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August 02, 2023
What A Day
Keeping It 100°+

In This Episode

  • Last July was so hot that 81 percent of the world’s population endured sweltering heat, according to a new report by the science non-profit Climate Central. The temps broke records across the globe. Next week President Biden visits the nation’s Southwest to talk more about his plans to combat climate change.
  • Negotiations in Hollywood may soon resume nearly 100 days since the strike began. The president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached out to Writers Guild of America to schedule a meeting for Friday. Meanwhile, Hollywood started hiring for high-paying AI jobs.
  • And in headlines: a federal judge ruled that health care providers in Idaho can refer patients for abortion services out-of-state, New York City officials are considering a plan where migrants will sleep in tents in Central Park and other green spaces, and picking your nose is associated with a higher risk of COVID.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, August 3rd. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What A Day where we too have heard the news of the Trudeau’s splitting up, y’all. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, honestly, pour one out. What is the Canadian beer or liquor of choice? 


Juanita Tolliver: Maple syrup. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Maple syrup, pour out a jug, show some respect. 


Juanita Tolliver: A little bit of amber. [laugh] Amber syrup. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, Hollywood Studios and the Writers Guild could go back to the negotiation table soon. Plus, pick your nose and you might contract COVID. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s just disgusting. But it’s also a great lead in to another eew story, because–


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: –today Trump gets arraigned in D.C.. You know, like it fits. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It fits. It fits. 


Juanita Tolliver: This is a short update for you about the federal criminal counts he was charged with on Tuesday. Those are all related to the alleged role he played during the insurrection. He’ll be arraigned at 4 p.m. Eastern, meaning he’ll officially hear the four charges against him and enter his plea stage one. It’s unclear on whether he’ll be there in person or be remote today, but we are pretty sure that not only will he say he’s not guilty, but that the charges are part of a vast conspiracy against him and then proceed to fundraise off of them. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. Third time is the charm. Feels like we kind of know the deal at this point. 


Juanita Tolliver: He’s got a full routine at this point. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: But after today, we might also find out when the trial is supposed to start. But we’ll keep updating you as this case takes shape. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Thank you so much for that update, Juanita. Moving on a little bit, though, we are going to talk about even more scientific evidence that climate is coming for us. First, the record heat wave has ended in Phoenix, Arizona. A 31 day long streak of temperatures over 110 degrees finally came to an end on Monday. That is because temperatures only managed to reach a measly 108 thanks to monsoon rains. Juanita’s eyes are– 


Juanita Tolliver: Huge! 


Priyanka Aribindi: –[?] over her head. 


Juanita Tolliver: Huge. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. It’s crazy. But clearly, this isn’t the last of the scorching weather it is still incredibly hot and temperatures are forecasted to get right back up to where they were later this week, possibly even up to 115. It is not just Phoenix, though. The global warming that humans have caused made this past July so hot that 81% of the world’s population, which is 6.5 billion people, sweltered at least one day. That is from a new report issued yesterday by the science nonprofit Climate Central. In scientific terms, it’s really fucking hot.


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. At this point, I think we need a little bit of a jingle when we tell people that, like, the Earth is on fire, we’re all gonna burn. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s pretty catchy. [laughter] I feel like there’s some real potential there. 


Juanita Tolliver: Did I pass the audition? [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I like it. I like it. But if you remember earlier this past June, it was the hottest ever June. But that was very quickly overshadowed by this past month of July. The record for the Earth’s hottest day was broken. Not once, not twice. 17 times before the end of the month. That is truly bananas. In the U.S. alone, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that nearly 3000 heat records were broken over the course of July. And it’s not just on land. As we told you last month, ocean temperatures are exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit off of the coast of Florida. That is around the temperature of a literal hot tub. Even the North Atlantic got up to 77 degrees, which is way beyond most predictions. But while shocking to all of us, climate scientists are not surprised by these results. They say that we should be bracing ourselves to continue seeing these records. The hottest, the wettest, the driest, the lowest broken so frequently that they start to lose all significance. I mean, we’ve seen it here even last month, we broke the record for the hottest day 17 times. So it’s already happening. And if it wasn’t already astoundingly clear, all of these results were found to be, quote, “virtually impossible without human made climate change.” So if you are looking for someone to point the finger at, someone to take the blame here, head to the nearest mirror because it’s on all of us. 


Juanita Tolliver: I also feel like all the climate deniers out there, you know, especially within the Republican Party, deserve that middle finger because they’ve been blocking progress this entire time. I was actually talking to a friend about this recently, and she described it as every day we’re alive is the last best day that we’ll experience with climate change changing at this rate. Like, let that sink in for a second. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously, it is extremely sad, but it is so stark and so true. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right? Bringing this back to climate policy and what we can do now. President Biden is planning to visit Phoenix next week. Tell us more about what’s on the agenda there. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, President Biden is expected to visit Arizona, New Mexico and Utah next week to talk through his administration’s plans to combat climate change, as well as his new actions to protect workers and communities that are experiencing this extreme heat. Obviously very fitting backdrops for that. I imagine he will be a little steamy in that suit. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. Watch for sweat. Watch for the jacket being taken off. All of that.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. It’s not going to be a fun one, I don’t think. As a reminder, as we approach election season and a presidential election year, Republicans are still very much stuck in the stone ages on climate change, even as some of them attempt to dig their heads from the sand and acknowledge the existence of climate change and the fact that it is caused by humans. Trump is still the frontrunner of this party. He sets the tone for everybody else, and his messaging about climate change has been extremely consistent. He has quite literally called it a hoax several times, though, he very recently conceded that its impact may actually come to affect us in 300 years. 


Juanita Tolliver: What? 


Priyanka Aribindi: So there is that. But if you are listening to all of this from one of these places that has been severely impacted by these dangerously high temperatures this summer right here, right now, not in 300 years. Just keep that in mind as you head to the polls. There really is only one party with a plan that is trying to do anything on this issue. 


Juanita Tolliver: And there’s only one party living in reality of what’s happening and what we’re all experiencing and offering solutions. So I think that’s pretty clear which party that is. Do we have to say it?  


Priyanka Aribindi: No, no. Everyone knows at this point. They all know.


Juanita Tolliver: All right. We’re going to make a hard pivot now because we’ve got contact, folks. After nearly 100 days since the Writers Guild of America began its strike. Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, reached out to the WGA to schedule a meeting for tomorrow to determine whether or not to resume negotiations. And you know what? It kind of feels like your ex calling you after you broke up before the summer started, right? Like, come on crawling back, you know? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Just like clockwork. They always come crawling back. [laughter]


Juanita Tolliver: As a reminder, negotiations fell apart in May after the Producers Alliance only accepted six of the 21 proposals submitted by the Writers Guild as the producers rejected terms related to writers rooms, streaming residuals, the use of artificial intelligence and more. Since then, studios and producers have faced increased pressure because the Screen Actors Guild went on strike last month, too. And almost all major productions of your favorite TV shows and movies ground to a halt. I hope you all absorb Barbie and Oppenheimer for as long as you can, because that’s going to be on pause after this. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously. So what are the expectations for Friday’s meeting? Is this something that we should feel potentially hopeful if we want to see some new content sometime soon? 


Juanita Tolliver: I feel like we got to stay level on this. You know, like the Producers Alliance said in a statement that they want to work things out by, quote, “finding a path to mutually beneficial deals with both unions,” whatever that means. Meanwhile, the Writers Guild has essentially told it’s members to not get their hopes up and to not listen to any rumors about a potential resolution being on the table. In a message to members earlier this week, they stated, quote, “Whenever there is important news to share, you’ll hear it directly from us.” 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. Okay. That is very good to remind people of. And while this meeting is about to happen, the studios and producers are still making moves with AI hires. So can you explain what all of this is about? Because this is a little bit wild. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, it’s definitely giving some bad faith vibes because studios are like, sure, let’s negotiate, but we’re going to explore AI options anyway. According to a report from The Intercept, Netflix has multiple machine learning positions that they’re actively recruiting for, and the story notes that those roles are, to quote, “create great content,” like wide open. Clearly, this is no holds bar. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: And the salary for one of the manager’s positions goes as high as $900,000. Like, I’m not even sure why they didn’t make it a cool million because apparently they got the coins. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, first of all, what is this salary? But also to create great content that is literally a job of creatives who came to this industry. What are you doing? 


Juanita Tolliver: Imagine. In addition to Netflix, Disney, Sony, Amazon Prime Video and CBS also have AI roles listed. And I’m sure that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA leadership will have a couple of questions about these roles when and if negotiations continue. Meanwhile, I’m like, what? 900,000 is the going rate for an AI manager at Netflix to feed the machine data that will impact how content is cataloged and quote, “to optimize the production of original movies and TV shows in Netflix’s rapidly growing studio,” like they’re clearly laying out the plan here and it’s giving yikes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I mean, they couldn’t be any more explicit about the fact that they would rather just pay one person to run robots than pay actual creatives to make content. I feel like there are some points to really stick on and really let sink in. This is one of them. Like. We get to decide, are we going to be a society in which we just consume the content by robots and computers, or are we going to value human ingenuity and creativity and imagination? 


Juanita Tolliver: That part. Because this is about valuing humans. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s the premise of this. Do you value people? And the answer from the studios is pretty clear. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. This is a moment where you get to decide, and I hope and pray these studios make the right decision. 


Juanita Tolliver: On top of those positions, though, the L.A. Times reported that new startups are chomping at the bit to leverage AI for studios to, quote, “change actors’ dialog, make stunt work safer, reanimate dead actors, and more,” like how is that not unethical and just straight up cringe? Like, I promise. I promise you, I do not want to see my favorite actors reanimated on screen after they’re dead. Like what? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I don’t know. Maybe AI can coordinate the fucking schedules for people or do something useful, but, like– 


Juanita Tolliver: Not this.


Priyanka Aribindi: –reanimating actors, just I’m sorry. No, don’t do that. That is just a bad idea. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, but let’s be real. If the studios are laser focused on lowering cost and using AI, no matter what is negotiated with the writers and the actors, then I guess this is right up their alley. In that same L.A. Times story, they quoted SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who suggested that this tech probably won’t be used to break the strike, but that it will, quote, “set up a post strike dynamic around A.I..” This is them looking to the future and attempting to be strategic. Honestly, I can only see this going wrong. You’re putting machines over people, it’s giving Terminator and not any good content that they’re looking to actually get out of this. 


Priyanka Aribindi: 1,000%. It is so wrong. It’s so scary and it’s so sad. 


Juanita Tolliver: Of course, we’ll continue tracking this meeting and the negotiations that may follow. But that’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]. 




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: A federal judge ruled this week that health care providers in Idaho can refer patients for abortion services out of state and cannot be prosecuted for doing so. At least that is for now. The move comes after Idaho’s Republican attorney general sent a letter to a conservative lawmaker back in March. In that letter, he cited that state law makes it unlawful for health care professionals to assist in performing an abortion. And so referring someone to access abortion care out of state would mean that they are assisting an abortion and could be punished under the state’s law. That interpretation was challenged by Planned Parenthood, Greater Northwest and medical providers who sued in April. They argue that banning referrals would violate the First Amendment right to free speech, though the attorney general later withdrew his legal opinion. He did not disavow his reasoning. In his order Monday, U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill sided with local Planned Parenthood, writing that medical professionals would be, quote, “forced to choose between facing criminal penalties themselves and offering referrals and information about legal, out-of-state medicinal services to their patients.” Simply put, their speech will be chilled. 


Juanita Tolliver: I love some good news when it comes to accessing abortion. 


Priyanka Aribindi: More please. 


Juanita Tolliver: And also shout out to the local Planned Parenthood for fighting for this. This is a very clear reason why you need to support your local Planned Parenthood’s, because–


Priyanka Aribindi: Big time. 


Juanita Tolliver: –they clearly are fighting the fight every day on the front lines in these states. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, they are. 


Juanita Tolliver: The United States’ credit rating has dropped a notch from the highest possible triple-A rating to Double-A plus, the downgrade comes from Fitch Ratings, a credit agency on Tuesday. It cited a, quote, “steady deterioration of standards of governance over the last 20 years.” Like, to me, that translates into the GOP dragging us all down to the depths of hell. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: The agency also pointed to rising debt and political fighting, saying that the debt limit standoffs earlier this year, quote, “eroded confidence in fiscal management.” Check. And the Associated Press reports that Fitch told Biden officials that the January 6th insurrection was also a contributing factor for its decision. Double check, I called it. I feel clairvoyant right now. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, you do. 


Juanita Tolliver: But this isn’t the first time the U.S. has lost its triple-A rating. Back in 2011, the ratings agency Standard and Poor, or S&P, downgraded the U.S. from its top notch triple-A rating during a separate debt ceiling showdown. It’s maintained the AA plus rating since then. The Biden administration criticized Fitch’s downgrade, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the move, quote, “arbitrary and based on outdated data.” This is honestly how I feel about all credit ratings. So get rid of it. Let’s let it go. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Now, you know how all of us feel. New York City officials said yesterday that they are considering a plan where migrants will sleep in tents in Central Park and other green spaces around the city. Hundreds of asylum seekers have slept on city sidewalks over the last few nights. Near the migrant processing center, because shelters are completely full. For the past year, a record number of migrants have arrived in New York, nearly doubling the city’s unhoused population. City officials have not said how imminent a plan is to move migrants into city parks, but the government emphasized the continued need for support from state and federal partners. In the meantime, it’s prioritizing children and families when there are available beds. 


Juanita Tolliver: Just a heartbreaking story all around, you know. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 


Juanita Tolliver: Actress Leah Remini filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, on Tuesday. She accuses them of threatening, harassing and stalking her for the past decade, according to the lawsuit. Remini has been a victim of, quote, “intentional, malicious and fraudulent rumors via hundreds of Scientology controlled and coordinated social media accounts that exist solely to intimidate and spread misinformation.” One incident detailed in the suit describes how she learned that private investigators allegedly connected to the church followed her while she promoted her book in 2015. Remini left the church in 2013 and has been an outspoken critic of it ever since, even co-creating and hosting a documentary series called Leah Remini, Scientology and the Aftermath. The lawsuit claims the attacks and efforts to defame Remini have not stopped, so she’s seeking compensatory and punitive damages. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it makes sense. She really has at great personal risk and cause to her– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –stepped up to be open and honest and share about Scientology. So I believe everything that she’s saying. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s exactly right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And finally, in some of the most important COVID news you will need to hear before the next pandemic. A study from the Netherlands shows that picking your nose is associated with a higher risk of COVID. The study surveyed over 200 healthcare workers and of the workers who picked their noses and admitted to it. About 17% contracted the coronavirus. Of those who know better not to pick. Only about 6% got infected. And in equally upsetting news, doctors were the most notorious nose pickers in the study. 


Juanita Tolliver: My flesh is crawling at this entire thing. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: Just nasty. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We don’t like it. We don’t like it. The scientists behind the study say there is no direct correlation between nose picking and getting COVID, but that we quote, “need to be more aware of it in the workplace to avoid doing it.” Why are you picking your nose in the workplace in the first place? What is wrong with you? But do not worry, The study is not all bad news. The team did not find an association between COVID infection risk and nail biting, which is also–


Juanita Tolliver: [disgusted sound] Ugh.


Priyanka Aribindi: –you know, disgusting. But I guess a little more socially acceptable. Why are you doing this in the workplace in your personal life? But also like, come on. Ugh.


Juanita Tolliver: You’re a health care worker. Like, none of your fingers should go into any of your orifices at the hospital. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely not. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like this is real basic in my mind. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Very basic. 


Juanita Tolliver: You know? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Also I gotta say, I’m calling into question this study a little bit because how are you ensuring that these people are being honest with you? Like, who is fessing up and being like, well, I not only pick my nose, but I’m going to tell the truth in this survey. I don’t know. 


Juanita Tolliver: Also, when I think about the fact that they are health care workers, I’m just like, y’all are just nasty. You should not be allowed– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: To treat human beings cause this is gross. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: It is all very disgusting. 


Juanita Tolliver: Eew. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And those are the headlines. 




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Pick your health, not your nose, and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just AI written scripts of Emily in Paris like me, because how could you make that show any worse? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh God. 


Juanita Tolliver: What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And stop picking your nose. 


Juanita Tolliver: We’re going to take it a step further. The people who eat what they pick out of their noses like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: No. Juanita, I don’t know. I don’t want to take it a step further. [clap laughing] I was fine with where we were. I was already disgusted. Please no.


Juanita Tolliver: Nasty. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s let’s rewind. [laughter] Ugh. [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. 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. [music break]