Ian reforms as hurricane eyeing the Carolinas, upcoming SCOTUS cases: 5 Things podcast

On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Ian targets South Carolina after becoming a hurricane again

The storm killed at least 14 in Florida. Plus, USA TODAY's Héctor García De León recounts his experience in the hurricane, Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze looks at some of this term's cases, a new Gallup poll shows historically low levels of trust in the high court and money reporter Bailey Schulz looks at real and fake TikTok challenges.

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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.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Friday, the 30th of September, 2022. Today, a rising death toll in the wake of Hurricane Ian, plus a look at some of this term's high profile Supreme Court cases and more.

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeated claims yesterday that the 2020 election was stolen despite a lack of evidence. She was testifying in front of the House committee investigating the January 6th Capitol attacks.

  2. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was carted off the field during last night's game at the Cincinnati Bengals. He was ruled out of the game with scary looking head and neck injuries and taken to an area hospital.

  3. And Trevor Noah is leaving the Daily Show. He took over the long running Comedy Central show seven years ago.

Ian became a hurricane again last night after slamming Florida with near record winds and heavy rains. The system was downgraded to a tropical storm on its way out of Florida into the Atlantic and is now expected to head back toward the Carolinas in Georgia. In Florida, the level of the storm's destruction is just sinking in. At least 14 people are dead and the number could continue to rise. President Joe Biden spoke of a substantial loss of life.

President Joe Biden:

This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida's history. The numbers are still unclear, but we're hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life and we're going to learn a lot more in the coming hours, but we know many families are hurting.

Taylor Wilson:

Sheriffs in southwest Florida said 911 centers were slammed with thousands of stranded callers, including some with life threatening injuries and more than 1.9 million Florida homes and businesses were without power last night. Some of the worst destruction was in and around Fort Myers. In North Fort Myers, resident James Burdett said he lost everything,

James Burdett:

But I literally watched my house disappear with everything in it right before my eyes. You watch things starting to fly, [inaudible] went off, and I went off, part of the roof went off, the rest of the roof went off, the walls caved in. And here I am to pick through what I have left.

Taylor Wilson:

Ian's strength at landfall tied it for the fifth strongest hurricane by wind speed to ever hit the US. It's tied with five other hurricanes that reached 150 miles an hour.

Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard is searching for a group of more than 20 Cuban migrants after their boat sank in the storm off the Florida Keys, though at least nine have reportedly been rescued. In South Carolina, President Joe Biden has declared an emergency ahead of Ian's expected landfall there.

As Hurricane Ian tore through Florida, we introduced you to one of our colleagues, Hector Garcia DeLeon. He lives just south of Orlando and shared his experiences during and after the storm with USA TODAY'S James Brown.

James Brown:

This may seem like a strange question, but what does a hurricane sound like?

Hector Garcia DeLeon:

It sounded like, how can I put it into words? Like if a monster was roaring right next to my window. It was really scary because all I could hear was a strong whisper, but the whisper was seeping through the window and I could hear pounding of the rain and you could hear the rain going left and right and you could hear the trees shaking back and forth.

James Brown:

You got through the night, did you lose power or anything like that?

Hector Garcia DeLeon:

Thankfully, we did not lose power, but we did lose internet. So today I've been working based off a hotspot, which thankfully has been working pretty well. So we've been kind of, as a family, haven't been watching no TV or using no internet, so we've been just having a great time talking with each other, cooking with each other and just being one big happy family with no internet.

James Brown:

Did you get outside to look around at all?

Hector Garcia DeLeon:

I did. About 9:00 AM this morning I did head outside, to my surprise, the streets being flooded with water, something that I truly did not expect. I could see throughout the window and it looked fine, but once you actually step outside to the driveway, I was like, "Oh my gosh, the street is flooded." And there was a couple cars in the streets. Thankfully it wasn't a huge flooding over the cars, but it was about, I would say, three to four inches. You can kind of see it elevated. And then throughout the day into the afternoon, the winds were still very strong. You could see the trees still shaking and the wind was pushing all of that flood water into other parts of the street. So it was gaining closer and closer to the house that I'm staying in now. So thankfully it hasn't arrived, but you can still see two o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the flood water still impacted here in the neighborhoods,

James Brown:

So there are flooded streets around you. What are you seeing in those areas?

Hector Garcia DeLeon:

Funny enough, I'm seeing a lot of people making the best out of the situation. I'm seeing them bring out their ATVs and their four wheelers. They're doing wheelies in the flooded areas. They're playing soccer, they're playing volleyball in the flooded waters. They're having a good old time like it's a beach day. So it's funny to see everyone out having a good time. Thankfully the flood water isn't at such a dangerous level. But yeah, they're out there having fun with ... the kids are playing and they're just out there having a ball.

James Brown:

You're a lifelong Floridian. Is this normal after a hurricane?

Hector Garcia DeLeon:

I've seen in other previous hurricanes people floating out with their canoes and their jet skis and anything that they can do to float around. So this is pretty normal, I'm not surprised.

James Brown:

Hector Garcia DeLeon, thanks for joining us.

Hector Garcia DeLeon:

Thank you so much. Take care.

Taylor Wilson:

The nation's highest court has agreed to hear 27 arguments so far, that's roughly half of its expected caseload for the term that'll likely end in June of 2023. Producer PJ Elliott spoke with Supreme Court Correspondent John Fritze about some of those cases that begin next month.

PJ Elliott:

John, you and I talked earlier this week on the podcast about the affirmative action cases with Harvard and the University of North Carolina going before the Supreme Court this term. And if anyone wants to hear that, it was on the episode that was released on Tuesday, September 27th. But can you talk about the other cases the court will hear this term?

John Fritze:

I will do that. Let me say one thing at the beginning though, which is that one of the cases at the Supreme Court is the Dobbs case. Even though that was decided in June, the big abortion case, it's still very much in play for this term insofar as, I think a lot of people are wondering what that case means for where the court's headed. And I just think the fallout from that case is influencing or at least is happening as this term starts and I don't think you can separate it. You've got a series of polls out in the last couple of weeks that show tremendous loss of faith in the Supreme Court. You have the justices out publicly speaking, Roberts and Kagan in particular, also Alito, sort of, more or less sort of sniping at each other in public about the implications of Dobbs. It's really unusual and remarkable.

And you just have these questions about, "Is the court deciding these cases on political reasons or not?" And so I think it's hard to separate this coming term from the last term at this moment. So, how does that manifest itself or what are the areas? Harvard of course is the big one that I think a lot of people are watching. I think one of the other really interesting things this term is elections. And in part because there's two big election cases. One deals with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and how much attention states have to pay to race when they draw congressional districts, which they do every 10 years based on the census. Traditionally, they are not supposed to draw the maps in a way that disadvantage African American and other minority voters.

Alabama drew a map, they have seven congressional districts. They drew a map with one majority, minority district out of seven. Despite the fact that African Americans make up more than a quarter of that state's population. Alabama says, "Look, this is the map we've always had, or had it for a long time. And we don't think that the Voting Rights Act requires us to affirmatively look for ways to build a second African American district at the expense of all the other things that we have to think about when we do this map." So, that case could have really big impact on how these districts get drawn.

The other elections case deals with something called the Independent State Legislature Theory and this is the idea that legislatures get to sort of control the rules of voting. Think about early voting, how long has that period, or is there even early voting? Think about ballots and all the stuff that happened in the 2020 election about, "Can you drop them off in a box?" Or voting hours. All of those kinds of rules. Can state legislatures make changes to those without any interference or oversight, depending on your perspective from state courts. So that's a really big case too, both of those cases dealing with elections.

Taylor Wilson:

Americans' trust of the Supreme Court and its job approval ratings have dropped significantly in the last two years, reaching historic lows. A Gallup poll found that only 47% of Americans said they had a great deal or fair amount of trust in the court. That's a 20 percentage point drop from 2020 and a seven point drop from a year ago. This year has the lowest trust level since 1972. Job approval of the high court took a similar hit. 40% said they approved of the job the court is doing, an 18 point drop from 2020.

But overall approval is still mostly along party lines. 67% of Republicans trust the Supreme Court, which is a six point increase from a year ago. That's compared with only 25% of Democrats, a 26 percentage point drop from a year ago. These numbers come after the court's six three conservative majority ruled in ways aligned with conservative ideology in cases including abortion, guns, religion and more in its latest term.

NyQuil chicken is the latest TikTok trend to get attention from the national media despite few real world examples. So how does it compare to other real or fake challenges? Reporter Bailey Schultz and producer PJ Elliott discuss.

Bailey Schultz:

So NyQuil chicken is what you get when you are in the kitchen and you cook chicken on the stove in NyQuil, the medication. So it's this really gross looking teal chicken that was in some videos that went somewhat viral where the joke was, just people pretending for the most part to eat this really gross concoction. Went by a few different names. We had NyQuil chicken, it was sleepy chicken, bedtime chicken. So, very much a joke for the most part online, but there were videos that got enough attention where the FDA put out a statement earlier this month telling people, "Hey, don't make NyQuil chicken, please don't eat NyQuil chicken. This is not good for you."

PJ Elliott:

Bailey, obviously this isn't the first time one of these challenges has gone somewhat viral, so let's have a little bit of fun here and run down the list of ridiculous TikTok challenges that we've seen over the past year or so.

Bailey Schultz:

Yeah. So I spoke to some folklore experts for the story, which yeah, the conversations there were very interesting. But this is not the first time that something has blown up and there have been warnings and cautions against doing some sort of online challenge when in reality there's either little evidence or absolutely no evidence that people are actually doing the thing. Where one example is the old rumor of parents you need to watch out for, strangers putting razor blades or poison in Halloween candy that could get your children, when there's really been no proven cases of that. The only instance was in 1974 when a man put cyanide in his own son's candy, but not a stranger. One incident thing, other cases that they point out where there have been incidents like the "slap a teacher challenge," where there were warnings coming out about this latest internet challenge where students would slap a teacher, when there was a report from Harvard that found there was no evidence this challenge existed and when in reality it was something that spread online through parents on Facebook instead of students on TikTok and the challenge itself.

So yeah, examples go on and on, but it was funny where one of the experts I called up for this story, I asked, "Do you know what NyQuil chicken is?" He seemed like he kind of rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, there's another one of these coming out." So this is something that happens, basically over and over, is what these experts told me, that these sort of online challenges get blown up when reality, very few people seem to actually be taking part.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven mornings a week wherever you get your audio. Thanks to PJ Elliott, James Brown and our great reporters for their fantastic work on the show, and I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ian targets Carolinas, a look at fake TikTok challenges: 5 Things podcast