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Dan Rather has a new weekly gig, not on ordinary television but on a YouTube feed operated by what’s called TYT, “The Young Turks” ultra-progressive talk channel.Rather’s resume is becoming too bulky for a neat one-paragraph bio. The successor to Walter Cronkite, he was the face of CBS News for more than two decades before being ousted over his flawed reporting on President George W. Bush’s National Guard service during the Vietnam War.Circumstances of that unfortunate period can be cast many different ways, as Rather himself made clear in a book tediously detailing his side of the story. But even before that, he was a quirky journalist: a cross between Edward R. Murrow and Inspector Clouseau.At the height of his CBS career, Rather was accosted on a Manhattan street by a seemingly deranged individual demanding, “Kenneth, what’s the frequency?” The man claimed CBS was beaming signals directly into his brain. Rather was shaken; R.E.M. later made a hit song out of it.Then there was the time in 1980 when Rather did a lengthy “60 Minutes” report on the war in Afghanistan, reporting amid gunfire from a mountaintop overlooking a Soviet encampment. The Washington Post’s Tom Shales observed that Rather, dressed in peasant togs, appeared to be, “Dan Rather as Stuart Whitman playing Dan Rather. Or Dan Rather playing Stuart Whitman playing Dan Rather. Perhaps it’s all part of the New Reality.”Shales called him “Gunga Dan.”But much as Bernie Sanders has, late in life, captured the imagination of millennials in search of the reason, Rather has become a social media star. His Facebook page has over 2 million likes, his “News and Guts” page has another million, and he pops up regularly as a cable-TV commentator.Now, in his TYT show, “The News with Dan Rather,” he describes himself as “An old TV newsman, leaning on new media, to connect with our future.” He’s providing a dose of news with a dash of commentary.He warns that constant media coverage about who will get indicted and who will get elected results in “diversions that leave the powers that be free to take us back and free to take us down.”Not surprisingly Rather is a severe critic of Trump and his presidency. He told Politico, “To have this kind of chaos, bordering on havoc, with (Trump in power), that’s something new, and very, very dangerous.”He’s a champion of responsible news media, of course, reminding us of his YouTube program that the goal is to provide a Constitutional check on power. This requires what Rather calls “a shared sense of the truth.”The new show, posted on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. ET, got about 75,000 views in the first 12 hours, and 5,000 likes. It’s a small pond for a guy who once was one of TV’s biggest fish.But Dan Rather imparts a kind of calm reassurance about things. Based on the time I spent talking with him back in his CBS heyday, I can assure you he’s the same folksy, dedicated gentleman that you see on the screen.He once observed, “What I say or do here won’t matter much, nor should it.” Still, it’s good to have Dan Rather back, especially right now, when the world seems upside down.FOOTNOTE: Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com. © 2018 Peter Funt. Columns distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate. by Peter Funt, January 23, 2018He looked pretty good sitting behind the antique partner’s desk in his home-office. In fact, darn good for a newsman of 86. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Dynamic all-rounder Darren Sammy is looking to his future and a post-cricket career, as he prepares for the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which gets underway from August 8.Sammy will appear for the St Lucia Stars in this year’s CPL, and recently, the former Windies and two-time World T20 Cup-winning Captain, who is still very much in demand and is far from done with playing cricket, has started thinking about what he will do when he does hang up his boots.The hard-hitting right-hander pointed out that he was weighing all the options regarding a post-cricket career; options which include coaching, commentary, and mentoring.“A few of the franchises that I’ve played for, they want me to venture into coaching and mentoring. It’s something that I’ve spoken to my manager about, but to be honest with a young family coming up, I’ll probably take a couple years off, raise my kids, enjoy life with my family, because I’ve been on the road for like forever,” he said.“I’ll watch my kids grow, get to see them take out a tooth and enjoy stuff like that, and in between definitely, probably, mentoring. I don’t want to spend all this time away from home anymore. Commentary – you know I’ll venture. The income acquired over the years, I just have to make sure it’s in the right places and investments that could sustain me and my family for my remainder of my days on this earth.”It was a difficult year for the St Lucia Stars in 2017, with them failing to win a match, their only points came from an abandoned game at Warner Park, St Kitts. Sammy says they just never got going. This year, there is an almost completely new squad, with Sammy one of only five players that appeared last season.Sammy was relieved of the captaincy of the Stars halfway through last season.“I think we just never gelled as a team out there. To start off, we missed a few key players: Lasith Malinga pulled out, David Miller pulled out, Shane Watson was injured the first three games of the tournament. We just never came out of the blocks. The race was finished, and we still didn’t get out of the blocks,” Sammy reflected.He continued, “I always say cricket has always been a team sport, but you need individual performances. We didn’t get that. We probably could bring in some changes to the franchise to make it better. So, I’m actually looking forward for this season and see what it brings.”He says his focus is solely on his own on-field performance for CPL 2018. “Well, to be honest, this year I’ve taken a backseat in the planning. Obviously, things didn’t go well for us last year and I won’t be the captain of the franchise. I’m staying away from this entire decision-making.“I will focus my energy in performing on the field, obviously helping the captain and trying to win games for St Lucia, especially when we are at home playing in the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground,” he added.As someone who has had a huge amount of success in T20 cricket, not least captaining Windies to two World T20 titles, Sammy is well placed to explain why Caribbean cricketers have done so well in the format.“Well, I think the style of play, when you see a West Indian you think of flair, you think of excitement, you think of entertainment and that’s what T20 is about. The brand of cricket that we’ve played, we’ve been playing T20s from way back. Sir Garfield Sobers and these guys, they batted like T20.“Sir Viv Richards, the flair in which they played. When everybody was striking at 60-something, Sir Viv was striking at 80 or 90. So, we’ve always played that fast-paced brand of cricket and it’s just that our generation is just blessed that T20 was introduced during that same period.“I think it’s been for the last decade; it’s been what’s keeping West Indies cricket still as a powerful brand, because we’ve failed at Test matches, we’ve failed at One Days, but we’ve excelled at T20s. Our team get in to the playoffs for so many T20 finals. I think except when we’ve played in the Caribbean, we were in the semi-finals for all the T20 competitions that we’ve played. It’s just a format of the game that suits our Caribbean people.”When asked what makes Hero CPL so special, Sammy says there are so many elements that combine to make it a unique tournament. “CPL is a very great brand – where you get all the West Indians playing at the same time, mix the internationals with that, plus you’re in the Caribbean. I don’t think there’s any other cricketer in the world that would not want to tour the Caribbean. Beautiful place, blue sea, white sand, amazing people, amazing food, it’s like you’re on a vacation and that’s the type of atmosphere CPL brings.“Plus, the cricket is exciting, the fans won’t enjoy a cricket game like that anywhere else than in the Caribbean. We’re just unique in the things that we do, the way we celebrate, and CPL is a growing brand. I would love for St Lucia to win this one coming. We’ve not really represented ourselves really well, but hopefully this year we can raise the trophy. It’s a competition that keeps on growing, keeps on producing young cricketers and hopefully that could filter into international cricket where we can start producing cricketers that could go on to play well for West Indies,” Sammy ended.