Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

Imus and CBS Radio Reach Settlement August 14, 2007

Is an Imus Resurrection Imminent?

The Associated Press has reported that veteran radio broadcaster Don Imus and his former employer, CBS Radio, have reached a settlement that sidesteps a potential breech of contract lawsuit for $120 million threatened by Imus. It is widely speculated that the settlement clears the way for Imus to make a return to the airwaves.

Imus was terminated without notice by CBS Radio in April following disparaging remarks made by Imus and sidekick Bernard McGuirk in the early morning hours of the nationally syndicated show and its simulcast on MSNBC. It was since uncovered that Imus’ termination was carefully orchestrated by staffer Ryan Chiachiere of Media Matters for America, a front for the Hillary Clinton campaign operating as a non-profit organization.

Imus’ contract required CBS Radio to issue a formal warning in writing about any of the show’s content that was deemed objectionable. CBS radio terminated Imus without such a written warning in the middle of Imus’ major annual fundraising effort for SID’s, The CJ Foundation and Tomorrow’s Children. This was after MSNBC had decided to end the simulcast and, presumably, Imus’ sponsors had pulled out.

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Phil Rizzuto, Yankee Legend, Dead at 89

Truly a New York Icon

Early this morning, we learned the news that Phil Rizzuto had passed away in his sleep at the age of 89. Rizzuto, a Baseball Hall of Fame Shortstop for the New York Yankees from 1941 to 1956, and a Yankee broadcaster for four decades, was a beloved New York icon. Conventional wisdom among New Yorkers was that you either loved or hated “The Scooter” but, regardless of your loyalty to the Brooklyn Dodgers or New York Giants, Rizzuto was truly one of the happiest, nicest and most beloved men who ever played the game.

Like many, I cried this morning when I heard the news. For my generation of kids in New York, there were two men who personified the greatness of the New York Yankees. The first was Mickey Mantle. Most of the kids in the New York area grew up wanting to be Mickey Mantle. We fought to get the uniform with the number “7” on the back. We wanted to play centerfield and hit clean-up. We all dreamed of hitting long-towering home runs just like Mickey.

But we also felt like Phil Rizzuto was our buddy in the broadcast booth. I remember the Sundays from my childhood like they were yesterday. We would head to my grandmother’s house, or the family would come to our house. The women would be in the kitchen cooking the meatballs and the gravy, smoking up a storm and yelling at each other. Meanwhile, all the guys would be in front of the TV, enjoying the Yankee game while catching a quick forty winks here and there.

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An Interesting 2008 Presidential “Blind” Poll

Website Let’s You Vote Your Conscience on Issues, Not Political Hype

Americans seem to be caught up in a frenzy of media hype for the 2008 Presidential Election well in advance of the first primary voting. One has to marvel that candidates are doing the same thing to the presidential elections that the retail industry did to Christmas. Just like holiday sales advertising that starts in October, we have begun the commercialization of the electoral process way ahead of conventional schedules.

Some might find this to be a healthy situation, but its positive impacts are only superficial.. We’ve already had debates, serious fundraising, name calling, media spin, character assassinations and the endless polls. Some analysts have suggested that candidates who are unable to garner 3% audience recognition at this unusually early date should consider dropping out.

The good news is that an organization called 2decide.com has developed a web site that allows voters to see which candidate best represents the issues most important to them. By visiting http://www.dehp.net/candidate/, voters can program their answers to 25 campaign issues and then see how all the candidates, Democrats and Republicans, measure up on those issues. My favorite political pundit and long-time friend, Tim McHugh of Area 51 Special Effects, promised me that I would be surprised at who was the campaign leader BASED SOLELY on a blind poll about the issues important to Americans. And I honestly was surprised!

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