We Give It A One Out Of Tennessee | Crooked Media
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August 21, 2023
What A Day
We Give It A One Out Of Tennessee

In This Episode

  • Tennessee lawmakers gathered yesterday for the start of a week-long special session on public safety and mental health. But as of Monday evening, the Senate adjourned without passing any meaningful legislation and the House adopted rules that bar lawmakers they deem as “unruly” from participating in discussion.
  • President Biden arrived in Maui yesterday afternoon where he met with survivors and emergency workers following the deadly wildfires that devastated the island earlier this month. According to Maui’s mayor, at least 114 people died and 850 others are still believed to be missing.
  • And in headlines: Donald Trump’s bail is $200,000 in the racketeering case against him in Georgia, the owner of a clothing store near Lake Arrowhead, California was shot and killed for displaying a pride flag, and a federal judge temporarily blocked part of Georgia’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors.


Show Notes:



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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, August 22nd. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day where just like Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, we too are dropping Scooter Braun as our manager. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. And like Taylor Swift, we are recording all of our old albums again. 


Priyanka Aribindi: All of the old podcasts. We’re going into the archives– 


Josie Duffy Rice: All of our old podcasts. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –and rerecording all of it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We’re doing it all again. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Josie’s version. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: My version. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: They’re all coming. [music break] On today’s show, Maui’s mayor says that 850 people are still missing after the deadly wildfires. Plus, Trump’s bail for the Georgia case has been set for $200,000. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But first, in Tennessee, the state legislature’s special session on public safety and mental health started on Monday. It’s the beginning of what is expected to be a contentious battle about gun control. The session began months after six people, including three children, were gunned down in a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We all remember– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –how this was spurred, it was a tragedy. But can you tell us why the state decided to hold this special session? 


Josie Duffy Rice: So it’s a culmination of the governor’s push for quote, “public safety.” That comes after two of his friends were killed at the Nashville Christian School during a school shooting in March. So Governor Bill Lee, who is a Republican, has pushed for a number of laws that align with the Republican ideals on this issue right, including more cops in schools, harsher punishment for juveniles. Two things we already know do not actually deter school shootings. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But this is what he’s pushed for generally. Right? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. Pretty much anything but getting rid of guns. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Exactly. But then the governor did something pretty surprising because reminder, he is a Republican. He called for more gun control. Now, granted, it’s very little gun control. He wants to basically institute an order of protection law that could, quote, “result in temporary restriction of access to firearms in certain circumstances.” This is basically a limited version of a red flag law. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And so he called this session to try to get that law passed. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. I mean, it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense to–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –those of us who believe in gun control and think that gun violence can be prevented by– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –sensible lawmaking and gun control. But very unusual for someone of his party to be pushing this even in– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –like a limited capacity like he is. So how is it looking? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well, unsurprisingly, it’s not looking great. Of course, the tough on crime policies are looking good, right? Those will probably pass. The New York Times notes that Republicans have, quote, “prioritized legislation that focuses on shoring up mental health resources and policy, toughening criminal penalties for threats of mass violence, targeting, quote, “juvenile crime,” and incentivizing the safe storage of firearms.” Some of these are good. Some of them are not so good. But basically they’re trying to do everything but gun control because the gun control policies simply do not have the Republican support they need to pass. So as of Monday evening, the Senate had adjourned without passing any meaningful legislation. But the State House did one thing that is actually pretty bad for Democrats and progressives. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m curious, but before we get into that, I just want to note, it really shouldn’t take every single one of these lawmakers losing a loved one to gun violence– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –for this to happen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But it might.


Priyanka Aribindi: Back to what you were saying, the state house did something that’s pretty bad, I’m afraid to ask. But tell us what happened here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So remember, the Justin’s in Tennessee? The two– 


Priyanka Aribindi: I do, actually. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. They were the two young Black legislators, they were expelled for loudly supporting gun control in the house. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. They were uh expelled for you know trying to do their jobs. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I do recall it was a national scandal. Yes.


Josie Duffy Rice: It was, it was. It was a really big deal, especially here in the South. And– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: You may remember that they also got their jobs back. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But as of last night, the Tennessee House adopted new rules that allowed the legislature to bar members that they deem as being, quote, “unruly from participating in discussion.” The vote on this was 73 to 23, straight across party lines. And basically the new rule is that on the first offense of being unruly, you’re banned for three days. On the second offense, you’re banned for six days, and on the third, you’re banned for the rest of the session. So as you can imagine, this vote came down to Republicans versus Democrats. Republicans want to be able to bar the unruly from the House. And we know who that’s going to hurt, right? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. Major air quotes on that “unruly.” 


Josie Duffy Rice: Major air quotes. Yeah, because we know who is going to get punished for this, right? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 


Josie Duffy Rice: This is basically a way to institutionalize what they did to the Justins. It’s really, really bad news. And because it’s like a procedural rule, it’s going to get less attention. But it matters. It really does matter. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It matters. And it’s a thing also that like almost certainly will not stop here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Is a thing we’ll see in other places where even if the line isn’t 73-23 as extreme, if they have the numbers to do it?


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And they’re just seeing other states do it because they can like who’s to say–


Josie Duffy Rice: Absolutely. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –this won’t happen again. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. And the rule will just basically be that whoever is the majority party gets to be as unruly as they want and whoever is not does not. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s going to be the rule. But we will keep following this story because Tennessee’s special session will continue through the rest of the week. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Thank you for that, Josie. Next up, let’s revisit the recovery efforts in Maui following the wildfires that devastated the island earlier this month. As we said before, this was the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history, according to Maui’s mayor, Richard Bissen, 850 people are still believed to be missing and at least 114 people have died. That number is still expected to rise and only 27 of those victims have been identified so far. Obviously, incredibly staggering figures. But according to Bissen, officials are both saddened and relieved because when the recovery process initially started, there were over 2000 missing people. 


Josie Duffy Rice: My God. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Once cell service was back up and running, people were able to make contact with loved ones who were believed to be missing. And since then, over 1285 of these people have been located and found to be safe, which is huge, monumental, but still just a large number of people who are missing. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Unbelievable what people are dealing with and how many people we’ve lost. I know that President Biden headed to Maui yesterday. So tell us a little bit more about that and his visit, etc.. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, President Biden arrived yesterday afternoon for a quick trip. It was only expected to last around 6 hours. Here’s a little bit of what he said. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] Imagine being a parent wondering where their child is and where it is. You know, press reports of grandfathers crying for lost neighbors while trying to be strong for the ones who survived. Of a woman distributing clothing to survivors who says she didn’t lose her home, but she lost her hometown. But I also want all of you to know the country grieves with you, stands with you, and will do everything possible to help you recover, rebuild and respect culture and traditions. When the rebuilding takes place. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Biden’s trip started with an aerial tour of the island on Marine One to survey the damage of the wildfires. He was joined by Hawaii Governor Josh Green, as well as Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and Congresswoman Jill Tokuda. He also met with survivors as well as emergency workers. And he’s joined by first Lady Jill Biden, as well as FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And as we mentioned before on the show, Biden showing up was kind of a point of contention, right, from several different fronts? 


Priyanka Aribindi: So this trip comes amid lots of criticism from Republicans who believe that Biden didn’t say enough about the disaster, as well as frustration from some in Maui over difficulty with getting aid along with long standing sensitivities around Native Hawaiians. But in the time since the wildfires, the federal government has sent food, water and critical supplies to Hawaii. They have also deployed over 1000 federal personnel on the ground in Maui. FEMA has also given $7 million dollars in short term aid to over 2000 families. But the Hawaiian congressional delegation is pushing for long term commitments for this aid and support as these communities continue to rebuild. Obviously, this will be a process that takes a long time and so much money. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And they want the commitment that just as Joe Biden articulated, that we’ll be there. We stand with you. They want to know that that’s for the long haul and not just for now in the immediate, which makes total sense. They’re totally right for wanting that, and that’s what they should get. Obviously, we will continue to follow this, but that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]. 




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


[sung] Headlines. 


Josie Duffy Rice: First, an update on Tropical Storm Hilary that swept through Southern California on Sunday night. Thankfully, there were no reported deaths or serious injuries in connection to the storm, but the region saw record rainfall, flooding, fallen trees and power outages for thousands. The hardest hit areas were the mountains, deserts and foothills of Southern California. As Hilary moved into Nevada, there were reports of flooding and power outages in parts of the state. And a boil water order was issued for hundreds of households in the Mt. Charleston area. As of our record time on Monday evening, Hilary was downgraded to a post tropical cyclone and headed north, triggering more flood watches and warnings in several states. Forecasters said the risk of flooding was highest across south eastern Oregon and into western and central Idaho, with possible thunderstorms and torrential rains happening today. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Donald Trump’s bail has been set at $200,000 in the racketeering case against him in Georgia, that is where the former president and 18 others are charged with election interference. Trump’s legal team says that they came to a bond agreement after meeting with the Fulton County District Attorney’s office yesterday. The defendants in the case will be required to pay cash upon being booked in Atlanta, but the release conditions outlined go beyond cash bail too. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who signed the order, wrote that Trump is barred from using social media to, quote, “intimidate his co-defendants, witnesses, or coconspirators.” I’d love to see how this will be enforced. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I feel like they got to be real specific about what they mean. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know if one of these has ever stopped him before. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Got to draw real clear lines with this man. 


Priyanka Aribindi: [laughing] This like dealing with a second grader? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The same shit. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Quite literally. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Same shit. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, exactly. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The defendants in this case have been given until noon on Friday to appear at the Fulton County Jail for processing. Let’s hope they are mentally processing this thing too. Okay. I’m not really wasting my hopes on these people. That’s all I’m going to say. My precious hopes and dreams. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Not wasting any on them. [laughing]


Josie Duffy Rice: Members of the Republican House Freedom Caucus announced on Monday how they’ll plan to hold the country hostage this time around. They said they will oppose a stopgap funding bill unless their terms are met, making it even more difficult for leadership to avoid a looming shutdown when the government’s budget year ends September 30th. They posted a statement on social media yesterday outlining their demands, which include passing a sweeping GOP border bill that has already stalled in the Senate and ending, quote, “woke Defense Department policies.” That’s not a thing. [laughter] The Defense Department is not woke. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Are they doing it to make us laugh? Because like it is working. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It is working. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It is working. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Speaker Kevin McCarthy told members on a call last week that to keep government agencies up and running they’ll need to pass that short term funding bill. But even if the Freedom Caucus holds out and McCarthy and the Democrats temporarily keep the government open, there still no guarantee that they’ll reach an agreement on funding for all of 2024. Several Senate Democrats said they’re not letting the Freedom Caucus get away with amending a short term spending bill. In a statement to The Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, quote, “If the House decides to go in a partisan direction, it will lead to a Republican caused shutdown.” 


Priyanka Aribindi: It really is getting old. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s getting old. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Two candidates are headed to a runoff in Ecuador after Sunday’s presidential election. They include leftist Luisa González and banana tycoon heir Daniel Noboa. González, an ally of former socialist President Rafael Correa, led with 33% of the vote, and Noboa, a newcomer businessman, came in second place with 24% of the vote. As we’ve discussed on the show, Sunday’s election came during a very violent campaign season for Ecuador. Just earlier this month, Fernando Villavicencio, a top candidate, was assassinated while leaving a campaign rally. Also in election news, this time from Guatemala, the anti-corruption progressive Bernardo Arévalo won to become the country’s next president. He won in a landslide with 58% of the vote. His opponent, former first Lady Sandra Torres, received 37% of the vote. This was her third time running for president. Center left Arévalo is viewed to be the most progressive candidate to come this far in the country since 1985, when democracy was restored in Guatemala. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The owner of a clothing store near Lake Arrowhead, California, was shot and killed last weekend, all because she had a pride flag on display outside of her shop. According to local authorities, a man approached Laura Ann Carlton, the owner, and made several disparaging remarks about the flag and used homophobic slurs before shooting her. She was pronounced dead at the scene and the suspect was shot and killed by deputies shortly after. According to people who knew Carlton, this wasn’t the first time someone took an issue with her flag. People have gone as far as to rip it down multiple times in the past, but Carlton always replaced it to show her support for the LGBTQ+ community. Carlton was 66 years old. She’s survived by nine children, and one of her daughters, Ari Carlton, described her mom as fearless and as someone who valued, quote, “love, acceptance and equality.”. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. This is such a tragedy. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Devastating. 


Priyanka Aribindi: For someone to disagree with you and decide to shoot you because of it. That feels like a uniquely American thing in the absolute worst way. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yup. 


Priyanka Aribindi: In another win for trans rights, this time down South, a federal judge has temporarily blocked part of Georgia’s ban on gender affirming care for minors. That law went into effect last month and it banned medical professionals from providing youth with hormone replacement therapy and gender affirming surgeries. Several Georgia families with trans kids who depend on this kind of lifesaving care sued the state over the law. And U.S. District Judge Sarah Geraghty ruled that its provision banning hormone replacement therapy likely violates the Constitution and would cause a, quote unquote, “irreparable harm to the minor plaintiffs in the case.” The attorneys representing the Georgia families said in a statement that the ruling, quote, “restores parents rights to make medical decisions that are in their child’s best interest, including hormone therapy for their transgender children when needed for them to thrive and be healthy.” Meanwhile, the ban on gender affirming surgeries was left standing because the plaintiffs didn’t challenge it in their initial legal complaint. Okay, looks like we got to go back for more. But I like this trend. We started talking about it yesterday on the show with our interview. And– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I am here for more of this happening where these laws have been put into place. Yes, please. 


Josie Duffy Rice: District Judge Sarah Geraghty used to be a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights here in Atlanta. She was an incredible advocate. So it’s good to see her on the bench. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That is really awesome. Love it. And those are the headlines. 




Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review. Log off Donald Trump [laugh] and tell your friends to listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you are into reading and not just the increasing list of legal wins for trans rights like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


[spoken together] And don’t mess with the Swifties Scooter Braun. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m not a Swiftie. 


Priyanka Aribindi: You’re not a Swiftie. I feel like I’m enough of a Swiftie for both of us. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But karma coming for Scooter Braun? Like I love to see it. It’s fine. Dropped by all your clients? Another person I’m not wasting hopes and dreams on. Sorry. [music break]


Josie Duffy Rice: 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 Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.