2/15 Ohio Train Derailment: Still More Questions Than Answers; Restaurant Union Busting; Florida Book Banning w/ Julia Rock & Suzanne Nossel

February 15, 2023

Sam and Emma host Julia Rock, staff reporter at The Lever, to discuss her recent reporting on the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, as well as recent meetings surrounding restaurant union negotiations. Then, they’re joined by Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PENAmerica, to discuss the organization’s efforts to combat censorship efforts at the state level by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on Dianne Feistein’s tentative retirement, Arizona’s Nitric Acid spill, Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming care, Oklahoma stripping a Lesbian mom of her parental rights, and the GOP getting upset over the FTC doing its job, before diving deeper into the House Republican’s frantic search for SOMETHING to cut, as the Senate GOP takes defense (even the woke stuff), social security, and medicare off of the table. Julie Rock then joins as she dives right into the recent regulatory debacle in East Palestine, walking through the last decade of deregulation of the freight rail industry, an age dubbed the “buyback era” by workers as their employers purchased stocks for the C-Suite while cutting spending on infrastructure, inspections, and workforce and safety redundancy, before looking to the role of lobbying in ensuring this deregulation, focusing particularly on the freight industry’s promotion of a mechanical break upgrade, only to turn around and object to any attempt to regulate the implementation of these breaks while carrying hazardous products, successfully having the Trump administration repeal the requirements while Pete Buttigieg has continued to lag on its reimplementation. Rock then shifts to her recent experiences sitting in on a National Restaraunt Association conference where NLRB General Council spoke on her agency’s crackdown on union-busting tactics in the industry, the fear held by C-Suites nationwide of Gen-Z labor organizing, and the tactics the corporations are looking to employ moving forwards. Next, Suzanne Nossel parses through how her work on censorship has progressed over the last decade, shifting from hyper-localized protests by parents to a full-scale legislative assault from state governments, walking through the myriad education-based restrictions coming out of Governor DeSantis’ office in Florida and the massive difference between interpersonal disputes over speech and authoritarianism at the invocation of the state, before wrapping up the interview by tackling the specifics of the College Board’s battle over AP African American history.

And in the Fun Half: Sma and Emma discuss Minnesota’s trans refuge bill, what it can do to fight back against the gender-affirming care bans cropping up across the US, and parse through Tim Pool running coverage for both the corporations and regulators responsible for East Palestine’s chemical catastrophe, which Dion from Kentucky helps them expand on. Patrick from LA then walks Sam and Emma through an extended Men’s Rights hypothetical that begins with reproductive rights for all pronouns and ends with balancing the rights of courageous men with those of blue-haired cows (women), plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Julia’s reporting at The Lever here: https://www.levernews.com/author/julia-rock/

Check out PENAmerica’s work here: https://pen.org/

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