Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 1, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 11



Mountain View News Saturday, February 1, 2020 





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


Kobe Bryant managed to remain a local kid with 
Philly cred long after he left the city for the West 

The NBA superstar managed to remain a local hero, 
even though he gave his talent to the Lakers, a team that no true Sixers fan 
can stomach. Kobe managed to remain an authentic citizen of this most 
authentic of places by coming back on a regular basis, by loving the local 
teams (and never saying a bad word about his dad Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant’s 
NBA alma mater, the Sixers,) by keeping close and loving ties with his own 
alma mater, Lower Merion High School, and by rejoicing when the Eagles 
won the Super Bowl with the same emotion that the guy at Broad and Pattison, 
holding an empty Budweiser can, could muster.

Now is the time for mourning him, and shedding tears over the lost years 
and the unspeakable tragedy of his passing, alongside his 13-year-old 
daughter Gigi. And now is also the time for prayers, and the deeply felt 
hope that they are together in a place that has basketball courts, endless 
sunshine and peace.

But mixed in with the sadness, we should try and grasp at those memories 
and moments that make us smile at the time Kobe was with us. For those of 
us in Philly, many of those memories are filled with flashes of his brilliance 
as a boy, a teen and a legend foretold.

One of these memories comes to me from David Walsh, cousin of Monsignor 
Vince Walsh. Father Vince, as they call him, is a humble man who 
now lives in retirement in what my great friend Monsignor Joe Corey used 
to call “beautiful downtown Darby.”

One day, Father Vince was visiting a parish in Lower Merion when he decided 
to take a little break, and pulled a basketball out of the trunk of his 
car. It might seem unusual that a priest would carry around a basketball, 
but if you’ve ever seen Bing Crosby or Spencer Tracey in one of those old 
black-and-white classics like “Going My Way” or “Boys Town,” you know 
that priests and basketball go together like wine and wafers.

Father Vince found a court, and intended to just shoot some hoops by himself. 
But lo and behold, there were three young guys already playing a game 
of pickup, and they wanted to play two on two. Figuring they could beat 
this older priest with their youth and skill, they asked Father Vince to join 
them, and he agreed.

Well, the whole “beating this older priest” idea evaporated pretty quickly 
as the boys saw this particular shot that Father had mastered, something 
called the “Fade Away Banked Hook Shot.” Because of that shot and Father 
Vince’s skill, the boys put their best guy on him. That best guy was a young 
Kobe Bryant, then a high school All-American.

Kobe and Father Vince kept in touch over the years, united by a love of the 
game they both adored, and their faith. In fact, in the wake of the Laker legend’s 
untimely and tragic death Sunday, many commentators talked about 
the fact that Kobe Bryant was a practicing Catholic whose faith was deeply 
important to him. One can only imagine how Father Vince, who has keys 
to St. Philomena’s near his retirement home and still plays hoops, felt when 
he heard about the tragedy.

Life is unpredictable, and we need to cherish every moment. The day that 
Kobe Bryant passed away marked the 22nd anniversary of my own brother’s 
death, under equally tragic circumstances. Jon was barely 31, Kobe only 
a decade older. Trying to find an explanation for these losses is fruitless, and 
will produce more pain than actual answers.

We can only find comfort in the joy experienced here, when we crossed 
paths with these important people, and by keeping their memories alive by 
talking about how important they were to us, and praying for their souls. I 
am certain that Father Vince is going to be out on the court shooting hoops 
very soon, and that each one of his “Fade Away Banked Hook Shots” will be 
accompanied by a loving prayer for the soul of his longtime friend.


Nice to see old friends (Stu Tolchin, Hail 
Hamilton) reappear on your Opinion 
page. But still, there is the occasional column 
that simply doesn’t make sense.

Last week, Michael Reagan responded to 
the Senate’s consideration of Trump’s impeachment 
by offering a brief history of 
presidents’ asserting “executive privilege”. 
In this matter, however, President Trump 
has not asserted any “executive privilege”; 
rather, he’s issued blanket orders for Executive 
Branch personnel (and even to those 
not in government – who may have been 
associated with his campaign) to not comply 
with duly-authorized congressional 
subpoenas. This is unprecedented in our 
nation’s history.

Reagan also suggests this is about “a phone 
call”. No, as established by the House’s inquiry 
leading to Trump’s impeachment, 
this is about a months-long effort to put 
our national security at risk, betray an ally 
engaged in a hot-war against Russian aggression, 
promote the loony conspiracy 
theories of Rudy Giuliani and propaganda 
from the Kremlin over the consensus of 
our own intelligence establishment, and 
moving to ruin the careers of foreign service 
professionals who might stand in the 
way of the shakedown – all with the intent 
of being able to smear a potential election 

And yes, according to the GAO, the president 
did break the law by improperly withholding 
appropriated funds.

This is about following events in other 
countries – Egypt, Hungary, Brazil, the 
Philippines, Turkey – whose peoples 
yearned for the values our founders established, 
but have reverted to strongman-
authoritarianism – and whose leaders 
our president envies (“love letters” to Kim 

For those in the Senate, it’s a question of 
putting our country and our Constitution 
ahead of the interests of Donald Trump. 
It’s nothing less than that, as I see it.


Howard Hays, Sierra Madre

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Just like you are 
probably doing yourself 
I’m doing the best I can to 
create a positive feeling 
for myself and pretend 
that the whole country 
is not on the edge of 
falling apart. Monday, 
after getting some pretty 
good news at Kaiser, the 
doctor suggested that 
I resume walking for exercise. I explained 
that I was still recovering from surgery but 
further, probably unnecessarily, explained 
that I found it difficult to go walking 
without my dog Milo who has accompanied 
me on my walks for fifteen years. The 
doctor asked what breed of dog was Milo 
and at that moment I lovingly pictured our 
dog and identified him as a Maltipoo. The 
doctor immediately reached for her phone 
and displayed pictures of her dog, also a 
Maltipoo of the same color and size as Milo 
even though he had a more prominent 
muzzle. This sharing of dog talk left me with 
a very pleasant feeling about my doctor.

 As we left the hospital, I was already 
feeling tired probably relating to the fact that 
I stayed up much of the night watching tennis 
matches because I’m still having trouble 
sleeping. I was experiencing conflicting 
feelings about the about the absolutely 
startling death of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year 
old daughter, and seven other people which 
had just been reported. It is undeniable that 
everyone in Los Angeles who has lived here 
for more than a few years was completely 
shocked by the announcement of his death. 
Kobe had played his entire career in Los 
Angeles and had gone directly from high 
school to the Lakers. For twenty years he had 
been a magnificent star. True there had been 
a claim of forced sexual contact by a hotel 
employee who had visited his room at 3:00 
a.m. but the matter was settled out of court 
and Kobe claimed that whatever occurred 
was consensual. Subsequent to that time 
seemingly all of Los Angeles had focused 
on Kobe the family man, the loving father 
of his 4 daughters, the Academy Award 
winner who would go to his almost teenage 
daughter’s basketball games rather than to 
Laker games. In fact it was on the way to 
a girl’s basketball game to which Kobe, his 
daughter, other basketball coaches, and 
players and parents that the tragic helicopter 
crash in dense fog occurred. To a great part 
of Los Angeles the announcement of their 
death was like a surprising death in our own 
family. Almost immediately, together with 
the shared grief, a feeling of unity became 
palpable in the city. We were all mourning 
together and that realization was a positive 

 I was doing the best that I could do 
to maintain that positive feeling as we left 
Kaiser and suggested that we just go up half 
a block to the Pasadena Sandwich Shop to 
pick up lunch. For those of you unfamiliar 
with the Sandwich shop it is in the rapidly 
disappearing mode of an old time New 
York or Chicago Deli. Originally the shop 
had been opened by Steve Fink who had 
been working slicing meat and preparing 
sandwiches next to his own parents for 
years. From previous visits I knew that Steve 
had died from a rare blood disease called 
Amyloidosis but the shop had continued 
operating now being run by his son Jonathan 
and his daughter Meghan.

 What I wanted to buy was a 
giant sandwich called the “Big Steve” 
because the proceeds from the sale of 
that special sandwich are donated to the 
Steve Fink Foundation which is devoted 
to obtaining more information and a cure 
for Amyloidosis. While the sandwich was 
being made (which was great by the way) I 
had a little time to talk with Jonathan. Now 
Jonathan has the same big smile his father 
had and I told him that I remembered Steve 
telling me that as long as he was slicing meat 
he was happy. Jonathan laughed and told me 
maybe that was because when his father was 
slicing meat he couldn’t talk about anything 
else. From that conversation I learned that 
the Pasadena Sandwich Shop was highly 
involved with all sorts of charitable activities 
in Pasadena and had created many events 
and activities including giving Thanksgiving 
meals to homeless families. I gathered that 
for Steve Fink’s Family continuing to operate 
the Sandwich Shop is more than a business, 
it was a calling following in the footsteps of 
their deceased parent and grandparents. 

I kept all of this in mind as my wife and I 
went home and ate the sandwich. One 
sandwich was more than enough for the 
both of us and we enjoyed the extra pickles 
and the pickled egg that I ordered because 
it reminded me of Chicago even though I 
never ate one there.

 After eating, and I am sure you knew 
this was coming, I turned on the television 
and there it was– the Trump Impeachment 
Trial. I had tried my best all day to ignore it 
but it will not go away. I view it as a charade 
illustrating the possible end of our wonderful 
attempt at maintaining a democracy. 
Everything I see seems to indicate that 
the present leadership of the country is in 
league with the tyrannical dictators of the 
world and that if the planet does not become 
uninhabitable, and or nuclear war does not 
breakout, or a pandemic doesn’t strike, our 
time as the enlightened city on the hill will 
end and what was the United States will end 
up in some global nightmare.

 But, until then, try to stay happy and 
do anything you can to stop the process of 
destruction. Get a dog. Maybe a Maltipoo.

Back in December 
2015, on the 
cusp of the 
2016 presidential 
Trump was 
his Putinesque behavior, I warned in 
a column that “we’re in danger of embracing 
a very American version of autocracy…
Do we really want to flirt with 

A fatally thin margin of voters in pivotal 
states basically said “Yup.” And on 
Wednesday, sure enough, a hireling on 
Trump’s “legal” team vocally extolled 
autocracy – declaring during the Senate 
trial that Trump cannot be impeached 
for anything because his self-interest 
is the personification of the national 
interest. Which is the same mentality 
that marked the 17th-century reign of 
France’s “Sun King,” Louis XIV, who famously 
decreed L’etat c’est moi (“I am 
the State”).

Former O.J. and Jeffrey Epstein lawyer 
Alan Dershowitz framed it this way:

“If the president does something that 
he thinks will help him get elected, in 
the public interest, that cannot be the 
kind of quid quo pro that results in 

And to think this guy actually taught 
law at Harvard.

Let’s play out his reasoning. If Trump 
were to extort a foreign country for domestic 
dirt on a potential election opponent, 
that would be in the national 
interest, and therefore not impeachable? 
Correct, because that’s the issue 
at hand. And if he were to, say, order 
the Justice Department to gin up phony 
probes of election opponents, that too 
would be in the national interest and 
therefore not impeachable? Correct. 
And if he were to cover up evidence of 
those probes, that’s no problem? Correct. 
And if he were to simply throw 
those opponents in jail, that’s OK too? 
And if he were to order a Watergate-
style break in at Democratic headquarters? 

A more urgent question: When Dershowitz 
crafted his monarchist credo, 
did a single Republican senator in the 
chamber utter a peep of protest, or in 
any way signal that such a statement 
clashed with the U.S. Constitution – 
and that, in fact, the American Revolution 
was a revolt against the divine 
right of kings? Why bother to ask. As 
they plot Trump’s exoneration, they 
have become supplicants to royalty.

Dershowitz is mostly a joke, a TV celebrity 
long past his sell-by date, best 
known these days for claiming that 
he kept his undies on while he was 
massaged by one of client Epstein’s 
girls. But what he said merely distilled 
what Trump’s previous enablers – and 
Trump himself – have been saying all 
along. Not to mention what Trump has 
been doing all along.

Back in December 2017, when it was 
clear that Trump was working hard to 
block Robert Mueller’s probe, Trump 
lawyer John Dowd contended that a 
president, by definition, “cannot obstruct 
justice because he is the chief law 
enforcement officer.”

And Trump went much further during 
a speech last July: “I have an Article II, 
where I have to the right to do whatever 
I want as president.” In truth, Article II 
of the Constitution doesn’t give a president 
total power. It also stresses the 
importance of congressional oversight, 
and holding presidents accountable via 

But Trump has long proved he can’t be 
stopped by a piece of parchment. He 
has indulged his authoritarian impulses 
on multiple fronts both large (declaring 
a fake “national emergency” to 
build his border wall, spending money 
far beyond the amount authorized by 
Congress) and small (pressuring Air 
Force crews to stay at his Turnberry resort 
in Scotland during refueling stops, 
then claiming he knew nothing about 
it) and chilling (confiscating the notes 
of his private meetings with Vladimir 
Putin, concealing the details from his 
senior aides.)

Parchment can’t save democracy – only 
people can do that. And the Senate 
Republicans, forfeiting their constitutional 
duty to act as a co-equal branch 
of government, are preparing to put the 
Dershowitz credo into practice. It’s certainly 
the easiest way to let Trump off 
the hook. They can’t contest the facts 
about what Trump did in his bid to rig 
the 2020 election. Therefore, Plan B is 
to simply say that he did it in “the national 
interest” because he is L’etat and 
vice versa.

What this ultimately means for the 
future, assuming there comes a time 
when Trump is gone, is that any president 
would be free to do whatever he or 
she wants, to retain or abuse power, as 
long as a mere 34 senators are willing 
to exonerate whatever he or she does.

But hey, we have nobody to blame but 
ourselves. A sufficient share of voters, 
aided by the distortions of the Electoral 
College, put us where we are and where 
candidate Trump always signaled we 
would go. The window for democracy 
is rapidly narrowing, and November 
may be the last chance to pry it open.

As a French lawyer-diplomat, Joseph 
de Maistre, warned two centuries ago, 
“Every nation gets the government it 

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