News Quiz

No. 417: “Rushdie’s Rush”

“[It] rushes in on you from every direction; I’m suffering from a kind of overload,” said Salman Rushdie as he did something for the first time in over a dozen years. What?

Send your answer by noon ET Tuesday to

Thursday’s Question (No. 416)—”Key Words”:

Fill in the blank as Congressman David Dreier, a California Republican, responds to demonstrators: “A few thousand people bused to Washington today by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. can’t change the fact that the sky is blue, the earth is round and ___________ is the key to the United States creating 20 million new jobs.”

“Reducing the minimum wage to 50 cents an hour.”—Gary Frazier

“A slew of Frank Gehry-designed prisons.”—Michele Siegel

“Using our aging and already paid for nuclear arsenal to cull the working-class herd.”—Charlie Glassenberg

“That silly little thing called ‘love.’ “—Ellis Weiner (Peter Lerangis and Tim Carvell had similar answers.)

“The boundless wealth of the Internet economy … hmm? No, I haven’t watched Bloomberg this week. Should I?”—Jason Ross

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

As many participants alluded to in their responses, Rep. Dreier’s enthusiasm for those 20 million new jobs is untempered by any consideration of their quality. Which is to say, if the only justification for a policy is that it creates jobs, the policy is worthless. A plan for digging millions of holes creates jobs, even more so when combined with an ingenious corollary scheme to fill in those holes. But what would be the point? (Profits for Nike. You know, if a bunch of 9-year-old Indonesian kids used sneakers instead of shovels.) Dreier might look more closely at the actual jobs—pay, benefits, working conditions, the vat of carcinogenic solvents in the break-room, which could really become a problem if those Brazilian workers were ever allowed to take a break. And what about that sky? Sure, it’s blue, but are there puffy cumulus clouds amongst which private mono-copters frolic as they whisk CEOs to their big leather swivel-chairs and wood-paneled stock-options, far above the vat of toxic solvents? These are the kinds of questions that are being asked in the streets of Washington, D.C., this morning, along with this one: “Would you please ask your horse not to stand on my head, officer?”

Globalized Answer

“The sky is blue, the earth is round and trade is the key to the United States creating 20 million new jobs.”

Dreier was denigrating those who believe that NAFTA cost America jobs and admitting China into the World Trade Organization would have a similarly dismal effect. Thousands of union members rallied on Capitol Hill Thursday urging their representatives to oppose this move.

This effort reflects a deeper anxiety that, while globalization will be good for huge corporations with products to sell and low-wage jobs to fill, for American workers it will mean the loss of good industrial jobs, and for foreign workers it will mean bad pay, a loss of human rights, and ecological disaster.

People Can Be So Judgmental Extra

Disdain is the theme of two newly disclosed documents—a secret history of the CIA’s 1953 coup in Iran and a study of out-of-state contributors to the Rudolph Giuliani campaign. In the first, American plotters express contempt for the shah, the man they were scheming to put in power. In the second, contributors seemed ignorant of Giuliani’s New York, but resentful of Hillary Rodham Clinton, his Senate opponent. Which of these comments refers to the shah and which to Mrs. Clinton?

Harsh Assessments

  1. Out-of-this-world power hungry
  2. Lacking in drive, energy, and concrete plans
  3. Devious, self-promoting, selfish
  4. A person who is very, very dangerous
  5. Beset by formless doubts and fears
  6. Conducts business in bed in gray woolen pajamas, weeps publicly
  7. Long-winded and often illogical
  8. A very miserable kind of person
  9. By nature a creature of indecision
  10. Often at odds with forceful and scheming twin sister

Their Objects

  1. Hillary
  2. Shah
  3. Hillary
  4. Hillary
  5. Shah (but I’ve had nights like that. Around 4:00 a.m.)
  6. Trick question: Mohammed Mossadegh, the prime minister ousted by the CIA
  7. Trick question: CIA view of Iranians in general
  8. Hillary
  9. Shah
  10. Bonus question: refers both to what’s-her-name on Days of Our Lives and, coincidentally, to the shah. Extra credit for getting both.

Common Denominator

Anti-labor policies with a pungent 19th-century aroma.