Who's Carl This Time
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. And here's your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Thanks everybody. Good to see you. Great to be back with you all. Happy New Year. You may all remember that a few months ago down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we hosted the democratic political operative James Carville. Well, a little later on we're welcoming Mary Matalin, his wife, a Republican political operative. We'll ask how they keep their marriage fresh and spiteful after all these years.
SAGAL: But first, it's your turn to gripe about us, give us a call, it's 1-888-Wait Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!.
MITCHELL STEPHENSON: Hi, this is Mitchell Stephenson from Edgewater, Maryland.
SAGAL: Hey, Mitchell, how are you?
STEPHENSON: I'm well.
SAGAL: Mitchell, I'm going to just be blunt about this. You sound like you're a woman.
STEPHENSON: I am. I had very weird parents.
SAGAL: Apparently. Well, welcome to our show. Mitchell, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up it's writer for HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," it's Mr. Adam Felber is here.
ADAM FELBER: Hi Mitch. Can I call you Mitch?
SAGAL: Next a comedienne performing at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Maryland, on February 8, it's Paula Poundstone is here.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Hey, Mitchell.
SAGAL: And the reason your computer catches fire whenever you surf on over to the Esquire's politics blog, it's Charlie Pierce.
CHARLIE PIERCE: Hi Mitchell.
SAGAL: You're going to play Who's Carl This Time. Carl Kasell is going to read you three quotes from this week's news. Your job, of course, correctly identify or explain two of them, Carl will record the greeting on your home voicemail or answering machine, whatever you've got. You ready to go?
STEPHENSON: I'm ready to go, very excited.
SAGAL: All right, Mitchell, here is your first quote.
KASELL: Go home, Arctic, your drunk.
SAGAL: That was Greg Laden, writing at scienceblogs.com, about the big what this week?
STEPHENSON: The polar vortex?
SAGAL: Yes indeed.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: This was the polar vortex, a spinning cold air monster that usually lives at the North Pole but, as you heard, got drunk and stumbled down through Canada to fall asleep on top of us.
SAGAL: It was colder in Chicago, this is true, than in Antarctica this week.
SAGAL: The Polar Bear at a Chicago zoo, really, said to hell with this and went inside.
SAGAL: And the penguins said idiot, now they know we can talk.
SAGAL: More true stories. With the wind chill, it was actually colder in Minnesota than it was on Mars. And the Mars Rover was not cool about this. It kept posting pictures of itself on a hammock.
SAGAL: You guys of course endured the worst of it in L.A., Paula and Adam.
PIERCE: And me. I was in L.A. this weekend.
FELBER: We came pretty close to having to put on pants at one point.
SAGAL: That was terrible.
POUNDSTONE: Yeah, no I actually bundle up during the winter, even though I live in Santa Monica, because in the morning often it gets into the 50s.
POUNDSTONE: No, I'm telling you the truth.
PIERCE: And there's, like, a breeze, too, right?
FELBER: Yeah, because it's near the water.
PIERCE: The wind chill goes down to like 49.9.
POUNDSTONE: You're exactly right.
SAGAL: Does that mean you have to wear your thermal sandals?
POUNDSTONE: No. I do wear a thick sock, however, and of course a high-waisted cottony brief.
FELBER: Oh dear.
SAGAL: And people tried to have fun with this. One big thing, you know that trick, you probably saw it on YouTube, where it's really cold, and you throw boiling water in the air, and it turns to snow. True fact, at least 50 people across the country scalded themselves trying to do this.
FELBER: Well, they didn't realize you were supposed to go outside.
POUNDSTONE: They threw it at one another. I thought it was going to freeze.
PIERCE: It was probably stuff like, you know, this idea that...
FELBER: It's physics' fault.
PIERCE: It'll freeze faster if I throw it directly into the wind.
SAGAL: Have you ever been in minus-15 degree weather, Paula?
POUNDSTONE: Are you kidding me? Yes.
FELBER: You don't even have time to make up a plausible lie, do you?
POUNDSTONE: No, I'll tell you something. Sometimes at the beach, we'll have a cooler, and boy, you reach in there to get a soda, and I've got to tell you...
POUNDSTONE: You know what I'm saying? I mean nippy pippy, yeah.
SAGAL: I understand. All right, very good Mitchell. Here is your next quote.
KASELL: Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.
SAGAL: That was from an email that was released this week among many other documents that got who caught up in a traffic controversy?
STEPHENSON: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
SAGAL: Yes, indeed.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: So this is one of the best stories ever. So last fall, Mr. Christie is running for re-election in New Jersey. He wants everybody to endorse him, even the Democrats. The Mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, a Democrat? Not interested. Next thing you know, the Port Authority, which is run by Christie's cronies, closes three lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee. It causes huge, massive traffic jams for four days.
PIERCE: Well Peter, you're a New Jerseyite born and bred.
SAGAL: I am.
PIERCE: How bad would this be really?
SAGAL: It would be really awful. Now they asked why are you doing this, why are you closing these lanes. Oh, it's for a traffic study. Yeah, they needed to know what happens when you go from four lanes to one.
SAGAL: And then the traffic guy is like yeah, total chaos and gridlock, interesting result, but we're not sure. Let's do it for three more days.
SAGAL: Documents released this week, including the email that Carl quoted, show that Christie's aides did in fact order the lanes closed in Fort Lee last fall. Christie had a marathon press conference on Thursday, in which he said, and this is true, the first he heard about this was when he got a call after his workout the day before. Hey right, I did it - like I did a workout? You're going to believe that, huh?
And actually, he was pleading for fat jokes at that point. He would've loved it.
PIERCE: He also said he got the news in his pajamas, which is an image I will never get out of my head.
FELBER: No, no, he was pleading for fat jokes. I thought that was interesting. He was like you know what needs three lanes? My butt. Am I right, Jersey? Fat Gov, Fat Gov.
SAGAL: Aren't I amusing. But no, in this case it's more like...
POUNDSTONE: I still don't understand what the day before - so what did he know, what did he...?
PIERCE: All right, two days before he didn't know anything. This is what he says. He didn't know anything about it.
FELBER: And then as of yesterday, post-workout, he knows everything.
PIERCE: And then yesterday, the Bergen Record put these emails in the paper, and that news was conveyed to him. For some reason he's wearing his pajamas after his workout.
POUNDSTONE: All right, OK. I think I'm following.
FELBER: You're up to speed now? Go, Peter.
POUNDSTONE: And so then he broke into the Democratic headquarters?
SAGAL: Now here's the thing...
PIERCE: But only to sell missiles to Iran.
POUNDSTONE: OK, all right, I got it now.
PIERCE: It's the universal string theory of scandal.
SAGAL: Here's the thing.
PIERCE: And there was this Lewinski woman behind one the desks.
FELBER: And he was wearing a blue dress.
SAGAL: Mitchell, here is your last quote.
KASELL: I'm a seasoned pro, and I'm ripped out of my gourd.
SAGAL: That was from a review in Denver Post of what product that became legal this week in Colorado?
SAGAL: Yes, indeed.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: This week, for the first time ever, Americans were able to legally buy marijuana without having a serious illness or a flimsy excuse. Recreational pot became legal in Colorado on New Year's Day, with residents of Colorado being able to buy an ounce and tourists able to buy a quarter ounce and tourists who walk in with brand new I Heart Colorado sweatshirts talking in a fake Colorado accent still only getting to buy a quarter ounce.
SAGAL: Now as I said, you do not have to be a Colorado resident to buy the pot, but you can't take it out of the state. So you know what this means? Week-long weed vacations. Day on in Colorado, visit pot shop. Day two, what day is this?
SAGAL: The state of Washington also legalized pot. They haven't moved as quickly to get it going, but they commissioned a study to see how many people actually smoke pot so they can anticipate demand. They basically said...
POUNDSTONE: Wait a minute, I thought you said they haven't legalized it yet.
SAGAL: Well, they've legalized, but they haven't put in the regime. They have a...
PIERCE: They don't have the infrastructure up yet.
FELBER: The website is a mess.
SAGAL: Oh, it's terrible.
PIERCE: And you know what, Adam? Let me make you a promise. If you like your dealer, you can keep your dealer.
SAGAL: Carl, how did Mitchell do on our quiz?
KASELL: Mitchell, you had three correct answers, so I'll be doing the message on your home answering machine or voice mail. Congratulations.
SAGAL: Well done, Mitchell.
STEPHENSON: Thank you so much.