From the archives. This week's contestant is Marc Loudon from New Orleans, Louisiana. And it's a lovely piece which...well, I missed both. I'm sure that many people will get the composer style, but I just focused on a different composer and wrongly stuck with that. As for the hidden song, after the contestant guessed it right off (as he did with the composer style) and Bruce Adolphe played the piece again, I could hear it clearly, so I suspect others will, too.
If you didn't see it -- or just want to enjoy it again -- here is last night's opening sketch on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. All 13 minutes.
I have a feeling that the director gave Matt Damon only one note for his terrific performance: "For this sketch to work, it is impossible for you to over-act."
The guest contestant on this week's NPR quiz show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is multi-Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman, the second-most honored woman's gymnast in U.S. Olympic history. Her conversation with host Peter Sagal is charming, and gets quite funny when the topic comes up about how focused she's always been, and so what ways has she been rebellious.
Why is this Today's Tweet? The woman writing this, Juliann Andreen, isn't just a former Republican policymaker, she worked in Washington. D.C. for 29 years and was a staffer for Orrin Hatch.
When I wrote earlier this morning that the two women who poured their hearts out to Jeff Flake "spoke with the outraged angst and fury of masses of women. Democrats and Independents alike, and even many Republicans" -- this is the sort of thing that I was specifically referring to.
Just to be very clear and reiterate what I've said here often, pretty much everything with the Kavanaugh nomination and confirmation process is about the Republican Party. And the deeper it goes, the more and more I think the GOP is going to be pummeled in the mid-term elections. While I still think it’s likely Republicans will retain control of the Senate, I no longer would bet on it. "Likely" means anything more than 50%. And that means well-within the margin of error. That video of the two women pouring their hearts out to Jeff Flake in the elevating. was galvanizing. But the important thing about it -- beyond the personal impact it must have had on Flake -- is that I have no doubt that that wasn’t two people talking, but rather that they spoke with the outraged angst and fury of masses of women. Democrats and Independents alike, and even many Republicans. People who will not only switch party votes, but be absolutely certain to vote and get others to vote. That’s what likely terrifies the Republican Party. And should. It’s also what should speak powerfully to the Republican Party on a human level…and likely doesn’t all that much. Which is one of the many reasons I think they will be pummeled. Obviously, I’m speaking to a degree from a personal bias. But mostly, I think I speak from objective observation of a great many factors. Not the least of which is that we've already seen Democrats increase their vote percentages by an average of 8-12 points in all the elections we've had for the past year. And that was long before parents having their children taken from them, Helsinki and now Kavanaugh.
And further, if the FBI background check turns up problematic information on Brett Kavanaugh on both drinking and some level of sexual abuse (and honestly, I almost find it hard to think they won’t, most especially excessive, near-daily drinking in college to the point of blackouts -- more on that in a moment), then it could help solidify all of that.
On Lawrence O’Donnell last night, he had on two former Yale roommates of Deborah Ramirez, the women who claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her. And they were scathing about him – specifically because of his total disregard for the truth. Even more pointedly, one of the women often drank with him in college. And she said that she drank A LOT, something she wasn’t proud of, and that he drank just as much, even more. She also said that if only he’d said that, as well, how much he crank, yet noted that he studied, got good grades, and turnerd around his life, she’d have been fine with that and wouldn’t be there talking. But it was his lying and trying to create a world of alternate facts that made he feel it was necessary to go public. Both women said the same thing. O’Donnell also quoted from an article that talked to two of Kavanaugh’s Yale roommates – and both talked about his excessive drinking almost every night, and people coming to the room to party and there being regular vomiting each night, it never getting cleaned up.
And Kavanaugh is under oath saying he was basically a choir boy. And merely liked beer, and never drank to excess, never drinking to the point of blacking out. After all, he studied all the time, practiced sports and went to church so regularly it was like brushing his teeth.
I wrote earlier that by his own testimony under oath, Kavanaugh said his high school friend and drinking buddy Mark Judge "developed a very serious drinking problem." And I noted that it seems reasonable to at least think that drinking buddies most-likely party together specifically because they overlap in the amount of alcohol consumed (just like that woman drinking-buddy at Yale), even if they react differently. That doesn't inherently mean Kavanaugh himself developed a serious drinking problem (though he may have…), only that he probably drank as much as his drinking buddy who did, and drank to significantly-more excess than he testified to, merely acknowledging that he liked beer. A lot. A lot. He liked drinking beer. And if so, if he did match his various drinking buddies in the amount of drinking then it raises substantial questions about how one acts when drinking to that overabundant level, even if one doesn't develop a serious drinking problem to the point of addiction.
Having noted this, honestly I wouldn't be surprised if Kavanaugh, in fact, doesn't actually remember everything he did. Mind you, I'm sure he knows that he partied and drank (and drank) substantially more than he let on. But it strikes me as plausible that he drank SO much that there's a lot he doesn't remember. And that he did have some of those blackouts people around him have suggested. So, he may actually have no memory of attacking Christine Blasey. Or of attacking some of the others or exposing himself. Though not necessarily all.
As I said, it seems to me nearly impossible that the FBI won’t find out so many of these untruths he swore to under oath – that "I SWEAR TO GOD" – not just about drinking, but a lot more of his lies during his testimory. (I heard some expert say that when the FBI does background checks they usually don’t go back to high school and college, but mainly just check on adult work experience, family and social life. So, that likely explains why the previous background checks never turned up any of this.) And I wonder, too, if the FBI checking will include his lies under oath about his work in the White House and the hacking of emails. Probably not, but it’s possible.
A friend said that he hopes that that is what the FBI investigation focuses on, because those are substantive policy issues. Indeed, the way Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) put it, "Yes, of course there should be an FBI investigation. But whatever they find doesn’t change the fact that Kavanaugh, especially after his performance yesterday, is the most dangerous Supreme Court pick of our lifetime." I said to my friend that while I very much agree with him in a political world, I actually hope they do focus on the other, personal matters from high school and college. That’s because those things are what Democrats are under the microscope for by the far right, supposedly “demeaning” the confirmation process forever. The Lindsey Graham Meltdown Syndrome. So, I think it’s critical that the FBI find and report that, in fact, all those charges against Kavanaugh are true, if only to show that the attacks not only weren’t unfair…they were correct and critically important.
One other thing. From Day One of the this administration, and before, Trump has been attacking the intelligence services. Ignoring their reports. Demeaning their agents. Getting their officials fired. I know a lot of people have said that that’s a dangerous game to play, that you really don’t want to piss off the FBI and CIA. And he has. And now, who do we have investigating his choice for the Supreme Court? The FBI. I am absolutely sure they’ll do an 100% honest job. Indeed, I think they will be as diligent as they've ever been, crossing every "T" and dotting every "i". Because what I also think likely is that they will NOT do a cursory job, but overturn every single rock they come across. And Brett Kavanaugh has a lot of huge and blatantly obvious rocks to turn over.
But in the end, this isn't about Brett Kavanaugh. Or even Trump. It is about the Republican Party that has enabled this entire process and tried to cram and rush an drunk sexual abuser onto the Supreme Court against numerous accusations of women.
I've always been a fan of both Jack Benny and Jimmy Durante -- not just because I love their work (which I do, but I'm sure my initial appreciation for Jack Benny comes from the joy I got watching my grandmother who adored him), but also because I love performers who are unique. There are a lot of great performers, and they stand out for their talent. But there are a rare few who stand out for who they are. You can get a "Bing Crosby type." Or a "Justin Timberlake type." But you can't really get a "Jimmy Durante type" or a "Jack Benny type." You get Jimmy Durante or Jack Benny, or you look for someone else entirely.
Well, we have them both here.
This comes from The Lennon Sisters Hour in 1970. It starts with them and Jack Benny, and then it shifts to Benny and Durante together. Better still, they perform each of their signature theme songs, "Inka Dinka Doo" and "Love in Bloom."
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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