From the archives. This week's contestant is Kristen Zoetewey from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I had an odd result from the contest. When it finished, I had no clue. And yet I should have guessed the composer style because I like the composer a lot. But no. As for the hidden song, I also had no clue -- though about the 3-minute mark there was a passage that sounded familiar, but I just couldn't place it. And even pianist Bruce Adolphe acknowledged that this was a difficult one, well-hidden. As he was talking though, it clicked in -- and before he even got to playing the piece again, I guessed it.
The guest on this week’s Al Franken podcast is Dana Milbank who talk about, as Al puts it, why only 2/3 of GOP House members are crazy – and why that won’t help much.
On this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the guest is Dana Carvey It will not shock you to learn that his interview with host Peter Sagal is very funny. He tells a lot of great stories about his impersonations, notably George Bush, but it veers off into others, and then gets unexpected when panelist Paula Poundstone talks about having briefly lived with him and his wife.
This the full Wait, Wait… broadcast, but you can jump directly to the “Not My Job” segment, it starts around the 18:30 mark.
On this week’s Naked Lunch podcast, hosts Phil Rosenthal and David Wild’ get together at Phil's house in this special episode. As the show explains, “Phil talks about heading out on his whirlwind European Somebody Feed Phil book tour. David discusses being hard at work on the upcoming Grammy Awards broadcast Sunday, February 5. And Phil and David both lovingly introduce a special reprise of their very fun and rocking lunch with the one & only Sheryl Crow at the Sunset Marquis. A 9-time Grammy Award winner, Sheryl is nominated once again this year for her stunning song 'Forever' featured in the 2022 Showtime doc Sheryl." And they talk, as well, about food, family and the occasional high price of being a people-pleaser.
I can’t embed the audio, but if you click on the link here, it will take you to the website, where you just click on the “Play” arrow underneath the photo.
This is a low-key but very nice feature and interview with Harrison Ford at his home in Wyoming, that was aired recently on CBS Sunday Morning.
For years, my friend Peter Carlisle was the Chief Prosecuting Attorney of Honolulu, basically their version of District Attorney (and then later served as mayor). I remember him telling me once that the most important part of a trial was the opening statement and the closing argument. He said that those were what the jury remembered the most.
While that doesn’t always hold true for everything in life, I’ve found it to be a good guide for most things. In essence, how you introduce yourself, and how you say goodbye.
Years ago, Head & Shoulders shampoo had an ad campaign that made at least part of this same point, albeit pithier – “You only have one chance to make a first impression.”
So, it’s been with that in mind that I’ve been watching the “opening statement” made by Republicans as they took over control of the House of Representatives. How they would make their first impression to support their agenda of what’s most important to them for pushing the country forward, addressing all the needs for the public that they campaigned on in the Mid-terms.
And what we have had so far are –
An unprecedented 15 ballots to figure out who they even want to lead the Republican Party as Speaker of the House.
Passing a bylaw to allow members to have loaded guns in the House of Representatives.
Passing a rule to have the Pledge of Allegiance said before every Judiciary Committee meeting – despite it being said before every meeting of the House.
Firing the Sergeant at Arms, because he enforced a rule in the previous Congress that didn’t allow bringing guns into the House of Representatives.
Removing three Democrats from committee assignments for no substantive reason, other than revenge.
Naming a new Republican congressman, currently being investigated by the Department of Justice, and Ethics Committee, to two committees.
Pushing to not raise the debt ceiling which is mandated in the Constitution and would cause worldwide economic collapse it the U.S. defaulted, which it has never done in its history.
It’s enough to stir the souls of Americans across these great lands. This is how the House Republicans have chosen to put their first foot forward and present themselves and their vision to the country, showing how they intend to lead and help conditions in the country.
Allowing loaded guns to be brought into the House is especially notable. After all, Congress is where people argue and often yell at one another. Or even, as has been the case in a couple of instances with Republicans in the previous Congress, threaten the lives of opponents. And there’s no prohibition on entering the House inebriated. So, yeah, what could go wrong?
I did like a proposed Democratic amendment made to the Republican rule for saying the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings of the Judiciary Committee. It was that no member could lead the Pledge if they are an Insurrectionist. This would have been a high hurdle given how many Republicans on the committee had voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election and were supporters of the Insurrection to overthrow the government they now want to pledge allegiance to – a second time in any given day.
But insisting as one of their first acts in control that Republican won’t raise the debt ceiling, paying for money already allocated and owed, which would shut down the government and create a world economic crisis stands out, even by GOP standards. After all, it’s a Constitutional requirement. Twice. Most notably, Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment says, in part: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law [emphasis added], including debts incurred for the payment of pensions and bounties for service in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” [emphasis again added] But even before getting that far into the Constitution, it states – at the very beginning, in Article I, Section 8: “The Congress shall have Power to Lay and Collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, to pay the Debts [emphasis…oh, you know] and provide for the Common Defence and General Welfare of the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States.”
So, this is how the Republican Party has decided to make its opening statement to the American public. “This is who we are. This is what’s most important to use. This is how we intend to lead.”
And this doesn’t include Republicans promising to pass stricter abortion laws (that the public heavily rejected in the Mid-terms), impeach President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and investigate of Secretary of state Anthony Blinken, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the FBI, the Jan. 6 House Select Committee and more. Without a word about jobs, the economy, healthcare, infrastructure, the environment…y’know, things the public cares about.
No, this instead is how they chose to start.
It’s not a good look. It is not a good first impression.
It never is when you forget to use your Head. And Shoulders.
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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