Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15: Candidates Playing "Duck, Duck" and Other Sniglets

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Shame on Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott and U.S. Senate candidates Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist for not clearing their calendars for debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters that were to air on PBS. The league and PBS were forced to cancel the debates.

Dishonorable mention goes to Pam Bondi, attorney general candidate, for ducking an interview with my friend and former colleague Michael Putney when she came to WPLG-Channel 10 today to tape her two minutes of free airtime given by the station.

What are your excuses for ducking, candidates? Doing your nails? An urgent doctor's appointment? Late catching an episode of "Dancing With the Stars?"

You're running for the right to serve and represent the people of Florida. That means they come first.

Scott, Rubio, Crist and Bondi have proven they can string together coherent sentences, so there's no good reason for skipping out on debates or interviews. It just makes them look gutless.


If a debate that takes place at 7 p.m. airs past everyone's bedtime, does anyone see it?

That's what's been happening with crucial debates in Florida for governor and U.S. Senator. In both cases during the last two weeks, ABC (senatorial candidates) and Univision (gubernatorial candidates) have stuck the debates after 11 p.m. The excuse: Anyone can catch it online.

The most loyal voters are the elderly, who are more likely to use traditional media sources, including television. They're not likely to stay up past 11 p.m., but they certainly have just as much right to see what the candidates have to say as everyone else - and a right to the convenience to see it.

Election time is when television stations really owe a public service to viewers. In this case, Univision and ABC and its stations aren't providing it.


Rick Sanchez' firing from CNN comes about 20 years too late.

He should have been fired - and maybe more- from WSVN-Channel 7 in 1990, when he hit a pedestrian outside Joe Robbie Stadium after a Miami Dolphins game. Police officers inexplicably let Sanchez go home to get his driver's license when they should have cited him for that and tested his blood-alcohol level then and there.

Shame on them and on all, including viewers, who have laughed at Sanchez' dog-and-pony show over the last two decades. It's not funny anymore, particularly for those in the Jewish community who are the latest target of his ignorance.


Will KCET really offer a public service to its Los Angeles community without a PBS affiliation? Doubtful.

KCET, which has been a PBS affiliate for more than 40 years and produces "The Tavis Smiley Show" for the service, announced abruptly its decision to cut ties. Fortunately, there are three other stations in the area that will pick up the slack.

Equally inexplicable is the continuing suggestion that commercial and cable networks do what PBS does.

That's ridiculous. No one else has programs like "Frontline," "The Charlie Rose Show," "Nova," "Nature," "Live From Lincoln Center," "The American Experience," "American Masters" or the "Masterpiece" and "Mystery" rosters.

PBS is an oasis that needs to be preserved.


Good for Major League Baseball for being proactive for once and planning to review the umpiring in this year's postseason.

In fairness, the tension level for umpires to get calls right goes up when the stakes are higher. But the selection and training processes do need to be reviewed, particularly with more postseason games being played. The best teams deserve the best umpiring.


Farewell to Bobby Cox, whose Atlanta Braves lost to the San Francisco Giants in their divisional series, but who departed with typical grace.

It says something that Ted Turner, once the Braves' owner, called his early firing of Cox a mistake, and later hired him back after Cox had led the Toronto Blue Jays to their first division title. Cox, who got his start as a player and coach with the New York Yankees, managed to match that success as a general manager, then a manager - first signing and then leading the nucleus of a team that had an astounding 14 consecutive playoff appearances (13 as division champion), four World Series appearances and one championship, in 1995.

The only question about Cox and the Baseball Hall of Fame is: How soon?


It seems like there should have been more tributes to "Cathy," the 34-year-old comic strip that had its last run Oct. 3.

Millions of women commiserated with the regular girl who went on and off diets, tried on seemingly millions of clothes and shoes and was under pressure from her mother for years to marry and have kids.

Many would say the strip lost some of its relevance after Cathy married long-time boyfriend Irving. Perhaps creator Cathy Guisewite agreed, and from that came the decision to end the strip. She ended in a logical way, with Cathy telling her mother that she's expecting a baby.

So now, Cathy moves on with her life. Those of us who will miss her have just one thing to say:


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