The Worst People for the Worst Job | Crooked Media
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October 22, 2023
What A Day
The Worst People for the Worst Job

In This Episode

  • Over the weekend, the first trucks containing much-needed humanitarian aid crossed into Gaza; hours later, Hamas, through the Qatari government, released two American hostages who were captured while visiting Israel. Meanwhile, fighting has intensified between Israeli troops and Hezbollah at the Lebanese border, fueling fears that the conflict may spread.
  • There are now nine Republicans running to become House speaker, after Rep. Jim Jordan dropped his bid after losing a third floor vote – and a closed-door confidence vote – last week. A GOP candidate forum is set for tonight, with a full floor vote race for the next nominee could come down as early as Tuesday.
  • And in headlines: Trump ally Kenneth Chesebro pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case, the city of Orlando plans to buy the Pulse nightclub property to turn it into a public memorial, and talks are set to resume this week between the actors union and Hollywood studios.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, October 23rd. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What a Day. On today’s show, a second Trump ally has taken a plea deal in the Georgia election interference case. Plus, talks are set to resume tomorrow between the Actors Union and Hollywood studios. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, two small but positive developments happened over the weekend. First up, two Israeli American hostages that were in Hamas’ custody were released on Friday in an agreement with the government of Qatar. Mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan are expected to arrive back in the U.S. this week after reuniting with relatives in Tel Aviv. They are the first to be released of some 200 hostages that Hamas kidnapped over two weeks ago when the militant Palestinian group attacked Israel. It’s not yet clear when or if the other hostages will be released, but Qatar has committed to continuing dialog with both Israel and Hamas, quote, “with the ultimate aim of de-escalating the current crisis and restoring peace.” And then the second positive development, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza opened on Saturday, though no people have yet been allowed to leave Gaza through the crossing since it first opened. At least 34 trucks of humanitarian aid have been allowed through carrying bottled water, food, medical supplies and other resources that civilians need. But aid workers have already said that more is needed to address the crisis at hand. Reports say there are more than 200 trucks carrying 3000 tons of aid that have been waiting nearby for days. 


Josie Duffy Rice: [sigh] Ugh. Just devastating. That it’s right there, but can’t actually reach people. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And to further illustrate the level of need there, the Palestinian National Initiative actually says that a total of 7000 trucks of aid are what’s actually going to be needed to satisfy the crisis that they’re going through, especially as Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, half of whom were forced to flee their homes, are rationing food and drinking dirty water. The hospitals are running low on medical supplies and fuel. All while Israel and Hamas are still trading shots overhead. An Israeli military spokesperson said aid would only be delivered to southern Gaza, which is where everyone was ordered to relocate to by Israel. He also said that no fuel would be entering the territory. As for the death toll, the Palestinian death toll has now reached 4385, with 13,561 injured. That’s according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza on Saturday. The Israeli death toll is more than 1400, with more than 3500 wounded. That’s according to the Israeli government. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I feel like it’s worth noting that this idea that aid will only be delivered to southern Gaza because everybody was ordered to relocate there, like there are lots of people not leaving northern Gaza for many reasons, but that includes people who can’t, who are too elderly to travel, who are too sick to travel, who are doctors and have to work in hospitals. They are premature babies, expectant women. I mean, the idea that they don’t deserve aid when they might be some of the most needy is pretty upsetting. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: There have been some reports that Israel is planning a ground invasion. We talked about this last week. There is this understanding that there would be a ground invasion kind of like immediately, and then it hasn’t happened yet. Do we have a greater sense of when that’s going to happen, if that’s still expected to happen? What’s going on there? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, so we don’t. But over the weekend, Israel’s defense minister did tell a parliamentary committee a bit about the military’s ongoing intentions. He said that this first stage of their campaign is meant to eliminate the infrastructure and leadership of Hamas. Once that happens, the operation would be at a, quote, “lower intensity” to destroy any, quote, “pockets of resistance.” The third phase, he said, quote, “will require the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel.” Now, it’s not clear exactly what the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip actually means. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Doesn’t sound great. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It doesn’t sound great. But what we do know is that even though Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the U.N. regards Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied land. And they also consider Israel responsible for the needs of the population there. And Israel has been responsible for some of those needs which allowed them to, for example, cut off water and electricity to Gaza in response to Hamas’s recent attack. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s a really ominous sounding thing. I think an independent Gaza sounds like what a lot of people in that area want, but it has to be facilitated because the infrastructure has been in Israel’s hands for so long. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Obviously, there are also new clashes between Israel defense forces and Hezbollah near the Israeli border with Jordan. So tell us more about what’s going on there. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, so we’ve heard President Biden in particular express a desire for this war not to expand into a larger regional conflict. But the Lebanon-Israel border has been kind of spicy over the last couple of weeks with the Israeli army trading fire with Hezbollah militants. Hezbollah, which is a Shiite Muslim political party, and they have an armed wing with the same name. They reported the deaths of 24 of its militants since Hamas’s recent attack on Israel. They have vowed to escalate their activity if Israel does indeed begin a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. To which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had this to say, quote, “If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will miss the Second Lebanon War. It will make the mistake of its life. We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine. And the consequences for it and the Lebanese state are devastating.” In preparation for what is expected to come. Israel has already begun evacuating its citizens from the cities, towns, and villages near potentially impacted areas. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, that’s another very ominous sounding–


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: –thing in this conflict and a reminder of just how unpredictable it is, what’s to come in the next days and months and even years, right? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. We are moving on to I was going to say, crisis. This is not a crisis, especially compared to what we were just talking about, but situation, shall we say, situation in American politics, which is that we still don’t have a House speaker. The competition of the worst people in America competing for the worst job in America continues. So lucky us or something. I don’t know if luck is the word I’m looking for. [laughter] You all may remember there have been two nominees for the job since Kevin McCarthy saw himself ousted by far right Republicans a few weeks ago. Steve Scalise was the first to go, and now Jim Jordan has been unable to secure the votes he needs for the position. It seems prudent to remind everybody that Kevin McCarthy himself took like 15 votes to get the job. So it’s not looking good over there. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, it’s just so messy and so foolish. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So messy. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And so confusing. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So foolish.


Tre’vell Anderson: And it’s like, what are y’all doing? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, so last week, Jim Jordan was still in the running. Hanging on by a thread, albeit. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: What’s happened since? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Funny you should ask. On Friday, Republicans cast a secret ballot vote that basically took Jim Jordan out of the running entirely. So this was after some Republicans had publicly stated that they were getting harassed and threatened for not supporting Jordan. Apparently the secret ballot vote kind of gave those people cover and maybe gave others cover as well, because Jordan found himself with less support after the ballots were counted, which means that we are back to the drawing board for speaker, and that process will continue today. There is one thing worth noting on Jordan. You know, with Kevin McCarthy, it was like this far right contingent who voted him out. With Jim Jordan it was I don’t know that there actually are really moderate Republicans right now, but certainly more moderate Republicans who kept him from the speakership. So it’s very two can play that game. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m glad they kept him from the speakership. Right? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: He’s an election denier. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Right.


Tre’vell Anderson: So he brought it on himself. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So what happens now? Who’s up for the speakership at this point? 


Josie Duffy Rice: There are currently nine people in the running now for speaker. Everybody is looking for a chance now, chance to win or perhaps just a chance to be as humiliated as McCarthy, Scalise and Jordan all have now. It could go either way. The nine people range from Tom Emmer, he’s a Minnesota representative who has served as the number three Republican in the House behind McCarthy and Scalise. Emmer has gotten McCarthy support, but many don’t like him because he, you guessed it, voted to certify the 2020 presidential election, which is not allowed. [laughter] Do not certify what the American people want. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Apparently. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Apparently you can’t be Republican and uphold the vote of the people, I guess. Who knows? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Right. Something like that. Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Who else is in the mix? 


Josie Duffy Rice: So there is Gary Palmer from Alabama. He is the number five Republican in the House. There’s Kevin Hern from Oklahoma. He had thought about running previously, has now decided to go for it. There are some others, including Byron Donalds of Florida. He is one of four Black Republicans in the House. It’s only his second term. There are no women in the running, of course, but there are nine men who just for some reason, want this job. Every candidate but two, the aforementioned Tom Emmer and also Austin Scott of Georgia voted not to certify the 2020 election results. So nine people, seven election deniers and um at least three of them, including Hern, Palmer and Mike Johnson of Louisiana, voted to shut down the government just a few weeks ago. So some really scorched earth vibes here in this group of people running. The bottom line here, though, is that none of these people actually have the expertise needed to, like, bring the party together. Like, obviously, this is an extremely divided party. Right. They can’t even agree on who should be speaker. And once they finally have speakers, they can’t seem to keep them in power. And so you really need someone who has like the political expertise, the ability to like, make deals and make promises and find coalitions and get the legislation that Republicans want passed. And it doesn’t really look like any of these nine people have that skill set. And it also doesn’t even look like they have 217 votes necessarily. Right. Like, there is not like one of these people who is running away with it. It still looks like it’s going to be a struggle. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So we’ve been watching this shit show for a couple of weeks now. What what happens at this point? What happens next? 


Josie Duffy Rice: House Republicans are expected to meet this evening for a candidate forum where the nine candidates will present their vision for the caucus, like for the Republicans, for their role as speaker. And then tomorrow, there’s going to be an internal election for a winner. And if one candidate gets a majority tomorrow, there could be a floor vote as early as that same day. But that’s unlikely because there are nine candidates. And so basically they’re going to vote in this internal election. And if no one takes it, the person with the fewest votes will be kicked off the ballot and then there will be another vote that could happen the same day or the next day or whatever. And then that’s going to continue until there is a nominee. So then they’ll go to the floor vote. And this process, in theory, it could all happen tomorrow. In practice, it seems like it’ll probably take all week and perhaps more. And in the meantime, all legislative work is suspended until the Republicans can elect a speaker. So people are just sitting around waiting for the government to work, for Congress to work. As these people try to make a decision. And keep in mind, the next government shutdown deadline is in just a few weeks on November 17th. 


Tre’vell Anderson: They’re already not working. Why not shut the government down? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Look, it’s a great point. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Shrug. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s a great point because it’s like if this is y’alls long game to prove to us that [laugh] we should just shut down the government, that would truly be brilliant on the Republican’s part. I feel like that’s not what’s happening. But you know, who knows? Anyway, that is the latest for now. We will keep following this story of these nightmare people running a nightmare party. And we will be back after some ads. [music break]




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


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yet another member of Team Trump has flipped on him in the sprawling Georgia election interference case. On Friday, former Trump campaign lawyer Kenneth Chesebro pleaded guilty to one felony conspiracy count for his role in the alleged scheme to overturn Trump’s election loss in that state. He was accused of organizing groups of fake electors in seven states, including Georgia, that Joe Biden won. Chesebro’s guilty plea came just as jury selection for his trial was getting started. He’ll serve five years of probation in exchange for turning over any evidence related to the case and must testify truthfully against any other defendants in the case, including potentially Trump himself. His deal with prosecutors follows a similar plea agreement that Sidney Powell, another former Trump lawyer and codefendant made on Thursday. Chesebro is now the third person charged in the case to plead guilty. Bail bondsman Scott Hall did so earlier this month. All three have agreed to testify against the others in the case. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The city of Detroit is in mourning following the brutal killing of a prominent Jewish community leader. 40 year old Samantha Woll was found stabbed to death near her home on Saturday. The city’s police chief said yesterday there is no evidence yet that Woll was the victim of a hate crime, but the investigation remains ongoing. Woll was well known in the Detroit metro area for her work in both political and community activism and served as board president for the city’s Isaac Agree Downtown synagogue since last year. During her funeral service yesterday, she was remembered as a bridge builder and as someone always ready to help others. Woll’s family wrote in her obituary, quote, “Samantha was a ray of sunshine to all that knew her. She was the light in any room because of her beautiful smile and her warmth. She was an angel and there was truly no one kinder.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: The city of Orlando has announced plans to buy the Pulse nightclub property for $2 million dollars and turn it into a public memorial. That building is where 49 people were killed and 53 others were hurt back in 2016. In what was then the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Efforts over the years to create a memorial for the victims of the shooting have been difficult. And earlier this year, onePulse, the nonprofit that has taken over to oversee the memorial, announced that it would be forced to scale back its plans due to fundraising difficulties. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement last week, quote, “We believe that this is the best and most appropriate way to expedite the creation of a proper memorial for the Pulse tragedy.” The proposal will go before Orlando City Council later today. If the sale is approved, it could close by the end of the month. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Now, switching gears to the Supreme Court. On Friday, the justices gave the Biden administration the green light to continue contact with social media platforms about the spread of misinformation online. The ruling pauses for now a lower court order that would have severely limited how the White House, the CDC, the FBI and other agencies communicate with tech companies. The high court also agreed to take up the Biden administration’s appeal in the case. So to get you up to speed, this all stems from a lawsuit filed last year by Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, along with a group of people claiming they were censored online. They allege that the administration violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media platforms to take down content it considered misinformation. That includes some of the Internet’s greatest hits, like posts about election fraud, whether the coronavirus pandemic is real, and all the conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden’s laptop, the extent to which government agencies have been allowed to continue contacting platforms about misinformation has gone back and forth for months. In the meantime, the Supreme Court will likely hear arguments in this case in February or March, with a ruling expected in June. Just in time for the 2024 presidential election. You know, this is one of those things where it seems good when the people we like is in office. But I don’t think I want Trump being able to, like, reach out to Facebook and say, hey, actually the election was stolen. I decided it’s very complicated when you talk about misinformation because– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah well.


Josie Duffy Rice: –it depends on who’s in power. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Trump is going to misinform whether he’s in power or not. That’s just what he does so. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s true. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s true. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, SAG-AFTRA and representatives from the major Hollywood studios are set to return to the bargaining table tomorrow. That’s according to a joint statement released over the weekend announcing the move. It’s the first time that talks have resumed since discussions broke down nearly two weeks ago. Both sides walked away on October 11th, reportedly after reaching an impasse over how to compensate actors for streaming content. According to SAG’s Negotiations Committee, representatives for the studios were the ones who reached out to resume talks, writing, quote, “It is clear that the strength and solidarity shown by our members has sent an unmistakable message to the CEOs.” Today marks the 102nd day of the ongoing Hollywood actors strike. This is the first work stoppage in the union’s history to pass the 100 day threshold in more than 40 years. The writers strike, which officially ended less than a month ago, went on for 148 days. I’m so glad they’re getting back to the negotiating table. I don’t know about you, Josie, but I need the strike to be over. I need things to get back to whatever semblance of normal. I need to be able to see what the celebrities dress up as for Halloween. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Now’s the time. Now’s the time for justice, [laughter] right before Halloween. Yeah. I’m ready for this to be over too. 


Tre’vell Anderson: They could come to an agreement this week and restore the celebrities ability to dress up as whatever characters they want from our favorite movies and TV shows by the weekend. So that next week we get all of the fabulous photos, you know, of rich people spending too much money for Halloween. [laughing] And those are the headlines. 




Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review and tell your friends to listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. [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, and our senior producer is Lita Martínez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.