In This Episode
- GOP Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama finally backed down on Tuesday after single-handedly blocking nearly every single military promotion for almost a year. He released the vast majority of his holds, and shortly afterwards the Senate confirmed the promotions of 440 service members.
- Georgia’s Republican-controlled state senate passed a redrawn Congressional map that preserves the GOP majority among the state’s delegation to the House of Representatives. The map also splits Democratic Representative Lucy McBath’s Congressional district in half to create a new majority-minority congressional district.
- And in headlines: Hundreds of Washington Post staffers will walk off the job for 24 hours on Thursday, SAG-AFTRA members finished voting on the proposed three-year contract between actors and Hollywood studios, and Panera Bread was hit with a second lawsuit that claims that the franchise’s Charged Lemonade drink killed a customer.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, December 6th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What a Day where I am counting down to the finale of Squid game: The Challenge y’all.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, the Netflix reality show wraps tonight. I’m just glad that no one dies. At least no one’s died yet.
Juanita Tolliver: They pretend to when the ink packet bursts in their shirt. And it’s pretty funny, actually, the way some people are flopping to the ground. Like I think a montage of that alone is pure entertainment.
Priyanka Aribindi: Love that. [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, I’ll explain how Georgia Republicans are trying to gerrymander a Black Democrat out of Congress again. Plus, nearly 16,000 people have been killed in Gaza.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, after singlehandedly blocking nearly every single military promotion for almost a year. Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville finally decided to back down yesterday, releasing the vast majority of his holds on Senate votes to confirm their promotions. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s reaction sums it up pretty nicely. Take a listen.
[clip of Chuck Schumer] And one thing I would say, Senator Tuberville, I hope no one does this again. And I hope they learn the lesson of Senator Tuberville, and that is he held out for many, many months, hurt our national security, caused discombobulation to so many military families who have been so dedicated to our country and didn’t get anything that he wanted. It’s a risky strategy that will not succeed. I hope it doesn’t happen again.
Priyanka Aribindi: He got nothing. He stopped short of calling it unserious. But why not add that into the mix.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: Shortly after Tuberville’s announcement, the Senate confirmed the promotions of 440 service members, all of which were delayed by Tuberville in his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Juanita Tolliver: Look, I know Tuberville is not up till 2026, but I need Democrats on it in Alabama.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Juanita Tolliver: One, recruit your slate of candidates, two start investing in them, and three, run all of this footage of Tuberville standing in the way of these military nominations on repeat for the next two years. Please.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Juanita Tolliver: Please.
Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously.
Juanita Tolliver: Give everybody the backstory here.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. So Senator Tuberville is a first term senator who is best known for his role as the former football coach at Auburn University. No background in this lawmaking thing. And uh quite frankly it shows. He has been attempting to protest a Pentagon policy that ensures time off and travel reimbursements for U.S. service members who are seeking abortion care or fertility treatments. If that kind of care isn’t available where they are, in the wake of the overturn of Roe v Wade. There is a Senate tradition where any member can put a hold on a nomination, and that is how he protested. He blocked the Senate from voting to confirm any military appointments or promotions for the past ten months, which has resulted in a backlog of 445 senior military promotions.
Juanita Tolliver: And his timing is just impeccable because we have conflicts emerging around the globe. So–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: What kind of position did that leave our military in?
Priyanka Aribindi: This has prevented the Pentagon, a.k.a. the United States Department of Defense, from being able to fill its top ranks, hire support for their new positions or even move people into the right quarters. So very, very disruptive for ten months, which almost a year. Apparently, he is so anti anybody’s rights to receive abortion care that he was willing to treat military officials like political pawns, which par for the course for today’s Republican Party with pretty much anybody. And the only reason he stepped aside was because, as we reported three weeks ago, the rest of his colleagues came up with a plan that would let them go around the Senate’s rules to confirm these nominees. That is how unpopular his stance has been on both sides of the aisle. Tuberville clearly isn’t in Congress to make friends, not here to make much of a difference either as Schumer said. He has accomplished nothing with respect to that Pentagon policy that he’s been trying to protest. It’s all a mess.
Juanita Tolliver: Did Tuberville say anything more once he announced yesterday he would finally back down?
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, I mean, you might think he would be embarrassed, have regrets, maybe uh shame. Uh. But no. Tuberville said that he has no regrets. Here is what he told reporters yesterday.
[clip of Tommy Tuberville] They didn’t get what they wanted. We didn’t get what we wanted. And, you know, when they when you change the rules, it’s hard to it’s hard to win. And so they changed the NDA rules. We didn’t get to fight for it, to leave it in the Senate. And so just unfortunate the American people didn’t get a voice.
Juanita Tolliver: What a toddler. Oh, my God.
Priyanka Aribindi: If that wasn’t enough, when asked what his message was to the military families who have been harmed by his actions, all he had to say was, quote, “Thank you for your service.” I don’t know about you Juanita, but that is ringing a little bit hollow over here.
Juanita Tolliver: Like 100%. And as the daughter of two Navy veterans, let me just say this. Service members remember who steps in their way. So every military family impacted by this, every person who had their nomination delayed, they vote and they will show up and bring their entire battalions with them because this is ridiculous.
Priyanka Aribindi: Please, please do. I will say it’s not even completely over yet. Tuberville, he agreed to release the promotions for three star nominees and below, which is the majority. But he’s still committing to holding up the process for 11 four star generals, which, as you were noting, these are probably not the people to make enemies of.
Juanita Tolliver: Nope.
Priyanka Aribindi: But the end of his blockade is obviously good news over at the Pentagon, even if it’s incomplete. Officials are urging him to drop these last holds as well. They emphasized everything going on in the world at the moment, as you just were talking about, and why it might not be a good idea to have any uncertainty in the chain of command as of right now. I would have to agree with them.
Juanita Tolliver: Imagine this being your crowning jewel for your time in the Senate. Like, okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s so embarrassing.
Juanita Tolliver: Beyond embarrassing. Like literally are you not embarrassed? [laughing] Like c’mon.
Priyanka Aribindi: And his constituents, are they not?
Juanita Tolliver: Now let’s get to Georgia, where yesterday the Republican controlled state Senate passed a redrawn congressional map that preserves the GOP congressional majority of nine to five among the state’s delegation to the House of Representatives and splits Democratic Representative Lucy McBath’s congressional district in half, to create a new majority minority congressional district. Of course, Georgia Republicans are saying that the map is within the confines of the Voting Rights Act. But what it looks like is yet another map that’s been gerrymandered to the nth degree that disenfranchises voters and will potentially force a Black woman out of her congressional seat.
Priyanka Aribindi: Great. Okay. Same old, same old for the Republicans down in Georgia.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s rewind here. Why are Georgia legislators redrawing their maps right now?
Juanita Tolliver: So the legislators were called back for a special session after a judge threw out their last set of maps in October. U.S. District Judge Steven Jones ruled that Georgia’s congressional, state Senate and state House maps have violated federal law. That’s because they dilute Black voting power. And he mandated that the legislators create Black majorities and one additional congressional district, two additional state Senate districts, and five additional state House districts. Naturally, Georgia Republicans took that as a challenge to carve this map so that they don’t fulfill the judge’s mandates. Just like what we’ve shared about the maps in Alabama in recent months. And Georgia, instead of creating a second majority Black congressional district, they broke apart Representative McBath’s district where no one race makes up a majority. And this is the second redistricting process where McBath’s district has effectively been dissolved.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Seriously, they are targeting her repeatedly, and uh it’s very obvious. So what do you mean exactly when you say dissolved?
Juanita Tolliver: Well, in 2021, when the Republican controlled state house redrew the maps, they were clearly upset that Representative McBath had won a predominantly white district, the same district former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used to represent. And so they redrew it to be more Republican. They also made the neighboring district more Democratic so McBath switched districts and successfully challenged another Democrat for her current seat. So this new map is a second attempt by Republicans to get McBath out of Congress. And it’s beyond blatant at this point. Like you said, Priyanka. Thankfully Democrats and advocates have been calling out Republicans at every step of this process, really emphasizing the systematic discrimination and disenfranchisement at play here.
Priyanka Aribindi: So what happens next with these maps?
Juanita Tolliver: Next, the congressional map will go to the Georgia State house, where it will likely pass before Friday’s deadline. Then all three maps will go back to Judge Jones for review. And this, this is where he could rule that they don’t satisfy his mandates and appoint an expert to redraw all of them. If that’s the case, though, Georgia will have to brace itself for appeals because Republicans are going to fight that tooth and nail. I’m also watching the calendar and all of this because we have 11 months until the 2024 election. And sorting all of this out is going to impact ballots and polling places and voter information. So there’s a lot on the line here.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: Of course, we’ll keep following this closely, but that’s the latest for now.
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: The Israeli military said yesterday that its forces were, quote, “in the heart of Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, and where Israel claims Hamas leaders and fighters are located.” Military officials said that they were in the, quote, “most intense day” since the beginning of its ground offensive. And a representative for the World Health Organization in Gaza told reporters that the situation was getting worse by the hour, saying, quote, “There is intensified bombing going on all around, even here in the southern area. Khan Younis and even in Rafah.” Nearly 16,000 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7th, 70% of whom were women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza. The ministry said that hundreds were killed since the temporary truce came to an end just last week, and many others remain trapped under the rubble. The U.N. said that nearly 80% of the people in Gaza have been displaced as a result of the war. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday during a news conference that the Israeli Defense Forces should retain control of security in Gaza after the war, adding, quote, “No international force can be responsible for that.” Stateside, President Joe Biden yesterday condemned the Hamas militants who reportedly raped and attacked women in Israel on October 7th. Hamas denies those claims. Speaking at a fundraiser in Boston, Biden said, quote, “It’s on all of us. Government, international organizations, civil society and businesses to forcefully condemn the sexual violence of Hamas terrorists without equivocation. Without equivocation, without exception.”
Juanita Tolliver: Hundreds of Washington Post staffers will walk off the job for 24 hours tomorrow, their union announced. Here’s a clip of the video that the Post Guild published on X yesterday:
[clip of Washington post staffers posted on X] We’ve been in contract negotiations for 18 months, and our bosses have refused to bargain in good faith. They have failed to offer us a fair deal that keeps pace with the economy and our competitors. So on Thursday, I’m walking off the job. I am walking off the job. For 24 hours. With hundreds of my Washington Post colleagues.
Juanita Tolliver: Last month, the company announced plans to offer voluntary buyouts to their staff in an effort to cut 240 positions. If not enough staffers accept those buyouts by the end of the year. Management warned that more layoffs are imminent. The guild is fighting back, blaming poor leadership and business decisions for the staff cuts that could be avoided otherwise. This summer, publisher Fred Ryan announced that he was stepping down. And a New York Times investigation found that the Post was set to lose $100 million dollars this year. As a reminder, Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos owns The Post, so make it makes sense. The Guild encouraged readers to refrain from engaging with any of The Post’s content for the duration of their strike tomorrow to avoid crossing the picket line.
Priyanka Aribindi: The Washington Post does really essential work. 240 positions is just unfathomable. So please, please support these staffers as they walk out of a job. Moving now to Tinsel Town, SAG-AFTRA members voted yes yesterday and officially ratified a three year contract between actors and Hollywood studios. This vote ends the longest labor fight in Hollywood’s history. Members started casting ballots last month after the tentative deal brought an end to the 118 day strike. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a message to union members that this quote “marks the dawning of a new era for the industry.” The contract includes a 7% increase in general wages and streaming bonuses, among other things. But there was some opposition to the provisions about, quote, “synthetic performers playing human roles. Consent requirements and the use of performances by members to train A.I. tools.” SAG-AFTRA leaders however defended the terms, saying that the AI safeguards are a starting point and can be built on during future negotiations. This new contract is valid through June 30th, 2026.
Juanita Tolliver: Panera Bread was hit with a second lawsuit on Monday claiming that the franchises Charged lemonade drink killed a customer. Dennis Brown, a 46 year old man from Florida, went into cardiac arrest on his way home from a local Panera after he drank three Charged lemonades back in October. The drink, which was introduced earlier this year, has about 30 teaspoons of sugar.
Priyanka Aribindi: Geez.
Juanita Tolliver: And 390mg of caffeine. Oh, my goodness.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m sorry.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s insane.
Priyanka Aribindi: Crazy.
Juanita Tolliver: And to put it into perspective, the FDA says that it’s dangerous to consume more than 400mg of caffeine in an entire day. Like wow. Off the charts, levels of caffeine here. Brown’s family is suing for wrongful death, and they allege that the restaurant should have known that the drink wasn’t safe for children or people like Brown who have sensitivities to caffeine because of his high blood pressure. Monday’s lawsuit comes just two months after Panera was sued by the family of a 21 year old college student who also died from cardiac arrest just hours after drinking one Charged lemonade. The student, Sara Katz, had a preexisting heart condition and was very mindful of her caffeine intake. But her family claims that she couldn’t have known that the lemonade would be lethal since there were no warnings posted anywhere about its ingredients. Panera said it updated its disclosures about the Charged lemonade’s caffeine levels in its restaurants and on its website after Katz’s death. In response to Monday’s lawsuit, Panera expressed their condolences to the Brown family, but maintained that it, quote, “stands firmly by the safety of its products.” Okay, look.
Priyanka Aribindi: What?
Juanita Tolliver: Two people have passed away.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: From drinking your Charged lemonade. You do not stand by that safety anymore, Panera.
Priyanka Aribindi: Maybe just–
Juanita Tolliver: No.
Priyanka Aribindi: –ditch it.
Juanita Tolliver: If anything it needs to come with a warning label like cigarettes that this could cost you your life.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I’m sorry. Panera Bread. This isn’t even like a stand out thing in the lineup. This is not what I think about from Panera Bread. I think about a bread bowl–
Juanita Tolliver: At all.
Priyanka Aribindi: –personally.
Juanita Tolliver: 100%.
Priyanka Aribindi: Nix it. Get rid of it. Why?
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. I’m I’m confused about why they’re holding on to this so tightly. It is not your number one selling product like it’s–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: –just been introduced. Let it go.
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s also like December. Who wants a lemonade right now, please. None of this is making sense. Just get rid of it.
Juanita Tolliver: You know what also doesn’t make sense? Why Lemonade has any caffeine at all, I had no idea lemonade had caffeine.
Priyanka Aribindi: None of this shit makes sense.
Juanita Tolliver: What?
Priyanka Aribindi: All of these people, grow up and order a coffee or get an energy drink. Like, what are you doing ordering a caffeinated lemonade?
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. This is very strange.
Priyanka Aribindi: Crazy.
Juanita Tolliver: And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads so we can dish about some juicy updates on the scandalous romance that left the world of daytime television in shambles.
Priyanka Aribindi: I cannot wait.
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday WAD squad, and we’re ending with a segment that we like to call what a dish. A segment where we spill some tea, dish some dirt and get into some gag worthy gossip because we love mess here on this program. [laughter] And I mean, talking about celebrity news helps keeps us sane in the midst of everything else happening. And I will add, it’s news. People talk about this stuff, so you should know about it. So when people bring it up, you have things to contribute to the conversation. We’re doing you a favor.
Juanita Tolliver: Water cooler group chats will thank us.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. Oh, yes. From dissecting the TikTok beef between Kelly and Joanna. If you know oh you know. To breaking down BeetlejuiceGate, we are here for all of it. And today we have no choice but to dive back into the saga of Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes. They were the co-hosts of Good Morning America. They were suspended from ABC last year when it was revealed that the two of them were dating, despite being legally married to other people at the time. Juanita’s head is buried in her hands.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m cringing I’m cringing so hard. [laugh]
Priyanka Aribindi: It was a morning show love story. A forbidden love story. Anyways, the couple denied that they were having an affair, saying that they were in the middle of finalizing divorces behind the scenes.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: As one does, I guess.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: Who could forget? But yesterday, the two of them spoke out for the first time since their exit from the network with their new podcast that launched yesterday. It’s called simply Amy and T.J., I cannot believe these people thought they had enough to talk about to launch their own podcast. But here they are. In it they talk about how much they love each other and how hard this past year has been for them after they were, quote unquote “outed” by the tabloids. Our producers were gracious enough to pull some clips from their debut episode, shout out to Raven. You’re a real one for this, Juanita. Are you ready?
Juanita Tolliver: I am bracing myself.
Priyanka Aribindi: I can’t wait.
[clip of T.J. Homes] When we talked about names for this podcast, like one of them we were going to do go with was Scandal Less.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh. [laughter]
[clip of T.J. Homes] Because this was a scandal that wasn’t. Look, a lot of people know. They used to call us brother sister almost.
Juanita Tolliver: What? Oh.
[clip of T.J. Homes] When they would make any kind of joke about what’s going on with you two, [?] we would almost go eew, it’s like my sister. Ugh gross.
[clip of Amy Robach] That is actually true.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my God.
[clip of Amy Robach] I can say that I’ve never been happier. I am with my best friend. I’m not going to get cheesy, I promise. Although that was–
Juanita Tolliver: Too late.
[clip of Amy Robach] –kind of cheesy, so I apologize.
[clip of T.J. Homes] Oh I’ll restart it.
[clip of Amy Robach] Sorry.
Priyanka Aribindi: What?
[clip of Amy Robach] Sorry. Um. But– [laugh]
[clip of T.J. Homes] No go ahead, more cheese. More cheese.
Juanita Tolliver: Eew.
[clip of Amy Robach] Yes. Let’s Velveeta this. Um.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh she said Velveeta.
[clip of T.J. Homes] Bottom line, we have not–
Juanita Tolliver: Eew.
[clip of T.J. Homes] –said this. Um. I’m in love with this woman and she is in love with me. And we are planning a life together.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay, okay, okay. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. You know, I work really hard to mind my business when it comes to random people’s relationships, but once they get past the us against the world stage of this, they’re really not going to like each other. [laugh] And that’s what this podcast is. They really think it’s them against the world.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I got to say, I’ve never felt more lactose intolerant in my life than right now. [laughter]
Juanita Tolliver: Okay. But we also have to talk about how Amy and TJ’s exes are now dating. According to multiple reports, Andrew Shue and Marilee Feibing being the divorcees of this entire saga have reportedly bonded over their shared experiences and kindled a flame. Oh, my God. I hope everybody’s in therapy.
Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, I don’t even care about Amy and T.J. Do your podcast. Whatever. You’re in love, do your thing. The fact that their exes have found love with each other, I don’t know. I’m sure people have a lot of thoughts. I kind of think it’s amazing. I kind of love it for them [laughter] because these two people are bonded over being wronged, being wronged in the most public of fashions.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: By their spouses who fell in love, had the audacity to do it on TV in front of everybody every single morning for however long. And now these two get their happy ending together. I kind of like that for them.
Juanita Tolliver: Well, also, I don’t think there’s any mistake that this podcast dropped and the news about the exes dropped on the same day. This is–
Priyanka Aribindi: No.
Juanita Tolliver: –intentional pay their publicist. [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: It is intentional. I still think it’s the fumble of a century that ABC did not keep them on after the news of this affair. I’m like, what would have gotten higher ratings than watching these two people who have just been outed as dating/everything else on the air.
Juanita Tolliver: Mmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: But anyways, this is the latest tea. The exes are dating. Everyone’s dating and our stomachs hurt, a little bit. A lot a lot a bit. Anyways, surely we will have more drama to dissect in the coming days or weeks. So stay tuned for our next installment of What a Dish. I used to be rooting for love, but then I heard them articulate it in their own words. And now I’m not anymore. Now I’m like eew. [laughter] [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Serve up a good dish, and tell your friends to listen.
Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just avoiding squid game spoilers like me. What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
[spoken together] And there’s no scandal between these hosts.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Juanita Tolliver: I feel like our partners would be so surprised. [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: Are we falling in love on the air right now? Is that what’s going on?
Juanita Tolliver: Hearts hearts to you.
Priyanka Aribindi: Guys. You’re watching this in real time. [laughter] Lucky all of you. [laughter] [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 showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.