Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In some parts of America, this requires huge fans


The Buffalo Wild Wings people make me laugh.

They think you need big fans to screw up field goals and wreak general havoc. They think no one has actually seen somebody do the full Almira Gulch on a stationary bicycle.

They -- obviously -- live Back East.

I saw this stuff taking out the garbage just now. And you gotta make sure the trash can is good and heavy, because I hear the federal gummint will bill your ass if the Air Force has to scramble F-15s to intercept your Unidentified Flying Rubbermaid.


So, how windy is it out here on the Great Plains? This windy, says the Omaha World-Herald:
Ceaseless winds define the Great Plains, so much so that many people barely take note — apparently — of wind advisories from the National Weather Service. As a result, the wind advisory soon in many areas will go the way of the sod hut, becoming a relic of a bygone era.

Effective Oct. 31, the weather service will cease issuing wind advisories for much of Nebraska and Kansas, said Mike Moritz, warning coordination meteorologist for the Hastings office.

The exceptions will be eastern Nebraska and the the Panhandle, where the advisories will continue to be issued. Cities that will continue receiving wind advisories include Lincoln, Omaha, Norfolk, Scottsbluff and Sidney.


A wind advisory is the lowest level of alert that the weather service issues, Moritz said


Because windy weather is so routine on the High Plains, weather service offices years ago ceased issuing the wind advisories for Colorado and Wyoming.
All of the Great Plains will continue to receive special warnings when dangerously high winds are forecast.
(snip) 
Moritz said the decision was based on the results of a survey that the weather service conducted from late April through late July. Three-fourths of the respondents said they make no change in their daily lives when a wind advisory is issued. In contrast, most people take action when the more serious "high wind warning" is issued. Among those participating in the survey were local emergency managers.

"Most of the response was, ‘Bravo, thanks for doing this. We know it’s windy here,’ " he said.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I. Need. This.


Treffen George Jetson . . . .

Electronics today come in basically one style -- black plastic crap. If you're lucky, you might find some various-color plastic crap. In the heyday of mid-century modern, that's not how radio- and TV manufacturers did business.

Especially not the Germans.


http://www.earlytelevision.org/index.htmlThis is a Kuba Komet console TV-radio-phonograph. This is art.

If there is a holy grail in mid-century modern design, this might be a contender for the title. I want this. I may need this.


I know I can't afford this. Word is that if you find one today -- and the Kuba Komet was insanely pricey in West Germany when it was new (from 1957-62) -- it'll set you back about $10,000.

And that's enough to make your bank account go kaput.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cops crewman shot to death
as Omaha joins deadly meme

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha want
Whatcha gonna do when sheriff John Brown come for you tell me whatcha gonna do.
-- 'Cops' theme


Welcome to the worst day of Todd Schmaderer's life -- or at least a lead-pipe cinch for one of the top five.

The Omaha police chief welcomed the crew of the Cops reality-TV show to River City with open arms, seeking to showcase his officers' professionalism and, he hoped, improve relations with the community. Now a crew member of the show is dead -- fatally wounded by shots fired by one of Omaha's finest at the scene of a robbery in progress at a local Wendy's.

Officials know the sound man had to have been killed by police bullets. The fast-food robber was armed with a BB gun.
 

Clark Griswold doesn't know how lucky he was.

Welcome to the national narrative, Omaha. Welcome to the eye of the storm over police weapons, police tactics and police training. Welcome to the national conversation over shoot-first mentalities.

Welcome to public-relations hell. Welcome to our national never-ending tragedy.

A stupid robber with a fake gun is dead. That's tragedy enough. But when an innocent TV-show crew member gets killed in the process of a cop turning a perp into Swiss cheese, we're firmly into words-fail territory.

From today's Omaha World-Herald:
A crew member with the “Cops” television show was fatally struck by police gunfire as Omaha officers confronted a robber — who also was fatally wounded — at a midtown restaurant, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

The World-Herald has learned that at least 30 shots were fired at the Wendy’s near 43rd and Dodge Streets.

Officials said it appears the only shots fired came from police.

The robbery suspect apparently had an air gun, a type of BB gun that looks like an actual firearm. He apparently was a prison parolee from Kansas, law enforcement sources said.

The names of the two dead had not been released at midday Wednesday. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer has scheduled a press conference for 2:30 p.m.
I KNOW it's difficult being a police officer. God help me if I were forced to make a split-second, life-or-death decision in the dark of the night. God help me if I screwed it up, which I probably would.

Still, it's becoming apparent that what we're dealing with here is a nationwide, systemic problem of deadly proportions. Back to the newspaper account:
The TV crew member who died was a sound engineer, who holds the microphone during taping. The camera operator was not injured, nor were any police officers.

According to the show’s website, “Cops” crew members wear bullet-proof vests on the job.

The crew has been working in Omaha for much of the summer.

David Brown, president of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, called the shootings a tragedy.

“We are deeply saddened that this happened and offer condolences to all of the family members involved,” he said.

The shootings occurred after an officer discovered a man, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and white bandanna, robbing the restaurant, Deputy Police Chief Dave Baker said late Tuesday.

The first officer at the scene called for backup about 9:20 p.m.
The east-facing windows of the Wendy’s restaurant were riddled with bullet holes, and Dodge Street was closed for several hours.
The two shooting victims were taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition. They later died.
Officers honor TV 
crewman via Facebook

"AT LEAST 30 shots were fired. . . ."

"The east-facing windows of the Wendy’s were riddled with bullet holes. . . ."

"
The robbery suspect apparently had an air gun, a type of BB gun that looks like an actual firearm. . . ."

Something is very wrong here, and not just because an idiot felon and an innocent man are dead.

We have to be careful about saying too much that's too specific because, after all, we don't know what we don't know. We have to be careful because, in a split second . . . at night, you can't tell a BB gun from the real thing.

But we do know enough that we must admit that something's horribly wrong with the Big Picture here. Ferguson. St. Louis. A guy shot dead by Ohio cops because a scared Person of Walmart saw a black man with a BB gun (which he had just picked up in the toy department) and called police, who shot first and asked questions later.


SOMETHING is wrong, this we can say. The specifics, we're still grappling with.

But something tells me it has something to do with a nation amid a societal and cultural meltdown that, coincidentally, also happens to be armed to the frickin' teeth.

Last night, it was a stupid criminal and a TV guy trying to do his job. Two dead and an officer's life perhaps ruined. Nobody asked for that, I wouldn't think.


Tomorrow, it could be you. Or me. Or anybody.

Be afraid. Be very afraid here in Firearm Nation.



UPDATE: The police chief's press conference just ended. Here's what he said:


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cybergun-Taurus-PT92-Replica-Spring-Powered-Airsoft-Pistol-Metal-Slide-/200943638556
An Airsoft replica Taurus PT92
Three officers were involved, a detective and two patrol officers. The suspect, Cortez Washington, 32, fired at the officers with an Airsoft pistol inside the Wendy's restaurant. Schmaderer said that, judging from  footage by the Cops crew, that the Airsoft gun not only looked like a real handgun, but sounded like one. Airsoft guns fire plastic pellets, and Washington's was a replica Taurus PT92.

The chief said the cameraman entered behind the two officers the crew was riding with and was able to take cover, but that the sound engineer, Bryce Dion, got caught in the vestibule. After being hit by officer's gunfire, he said, the robber tried to escape through that vestibule as the cops continued to fire.


Dion was hit by a round which entered under his arm through a gap in his bulletproof vest. Schmaderer said he didn't think Dion was visible to the officers at the time.

The chief, in response to a reporter's question, said he hadn't slept since the incident.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nattering nabobs of know-nothingism


I miss Eric Sevareid.

I miss the days when newscasters stuck to the facts and not their ill-informed opinions. I miss the days when silence, or moving on to the next story, was a viable alternative to babbling about those things one does not yet know with certainty.

I miss the days when grown-ups sat behind the TV anchor desk, not overgrown teen-agers emoting when thought -- or silence -- would be more appropriate.

Those are not the days in which we live.

Eric Sevareid
THE CLIP ABOVE represents the days in which we now live. Days in which we are free to speak ill of the dead, so long as we put on a somber face and gravely speak words which signify nothing apart from our ignorance and prejudices. Fox News' Shepard Smith must have thought he was saying something when he blithely proclaimed that "something inside you is so horrible, or you're such a coward -- or whatever the reason -- that you decide to end it."

Like too many journalists today, Smith doesn't know what he doesn't know.

But that doesn't matter today so long as the words -- which words matter not -- just keep spewing from one's mouth like vomit out of a drunk behind your local tavern. It's all good. If forced to, you can vomit out an apology later.

Over at CNN, entertainment reporter Nischelle Turner inadvertently -- Isn't that always the case? -- indicted her genre of journalism and all its malpractitioners:
“I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from the mental health community in using that word,” Turner said. “A lot of times when we’re doing live coverage we say things and we’re talking and we don’t realize what we’re saying. They’re absolutely correct. That it is a disease, so I apologize for using the word demons.”
HERE ARE some words to live by for broadcast journalists when the red light goes on: If you don't realize what you're saying, it's far better to say nothing at all.

Still, all of this nonsense today apparently is much preferred over researching a subject, mulling it over and committing reasoned and humane commentary.

Because Eric Sevareid is dead. And journalism -- particularly that of the broadcast variety -- is busy at present committing suicide. Are all the Shep Smiths in the world just so many cowards, or is it that something inside of them is so horrible that they just can't help themselves?


Film at 11. Until then, we'll just prattle on about things we know not.

While today's talking heads are doing that, watch this master of the past and weep for the present.

Monday, August 11, 2014

For Robin


All we could see was the mask. All we wanted to see was the painted-on smile.

Behind our laughter, though, was the jester's unspeakable pain and, ultimately, despair. What hell on earth is this? What hell is this to believe to the depth of your soul that the world would be a better one without you?


http://www.biography.com/people/robin-williams-9532797You've probably had your moments; I know I have had mine. But what unspeakable hell is this to not be able to -- to, at the very end, not want to -- pull out of the nosedive of despair?

What is this hell depression?

What is this hopelessness suicide?


May the merciful God take Robin Williams into His arms and wipe away the tears. May He also dry ours as we contemplate the utter waste of it all . . . and the utter conditionality of our love.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cue Don Henley . . . one more time



"You're a dumbass, aren't you?"

"Yes. Yes, I am. And the only side of an interview I really listen to is mine.

 "So . . . could you tell whether the missile came from Russia or Ukrainia?"

IT'LL BE just our luck that the last thing we'll hear before the Apocalypse is some Howard Stern fan pranking some cable-news doofus about the shock jock farting H-bombs.

TV news is infamous for babbling idiots and their epic fails, but this has to be one of the epic-est of them all.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The car fell off the concrete blocks


This episode of a long-lost local Baton Rouge game show may or may not tell you all you need to know about my Louisiana hometown.

I was a student at LSU when this episode of We Play Baton Rouge ran on Channel 2 in 1982. Though I am loathe to endorse the consumption of illegal narcotics, it is my understanding that this vehicle for WBRZ weatherman Pat Shingleton (who's still there) was best experienced stoned out of your ever-lovin' gourd.
 

I mean, at the beginning of the show, Contestant No. 1 bumps into his "car" on the set -- and it falls off the concrete blocks. Then, after the first commercial break, the contestants have managed to switch places. And coming back from a break toward the end of the show, Pat thanks announcer Gary King . . . who hasn't said a word.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT:
Imagine how funny that stuff might've been back in the day if you'd been ingesting substances known to cause normal people to laugh at a bag of Doritos.

Now, the object of the game was to "navigate" local streets to arrive -- wait for it -- at the Highland Road studios of Channel 2. Unfortunately, Baton Rouge isn't known for its efficient street-grid layout . . . or much of a street grid at all.

This ultimately led to the demise of We Play Baton Rouge, which apparently was canceled by WBRZ because most of the contestants kept getting caught in traffic on Perkins Road. Which happens a lot to cars in Baton Rouge when you add tires and subtract concrete blocks.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Preach the gospel always.
If necessary, use an eggplant.


Watch the Channel 9 video. Just do it.
 
On what we now call Palm Sunday, the Savior of the world rode into Jerusalem on an ass.

Not a majestic stallion. An ass. And not just any old ass, a colt.

An adolescent ass.

This God of ours, the one who washed His disciples' feet, the one who first revealed Himself to a Samaritan woman with a checkered past -- and present -- has no need to prove anything. He is secure enough to humble Himself -- thus the Cross.

Consider . . . the second person of the Holy Trinity allowed Himself to be executed like a common criminal to save His people. To become the ultimate spotless Lamb of God, sacrificed in the eternal Passover.
 


SO, YEAH, it makes perfect sense to me that a cook at Gino's Italian restaurant in Baton Rouge, La., would cut into an eggplant only to find that the seeds spelled "GOD."

An amazing coincidence? Of course. But ours is a God of amazing coincidences, which we call "miracles."


Ours is a society that worships things, celebrities and power, all of which are fleeting. We tell ourselves that we are as gods, and that we are in control of all things.

Then a line cook in a God-haunted Southern state capital cuts into yet another eggplant destined for the sauté pan. . . .

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: "

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Broadcasting, the way it was



Let's jump into our Internet time machine and travel back to a time when television was an event and radio mattered.

Let's set the controls for Austin, Texas, in December 1960 and take a look at a time long gone and KTBC radio and TV the way it was. The way we were. Before the bean counters and their fancy machines took over and turned  the broadcasting world upside down and inside out.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

From the mouths of babes


Hi, I'm Ben Sasse, and I want to destroy shit. Here, I'll let my little girls Alex and Corrie tell you about how badly I want to destroy shit.

I'm a Republican. That's what we do.

Because we despise shit. Especially shit with Obama's name on it. 


BLAMMO!

That's the sound of me destroying Obamacare. Because we have to destroy this village to save it from Obama. I despise saying Obama. Even if tens of millions of people have No Care after we destroy Obamacare, at least No Care sounds better than Obamacare.

Exclusive video: State GOP strategy meeting

I DESPISE that shit. That Obama shit.

And since I understand that you despise that shit and want to destroy that shit, I despise that shit worser. And I'm here to let my sweet little girls tell you all about the shit I despise and will destroy for you . . . because that's how I roll.

That pinkobama shit's gonna get blowed up. Blowed up good.

Remember . . . the family -- no doubt before a hearty breakfast of human entrails and gunpowder --
that prays for the opposing candidates (to be destroyed) stays together.

On the Group W bench. Next to Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brilliant! Bravo!


If you love Mad Men -- and I love me some Mad Men -- you'll double love this.

More, please.

Monday, April 21, 2014

If you've seen one dead Rooney. . . .


"If a nation expects to be both ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"We're doomed! We're doomed! We're all going to die!"
-- Kate Smith


HAT TIP: Romenesko.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why they hate us. And should.


I've seen some repulsive TV ads in my 50-plus years on this media-saturated earth. This ad for Cadillac may top them all.

Combine out-of-control materialism, hubris and a generous helping of smugness, and you have a television-commercial graduate course on Why They Hate Us. This ad is the audio-visual representation of the Ugly American, and when Americans are ugly, we are ugly indeed.

Advertising, as a rule, is the art of selling people stuff they really don't need -- of convincing folks they desperately need stuff they really don't. You don't need a damned Cadillac, and something is wrong with you -- namely, the profoundly broken human condition -- if you think you really, truly need a Cadillac ELR . . . or anything else apart from your health, food, shelter, love and God.

This ad -- which ran over and over and over again during the Winter Olympics, during which the United States famously underachieved -- takes it a step further and tries to do so while convincing you all those other inhabitants of the earth who aren't citizens of the United States are, in fact, losers if they don't sacrifice heart, soul and all those things money cannot buy to the great god Greed. In Cadillac America, the 1 percent are demigods because they have done just that, and if you don't aspire to material wealth at the expense of all else, you are, too.

SO GO out there and give yourself an ulcer, leave little Johnny to shift for himself while you're putting in 80 hours a week at a job you probably hate not for food, shelter and health insurance, but instead for an effing luxury vehicle. Which you will spend hours in while commuting to that 80-hour-a-week job to which you've offered up your soul . . . for what?

Your wife may rarely see you, your children may not know you -- who may, indeed, loathe the materialistic bastard who's thrown them to the wolves of neglect -- and all this wreckage you have left in your wake for . . . a Caddy? Screw you, and screw the America that's made this sort of materialism the sum and summit of it's earthly existence.

This America deserves whatever may befall it. And will, in time.

But at least we'll be going to hell in not a hand basket but, instead, in a really sweet ride. Right?

For the America of stuff, hubris and over-the-top arrogance, that will have to do as small consolation. No, you can't take the Cadillac ELR with you when you go to your richly deserved reward (or richly deserved lack thereof) but perhaps you can be buried in the damned thing.

The "losers" of the world will be greatly amused at that.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pearls among the online swine


The Internet is a land of treasures and trash. Mostly trash, it seems, most of the time.

Slutty trash. Angry trash. Snarky trash. More angry trash. More snarky, angry trash.

Seems to me that living life online as we do today can be like eating Gummy Bears for breakfast, lunch and supper -- it might be rather satisfying at the time, but. . . .


WELL, this ain't that. Pete Seeger's mid-'60s, low-budget show, taped in glorious black and white at a little UHF station in New York, is a treasure lurking amid the trash. It's meat and potatoes in a Gummy Bear online world.

How can it possibly get any better than sitting around the kitchen table with Johnny Cash and June Carter, swapping stories and playing music? How can it possibly get any better than sitting in the living room with Revon Reed, keeper of Louisiana's Cajun culture and the French language when the odds were stacked against it amid a tide of assimilation at les mains des americains just as Seeger was a keeper of American culture amid a rising tide of materialism and superficiality.

And not only that. Irony also comes a' callin' in the meeting of Messrs. Reed and Seeger.

YOU SEE, one of the saviors of Cajun culture in south Louisiana was, by profession, an English and chemistry teacher. Cajun music and his weekly radio show from Fred's Lounge in Mamou, those were his hobbies. The keeper of what was most authentically American, meanwhile, was blacklisted for years for allegedly being "un-American."

Uh huh.


Eventually,  the forces of "Americanism" left Pete Seeger alone after growing bored by red-baiting. Eventually, they moved on to more fertile fields . . . like doing their part to f*** up the Internet.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Where have all the troubadours gone?


This is not a promising start to the week.

This is a terrible start to the week.

Pete Seeger is dead. God rest him, and God help us, for we are diminished.


From The New York Times today:
Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.

In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and children’s songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem.
Mr. Seeger was a prime mover in the folk revival that transformed popular music in the 1950s. As a member of the Weavers, he sang hits including Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” — which reached No. 1 — and “If I Had a Hammer,” which he wrote with the group’s Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seeger’s songs, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," became an antiwar standard. And in 1965, the Byrds had a No. 1 hit with a folk-rock version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” Mr. Seeger’s setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural. At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”

Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our top story tonight. . . .

"Mark has a little wiener. Have you ever dressed the wiener up?"
In other words . . . this probably ain't safe for work, even though it all was on the air. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Deck the halls with ginned-up outrage




If somebody had to say it, chances are that Jon Stewart just did.
"Uff course Kris Kringle iss vhite!"
A Festivus pole made out of beer cans at the Florida state capitol? That I find hilarious.
Fox News cynically using the commemoration of the Savior's birth to manufacture outrage, ill will and hatred of one's fellow man? That is as truly disturbing as it is completely predictable.
The TV gathering spot for pissed-off people on the political right might have "news" as part of its name, but it seems to have a lot more in common with Joseph Goebbels than it does with Edward R. Murrow.

The cynicism on display by Fox News regarding "the war on Christmas" is astounding, coming as it is from people casually cashing in on the sacred as they appeal to the worst demons of their viewership.

Friday, December 13, 2013

What kind of world would it be sans la France?

 
 
There is no more after
In Saint-Germain-des-Prés
 No more day after tomorrow
No more afternoon
There is nothing but today
When we meet
In Saint-Germain-des-Prés
There is no more you
There is no more me
There is no more yesterday

Friday, November 22, 2013

A speech ungiven in a language unlearned


Here's some of the beginning and then the conclusion of the speech John F. Kennedy never lived long enough to give at the Dallas Trade Mart that horrible day in November 1963.

It was written in a language little understood and, sadly, no longer spoken in the United States:
This link between leadership and learning is not only essential at the community level. It is even more indispensable in world affairs. Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country's security. In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America's leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason -- or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.

There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternative, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.

But today other voices are heard in the land -- voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. At a time when the national debt is steadily being reduced in terms of its burden on our economy, they see that debt as the single greatest threat to our security. At a time when we are steadily reducing the number of Federal employees serving every thousand citizens, they fear those supposed hordes of civil servants far more than the actual hordes of opposing armies.

We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will "talk sense to the American people." But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.
(snip)
Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society.

It is clear, therefore, that we are strengthening our security as well as our economy by our recent record increases in national income and output -- by surging ahead of most of Western Europe in the rate of business expansion and the margin of corporate profits, by maintaining a more stable level of prices than almost any of our overseas competitors, and by cutting personal and corporate income taxes by some $11 billion, as I have proposed, to assure this Nation of the longest and strongest expansion in our peacetime economic history.

This Nation's total output -which 3 years ago was at the $500 billion mark -- will soon pass $600 billion, for a record rise of over $100 billion in 3 years. For the first time in history we have 70 million men and women at work. For the first time in history average factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. For the first time in history corporation profits after taxes -- which have risen 43 percent in less than 3 years -- have an annual level of $27.4 billion.

My friends and fellow citizens: I cite these facts and figures to make it clear that America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom.

The strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions -- it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations -- it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.

We, in this country, in this generation, are -- by destiny rather than by choice -- the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men." That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: "except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain."

5 Decades & the Truth


A funny thing happened on the way to this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth.

About half past noon this afternoon, I turned on the CBS News web stream of its coverage from Nov. 22, 1963 -- that day. Uncut, real time, starting at the moment of the first bulletin that shots had been fired at the president's motorcade in Dallas.

Within an hour -- live on TV -- America was forever changed. Over the next three days, television news grew up, making up how to cover the unthinkable, live and non-stop . . . as it covered the unthinkable, live and non-stop.

It did so, by today's technical standards, primitively and without formatic bells or whistles. Television also did so powerfully and occasionally artistically -- and without a surfeit of hairspray.

OF COURSE, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a powerful blow to a country -- to a people. The death of our young president and the images of his grief-stricken widow -- as well as television's reflection of our own grief -- hardly could fail to affect. Powerfully.

Let me put it this way. When President Kennedy fell victim to Lee Harvey Oswald's deadly aim, I was four months shy of my third birthday. I have memories of that day.

The sense of overwhelming sadness and loss endure after five decades. It comes storming out of the mists of time, as raw and fresh as yesterday. And it wasn't just the loss of what was; it was the loss of what might have been.
 
Too, maybe it was the loss of what might not have been. We are a greatly changed people from what we were Nov. 21, 1963. In some ways, that is a good thing. In more ways, I fear, that has been a bad thing.

We are a more cynical people since that day.

Great tragedy, should you survive it, can make you stronger. The aphorism to that effect did not come from nowhere.

Great tragedy, however, is just as likely to break you, too. That is a proven fact. Fifty years ago, I think, we were broken -- at least partly. I am 52, and I have lived my life watching the wheels come off a society. Not uniformly, but enough.

I've unfortunately done my part to make that so, Lord knows.

THAT'S WHAT is washing over my mind and through my soul as I find myself unable to pull myself away from CBS-TV, circa 1963. When Walter Cronkite once again -- through the time machine of videotape -- read the flash from Dallas confirming the death of the 35th president of the United States, I reflexively crossed myself.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In retrospect, that's not a bad reaction, even half a century hence. In that spirit, this sad anniversary isn't the time for jazz, rock 'n' roll or even blues in the night. That's what happened today on the way to the Big Show -- there won't be one. It just didn't feel right.

Stay tuned for a few days for a pre-Thanksgiving edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

God bless us, every one.