Weekly Wrap: 'El Chapo' Trial & Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez It's Friday. Sam is putting on his best falsetto to sing along with NPR reporters Sarah Gonzalez and Julia Furlan. They're digging into peculiar details of the 'El Chapo' trial, as well as how changes to federal law could be the cause of a rise in sex trafficking. Plus, Sam chats with a listener who grew up in Virginia about racism in the state.
NPR logo

Weekly Wrap: Blackface In Virginia, 'El Chapo' Trial, How AOC Set The News Cycle

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/692809467/692875265" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Weekly Wrap: Blackface In Virginia, 'El Chapo' Trial, How AOC Set The News Cycle

Weekly Wrap: Blackface In Virginia, 'El Chapo' Trial, How AOC Set The News Cycle

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/692809467/692875265" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, NPR reporters Julia Furlan and Sarah Gonzalez. All right, let's start the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF GRETA VAN FLEET SONG, "BLACK SMOKE RISING")

SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey, y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders. IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. Happy weekend. And welcome to my two guests - Julia Furlan, reporter and host at NPR, Sarah Gonzalez, reporter for NPR's Planet Money. Y'all are both in New York. Thanks for joining me.

JULIA FURLAN, BYLINE: Thank you.

SARAH GONZALEZ, BYLINE: Thanks, Sam.

FURLAN: It's great to be here.

SANDERS: I'm glad y'all are here. Do you hear the song I'm playing?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK SMOKE RISING")

GRETA VAN FLEET: (Singing) Where they look out to the land to see...

FURLAN: Yes.

SANDERS: This is this band that I'm kind of into right now. They're called Greta Van Fleet. You guys heard of them?

FURLAN: Yeah. I've heard of them, but I haven't heard this song. It's great.

SANDERS: It's called "Black Smoke Rising." And I'm just, like, these guys got it.

GONZALEZ: Great name.

FURLAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: Right? And so the dude - like, the lead singer, he looks like he's 11. But he has these pipes. Actually, you're going to hear it coming in at the chorus right here.

GONZALEZ: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK SMOKE RISING")

GRETA VAN FLEET: (Singing) And the black smoke rises from the fires, we've been told.

SANDERS: So this band, Greta Van Fleet, they're having a really good week because they are up for a few Grammy Awards, including best new artist, at the Grammys this weekend. But the Grammys aren't doing so well themselves. Last year, the awards show had 6 million fewer viewers than the year before.

GONZALEZ: Ouch.

SANDERS: Folks think the ratings will also be bad this year. And it's kind of like this is a weird time for awards shows. No?

GONZALEZ: Right.

FURLAN: I agree. I feel like everybody, like, has realized that the jig is up. They're, like, oh, yeah. Celebrities, fancy dresses, da-da-da (ph) - I already saw that on Instagram. I don't need to tune in.

GONZALEZ: It's all about the preshow, for sure.

FURLAN: Exactly.

SANDERS: And also, these award shows are too long. The Grammys are over three hours. Oscars are over three hours. The Oscars can't even find a host. They announced this week they're not going to have a host - for the first time in 30 years.

GONZALEZ: Right. They don't even have a host.

FURLAN: You know what, Sam? I will put you in. I would - you know, let's start voting right now. Everybody who's listening to this show, vote for Sam as the host of the Oscars.

SANDERS: Let me tell you what I would do if I were the host of the Oscars...

FURLAN: What?

SANDERS: ...Or the Grammys.

FURLAN: Cardi B all - Cardi B the whole time?

SANDERS: Yes, Cardi B.

GONZALEZ: (Laughter).

SANDERS: But also, I would go to the front to the mic, read the awards' winners really quickly and then be, like, we're done. Go to the bar.

GONZALEZ: Like, don't even come on stage. Just everyone take a shot.

SANDERS: It's just - it already seems sad. Like, Kendrick Lamar and Drake and Childish Gambino are not going to perform. Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift aren't even going. Like, what?

GONZALEZ: What?

SANDERS: At this point, why are you still doing awards shows like the Grammys?

FURLAN: I feel like I can hardly even talk about it right now because I'm, like, what do I feel about the Grammys? I don't want to watch them. That's how I feel.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GONZALEZ: I'm totally on a different page than you guys. I'm, like, this is the time of Latin trap.

SANDERS: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: And I'm here for it.

SANDERS: Will you guys watch it?

FURLAN: No.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GONZALEZ: No. Yeah, no.

SANDERS: All that talk.

GONZALEZ: I'll watch the performances online.

SANDERS: But see, that's the thing. I'll, like, catch the recaps on the red carpet the next day.

FURLAN: Exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK SMOKE RISING")

GRETA VAN FLEET: (Vocalizing).

SANDERS: Anyway, we're going to start our week as we always do. I'm going to ask each of my guests to describe their week of news in only three words. Sarah, you've been telling us all week that one story has really been on your mind. What is that story? What are your three words?

GONZALEZ: OK. My three words are cocaine, submarines, jalapenos. And I am obviously...

SANDERS: Please explain.

(LAUGHTER)

GONZALEZ: Obviously, I'm talking about the trial of Joaquin Guzman Loera, better known as El Chapo...

SANDERS: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: ...Which means Shorty. He's been on trial for the past three months, accused of being the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel. So for the past three months, New York has been shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge whenever...

SANDERS: Because they have him now. So like...

GONZALEZ: Because they have him.

SANDERS: They had him in custody for a while now, while he's on trial in a U.S. courthouse.

GONZALEZ: Yeah. So he's in a prison in Manhattan, but his court is in Brooklyn. So every time he goes to court...

SANDERS: Reverse commute - that's not bad.

(LAUGHTER)

GONZALEZ: Right. He's beating the traffic, beating the traffic. But yeah. But they shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, which is just, like, kind of, like, wild.

SANDERS: Wow.

GONZALEZ: And this week, the jury has started to deliberate. They did not reach a verdict, so the deliberations are going to continue next week. And in case you have not been following along, I just feel like I should highlight some of the crazy things that we've...

SANDERS: Do it.

GONZALEZ: ...Learned.

SANDERS: Do it.

GONZALEZ: OK, great.

FURLAN: Yes.

GONZALEZ: Great.

FURLAN: Yes, fill us in - please.

GONZALEZ: These are like, hinting at my three words. Please.

SANDERS: (Laughter) OK.

GONZALEZ: OK. So the people who testified against El Chapo told us all kinds of crazy ways that El Chapo smuggled drugs into the United States and drug money out of the United States. We heard from people who used to work with El Chapo saying - telling us how they used submarines to transport cocaine - so like, real submarines submerged underwater filled with drugs.

SANDERS: OK. How many El Chapo movies are there going to be?

GONZALEZ: Well, there's already a Netflix series...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GONZALEZ: ..."Narcos: Mexico"...

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: ...Which is about El Chapo. Another just, like, quick crazy story - just getting at one of my words - there's a guy named - or that is called El Gordo, which is the Chubby One. And he said that they smuggled drugs into the United States through tin jalapeno cans.

SANDERS: I saw that.

GONZALEZ: You did?

SANDERS: I saw that.

GONZALEZ: OK, right.

FURLAN: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: So they basically created - and the cartel apparently created, like, some kind of substance using gravel and some other things so that if you turned the can upside down, it sounded and felt like there was water and jalapenos in it, not cocaine.

SANDERS: Stop.

GONZALEZ: Yeah.

FURLAN: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: So Sarah, here's my question for you. All that I've read about this case implies that it's a really, really, really big deal. There were 37 days of witnesses, boxes of evidence. Apparently, over his career, El Chapo smuggled in at least 200 tons of cocaine into the U.S. He is an alleged mass murderer. Why don't Americans care more about this story?

GONZALEZ: Well, I think there are a lot of Americans who do care about this story.

FURLAN: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: But it's not being - it's not in the news as much as you might think that it should be. El Chapo was, like, as infamous as - I mean, he was right under Osama bin Laden. Like...

SANDERS: Wow.

GONZALEZ: ...This is the United States' big catch, you know?

SANDERS: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: And they got him alive, and he's sitting on trial. Like, it's a big deal. So I think one of the reasons is just that it's a closed court, so it's not televised.

SANDERS: Well, these jurors don't want their face out there, right? A lot of the jurors are scared that, like, Chapo will eye them and know who they are and, like, go after them, no?

FURLAN: Can I say one thing, though?

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

FURLAN: I do feel like people care about this case. But they're - the - like, the way that they care is something that I find really interesting.

SANDERS: Explain.

FURLAN: Like, I feel like people want the Netflix version of it but don't necessarily tune in to the courtroom version of it.

GONZALEZ: Well, I will say that during the trial, reporters and just, like, spectators, including the guy who plays El Chapo in the Netflix series...

FURLAN: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: Wow.

GONZALEZ: ...Have been waiting outside...

SANDERS: Wow.

GONZALEZ: ...Of the courthouse since - for, like - they start lining up and sleeping at 2 o'clock in the morning to try to get into the courthouse.

SANDERS: Wow.

GONZALEZ: So there are...

FURLAN: So people do care.

GONZALEZ: People - you know, yeah.

SANDERS: So next question - if he's convicted, does that, like, change everything about the drug trade? Or does life move on, and someone else fills the role?

GONZALEZ: Life moves on. I mean, the cartel has another leader, which they talked about a lot in court. And the defense - or the prosecution kind of said, like, this guy named Mayo Zambada - him and El Chapo are believed to be the co-leaders of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Some of Mayo's kids are in prison, some of Chapo's. Like - but there's still someone leading the cartel.

SANDERS: Yeah. Well...

FURLAN: Wow.

SANDERS: Julia, you're up next. But a heads-up to our listeners first. If you're listening with kids right now, this section, we're going to talk about some news that involves sex workers and sex trafficking. Julia, what are your three words?

FURLAN: My three words are not nearly as, like, fascinating as Sarah's words. They are sex work struggle.

SANDERS: That's pretty fascinating.

FURLAN: I mean...

SANDERS: Go ahead.

GONZALEZ: I'm fascinated.

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: (Laughter) I mean, it doesn't have jalapenos. But, basically, I've been spending the past couple of weeks - I'm reporting on a story that is about FOSTA and SESTA, which are these two laws that came into effect in April of 2018 to prevent sex trafficking. It's the Stop Online Sex Trafficking Act (ph) - is SESTA. But these two laws - the result is the law is written so broadly that platforms, as a way of, like, doing an abundance of caution so that they don't have any possible liability, are just shutting down these...

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: ...Networks that many sex workers say that they used to prevent - to keep themselves safe.

SANDERS: Because, basically, like, if you were a sex worker, you would use a site like backpage.com or Craigslist Personals...

FURLAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...And you would have ads, and you could, like, vet people before you met them.

FURLAN: Exactly. So like...

SANDERS: But now I'm reading that, like, without those sites and that vetting, they're just on the street. And it's really...

FURLAN: Right.

SANDERS: ...Riskier.

FURLAN: Yeah. And I spoke to a couple of economists about this and people who study sex work and the, like, sex trade in general. And, essentially, what they say is that, like, this is probably going to force outdoor sex work. There's, like, indoor sex work, which is where, like, you vet somebody before you meet them. And the sort of pressure that FOSTA and SESTA may be putting on sex workers is that they don't have that ability to vet people until they're already out in the world, confronting them.

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: And, honestly, FOSTA and SESTA was a very popular...

SANDERS: Bipartisan.

FURLAN: Nancy Pelosi was in on it. A lot of folks who are, like, you know, presidential, the early presidential hopefuls - like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris - supported FOSTA and SESTA. And the sex worker community is like, you guys...

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: ...Don't even get it.

SANDERS: So I saw a stat from San Francisco's KPIX. That newsroom reported that human trafficking crimes are up 170 percent in San Francisco in 2018. And the reason is because sex workers are now working on the streets. And because of that, they need pimps. And a lot of folks think....

FURLAN: Yeah. That happened this week.

SANDERS: ...That jump is tied to these laws because it's pushed trafficking outside.

FURLAN: Exactly. And it's the kind of thing where, you know, nobody wants - all of this - literally, every sex worker that I've spoken to has also said, like, I don't want sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is really bad. I don't want any of that to happen. But everybody is also like, we have to figure out a way to legislate it so that it's not so broad that it affects people who are doing their jobs in an industry that is humongous. It is a huge industry that people feel icky sort of addressing and talking about. But, you know, I don't know. Here we are.

SANDERS: Well, and then, also, another weird wrinkle is that these two laws that you mentioned - they were originally written to protect children from sex trafficking.

FURLAN: Yes.

SANDERS: But they've ended up affecting adult sex workers much more than I think anyone thought.

FURLAN: Right. FOSTA and SESTA are written in a way that is so broad. So one of the examples is, like, if you knowingly assist, support or facilitate advertising activity that violates federal sex trafficking laws - so, like, the fact that it says assist, support, facilitate...

SANDERS: It's really broad.

FURLAN: That's where all - a lot of the folks who are calling this - these laws into question are really, like, focusing their attention.

SANDERS: Yeah. Is there any talk of lawmakers working to possibly amend those laws?

FURLAN: I think that that is something that really remains to be seen. I spoke with a sex worker who went to D.C. to talk to Nancy Pelosi specifically and other lawmakers. But I have this wondering - I have this, like, question in my mind that, like, are we able to address it if we're not really able to talk about it, you know?

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. I can't imagine a committee on the Hill having a really nitty-gritty policy discussion about this stuff on C-SPAN.

FURLAN: You know what I mean?

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: Like, nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders here with two guests today - Julia Furlan, host and reporter at NPR, and Sarah Gonzalez, reporter for NPR's Planet Money. So you guys, I have three words as well - Democratic Overton window. Do you guys know what the Overton window is?

GONZALEZ: No.

SANDERS: So it is this idea in political science that basically refers to the range of ideas that we tolerate in public discourse. So, like, on any given day, there are certain things that are allowed to talk about in polite spaces or about politics. And good politicians are able to shift that window to their whims.

We've seen Donald Trump do that a lot over the last few years. And I argue that this week, AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, new House member from the Bronx, she's doing the same thing. I'm sure you all saw this week, she unveiled her Green New Deal plan. You saw that, right?

GONZALEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: It's this big, long sweeping treatise that she says will help the U.S. address climate change and prepare the U.S. economy to deal with that new reality. I'm going to just list really quickly what it calls for. They want to meet 100 percent of the power demand in the U.S. through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources. They want to upgrade all existing buildings for energy efficiency.

She says she wants to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gases, overhaul transportation systems, electric cars, guaranteed job with a sustaining wage for all families, high-quality health care for all Americans. It's this big deal. But then you realize it's just a resolution.

FURLAN: Right.

SANDERS: It's not even a bill.

GONZALEZ: It's a messaging document.

FURLAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: And so now she has, in the national conversation, some language in this Green New Deal where she says high-speed rail should expand to the point where air travel becomes no longer necessary.

GONZALEZ: Crazy.

SANDERS: You know, I mean, like, these are things that we were not talking about two years ago. And all of a sudden, we are. And I think that is AOC's probably clearest skill right now. She can set parameters of the debate in a way that I think Democrats haven't been able to do for a while.

GONZALEZ: Right. So OK - so a lot of critics have been saying, like, this is just what she wants to do. She hasn't put out any kind of, like, policy roadmap for how she would do it. And there's been some criticism about that. But, like, this is step one. You say, like, this is what we want to do. And then, like, sure, you have to create some bills.

And then those bills have to go through all their committees and pass the House and pass the Senate. And who knows when that's going to happen or if? But, like, this is the first step.

SANDERS: The one thing that I find the most interesting is that although her style and presentation is different, a lot of the effectiveness of her communication style actually mirrors some of the things that Trump does. Like, Trump every day goes to the world and says, today, we're talking about this. I don't care what you're talking about. We're talking about this. And AOC is also very good at doing just that.

FURLAN: That's the Overton window, right?

SANDERS: The Overton window, she's moving it, moving those windows. Yes, all right, you're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. The show where we catch up on the week that was. Time for a break now. Coming up, we're going to head to Virginia and talk with a VA native about that state's week of crazy, bonkers, insane blackface news in the state House.

FURLAN: So disappointing.

GONZALEZ: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: This listener says that Virginia and race is much more complicated than you might think. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. We'll be right back.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: We're back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders here with two guests - Sarah Gonzalez, reporter for NPR's Planet Money, and Julia Furlan, host and reporter at NPR. Are the both of you ready for Valentine's Day?

FURLAN: I don't know.

GONZALEZ: I'm not a big Valentine's person. I mean I love love.

FURLAN: I do, too.

GONZALEZ: Love is my favorite thing.

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: Yes.

SANDERS: Well, for those out in the world who are not ready for Valentine's Day or who, in fact, hate Valentine's Day, there is a way to treat your ex on February 14.

GONZALEZ: Uh-oh.

FURLAN: Oh, tell me more.

SANDERS: Yeah. The El Paso Zoo has this program where people can submit the name of an ex to the El Paso Zoo's Facebook page. And then the zoo staffers will name a cockroach for your ex and then feed it to their meerkats.

GONZALEZ: A cockroach?

FURLAN: Wow, that is, like, such a genius marketing stunt, like, what - congratulations.

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: That is...

SANDERS: I did twelve yesterday.

FURLAN: You did?

SANDERS: No.

FURLAN: Oh, good, that's great.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Also, the Bronx Zoo is doing a name-a-roach program, but that costs. You can, like, pay to have a roach named after you or someone you care about.

GONZALEZ: Oh, I'm sorry - pause. A roach, a cockroach named after you or someone you care about?

SANDERS: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: No, no, no, no, no. Like, name a panda bear after me, not a cockroach.

SANDERS: I love it. I love it. All right, now it's time for a segment that we call Long Distance...

(SOUNDBITE OF DRAKE SONG, "HOTLINE BLING")

SANDERS: ...Where we call up someone from around the country or around the world and talk with them about the news in their neck of the woods. This week, the epicenter for crazy news has probably been Virginia. Am I right?

FURLAN: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: It's this weird story that keeps snowballing. I'm sure you guys have seen the headlines by now, right? Like, every day another one falls. Like, so to catch up, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, and Attorney General Mark Herring, also a Democrat - they both have admitted to wearing blackface.

On top of that, it also came out that the Republican Senate majority leader in Virginia, Tommy Norment, he was an editor for a yearbook back in the day that was filled with blackface and a lot of racist slurs. Then on top of that, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, another Democrat, he is facing allegations of sexual assault, which he denies. It was a lot to even get out. Right?

FURLAN: So much - so much is happening.

SANDERS: Also, we should say that we're taping this on Friday. So news may have changed by the time you hear this. But I wanted to talk about what the heck is going on in Virginia. So I put a call out to our audience, and a listener named Olivia (ph) hit us up to talk. She grew up in Virginia. She went to school in Virginia. She's the daughter of immigrants from Iran and Argentina. Now she lives in Colorado. But she said, hey, I've been in Virginia, like, over 20 years, and I have some thoughts. We are not using her last name in this conversation because her parents still live in Virginia, and they don't always feel safe as minorities in their community. But anyways, I talked with Olivia, and she basically told me race and politics in Virginia is much more complicated than you might think.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: Olivia, hi. How are you?

OLIVIA: I'm good, Sam. How's it going?

SANDERS: Pretty good - you know, crazy news week, per usual.

OLIVIA: Yeah. Like, I don't know if there's a word for being disappointed and embarrassed at the same time, but that's how I feel. I am normally really proud to be from Virginia. But I feel like this week, as the local just Virginia expert in my own circles, you know, I feel pretty bummed to see these headlines in the news.

SANDERS: Yeah. So we put this call out asking to hear from Virginians about the news of this week in their state. And when you wrote to us, you said the first thing you have to understand about Virginia to really get Virginia is that there are two Virginias. Tell me what you mean when you say that.

OLIVIA: Totally, yeah. I grew up in a D.C. suburb. Right? It's, like, the D.C. metro area. And that's where I grew up, right? So when you leave northern Virginia and you go down 95 or you go down 81, it's like a totally different world, you know? There's more agriculture. There's more folks who don't make a living working for the federal government or - I don't know. Virginia's just got so many different microcosms and different kinds of people living there.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, one of the things you also told us is that your experience in both of these Virginias is particularly interesting because you grew up as the child of immigrants with an international background. But you said you can kind of pass for white sometimes. I mean, one, tell me how that's allowed you to move through the state, perhaps, differently than other people. And have you learned stuff that you think you might not have about Virginians and race relations there that you might not have, you know, otherwise?

OLIVIA: Yeah, totally. I feel like, you know, as NPR calls it, it's code switching. Right?

SANDERS: Yeah (laughter).

OLIVIA: Like, I'm able to code switch. And in some parts of Virginia, you know, I can pass as white. But yeah, when I first moved down to Richmond, I saw my first Confederate flags being waved by somebody. And that was one of those moments where I was like - oh - like, not going to be an easy situation down here.

SANDERS: How do you ID yourself racially?

OLIVIA: I usually just stick to the countries and just say I'm Iranian-Argentinean. But you know, I hope I can just say American and not need to explain it more (laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. You know, one of the things that really made this story kind of hit me in the gut is that, like, it really underscores a question I think a lot of immigrants or people of color or minorities often ask themselves in their heads, which is - what are nice white people saying about us when we aren't there? You know? What are the conversations white people have amongst themself about us, and what are we missing?

And like, seeing these instances of blackface, it just kind of makes me at least, like, second-guess, you know, so many interactions and say, like, what are they hiding from us? What are they hiding from me? And I think that's why it hits so hard for me at least. Given your background, do you ever feel like you're in the room hearing - I don't know - stuff white people might say when they know other people aren't there?

OLIVIA: Oh, totally. I have had people say to my face, you know - oh, don't go to that bar. That's where the Latinos go or, like...

SANDERS: Oh, goodness (laughter).

OLIVIA: ...The Latin people go. And I'm like, bro, like, I'm right here.

SANDERS: Oh, no (laughter).

OLIVIA: Like, I don't understand. Like, a couple years ago, I had a very, you know, well-meaning white woman tell me that - I think I'd mentioned, you know, how climate change is going to be one of the biggest issues that our generation is going to face. And she turned to me and said, yeah, that and all the refugees. And I'm like, what (laughter)? Like, my family's immigrants, you know? They had to come here and make a life for themselves because they were fleeing bad situations. Like, I'm right here. Like, I look - like - seriously, right here. And yo, like, look at my eyebrows. Like, I'm probably...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

OLIVIA: ...Not from the same place you're from. And it's like, what are you saying when I'm not there?

SANDERS: Yeah. You are - you claim Virginia as your home state. I'm sure you love that state. A lot of people are talking about Virginia this week who are not from Virginia and not in Virginia. If you could talk to them as a good Virginian, what would you want them to know about Virginia?

OLIVIA: Oh, man. Where do I start? Like, Virginia - I'm so lucky I got to grow up in Virginia. It's the most diverse place I've ever lived in my life. And I've lived in New York City, San Francisco, Oakland. And I mean, there's just so much black excellence from Virginia from, like, you know, Booker T. Washington to Missy Elliott. Like, we got Missy Elliott, yo. Like, that's huge. We have Pharrell and Timbaland.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

OLIVIA: And, like, I'm so, like, lucky that out of (laughter) all the places that my parents chose to land, like, I'm so grateful that they chose to take me to the one state that happens to have takeout kabob, you know, for Irani (ph)...

SANDERS: Yeah.

OLIVIA: ...Food and also, like, all the Argentinian chorizo I could ever want in my life. So I love Virginia - just not right now.

SANDERS: I hear you. All right. Besides this crazy story and thinking about that, what are your fun plans for the weekend?

OLIVIA: (Laughter) If I'm being totally honest, me and my friend were going to watch these crazy Fyre Festival documentaries just so we can see what it's like to see someone else's reputation go down in flames and not your...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

OLIVIA: ...Own state's. So (laughter)...

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness. Well, Olivia, thank you for being a long-suffering Virginian and for sharing your story with us (laughter).

OLIVIA: Thank you, Sam. It's been awesome talking to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: It's so weird hearing that conversation back. Like, the way that she talked about Virginia kind of is how I feel about Texas. People have all of these misconceptions about my state or, like, often think the worst about my state. And I'm like, no, it's home. I'll always love it. And, like, I just love it.

FURLAN: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: I mean, it's just interesting the way that reporters respond to something like when pictures come out. And then everyone just starts looking into Virginia. And then you're like, OK, that guy too. And then this guy maybe edited a yearbook that someone else had blackface in another page. And the whole time, I'm just like, OK, well, what about, like, West Virginia and, like, South Carolina and all of the other places, like...

SANDERS: (Laughter) Or Boston...

GONZALEZ: Right.

SANDERS: ...Which has a weird...

GONZALEZ: Or like...

SANDERS: ...Racial history.

GONZALEZ: And I don't think people think, like, Virginia has a problem with blackface. It's...

SANDERS: The country...

GONZALEZ: ...America has a problem with blackface.

SANDERS: ...That has a problem with blackface.

GONZALEZ: And we're only focusing on Virginia right now.

SANDERS: Every year, you're going to see some high school kids pop up all across the country at some party in blackface. And they're not going to just be in Virginia.

FURLAN: Right. And I think that, like, one of the things that is so gripping about this story is how clueless the white folks have appeared to be in the moment where they're addressing it. Like, the moment that really got me was the moment where Northam held a press conference to address the blackface and said that he did another blackface and said that he had put on blackface.

SANDERS: (Laughter) His denial was I didn't do that blackface, but I did another.

FURLAN: I didn't - I know. And then he...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

FURLAN: ...Looks both ways and almost start to - he's like, I'm going to moonwalk. Like, some...

GONZALEZ: No.

FURLAN: Also, some reporter that asked him, like...

SANDERS: Asked him to moonwalk.

FURLAN: ...Whether or not he could still moonwalk. I was like...

SANDERS: Because he was saying...

FURLAN: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: ...That he did the face darkening to look like Michael Jackson. Also, moral of the story - yearbooks are bad all around.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: They don't make anyone happier. Like, either you are shamed and shunned because the popular folks don't want to sign your yearbook, or...

GONZALEZ: Aw.

FURLAN: Aw.

SANDERS: ...There is some hidden double entendre in what they write in your yearbook. Or there's blackface in it.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: All right. It's time for a break. When we come back, my favorite game. It's called Who Said That. BRB.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders, here with two guests - Sarah Gonzalez, reporter for NPR's Planet Money, and Julia Furlan, reporter at NPR, as well. Now it's time for my favorite game - Who Said That.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

SANDERS: Julia, you're an old timer at this game at this point. You can help explain it to Sarah. Tell her how it works.

FURLAN: Basically, Sam takes three things that people have said in the last week. And it's a very intense game. Sarah, are you ready?

GONZALEZ: I - listen, I listen to the show. I know what this game is.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

FURLAN: Yeah. That's true. And so then we have to guess who said it. But also, the points are made up. And also, I am starting with 100 points - just...

SANDERS: Wow. Oh, OK.

FURLAN: ...Putting it out there.

GONZALEZ: Oh.

SANDERS: All right.

GONZALEZ: All right. All right.

SANDERS: Rule change. All right. So...

FURLAN: (Laughter).

SANDERS: ...Julia starts with 100 points.

FURLAN: Ah, yes.

SANDERS: The great thing about whatever happens with the points is that the winner gets absolutely nothing.

GONZALEZ: Ah.

FURLAN: Right.

GONZALEZ: Love it.

FURLAN: Yes.

SANDERS: Yes, yes. All right. Here we go. Ready? There are no buzzers, just yell it out.

GONZALEZ: OK.

SANDERS: The first quote is, "I made queso." Who said that?

FURLAN: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: Oh, got them - stumped y'all.

GONZALEZ: Oh, no.

FURLAN: I made queso.

GONZALEZ: My friend Rachel actually said that...

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GONZALEZ: ...For the Super Bowl. But it's...

SANDERS: It is...

GONZALEZ: ...Probably not her.

SANDERS: ...Tied to the Super Bowl.

FURLAN: Oh, my God. Who was it?

SANDERS: Should I just tell you?

GONZALEZ: Tell us.

FURLAN: Yes. Please just tell me.

SANDERS: A Fox News host named Dana Perino. She tweeted a photo of queso she made during the big game and said, I made queso. But the queso looked nasty. You guys, actually Google the words Dana Perino queso. I want you to see it.

GONZALEZ: OK.

SANDERS: P-E-R...

FURLAN: OK.

SANDERS: ...I-N-O.

FURLAN: OK. Oh, no.

GONZALEZ: Oh, yeah.

FURLAN: No, no.

GONZALEZ: No. You're right. There's a lot of oil...

FURLAN: Oh, yucka (ph).

GONZALEZ: ...Or something like that.

FURLAN: Yucka.

SANDERS: So she tweets this photo Sunday. Everyone is like, oh, my God. That's nasty. She...

GONZALEZ: (Laughter).

SANDERS: ...Shoots back. She calls her haters elitist. Then she says well, actually, don't hate on me. I got the recipe from Chili's - that restaurant chain. But then Chili's tweeted a photo back of their queso.

GONZALEZ: (Laughter).

SANDERS: And they said, actually, it's supposed to look...

FURLAN: Oh.

SANDERS: ...Like this.

GONZALEZ: Aw.

FURLAN: Oh, I love that.

SANDERS: Yeah, I kind of feel bad for her.

GONZALEZ: Yeah.

FURLAN: No.

GONZALEZ: I don't like picking on people.

SANDERS: Yeah. Did you guys watch the game?

FURLAN: I did not.

GONZALEZ: No. But I did watch for the commercials. The commercials were kind of a disappointment this year.

SANDERS: Cardi was in one.

GONZALEZ: Cardi - yeah. But she had, like, one word.

SANDERS: Oh. I didn't watch it.

GONZALEZ: She got okur (ph). That's all she said.

FURLAN: Rrr (ph).

SANDERS: That's a good word.

SAM SANDERS AND SARAH GONZALEZ: That's a great word.

SANDERS: Can I do that? Okur.

GONZALEZ: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Oh, I can...

FURLAN: Okur.

SANDERS: ...Do it.

SAM SANDERS AND JULIA FURLAN: Okur.

GONZALEZ: Oh.

SANDERS: Money.

GONZALEZ: You can roll your Rs very well. Congrats.

FURLAN: Money.

SANDERS: I'm from Texas, girl.

GONZALEZ: Oh...

FURLAN: OK.

GONZALEZ: You're a honorary Latino.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Y'all got zero points for that. It's fine.

FURLAN: No, I have 100.

SANDERS: You - OK.

GONZALEZ: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah. You have 100 points.

GONZALEZ: OK. Julia has 100.

SANDERS: Yeah.

GONZALEZ: I have zero.

SANDERS: Yeah. Ready...

GONZALEZ: Next question.

SANDERS: ...For the next quote? All right. Here's the next quote. "May the afterlife turn out to be a series of never-ending Fox News interviews." Who or what said that?

GONZALEZ: Oh, my gosh.

SANDERS: It involves a politician.

FURLAN: Why am I so bad at it this week? Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Wait.

SANDERS: He's the Republican senator from Nebraska.

FURLAN: Oh, my God. Wait. Wait. Wait.

GONZALEZ: Yeah, I don't know. I'm about to Google this. We're going to cheat.

SANDERS: Ben Sasse, Ben Sasse.

GONZALEZ: Oh.

SANDERS: Ben Sasse - so Republican Senator Ben Sasse has been tweeting this week these fortune cookies he's been getting. Someone anonymous has been emailing him fortune cookies that have, like, mini hate mail inside of the fortune cookie.

GONZALEZ: Wow.

FURLAN: That's real creepy.

SANDERS: So one said, quote, "May the afterlife turn out to be a series of never-ending Fox News interviews." Another fortune cookie said that it hoped that Sasse finds himself trapped in an elevator with people who are angry at him.

FURLAN: Wow.

SANDERS: Ben Sasse, for his part, has been taking this in stride. He's posted some funny photos of himself with these fortune cookie messages.

FURLAN: Yeah, I feel, like - listen. If you're going to send hate mail, like - if it's not, like - don't send - first of all, don't send it.

SANDERS: Number one, don't send hate mail (laughter).

GONZALEZ: First of all, don't do it. If you're going to do it, do it in a normal way...

FURLAN: Yeah. Don't be creepy.

GONZALEZ: ...Like a regular email. Don't create fake fortune cookies.

FURLAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah. I hope that does stop. Anyway, last quote. It's also - it's just really hard this week. This last quote is also hard.

FURLAN: Oh, no.

SANDERS: But I'm sorry. Here we go. Ready. Quote, "We will work together with partners, so you can actually lease your furniture. When that leasing period is over, you hand it back, and you might lease something else." What corporation said that?

FURLAN: Wow.

GONZALEZ: Jerome's.

SANDERS: Whose furniture would you least want to lease?

FURLAN: I mean, is it IKEA?

SANDERS: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

GONZALEZ: They're going to lease Ikea furniture?

SANDERS: Isn't that nasty?

FURLAN: I mean, Ikea furniture doesn't seem, like, leasable.

SANDERS: Thank you. So that quote actually comes from the head of Inter Ikea. This is Ikea's branding concept arm. He made - he announced this week that Ikea will soon start leasing its furniture.

FURLAN: No (laughter).

SANDERS: I just want the Swedish meatballs. That is why - some days, I'll just go to Ikea for the Swedish meatballs.

FURLAN: I also very enjoy the Swedish meatballs. But Ikea is such a place of stress that I can't even consider it.

SANDERS: Not if you just go to the cafeteria.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: That's a happy place.

FURLAN: I guess you're right.

SANDERS: That's a happy place.

FURLAN: I guess you're right.

SANDERS: Anyway, I am not going to say I'm disappointed. But...

FURLAN: I'm disappointed...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

FURLAN: ...In myself.

GONZALEZ: I really should have gotten the Ikea one.

FURLAN: Listen. I...

SANDERS: Well, Julia got it and, she won. Congratulations, Julia.

FURLAN: That's - you know, I really - it's an honor just to be nominated.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: All right - now it's time to end the show as we do every week. We ask our listeners to share with us the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag. Anjuli, hit the tape.

ERIC: Hey, Sam, this is Eric (ph).

MIKE: Hey, this is Mike.

ERIC: The best part of my week was getting to tell my best friend that my wife and I are pregnant.

MIKE: (Laughter) I knew it. Woo.

ERIC: (Laughter).

ALLISON: Hi, Sam. This is Allison (ph) from New York City. And the best part of my week was starting my path towards fulfilling an 18-year-old dream by getting into med school.

STEVEN: I just found out that I passed the third of four CPA exams - only one more to go.

CHRIS: The best part of my week was celebrating four years with my beautiful partner Mia (ph).

VERONICA: Hi, Sam. This is Veronica (ph). And the best part of my week has been reuniting with my friends Brenda (ph) and Michelle (ph) in Marrakech, Morocco. We served together in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic a couple of years ago and decided we needed to take a much overdue adventure.

VANESSA: Hey, Sam. This is Vanessa (ph). A week and a half ago, I adopted a very skittish kitten named Artemis (ph) from a local rescue. After hiding under my couch for the last 12 days, she finally let me hold her.

MELISSA: This is Melissa (ph) from Columbia, Mo. And the best thing that happened to me this week is to watch my son and former student be married at Walt Disney World on Monday.

MADELINE: Hi, Sam. This is Madeline (ph).

MARY FRAN: And Mary Fran (ph) - the best part of our week was having a massive snowball fight on top of Roan Mountain State Park in Tennessee with 13 of our closest friends.

MADELINE: Hope your weekend is as fun as ours and you, too, can pelt your friends in the face with snow.

MARY FRAN: Lovingly, of course. Bye.

MADELINE: Bye.

VERONICA: Peace and adios.

MELISSA: Have a great week. Thanks.

STEVEN: Bye.

SANDERS: I think we heard someone find out for the first time about that pregnancy in there. Did you hear that?

FURLAN: I know.

GONZALEZ: Yeah. That was my favorite one.

SANDERS: It was beautiful.

FURLAN: It was so special.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Thanks to Eric and Mike, Allison, Steven (ph), Chris (ph), Veronica, Vanessa, Melissa and Madeline and Mary Fran. All right - listeners, we take submissions for the best thing all week, every week, all the time. Let that be you. Send me the sound of your voice to samsanders@npr.org. Just record yourself and send the audio file to samsanders@npr.org.

All right. It's time to shut this one down. We're going to go out on a band that might have a very big weekend, Greta Van Fleet - up for best new artist at this weekend's Grammys. This band is so good, y'all. And the thing I hate about it is that, like, websites like Pitchfork are, like, hating on them because they're like, oh, these kids sound too much like Led Zeppelin.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK SMOKE RISING")

GRETA VAN FLEET: (Singing) Oh, yeah.

GONZALEZ: I was going to say - but you know what? I'm into it.

FURLAN: But there's, like, a little bit of Cranberries in there.

GONZALEZ: There's Cranberries in there.

SANDERS: Yeah.

FURLAN: There's, like, a little, like, yodel that I'm down.

SANDERS: Also, what's wrong with sounding like Led Zeppelin? They're great.

GONZALEZ: Or the Cranberries.

FURLAN: Yeah. I mean, they...

SANDERS: Exactly.

SANDERS: Cranberries are my go-to karaoke song.

FURLAN: That's - I mean, it's a good one. But I also feel like there's, like, an automatic rejection of male falsetto that, you know, we should really interrogate (laughter).

GONZALEZ: Preach.

SANDERS: I'm here for it.

GONZALEZ: Yup.

SANDERS: This week, the show was produced by Brent Baughman and Anjuli Sastry. Steve Nelson is our director of programming. Our editors are Jordana Hochman and Alex McCall. We had editing help this week from my friend Muthoni Muturi. Our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming, Anya Grundmann. I'm Sam Sanders - talk soon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK SMOKE RISING")

GRETA VAN FLEET: (Singing) ...Rising. From the fires we've been told. It's the new age crisis.

SANDERS: (Vocalizing).

FURLAN: (Vocalizing).

SANDERS: It's a good song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK SMOKE RISING")

GRETA VAN FLEET: (Singing) Oh.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.