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July 24, 2022
What A Day
Tour de Francis

In This Episode

  • About 71 million Americans live in places that were dangerously hot on Sunday. Temperatures from Texas to Arkansas, from Washington DC to Massachusetts faced temperatures that were so high that they were a public health risk.
  • Pope Francis arrived in Canada on Sunday for what he has called a “pilgrimage of penance” to acknowledge and apologize for the wrongdoing done to Canada’s Indigenous people by the Roman Catholic Church. One of his focuses is the historical abuse that children endured at the country’s residential schools.
  • And in headlines: the WHO declared monkeypox as a “public health emergency of international concern,” the Justice Department is investigating Houston for environmental racism, and Vince McMahon will retire as the CEO of the WWE.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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Transcript

 

Erin Ryan: It’s Monday, July 25th. I’m Erin Ryan.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice, and this is What A Day, where we are still flying high from our panel at Comic-Con where we made a ton of cool announcements about the What A Day cinematic universe.

 

Erin Ryan: That’s right. The WADCU is coming and we saw a ton of great What A Dayt cosplay.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. Send us pics of those cosplay outfits, people.

 

Erin Ryan: I don’t know if my self-esteem could withstand seeing people cosplaying as me.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, the World Health Organization declared that monkeypox is a global health emergency. Plus, the pope is in Canada for a weeklong tour to apologize for the Catholic Church’s historical genocide against indigenous people there.

 

Erin Ryan: But first, it’s still hot. As southern Europe takes a deep breath of slightly cooler air, America is more baked than Maureen Dowd at a dispensary.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I love the reference.

 

Erin Ryan: I feel like it’s a bit of an antique but . . .

 

Josie Duffy Rice: No. Keep it. Keep it going.

 

Erin Ryan: New York Times opinion columnist Maureen Dowd went to Denver right after they legalized weed and ate way too much pot and tripped balls for an entire night and then wrote a column that was like, this is dangerous. And it’s like, No, Maureen, read. Read the labels.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right.

 

Erin Ryan: Anyway, about 71 million Americans live in places that were dangerously hot on Sunday. That means the heat index there hit 103 degrees. Temperatures from Texas to Arkansas, from Washington, D.C. to Massachusetts faced temperatures that were so high that they’re public health risk. Both New York and Boston had triathlon scheduled for Sunday. Boston postponed its race until late August–notoriously cooler month in July.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Everybody loves to do triathlons in August. I don’t know why they didn’t do that to begin with.

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. It’s like I had something athletic planned in July, but let’s wait till it cools off . . . in August. But New York shortened the race to account for the life-threatening heat and have the race go on as scheduled.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, and temperatures today should be just as high and dangerous as many of those places, which is just great news. But, Erin, is there any sign of things cooling down soon?

 

Erin Ryan: Yes. So the good news is that the heat is going to break in the northeast by Tuesday. Oklahomans, however, are not so lucky. After a record-setting July, Oklahoma won’t see any relief until the start of next month. That’s like an entire additional week of temperatures that are extremely, extremely hot.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s unbelievable.

 

Erin Ryan: You want to feel like very, very bad for people, go ahead and look at a weather map of Oklahoma and think about what they’re living under.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not good. It really is not good. Is this more of the work of our mortal enemy, literally, climate change? Or what’s going on here?

 

Erin Ryan: So it’s impossible to say whether an individual heat wave is a result of climate change, but increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves likely is. And speaking of heat, there’s a massive wildfire building near Yosemite National Park in California. 2,000 firefighters are currently battling the Oak Fire that, as of our recording at 9:30 Eastern on Sunday night, officials say has burned over 14,000 acres so far. But given the fact that the fire only started on Friday, it’s almost certainly grown much larger by now. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County, which is west of Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada foothills. This is the largest blaze of 2022’s fire season so far, but not the first to hit the region. Just a couple short weeks ago, the Washburn fire scorched the southern edge of Yosemite. That one is almost 80% contained, and the southern entrance of Yosemite has reopened.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: So what can be done besides keeping our thermostats dutifully at an energy-conserving 78 degrees, drinking lots of water, and absolutely not lighting any outdoor campfires west of the Continental Divide.

 

Erin Ryan: So 60 members of the House of Representatives want President Biden to declare a climate emergency.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That sounds like a lot until you remember there are more than 400 members of the House of Representatives, and then it doesn’t sound like enough, you know?

 

Erin Ryan: Right. 60 is not that many, but I think that what they’re speaking up about is really important.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, definitely.

 

Erin Ryan: A declared national climate emergency is one way Biden could take some action to bolster our clean energy capacity in the absence of climate legislation, which, thanks to Joe “Old King Coal” Manchin, is all but impossible given the Senate we’ve got.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I mean I keep thinking, like, if something bad enough happens, this guy will get on board. But this man is really defying the little optimism I have left.

 

Erin Ryan: Nobody cares less about climate change than old millionaires.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s absolutely true.

 

Erin Ryan: It is the demographic. If we did like a poll and it was like one part of the poll was like, elderly millionaires, they would be the least concerned about this and, yeah, well, they can watch Earth burn from heaven or hell. In our lifetimes we have seen talking about weather go from innocuous light watercooler office talk, to instant gloomy vibe killer. And that’s what’s happening right now.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. You know most of my therapy sessions began with me and my therapist talking about the weather, and not in a small talk way. In a I’m freaking out way.

 

Erin Ryan: So environmental therapy is going to be a real growth industry moving forward.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Truly is. Truly is.

 

Erin Ryan: Climate Therapy.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: We’ll at least build a new industry out of the demise of humans. So there’s not. So another big story to tell you about, Erin: yesterday the pope arrived in Canada for a five-day apology tour. Pope Francis is on what he has called a, quote, “pilgrimage of penance” to acknowledge and apologize for the wrongdoing done to Canada’s indigenous people by the Roman Catholic Church, especially the abuse that children endured at the country’s residential schools. This comes after a public statement made by the Pope in April that he gave at a meeting with indigenous people.

 

Erin Ryan: Okay, look. He gave a statement. He did a meeting. He flew to Canada during a time that is notoriously difficult to fly. What more could people want, really? He’s done the most.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Truly. He’s done all that he can.

 

Erin Ryan: Can you tell us more about the history of these residential schools?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, absolutely. So between 1881 and 1996, more than 150,000 indigenous children were forced to go to these residential schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church. And there were 139 of these schools in total, and for the first 70 years or so, attendance at institutions like these were mandatory for indigenous kids.

 

Erin Ryan: Okay. So even your description of them sounds ominous.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s not good.

 

Erin Ryan: But what was the point of these schools?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: So according to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up to investigate these institutions, there were three main goals–and I promise you Erin, you’re not going to like any of them. Number one, economic assimilation. So basically to make sure that these kids can participate in a, quote, “market-based economy”.

 

Erin Ryan: Ugh.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Which apparently requires them to be separated from their families. The second is political assimilation. And the third, I think, is the real one, right? The commission found that the goal was to make sure that these, quote, “savages” were to emerge as Christian white men.

 

Erin Ryan: Ack!

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s awful. And it basically meant that they hoped that by being forced to go to these schools and separated from their families, these kids would leave behind their indigenous roots and cultural institutions and experience, and just kind of stamp out the history of indigenous culture in Canada.

 

Erin Ryan: Evil is so overconfident. That specific type of evil that like we will convince these children to leave their families and culture behind.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right.

 

Erin Ryan: And then they assume that that will carry forward into future generations, that those people’s children won’t be like, Wait, what the hell!?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Totally. As a parent, it’s hard to imagine anything worse than this almost. Kids were ripped away from their families for at least ten months of the year, but then often for many years in a row without being able to communicate. And they were forced into these horrible environments where corporal punishment and cruelty were constant. Sexual abuse ran rampant. Malnourishment, overcrowding, poor sanitation, poor heat systems, no medical care. Death was like a regular, regular occurrence. At one school, the death rate reached almost 70%.

 

Erin Ryan: Oh, my God.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: This was hell, right? This was, like, complete hell.

 

Erin Ryan: Oh, my God. And, Okay, speaking of deaths–what a terrible segue–but speaking of deaths, in recent years, unmarked graves of over a 1,000 children from those schools have been discovered. Can you tell us a little more about that?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So according to The New York Times last June, quote, “The remains of 751 people, mainly indigenous children, were discovered at the site of a former school.” This was in Saskatchewan. I mean, 751 people, mainly kids! It’s sickening. And so that’s in addition to the discovery of hundreds of other people’s remains at some of these institutions. And the commission that I mentioned earlier, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had estimated about 4,100 children had disappeared, likely died. But recently, the former head of that same commission says he now believes the number is at least 10,000.

 

Erin Ryan: Wow.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Just God, it’s really hard to imagine.

 

Erin Ryan: Okay. So what was the role of the Catholic Church in those schools?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, they ran many of the schools. Of the ones open at the program’s peak, which was around 1930, they ran more than half of them. The others were run by other Christian institutions. So the Catholic Church and other Christian churches perpetuated a lot of this abuse. And, you know, the Catholic Church’s willingness to abuse children and cover it up, it’s not the first time. Right? Like this is a feature, not a bug at this point.

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. I mean, I was raised Catholic, I was confirmed. And the institutional support and protection of abusers is why I left the church.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right, right.

 

Erin Ryan: So why is the pope finally visiting Canada now?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, this is really been a long time coming. I mean, one could say it’s been 150 years coming. Right? But even just in recent history, five years ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Pope Francis for an actual public apology, instead of the, quote, “expression of sorrow” that the previous pope, Pope Benedict, had issued. And last year, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops finally apologized formally saying, quote, “We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community–physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual.” And then in April, the pope said, quote, “I also feel shame, sorrow and shame, for the role that a number of Catholics, particularly those with educational responsibilities, have had in all these things that wounded you, and the abuses you suffered and the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture, and even your spiritual values.” So he said that while talking to some indigenous groups, you know, at the Vatican, but there have been calls for the pope to actually show up and apologize in person, which is what he’s doing now. Which is good. I mean, this is five years after Trudeau requested it. It’s obviously many years after other groups have been asking for this kind of apology. And so it’s good to see him show up, but it can’t actually change what these kids endured for a century plus, you know? And families! It’s just truly unimaginable. The pope’s tour of Canada will continue through Friday, so we’ll keep you updated on what happens and the reaction to him by indigenous people, but that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads.

 

[ad break]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines.

 

[sung] Headlines.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: The World Health Organization officially declared monkeypox as a, quote, “public health emergency of international concern” over the weekend. This is basically just officials’ way of saying, Take the shit seriously. This is only the seventh time in history that the WHO has invoked the warning for a disease. The last time they did was, of course, for the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 16,000 cases and five deaths have been documented worldwide. And according to a statement from the organization’s director, all continents are at moderate risk for the virus, except for Europe, where it’s much higher.

 

Erin Ryan: Okay. Yeah. Not feeling great about that. .

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, when the government tells people to take diseases seriously, we know that they listen. So this should go great.

 

Erin Ryan: Right, I fear in addition to pandemic, that we’re about to see a bunch of like red state raves–sweaty, close quarters, people talking really close to each other. Do not want, do not want, do not want.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true.

 

Erin Ryan: Authorities filed a federal assault charge on Saturday against the man who tried to stab New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin. This happened during a campaign speech last Thursday by the Republican nominee when the man climbed up on stage and tried to attack Zeldin before being subdued. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the scuffle. As for motive, the criminal complaint said the man admitted to drinking whiskey that day and said he, quote, “must have checked out” before he walked on stage to ask if Zeldin disrespected veterans. Zeldin blamed the attack on bail reform, which is demonstrably false.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I got to say, prayers up for his public defender upon hearing, “I must have checked out.”

 

Erin Ryan: “I must have checked out”–bad excuse.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, not great. Ex-Trump adviser and human bee sting, Steve Bannon, was convicted of contempt of Congress on Friday for refusing to cooperate with the January 6th committee.

 

Erin Ryan: I feel like we need a sound effect for every time there’s a new Steve Bannon insult. Human bee sting.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Human bee sting.

 

Erin Ryan: It’s a new one.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s new. It’s perfect.

 

Erin Ryan: It’s beautiful.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It works.

 

Erin Ryan: it’s beautiful.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. I got to agree. He was convicted of contempt of Congress on Friday for refusing to cooperate with the January 6th committee. The jury in Bannon’s case took less than 3 hours to find him guilty of two misdemeanors for ignoring the committee’s subpoena. And Bannon could face anywhere between 30 days and one year of jail time for each charge. He’ll be sentenced later this fall. In other January 6th news, Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, could be next in line for a subpoena. If you recall, Ginni was discovered to be texting buddies with former Trump White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows, and in their messages, she pressured him to help overturn the 2020 election results. Here’s committee chair Liz Cheney on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday, discussing the possibility:

 

[clip of Rep. Liz Cheney] The committee is engaged with her counsel. We certainly hope that she will agree to come in voluntarily, but the committee is fully prepared to contemplate a subpoena if she does not.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Somehow I don’t think Ginni Thomas is going to come in voluntarily. That’s just my instinct. Cheney also says that she and her colleagues have several interviews ahead of them with similar witnesses, including more former members of Trump’s cabinet.

 

Erin Ryan: I mean, Steve Bannon just got convicted of contempt of Congress.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, let’s hope that Jenny Thomas’ case doesn’t go to the Supreme Court.

 

Erin Ryan: Do you think Thomas will recuse himself for that one?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I think he would recuse himself, but I think his other little BFFs would figure something out. I got to say, it’s probably awkward to convict your colleague’s wife. The bottom line here is that Clarence Thomas should have made better decisions with his love life, in many ways.

 

Erin Ryan: In many, many ways. The Justice Department announced on Friday that it’s investigating the city of Houston, Texas, for environmental racism after hearing hundreds of complaints from its Black and Latino residents. These residents claim that the city has been illegally dumping overwhelming amounts of garbage onto their doorsteps, and that they’ve seen everything from old furniture to medical waste to dead bodies near their homes. The investigation is part of the White House’s effort to address the disproportionate rate at which people of color are exposed to harmful pollutants. And the case is likely to be one of the department’s most ambitious environmental justice probes in recent years. Investigators will determine whether Houston officials discriminated against their Black and Latino residents by ignoring their reports of environmental violations and by allowing a majority of the city’s landfills to operate so close to their neighborhoods for decades.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: In a major body slam to wrestling fans worldwide, Vince McMahon announced last Friday that he’s retiring as the CEO of the WWE. McMahon turns 77 soon. That is likely not a factor in this, quote, unquote “retirement” though–he is currently embroiled in a series of sexual misconduct scandals. McMahon has reportedly paid out $12 million in hush money to four different women over 16 years–16 years–including a $3 million payment to a former WWE paralegal and a $7.5 million payment to a female wrestler who alleged he coerced into performing oral sex. Don’t feel too bad for Vince, though–his daughter is one of the new co-CEOs of WWE, and he’ll remain the company’s majority shareholder. So even though he’s not the face of the company anymore, he still gets to enjoy the profits. The WWE had a record revenue last year, over $1.1 billion. And again, he’s the majority shareholder. No word yet on if McMahon will continue to oil up his weird old-guy muscles after he has left the ring.

 

Erin Ryan: Wow. Roger Ailes vibes.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.

 

Erin Ryan: He’s in charge of something fake. He’s in charge of something that is played up for the audience.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, it’s true.

 

Erin Ryan: He is doing harassment.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: They have a lot in common.

 

Erin Ryan: Really. I mean, I would respect the WWE as a news source more than I would respect like primetime Fox commentary.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That’s true. It’s true.

 

Erin Ryan: To be honest.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I feel like there might be a little bit easier to work with.

 

Erin Ryan: Right. Like you can verify with video that one wrestler hit the other with a chair. The insinuations that Tucker Carlson makes, not so much. Google co-founder and only the eighth richest man in the world, Sergei Brin’s marriage crumbled earlier this year, in part because of an alleged affair between his wife, Nicole Shanahan, and Elon Musk, according to The Wall Street Journal. That’s right, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, believes you should keep your enemies close and your friends’ wives even closer. The alleged affair happened in December, the same month that Musk welcomed twins with Neuralink executive Shivon Zilis, and a month after welcoming his second child with ex, Grimes. At a party earlier this year, Musk dropped to his knees to beg forgiveness from his friend, but like a lot of Elon’s great ideas, the apology didn’t work. And insiders say they’re still not speaking. In recent years, Musk has become the Nick Cannon of tech, siring many children with different mothers, and has stated that more kids with Grimes are still a possibility. Naturally, all of this baby-making has prompted Musk to recently become a Republican, assuming the Family Values Party means that it’s for people with giant families who still like to party. Ugh.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s so gross.

 

Erin Ryan: Why are people having sex with Elon Musk?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: This man brings chaos everywhere he goes.

 

Erin Ryan: There are hotter billionaires.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: True.

 

Erin Ryan: If you are a lady who would like to have a baby, with a billionaire, you want your kids to be cute. Pick a cuter billionaire.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: We will find you one that’s better than Elon Musk.

 

Erin Ryan: Don’t sleep with Elon Musk! And those are the headlines. One more thing before we go: Crooked’s got a new pod you need to check out, “Another Russia.” It tells the story of Putin’s number one public enemy, Boris Nemtsov. In 2015, he was assassinated in front of the Kremlin.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: In Another Russia, Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna, tells her father story, and along with co-host Ben Rhodes, they find out what happened to an entire country. The first episode is out today, so listen, wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Erin Ryan: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, help Smokey Bear prevent forest fires, and tell your friends to listen.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading, and not just texting with Ginni Thomas like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.

 

Erin Ryan: I’m Erin Ryan.

 

[together] And please stop having kids with Elon Musk!

 

Erin Ryan:  Ugh. I cannot reiterate that enough. Don’t do it.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Maybe the answer here is that we set Jenny Thomas up with Elon Musk.

 

Erin Ryan: Apologize for putting that evil on the world.

 

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, with help today from Nick Turner, and our executive producer is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.