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If You Ask Me

Words you can say on TV and how they evolved

The recent vulgar eruptions by two television personalities, Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee, brought to mind my own experience with words that were never to be uttered on the air. 

I had been with WTIC Radio and Television for a couple of years in 1965 when the radio station celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding in 1925.

As part of the observance, I was asked to write a memo on the events of the year 1925 so that the disc jockeys and talk show hosts could provide the listeners with colorful anecdotes about the events of the year.

NRA discovered the Second Amendment 50 years ago

My mother wouldn’t let her kids play with toy guns because she had the quaint idea that children shouldn’t be playing at killing other children.

Candidates: voters need specifics

Here is the pledge made by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont to the party’s base in accepting the nomination: “I’m not going to balance the budget on the backs of our teachers, not on the backs of our state employees and not on the backs of the most vulnerable.” 

So where does that leave the backs of the rest of us?

Ticket balancing, now diversity

The ancient and sometimes honorable practice of ticket balancing appears to be returning to the Connecticut political scene.  It never completely went away, but as various religious and ethnic groups prospered and no longer demanded representation on every gubernatorial ticket, it subsided for a time.

Correspondents’ dinner harmful to journalism

Mr. Dooley, the wise and witty saloon keeper created by the Chicago columnist Peter Finley Dunne, advised the gentlemen of the press a century ago that it was their duty to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

He said nothing about hiring a comedian to do it for them.

When it was called treason, not collusion

The last time a presidential candidate conspired with a foreign government to influence an election, it was called treason, not collusion.

The time was 1968, the candidate was Richard Nixon.  

Fifty years ago this fall, Nixon was enjoying a 15-point lead over Vice President Hubert Humphrey until the prospect of ending the war in Vietnam in the waning days of the campaign began to erode that lead.  

Too many candidates for governor, too few ideas

Nobody seems to be noticing or, I daresay, caring that Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican Parties will nominate their candidates for governor in a few weeks. For those who do, it’s May 11 and 12 in Hartford for the Democrats and May 18 and 19 at the Foxwoods Casino for the Republicans.

Maybe it’s because we’re so distracted by the dysfunction of the two national parties or maybe the more politically aware suspect that the nominating conventions won’t necessarily be nominating the next governor.

Get the paper for news, the news channel for entertainment

I just saw “Chappaquiddick,” a retelling of the 1969 automobile accident that took the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and destroyed the presidential ambitions, but not the political career, of Edward Kennedy.  

Afterward, I talked about it with friends who hadn’t seen the film but vividly remembered the event. I described what I saw as a fascinating docudrama, which recounted the story as I remembered it but also  attempted to fill in some blanks with speculation based on both historical accounts and the imagination of the writers.

Esty upheaval could cost Democrats the 5th District in November

When I left the state for a long winter vacation in late February, the race to succeed the most unpopular governor in the Union was a mess, with a dozen or so no-names, has-beens and never-wills from each party flopping about like so many beached whales.

Nothing much has changed. We still have too many candidates offering too few ideas. Check out the content of last week’s debate among nine Republican candidates for evidence.

The funniest president in U.S. history?

By now, we’ve all come to recognize that, in addition to his genius and humility, we have a president blessed with a world-class sense of humor. Witness the levity in his suggestion that those who didn’t stand and join in applauding him during his State of the Union address were  “treasonous.”

Hilarious.

Donald Trump, we can all agree, is the wittiest president in the past century — with the possible exception of that devilishly funny Richard Nixon.