Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 5, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 13

OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, February 5, 2022 
13 OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, February 5, 2022 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary 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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On Sunday my son and I went up to a friend’s house to watch 
the National Football League Divisional playoffs. There 
were some people present that I had not seen for years. 
Once masks were removed I could see the same smiles but 
when hats came off balding heads presented themselves. My 
friend’s stepson reminded me of how I had assisted him in 
being accepted at one of the Magnet High schools which 
had previously rejected him. At that time I was good friends 
with some powerful people and at his request I contacted 
them and very soon he was accepted. He explained that this 
acceptance led to a major change in his life. The other accepted 
students were people who took their life and their 

studies very seriously and he learned to do the same. Twenty years later he has a very 
responsible position and is very conscientious in performing his duties. 

Hooray for him and, likewise, hooray for me. I asked him many questions about 
his life and he was very forthright in his answers. After he and most of the other people 
left I could tell that something was wrong in the way the stepfather & owner of the house 
related to me. On Monday I called my old friend and asked him if there was a problem. 
He hesitantly explained that my behavior was inappropriate and rude. My questions to 
people required answers that were personal and that should never be addressed in public. 
He explained that if someone wanted to talk about personal subjects it was up to that person 
to bring it up. He went on to say that I had no boundaries and that was why people 
were often uncomfortable around me. 

Frankly I was crushed and hurt. This is not the first time I had heard such criticism 
but I generally laugh it off. I always want to know how people feel about things and 
ask why they have made certain decisions. An example of that behavior is my frequent 
questioning of friends about how they have made the decision not to have children. One 
friend in response to that question condescendingly explained that although he had been 
happily married for over twenty years the question had never been discussed. He said it 
was like asking why he and his wife did not go to Paris for lunch. Even to me, it seemed 
clear that he didn’t want to talk about it; but, nevertheless, I seem to repeat the question. 

This question about what is appropriate behavior has been on my mind all week. 

I picked up this week’s issue of THE WEEK magazine and read on page 10 an interview 

Francoise Giolot the former partner of Pablo Picasso later married to Jonas Salk, devel

oper of the polio vaccine. She has now reached the age of 100 and is a celebrated artist her

self. In all her relationships, she says, she kept something of herself hidden. “You should 

not make yourself known that much to other people and should keep your most intimate 

thoughts to yourself.” Perhaps not surprisingly, this was real news to me. 

I started this morning off, as I customarily do by watching “Democracy Now” 

Today, there were only two subjects. First a discussion of Whoopi Goldberg’s unfortunate 

comment that she did not believe the holocaust was an example of racial prejudice but 

was simply an example of man’s inhumanity to man. You know just an example of one 

group of White People clashing with another group of White People. The next segment 

of the show was an interview of the cartoonist Art Seligman creator of the Pulitzer Prize 

winning graphic novel “Maus”, a description of the horrors inflicted upon Jews by Hitler’s 

Germany. I had the book around the house and picked it up and read the introduction:

“The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.” Adolf Hitler 

Putting both segments of the show together it is understandable why many people 
were profoundly upset by Whoopi’s statement and the consequences to her could have 
easily been more severe than the two week suspension she received. Whoopi has attempted 
to apologize at least three times and says she now understands that what seems 
right to her might be insulting to someone else. She says she will try to educate herself 
more before she opens her mouth. 

The point of this article is my attempt to explain that I, too, must learn this same 

lesson. Rather than saying or asking about whatever pops into my head it may be best to 

consider the effect that my words might have on other people. This will be quite a change. 



When word spread last week about an imminent Supreme Court 
retirement, I hoped against hope that it would be Clarence Thomas. 

No such luck. 

Replacing Clinton appointee Stephen Breyer with a Biden appoin

tee is really no biggie. Ridding the court of Clarence, and his blatant 
conflicts of interest, would be a major upgrade – at least in terms of repairing 
the court’s record-low reputation. Because for more than 20 years it has been an open 
secret, and a patent disgrace, that wife Ginni has been a right-wing activist working 
on a range of hot button issues on which hubby sits in judgement. 

Perhaps it’s sheer coincidence that he was the lone dissenter in the 8-1 ruling that 
bars Donald Trump from blocking the release of documents about the Jan. 6 insurrection 
– the same event that Ginni agitated for on Facebook, the same event to 
which she helped send busloads of insurrectionists. At the very least, it sure looks 
bad. In fact, the official Code of Judicial Conduct, embedded in federal law, specifically 
states that “any justice, judge, or magistrate judges of the United States shall 
disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be 
questioned” by a reasonable, objective person. 

Yup, the code says “any justice.” Problem is, the Supremes exempt themselves from 
the code. 

There are no Supreme Court rules governing conflict of interest. The justices police 
themselves, which of course means that, in practice, they don’t police themselves at 
all. All other federal judges in all the lower courts are inhibited from putting themselves 
in any situation that might convey an appearance of impropriety. But not the 
nine folks at the top of the pyramid. 

That’s long been a great deal for Clarence and Ginni. As far back as December 2000, 
while the high court was weighing whether to stop the Florida recount and award 
the White House to George W. Bush (which it did, with Clarence voting in the 5-4 
majority), Ginny, as a staffer at the conservative Heritage Foundation, was already 
screening resumes for the incoming Bush administration. A decade later, Clarence 
sat in judgement of Obamacare while Ginni was earning roughly $165,000 working 
for several groups that lobbied to repeal Obamacare. During the Trump administration, 
Ginni worked closely with (and was paid by) a prominent anti-immigrant activist 
who filed amicus briefs defending Trump’s Muslim travel ban – while Clarence 
was hearing cases about the travel ban. 

The conflict of interest episodes are too numerous to list here. Suffice it to say that 
Clarence steadfastly refused to recuse himself, despite repeated demands over the 
years that he do so. It’s a blatant breach of judicial ethics – and the all-important 
perception of impartial justice – that he’s still on the bench when gay rights cases get 
debated (Ginni is on record railing against “transsexual fascists”), and when national 
security cases get weighed (Ginni is on record railing against “the Deep State”). 

Last year, a bipartisan coalition of 107 law professors from 76 law schools asked 
Congress to require that all federal judges with perceived conflicts at least explain in 
writing the reasons why they’d refused to recuse themselves. A tepid reform, for sure. 
But right now Clarence doesn’t have to explain anything. 

The only available constitutional remedy is for the House to target the guy with an 
impeachment probe. Democrats, who run the Judiciary Committee, could subpoena 
Ginni and ask pointed questions about her actions on behalf of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. 
With that matter under investigation, Clarence might actually be compelled 
to recuse himself on all Jan. 6-related cases. But alas, as we all well know, hand-
wringing Democrats shrink from that kind of hardball. 

So I suppose there’s only one solution. President Biden, having pledged to replace 
Breyer with a well-qualified Black woman, should simply announce that his choice is 
Anita Hill. Having long survived Clarence Thomas’ sexual harassment, the attorney 
and law professor is rested and ready. 

Perhaps forcing Clarence to share the bench with Hill would be sufficient impetus 
for him to quit. 

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 



I’m a big fan of Will Rogers. 

Will Rogers, a humorist and political commentator, 
began his career circa 1901 as a trick roper 
in a Wild West Show, first in South Africa and 
then Australia. Returning to the U.S. in 1904 he 
performed his trick roping act on the vaudeville 
circuits. At one such western show in New York 
City a wild steer broke out of the arena at Madi

son Square Garden and started making its way 
up into the viewing stands. 

Will roped the steer to the delight of the crowd and that feat got him 
front page attention from the New York Newspapers. He ended up in 
New York’s Ziegfeld’s Follies where he performed his rope tricks and 
provided a nightly monologue on current events. Twirling his lasso 
evenings on stage in his cowboy outfit he said, “Well, what shall I talk 
about? I ain’t got anything funny to say. All I know is what I read in the 

He pre-wrote his epitaph and it is memorable to this day: “When I die, 
my epitaph or whatever you call those signs on gravestones is going to 
read: ‘I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a 
man I dident (sic) like.’ I am so proud of that I can hardly wait to die so it 
can be carved. And when you come to my grave you will find me sitting 
there, proudly reading it.” 

Will commented on many facets of American life that are still relevant 

National Debt: “…Let’s sell off enough of this country to somebody and 
pay off all national debts, then the taxes wouldn’t be nearly as much. The 
Democrats will agree to peddle Texas and Florida. And I am certain the 
republicans will let Massachusetts and Rhode Island go.” (December 16, 

War and Peace: “I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this – no nation 
is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.” (August 29, 

Politics: “Politics ain’t nothing but reciprocity, you know. Congress will 
vote for anything if the thing they vote for will turn around and vote for 
them.” (October 12, 1935) 

Politicians: “I’m just like a politician – the less I know about anything, 
the more I can say.” (January 27, 1935) 

Presidents: “It’s a tough life, this thing of being President and trying to 
please everybody – well, not exactly everybody, but enough to be reelected.” 
(September 22, 1929) 

U.S. Congress: “There is an old legend that years ago there was a man 
elected to Congress who voted according to his own conscience.” (1919) 
U.S. Congress: “Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us all pray. Oh, 
Lord, give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon 
us. Be merciful with them oh, Lord, for they know not what they are 
doing. Amen.” 
U.S. Government: “We got a long-sighted government. When everybody 
has got money, they cut taxes, and when they’re broke, they raise 
‘em. That’s statesmanship of the highest order.” (March 27, 1932) 
Will was one of the truly great Americans. His humor helped our country 
weather through the early years of the Great Depression. 

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