The success of Holt -- a five-time champion during the trivia show's original run 35 years ago -- topped the IBM computer Monday night in a "Jeopardy" exhibition match of congressmen vs. machine held at a Washington hotel.
Holt, a Democrat from the Princeton area, built a lead in categories including "Presidential Rhyme Time," in which the correct response to "Herbert's military strategy" was "Hoover's maneuvers." The congressman also correctly identified hippophobia as the fear of horses.
Watson beat him to the buzzer with the answer "love" when prompted on what Ambrose Bierce described as "a temporary insanity curable by marriage."
Holt played the first round along with Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican. At the end of the round, Holt had earned $8,600 to Watson's $6,200.
"I was proud to hold my own with Watson," Holt said. "More importantly, I was proud to join IBM and other members of Congress to highlight the importance of science and math education and research and development.
"While it was fun to outdo Watson for one night in trivia, it is vital that, as a nation, we out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world for generations to come," he said.
House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Edward Markey (Mass.) and Rep. Rush Holt (N.J.), the top Democrat on the energy subcommittee, asked the Interior Department for detailed information on the prevalence of a drilling practice known as “fracking” on public lands.
During fracking, water, sand and chemicals are injected into the ground to free valuable natural gas deposits. Activists and environmentalists have long criticized the practice, pointing to the potential for drinking-water contamination and environmental damage.
A The New York Times investigation this past weekend fanned the flames of opposition to the practice. The Times reported that chemicals and radioactive materials used during “fracking” pose significant dangers to public health and the environment. Shortly after the story was published, Markey called for “immediate action” from the Environmental Protection Agency, which is currently conducting a study on the practice.
Q. What do we know about the contents of the tapes?
A. Evidently, they showed practices that any reasonable person would call torture, practices we would never want carried out against Americans.
Q. Why did CIA officers destroy them?
A. It was not for lack of space in their storeroom. They destroyed them because they contained things they didn’t want anyone else to know. In particular, so that Congress would not learn about them.
Q. Is it reasonable to prosecute CIA officers for these practices when Justice Department lawyers told the CIA it was permissible to waterboard, to slam defendants into walls, to strip them naked and deprive them of sleep?
A. Sure it is. The CIA can’t be exempt. The more serious the matter, the more comprehensive the oversight has to be, and this is a very serious matter. This is probably the No. 1 recruiting tool for terrorists, the treatment of detainees.
Q. What about the lawyers who approved this?
A. Nobody respects an organization where the senior people throw underlings under the bus to protect themselves. If it is policy from the higher ups, the sanctions — including legal sanctions — should go all the way to the top. A lot of what came out of the Justice Department in the early years after 9/11 was pretty shoddy legal work. Maybe it was hysteria. And maybe they doctored their memos to please the vice president.