Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, October 6, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, October 6, 2012 

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


Patricia Colonello




Richard Garcia


Lina Johnson


John Aveny 


Jeff Brown

Pat Birdsall

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Meaghan Allen

Sean Kayden



Despite the supreme 
court’s landmark 
ruling on the 
constitutionality on 
President Obama’s 
Patient Protection 
and Affordable Care (APPAC) earlier 
this year, health care seems to have 
dropped off the political map in 
recent months as the presidential race 
continues to place more importance on 
job creation and economic growth.

But for many Americans health care 
remains a pertinent issue and one that 
affects nearly everyone. It’s remarkable 
because only a couple months ago 
health care was the hot issue.

However, I think that it is still a hot 
issue and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t 
come up again during the final few 
weeks of the presidential campaign 
because it is an issue that reaches every 
demographic in some way, shape or 
form. It is also the issue that most 
distinguishes President Obama from 
Mitt Romney. 

The issue of health care reform 
is especially relevant for younger 
Americans and the unemployed 
who have no healthcare insurance 
whatsoever because prior to APPAC 
health coverage covered employees 
rather than individuals themselves 
regardless of their employment status.

Perhaps a brief review of the pros and 
cons Obama’s health care reform is 
in order. What follows can be found 
on the Congressional Budget Office 


Everyone can have health insurance if 
they want it.

Insurers will not be able to stop paying 
for people who are sick, even it they 
lose their jobs.

People who cannot afford health 
insurance won’t have to pay as much 

People who are already sick will be 
eligible for healthcare.

In the long run APPAC will reduce 
medical costs significantly. Rising 
medical costs are the main reason the 
long-term budget projections are so 
alarming. Something has to be done. 
Unfortunately, this bill might not be 
enough. While there will definitely be 
some savings, it is not clear that they 
will be as transformative as hoped.

Health insurers can no longer cap 
coverage. In other words, they will no 
longer say that they have spent enough 
on you and you’re on your own for the 
next hundred thousand dollars. This 
should reduce medical bankruptcy.

There will be increased competition 
in the insurance market. It might be 
from a future public option. It might 
also be from some kind of non-profit, 
state-specific co-operative exchange 
that are being tried by 12 states and the 
District of Columbia. This might push 
the healthcare companies to lower costs 
and provide better service.


For the first ten years, APPAC will cost 
about $100 billion a year. This is about 
the yearly cost of the Afghan War.

This bill might increase the cost of health 
insurance. This depends on whether the 
gains from increased efficiencies and 
increased competition is outweighed by 
cost providing additional benefits.

The Individual Mandate. You will have 
to either buy health insurance if you 
don’t have it or have a 2% tax increase. 
This insurance will be subsidized, but 
there is no guarantee that the subsidy 
will be enough to cover your specific 

There will be a tax increase on very high 
income people. If you are making more 
than half a million dollars a year you 
will have about a 1% tax increase.

There is also other stuff that might be 
good or bad, depending how you see 

Increased government involvement in 
Health care. Government already pays 
for huge amounts of health care--so 
this won’t be anything new. 

Additional regulation on insurance 
companies. This might increase costs. 
It will certainly increase quality.

Physicians will have increased access to 
information about what treatments are 
most cost effective. If two treatments 
work equally well and one is cheaper, 
doctors can recommend that one. This 
was almost universally considered a 
good thing until a few years ago, but 
some people have started criticizing it 

Large employers may also have to offer 
insurance to more of their employees. 
If they do not, they may have to pay 
some extra tax.

Readers who have followed my column 
know well my position in support of 
universal single-payer healthcare. So it 
should come as no surprise when I say 
APPAC is a step in the right direction, 
but only a small step. It does not 
guarantee universal access to quality 
health care as a single-payer system 
would. It is, however, much better than 
what we had before APPAC. In short, 
Americans are better off than they were 

Mr. Romney has threatened to the 
dismantle APPAC if he is elected. If 
for no other reason than this, I will 
be voting for President Obama in 

 Two young fish are swimming along and they happen to meet 
an older fish swimming the other way. The older fish goes by and 
call out to them, “Morning , boys, how’s the water?” The younger 
fish continue side by side for a while and then one stops and says, 
“What the hell is water?”

 This little joke is taken from a 2005 Kenyon College graduation 
address delivered by David Foster Wallace, as described on page 285 of his biography 
entitled, Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story. As many of you know, David Foster 
Wallace was an essayist and novelist noted for producing monstrously long, complex, 
hysterically funny novels. Often it seemed that DFW knew everything about 
everything. For the past couple of weeks, since I finished reading the biography, I 
have been kind of obsessed by David’s little joke contained in the Kenyon College 
commencement address. Yesterday, as I tried to ignore the heat and made my 
morning canyon walk, I ran into a neighbor and repeated the little fish joke to him. 
He responded by telling me another tale. A giraffe and a lion were talking and the lion 
asked, “Do you ever see that old guy down by the river. Every time I see him he looks 
like he’s scared out of his mind and about to faint”.

 “Well”, the giraffe said, sometimes I see this old guy down by the river but it must 
be a different guy. This one always looks kind of peaceful and amused.”

 Do you get the joke? I’m pretty dense and didn’t get it at first. Okay, now you get it. 
When the old man sees the lion, the man is scared out of his wits and looks the part. 
When he sees the non-threatening, vegetarian giraffe there is no threat. . Everything 
is a part of an interaction between the observer and the observed. The growling lion 
scares hell out of the man, while the peaceful giraffe relaxes and amuses him. (For 
those of you in the know, that is Schrödinger’s Cat that you hear meowing.)

 Yes, everything about who we are and what we project out into the world impacts 
on our perceptions and what comes into us. Do you get what I mean? It’s like that 
tree that falls in a forest in a basic philosophy class. Is there a sound if there is no one 
around to hear it? Is everything an interaction such that there is no observed absent 
an observer?

 Are you thinking about that. And while you’re thinking about, that let’s go back to 
the three fish. Remember the old fish says “how’s the water?’ and the young fish have 
no idea what the scaley old guy is talking about. (Scaley old guy is a secret reference 
to myself and this kind of obscure column.)

 How come the young fish don’t notice the water? It’s everywhere around them. It’s 
behind, ahead, above, and below. It’s past present, and future simultaneously—sort of 
like time. So how come they don’t even know it’s around? I think Wallace’s message 
to the undergraduates is that it is extremely difficult to be aware of life as we live it. 
Especially for the young, the major experience of life can be nothing but anxiety and 
irritation. Not just the young; for all of us right now we can be so overcome by worries 
regarding the future and the economic, environmental, and political circumstances 
that we completely fail to notice what is going on right now. Have you ever wandered 
back to your college and noticed how beautiful the place is and wondered how come 
you never noticed it during the four years you were there.

 Maybe the point of David Wallace’s joke was that by the time one is old and the 
overpowering needs have quieted, perhaps it is possible to notice what’s been going 
on all our life. Maybe by time we’ve reached a certain age we may be wise enough 
to notice that despite the economy, the politics, the environment, and the creakiness 
of our bones, things aren’t really so bad. Look around right now. People are living 
twenty years longer, there is less violence than there ever has been and remarkable 
progress is being made towards alleviating medical problems. Perhaps David Wallace 
was in such pain that he could not appreciate this or perhaps he couldn’t wait. He 
hung himself in his pleasant Claremont House at age 47. Last year my wife and I took 
a picture of the house.

 Whether or not we’ve published successful novels we’re still around. Hopefully our 
pain is not so great that we are unable to appreciate what we’ve accomplished. We’re 
still alive, living in a wonderful place and have done many wonderful things. We 
care about our families and our communities and, if you take the time to notice all of 
this, you might well notice that you are actually happy. Really we’ve done all this and 
might consider ourselves FULFILLED. If not, there’s still time! 

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A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


If I heard it once, I 
have heard it a million 
times and this 
week was no exception. 
In fact, the 
words carelessly tumble from my lips on many 
occasions, some of which have been perilously 
near the conclusion of my sermons. Most 
preachers never conclude their sermons, they 
just quit when they cannot indulge the congregation 
another minute longer.

Someone once asked a famous preacher what 
it meant when he said, "Now, in conclusion ..." 
He thought for a moment and then replied, 

Preachers are not the only ones inflicted with 
this verbosity virus. Watching a news broadcast 
recently, I heard a politician tumble headlong 
into the same abyss; "We're going to make 
some changes around here," he proclaimed, 
"and that's my final word on the subject."

It does not really matter which politician pontificated 
thusly, for all of them have said it at 
one time or another and usually it is never 
their "final word" on any subject.

Several things are wrong with that statement.

First, when a politician uses the word "we're" 
he never means to include himself. It is just a 
word he uses to confuse the subject at hand. 
Someone once made this observation, "if all 
the politicians were laid end to end I would 
not be surprised."

Secondly, the only change most politicians are 
interested in is the change in my pocket. They 
have committees devoted to figuring out how 
they can change the change in my pocket to 
their pocket. The slickness to which they do 
this is most remarkable.

Thirdly, there is no such thing as a "final word" 
among politicians. Every politician insists 
on having the last word on any subject even 
though he knows nothing about the subject at 

It is rumored by some unidentified source 
that the entire political sorority has one brain, 
which they share. The Democrats have the left 
side, the Republicans have the right side and 
they have one intent; mouth in motion at all 
times. Since they share the same mouth, they 
both sound alike. When a politician has nothing 
to say you can be sure he will say it most 
profusely. Today, the only difference between 
a Republican and a Democrat is the spelling. 
One can spell in the other cannot.

Every politician has two faces, before the election 
and after election. What a politician says 
before being elected has absolutely no relationship 
with what he or she will say after the 
election. The only thing absolutely certain is 
the newly elected politician will have a lot to 
say, but not much.

Once elected their only strategy is to stay 
elected. They will do everything and anything 
to get my vote. I vote they all be elec-tro-cuted. 
Nothing would be cuter.

One thing that can be said about the political 
institution in our country, it is an equal 
opportunity liars club. Women have as much 
opportunity to join this truth-challenged extravaganza 
as the men.

I do not know who makes better liars, men or 
women. The feminine side of this auspicious 
group has made a miraculous progress in 
catching up to their male counterparts. They 
both seemed quite adept in the practice.

Many elected officials go to great lengths to 
keep their constituency from knowing where 
they stand on the issues. They are seated on 
committees so they do not have to reveal 
where they stand. They are good at sitting and 
pontificating but bad when it comes to standing 
for anything, which makes them believe 
their constituency will fall for anything. And 
we usually do.

The lawmakers of our day are great "change 
agents," to use a contemporary phrase. Their 
opinion on important issues changes with every 
new poll published. Unfortunately, or fortunately, 
depending on your point of view, for 
our friendly politicians, opinion polls can be 
given every hour on the hour.

Of course, the more important the issue the 
more the politician reforms his opinion. A 
politician should have the cleanest mind in 
our country because they change it so much. 
Unfortunately, the exchange is usually down.

Perhaps the best final words any politician 
could utter are, "I won't run again." Usually 
when a politician says this, it means he is currently 
running from something or someone.

Regrettably, the only change that comes with a 
new election is the name on the office door of 
the public servant.

The bolts and nuts of our political system can 
be boiled down to; the politicians bolt for or 
from any excuse and we are nuts for electing 
them to any office.

I sometimes get weary of all this superfluous 
change. It is true; the more things change the 
more they remain the same. What I want to 
change never does and what I do not want to 
change does.

You can imagine what comfort I get from the 
Bible that never changes despite the efforts of 
some people. Two verses are particularly comforting 
to me.

One from the Old Testament: "For I am the 
Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob 
are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6 KJV.)

One from the New Testament: "Jesus Christ 
the same yesterday, and to day, and forever." 
(Hebrews 13:8 KJV.)

When it comes to final words, I want that 
word to come from someone who will not 
capriciously change that word and upset my 
life. I can always trust Jesus Christ to give me a 
word I can always count on.

RICH Johnson


Watched the first debate with me mate, Barry Schwam. It 
was very interesting particularly because this is the first 
time each candidate has been in earshot of the other. 
And able to react to the claims made by each other. I 
hope everyone is watching and trying to decide who has 
a better program. 

So what about the electoral college? The electoral college came about as a 
compromise between the guys who wanted the popular vote to choose 
the president and those other guys who wanted Congress to choose the 
president. Did you know in the first couple of presidential elections the 
losing candidate became the vice president? It was a problem in 1800 
because candidates Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr had the same 
number of electoral votes. The decision was thrown into Congress and 
Jefferson’s buddy Alexander Hamilton had enough sway in Congress 
to swing it to Jefferson. You may recall that Aaron Burr and Alexander 
Hamilton later shot it out in a duel. Mr. Hamilton lost that discussion. 
Burr was indicted for murder but later dismissed or acquitted. It did end 
his political career.

In 1824 something similar happened. Andrew Jackson had 151,271 
votes and John Quincy Adams had 113, 122 votes. For those of you into 
percentages, that’s 41.3% for Jackson and 30.9% for Adams. Neither received 
a majority of the electoral vote so again it was thrown into the House of 
Representatives who decided on Adams. Here’s something else you might 
not know. Presidential inauguration day and start of congressional terms 
used to be March 4th, not January 20th. It was originally set in March 
because it took a while for everyone to get to Washington D. C. Remember 
it was back in the 18th century when air travel was, ahem, in its infancy. 
The twentieth Amendment changed the date and was ratified on January 
23, 1933. If you are thinking a big “SO WHAY” I’ll tell you why it was a 
good idea particularly in 1861 and 1933. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt (and all those Senators and Representatives) had to 
wait four months before dealing with, oh, the secession of the Southern 
states in 1861. And the Great Depression. Some people argue if Lincoln 
had been inaugurated January 20th he would have had a better chance of 
staving off the Civil War.

 Don’t know what these means but they 
sound interesting. Let’s chew on them together: 

“If the camel once gets his nose in a tent, his body will soon follow.” 
Saudi Proverb 

“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a 
sheep.” Arab Proverb 

 “There is a demand today for men who can make wrong appear right.” 
Terence (160 B.C.) 

“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” 

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” 
George Orwell

“Never explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not 
believe it anyway.” Elbert Hubbard

“To escape criticism – do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” Elbert Hubbard

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