You can jump to the Mystery Guest segment at the 19:45 mark.
Heading back to the game show What's My Line?, the celebrity Mystery Guest here is singer Eydie Gorme, who had a long, successful career solo and with her husband Steve Lawrence. What makes this segment such fun is that one of the panelists that week was...her husband Steve Lawrence. As a result, she really has to go to lengths to disguise her voice.
You can jump to the Mystery Guest segment at the 19:45 mark.
I came across two comments yesterday which, although on totally different subjects, sort of overlap.
The first, for all its simplicity, was one of my favorite quotes I've heard during the election, since what was said isn't just funny but also speaks to a larger truth about Democratic voter turnout. A reporter asked a woman standing in a line that stretched extremely far how long she'd been waiting to vote. She answered, "Four years."
The other was a tweet from journalist Ezra Klein directing attention to an article he wrote for Vox. He said, "I cannot emphasize enough how much McConnell's actions on Garland and Barrett have radicalized Democratic senators. As I've argued before, McConnell's single most consequential legacy may be what he convinces Senate Democrats to do."
All this comes on the heels of the Republican-led Senate cramming through the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, only eight days before the election, with voting having started a couple of weeks ago, around 50 million Americans having already voted -- four years after their angst-filled, little hearts poured out mournful tears that 300 days, almost a full year, was too close to an election to even hold a hearing on President Barrack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland,
But this isn't about the Supreme Court. In part because that's a very long, involved issue that I haven't figured out for myself which of the many options I think are the best for Democrats to pursue. And in part because when I think about Merrick Garland and this nomination and Mitch McConnell laughing about his deceit and Lindsey Graham insisting there wouldn't be a Supreme Court confirmation in the final year of Trump's term if he was chairman of the Justice Committee and pontificating to "use this tape" of him saying that against him if there was such a vote (which, of course, there not only was, but he raced it through and broke Senate rules to do so)...my fingers curdle and my body clenches too much to type.
Rather, this is about what connects those two, otherwise-unrelated comments above. And what connects them is the perseverance of anger.
I'm not sure if Republicans in Congress, or those who live in holes while waiting for the next Trump sighting on the Mount have any idea of how tenacious most Democrats have become starting -- no, not just four years, but back almost 12 years. Yes, that long. Really. I believe the unrelenting anger dates back to Mitch McConnell saying on literally the very first day of Barack Obama's presidency in 2008 that the Number One goal of the Republican Party was to deny the president a second term. The Number One goal, even above things like, oh, "the good of the country." And for the next four years, that's how Republicans in the Senate and House governed. And when President Obama was re-elected by the American public, that's how Republicans in Congress continued to act out of a combination of spite, racism and the lack of ideas. And no, that's not hyperbole -- ever since the Affordable Care Act passed, for just one instance, Republicans have been trying to destroy it and insisting that they have a better plan. That's something Trump regularly says is coming in "two weeks" since he first took office in 2017. And we're now in 2020, Trump is still saying that, and Republicans still haven't come up with anything. Anything. In 12 years. And yet Republicans are still trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act and pre-existing conditions...in a pandemic! Without a replacement.
So, yes, this visceral reaction of Democrats against the GOP really did get its start 12 years ago, and has continued through Republican attempts to block everything purely just to block it, not because they had something better, and blocked 105 federal judge appointments by President Obama that they later were able to fill under Trump's subsequent nominations, and kept Merrick Garland from getting a hearing for the Supreme Court, and then 16 Republican House investigations of Hillary Clinton on Benghazi in order to discredit her as the likely Democratic presidential nominee and which found nothing, and Trump campaign collusion with Russia (which is, in fact, what the Mueller Report did find, but said investigators couldn't make a case of it being illegal because obstruction by the Trump administration kept material from them) and a reopened FBI investigation got Trump elected, followed by separating immigrant children from parents, putting immigrant children in cages, praising some neo-Nazis as very fine people, calling Mexicans rapists, trying to block Muslims from entering the country, refusing to even utter the words "Black Lives Matter," regularly calling the press the enemy of the people, firing intelligence officers daring to tell the truth about dangers to the country, trusting the word of the Russian leader over all intelligence services, and over 20,000 documented lies from the White House and impeachment for trying to bribe a foreign leader, ignoring science that's destroying the country from a pandemic and crushing the economy, as well as dismantling the Postal Service to assist other voter suppression efforts and so much more, all of it enabled by elected Republicans in Congress who are complicit in it all -- all of it, everything, voting near lock-step unanimously on everything in support of a fascist administration -- has built to a perseverance of anger among Democrats that has reached a depth I don't think Republicans have a clue of.
All the while Republicans celebrate each of their actions, keep chanting "Lock her up," prompted by Trump, which now overlaps from Hillary Clinton to today Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan with the result that there was a serious threat by white supremacists to kidnap and kill her. And the same for the mayor of Omaha. And now the governor of Ohio. All to silence by Republicans in Congress, all blissfully acquiescent to the dangers to other politicians who oppose them. And dancing at the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. As they danced to the confirmation of the highly-questionable Brett Cavanaugh. And on and ever on, blissfully unaware as they dance about the perseverance of Democrats, which should be blatantly obvious from them standing in lines to vote for not just five hours, but for four years. And not grasping why Democrats in Congress have been radicalized by their 12 years of actions and are now therefore looking seriously at all the options available to them in dealing with the Supreme Court, should they win the majority and White House. And in dealing with all issues to come.
As the expression goes, even for those who blissfully dance -- Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.
Which leads to one other comment, this from Jason Kander, former Secretary of State of Missouri, who I've written about here often -- a low-key, even-handed and talented up-and-coming politician. Yesterday, he wrote -- "In ten years, some politicians will treat the Trump administration like they do the Iraq war: Everyone will pretend they never really supported it. I’m not cool with letting anybody get away with that."
Not long ago, Mitch McConnell tried to shut down Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor, attempting to demean her unrelenting outrage by saying with ridicule, "And still she persisted." He had no idea. He had no idea what he was unleashing then, and what he and Republicans in Congress have released for 12 years. And still she persisted, indeed. So have they all. Since the first day of Trump's inauguration when the massive Women's March flowed through the streets of the country, and all the marches and protests since. For four years they've persisted. And it's been building for 12 years.
This is about the perseverance of anger.
What it is not about is Trump, because we know who he is. This is about the elected Republicans in Congress who enable him, who have moved towards fascism for many years, and are fully and knowingly complicit.
If you missed Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, his Main Story was on immigration, but specifically about asylum. It was an extremely interesting show -- much more angry than most, even his shows about the pandemic, and with less humor, though there is definitely its share of funny off-handed comments blended throughout. But I think many will find what Oliver and his staff present to be teeth-gnashing infuriating.
A few weeks ago, in a speech in Pennsylvania while on his Coronavirus Petrie Dish Tour, Trump made a comment that stood out to me. I kept waiting for the press to pick up on it, and ask Trump about it -- or even just any of his spokespeople. But so far, nothing. So, I figure that at this point with only eight days left in the campaign, waiting seems to be a lost cause. Perhaps Trump or something can still be asked after the election, but I'm sure that issues of interest with be drastically be refocused, so I guess it's up to me to mention it. What Trump said was, "They now proved that Russia interfered in 2016. Unfortunately it was on behalf of Hillary Clinton, not Trump."
The reaction of most people at the time he said this was to chide Trump about such an idiotic point that Hillary Clinton conspired against herself to lose. And I understand that reaction, and it's valid. But they were missing the much larger point. As I said, I waited to see if that "much larger point" would be picked up by the press, either in article or to question Trump or his press secretary -- but no, it faded away under the mountains of bigger news. Yet I still think that even among the mountains of news, it's a large point.
That Trump is idiotically lying about Hillary Clinton is beside the point and par for the course -- which I'm sure is a big reason why the much larger point got overlooked. And that point is that what Trump is saying on the record is that "Russia interfered in the 2016 election."
It doesn't matter that he's saying Russia interfered on behalf of Hillary Clinton, even with that being an idiotic lie. What matters is that Trump is stating that he believes Russia interfered in the election -- and he's doing nothing about it.
What a reporter even now should still ask him -- because the statement is on the record and it's never too late to ask -- is to find out what Trump is going to do about Russia interfering in the 2016 election, since he's admitted it happened.
His choices in answering are limited -- he can ignore the question, which means it sits there in the air for other to wonder the same thing. He can say he's doing nothing, which would be a really ghastly look for a president trying to make "law and order" core to his campaign and just acknowledged Russia attacked the U.S. in its election. Or he could announce, which would outrage his Russian overlords. And also put the reality that Russia is trying to attack this election on the table. Actually, each of these options puts the reality that Russia is trying to attack this election on the table -- in part because Russia is, and in part because, whatever the option, Trump has said that Russia did attack the U.S. in our election.
Unfortunately, no, I don't think at this point that any reporter will pick this up, especially since so much time has passed since the quote officially made the news. But I stand by my belief that this is notable quote by Trump that should be followed up on by the press, no matter how idiotic Trump's attempt at a point was. Because the larger point is that Trump himself said, on the record, that there is evidence that Russia interfered with our election.
Which they did.
Just because Trump lied about the reason for it doesn't make the foundation any less true.
And bizarrely, it took Trump going out of his way to lie for him to actually and finally tell the truth about something, and so he got that foundation right.
On this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment of the socially-distanced NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the guest is Jonna Mendez, who not only worked for the CIA, but was Chief of Disguise. Her conversation with host Peter Sagal is really very interesting and wonderful fun, as she describes how she got into the CIA and the details of her job. Well…some of the details, which she compares in part to the “Q” division of the James Bond movies. Only later in the interview does host Sagal mention that her husband (now deceased) was Tony Mendez – who was the real-life person played by Ben Affleck in Argo. She tells a remarkable story about one of his disguises that she helped with, and also Halloween costumes for the family.
Written one year ago, today --
On this week’s Al Franken podcast, his guest is Brian Fallon of Demand Justice, and they discuss the Amy Coney Barrett hearing. As he writes, the two “weren’t happy with any part of the damn thing.”
By the way, speaking of which -- after initially saying she would not vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, but then yesterday announcing yes, she would -- it turns out that this year for Halloween, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will be dressing up and going as Susan Collins.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Ray Lancaster from Columbia Hill, South Carolina. I got the hidden song pretty quickly, and then it becomes very clear. Guessing the composer style came down to being between two composers...and I guessed the wrong one. Actually, it turned out to be someone else entirely, so I was completely wrong, though it was from the same country as my guess -- if that counts for anything, which it really doesn't.
I guess we're going to make this a bit of a Chicago Symphony Day. This evening, Saturday, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be hosting a free, streaming event, “Sounds of Celebration: An Evening at Home with the CSO.” This is the orchestra’s largest annual fundraising event of the year, proceeds which will benefit the CSO's community programs and other projects that go to the heart of the Orchestra’s mission.
The streaming festivities begin at 7 PM Central time. That's 5 PM out here in Los Angeles -- or 8 PM on the East Coast.
The broadcast is hosted by the CSO's own musicians, and will include appearances from Maestro Ricardo Muti, Yo-Yo Ma, Eric Owens, Missy Mazzoli, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Mitsuko Uchida, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Hilary Hahn, Anita Rachvelishvili and Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute from The Office – and a fellow-alum from my New Trier High School).
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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