Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 18, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 18, 2017 

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

TOM Purcell


“I thought the purpose of Presidents Day was getting steep 
discounts on mattresses and furniture.”

“Good one, but the original purpose of Presidents Day was to 
celebrate George Washington’s birthday. According to History.
com, in 1800, the year after Washington died, ‘his February 22 
birthday became a perennial day of remembrance.’ For years it 
was celebrated with the same passion with which Americans still celebrate the Fourth of 
July. In 1885, a bill established Feb. 22 as a federal holiday. The federal government still 
officially refers to Presidents Day as Washington’s Birthday.”

“Which is it? Washington’s Birthday or Presidents Day?”

“Well, both. Washington’s Birthday became popularly known as Presidents Day as 
part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which sought to create more three-day 
weekends for federal employees. It moved the holiday from a fixed calendar date to the 
third Monday of February.”

“Do we also celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Presidents Day?”

“Many think we celebrate both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays on Presidents Day, 
but the truth is that Lincoln’s birthday, Feb. 12, was never designated as a federal holiday. 
However, Presidents Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents 
past and present.”

“What if we don’t want to celebrate all presidents? Some of them were real duds. What if 
we only want to celebrate Washington and Lincoln?”

“An interesting thought. According to, a bill was introduced in Congress 
called the Washington-Lincoln Recognition Act of 2001. It proposed that Presidents Day 
be referred to as Washington’s Birthday, and that the president issue a proclamation every 
year to recognize and observe Lincoln’s birthday. But the bill was never passed into law.”

“I understand that some states still observe Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays on Feb. 
22 and Feb. 12?”

“Well, you have to understand that federal holidays only apply to federal offices and 
agencies. States are free to do as they wish. When Presidents Day was established in 
1971, many state and local governments started celebrating Lincoln’s and Washington’s 
birthdays on the same day. But some states have some interesting ways of observing 

“I can only imagine. Can you share some examples?”

“Well, in Alabama, the third Monday in February commemorates George Washington 
and Thomas Jefferson ---- although Jefferson was born in April! And according to, ‘some states still observe Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays as separate 
holidays, some observe only Washington’s Birthday, some commemorate both with a 
single Presidents Day (or Lincoln-Washington Day), and some states celebrate neither.’”

“I was joking about the purpose of Presidents Day being about discounts on mattresses 
and furniture, but haven’t many Americans lost sight of the day’s true meaning?”

“Unfortunately, some of what you say is true. When I was a kid in the 1970s, everyone 
knew who Washington was and what he accomplished. One of the primary reasons the 
experiment called America was able to work was because of the sacrifices he made. Too 
few understand how unique our political system is and how the incredible bounty we 
enjoy can be laid at the feet of Washington. However, things are not so bad as you may 

“How so?”

“According to, ‘Presidents Day is used by many patriotic and historical 
groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events. A number of 
states also require that their public schools spend the days leading up to Presidents Day 
teaching students about the accomplishments of the presidents, often with a focus on the 
lives of Washington and Lincoln.’”

“That’s certainly encouraging.”

“Yes it is. Happy Presidents Day.”


©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 Amazon.
com, 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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 One of the great advantages of youth is that it’s a time 
to make mistakes, say silly stuff you might regret later, and 
generally experiment and try on different roles.

 Which brings us to the case of Trump administration 
policy adviser Stephen Miller, who said something so jaw-
droppingly arrogant and poorly thought out during an 
interview with CBS anchor John Dickerson last Sunday that it would be tempting 
to merely write it off as the brazenness of youth -- were it not for the fact that it 
was so very, very dangerous.

 Miller, responding to a question about what the White House has learned 
from the experience of Trump’s controversial executive over, told Dickerson that 
“the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will 
not be questioned.

 Will not be questioned?

 Where does young Miller, who’s all of 31, think he’s living, exactly? This is the 
United States and you work for the taxpayers, sir. We’ll question you anytime we 
feel like it.

 But given President Trump’s affection for authoritarian leaders, Miller might 
have momentarily blacked out, woken up disoriented, and wrongly thought he 
was giving an interview to Russian State television.

 Surely no administration sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution of 
the United States could be so ignorant of the fundamental truth it serves at the 
consent of the governed - and not the other way around?

 Unless, of course, it really is that ignorant, or it simply doesn’t care. 

 And, just a month into Trump’s administration, there are growing signs that is 
entirely the case.

 In other interviews last Sunday, including one with Fox News, Miller doubled 
down on the administration’s crusade against the legitimacy of the federal 

 “This is a judicial usurpation of power,” he said, according to the Washington 
Post, of the 9th Circuit decision enjoining Trump’s poorly conceived travel ban. 
“It is a violation of judges’ proper roles in litigating disputes. We will fight it. 
And we will make sure that we take action to keep from happening in the future 
what’s happening in the past.”

 Short of shredding the Constitution or imposing martial law, it’s tough to see 
how the administration could carry through on such a threat. 

 But it’s no surprise that such niceties are a mere formality to the young White 
House aide.

 Miller, who’s slight and wears his thinning black hair closely cropped, was a 
familiar sight on the campaign trail last year. 

 At rally after rally, it fell to him to crank up crowds to a fever pitch with a 
steady diet of red meat rhetoric. He also wrote the darkly apocalyptic speech that 
Trump delivered at last summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Now, along with Trump’s senior counselor, Stephen K. Bannon, Miller is one of 
the principal architects of Trump’s backward-looking “America First” agenda.

 The optimist in me wants to think that Miller, given the benefit of hindsight 
and a few years under his belt, might come to regret his ill-chosen words — just 
as we later regret or look back, mystified, at some of the more rash decisions of 
our youth.

 But right now, that doesn’t seem the case. 

 In politics, it’s often said that a gaffe is someone inadvertently telling the truth. 
With a few poorly chosen words, Miller spoke volumes.

And we ignore them at our peril.


 © Copyright 2017 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper 

 An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political 
Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow 
him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at



Major League Baseball has an annual training season in 

 Maybe President Trump should have gone somewhere outside of Washington to 
hold tryouts for a month to see who on his team was ready to play in the big leagues.

At least he should have picked some veteran coaches who know how the professional 
Washington game is played, are loyal to him and who know how to make the White 
House work smoothly.

 All incoming presidents, even veteran politicians, have trouble with their White 
House advisers and underlings at first. 

 But as a political outsider and a disrupter, Trump is facing more trouble than most 
of his predecessors. 

 The Democrats, their hysterical pals in the media and the permanent Washington 
bureaucracy are doing their best to slow him up or bring him down. 

 But so far Trump – the rookie manager in chief – has been his own worst enemy.

He assembled a White House team made up of third-round draft picks and minor 
leaguers and put them on the field before he knew whether they could hit a curve or 
field a hard grounder.

 What we’re seeing in the White House – “Leakville,” as I refer to it now – is a bunch 
of rookies trying to run the most important government operation in the world.

It should never have gotten to this level of ineptitude, President Trump is responsible 
for it, and only he can fix it.

 A large part of his problem is that he doesn’t have a chief of staff in the White House 
-- he has two of them, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.

 Anyone who’s ever managed a Starbucks knows when two or more people are “in 
charge,” no one is really in charge.

 And when two or three people are in charge, then no one is ultimately responsible 
for anything that happens and chaos and confusion run amok. 

 The bumbled and hasty rollout of the executive order temporarily banning 
immigrants from seven Muslim countries was a textbook example of what happens 
when no single person is in charge of the White House staff.

 The case of Michael Flynn, Trump’s starting National Security Adviser, was another 
“rookie mistake” by a staffer that should never have happened.

 Flynn should have known better. He wasn’t called up from the Class D Leagues. 
He had 30 years of exemplary military experience and had worked in the Obama 

 What was he thinking? What made him believe he had the right to lie to the vice 
president – if that’s what he really did?

 Flynn’s been cut from the team and he’ll be a source of bad PR for Trump for 

 I’d hate to be Sean Spicer, who has to go in front of the Washington press corps and 
deal with the latest twists in the Flynn case or explain the White House’s bungle of the 

 President Trump is doing fine by holding all those meetings with business executives 
and foreign leaders and issuing executive orders.

 It’s his rookie squad that’s holding him back. They seem more interested in serving 
their own interests, not his.

 It’s now up to the president to find a way to plug up the leaks and put together a 
competent, loyal and trusted White House staff.

 He has to work fast. The regular season is almost a month old and he still doesn’t 
have a coaching staff or a starting lineup.

 And as Manager Trump has already found out the hard way, there are no 
exhibition games played in the White House.



 Copyright ©2017 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald 
Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. 
Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service and president of 
The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and www. Send comments to Follow @
reaganworld on Twitter. 

 Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For 
info on using columns contact Sales at

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