Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 26, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 26, 2013 

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




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdsall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


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

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams

JOE GANDELMAN Independent’s 


Really I think 
there may be reason 
for hope. During the 
Presidential Debates 
I was becoming 
despondent. I was 
appalled by the fact 
that nothing important was even being 
talked about. I wrote a letter to the editor 
suggesting that the Debates be held 
on a melting glacier or a disappearing 
coral reef or in an unemployment line 
or anywhere that depicted the true 
problems facing the country and the 
world. I was sickened by the fact that, 
once again, we were being given the 
opportunity to vote for the Harvard Law 
Graduate of our choice. I was angry that 
the candidates looked like movie stars 
with beautiful wives and photogenic 

 Already you might be asking “what’s 
wrong with beautiful people?” It’s an 
interesting question. I guess my answer 
is that in a land where every person 
is created equal, those beautiful folk 
just don’t look very equal. They look 
pampered and privileged and I just don’t 
trust them. Do You? It is true that I 
feel a little differently about the Obama 
family. Yes, they all are ridiculously 
good-looking but somehow they’re 
different. It’s not just that they are 
African-American, it’s some thing about 
the whole way they conduct themselves. 
I love that Michelle’s mother lives in the 
White House and helps to take care of 
the kids. I love that the President and 
the first lady are involved in the kid’s 
school and that Sasha’s middle-school 
basketball team has her father as a 
Coach. Really, if Barack or Michelle 
were found to be having typical celebrity 
sexual dalliances, I don’t think I could 
take it.

 It isn’t just about fidelity. There is 
something very accessible about this 
first family and even I feel a kinship 
with them. Last Thursday I went to the 
UCLA versus Oregon State game and 
sat right behind the President’s brother-
in-law as he coached Oregon State in a 
losing game against the Bruins. There he 
was, the first-lady’s giant brother, visible 
to everyone for hours sort of like family. 
His team lost but he seemed like a gentle 
giant with great affection for his players. 
Sitting right under the basket, next to 
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was A.C.Green, 
an Oregon State alumnus. A.C. Green, 
the ex-Lakers player was, famous during 
his playing days for advocating that men 
stay chaste prior to marriage. He even 
formed a foundation, which I think still 
functions, as a way of assisting young 
men to focus on their long-term goals. It 
feels odd just to talk about it and perhaps 
that is why A.C.’s attempts, quixotic as 
they may be, seem so admirable.

 There is something about discussions 
relating to restraint that is connected 
to my view that a different way of life is 
necessary for human beings to survive 
the continuing climate changes that are 
occurring all over the world and are, 
nevertheless, largely ignored - especially 
here in the United States. I was very 
happy to hear in the President’s second 
inaugural speech his recognition of the 
problem and his stated determination to 
do something about it. It is possible that 
the President can issue Executive Orders 
which do not require Congressional 
approval that can have a powerful 
effect on reducing damaging emissions 
within the Country. Hooray for Richard 
Nixon who created the Environmental 
Protection Agency which authorizes this 
kind of Executive action. How ironic.

 In addition, to focusing on the problem 
and issuing new directives, the President 
inevitably affects the sensibilities and 
the behavior of many Americans simply 
by the way he lives his own life. About 
three weeks ago I read in the L.A. Times 
an article about Uruguayan President 
Jose Mujica. The article describes this 
elected President as someone who 
donates 90 per cent of his salary to the 
government. He is someone who was 
imprisoned for fourteen years and, after 
release, struggled to survive. He lived 
in a ram-shackle structure, grew most 
of his own food, and droves only an old 
car. He became involved in politics and 
was elected to the State Senate and then 
was elected President; but, and it as an 
important but, he has not changed the 
way he lives. He still lives as frugally as 
possible with his wife, who is also a State 
Senator, and has become one of the most 
influential men in Latin America.

 We, all of us, can live more rationally. 
I have lived here in Sierra Madre Canyon 
for almost thirty-five years. During that 
time I have watched as small cabins, 
including my own, have been razed 
or expanded into much larger homes. 
Children and families lived in these 
homes but after a time, the children have 
grown and the families have broken up. 
Now, most frequently, one or sometimes 
two people rattle around with their 
memories in these almost empty 
structures. It all seems so wasteful and 
probably, if unchanged, will contribute 
to our destruction.

 Right now I have some hope that 
the world’s population will adapt to new 
environmental conditions and that the 
President’s new term will move us in 
the right (I really mean left) direction 
and allow present Americans and future 
generations of Americans to live in a 
nation of which we are proud.

Say a prayer. Put up a tombstone that reads “R.I.P.” for 
three prevailing political conventional wisdoms that seem to 
be quickly biting the dust. 

The first is that President Barack Obama will always go along 
to get along, will in the end inevitably choose a mediated, moderate course to 
gain partial victories. That conventional wisdom is on life support as the more 
aggressive post-re-election-election Obama stresses that he doesn’t face re-
election, he’s had enough of Republican roadblocks, and he’s going to draw lines 
in the sand. Being the first Democratic President since Franklin D. Roosevelt and 
the last President since Dwight Eisenhower to twice win a popular vote majority 
can do that to you. 

 Signs this CW was dying: Obama’s ignoring GOP conservative opposition 
to do a full-court-press on naming former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary 
of Defense; Obama’s strong fiscal cliff position that led to partial Republican 
capitulation; Obama’s inaugural address which The Daily Beast’s John Avlon 
called a Lincolnesque liberal manifesto; and his decision to convert his legendary 
political operation into an activist group and political action committee. Will the 
Koch Brothers and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS meet their match?

 Let’s see if former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are 
still sneering about Obama being a lowly “community organizer” in 2014 and 

The second decaying CW is that America’s middle is dead. Immediately after 
Obama’s 2008 election, I had lunch with a well-known commentator in New York 
City who accurately told me: “Joe, the center is under attack.” And that’s the way 
it was from the moment Obama took his first oath of office with Republicans 
blocking some of his key proposals to the birth of the moderate-Republican-
hunting Tea Party, to the shellacking Obama and the Democrats received in the 
2010 mid-term elections. 

But now the center seems aroused -- and fed-up. Obama won re-election with a 
coalition of his party’s base, rising demographic groups and, polls show, a big, fat 
chunk of moderate voters.

Democratic liberals and Republican conservatives (uh, oh, here come the political 
equivalency police) BOTH tend to dismiss it as “the Mushy Middle,” but at key 
points throughout American history our political center has proven to be “The 
Mighty Middle” and there are signs of its resurgence again.

The moderate Republican group Republican Main Street Partnership decided 
to remove “Republican” from its name to try and attract centrist Democrats. 
Some strident radio and cable conservative talkers face ratings erosion. Liberal 
MSNBC’s ratings are on the rise and center-hugging CNN could get more viewers 
as its new boss Jeff Zucker leaves his imprint. And poll numbers show a shift.

The Republican Party got a 49 percent negative number in a recent NBC News/
Wall Street Journal, the lowest number since 2008, and only a 28 percent positive. 
The GOP’s spiritual center, the Tea Party, got its lowest number yet: a 23 percent 
favorable rating. Republican pollster Frank Luntz, in an op-ed in the Washington 
Post, warned Republicans that they need to start watching their language, which 
will turn off more voters than attract them. In other words: to win elections 
Republicans must start sounding like serious problem solvers rather than aspiring 
talk radio hosts.

This is seemingly sinking in with (some) Republicans. Gone are threats about 
throwing the country into default. Senate Republicans vow there will be more 
compromise. Republicans at various levels now suggest the party is ready to do 
serious immigration reform, because they know the GOP needs binders full of 
Latinos to win future elections. 

The third dying conventional wisdom is that Obama would be “another FDR, “ or 
“another Carter,” as some say maybe he’ll be “another Reagan.” In reality, what we 
are likely seeing may be birth of a NEW “another” category -- the precise negative 
or positive meaning to be revealed by the end of Obama’s term: one day a future 
President may be branded “another Obama.” 

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the 
United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-
in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and 
moderates. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists 
and Commentators. He can be reached at and 
can be booked to speak at your event at

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A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


Personally, I sure 
will be glad when 
January is over. If 
confession is good 
for the soul, then let me have a good soul 
cleansing and confess that January is not 
my favorite month of the year.

At the beginning of each year, a certain 
resident in our home begins acting like 
an angel and starts harping about a diet. 
But, not just "a diet." I could take that, I 
think. Rather, "my diet." What my diet 
has to do with her is a question I have 
yet to ask.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to 
ask no question I do not want to hear the 
answer. Believe me when I say ignorance 
is bliss.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
is a health nut, whereas, I am just a plain 
nut with lots of fudge icing on the top. 
As nuts are concerned, I prefer nuts with 
fudge icing.

Every year right after Christmas and 
before the New Year comes in, my wife 
and I have this conversation about the 
upcoming diet. I need to correct myself 
here. When I use the word "conversation," 
I probably should use the word 
"monologue." When it comes to diets, I 
have absolutely nothing to say. My wife 
on the other hand, has plenty to say and 
when she is saying it to me, she holds 
nothing back.

When it comes to diets and dieting, I 
have my own ideas about the whole matter. 
I do not see myself as fat, just post-
thin. For arguments sake, let's say I am 
fat. I take refuge in the Bible along this 
line, which says, "All the fat is the Lord's" 
(Leviticus 4:16b KJV).

If I was to argue with my wife, which I 
promise you I am not going to, I could 
lay all of the blame about my being post-
thin on her. I have pictures to prove my 
point. Before we got married, I was very 
thin. Now look at me! I don't have to 
draw a picture for you, do I?

Along this line of diets, I think I am 
doing rather well. I have come up with 
ideas that have made me quite comfortable 
along this line.

Last week I bought a dress shirt and 
brought it home. When I tried it on it 
was three sizes too big for me making 
me look rather thin. I love that shirt. 
That shirt was made for people like me. 
Every time I wear that shirt in public 
somebody usually says, "You must've 
lost a lot of weight." I just smile.

I have other shirts in my closet that 
have brought me no end of grief. Here is 
what I want to know. Why do my shirts 
get thin but I don't? After all, we go to 
the same places and eat at the same restaurants. 
There is something here I believe 
I am missing!

Whenever I am off on a trip somewhere 
my wife always says just as I leave, "Make 
sure that you watch what you eat while 
you're away."

I am delighted to report to her or anybody 
else who will listen that I always 
watch what I eat. After all, I would hate 
to take a bite of broccoli by mistake. 
Therefore, I watch every bite I eat to 
make sure it is as delicious as possible.

My wife is always encouraging me to 
eat more fruit. I believe fruit is a matter 
of personal opinion and preference. My 
wife believes that bananas are fruit. I, on 
the other hand, believe that a banana 
split is fruit.

My wife has the idea that an Apple a 
day keeps the doctor away. I have a different 
slant on that idea. I believe an Apple 
Fritter a day keeps everybody away.

When it comes to salads, my wife is 
the crowned queen of salads. She has 
a golden touch when it comes to making 
salads. If I am not careful, she will 
serve me a salad three times a day. Another 
thing I need to watch out for with 
her salads. Occasionally, she will try to 
slip in some form of broccoli. For some 
unknown reason she believes broccoli is 
the panacea for all ills nutritionally.

As diets come and go, my diets usually 
go without leaving a trace behind them. 
Years ago, I got serious about a diet and 
was determined to lose 25 pounds of 
ugly fat. Much to my chagrin, I lost the 
other fat instead. Now look at me!

The diet phase is beginning to run its 
course as we come to the close of January. 
Towards the end of January, my 
lovely bride begins thinking of Valentine's 
Day. For me, whatever gets her attention 
off my diet is good news any day 
of the week.

I suppose it is true what people say 
that you are what you eat. I further suppose 
that it is important to eat the right 
things. Not only is that true physically 
but also spiritually. The Bible has something 
to say about this.

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere 
milk of the word, that ye may grow 
thereby" (1 Peter 2:1 KJV).

Nothing is more important in my daily 
routine than feasting on the Word of 
God. I may not do very well on my physical 
diet, but I do take special care about 
my spiritual diet.

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. E-mail jamessnyder2@ 

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