Who's Bill This Time
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. Hey, Seattle, you be my Donald. I'll be your Billania.
KURTIS: Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thank you, guys. Thanks. Well, it hasn't been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.
SAGAL: Just going to get that out there. To all the critics who had said that Garrison Keillor had lost his touch, turned out that wasn't true at all.
SAGAL: Later on, we are going to be talking to writer-director Greta Gerwig. But just to be safe, we're going to be talking to all of our fans only by phone. So...
SAGAL: ...Join us from a safe distance by calling 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME.
MARK BLAUSTEIN: Hey, Peter. This is Mark from New York City.
SAGAL: Hey, Mark. How are things in New York?
BLAUSTEIN: Great. Excellent.
SAGAL: Where do you - what do you do in New York?
BLAUSTEIN: I'm a creative director and graphic designer. I have a practice in Manhattan, and I by night am a percussionist. I have been studying West African percussion for about 20 years, and I play for dance classes around New York.
SAGAL: Wow, that's pretty exciting.
BLAUSTEIN: Yes, it's pretty amazing.
SAGAL: Do you know our benevolent overlord Doug Berman is often - also an afficionado of African drumming? Have you ever run into him?
BLAUSTEIN: Not - no, not physically.
LUKE BURBANK: That was the most public...
BLAUSTEIN: I'm sure he's great.
BURBANK: ...Radio conversation I've ever had.
SAGAL: Mark, welcome to our show. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's the host of the confessional podcast Too Beautiful to Live as well as the public radio variety show Live Wire, which will be right here in Seattle December 9 at the Neptune Theatre. It's Luke Burbank.
BLAUSTEIN: Hey, Luke.
BURBANK: Hi, Mark.
SAGAL: Next, it's the host of the Fake The Nation podcast and author of "How To Make White People Laugh," available wherever books are sold - its Negin Farsad.
BLAUSTEIN: Hey, Negin.
SAGAL: Finally, it's the comedian who'll be headlining The Secret Group in Houston on December 9. His documentary, "The Problem With Apu," is available on iTunes. It's Hari Kondabolu.
SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Mark. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read for you three quotations from the week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?
SAGAL: All right. Here is your first quote.
KURTIS: You're probably going to hear a lot of screaming going on in speeches this week.
SAGAL: That was Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming talking about the calm deliberations over what big bill in the Senate?
BLAUSTEIN: Would that be the tax plan?
SAGAL: Yes, it would be...
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: ...The big tax plan.
SAGAL: The Republicans say that their tax cuts, skewed mostly towards corporations and the wealthy, will benefit everybody because the wealthy and corporations will then create jobs with that money - jobs like money counter and...
SAGAL: ...Coin polisher.
SAGAL: Others disagree how good it will be. So this is true - the University of Chicago asked 37 economists if the bill would add to the deficit. Thirty-six said yes. One said no. But then that guy who said no - this is all true - he came back, and he said, oh, no, I'm sorry. I misunderstood the question. Of course it will.
NEGIN FARSAD: I mean, the whole thing is, like - the timing of it is really interesting because it's - you know, it's been, you know, Thanksgiving. It's Christmas. It's, like, this bill really represents, like, the spirit of, like, giving and thanks and, like, stealing from the poor to give to the rich. It's just, like, this Christ-like behavior.
FARSAD: You know what I mean?
FARSAD: And I think it's really beautiful.
SAGAL: No, I mean, like, they were going over the Gospels. And they said, Christ threw out - you know, attacked the money changers in the temple. And they were like, no, tell me more about the money changers. What were their...
SAGAL: What kind of interest did they get? What's amazing is how fast they are trying to ram this bill through the Congress. The last major tax reform - 1986 - took two years to put together. This one has taken less than two months. They are moving faster than an assistant producer running out of Matt Lauer's office.
BURBANK: If I knew...
SAGAL: You had to get out before he pushes the button.
BURBANK: If I knew that these were the kind of jokes that were gonna be OK this week, I'd have written a completely different set of jokes.
SAGAL: I understand. There are no rules anymore, Luke. You know this.
HARI KONDABOLU: How is this whole job creator myth still going? Like, the idea of trickle-down economics? It's just the rich peeing on us.
SAGAL: Basically, yeah.
KONDABOLU: That's all this is.
BURBANK: Yes. But if they are drinking expensive enough bottled water...
SAGAL: It's true.
BURBANK: ...Some of the pee has nutrients in it.
SAGAL: Your next quote comes from a forensic psychiatrist who wrote in to The New York Times.
KURTIS: Ordinarily, we carry out a routine process for treating people who are dangerous - containment, removal from access to weapons and an urgent evaluation.
SAGAL: That psychiatrist was talking about what measures might need to be taken with whom?
BLAUSTEIN: Oh, Donald Trump.
SAGAL: Yes, exactly right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: This was the week...
SAGAL: ...The last of November, 2017 - in which CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post joined the rest of the country in openly wondering if Donald Trump is certifiably insane. Now, we should be careful. Psychologists say it's dangerous to make any sort of diagnosis of someone's mental health without an actual clinical exam. But, of course, we can make an exception because Donald Trump has been ritually murdering those psychologists and stitching their skin together to make himself a new bathrobe because that's what he believes the rat god wants him to do.
BURBANK: Seventy percent of what you just said is actually true.
SAGAL: It's - who knows what 70 percent? The week has been crazy. On Wednesday morning, Trump sent out a flurry of tweets attacking his perceived enemies in the press, retweeting anti-Muslim videos, accusing Joe Scarborough of murder - OK. That's OK.
SAGAL: Then he insulted our oldest ally, Great Britain. He tweeted at Prime Minister Theresa May, but he screwed that up and tweeted at some person with the same name who has six followers.
SAGAL: It was madness. You could practically hear chief of staff John Kelly in the background, pleading with him to unlock the bathroom door.
SAGAL: All told, it was a day that historians will call Wednesday.
SAGAL: What's amazing is even after all of this, everybody is pretending that everything is fine. Everything's fine at the end of the week. They had the standard White House Christmas party for the media. And the media came, even though the president hates them and calls them liars. And Melania decorated the White House to look like a satanist sex club.
SAGAL: Did you see this?
BURBANK: Yeah. Somebody needs to leave some Eggo Waffles behind one of those trees for Melania.
BURBANK: She's going to get hungry in The Upside Down.
SAGAL: Maybe just because I'm older, but I was looking at it and thinking, wow, you know, greenery and life will never come back to the White House till Aslan returns.
SAGAL: Mark, here is your last quote.
KURTIS: People get engaged every day. You know, it's just another day.
SAGAL: That was a man in London giving The Telegraph his not-very-excited reaction to what big engagement in the news this week?
BLAUSTEIN: Would that be Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?
SAGAL: It would be, exactly. Yes.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Prince Harry is getting married. And even better, he's getting married to Meghan Markle. She's a biracial divorced American actress. She'll go live in the UK with her new husband, so at least one American is going to escape the Trump presidency.
SAGAL: It's not so much a...
BURBANK: Just in time for Brexit.
SAGAL: Yes, it's not so much a royal marriage as a very limited refugee program.
SAGAL: This is fun. It's kind of a reprise of history, as Ms. Markle will be the second divorcee - the second American divorcee - to marry into the British royal family after, famously, Wallis Simpson. She became the Duchess of Windsor. And fortunately for Ms. Markle, if she wants to continue the duchess's tradition of being a Nazi sympathizer, they're also making a comeback.
KONDABOLU: I laugh because I'm scared to death.
FARSAD: I know, yeah.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Mark do on our quiz?
KURTIS: He did very well - 3-0. You're a winner, Mark.
BLAUSTEIN: Thanks so much.
(SOUNDBITE OF THE GUESS WHO SONG, "AMERICAN WOMAN")
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