The Haunted Manchin | Crooked Media
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July 19, 2022
What A Day
The Haunted Manchin

In This Episode

  • The House passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday with bipartisan support. The law would mandate that all states recognize same-sex marriage and formally repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, which federally outlawed same-sex marriage.
  • Meanwhile the White House is hoping to pass a “slimmed down” version of Biden’s domestic policy bill through Congress soon. But to do it, they need the support of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin — the same man who dealt a huge blow to the President’s climate agenda last week.
  • And in headlines: the White House said that Russia plans to forcefully annex more Ukrainian territory, the Secret Service said it can’t recover agents’ deleted text messages from January 6th, and a judge fast-tracked Twitter’s lawsuit against Elon Musk.


Show Notes:



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Erin Ryan: It’s Wednesday, July 20th. I’m Erin Ryan.


Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice, and this is What A Day, informing fans of generically handsome white men that the industry leader Chris Evans is looking to date.


Erin Ryan: Yes. He said in an interview that he is, quote, “laser focused on finding a partner”, which a certain kind of woman might interpret as a bat signal. Or what is a Captain America signal? A shield sign.


Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, the Secret Service told the January 6th committee that it cannot recover a bunch of deleted texts from that day that agents sent to each other. Very interesting.


Erin Ryan: Sus.


Josie Duffy Rice: Sus is right. Plus, a man sues the maker of Skittles because he claims the candy is, quote, “unfit for human consumption.”


Erin Ryan: Wow. Then what does that make me? Because I have eaten enough Skittles to kill a small town. But first, in Washington, D.C., yesterday:


speaker: [crowd noise[ . . . currently participating in an illegal demonstration activity. Cease and desist or you will be arrested.


Erin Ryan: So that sound you heard was police warning people demonstrating outside of the Supreme Court that they were participating in illegal protests and that they better knock it off or risk arrest. The demonstrators, angry about the justices’ decision to overturn Roe, did not knock it off, and as a result, those protesters affiliated with the Center for Popular Democracy Action were arrested. Among them, 17 members of Congress, including AOC of New York, Barbara Lee of California–who we just talked to last week–Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Andy Levin of Michigan. Levin, by the way, was the only man among that group. Just a little something I notice. One man, 16 women.


Josie Duffy Rice: Isn’t that interesting? I have to say, as a former employee of the Center for Popular Democracy, I am pretty proud to be an alumni of that place right now. But protesting is one thing. What about legislating? Are they going to legislate us out of this, Erin?


Erin Ryan: Well, the House of Representatives is trying. After Justice Clarence Thomas indicated that in addition to striking abortion access, the court should reconsider other privacy issues like gay marriage, contraception access, and sodomy laws, Democrats have moved to pass legislation that would protect those rights. Yesterday, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act with bipartisan support. 47 Republicans and every single Democrat voted for it–which means that quite a few Republicans voted against it. The law would mandate that all states recognize same-sex marriage and all of the benefits that entails, among other things. It would also formally repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, which outlawed same-sex marriage at the federal level. Tomorrow, the House is expected to take up a bill codifying access to contraception. There’s no word yet on whether or not they’re going to take up a bill federally legalizing sodomy–but I honestly think they should. I think they should. It’s a winning issue. I’m willing to bet that sodomy is even more popular among Americans than contraception and marriage equality. Both of those things are extremely popular.


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true. I agree. And I think people don’t want to take it up because it feels not classy enough for the Democratic Party to be legislating about this. But they should. This matters. And, you know, we all–well lots of us–support your right to sodomy. So now that marriage equality goes to the Senate, what will happen there?


Erin Ryan: Probably nothing. Democrats need at least ten Republicans to vote for literally anything in order to pass it, even though things like same-sex marriage, the pill, and BJs are super popular. Did you know B.J. is kind of sodomy?


Josie Duffy Rice: What?!


Erin Ryan: Yes!


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, my God, I didn’t know that.


Erin Ryan: Any non-procreative sexual act involving the male reproductive organ is sodomy. The more you know.


Josie Duffy Rice: I do think we should tell more people that, because then it will, it will really pass.


Erin Ryan: We are a country that loves sodomy! Anyway, Senate Republicans do not care that those things are popular, and Democrats don’t have a big enough majority to get around. Senators Joe Maserati Manchin and Kyrsten Gadzook’s Bargain bin Sinema–Sorry, that’s mean, but like, True. Right?


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true.


Erin Ryan: It’s true. These are two Democrats whose legacy is caring more about preserving the Senate filibuster than preserving their constituents’ fundamental rights. So it would be safest if I referred to the legislation’s future as uncertain.


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, boy, that is unfortunate to hear that this is uncertain. This feels like a home run, but again, we are no longer in a home run territory. There is more we’re following out of Congress today because, well, once again, Joe Biden’s presidential policy goals come down to one guy, West Virginia Senator Joe Maserati Manchin. It all began with Biden’s ambitious domestic policy bill that he hoped to pass, which Manchin in particular has chipped away at, little by little, in a Senate with the slimmest possible majority. And he’s really drag it out. He’s done this over so many months as to make it as torturous as possible. Now, the White House and Democratic Congress members are hoping to pass very, very soon what the Hill calls a, quote, “slimmed down reconciliation bill”, as long as they can get support from–you guessed it–Maserati Manchin. This comes after the senator’s latest blow to Biden’s policy agenda last week.


Erin Ryan: This man drags his feet.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. He really does. It’s very Lucy-Charlie Brown, but as Lucy like kept Charlie Brown waiting for hours before pulling the football away.


Erin Ryan: It’s like Waiting for Godot, but legislatively and not as interesting.


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s awful.


Erin Ryan: Ugh. It’s terrible. So, Josie, what would this slimmed down bill that Biden is looking for mentioned to support actually do?


Josie Duffy Rice: So last week, Manchin signaled his support for a bill that would, according to Politico, quote, “permit Medicare to negotiate the price of certain drugs and stave off sudden health insurance premium hikes for millions.” These are two significant elements of Biden’s legislative agenda on health care. It’s not small to do either of those two things, right? It’s a big deal. But again, it’s still a major compromise and will be much narrower than the broader domestic policy bill that Biden wanted to pass. So basically, the bill goes from being a domestic policy bill to a health care bill–still important–but not what basically anyone but Manchin and the Republican Party wanted. And given that Manchin has rejected major parts of the broader policy agenda before, Biden is essentially just like taking what he can get right now.


Erin Ryan: Ugh. Frustrating person. So, Josie, let’s talk about what happened last week when Manchin rejected climate change provisions in the budget bill. You described it as Manchin’s latest blow. Tell us more.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So last week, Manchin made it clear that he would not support a bill that included efforts to curb climate change or increase taxes on the wealthy. So Maserati Manchin says he’s worried about inflation, so he doesn’t want to increase spending, which is why he will not support these provisions–which, look, I guess it’s important to fight inflation by making sure that we worsen inequality while functionally ignoring the most significant threat to humanity. Anyway, his refusal to support these things means that Biden is now left with trying to pass this very narrow bill, which Manchin says he will support, although I will believe it when I see it.


Erin Ryan: The prioritizing of like inflation over the existential crisis of climate change is such a symptom of a disease in this country.


Josie Duffy Rice: It is.


Erin Ryan: Like what’s most important is that people can afford to purchase more things, rather than can live.


Josie Duffy Rice: I also feel like it’s fine to fight inflation, but there are so many ways to fight inflation and he chooses to like sacrifice climate change.


Erin Ryan: How is the Democratic Party responded to Manchin torpedoing climate change policy last week?


Josie Duffy Rice: So the White House is being very cautious and nice about it because they don’t want him to back out of the health care bill at the last minute. And look like, Democrats just don’t have much time here, right? The election is coming and it’s not looking good for the party being able to keep a majority in both houses, right? So they’re really like on the clock here. So the White House is spinning this narrow bill as a victory. They’re basically saying, look, this bill is good. It’s a big deal. This is significant. Here’s White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre:


[clip of Karine Jean-Pierre] We’re on the cusp of a big win here, which is incredibly important for tens of millions of Americans as we speak about Medicare and them being allowed to negotiate drug prices.


Josie Duffy Rice: But some others in the party are pretty mad, including Senator Bernie Sanders, who was talking to ABC about Manchin as well as Kyrsten Sinema.


[clip of Sen. Bernie Sanders] Look, if you check the record, six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin–Cinema to a lesser degree–who are intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want. Nothing new about this. And the problem was that we continue to talk to Manchin like he was serious. He was not. This is a guy who is a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires. In my humble opinion, you know, Manchin represents the very wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America.


Erin Ryan: I love Bernie Sanders at like, this moment’s rage Muppet, telling the truth and really expressing what a lot of us are feeling. He’s right.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, he’s totally right. And he’s saying what needs to be said. I understand why the White House can’t say it right now because they need Manchin’s vote, but I’m glad someone is saying it. So we’ll keep following the latest out of Congress, as always. And that is the latest for now.


Erin Ryan: Let’s get to some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Erin Ryan: Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Iran yesterday. Putin met with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This trip is really about showing deepening ties between the two countries, especially because both are pretty isolated from the West. That being said, the meeting’s focus isn’t explicitly about actively plotting against the U.S. or anything–why would we think that!? Why would we think that they were actively plotting? Turkey’s president is also in the capital of Tehran, so the leaders can discuss Syria, where international tension is bubbling between Iranian and Turkish influence.


Josie Duffy Rice: Also on the topic of Russia, the White House said that it has, quote, “ample evidence” that Russia plans to forcefully annex more Ukrainian territory in the coming weeks. National security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters yesterday that Moscow is currently eyeing the cities of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, as well as the country’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to Kirby, Russian officials plan to hold what are called ‘sham’ referendums to pull it off. These fake elections would allow Russian officials to manufacture evidence that Ukrainian residents of these areas are pro-annexation. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Russia used the same tactic when it annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.


Erin Ryan: Wow, 2014. We have all aged 70 years since 2014.


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. It’s been a minute.


Erin Ryan: There’s an update to the story we talked about last week of a ten-year old Ohio rape victim who traveled to Indiana to get an abortion in June. Caitlin Bernard, the Indianapolis doctor who provided that care, has officially begun the process of suing her state’s attorney general for defamation. On Tuesday, Bernard’s lawyer filed a claim against the AG, Todd Rokita, for publicly questioning whether Dr. Bernard reported the abortion to state officials. Under Indiana law, failing to report is considered a crime, but documentation proves that Bernard did fulfill her duty to report and that she even submitted the report earlier than the state’s deadline to do so. Dr. Bernard is seeking damages for reputational and emotional distress, and if Rokita doesn’t settle or investigate the claim within the next 30 days, Bernard can officially sue.


Josie Duffy Rice: I love that. That’s the best news I’ve heard all day. Turns out there are limits to even the Geek Squad’s power. Those deleted text messages that were exchanged by Secret Service agents on January 5th and 6th apparently cannot be recovered by the agency’s own telling. Very convenient. Yeah. The Secret Service was supposed to turn the texts over to the House committee yesterday. Instead, it supplied thousands of other, less interesting documents, along with the admission that no missing texts could be located, following an agency wide factory reset of phones last year. The National Archives is requesting an investigation to determine whether the mysterious texts were deleted improperly. I bet if there is a terrorist whose text needed resurfacing, they’d figure it out.


Erin Ryan: They would 100% figure it out. A good way to find deleted texts or like messages that people are trying to scrub: find one of their jealous partners to go through their phone.


Josie Duffy Rice: All we need is a secret services member’s ex-partner.


Erin Ryan: All we need is a woman who feels like she’s being cheated on. And she will be like, I will find those texts. I will 100% find those. We need that energy throughout all of national security.


Josie Duffy Rice: We need the ex-girlfriend training.


Erin Ryan: Yes, totally. Like so many of us, Twitter can’t wait a second longer to be in the same room with Elon Musk–that sentence is difficult to read without laughing. The social media company won its request to fast track its trial against Musk yesterday with a Delaware judge setting the court date for October of this year–that is so soon. Musk’s lawyers had wanted to delay the trial until February, presumably to give him more opportunity to defy the sun on a boat. But the judge sided with Twitter’s attorneys, who argued that prolonging the uncertainty surrounding the acquisition would damage the company. As a reminder, Twitter is suing to force Musk to follow through on a deal to buy the company for $44 billion.


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, man. Apple has agreed to pay out $50 million to settle a class action lawsuit regarding its notorious butterfly keyboards, which were sold on certain MacBooks between 2015 and 2019. The jam-prone keyboards gaslit countless thumbs that were under the impression that they had pressed the spacebar. Now, residents of seven states who paid to replace their keyboards rather than slowly succumb to typo-induced insanity, will be eligible for a payout if the settlement is approved. If this applies to you, keep an eye on your inbox and pray that the settlement administrator typing your email address isn’t using a butterfly keyboard.


Erin Ryan: You know what? Fuck those keyboards. Fuck those keyboards. Oh my gosh.


Josie Duffy Rice: Truly. If Georgia is on this list, I’m going to lose my mind because those keyboards put me through so much mental anguish, I was like, I guess I don’t know how to type anymore.


Erin Ryan: I thought, because I eat sometimes while I’m working–.


Josie Duffy Rice: Who doesn’t?


Erin Ryan: –eating leaves me alone with my thoughts, like if I don’t have like my computer in front of me, and who wants to be alone with their thoughts? But the fact that the butterfly keyboard was such a disaster made me feel as though I had caused it to not work right by spilling crumbs, which made me feel bad about myself for being a slob.


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. You’re like my eating habits have cost me thousands of dollars. And it was not your eating habits.


Erin Ryan: It was the keyboard. I am disgusting, but the keyboard is not an indicator of why I’m disgusting.


Josie Duffy Rice: Correct. Correct.


Erin Ryan: And I feel vindicated.


Josie Duffy Rice: You should feel vindicated. I feel vindicated on your behalf. I think we have both been vindicated. And I would also like a settlement check from Apple to quantify that vindication.


Erin Ryan: And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to give a candy that’s like M&Ms but a little edgier, it’s day in podcasters court.


[ad break]


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Wednesday WAD squad, and today we’re doing a segment where we visit the last place where justice can be served in America, a place where there are no gavels but only microphones, and no law books, but only Wikipedia summaries of the film Michael Clayton: A place called the “Podcasters Court.” This is really what I went to law school for folks. Erin, I am going to describe a case that’s being made in our nation’s courts, and you can evaluate it on its merits based on your amateur legal expertise. Are you ready?


Erin Ryan: Absolutely. Okay, throw it at me.


Josie Duffy Rice: There could be trouble on the horizon for the candy that dared to ask the question: What if sugar was a chewable pill? I’m talking about Skittles. A lawsuit filed last week in California alleges that the candy is, quote, “unfit for human consumption” due to its use of titanium dioxide as a colorant. The FDA considers titanium dioxide to be safe for consumption, but in Europe, more cautious regulators are concerned enough about its potential to damage DNA, that they have banned it as a food additive. And studies of rats, inhalation of titanium dioxide has been linked to cancer. That being said, no equivalent link has ever been shown in humans. The suit against Mars Inc, who makes Skittles is a class action lawsuit. So if you’ve tasted the rainbow, plus low doses of a controversial metal, someday you might be able to add your name to it. For its part, Mars Inc said, quote, “Our use of titanium dioxide complies with FDA regulations.” So, Erin, with access to virtually no other information, who do you think should prevail here?


Erin Ryan: Well, I think I personally am going to prevail here. I can’t speak to the actual court case who’s going to win or who’s not going to win. But I think it’s really valuable information to know that in studies of rats, inhalation of titanium dioxide has been linked to cancer. That’s good, because that means that I can stop snorting Skittles, which has been the way that I normally take them in.


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s a good point. Good point.


Erin Ryan: I’m going to start eating them. Maybe putting them in my ear.  Taking them in as a suppository. There are other ways to have Skittles. And that’s, that’s the thing. Like, you can taste the rainbow through any hole in your body.


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s true. A Skittles patch, perhaps?


Erin Ryan: A Skittles patch, Skittles eye drops, Skittles nail polish that, like, slowly absorbs through your cuticles. I just think even if Mars Inc. loses here, there are new frontiers for Skittles. I, for one, look forward to it. I really want the berries and cream guy to come back and do a new dance about different things that we can do to Skittles in order to take them in and avoid the possible carcinogen effects.


Josie Duffy Rice: You know, no one has ever complimented my food taste. I eat like a four-year old. I love sugar so much, and yet I’m not a big Skittles fan.


Erin Ryan: What?!


Josie Duffy Rice: It kind of feels to me like the first moment of good judgment I’ve ever had around food in my entire life.


Erin Ryan: Interesting.


Josie Duffy Rice: They always tasted a little weird to me. It was probably the titanium dioxide.


Erin Ryan: Are you more of a like gummy?


Josie Duffy Rice: I am a gummies person. Lord knows what are in those!


Erin Ryan: The peaches?


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. The peaches. I’m really into spicy mango gummies right now. Who knows what’s in those things, but I just feel like my favorite part of this is where the company’s like, We’re not saying it’s safe, but we are saying it complies with FDA regulations. That was the Podcasters Court. This court is adjourned. This is the only court in which I will ever use judicial language. I will never be a judge. But there we go. One more thing before we go Pod Save America has some great tour dates coming up, with shows in Seattle, Portland, Nashville, and Atlanta this summer. Tickets are selling fast and it’s a tour you don’t want to miss, so get yours now by visiting


Erin Ryan: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, slowly and methodically destroy your butterfly keyboard, and tell your friends to listen.


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you are into reading, and not just the letter S on Skittles like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


Erin Ryan: I’m Erin Ryan.


[together] And be better, Geek Squad!


Erin Ryan: I feel like whoever busted General David Petraeus for his, like, sensuous Gmail drafts with his mistress can probably look into this, too.


Josie Duffy Rice: Truly.


Erin Ryan: I’m just, I’m full of ideas this week, Josie. I’ve just got ideas.


Josie Duffy Rice: We should put you in charge, truly.


Erin Ryan: Thank you. No! Don’t put me in charge of anything.


Josie Duffy Rice: 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.