Common Threads | Crooked Media
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July 06, 2023
What A Day
Common Threads

In This Episode

  • On Thursday, a Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Lviv killed at least six people and injured at least 36 more. Plus, the Biden administration is expected to announce plans to send controversial cluster munitions to Ukraine.
  • Meta officially launched Threads on Wednesday, a new app and Twitter rival that gained millions of users overnight. Lawyers for Twitter have already threatened legal action against Meta, accusing the company of engaging in “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets.”
  • And in headlines: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is visiting China until July 9th to meet with top Chinese officials, OceanGate has suspended all operations, and the FDA gave full approval to an Alzheimer’s drug that is shown to slow the progression of the disease.


Show Notes:



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Juanita Tolliver: It’s Friday, July 7th. I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day where we have questions for the tourist who allegedly had no idea that the Colosseum in Rome was so ancient. 


Juanita Tolliver: What an absolute clown like–


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m side eyeing, bombastic side eye. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t really think that this is getting you out of the legal repercussions but cute letter, I guess. 


Juanita Tolliver: Criminally offensive side eye like [?]. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously. [laughter] [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show the company behind the submersible that imploded on its way to the Titanic wreckage has suspended all operations. You know it took them a while to figure out that’s the move to make. Plus, the FDA gave full approval to an Alzheimer’s drug that is shown to slow the progression of the disease. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, we have a few new developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 


Juanita Tolliver: Okay. I’m bracing myself for the worst. Tell us what’s going on. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So on Thursday, a Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Lviv killed at least six people and injured at least 36 more. According to Ukrainian officials, the night attack was the heaviest attack on civilian areas in Lviv since the start of the invasion last year. Throughout this conflict, Russia has made a habit of hitting civilian areas, which, you know, very much a war crime for those of us keeping track at home despite claiming that they only go for military targets. Lviv is also in western Ukraine, so not really on the frontlines of the fighting at all, but still very much in reach of Moscow’s missiles. According to the Ukrainian military, Russia fired ten cruise missiles from carriers and submarines in the Black Sea. Seven were intercepted, but the remaining three resulted in these casualties. In addition to the deaths and injuries, the attack damaged over 50 apartments in the area. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky promised a strong response to the enemy. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh these strikes are 100% intentional and 100% a war crime, just like you said. I know there’s also some new developments in terms of U.S. involvement in the conflict. So what are we doing now? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So on Friday, the Biden administration will announce that they will be supplying Ukraine with highly controversial cluster munitions. This is a move that is opposed by human rights groups. Cluster munitions were actually banned back in 2008 by over 120 countries, though notably, those do not include the United States, Ukraine or Russia. So for those of you who are not familiar, cluster munitions are their own class of projectile weapons that are designed to break apart midair and spread over large areas. They’re supposed to explode when they hit the ground. But they have historically had very high rates of failure so they can hit the ground and remain intact, only to explode years after the fact. They have led to tens of thousands of civilian deaths around the world, along with killing several U.S. service members. The inability to really control where they go and whether or not they will harm civilians is why so many of these countries have banned this kind of weapon. People in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Balkans and, of course, Laos continue to suffer from the remnants of cluster munitions that were used years ago in their countries. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s truly giving Tony Stark and Stark Industries in the worst way, like why is this real life and why is the U.S. government giving Ukraine these weapons? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, the U.S. government position has changed a lot over the past few months. They were previously very hesitant for these reasons. Ukraine has been saying that these would help in their counter offensive against Russian troops. Their forces are outnumbered by the Russian military, who has had months to prepare their lines of defense. I also will add that Russia has been making extensive use of their own cluster munitions since the start of the invasion against Ukraine. And according to U.S. officials, the Pentagon has now determined that these weapons could be especially helpful against dug in Russian positions on the battlefield. Ukraine has also said that because the fighting is in its own territory, they won’t be deploying these weapons recklessly. So, you know, maybe something good there, but still very, very dangerous, not something that the rest of the world is looking at happily at all. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, I’m like, please don’t like there’s no need to harm civilians further as Russia is already targeting them. So let’s go a different direction. But what else do we need to know about the conflict right now? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So last but not least, we have more information on the whereabouts of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Mercenary group and their failed uprising against Russia’s military a few weeks back. So less than two weeks after the attempted coup, Prigozhin is actually supposedly back in Russia, which is absolutely wild. That is according to Belarus’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, who was the one who negotiated the end of the uprising last month between Prigozhin and Putin and is the one who’s supposed to be like housing Prigozhin in Belarus. The whole thing brings up questions about the supposedly brokered amnesty deal between them. The terms very much included Prigozhin being exiled to Belarus. So, you know, if he is not in Belarus and he is in St Petersburg, as Lukashenko says. Unclear what happens to this amnesty agreement and uh what goes on between Putin and the Wagner Group or Putin and Prigozhin now. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like I’m just going to say it. I feel like this can only go one of two ways. Either he’s taking control of the Kremlin or he’s about to meet his maker. Either way– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s giving yikes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Uh. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Big time. 


Juanita Tolliver: So there you go. Now, in an extremely hard pivot, the tech girlies are fighting y’all and it’s getting messier by the day. Okay, be honest, raise your hand if you downloaded Threads. So I know at least one of our producers, Raven is team threads, but no lie. I won’t be using it until they get a desktop version because I am who I am damn it. Okay like, leave me be. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Don’t judge me. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m with you. [laughter] I am with you. 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, Threads a.k.a. Meta’s Twitter a.k.a The Twitter Killer [laugh] is the latest social media rival to come on the scene as it launched Wednesday night. And it’s already got more than 30 million users. That’s beyond impressive within the first 16 hours of launching. And Mark Zuckerberg marked the occasion by posting quote, “feels like the beginning of something special. But we’ve got a lot of work ahead to build out the app.” And he’s not exaggerating. Currently, the Instagram linked app is giving bare bones as there is no DM-ing, no search and no hashtag features and no feed of posts by people whom users actually follow. There’s only a feed of posts recommended by the app, which feels like one of the most problematic features of Twitter. No? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I got to say, that is uh one of the worst parts, if not the worst of using Twitter right now. But this is pretty crazy. You know, they’ve rolled this out, 30 million users in one day is not even one day, 16 hours is bananas. So what is Twitter saying in response to, like this new rival just seemingly emerging out of nowhere? 


Juanita Tolliver: Let’s just say Elon Musk and his crew are fuming like the jilted contestants on Love Island. Like imagine. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Mugged the hell off. Yes, they did. 


Juanita Tolliver: They are mugs. They are truly mugs. And they’re already throwing around the possibility of a lawsuit. This is in addition to the fact that Musk has previously challenged Zuckerberg to a cage match. Let’s just pause on that extremely awkward visual, like two of the most uncoordinated people in the universe. Like what? No thanks. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’ll never be over it. I will never be over it. 


Juanita Tolliver: All right, now back to the lawsuit. According to Semafor, Twitter’s legal team sent Zuckerberg a letter hours after Threads launched, accusing Mata of engaging in, quote, “systematic, willful and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets” and of hiring dozens of former Twitter employees who, quote, “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information.” The gag is that Musk fired these employees in the first place and then proceeded to actively run Twitter into the ground since he bought it. Remember the paid subscriptions, the check mark drama, the end of content moderation as we know it. And even just days before Threads was launched, Twitter rolled out its limited tweet views plan unless users pay a monthly fee. Like how can Elon be mad at all when he singlehandedly made Twitter exponentially worse at warp speed? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously. 


Juanita Tolliver: He’s clearly more scared than mad though, because one, you don’t throw around losses for no reason. And two, as one CBS analyst put it, quote, “If only one in ten Instagram users tries using Threads, it’s overtaking Twitter in the blink of an eye.” Like, let that sink in. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Wow. This scale, when you put it like that, is really something to behold. So, I mean, he’s got a big problem. Not that he didn’t have big problems on his hand already. You outlined– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: All the ways– 


Juanita Tolliver: That part. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –that he has just like willfully run this company into the ground. But Threads isn’t even the only Twitter competitor. You know, there are some other apps out there, some of which we have mentioned on the show, none of which I have personally tried, because I’m just not an early adopter like that. I know myself. 


Juanita Tolliver: Bless. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s not me. 


Juanita Tolliver: Bless. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But can you tell us a little bit about some of the other apps in development if we are out here looking for alternatives? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, this is the part where I love open markets because there could be some social media apps in the works that actually create safe spaces online. At least that’s what Spill, an app developed by Alphonzo Terrell and DeVaris Brown, two former Twitter employees states as it’s value proposition. Spill is geared towards Black people, queer people and other marginalized communities. And it’s already been dubbed the new Black Twitter. I mean, I give them extra points for the name and the teacup emojis because the tea is being spilled on this site. [laugh] In addition, Mastodon by Jack Dorsey, Hive Social and Blue Sky are other social media platforms in the mix. So at this point we can all choose our own adventure. Naturally, I’ll wait for you all to tell me which one is actually worth creating an account for. So email us your thoughts at because I trust you to lead me to the right app, right? There’s a lot of trust in this relationship. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We’re old as hell for that. For being like email us. You can’t contact us on any of these social platforms. 


Juanita Tolliver: Hold on, hold on.


Priyanka Aribindi: I guess– 


Juanita Tolliver: Extra points if you send us a screenshot so that we can preview what the app looks like. [laughing] 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, please a little bit of that. Yeah. Sorry, you can’t tweet us. Maybe you can Instagram DM us but is that giving Threads a leg up if we’re already on the platform? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Unclear. I don’t know. We want to hear your take, so please let us know. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. And we’ll definitely keep you posted about any scheduled cage matches and Elon Musk’s next legal moves. But that’s the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Juanita Tolliver: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is visiting China until July 9th to meet with top Chinese officials. This weekend marks her first visit to China as treasury secretary and she’s scheduled to meet with Premier Li Qiang, former vice premier Liu He and former governor of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan. During her visit, Yellen is expected to discuss national security and achieving a healthy economic relationship between the two countries. Yellen’s trip to China is part of a larger U.S. effort to reduce current tensions with China, and comes just weeks after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Xi Jinping in Beijing. U.S. officials said they don’t expect any policy breakthroughs this weekend, but they do hope for, quote, “frank and productive conversations that will help lay the groundwork for future communication.” Diplomacy translation that really means no rocking the boat. No crisis should come from this visit. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, they are knocking on wood and they are keeping their fingers crossed and so should all of us. [laughter] The company behind the submersible that imploded on its way to the Titanic wreckage, Ocean Gate has suspended all operations. The company made the announcement via a brief line at the top of its website, and above footage of previous Titanic expeditions, which they should probably take off the Internet. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Why are you doing that? The statement comes after the Coast Guard last week said that presumed human remains from the wreckage had been recovered and returned to land. As you’ll recall, the submersible set off to explore the Titanic wreckage last month, but lost contact with the surface less than 2 hours after descending, leading to an around the clock search for the missing vessel. The search came to a tragic end when days later, debris from the submersible was found on the seafloor, suggesting that the vessel had imploded, killing all five people on board. Among those on board was the submersible’s pilot and chief executive of Ocean Gate Stockton Rush, as well as British businessman Hamish Harding, French maritime expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Pakistani British businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19 year old son Suleman.


Juanita Tolliver: Walt Nauta, former President Donald Trump’s aide pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that he helped Trump hide classified documents from federal authorities at Mar-a-Lago. Along with Trump, Nauta was indicted and charged with five criminal charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and withholding or concealing documents. The 49 page federal indictment claims that Trump directed Nauta to move boxes containing classified documents from the storage room at Mar-a-Lago. And prosecutors say the surveillance footage shows Nauta moving the boxes. Nauta, a Navy veteran who grew up in Guam has been a steady figure in Trump’s circle over the years, serving as the military valet in the White House and traveling to Florida to be a personal aide when Trump left D.C.. This was the third time that Nauta’s arraignment was scheduled as he took his sweet time to find a Florida based lawyer. Let’s be real. I’m sure nobody wanted to represent him, and he may not have Trump’s budget, but what’s killing me about this story is they have the surveillance footage of him moving the boxes like, yikes, hang it up, friend. Hang it up. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that’s that’s a tough one to plead not guilty for, I guess. But I, people have done crazier things, I suppose. And finally, the Food and Drug Administration yesterday gave full approval to the Alzheimer’s drug known as Laqembi. The first drug shown to modestly slow the progression of the disease. The FDA had previously granted the drug accelerated approval back in January, and yesterday’s action means that Medicare and other insurance plans could start covering the medicine for folks with the disease. Data shows that Laqembi delayed cognitive decline by 27% over the course of 18 months. But the drug’s side effects of brain swelling or brain bleeding have raised some concerns. Three patient deaths were also reported during clinical trials, but the pharmaceutical company said that it was unclear if the drug contributed to their deaths. The medicine also has a hefty sticker price of $26,500 a year. That is–


Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –really up there. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And though Medicare would cover 80% of that cost. That still leaves thousands of dollars to be paid out of pocket. Still, organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association praised the decision to approve the drug, and its president and CEO, Joanna Pike, said in a statement that this drug could, quote, “give people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s more time to maintain their independence and do things they love.” According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6.7 million adults ages 65 and older suffer from the disease. That is a lot of people, a lot of families that– 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –can be really positively impacted by this drug. And I’m glad that it is approved. But now let’s work on getting that price tag way down please. 


Juanita Tolliver: Period. Like it can’t cost thousands of dollars, when 6.7 million adults ages 65 and older suffer from the disease like it’s not adding up. You want to help people make it accessible, but yay for medical advancements for Alzheimer’s. Boo major thumbs down for this price tag. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Juanita Tolliver: It’s Friday WAD squad. And with all of the foolishness going on in today’s world, we thought we’d try something new. A little section we like to call. I know you fucking lying or IKYFL for short you know all those letters you usually see on the internet. [laugh] 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. Okay. I already have a feeling that this is going to be my new favorite final section. But what do we got today? Lay it on me. I am ready. 


Juanita Tolliver: Girl, we have to talk about our homie Keke Palmer. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Miss Keke P.


Juanita Tolliver: You know, the one and only because her boyfriend is getting dragged on the internet. Here’s what happened. The boyfriend and father of Palmer’s son, whose name I absolutely refuse to fucking say, took to Twitter Wednesday to criticize a sheer dress Keke Palmer wore to an Usher concert. He first tweeted his thoughts in response to a video of Usher serenading Palmer on stage, saying, quote, “It’s the outfit, tho, you a mom.” Like okay. Hold up hold up, sir. Your insecurity is showing. And I’m so grateful that Black Twitter jumped in and did what needed to be done and gathered you promptly. Cause this is bullshit. How are you going to be your baby mama’s like OP. Like this is a problem and toxic. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Ugh. 


Juanita Tolliver: But wait for it because that’s not it. After backlash to the initial reply, he then doubled down, saying, quote, “We live in a generation where a man of the family doesn’t want..” Okay, I’m going to stop there because this is complete bullshit. And I don’t want to repeat his, you know, incel words because that’s what it is giving. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Seriously.


Juanita Tolliver: Like what you mean we live in a generation? Okay. Keke Palmer can show her cheeks, however, whenever and to whomever she likes because she got body. As this dude has pointed out on social media since she gave birth to their son. So I’m calling complete bullshit on that and it’s really giving the toxicity. But the best comeback that I love out of all of this is that Keke is going about her business. Her latest post on IG is literally promoting a show she has in DC on the 13th. Check her out because she is living and thriving and completely unbothered by this mess. But honestly, Keke girl, you need to run, friend. Run, run fast. Run far.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Seriously. 


Juanita Tolliver: Priyanka, what do you think? 


Priyanka Aribindi: It is wild that he, you know, had the thought in the first place. Men for all of history have had thoughts about policing the way that women look– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –and dress and whatnot. So, like, is that so surprising? Um. Maybe not. Probably not a thought he should have. But the fact that he’s going to, A., put it out there like that in a public forum, not like–


Juanita Tolliver: –publicly. Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Hey, can I talk to you about something? Whatever. No. You’re going to publicly call her out in a way that is designed to embarrass her. That’s wild. And then he doubles down on it. What the fuck? 


Juanita Tolliver: And my favorite thing, I saw somebody post this, like, how dare he pick up the phone that Keke Palmer probably paid for– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously. 


Juanita Tolliver: –with her internet in her house and, like, take his fingers to type this mess anyway, like, sir, you are merely the father of her child who is living off of her greatness. So have several seats like period. Like. All right. This was our first section of I know you fucking lying. Let us know if you liked it, get at us on any of the social media platforms we mentioned before. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, please. I know this man is fucking lying. Get out of here with that. I think in general, just zero commentary on outfits. Unless it’s like, you look great. That’s all we need. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s all you had to say. That’s all you had to do. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s all. [music break]




Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, wear whatever the fuck you want and tell your friends to listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just the tourist’s apology letter for defacing the Colosseum like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


[spoken together] And see you on Spill. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Or Threads. 


[spoken together] Or blue sky. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Or whatever, you email us– 


Juanita Tolliver: You know. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –and tell us to do. 


Juanita Tolliver: We’ve got options. No, but actually email us because I literally need to know what to do. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: A gluttony of options does not help me. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No, no, no, no. 


Juanita Tolliver: Help us. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes please. [music brek] 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.