Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, October 20, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 19



 Mountain Views News Saturday, October 20, 2012 

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

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


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

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams



 I want to tell you a story. The truth is that it doesn’t really make 
much difference what the details of the story are as long as the 
essence of the story is me talking about me. This month’s Atlantic 
Magazine, in an article entitled, The Selfish Meme—Twitter, 
Dopamine, and the Evolutionary Advantages of Talking About 
Oneself, has finally explained why we (and especially me) like to 
talk about ourselves so much. “Sharing our thoughts, it turns out, 
activates the brain’s reward system and our biggest reward in this 
area comes from disclosing our own thoughts and feelings.

 Now let’s be clear on this. It’s not like talking about our own stuff is as satisfying 
as sex; but the point is that sharing our own feelings, really talking about ourselves, 
generates more internal pleasure than talking about anything else. The phenomenon 
of the cyber-social media dramatically makes this point. Normal conversation, 
according to the Atlantic Article, consists of about 30 to 40 per cent of people talking 
about themselves. More than 80 per cent of the updates on social media, however, 
consist of people talking about themselves and thereby enjoying the pleasure of 
presenting their thoughts to an imagined attentive audience.

 I am a living, breathing example of this truth. I love telling stories about myself, 
such that as soon as I open my mouth my wife and kids start rolling their eyes and 
give me that “not again” look. That’s why I love writing these articles to you invisible, 
perhaps non-existent readers. I imagine that my little stories will interest you and 
inspire you to contemplate your own lives and thereby create a better world and save 
the planet. Oh, how good it feels.

 So here goes. What I did this weekend. Saturday began with me feeling pretty 
good. I thought Joe Biden did a great job of representing my generation during the 
vice-Presidential Debate. He was so active, alert, and able to present the “I was there” 
wisdom of the experienced politician. It’s so different from the ultra-cool, unruffled 
but only theoretical number- spouting of the younger politician. On Friday’s Real 
Time With Bill Maher, I loved hearing the description of the debate as some old 
man beating up his grandson. My confidence was shaken a little Saturday morning 
as I chatted with a neighbor, who described Mr. Biden as Vice-President Ha Ha. I 
realized his viewpoints were formed by the pundits on Fox News while my informed 
perspective was merely confirmed by the commentators on MSNBC.

 Anyhow, now, it was time to race-off to the UCLA game at the Rose Bowl. 
Notwithstanding the fact that I almost passed out in the heat, I had a fine time 
watching the BRUINS devour the Romneys (the Mormons of the University of Utah), 
I hoped it was a pre-shadowing of election results. On the shuttle-bus back to the 
parking lots I had a wonderful conversation with this eighty-seven year old man who 
had seen every UCLA Home Game for 66 years. He was sharp and aware and this 
inspired me to believe that the last third of my life could also be similarly worth living. 
This point was further supported as I listened to 86-year old Tony Bennett sing God 
Bless America during the broadcast seventh-inning stretch at the Giant-Cardinal 
Baseball Playoff Game.

 On Saturday at about 7:00 p.m. my family took the train to Exposition Park in the 
hope of seeing the Endeavour. It was a new experience for us and the train riders were 
wonderfully helpful and told us to just follow them as we marched up and down stairs 
transferring from one train to another. I must admit that the TAP payment plan is still 
a mystery to me. On the train we spoke to all kinds of people, all pretty interesting. I 
even had a conversation about the philosophy behind adversarial jurisprudence with 
a graduate student from Georgetown.

 Of course the Endeavour never arrived at Exposition Park on Saturday, but it was a 
neat experience just talking to the volunteers and the very serious USC students in the 
crowd. There was some possibility that a few of these students might actually learn to 
read or write or to do something besides counting money before they had purchased 
their full college degree. (Just kidding—GO BRUINS!) 

 On Saturday we drove back to Exposition Park and this time really got to see 
the Endeavour. Surprise-surprise-some things are more important than schedules. 
It’s hard to explain, but being right there next to the Spaceship is a different kind of 
experience. It’s beaten and battered and has come a long way and just being in its 
presence conveys a precious appreciation of the reality of Mankind’s accomplishments. 
All right; perhaps you already guessed. I like to think as I write these articles that 
some similar kind of reality is being conveyed and I guess I’m fortunate that for the 
moment there’s no one around to disagree with me. 


 The movement of the Koch brothers in American politics is 
both a scandal and a disgrace. These spoilt chickens who were 
left large sums of money by their parents could have more 
patriotically used part of that money to pay their fair share 
of taxes and help pay down America’s deficit. Instead, they 
want to buy Congress, state governors and legislatures to do their dirty bidding 
of protecting solely their private interests. Those interests include shielding them 
from higher taxes and environmental protection laws even as they blatant the 

 According to the 2010 report by Greenpeace, “Koch Industries: Secretly Funding 
the Climate Denial Machine,” Koch has out-spent ExxonMobil in funding climate 
change denial. From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent $8.9 million, while the 
Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding to 
organizations of climate change skeptics. Efforts include:

More than $5 million to Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) for its 
nationwide “Hot Air Tour” campaign opposing clean energy and climate legislation.

More than $1 million to the Heritage Foundation, which writes about climate and 
environmental policy issues.

Over $1 million to the Cato Institute, which disputes the scientific evidence behind 
global warming, questions the rationale for taking climate action, and has been 
heavily involved in spinning the recent ClimateGate story.

$800,000 to the Manhattan Institute, which has hosted Bjorn Lomborg twice in the 
last two years, a prominent media spokesperson who challenges and attacks policy 
measures to address climate change.

$365,000 to Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), 
which advocates against taking action on climate change because warming is 
“inevitable” and expensive to address.

$360,000 to Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRIPP) which supported 
and funded “An Inconvenient Truth... or Convenient Fiction,” a film attacking the 
science of global warming and intended as a rebuttal to former Vice-President Al 
Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (PRIPP also threatened to sue the 
U.S. Government for listing the polar bear as an endangered species.)

$325,000 to the Tax Foundation, which issued a misleading study on the costs of 
proposed climate legislation.

 The report says such contributions are only part of the picture, because the full 
scope of direct contributions to political and public policy organizations is not 
disclosed by individual Koch family members, executives, or from the company 

 During the 1990s, faulty Koch Industry pipelines were responsible for more 
than 300 oil and chemical spills in five states prompting a landmark penalty of 35 
million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Minnesota, it was 
fined an additional $8 million for discharging oil into streams.

 According to an August 30, 2010 article in the New Yorker magazine, “In 1999, 
a jury found Koch Industries guilty of negligence and malice in the deaths of two 
Texas teen-agers in an explosion that resulted from a leaky underground butane 
pipeline. In 2001, the company paid an undisclosed amount settlement. 

 During the months leading up to the 2000 presidential elections, the company 
faced even more liability, in the form of a 97-count federal indictment charging it 
with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, a known carcinogen, 
from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. The company faced liability for $350 
million in fines, and four Koch employees faced up to 35 years in prison.

 After George W. Bush became president the U.S. Justice Department dropped 88 
of the charges. Two days before the trial, John Ashcroft settled for a plea bargain, 
in which the company pled guilty to falsifying documents. All major charges were 
dropped, and Koch and Ashcroft settled the lawsuit for a fraction of the original 
amount. No impropriety there!

 The fact that Koch Industries is giving out more than 85 million dollars this year 
to right wing groups, such as Grover Norguist’s Americans for Tax Reform, and 
Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, not to mention its biggest recipient, the Tea Party, 
makes the Koch brothers big time players in the political process.

 Al-Qaeda, North Korea, and Iran are less of a threat to America than the Koch 
brothers, their subsidiaries and political allies. It is their money corrupting our 
political system that is a big reason America is going to hell in a hand basket.

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A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


RICH Johnson


I am the kind of person that likes to do business with cash on the 
barrelhead. I do not like credit because it has a way of biting you 
in the end. When you have a credit card, there are fees to beat 
the band. I do have a credit card but I have it hidden so well that 
I have not been able to find it for seven weeks. I just do not like using it.

 The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage always warns me about the possibility that 
someone can steal my credit card. Ha ha, I say in defiance to her warning. I am never 
worried about that. If anybody can get money out of my account with my credit card, 
I would like to work with them and go 50-50 on it. Every time I need money, my 
credit card is empty. I think there is a conspiracy in this whole thing.

 Nothing is more embarrassing than going to a checkout counter to pay for goods 
that I intend to purchase and my credit card is denied. The reason I was using the 
credit card at the time was I did not have any cash in my pocket. Now, I have no 
cash in my pocket and my credit card is just grinning at me refusing to cough up the 
money needed for purchasing these goods.

 I hate my credit card. And it is reciprocal. My credit card hates me and tries its level 
best to embarrass me every chance it gets.

 When I do business, I want to know that I have done business. Nothing is more 
satisfying than completing a financial transaction with cash.

 I have noticed a dangerous trend in the area of business in our country. There is a 
tendency away from cash. I do not understand it. I think the simplest thing to do 
would be to pay cash for something. But no, some people think that is so old fashion 
that they have to come up with something new.

 Now they have this newfangled thing that you can pay your bills online. What is that 
all about? I like to see the person I am paying and hear from them their gratuitous 
"Thank you," for the transaction. I was just getting used to writing checks and now 
I do not have to use my checkbook anymore. My creditors want me to pay online.

 When will all this craziness stop? If cash was good enough for Benjamin Franklin, 
it certainly is good enough for me.

 Then the inevitable happened. You know how it is. Well, it happened to me. I went 
to do a little bit of shopping while I was out of town on a trip recently. I made sure 
I had cash in my wallet so I stopped at a restaurant in the shopping mall. Normally 
I do not like shopping malls. I get nervous every time I go into one of these malls 
wondering if I will ever exit alive. There are just too many people in these malls for 
my comfort.

 But the necessity of my trip brought me to this mall and I decided I would treat myself 
to lunch. One of the great things about treating myself to lunch when my wife is 
not with me is I can order what I want for my lunch. After all, it is my lunch.

 I had a great time selecting things from the menu that had nothing whatsoever to 
do with vegetables. Vegetables are all right in their place, but their place is not on my 
lunch plate, especially when my wife is not present.

 I had a scrumptious lunch and then top it off with a nice slice of apple pie à la mode. 
Life does not get any better than this. I sat back in my chair, rubbed my stomach and 
felt good about the world around me. I was even beginning to think that there might 
not be so much wrong with malls after all.

 Finally, it was time to take my ticket up to the cashier and pay for my lunch. I was 
in for a very rude awakening. I presented my ticket to the cashier and pulled out of 
my wallet enough cash to cover the ticket. "I'm sorry, sir," the woman behind the 
cashier said. "We don't accept cash in this restaurant."

 I was in a good mood and laughed as though I was the vice President of the United 
States. "That's a good one," I complimented her. "Sir, we don't take cash here," she 
insisted. "We are not set up for cash; all we take are credit cards."

 About this time, I realized she was not joking. I found myself in the proverbial pickle 
with only cash on my person and no credit card.

 "But all I have is cash."

 Finally, the manager of the restaurant was called to the front, I was able to settle my 
ticket with him, giving him cash and he used his credit card to pay the ticket.

 What is this world coming to when you cannot use cash anymore?

 What is better than cash in my thinking is God's gift. "For the wages of sin is death; 
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23 KJV).

 Unlike cash, God's gift to me will never go out of style.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, 
Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. 

Well, I got some positive feedback on my column highlighting 
the year 1962. So, let’s jump in the wayback machine and take 
a look at year 1982. What were you doing in 1982?

If you were actor Paul Newman you were busy getting into the 
salad dressing business. If you were a brilliant science minded 
person who could see into the future you were starting the 
computer software company Adobe. If you didn’t want to 
start a computer company you could go play Ms. Pacman, moon dance or work 
out to a new Jane Fonda workout video to the music of “Thriller”

Were you or did you have little kids in 1982. You would have spent Saturday 
mornings watching My Little Pony, The Smurfs, and Strawberry Shortcake cartoons 
on television. Speaking of television the top ten shows of 1982 were:

1. 60 minutes
2. Dallas
3. M*A*S*H 
4. Magnum P.I. (actually tied with M*A*S*H)
5. Dynasty
6. Three’s Company
7. Simon and Simon
8. Falcon Crest
9. The Love Boat
10. The A-Team tied with Monday Night Football

The new shows on the horizon were Cheers, Family Ties, Fame, Knight Rider, T. 
J. Hooker, Remington Steele, Cagney & Lacey, and St. Elsewhere. By the way, the 
actual Bar used for the exterior shots of the bar in the show Cheers was in Boston 
and was called, The Bull and Finch Pub.

A new channel was introduced on cable in 1982 that has captivated viewers for 
years. I’m talking about, of course, The Weather Channel. Vanna White became 
part of our culture in 1982 as she replaced the letter turner on Wheel of Fortune.

The biggest box office success at the movies was E.T. the Extraterrestrial which 
grossed $435 million dollars. Tootsie came in second, An Officer and a Gentleman 
was third, Rocky II and a host of others. Gandhi won best picture, best director 
(Richard Attenborough) and best Actor (Ben Kingsley. Meryl Street won (of 
course) for Sophie’s Choice. The two most famous movie quotes of 1982 were each 
just two words long. Can you guess them? I’ll hide the answers down a little bit.

Famous people born in 1982 (they’re all about the same age): Anne Hathaway, 
Kirsten Dunst, Prince William, Kell Clarkson, Jessica Biel among others.

Famous people we said goodbye to in 1982 included Henry Fonda, Ingrid Bergman, 
Grace Kelly, John Belushi, and Jack Webb

Three tragic breakups occurred in 1982. Farah and Lee (Majors) divorced. The 
Doobie Brothers broke up. And Elizabeth Taylor divorced husband number seven 
(Senator John Warner). Can you name her other husbands? Nicky Hilton, Michael 
Wilding, Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton (1964-1974), Richard Burton 
(1975-1976), John Warner and Larry Fortensky.

Alternative rock and roller Frank Zappa foisted the phenomena of the “Valley 
Girl” on us with his song of the same title. That song gave us new terms into the 
American lexicon: Like (as an interjection), “that was, like, the worst thing ever”, 
As if meaning “yeah right”, fer shur meaning “for sure”, Totally meaning “I agree or 
completely”, and gnarly (the ‘g’ is silent) meaning either “intense” or “very pleasing”.

Other song hits from that year include Physical by Olivia Newton John, Eye of the 
Tiger by Survivor, Down Under by Men at Work, and Chariots of Fire by Vangelis.

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October 22, 2012 Last day to register to vote

October 30, 2012 Last day to apply for a vote-by- 
mail ballot by mail

November 6, 2012 Election Day

 Polls are open 

 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m