………….. and the one who tamed The Wild, Wild West. On Tuesday evening we were searching for a viewing alternative to Obama’s State of the Union address. Lo, and behold we discovered a great choice on PBS, of all places. Seems that the network has a series on The Pioneers of Television. Tuesday’s episode dealt with television westerns and was a real treat to watch. Westerns were a viewing staple in my childhood and as it turned out in my wife’s as well.
The show was composed of interviews with many actors who appeared in the shows, clips from the shows themselves and wonderful historical trivia that delighted me no end. Where to begin? Guess that an explanation of the title would be apropos.
During the 1966-67 season CBS noted that Gunsmoke was showing its age and the program that had been s0 dominant was slipping. After all, 12 seasons should be enough, right? Not necessarily. The outcry was significant and even reached to the U S Senate where Robert Byrd expressed his displeasure. Now, that may or may not have had any impact, but at the least it allows me to think just a little more positively of the late senator. Shucks, he liked Matt Dillon, just as I did.
On the opposite side lies another senator who brought about the demise of what remains as one of favorite tv shows ever,The Wild, Wild West. Who was the offending senator and why did he go after Messrs West and Gordon? The senator was Rhode island Democrat John Pastore. In his place as head of the Senate subcommittee on telecommunications, he held hearings on the effect of tv violence, particularly on children. The Surgeon General testified at these hearings as well. Shortly after the hearings CBS issued a mandate to all its shows to tone down the violnce.When The Wild, Wild West did not satisfactorily do so, it was summarily;y cancelled in early 1969. ( No, I was not scarred by the violence.)
There were a number of other enjoyable things from the PBS show. I was struck by how many actors talked about the biggest stars with such fondness. Acotrs such as James Arness( who got his role courtesy of John Wayne) Barbara Stanwyck and James Garner were lauded for their kindness and how they set such a positive tone behind the scenes.
There were some priceless interviews with actors now deceased such as Arness and his brother Peter Graves. My #1 was the Robert Conrad interview of course. I learned from him and the shows narrator what a genuine tough guy he was, even suffering a concussion when a stunt when awry. Then there was Ross Martin, his running mate,an erudite man who spoke 5 languages and added such finesse to the show.
The show revived some wonderful memories of my teen years and has created a wish to do some dvd shopping. Think the wife may have liked Bonanza better though.
- CBS Planning Wild Wild West Reboot (seattlepi.com)
Senator Harry Reid, D, NV has been the majority leader of the Senate since 2007. Among those who preceded him in this position are Lyndon Johnson, Bob Dole, Robert Byrd( yep, that guy) Robert Taft and the very first majority leader. That would be Senator Charles Curtis , R, KS who served from 1925-1929.With the exception of Alben Barkley who served from 1937-1947, the tenures have normally been around 4 years.
As we know, Senator Reid is locked in a tight re-election campaign as he tries to win his 5th term in office. His Republican opponent has yet to be determined .In 2004, he easily won re-election with 61% of the vote. However in 1998, he won an extremely narrow contest, 47.88% to 47.78% over current senator John Ensign; a 328 vote margin.
So, contrary to what on might think, Senator Reid is not invincible. But to hear some of his recent comments, one might wonder if he agrees with that statement. Let us backtrack a bit. Abut 6 months ago at a Chamber of Commerce dinner in Las Vegas, Reid allegedly made this statement to Bob Brown, director of advertising for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which incidentally is not a big fan of the senator. ‘” I hope you go out of business.” That would contribute to the unemployment rate in Nevada would it not and damage the struggling newspaper business? Maybe he was kidding, right?
More recently, Sen Reid had this to say about unemployed males in America. This was on the floor of the U S Senate in debate about a jobs bill and it occurred on February 22. “Men, when they’re out of work, tend to become abusive.” He said that was not the case with women who “aren’t abusive, most of the time.” Yet another interesting comment from the majority leader just yesterday. Republicans” should stop crying” about the parliamentary procedure known as budget reconciliation which may be used to pas a health care reform bill. He said that Republicans had used it more than Democrats. Even if that is true, I doubt it was ever on such a significant legislative issue.
But, the Senator may have unwittingly made a good point. Republicans should stop crying and just field a good candidate that will unseat him in November. After all, he already has an albatross hanging over him. The President has expressed his support and has campaigned on his behalf. Ask these folks about that. Martha Coakley, Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine.
We evilllllllllll Republicans are at it again. According to 1st term Florida congressman, Alan Grayson (landslide Alan 52-48% winner), Republicans want people to die. That is the Republican health care plan, he says. Either don’t get sick or get sick and die quickly. He quotes from a study that says some 40-45 thousand people die annually from lack of good health care. How in the world does someone verify such a number? Don’t know that you can but if the numbers suite your purposes you use them as Rep Elijah Cummings did today in an interview on MSNBC.
And just wait, there is much, much more. Many people are familiar with Garrison Keilor of Prairie Home Companion. He has been in declining health in recent years due to a stroke but has apparently not mellowed in his old age which isn’t all that old, just 67. Shucks,almost 40% of the Senate is at least that age or older. Keep that figure in mind.
Mr Keilor is rather crotchety about the state of political doings, specifically health care but encompassing other issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the Supreme Court.etc. Another expert preparing to sound forth, so here it comes.
He heard Minnesota Governor tim Pawlenty critiquing the education speech and apparently lost it. Keillor says in regard to republicans, “One starts to wonder if the country wouldn’t be better off without them and if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provide with aspirin and hand sanitizer.Thirty two percent of the population identifies with the Republicans , and if we cut off health-care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.”
Thanks to the Chicago Tribune for publishing that uplifting article. Kinda makes yo wonder how many people agree with him and just haven’t said it aloud. You know of course, what a one party political system looks like. I think you could look at several examples; Russia, China, etc.
For the icing on te cake he went on to say these words. “Old men shouldn’t be allowed to doze off at the switch and muck up the works for the young who will have try to repair the damage. Get over yourselves. Your replacements have arrived,and you should tink about them now and then. Enough with the shrieking. Pass health-care reform.”
Wonder who is dozing at the switch? Is it Byrd, Spector, Lautenberg, Feinstein? All are in the old category to which he refers.
Just hope that no one with real power believes like he does. At my age, I need a bi tmore than aspirin and hand sanitizer, don’t you?
Periodically, there comes a call for some limitation on the length of time that a Senator or Congressman or Congresswoman can serve. After all, there is a limit for the President. To date, these efforts have born no fruit. I am wondering if perhaps this issue is being approached from the wrong angle. What if there were an age limit rather than a term limit? The Constitution already specifies a minimum age of 30 for a Senator and 25 for a Representative. For some inexplicable reason, there is no maximum age. That has given us Republican Strom Thurmond who served to age 100 and Robert Byrd who is still serving at age 92. On the House side, Ralph Hall of Texas is still present at age 86 and 76 of his colleagues are over age 65.
Now, I realize that any attempt at setting an age limit would be met with significant resistance, especially from those whom it would affect. After all, there is the power, the prestige, the$(nah, couldn’t be that, could it?), the opportunity to serve the greater good and of course, the franking privilege.
I don’t have any magic figure in mind, but just for discussion sake, why not 65 or until the end of one’s current term. A number of jobs would open up, new ideas and faces wuld have an opportunity to serve and the excessive power of incumbency would be somewhat cut down to size. Of course, we would lose Kennedy, Byrd, Hall, McCain, Feinstein, Hatch, Specter, Reid, Leahy, Boxer, et.al. Now before one goes overboard, remember how McCain’s age and health was used against him in the campaign for President, both in subtle and not so subtle ways. I confess it would be a potential problem unleashing all those members of Congress on the public at once. Might have to be phased in a bit gradually.
Now, let me hasten to add that I am definitely not age biased since I qualify for AARP already and aspire to hang around for a few more years. Taking the Senate first, we learn that the average age is 62 and the House at around 56. So younger could be better, you never know until you try.
Anyone know how old Speaker Pelosi might be?
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