Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 27, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 27, 2013 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdsall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams



 A few 
back I was 
so sick I 
had to go see the doctor. That alone 
indicates the condition was rather 
serious. I do not like going to the 
doctor because you have to sit in 
the waiting room with sick people. 
I never know what contagious 
diseases are lurking in the shadows 
of that doctor’s waiting room.

 My condition progressed to the 
point where the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage told me to go to 
the doctor or else. I never want to 
deal with her “or else.” I have lived 
as long as I have lived and have 
enjoyed the health that I do have 
because I have not found out her 
“or else.”

 Since I do not have health 
insurance, every time I go to the 
doctor it comes out of my own 
pocket. Recently my pockets have 
not been very deep. Regardless of 
how shallow my pockets may be, 
doctors know how to penetrate to 
the very depths of my pockets with 
their special scalpel.

 The result of my visit to the 
doctors was that I had double 
pneumonia and bronchitis. Simply 
put, I was sick. He gave me a 
prescription to fill and then said I 
should spend at least the next two 
weeks in bed resting.

 I was in such a state of mind that 
it sounded like a good idea to me. 
Of course, I made him write it out 
as a prescription so I could show 
it to my wife so she would believe 
me that I’m in bed because I’m sick 
not because I’m trying to avoid my 

 The first couple of days I spent in 
bed hardly conscious of anything 
around me. I am not sure if I ate 
during those days are not. I have no 
recollection of anything conscious 
during those days.

 By the beginning of the second 
week, I was strong enough to get 
out of bed, put on my bathrobe and 
get back in bed and rest. It was not 
long before I could actually put on 
the bathrobe, go out into the living 
room, sit down in my easy chair 
and watch TV.

 I have never watched as much 
TV as I did during those several 
weeks of recuperation. I am not 
saying there is anything wrong 
with TV, just that there is not that 
much right with TV anymore. I 
did not know how bad TV was 
until I watched it for about two 
weeks. During this time I was too 
sick to read and so settled down to 
watching TV, that is between naps.

 I would set a program and 
leaned back and within two winks 
of my left eye I was sound asleep. 
When I say sound asleep, I mean 
my sleeping was very sound, I 
did not know what was going on 
around me. Occasionally I would 
pierce the world of consciousness 
and see what was on TV. Then I 
would fall back into the delightful 
world of unconsciousness.

 After a few days of this, I was 
able to stay in the conscious world a 
little bit longer and consequently I 
was watching TV a little bit longer. 
The thing I found about TV is that 
TV dominated by chatterboxes.

 My ears were beginning to have 
its fill of chatter. I do not believe 
my ears were created to handle 
such a steady stream of incoherent 
verbiage. All day long, my ears were 
bombarded by noise coming from 
the mouths of people who had no 
idea what they were saying. I say 
that because, if they knew what 
they were saying and were hearing 
what I was hearing, I do not think 
they would be saying it so people 
could hear.

 The TV world has been taken 
over by a hostile terrorist group 
known as talk shows. Does 
everybody in the world have a talk 
show? I have never seen or heard 
so much talking all of my life. After 
all, there are only 26 letters in the 
alphabet, how can people come up 
with so many words?

 The airwaves are filled with news 
talk shows, celebrity talk shows, 
cooking talk shows, sports talk 
shows, religious talk shows, talk 
shows of every variety you could 
think of and some you would not 
even think of. When I say variety, I 
am referring to the title of the talk 
show. Once you get beyond the 
title, everything is the same.

 The only skill one needs to have 
for a talk show is, open your mouth 
and let verbiage flow uncontrollably 
and the more incoherent the better.

 Between sneezing and 
blowing my nose and coughing 
uncontrollably, I watched some of 
these shows. Who in the world is 
watching these shows? Somebody 
must be. The only reason I was 
watching them was that I was 
so sick I could not do anything 
else. Maybe that is their audience.
When I got to the place that I could 
read without my eyes watering too 
much, I read what the Bible has 
to say on the subject. “And that ye 
study to be quiet, and to do your 
own business, and to work with 
your own hands, as we commanded 
you” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 KJV). 

 I have come to a somber 
conclusion; more people talk than 
listen, which is why the world is in 
the state it is in. I call it the Yakety-
Yak syndrome of which there is no 
known cure.

I realize I 
am missing 
very important. Before I sat 
down to make an attempt at 
writing this article I put on a 
T-Shirt designed by the husband 
of my wife’s niece. The shirts he 
designs utilize designs similar to 
the creations of Maurice Sendak. 
These designs, which are at 
least reminiscent of Sendak 
designs, demonstrate children’s 
continuing fascination with 
monsters. Children and many 
adults love scary things. You 
probably do too; I don’t.

 Similarly, I don’t have much 
interest in fantasy. Movies like 
Avatar leave me kind of cold. I 
lose the plot line and fall asleep. 
Recently I went to Universal 
Studios with my son and his girl 
friend. They love the scary rides 
with monsters, mayhem and 
screams. It all sort of bores me. 
I am not a fan of video games. 
At least I don’t think I am. I’ve 
never played them and have no 
interest in doing so. Also movies 
with explosions and car crashes 
generally put me to sleep.

 So, big deal. I generally 
think I have a fine, interesting 
life without appreciating any 
of this stuff but, lately, I’ve 
been wondering. I notice that 
I am a collector of historical 
information and trivia. I can 
name all the Presidents in 
chronological order and also 
most of the Vice-Presidents. 
Recently, my wife, son and I 
visited Chicago and toured 
Wrigley Field, the home of 
the Chicago Cubs. To the 
appreciation of almost no one, 
I recited the starting line-ups 
of the Chicago Cubs of 1952. I 
can still name all, or almost all, 
of the managers of major league 
baseball in 1952. I love reciting 
the names of old candies or 
cereals or old movies. Although 
this kind of thing provides me 
with great pleasure, even I think 
it’s odd. How can it be possible 
that I am fascinated by such 
junk when I am disinterested in 
space ships, technology, and the 

 Thinking about it now I 
realize that I am not even very 
interested in nature. So many 
people find joy in gardening and 
nurturing their tomatoes. Why? 
I wonder. All of it to me seems 
like playing in the dirt and I 
am not a fan of getting dirty. 
Even playing with pets is not 
something I do. My wife, and 
just about everybody else, loves 
to play fetch with their dogs and 
teach them tricks and hear them 
growl. I quite honestly love my 
dog and friend Milo but we have 
a different kind of relationship. 
It is not solely verbal, but almost.

 As I walk around each day 
I imagine that I am gathering 
information for some very 
important purpose. I think my 
dog is doing the same thing; 
gathering information as he 
sniffs and smells to utilize at 
some future important time. But 
he does a better job than I do. I 
compare myself to my neighbors, 
who on these same morning 
walks notice the signs of erosion, 
the weather conditions, and 
spots particularly vulnerable 
to floods. I know that both my 
neighbors and my dog are better 
prepared for future catastrophes 
than I am.

 Another thing I just thought 
of is how uninterested I am 
in other areas of life. Every 
morning since I could read 
I have read the morning 
newspaper; but what do I read? 
The Sports Page. Every day I can 
tell you what teams won what 
games yesterday. In my head 
I hear the deceased columnist 
George Will saying, “Even if 
the front page had a headline 
that read The Secret Sex Life of 
George Will Revealed, I would 
still read the Sports Pages first”. 
The difference between George 
Will and me is that after he read 
the Sports Page he read the rest 
of the paper. I do not. I am not 
very interested in economics or 
celebrities or murder trials. I 
do like reading obituaries and 
stories about authors. I don’t 
like poets though; too hard.

 All right already, what is 
the point of this continuing 
dreary accounting of my own 
limitations? What bothers me is 
that people like me are generally 
good at going to school. We sail 
along basically unchallenged by 
things that are difficult for other 
people and become professionals 
and live pretty nice lives without 
giving very much back to the 
world. We, the memorizers of 
trivia, are successful students 
but, I believe, are permanently 
inhibited by our fears. There 
is no developed imagination 
to help us face the challenges 
of life. Instead we fill our lives 
with small accomplishments 
while taking few risks and 
wondering why we do not feel 
fulfilled. Maybe it’s too late for 
me as another birthday reaches 
me this week, but I want to take 
on challenges. Bring on those 
wild things; I have not given up. 
I hope I can do more than just 
memorize names and facts and 
pass tests. Bring on the Maurice 
Sendak picture books and the 
poetry and even the tomatoes. 
Let the Lakers fail, I want to not 

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By Susan Stamper Brown



It is reasonably simple to find 
your way here in America: 
Follow the rules. Integrate. Drop 
labels. Assimilate. Be productive. 
Repeat. Before long, you begin to 
experience the freedom that comes 
with being an American.

 It’s really that easy. After all, this 
is America; that “Shining City on 
a Hill” -- a nation of immigrants, 
magnificently colored by a 
diversity of persons and cultures 
amalgamated into “one nation 
under God.” That’s who we are and 
how we roll. The beauty of it is…
those who are uncomfortable with 
that… are free to leave. No harm, 
no foul. Something the Tsarnaev 
brothers should have done long 
ago. Lives would be saved, limbs 
would be intact, a little 8 year-old 
boy would still be smiling, and I’d 
have no need to write this column.

While we search for answers, it 
is human nature to cast blame. 
But it is unacceptable to blame 
the American way of life as some 
liberals are doing. Killing or 
maiming innocent people is not 
how we resolve personal conflict.

With that said, I also believe left-
wing knuckleheads in the media, 
schools, and universities need to 
accept their share of responsibility. 
Relentless anti-American diatribes 
will eventually work their way 
into the hearts and minds of those 
already struggling to assimilate. 

 A perfect example is former NBC 
anchor and author of “The Greatest 
Generation,” Tom Brokaw, who 
recently suggested America is 
partly to blame for the Boston 
bombings because the Tsarnaevs 
may have felt “alienated” and 
upset over U.S. drone strikes on 
“innocent civilians.” What an odd 
statement coming from a man who 
profited by praising a generation 
who fought wars to win, political-
correctness-be-damned. The 
difference then was America was 
willing to do whatever it took 
to halt evil in its footsteps. And 
now he seems to find it politically 
correct to damn America. What’s 
up with that?

 It also doesn’t help that terrorism 
sometimes pays off. If you wait 
long enough, you could end up 
like former homegrown terrorist, 
err, activist, Bill Ayers. Without 
repenting for his deeds, Ayers 
found a way to weasel into the 
system and 
was awarded 
the title of 
Apparently so 
he was granted the privilege of 
hosting a fundraiser for the then-
presidential candidate Barack 
Obama in 2008. Hold on little 
Tsarnaev, there’s still hope. 

 I am a conservative, so I have 
a heart, and because I am a 
Christian, I have a bleeding heart. 
And my bleeding heart breaks for 
those who don’t realize the gift 
they have and deliberately refuse 
to be woven into the fabric of this 
nation of immigrants.

Everyone seems relieved that the 
Tsarnaev brothers were most likely 
not connected to a large terror 
network somewhere else in the 
world. If this is true, this suggests 
this evil came from within 
themselves, despite all they had 
going for them. This battle they 
seemed to have going on between 
two very different worlds was 
powerful enough to convince them 
that even an innocent 8 year-old 
boy is fair game. How many more 
are there? 

 This seeming inability to assimilate 
came into clearer focus for me this 
week during a White House press 
conference when Muslim reporter 
Amina Ismail’s question seemed to 
liken an act of war in Afghanistan 
to an act of terror. “…President 
Obama said that what happened 
in Boston was an act of terrorism,” 
said Ismail, “I would like to ask, 
do you consider the U.S. bombing 
on civilians in Afghanistan…a 
form of terrorism?” Of course, 
the correct answer is “no,” but the 
obvious disconnect begs a more 
troubling question: Is assimilation 
even possible?

Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion 
page columnist, motivational speaker 
and military advocate who writes 
about politics, the military, the 
economy and culture. Email Susan 
at or her 
website at

HOWARD Hays As I See It

Rep. Jeff Duncan 
(R-SC): “We’ve got 
this guy who was 
there, we know 
he was there, he 
was arrested and 
detained at the 
hospital, covered 
with blood, he was 
at the scene, and yet 
we’re going to deport 
him, so we’re going 
to remove him from 
the scene . . .”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet 
Napolitano: “If I might, Representative, 
I am unaware of anyone who is being 
deported for national security concerns at 
all related to Boston; I don’t know where 
that rumor . . .”

Rep. Duncan: “I’m not saying it’s related 
to Boston, but he is being deported . . .”

Sec. Napolitano: “No, like I said, again, 
I don’t even think technically he was 
a person of interest or a suspect. . . I 
think this is an example of why this is so 
important to let law enforcement do its 

Rep. Duncan: “I want them to do their 
job and that’s why I say, wouldn’t you 
agree with me that it’s negligent for us as 
an American administration to deport 
someone who was reportedly at the scene 
of the bombing and we’re going to deport 
him, not to be able to question him 
anymore – is that not negligence?”

Sec. Napolitano: “I’m not going to answer 
that question. It’s so full of misstatements 
and misapprehensions that it’s just not 
worthy of an answer . . . There’s been 
so much reported on this that’s been 
wrong that I can’t even begin to tell you, 
Congressman. We will provide you 
with accurate information as it becomes 

 The above exchange took place 
at a congressional hearing last week 
on the Boston attack. Sen. Chuck 
Grassley (R-IA) picked up on 
Rep. Duncan’s line of questioning 
with Sec. Napolitano at a Senate 
hearing on immigration, when he 
asked how the Saudi student “who 
reportedly was on a terrorist watch 
list” was able to obtain a student 
visa. Sec. Napolitano had to correct 
the Senator; “He was not on a watch 
list . . . he was never even really a 
person of interest.”

 That 20-year-old Saudi student, 
himself a victim of the bombing, was 
never “arrested”, “detained”, put on a 
terrorist watch list or considered for 
deportation. What’s astonishing 
here is that our representatives 
in government, those we rely 
upon to knowledgably lead us, 
are falling for fictions circulating 
in the conservative blogosphere; 
accepting as credible what they 
hear from the likes of Glenn Beck 
and “experts” appearing with Sean 

 It wasn’t just the wing-nuts, 
though, jumping ahead with 
speculation labeled “news”. The 
very night of the tragedy, the 
New York Post announced on 
their website, “Investigators 
have a suspect – a Saudi Arabian 
national – in the horrific Boston 
Marathon bombings”. The posting 
stated a “law enforcement source 
confirmed” that twelve people had 
died – four times the actual figure.

 Also that evening, the Wall Street 
Journal reported, “Authorities 
believe they have found five 
additional undetonated explosive 
devices” – a statement later 
amended by a clarifying “update”: 
“officials doubt the devices found 
were indeed bombs”. 

 Two days after the bombing, 
CNN and others were reporting 
about the arrest of a “dark-skinned” 
individual. Wolf Blitzer was 
pushing reporter John King on 
whether the “suspect” had a foreign 

 As ghastly as events were, 
there was no secret plot to allow 
an implicated Saudi individual 
to leave the country and escape 
justice, no indications of there 
being undetonated devices yet 
undiscovered in the streets of 
Boston, and so far no evidence of ties 
to al Qaeda or other international 
Jihadist organizations.

 Some have described the need 
to fill 24/7 news cycles, and to be 
the first – not necessarily the most 
accurate. There’s another factor 
involved, though, which explains 
Republicans’ embrace of the most 
outlandish conspiratorial talking 
points. In his column for The Daily 
Beast, Michael Tomasky describes 
it as conservatives’ “constant need 
to stoke fear”.

 As Tomasky explains, the talk 
of having 19-year-old Dzhokhar 
Tsarnaev declared an “enemy 
combatant” is to stoke fear of 
a connection to the broader, 
international radical-Islamist 
movement. The brothers being 
immigrants, having come here 
with their families as kids, should 
make us fearful of proceeding too 
precipitously with immigration 

 There was fear of the government 
coming to take away our guns, or at 
least creating a “registry” of owners, 
that led to the defeat a couple weeks 
ago of measures that would make it 
harder for potential terrorists like 
the Tsamaev brothers to acquire 
weapons without a background 
check. That same Sen. Grassley, 
who stoked fear that someone 
on a terrorist watch list might be 
granted a student visa, is the one 
who four years ago stoked fear that 
the president’s Affordable Care Act 
could lead to “death panels” that 
would “pull the plug on Grandma”.

 Tomasky reminds that “This 
is how we lived under Bush and 
Cheney for years. This fear is 
basically what enabled the Iraq War 
to take place.” There was fear of 
mushroom clouds and WMD; fear 
of another 9/11 led to our adopting 
a Patriot Act though which we 
willingly sacrificed constitutional 
protections of privacy and due 

 F.D.R. quoted H.G. Wells when he 
declared, “The only thing we have 
to fear is fear itself.” This came at 
a time when serious commentators 
suggested we had reason to fear a 
permanent Depression unless we 
acknowledged that our 150-year-
old experiment in constitutional 
democracy and free-market 
capitalism had run its course, and 
that our only hope for survival as 
a nation would be to adopt more 
draconian measures as were then 
being practiced in Germany and 

 It’s not the “fear itself” that’s so 
frightening, but rather what can 
happen should we succumb to it – 
like electing to office those unable 
and/or unwilling to distinguish 
between reality and fear-stoking 

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