This week's contestant is Chuck Romportl from Hopkins, Minnesota. I was able to get the hidden song pretty quickly. The composer style, though, is in that area of which I generally have to toss a coin, and didn't get it. And in fairness, it's pretty tough. To my shock, the contestant actually guessed the composer style right off -- but didn't get the hidden song. Only on a second go-round, where pianist Bruce Adolphe brought the song out more, did he guess correctly.
On this week's podcast from Al Franken, he begins in his monologue talking about the recent appointment of Pat Pizzella as the acting Secretary of Labor, who Franken says the House should hold hearings on Pizzella’s past. As for the rest of the show, author and Atlantic Monthly staff writer, Franklin Foer joins Al for an interesting conversation about Big Tech.
As Al notes -- The questions asked include "'re filter bubbles dividing us? Is Facebook deliberately keeping us angry and upset? Is everyone's attention span dwindling? Is Google selling records of all your searches? Is the Big One coming? You know – the day everyone who’s ever watched pornography will be revealed to everyone else who’s ever watched pornography?'"
The guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of this week's NPR quiz show is Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It's always fun to see what odd connection host Peter Sagal will come up with to take some completely unrelated topic and somehow tie it to the guest. Most are fun, but some transcend that and are so clever that they're funny. This is the latter. Happily, the interview is surprisingly very funny and Alsop sardonically explains how she got from birth to conducting.
On this week's podcast, Will Ferrell again returns as Ron Burgundy, and he and Carolina get advice about how to navigate the dark web from cybersecuity expert RIchard Greenberg. Cybersecurity is a serious issue of hacking and misinformation, so this episode is a particularly good thing given how much Ron gets very, very, very wrong. Happily, Richard Greenberg knows what he's talking about, so he helps make it pretty interesting. And Ron at least does his best, making sure that listeners understand that when he refers to "passwords" he doesn't mean the old TV game show.
Today we head back to the Kitchens of Epicurious for one of their fun "50 People Try to..." videos. This time, they gathering of folk attempt to open a coconut. Get your goggles and protective gear ready (and in the end, find out the surprisingly easy way...)
This is from a couple days ago, but other news got in the way. It sill fits just fine --
We'll keep this simple.
I've written a lot online yesterday about Trump's actions in regard to recommending that two members of the United States Congress not be permitted in Israel -- and Israel acting accordingly. And further, the outraged talk all day has been pervasive about how contrary it is to American values, not just as a matter of the First Amendment, where the government acted to silence U.S. citizens, but that members of Congress have the sworn duty to go to foreign countries where we give aid to in order to understand conditions there. There has been a great deal of anger deservedly directed at Israel, our ally, but that is the wrong main focus. The issue is what Trump did, not Benjamin Netanyahu. He acted cravenly and foolishly, following directions of his country's main benefactor. But it was Trump who set the agenda, and was against American citizens and members of Congress.
But two simple observations leap out to me. The first is --
This is not normal.
Not much elaboration is needed on that. Simply that it must not be seen as normal. It must not be accepted as normal. Because this is not normal.
And the second is just as simple and clear, and something said on these pages often but demands being repeated once again --
As reprehensible and un-American as Trumps actions have been in regards to Israel and the two members of the United States Congress, it must be noted that this is not about Trump. We know who he is. This is about the elected Republicans in Congress who enable him and are complicit. And have been silent.
One last tangential observation.
Trump is going to unravel over the next 15 months. That is a very easy comment to make, since he has been unraveling significantly for the past four months or so. And he has no one around him willing to stand up to him and stop him, and no one of significant talent in his administration to help in the job. And so he will continue to unravel. And it will be very bad for him and the Republican Party. The U.S. as a whole will take some hits from it, but they will be painful flesh wounds. Unraveling is far, far worse. For all those complicit.
Let's head out and about with Jiminy Glick who we haven't had around here for much, much too long. I've never quite understood the long-lasting popularity of Regis Philbin. I don't dislike him, I just find him "there." So, when I saw that Jiminy Glick had an interview with him, I was going to pass it by -- but then I realized that if anyone would be a ideal foil for Jiminy, it just might be Regis. I was right -- he is.
The Washington Post had a major story yesterday which Rachel Maddow devoted most of her show to last night, about Russian influence in the United States, mostly focusing on a $200 million deal in Kentucky to build an aluminum factory the day after which Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked sanctions against the Russian oligarch -- and Putin's close ally -- who owns the company.
At the heart of one issue is that if the factory wasn't built, then a great many people in Kentucky who are desperate for jobs would lose theirs at the new, upcoming plant. It's a deeply understandable concern. On the one hand, jobs for those in need. On the other hand, Russian influence over the Senate Majority Leader to direct policy of the entire United States. Including, for instance, McConnell blocking any efforts to protect the country against Russian cyber-attacks in the 2020 election.
Much as its a deeply understandable concern and there are two sides to the issue, that doesn't mean the two sides are equal. Losing the jobs would be devastating to those workers. But then, the deal shouldn't have been made in the first place if it meant giving Russian control in U.S. policy. The "greater good" is seems to me far, far greater. And that means the deal should be stopped, in order to protect the United States.
It should be noted, to keep full perspective, that this same Russian oligarch, Sergei Deripaskov -- who worked with convicted felon Paul Manafort and, again, was on the sanction list for serious reasons -- has already contacted governors in eight other states about building factories in their states, as well. No doubt to have further Russian influence there.
To be very clear, having said that I don't think the aluminum factory deal should go forward, I feel terrible about the people in Kentucky who don’t have jobs. But we shouldn’t have this factory there in the first place for those jobs to be able to “taken away.” And maybe if so many people are out of work in Kentucky, maybe Republicans shouldn’t have tricked people into thinking coal was coming back, but instead train people for new green environmental industries. Or…or maybe we should increase unemployment insurance rather than lower taxes and then cut back the unemployment benefits program. Or maybe we should create a federal jobs program like FDR did in the New Deal. Yes, yes, I know that conservatives hate liberalism and hate FDR and hate social welfare programs. But when you don’t have those programs, one of the results is destitute people who are willing to sell their country out to the devil who offers them a way to do so.
Just because I don’t think they should have jobs from a Russian company trying to subvert the United States doesn’t mean I think we should ignore their plight. After all, I’m not a conservative -- I don't believe in only “What’s in it for me?” and "I got mine, you're on your own." I believe in helping those in need. Just not by selling out the rest of the United States. So I think there are things we as a country could do for them. And if those people out of work find “liberal” solutions distasteful, they don’t have to take advantage of them. They can stay out of work without some form of government assistance or government jobs programs trying to help them if they want, it's a free country. They can rely on churches and private business to set up shelters and food programs -- though clearly that hasn't been working which is why they're out of work and desperate. But if they really do want to pass up on liberal assistance, it would their choice. Personally, I don't they would pass up on the opportunities to help their lives if offered them. Just like people didn't during the Depression, and just like they don't pass up on Social Security and Medicare when then become available to them, no matter how "liberal" the programs are. Personally, I think liberal solutions to give you help for a better life are much better than selling out your country – or starving. But that's me.
Apparently Republicans, and Mitch McConnell as their Senate leader, feel differently.
And Mitch McConnell is SO upset that he has been given the nickname of "Moscow Mitch." The heart just bleeds for him. But then, apparently that's what we bleeding-heart liberals do...
We haven't had a Mystery Guest for a while, so let's jump back in with Judy Garland. That seems a pretty good way to get things on track. Because her voice is so distinctive, you decided not to even use a fake voice, but instead uses a bell and clicker. She also has such a good time with it all that she starts talking which dances on the edge of giving it away. (Amusingly, panelist Tony Randall is sure he's right with his guess -- which is a pretty amusing one -- but he's wrong.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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