Associated Press File Photo / Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, proved to know a little more about English literature than NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell, who tried to embarrass him last week.

The Macbeth Throwdown

NBC's Andrea Mitchell was so intent on calling out Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, last week that she didn't bother to check her facts.

Cruz had stated the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump was "like Shakespeare: full of sound and fury signifying nothing," which is a quote from the Bard's play "Macbeth."

Mitchell, though, thought the quote had come from William Faulkner's 1929 novel "The Sound and the Fury," the title of which had been taken from William Shakespeare's work. So she tweeted, "@SenTedCruz says #ImpeachmentTrial is like Shakespeare full of sound and fury signifying nothing. No, that's Faulkner."

Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post apparently was just as non-conversant about the playwright. Six minutes later, she tweeted, "And it says volumes about his lack of soul. That's Any Thinking Person."

Seeing Mitchell's tweets, Cruz quoted from Shakespeare once more: "Methinks she doth protest too much. One would think NBC would know the Bard. Andrea, take a look at Macbeth act 5, scene 5: '[Life] struts & frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound & fury, Signifying nothing.'"

He later added, "Between NBC & the Washington Post, you'd think somebody would have read Macbeth."

Mitchell, at least, had the decency to apologize.

"I clearly studied too much American literature and not enough Macbeth," she tweeted. "My apologies to Sen. Cruz. Touché."


One step closer

No, it didn't make many papers other than probably in New York, but Republicans in the United States House grew by one more member recently when Claudia Tenney was sworn into her seat in the Empire State's 22nd District.

It marks the 15th House seat the GOP flipped in the November election, an election in which predictions said Democrats would gain a dozen or more seats, and it puts the party one seat closer to reclaiming the body in 2022. Democrats now have 225 seats and Republicans 213.

It also bring to 19 the number of Republican women in the House freshman class, a record number.

Tenney's win took 94 days, a court battle and a months-long delay in the certification of results. She had led after the initial tally of votes, and she and incumbent Anthony Brindisi combined to challenge more than 800 votes during the litigation that followed the initial count.


Who they are

A professor who mocked then-President Donald Trump's 13-year-old son during his first impeachment trial in 2019 hasn't been fired from her job or banned from Twitter. No, she's got a new job in the Biden administration.

Pamela Karlan, the Stanford law professor, is now slated to act as principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Biden Justice Department, reports say.

"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron," she had said during the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

At the time, normally reserved first lady Melania Trump couldn't help but defend her son. "A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics," she tweeted. "Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it."

In time, the professor issued a backhanded apology, saying: "It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he's done that's wrong, but I do regret having said that."


Re-awakening the woke

The National Basketball Association has put a quick end to the plan by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban not to play the national anthem at games.

The owner did not play the anthem at preseason and regular-season games because of "the voices who feel that the anthem does not represent them," but he later said it was "just to see what the response was."

The NBA, fearing a backlash from fans just coming back to arenas, stepped in and said every team will play it before games "in keeping with longstanding league policy."

A defensive Cuban later said he'd never made "any decision to never play the national anthem then — that wasn't the case at all. We didn't cancel the national anthem."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later was drawn into the controversy following a question at a news briefing, and wound up making a similar mealy-mouthed response for President Joe Biden.

The president, she said, "has great respect for the anthem," but she said he'd also say the country "often" hasn't "lived up to our highest ideals" and that is "what people are speaking to when they take action at sporting events."

Of course, such players are still glad to take all their American money.