Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 18, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page 13

Mountain Views News Saturday, January 18, 2014 
13OPINION Mountain Views News Saturday, January 18, 2014 
Susan Henderson 
Dean Lee 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 
Pat Birdsall 
Patricia Colonello 
John Aveny 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterStuart Tolchin 
Kim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Hail Hamilton 
Rich Johnson 
Merri Jill Finstrom 
Lori KoopRev. James SnyderTina Paul 
Mary CarneyKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanGreg WelbornRenee Quenell 
Ben Show 
Sean KaydenJasmine Kelsey Williams 
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STUART Tolchin........On LIFE 

This morning, as I headed out to meet my friend Charles for 

breakfast, I ran into a typical Sierra Madre problem. At the 

bottom of the hill there is a four-way Stop Sign and the car going 

south and the car going west were both completely stopped 

waiting for the other car to proceed. This is a typical Sierra 

Madre problem as it remains a place where people are invariably 
polite, sometimes to a fault, to one another. We still wave and smile at one another 
whether or not we have been previously introduced. 

Can you imagine what a four-way stop sign is like in West LA.? Do they 
even have such things out there? If they do, do all cars at the stop signs race ahead 
trying to be the first one into the intersection. I remember once going to a Dodger 
Game with a lawyer friend from West L.A. He parked close to the stadium in what 
was clearly marked as a No Parking Zone. I pointed this out to him and he told 
me not to worry about it reminding me that he could afford any parking ticket. I 
tried to explain my perspective to him and he explained to me that life was a race 
to see who could gather up the most toys and privileges and that there was no time 
to worry about the losers. 

This was an LA lawyer talking. Can you imagine a San Francisco lawyer? 
Do they even have four-way Stop Signs in San Francisco? If they do I bet San 
Franciscans all try and proceed diagonally and probably come from all directions 
to crash in the center of the intersection. Can you imagine 4 way stop-signs in 
Chicago or New York. If these signs do exist there they are probably called attractive 
nuisances which give people one more reason to confront one another. 

Anyhow, these descriptions of various kinds of geographically-specific 
traffic habits are relevant to the substance of my morning conversation with 
Charles. We talked about the Golden Globe Presentations on Sunday and I asked 
him if he had any reaction to the Amy Poehler comment that after seeing 12 Years 
a Slave she had a whole new take on Slavery. Remember Tina Fey jumped in and 
said “What are you talking about?” Amy did not respond and went off on a whole 
new tangent. I told Charles that I understood what Amy was talking about and 
reminded him of our argument of about 5 years ago when we visited Monticello. 

I wrote about the argument in one of my articles just after it happened but 
on the off-chance that you have not been diligently reading my articles for the past 
5 or six years I will review the argument for you. Remember Charles and I are both 
attorneys. He is African-American and strong and powerful. I am none of these 
things and am 25 years older. As we, accompanied by our wives, walked through 
Thomas Jefferson’s Library I excitedly pointed out inventions like the automatic 
letter writer and the swivel chair to Charles. As I said this Charles’ whole powerful 
body seemed to expand and he said in a menacing voiced, “What is wrong with 
you? Don’t you realize that Slaves, Human Beings, were kept imprisoned right 
below this room. Are you more interested in furniture than people?” 

I am embarrassed to admit that, at the time, I was more interested in 
Jefferson’s books and inventions than I was in the fact that he was a slave-owner. 
As I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain to Charles, slave owning was just one aspect of 
this conflicted man, while the inventions and books were evidence of his interests 
and abilities. Slave owning was just what future Presidents like Washington, 
Madison, and Monroe, all of whom had Plantations fairly near Jefferson’s, did as a 
part of their business life. They are remembered for and their greatness lies in the 
other things they did. 

Charles thought my comments made no sensel and I have come to agree 
with him. It is so easy to talk about something small like traffic patterns and not 
think of the larger significance of different behaviors. Yes, I think the goals and 
mode of lfe in our little town are substantially different from the ways of living in 
other places and this is worth thinking about and appreciating. More importantly 
knowing about the existence of slavery and not thinking much more about it is 
worlds away from experiencing the horror of the institution as presented in films 
like 12 Years A Slave and last year’s Django Unchained.

I think you know what I mean but I hope both you and I can feel it. While 
we’re at it maybe we can think and feel more about the horrors of war and poverty 
and continuing planetary destruction. Do we really need more movies to help us 
experience anything? 

HOWARD Hays As I See It

“I hear some of the and it’s like the atom bomb. . . It is definitely 

mantra in the Legislature going to take some time to build trust.” 

from time to time that Sometimes, names continue to be 

government needs to get used for ominous effect, though long ago 

out of the way, and too having lost any meaning. The short-term 

much regulation and budget bill introduced last week by House 

that kind of stuff. But Republicans contains no less than four 

boy, I bet you there are provisions prohibiting funds from going to 

300,000 people in the state the community outreach group ACORN – 

who wish we had more though the group hasn’t existed in any form 

regulation of the industry.”for nearly four years.

 -West Virginia State Conversely, words meant to convey 
Senate Pres. Jeff Kessler (D) 
laudable characteristics are used to cover 
up just the opposite. If we see a sign for 

 We’re all familiar with how certain words 

“Honest Al’s Used Cars”, we wouldn’t expect 

are used simply to get people buzzed about 

honesty to be a defining characteristic. 

something-or-other. Or, they could be 

Late last year I heard that KTALK 1150 

numbers - as with then-Sen. Joe Biden (D

AM, the local “progressive” talk station, 

DE) pointing out how former NYC Mayor 

would have a format change – re-branded 

Rudy Giuliani’s sentences inevitably consist 

“The Patriot” and promising “true American 

of “a noun, a verb, and 9/11”.

values”. This could only mean one thing – 

 Unrelated words or names are thrown 

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

in not because of any connection to the 

 I thought of the Iran-Contra hearings 

subject at hand, but to grab the attention 

of the late-1980s, and what “patriotism” 

of the presumed audience - or to change 

and “American values” are all about. Lt. 

the subject entirely. It’s remarkable how 

Col. Oliver North, insisting on appearing 

many times the word “Benghazi” popped 

in uniform, defended the secret selling 

up in Fox News coverage of N.J. Gov. Chris 

of missiles to the Iranians who’d held 

Christie’s bridge scandal. In his comments 

our personnel hostage less than a decade 

on the subject, Charles Krauthammer threw 

earlier, and the funneling of proceeds to 

in “Obama” and “Hillary” – names sure to 

paramilitary thugs in Nicaragua, all in 

rile the Fox audience more than “Christie” 

violation of laws passed by Congress. North 


justified these actions as the “patriotic” 

 “Obama” entered into it as the question 

thing to do.

was raised whether Gov. Christie was as 

In response, Sen. George Mitchell (D-ME)

oblivious to the scandal within his own 

complimented North on his “obvious deep 

administration as President Obama was to 

devotion to this country”, but admonished

the White House scandals made up by Fox 

him, “Please remember that others share

News. As for Clinton, to Krauthammer 

that devotion and recognize that it is

the worst thing about the New Jersey 

possible for an American to disagree with

scandal was how it overshadowed news of 

you . . . and still love God and still love this

allegations made in Robert Gates’ new book 

country just as much as you do. . . Debate

concerning the former Secretary of State.

this issue forcefully and vigorously, as you

 Sometimes words with useful sinister 

have and as you surely will, but please do it

connotations soften over time, and there are 

in a way that respects the patriotism and the

those determined not to let this happen.

motives of those who disagree with you, as 

 Right-wingers have relied on the word 

you would have them respect yours.”

“Obamacare” to frighten their followers, 

That was then. Today, “patriotism” and

and they’re not about to give it up. Now that 

“American values” are marketing identifiers

millions of Americans have been insured, 

for wing-nut talk radio.

with no prospect of turning back the clock, 

 The use of emotion-evoking words came 

there’s concern over how to keep citizens 

to mind as I read about two guys who met

ignorant of its benefits and fearful of its 

while students at West Virginia Institute

threat to society. 

of Technology. They opened a couple

 At first, certain red states thought it 

restaurants together, then got into the

would be enough to refuse participation 

chemical storage and distribution business. 

in the program’s Medicaid expansion; 

One of the partners was busted for cocaine

assuring less well-off constituents that while 

possession and later pleaded guilty to felony 

it meant they’d remain without affordable 

tax evasion involving company funds, but

coverage, at least they’d be protected from 

got his sentence cut by agreeing to wear a


wire on controlled cocaine buys.

 Then, federally-trained “navigators” 

Federal stimulus funds were wangled 

came to explain options available through 

for the business, and they hit it big on a 

the ACA and help people enroll. Facing 

distribution deal with Georgia-Pacific,

this threat, nineteen states have enacted 

owned by the Koch Brothers – champions of

restrictions on these navigators; imposing 

preserving the sinister connotations of that

fees, “licensing” requirements, restrictions 

ugly, anti-free-market word, “regulations”.

on where they can operate, what they can 

The last time this company had

say and ask, etc. The point is to keep people 

its facilities inspected under current

uninformed, scared, and uninsured.

regulations was over twenty years ago. For

 A U.S. Health and Human Services Dept. 

over five days this month, 300,000 residents

spokesman called laws in Texas “a blatant 

of the Charleston, WV area have been 

attempt to add cumbersome requirements 

unable to use their water for anything other

to the navigator program and deter groups 

than flushing toilets – due to contamination 

working to inform Americans about their 

from a leaked chemical known to cause

new health insurance options and help 

severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

them enroll in coverage.” 
Don McBride of ACCESS Family Care in The name of the company? Freedom 

Missouri observes, “They call it ‘Obamacare’, Industries. Perfect. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


Memory is a beautiful thing, that is, when it is working. I must 
confess there are many times in which my memory is on some 
kind of a vacation. 

What I want to know is simply this, how do you know you have 
forgotten something if you have forgotten it? 

I do many things I cannot remember exactly why I do them. Behind everything I do 
is a reason for why I do it or those things that I do not do. I must confess I am quite 
a reasonable person along this line. 

Without memory, we can take many things for granted. We go through motions we 
do not know why we are going through them, we just go through them. 

Everybody says that when you get older your memory rather takes a backseat. That 
may be the case with me, I am not quite sure. I cannot remember. 

I must confess it is a great asset at times to have a memory failure. 

For instance, when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage accosts me and says, 
"Did you remember...?" She may have sent me to the grocery store to fetch something 
or she may have sent me, God forbid, to the mall to pick up something she 
ordered online. 

When she asked this question, I always respond by saying, "I forgot, you know my 
memory is not what it used to be." It is an easy way to slither out of something I 
have forgotten to do. The older I get the more plausible this excuse is, I just cannot 
remember why. 

However, on those occasions when she is a little more exasperated than others at me 
she will say, "Your memory never was what it used to be!" 

What that means exactly I do not know. She probably told me sometime in the past, 
but right now, I simply cannot recall. I am perfectly happy just forgetting that for 
the time. 

Why is it I can remember things I do not want to remember and I cannot remember 
the things that I need to remember? For instance, I can remember the year my wife 
was born, but I can never recall the month or the day. As a good husband, I should 
reverse that, not remember the year and positively remember the month and day. 

Why is it when my wife is giving me a piece of her mind, all I can remember at the 
time is a funny incident that happened to me earlier that morning? Smiling at a 
time like that is not advantageous to a happy life of the husband. When she asks, 
"What is so funny?" I cannot tell her I was not listening to her but thinking about 
something else. 

My memory was jogged earlier this week when a certain incident happened at the 
Post Office. 

Anybody who knows me knows that I am not in any way shape or form a hugger. I 
am a firm believer in what the Bible says, "the right hands of fellowship" (Galatians 
2:9). I am vigorous in this handshaking ceremony. That is about as far as it goes. 

I had quite forgotten my position along this line, or rather; I should say why I came 
to this position. 

Standing in a very long line at the post office at which time I was in somewhat of a 
hurry to get through a lady walked in. She looked at me and says, "Oh, it's so nice 
to see you. I haven't seen you for a long time." Then she caught me off guard and 
gave me a hug. 

I did not know who this woman was; I could not remember ever seeing her before. 
With the way my memory is these days, I pretended as if she was a long-lost friend 
of mine. She chatted about stuff that really did not make any sense to me at the time. 
I smiled and nodded my head and chatted away to her about things I am sure did 
not mean anything to her. 

I was not really paying attention and as the line moved forward, something dawned 
on me. 

You know how it is when all of a sudden something hits you. Your vacationing 
memory comes home and unpacks. Well, that happened to me standing there in 

By the time I had figured out what had happened, it was too late to do anything 
about it. When she hugged me, she stepped in front of me and therefore was ahead 
of me in line. 

I had one of those "aha" moments but there was nothing I could do about it at the 
time. I had to swallow my pride, display a contagious smile across my face and take 
it like a man. A man who has been outwitted by some lady he had no idea who she 

I now remember why I do not do any hugging. I know all hugs are not equal but 
with the memory I have I do not remember the difference and I am not taking any 
more chances. 

Driving home from the Post Office, I remembered the wise words of King Solomon. 
"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that 
which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). 

If I could just remember that, I certainly would be okay.