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Panel Round Two

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Panel Round Two

Panel Round Two

Panel Round Two

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More questions for the panel on: someone who cannot tell a lie or return a library book on time, luddite justice, and @libraryofcongress.

CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and Chicago Public Radio, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with P.J. O'Rourke, Paula Poundstone and Tom Bodett. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. In just a minute, Carl tells us how rhyme wasn't built in a day. It's our "Listener Limerick Challenge."

If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-Wait Wait. That's 1-888-924- 8924. Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news.

Tom, the New York Society Library is cracking down on borrowers with overdue books. And they released the name of its most egregious offender. Who was it?

M: I would say Bernie Kerik, but I don't think he's a public library guy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Madoff, Bernie Madoff.

SAGAL: No. You might say this guy is the father of overdue library fines.

M: A Founding Father.

SAGAL: A Founding Father.

M: Oh, Thomas Jefferson.

SAGAL: No.

M: The library...

SAGAL: The father of?

M: The father of - Founding Father George Washington?

SAGAL: Yes, very good.

M: OK.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: All right, there were several, you know?

M: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

M: Working his way through them all.

M: I never thought of Washington as a big reader. He's more of the guy on the horse in my head, you know? Jefferson was the library guy.

M: Well, you don't have to read a lot to take one book out and not return it.

SAGAL: That's true.

M: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: He was a reader, just a very slow one.

M: I find...

M: Don't actually have to read at all, come to think of it.

SAGAL: Washington checked out two books from the New York Society Library in 1789, and has failed to return them. He racked up fines in those two centuries that with inflation, add up to $300,000 or so. The library said that they would not be pursuing payment since Washington has been dead for quite some time.

In case you were wondering, the two books were "Getting Yourself on Currency for Dummies" and "What to Expect When You're Expecting a Nation."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: You know what?

SAGAL: What?

M: I've been on the waiting list for those.

SAGAL: Yeah. And now you know why you haven't gotten them.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Yeah, that's what's put off my secession.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: I wasn't sure what to expect.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Paula, this week the Supreme Court is trying a big case involving text messages, and it's exposed that the Supreme Court, for all its wisdom, does not know much about what?

M: Texting.

SAGAL: Exactly right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: I learned that in the sixth grade.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The most telling moment came when Chief Justice Roberts asked the lawyer in front of him what the difference was quote, between email and a pager.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's sad; he's the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States...

M: And he's the youngest one on there.

SAGAL: I know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: You mean, you guys aren't following Justice Scalia on Twitter?

SAGAL: No, I'm not.

M: Why not?

SAGAL: And Roberts is the tech guy. He keeps - has to go help the other justices with the mimeograph machine. He's the only one who can do it.

M: Yeah, without getting ink all over himself, yeah.

SAGAL: Now the Supreme Court is famously late adopting of technology. Justice Roberts is known to write out his opinions in pen and paper. Ruth Bader Ginsburg still uses Friendster.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And Clarence Thomas spurns all forms of communication technology, including email, instant messages, and saying words out loud.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: I'm glad they're not texting.

SAGAL: I think it would be sad, because you know they'd be distracted.

M: Yeah.

SAGAL: As soon as you start, you can't stop. They'd be sitting there texting with each other. Oh, just listening to arguments, what are you doing?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Tom, the Library of Congress is the repository of historic documents telling the story of our nation. Well, in some - what see as quite a coup, the collection is going to be expanded to include what?

M: Text messages.

SAGAL: Close.

M: Yeah. Close?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: What's close to a text message?

SAGAL: It has the same character limit as text messages.

M: Oh, Twitter stuff, Twitter stuff.

SAGAL: Yes, all the world's tweets.

M: Oh, even mine.

SAGAL: Every single one of the millions of 140-character messages will be preserved, and all tweets will be given equal weight, whether they come from President Obama or that Play Doh-eating 10-year-old down the street.

In a thousand years, then, civilization will look back and think that we, at the beginning of the 21st century, were a narcissistic society riven by civil war, torn in our allegiance to our two great leaders, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Since I knew that, because I read that thing about the Library of Congress. And since I learned that the twitters were going to be in there, I've really tried to upgrade the quality of mine.

SAGAL: Really? Using bigger words, more high-minded thoughts?

M: Yeah.

M: Footnotes.

SAGAL: Yeah.

M: Footnotes with my twitters, yeah.

M: No, I don't - you know, I never just say like, I'm in the shower.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Now what do you say?

M: I'm bathing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

M: It's better, isn't it?

M: It is. Yeah.

M: Yeah, it's more literary.

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