Titan's Final Salute | Crooked Media
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June 22, 2023
What A Day
Titan's Final Salute

In This Episode

  • The days-long search for the tourist submersible that went missing near the wreck of the Titanic came to a tragic end Thursday. A U.S. Coast Guard official said the five people aboard the vessel are presumed dead, after pieces of the craft were found on the ocean floor roughly 1,600 feet from the Titanic’s bow. It’s believed that the submersible imploded.
  • This Saturday, June 24th marks one year since Roe v. Wade was overturned, ending the decades-long constitutional right to an abortion. Since then, about half of all states have enacted laws to restrict the procedure, and 14 states have banned the procedure entirely with very limited exceptions.
  • And in headlines: President Biden welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House Thursday, a Moscow court ruled that a detained American journalist must remain in jail until late August, and we finally know who bailed out Congressman George Santos after he was charged with fraud last month.


Show Notes:


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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, June 23rd. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What A Day, the Daily News podcast where we are taking bets on who will win the Elon Musk Mark Zuckerberg cage match. 


Tre’vell Anderson: To borrow a phrase from a legendary wrestler, can you smell what the Zuck is cooking? Is that the statement? Did I say that right? I can’t remember. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, a Moscow court ruled that a detained American journalist must remain in jail until late August. Plus, we finally know who bailed out Congressman George Santos after he was charged with fraud last month. Not worth holding your breath over. [laughter] Not going to spoil it, but don’t get too excited. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, in a tragic end to the story about the submersible that’s been missing at sea for days, the U.S. Coast Guard announced yesterday that all five people who were aboard the vessel are now presumed dead. A remotely operated vehicle discovered portions of the submersible roughly 1600 feet from the bow of the Titanic wreck on the sea floor. Based on how the debris was situated. It’s believed that the submersible imploded, but we don’t yet know when during the dive it might have happened. As a reminder of how we got here, last Sunday four passengers and an operator went on an expedition to explore the wreckage of the Titanic. Less than 2 hours into their dive, the submersible, which is named Titan, lost contact with the ship that it launched from. When the vessel did not surface that evening. It kicked off a massive international search and rescue operation that ended yesterday. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, this is um a story that I feel like the world has sort of started following very intently over the past few days. And this is not the end I think that we many people were hoping for. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm 


Priyanka Aribindi: Um. What do we know about the people who were on the submersible who now are presumed to be dead? 


Tre’vell Anderson: So the victims included Stockton Rush, who was the pilot of the vessel and the CEO of OceanGate. That’s the company responsible for the submersible. Also on board were British businessmen Hamish Harding, French deep sea explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Pakistani British businessman Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son Suleman. Now, there has been a lot of commentary on social media and beyond about this situation. I have to admit that I particularly enjoyed the ones about how we didn’t even have to wonder if any of the folks involved were Black, because, you know, we just don’t be doing excursions like this all willy nilly. Okay. Then there was all the talk of the reported $250,000 price tag for this voyage and rich people, you know, doing foolish things with their money. And I think all of that commentary, all of that criticism is deeply fair in this situation. But I wanted to note that these weren’t just random tourists throwing away their coins per say. Both Hamish and Paul-Henri were actually members of what is called the Explorers Club, a quote, “society dedicated to the advancement of field research, scientific exploration, and resource conservation,” according to the group, which shared condolences in a statement. Paul-Henri was actually one of the foremost experts on submersible expeditions to the Titanic. He had done this type of dive before, just on a different type of vessel. So for the most part, you know, this wasn’t a play play situation, as it seems like many of us thought it was earlier on. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, definitely. I mean, it also, just like any way you slice it now, like the outcome is sad and that’s like– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah 


Priyanka Aribindi: –a scary thing to think about when you think about what happened to these people. You mentioned that the submersible likely imploded because of an issue with the pressure chamber. Was that something that could have been prevented before all of this? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, you know, I think the short answer there is probably yes. OceanGate again, that’s the company that’s behind all of this is definitely facing a lot of criticism and scrutiny right now. And that’s because years earlier, the company actually received numerous warnings as it was preparing for such a mission. This all dates back to at least 2018 when the company’s then director of marine operations authored a report that ultimately said that the vessel needed more testing. And he stressed, quote, “the potential dangers to passengers of the Titan as the submersible reached extreme depths.” And then a couple months after he said that, more than three dozen other people, these were industry leaders, deep sea explorers and oceanographers who were part of the manned underwater vehicles committee of the Marine Technology Society. They wrote a letter to Stockton Rush, again, the CEO of OceanGate, saying that the company’s quote unquote, “experimental approach and its decision to forgo a traditional assessment could lead to catastrophic problems.” But the Titan was supposed to be, right, the only five person sub in the world that could reach Titanic depths. That’s approximately 13,000 feet, by the way, or nearly 2.5 miles below the ocean surface. And so it appears as if these warnings may not have been appropriately heeded as the company under Stockton’s leadership raced to provide an extreme tourism option for the wealthy. So overall, definitely a tragic situation nonetheless, as people did die. And at the same time, this is what can happen as a result of someone’s brazen capitalistic pursuits. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, seriously. I mean, that is kind of at the heart of all of this, which is really wild. Switching gears a little bit. Saturday marks one year since the Dobbs v. Jackson women’s health decision by the Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the decades long constitutional right to an abortion, leaving rights to bodily autonomy up to individual states. This landmark decision was monumental, and it feels like even a year later, we are still reeling from the decision and now its effects. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Like we’re still feeling it, right? Every day it feels like. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s so fresh still. Like I’m surprised at how fresh it feels. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Absolutely. So you mentioned it’s been a year. Talk about where we stand now. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Well, I mean, as I said, things are in the hands of the states, which is really not so great depending on where you are. You probably heard us say before laws have been enacted to ban or restrict abortion in half of the states in the country. Over a quarter of states have banned abortion entirely with very limited exceptions, exceptions that are not like standardized in any way. So like hardly ever actually get accepted. And several more states have severely restricted access. Meanwhile, courts have had some success putting these restrictions or bans on hold in a few places like Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. While 20 states and the District of Columbia have moved to protect abortion access through laws, constitutional amendments and executive orders. So real mixed bag here, depending on where you are, which is a little bit of luck of the draw. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So what does that mixed bag mean for people around the country who need this care?


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean it’s not very good for most people. It now comes down to where they can afford to or are able to travel to receive care if they are in one of these states with a ban or severe restrictions, which is a lot of people. Before Dobbs, 15% of women of childbearing age lived over an hour away from the nearest abortion facility. So, you know, not anywhere close to the majority. That’s a lot, but not. By September of last year, though, that figure had more than doubled to 33%. So that is a third of women of this age. And research from Boston University has found out that the increased hurdles to reach these facilities has had an outsized impact on women of color. That is something we know, it has an outsized impact on people of lower incomes. It’s really tough. Data shows that nationwide the number of abortions performed has decreased slightly since the Dobbs decision, but rates actually rose in states that have instituted abortion protections with many providers in these states saying that they are seeing more and more patients from places that do have these bans and restrictions in place who just need that care. We also, over the past year have heard just horror stories from places with the most severe kinds of bans about people with completely non-viable pregnancies that are threatening their lives, who just aren’t able to receive the care that they need from doctors who took oaths to protect them because of these laws. I mean, it is very real, is very much affecting the medical care of millions and millions of people across this country. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm 


Priyanka Aribindi: But I think something that is additionally scary to even think about is how this decision affects future medical care, because it impacts the ability of physicians to do their job and the way that future physicians are trained. 45% of the nearly 300 programs in this country to train OB-GYNs are located in places with abortion bans and restrictions in place. That limits what these physicians in training will learn and will be legally able to do, which in turn affects the care that, you know, the people who are there in that state are able to receive, the care that these physicians will go on and be able to provide, the locations where future physicians may actually want to be and consider safe for themselves or their families to be. So this is certainly something that is having impacts already but will continue to have lasting impacts down the line, not just on reproductive health but the availability of medical care. So many things will be affected by this and that we’ll continue to see. And of course, I mean, we’d be remiss not to mention, you know, alongside these bans on abortion have been bans and restrictions on gender affirming health care. They really kind of go hand in hand here because at the end of the day these are all attacks designed to control people’s bodies. It’s not only incredibly distressing, but it’s having tangible harm on people every single day that it continues to be this way. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah 


Priyanka Aribindi: Of course, we will keep following the challenges to all of these restrictions as they play out. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]




Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: President Biden welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House yesterday. Modi, who is just the third head of state who has been hosted by this current administration, addressed a joint session of Congress and joined President Biden and the first lady for a state dinner. Aside from the show of diplomacy, the relationship between the U.S. and India has faced obstacles. And Modi is a very controversial leader. Though he is massively popular in India, he’s been accused of looking the other way or even enabling the mass killing of Muslims by Hindus when he was chief minister of the state of Gujarat. He’s also been criticized for his government’s crackdown on the press and political protesters. We should note that Biden isn’t the first U.S. president to embrace Modi. Donald Trump did the same when he was president. The visit comes at a time when both the U.S. and India are working to isolate China economically and diplomatically. Though national Security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters yesterday that Modi’s meeting with Biden was, quote, “not about China.” 


Priyanka Aribindi: After nearly a decade of suits and countersuits, singer Kesha and music producer Dr. Luke announced yesterday that they have agreed to resolve their ongoing legal battle with each other. This all started back in 2014 when Kesha filed a civil complaint against Dr. Luke, accusing him of, quote, “sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abusing her throughout their partnership.” Kesha alleged that Dr. Luke drugged and assaulted her after a party in 2005 when she was just 18 years old. As a result, the singer argued that she should be released from her contract with Dr. Luke, writing, quote, “I cannot work with this monster.” Dr. Luke denied the allegations and then countersued her for defamation. The two have publicly gone back and forth over the years and the case was scheduled to go to trial next month in New York after several delays. Kesha and Dr. Luke posted a joint statement to their respective social media accounts yesterday saying that the lawsuit had been dropped. And while Dr. Luke once again denied any wrongdoing, Kesha wrote, quote, “I am looking forward to closing the door on this chapter in my life and beginning a new one. I wish nothing but peace to all of the parties involved.” I wish nothing but peace for Kesha, but that is about as far as my wishes go. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm hmm. Ditto. Now to an update on Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the 31 year old journalist who was arrested while on a reporting trip in Russia in late March. Yesterday a Moscow court rejected Gershkovich’s appeal to be released and ordered him to stay in jail until at least late August. Gershkovich is being held on espionage charges, allegations that he and his employer have denied. Russian authorities have not presented any evidence to support the accusations, and the U.S. has called for his immediate release. If convicted, Gershkovich could face up to 20 years in prison. In a statement, The Wall Street Journal said, quote, “Evan has been wrongfully detained for more than 12 weeks for nothing more than doing his job as a journalist. We continue to demand his immediate release.” 


Priyanka Aribindi: The mystery of who bailed out Representative George Santos has been solved, and it is not as juicy as some of us were expecting. Newly released court records show that Santos’s father and aunt were the two cosigners of the half a million dollar bond that is keeping him out of jail as he awaits trial on 13 federal criminal charges, including fraud and money laundering. This checks out because we cannot imagine anyone defending George Santos at this point who isn’t biologically obligated to. But um I mean, just got to say at this point, like your obligation, like we might let you off the hook for it. It’s fine. As you’ll recall, Santos fought to keep the identities of the guarantors sealed, saying that he didn’t want to subject them to attacks and harassment. His lawyer even said that Santos would rather go to jail than subject his cosigners to public backlash. But a federal judge ultimately rejected that effort and sided with the request by news organizations to reveal their names as a matter of public interest. It’s also worth noting that in most cases, the names of guarantors are usually made public. As for Santos’s cosigners, they didn’t have to pay the $500 grand upfront to guarantee his release, but they agreed to be held personally and financially responsible if Santos, also known as Kitara Ravache failed to show up in court. In her order, Judge Joanna Seybert wrote that Santos, quote, “did nothing to diffuse the ‘media frenzy'” and that his efforts to keep the guarantors names anonymous, quote, “simply created hysteria over what is, in actuality, a non-issue.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I feel dumb for even being curious at this point. Really thought there was going to be something there. No, it’s just uh his dad. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Which is, like, expected, right? That a family member would “support,” quote unquote, in this particular way. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Listen. Who the fuck else would it be at this point? [laughter] Who the fuck else? 


Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, the Kennedy Center Honors telecast is going to be great this year. The center announced this year’s honorees for its annual gala dedicated to recognizing artists who have, quote, “made profound contributions to the cultural life of our nation.” The legendary Queen Latifah, also known as Dana Owens and Dionne Warwick, the queen of Twitter herself, are among the honorees. And the ceremony will include a 50th anniversary salute to hip hop. We can’t wait to see the cutaway reaction shots to President Biden in the audience when they play Rapper’s Delight. I’m sure it will be a laugh out loud time. [laugh] In a statement, Queen Latifah herself said, quote, “To now be recognized amongst so many multi-hyphenates feels unbelievable, not just for me and my team, but for our community.” And if you’re planning to tune into the ceremony this December, you’re going to have to get on your feet because singer songwriter Gloria Estefan is hosting the 46th annual gala. I’m excited about this, Priyanka. I don’t know about you. 


Priyanka Aribindi: This sounds like a fun one. 


Tre’vell Anderson: See. Yup. You get it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: How do we get tickets to this shindig? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. We got to call up our D.C. friend. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Our friend Juanita? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Juanita, plus three. [laughter]


Tre’vell Anderson: You know? WAD, broadcasting live from Kennedy Center Honors. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I like it. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] And those are the headlines. 




Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Do not do Kitara Ravache a favor and tell your friends to listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just the lyrics to Queen Latifah’s “U-N-I-T-Y”, 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. 


[spoken together] And see you at the evil billionaire cage match. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I am so sorry to Mark Zuckerberg, but I feel like Elon Musk is going to rip this man to shreds and I take no pleasure in saying that. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It’s giving WWE WWF where is stone cold Steve Austin when you need him? [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: 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. Our intern is Ryan Cochran, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.