April 15 is the day that Jackie Robinson officially integrated Major League Baseball. It's also the day that the government (maybe) asks you to pay up. And -- although not 100 percent accurately -- it's the day that Tea Party claims as its unofficial birthday...April 15, 2009.
To paraphrase Meat Loaf, one out of three ain't bad.
Still, a few years back, the Tea Party was interesting, where "the action" was, even if you thoroughly disagreed with their agenda. I went to machine gun shows in Kentucky and hung out with "Sheriff Joe" in Arizona so I could write a book about what the hell was going on. Still, by its third birthday, the "Party" was all over but the shouting, and now even the shouting is nowhere to be heard. Remember when there were decent (if numerically overhyped) crowds for Tea Party rallies and events? Where are they now?
Editing is work!...who knew? (Actually, I've also been working intermitently on a long post that kept getting worse the more I work on it, so we'll see, later in the week.) Anyway, this video won the Internet today, and I swear it has nothing to do with the 1960s :-) Watch it -- and then say something bad about Obamacare in the comments below.
A trivial, in the scheme of things, yet unfortunate side-effect of last year's Boston bombing was that the 2013 Pulitzer winners -- announced literally at the exact moment of the attack -- didn't get very much attention for their work. This year, there's actual time to savor the victors -- oddly enough, as newsrooms shrink, it seems like the Pulitzers are more important than ever, as a reminder that amazing work is still done in such a brutal environment for publishing.
The news this year is all good.
Shorter Chris Christie: "Ethics" is for the little people:
TRENTON — At first it was only about a bunch of stray cats.
As you've probably heard (unless you're looking with CNN for those underwater pings), CBS announced today that Stephen Colbert will be replacing David Letterman on "The Late Show" when Letterman retires next year. For the last eight years, Comedy Central has featured a hilarious, groundbreaking show at 11:30 featuring "Stephen Colbert," a buffoonish but oddly lovable right-wing character that, as you might have guessed, is portrayed by the Stephen Colbert hired yesterday by CBS.
In other words, the persona that America (except for this guy, apparently) has come to love is going to live on a farm upstate, or something. CBS and Comedy Central say that that Colbert will host "The Late Show" as himself -- a smart, boyish Sunday school teacher with a great sense of humor (and a great team of writers, who are staying with him). Simply put, he is a largely unknown quantity. CBS doesn't really know exactly what it's getting for its millions...nor do we.
I do know what we're losing, and I mourn its passing. "Stephen Colbert" understood that the only real fresh way to satirize our warped political discourse was not to look down upon it but to embrace it. That allowed him to push boundaries -- once in a while it went off the tracks, and other times his targets hated it nearly as much as we loved it. But it was absurdism for a very, very absurd time.
Sometimes incarceration is needed...but America really needs to lose the mass.
So says Rush Limbaugh -- wait, does this mean they've've cancelled "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction"?
More on this developing crisis later tonight.
There's a lot of things to remember about 1968, but the biggest headline in this 9-year-old's life was it that was the year that I began a lifelong love affair...with baseball. And here's the funny thing about that -- baseball was dying! That's what everybody was saying then, anyway. For one thing, it was just a decade since the famed '58 sudden death NFL title game that seemed to leapfrog football as our new national pastime (punctuated by the first Super Bowl in 1967), and that new sports world order was still a shock to many older folks.
But the more immediate problem was the infamous "Year of the Pitcher." Baseball was dying because every game seemed to be 1-0 (most famously, the All-Star game at the Houston Astrodome, in which the only run came across on a double play!) in a year in which Bob Gibson has a 1.12 ERA, Don Drysdale pitched 58 scoreless innings, and some cafone named Denny McLain won 31 games. My window to the wider world at age 9 was Mad magazine, and I still remember a satirical (duh) piece they did about a baseball game of the future that was a 31-inning (give or take) scoreless tie, in which the "news" was which players connected for foul balls. Many teams played in decaying ballparks in tough neighborhoods, none more so than the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium at 21st and Lehigh. Crowds of less than 10,000 were frequent, while sellouts usually came once a year -- the Sunday that they gave away free bats.
Spoiler alert: Baseball didn't die in 1968, or in the years immediately after. The pitching mound was lowered, the American League added a designated hitter (boo!), and the scoring of runs resumed. Then, starting around the 1980s, something unforeseen happened. In wide world of national TV attention and prestige, baseball was still faltering (Michael Jordan, does that ring a bell?) but under the radar, baseball got cool; cable TV made local teams in big markets a valuable commodity, with 162 "shows" a year, and then came the retro ballparks of the 1990s and things got crazy. In some unlikely cities -- Cleveland, for God's sake -- it became news when a game DIDN'T sell out.