Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 26, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 13

OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, February 19, 2022 13 OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, February 19, 2022 13 




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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Last Saturday, as I walked down the hill into the 
town center. I was invited to sit down with two older 
guys seated at an outside table. I don’t why they invited 
me to sit down but I welcomed the opportunity to take 
a breather. Over the years the walk from my home up 
in the canyon down to the town center has become increasingly 
exhausting. In fact I now telephone my wife 
to come to my aid and come and get me. 

There is a fact that makes this possible. Cell phones al

low me to make the call which will be received because 

my wife almost always has her phone with her. The existence 
of the cellphone has resulted in an adjustment in my attitude about long walks 
and I am much healthier as a result. Nevertheless I have to adjust to the fact that 
I am now an old person. Although I shy away from mirrors I am pretty sure that I 
look like a wrinkled white-haired old person walking slowly with my hands behind 
my back. When and how this happened I don’t know. Inside I feel almost exactly 
the same; it’s only when I try to do anything that I notice the difference. You know 
getting out of the car is difficult; putting on my socks is impossible, and for some 
reason my clothes are always wanting to stay inside out. 

Let me try and explain. I am now, after 57 years of practice, a retired lawyer. 
When you are a practicing lawyer you are used to be taken seriously. Lawyers advise 
people, explain things and make predictions and stand up in front of audiences 
and make opening and closing arguments. All that changes with retirement, at least 
it has for me. My successful lawyer daughter, probably wisely, rarely asks for my 
advice. I have no new clients asking for my direction. I become aware of this when 
very occasionally an old client will call and ask my opinion about something. This 
feels good but is not the way I am now treated by the world at large. .

 I still want to be taken seriously and write these articles in the hope of having 
a positive effect upon the world. 

Of course, now that I am retired I have the time to make other adjustments including 
a willingness to enter into conversation with people of very different beliefs and 
attitudes. Returning to the conversation I had with the two strangers last Saturday, 
in just a few minutes it became clear that we had very different political attitudes. 
What I remember now about the conversation was that these two men were Republicans 
who believe white people were now being discriminated against and that 
Critical Race Theory was intended to make white people feel guilty. The men said 
that all people who were homeless did that by choice. Uncharacteristically I did not 
get up and scream. We kept talking and I gave each of them a copy of the papers 
from the stand next to us which contained an article of mine discussing similar 
concerns. One of the men actually read it or parts of it. Afterwards both men said 
that they were there every Saturday and would enjoy talking with me again. Who 
knows? Maybe I will –let’s face it; after a long walk I can always use a place to sit 
down, especially if there are people to talk with. More importantly, there is 
a kind of progress that can result. 

If we can agree upon what is factual, our attitudes may well be affected. The men 
stated their belief that continuing residential racial segregation was the result of 
personal preferences to choose to live around similar people. This, I believe can be 
shown to be factually untrue. Governmental policies refusing GI loans to minority 
people and a policy of redlining limiting minority people to less desirable areas 
have caused tremendous problems. Not only are minorities deprived of decent 
schools, employment opportunities, and adequate health services but also they have 
been prevented from acquiring the equity in their homes which would allow for 
economic advancement. There are factual connections. I am old enough to realize 
that attitudes do not change overnight and that facts are needed to support or 
modify beliefs. I think it is possible to bring about common factual understanding 
through actual discussion. 

Politics should not be a religion requiring rigid adherence but rather should be an 
attempt to factually examine social conditions. This, I believe, is a necessary adjustment 
which should be undertaken by people of all ages—even old ones like me. 


If this were an ordinary column, I’d offer some neat prescription 
or exhort policymakers to take action on the solution 
to the crisis happening in Ukraine that’s staring them 
in the face. 

But the truth is that I don’t have a pithy solution or a soundbite-
sized call to action as the United States and its allies 
confront a humanitarian disaster in the making. 

There are no easy answers. The fact that we are even in this 
place to begin with is the fruit of two decades of failures and 
missteps, across presidential administrations, to bring Russian 
strongman Vladimir Putin to heel. 

I do, however, know one thing: There is only one language 
that a bully and murderous thug such as Putin understands. And if our nation and elected 
leaders truly are serious about defending liberal democracy in Ukraine and around the 
world , they have to speak loudly, and with one voice, and tell Putin he can go no further. 

I realize this is far easier said than done. It’s hard enough for the United States to speak with 
one voice at home on the most basic of issues. 

It is a problem exacerbated by our polarized politics and the sad reality that there’s a whole 
segment of one of the major political parties that has proven, through its actions on Jan. 6 
and beyond, that it has little to no interest in democratic norms. It can appallingly dismiss 
the carnage of that horrible day as an exercise in legitimate political discourse, and actively 
try to erase from its ranks those who think otherwise. 

I am also painfully aware of the kind of reality distortion field that must be erected to decry 
Putin’s war of choice in Ukraine, even as the specter of three decades of American misadventures 
in the Persian Gulf and a war of choice in Iraq glares over our collective shoulder. 

But it’s clear that every tool in the international community’s arsenal, short of direct force, 
has to be deployed as Putin tries to reset the international order that traces its origins to the 
fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the former Soviet Union that followed just 
a few years later. Make no mistake, that is his goal – a resurgent Russia that stands above 
the west. 

On Thursday, President Joe Biden piled more sanctions on Russia, decrying Putin’s “brutal 
assault” on Ukraine and its people. The Pentagon ordered an additional 7,000 soldiers to 
Europe, a move that cheered allies but surely sent a shudder through American military 
families already weary of more than two decades of continuous war. 

On Thursday, a veteran armed forces officer told me that they were closely watching developments 
in Ukraine unfold, and the Pentagon’s response to it. 

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, so that they could speak freely, said a U.S. 
response could start with such rapidly deployable forces as the 82nd Airborne Division, as 
was the case with the evacuation of Kabul Airport last year. Indeed, elements of the 82nd 
already have deployed to Poland, according to published reports. 

A military response is surely the least palatable and most potentially catastrophic option. 
History teaches that ground engagements with the Russians never end well. 

As one expert notes, that currently does not appear to be in the cards. Instead, “the U.S. is 
rallying the world to isolate Russia through economic sanctions and to respond to cyber attacks,” 
analyst Jon Hutson wrote on Twitter. 

And with Putin muttering threateningly about nuclear strikes if the west launches reprisal 
attacks, according to The Telegraph, the West cannot engage in similar saber-rattling. That’s 
effectively how Europe blundered into World War I. 

Still, there’s no middle ground here. This is a battle between good and evil. 

“Everything that the Kremlin says is a lie. Please don’t both sides this,” podcaster and analyst 
Terrell Jermaine Starr wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Putin is killing innocent people and 
Ukraine did nothing to deserve it.” 

That’s a message that needs to be repeated over and over again.
An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania 
Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. 



You can blame my daughter, Olivia, for the 
content of this column. She suggested I talk 
about presidential pets. Wow! What a great 
idea. I mean, how better to judge the character 
of a president than by analyzing the kinds of 
pets they surround themselves with. 

Now you might think most chief executives 
had dogs. You’d be wrong. Jefferson didn’t. And 

neither did 17 other presidents. Joe Biden gets credit for having the first 
shelter rescue dog to live at the White House. A German Shepherd named 
Major. Or, is that his rank. Don’t know. He’ll probably be called General 
before too long. The Biden’s also welcomed Willow the cat. Do pets get 
secret service protection? 

President Obama made a campaign promise to daughters Sasha and Malia. 
A Presidential puppy. And daddy delivered Bo, a male Portuguese 
Water Dog (a gift from Ted Kennedy). In 2013 the Obamas adopted Sunny, 
a female Portuguese Water Dog. 

Four presidents had no pets at all. Donald Trump, Chester Arthur, Franklin 
Pierce, and Millard Fillmore. How can you get elected without having 
at least one pet? 

Six presidents had parrots. George Washington had a parrot. So did Madison, 
Jackson, Grant, Roosevelt and McKinley. 

A Fascinating paradox is the only president to have an elephant was a 
democrat, James Buchanan. And the only president to have a donkey was 
a republican, Calvin Coolidge. A donkey and a elephant? It makes me 
wonder what other exotic animals have taken up residence at the White 

Let’s see: I wonder if John Quincy Adams took his pet alligator out for 
walks down Pennsylvania Avenue? He had one. Martin Van Buren had 
two tiger cubs. Andrew Johnson, white mice. Ulysses S. Grant had goats 
and gooses. 

The two presidents that take the cake at having the most presidential pets. 
Teddy Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge. (Both republicans, hmmmmm) 

Get this: Calvin Coolidge had a terrier, sheepdog, bulldog, shepherd, 
birder, 4 collies, and 2 chows. Added to that he had 3 canaries, 3 cats, 2 
raccoons, a donkey, bobcat, thrush, a goose, mockingbird, a bear, pygmy 
hippo, an antelope, and a wallaby. Oh and don’t forget the lion cubs. 

Teddy Roosevelt, no slouch in the pet department, befriended a retriever, 
Pekingese, mutt, 2 terriers, 2 cats, a badger, pony, macaw, snakes, 12 horses, 
5 bears, 5 guinea pigs, rats, lizards, roosters, an owl, flying squirrel, 
raccoon, a coyote, a lion, hyena and a zebra. 

The names of some of these presidential pets are too good to pass up. 
Grant named one of his horses Jeff Davis (all you Civil War buffs will get 
it). James Garfield had Veto the dog. And Abraham Lincoln had Jack the 
turkey. Isn’t this all just fascinating? Anybody? Anybody? 

JJ JUKEBOX news!! If you like rock and roll from the 50s through the 
70s, the band I’m privileged to perform with, JJ Jukebox will be playing, 
Saturday, March 12th at Nano Café, 322 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra 

The concert is from 6:30 – 9:30: Affectionately know as the “In Bed By 
Ten Tour”. We sell out to call in your dining, drinking and dancing reservation 
soon by calling (626) 325-3334. We look forward to seeing you. 

Live music most every Saturday, so check it out!! 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
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