Who's Bill This Time

Jun 13, 2014
Originally published on June 14, 2014 11:42 am


BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm cuddly, fun anchorman Bill Kurtis. And here's your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Thank you. You are so kind. We have a great show for you today. We're excited about our guest - famous and best-selling mystery writer, Mary Higgins Clark. She's well known for writing these Agatha Christie-like novels where just about everybody hates the victim and had a motive for doing him in. You know, just like the House majority leader.


SAGAL: Anyway.


SAGAL: While you're plotting your vengeance, give us a call. The number'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.


SAGAL: Who's this?

TRAVERS: This is Savannah from Florida.

SAGAL: Hey, Savannah from Florida. How are you?

TRAVERS: I'm pretty goo. How are you?

SAGAL: I'm OK. Where are you from in Florida?

TRAVERS: I'm living in Gainesville right now. But I'm from the Cocoa Beach area.

SAGAL: Cocoa Beach, right?


SAGAL: So are you from, like, the real Florida or, like, the Snowbird Florida?

TRAVERS: I'm from the Florida that nobody wants to be from.

SAGAL: Oh, that Florida.



SAGAL: When you say you're from Florida, born and raised, do people look at you funny?

TRAVERS: Either look at me really jealous, and then I look back at them and go, but you really don't know what you're talking about.

SAGAL: I see.

TRAVERS: Yeah. 'Cause it's just not as good as everyone thinks it is.

BRIAN BABYLON: So you don't work for the tourism board, right?


SAGAL: Yeah. Savannah, let me introduce you to our panel. First up, its humorist and a lodging industry lighting consultant...


SAGAL: Mr. Tom Beaudette.

TOM BODETT: Hi, Savannah.


SAGAL: Next, it's the host of the Morning Am on vocalo.org who will be performing in Denver on July 11 at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, Mr. Brian Babylon is with us.


BABYLON: Hey, Savannah. How are you?

TRAVERS: I'm good.

SAGAL: And next, making her debut on our panel, we are pleased to welcome a comedian and the host of NPR's Ask Me Another, Ophira Eisenberg is here.



TRAVERS: Hi there.

SAGAL: Savannah, welcome to the show. You'll start us off this week with Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotes from this week's news. If you cant correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - the voice of Score Keeper Emeritus Carl Kasell on your home voicemail. You ready to go?

TRAVERS: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. Now for your first quote here is a round up of reactions to the sudden and surprising departure of a beloved Washington figure.

KURTIS: An opportunist, devoid of substance. A supremely annoying figure. Good riddance.

SAGAL: Those were some of the reactions, according to Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine, to the sudden and unexpected defeat of whom?

TRAVERS: I'm going to say Eric?

SAGAL: You would be right.


SAGAL: No House majority leader has lost an election since the position was created in 1899...


SAGAL: ...Back when the majority whip was an actual whip.


SAGAL: Nobody saw this coming, least of all Mr. Cantor himself, who - and this is true - spent more of his campaign funds at steakhouses than his opponents spent on his entire campaign. It also might explain Mr. Cantor's defeat. He completely lost the cow vote.


BABYLON: Well, you know, the thing with this, too, is that - what is his name? - Brat? The guy who beat him.

SAGAL: His name is Brat. His name is David Brat.

BABYLON: Dave Brat. He beat Cantor with like $200,000 and like a 23-year-old campaign manager. So you just need a quarter of a million dollars and a millennial, and you could do some things.

SAGAL: That's true.

EISENBERG: I saw some of his Internet campaign ads and they looked like they were made with CorelDRAW. I mean...

SAGAL: Really?

BABYLON: That's old-school like desktop publishing.

EISENBERG: Yeah, exactly.

SAGAL: Like Microsoft Paint was too expensive for the campaign.

BODETT: Well, I think the wildcard here was I read that the guy from "Dukes of Hazzard" had endorsed...


BODETT: ...This David Brat - the guy who played Cooter. So...

BABYLON: He he he - that guy?

BODETT: Yeah, I would like to read more about the Cooter factor and if we need to consider this in the midterms.

SAGAL: No, see, you're not - this is actually - everybody is utterly mystified by how this could have happened because Eric Cantor was voted out by conservative primary voters when he's about as conservative as you can get. I mean, he spent six years opposing whatever President Obama did. But some think he was really hurt by a widely circulated picture of him standing next to the president at a formal event. Apparently he got too close. In addition to small government and lower taxes, the Tea Party also believes in cooties.


SAGAL: Savannah, here is your next quote.

KURTIS: A book the writer didn't want to write and that readers don't want to read. It's a massive best-seller.

SAGAL: That was Jacob Weisberg of Slate, talking about the big new memoir by whom? She's a very prominent figure whose book came out this week, she's out there promoting it. Cover of People - you don't read People?

TRAVERS: No, I don't think I do.

BODETT: Pushing a walker.


SAGAL: Well, some people think that this book is the first step in her presidential campaign - does that help?

TRAVERS: Hillary Clinton?

SAGAL: Hillary Clinton, yes.


SAGAL: I was about to say, clearly her massive publicity campaign hasn't reached Florida.

BODETT: I'd say that's a key state.

SAGAL: Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, former Senator - you know her. She's out with a new memoir called "Hard Choices." It's about all the hard choices she had to make as Secretary of State - I'm sorry, should I have said spoiler alert?


BABYLON: No, you should have said snooze fest alert.

BODETT: Like, you know what I want? I want to hear something like, you know what? I was so mad - the chapter like - I was mad at Bill Clinton and then there was that cute Secret Service dude. That's what I want to hear. Like some - give me some steam.

SAGAL: Now, "Hard Choices" is a very long book, right? But if you're short on time, perhaps you'd prefer Hillary Clinton's companion pamphlet, "Easy Choices." Here's a selection of easy choices by Hillary Clinton.

KURTIS: Pantsuits - always pantsuits. If the Oval Office is rocking, go back to the residence and open another bottle of Pinot.


KURTIS: At Taco Bell, always go for the Doritos Taco Loco Extreme.

BABYLON: Now, see, that's...

SAGAL: Easy choices.

BABYLON: ...That's the Hillary I'd want to vote for.

EISENBERG: Is that from when she had just left the White House and was poor?

SAGAL: Well, yeah, that was the other thing is that she says that she was poor, that they were broke when they left the White House. Now how are they going to afford the million dollar house?

EISENBERG: I think it's my goal to be Hillary-poor, I'm pretty sure in life.


BODETT: I'm sure that was true for about six hours.

EISENBERG: Right, we almost considered selling art.


SAGAL: All right, Savannah, here is your last quote.

KURTIS: I attend an ordinary school in Odessa, my native city. Its number is 28 if it makes any difference to you.

SAGAL: That was a quote from a 13-year-old boy in Ukraine named Eugene Goostman. This week, Eugene Goostman passed something called the Turing Test, making him the smartest what in history?

TRAVERS: I would say artificial intelligence?

SAGAL: Exactly right, a computer or a robot. Very good.


SAGAL: Our robot overlord has arrived, and it turns out it's a very annoying 13-year-old boy - or a simulation thereof. The Turing Test tests whether a computer chatting through text and monitors can convince someone it's human more than 30 percent of the time. And this week, a university in England announced that the Eugene Goostman chatbot program did it.

Many say, though, that Eugene cheated. It's programmed to be a 13-year-old boy from Ukraine - so, you know, nobody expected anything - nobody suspected anything when its answers were stilted or strange - so cheated. Then again, what's more human than cheating?


BODETT: You know, I've know people who couldn't convince you they were human 30 percent of the time.

SAGAL: I know.

EISENBERG: I dated those people.

SAGAL: Yeah. The whole point is is that this was supposedly was the test for whether a computer could really become truly intelligent. And some people are saying, no, you know, it doesn't really count 'cause it's just sort of chatting online, we're all so used to that. And even though - you know, we're impressed, or maybe even a little frightened when a computer is mistaken for human.

To a computer, being mistaken for a human is embarrassing. It's like sorry R429, you've tested for human. How can that be? I've always used McAfee protection?


BABYLON: But, you know what? I will say again, we are being a little not sensitive to computers and robots 'cause they don't talk like that no more.

SAGAL: They don't do robot voice?

BABYLON: They don't do robot voice. They've now, you know, they've evolved. That's racist or whatever that is.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Savannah do on our quiz?

KURTIS: You know, Savannah did very, very well. We're going to call her a winner.

SAGAL: Yes we are, congratulations, Savanna, well done. Bye-bye.


SAGAL: We want to remind everyone they can join us most weeks back at the Chase Bank Auditorium. For tickets or more information, go to wbez.org or you can find a link at our website, waitwait.npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.