Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 31, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 12



Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 31, 2019 





Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



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

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee


You may not remember me. I used 
to write a column in this august 


If the name Rich Johnson does ring 
a bell, consider yourself lucky. Some 
people (including my mom) paid 
thousands in therapy to not remember 


I congratulate Susan for a marvelous 
job. She is right up there with the 
Hearsts, Greeleys, Pulitzers, and Grahams. 
Of course, I can’t help suspect 
my absence helped the paper thrive 
and prosper.


One important and ongoing task of 
my journalistic career involved keeping 
an eye on presidential elections. 
So, I take a few years off and LOOK 


My favorite column involved presidential 
communications. I wished 
(and still do wish) we had commanders 
in chief who could dish it back 
to the media with a little class and 
a whole lot of humor. If only Mark 
Twain, Will Rogers, Groucho Marx 
and Mae West had held the highest 
office in the land. We would have a 
presidential communication legacy 
from which to aspire. I can dream.


I took ACTUAL QUOTES from these 
paragons of cleverness and wrote 
pretend press conference questions 
around them. I hope you like the humor. 
And I hope it helps bring about 
a friendlier 2020 election cycle.


Ladies and Gentlemen, President 
Mark Twain:


Reporter: “Mr. President, should we 
invade Syria?”

President Twain: “It’s easier to stay 
out, than get out.”


Reporter: “Mr. President, what do you 
think of the gridlock in Congress?”

President Twain: “Suppose you were 
an idiot and suppose you were a 
member of Congress. But I repeat 


Ladies and Gentlemen, President 
Will Rogers:


Reporter: “Mr. President, what is 
your prediction for the future of our 

President Rogers: “Things will get 
better despite our efforts to improve 


Reporter: “Mr. President, what is 
your political affiliation?”

President Rogers: “I’m not a member 
of any organized political party. I’m a 


Ladies and Gentlemen, President 
Groucho Marx:


Reporter: “Mr. President, care to 
comment on your recent budget 

President Marx: “A four-year old 
child could understand this report. 
Run out and find me a four-year old 
child. I can’t make heads or tails out 
of it.”


Reporter: “Mr. President, how are 
you and the first lady doing?”

President Marx: “I was married by a 
judge. I should have asked for a jury.”


Ladies and Gentlemen, President 
Mae West:


Reporter: “Madam President, Many 
Americans think your demeanor is 
shocking. Care to comment?”

President West: “Those who are easily 
shocked should be shocked more 


Reporter: “Madam President, Congress 
is full of sharks. Aren’t you 
afraid you’ll get bit?”

President West: “A dame that knows 
the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up!”


Susan Henderson is a “dame” that 
knows the ropes. I leave her with a 
quote from a newspaper man I didn’t 
forget about, Frederick Douglass.


His newspaper, the North Star, started 
in 1847. It carried the motto: “Right is 
of no Sex, Truth is of no Color, God 
is the Father of us all, and we are all 


We could use a big dose of Mr. Douglass 
priorities! Congratulations Susan 
and keep up the good work!



 I’m the kind of person that’s always either worrying 
about the future or reflecting upon the past. As a result I 
frequently miss some pretty important stuff. Today I was 
trying to stay in the present but forgot about the fire along 
the freeway and ended up being late for my doctor appointments 
and now had to wait a couple of extra hours.

 While waiting I worried about the future and reviewed 
past regrets. Right now my major focus is what to do 
when I retire and whether I will ever feel confident or strong enough to carry 
my new one month old granddaughter down the stairs at my daughter’s house. 
As I sat worrying I received e-mails from my ex-wife, wife, and daughter. All 
three referred to my daughter’s old doll.

 So here’s the story of the doll. Sometime after my first-wife and I separated 
my daughter, who was 5, came to live with me while her brother was at Summer 
Camp. Here she was in Sierra Madre without friends and yearning for a 
playmate, specifically, a Cabbage Patch doll which was sold out. We searched 
pre-Costco, pre-Wal-Mart worlds but could not find such a doll. Luckily someone 
mentioned a woman who hand-made Cabbage Patch Dolls. At first this 
didn’t satisfy my daughter who wanted the store bought plastic doll. As we 
trekked out to the Monterrey Hills where the doll maker lived I did my best 
to explain that a hand-made doll was authentic and better than any common 
plastic doll that anyone could buy in a store. It says something about the unique 
special-nature of my daughter that she accepted this story partly because it’s 
true and partly because she sensed how important it was to me that I be able 
to provide her with something that she wanted during this transitional time.

 Finally we found the doll-maker and Rosey, the wonderful hand-made doll. 
My daughter loved and cared for Rosey for a long time. I remember my daughter 
rocking Rosey in the same rocking chair that I rocked her in before my first 
wife and I separated. Fast forward 25 years and my wife came upon Rosey in 
the back of our closet, now a dirty, old, and uncared for doll. When my daughter 
came by the house my wife asked if she wanted it. My daughter who at this 
point was an overworked lawyer said she couldn’t care less and told my wife to 
give Rosey to Goodwill.

 A few days later my wife asked me to take some stuff to Goodwill and on the 
way there I saw Rosey lying in a box. I was crushed. I brought Rosey home and 
asked my wife to keep her. Rosey went back into a closet where she stayed for 
another 15 years until today. My wife washed Rosey and took her over to my 
daughter. Now being the new mother in a completely different stage of her life 
my daughter was completely entranced by Rosey and placed the doll, the baby, 
and herself in the same old rocking chair and posed for a picture. After reading 
the e-mails I of course forgot about my present day at the Doctor and drove 
home after getting lost again. As I failed to pay attention to where I was I kept 
thinking about how the past and future sometimes merge making the briefest 
of stops in the present and allowing for quick celebration of life. Hooray for 
Rosey, she did good today.

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I’ve written 
OpEds for 
the Mountain 
Views since 
my first 
January 12, 
2007—“Who’s Park Is It Anyway?” (When it was 
called the Mt. Wilson Observer)—about Memorial 
Park being abused as a day laborer job hiring 
site. This was just four and a half months after 
the paper’s debut, October 1, 2006. Over the 
years my editorials have mostly been about politics, 
government and economics at all levels. I’ve 
written on other topics as varied as science, pop 
culture education, and the environment. I even 
wrote an obituary after the death of my 18 year 
old companion, Maggie, “It’s a Dog’s Life.”

 I wrote a series of editorials supporting Measure 
V, the controversial municipal proposition 
to prevent four-story downtown overdevelopment; 
as well as a series of OpEds condemning 
the City Counsel for bartering away our spring-
fed sweet water rights in exchange for importing 
brackish tasting Arcadia water. A mistake the city 
paid dearly for later with the Sierra Madre Fire.

 I’ve publicly condemned Presidents Bush and 
Obama for their continued prosecutions of the 
Wars in Afghanistan 

and Iraq, even doing a cost-benefit analysis on 
how the money spent on the wars and Bush’s 
unnecessary tax cut for the rich could have been 
better spent at home on needed infrastructure, 
and to finally fully fund all state and local social 

 I supported Obama’s election twice for 
President, defending him from racist “birthers” 
like Donald Trump, but opposed him for joining 
forces with conservative Democrats in 2010 
against California’s Proposition 19 to legalize 
marijuana (it was eventually passed in 2016). I returned 
to the paper last year, after four long years 
in the wilderness, arguing extensively why President 
Trump should be impeached six months before 
Mueller submitted his report to AG William 
Barr. I left again to spend more than a month in 
Mexico gathering information on the new populist 
President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador (affectionately 
called by his supporters “AMBLO”). 
I’m still withholding my judgement.

 Which brings me to an earlier tongue-in-cheek 
opinion piece I wrote June 6, 2008. . It was intended 
to make people to put the number BILLION 
in perspective, since when used by government 
officials talking about $billions of federal 
taxes and $billions in spending, the reference to 
a “billion” dollars sounded like a $billion was 
“chump-change”. The following is based on an 
unattributed piece I found in 13 years 

 “What is a BILLION? The next time you hear 
a politician use the word “billion” in a casual, 
cavalier manner, think about whether you want 
that politician, or any politician for that matter, 
spending YOUR tax money? A billion is a difficult 
number to comprehend, but a math teacher 
I know, helping fact check the article, did a good 
job putting this figure into perspective using 
some easy to understand historical analogies.

 “A billion seconds ago it was 1959. 

 “A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

 “A billion hours ago non of our ancestors 
walked on two feet.

 “A billion days ago (2,739,726 years ago) none 
of our ancestors walked on two feet.

 “A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 
minutes, at the rate of our government is spending 

 The current 2018-19 federal fiscal budget—
including both mandatory and discretionary 
spending—is $4.094 trillion (or $4.094 thousand 
billion) in spending against $3.654 trillion 
(or $3.654 thousand billon) in revenues, leaving 
a deficit of $440 billion, which in turn is added 
to National Debt. As of June 2019, our National 
Debt was a staggering $22.03 trillion ($22.03 
thousand billion). I’m not going to even try converting 
this figure into some sort easy to understand 
analogy. Let’s just say a trillion is a huge 
number, and leave it at that. 

 What I can say is that since I wrote my original 
“What’s is a BILLION” in June 2008 the overall 
rate for federal spending has more than doubled. 
The cost of two expensive wars and two enormous 
tax cuts for the rich makes all of us poorer. 
The FED keeping our interest rates low is in effect 
inflating our currency, weakening the dollar 
against other currencies around the world. This 
has dire consequences for us here at home. 

 Most working class Americans work more 
hours than did their parents and much more 
than did either their grand or great grand parents, 
often working two or three low-paying jobs 
at the same time just trying to make ends meet. 
Still many of the working class have to pay excessive 
credit card interest rates to buy their food 
each month. In fact, most working and middle 
class Americans work month-to-month, have no 
significant savings to cover a family emergency, 
and haven’t had a real raise, after adjusting their 
paychecks for inflation, since Gerald Ford was 
President—that’s more than 42 years ago! 

 Why couldn’t I be the winner who claimed 
$1.537 billion Mega Millions ticket sold in a KC 
Mart in Greenville, South Carolina October 23, 
2018? Why not me ….Why?


Mountain Views News

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concerns of our readers 
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hold in high regard the 
values of the exceptional 
quality of life in our 
community, including 
the magnificence of 
our natural resources. 
Integrity will be our guide. 

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