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August 07, 2023
What A Day
Oh Hi Go Vote

In This Episode

  • Donald Trump’s lawyers argued on Monday that prosecutors are infringing on Trump’s First Amendment rights by asking him not to discuss the case over his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. That comes after special counsel Jack Smith on Friday asked for a protective order that limits disclosure of discovery material in the case, and referenced Trump’s incendiary social media post.
  • Ohioans head to the polls today to vote on a ballot measure that could make it harder to amend the state’s constitution. The outcome of Issue 1 could have a huge impact on voters’ ability to enshrine abortion rights within their state’s constitution.
  • In headlines: the final sentence has been handed down in the murder of George Floyd, the leaders of eight South American nations meet today to protect the Amazon rainforest, and more than 11,000 Los Angeles city workers hold a 24 hours strike.
  • Plus, we talk to author Lydia Kiesling about her new book, Mobility.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, August 8th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day, the podcast that leaves abusing police to slides. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, there’s a viral video going around right now of a Boston cop getting hurt riding a kid slide. Very minor injuries. But now that slide is a big city attraction, has five stars on Google Maps. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And it’s my hero. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mine too. [laugh] [music break] On today’s show, Ohioans head to the polls today for a crucial vote that could decide the fate of abortion rights in the state. Plus, an interview with the author of Mobility, Lydia Kiesling. That’s all coming up. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: But first, an update on the onslaught of Trump’s legal drama. No indictment yet here where I am in Fulton County, Georgia. That will likely be next week. But there are some updates related to the DOJ’s case against him from last week because he said some very incendiary stuff that has forced the court to address him again mere days later. As you may remember, special counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump on four counts last week, including conspiring to defraud the government, conspiring to disenfranchise voters and corruptly obstructing a congressional proceeding. Last Thursday, Trump pleaded not guilty, and on Friday, he seemed to threaten Jack Smith on Truth Social. In one post he called Smith deranged, referenced thug prosecutors and said they were, quote, “illegally leaking.” And then later, he wrote another message in all caps that just said, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you.” 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm mm. That is very similar to don’t come for me unless I send for you energy. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. So as a result of that, if you go after me, I’m coming after you message. Prosecutors asked for a fairly routine order that prohibits disclosure of discovery material. Basically, it prohibits Trump from talking too much about the case publicly. They didn’t ask for a gag order specifically. In fact, the prosecutor said it would be, quote, “the most serious and least intolerable on First Amendment rights to have a gag order,” especially because Trump is a presidential candidate. And it gets complicated. But when they did ask for their fairly routine protective order, they referenced Trump’s posts. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m sure that will work wonderfully. And he’ll be quiet from here on out about the case. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, he’s takes direction super super well we know that. So this brings us to the news of yesterday. Trump’s lawyers made the case that prosecutors are infringing on Trump’s First Amendment rights by asking him not to discuss the case. Now, I don’t know all the details here. Only Jack Smith really knows all the details. So I don’t know if like maybe they have a point. And the protective order is overbroad. It’s complicated. Generally, I, as you know, always side against prosecutors. In this case, it’s complicated. And this is a very unique case. And Trump is a former president and he tried to overthrow the election. And so I don’t know if they’re protective order in this case makes sense. But what I do know is that if you are being prosecuted for a crime, you should not publicly threaten the prosecutor. That is just really not a good idea. There’s not a scenario where you should do it. There are no exceptions. It’s not maybe if, no, don’t do it. And if you’re being prosecuted for obstructing justice, I would not pick a threat that particularly sounds like you were willing to obstruct justice by going after the prosecutor. Just doesn’t really feel strategic. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm. Well, you know, Trump has shown us time and time again that he is less than smart. So– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Less than smart. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: This feels to be right in that lane, if you ask me. [laugh]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So what exactly is going to happen now? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, it does seem possible that the judge will actually consider a gag order in this case, despite the fact the prosecutors didn’t ask for one, because Trump doesn’t really seem to have much self-control and is unwilling to follow these basic guidelines that the court has set up. That could happen at any point. The judge can make that decision. So we’ll keep you posted on that. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, yes, yes. And in other news, today is the day Ohioans head to the polls to vote on a measure that could make it harder to amend the state’s constitution. Now, this might seem inconsequential on its face, but if y’all remember from our interview last week with Crooked’s politics director, Shaniqua McClendon, this vote is actually a big deal as it relates to bodily autonomy and the right to have an abortion. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: So just for the folks that haven’t been paying attention to this, can you just break all of this down for us? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. So the ballot measure in question today is called issue one, and it aims to require that a constitutional amendment receive a 60% supermajority vote in order to pass. That’s instead of a simple majority of 50 plus one, which it currently is right now. If this measure passes, the measure would also require petitioners to get signatures from all 88 Ohio counties in order to get an amendment on the ballot. Right now, they have to have signatures from just half of the counties or 44 of them, and it would eliminate the ability to get new signatures to replace any that are found invalid. But the real reason all of this is a big deal is because whatever happens with issue one today will impact a constitutional amendment that is on the ballot in November. That amendment aims to codify reproductive rights into Ohio’s Constitution. So if issue one passes today, it’ll be that much harder for abortion rights advocates to ensure that form of health care is protected at the state level. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So basically what you’re saying is that Republicans in Ohio are trying to curb Democratic powers significantly. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: In order to also curb bodily autonomy significantly. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: So what is it looking like now? Like it’s the final stretch. What’s campaigning like on the ground? What’s going on there? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So as you might imagine, you have a lot of Republicans and conservatives on one end. They are in favor of the measure. Like Mehek Cooke, an attorney with the anti-abortion group Protect Women Ohio, who told The Columbus Dispatch, quote, “Ohio is truly the battleground. They started in Ohio to test us to test our fundamental values and ideals.” Of course, any time you hear someone say fundamental values and ideals. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: They never have my values. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That part. Exactly. They don’t reflect our values. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And our ideals. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And then you have on the other side folks like Claudia Cortez, who volunteered as a canvasser opposed to issue one. And she really put a point on this whole thing, saying, quote, “How much more power do they want? Do they want to suck the blood of working people?” 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Man. Claudia, I get you, Claudia. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Because. Exactly. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Claudia understands what’s going on. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Claudia understands. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And one more quick thing I wanted to mention before we go. Issue one in Ohio is just the latest in a string of similar efforts by GOP politicians across the country. Since 2017, at least ten states have considered increasing the voting threshold for at least some ballot initiatives to pass. Those states are Arizona, Arkansas, Florida. Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah. I share that to say we all have to remain engaged because a similar ballot measure might be popping up in your state soon. And we all need to keep our eyes peeled. So with that, for all of our Ohioan listeners, it’s time to, in the words of once noted political organizer, Sean Puff Daddy Combs, Rock the Vote. Polls open this morning at 6:30 local time. They close at 7:30 p.m. local time. As long as you’re in line by then, you will be able to cast your vote. And as always, we encourage everyone, if you have any questions related to voting either in Ohio today or wherever you are, check out VoteSaveAmerica. We’ll have a link in our show notes that’ll take you to some resources that might be helpful. That is the latest for now. [music break]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: The final former Minneapolis cop on trial for the murder of George Floyd has been sentenced to nearly five years in state prison. Tou Thao was sentenced yesterday to four years and nine months behind bars. He was found guilty in May of aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter. During Floyd’s murder in 2020. Thao held back a crowd of bystanders and prevented them from providing medical aid as former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. During his sentencing hearing on Monday, Thao spoke for a considerable amount of time about the Bible and his Christian faith, but did not claim responsibility in Floyd’s death. Once Thao finished talking, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said, quote, “After three years of reflection, I was hoping for a little more remorse, regret, acknowledgment of some responsibility and less preaching.” Monday’s sentence is the final sentence for officers implicated in George Floyd’s murder. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: A senior U.S. diplomat said coup leaders in Niger denied her from meeting with the democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, on Monday. She described the president as being under, quote, “virtual house arrest.” Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland spoke to reporters yesterday after a two hour meeting in Niamey with the leaders of the coup. She said the officers were unreceptive to any U.S. urging and warnings to restore civilian rule. This development comes after a deadline set by the Economic Community of West African states or ECOWAS to restore the ousted president expired on Sunday. ECOWAS had warned of possible military action if the elected president was not returned to power, and they now plan to meet on Thursday to discuss next steps. Meanwhile, military leaders in the country have shut down Niger’s airspace, citing the threat of potential military intervention. As a reminder, the coup ousted President Bazoum nearly two weeks ago. His election marked Niger’s first democratic transfer of power since the country gained independence from France way back in 1960. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: The leaders of eight South American nations meet starting today to create a common policy to protect the Amazon rainforest. This is the first meeting of its kind in 14 years, and they’ll meet in the Brazilian city of Belem. Sustainable development and Indigenous inclusion are just two of the 130 issues on the agenda for this two day summit. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made a big campaign promise to end Amazon deforestation by 2030. And so today’s summit will be a key piece of that pledge. And he is going into the meeting with high expectations, saying, quote, “For the first time, we are going to have a common policy for the Amazon, for preservation, security, borders.” However, a source of contention will likely be Brazil’s potential plans to develop a huge offshore oil drilling site near the mouth of the Amazon River. Protecting the Amazon from deforestation and development has been a top priority for environmentalists because the region lost 13% of its original area just within the last half century. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: More than 11,000 Los Angeles City workers are walking off the job today for a 24 hour strike. Those employees include sanitation workers, traffic officers, heavy duty mechanics and engineers represented by SEIU Local 721. According to a statement by the union, the strike is happening because the city failed to bargain in good faith with its members, as well as, quote, “unfair labor practices restricting employee and union rights.” The president of the union told the local news outlet LAist that another issue at stake is chronic understaffing, saying, quote, “The reality is we can’t retain staff right now. So we’re asking them to fill in the staffing vacancies and to come back to the table in good faith.” The work stoppage marks the first of its kind for the union in more than four decades. It comes as Hollywood writers and actors are also on strike and as hotel workers in Southern California have been intermittently striking since July. The union plans to head back to the bargaining table next week. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And finally, there was a riverfront brawl in Montgomery, Alabama, last Saturday. And there will be a city briefing today with some updates. This is an incident that Tre’vell and I have, we’ve been calling it, what what do we think Tre’vell? What would we call it? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: One of the most important cultural events of the year, maybe of the decade, potentially of the century. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Potentially of our lifetime, for sure. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. So here’s a recap of what happened. Based on several viral videos, highly recommend seeing the videos yourself, but we’ll do the best we can. On Saturday afternoon, a city on Riverboat had just finished up a short tourist cruise and tried to dock in its usual spot. It couldn’t, however, because a group of pontoon boats occupied the usual space on the pier. So a dockworker with the riverboat, a Black guy, approached a group of people with the pontoon boats who were all white, and then the worker and another city employee untied and moved one of the boats so the riverboat could dock. And then [sound of people angrily yelling indistinctly] basically one of the pontoon people hit the worker and then other pontoon people jumped in to land blows, too. So this one worker’s getting hit by all these drunk pontoon white people and it’s looking not good. And a lot of people are watching. But then several bystanders show up like superheroes, ready to help the worker, including a passenger on the offshore riverboat who jumped overboard and swam to the pier. 

 

[clip from the Montgomery brawl] [?] swimming his ass over here. [?]. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, [laugh] and he was he was swimming his ass over there. Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed tweeted to denounce, quote, “several reckless individuals for attacking a man who was doing his job.” Several people were arrested and four warrants were issued too. And Mayor Reed said there will be a press conference today at 1 p.m. local time with more info. People online also identified at least one of the white pontoon boaters in the middle of the fighting and then review bombed his mini mart business in Selma, Alabama. I don’t feel like we can really do justice to what happened once people came to this man’s defense. Like there was a folding chair, hats came off. It just got real serious real fast. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Imagine for folks who haven’t yet seen the video. Imagine that scene in Avengers Endgame, the final Avengers, when you know all of the portals opened up and all of the different people came through to like, you know, help the folks. It was kind of like that, but it was all Black people who were like, this one Black man is getting jumped by this group of white drunk people in Montgomery, Alabama. We all know the history there. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And so everyone jumped in. That’s where the chair came in. Somebody got bopped on the top of the head. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: With the chair. She deserved it. Um. And I should say we’re laughing about all of this, but everyone’s fine. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: There was no tragic situation here. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right no serious injuries. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. [laugh]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right, right, right. That’s the reason we can watch it. It’s truly incredible art. I would say it’s the best movie of the year. [laughter] I loved every second of it. There are remixes online. There are music videos. There are–

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –superimposing faces on other faces. I mean it’s just beautiful art. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And a special shout out to the guy who you just heard swimming across the water. The Internet is calling him Scuba Gooding Junior and AquaMayne. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yup. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Shaquille O’Gills as well. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Shaquille O’Gills is not even really a rhyme and that makes it [laughter] even better. It’s so good. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Also, a great opportunity for all of my Black folks who don’t know how to swim. Now you have a reason where you might want to learn such a skill, just in case you do need to swim across the pond to help out another brother. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: You never know when you might need to defend someone from some pontoon people. [laughter] And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads with a new idea for your book club. The new book from Crooked Reads, Mobility. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Alrighty WAD squad, we’re going to wrap up today with the first book from Crooked Media Reads. We’ve launched our first book in partnership with independent book publisher Zando. It’s a novel called Mobility. Josie, can you tell us just a bit more, please? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, I can. So the book is by Lydia Kiessling. Her first book is called Golden State, and I loved it. And before I even knew that she was coming out with a new book, much less on Crooked’s new book imprint. I read Golden State a few months ago, and I shared it with so many people. I thought it was just so good. So great. Incredibly talented writer. This new book, Mobility, is both a story about a woman coming of age as an adult, but it’s also kind of a climate change story. And I got a chance to talk earlier with Lydia Kiesling about her book and find out more about the story it tells of its main character named Elizabeth Glenn. But everybody calls her Bunny in the book. 

 

Lydia Kiesling: It follows a woman sort of throughout her life, from adolescence to middle age and shows her upbringing and then follows her into a career in the oil and gas industry where she does a job as a storyteller. And so it sort of like explores her motivations and it’s basically kind of trying to tell a story about how oil moves in the world and how one like very particular person moves with it. This character is living overseas. She’s living in Azerbaijan as part of a foreign service family. There’s that added context of like representing the U.S. government and sort of supporting its aims. And so then I wanted to step back and say, okay, well, what are those aims? What were the kind of foreign policy goals of the 1990s in that region? And then from there it just turned into this oil and gas book, and I had to really figure out how to cram all those things together as I was writing. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: In many ways, this is a novel about power and it’s about gender in this very male dominated industry, the oil industry. It’s about international relations and kind of one person’s journey through life. But it’s also about climate change really, and about how a changing climate affects our world and our economy. So how was it trying to tell a fictional story about this very real [laugh] dynamic that we’re all kind of faced with? 

 

Lydia Kiesling: So climate change, like the oil and gas industry, is one of those things that’s so big and so kind of all pervasive that it’s a huge narrative challenge um because it looks different all over the world. And, you know, some people feel the impacts really profoundly and others will feel them in a more filtered, oblique way. The reason that I wanted to write about oil and gas, you know, that was only sort of interesting to me because it’s so clear what the consequences of burning fossil fuels are. So, I mean, to sound like an oil flak, it like powers our world. Um. You know, it is sort of the thing that undergirds the global economy, but it’s also the instrument of our destruction and has been the instrument of people’s destruction already, who have already died from climate change or been displaced. And so my focus initially was to talk about oil and gas, but with always sort of at the back of my mind that the reason that story matters is because of what our fears are for the future and what we see right now. You know, the disasters that are taking place. I mean, initially I was sort of resistant to actually writing the climate part of it. I was sort of brought it in through a side door. And then I realized I was stupid because the whole purpose for writing the book is to, like, ultimately, you know, talk about environmental impacts. And then when I um I live in Portland, Oregon, and, you know, we had the Pacific Northwest Heat Dome of 2021, which was just like a really horrible thing to see and be part of. And, you know, hundreds of people died in the Pacific Northwest. So that sort of shaped the way that I finally did bring climate into the book toward the end, for sure. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: In your first book, it kind of all takes place over like a week. You start with this character at the beginning of the week, and within days the book is over. And here you’re, uh you said, just following someone for years and kind of going over a long period of time. Did you find, like your relationship with the character of Bunny to be different than, you know, the protagonist of your first novel? And is part of that because you were spent so much time with her development? 

 

Lydia Kiesling: With Bunny I wanted the challenge of writing someone who, you know, I shared some DNA, certainly, but was really interested in looking more at things that I’d say are kind of emblematic from my experience of like a particular kind of white millennial woman, for example, like political ideas or like political engagement or how someone, you know, how had an upbringing like mine might think about work or ambition. And so because we share that DNA, I like certainly was very sympathetic to just sort of the forces in her life, particularly around gender and sort of power dynamics. But the older Bunny gets, the more I tried to have her sort of deviate from my own life and make choices that were really challenging. And um yeah, I mean, it was definitely threading a needle. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. I wanted to talk about the name of the book, which I really like. Why did Mobility make sense as the title? 

 

Lydia Kiesling: I have to thank my amazing agent, Claudia Ballard, for giving me the idea of this title. I had some really awful titles. It was like The Helper like The Collaborator, and Claudia was like. I think these are a little on the nose. Um. [laughter] I think it was on the phone. And she’s like, What about Mobility? And instantly I was like, you’re a genius because there’s the sort of obvious echo of you know ExxonMobil. But then also, one of the things that I was so interested in sort of exploring with Bunny, the extent to which she does have, you know, a lot of mobility in terms of like social mobility, things that like her class, race, and her general sort of upbringing, like allow her to do. But then there are also, you know, some constraints on that mobility, especially in a male dominated industry and living in a patriarchal society. Um and then just the way thinking about how fossil fuels move around the world, um you know, they are actual kind of substances that are always on the move. And they enable for at least some people, a lot of mobility, you know, sort of in and of their own right. People are on the move. And some people do have a lot of ability to kind of shape their own destinies like within a set of constrained circumstances, I guess so, yeah. Thank you, Claudia, for that title. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That was my conversation with Lydia Kiesling, author of Mobility. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You can order Mobility now from Crooked.com or support your local bookstore. Trust us, you won’t be able to put this one down. [music break] 

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Hug your local dockworker and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just Mobility by Lydia Kiesling, like me. What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

[spoken together] And Ohio, vote! 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Look, my whole family lives in Ohio, Toledo, Columbus. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Did you call them and tell them to vote? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I’m going to right now. So that’s a no. [laugh] But I’m going to. [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. Our intern is Ryan Cochran, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka. [music break]

 

[AD BREAK]