: Really?
Tre’vell Anderson: –that they’re on the 35th season right now.
Raven Yamamoto: Oh.
Tre’vell Anderson: But why now?
Josie Duffy Rice: That is so many seasons like that’s–
Raven Yamamoto: So many seasons.
Josie Duffy Rice: –about how many years I’ve been alive. [laughter] That’s crazy.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s so good, though Josie. You got to tune in.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m starting from season one and I will be done when I’m 70.
Tre’vell Anderson: But, Raven, why now? Why are they unionizing now?
Raven Yamamoto: Yes. So I had the same question. So I don’t watch The Amazing Race. But knowing that you do Tre’vell, I’m this is much the amazing news for you. Um. You’ve probably noticed, right, that the episodes are a little longer than they used to be. I know the first–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes.
Raven Yamamoto: –episode was what, this past week? And that’s because the show recently switched to a 90 minute episode format for the first time this year as opposed to their usual one hour. So when you think about it, that’s the opposite of what happened to Drag Race. So it’s easy to see why the show’s post-production team push to unionize now. A longer show means longer hours for them. And I don’t know. I mean, if I was asked to put out more content uh for the same pay, I’d want to make sure that my time and my work isn’t exploited, so I can’t really blame them.
Tre’vell Anderson: Makes sense.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. So shifting gears from entertainment, there’s also news of a massive strike in the health care industry that could happen this week. What is going on there?
Raven Yamamoto: Yes, so this is a big one. So over the weekend, the labor agreement between Kaiser Permanente and thousands of their health care workers across the country expired, but no new deal was reached as of our record time. The coalition of unions that represent these workers told Kaiser that they plan to strike from October 4th to the seventh, so this Wednesday to Saturday so we could see the largest health care strike in U.S. history in a couple of days. Doctors and registered nurses won’t be a part of the action. But I mean, we’re still talking 75,000 employees. So nursing assistants, technicians and other support staff who service nearly 13 million patients. So kind of a big deal.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s a huge deal.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: So what are some of the demands that these workers have for Kaiser that aren’t being met?
Raven Yamamoto: So workers are seeking better pay, like in most instances where people are bargaining for a new contract. Specifically, though, they want a 6.5% increase in wages over the next four years. Kaiser has only offered them 3%, so they’re still pretty far apart on that matter when it comes to being at the bargaining table. But the other big issue is staffing, right? So health care workers just don’t have the numbers they need to support their patients and are asking the company to hire more people to lessen the load. I mean, like a lot of folks have spoken out about how it’s like unbearable, the amount of patients that they see and have to, you know, schedule so far from the moment that they seek care because they don’t have the capacity to do it.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Raven Yamamoto: And so the end result, like I said, is usually longer wait times for people who are seeking out this kind of care and need it pretty desperately. So it’s as much of a problem for the workers as it is their patients. And so they’re standing up to save basically the health care industry um and really just make sure that everybody is taken care of, including themselves.
Josie Duffy Rice: And so what is Kaiser saying about all of this?
Raven Yamamoto: So Kaiser maintains that it’s negotiating in good faith, which, you know, has been contested by the unions that are involved in this contract. Meanwhile, the company has said that it has contingency plans in place in the event of a work stoppage should it happen. And Kaiser hospitals and ERs will stay open. But Kaiser itself has warned its members to expect some disruption. So that’s kind of the update there. We’ll see what happens.
Tre’vell Anderson: We will see what happens. Raven. Thanks so much for coming back on the pod. We really appreciate it.
Raven Yamamoto: Of course. Thank you for having me. Can’t wait to come back. [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, take a breather from watching C-span all weekend and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just Beyoncé concert movie rumors 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 happy strike-tober.
Josie Duffy Rice: We’ll take it. We can make it work.
Tre’vell Anderson: But we might need to re-workshop the name. I’m with you, Josie.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, but we’ll re-workshop it when everybody finishes striking.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely.
Josie Duffy Rice: When everybody gets back to work.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. [music break] What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka. [music break]