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60 MINUTES
10/15/2011 5:35:10 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Finally, CBS made the official announcement in late September that Andy Rooney, at 92, was hanging it up. 60 MINUTES will no longer conclude with “a few minutes with Andy Rooney” as it has for the past 33 years.

Change is good — but not always. Hence, 60 MINUTES cannot be the show it once was. Since Don Hewitt is gone, as well as Ed Bradley, it may be too much for Morley Safer to handle without Mike Wallace, who at 126 is probably in the Will Rogers “home” anyway.

Leslie Stahl and Scott Pelly make sincere efforts, but Ms. Stahl keeps looking over her shoulder as though Ann Curry at NBC were waiting in the wings; and Pelly seems preoccupied with the CBS Evening News. I do like Anderson Cooper, but even with white hair and Gloria Vanderbilt, he can be such a nerdy kid!

Without Rooney on the show, the other wannabees seem haunted by the ghost of Harry Reasoner.

60 MINUTES minus its national treasure may deteriorate into a fragmented NBC DATELINE or lily-livered PBS FRONTLINE; it will, most assuredly, lack the clout and pizzazz it once had. If there was ever a TV entity crying out for help, 60 MINUTES is now it. Without the weekly hour of thought-provoking journalism it once was, Newton Minnow’s succinct analysis of television as a vast wasteland is more profound than ever.

Lord knows CBS has had little enough to brag about these past few years what with the Dan Rather, Katie Couric and Charlie Sheen fiascos to overcome, but “a few minutes with Andy Rooney” were normally sufficient to justify its existence. Who else might get away with saying “Everyone knows I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing I SAW MOMMIE KISSING HIM in December. They can wish me Merry Christmas or not; my main concern will be paying off my Visa Card in full. I don't always agree with Charles Darwin, but I won’t call the ACLU when a teacher in the Bible belt gets arrested for teaching the theory of evolution.”

I honestly don’t know if the shaggy curmudgeon ever wrote that (I didn’t hear the show on which he allegedly said it) but I have been assured by countless emails that he perhaps could be credited with the following:

“Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game in Ashtabula. What's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire letters from St. Paul. Misguided though they may be, they're just talking to a God they happen to believe in, asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game, especially if their team scores more points.

“But it's a ‘Christian’ prayer, some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country they keep telling us was founded on so-called ‘Christian’ principles. Well, whether it was or not, the Manhattan phone book lists more Christian churches than all the others: better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect — somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

“If I went to a marathon in Tel Aviv, I would expect to hear a Hebrew prayer. If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a ping-pong match in China, I would not be shocked if someone prayed to Buddha. And I wouldn't be offended, either. It wouldn't bother me one bit — so long as I didn’t have to participate in either the prayer or the event.

“You know what they say . . . ‘when in Rome . . .’

“But what about the atheists, you ask? Well, what about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. For crying out loud, just humor people for 30 seconds! And if that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of earplugs. Go to the john. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

“Scratch that last part. Unfortunately, one or two of you will actually make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations. Christians, I would think, are probably sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts delight in stripping them of their rights.

“Parents and grandparents keep saying that kids should pray before eating and before going to sleep. The Bible says pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling believers to cease praying altogether. God — or somebody — help us!

“And if that last sentence offends you, well, sue me. We’ve been silent too long. It's time we tell those who disagree that the vast lot of Americans don't care what you think. It is time that the majority rules, even though this is a Republic, not a Democracy! It's time we tell them, ‘You don't have to pray; you don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services or like whomever the president is and listen to his State of the Union speech.’

“You don’t have to do a cotton-picking thing — except leave us alone. That is your right, and we will honor your right; but by golly, you should no longer take our rights and stomp on them!

“We may be a minority, but we’re mad as hell, and we ain’t gonna take it no more!

“As Tiny Tim said, ‘God bless us, everyone!’ . . . Especially those who denounce the holier than thou and their so-called creator. Somebody please bless America, despite all our faults. We are still the greatest nation of all. Bless our service men who are fighting and dying to protect our right to pray and worship whoever, whatever or no one at all!”

Like I said, I don’t know if these words are attributable to Andy Rooney or not. But even if they’re not, they should be. . . .You tell ‘em, Andy — even though CBS says no more ‘minutes with Andy Rooney!’ are available at the end of 60 MINUTES.


Copyright©2011 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved


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U S Chemical and Biological Defense Respirators by Kalikiano Kalei

An illustrated developmental history of the American military chemical and biological protective respirator for use against war agents, this work provides photographs of actual res..  
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