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Blogger Brian
Salem, Oregon
Recent Activity
Raghu, it was a letter to the editor in a Canadian TIME magazine issue. There's still a post about it on the Yahoo RadhaSoami Studies group. See: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/radhasoamistudies/conversations/topics/52562 But probably you have to be a member of the group to see it. I've copied it in below. Dr. Khanna is referring to Shania Twain (singer?) being associated with RSSB. DR. J.K. has gone public. Charan's and RSSB former rep. We should get him to join this group. Welcome Back CTD! ---------------------------------------------------------------------- --- In radhasoamistudies@yahoogroups.com, connectthedots_99 wrote: > This excerpt was published in the Canadian circulation Dec 30 issue > of TIME letters. (the US circulation included only domestically > originated letters). > > "I was struck by the lack of joie de vivre in photos of Shania and > the observation by some that she had become a robot. The story > mentioned that Shania was a devotee of Sant Mat, a strain of Sikh > mysticism. She may rediscover the sparkle in her life by letting go
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When I first got heavily involved in Salem politics about four and a half years ago (after the horrendous needless killing of the U.S. Bank trees got my ire up), fellow progressive citizen activists would tell me, "The Chamber of Commerce runs this town." Well, this isn't true any more.... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Salem Political Snark
Concerned Citizen and Ben, you not only got a response to your questions, you got a freaking 1600 word response. See: http://hinessight.blogs.com/salempoliticalsnark/2017/10/challenged-to-say-what-ive-done-to-make-salem-better-im-pleased-to-reply.html This is how I ended the post, a.k.a. rant. ------------------------- Anyway, I've responded at length to Concerned Citizen and Ben because (1) it bugs me when someone asserts that I haven't created or built anything because I'm not a businessperson, and (2) it bugs me even more that this assertion oozes over into denigrating the contributions of everybody in Salem who has taken a non-business path in life. Concerned Citizen said that if everybody was like me, a community would wither and die. Well, the same is true if everybody was like anybody. Salem would die if there were only businesspeople in it. And not just figuratively, literally, since there would be no doctors and no nurses. And if there weren't teachers, librarians, artists, musicians, philosophers, writers, and so on, Salem wouldn't be a town worth living in. So let's bury the Chamber of Commerce notion that Business Rules way more than ten feet under. How about ten miles under. I and countless others are valuable members of the Salem community not in spite of us not being in business, but because we're not.
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Blogs should come with a warning: If you ask a blogger questions that require some talking about themselves, expect a verbose answer. Especially if the challenge is to explain my contributions to Salem from a couple of people who appear to doubt that I've done anything useful in my entire... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Ah, it's so fitting. The Salem Chamber of Commerce has chosen T.J. Sullivan to be its president-elect. Meaning, Sullivan is in the on-deck circle to come up and bat for this town's most notorious promoter of selfish right-wing business interests. To "honor" T.J. Sullivan (note the ironic quotation marks) I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Rain, we've got our 1/4 share in the Metolius River cabin up for sale. See: http://www.ponderosaproperties.com/listing/184421791-150121062/13201-southwest-tract-c-lane-camp-sherman-or-97730/
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Over the years I've heard lots of ridiculous arguments about why Salem should build a billion dollar (with financing costs included) Third Bridge across the Willamette River. For example, back in 2013 I asked Public Works Director Peter Fernandez to give me the "single most important reason Salem needs a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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The White House doesn't want to have a debate about gun control today, because last night 59 people were killed in the largest mass shooting in American history, with 527 injured. That's incredibly wrong. This is precisely the day we need to start talking about why the United States has... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Spence, you either didn't read my post very closely, or you're attempting to be misleading. It always is possible to find some people in any religion who have views that are out of the mainstream. My point, which really is virtually irrefutable, is that the world's major religions have major theological differences, and "shabby" is not one of the similarities. Sure, it is possible to bend and stretch the teachings of these religions far from the mainstream view. But this is akin to saying that global warming isn't happening because 3% of the world's climate scientists don't believe human carbon emissions are increasing temperatures. Likewise, you've been selecting quotations in the same manner Radha Soami Satsang Beas does: highly selectively. In my view, this is intellectually dishonest, because it doesn't accurately reflect the core teachings of the major religions. For example, Christians don't believe in a "living Christ" like RSSB does. And they also don't believe that vegetarianism is necessary to be a spiritual person. Sure, some Christians believe this, but it isn't part of mainstream Christianity. If you're going to be consistent, then you should view how I see RSSB/Sant Mat as being as reflective of the RSSB teachings as any other source. After all, I've written a RSSB book. I'm a RSSB initiate. I've meditated my entire life. I just have a different view of RSSB than the mainstream. So why is it that you're so willing to cite non-mainstream sources in other religions, but you stick to the mainstream view of RSSB/Sant Mat?
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Rebecca Maitland Courtney is frustrated with her home town. She has a right to be. After coming up with the idea for Arta Potties, artistically-decorated portable toilets that serve both the homeless and ordinary people, she's finding that other cities are giving her a lot more love than Salem. I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Every Salem City Council meeting begins with the Pledge of Allegiance. Whenever I'm at a council meeting, I'll stand for the pledge, but I don't say it or put my hand over my heart. The whole idea of the Pledge of Allegiance just strikes me as decidedly creepy. From what... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Alistair, I deeply appreciate your honest comment. It does indeed make me feel less alone. And thanks for being so upfront about your religious skepticism. Naturally I share your views. Occasionally I still reach out to the God and Guru I no longer believe in, asking them to make an appearance in my consciousness. Until that happens with undeniable clarity, like you I'm unable to believe in their existence. Our atheism does have the downside of not providing us with the support that believers have. Considering pain and suffering to be God's will or the burning off of karma gives true believers some comfort. However, if comfort comes at the expense of reality, this is a questionable bargain. My attitude is that Hope and Reality have to be in balance. We need both, and there is plenty of room in a secular perspective for each of these precious attributes.
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T0night the City of Salem asked people to express their top priorities for actions in the Strategic Plan that's under development. I took these photos in the Broadway Commons meeting room at about 7:15, more than halfway through the 6-8 pm Strategic Plan Open House. The crowd was pretty thin... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Whether or not you believe Salem needs to spend more than $400 million on another bridge across the Willamette River, this CCTV interview between Ken Adams and Bob Cortright will help you understand what's going on with the Salem River Crossing project. Sure, I know a 26 minute video can... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Because the Trump administration has a head-in-the-sand approach to global warming, cities like Salem have to help fill the federal void when it comes to the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Otherwise, devastating wildfires, persistent drought, supersized hurricanes, massive flooding, and other manifestations of human-caused climate change are... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I'm confident that most people in Salem consider illegal signs in the public right of way to be the abomination that they are. Ugly. Irritating. Trashy. Disrespectful of public property. But after Salem Community Vision -- a group dedicated to improving the livability and vitality of our town -- praised... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Hypocrisy. We're all prone to it. But conservatives in Salem sure seem to be more hypocritical than progressives -- especially when it comes to the most controversial local political issue in this town, the Salem River Crossing or Third Bridge. I don't recall any of my progressive friends calling into... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
So Spencer, tell me this: I've admitted that I have no problem saying "I don't know" and "I could be wrong" when it comes to matters of spirituality, religion, God, gurus, and such. Are you willing to entertain those same thoughts? Specifically, when it comes to Sant Mat, Radha Soami Satsang Beas, and Gurinder Singh, are you willing to say "I don't know if these teachings are true" and "I could be wrong about the truthfulness of my beliefs"? I look forward to your answer.
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There was a lot of discussion about illegal temporary signs in the public right-of-way at last night's City Council meeting. Here's some great testimony by Kathleen Hill on changes to the City of Salem sign ordinance that go in the wrong direction when it comes to illegal signs. (See my... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Goku, I'm a spiritual atheist. This really isn't a strange thing to say. Buddhists and Taoists also are spiritual atheists, and I resonate with both philosophies if they're stripped of supernaturalism.
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With all the problems in our country (and the world) right now, I understand why some people feel it is wrong to get upset about the many illegal signs littering the public right of way in Salem. OK, I understand. But I heartily disagree that this isn't important. It is!... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Spencer, I disagree. A Buddhist wouldn't have labored to figure out the equations that Newton brilliantly came up with. Or if a Buddhist had, he/she wouldn't have acting like a Buddhist, but like a rational scientist. As you probably know, even modern scientists don't know why the apple fell. There are two computing notions of gravity, relativity theory and that of quantum mechanics. But much effort has been, and is, put into reconciling these notions -- perhaps finding a third theory, or proving that one or the other is true and the other false. So Gopnik does correctly observe that simply "being in the moment" is very different from analyzing the moment. Both ways of being are important. It's a matter of balance. Those who say there is only one way aren't speaking truly, in my view. Reality is too varied and complex to be understood by only one way.
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This is a great day for Salem. The billion dollar boondoggle known as the Salem River Crossing (or Third Bridge) got a big defeat in a ruling by the Land Use Board of Appeals. Congratulations to the eight petitioners and E.M. Easterly, who joined in their appeal. Also, kudos to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I've been blogging about the City of Salem's War on Trees ever since City officials engaged in unethical backroom dealmaking so five gorgeous Japanese Zelkovas on downtown's State Street -- a.k.a. the U.S. Bank trees -- could be cut down for no good reason in 2013. In 2014 I wrote:... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Ah, it always feels so good to be proven correct about a local issue I blogged about. Especially when a local conservative talk show host, KYKN's Gator Gaynor, criticized me for supposedly falsely claiming that a pro-Third Bridge group, Salem Bridge Solutions, had disrupted a recent meeting of the West... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2017 at Salem Political Snark