Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 20, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12



Mountain View News Saturday, February 20, 2021 




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 

Audrey Swanson

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

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee



 The only question that people seem to be 
asking lately is ‘Have you had your vaccine shot yet?” 
Yes, I had the first shot and am due for the next on 
Tuesday but for reasons I don’t quite understand I am 
still very agitated. There are important questions such 
as how long after getting a shot will I still be a source 
of contagion? How long does the immunity, if it is 
immunity, last? What about the new variants of the 
virus; am I protected from those? What about the fact 
that the less wealthy areas of the world are not getting 
their fair share of the vaccine? In fact, as I understand it the less wealthy 
neighborhoods in the U.S. are not receiving their fair share?

 Really it seems that no one wants to consider these questions. All that 
is asked is where did I get the shot and did it hurt? For me the important 
questions relate to the continued patterns of discriminatory housing that 
continue to exist in Los Angeles County which result in many of the other 
problems in Los Angeles. When my parents and I moved from Chicago we 
finally found a place in an apartment complex in Venice. This was an all White 
complex very just to the East of Broadway Elementary School. At first this 
was an integrated School because to the West of Broadway School which was 
a predominant African-American neighborhood called Oakwood. I think I 
went to Broadway for one semester after which all the White Students were 
transferred to a newly built school. I did not think much about this at the 
time, as I was only ten or eleven, but I am a witness to the racial reordering.

 Soon, thereafter, my family moved to North Hollywood, which 
at that time, together with nearby Studio City, was a completely segregated 
White neighborhood. It still remains that way today. The elementary school, 
the newly built Madison Junior High School, and the soon newly built Grant 
High School were similarly completely segregated. I don’t know if this was a 
concern of my parents, it probably was, I wondered why we did not move to 
Burbank as that was where my father purchased a grocery store. I remember 
asking why we didn’t move closer to the store in Burbank and I remember 
somebody telling me that Burbank was a very anti-Semitic area.

 Fortunately for me almost all of the students I associated with in Junior 
and Senior High School were Jewish. There were many non-Jews in these 
Schools but there was a kind of tracking system which was used that placed 
most of the college-bound type kids into the same classes. Not surprisingly 
most of these kids were Jewish. I know there is a kind of racist element to what 
I am saying but I am just reporting on what I know to be true. The kids in 
what was called the starred classes (not six-pointed but starred nevertheless) 
generally had college educated parents and future plans which included 

 Unquestionably, a student’s future is largely determined by the attitude 
of parents and friends. If Los Angeles residents truly want to make changes 
that move toward equality then the discriminatory residential housing patterns 
must be changed. Neighbors and friends, many of whom support Black 
Lives Matter and Democratic ideals, do not want to talk about sacrifices that 
must be made and wonder why I am so agitated. I like it here but I am agitated 
I guess because I feel like a hypocrite and am curious as to why no one else 
seems to have the same problem. By the way when will indoor dining be 
allowed? I am just curious. I’m going crazy stuck in the house. 

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It’s February. It’s cold. To fend off the winter blahs, 
I dream of one day retiring to a warm beach, where 
I’ll stand in the surf, sipping beverages from glasses 
with little umbrellas in them.

I spend hours using the Social Security Benefits 
Calculator to determine how much Social Security 
will pay me, after I’ve paid in many thousands of 
dollars throughout my working life.

And I wonder if my full Social Security benefits will be there when I 
retire, so I can afford to escape cold, gloomy winters.

It’s a realistic question. In 1950, there were about 16 workers paying 
into Social Security for every person drawing benefits. Today, there are 
roughly two.

According to Kiplinger, “starting in 2021 the program’s annual costs 
will exceed its income from employee and employer payroll taxes and 
interest earnings. Once the program turns that corner, Social Security 
will begin drawing down assets in its trust funds to continue providing 
full benefits.”

If nothing is done, the trust fund will run dry by 2034 and will only be 
able to pay 76% of its promised benefits.

Worse, that would also take a heavy toll on elderly Americans who 
struggle to get by with Social Security as their primary income.

The Biden administration has a plan to prevent cuts and increase benefits 
for elderly Americans most in need – but wealthy Americans aren’t 
going to like it much.

Currently, workers pay a 6.2% Social Security payroll contribution on 
wages up to $142,800; their employers pay an additional 6.2%. If you’re 
self-employed, like me, you pay the whole 12.4% – which we former 
English majors refer to as “a lot!”

Social Security was considered an insurance program when it was created 
in 1936. Under its original classification, payroll contributions 
weren’t really “income taxes” at all, but “insurance payments” made 
throughout our working lives so we can get monthly retirement benefits 
until we die.

But some policymakers don’t see the program that way. They see it as 
too heavily funded by the middle class and not funded enough by the 

Consider: A self-employed person who earns $142,800 a year pays the 
exact same amount of Social Security taxes – $17,707.20 – as someone 
who earns, say, $10 million a year.

The Biden administration hopes to change that, by keeping the cap at 
$142,800, but having the 12.4% payroll tax kick back in on incomes of 
$400,000 and up.

In that scenario, a self-employed person earning $10 million would be 
taxed 12.4% on the first $142,800, nothing on income beyond that up 
to $400,000, then an additional 12.4% on the rest of his income.

If my calculations are correct, his Social Security contributions would 
jump from $17,707.20 to more than $1.2 million – what we former 
English majors call “a heckuva lot.”

Forbes reports the change would affect about 800,000 buzzing-mad 
high earners.

I don’t know how such a large tax change would affect markets, investing, 
the economy and ultimately me. Frankly, government math makes 
my head hurt.

I just hope to goodness our policymakers, as divided as the rest of the 
country, will find a way to collaborate to bring a meaningful solution 
to the Social Security challenge, so that I may one day enjoy my retirement 
on a warm beach, sipping beverages from glasses with little 
umbrellas in them.


Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir available 
at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist 


A guy once wrote that, for sheer perverse entertainment, “nothing 
beats the current spectacle of Republican supplicants quaking 
at the feet of their master. Nothing better illustrates the 
sorry state of the party than this abject ritual.”

Oh wait – I’m the guy who wrote that. In 2009. About the GOP’s 
genuflections to Rush Limbaugh.

Lest we forget, the Republican party’s descent into mindless demagoguery did not 
begin with Donald Trump. Trump is merely the cherry on top of the GOP’s toxic 
sundae. The best way to mark Limbaugh’s passing is to remind ourselves that the 
serial-lying hate merchant was working the turf – and terrorizing Republicans 
who dared challenge him – long before Trump conned a fatal minority of the 
2016 electorate.

There’s no point in sharing a laundry list of Rush’s most detestable remarks – 
they’re too numerous anyway. Suffice it to say that he marketed MAGA before 
there was MAGA, tapping into the rabid right’s angry id so successfully that Republican 
leaders morphed into wimps, living in fear of his aggrieved manly white 

See if this sounds vaguely familiar:

In 2009, when Rush was particularly unhinged by the ascent of a black man to 
the presidency, some Republicans dared suggest that he tone himself down for 
the common good of all. Georgia congressman Phil Gingrey lamented that it was 
“easy” for Limbaugh “to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do 
what’s best for your people and your party…You stir up a bit of controversy and 
gin the base and that sort of thing.” The same week, GOP national chairman Michael 
Steele called Limbaugh’s rhetoric was “ugly” and “incendiary.”

But after Rush lashed back at both guys on the air, their spines magically turned 
to mush. Gingrey felt compelled to say: “I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh. I 
regret and apologize for the fact that my comments have offended…I realize it is 
my responsibility to clarify my own comments.” And Steele entered a Rush reeducation 
camp and emerged fully cured: “I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh…
There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”

And see if this sounds familiar:

In 2012 (you may remember this), a Georgetown Law student named Sandra 
Fluke Fluke spoke favorably about birth control at a congressional hearing. Rush 
didn’t like that. On his show, he called her “a slut” and “a prostitute” and said she 
was apparently “having so much sex, it’s amazing she can still walk.” But when Republican 
leaders were asked whether they agreed with their de facto party chairman, 
they hunkered in their bunker while Rush treated Fluke the way a junkyard 
dog gnaws meat.

Days later, their responses were a mix of defiance and weak tea. Newt Gingrich 
(whose 1995 ascent to House Speaker was greased by Rush) naturally chose defiance. 
When asked for comment, he said: “I am astonished at the desperation 
of the elite media.” But more often, the respondents tut-tutted as if tiptoeing on 

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, when asked about Rush’s attack on Fluke, 
did the furrowed-brow thing: “It’s not the language I would have used.” The House 
Speaker, John Boehner, said through a spokesman that Rush’s words were “inappropriate.” 
And another presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, gave us a word 
salad: “(Rush) is being absurd. But that’s, you know, an entertainer can be absurd. 
And – and he’s taking the absurd, you know, the absurd – absurd, you know, sort 
of, you know, point of view here as to how – how far do you go? And, look, he’s in 
a very different business than I am.”

So what we’re seeing today – as quaking Republicans like Kevin McCarthy rush 
to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the loser’s ring, as state and county Republicans censure the 
few senators who stood up to fascism – is merely the harvesting of the hate ethos 
that Limbaugh seeded so successfully. No wonder Trump debased the Presidential 
Medal of Freedom, honoring Rush for his pioneering contributions to cult-think.

I know that when someone dies, it’s best to say nice things. But to borrow the 
Shakespearean words of Marc Antony, I have come to bury Rush, not to praise 


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 dickpolman7@

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