Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, January 7, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



DICK Polman

Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 7, 2017 



Mountain Views



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Keely Toten


When the news broke Tuesday that Megyn Kelly was leaving the Fox 
News bubble to pursue a broader audience at NBC, my initial thought 
was: Who cares? Talking heads frequently switch networks, and 
Americans increasingly get their news not from TV, but from social 
media sites.

 But Kelly’s imminent move is huge because it’s Kelly. The very fact that NBC covets her 
polarizing “brand” is vivid evidence of how profoundly the broadcast media has changed since 
the kinder, gentler era of Uncle Walter Cronkite.

 Back then, long before cable news and the Internet, the TV anchorman (always a man) was 
broadly and implicitly trusted across the political spectrum. In the words of journalist-historian 
David Halberstam, the anchorman “represented in a real way the American center ... a mass 
figure who held centrist attitudes for a mass audience.” But today, the mass audience has been 
fractured and narrowcasted to the point where it’s difficult to locate even a shrunken American 

 Years ago, a commercial network would never have pitched an eight-digit annual salary to 
someone like Megyn Kelly, whose every utterance infuriates millions of viewers. But in the 
current environment, NBC is fine with hiring someone who declared on air (in 45 segments) that 
the New Black Panthers were a major public menace, and that it was “a verifiable fact” that Santa 
Claus and Jesus were white (Santa is fictional, and scholars say that Jesus was of Mediterranean 
stock and looked like today’s average Palestinian).

 It’s noteworthy that after the news of her hiring broke yesterday, Kelly’s Facebook page 
was flooded with denunciations from both ends of the spectrum. That’s de rigueur for any 
anchorperson in our wildly disputatious nation — Uncle Walter would be shocked — but even 
more so for Kelly. Left-leaning critics called her a front of right-wing disinformation, and attacked 
NBC for rewarding her. But right-wing critics called her a fake conservative who’d sold out to the 

 Many in the conservative camp have long been mad at Kelly. They fumed when she questioned 
Donald Trump, during the first Republican debate, about his misogynist history; when she told 
Newt Gingrich that he needed to work on his “anger issues”; when she confronted Dick Cheney 
over his horrific Iraq track record (“You got it wrong”); when she tore into a male guest who 
called paid maternity leave “a racket” (her retort: “What a moronic thing to say”). They’ve long 
been ticked off that liberal commentators have praised Kelly as Fox News’ lone “sane” anchor.

 Indeed, part of her appeal — at least for those outside the Fox bubble — was that she seemed 
far more professional than the bloviating mouth-breathers (O’Reilly, Hannity) who bracketed 
her evening show. How that appeal, and her polarizing past, translates to NBC is anyone’s guess.

 Reportedly, she’ll try to soften her image by launching a daytime weekday show (in her words, 
“a little Charlie Rose, a little Oprah, and a little me”), but that format has been a graveyard for lots 
of TV personalities, and it’s debatable that anyone cares to watch her swap celebrity gossip. She 
has also been tapped to launch a Sunday evening show to compete with “60 Minutes,” but that 
aging audience seems intractably loyal. She will reportedly join the NBC News team to cover 
major events, but that ensemble format (and the strong competing egos) could dilute her edgy 

 But NBC is clearly hoping that Kelly can bring along some of her viewers — notably, 
Republican-leaning women — and thus broaden its ideological reach. For a broadcast news 
division on the cusp of the Trump era, a news division widely tagged as “liberal,” hiring Kelly 
is probably smart. If she can boost the ratings by asking tough questions with a conservative 
sensibility, NBC’s money would be well spent.

 After Kelly’s recent clash with Newt Gingrich, Trump social media director Dan Scavino 
tweeted a not-so-veiled threat: “Watch what happens to her after this election is over.” Well, now 
we know.


 Copyright 2016 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia (newsworks.
org/polman) and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at



 “Can you believe some jerk told me it was rude to talk on my cellphone 
inside the movie theater?” 

 “Well, sir, he did have a point. In the era of cellphones and social media, 
too many people are so consumed with their own needs, they’re trampling 
civil society.” 

 “Ah, put a cork in it.” 

 “Look, there have been times in human history when barbarians ruled and manners didn’t. But 
what really ruled during these periods were selfishness and impulsiveness.” 

 “You’re going to have to explain.” 

 “Did you know the word ‘etiquette’ originated under Henry XIV in the 1600s? Proper etiquette and 
manners define what social behavior is and isn’t proper.” 

 “I ain’t following rules of behavior drafted up by snooty old French people.” 

 “Then perhaps I can reference someone nearer and dearer to your heart: As a teenager, George 
Washington hand-copied ‘The ‘Rules of Civility,’ a list started by French Jesuits in the 1590s that was 
translated into English around 1640.” 

 “His mother probably put him up to it.” 

 “The fact of the matter is that America has been more mannerly in the past than it is now. Until the 
1960s, children were taught good manners in school. Adults defined themselves as ladies or gentlemen 
based on how well they practiced good etiquette — how considerate they were of their fellow human 

 “Hey, my old lady grew up in that era and she don’t know nothing about etiquette. We went to the 
ballet once and she forgot the sandwiches.” 

 “But today, sir, civility is coming unraveled at the seams. People are rude, impatient and 
inconsiderate. Some say the lack of civility is caused by our fast-paced society. Others suggest that new 
technology is making it easier to be rude.” 

 “Yeah, yeah.” 

 “But I say it’s also because we’re living more isolated lives. We’re getting more wrapped up in 
ourselves. And that is bad for our society.” 

 “Who are you, Miss Manners?” 

 “To be honest, sir, Miss Manners speaks good sense. She, Judith Martin, says that manners and 
etiquette are the philosophical basis of civilization. She says that people must have a common language 
of behavior that restrains their impulses. This is how we prevent our communal lives from being 
abrasive, unpleasant, and even explosive.” 

 “Sounds like something that nutty lady would say.” 

 “Martin says that our legal system was originally intended to punish serious conflict involving 
the loss of life, limb or property, but now courts are forced to handle disputes that the proper use of 
etiquette used to prevent.” 

 “I ain’t following.” 

 “She says that what used to be an insult, for instance, is now called slander. What used to be meanness 
is now called hate speech. And what used to be boorishness is now called sexual harassment. If our 
rules of etiquette were stronger, you see, fewer people would engage in actions that are now considered 

 “You think so, huh?” 

 “It’s really not so complicated, sir. A civil society is one in which people are concerned for their 
fellow man. Manners and etiquette are a conscious way of exercising this concern.” 

 “You’re losing me.” 

 “Look, we need to remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ We need to open the door for strangers. 
We should turn off the cellphones at the movies and inside restaurants. At dinner, we shouldn’t eat 
until the host does, we should never put our elbows on the table, and we should dab our mouths with 
the napkin, never wipe.” 

 “‘Napkin’? What is this thing you call ‘napkin’?” 

 “I see we have our work cut out for us.” 


 ©2017 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Wicked Is the 
Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-
Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on 
using this column in your publication or website, contact or call (805) 969-2829. Send 
comments to Tom at

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I’ve written a book chapter and a lot of columns over the years on the 
Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act – a 
profoundly simple, powerful bill that would require regulators and 
bureaucrats to get their most expensive rules approved by Congress 
before they could take effect – and we’ve never been closer to seeing it 
signed into law.

 The House is planning to take it up as one of the first orders of business in the new 115th 
Congress, and it is expected to pass, as it has in the House each of the last three Congresses. 
Each previous Congress it passed the House under a veto threat from President Obama, who was 
adamantly opposed to any of his regulatory handiwork being scrutinized by our elected officials.

 Times have changed.

 “I will sign the REINS Act should it reach my desk as President and more importantly I will 
work hard to get it passed,” Donald Trump said in a statement his campaign provided me last 
year. “The monstrosity that is the Federal Government with its pages and pages of rules and 
regulations has been a disaster for the American economy and job growth. The REINS Act is one 
major step toward getting our government under control.”

 It took a while to get to this point. The REINS Act started as an idea in the head of a remarkable 
78-year-old tea party activist in Alexandria, Kentucky named Lloyd Rogers.

 In 2009, Rogers went to meet with his then-congressman Geoff Davis at a town hall meeting. 
Both were outraged about an EPA storm water management consent decree that cost the three 
northern Kentucky counties in a consolidated sewer district about a billion dollars, doubling 
water fees.

 He handed Davis a piece of paper that quoted Article I, Section 1 of the United States 
Constitution: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United 
States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

 The paper also had a simple legislative proposal: “All rules, regulations, or mandates that 
require citizens, state or local government financial expenditures must first be approved by the 
U.S. Congress before they can become effective.”

 Davis took the idea back to Washington and huddled with his key advisers to develop the 
simple idea into a robust, workable piece of legislation. That idea became the REINS Act, and 
was made a part of the official Pledge to America document on which Republicans won control 
of the House in 2010. 

 The REINS Act cuts to the heart of abuse of regulatory power by requiring any major 
regulatory action to pass the House and Senate and be signed by the president (or have a veto-
override), before it can take effect. It seems obvious. The best ideas always do.

 The REINS Act’s first Senate sponsor was Jim DeMint, but when he retired it was fittingly 
taken up by Rand Paul, on whose campaign Rogers was a tireless volunteer. When Geoff Davis 
retired, the bill’s lead sponsorship was taken over in the House by Indiana’s Todd Young. This 
time around Doug Collins of Georgia is leading the charge in the House, while Paul and Young 
(newly promoted by the voters of Indiana) together lead the fight in the Senate under Mitch 
McConnell – a Kentuckian like Rogers, Davis, and Paul.

 That Senate vote will be difficult, as many Democrats – aghast though they might be at the 
regulations and deregulations to come from Trump appointees in the federal bureaucracy – 
understand that lack of accountability is a great long-term advantage for their big government 
ideology. But ten Democrats running for reelection in 2018 are sitting in states that voted for 
Trump, and they may have a difficult time explaining to voters why they should re-elect someone 
unwilling to even vote on major regulations. And the House making it a top priority will build 
strong momentum for the Senate fight.

 As we work to restore the U.S. Constitution, there is no better place to start than at the 
beginning, with Article I, Section 1. Thanks to Lloyd Rogers, a Republican Congress, and Donald 
Trump, we may be poised to do just that.


 © Copyright 2016 Phil Kerpen, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

 Mr. Kerpen is the president of American Commitment and the author of “Democracy Denied.” 
Kerpen can be reached at



It is our fervent hope here at Durstco that all you loyal readers 
join us in welcoming the elixir of opportunity that is 2017 and pray that it goes down 
smoother than that most recently departed year whose name has been wiped from our 
memory banks. It might have had something to do with a one, a zero, a two and a six. 
Not necessarily in that order.

 “The Year That Shall Not Be Named” sucked like an industrial strength vacuum 
cleaner designed to inhale rocks the size of Saskatchewan, leaving a stench in its wake 
like a twelve-month moored garbage scow with none of the attendant charm. It was a 
Mt. St. Helens, Jamestown Flood, Titanic, Hindenburg, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kind of a 

 On a major league suckage scale of one to 10, the previous annum would rate at about 
4,937. It was to suck like sewage is to stink. The suckiest of the sucky. Suckalicious. 
Suckatosic. Suck- O- Rama. With a sucktosity able to strip the chrome off the back 
bumper of a ’57 Thunderbird.

 Maybe it was that extra leap day that tipped the balance from the merely sucktastic 
to the sucklandish. Turning ordinary ugly into grievously heinous. But those 366 
days of death and destruction and disaster and desolation and disease and despair 
and diabolical and discombobulation was only tempered by the fact that we survived. 
Barely, and not all of us. But then, the most fiendish always leave a few alive to tell the 

 Or could Star Trek’s James T. Kirk have gone back in time thoroughly messing things 
up again, causing a rift in the space-time continuum? That would certainly explain the 
Cubs winning the World Series, an orange clown becoming President, a third Kung Fu 
Panda film and Spam musubi on cauliflower rice. 

 The year that bridged 2015 and 2017 was to happy times what banana daiquiris are 
to reinforced concrete support beams. What barbed-wire wrapped bats are to panty 
hose. Inspector Clouseau and calm analytical judgment. Marbles and scissors.

 Queen Elizabeth once referred to a particularly bad year, as an “annus horriblis” and 
the 31,622,400 seconds we recently escaped was exponentially that, with one of the 
“N’s” removed. The threat of another 52 weeks like the one we just endured makes you 
want to build a bunker in the back yard and fill it to the brim with Little Debbie Snack 
Cakes and bourbon. Not necessarily in that order.

 Or perhaps the calendar most recently ripped off the wall was a plot by the 
Pharmaceutical Industry to sell more anti- depressants. Anyhow, whatever you want 
to call what recently sunk into blessed oblivion, almanac-wise, good riddance to bad 
rubbish. Don’t let the doorknob hit you in the butt on the way out. Get while the 
getting’s good. Even though it’s way too late.

 And a big fat wet sloppy kiss on both cheeks to 2017. Come on in, take off your coat. 
Sit down a spell. Put your feet up. We’re counting on you to take the chill off the air. 
But, hey. No pressure.You have some awfully tiny shoes to fill. Star Wars 8 come this 
December already puts you halfway to the good. 


 Copyright © 2017, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former 
short haul truck diver of plaster molds. For a calendar of personal appearances, visit

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