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At Long Last, a Health Care Vote?

Less from 72 hours from the moment I write these words, Congress may have voted -- always use the conditional when it comes to Congress -- on the big health care reform bill.

It's big in the sense that the nation hasn't had one before, unless you count the Medicare bill. It's not so big as some Democrats wanted, and bigger than every House Republican wants, or at least is voting on. I'll tell you one thing -- if talking points were TV reruns, every last member of Congress would be getting big residuals, because that's what we've been hearing over and over again, including on Thursday's program, where we also heard that the nation's Catholic nuns have come out in favor of the bill while the Catholic bishops are against it. On such points do the fates of nations -- and your health -- hinge.

So vote, already!

I always loved that Steve Allen PBS program ``Meeting of Minds,'' where characters as varied as Cleopatra [the women were most often played by Allen's wife, actress Jayne Meadows], Attila the Hun, George Bernard Shaw and Chief Sequoyah sat down for good anachronistic chinwag together.

The concept's been revived -- without the costumery, alas -- onstage at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood, and on Friday, Dan Lauria [as Ulysses S. Grant] and Ed Asner [as Karl Marx; yes, yes, we've heard the ''typecasting'' jokes already] are here with a little taste of the historical roundtable.

I interviewed Steve Allen on KCET years back about one of his myriad books. The man was a polymath: first host of the ''Tonight'' show, Grammy-winning composer of thousands of songs, best-selling author, and a TV pioneer. He knew every part of TV stagecraft -- after my interview with him, he spent a good five minutes advising me on how the lighting in the studio could be improved upon.

A demain --