Signs and Wonders
Elton John leads a tribute performance of
Getty Images/Photo by Kevork Djansezian
Elton John leads a tribute performance of "The Weight" Sunday night at the Grammy Awards.

Signs and Wonders: Grammys, physician-assisted suicide, and Dick Cheney

Newsworthy

Grammys underwhelm. The bar is set pretty low when the two best things you can say about Sunday night’s telecast of the Grammy Awards are: no wardrobe malfunctions and some of the most egregious examples of profanity were deleted by “enhanced time-delay” technology. I will admit that the performance of The Band’s “The Weight”—in honor of Levon Helm and others who died in the past year—was remarkable. The song featured Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Zac Brown, Mavis Staples, and others, and they played as if they had actually rehearsed together a time or two. Over the years, the Grammys have been pretty good bellwethers of what’s going on in pop culture at any given moment. Of course, 100 years from now, it’s likely that whoever is alive on planet Earth then will not know a single one of the songs celebrated last night—except perhaps a few of the winners in the classical and jazz categories. If you don’t believe me, consider this: 50 years ago, the Song of the Year was Sammy Davis Jr.’s “What Kind of Fool Am I?” When’s the last time you heard that song on the radio—or anywhere else?

Murder for hire. Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont are all considering legislation that would allow physician-assisted suicide. Connecticut banned the practice in 1969, but the Boston Globe reports lawmakers have introduced at least two bills designed to overturn that ban. The Globe also says that if Connecticut’s legislature legalizes assisted suicide, it will be the first state legislature to do so. Oregon and Washington passed “right-to-die” laws through voter referendums. Montana’s Supreme Court said assisted suicide could be a part of medical treatments. Thirty-four states prohibit assisted suicide outright, and seven others, including Massachusetts, ban it through legal precedent.

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He keeps on ticking. Dick Cheney had five heart attacks before he got a heart transplant in 2012, at age 71. He was a three-pack-a-day smoker for 20 years. Despite all that wear-and-tear, he has not yet gone quietly into that good night. On Saturday he spoke to about 300 members of the Wyoming Republican Party and said, “The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal. Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people.” John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has been confirmed as secretary of state. CIA designate John Brennan and defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel are still awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation. Mincing no words, Cheney also said the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa is worse than ever. “That part of the world is as dangerous now as it has ever been,” he said.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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