Pop, Pomposity and “Perry Mason”

Updated

That, and other news, in today’s Roundup and Recap.

Perry It had to come up. At today’s confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotamayor, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked the nominee how she made decisions as a prosecutor. Sotamayor cited Perry Mason.

She recounted one episode: “Perry said to the prosecutor, ‘It must cause you some pain having expended all that effort in your case to have the charges dismissed.’ And the prosecutor looked up and said, ‘No, my job as a prosecutor is to do justice and justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and when an innocent man is not.’ And I thought to myself, that is quite amazing, to be able to serve that kind of role.” During a moment of levity in which Sotomayor explained her views on self-defense, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) interjected a Ricky Ricardo line, “You’d have lots of ’splaining to do.”

Update: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wondered why she cited “Perry Mason” as an inspiration to be a prosecutor given that on the show, “the prosecutor, Burger, lost every week.”  His comments drew laughs (perhaps the first of his Senate career). “I think that says something about your determination to defy the odds,” Franken said, before pointing out that at the same time she was watching the show as a kid in the Bronx, he was watching in suburban Minneapolis. (A shout out to my hometown). Franken finished by asking Sotomayor what was the one case that Burger won on the show. “I wished I remembered the name of the episode but I don’t. I just was always struck that there was only one case wherehis client was actually guilty.” When she didn’t know this piece of trivia, he quipped, “Didn’t the White House prepare you for that?” He added, “Our whole family watched it and, because there was no Internet, we watched it at the same time.” (Technically, Raymond Burr’s character lost three cases on the series). More on Franken’s first joke here. Another update: The show most often cited as the one that Perry Mason lost aired on Oct. 17, 1963, when Sotomayor was nine and Franken was 12. In it, Mason’s client, Janice Barton (Julie Adams, best known from her starring role in “Creature from the Black Lagoon”), is found guilty of murdering her invalid aunt. A clip of the episode is here.


Newsom Campaign Chair: California State Sen. Alex Padilla will serve as chairman of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s campaign for governor.

Paisley Country Music Coming to White House: Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss and Union Station will perform at the White House on Tuesday, as the Obamas continue their music series “celebrating the arts and demonstrating the importance of arts education.” Paisley and Krauss will participate in an educational workshop that afternoonwith 120 middle and high school students. First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House Music series featured jazz last month and will feature classical music in the fall.

The State of Sanford: The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. obtained emails from the media to Mark Sanford’s press secretar, showing the lengths to which reporters will go to land a big “get” interview.

Support for Performance Rights: At its annual convention, the NAACP passed a resolution supporting the Performance Rights Act. The org said that it contained provisions that will protect small and minority owned radio stations from undue burdens.

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