In This Episode
- Hundreds of Palestinians were killed since fighting resumed after a weeklong truce between Israel and Hamas ended Friday morning. Israeli officials are also preparing for a ground invasion of the south of Gaza, and they ordered more residents to evacuate the area on Sunday. Meanwhile, it appears too soon to tell if negotiations for another truce will resume.
- And in headlines: the Supreme Court will hear arguments over the legality of a $6 billion Purdue Pharma bankruptcy plan, oil companies at the COP28 summit agreed to slash methane emissions, and Oxford’s 2023 Word of the Year is “rizz.”
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, December 4th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What a Day. The pod that says to recently expelled Congressman George Santos, we hardly knew you.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Not just because you weren’t there for long, but seriously, every atom of you seemed made up. Was anything real Josie?
Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t know. But I’m just going to say it, do I think he should be an elected official? Maybe not. But I miss him already.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] [music break] On today’s show, fossil fuel companies at the COP28 summit made a huge promise on methane. Plus, the science of penguins who take over 10,000 micro naps each day.
Josie Duffy Rice: But first, as we noted on Friday, the brief truce in the Israel-Hamas war ended Friday. Tre’vell will talk in just a moment about why the negotiations to extend it again fell apart and what’s next in the effort to resume them. But I want to focus for a second on what’s happened in Gaza in the days since. Any hopes that people may have had for more restrained Israeli military action have been quickly dashed as this weekend marked yet another devastating chapter of death and destruction in Gaza. Officials in Gaza said that Israeli bombardments killed more than 700 Palestinians in one 24 hour period this weekend. And that’s just one day. Right. And that’s a massive number of people, even in the scheme of the massive number of people who have been killed in that area over the past approximately two months. Right?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: And Tre’vell, as we’ve discussed on the show, in the early days of the war, Israeli officials told Gazans in the north to move south. The message from military officials was basically that they were going after Hamas in the north, and at least relatively south Gaza would face less of a military response. So that meant moving a million people. There was a major evacuation from the north to the south. But now Israeli officials are preparing for a ground invasion of south Gaza, and they’re using the same extreme tactics that they used in the north that leave many Gazans without a place to go or really without much hope of survival.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, I know the Israeli government is actually ordering people to evacuate southern Gaza now as well. What does that look like on the ground?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So yesterday Israel’s military posted on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter, a message that said, quote, “Dear residents of Gaza, obeying evacuation instructions is the safest way to preserve your safety, your lives and the lives of your families.” On Saturday morning, there were 19 areas required to evacuate, but that number increased to 34 by Sunday. And reports say that there are people whose homes were not on that list who received recorded messages instructing them to leave. So there’s already a lot of confusion. Areas marked for evacuation have increased already. There’s a lot clearly going on. If you are in south Gaza right now figuring out whether or not you have to evacuate and where you could even go.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And keep in mind, many people in southern Gaza were in northern Gaza before, but they were already forced to evacuate to southern Gaza. Now they’re forced to evacuate again as Melanie Ward, head of the humanitarian organization Medical Aid for Palestinians, said on Twitter/X, quote, “I cannot overstate the fear, panic and confusion that these Israeli maps are causing civilians in Gaza. People cannot run from place to place to try to escape Israel’s bombs.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. So the entirety of an already very dense area has had to all pack into half of Gaza. And now they’re being pointed to already overcrowded shelters or, quote, “humanitarian zones.” And really, who knows how long those will be safe? Given that southern Gaza was already supposed to be a safe area. Tre’vell, so many of the Palestinians I’ve been following, including journalists, said this weekend that they had lost hope of surviving this war, given this recent escalation. It basically seems like there’s nowhere to go. The Israeli military has them pretty much surrounded. Medical care and supplies and food and clean water are increasingly scarce. It’s really devastating for civilians in Gaza. And reports say that more than 15,000 Gazans have been killed since the war began. Related to that, Qatar’s prime minister told Al Jazeera yesterday that his country will call for a war crimes investigation into Israel’s action in Gaza. That doesn’t mean that an investigation will definitely happen, but it is an escalation in the rhetoric here.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, and one final thing about the violence. Tensions got even more intense elsewhere in the Middle East. Can you fill us in?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So three commercial ships were attacked yesterday in the Red Sea. A U.S. Navy ship intercepted three drones while assisting the vessels, according to the Pentagon. And the drones seemed to have come from Yemen’s Houthi militia. But according to officials, there were no injuries or serious damage, but there was an attempt there. So it’s clear that the tensions are radiating out from the immediate region.
Tre’vell Anderson: Thanks for that update, Josie. And now I’ll explain how the truce failed to be extended last week and the prospects of another one. And well, despite Qatar’s little spicy comment about investigating Israel for war crimes, their prime minister also says they will continue to try to facilitate another truce and hopefully a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. As we’ve noted on the show, Qatar has been instrumental in the negotiations between Israel and Hamas, with Egypt and the U.S. playing supporting cast. And they were trying to get both sides to extend the truce on Friday. That was until an hour before it was supposed to end. The Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, says that it shot down a rocket that was fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Within the hour, Israel accused Hamas of violating the terms of the truce and the fighting resumed. Israel’s Prime minister Netanyahu blamed the resumption on Hamas, saying that they hadn’t held up their end of the agreement. But Hamas, of course, blamed Israel and said that Israel refused to accept any offers for them to release other hostages and that the, quote, “occupation had a prior decision to resume the criminal aggression.” They went on in a statement to blame the U.S. and President Biden for the, quote, “continuation of Zionist war crimes in the Gaza Strip” and, quote, “giving the green light to Israel.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, the week long truce, I think we would agree it was not long enough and clearly did not end as many had hoped. But it did allow a number of Israeli hostages and imprisoned Palestinians to return home. Can you tell us a little bit more about the final numbers there?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So specifically during the pause, about 80 Israeli hostages and two dozen foreign nationals were released by Hamas. That was in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Many of those Palestinians who reported being subjected to abuse and collective punishment after the October 7th attacks hadn’t even been convicted of crimes and were just awaiting trial. In total, 110 hostages have been able to return to their loved ones. And as of Saturday, there were about 130 other hostages captive in Gaza, according to Israel.
Josie Duffy Rice: Is there any hope that there will be more negotiations for another truce to make sure that that can happen? Are those negotiations going to resume? What’s going to happen there?
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, it looks like it’s a bit too soon to tell. Here’s National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaking to Meet the Press yesterday.
[clip of John Kirby] Well, there are no official negotiations going on right now, Kristen, and that’s because Hamas. Hamas failed to come up with yet another list of women and children that could be released. And we know they’re holding additional women and children, not combatants, not female IDF soldiers, but innocent civilians, women and children that they have that they couldn’t put on a list and and and turn that in. So unfortunately, the negotiations have stopped. That said, what hasn’t stopped is our own involvement, trying to get those back on track and trying to discuss with those partners and all those interlocutors, see if we can’t get it back in place.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now what we do know is that Netanyahu did pull his negotiators from Qatar, where the talks were happening, saying that there had been a, quote unquote, “impasse” reached. So they’re at least not going back to the table today, it seems. But that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: The Supreme Court hears arguments today over the legality of a $6 billion dollar Purdue farm bankruptcy plan. Purdue Pharma is the maker of the opioid OxyContin, which is a powerful and addictive prescription painkiller that’s believed to have triggered a nationwide opioid epidemic. To get you up to speed on how we got here, the family members who own Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers, agreed to pay up to $6 billion dollars to settle thousands of lawsuits, and in exchange, they would be granted immunity from future civil lawsuits related to the opioid crisis. But the U.S. bankruptcy trustee, an arm of the Justice Department, objected to the provisions that would shield the Sackler family from future lawsuits and petitioned for the high court to take it up. And in August, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which is how we got here. Victims of the opioid crisis remain divided on the settlement. And if the Supreme Court decides to uphold the provision, that would mean that the company and its owners would finally start making payments to families and victims of opioid use. But it could also set a precedent for how corporations and rich people use bankruptcy to protect themselves from civil liability. So a lot is at stake here, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest there.
Josie Duffy Rice: And we’ve got a couple of big updates from COP28 in Dubai. Methane, the greenhouse gas that’s responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s warming has been a hot topic. And on Saturday, 50 oil and gas companies agreed to slash methane emissions from their wells and drilling by more than 80% by 2030. It is a historic and unexpected deal and likely one of the most consequential results from this year’s COP. Especially because halving methane emissions by 2030 could slow the rate of global warming by more than 25%. EPA Administrator Michael Regan also announced new standards to limit methane emissions at oil and gas wells in the US, plus the US joined dozens of other nations in committing to leaving behind most coal fired power in a deal overseen by climate envoy John Kerry. It’s in line with the Biden administration’s plan to create a net zero power sector in the coming years. And let’s just hope it’s not too late.
Tre’vell Anderson: Over in Texas, the Lone Star State has been ordered to remove the 1000 foot long floating barrier along the Rio Grande. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this past Friday. In a two to one decision, a panel sided with a lower court’s decision in September to remove the barrier and found that the river is navigable, which means that Texas needed permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before it installed the barrier. Texas, however, asserted that the Rio Grande is not navigable, and so federal authorization was not necessary. Governor Greg Abbott called the ruling, quote, “clearly wrong” in a post on X and said that he and Attorney General Ken Paxton, what a duo, would immediately seek a rehearing by the court. The barrier is made up of a string of buoys and a mesh net beneath it and has received backlash from the Mexican government and migrant activists. Back in August, Texas state troopers said they found two bodies in the Rio Grande, including one near the floating barrier. And in another blow to Texas officials, a federal judge said last Wednesday that Border Patrol agents can continue to cut razor wire along the riverbank for now at least. That, along with the floating barrier, was installed as part of Abbott’s multibillion dollar border security initiative called Operation Lone Star. Small wins here, but we will definitely take them.
Josie Duffy Rice: Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, passed away at age 93 last week. In over 24 years on the nation’s highest bench, O’Connor became a critical vote on abortion rights, affirmative action, and the 2000 presidential election. Voted for Bush on that one so–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes.
Josie Duffy Rice: –not her best shining moment. [laughter] Here’s O’Connor in 2015, speaking on PBS NewsHour.
[clip of Sandra Day O’Connor] I wanted since I was the first not to be the last. And I wanted to do the job well so it would provide encouragement for women to serve in the future.
Josie Duffy Rice: In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated her to the Supreme Court. She described herself as a judicial conservative. But after joining the court, she became regarded as more moderate and a pretty crucial swing vote. In 1992, O’Connor was the important fifth vote against overturning Roe versus Wade. In 2003, she wrote the majority opinion upholding the use of race in college admissions with some caveats. O’Connor retired from the court in 2006, but continued hearing cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals and continued advocating for a strong civics education in schools. In 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. She lived out her final years in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, we’ve got a new addition to the word of the year. Last week, Merriam-Webster in the U.S. said it’s authentic. But this new one comes from Oxford University Press, a.k.a. the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary in the UK, and it’s a word that we have indeed mentioned on this show. Drum roll please. Oxford’s 2023 word of the year is rizz. Yes, rizz, the gen-z slang word that’s defined as, quote, “style, charm or attractiveness” or quote, “the ability to attract a romantic partner or sexual partner.” I’m told that rizz is supposed to be short for charisma, apparently, but according to Oxford, the word was first recorded last year, but it peaked in June of this year after actor Tom Holland said this about his rizz in an interview with BuzzFeed.
[clip of Tom Holland] I have no rizz whatsoever. I have limited rizz.
Tre’vell Anderson: Limited rizz. There you have it. And if you’re wondering what the other top contenders were, rizz beat out words like situationship, de-influencing and even Swifties. So I guess you can say rizz has rizz? Did I use that right Josie?
Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t know, but I don’t think you can say that. But I do think that Tom Holland is wrong because I feel like when you’re British, you just automatically have rizz because it sounds cooler when you say it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm. You know what? Actually, the accent does help it, you know.
Josie Duffy Rice: It does.
Tre’vell Anderson: Go down just a little easier. It really does.
Josie Duffy Rice: A little easier. It’s still not going down great. [laughter] But between rizz and de-influencing, which I’ve never heard that term a single time or Swiftie. I will take rizz. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. Coming up after some ads, we’ve got another installment of Josie versus Science, and it’s about parents versus sleep.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday WAD squad and today we’ve got a nature story that calls for another installment of our ongoing experiment called Josie versus Science.
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, boy.
Tre’vell Anderson: This is, of course, where we agonize our dearly beloved Josie with news out of the realm of science. From meatballs made of mammoths to the screams of plants. Joise, are you ready for yet another round?
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m honestly not. But [laughter] we’ll go anyway.
Tre’vell Anderson: We’ve got you anyway.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m never ready.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] All right. So a recent study in the journal Science found that some penguins take over 10,000 mini naps every single day in order to stay vigilant enough to protect their newborns.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. So far, I’m really into this.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Because I love naps [laughter] and I love penguins.
Tre’vell Anderson: Good to know. Good to know. Happy Feet all around.
Josie Duffy Rice: I loved Happy Feet.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] So researchers discovered this by tracking the sleep patterns of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica, which they did by attaching sensors to them that measure brainwaves. And they found that the penguins take these short quote, “micro sleeps” that amount to just four seconds at a time. But when totaled, that equals about 11 hours of sleep per day, enough to keep the penguin parents going for weeks.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. How do we use science to get this science to work on me? [laughter] This is what I want to know.
Tre’vell Anderson: You would like to take 10,000 naps in one day?
Josie Duffy Rice: I would love to take four second naps. That sounds phenomenal. That sounds so great. That sounds like everything I’ve been missing in my life. Basically.
Tre’vell Anderson: I love this for you. We’ll figure it out. We’ll call, you know, Albert Einstein or something to–
Josie Duffy Rice: Call science.
Tre’vell Anderson: –to make that work, you know? But these penguins aren’t the only animals that have adapted their sleep behavior. Frigate birds can sleep mid-flight with one half of their brain at a time. So, Josie, I have to know. What more do you think about these micro sleeps? Are we into it? Are we not into it?
Josie Duffy Rice: I love micro sleeps. [laughter] I want every scientist in America to pause what they’re doing and figure out how to make humans be able to micro sleep. I feel like everything would improve. Most of our problems are that we’re all sleep deprived, I feel.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mmmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: And also, as someone who had a newborn and then inexplicably had a newborn again.
Tre’vell Anderson: Not inexplicably.
Josie Duffy Rice: The lack of sleep will do you in. [laughter] Well, why anybody signs up to be sleepless again, I don’t know and I did it. But the lack of sleep will make you bananas.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: So, a four second like, a quick. I love that. That’s phenom– that’s great. Also, this bird that can sleep with half their brain. [laughter] Being able to have half your brain asleep is also good.
Tre’vell Anderson: Is it? I don’t. [skeptical whine sound]
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s true.
Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, it works for the birds.
Josie Duffy Rice: I think that’s true. Our problem is not that we’re using our brains too much. That’s a good point.
Tre’vell Anderson: Micro sleeps must be the new power naps. And so we’ve gone from like a 15 minute power nap to a four second micro sleep.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: I don’t know Josie. I don’t know.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m ready. Sign me up to be the guinea pig on this one scientific experiment. I’m sold.
Tre’vell Anderson: I love this for us. And just like that, congratulations Josie. You have survived yet another round with science. And this one you liked.
Josie Duffy Rice: Thank you. This one I liked. [laughter] [music break].
Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you liked the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Nobody beats the rizz and tell your friends to listen.
Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just taking thousands of micro naps like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/Subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[spoken together] And George Santos has no rizz.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. I a little bit disagree, [laughter] but only relatively. Relative to most of Congress. It is a rizz desert [laughter] over at the capital. Okay?
Tre’vell Anderson: He at least keeps us talking.
Josie Duffy Rice: I feel not having rizz, that’s way low on the problems of this man. [laughter] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: 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, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.