On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Queen Elizabeth’s death stirs debate about colonialism
National correspondent Rick Jervis reports. Plus, reporter Jeanine Santucci explains a USA TODAY analysis that found many U.S. prisons don’t have adequate air conditioning, Ukraine’s military makes progress with its counter-offensive, Congressional reporter Dylan Wells says some Democratic women are hoping the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision may help them in midterm elections and ‘Entertain This’ host Ralphie Aversa gives an Emmys recap.
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Tuesday, the 13th of September, 2022. Today, how the Queen’s death has stirred a debate on British colonialism and its legacy, plus how many US prisons don’t have adequate air conditioning, and more.
Here are some of the top headlines.
- The Justice Department has issued dozens of subpoenas to former President Donald Trump’s aides for information about the 2020 election and the January 6th Capitol attack. The subpoenas suggest the investigation is picking up pace. It’s separate from the seizure of Trump administration documents from Mar-a-Lago.
- 49 Armenian soldiers have been killed in nighttime attacks by Azerbaijan, according to our Armenia’s prime minister. Azerbaijan says it is retaliating against Armenian attacks. The two countries have been in conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region for decades. Azerbaijan reclaimed large parts of the region in 2020 during a war that killed more than 6,000 people.
- William Ruto will be inaugurated as Kenya’s new president today. A number of people were crushed and injured as crowds moved into the stadium where the ceremony will take place. Ruto narrowly won the election last month.
Queen Elizabeth II’s death last week has stirred an already brewing debate surrounding colonialism, slavery, and British racism, and it’s not likely to go away with the passing of the crown to a new monarch. National correspondent, Rick Jervis, reports.
This was a really interesting week because there was a lot of outpouring of condolences and appreciation for the royal family this week with Queen Elizabeth’s passing. But we also noticed quite a bit of criticizing of the royal family also and just people pointing out, both on social media and in op-eds, pointing out the royal family’s long history attached to things like colonialism and its past ties to slavery. I spoke to a number of folks who wanted to point out some of these sort of connections with the royal family’s ties to colonialism both in the Caribbean and in Africa. They wanted to talk about reparations, about possibly getting paid at some point for past slavery.
Back in March, Prince William and his wife, Kate, had this trip planned. It was a pretty important trip. It was part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the basic celebration of her 70th year as a sovereign. It was the first trip that the couple took since the actual pandemic hit. So it was a pretty important trip people were really anticipating. But I think what really surprised a lot of folks is that as they took this trip through the Caribbean, and it was through Belize, Jamaica, Bahamas, and it was equivalent of a victory lap, they were just supposed to go and just meet with dignitaries and see the folks on those islands. But they were met almost at every turn with protests, with people bringing up select reparation payments, and with people writing open letters to them basically demanding an apology and an acknowledgement of past sins. It got so bad that, even at a couple of stops, they basically had to cancel those stops because there were significant protests there.
Prince William, at one of the dinners there, did actually acknowledge slavery and called it abhorrent and did actually acknowledge it and called it a past sin, but he never actually apologized for it. That was something that a lot of protests, a lot of organizers wanted. They basically wanted to hear him or someone from the actual royal family apologize for some of the past sins, and that hasn’t happened. Prince William and even Prince Charles, now King Charles, have actually acknowledged that, basically acknowledged slavery. They both have stopped short of apologizing for it, and they haven’t acknowledged any sort of reparations. But they have acknowledged slavery, and that’s something which Queen Elizabeth never did, sticking to her long tradition of not offering personal opinions on specific matters. So she has never really given any kind of hint one way or another on this issue.
There have been allegations of racism within Buckingham Palace for decades obviously, for generations. One of the more higher profile instances came last year when Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, sat down for an interview with Oprah. In that interview, Meghan said that there was an unnamed person within the royal household which questioned whether her son would basically be, quote, “too dark to represent the UK.” That obviously sent a lot of ripples throughout London. It basically prompted Prince William, Harry’s brother, to basically respond later that the royal family was, “very much not a racist family.” This allegation was one of the first times anything came from inside of Buckingham Palace hinting at any racism.
Also, last year in June of 2021, the Guardian newspaper found a trove of documents in the National Archives which they claim basically revealed how, in 1968, one of the Queen’s advisors, it was a chief financial manager, basically informed civil servants that it wasn’t their practice to appoint, “colored immigrants or foreigners to clerical roles.” That also caused quite an uproar.
You can find a link to Rick’s full story in today’s episode description.
A USA TODAY analysis found that at least 44 states do not have fully air conditioned prisons, and climate change and an increase in heat waves are making conditions worse. National news reporter, Jeanine Santucci, has the details with producer, PJ Elliott.
There is a very big growing problem that advocates are sounding the alarm on, which is that most US states don’t universally air condition their prisons, meaning, that there are housing areas and other common areas within prisons that aren’t air conditioned or climate controlled at all. As climate change is causing more and more high temperature records to be broken, which we saw this summer, which has been a trend which scientists expect is going to continue in summers to come, that’s causing a real problem for the health and safety of both inmates and staff in prisons.
How many states actually have air conditioned prisons? How big of a problem is this?
It’s a huge problem. People are surprised to hear that actually at least 44 US states don’t universally air condition their prisons, at least, because a few states didn’t get back to us. One state, Tennessee, was the only state that told us it has full air conditioning in all areas of its prisons. A handful of other states said that they either have nearly universal AC or they use a combination of air conditioning and other methods to cool all areas of their prisons. Then we’re left with a very large portion of the country that either has very little air conditioning in its prisons, partial air conditioning, or two states that have none at all.
How does this not fall under cruel and unusual punishment?
Well, that’s something that advocates argue it should fall under and it does. I spoke with David Fathi, who’s the director of the ACLU’s Prison Project, and he said that courts are more and more having to contend with that issue. Courts are finding that this is a violation of the Eighth Amendment which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. He says that states and state corrections departments have a responsibility to prisoners, to inmates to house them in humane conditions. Prisons don’t have to be comfortable, but they do have to be livable.
Jeanine, what can you tell us about how difficult it was doing this story?
The review that we did for this project is the most comprehensive one out there. This information isn’t tracked nationally because states control their own corrections departments. There’s no national requirement for certain temperatures to be kept, and so this information just hasn’t been tracked. So USA TODAY’S analysis is the most extensive review and data available out there about cooling systems in state-run prisons.
Ukraine’s military offensive gained even more momentum yesterday. Ukraine regained more territory in the country’s northeast, and forced overwhelmed Russian troops to retreat. A Russian-installed official in the Kharkiv region even said that Ukrainian forces outnumbered Russian troops eight to one and had broken through to the Russian border. Ukraine’s military said it freed more than 20 settlements over a 24-hour period. The British Defense Ministry said Kyiv’s forces have captured territory at least twice the size of greater London in recent days.
Officials from the Pentagon also commented on the counteroffensive yesterday, saying that success in the Kharkiv region comes down to Ukraine’s tenacity, along with US weapons and Russian disarray. The US has signed off on more than $15 billion for Ukraine since President Joe Biden took office. US officials said yesterday that a major part of Western aid has been the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System supplied by the US. The Pentagon said they’ve been used to destroy Russian command posts, ammunition depots, and logistics hubs more than 40 miles behind the frontline. Pentagon officials also said that Ukrainian forces have made slight gains against Russian troops in the southern part of the country as well near Kherson.
Meanwhile, public dissent of the invasion is growing inside Russia. Ramzan Kadyrov, the Moscow-based leader of the region of Chechnya, and Boris Nadezhdin, a former parliament member, are publicly criticizing the war strategy. On Telegram, Kadyrov said that mistakes have been made, and Nadezhdin told Russian channel NTV that aides who convinced President Vladimir Putin that the military would be fast and effective got it wrong. He added, “We’re now at the point where we have to understand that it’s absolutely impossible to defeat Ukraine using these resources and colonial war methods.”
Elsewhere, the UN nuclear watchdog agency said yesterday that Ukraine and Russia appear interested in creating a security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and that talks are underway. Russia took over the facility during its invasion. But UN officials, on a trip there in recent weeks, said it was in serious danger as shelling continues in the area. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.
A commitment that no military action will include or will imply aiming, of course, at the plant or a radius that could be affecting its normal operation. This is what we expect.
For more from Ukraine, stay with our live updates page every day on USATODAY.com.
Some Democratic women are hoping that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade may fuel their path to the Senate in this fall’s midterm elections even in traditionally Republican states. Congressional reporter, Dylan Wells, and producer, PJ Elliott, have more.
In nearly half of the states that have Senate races on the ballot this November, Democrats have put forward women candidates. They were all in the race prior to the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. But since that big decision, a lot of them have leaned into abortion as a campaign issue, have been sharing their personal stories, and really holding events with a focus on abortion access. So I would say it’s not so much they’ve chosen to run because of this abortion moment in our country, but because of it, they’re really highlighting abortion as a way to reach more voters. They hope it will help them reach more Republicans and Independent voters who are pro-abortion in November and help them get over the finish line in some of these races.
Dylan, in your story you wrote about there being this surge in new women voters. Can you talk more about that?
One reason that Democrats feel like this is an important issue for them to be campaigning on and where they’ll really have success of voters is because some of the states that have Senate races on the ballot this fall have seen a double digit surge in new women voters compared to new male voters since the Supreme Court released its decision in June. A big sign of success and optimism for those who are pro-abortion access was in Kansas where a ballot measure was struck down that would’ve further restricted abortion. Kansas has a Democratic governor but is more traditionally red. The Democratic firm, TargetSmart, has measured a 40% gender gap among new registrants of those turning out, registering to vote in Kansas since the Dobbs decision, which is obviously a pretty significant number and one of the reasons why candidates are employing this issue on the campaign trail.
2022 Emmys are in the books. Michael Keaton took the first award of the night for Hulu’s Dopesick, giving one of the night’s highlight reel speeches. Then later, one of the stars of ABC’s breakout sitcom, Abbott Elementary, Sheryl Lee Ralph, won for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She was visibly shocked and sang Dianne Reeves’s 1993 song, Endangered Species, as part of her speech. For more from TV’s biggest night, here is USA TODAY Ralphie Aversa.
Kenan Thompson hosted the show.
TV is all we have, from Netflix and chill to Paramount+ and eating dinner alone.
Speaking of Netflix, Squid Game won three Emmys, and Lee Jung-jae became the first ever Asian to win Lead Actor in a Drama. And there were more firsts. Sheryl Lee Ralph won her first Emmy for ABC’s Abbott Elementary. It was the 65-year-old actress’s first nomination. She was moved to tears and song.
Sheryl Lee Ralph:
(singing) I am an endangered species!
Tears of joy were cried by Lizzo as well, scoring her first Emmy for Amazon’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. There were plenty of repeat winners too, like John Oliver. Seven consecutive wins for Last Week Tonight. Before the show, I asked Seth Meyers, also nominated for Best Variety Talk Series, if the other hosts had just stopped talking to John at this point.
We would like to, but he’s too charming. So it would be a personal cost to me.
Jason Sudeikis and Jean Smart won acting Emmys for the second straight year, and Zendaya scored her second statuette for Euphoria. Ted Lasso also won Best Comedy for the second year in a row. Hannah Waddingham was just happy to be back at TV’s biggest night.
It’s a massive privilege, and I can’t believe I’m here again.
So was Ben Stiller. He was nominated for his directing on the drama, Severance. They began filming in 2020 during the pandemic.
It’s necessary to stay safe, but we’re getting the work done, and I think everybody’s adapted.
HBO’s The White Lotus won five Emmys, including Best Limited Series. Jennifer Coolidge won Best Supporting Actress, and she might still be on stage if they didn’t play her off. And Succession took home Best Drama ending the show with this awkward jab at another succession that took place across the pond.
It’s a big week for successions. New king in the UK, at least for us. Evidently a little bit more voting involved in our winning than Prince Charles.
That was actually more awkward than us asking Nicholas Braun on the red carpet about his method acting. For more of our Emmy coverage, including a full list of winners, head to USATODAY.com/entertainment. Here at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles for USA TODAY’S Entertain This!, I’m Ralphie Aversa.
You can find full episodes of Entertain This! from the entertainment section on usatoday.com.
You can find 5 Things every morning, year-long right here wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.