WASHINGTON - From time to time, the late New York sports-writing legend Jimmy Cannon used to do a column composed of witty, sentimental short takes he called, "Nobody Asked Me, but." It was Cannon who wrote of the longtime African-American heavyweight-boxing champion: "Joe Louis is a credit to his race ... the human race." Another Cannon one-liner: "I can't say I ever remember staying for the end of a movie in which the actors wore togas."
With a tip of the cap to Cannon, here is my own "Nobody Asked Me, but."
The continuing national debate on the thorny subject of immigration recalls the advice of an important Native American tribal leader to President Harry Truman: "Be careful with your immigration laws. We were careless with ours."
Here is a favorite sports drinking question: Only four U.S. colleges or universities have graduated both a U.S. president and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Name the schools and the individuals. Answer below.
It turns out former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and the Democratic President Barack Obama have more in common than either of them acknowledges. Both of them were, at one point, quite confident that signing into law major health care reform would advance their political careers.
I predict that with the way things are going politically for the White House, which is not good, the government of Kenya will make a formal announcement following a through, official examination that it has authoritatively determined that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii.
Like most sports fans I know, I'm happy the dominant professional basketball player of his generation, Akron, Ohio, native LeBron James, is leaving Miami to return to his old hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. A rare victory for the Rust Belt over the Sun Belt.
But let's remember to give credit to the Ohio-based professional who had certainly the greatest single season ever. That would be Oscar Robertson, the "Big O," who, playing for the Cincinnati Royals from 1961-62, averaged 30.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game and 11.4 assists per game - what is called a "triple-double." For comparison, among the 390 professional basketball players during the entire 2013-14 season of 82 games, there was a grand total of 35 triple-doubles.
Here's the fail-safe test to determine whether you're a little overweight: If you're sitting in the bathtub, and the water level in the toilet bowl rises.
Charles Osgood, the superb CBS journalist, recalls that it was while delivering newspapers in his boyhood hometown that he first learned the importance of accuracy in journalism. That was when young Charles was trying mightily at each house to miss the bushes and hit the front porch.
The Reverend Al Sharpton is, hands down, the sharpest-dressing anchor on MSNBC. Yes, the Reverend Al is truly a man of the cloth. And in his case, the cloth is cashmere.
The answer to the sports stumper above: The four schools that have produced both a U.S. president and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback are the University of Michigan (President Gerald Ford and quarterback Tom Brady); the U.S. Naval Academy (President Jimmy Carter and quarterback Roger Staubach); Stanford University (President Herbert Hoover and quarterbacks Jim Plunkett and John Elway); and Ohio's Miami University (President Benjamin Harrison and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.)
Comedian-actor Martin Short is an authentic genius.
In every political campaign or debate you're ever in, there will always be, without fail, somebody on your side you wish devoutly was on the other side.
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To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.