Notice Classroom Transcript – January 9, 2023


Jonathan: There’s been political chaos in our nation’s capital recently because of this…

Sound: “No nominee having received the majority of the votes cast, a Speaker has not been elected.”

“A Speaker has not been elected”

“A Speaker has not been elected”

Jonathan: Angie has a live report from Washington. Plus – is the Great Salt Lake about to disappear? Scientists have an urgent warning. Those stories and more today on… notice news. 

Kevin McCarthy is Elected Speaker of the House

Jonathan: Hey guys, it’s Jonathan at Notice HQ here in Brooklyn and it’s so good to be with you today. But right now the big story is down in Washington, D.C., where lawmakers have struggled over the past week to elect a new Speaker of the House. Our Washington correspondent Angie is there with this report.

Angie: After days of chaos and uncertainty, the U.S. House of Representatives finally has a new speaker.

Sound: “that was easy, huh?”

Angie: That’s representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California who got the job in the middle of the night on Friday after 15 rounds of voting over 5 days. Usually, electing a Speaker is pretty straightforward and takes only one vote. This time, there were fifteen. 

The Speaker is the leader of the House and its most powerful member. The last speaker was Democrat Nancy Pelosi. That person sets the agenda, schedules votes, and is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President.

The last time it took more than one vote to elect a Speaker was literally a hundred years ago, in 1923. The speaker is elected with a simple majority of votes, but Republicans’ majority in this congress is so narrow, that 20 republicans who didn’t want McCarthy to have the job held out for days. Some of them just really don’t like him.

Sound: “And it is true that we struggle with trust with mr. McCarthy.”

Angie: To get their votes, McCarthy promised to make some big changes in the House, including allowing any member to call a vote to replace him as Speaker – at any time – in what’s called a snap election.

Even with that, McCarthy still had a hard time getting their votes.

At one point late Friday night, a scuffle *between Republicans* even broke out on the House floor. All this has led many to doubt whether or not the new Speaker will be able to keep his party in line to get anything done in Congress.

Andy Sullivan covers politics for Reuters news service:

Sound: “There’s one or two things they’re going to have to get done that’s going to be really problematic over the course of 2023. ((edit)) So the concern here is that if you give these hardliners too much power, then they will be in a position where they’ll be calling the shots when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling.”

Sound: “And with that, the I’s have it”

Angie: An already slow-moving Congress could grind to an all-out halt. 

Graphic: Did You Know?

The longest vote for speaker of the house happened in 1855.

It took representatives two months and 133 ballots to elect a new speaker.


Jonathan: Here’s what else is making news right now… 

The Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin continues to recover after collapsing during last week’s Monday Night Football.Doctors warn though he may have a long road in front of him. 

Bed, Bath, & Beyond may be filing for bankruptcy. The massive store chain has struggled over recent years, thanks to what many see as mismanagement and increased online competition. 

And… a new list of the world’s wealthiest pets estimates that Taylor Swift’s cat is worth 97 million dollars. That’s right – T-Swift’s cat is worth more than all of us.

Great Salt Lake Could Be Gone in 5 Years

Jonathan: One of America’s natural wonders is now in unprecedented danger. Late last week, scientists released a new report warning that unless Utah takes emergency measures, the state’s Great Salt Lake will completely dry up within the next five years. 

Ten times saltier than the ocean, it’s the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere, and the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi, but, thanks to climate change and excessive water use, the great salt lake has now reached record lows.

Scientists say the lake has already lost 73% of its water, exposing 60% of the lake’s bottom lakebed, bringing water 19 feet below its average natural level. 

Sound: “So when i first moved here twenty years ago, this area was still under water.”

Jonathan: Kevin Perry is a professor at the University of Utah. 

Sound: “Yeah. so as the lake has receded, it has exposed more than 800 square miles of lake bed. and just to put that into perspective, 800 square miles is about the same surface area as the island of Maui in Hawaii.”

Jonathan: This means major consequences for the animals, plants and organisms who call the lake home, and for the more than 2 million people who live around it. The report recommends the state try to pump more water into the lake – and more importantly – try and conserve water as much as possible around it. The scientists who put out the report are calling on state lawmakers to take “emergency measures” ahead of their next big meeting a couple of weeks away.

Graphic: Trivia Time

What is the largest natural lake east of the Mississippi?

a) Lake Michigan
b) Lake Okeechobee
c) Lake Wobegon
d) Lake Superior

d) Lake Superior is also the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world.

Jonathan: That’s it for today but you can learn more about this historic vote for Speaker of the House on our website, I’ll be back tomorrow with more from us, Notice News.