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June 04, 2023
What A Day
Default Averted

In This Episode

  • President Biden signed the bipartisan debt ceiling bill into law, averting default and an economic crisis just days before the June 5th deadline posed to lawmakers. The final legislation – which passed swiftly through the House and Senate last week – suspends the nation’s debt limit until 2025.
  • Nearly 300 people were killed and more than 800 others were injured in a train accident in Eastern India on Friday. While the government has launched an investigation into the cause of the crash, the mass casualties have renewed calls for authorities to take more action to ensure the country’s rail system is safer.
  • And in headlines: A federal judge rejected Tennessee’s anti-drag law, California officials are looking into the arrival of more than a dozen migrants to Sacramento from Texas, and the Directors Guild of America has reached a “historic” deal with Hollywood studios.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, June 5th, I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What A Day where we are totally not jealous of the fan who met Oscar Isaac while he was on Facetime with Pedro Pascal over the weekend. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m trying to think of which two celebrities I would want to meet in a double Facetime. 


Josie Duffy Rice: What do you got? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oprah and Beyonce, or something like that? 


Josie Duffy Rice: I knew you were going to say Oprah and Beyonce. [laughter] I felt it in my soul. [laughter] [music break] On today’s show, a federal judge ruled Tennessee’s anti-drag law as unconstitutional. Plus, the Directors Guild of America has reached a deal with Hollywood studios. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, with just two days to spare, President Biden signed legislation over the weekend that lifts the country’s debt ceiling and adverts what would have been an unprecedented default on the federal government’s debt. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] It was critical to reach an agreement, and it’s very good news for the American people. No one got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed. We averted an economic crisis, an economic collapse. We’re cutting spending and bringing the deficits down at the same time. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That was him over the weekend touting this deal as a show of unity and bipartisanship. But let us not forget what it took to get here and how the Republicans were basically holding an increase in the debt ceiling hostage. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, there was a lot of negotiation and debate on this deal. I would say Republicans are not playing particularly fair, it felt like to me. So can you talk a little bit about the highlights? Were there any highlights? Let’s start there and the lowlights [laughter] of which I know there were many. Tell us how things ended up in the end? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So the final agreement, after a whole lot of back and forth, as you mentioned, it passed the House on Wednesday of last week and the Senate on Thursday. It suspends the debt limit until 2025, which is after the next presidential election. I think that’s probably the biggest highlight. Okay. That’s my spoiler alert for where I’m about to go. Um. And then the deal also restricts some government spending. Okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So the debt limit is now at $31.4 trillion dollars. Okay. That’s a good thing. That’s a positive. Some of these highlights or lowlights or rather Josie, you will have to, you know, make your decision on your own.


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: For them. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But I think a highlight is medical care for veterans, which will be funded at levels that Biden actually wanted. This includes a $20.3 billion dollar fund for vets who’ve been exposed to toxic substances or environmental hazards. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay, I’ll take that. [laughter] I just know bad is coming so– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay great you’ll– 


Josie Duffy Rice: –I’m just prepping myself, you know? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, a big ol’ but is coming. Here’s a low light. It– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Uh huh. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –rescinds almost $30 billion dollars in unspent coronavirus relief money that Congress had previously approved for dozens of federal programs, including rental assistance, small business loans and broadband for rural areas. Because, of course, Josie as you know, the pandemic is over. And so, you know. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Was there even a pandemic? 


Tre’vell Anderson: What, who knows? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Who knows? 


Tre’vell Anderson: A whole three years of our life– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –just, you know. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Down the drain. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: As if it didn’t happen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: A liberal plot. 


Tre’vell Anderson: In addition to that, the deal also rescinds $1.4 billion dollars in funding that was supposed to be used by the IRS to crack down on tax fraud. And the deal includes an agreement to take another 20 billion from the IRS over the next two years. That’s a lowlight because, right. The IRS getting this funding was supposed to be a positive so that they would, you know, cut back on tax fraud, particularly for the most rich of among us. Um. And so that’s probably a lowlight there. 


Josie Duffy Rice: If you have tried reaching the IRS in the past year. If you need to call them and you’ve tried calling them, it’s truly impossible to get them on the phone. It takes months, not even an exaggeration. And so I’m glad to know that it will even be harder for no reason. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] That is what it is looking like. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s great to hear for everybody. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But here’s a win for you. Or at least I think Democrats would consider this a win. They got some new expanded benefits for veterans, as I mentioned, as well as the unhoused population and young people aging out of foster care. And of course, the biggest lowlight for me, as I mentioned on Friday’s show is that the pause in student loan repayments will end in August. So now I have to stop ordering takeout as much. So not great for me. I probably should have been cooking at home anyway, but whatever. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm mmm. No, not good for anybody. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] But again, Josie. Right? The global economy has been saved. Right? So I guess as citizens of the world, we have to take all of this as a net positive nonetheless. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Look, I hear that and I’m, think it’s correct. However, [laughter] I also think the idea that you can hold us hostage and then we have to be really happy that you didn’t ruin the economy is a scam. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It sounds right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. In other news, a major tragedy out of India. On Friday at least 288 people were killed and more than 800 were injured in a train accident in India. The accident involved three trains, two passenger trains and a goods train and occurred in Odisha State. It is the worst rail accident in at least two decades. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. Super tragic there. What exactly happened here that three trains collided? How did that happen? 


Josie Duffy Rice: We don’t know all the details yet because it just happened. The government said they’re launching a full investigation, but we just sort of know the beginnings. But what we do know is that a passenger train was traveling between Kolkata, which is formerly Calcutta and Chennai, and derailed after hitting a goods train. And then after the derailment, many of the derailed train cars ended up on another track and another passenger train collided with those. Um. Preliminary reports say all of this was due to signal failure and there were a few elements that made this crash particularly deadly. The passenger trains were both traveling at about 125 miles per hour, which is considered full speed. The goods truck was carrying iron ore, which made the impact even worse given the weight of iron. The trains were packed full. There was even a wait list. They’re usually packed full at this time of year with students traveling back home at the end of the year. And one of the passenger cars landed on top of another passenger car, which, as you can imagine, exacerbated the casualties that much more. And apparently, survivors were trying to crawl out using the flashlight on their phones. Meanwhile, reports say the aftermath is just devastating. And one factor that made all this even worse may have been the actual location of the incident. Apparently, the hospital that many injured are being taken to is 3 hours away from the accident site, which obviously reduces the ability of the injured to get immediate treatment, etc.. So it’s just been a tragedy of I mean unbelievable proportions. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So you mentioned that the government is launching an investigation. What’s going to happen next here? 


Josie Duffy Rice: So the government has announced compensation for families of those injured or killed, equivalent to about $6,000 for those killed and about 1200 dollars for those injured. I’m not sure that’s much relief at the moment for the families of those suffering. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the site and has said that there will be consequences. He said this incident is very serious for the government. Whoever is found guilty will be punished severely. Meanwhile, railway workers are trying desperately to get the railroads back up and running. The Railways Minister has said they are hoping for a, quote, “complete normal like situation by Wednesday morning.” But there is a bigger problem here. According to The New York Times, rail safety in India is safer than it’s been at certain times in the past. But the amount spent on like track maintenance and other measures has been falling in the past couple of years. And there has been some concern about something like this happening. Right. And really just longstanding questions about rail safety in a country that transports 8 billion people a year by train. So this is just a major tragedy, devastating for the country. And we will continue to follow this story as there is more news. But that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break]. 




Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: A federal judge blocked Tennessee’s anti-drag law over the weekend, ruling it unconstitutional and too vague to be enforced. The first in the nation law would have banned drag shows on public property in the state and classified such performances as quote unquote, “adult cabaret shows.” And it would have charged offenders with a misdemeanor or a felony for a repeat offense. A memphis LGBTQ+ theater company filed a lawsuit to stop the law from going into effect, saying it would hurt their business because many of their shows include drag performances. And U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker sided with the company, saying that the law would encourage discriminatory enforcement. The decision is a huge win for LGBTQ+ advocates nationwide and keeps the law from being enforced. It was originally set to go into effect in April. Love this. We’ve been talking about the impact of drag bans and so glad that a federal judge, even one appointed by Trump, is wise enough to recognize that this was not okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s a big deal. It’s also just a sign that this law was so wild a federal judge couldn’t even figure out a way to uphold it. So that’s the good news. Teachers in Temecula, California, are set to hold rallies this week and next after a school board voted to ban an elementary social studies textbook and its accompanying curriculum over its mention of gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The vote came down during a heated board meeting that was open to the public last month, where audience members shouted at school officials as they debated the issue. And just before the vote, the board’s president baselessly claimed that Milk was a pedophile. I really want to underscore baselessly because there’s just absolutely no truth to that. Two things of note here. One, the textbook has already been used, vetted and approved by dozens of Temecula teachers this past year, as well as the California Department of Education. And two, the book itself does not even mention Milk. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The reason that conservative board members are against the book is because Milk is mentioned in the course’s supplemental materials. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The school board’s decision could leave thousands of elementary schoolers without a social studies textbook in the coming school year. And it speaks to how widespread the effort to ban books on race, gender and sexuality is extending even to Democratic led states like California. This is a reminder to everybody who may be interested in running for office and is progressive. You may want to check out your local school board because crazy things are happening over there. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, yes. Everybody should stay vigilant, right? Because– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not just happening in Republican led states. 


Josie Duffy Rice: No. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It’s now happening in the Democratic ones as well. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s better, apparently, for people to not even have a textbook than to have a textbook that mentions Harvey Milk in their supplemental materials. [sigh]


Tre’vell Anderson: Absurd. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Absurd. 


Tre’vell Anderson: California officials are looking into the arrival of 16 South American migrants to Sacramento from Texas via a chartered plane Friday night. According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, more than a dozen migrants were left on the doorstep of a local church without any advance notice and were first transported to New Mexico from Texas before arriving in California. He says his administration is investigating the circumstances of the trip, including if anyone was misled or if any criminal laws were violated, including kidnapping. California Attorney General Rob Bonta also met with the migrants and in a statement Saturday said that some of them had paperwork appearing to be from the state of Florida. He also said that the state and capital will welcome the individuals who arrived Friday with open arms and will provide them with the, quote, “respect, compassion and care they will need after such a harrowing experience.” Eddie Carmona, a campaign director with an organizing group that’s been helping the migrants, told the Associated Press that the migrants arrived with only a backpack’s worth of belongings each and were, quote, “lied to and intentionally deceived.” The news comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have both bussed and flown immigrants to Democratic cities around the country without advance notice in the past year. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Jesus. And finally, as the writer’s strike continues into its sixth week, the Directors Guild of America has reached a, quote, “historic deal with Hollywood studios on a new three year contract.” In a statement released late Saturday night, the negotiating committee said it reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, that achieves, quote, “major breakthroughs, including increases in wages and streaming residuals. New safety regulations, including the ban of live ammunition on set and restrictions on the use of A.I..” Next, the tentative agreement will be submitted to the DGA board for approval at a special meeting happening tomorrow. The DGA’s deal comes just days before SAG-AFTRA will begin new contract negotiations with the AMPTP. As for the Writers Guild of America, they’ve reaffirmed that their fight isn’t over, and in a letter to members last week said, quote, “Our position is clear. To resolve the strike, the companies will have to negotiate with the WGA on our full agenda.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: It’s interesting to me that they can, you know, work out a deal with the directors. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, mm hmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But not work out a deal you know with the writers. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That is very telling. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It is extremely telling. It does feel like something could be happening here. And I’d like to encourage them to make that thing happen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Especially because the writers strike is having a greater and greater impact, I feel like, on so many, you know, related industries, not just the writers. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Um. And so– 


Josie Duffy Rice: –totally. Totally.


Tre’vell Anderson: The longer it goes on, the greater that impact is. Um. So they need to get their butts back to the negotiation table. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And do better. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Restaurants, right have been saying that they have like a lot less people coming in because of the writers strike um in the area. Like, we’re just seeing it kind of ripple effect, really, from the strike. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So come on guys. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Get it together. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Get it together. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Two more things before we go. First, are you a ride or die member of the WAD squad? Do you have thoughts or feedback on the stories we’ve covered, the segments we’ve done? Do you want proof that this pod is made by real humans and not Chat GPT? I can confirm. If you answered yes to any of these questions. You are in luck. One of our real human producers, Raven Yamamoto, is doing a live AMA style feedback session on Crooked’s exclusive Discord server, for Friends of the Pod subscribers. You can find Raven in the What A Day channel tomorrow June 6th at 2 p.m. Pacific Time, where they will be answering your burning questions for the team that brings you your favorite Daily News podcast. And you can hang out with other WAD squadders while you’re at it. That sounds cool. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Love that. Yes, absolutely. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Visit the link in our show notes to find out how to join Crooked’s friend of the pod Discord server so you don’t miss out. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And number two, if you are in the Washington, D.C. area, I will be there on Wednesday evening, June 7th, for my book tour. I will be discussing, We See Each Other: A Black Trans Journey through TV and film with Rayceen Pendarvis at the MLK Memorial Library at 7 p.m. We’ll include a link in the show notes to RSVP. Come and celebrate Pride with me. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, support your local drag queens and tell your friends to listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just books about the incredible life and legacy of Harvey Milk, like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


[spoken together] And get it together Temecula. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Remember meet me in Temecula? The Twitter situation. Were you there for that? 


Tre’vell Anderson: No. 


Josie Duffy Rice: There was a good Twitter incident years ago where someone said meet me in Temecula, there’s a huge fight. We should bring that person back. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So you want to wage war in Temecula? 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m trying to wage war. That’s all I’m trying to do. [laughter] Apparently we got to. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Apparently. [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, and Raven Yamamoto is our associate producer. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.