News O'Clock: We All Want Serena Williams As Our Best Friend
In today's episode: Oil is down, baby names are up, and Kim Jon Un is... well no one knows.
The date is April 21, 2020 and the time is... News O'Clock!
On today's show we find out that there’s oil in them thar hills... but nobody wants it right now thanks to the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, there’s bad news for all the baby “Liams” of the world and great news for Stanley Tucci fans.
And finally we talk to WLNS investigative journalist Ashley Graham about the people who think Michigan’s governor is wrong to keep them from their haircuts and gardening supplies.
Check out the full episode transcript below!
Hayes Brown: North Korea's leader has been AWOL and people have some theories. If you're naming your baby Henry, he's going to have a lot of classmates with the same name. And some people are demanding that states say, "Corona who?" And reopen. We've got investigative reporter, Ashley Graham from WLNS in Lansing, to tell us about all the people in Michigan demanding that their governor do just that.
Casey Rackham: The date, April 21st, 2020.
HB: The time? News O'Clock. Good afternoon, I'm Hayes Brown.
CR: And I'm Casey Rackham. Welcome to News O'Clock.
HB: So about a million things happened after we dropped our first episode yesterday, which really just kind of drove home the point that we are now doing the show every day.
CR: Every day. I'm excited about this, but also that is so much to cover.
HB: Well maybe we'll get lucky and there'll be a slow day in the near future.
CR: Okay. Hayes, I'm going to need you to not jinx us right now.
HB: Okay. I am sorry. I shouldn't believe in jinxes, but I kind of do, so I take that one back. Hopefully the jinx God's will allow that one.
CR: Oh my God. Maybe if I approve it, then that's how it works. You are approved.
HB: Oh good. That's much easier than it was in theater in high school, where if you said something that was cursed on stage, you had to spin around three times and recite, angels and ministers of grace defend us and theater kids are weird.
CR: Wow. My jaw literally dropped, as someone who was just on track.
HB: Oh my God. Wait, you're a jock?
CR: I was. I was captain of the track team, Hayes.
HB: I learn something new every day on the show, we're educational in so many ways. Okay, it is time for today's corona minute and I can already feel like it's going to be a struggle to get everything in.
CR: I believe in you. Okay, one minute on the clock and go.
HB: The coronavirus continues to have a huge effect on areas you wouldn't expect, including in this case, the oil industry. Thanks to a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia and kind of the US and nobody wanting to use the oil that has been pumped out while the economy shut down, the price of oil just totally collapsed yesterday. At one point, if you wanted to buy a barrel of oil for delivery next month, the price was negative $37. That is right negative because it turns out if there's too much oil that's been pumped versus people using it, you kind of run out of room to store it, and so you want to pay people to take it from you.
HB: That's bad news for countries that are already feeling a pinch from corona and for an industry that depends heavily on loans and employs thousands of people here in the US. It's also one of many reasons why some governors are champing at the bit to get people back to work. Tennessee's governor, Bill Lee said he's going to let his state safer at home order expire at the end of the month. Georgia governor Brian Kemp went even further yesterday saying he's going to let restaurants open up next Monday and hair salons reopen by Friday, which doesn't seem ideal when COVID cases are still popping up. Kemp's decision is sure to please president Trump though, who's been pushing states to relax their restrictions. But the president said last night on Twitter that he was "shutting down immigration' in response to the pandemic, which is wild when he's still telling the states they should reopen, but also totally expected of this president. As of this afternoon, though, there's still no details on exactly what he meant by that tweet, so watch this space. All right. How was that? Did I make it in time this time?
CR: Oh, so close, but not close enough. There's just too much news to fit. Okay, so how do you even buy something for negative dollars?
HB: I don't know. I have the same question. I have been wondering this since the prices went into the negative yesterday. I had this vision in my head that I know was wrong, of someone in the New York stock exchange begging people to take their wads of cash for these barrels of oil that they can't store. But I know in my heart that's not how it works.
CR: I think you're very correct, that is not how it works. But let's move on because it's time for today's good news, bad news. As you might guess from the name, this is where I bring you some of the most, oh my God, I love this and most, oh my God, no, stories from around the internet.
HB: Let's hear the bad news first this time. What do you got?
CR: Okay bad news, if you were hoping your little baby Luna would have a unique name growing up, it's on its way to becoming one of the top 10 girls names in the US for years to come. So basically names.org puts out a list every year using social security administration name information. And last year, 95% of its guesses for the top 10 baby names in the US were correct, which means they missed only one out of 20. So we have the list and this year Liam and Emma are set to be the top names and Henry and Alexander break the top 10 on the boys side and Mila manages to hit the upper ranks for lady names. So I thought this was interesting, I pulled up the top 10 names for the girls and they were all very soft names that end in A, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella. And then I just thought back to my kindergarten class in the 90s which was full of all these hard names, Jessica, Rebecca, Brittany, Courtney.
HB: So many ka's, yes. I guess millennials hate consonants now as a result and all of our babies are going to be named soft and flowy things. I think we got both lucky and unlucky in our names, in that not many people share our names, but it also meant that we never had the little key tags in the stores available to us. So many times just searching for no avail, for a nice just little Hayes key tag. Never.
CR: I definitely believe that for you. But you know what, as much as I like to think Casey's a unique name, it was actually pretty popular in the 90s for boys and dogs. So I heard it a lot. I was Casey R in first grade because Casey J was sitting across from me.
CR: Okay, so now on to some good news and I'm telling you it's real good news because if you like Stanley Tucci, alcohol or both, you're going to be so happy. Basically he offered up some tips on making cocktails yesterday in an Instagram video. And as Broadway singer Natalie Walker put it, I can't define pornography but I know it when I see it. And let me tell you, I started blushing while watching Stanley Tucci shake his drink and then make direct eye contact with the camera. So just picture this. He's in his home. He is wearing actual clothes, polo shirt, hard pants, a belt and everything, like the true professional he is. And he's standing at his wet bar because he has a wet bar, just hanging out in quarantine while he's making us a Negroni. And let me tell you, I've never wanted a Negroni so badly in my entire life.
Single shot of Campari, made in Milan, it is the ubiquitous Milanese cocktail.
CR: So this video made complete sense to me because, besides just being an amazing actor, he's just really into food. He's written several cookbooks and he was in, Julia and Julia, about Julia Child's.did I make that up?
HB: Yes, he was. No, he was fantastic in that. He plays Paul, Julia Child's husband in this movie and he's phenomenal.
CR: He is the biggest foodie. I love him so much. And fun fact in case you forgot, his wife is Felicity Blunt, who is Emily Blunt's sister, which means his brother in law is John Krasinski. Small world people. But this video is just really amazing. Three million people have watched, which is just proof that people need Stanley Tucci content during this quarantine.
HB: Okay, so confession, I love Stanley Tucci, but I cannot stand Negroni's. I have never enjoyed one and I feel like a bad person for admitting this.
CR: You know what? It's okay. I get it. They're super bitter. I mean, I love Negroni's, so I can't relate to you right now, but I accept you.
HB: Thank you for that. I appreciate that acceptance at least.
CR: I just want to, I mean, you could probably already tell, but I just need everyone to know how much I love Stanley Tucci. His performance in Easy A, should have won an Oscar. He played father to Emma Stone and he was a wonderful husband. He just wanted to watch movies with his family and cook for them. And he joked with them, he was very relatable and he wore very tight shirts.
HB: So really it's just Stanley Tucci playing Emma Stone's father. That's just Stanley Tucci has a person on screen.
CR: I just think I like him as a father who's making food. And so that was pretty much him in this video, except not being a father.
HB: And not making food, making alcohol. Close enough. Okay guys. So when we come back, we're talking with Lansing base reporter Ashley Graham about the Michiganders demanding the right to spread the coronavirus in the name of a haircut. Stick around.
CR: Welcome back. It's time for say more. This is where we get to talk to some of the best people out there and to spending some quality time with us.
HB: States around the country are deciding when they can say, good enough and reopen their economies, but some folks seem like they're getting a bit impatient already. That was the case in Michigan, where protesters went viral for their demands that businesses reopen.
CR: Today we're joined by Ashley Graham, an investigative journalist based out of WLNS in Lansing, Michigan. Thanks for joining us Ashley.
Ashley Graham: Hey, thanks for having me.
CR: So Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, ordered everyone to stay at home about a month ago, but it seems like some people are getting tired of it. Can you tell us a bit about the protest that was held in Lansing last week?
AG: Yeah, absolutely. So like you said, about a month ago she issued the first stay home stay safe order, which had a set of restrictions on where people could go, what things would be closed with businesses. And over time there have been some clarification's through other executive orders, as time went on. And some people felt that they were a little bit too restrictive and so that was really one of the driving points behind the recent operation gridlock protest, which happened last Wednesday, I believe, in Lansing and had a couple thousand people come into the capital city to basically create a gridlock around capital and to show their frustration with some of the executive orders that governor Whitmer has handed down.
HB: That makes a lot of sense, in terms of the frustration. I can hear your dog in the background, he sounds pretty frustrated as well.
AG: I'm so sorry.
HB: No, it's fine. My dog is over here napping right now. We're all at home, we all understand that. So you said that about a thousand people showed up at this protest last week, which is actually way more than I was expecting you to say. Given the fact that there've been sort of copycat sort protests that have been seen pop up in Minnesota and Maryland, et cetera, where there's not that many people. How seriously do you think we should be taking this push back against these stay at home orders?
AG: To answer your question, I think it's definitely something that other states around the country are also feeling. Michigan's got a lot of attention last week and I know that there are some followup protests that are being planned for the coming week and coming days, so I think it is something that politicians are going to have to pay attention to. It's definitely a sentiment that people still have even after the first protest, so it's going to be something that comes up until these restrictions are lifted or changed or changed in some way that people feel that they are not being as restricted as they are now.
CR: This clip from that protest that aired on Fox news went viral last week. Let's have a listen.
Protestor: It's time for our state to be opened up. We're tired of not being able to buy the things that we need, go to the hair dressers, get our hair done.
CR: They're talking about things like haircuts and lawn care. What does that say to you about these groups?
AG: What that says to me, and based on the clip itself, I think it's that a lot of people are frustrated, a lot of services have been closed down and so people are adjusting to the new normal. And we've heard from a lot of people just at my TV station, they've called, they've emailed us, they talk to us when we do these interviews for other stories and they just want to get back to normal. They want the state to open up, they want to be able to go back to work a lot of them, and they understand the seriousness of this pandemic, but they also want to be able to make their own choices basically and decide for themselves whether or not they want to go get their hair done or if they want to browse around a Lowe's to buy paint or buy plants or things of that nature. So to me it says that people, and this is what people have said to me as well, they're just frustrated and they're trying to get back to some sense of normal that has sort of been lost as a result of the pandemic.
HB: One of the big things that's been discussed these last few weeks especially, is how many black and brown people are being affected by COVID-19, including in Michigan. These protests, these people who are talking to you, are demanding that things open back up. But do we know how doing so, actually getting these businesses back open again, would affect those minority communities who are already hit so hard by this virus?
AG: Yeah, so the State Department of Health and Human Services, they've been collecting data every day on the number of cases, where they're coming from, County by County and over the last few weeks they've been breaking it down by race, age and other demographics. And what we're seeing is that Michigan's black population is about 13, 14% but they make up about 40% of the deaths due to COVID-19. So we are already seeing even with the executive orders in place, with the intention of flattening the curve, that this is already hitting Michigan's black population disproportionately. So I think opening up the state and opening up some of those businesses that have been closed and it's not just something that affects black and brown people, because everybody works in the workforce obviously, but this is going to expose more people potentially to COVID-19 unless certain social distancing restrictions are put in place.
AG: If things are opened up in phases or opened up in a certain way that there are restrictions on the number of people in the buildings or how they do certain things, compared to how they did before. And even though everyone is going to be affected by this and everyone will kind of open themselves up to being exposed to the virus, I mean we've heard lots of times the virus does not discriminate whether you're black, white, any other race, but we're already seeing and there are certainly lots of factors about disproportionate access to health for black and brown communities, they are going to be the ones that are hit harder by this due to underlying conditions at a higher rate or not having access to the care that they need if they do turn into more serious cases. So this virus doesn't discriminate, but the consequences of it might.
CR: Do we know anything about who's been organizing these protests because they've been pushed on Fox and by president Trump who tweeted, liberate Michigan, last week?
AG: Yes, so the main one that was planned last week was mainly planned by the Michigan Conservative Coalition. We know that this has been associated with conservative groups, including the Michigan Trump Republicans, Women for Trump and Battle Cries. So that's really the main group that's been behind a lot of the big protests, but also some of the protests that are planned for even this week and in coming weeks, are planned by mostly conservative right wing groups.
HB: So governor Whitmer, she's been attacked pretty directly by president Trump, as you know, that woman in Michigan, is that having an effect on her standing in the state?
AG: I think Michigan's a really unique state, in that it is pretty much by the definition, a swing state. You've got people pretty evenly split on not just the governor, but how they feel about COVID-19 and we can see that in the numbers just responding to the polls. So I think people are kind of watching what the governor's doing very closely and I've heard from a lot of people just out and about reporting, that they don't envy the governor for the decisions that she has to make or any governor for that matter, but they know she's in a tough spot. They know that Michigan at one point was number three in the country, I believe right now we're a number four for the number of cases. So it's not an enviable position at all, it's not an easy choice to make in terms of are you going to open the state? Are you going to open it in X, Y, Z way?
AG: So people are watching her very closely. You have a lot of people who say they trust her. They know this isn't a fun time right now, but they trust her decision making and her ability to keep everyone safe. Other people think that she's being a little bit too restrictive or maybe didn't act fast enough based on just what I've seen in social media, trying to reach out to people for stories. So it's going to be interesting when this is all said and done, how people grade her basically, for her response to all of this. But I think a lot of people are kind of watching and waiting and some are voicing their opinion, but a lot of people are watching waiting to see what she does and what impact this has on the state when this is all said and done.
HB: Ashley thank you so much for joining because as someone from Michigan, as someone who went to Michigan State and so knows Lansing very well, I really appreciate you breaking it down for us who are stuck out here on the coast.
AG: Yeah, no problem. I should clarify, I didn't go to Michigan State but got a lot of love for the school just because it's in my neighborhood now. So I'm happy to help, just hope everybody takes a listen to their local news and stay safe, stay healthy.
HB: Thank you so much for joining us, Ashley.
AG: Thanks so much.
HB: It's time for the list and today we've got four reasons people are freaking out about North Korea.
CR: Is something weird going on with North Korea and by that I mean, weirder than normal?
HB: Yes, it's pretty opaque right now, like so much about North Korea, but here's what we know. So the number one reason why people are freaking out about North Korea, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un has been kind of AWOL for the last few days. Normally he's front and center, especially for this huge holiday that they had on the 15th, for his granddad who is the founder of the country, but he was just nowhere to be found. Number two reason why people are freaking out, a site called Daily NK reported yesterday that Kim is not doing so hot lately, which is to say they're saying that he had a surgery and he was not recovering well from it, which is a huge deal when Kim Jong-un runs everything in the country.
HB: Okay, number three reason why people are freaking out, CNN and NBC picked up that story later Monday night, citing intelligence officials with direct knowledge that Kim is in "grave condition." One reporter from NBC went so far as to call Kim Jong-un reportedly brain dead. The person who tweeted that out later retracted and deleted that tweet. But clearly it freaked out a lot of people. Number four reason why people are freaking out about North Korea, it's hard to know what's actually happening in North Korea at any given time, they are just one of those closed off countries in the world. South Korea says everything's pretty chill in North Korea right now and that Kim is fine, but there's no real way to know that for sure. So question mark, question mark, question mark.
CR: Yeah, seems like a lot's going on and I just need to know is Kim okay?
HB: That's a big old question mark so far, no one has confirmed or denied what's going on with him. President Trump, a few weeks back said he got a beautiful letter from Kim, but if Kim's been missing in action since the 15th, no idea what that's about. And meanwhile people are trying to figure out who would even replace Kim and it might even be his sisters. So there's a lot of questions out there and I for one, am really curious to see how this all turns out.
CR: I know, I want to see what happens on Twitter tonight. Okay, we have time for one more thing because we can't let you go until we talk about this. Everyone out there, you need a best friend like Serena Williams.
HB: That just feels like it should be true on every level, yes.
CR: She's just the best okay. And Serena is the kind of person that will keep your secrets forever. She's not about to say, "Okay, I have a secret, but I'm not supposed to tell anyone. So don't tell her I told you." And then spill everything.
HB: So whose neck has she been protecting?
CR: Meghan Markle's.
HB: Oh, so she's keeping those Royal secrets?
CR: Yes, she is. Serena and her husband were at Meghan's wedding to Prince Harry and Meghan got flown out just to watch Serena play at the US Open last year. So yes, they are very much best friends.
HB: That is some rich people ride or die right there.
CR: Yeah, and with all of the Megxit drama, as Megan and Harry peaced out from their official Royal lives, Serena has stayed quiet. Not even Naomi Campbell could break her.
HB: Wait, supermodel/Tyra Banks nemesis, Naomi Campbell.
CR: She has a YouTube channel. Naomi was talking to Venus and Serena Williams yesterday and tried to ask about Meghan, here's how Serena responded.
Serena Willaims: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Don't know nothing about that.
Naomi Campbell: I mean they're on the West coast-
SW: Never seen her, never heard of her.
NCl: What's the big deal?
SW: Don't know her.
HB: The swerve on that.
CR: Serena came nowhere near answering that question and Naomi just bailed out completely.
HB: Let it be known, Serena Williams will never rat you out to Voldemort. Rat, pun intended.
CR: No, she definitely would not. I will excuse you for that pun. Kind of loved it. But Serena just truly, I mean the list could go on and on about why Serena is so great. In fact, you could go to buzzfeed.com and search Serena Williams and we have tons of lists about why she's so great. But I always think back to this one moment that really just, it just goes to show like what an amazing athlete and person and woman she is. But do you remember when she wore a full body compression suit? I think it was at the US Open.
HB: People got so mad.
CR: Yes. The president of the French Tennis Federation was like, "You're not respecting the game. You've gone too far." And I'm like, I'm sorry, Serena Williams isn't respecting the game of tennis. Anyway, she literally wore that compression suit because it was to stop her from getting blood clots. So she shows up at the US Open in an entirely new outfit that is a Tutu and fishnet leggings and it is a chef's kiss. And once again, the fish net leggings were for the blood clots because it's an actual medical issue. Anyway, she's just amazing and I love her forever.
HB: Lucky Meghan having a best friend like that.
CR: That's it for today. Join us tomorrow for more on how the president's BFFs are using the coronavirus crisis to push the things they've believed in all along.
HB: And remember, when going out in public, use The Sound of Music rule.
CR: Wait, what's The Sound of Music rule?
HB: You stay six feet, going on seven feet.
CR: Okay, shut up. Be sure to subscribe to News O'Clock on iHeart Radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you go for your sad stories.
HB: And please take the time to leave us a rating and review. It helps us figure out what you'd like about the show versus what you love about the show. Casey is still laughing. Tell all of your friends about this show and tell them to set their alarm so they never miss News O'Clock.