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October 20, 2022
What A Day
No Truss, No Fuss

In This Episode

  • Liz Truss abruptly resigned as Britain’s prime minister on Thursday, after just 45 days in office — making her the shortest-serving prime minister in the history of the United Kingdom.
  • Hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills are moving through legislatures across the country, many of which specifically target transgender people. Oklahoma House Representative Mauree Turner — the first out non-binary state lawmaker in the country and the first Muslim member of the Oklahoma Legislature — tells us how they’ve used their position to fight for their constituents and their communities.
  • And in headlines: Ukrainians face rolling blackouts in the wake of Russian drone strikes, disgraced actor Kevin Spacey was found not liable for battery in a civil sex abuse case, and L.A. city council member Kevin de Léon said he won’t resign.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, October 21st. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

Erin Ryan: And I’m Erin Ryan. And this is What A Day where we are letting you know that Taylor Swift changed the face of music as we know it last night, or alternatively, just released an album that’s fine. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, we don’t know which thing happened because the album came out after we recorded, but probably for the best for us anyway. [music break] On today’s show, the U.S. said it has proof that Iran is helping Russia conduct drone strikes in Ukraine. Plus, a Massachusetts woman faces assault charges for telling the cops to buzz off using actual bees. 

 

Erin Ryan: Icon. Icon. Uh. It’s the biggest day for lettuce since the invention of the Caesar salad. UK Prime Minister Liz Truss suddenly resigned on Thursday after a mere 45 days in office. For reference, that’s four Scaramucci’s or a little more than half a Kardashian Humphries. That’s a little bit of a deep cut, but you know what I’m talking about. Here is a clip from her 92nd resignation speech. You have to admire her commitment to keeping things as short as possible. 

 

[clip of Liz Truss] Given the situation. I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King, to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Short and sweet. We love that. 

 

Erin Ryan: Mm hmm. I mean, that’s the one thing we love. You know, and with that, Truss became the PM with the shortest tenure in the history of Great Britain. And it means that a head of lettuce with googly eyes glued to it, that a UK tabloid bet would last longer than her time as head of the British government has won that contest. She’s the fourth prime minister since Brits voted to leaf. Sorry, I mean leave the EU back in 2016. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Love this for her. Love this for us. You know, at least now she has, you know, a little special title to her name. But it’s crazy to think, right, that just six weeks ago there were two Lizzie’s at the top of the British government and now there are zero. How things change so fast. The shortness of Truss’s tenure is just the tip of the iceberg, though. She packed a lot of damage into those 45 days. 

 

Erin Ryan: First of all, I did not miss your iceberg lettuce pun and I appreciate it. Second, she sure did. After taking over for Boris Johnson, Truss and her party promised to deliver a tax break to the very wealthy to the tune of £45 billion pounds. Hey, that’s £1 billion pounds for every day she lasted in office. I love synchronicity. At the same time, Truss’s party also planned to issue huge energy vouchers to Brits as a way to lower fuel costs amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Turns out this was bad policy. Financial markets freaked out because no one knew how they’d pay for all this. And the value of the British pound tumbled, which led to the Bank of England intervening, which led to a reversal of those policies and a bunch of important people getting fired. But by that time, Truss had already made a big mess. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So it sounds like it wasn’t the people who were bad. It was the ideas that they were, you know, putting out there that were bad. So what happens next here? 

 

Erin Ryan: Truss said in her announcement that she’d remain prime minister until a successor was appointed. That will take place via an interparty election that will likely be held at some point over the next week. There are rumors that Boris Johnson might try to make a comeback, but beyond that speculation, what’s next for the UK government is anybody’s guess. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Not Boris. Hopefully not Boris. 

 

Erin Ryan: I mean, he literally– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: We’re tired of Boris. 

 

Erin Ryan: He literally I mean, not she wasn’t Prime Minister for long enough for people to forget how bad he was a prime minister. [laughter]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Absolutely. Now, hardcore WAD listeners may recall that just yesterday we were ragging on Miss Liz, and so forgive us for dunking. But to many opponents of the conservative agenda Truss’s resignation is absolutely delicious to witness. 

 

Erin Ryan: Indeed, like a well put together salad, but don’t feel too bad for Truss. Imagine how you felt when you quit a job that you hated and were bad at. Right? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm Mhm. 

 

Erin Ryan: She must be– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: We’ve all been there. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. She must be so relieved. It’s like me quitting Express at the [laughter] University Park Mall in the year 2004. Congratulations to the people of the UK, but more importantly, congratulations to that lettuce. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Shout out to leafy green vegetables everywhere. Now let’s get into this week’s addition of WAD the vote. 

 

[theme music for WAD the Vote] WAD the Vote. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It gets me every time. So one of the banes of my literal existence right now is how transphobic conservatives continue to use our livelihoods as trans people as a political wedge issue. As we speak, the nation’s first trial over a state ban on gender affirming care for youth is happening in Arkansas. There, the state legislature last year ignored every major medical association, all of whom affirmed that these treatments and procedures are safe and medically necessary for trans youth. And they voted to ban it. They even voted to prevent doctors from referring trans youth and their parents to other providers. So four families and two doctors are currently suing the state. 

 

Erin Ryan: Now, Arkansas’s ban was the first of its kind in the country. But in the year and a half since it was enacted, similar policies have been introduced in at least 22 state legislatures. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, Texas, Florida, Alabama, to name a few. And more broadly speaking, we’re in a moment of intense anti LGBTQ sentiments, especially on the state level. I’ll remind y’all that in the first three months of this year, lawmakers introduced roughly 240 anti LGBTQ rights bills. About half of those specifically targeted at trans people. They are banning books by and about queer and trans folks every single day. It feels like we as a community see another headline about one of our trans siblings you know having to go to court to affirm our humanity and the care that we need. Either that or another trans person more often than not, a Black trans woman or femme is being killed. Thus far in 2022, at least 31 trans people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means. That’s according to the Human Rights Campaign. But be not dismayed, as my granny loved to quote from the Bible, because at the same time, we are experiencing unprecedented legislative attacks. We also have unprecedented visibility as a community. There are even multiple trans and non-binary people serving in elected positions nationwide. Trans folks are literally facing some of this hate head on in state legislatures. One of those officials is our guests today, Mauree Turner. They serve as a member of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives and have the honor and burden, I’d say, of being the first out nonbinary state lawmaker in the country and the first Muslim member of the Oklahoma legislature. I followed their political career since they were elected, and now they’re running for reelection as their own governor and legislative colleagues pass anti-trans and anti queer laws. I started our conversation by first asking Mauree about their impact in the state legislature. 

 

Mauree Turner: I remember the first instance where I was just like, Oh, we’re making a difference. We were phone banking in the 2020 primary, and there was a woman who picked up the phone. One of the volunteers, I believe, was like telling her about the campaign. And she said, there’s someone queer running for office, like in this district. I’m going to go tell my wife and we’ve got Black children and I’m going to tell them too. And that’s amazing. When we sent out our first mailer, I got a DM one day. It was from a librarian in the district and she said, I have a friend who, when they got your first mailer, it was crunched up in the mail. But she has adopted two Black girls. They saw the mailer and they, one of them said, that looks like me. They look like me. That was just the beginning. We won by roughly 250 votes in that primary, and that was against a six year incumbent. We were able to defeat some very homophobic bills. That will be one of the most humbling experiences I ever get right, is to give folks a bit of themselves in politics and to be a little bit of the representation that I needed when I was younger, too. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You mentioned the legal landscape, particularly in Oklahoma, as it relates to LGBTQ+ legislation. It mirrors, right some of the anti-trans anti queer bills that we’ve seen populate across the country, particularly at the state level. In Oklahoma, three trans students sued the state over a law that forces them to use the bathroom that doesn’t align with their identities. As you mentioned, the governor there signed a law that prevents one of the state’s largest hospital systems from receiving pandemic relief fund unless they stop providing gender affirming and lifesaving care for trans youth. I’m wondering, what has it been like on the ground there in this moment to kind of witness some of your colleagues in the legislature vote in favor of these measures in person, but then to also be this like representation, right, for so many folks in your community at the same time? 

 

Mauree Turner: What is the phrase right like heavy is the head that wears the crown or something like that? It’s not work that I just get to leave at the legislature. It’s not like a 9 to 5. It’s not just a, wow, we didn’t get this policy win. And for a lot of folks who are not a part of communities, they get to say, well, dang, that was a tough one. Maybe we’ll get them next time. But for folks who have been on the other side on the receiving end of these policies, it’s not just, oh, we didn’t get that win. It’s like, well, how are we going to survive this. With all of that comes folks who want to share their stories, right? They want to be heard. And that’s what I’m here to do, as a as a community organizer that’s my best skill, is to listen and find accountability through hurt. So many of the stories, a lot of them mirror my own growing up in Oklahoma. And to see how much hurt that the state is putting back into families, hurts a lot. I ran for this office because I wanted to be able to give the youth of Oklahoma and the people of Oklahoma a little bit of what my mom gave me at home. I was able to come out to my Black religious mother in the second grade. That’s a privilege, right? Because that’s not something a lot of folks get, especially in Oklahoma, to have to carry the weight of everyone else’s story and then also have to wade through it all. Because I live in this very kind of niche intersection of life where it’s hard to be able to talk to folks and say, like, this is what I’m going through and have someone actually see me. That’s part of it, too. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. You know something I think that people often forget is that trans folks, we’re not just impacted by bills that are explicitly anti-trans. We are affected and usually disproportionately so by how legislatures lead conversations about houselessness and mass incarceration and poverty and all these other– 

 

Mauree Turner: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –You know, intersectional issues that you’ve been working to bring a lot of attention to. Can you talk a little bit about some of the key issues of that your platform is based on and how you’ve sought to kind of address them in your first term? 

 

Mauree Turner: Absolutely. Absolutely. I didn’t think I would be like this type of person for 2 [?] LGBTQ plus issues in Oklahoma. I would I didn’t I truly didn’t right. I was like criminal justice reimaginement and rebuilding. Like, that’s it. Right? I came from the ACLU focusing on those things. But right. Because of these intersections, we work on criminal justice reimaginement and we specifically talk about reimaginement and rebuilding because this criminal justice system is working flawlessly, how it was designed. And that was to lock away our people, folks who are suffering from poverty, folks who are suffering from inaccessible housing and inaccessible health care, specifically mental health care. So we are trying to reimagine and rebuild a justice system with our communities in mind. Public education, making sure that we have accessible and well-funded public education systems, right? From curriculum to guidance counselors in schools to uh making sure that our teachers are being paid livable wages in Oklahoma. Accessible health care. Another one, right. And specifically right for mental health care, well funded health care. Right now, Oklahomans are self-medicating because we don’t have access. Thinking about those intersections, right. For the folks who are having to lean on self-medication. Right. That then end go into a criminal legal system that is not providing you the resources you need because the medical system in our criminal legal system is not adequate. Those are kind of some of the things that we that we’re always thinking about when we are creating any type of policy. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So something that I’m really excited to see as we get closer to the midterms is the, you know, record number of trans and non-binary candidates running for office across the country like yourself, who want to make a difference, particularly those who are in conservative states, are interested, able, willing to go into those particular spaces and be part of those conversations. As a first yourself, I wonder what your your message is for those who will be the seconds and the thirds and so on and so forth, coming beside be along side behind you. 

 

Mauree Turner: My mom, one of the best community organizers, lobbyists I’ve ever met. One of the lessons she taught me as a child, right, was that especially after I came out to her, was that like, my voice is powerful and to always use it and to always help others use theirs. For me, that’s why I’m a legislator. I’m not here to be a savior or to give you something, right? But I’m here to uplift the things that we have already been doing to save ourselves and our communities when the government continuously punches down. And I hope that folks are thinking about that and thinking like that when they are running for office. We don’t get here on our own and we won’t accomplish anything that way either. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That was my conversation with Oklahoma State Representative Mauree Turner. We’ll have more on the many, many issues in the upcoming midterm elections coming very soon, along with interviews from other candidates of interest. But that’s the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Ukrainians are facing rolling blackouts after recent Russian drone strikes damaged nearly a third of the country’s power stations. Officials are also asking people to conserve electricity so that repairs can be made as quickly as possible. Earlier this week, we talked about how some of those drones were made in Iran. While Iran denies these allegations. The U.S. said yesterday it not only has proof, but also confirmed that Iranian military personnel have been helping Russian forces with those operations from Crimea. The European Union, Britain and the U.S. have since announced new sanctions against top Iranian officials, as well as the company that makes the drones. 

 

Erin Ryan: A federal jury in New York City yesterday found that disgraced actor Kevin Spacey was not liable for battery in a civil sex abuse case. The suit was brought by actor Anthony Rapp, who accused Spacey of making unwanted and aggressive sexual advances toward him over three decades ago, when Rapp was just 14. Though Spacey denied the allegations under oath, but the former House of Cards star isn’t off the hook. He’s still faces charges in the U.K. for allegedly sexually assaulting three men. He’s set to go to trial next June. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: The Pentagon announced it will pay for service members and their families to travel if they need to get an abortion or other reproductive care. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said yesterday the Defense Department will set up a fund to take care of travel expenses for service members who are stationed in states where abortion access is restricted. However, the new allowance won’t cover the cost of the actual procedure under an outdated decades old law. Most abortions can’t be paid for using federal funds, so they can’t be performed at military facilities and service members insurance plans also don’t cover the cost. 

 

Erin Ryan: Man, the Hyde Amendment sure sucks. Truly not a Great Amendment. The Social Security Administration now allows individuals to select the gender that best aligns with their gender identity without providing additional medical or legal documents. The policy was announced back in March, but it went into effect this week. The agency is also exploring an X gender option for people who don’t identify as either male or female. Well, you can put X’s on forms of pretty much any computer or printer or anything with a keyboard. So I don’t think the exploring should take all that long. Like I’m looking at the X on my keyboard right now. It’s right there. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You know, it really is a simple thing. But, uh you know, our little elected officials and Social Security Administration people, they like to take their very, very long time. I just got a passport with an X marker on it earlier– 

 

Erin Ryan: Oh! 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –This year. 

 

Erin Ryan: Congrats! 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You know they released that. Thank you so much. 

 

Erin Ryan: Limited edition. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. Rare. First of its form. Okay. [laughter] And here is the latest update on the leaked racist audio from Los Angeles City Council members. Council member Kevin De León said in an interview on Wednesday that he, quote, “failed in his leadership” when he compared a fellow council members two year old Black son to a handbag. And if you want to know how bad he feels, he also said he’s not stepping down by remaining in his role De León is ignoring calls to resign from President Joe Biden, California Governor Gavin Newsom and many, many, many others. Even if he hasn’t lost his job, he’s completely lost the trust of his community. The L.A. Times reported that a group of Black real estate developers are refusing to keep working with him on a $1.6 billion dollar construction project because they think he has racial biases against them that have made him uncooperative. 

 

Erin Ryan: You know, I think part of the reason why dunking on Liz Truss is so fun and so it feels so cathartic right now is because in the UK people can just kind of gather around a public official that’s doing a bad job and being like, Boo, you’re doing a bad job. And eventually they’re like, okay, I have reached a level of boos where I cannot continue to work and I resign. And in the US, people just like stick it out. You know?

 

Tre’vell Anderson: They they force us to suffer. 

 

Erin Ryan: And a reminder of the honey sweet taste of tenant solidarity. In Massachusetts, a woman released bees last week to ward off police trying to serve an eviction notice. The man being served had been fighting back against his eviction for years, attracting the support of anti eviction activists. One of those activists was a 55 year old professional beekeeper named Rorie Woods, and she enlisted the help of landlord hating bees to help her out, arriving at the site of the eviction with an SUV full of beehives and allegedly shaking them up, several officers were stung and upon hearing that one of them was allergic. Woods was quoted as saying, “Oh, you’re allergic. Good”. Oh goodness.

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Love her. 

 

Erin Ryan: Uh. That energy is is the energy that I aspire to. She later pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery. Shout out to two endangered species. Bees and selfless legends like Rorie Woods. That wasn’t even her apartment. That wasn’t even her eviction. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Well, you know, this is what we call community care. It gives a new meaning to the phrase, fight the power, f the police. You know just just unleash bees on them. Why not? 

 

Erin Ryan: Yes. Um. All cops are bee targets. [laughter]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads. 

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday WAD squad. And today we’re doing a segment called Good Sound. Take a listen to today’s Good Sound. 

 

[clip of Jessica Tisch] Rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement. But the rats don’t run this city. We do. 

 

[clip of Shuan Abreu] This is not ratatouille. Rats are not our friends. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, no. 

 

Erin Ryan: Wow. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Oh no.

 

Erin Ryan: Counter counterpoint. I used to live in New York. I lived in New York for almost seven years. A.) The rats do run your city and B.) Uh. You declare them, not your friends, at your peril. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: As you mentioned, that sound comes out of New York City, where sanitation officials and Mayor Eric Adams announced a new plan earlier this week to reduce the number of hours that trash can sit out on the street the night before collection. In an effort to cull the city’s population of very bold rats who are not at all like Ratatouille. Now New Yorkers will be fined if they put out their trash before 8 p.m.. Erin, what are your thoughts on all of this? 

 

Erin Ryan: Oh, my goodness. Okay. So the rats are way smarter than this rule. The rats are just going to figure out a way to just treat the hours of 8 p.m. until the trash is collected like a sort of happy hour for rats. Like they’ve been around for longer than we have. They can overcome situations that were that are much more dire than any human has ever overcome. There I would say that a lot of them are smarter than people. Um. One time when I lived in New York City, I went to catch my train at J Street and I went to my normal place where I waited for my train and there was a rat standing there as though he or she were also waiting for a train. And as I approached, the rat looked at me like, why are you standing so fucking close to me like? [laughter] And so I did not go where I normally waited for the train. I just stood there waiting for a train with a rat, as though the rat were also a person. And I just this is not going to work. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: No. 

 

Erin Ryan: But anyway, what are your thoughts? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You got punked by a rat. Um. But I’ve been there. You know, I too, have been there. I always say that the rats in New York, they very much so remind me of you know, Sensei Splinter from from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

 

Erin Ryan: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Just super smart, super advanced. Like, you know, they they will fight you. They will tell you to get out of their subway. And you know what? You got to listen to them. But you’re right. They will adjust. They will adapt to this. You’ll have more rats in your homes and in your apartment. Sorry for you all. Hate that for you. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. $4,000 apartment that is a rat party from 4 to 8 p.m. every night. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] The Big Apple. You gotta love it. And that was good sound. 

 

Erin Ryan: One more thing before we go. Have we mentioned yet that the midterms are coming up? We probably have. Don’t let Election Day sneak up on you. There’s a lot on your ballot and you don’t want to get caught off guard. Vote Save America is here to help you figure it all out. Head over to VoteSaveAmerica.com to find your polling place and see all of your options to vote in one place. They even have a tool to help you learn more about all the candidates and local and state measures and to use as a handy cheat sheet when you head to the polls. Remember, November 8th is your last chance to vote. Maybe ever? No, not maybe ever. But this year for sure. And be sure to visit VoteSaveAmerica.com to make sure your ballot ready. [music break]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave review. Don’t allow rats to teach you to cook and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Erin Ryan: And if you are into reading and not just pro-renter twitter feeds of antifa bees like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Erin Ryan. 

 

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

 

[spoken together] And happy early retirement Liz Truss. 

 

Erin Ryan: Aww. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Who would have thought. 

 

Erin Ryan: I do not wish her happiness. I wish her– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Oh. 

 

Erin Ryan: –Anxiety. [laughter] Not sadness, just anxiety. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz and Charlotte Landes. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producers are Lita Martinez, Michael Martinez and Sandy Girard. Production support comes from Leo Duran, Ari Schwartz and Matt DeGroot with additional promotional and social support from Ewa Okulate, Julia Beach and Jordan Silver. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.