Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 27, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 14

OPINIONMountain View News Saturday, February 27, 2021 14 OPINIONMountain View News Saturday, February 27, 2021 14 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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I had planned this column to describe my sleepless 

night during which I attempted to solve the New York 

Times Spelling Bee Puzzle. This puzzle which can be 

viewed on my Iphone at midnight consists of six letters 

surrounding a middle letter. The rules of the puzzle 

are to make as many words as possible of four letters or 

more always using the letter in the middle and any of the 

other six letters more than once. Points are scored as 

acceptable words are submitted and there is no penalty 

for submitting words that are not deemed acceptable 

which excluded words that are obscure, hyphenated, 

or proper nouns or non- individual words. No cuss 

words are allowed and additional points are received for 
creating a word utilizing all seven letters. I have become obsessed with the game 
and promptly at midnight begin the puzzle which requires me to awaken, or more 
frequently, abandon whatever (one word) had previously required my attention 
on television. Prior to my obsession such an abandonment would have been 

The puzzle appearing at midnight February 23, 2021 consisting of the 
following letters: u t a y r i surrounding the letter p. I first easily recognized 
common four letter words such as trip, trap, pray, pity, part, and pair. Within (one 
word) a short time I detected “purity” and “parity”. I was on my way, there was no 
stopping me as I next submitted “pituitary” a seven letter word earning me extra 
points as I advanced past the various levels of Beginner, Good Start, Moving Up, 
Good, Solid, Nice, Great , Amazing. I was well on my way, I thought, to the level of 
Genius which I had achieved every day for almost a week.

 For many early morning hours I labored attempting to reach the Genius level 
taking only a short break to watch the Lakers lose to the Wizards (the Wizards?) 
in overtime. I received acceptance of many other common words the most 
interesting of which was “uppity” but barely reached the “Amazing” level. I became 
I incensed at my concept of the elitist word acceptance list which refused to accept 
contemporary words such as “hippie “ and “rapper”. One benefit was that upon 
leaving in the morning to obtain our second vaccine shots I realized that my wife 
had not completed the puzzle. She appears to everyone, including our muchadored 
(should be one word) eighteen month old granddaughter ( a very important one 
word) to be a more preferable person; but that’s okay, I just want to be better at 

On the way to get our shots my wife thought of the word tapas and I 
was relieved to see that we remained at the Amazing level. While waiting in an 
unmoving line I thought of the (one word) “rattrap”. Still, not enough! Finally I 
took a chance on “trippy” and bingo, “Genius”. For the moment I felt satisfied with 
myself. I decided to attempt to teach my granddaughter the word “rattrap” as it 
would be a continual reminder of my success on the day we received our second 

Upon entering the house I turned on the television and there on every 
channel was coverage of the Tiger Woods auto accident. Immediately, I realized 
that this 44 year old man was a person of almost universal importance. I particularly 
remembered his first Masters Victory in 1997 which allowed him to select the 
1998 menu to be served to former Masters Champions. All other champions had 
selected luxurious meals to be prepared by special chefs. The world, not only the 
exclusive golfing world but everyone else, waited for Tiger’s selection. He served 
milkshakes (one word) fries and cheeseburgers (also one world) and this opened 
the world of Golf to an entire population. Tiger Woods’, life which is still ongoing, 
which has many ups and downs and unimaginable recoveries is someone who will 
be written about everywhere this week. My submission of this column will have 
significance perhaps only to me and maybe my granddaughter in twenty years. I 
hope she escapes the “rattrap”. We all cannot be Tiger Woods but every life, even 
yours and mine, has its own significance.

Watch out for those downhill (oneword) curves. 



. Republican Sen. John Cornyn is very upset about Neera Tan-
den, the well-qualified woman tapped by President Biden to run 
the Office of Management and Budget. He is shocked, shocked! 
that tweeting is going on in American politics, and that Tanden 

has done some of it. 
Cornyn, speaking for virtually all Senate Republicans, says that Tanden shouldn’t be 
confirmed to run OMB because she has frequently tweeted harsh criticism of GOP 
bigwigs. He says that, “in light of her combative and insulting comments,” the president 
should “select someone who at the very least has not promoted wild conspiracy 
theories and openly bashed people.” 
Wait a sec…Cornyn reads means tweets and considers them to be serious disqualifiers 
for high office?! As Johnny Carson liked to say on the old Tonight Show, “This 
I did not know.” 
I was under the distinct impression that Cornyn, and his Republican pals, didn’t 
pay attention to mean tweets. That they were too busy to read them. That they basically 
shrugged them off. Like, for instance, whenever their Dear Leader thumbed 
his phone to make combative and insulting comments, to promote wild conspiracy 
theories and openly bash people.
Like, for instance, what happened last June, when an elderly Buffalo man, a peaceful 
protestor, was hospitalized with a head injury after cops shoved him to the ground. 
Trump responded by lying on Twitter that the old guy was probably an Antifa plant. 
The press asked Cornyn what he thought about his president’s tweet.
His reaction: “I’m not familiar with it. Not particularly…A lot of this stuff just goes 
over my head.” 
The rest of the Senate Republican ostriches chimed in. Mike Braun said, “No real 
response to it.” Rick Scott said, “I didn’t see it.” Marco Rubio said, “I didn’t see it. I 
don’t read Twitter.” Kevin Cramer said, “I know nothing of the episode, so I don’t 
know.” Pat Roberts said, “I don’t want to hear it…I’d just as soon not.” 
But Tom Cotton best summed up their attitude on a different occasion, when Trump 
tweeted that four female House members of color should go back where they came 
from (three were born in America, one was a naturalized citizen). When Cotton was 
asked what he thought of Trump’s tweet, he said: “The president is gonna tweet what 
he’s gonna tweet.” 
So no big deal, right? The bankrupt casino owner who vaulted into politics by relentlessly 
tweeting the lie that Barack Obama was a fake American – who reigned by 
sliming anyone who criticized him and retweeting crackpot calls to violence – got a 
pass every time because his soulless enablers covered their eyes.
Back in our brief dystopia, Kevin Cramer spoke for his fellow wimps when he said 
“I don’t know whether the president should be careful or not about what he tweets.” 
But now, all of a sudden, they’re clutching their pearls about Neera Tanden, declaring 
that she shouldn’t be the OMB director because she wasn’t “careful” about what 
she tweeted. 
She did tweet tough stuff about Republicans during the MAGA era. Tanden said 
(among other things) that Susan Collins was “pathetic” (which happens to be true),” 
that “vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz” (which happens to be true), and that 
Mitch McConnell was “Voldemort.” It would have been more politic of Tanden to 
be less outspoken, and it’s puzzling that the Biden team didn’t anticipate that Senate 
Republicans would try to knock out her nomination by citing her tweets.
Alas, their hypocrisy prevents them from putting things in perspective. Tanden has 
never tweeted threats to wage nuclear war, or retweeted cartoons showing a journalist 
getting beaten up. She hasn’t tweeted fascist lies about a “stolen election” or white 
nationalist agitprop that sows Islamophobia, racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism.
Perhaps I’m just imagining it, but the mostly white male Senate Republicans seem 
extra sensitive about mean tweets thumbed by a woman of color. Indeed, a number 
of Biden’s women of color nominees seem to be meeting Republican resistance. The 
party that’s been thrown into the minority, thanks to Trump and their fealty unto 
him, seems to have a problem saying yes to a new administration that looks like 
If Tanden’s nomination goes down, it’s likely that another qualified woman of color 
will get the OMB job. There’s only so much Republicans can do to turn back the 
clock. And huffing about tweets is transparently weak, after five execrable years of 
playing deaf and dumb. 

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer 
in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email 
him at 




But by the grace of God I am what I 
am, and his grace toward me was not 
in vain. On the contrary, I worked 
harder than any of them, though it 
was not I, but the grace of God that 
is with me. 

- 1 Corinthians 15:10 
He couldn’t have been more than a 
kid, early twenties maybe, though 
he looked older. Life outdoors tends 
to age a person prematurely. He was 
homeless, addicted, alone.
I’ll call him “Daniel” and I met him at 
a homeless shelter where I was vol-unteering 
with my wife the other night. 
More accurately, Denise is the ac-tive 
volunteer, serving on boards, giving 
out scarves and blankets, getting to 
know the residents. Mostly, I tag along 
for support.
On this particular night, temperatures 
were in the teens and a steady snowfall 
covered the streets and sidewalks 
in front of the church where we waited 
for walk-ins. 
Denise recognized Daniel from another 
shelter where she volunteers. 
She asked him how he was doing, 
what he was up to, showed him where 
he could sleep for the night and where 
to get some food in the kitchen.
For the four hours we were there, from 
8 p.m. to midnight, Daniel left and returned 
a few times. At one point, he 
produced a drawing pad on which he 
had made a few sketches. He showed 
them to Denise and she made a fuss, 
as you would when one of your kids 
presents you with a few doodles.
A little later, Daniel asked us what 
the temperature was supposed to 
be tomorrow. It took a minute but 
it dawned on me that he wasn’t asking 
us about the weather in an effort 
to make small talk. He wanted to see 
if it was going to be warm enough to 
As we spoke to him, I couldn’t help but 
wonder. How did he get here? What 
led a young and seemingly healthy 
young man to an aimless exist-ence 
on the streets? Certainly, addiction is 
part of the answer but only part. What 
happened in his past? Was he ever 
nurtured or encouraged by anyone?
Then, after the questions, came the 
realization that there are so many others, 
like Daniel, living life day-to-day; 
outdoors and forgotten.
It is true that a few homeless people 
are homeless by choice. Though able 
to work or even get back on their feet 
in a shelter, they choose homelessness 
instead of structure and rule-following. 
Denise will tell you that some 
of the men with whom she worked at 
the shelter simply walked away on 

their own 
rather than 
follow the 
house rules. 
Others were 

kicked out. 
I had another thought as I spoke to 
Daniel. Could I have been him? With 
a slight alteration of circumstances, 
could I have wound up in the same situation 
due to job loss, financial ruin 
or illness? 
Oh, we say, “Not me. Don’t be ridiculous. 
Those people are sick. They have 
problems. They can’t be helped and 
they don’t know how to help themselves.” 
There was a time when it was easy for 
me to disregard young men like Daniel. 
After all, in Philadelphia, there 
were hundreds of them. It was easy to 
walk by, not make eye contact, even 
“Better him than me,” as if I were 
somehow impervious to personal 
We’re all fragile, vulnerable, mortal. 
Ask the people of Texas where a winter 
storm has turned life upside down.
While politicians bicker about why 
it’s so cold and whose fault it is, millions 
of residents are freezing, without 
power or drinking water. Warming 
shelters have opened throughout to 
state. People who were warm and secure 
suddenly found themselves hungry, 
cold and in need of help.
According to the National Alliance 
to End Homelessness, there are an 
es-timated 553,742 people in the U.S. 
experiencing homelessness on a given 
night. In the Kentucky county where 
I live, 400public school students were identified 
as homeless in 2019. 
This is not a call to action to volunteer 
or donate to your local homeless shelter, 
though you may feel led to do that. 
Rather – and I’m speaking to myself as 
much as anyone – it’s a call to compassion 
and empathy.
The truth is there’s less daylight between 
Daniel and me than I was ever 
willing to admit. 

Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born 
journalist and author. He is currently a 
professor of journalism at Asbury University 
in Kentucky. You can reach him 

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