Who's Bill This Time
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Remember the Bill-amo (ph).
KURTIS: I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host from Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium in San Antonio, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. We are so happy to finally be able to do our show here in San Antonio. And we made it just in time - right before the federal government forces the city to change its name to Saint Anthony, Texas.
SAGAL: Senator Cruz will be allowed to keep his name, but he has to start spelling it like Tom does.
SAGAL: Later on, we're going to be talking to a Texan who reported on just about every major story of the post-war era. Mr. Dan Rather himself will be with us.
SAGAL: But first, you want to hear a live report from your house, give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924. Now let's welcome our first listener contestant.
Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
MEGAN DOHERTY: Hi Peter. This is Megan Doherty (ph) from Oberlin, Ohio.
SAGAL: Oberlin, Ohio, Megan, is home, of course, of Oberlin University.
DOHERTY: Oberlin College.
SAGAL: Oh, excuse me - Oberlin College. Do you have any affiliation with Oberlin College?
DOHERTY: I am a campus rabbi.
SAGAL: Oh, you are. So you work at the Hillel.
DOHERTY: I am.
DOHERTY: I do.
SAGAL: Yeah. And how...
DOHERTY: I do.
SAGAL: And how do you find that work?
DOHERTY: It's really fun.
SAGAL: The characters on Lena Dunham's show "Girls" were all Oberlin graduates. Was that true to life in terms of what they're like?
DOHERTY: I have never seen "Girls."
SAGAL: Given your job, I wouldn't recommend it.
DOHERTY: Thank you.
SAGAL: Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, the comedian and host of the podcast "Fake The Nation." It's just been nominated for a Webby Award for news and politics. It's Negin Farsad.
SAGAL: Next, a comedian you can see in Philadelphia at the Helium Comedy Club on April 18 through the 20, Alonzo Bodden.
ALONZO BODDEN: Hello.
SAGAL: And finally, a comedian whose new book "Maeve In America" is out now. It's Maeve Higgins.
MAEVE HIGGINS: Hi.
SAGAL: Megan, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read for you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - any voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?
SAGAL: Here we go. Here's your first quote.
KURTIS: From Congress, I would ask for wall. We need wall.
SAGAL: That was a quote from a woman who got fired last week - and despite doing her best to get wall for the president.
SAGAL: Who is it?
DOHERTY: Kirstjen unpronounceable last name...
SAGAL: Kirstjen unpronounceable last name...
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: ...Nielsen, actually.
SAGAL: You can pronounce it. You just can't spell it. The now former secretary of homeland security is the latest victim of the president's cabinet separation policy.
SAGAL: It's an everyone-must-go sale at the White House. The president...
SAGAL: ...Also got rid of the guy who was supposed to head up ICE, the acting director. He's out. He wanted someone who was, quote, "tougher." And he fired the head of the Secret Service right while the guy was diving in front of him, yelling, no.
SAGAL: So now we have an acting secretary of defense, an acting homeland security secretary, an acting chief of staff and an acting head of the Secret Service. There are more actors in the president's cabinet...
SAGAL: ...Than there are in the wait staff of a Los Angeles restaurant.
SAGAL: You know what would be even better, though? An overacting secretary of defense.
SAGAL: You realize, of course, this means war.
BODDEN: My favorite thing about Kirstjen Nielsen being the homeland security director, being anti-immigrant and everything else, is she spells Kirstjen with a J...
BODDEN: ...In the middle. Like, that's not American.
SAGAL: No, not at all.
BODDEN: Where you get that J from? What?
SAGAL: It's tough because, you know, you leave the Trump administration. You get fired. It's terrible. Your reputation is ruined. People yell at you wherever you go. And you know what the Trump administration's idea of COBRA benefits is to tie you into a sack with a cobra.
NEGIN FARSAD: But the thing about having all these acting secretaries...
FARSAD: ...Is that they're basically like temps. They're like substitute teachers.
FARSAD: Which means that our government is just a bunch of people doing whoopie cushion jokes and throwing spit wads at acting cabinet members. Like, it's chaos.
SAGAL: Yeah, that's true. Today at the Pentagon, they're just showing a movie.
FARSAD: Right, exactly.
SAGAL: All right, Megan. Your next quote is someone who is known for attacking millionaires and billionaires.
KURTIS: I wrote a bestselling book. If you write a bestselling book, you can be a millionaire, too.
SAGAL: That is the new Democratic front-runner according to polls. Who is it?
DOHERTY: That was Bernie Sanders.
SAGAL: It was Bernie Sanders.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Senator Sanders caused a bit of a stir this week because the guy who for years has been saying we've had enough of our country being run by millionaires and billionaires revealed that he is, in fact, a millionaire - which is surprising because most millionaires can afford haircuts.
SAGAL: We should have known things were changing for him economically when his stump speech changed to (imitating Bernie Sanders) we've had enough of our country being run by billionaires and zillionaires.
SAGAL: But Bernie has promised not to enjoy the money because in his entire life, he has never enjoyed anything.
HIGGINS: I just can't believe he got rich from writing a book because everybody I know who's written a book is so broke.
SAGAL: That's true.
FARSAD: And also, like, what can you buy in Vermont for a millionaire?
BODDEN: I think with a million dollars in Vermont, you can buy, like, half of Vermont.
SAGAL: It's true.
SAGAL: By the way, this is all in preparation for Bernie releasing his tax returns. Did you know that Bernie has not released his tax returns? Didn't do it in 2016. He says he's going to do it next week. He's the perfect candidate for people who both hate President Trump and are kind of jealous of Republicans for having him. Why can't liberals have an angry, old man with terrible hair who won't release his tax returns?
BODDEN: I'm sitting here, Peter, trying to think of a joke that shows I care about rich, white men, but I've got nothing.
SAGAL: I know.
BODDEN: I've got...
FARSAD: It's tough.
BODDEN: I've got - listen. It's one more time...
FARSAD: I know.
BODDEN: ...White people complaining about, oh, man, I'd have made a million dollars. I don't know how to help you on that one.
SAGAL: Yeah, I know.
BODDEN: Good luck with that. Yeah.
SAGAL: Megan, here is your last quote.
KURTIS: Einstein must be totally chuffed.
SAGAL: That was a very happy astronomer quoted in The New York Times talking about the first-ever photograph ever made of a what?
DOHERTY: A black hole.
SAGAL: A black hole.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: This week, we got to look at the first-ever photo of an actual massive, interstellar black hole in a galaxy known as Messier 87 about 55 million light years away. It looks like a - well, a black hole surrounded by a ring of orange light like the eye of Sauron or a...
SAGAL: ...Really, really evil bagel.
SAGAL: Nonetheless, the photo was a scientific triumph. It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen - except for the people who asked for photos of their colonoscopies. Interestingly...
HIGGINS: Wait, is that what...
SAGAL: It made us think of that - all I can tell you.
FARSAD: How many colonoscopy...
BODDEN: I guess.
FARSAD: ...Do you look at, Peter?
SAGAL: Well, you know.
SAGAL: Interestingly - and this is pretty cool - because of the time it takes the light to get here - 55 million years - the photo is the black hole when it was much younger than it is now. So what do you know? The black hole is just like everyone on Tinder.
FARSAD: My first thought when I saw that photo was, like, wow, that's a really great use of portrait mode...
FARSAD: ...You know? So the...
BODDEN: That's why really - I really feel happy for those astrophysicists and the other science - the geniuses who spend their whole life studying and working, and they can finally say, that's what I do. This is what I do. Like...
SAGAL: Here you go.
BODDEN: People have always - what do you do at work?
BODDEN: This is what I do.
SAGAL: And this is really cool. It turns out that in order to take this picture of this extraordinarily distant object that there's no single telescope that's strong enough to do it. So they had to get data from telescopes all around the world and combine them in an incredibly complicated way figured out by a 29-year-old astrophysicist named Rachel (ph).
SAGAL: And they say that the precision of this virtual instrument they created was so precise they could see an orange on the moon - which makes you say, why are they going on about a black hole? There are oranges on the moon.
FARSAD: When I was reading about this, I read, like, if you were - they were trying to explain what happens if you go into the black hole.
FARSAD: And so you pass through the event horizon unscathed. And then you get to this point where the black hole stretches you like a noodle.
FARSAD: Which, for a minute, I was, like, I'm OK with that as someone...
FARSAD: ...Who might use, like, body distortion filters on...
FARSAD: ...That, like, you kind of go...
SAGAL: For a...
FARSAD: ...Like, your skinniest.
SAGAL: For an instant, a microsecond...
FARSAD: Yeah, for a microsecond...
SAGAL: You'll finally be a size one.
FARSAD: You're, like, super tall and skinny.
FARSAD: Exactly. That's kind of into that.
SAGAL: Yeah. That would be cool.
HIGGINS: But then do you just disintegrate?
FARSAD: And then you're dead.
HIGGINS: Worth it.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Megan do on our quiz?
KURTIS: She got them all right. She is a winner.
SAGAL: Megan, thank you so much for playing.
DOHERTY: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF THE MOOG COOKBOOK'S "BLACK HOLE SUN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.