The Limit Does Exist | Crooked Media
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May 17, 2023
What A Day
The Limit Does Exist

In This Episode

  • As the clock ticks closer to the June 1st default deadline, top aides to President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are working toward an agreement by Sunday. Meanwhile, Democrats are already looking into other last-ditch efforts – including a petition to force a debt ceiling vote in Congress, and even urging the president to invoke the 14th Amendment.
  • On Wednesday, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over the abortion pill mifepristone. The three judges on the historically conservative panel will decide whether to allow the drug to remain on the market, in a case that will likely be appealed back up to the Supreme Court
  • And in headlines: Pennsylvania Democrats will keep their narrow majority in the state House, the Supreme Court refused to block Illinois’ ban on assault weapons, and the publishing giant Penguin Random House has sued a Florida school district for banning books about race and queer identity.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, May 18th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What A Day where now that the finale has aired and Tom and Raquel have officially called it quits, the Scandoval has reached the end of the road. 


Priyanka Aribindi: What a moment in pop culture? Truly bravo to Bravo. That’s some of my best work personally. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] I mean, we’ll always have the memories, not to mention the three part reunion. So more to come, y’all. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say they were chased down by the paparazzi in New York City. Plus, a major publisher has sued a Florida school district for banning books about race and queer identity. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, the week is winding down fast, but apparently everybody has it in their mind that a deal about the debt limit is going to get done by Sunday as President Biden is in Japan and Kevin McCarthy is still committed to causing global economic calamity, all in the name of flexing. We’ve gone from a staredown that started in January to now overnight negotiations, as senior White House aides and Hill staffers hash out the details for an agreement to avoid default on U.S. debt and spending cuts that Republicans oh so desperately want. I got to say, everyone seems to be way more optimistic than I am about this, but that confidence is critical for markets and allies as President Biden is at the G-7 summit. Take a listen to what Biden said yesterday before he took off. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] I’m confident that we’ll get the agreement on the budget. America will not default and uh every leader in the room understands the consequences if we fail to pay our bills. And it would be catastrophic for the American economy, the American people, if we didn’t pay our bills. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Those are all fact. So uh here’s hoping that we get it done. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Very soon, because you and I are sitting here a little bit stressed out, a little more stressed than it seems most other people are. But anyways, you mentioned that aides are negotiating the details here. So who exactly is a part of this group? 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, the White House has sent heavy hitters like Louisa Terrell, director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget. And Steve Ricchetti, senior adviser to the president. It’s unclear which aides House Speaker McCarthy has designated, but Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana is involved, whoever that is. It’s also important to note that President Biden said he will be in constant contact with his White House aides while he’s at the summit. So something could actually emerge from this. And if you have ever seen Shalanda Young in particular in action, then, you know, she will always handle business. With the clock ticking, the goal is for the aides to reach an agreement before Biden returns on Sunday. A few of the explicit details that they’re negotiating are the time frame for agreement, work requirements for aid programs, and spending caps. Naturally, McCarthy is looking to use these negotiations to inflict as much harm as possible on low income individuals and families who rely on aid programs to access food subsidies and financial support, while at the same time refusing to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations. As if we needed another reminder of who Republicans actually care about. But House Democrats are also working on a few last ditch alternatives. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay, so what are these alternatives that Democrats are considering and are they a good thing? What could happen here? 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean kinda like the positive vocal inflection with that. [laugh] Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is working on creating a safety net option via a discharge petition that House Democrats officially filed yesterday that, if needed, would allow them to bypass regular chamber procedures to act on the debt limit and avoid a default. After the congressional leaders met with President Biden at the White House on Tuesday. Jeffries flagged this option, stating, quote, “Given the impending June one deadline and urgency of the moment, it is important that all legislative options be pursued in the event that no agreement is reached.” And considering how catastrophic default would be. I support this move. Even though it’s unlikely Democrats will find the five necessary Republicans to sign the petition. And just to be clear, default would mean that your grandparent’s Social Security check. Yeah, that’s not going to get deposited. It will mean immediate job cuts and a recession. It will mean that members of the military wouldn’t get paid and it would mean that your tax refund would not get deposited into your account. Okay. So everyone will feel this somehow, someway. One additional longshot effort is a push from Democrats to use the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress altogether and just raise the debt limit. It sounds simple enough, right? But it’s not. While the 14th Amendment does say, quote, “The validity of the public debt authorized by law shall not be questioned,” you better believe it will lead to a massive legal fight that will leave us right where we started facing the threat of default on June one. Now, Democratic senators are circulating a letter supporting this option, with senators Warren, Smith, Markey, Sanders and Merkley all signed on. But to level set with y’all, this is even less likely to happen successfully than the discharge petition. 


Priyanka Aribindi: All right. Thank you so much for filling us in on all of these options. But switching gears a little bit, we have been talking about access to the abortion pill, mifepristone, on the show for a while now. And yesterday, a federal appeals court heard arguments over whether or not to uphold a ruling out of Texas to limit access to the drug. So back in April, as many of you probably remember, a conservative federal judge in Texas ruled that the FDA’s decades long approval of mifepristone was invalid and that restrictions that had previously been on the drug should go back into place. The Biden administration immediately appealed that, they are standing behind the FDA’s approval and they are fighting against the attempt to roll back access to the drug. And shortly after that, the Supreme Court acted to protect access to mifepristone while this appeal plays out. But from the get go here with the Fifth Circuit Court, things are not looking so hot. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, these judge aren’t particularly friendly when it comes to abortion. And I hear– 


Priyanka Aribindi: No they’re not. 


Juanita Tolliver: –that they’re living up to the hype right now. Tell us more about what’s going on here. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so this is playing out in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is a historically conservative court. All three of the judges on the panel have previously supported other kinds of abortion restrictions. And yesterday, almost immediately, they started interrupting the DOJ lawyer’s arguments in support of expanded access to mifepristone with questions. They were using anti-abortion talking points. They appeared to be pretty skeptical that the FDA followed the proper process, but it relaxed some regulations around the drug, like allowing it to be prescribed by medical professionals other than doctors and allowing it to be sent by mail, which is how the majority of people were getting it in the past few years. There were also far fewer questions asked of the anti-abortion groups lawyers. They are claiming that the FDA improperly approved the medication back in 2000. So, like kind of old news, but here they are. Their argument is that the FDA approved mifepristone through a fast track process that is only meant for, quote, “new drugs for serious or life threatening illnesses.” These people really cannot seem to wrap their heads around the idea that something like pregnancy can be complicated and life threatening. And not only that, the FDA has a long history of using the words illness, disease, and condition interchangeably. So like this argument resting on this word is I don’t know how else to tell it to you. It’s stupid. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s flimsy at best. [laughing] 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like it would not hold up under additional legal scrutiny. But what can we expect next year? 


Priyanka Aribindi: We can pretty much guess what’s going to happen in the Fifth Circuit. It is not looking good, but this will very likely be kicked back up to the Supreme Court anyway. So do not expect this to be the final word on mifepristone. This will continue to play out for some time and mifepristone will continue to be available throughout this legal saga. We’ll obviously keep you updated on any new developments, but that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Voters in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Florida headed to the polls Tuesday night to cast their ballots in several key elections. Some results have come in and we are here to tell you about the good, the bad and the Florida, which is just a synonym for the ugly at this point. [laughter] Starting in Kentucky, State Attorney General Daniel Cameron won the Republican primary for governor and will face Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear in November. Cameron was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and is also a close ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Just two terrible people. Over in Pennsylvania, Cherelle Parker won the Democratic nomination in Philadelphia’s mayoral election. Parker was the only Black candidate in the race to represent a city that is more than 40% black. If she wins the general election in November, which is likely, she’d become the first woman to hold the position. Pennsylvania Democrats will also keep their narrow majority in the state house after Heather Boyd defeated incumbent Republican Katie Ford in a special election. And last but not least, in Florida, Democrat Donna Deegan was elected mayor of Jacksonville, beating Republican Daniel Davis, who was endorsed by Governor Ron DeSantis. Deegan’s win makes her only the second Democrat to be elected mayor of the city in the past 30 years and the first ever woman mayor in Jacksonville’s history. 


Juanita Tolliver: When I tell you that win in particular in Jacksonville has Republican’s shook, I’m not exaggerating. And also DeSantis being 0 for two in terms of endorsements is my primary takeaway from all of this. Because he’s a loser. 


Priyanka Aribindi: He’s a loser. Trump’s a loser. His endorsement’s suck. Like, I’m sorry. It’s just your two front runners here are losers. Like, I don’t know why my brain is trying to say, is this your king but like [laughter] is this your king? [laughter] Like what?


Juanita Tolliver: Bless. I fully signed off on it. I sign off. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s what’s playing in my brain. [laugh]


Juanita Tolliver: The Supreme Court has once again opted not to wade into any big Second Amendment decisions, at least for now. The justices yesterday refused to grant an emergency request by a guns rights group and an Illinois gun store to block the state’s assault weapons ban. The decision, which came without comment, leaves the ban in place while the legal challenges over it play out in the lower courts. The case challenges two separate ordinances, both of which were enacted after last year’s 4th of July parade shooting in a Chicago suburb which left seven people dead and 48 others wounded. The shooter was armed with an AR-15 style rifle. The Supreme Court’s decision comes amid a wave of mass shootings this year alone. And as other states across the country have passed similar laws to address gun violence. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say that they were involved in a, quote, “near catastrophic car chase” with a group of paparazzi on Tuesday night. According to a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the photographers started following the couple after they left a charity event in Manhattan, and they continued to follow them for over 2 hours. The royal couple, along with Meghan’s mother, who was in the car with them, managed to reach a police station to get help and left shortly afterwards in a different car without being followed. But there are some inconsistencies in their account. Police later said that the chase itself was relatively short and no one was hurt, and the cab driver who took them to the station had this to say to the Associated Press. 


[clip of unidentified member of the Associated Press] Did it feel like the paparazzi were being aggressive? 


[clip of cab driver in NY who drove Prince Harry and Meghan Markle] Aggressive? No, no, no, not I mean, they were behind us. I mean, they stayed on top of us. That was pretty much it. It was nothing more. You know, they kept their distance. There’s just like journalists, just like everybody else trying to get pictures, make a quick buck. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But I don’t really know what to make of that. I feel like [laughter] I’m not quite sure I’m buying that that’s like nothing because like, they were on top of us, kind of like– [laughing]


Juanita Tolliver: Right. He literally– 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s not good. 


Juanita Tolliver: -contradicted himself. They were on top of us. They kept their distance like, sir. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Which is it? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Unclear. 


Juanita Tolliver: Because anybody following me for 2 hours is harassment?


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah um. But still, the whole thing does raise very real concerns about their personal safety, especially because Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, very famously was killed in a car crash after being chased by a mob of paparazzi in 1987. Like, very reminiscent of that, to bring up this. In their statement about the incident, Harry and Meghan said, quote, “While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety.” 


Juanita Tolliver: The publishing giant Penguin Random House is pushing back against a Florida school district for banning books about race and LGBTQ issues from its libraries. In a lawsuit filed alongside the literary organization PEN America and a group of authors, parents, and students, the company claims that the book bans violate the First and 14th Amendments for prescribing a, quote, “orthodoxy of opinion and for explicitly targeting queer folks and people of color.” Most of the books were moved from the Escambia County School District were written by Black, Brown, and queer authors, or explore the issue of racism and queer themes. District officials, for their part, characterized the books in question as pornographic, indoctrinating, and race baiting. You know the favorite catchphrases of the right. Last September, a teacher in the district challenged over one hundred books, which ultimately led to some getting removed outright while others can’t be checked out without parental approval. The banned books include All Boys Aren’t Blue by friend of WAD, George M. Johnson and even classics like Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. As we all know, the one way to make sure a kid doesn’t do something is to tell them that they aren’t allowed to do it. Another foolproof plan from Florida. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I hope that this leads to a bunch of kids reading books that they otherwise would not have thought to put down the iPad for. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: So uh congratulations, Florida. You played yourself. We have nothing good to say about you. Nothing at all. 


Juanita Tolliver: The one positive thing that does come out of this stupidity is like massive library systems, like out of New York that are offering free public library services– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: –online to students across the country. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s so cool. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like that’s a positive. So, kids, you can access this one way or another. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Take advantage. 


Juanita Tolliver: And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to hear Elon Musk eloquently explain why he’s one of the worst people on the Internet. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Great. Can’t wait. [laughter]. 




Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday WAD squad. And today we are doing a segment that we like to call no context bad vibes. 


[intro clip for WAD segment] No context. Bad vibes. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughter] That is hilarious. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I told you it was good. [laugh] I told you it was good. [clapping] [laughter] It’s back. It was on hiatus for a while. It was replaced with bad sound. Fuck that. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh my god. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We’re back. We’re back, baby. No context, bad vibes. Take a listen to today’s clip. 


[clip of David Faber] Do your tweets hurt the company? Are there Tesla owners who say, I don’t agree with his political position because and I know it because he shares so much of it? Or are there advertisers on Twitter that Linda Yaccarino will come and say, you got to stop, man. I can’t get these ads because of some of the things you tweet. 


[clip of Elon Musk] [long silence] You know, I’m reminded of uh the scene in The Princess Bride, great movie. 


[clip of David Faber] Great movie. 


[clip of Elon Musk] Um. Where he confronts the person who killed his father and he says. [?] Offer me money. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Girl what? 


[clip of Elon Musk] Offer me power. I don’t care. [laughter from WAD hosts]. 


[clip of David Faber] So you just don’t care? You want to share what you have to say? 


[clip of Elon Musk] I’ll say what I want to say. And if if, if uh if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it. 


Juanita Tolliver: Okay. One. That is not what Inigo Montoya said. And two, its its giving, what was that girl from South Carolina who was like, wherefore art thou yes, like in the Miss America pageant. And she just couldn’t say like that is Elon Musk. I hope I hope you all are happy with this on that dying bird app. [laugh] Oh, my God. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Whew. I don’t even know what to make of that. 


Juanita Tolliver: Okay. That was, of course, business mastermind Elon Musk explaining why he continues to jeopardize Twitter’s business interest with his absolutely terrible posting in an interview with David Faber, which aired this week on CNBC. Like Priyanka, my favorite reaction from you was, girl what? [laughter]


Priyanka Aribindi: Like I’m flabbergasted. I don’t have words. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, it was horrible when you said this is your king like that would fit this moment for all of the Elon Musk stans, this is your king. Yikes. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Big yikes. 


Juanita Tolliver: I was trying to muffle my screams and laughter because what the fuck was that? And then to fuck up the Princess Bride lines like Inigo Montoya has nothing to do with this moment. Leave him out of it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: There’s so much and like the I can’t even get to like what was said. I have to focus on, like– 


Juanita Tolliver: Nothing was said. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –the fact that the chairs– 


Juanita Tolliver: Nothing was said. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Nothing was said. But I can’t even get to, like, the audio of the clip because it’s too much like I have to focus on the forehead. The way that the chairs are positioned. I know this is a podcast. You can’t see any of this. They were like facing each other with like truly 18 inches between them. [laughter] It was so weird, this whole thing. Bizarre and totally bad vibes. 


Juanita Tolliver: But I just got to shout out that interviewer because, David, you kept your cool. You kept a straight face while this man was over there floundering. So shout out to David Faber. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah uh neither of us would have done that. Nuh uh. 


Juanita Tolliver: Nope. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Not possible. 


Juanita Tolliver: Nope. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And that was no context, bad vibes. 


[intro clip for WAD segment] No context. Bad vibes. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughter] I– 


Priyanka Aribindi: God. 


Juanita Tolliver: –really love that segment so much. Okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Me too. [music break]. 




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Pour one out for the scandoval and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just every title on the banned books list in Florida 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 stay losing Ron DeSantis. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We love to see it. 


Juanita Tolliver: The only reason he endorsed that chick Craft out of Kentucky is because she’s related to some Republican mega-donors who he is no doubt recruiting for his 2024 run. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oooh. 


Juanita Tolliver: So he did the bare minimum– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. 


Juanita Tolliver: –the night before the election with a bootleg robocall. But okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: You always have the good tea. Thank you. [laughter] Thank you for that. Piping hot.


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. We had production assistance this week from Fiona Pestana. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.