Most Active Stories
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Sat June 8, 2013
Who's Bill This Time
Originally published on Sat June 8, 2013 12:58 pm
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm legendary anchorman Bill Kurtis, filling in for Carl Kasell.
KURTIS: And here's your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. We've got a great show for you today. Tight rope walker Nik Wallenda will be by to talk about his habit of walking on very narrow wires over very wide things.
But, first, we have been getting a lot of calls and letters from you all wondering where Carl is. He is resting at home, recovering from an illness. Now, we have an update written by the man himself on the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Facebook page. You can check that out. And while you're there, send him a message, tell him to get well soon because frankly we have it on good authority his wife is going nuts.
SAGAL: Do you know what it's like to be stuck at home with someone who only speaks in limericks?
SAGAL: We don't care if you rhyme, give us a call. The number as always, 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!
JULIA MUSKER: Hello, this is Julia calling from La Canada, California.
SAGAL: La Canada, Flintridge you mean?
MUSKER: I do.
SAGAL: I used to - La Canada/Flintridge. It always seems so indecisive to me when looking at maps.
MUSKER: Well, it depends on which side of the main street you live on.
SAGAL: I see, but you're on the La Canada side?
MUSKER: Yeah, the poor side.
SAGAL: Oh, really? And do you have like a rivalry with Flintridge? Do you like fight it out in the middle of the street?
MUSKER: We pretend to, yes.
SAGAL: All right, Julia, let's introduce you to our panel this week. First, say hello to a humorist and an author the book "Don't Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards," Mr. P.J. O'Rourke.
SAGAL: Next, it's one of the women behind the Washington Post's Reliable Source column, Roxanne Roberts.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: Hello.
SAGAL: Finally, it's a humorist, author and a blogger at CarTalk.com, Mr. Tom Bodett.
TOM BODETT: Hello, Julia.
SAGAL: Now, Julia, you're going to start with Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis right here is going to read you three quotes from the week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, of course you'll win our prize, Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Ready to go?
SAGAL: Here is your first quote.
KURTIS: Right now, I think everyone should just calm down and understand this isn't anything that's brand new.
SAGAL: That was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid telling us all to calm down, just calm down, because it's nothing new that the government acquired the phone records of whom?
MUSKER: Of all of us.
SAGAL: Of everybody.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: That's right. This week, a leaked document showed that the U.S. government asked for and got information on phone calls from Verizon. Well, what phone calls? All of them, every single phone call made by any of their customers for a period of three months. So that's why one of the people on your family plan was named Big Brother.
P.J. O'ROURKE: This is the first time in history that AT&T users have felt superior.
SAGAL: Because since none of our calls go through...
SAGAL: When are they going to learn?
O'ROURKE: Page after page, dropped call, dropped call, dropped call, dropped call.
SAGAL: I mean everybody's phone records, everybody's. That's so much data. Why would they even want that? It's like the trophies at the end of Little League, everybody gets a wiretap: You get one, and you get one, and you get one.
O'ROURKE: Well, I think the punishment for seizing my cell phone calls should be having to listen to them.
SAGAL: Then on Thursday, this is amazing, we found out the NSA has been getting data on all of our Internet communications, too, with a program called Prism. It's like now they're naming their programs after, like, Bond villain organizations.
SAGAL: It allows the government to look at everything we do via Microsoft, Skype, Google, Apple. Basically the only way to keep your messages on the Internet private...
O'ROURKE: It was research.
SAGAL: Honest to God.
O'ROURKE: It was research. It was something I was writing, and I needed some research.
SAGAL: And yet the government does in fact have all your browser histories, congratulations.
BODETT: So when you do the clear history thing, that doesn't go all the way through the CIA and...
SAGAL: No, no, no.
SAGAL: They still know.
SAGAL: All right, very good. Here is your next quote.
KURTIS: The main concern seems to be that President Obama will surrender to his burly charm and slacken in his resolve to twist the panda's testicles.
SAGAL: That was the Asia Times talking tough about the historic first meeting happening this weekend between President Obama and whom?
MUSKER: With the Chinese president.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Yes, indeed, the new Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. President Obama and the new Chinese premier are meeting this weekend, and it's happening of course right after we found out the Chinese have been hacking our computer networks. Now, that used to be a point of contention between the two countries; now it's just a joint interest.
SAGAL: They'll break the ice by, you know, sharing about their favorite intercepted Skype chats. So, anyway, the Chinese president and President Obama are meeting an estate in Southern California called Sunnylands, it's a failed theme park dedicated to Sonny Bono.
O'ROURKE: Who's very popular in China.
SAGAL: No, actually, Sunnylands is an old estate that Richard Nixon used to visit all the time. It was Walter Annenberg's estate. The idea, and this is true, is that since Nixon was there and he liked it, and he had such good relations with the Chinese, he, you know, opened relations with the Chinese, that the Chinese will feel more comfortable being in a place where Nixon was. Here's a relationship hint: If you need to get your partner to think of Richard Nixon to get in the mood, it's beyond saving.
O'ROURKE: I love the optics of this. I mean, you've got FDR and Stalin at Yalta, and you've Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik, and now you're going to have Obama and Xi at Sunnyland.
SAGAL: Yeah, you've got to hope they don't actually come up with any major agreement because for years we'll be talking about well, the Sunnylands Accords.
O'ROURKE: That's what it would be, yeah. Obama caved at Sunnyland.
SAGAL: Yeah, which sounds like an agreement between King Candy and Princess Milky Way in Candyland, you know.
ROBERTS: I get this vision that it's sort of going to be like being at camp with people that you don't know that well, but you have to kill time.
ROBERTS: I could see a bunch of them sitting around and playing, say, Pictionary.
SAGAL: This is mostly men, as you know, so...
BODETT: Capture the flag would be more likely.
O'ROURKE: Flag being on Taiwan.
SAGAL: All right, your last quote comes from Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal.
KURTIS: They are here, and they are apparently hell-bent on ruining New York City, the United States and, lastly, Earth as we know it.
SAGAL: Mr. Gay was reflecting the view of some that what, now set loose on the streets of New York City, are going to destroy everything?
O'ROURKE: New Yorkers?
SAGAL: Too late. It's all part of the Tour de Manhattan.
MUSKER: Oh, the - yes, yes, the Citi Bikes.
SAGAL: Yes, the rental bikes known as Citi Bikes in Manhattan, very good.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: You've seen them in other cities, right? You know, these are the big bikes that are in rental kiosks. You put in your credit card, you take it. They've come to New York, and the lovers of liberty there aren't just going to lie down and let those two-wheeled vehicles of villainy roll over them.
Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal called the bike-share program, quote, "totalitarian," unquote.
BODETT: What, they make you ride them?
BODETT: Look, knowing Mayor Bloomberg...
BODETT: ...that's not impossible.
SAGAL: It is true, of course, you know, Ms. Rabinowitz' point that the first thing the Stalin did after executing all his enemies was install rent-a-bikes.
SAGAL: And what did they ride all the time in Mao's China? Bicycles.
O'ROURKE: I've got to say, New York traffic, one more variable is not really - it actually could be a population control measure when you think of it.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Julia do on our quiz?
KURTIS: You know, Julia made it. Why don't we give her three (unintelligible)...
SAGAL: There you go.
KURTIS: ...for the (unintelligible).
SAGAL: Thank you, Julia.
MUSKER: Thank you.
SAGAL: Take care.
MUSKER: Bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.