I have spent countless hours watching old videos of What's My Line, jumping from one "mystery celebrity" guest to the next, sometimes for hours at a time, taking me late into the early morning. Perhaps because TV was in its infancy, the show was able to attract really remarkable guests, who would never today dream of appearing on a game show. However semi-famous you might think some of the celebrities might be on things like Dancing with the Stars, no, it doesn't compare to What's My Line. Two examples pop into mind -- Eleanor Roosevelt and Salvador Dali. That, folks, are famous celebrities.
Here, in honor of Opening Day in baseball, is another. Someone known for being fairly shy, just on the good side of reclusive. Joe Dimaggio.
There's an interesting article by Jonathan Bernstein on Salon, making the case why now is the time for Supreme Court Justice to retire. His point centers around her being a significant liberal voice for decades, and if she wants that voice preserved, it can be best done while the president has at least a chance of replacing her with a similar one. As he also notes, there isn't a great deal of precedence for this, but then there also isn't a great deal of precedence in having such a bitterly divided Senate where the minority can rule and block almost whatever it wants.
During the Supreme Court hearings over DOMA and California's Proposition 8 -- in fact, whenever the debate over gay marriage comes up -- one of the few arguments that Republican tend to make to show the party's reasonableness (or, in the words of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, to show they're not old world heretics) is to point out Dick Cheney. That Dick Cheney has a gay daughter. That Dick Cheney is open about having a gay daughter. That Dick Cheney hasn't disinherited his gay daughter and put her in the dungeon. And this -- pointing to Dick Cheney -- is supposed to, seemingly, show that the Republican Party has a heart.
I've never been completely sure why Republicans fall over themselves with "Dick Cheney and His Gay Daughter," which sounds a little like a New Age Golden Book for kids. One reason might be that people are so shocked that Dick Cheney would have a gay daughter -- as if he had a say in the matter. Or it might be that people can't believe that Dick Cheney would, in fact, love his gay daughter -- as if in GOP World it's not unreasonable for a parent not to love their child if they were gay. It might be, too, that people can't believe that Dick Cheney would love anyone. Or it might just be that people simply can't believe that Dick Cheney would actually be able to procreate and have a daughter. (Speaking personally, this last is something I've been trying to wrap my head around ever since I came across the existence of Liz Cheney.)
But a different thought occurs to me whenever Republicans like to put Dick Cheney on a pedestal for loving his child. It's -- hey, what about all those other Republicans in Congress?? Are you folks trying to suggest that none of you have a child who's gay? None of you? Other than Rob Portman...
I've read statistics that say the number of Americans who are gay range between 3.4% and 25%. That's a pretty hefty range, but let's favor the lower side and say 10%, for the easy math.
There are 242 Republicans in the House, and 45 in the Senate, for a total of 287. So, that means, by the pure law of averages, 29 Republicans in Congress have a child who is gay. Yet the only person they point to is Dick Cheney. And now Rob Portman. (And Mr. Cheney, of course, isn't in Congress. So, they're pulling him out of a wider database, of several million...)
Now, of course, it could be more than 29 elected officials -- or less. And this number isn't exact, since the "10%" figure is an average of people, not households, but it's the best we can do.
And it's sort of unfortunate (which is the polite term for reprehensible) that so few Republicans are willing to acknowledge and support the best interests of their children. Now, mind you, it might be that -- knowing their parents -- some of these children are too terrified to say that they're gay, so maybe these GOP elected officials don't know that they're demeaning their own children. But I doubt that all or even most are. After all, if his child was willing to come out to Dick Cheney, all these others have much less to fear.
So, in the end, we're stuck with a situation where Republicans in Congress are not only unwilling to allow equal rights for others -- but for their own families, as well.
There's a reason there are so many more songs about baseball than all the other sports combined. For starters, the slow, pastoral pace of the game lends itself to storytelling.
This is one of my favorites by Tom Paxton, "My Favorite Spring." And like the best of baseball songs, it's about a whole lot more than just baseball.
It's another of those Most Wonderful Times of the Year. The first day of the baseball season.
This is a very short video, only 30 seconds, but I think it does a wonderful job showing without any words why baseball has such a profound effect on so many people. And if others don't get it, it's their loss.
It's the simple things in life, that's what baseball teaches us. A bunt, a sacrifice, a single, a baseball.
The video is about the pure joy of being a little kid and also loving your favorite baseball team more than you can imagine loving anything. After the pre-game warm-ups, Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett left the mound, and...
I love Bob & Ray. And this is one that's always been on my long list of favorites. It's also a rare, very early video of the sketch. The audience doesn't laugh all that much, but me, I think it's a hoot. But beyond all that, it's an especially perfect fit for Easter.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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