Baltimore Mourns Victims of the Bridge Collapse | Crooked Media
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March 27, 2024
What A Day
Baltimore Mourns Victims of the Bridge Collapse

In This Episode

  • Democrats scored a surprise landslide win on Tuesday when Marilyn Lands prevailed in a special election for an Alabama State House seat previously held by a Republican. Lands made abortion rights and access to IVF central to her campaign. Democrats hope Lands’ win is more evidence that abortion access and reproductive rights remain potent issues for voters heading into the November election.
  • Divers on Wednesday recovered the remains of two victims from the wreckage of the Baltimore bridge that collapsed earlier this week. The Francis Scott Key Bridge crumbled after it was struck by a shipping container that had lost power. At least six people — all immigrants — are presumed dead. They were filling potholes on the bridge at the time of the collapse.
  • And in headlines: Former senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman died on Tuesday at the age of 82, a federal appeals court continued its hold on a draconian Texas immigration law, and the three white Georgia men who killed Ahmaud Arbery asked a federal appeals court to overturn their hate crime convictions.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Thursday, March 28th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What a Day, the pod that can’t wait to get ahold of Doctor Jill Biden’s upcoming children’s book about Willow, the White House cat. 


Tre’vell Anderson: We hear Willow says that former White House dog Major was a real bitch. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, this is Willow’s tell-all, and we are here for it. [laugh] [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, the recovery efforts continue after the bridge collapse in Baltimore, where authorities have recovered the bodies of two victims. Plus, Ronna McDaniel might be out at NBC, but she also might cash in and get paid in full. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, a surprise win for Democrats in Alabama. On Tuesday, Democrat Marilyn Lands won a special election for an Alabama State House seat by a landslide after making abortion rights and IVF access central to her campaign and sharing her own heartbreaking abortion story in the process. 


Tre’vell Anderson: This is what I want to see, more wins. Okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Like this in conservative places like Alabama. Tell us more about Lands and this unexpected victory. 


Priyanka Aribindi: So Lands is a licensed mental health counselor, and she beat her Republican opponent, Teddy Powell, by 25 percentage points in their swing district. That is an absolutely massive margin by any standard, but especially when you consider that this is Alabama. This district has long been held by Republicans, and that Lands herself lost by seven points in this same district just two years ago. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Now, this doesn’t change control of the Alabama State House. Republicans still have the overwhelming majority there, but this is still a big win for Lands and her district, and one that she believes is the start of many more to come in the state. And of course, speaking of the context of this taking place in Alabama cannot be ignored. Alabama has now banned abortion at every stage of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape and incest. And just last month, the state Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos had the same rights as people, which completely threw a wrench into IVF treatments all around the state. Lands is unapologetic about wanting to change the law. Take a listen to her speaking to WHNT News 19 in Alabama after her win. 


[clip of Marilyn Lands] Well, I am so excited to get down to Montgomery and I think this is a giant step forward for Alabama. I think it’s a victory tonight for women, for families, for Alabama in general. I want to get down there and repeal the bad ban on no exceptions abortion. I want to protect IVF and contraception, but I also want to be a champion for health care, mental health care, but health care in general. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I love this. This is yet another encouraging win for Democrats related to reproductive rights and abortion, since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in 2022. Put this win into larger context for us. 


Priyanka Aribindi: This was a relatively small election of just 6000 votes in a suburban district of Alabama. That is the very necessary disclaimer here, but it does add to the growing list of election and ballot measure wins for abortion rights all over the country since the fall of Roe. In red states, blue states, everywhere, every single time that this has been on the ballot, it has won. And as Republicans continue to insist on denying people their rights, this has remained top of mind for so many voters. In fact, according to a poll by the nonprofit health organization KFF from earlier this month, about one in eight voters now say that abortion is the most important issue for them in the coming elections. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And we’ve seen people show up, right, demonstrating that. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. This November will be the first post-Roe presidential election. And on one hand, you have President Biden, who has made abortion and reproductive rights central to his campaign to remain in the White House. And on the other, you have Trump, who has repeatedly bragged about killing Roe and has suggested that he would support a nationwide 15 week abortion ban. Of course, there are a lot of other issues that are out there that motivate voters, certainly between these two candidates in particular. But when it comes to this one in particular, this is just another piece of evidence that voters care very deeply about reproductive freedoms, and they bring that with them to the ballot box. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Thanks for that, Priyanka. Now let’s turn to an update on the bridge in Baltimore that collapsed Tuesday morning. It’s an international tragedy, as we now know that the six victims who died were immigrants from four different countries. They were all construction workers filling potholes on the bridge at the time of the collapse. 


Priyanka Aribindi: This is obviously still a developing situation, but what more do we know about the lives that were lost. 


Tre’vell Anderson: At the time of our recording the identities of the victims were still being confirmed, but they include Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, who was a 38 year old father of two originally from Honduras. He’d lived in the US for the last 18 years, and in addition to being a construction worker, he had his own maintenance company. Miguel Luna was an El Salvadorian immigrant who’d been in the U.S. for 19 years, he was a father of three. And Dorlian Castillo Cabrera was from Guatemala. His cousin Marlon told CNN that Dorlian, who was 26, came to the U.S. to follow his dream and help his mother. As of now, only the bodies of Cabrera and a fourth victim, 35 year old Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, have been recovered from the site. Here’s Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Roland L. Butler Jr. at a press conference yesterday. 


[clip of Roland L. Butler Jr.] At this point, based upon the conditions, we’re now moving from a recovery mode to a salvage operation. Because of the superstructure surrounding the vehicle, what we believe are the vehicles and the amount of concrete and debris. Divers are no longer able to safely navigate or operate around that. We have exhausted all search efforts in the areas around this wreckage. And based on sonar scans, we firmly believe that the vehicles are encased in the superstructure and concrete that we tragically saw come down. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We mentioned on yesterday’s show that the collapse of this bridge will likely have an impact beyond Baltimore itself, even potentially on the East Coast supply chain. What are elected officials saying about not only this investigation, but about what people can expect as we move forward? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Officials have been out and about trying to help the public understand what exactly happened. Basically, the really big container ship that crashed was 985ft long, and it was carrying 100,000 tons of cargo. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. 


Tre’vell Anderson: 764 tons of that cargo contained corrosive materials, according to the National Transportation Safety Board officials yesterday. Some of the hazmat containers were breached. Early Tuesday morning, that boat lost power and crashed into one of the bridge’s main support beams, and that sent the bridge in almost an instant tumbling into the Patapsco River. Here’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at a press conference yesterday talking about the collapse’s impact. 


[clip of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg] We are concerned about the local economic impact, with some 8000 jobs directly associated with port activities, and we are concerned about implications that will ripple out beyond the immediate region because of the port’s role in our supply chains. This is an important port for both imports and exports. And it’s America’s largest vehicle handling port, which is important not only for car imports and exports, but also for farm equipment. No matter how quickly the channel can be reopened, we know that it can’t happen overnight. And so we’re going to have to manage the impacts in the meantime. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Obviously, it is too soon for there to be a timeline for that reopening and rebuilding effort you just heard there, but we will keep everyone updated on any more developments. That’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Joe Lieberman, the former Connecticut senator and vice presidential candidate, died yesterday. He was 82 years old. Lieberman’s family said in a statement that he died after complications from a recent fall. He was an avowed centrist and a constant thorn for Democrats in his later years. He was best known as Democrat Al Gore’s running mate in the 2000 presidential election. Lieberman was first elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1988, but in 2006 he was forced to run for reelection as an independent after losing the bid for the Democratic nomination over his very vocal support for the war in Iraq. Lieberman also backed Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election over Democrat Barack Obama, and most recently he served as co-chair of the centrist political group No Labels, which is looking to field a third party candidate in this year’s presidential election. 


Tre’vell Anderson: A panel of federal appeals court judges on Tuesday continued it’s hold on Texas’s draconian and racist immigration law. If it was in effect, SB four would allow Texas law enforcement officials to arrest and detain anyone they suspect of illegally crossing the Mexican border. It would also allow state judges to issue deportation orders. Another hearing on the law is scheduled at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for next week. 


Priyanka Aribindi: A new poll from Gallup shows that the majority of Americans disapprove of Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip. The poll shows that 55% of people in the U.S. oppose Israel’s military operations in the region, regardless of how closely they’re following the conflict. That’s a ten point increase from November around the start of the war. More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israeli forces first launched their offensive in October. The UN says that half the population of Gaza, around one million people, is now on the brink of famine. 


Tre’vell Anderson: The three white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was out jogging in Georgia in 2020, are asking a federal appeals court to overturn their hate crime convictions because they swear they aren’t racist. An appellate court heard arguments from lawyers representing Greg and Travis McMichael, along with William Bryan. The three men were found guilty of murder in state court in 2021, and later convicted of a hate crime in federal court in 2022. In that federal hate crime case, prosecutors brought up several text messages and social media posts that showed all three men using the N-word and promoting violence against Black people. Now, lawyers for the three men say that even though their clients did say racist stuff in the past, it does not prove that they were targeting Arbery because of his race. Travis McMichael’s lawyer said in court yesterday that the three men just thought that Arbery was a fleeing criminal running through their neighborhood. Even if an appeals court were to overturn any of the trio’s federal hate crime convictions, none of them would get out of jail. The three men were sentenced to life in prison for murder in Georgia, though each has filed motions for a new state trial. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel may have lasted less than a week at her job as a paid analyst at NBC, but she expects to be paid out for her entire contract, that is according to Politico. The outlet, citing an unnamed source close to McDaniel, said that she was supposed to be paid $600,000 over two years. But McDaniel made just one appearance on this past Sunday’s Meet the Press. The network canned her two days later, amid an on air revolt from the NBC and MSNBC hosts. Politico had this chef’s kiss of an analysis. McDaniel’s single, not quite 20 minute long interview on Sunday could cost NBC more than $30,000 per minute, or $500 per second. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Politico also reports that while McDaniel is talking to a lawyer to figure out how to get that cash, she is exploring potential defamation and hostile work environment claims against the network. NBC declined to comment on Politico’s story, and McDaniel hasn’t commented publicly since she was let go on Tuesday. 


Tre’vell Anderson: If they end up having to pay this woman, you know what? They deserve it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: You and I will be on the job hunt for a job that we too could appear at for four days and then get fired and then get paid 600 grand. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, these people continue to fail upwards, okay, I don’t understand. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And just once, I would like to fail upwards, please. It’s all I ask. And those are the headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: If you’re currently tuning in to this episode on Google Play, listen up. Starting next week, the Google Play app will no longer be in use. Make sure to save What a Day on your next favorite podcast platform so you never miss an episode. New episodes are out every weekday, including a new series called How We Got Here, out every Saturday. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Hope it was worth it NBC, and tell your friends to listen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just Willow the Cat’s audiobook, read by Michelle Williams like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


[spoken together] And give us $600,000. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m worth it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I have um, a number of things I would do with that. They’d all be fun. So I feel like why not? What’s the worst that could happen? I’m stimulating the economy. [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We had production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters and Julia Claire, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Adriene Hill is our executive producer. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.