Senator Mitch McConnell

Moore or Less: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finds himself at odds with another member of the GOP this week: Alabama’s Republican Senate nominee, Roy Moore.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that Leigh Corfman claimed Mr. Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her in 1979 when she was 14 years old. Mr. Moore was 32.

In a written statement, Mr. Moore denied the allegations.

“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and The Washington Post on this campaign.”

Seven more women have since come forward; ABC News chronicles what Mr. Moore’s “8 accusers have said and his responses.”

The Washington Post says Sen. McConnell, in a formal statement from all GOP senators, said:

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside.”



“I believe the women.”

The Wall Street Journal and NPR say Sen. McConnell would prefer for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to hop in the race as a write-in candidate. That keeps Mr. Moore out of the running while not conceding the seat to his Democratic opponent. Mr. Sessions seems a strange horse to back at this particular moment in time, but one does what one must, I suppose.

Meanwhile, The New York Times says the Alabama GOP “stands behind Roy Moore.”

Said party’s chairwoman, Terry Lathan:

“Judge Moore has vehemently denied the allegations made against him. He deserves to be presumed innocent of the accusations unless proven otherwise.”

NBC News says the Alabama GOP is even threatening retaliation for disloyalty to Mr. Moore.

And Mr. Moore says he’s not going anywhere:

“Many of you have recognized that this is an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama, and they will not stand for it.”

Meanwhile, a mysterious robocall started making its way through Alabama. According to Gizmodo, Pastor Al Moore says he received a call claiming to be from a Bernie Bernstein of The Washington Post:

“Hi, this is Bernie Bernstein, I’m a reporter for The Washington Post calling to find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5000 and $7000 dollars. We will not be fully investigating these claims however we will make a written report. I can be reached by email at [email protected], thank you.”

The Washington Post says, yeah, but no. That’s not us. Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor, said in a statement:

“The Post has just learned that at least one person in Alabama has received a call from someone falsely claiming to be from The Washington Post. The call’s description of our reporting methods bears no relationship to reality. We are shocked and appalled that anyone would stoop to this level to discredit real journalism.”

Should Mr. Moore win, TIME says three senators — Cory Gardner of Colorado, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Todd Young of Indiana — suggest taking action to keep him out.

The Los Angeles Times says it’s unlikely they could refuse to let him in, but under the Constitution, they could vote him out with a two-thirds majority.

Which is what Politico says Sen. McConnell predicts. At a Wall Street Journal event, Sen. McConnell said:

“If he were to be sworn in, he would immediately be in a process before the Senate Ethics Committee. He would be sworn in and be asked to testify under oath and it would be a rather unusual beginning, probably an unprecedented beginning.”

The 2018 Humana Festival artwork is by Mary Kate Zihar. | Courtesy of Actors Theatre

Oh, the Humanity!: American Theatre says Actors Theatre of Louisville announced the lineup of its 42nd Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays this week. The six world premieres will run from Feb 28-April 8, 2018.

Said Actors Theatre’s artistic Les Waters:

“The Humana Festival of New American Plays is a leading force in today’s theatre. Our writers explore and define the world that we all share. I am very proud that Actors Theatre’s passion and dedication to artistic risk and courage creates a space for these voices to be heard.”

This will be the last Humana Festival for Mr. Waters as artistic director. You may recall he announced his coming departure back in early October. After six years at the helm, he’ll be stepping down at the end of the 2017-2018 season to pursue personal projects.

Here’s American Theatre’s breakdown of the lineup:


“God Said This” by Leah Nanako Winkler (Feb. 28-April 8, 2018), directed by Morgan Gould. It is about a New Yorker who returns to her hometown in Lexington, Ky. as her mom is undergoing chemotherapy.

“Marginal Loss” by Deborah Stein (March 6-April 8, 2018), directed by Meredith McDonough. The play takes place in the days after 9/11, as the surviving employees of an investment firm gather to reconstruct their company.

“Do You Feel Anger” by Mara Nelson Greenberg (March 9-April 9, 2018), directed by Margot Bordelon. The comedy is about a woman who is hired to be an empathy coach for the emotionally stunted individuals at a debt collection agency.

“Evocation to Visible Appearance” by Mark Schultz (March 16-April 8, 2018), directed by Les Waters. The play, featuring dark humor and black metal, follows a 17-year-old girl who befriends a tattooed musician.

“we, the invisibles” by Susan Soon He Stanton (March 23-April 8, 2018), directed by Dámaso Rodríguez. The play follows a playwright, working a survival job at a luxury hotel, who begins interviewing her fellow employees.

“You Across From Me” by Jaclyn Backhaus, Dipika Guha, Brian Otaño, and Jason Gray Platt (March 23-April 8, 2018). These series of short plays, to be performed by Actors Theatre’s training company, explore the themes of connection, confrontation, and compromise. Jessica Fisch will direct.

Impressive lineup.

I confess, I’ll miss The Ten-Minute Plays this year by a little, but know they’ll make up for it in other ways. Actors announced the cancellation of The National Ten-Minute Play Contest back in October after 28 years.

Queens of the Roundtable: The Hollywood Reporter held its annual Actress Roundtable on Nov. 11 in Hollywood. This year’s group: Mary J. Blige, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Stone and Louisville’s own Jennifer Lawrence.


First topic of their conversation, taken from the headlines: sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry. Here’s what Jennifer Lawrence had to say:

“The big misconception, though, is that this is just in the entertainment industry. Once again, the entertainment industry is kind of the stage on which you can see the inner workings of problems that are all over the world. If a flight attendant comes forward about a pilot, it doesn’t end up in the news because nobody knows about it. That doesn’t mean that there’s less sexual abuse going on anywhere else in the world, in any other place of work. But fortunately, we’re starting the conversation now.”

Harper’s Bazaar and HuffPost cover a story told by Ms. Lawrence of a time she stood up for herself only to be labeled difficult and have her job threatened. Here’s Ms. Lawrence again:

“Sometimes — I’ve had this happen: I finally made the decision to stand up for myself, and then I went to go to the bathroom at work and one of the producers stopped me and was like, “You know, we can hear you on the microphone, you’ve been really unruly.” Which was not true, but basically my job was threatened because the director said something f**ked up to me and I said, “That’s sick, you can’t talk to me like that,” and then I was punished, and I got afraid that I wasn’t going to be hired again.”

“Yeah, I was called difficult and a nightmare. I think a lot of people aren’t coming forward because they’re afraid they’re not going to work again. You need to be able to say, “This is wrong” and have somebody do something about it instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s wrong? Well, you’re fired.’”


Which, gets to the heart of the “why now?” question. “This happened xx years ago — why now?” The risk/reward balance of consequence isn’t always clear.

While we’re here, Sarah Silverman talked about this for a minute on her show, “I Love You, America” this week. She’s been friends with comedian Louis C.K. for 25 years, who recently confirmed allegations of sexual misconduct on multiple occasions, and her introduction of her take on that story was poignant.

“This recent calling out of sexual assault has been a long time coming. It’s good. It’s like cutting out tumors—it’s messy and it’s complicated and it is going to hurt but it’s necessary and we’ll all be healthier for it. And it sucks. And some of our heroes will be taken down and we’ll discover bad things about people we like, or in some cases, people we love.”

You can watch the whole piece here:

All of the women on the roundtable have some pretty big projects coming up, but the one I’m most excited about is Saoirse Ronan’s “Lady Bird,” written and directed by Greta Gerwig.



She’s done quite a bit of work already, but if you don’t know Saoirse Ronan just yet, I’ve a feeling you’re about to. She’s crazy good and “Lady Bird” is sitting at, oh, about 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with 135 reviews in. 136. So that’s quite something. And the audience score is sitting at 91 percent. So that’s quite something, too.

It opened last week at the same time as the giant “Thor” movie, so “Lady Bird” is going to take a second to catch up.

I saw the giant “Thor” movie in England last week. Yes, I even went to the movies while on my honeymoon. I have a cinema problem and the theater was directly across from one of our stays.

The thing was, though, this British theater does not play around. When the movie’s on, you don’t make noise, you’re not on your phone, you’re not making a fuss. Because there’s like a large, large man in the back that will say in his best James Earl Jones, “Stop.” And they just do. Cross him and he bounces the offender. No more movie for you. You just wasted your 12 pounds.

Speaking of wasting 12 pounds, I’m going to brave this “Justice League” movie for you. It opened this week. Entertainment Weekly says it’s “not bad as Batman v Superman” and The New York Times calls “better than the last one!” Those are pull quotes for you. Anyway, we’ll talk on Friday. I’ll let you know.

See you next week.