In This Episode
- The Supreme Court is in session this week and will hear two cases that could have a big impact. The first will be heard today and could affect our First Amendment right to freedom of religion, including the separation of church and state. The other will be heard on Tuesday and could have major implications for migrants at the Southern border seeking asylum.
- Netflix estimates that 100 million accounts around the world are sharing passwords. The streaming service is considering making users pay more for doing so — which means that if you’re not the one in your family or friend group that actually pays for the shared account, you might have to figure out a new arrangement.
- And in headlines: The war in Ukraine entered its third month, French President Emmanuel Macron beat his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen, and Twitter is banning paid content that denies climate change.
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, April 25th, I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice, and this is What A Day, where our new thing is pressing our noses against the glass at pharmacies and staring at the boosters.
Tre’vell Anderson: You think they’ll accept like an extra $10 to help me out.
Josie Duffy Rice: Maybe I’ll just like make a fake prescription thing that says like “Josie, she’s a doctor, I swear.
Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, French President Emmanuel Macron wins another term in office by beating his far-right challenger, Marine Le Pen. Plus, how Netflix might force you to pay more for sharing your password.
Josie Duffy Rice: But first, this week the Supreme Court is in session. Here’s a little bit of background on two of the cases that could have a big impact. The first will be heard today. That’s Kennedy versus Bremerton School District. It could impact one of the most fundamental American principles: our First Amendment right to freedom of religion, including the separation of church and state.
Tre’vell Anderson: All right, so tell us a little bit about the backstory of this case.
Josie Duffy Rice: So this case is about Joseph Kennedy. He’s a former J.V. football coach at a public high school in Bremerton, Washington, and at the end of every football game, he said a prayer on the 50-yard line. Despite what Kennedy’s extremely well-funded PR machine would have you believe, this prayer was not really a private thing. His players would and he would even invite the opposing teams coach to join sometimes. And one of these coaches complained to school authorities, and a parent of one of Kennedy’s players said that his son felt quote, “compelled to participate” because otherwise he wouldn’t get as much playtime. The school district got involved and tried to accommodate Kennedy, but that was unsuccessful. And then when his contract expired, he claimed he was fired—even though he wasn’t. So long story short, here we are at the Supreme Court.
Tre’vell Anderson: OK, interesting. Now what exactly is the issue the court is considering here?
Josie Duffy Rice: So they’re basically trying to determine whether Kennedy’s action is protected by the First Amendment or prohibited by the First Amendment. Is he expressing his freedom of speech or is he interfering with other people’s freedom of religion? And the fact that he’s a government employee is really relevant here. It’s really the most relevant thing here. But you know, this question is really about more than just this one act in this one setting.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And we have a very conservative Supreme Court right now. So what should we expect from SCOTUS on this?
Josie Duffy Rice: [sigh] SCOTUS. Well, it should be really straightforward—it won’t be, but it should be. The court decided a case much like this one in 2000, and ruled that prayers led by students of high school football games were a violation of the First Amendment because, they quote, “have the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship.” But that was a different court, and this one is solidly in the hands of conservatives, right? So we could absolutely get a different answer this time. And look, perhaps this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right, it’s one coach praying after a game, big deal. But like so many of the cases this term, it’s really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It opens the door to government employees accepting or rejecting rights, rules, laws, that they don’t like because of religion. So even just in the public schools context, right, what could this mean for LGBTQ+ teachers or students? What does it mean for kids of other religions? What does it mean for curriculum standards? All of these things, I think in particular the LGBTQ+ personnel or students, like we see what’s happening right now, right? We know the impact that the right, and the religious right in particular is trying to have on these populations, these marginalized populations. This is part of why we separate church and state, because we know that when you blur the line, it impacts the rights of some of our most vulnerable.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And the folks who are already othered in some sort of way.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right, exactly.
Tre’vell Anderson: OK, but what’s the second case that we should be looking at?
Josie Duffy Rice: So the second one, which the court will hear on Tuesday, is Biden versus Texas. And there are some pretty technical aspects to this one in particular, but here’s a short summary. So in 2018, under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security created a program called the Migrant Protection Program, which—spoiler alert—did not protect migrants.
Tre’vell Anderson: Of course not.
Josie Duffy Rice: It basically required some migrants who traveled through Mexico to apply for asylum at the border to stay in Mexico as they waited for immigration proceedings to begin.
Tre’vell Anderson: Which is part of the reason why Biden tried to terminate the program. It didn’t make sense to have a migrant from, say, Nicaragua, to stay in Mexico, a country they don’t know, and wait things out.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. And often they’re stuck staying in these awful, these cramped, unsanitary quote, “tent encampments” waiting for months or longer until their claim can be heard. I mean, it’s wild, right? But after Texas in Missouri sued Biden for shutting the program down, a Trump-appointed judge in Federal District Court ruled against Biden, and the reasoning in this case is completely bananas. Basically, this judge said that the Migrant Protection Program had to remain in place until the federal government had enough capacity to detain all eligible migrants. So basically, this Trump-appointed judge found that Trump’s policy has to stay in place and that every migrant must be detained, no exceptions.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now, I’m not the most learned person, but something feels off there to me. Is there a legal basis for that, or is this just something that came out of thin air?
Josie Duffy Rice: Well, first of all, I’d just like to say you’re probably more learned than this judge—
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, why thank you.
Tre’vell Anderson: —don’t know him, don’t know his background, but at least spiritually learned. But to answer your question, no, it came from nowhere. This came from the thinnest of air. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not part of the law. And it isn’t feasible. And to be clear, the judge knows it isn’t feasible and that’s why this was part of his ruling, right? So, border Patrol has always released some people. They released some people under Trump as well. Like, this would be a completely unprecedented policy that stems from nowhere. No legislation, no agency. It’s like saying, OK, you can’t charge this person who was arrested with a crime unless you charge everyone who is arrested with a crime. It doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t reflect reality. It’s absurd.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So what do we do now?
Josie Duffy Rice: Well, that’s the trillion dollar question in general. But this week, the court will consider whether Biden has the authority to roll back this program that Trump made up. And as always, it’s not promising, given the court that we currently have, even though this has been what presidents have done for decades, right? One president makes a program, the next president removes it if they don’t agree. That’s how it works. And despite the fact that Homeland Security as an agency has always had plenty of authority to be more cruel when they want, the court could suddenly find that if an agency tries to be slightly more humane or help people seeking asylum, which only happens when there is a quote, “credible fear of returning to one’s home country” that’s suddenly too far. And keep in mind just how political all of this is and the impact one Trump-appointed judge can have on everything. We saw it last week with the flight masks ruling as well. These are really activist judges, and this judge in particular just made up this all-or-nothing rule. They’re not lawmakers, but they’re making some law. So now we’ll see whether the Supreme Court is going to accept that.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, yoy, yoy. It’s not looking good.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not.
Tre’vell Anderson: Moving to some tech news: last week, we mentioned that Netflix announced a loss in subscribers for the first time in a decade. The company lost 200,000 subscribers globally in the first quarter of this year, and the streamer is expecting to lose another two million subscribers by June. As a result, the website The Wrap reported that Netflix pulled the plug on a number of shows, mostly in the original animation department. Netflix is saying a few factors caused this loss in subscribers, including the company’s suspension of service in Russia as a result of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, and increased competition from rival streaming services. Netflix is also blaming some of its poor performance on password sharing. It estimates that 100 million accounts around the world are sharing passwords.
Josie Duffy Rice: That is an enormous number, but as someone who you know, maybe shares passwords—I’m not going to confirm or deny—tell me what this means for the royal “Us,” not necessarily us.
Tre’vell Anderson: The Royal Us. Yes, yes. It means that if you’re not the one in your family or friend group that actually pays for the shared Netflix account, you might have to figure out a new arrangement.
Josie Duffy Rice: Devastating. So over the weekend, we finally got some details about how Netflix might go about limiting password sharing. So can you break the news to us, like gently, as gently as possible to me personally? How might this go down?
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, the good news is nobody’s account is going to get frozen or suspended for password sharing, but it is likely that if you want to continue sharing your account with, say, your mom and sister who live in South Carolina and your two friends who live in New York City while you’re living in Los Angeles, y’all might have to locate a few extra coins to cover a slightly higher bill.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m just going to guess that you have completely made up those particular details of this hypothetical scenario.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, I believe this is where I’m supposed to plead the fifth, and so I’m just going to keep on going and say that Netflix has apparently already been testing a new feature internationally that charges an additional fee for password sharing outside the main account holders address. Users in Peru, Costa Rica, and Chile have been paying the equivalent of around two to three U.S. dollars more a month to be able to create up to two sub-accounts outside their home. Netflix CEO Greg Peters described it this way in a conference call with investors last week:
[clip of Greg Peters] So if you’ve got a sister, let’s say that’s living in a different city, you want to share Netflix with her, that’s great. We’re not trying to shut down that sharing, but we’re going to ask you to pay a bit more to be able to share with her so that she gets the benefit and the value of the service but we also get the revenue associated with that viewing.
Tre’vell Anderson: I should say that none of this is set in stone yet, but the reporting out there is that if Netflix does crack down on password sharing, this might be the model they announce.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m currently in mourning. You mentioned that they also blamed increased competition for the drop in subscribers. So can you say more about that?
Tre’vell Anderson: We know that there are more streamers today than there were even five years ago. So Netflix is not only not the only girl in town, but if, for example, you’re most interested in Disney Channel original movies like “The Cheetah Girls” or “Gotta Kick it UP!”—si se puede there for my fans out there, you might want to go with Disney+ , all right, or HBO Max, if you can bring yourself to still watch the Harry Potter franchise. So the exclusive content on these platforms is super important, and it helps dictate what people are willing to pay for.
Josie Duffy Rice: Number one, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. Remember that?
Tre’vell Anderson: Period.
Josie Duffy Rice: Number two, Encore! A special Disney+, allow me to change y’all’s lives.
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, also, we should know, right, that inflation rolls at its fastest pace in more than 40 years this past month. The cost of housing, food and gasoline is steadily rising across the world. I paid $6 and 45 cents for regular unleaded last week, which is absurd.
Josie Duffy Rice: Stop it!
Tre’vell Anderson: OK. But as a result of all of this, a recent survey by Momentive for CNBC and Acorns says 35% of people here in the U.S. have already cut a monthly subscription to a streamer to save money. So maybe charging people more for password sharing isn’t the right way to go, question mark.
Josie Duffy Rice: I personally cut three subscriptions last week when I found out my husband was out here subscribing to every which way movie channel that I was like, Uh uh, we’re not doing that well.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, everybody’s having to cut back. But what is most interesting to me, though, is that back in 2017, the official Netflix Twitter account actually tweeted, quote, “love is sharing a password.” And now it seems like they’re asking, in the iconic words of Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. Everything was all good.
Tre’vell Anderson: Until it wasn’t.
Josie Duffy Rice: Until it wasn’t.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is the latest for now on Netflix. We’ll be back after some ad.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now, let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: The war in Ukraine entered its third month on Sunday, and yesterday was the first time that top U.S. officials visited the country since Russia invaded. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin went to Kiev to meet with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Meanwhile, an estimated one in six people in Ukraine have been forced to flee their homes since the war began. Yesterday, refugees gathered at churches to celebrate the Orthodox Easter holiday. Many congregated in the western city of Lviv, which has largely escaped the worst of Russia’s invasion, while millions more commemorated the holiday throughout Eastern Europe in places like Poland and Romania. As that happened, Ukraine tried once again for diplomacy talks. The country proposed a special round of negotiations with Russia to discuss humanitarian corridors for civilians and troops still trapped in the southern port city of Mariupol. No escape routes were established, but Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said negotiators would try again today.
Josie Duffy Rice: French President Emmanuel Macron beat his far-right challenger, Marine Le Pen, in the final round of voting yesterday. He will remain in office for a second five-year term. Le Pen conceded last night but told supporters she was celebrating the votes she received. She mustered a projected forty 4105% of the vote, which brought her closer to the French presidency than any other ultraconservative candidate in history. Le Pen and Macron ran against each other back in 2017, when centrist candidate Macron won by a landslide. Le Pen has a history of nationalist and xenophobic beliefs, some of which she inherited from her dad, who once led her far-right party. This is more evidence of how you can’t spell Nazism without nepotism—or maybe you can, but they do rhyme. Not really sure. Anyway, this time, Le Pen campaigned hard on the economy and cost of living issues, which resonated with more voters than her appeals to racism. Macron supporters took to the streets yesterday to celebrate his victory. And this election has a major global impact as well. Macron’s win secures France’s position in the European Union, its support for Ukraine, as well as its close alliance with the United States.
Tre’vell Anderson: Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren made waves yesterday when she called House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy a quote, “liar and traitor” on CNN’s State of the Union. Warren’s comments were in response to the new audio released by the New York Times last week of a phone call between McCarthy and other members of his party that took place just days after the insurrection. In it, you can hear McCarthy say that former President Donald Trump bore some responsibility for the Capitol riots, indicating that behind closed doors, this man has some ability to engage with the real world. McCarthy can also be heard saying that he plans to urge Trump to resign over the matter, which the record will show almost certainly did not happen. The Times’s audio made things pretty awkward after McCarthy first denied reports that he said any of these things, While McCarthy seemingly hasn’t faced any consequences from his party or the former president for his comments, Republican leaders are facing larger scrutiny for their hypocrisy on Trump and the insurrection. In Sunday’s CNN interview, Warren said this:
[clip of Sen. Elizabeth Warren] That is really the illness that pervades the Republican leadership right now, that they say one thing to the American public and something else in private.
Josie Duffy Rice: I love how McCarthy is like, I didn’t say and there was tape. As awkward as it gets. Truth social just became the last safe place to say that icebergs actually enjoy melting because Twitter announced late last week that it is banning paid content that denies climate change. So from now on, advertisements that go against the scientific consensus on global warming, i.e. it’s real and it’s happening, don’t be an idiot, will be removed from the platform. The initiative echoes a role Google implemented last year, which banned ads on YouTube videos that quote, “refer to climate change as a hoax or a scam.” Climate activists have long criticized Twitter and other Big Tech companies for profiting off of ads that misrepresent the dire threat of global warming. It’s enough that they profit off of all of our fears, insecurities, and base desires. But even this mild effort at tamping down on disinformation by Twitter could be at risk, because new reports from over the weekend indicate the company is reconsidering the offer of devout free speech warrior Elon Musk to buy the platform. According to the Wall Street Journal, Twitter representatives met with Musk’s team on Sunday. The move comes after the Tesla CEO said that he had secured $46.5 billion to back his takeover bid last week, meaning he’s willing to pay significantly more than Twitter’s value based on its stock price alone. The company is expected to respond to the bid by Thursday when it reports its first quarter earnings. If Musk buys the company, his stance on quote unquote “censorship” could have major implications for Twitter’s content moderation initiatives. I just want to say, this is the same guy who called a random person in Thailand a pedophile for no reason, told that to all world, named his child #-#-weird other sign that I don’t know what it means ,and is like good friends with Peter Thiel. It’s like a bingo card of worst possible things.
Tre’vell Anderson: But $46.5 billion dollars. Come on now.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, you know, and Twitter was like, This goes against all our values. And then they were like, But $46.5 billion. Which, I’m not going to lie to you Twitter, I get it. If someone has $46.5 billion that they want to give me, I’m also considering my values.
Tre’vell Anderson: Money talks, money talks. You know this.
Josie Duffy Rice: It does. It does. It does. But they’re rich enough they don’t need it. And this is really just the icing on the cake of the world ending, is like Elon Musk takes over everything. Just shitty.
Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, stop letting Twitter profit off your base desires, and tell your friends to listen.
Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading, and not just fact-checked statements about the wants and needs of icebergs like me, What A Day is also a daily newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[together] And roll back the tape, Kevin McCarthy!
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh yes, we heard you, honey.
Josie Duffy Rice: We know what your deal is, and I will be clowning you until the end of time.
Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.