Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 28, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 17



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 28, 2013 

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


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




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

Merri Jill Finstrom

Lori Koop

Rev. James Snyder

Tina Paul

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Welborn

Renee Quenell

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams


(Doctor-D, hereafter): 
“You had a large heart 

(Me M,hereafter): “I did 

D: “You did too.”

M.: “I did not. Wouldn’t I remember? 
Anyway, what is a heart attack and what is 
a large heart attack?”

Can you believe this conversation? It’s 
now Thursday and there is this angiogram 
scheduled for next Wednesday which 
should answer a few questions. Questions 
.like did I have a heart attack and if I did so 
what and what medically can be done about 
it. Unfortunately I looked up silent heart 
attack on the internet and learned that such 
secret horrors compose one-quarter of all 
heart attacks. Who is prone to such attacks? 
Well the main people at risk are people in 
the following categories: 

 1) People with diabetes

 2) People over 65 and 

 3) People who take regular medication. 

 I’m batting 1,000. Bingo, Bingo, Bingo. 
What are the results of a silent heart attack? 
Other than a small thing like loss of life, the 
permanent symptom is a scarring of the 
heart which inhibits its function and results 
in a pronounced limitation on longevity. 
Another symptom is a doubling of the 
likelihood of dementia. Frankly if I have to 
choose between the two I find the dementia 
more frightening. One more related 
symptom is an impending sense of doom. 

 I think that I may have been attempting 
to cope with this impending sense of doom 
in my articles. Not that overpopulation, 
environmental catastrophe, nuclear 
war, lack of gun control, water and food 
shortages, likelihood of plague, continuing 
gigantic economic disparity, and a possible 
late season collapse by the Dodgers are 
not things to worry about, but perhaps my 
worrying had another cause.

the past week I’ve gone through all the 
predictable stages—except that they weren’t 
very predictable to me. Last Wednesday I 
was feeling really nostalgic decided to go 
to the quasi-fancy fish restaurant for lunch 
where my daughter had first been introduced 
to Irene, my loving companion for the past 
twenty years. At first things looked great; 
there was a noon-time Dodger game on the 
huge three televisions in the bar and there 
was no one else in the room. I violated my 
previous dietary no-salt restrictions and 
ordered a bowl of clam chowder for the first 
time in five years. Along with the chowder 
I ordered an Arnold Palmer and some fish. 
When the waiter came with the chowder it 
came without any accompanying roll. When 
I asked if I could have a little sound on the 
television the waiter said that he was not 
allowed to turn up the sound because there 
was organ music played at the game and this 
restaurant was not licensed to broadcast 
music. I absorbed this information and 
ordered a refill of my Arnold Palmer. The 
waiter informed me that he would have to 
charge me full price for the refill as that was 
the policy of the restaurant. I exploded at 
the waiter. No roll, no sound, no refill—
good bye. In a few seconds I realized that 
this was not my typical behavior (perhaps it 
should be) and I came back and explained 
to the waiter that I was under some stress. 
Right, he said; “I got my own problem”.

 Alas, that’s the main thing I have 
learned during the week. The world is filled 
with people having their own problems and 
it is not going to stop and agonize over me. 
Maybe it’s not too far-fetched to say that 
my large heart attack kept itself secret from 
me in the same way that many of us keep 
our secrets from one another. As I walked 
around the canyon this morning, sharing 
my story with anyone that would listen, I 
learned that other neighbors had already 
undergone the same procedure but really 
didn’t want to talk about it that much. I 
admit that I was searching for sympathy 
from a world that just does not have time to 
give it. I had e-mailed a couple of religious 
friends and told them if they wanted to pray 
for me to just go ahead—I wouldn’t mind. Some 
of the responses I received were surprising. 
People said it didn’t surprise them that 
atheists like me turned toward religion in 
time of need. I don’t think that’s really fair 
but that didn’t bother me as much as the 
lady who wrote to me saying “Stuart, death 
is not that bleak.” Well, maybe not for her, 
but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. So 
what have I learned during the past week? 
When I started this article I had hoped that 
I would come to some grand conclusion and 
that I would be able to talk knowledgeably 
about peace and surrender and harmony. I 
thought the world would somehow embrace 
me; and it’s true my wonderful wife comes 
by and hugs me as I struggle to complete 
this article. Friends have written and told 
me how they have appreciated me and my 
articles. My children and my sister have 
been as supportive as they could possibly be; 
but still right now what I am experiencing 
is a stiff neck, stomach cramps, and that 
feeling of impending doom combined with 
just plain fear. Maybe that’s what I’ve learned 
this week. A substantial portion of the world 
feels these same fears every day of their lives 
and still they fight on and do the best they 
can to survive. Maybe my fear will give 
birth to some knowledge as to how lucky I 
have been for all of my life and will motivate 
me to start living healthily, responsibly, 
and caringly? Who knows—only my hair-
dresser knows for sure –and I’m bald. 


Am I getting old or 
his time passing faster 
than it used to? It 
seems I just settle 
down to do something and before I know it, 
it is over.

Back in "the day," a minute had 60 seconds. 
An hour had 60 minutes. A day had 24 
hours. Oh, for those good old days.

I am not exactly sure how many seconds a 
minute has or how many minutes an hour 
has because he goes by so fast I cannot keep 
track. Technology has taken over and I for 
one object.

For example, I like looking at my wristwatch 
and seeing the second hand slowly tick 
around the dial. Now, we have cell phones 
with a digital clock. Unlike these digital 
clocks, all they tell me is what time it is right 
now. I like to look at a wristwatch and get a 
whole view of time: past, present and future.

I know that a week does not have seven days 

I set out on Monday with high hopes of getting 
something accomplished during the 
week and by the time I clear my throat, it 
is Friday afternoon. Where did all that time 

Years ago, the Beatles had a song called 
"Eight Days a Week." Nowadays it is more 
like three days a week: yesterday, today and 

Today is tomorrow's yesterday and I am not 
exactly sure how to keep up anymore. By 
the time I get to tomorrow, I forgot what 
I was supposed to do today. Then, when I 
get to today, I cannot remember what I did 

I used to plan a whole week of activity, now 
that luxury is yesterday's news, or is it tomorrow's 

I like summer, which may explain why it 
goes so fast. Maybe I should take a chapter 
from Murphy's Law and say I do not like 
summer, then it would drag by a without 
end in sight.

Interestingly, the thing I like to do the most 
goes by so quickly, that which I hate doing 
drags on for centuries. Which has me thinking 
maybe I should not voice what I like or 
do not like?

One thing I like about summer, when I can 
catch my breath and enjoy it, is the fact that 
it is made up of those lazy, hazy days I enjoy 
so much. Not having a schedule, not having 
a deadline, not having anybody telling me 
what I should or should not do. Ah, those 
crazy, lazy days of summer.

The fact that I did not get much done during 
the summer is no big deal. If anybody 
asked me if I got anything accomplished, I 
just said, "Hey, it's summer. Relax. I will get 
to it eventually."

Well, eventually has caught up with me and 
it is called winter.

The difference between summer and winter 
is that during the summer, you can get away 
with doing nothing but in the winter, there 
is nothing you can get away with.

During the summer my wife will ask me if I 
have done such and such and I respond by 
saying, "It's summer, I'll get to it. I got plenty 
of time."

During the winter, my wife will remind me 
of all the things I was supposed to do during 
the summer and that now I have to do 
because winter is a coming.

Summer is hazy and lazy, while winter is 
"Hurry up and get it done."

More is expected from a person during the 
winter months that during the summer. I 
object very strenuously to this kind of attitude. 
Of course, this attitude comes from the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. She has 
the idea that winter, or at least the beginning 
of winter, is the time to clean up everything. 
By everything, she is including the garage.

Now that summer is over and the lawn does 
not need to be mowed anymore, I can, according 
to her logic, transpose that energy 
into cleaning up things. Then she will 
confront me with a favorite saying of hers, 
"Cleanliness is next to godliness."

One of these days, when I get up the courage, 
I am going to ask her to show me where 
that verse is in the Bible. I kind of think a 
person can be too clean, like squeaky clean. 
You know how squeaky gets on people's 
nerves, especially mine.

My favorite saying is, "Laziness is next to 

Perhaps that is why I like summer so much. 
There are shades of laziness that can only be 
exploited in the good old summertime.

Some people, like the one who shares a 
residence with me, things that laziness is a 
very negative thing. This person honestly 
believes that if she is not doing something 
all the time she is lazy. Something good can 
be said about being lazy. You get to savor a 
moment of non-activity.

The thing I like so much about summer is 
the activity you do do is only the activity 
that you want to do like sitting on the back 
porch, drinking a glass of lemonade, which 
is what summer is all about.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, 
understood this concept very well. He says, 
"To everything there is a season, and a time 
to every purpose under the heaven," (Ecclesiastes 
3:1 KJV).

Time goes by so quickly that a person hardly 
has enough time to really appreciate the 
time that they have.

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HOWARD Hays As I See It

GREG Welborn


 “But this is not the land of 
wishful thinking. This is the 
land of what’s real.”

- host Bob Scheiffer on CBS 

 Bob Scheiffer was 
schooling Rep. Matt 
Salmon (R-AZ) on what’s 
going to happen with 
House Republicans’ 
efforts to “defund 
Obamacare” by threatening a shutdown of 
our government: The House passes a budget 
resolution targeting the Affordable Care Act 
and sends it to the Senate. The Senate strips 
the bill of the ACA provision and sends it 
back to the House. The House then either 
approves the remainder of the bill or allows a 
shutdown of our federal government – with 
no time left on the clock to think about it.

 Rep. Salmon responded that things could 
change if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid 
(D-NV) would “listen to the voice of the 
American people”. 

 That “voice” can be confusing, A Pew 
Research poll just weeks from the October 
1 opening of the health insurance exchanges 
shows 44% of Americans aren’t sure the ACA 
is still the law. 5% think it was overturned 
by the Supreme Court, and 8% believe it’s 
already been repealed. 31% aren’t sure one 
way or the other.

 More to the point, although 42% had an 
unfavorable opinion of the ACA, 57% would 
oppose any government shutdown in an 
effort to stop it.

 According to a Fox News poll from a 
couple weeks ago, there’s one thing less 
popular among Republicans than the ACA - 
and it’s Obamacare. While the ACA scored 
a 22% favorability rating among the GOP, 
Obamacare was down at 14% - an 8-point 
difference. (Among Democrats asked the 
same question, only 1% didn’t catch on that 
the ACA and Obamacare are one and the 

 Polls have also shown that a third of 
those giving the ACA an unfavorable rating 
are opposed because they feel the law isn’t 
“liberal” enough.

 The likes of Karl Rove, the Wall Street 
Journal, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 
and senior Republicans warn House tea-
baggers they’re nuts, and could cost the party 
seats in next year’s mid-terms – let alone 
do real damage to our nation’s economy 
and financial markets. Tea-baggers seem 
oblivious that there’s nothing to “defund”, 
anyway. The ACA has already been funded 
at mandatory levels that, like Social Security 
and Medicare, aren’t affected by continuing 
resolutions on discretionary spending like 
the one they’re dealing with (and which 
contains budget figures relying on projected 
savings brought by – the Affordable Care 

 The ACA endured months of debate, dozens 
of hearings, hundreds of amendments from 
both Democrats and Republicans, passed 
both houses of Congress and was signed into 
law by the president in March 2010. It was a 
major issue in the 2012 presidential election; 
President Obama vowing to uphold it, Mitt 
Romney vowing to repeal it. (The president 
won.) The U.S. Supreme Court upheld its 
constitutionality last year.

 The ACA is the law. Already, seniors have 
saved millions by the closing “doughnut 
hole” in prescription drug coverage. 
Families have been able to obtain insurance 
for their children with birth defects and 
other “pre-existing” conditions – and not 
risk having their kids kicked off the rolls if 
such “conditions” are discovered later on. 
Millions in refund checks have been sent 
out to beneficiaries for excessive premiums. 
Thousands of young adults have been able to 
stay on their family’s plans for an extra three 
years while getting their careers in gear. 

 In a few days, state exchanges will open 
“With more than half of all uninsured 
Americans able to get coverage at $100 or 
less” per month, according to HHS Secretary 
Kathleen Sebelius. After January 1, no longer 
will Americans with catastrophic conditions 
face financial ruin once a “lifetime cap” on 
benefits is reached. The C.B.O. estimates 14 
million currently-uninsured Americans will 
gain coverage next year.

 Republicans can’t stand it, so the circus 
continues. As I write this, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-
TX) is wrapping up his filibuster-that’s-not-
really-a-filibuster. At its onset, Sen. Reid 
took to the floor to remind that the purpose 
of a filibuster is to prevent a vote from 
taking place. The vote on the House budget 
resolution, however, would take place as 
mandated by Senate rules regardless of Sen. 
Cruz’s theatrics – performed solely for the 
cameras, his base and his donors.

It’s fun to watch, but playing with a 
government shutdown has consequences 
“in the land of what’s real”. The Republican-
engineered shutdown of the late-1990s bore 
a cost of $2 billion in today’s dollars – at a 
time when we were not recovering from the 
worst economic downturn since the Great 

 Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics testified 
that a 3-4 week shutdown would take down 
the GDP by 1.4%. A two-month shutdown 
“would likely precipitate another recession”. 
When asked about evidence the ACA would 
bring layoffs, slowed hiring and shifts to 
temporary and part-time work, Zandi 
replied, “I was expecting to see it. I was 
looking for it, and it’s not there.” According 
to the Labor Department, 75% of the jobs 
added over the past twelve months have 
been full-time positions.

 In the meantime, Treasury Secretary Jack 
Lew has sent a letter to House Speaker John 
Boehner (R-OH) warning that our debt 
ceiling will be reached October 17. When 
we were at a similar point two years ago, 
our nation suffered its first credit down-
grade in history. Already, financial markets 
are reacting – not to the onset of the ACA, 
but to the prospect of yahoo tea-baggers 
in Congress once again playing a game of 
“chicken” with the full faith and credit of the 
United States.

 The reason for this desperation among 
right-wing extremists was revealed a couple 
months ago in a conversation between 
Sen. Cruz and Rush Limbaugh. The fear 
is that once people become accustomed to 
the benefits of the ACA, they’re not going 
to want to let it go – just like with Social 
Security and Medicare. That’s what happens 
when government works to make our lives 
better. That’s what happens “in the land of 
what’s real”.

 Senator Cruz, a Republican from 
Texas, prompted quite a firestorm 
this week with his mini-filibuster of 
the budget bill. President Obama, 
almost all the Democrats, and several 
Republicans accused Senator Cruz of 
wanting to defund, not just Obamacare, 
but the entire federal government. 
While I don’t believe this was Senator 
Cruz’s intention or goal – I think it’s 
more likely that he wanted to draw 
some much needed attention to the 
disaster that is going to be Obamacare 
implementation – his actions beg 
the question of whether the federal 
government should get any more 

 It’s not an issue of whether the 
government should receive any money; 
it’s an issue of how much money it 
should take. That’s an extremely 
important distinction. Nobody in their 
right mind – Senator Cruz included – 
wants to zero out the federal budget. 
But a whole lot of smart people are 
asking whether the federal government 
has grown too large, bloated and 
unwieldy, and whether the budget 
should be trimmed substantially. 
Those are serious questions that need 
to be addressed.

 The painful and dangerous truth is 
that the U.S. government is running an 
almost $700 billion deficit, and the U.S. 
owes an incomprehensible $17 trillion 
in debt. The size of the debt is staggering 
enough, but the interest on this debt has 
the potential to grow astronomically 
even if there are no future deficits. The 
interest on the debt changes as interest 
rates change. As interest rates rise 
from today’s historically low levels, 
the interest on the existing debt could 
easily double or triple inside of 4 years. 
Add on future projected deficits, and 
this fiscal problem is only going to get 

 So, is this a spending problem or 
a revenue problem? Is the government 
spending too much, or are Americans 
selfishly unwilling to pay taxes. Let’s 
consider a few truths:

 Federal revenue for 2012 will hit an 
all time record of approximately $2.7 
trillion. But the bite doesn’t stop there.

 State and local income taxes will be 
roughly $114 billion, another all-time 

 State and local sales taxes will hit $82 
billion, a record.

 Property taxes are clocking in at $100 
billion, a record.

 Fuel taxes will be more than $11 
billion, a record.

 Motor vehicle taxes will be about $8 
billion, a record.

 No matter which level you analyze, 
government revenues for 2012 will be 
higher than ever recorded before. You 
cannot make a credible argument that 
needs more 
money at 
any level 
of analysis. 
That’s not, of 
course, how 
politicians see 
it. President 
Obama stated 
recently, “I know you hear a lot of folks 
on cable TV claiming that I’m this big 
tax and spend liberal. Next time you 
hear that you just remind [them] that 
since I have taken office, I have cut your 
taxes. The average middle class family’s 
taxes are lower than when I took office.” 

 Statements like that are pure spin 
to be polite. They’re the type of 
statement that earned The President 
a Four-Pinocchio Award from the 
Washington Post. For those so young 
as to not remember the movie, this isn’t 
a good award. It’s the political version 
of Hollywood’s worst dressed award.

 The truth is that we have a huge 
spending problem in this country. We 
face monumental deficits, staggering 
debt and a nasty day of reckoning 
because government spends too much 
of our hard earned money. What 
makes this dispiriting is that the 
solution is simultaneously so simple 
– for average Americans – and yet so 
difficult – for most politicians. If the 
Congress simply adopted, and the 
President signed, a budget equal to 
2007’s (and times were pretty good 
then), our deficit would disappear. The 
solution does not represent draconian 
cuts by any stretch of the imagination 
or stretch of a puppet’s nose. 2007 
expenditures were $2.7 trillion. Voila, 
a balanced budget from a time when 
the economy was humming, people 
were employed, and living standards 
for average Americans were a heck of a 
lot better than they are today.

 In context then, three cheers to 
Senator Cruz. Not for trying to shut 
down the government, but for drawing 
much needed attention to the fact 
that spending is out of control, that 
Obamacare’s implementation – which 
starts on Tuesday – will only hasten the 
day of reckoning, and that the problem 
can be easily solved. What to do now? 
Call your Representative and Senator 
and tell them to stop wasting our 

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn 
is a freelance writer and has spoken to 
several civic and religious organizations 
on cultural and moral issues. He lives in 
the Los Angeles area with his wife and 3 
children and is active in the community. 
He can be reached gregwelborn2@ 

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