Official photo of United States Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

In Session: The 116th Congress convened Thursday, says CNN and The New York Times. As many predicted, the House elected Nancy Pelosi as its new Speaker and later in the day, also as predicted, tackled the shutdown by voting on two measures to reopen the government, says Bloomberg.

At issue: still no spending for President Donald Trump’s border wall, which brings us to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday, he said:

I’ve made it clear on several occasions, and let me say it again: The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature. Let’s not waste the time. Let’s not get off on the wrong foot, with House Democrats using their new platform to produce political statements rather than serious solutions.

So there you go.

I would not pass it in a boat,
I would not pass it with a goat,
This bill won’t get a Senate vote,
I won’t let it, no I won’t!

Sen. McConnell has been a little on the sidelines of late, but according to CNN, that’s because he says it’s not his problem to solve. He says the solution sits somewhere between the President and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

So, I haven’t been sidelined. It’s just that there’s no particular role for me when you have this setup.

The New York Times says part of Sen. McConnell’s approach could be tactical, already looking to protect vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection in 2020 — including himself. He’ll be on the ballot in a couple of years, too.

No one is looking terribly great right now, but the Republicans could be in a trickier spot. They can compromise on the wall with Democrats to end the shutdown — not popular with much of the GOP base — or stand firm with the President and keep the shutdown going — not popular with most everyone else. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released after Christmas, 47 percent of Americans blame President Trump for the shutdown compared with 33 percent who believe Democrats are responsible.

Interesting to note the bills the House passed Thursday, according to Speaker Pelosi, are the same ones passed while the Republicans held both chambers of Congress, just before the President changed his mind and refused to sign.

Courtesy of UofL Athletics

Forevermore: Former University of Louisville fighting football Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson will make history this Sunday as the youngest quarterback to start in the playoffs, says NFL.com.

Jackson will be a mere 21 years and 364 days old when he leads the Baltimore Ravens against the Chargers of Los Angeles. He comes in just under Michael Vick, who was a ripe old 22 years and 192 days old when he met the Packers of Green Bay in 2003.

The Ravens were 4-5 this season when Jackson stepped in to start for an injured Joe Flacco, but finished the year 10-6, earning them the first AFC North title since 2012 and their first postseason appearance since 2014, says ESPN.

He’s not doing that all on his own, mind you — he has one of the best defenses in football to help him out on the other side of the ball — but there’s no doubt he’s the difference maker.

So much so he earned December’s NFL offensive rookie of the month, says NBC Sports.

And here’s the cherry on the sundae: DraftWire notes Jackson is the only first-round quarterback heading into the postseason this Sunday.

Speaking of, Sports Illustrated says the Ravens are a 2.5 point favorite at home and they think the Ravens will take it. Meanwhile, over at Sporting News, their experts are split 2-1 in favor of Los Angeles. CBS Sports is going with the Chargers, too, 19-16.

The Ravens beat the Chargers just a couple of weeks ago in their week 16 matchup, 22-10. Some of those experts predict the Chargers will be ready for Jackson this time around, but I’m not so sure anyone’s figured him out just yet.

Your mighty “In Other News … ” prediction: Ravens 27, Chargers 21.

Jennifer Lawrence on “The Howard Stern Show.” YouTube

Everybody Poops: Here’s another “howdy 2019” for you: Jennifer Lawrence tells Howard Stern of a Port-a-Potty incident that went down while she was stoned out of her mind during Ellen Degeneres’s 60thh birthday party, says Newsweek, Elle and People.

That’s very specific.

SiriusXM’s “The Howard Stern Show” re-aired the clip last week from Ms. Lawrence’s Feb. 28, 2018, appearance, promoting “Red Sparrow.”

The story goes a little something like this:

While waiting on her ride at the party, Ms. Lawrence “smoked a joint with some rappers,” which was of such stuff as to take her to a “different universe.”

First stop in her new dimension: the Port-a-Potty. We’ll let her pick it up from here:

There was a woman there, and she was like, ‘No, no, no, go on, go ahead!’ I was like, ‘No, you were here first. You go!’ And she was like, ‘Go! I was like, ‘Okay.’ So I’m in the porta-pot, and I was like, ‘She’s gotta poop. This poor woman just gotta poop.’ So I came out, and I made a beeline for her and I went up to her and I was like, ‘Look, you gotta poop.’ And she was like, ‘No, I don’t. I don’t know why you’re saying that. I really don’t.’ She was kind of laughing but was like, ‘No.’”

All of a sudden, security is grabbing me because what I hadn’t realized is I am grabbing this woman by the shoulders, shaking her, screaming, ‘You have to poop! You have to poop!’

He’s like, ‘You can’t grab her. But, I agree. She’s gotta poop.’ He and I were on the ground laughing. The woman finally just started laughing, and I was like, ‘Just… poop.’

Clip below with the standard colorful language advisory. You know if that kind of thing offends you:

Happy New Year, friends. Here’s to another year together and nothing but the best in 2019.

See you next week.

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Kyle Ware
Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.