Monthly Archives: January 2015

Recalling the Challenger tragedy

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded 29 years ago today, killing all seven astronauts aboard, I was working as a State House reporter for The News Tribune of Woodbridge. It’s one of those days a journalist always remembers because it involved reporting a historic event — – and in this instance an extremely tragic one.

For me, there were several additional reasons why Jan. 28, 1986, remains a vivid memory. Continue reading

Obama, India and me

President Obama’s trip to India brought back memories of one of the more peculiar moments of punditry I’ve been involved with.

On the morning of Obama’s first inauguration, I was home. For me, the big story had been the historic 2008 presidential campaign and election. The inauguration was just a ceremony – more pageantry than news.

indiaThen my cell phone rang (Note to self: Do cell phones ring?). It was a friend of mine – an Asian journalist who had been working in America for years, but still had many contacts back home in India. She told me that a producer of an Indian news program needed commentary from someone involved in American politics to supplement coverage of the inauguration.

I agreed to do it, and Continue reading

Five musical acts that should have played the Super Bowl

It’s impossible to predict what will happen once a Super Bowl gets underway.

Some games are cliffhangers that go down to the final seconds on the clock. Others are blowouts, so the only drama involves the commercials on our television sets, not the action on the field.

But there is one thing we can predict. Regardless of the score, the Super Bowl halftime show will feature some of the most popular entertainers in the world.

Over the years, artists such as Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Prince and Madonna have provided halftime entertainment at Super Bowls. This year’s game will feature performances by Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz.

I’m a football fan and a music fan. Like many Americans, I look forward to the game, the halftime show and everything else that makes Super Bowl Sunday special. But I can’t help feeling a tinge of disappointment that some of my favorite recording artists never had an opportunity to showcase their talents before an audience of more than 100 million TV viewers (in addition to thousands in the stands at the game itself).

My musical tastes tilt heavily to the late-1960s and the early 1970s, a time when the Super Bowl was in its infancy and the halftime entertainment was limited to marching bands, choral groups and an occasional vocalist. It was not until the 1990s that popular recording artists became a staple of the halftime shows. But what if that custom had begun with the very first Super Bowl in 1967? Here are the acts I would have liked to have seen in the first five years of the big game. Continue reading

The Dead re-union: Going back in time

The Grateful Dead are celebrating their 50th anniversary in appropriate pre-internet style.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow through mail order and require money orders for payment.

Free tickets will be awarded to the three people whose ticket orders arrive inside the best decorated envelopes, and as is the band’s custom, the venue will include a designated section for tapers at each show.

Will 2015’s State of the Union set a precedent?

If you want to know what President Barack Obama will discuss in his 2015 State of the Union speech, there is no need to wait until Tuesday when he delivers his annual message to Congress and the American people.

The president already has begun traveling around the nation to promote the initiatives he will outline next week. Among them are proposals for free community college, more affordable housing and stronger cyber security.

By pushing his agenda before the speech, Obama is reversing the usual sequence of events that accompany State of the Union addresses, as well as similar annual reports from governors, mayors and other public figures. For years, the norm has been to unveil an array of public policy proposals in the speech and then go out on the road to promote them.

Why the change? Continue reading