Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, January 26, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 26. 2019 

TOM Purcell

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 




Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton



Just as my annual diet has begun showing promise, my 
greatest obstacle to success is upon me: Girl Scout Cookie 
season has begun.

 My problem with Girl Scout Cookies is personal. But, like 
everything else in our culture, some people have moral or 
political problems with them.

 Some nutritionists say the cookies are unhealthy, so it’s 
immoral for Girl Scouts to promote these sugary, fatty treats to a nation struggling 
with an obesity epidemic.

 Some conservatives say Girl Scouts openly promote progressive values and praise 
prominent progressive women, so purchasing Girl Scout Cookies is tantamount to 
supporting progressives’ politics. 

 Some progressives are still smarting because Girl Scouts marched in President 
Trump’s inaugural parade - even though Girls Scouts have marched in every 
presidential inaugural parade. 

 And some particularly anti-capitalist progressives are unhappy that cookie sales 
teach Girl Scouts the art of commercialism. 

 Hey, people, relax! They’re just cookies! 

 Still, these cookies present two primary challenges to so many of us.

 First, they’re addictive. I’ve been known to consume entire sleeves of Thin Mints in 
one sitting, washing them down with a bucket of ice-cold whole milk - none of that 
2-percent nonsense! 

 Second, everywhere we turn, someone, often a Girl Scout’s parent, is pressuring us 
to place an order. 

 This has become the season to “hide” from friends and relatives on Facebook, 
sneak out of church extra early (et tu, Deacon Brown?) and dodge multiple colleagues 
at work. 

 The best story about Girl Scout Cookie pressure in the workplace that I’ve heard 
happened last year at the Pentagon. An Air Force general was reprimanded, reports 
USA Today, “for encouraging a subordinate to retrieve boxes of Trefoils and Tagalongs 
from the general’s car for a display in the office.” I can imagine how it went from 

 “Sergeant, I’d consider it a personal favor if you ordered a dozen boxes from my 
daughter,” said the general.

 “Sir, yes, sir!” the sergeant replied.

 Look, the Girl Scouts organization was founded in 1912 to help girls develop 
physically, mentally and spiritually. The annual cookie sale, which originated in 1917, 
was designed to help teach girls new skills and responsibilities - not to have parents 
micro-manage those responsibilities for them. 

 I understand that we live in a time when parents are afraid to allow children 
to sell cookies door-to-door or to leave them unattended at a booth in front of a 

 While it’s OK for parents to assist, Girl Scout leaders recommend that parents not 
sell cookies on their daughters’ behalf. 

 Here’s why, according to the Girl Scouts website: “Every time you buy a box, you help 
girls learn five essential skills - goal setting, decision making, money management, 
people skills, and business ethics - all while helping them better themselves and their 

 So long as you buy that box directly from a Girl Scout.

 Some Girl Scouts have mastered new skills quickly.

 One enterprising young lady, reports The Huffington Post, sold 117 boxes in 
two hours by setting up shop outside a legal medical-marijuana dispensary in San 

 Some Girl Scouts in Los Angeles persuaded actor Tom Hanks to use his social 
media platforms to promote their cookie stand.

 And in 2014, one young lady in Oklahoma City broke the record for Girl Scout 
Cookies sold in a year: more than 21,000 boxes. During her Girl Scout career, she 
sold more than 100,000 boxes.

 The regrettable part of her success? I was her only customer.


Copyright 2019 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s 
Childhood,” a humorous memoir 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 Sales@ or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at

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JOHN L. Micek



Of course, it had to happen.

 The news this week that President Donald Trump’s handlers 
may have digitally altered his photographs to make him appear 
not only slimmer and younger, but with… wait for it… longer 
fingers, is the perfect metaphor for a White House the repeatedly 
bends the truth to suit its own ends.

 This particularly odd turn comes courtesy of The Washington 
Post’s Dana Milbank, who’s become sort of the Polybius of Trump’s Washington, chronicling 
every twist and turn of the chaotic 45th president’s equally chaotic White House, with a 
kind of forensic glee.

 According to Milbank, the tech website Gizmodo reported this week that it had found at 
least three retouched photographs on Trump’s social media pages since last October.

 Those included two recent pictures in which the fast-food favoring chief executive’s face 
and body were slimmed down, his wrinkles were smoothed, his cotton-candy textured coif 
was smoothed, and, weirdly, that his “fingers were made slightly longer.”

 According to Milbank, Gizmodo compared original photos to the retouched ones and 
concluded that the digital gnomes had given Trump a fresh coat by using either Photoshop 
or FaceTune, and that the changes to the president’s hands suggest that the image-obsessed 
Leader of the Free World “had some input in these alterations.”

 This may seem a relatively trivial blip in the midst of the longest-running government 
shutdown in American history, in which more than 800,000 federal employees are going 
without pay, including TSA officers at the airports and Coast Guard sailors at sea.

But there’s a larger truth here: As is the case with everything else, Trump has made this story 
all about himself, about his duel with the Democrats and his promise to deliver on a wall - 
the effects on the long-term stability and credibility of our institutions be darned.

 So, the fact that he’s altering photographs to make himself look better in the eyes of the 
public - and posterity - shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. 

 And that fits right in with Trump’s barely glancing relationship with the truth in his 
barrage of his public utterances.

 Remember, as of Jan. 21, Trump had made 8,158 false or misleading claims during his 
two years in office, according to Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler.

 By the time most of you read this, you can pretty much bet the ranch that the tally will 
have increased.

 Indeed, the entire government shutdown is premised on the provably false claim of a 
crisis at America’s southern border with Mexico.

 Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican whose district includes 800 miles of the border, has 
said, according to Fox News, that the border crisis is a “myth,” and Trump’s push for a wall 
is a “3rd century solution to a 21st century problem.”

 So, it must be galling for a president so obsessed with image-control to know that, 33 
days into the shutdown, he’s losing the argument for his policies.

 A pair of polls released Wednesday, one by Politico/Morning Consult, the other by CBS 
News, find Trump’s approval ratings at new lows, and voters fleeing from the border wall as 
a cure for the shutdown.

 That Politico poll found Trump’s disapprovals at a staggering 57 percent. The poll of 1,996 
voters, conducted from Jan. 18-22, had a margin of error of just 2 percent.

In the CBS poll, 71 percent of 1,102 telephone respondents didn’t think the “issue of a 
border wall is worth a government shutdown, which they now say is having a negative 
impact on the country.”

 That same CBS poll gave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi higher marks than Trump for her 
handling of the crisis. And a clear majority of respondents to the Politico poll, 54 percent, 
blamed Trump and congressional Republicans for the roadblock.

 So you kind of can’t blame Trump for trying to control the only thing he has any control 
over in this instance - the face he presents to the public.

 But, like Dorian Gray, however Trump might try to smooth out his public wrinkles, all 
he’s doing is papering over the damage he’s doing to the country.

 And you can’t fix that with Photoshop. 


Copyright 2019 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania 
Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. Email him at and follow him 
on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.


At the tail end of last week, the Department of Defense 
released an overdue report on the effects of climate 
change on military bases in the United States. The 
report, required by law under the 2018 National Defense 
Authorization Act (that was passed by the Republican-
controlled Congress and signed by President Trump), was 
intended to provide a full accounting of “vulnerabilities 
to the military resulting from climate change over the next 20 years.”

 What we got fell short, to say the least.

 Set aside, for a moment, the fact that the report was not initially released 
to the public and only saw the light of day thanks to environmental groups’ 
activism. The document mentioned only 79 facilities, failing to consider all 
military bases or include any Marine Corps installations. It was also missing 
key portions it should have included as directed by law, like a list of the top ten 
installations threatened by climate consequences for each military branch or a 
cost mitigation plan for dealing with these problems. These failings and more 
have earned the ire of some lawmakers: Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from 
Rhode Island, called the report “an alphabetical list” and said it “reads like an 
introductory primer and carries about as much weight as a phonebook.” 

 Yet despite its reduced form, the report was astounding in its own way. 
Because even the Trump Administration - stubborn as a mule about accepting 
climate change, let alone fighting it - could not hide the truth: Climate change 
is having an impact on our military readiness and operations here at home.

 Those effects, of course, go far beyond the flooding, droughts, and wildfires 
that are (however reluctantly) cited in the report. Rising sea levels are already 
costing our coastal installations, and the damage will only increase as flooding 
damage increases in the decades to come. Extreme heat stresses our power grid 
and leads to outages, which can in turn cut off critical support for ongoing 
missions in the field. And increasingly powerful natural disasters that strike our 
cities, destroy our infrastructure, and kill our citizens necessarily sap military 
resources when it comes time for recovery efforts.

 To be clear, the report is far from enough - such a halfhearted effort hardly 
deserves praise. It fails to go into the depth specified by Congress, and it is 
dangerously light on proposed solutions or even a ranked-by-urgency 
assessment of the (incomplete) list of problems it does identify. Worse, 
there is little hope that the president himself will react appropriately; he has 
continuously disregarded climate reports, from his own administration and 
international organizations alike, as inconsequential to his worldview and his 

 Nonetheless, the report it is a sobering reminder that climate change poses 
a national security threat not just abroad, but here at home at well - whether 
our lawmakers choose to acknowledge it or not. Such a reminder seems hardly 
necessary given the death and destruction we’ve seen from superstorms and 
wildfires over the past year. And of course, there’s the fact that national security 
leaders have been making these same arguments in a nonpartisan manner since 
the Bush Administration.

 Some folks in the Trump Administration, it seems, are still a little slow to 
come along. Here’s hoping they figure out how to lead, follow, or get out of the 
way - before the rest of us suffer the consequences of their negligence.


 Copyright 2019 Graham F. West, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons 
newspaper syndicate.

 Graham F. West is the Communications Director for Truman Center for 
National Policy and Truman National Security Project, though views expressed 
here are his own. You can reach West at

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