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Affirmative Action at the Supreme Court, Mark Hamill, Jodie Comer

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2023 3:30 pm

Affirmative Action at the Supreme Court, Mark Hamill, Jodie Comer

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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June 4, 2023 3:30 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Rita Braver looks at the debate over affirmative action cases being decided by the Supreme Court. Plus: Tracy Smith sits down with "Star Wars" actor Mark Hamill; Erin Moriarty interviews actress Jodie Comer, a Tony-nominee for the one-woman play "Prima Facie"; David Martin profiles the founder and chairman of FedEx, Fred Smith; and Luke Burbank reports on the subject of a new book, "The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man.

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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. President Kennedy signed the very first affirmative action order in this country in 1961 to ensure hiring by government contractors without regard to race, creed, or color. Over time, the practice expanded to include colleges and universities. Proponents say it promotes equality. Those opposed view it as a form of reverse discrimination. Now the United States Supreme Court is poised to rule on this deeply divisive issue. Rita Braver is talking with those in favor and those against. Edward Bloom is the person who brought the cases now before the Supreme Court. Why do you consider affirmative action unconstitutional? Because it violates our 14th Amendment equal rights regardless of race or ethnicity. But law professor Mitchell Kusto sees it differently. Affirmative action is really trying to treat everyone equally.

Coming up on Sunday Morning, reconsidering race-based admissions. In 1977, actor Mark Hamill kicked off one of the most successful film franchises in Hollywood history. Tracy Smith catches up with the man who helped put the star in Star Wars. As an actor, Mark Hamill's done a lot more than play Luke Skywalker. But, as someone once said, the force is strong with this one. It seems that you've spent so much time building this whole life away from Star Wars. And then in 2015, Luke comes back. Can you imagine if I said no? I'd be the most hated man in nerddom. We'll talk with Mark Hamill as Mark Hamill later on Sunday Morning.

Erin Moriarty is on Broadway with Jodie Comer, a singular talent with a riveting one-woman show. Luke Burbank gives us a read on the book of Charlie, all about growing old, very old, with dignity and grace. David Martin speaks with the man who almost overnight changed the way the world does business, FedEx founder Fred Smith, plus opinion from former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and more this first Sunday morning of a new month, June 4, 2023. We'll be back after this. Hi, I'm Lindsey Graham, the host of Wondery's podcast, American Scandal. We bring to life some of the biggest controversies in U.S. history, presidential lies, environmental disasters, corporate fraud. In our newest series, we look at the Kids for Cash scandal, a story about corruption inside America's system of juvenile justice.

In northeastern Pennsylvania, residents had begun noticing an alarming trend. Children were being sent away to jail in high numbers and often for committing only minor offenses. The FBI began looking at two local judges, and when the full picture emerged, it made national headlines. The judges were earning a fortune carrying out a brazen criminal scheme, one that would shatter the lives of countless children and force a heated debate about punishment and America's criminal justice system. Follow American Scandal wherever you get your podcasts.

You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. After decades of debate, this month, the fate of the policy known as affirmative action rests with the highest court in the land. Rita Braver examines the arguments and the enormity of what's at stake. What do we do when affirmative action is under attack? Affirmative action has helped boost the number of black, Latinx, and other minorities who are underrepresented at prestigious schools. But now, those racial preferences may be prohibited, in large part due to the efforts of this man. The Equal Rights provision of our 14th Amendment basically gets to the point that people should not be treated differently because of their race or ethnicity. You also say it's a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It is. The opportunities must be the same regardless of your race or ethnicity. Edward Bloom, who's retired from a job in finance and living in Tallahassee, Florida, is not a lawyer. He is founder and president of Students for Fair Admissions and acknowledges starting the group to challenge affirmative action in colleges. The Supreme Court is now considering cases he brought targeting the University of North Carolina, the nation's oldest public university, and Harvard, the oldest private college. Bloom says his group has 22,000 members, but none are identified by name in either court case.

Well, in the world of social media, it is no surprise that 17- and 18-year-old kids do not want their names made public. Bloom has previously spearheaded two cases in which the Supreme Court struck down voting policies designed to help racial groups, particularly African-American and Latinx voters who've endured prior discrimination. But he lost a 2016 case in which he backed Abigail Fisher. I don't believe that students should be treated differently based on their race. Who unsuccessfully challenged racial consideration in admissions at the University of Texas, but today's Supreme Court is far more conservative. Were you just determined to keep bringing cases until you got the court to agree with you?

Legal advocacy requires a long-term commitment. There are, in fact, nine states that have enacted bans on racial preferences in state colleges, with some reporting a drop in African-American and Latinx admissions at top institutions. Affirmative action advocates say a nationwide ban would be disastrous.

Affirmative action is really trying to treat everyone equally, recognizing that certain groups have been marginalized over the centuries. Now a professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Mitchell Crustow grew up in segregated Louisiana. Most of the restaurants in town did not serve black people. Water fountains were segregated, so there was a white-only and a black-only water fountain.

The Woolworths department store, you could not have counter service if you were black. He is a descendant of generations of enslaved people and forebears who faced prejudice after emancipation. So a lot of the legacy of discrimination in housing, in employment, meant that my family was set back century after century. Even after the Supreme Court mandated school desegregation, most of your own schooling was in segregated Catholic schools here in New Orleans.

Absolutely, elementary and high school, yes. He was a top student, and also, he acknowledges, an affirmative action beneficiary in 1971. You knew when you applied to Yale that they were interested in you, not just as a student, but because they wanted to bring in more African American students.

Absolutely. But he also points out, Race is just one aspect. I wasn't accepted into Yale because I'm black. I was accepted into Yale because of all the other things that I am as a person, of which I'm also African American. You graduated magna cum laude. Yes, thank you. And you were admitted to Yale Law School.

Yes, thank you. And Cousteau argues that the Supreme Court should uphold its previous rulings that colleges have a genuine interest in including students from different racial groups. For all students who are at a university, having a diverse campus of individuals with different backgrounds adds to the educational goal of the university. For his part, Edward Bloom, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, contends that when colleges have considered ethnic backgrounds of applicants, it has hurt certain groups. Back in the 1920s, it's well documented by dozens of historians that Harvard had policies in place to discriminate against Jews. Fast forward now to the 1990s and 2000s, we believe that Harvard has policies that diminish the likelihood that high-achieving Asians are being admitted. In fact, Harvard recently announced that nearly 30 percent of those admitted this year are Asian American, more than four times the representation in the total U.S. population. Still, some Asian Americans are taking a stand against affirmative action plans that tend to help other minorities.

Even if tomorrow they decide to give preference to Asians, I'll be just as opposed because the idea is that ideally we should all be treated equally and there really should be a level playing field for all of us. Rutvij Holle, whose parents were born in India, is the founder of Americans for Equality Political Action Committee. A straight-A student in Irvine, California, Holle was just admitted to one of the nation's top schools, Stanford University. And yet... Did you apply to any Ivy League schools? I did. I applied to all of them except for Harvard.

And did you get into any of them? Nope. No. Do you have a feeling that maybe racial preferences might have had something to do with that?

Yes. I mean, to me, look, I look at the data, right? I'm not going off of a feeling because the college admissions process has been very good for me, but I think everyone has to acknowledge that there is a level of discrimination that occurs. I think this case has the potential to really pit Asian Americans against other minorities.

And I don't want that to happen. I think we should all understand what other people have gone through and support them. Chelsea Wong, a Harvard sophomore, is co-president of the Harvard Radcliffe Asian American Association. She participated in a pro affirmative action demonstration before the Supreme Court heard arguments on the cases last fall. There was also an Asian American anti affirmative action demonstration, underscoring how divisive the issue is among Americans of all races. But Wong argues that it's a question of basic fairness.

You know what? I wish we didn't have to have affirmative action. I think we have to have it because all of the different compounding forms of inequality that affect someone's life before they even apply for college call for something that accounts for those factors. Still, Edward Bloom of Students for Fair Admissions believes there are other ways to get a diverse student body, even though this is not news to you that some people think your actions over the years have showed that you're a racist or bigoted in some way.

How do you respond to that? Well, I think that's an easy sort of intellectually lazy way of making an argument. Let's have a debate about the policy. If these policies go away, will it not just advantage Asian American applicants, but maybe also white applicants?

It's unclear who this is going to advantage. It's going to be up to Harvard. It's going to be up to UNC to change their policies to make them first colorblind. That's the goal. Make them colorblind. But with many legal experts predicting that the Supreme Court will strike down affirmative action, advocates like law professor Mitchell Crusto are worried that decades of progress for underserved minorities will be set back.

If the Supreme Court decides to ban the use of race, I think they'll go down in history as being one of the most conservative, reactionary, white supremacist Supreme Courts that we've ever seen. When was the last time you worked? Yesterday. Was it a successful mission? Yes.

I shot him twice in the heart and watched the spark drain from his eyes. That's Jodie Comer in her Emmy Award winning role as a ruthless assassin in the hit show Killing Eve. Now Erin Moriarty tells us she's bringing down the house on Broadway. The nominees for the Best Actress are... Jodie Comer is having a very good year. Jodie Comer. In April, she took home a prestigious Olivier Award for Best Actress in Prima Facie. This play has changed my life. One month later, she was also nominated for a Best Actress Tony for the same role on Broadway. And Comer recently had a birthday.

She turned 30. Did you ever expect the impact that this play and your performance has had on an audience? No.

No. I think we were all really taken back by it actually. But I remember when we did the first preview in London and this was the first time performing in front of an audience.

A lot of it was crying, like very audibly and very quite loud and unashamed and very guttural. But maybe what's most remarkable is that this is Comer's first time on either a New York or London stage. The judge looks at me. It's your witness, Miss Ensler.

Yes. You know, I've spoken very kind of publicly, honestly, about the fact that I auditioned a lot for theatre and a lot of the feedback was, you know, the fact that I wasn't classically trained, hadn't been to drama school. That was kind of a hindrance. You know, so then I got sent this one woman play written by Susie Miller to be on the West End. You know, I was just like, wow, you know, it just seemed like such a gift.

My role is to ask questions. But while Comer may be new to theatre goers, she's a familiar face on British TV, where she's appeared in series since her early teens. Even in supporting roles, her expressive face and ability to emote easily leaves an impression. I met Taylor Swift very briefly once at an awards and she very kindly came up to me and introduced herself and she said, I loved Dr. Foster. And I was like, wow, of all the things, it's Dr. Foster.

So you never quite know what it's going to be for people. For most people, it's the BBC series Killing Eve. For four seasons, Comer played Villanelle, a psychopathic Russian assassin obsessed with a British MI6 agent played by Canadian actress Sandra Oh.

I think you're going to bleed to death. Comer's convincing performance in Killing Eve that won her a Best Actress Emmy in 2019 almost cost her the part in prima facie. I heard that you were hesitant to pick Jodie first. I was.

I was. Susie Miller is the playwright. When the name was brought up, I said, oh, no, no, she's great, but no, not her. And the director said to me, can I just ask why not Jodie Comer? And I said, well, she's Russian. Why would we cast a Russian actor in a story, a British story? And they went, she's not Russian. She's like, she's British. She's from Liverpool.

And so her and I laugh about that quite often now. I think, you know, you did such a good job, you nearly did yourself out of this job. I mean, society tells us law school means you're important. In Prima Facie, Comer plays Tessa Ensler, a young, scrappy British barrister from a working class background who has no problem defending male sex offenders. Did he intend to cause harm? Her word against his... That is, until she herself is assaulted by one of her male colleagues. When Comer's character goes to court and tries to explain why she didn't fight off her attacker, many in the audience seem to relate and audibly sob. This line of questioning, it's making me look confused. Were you expecting the tears? And does that happen in every performance?

Every performance. Miller, who worked as a human rights lawyer in Australia and still lives there, says she wrote Prima Facie, a legal term that means self-evident, to highlight just how much the British and American justice systems fail women who bring sexual assault cases. The statistics speak for themselves. I mean, one in ten women actually report a sexual assault. Out of those, I think it's one in ten that go to court, and out of those, there's a 1.3% conviction rate.

I mean, that's astonishing when you think about it. The prosecutor prosecutes... Prima Facie is a demanding, draining one-woman show. Comer is alone on the stage for more than an hour and a half. This is your first time on Broadway? First time on a London stage and you pick this play? How do you not? I was like, I have no idea how I'm going to execute this or how I'm going to get to a place of being confident and comfortable enough to do this, never mind like once, but like eight shows a week. But I was so excited by that journey.

Like, if I didn't take this, another actress is going to, and I'm going to hate myself for the rest of my life. Comer had to research the part of a barrister, which is the British equivalent of an American trial lawyer. But she had no trouble playing a young woman from Liverpool, the blue-collar town north of London. It's where Comer also grew up. Your brother, he got into a fight last night.

What? Not again. Are you also that same scrappy person who's trying to defy expectations? Am I scrappy, guys? I'm definitely scrappy.

Yeah, there's a lot of me in her, for sure. Comer says her parents and younger brother never doubted she'd succeed as a professional actor, even without formal training. They were just like, if you're going to commit, commit. Like, you know, we'll be here for you.

And commit she has. Comer has not missed a single performance. How do you prepare every, each time before you do a performance? Is there something you have to do to get yourself ready? Yeah, anything that can kind of like get the energy up and get the nerves out. Live theatre like this has given Jodie Comer something film and TV never can. When you're in a theatre, when you're performing on stage, it's so immediate. And it's really transactional in a sense of, you know, you are giving and you are also receiving.

You know, it is very much a kind of relationship, which now I just adore. It started with a revolutionary idea. Shipping packages overnight. Fifty years later, you might say FedEx delivers. David Martin catches up with its founder, Fred Smith. Once you see it, you will never again take overnight delivery for granted. The sorting center at FedEx headquarters in Memphis.

Elbow grease and computerized conveyor belts, routing packages around the world. Are you Fred Smith? Well, I am. Here's the man behind it all. Yeah, good to see you. Good to see you.

Fred Smith founded the company that revolutionized business 50 years ago. I expected you somewhere to be following your planes around the world. Well, I can. I've got a map right there and I can pull it up. There they are. Heading across the Pacific. Is that what it looks like every day?

Yeah. We serve 220 countries around the world. Today, FedEx employs more than 530,000 people and moves 15 million packages a day aboard a fleet of 700 airplanes, including the wide-bodied Boeing 777. So how many of these guys do you own?

We have 59 either on hand or on order. The engine of a 777 would not fit inside the cargo hold of his first plane. Now on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, it is the flagship of the air express industry Smith created to meet the needs of the coming information age. Your computer goes down, you have to have the part to fix it or you're out of business.

That's the whole principle of FedEx. Smith saw the future when he was still an undergraduate at Yale, moonlighting as a charter pilot flying computer parts. What I was looking at was the first stages of automation of our society, moving to a computer-based society. It was just the recognition society was automating.

Did it feel like an aha moment to you at the time? I suppose that would be a good way to describe it. But first there was Vietnam, two combat tours, a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. Looking around here, it looks a little more military than it does FedEx.

People don't come back here very often, so I guess this is more personal than the front office is there. This is you and the Marines? That's me and my platoon leaders.

Two of them didn't come back. Smith rose to the rank of captain and came home a changed man. The Vietnam experience was the defining part of my life.

Everything I ever accomplished in business is mostly what I learned in the Marine Corps, particularly about leading people. Are you still Captain Smith? He comes out every once in a while if necessary. I found out only in the last three years that all my children called me behind my back, Stalin. I didn't know that, so I'm sure there were a couple of disciplinary episodes there. So we saw some of your frontline troops at the sorting center.

Oh, did you? Your vast network couldn't function without them. Absolutely. How do you reward them? Well, the most important way we reward them is good pay and benefits, so if you work for us, we'll put you through college. But I thought those were part-time workers.

Well, they are, but they still get medical benefits and tuition refund. Okay, fly safe. Save Fred around here and everybody knows who you're talking about. You're hardly aged at all. I look like 100 years old. Audrey Pfeiffer went to work for him in year one.

Thank you. Fred came to this computer training school that I had began taking. He came himself and talked about his dream and it was so vivid and so real that I said, hmm, went the next day and got hired on the spot. What year did you start delivering? We started April 17th, 50 years ago. I think we had 189 pieces that day. Did you deliver all of those packages overnight? Oh, 100 percent, yeah. It was pretty easy when they were only 189.

In the first three years, the company lost $29 million. So there's stories from the early days where he had to ask employees not to cash their paycheck. Yes, I was one of them. You know, it happened a couple of times that we had to hold our checks. But his hub and spoke system, planes flying into a central location and back out to their final destination, proved overnight delivery was possible.

It was just stunning to people that you could do that. Within months, there was a tenfold increase in the number of packages. Keeping track of them became the next hurdle.

The problem was that there was no technology that did that. This was the solution, a small scanning device he calls the super tracker. And you scan the package upon delivery or upon pickup, transmitted the information back into our computer system. The bar codes on the outside of the package became as important as what was inside. That flashing blue light scans those codes and tells the conveyor belt where to drop off the packages.

So it changed logistics forever. On the night we visited the Memphis hub, planes were landing at one-minute intervals, each one met by a team of cargo handlers. How long does it take to unload a plane like this? We're doing really well, probably about 35, 40 minutes.

Joshua Rhodes is the team leader. There are days where it can be a little stressful, but I mean that's every problem. You feel like you're always working against the clock? But I mean, that is the life of FedEx. The FedEx life came to the big screen in the person of Tom Hanks. That's how much time we have.

Who played a time-obsessed manager in the movie Castaway. Oh, wait a minute. Wilson. Wilson. That's Wilson. All right. A replica of Wilson. You're still away? Wilson. Hanks' best and only friend marooned on a desert island.

They may never find us. I'll be right back. The FedEx brand name was everywhere, but the plot had public relations disaster written all over. When I told our senior VP of marketing that I'd agreed to let a FedEx plane be crashed with Tom Hanks in it, he almost passed out. It became what Smith calls a $100 million infomercial for a company that is always racing the clock. Those packages just don't stop moving. Yeah, you don't want them to sit there because that's just idle cost. Within hours of landing, the planes are loaded and ready to take off again. In the control tower, Al Coleman needs to get each one airborne within 15 minutes of pushing back from the gate. We like burning our fuel in flight in that taxi. Is there a difference between controlling cargo planes and passenger planes?

No, sir. The only difference is packages don't complain. That much was true before Fred Smith. He came along and changed everything else. It's a new bestseller about a man who lived, really lived, to age 109. Luke Burbank visits with the author of The Book of Charlie. It was a typical Sunday in August 2007 in a suburb of Kansas City when David Von Drehle spotted his new neighbor. And Charlie was in the drive wearing just a pair of swim trunks and he was washing his girlfriend's car.

Big, muscular chest. At 102. Charlie was Charlie White and, yes, he was 102. He'd already lived a couple of lifetimes and still had a lot of road in front of him. Meanwhile, Von Drehle and his young family had just moved from Washington, D.C. The two became fast friends. We'd usually sit in his den and he'd tell me stories. Stories that comprised much of Von Drehle's new book, The Book of Charlie, published by Simon & Schuster, which is part of our parent company, Paramount Global.

And, yes, you read that cover right. Charlie lived to be 109. What are some of those kind of historical and otherwise amazing things about somebody who lives to be 109? He was born before radio. By the end of his life, he had an iPhone. He lived from the days of horse-drawn carriages to see people on the International Space Station.

Charles White III was born in 1905 in Galesburg, Illinois. The son of a pastor, his family relocated to Kansas City so his father could supplement their income with a second job. But his father's life ended tragically at just 42.

He, you know, really described his childhood sort of ending that day. So, at age 8, Charlie's adult life began. He built his own radio to listen to Kansas City's jazz scene and then taught himself saxophone. Eventually, he became a doctor, paying his way through college playing that sax. And for perspective, Charlie's medical career started before penicillin and he went on to become one of the first anesthesiologists in Kansas City.

He didn't hang up his stethoscope until his 90s, a testament to his amazing ability to change with the times. I think of him as a great stoic, classical philosopher who emphasized the difference between the things we have control over in our lives and everything else that's outside of our control. He was just so incredibly wise and he had a calming effect.

I can maybe remember one time he was mad at me. I mean, he just was a very calm, calm person. Laurie White is one of Charlie's daughters, born when he was already 52 years old. He had a full head of white hair and I remember everybody thought he was my grandfather. Despite being an older dad, Laurie says Charlie was as vigorous as could be and would remain so for an astonishing number of years. He had a 1967 convertible Mustang and in the summertime he'd go to my oldest sister's house almost every day and he'd swim 100 laps.

How old is he in this story? Oh my goodness, he did it through his 90s and up until he was probably 140. And that beloved 1967 Mustang? Laurie's still got it. Do you feel a connection to your dad when you're driving this car?

I do, yes, and I've had interesting things happen like saxophone music will come on the radio, just come on the radio. And you know, I'm like, oh dad. I think Dr. Charlie added a whole lot to mom's last while here. Chris Cooper may not have gotten the chance to ride in Charlie's Mustang, but he did get to see the effect Charlie had on his beloved mother, Mary Ann Walton Cooper. One of the aspects of the great relationship between Charlie and my mother was the laughter at that late age. They were just enjoying life.

If Cooper looks familiar, yes, he's that Chris Cooper, the Oscar-winning actor who grew up in Kansas City. His mother had been married with a family of her own before being widowed, much like Charlie. The two found a special love late in life.

Charlie helped my mom, you know, get out and get about. Even though he was, you know, significantly older than her. Significantly older, but nothing was going to stop him, man.

Nothing was going to stop him. In fact, it was Mary Ann's car that Charlie was washing that fateful day David Von Drehle first spotted him. What do you think he would have made of the fact that there is now this book, the book of Charlie? I think he'd be surprised that I learned as much about living from him. You know, you'd ask him for his philosophy of life and he would say, well, my mother always just said to us, do the right thing. Here's Charlie in his own words. And if you do the right thing, that takes in a whole raft of things, see.

It's so simple and it's so good. A life philosophy Laurie decided to put on that Mustang Charlie loved so much, and a legacy that rolls on to this day. Remember, a Jedi can feel the force flowing through him. You mean it controls your actions?

Harshly, but it also obeys your commands. Star Wars Luke Skywalker launched Mark Hamill's career, but in some ways that fame has been a double-edged lightsaber. Our Sunday profile is from Tracey Smith. In 2015, on a remote island high above the sea, Star Wars fans had a reunion with an old friend, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. And this past week, at his home high above the sea in Malibu, California, we caught up with him again. How long have you lived here? Let's see, we got this in 1978.

Hamill moved here after the first Star Wars film made him a household name. I heard you call yourself elderly in an interview the other day. You see yourself as elderly? Well, I called myself an elderly recluse. No, it's one of those things where when you say your age out loud, because I'm 71, I go, really? That's older than I ever expected to be. How do you feel inside? Much younger. We should be safe in here.

And that's a good thing. His latest movie, The Machine, is not for the faint of heart. Dad.

I can't use that. After I read Mandela's biography, I made a vow of non-violence. In the film, real-life comedian Bert Kreischer is in trouble with the Russian mob, and Hamill is his endearing, and often annoying, father. It took about two seconds before he started making me mental with the... Look at him!

He's a monster. I was drawn to the project because of the relationship between the son and the father. I mean, they're at odds and trying to understand one another. And a good father-son storyline... I am your father. something Mark Hamill knows all about. In the first Star Wars film, a young Luke Skywalker ponders his future with a double son and that John Williams score.

But what we're actually seeing here is a 25-year-old actor on the ride of his life. Take us back to the first audition for Star Wars. You weren't sure whether to play it straight? Well, the problem was they didn't give us a whole script. And yeah, I couldn't figure out, is this like a send-up of Flash Gordon or whatever? You couldn't tell.

Nobody talks like this. And I was asking Harrison, because he had been in American Feeding, I said, you know George, is this like a joke? Should we send it up, make fun of it? Yeah, whatever. Let's get it done.

So he was no help. Well, now you know. The enemy's on the move. We haven't much time. Well, I brought you here.

Now what? Of course, he got the part and was soon working with legends like Sir Alec Guinness. Rest easy, son. You've had a busy day. Just meeting him was such a thrill. What was that like?

Oh my gosh. He took me out to lunch just to get to know each other a little bit. And I kept calling him Sir Alex. And at one point he tapped my face a little harder.

A little harder. I went, ow, what are you? I want to be known by my name, not my accolade. Oh my gosh. So I said, can I call you Big Al? You must learn the ways of the Force if you're to come with me to Alderaan. He looked like an eager kid.

Hey Laurie, it really doesn't make any difference. But Mark Hamill had a few years in the business under his belt. I don't see why I was going to do the digging.

Just be glad the cow didn't die. With a raft of soap operas and TV series credits. Still, nothing could have prepared him for what happened when Star Wars premiered in the spring of 77. We started the publicity tour. It was Carrie, Harrison, and me. And when we landed in Chicago, I looked out and I saw there were crowds outside. I said, hey you guys, there must be somebody famous on this plane.

We're looking around for some superstar athlete or whatever. They're dressed like us. There was no merchandising at the time. So they had homemade lightsabers and all these things. We sort of looked at each other and said, wow.

Wow is right. The first film alone grossed nearly 800 million dollars on an 11 million dollar budget and became the cultural phenomenon we all know. But by 1981, Hamill wanted to shake his Luke Skywalker image and started doing Broadway shows, including the role of Mozart in Amadeus. Did you want to play Mozart in the movie?

I went in and I met with Milos Forman. And in between I said, you know, I'd really love a chance at playing Mozart. And he said, oh no, the Luke Skywalker is not to be being the Mozart. So I thought, well, at least he's honest. Was that a common refrain?

We're not going to buy Luke Skywalker in this role? Well, I'm sure in their minds, I mean, I at least admire the fact that he said it right to my face. But, you know, it's a crazy business. Did that hurt? Well, I was disappointed, but I thought all you can do is you got to go forward, you know. His co-star Carrie Fisher helped him put it all in perspective. She told you back when you were doing theater not to be so precious about theater? She said, what did you put in your, in the playbill? You know, he's also known for a series of popular space movies. Is that what you put in the playbill?

Yeah, something like that. And she said, get over yourself. Look, you're Luke Skywalker. I'm Princess Leia.

Just accept it. Like always, you're as tough as nails. Hamill's life off-screen has been remarkable as well. He's an accomplished voice actor and a family man.

He and his wife Marilu have been married 45 years and have three children. And if you find yourself in Ukraine during an airstrike, Your overconfidence is your weakness. You might hear Luke Skywalker's voice talking you down. To be that voice of reassurance in a horrible crisis has got to feel good.

It feels great to be able to do something, you know, instead of just twiddle my thumbs and curse at the television. Strike me down in anger and I'll always be with you. Hamill made his most recent Star Wars film appearance in 2017's The Last Jedi. He can't and won't say if he'll ever return. You know, I had my time and that's good. But that's enough. So even though you say you won't go back, there's always a chance that you could go back. Well, you never say never. I don't see any reason to. Let me put it that way.

I mean, they have so many stories to tell. They don't need Luke anymore. You know that a lot of people out there would argue they always need Luke. And even if he never picks up another lightsaber, the role will always be a part of him. At this point, you could basically win a Grammy, cure cancer, and still forever you were going to be Luke Skywalker. Have you accepted that?

Yeah. Well, I don't care. I mean, the truth of the matter is I never really expected to be remembered for anything. I just wanted to make a living doing what I liked.

And I thought it could be worse. I could be known as being the best actor who ever played Adolf Hitler. You know? At least Luke is an admirable fellow. The Force will be with you.

Always. This morning's commentary comes from Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary, author of the new book, The Yellow Pad, and perhaps most important, veteran of the debt ceiling wars. In 1995, I was the Secretary of the Treasury when members of Congress threatened not to raise the debt limit until the President agreed to their policy demands. Thirty years later, the bill is passed. We just went through another debt ceiling crisis.

This is a pattern we can and must break. Congress has already voted to increase the debt limit. I'm proud to have served in an administration that balanced the budget, and I've been concerned about rising debt and deficits in the years since. This is a manufactured crisis.

It is not my fault they won't take action. But creating a crisis over the debt limit is dangerous and irresponsible. Consider what raising the debt limit does. It allows the Treasury Department to make payments on already existing debt.

It does not authorize any new spending. It's not like buying something on a credit card. It's like paying your bill after you've already bought something on a credit card. As everyone knows, if you don't pay your bills on time, it's more expensive in the long run and your credit score goes down.

It's the same for countries. If Congress refuses to allow the United States to make payments on its existing debt in what is known as a default, the economic consequences would likely be severe. It could send markets falling, raise costs for car and home loans, and hurt America's standing around the world, amongst much else. We avoided default this time, and that's a cause for relief.

But there's no guarantee we'll be similarly fortunate in the future. And the more of these we go through, the greater the chances that one of them eventually leads to severe economic harm. Threatening to force the United States to default on its debt is risky and irresponsible. Going forward, lawmakers should stop using the threat of default as a bargaining chip and use the normal congressional budget process to deal with issues of taxation and spending.

That way, we can get our house in order without putting our entire economy at risk. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. That's it for today. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-04 16:24:25 / 2023-06-04 16:41:39 / 17

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