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Blogger Brian
Salem, Oregon
Recent Activity
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I survived, barely. Watching part of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee this morning, I felt like my head was going to explode -- a common side effect of listening to Republicans talking about anything relating to the Mueller investigation. GOP members of the committee... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Salem Political Snark
L, thanks for the advice about how I should live my life, but I consider that I'm the best person to decide that. 777, please remember that this blog is called Church of the Churchless for a reason. I started it as a place for people who don't belong to any organized religion and don't believe in unbelievable stuff. You are a strong believer in Sant Mat. That's fine. I welcome comments from all sorts of people, including religious believers. Just understand that if I don't jump to endorse supernatural beliefs, it's because I don't accept them as real. You, and everybody else, are entitled to your own beliefs, but not your own facts.
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Let's get some self-revealing stuff out in the open before I proceed to challenge the wisdom of calling a follow-up to last year's highly successful Salem Women's March a Womxn's March. I'm a heterosexual (cisgender, just to show that I'm clued-in to some new-speak) man. I'm old, 69. I believe... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Salem Political Snark
Spencer, keep this in mind about my book, "Life is Fair." I was asked to write it by Faith Singh, who was in charge of English language books for Radha Soami Satsang Beas at the time. (Maybe she still is.) Faith told me that before his death Charan Singh, the guru who accepted me for initiation in 1971, had said that he wanted to be able to hand out a little book about the karmic rationale for vegetarianism. Some other people had attempted to research and write such a book, but the project wasn't going very well, so I was asked to give it a try. I was eager to do so. Back then I was extremely devoted to my guru. And in some ways I still am, because I found Charan Singh to be wonderfully humble and loving. I threw myself into writing the book. It took several years to complete, as I recall. All of my time and expenses naturally were donated. After several drafts were reviewed by Faith and others, I was asked to come to India to complete the book. Faith phoned me here in the United States, saying, "Life is Fair will be like some other little books we've published recently. You won't be listed as the author." I told her, that's fine, I'm coming to the Dera. When I arrived, one of the first things Faith said to me, "Actually your name will be on the book." And that was fine with me also. I was at the Dera for several weeks. We finalized a draft of Life is Fair. Then the current guru, Gurinder Singh, approved the manuscript. At least, I'm pretty sure of this, because the book was published by RSSB. So when you criticize Life is Fair, you are criticizing not just me, but Charan Singh, Gurinder Singh, and the entire Sant Mat philosophy that underlaid the message of Life is Fair. You're welcome to do that. I just want to make sure that you understand why I wrote Life is Fair, and who was involved in approving the book. You seem to be devoted to Sant Mat in general, and Radha Soami Satsang Beas in particular. Yet in criticizing the book I wrote, you just criticized Sant Mat and RSSB, including the two gurus, Charan Singh and Gurinder Singh, who wanted this book to be written. That's fine. Just own up to your criticism, and the apparent fact that you actually aren't as devoted to Sant Mat and RSSB as you appear to be.
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Spencer, I spend essentially zero time thinking about Sant Mat or anything spiritual outside of the time I'm writing a Churchless blog post. But since you asked how I spend my time, I'd be glad to bore you with some details. We live on ten rural acres. Today I got a generator started after it flooded yesterday. But the battery was shot, so I had to decide whether to order another one. My wife and I just got back from a monthly discussion group that we started many years ago, and which I still do the scheduling for. This morning I designed a Facebook page that I was asked to create by opponents of a music festival that could attract 60,000 people to our neighborhood close to the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. I'm pleased that it's gotten 50 likes so far. You can admire my Birds Not Bands work here: https://www.facebook.com/BirdsNotBands/ I go to three Tai Chi classes a week, as I've been doing for 13 years. I also work out at an athletic club three days a week. I have two other blogs that I write for, HinesSight and Salem Political Snark. I also maintain several Facebook pages about local issues in Salem: Strange Up Salem and Salem Can Do Better. I'm on the steering committee of Salem Community Vision, a citizen activist group. So I keep busy with all kinds of stuff that doesn't involve this Church of the Churchless blog. Someone emailed me a link to the LA Weekly story about the two murders. I didn't seek out that information. I realize that people have the mistaken view that I spend most of my day thinking of ways to bash religiosity, but this is very much untrue. My passion is much more about local, state, and national politics, along with the aforementioned huge amount of work it takes to maintain our house and ten acres. Lastly, if you REALLY want to be bored, there's my Brian Hines website that I made with Adobe Spark. If you look at it you'll note that my mention of this blog is minimal. See: http://www.brianhines.com
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L, gossip? I shared a well-researched story in LA Weekly. That isn't gossip. It's facts.
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Uncle Bernie, thanks for the compliment. This is the nicest thing anyone has said about me today. Well, actually your comment is the ONLY thing anyone has said about me today, so you win my thanks by default.
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JT, the numbers are about the same, about 33,000 a few years ago. And vehicle deaths are declining while gun deaths are increasing. See a Texas Politifact article: http://www.politifact.com/texas/article/2015/nov/02/guns-motor-vehicles-and-us-deaths-trend-lines/
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Not Even Wrong, the Brownsville event obviously wasn't held right next to a National Wildlife Refuge. Reports from people who volunteered at the Brownsville festival have spoken of drunken people vomiting on shuttle buses. It's difficult to believe that with 60,000 people tromping around next to the refuge for four days, there isn't going to be some environmental damage. Plus, the simple fact of making the refuge inaccessible to visitors for those four days is disturbing. Farmers in the area worry about not being able to get to their fields for that period of time. There are good reasons for concern, and I'm sure I haven't touched on all of those reasons, since I'm not directly involved with the opposition to this event.
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For 2018, Bi-Mart wants to move its annual Country Music Festival from Brownsville, Oregon to farmland adjacent to the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge near Salem. [Update: the Statesman Journal has a story about the festival, "Willamette Country Music Festival's move to Marion County raises concerns about refuge." Here's how it... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Now that most of the easily buildable vacant land in Salem has been utilized for residential development, construction on the acreage that remains is bound to be more controversial. This was clearly evident at last night's City Council meeting, which featured a lengthy hearing on the proposed Dogwood Heights subdivision... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Last night there was an open house kickoff for the Downtown Salem Streetscape Plan. Held in the ground floor meeting room at Courthouse Square, I felt a lot of energy and enthusiasm from the good number of attendees, City of Salem staff, and the consultants hired to oversee the project.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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The most recent issue of Salem Weekly asks a self-reflective question on the cover: "Can Salem Weekly and Other Alt-Weeklies Survive the Tides of Change?" I'd include a link to this cover story, but more than a week after the November 23 bi-weekly issue hit the streets, as of this... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Aileen, great ideas can pop up in many minds. Last June I wrote about getting a lower subscription rate after cancelling for 30 days in this blog post: http://hinessight.blogs.com/salempoliticalsnark/2017/06/statesman-journal-charging-loyal-subscribers-more-than-double-what-new-subscribers-pay.html You should give it a try. I drive into town most days, so I'm just going to buy a paper at a convenience store or drugstore for the month of December.
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Anne, obviously you feel deeply about this. Proving (maybe) that there is some synchronicity in the world, I'd gotten up from my usual practice of listening to my Calm meditation app's "Daily Calm," which today was about self-compassion, and decided to change the photo. As I was looking for another image, your new comment popped up on my laptop's screen. I found an image of hands which I hope you'll find more acceptable. Look, I still don't agree with your take on privilege, cultural appropriation, and such. It just doesn't ring true for me. We're all different. We all are creatures molded by our environment, our upbringing, our genetics, our experiences, our culture. The best we can do is try to understand each other from our own particular perspective, since there really is no "view from nowhere." We all are looking out on reality from our own subjective prisms. That said, I don't like to be bothersome when other people are bothered by something I've done, and changing this thing doesn't infringe on my values. Or at least not much. So I'm pleased to change the image in the name of understanding. Thanks for sharing your views. I better understand your way of looking at the original image thanks to your comments. I might even one day come to hold the same views you do.
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Anne, I couldn't see any indication that the image was copyrighted. And if I picked a photo of another tribe, what difference would that make? I readily admit that I don't agree with the notion of "cultural appropriation." Are you really suggesting that it is improper for a member of one culture to share photos that show people in another culture? That just sounds really strange to me, political correctness gone awry.
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I've subscribed to the Statesman Journal for 40 years. Today I cancelled my subscription (for 30 days), because this will save me $510 in 2018 -- following the outrageous Monday-Sunday home delivery rate increase from $44 to $59.01 that takes effect December 1. (What's up with that one cent?) That's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Anne, I used the photo in my March blog post, and I have no problem using it again. I really have no idea what you mean by "cultural appropriation." I searched Google images for a pleasing "tribal" photo. This one caught my eye. What I was looking for was a photo of happy tribal people mingling. Most tribe photos show one particular tribe, not several together. The one I used came closest to what I wanted, If you'd like to suggest another photo, you could point it out to me and I'll consider it. You can email either the photo or a URL to me at brianhines1@gmail.com It just needs to be immediately identifiable as "tribal" with an added dose of "mingling."
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Yesterday the Statesman Journal published a "Your Turn" piece by Emily Skelding that began as a post on her This Is Just to Say blog, and ended being titled either "Salem a fabulous place to raise family" (print edition) or "Salem transplant proud of her new hometown; wants community to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Rain, thanks for the perceptive comment. We do indeed need to think long and hard about reasons for moving. The time and energy it takes to maintain our property certainly is one reason. Another is being quite a ways away from where we shop, recreate, meet with people, and such in Salem. There also is less of a sense of community in a rural area where residents have, by and large, moved so they can have privacy and be left alone. On the plus side, we do very much enjoy being close to nature and not being close to neighbors. So we're torn. Likely our decision will become evident when it is time for us to make it. Until then, we'll go back and forth, wondering what to do. Jim, we like the areas of Salem you mentioned. However, we aren't attracted to older houses, which mostly are what exist in the Bush Park and Fairmount Hill areas. Getting the sort of house we like probably would mean being more in the "burbs" than close in. However, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that a house which resonates with us could be found fairly close to downtown.
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Susan, I'm definitely still here. But my wife and I aren't any closer to finding our perfect retirement community. The best news I can come up with is that when we visit "regular" (as opposed to hippie) retirement communities the salesperson tells us that the baby boomer types who are beginning to live there are changing the place in various ways, given the different ethos of people who came of age in the 1960s, compared to those who came of age in the 1950s. So it is looking like some sort of hippie retirement community will come to pass in most, if not all, of the current retirement communities -- simply by virtue of the baby boomers coming to dominate among those who live in the communities. I realize that this is way different from what is optimal, but it is more realistic. We're still living on ten acres in rural south Salem, Oregon. We actually took a tour of a Salem "continuing care" retirement community yesterday and found it pretty likable. Like most people, if we can't stay in our current home until we die, the next best thing (in our view) is to stay in the town where we have deep roots. The thought of starting over in a new town just isn't very appealing to us, though I understand why it is for others.
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And so it came to pass that there was cause for much rejoicing at last night's City Council meeting, for the Wicked Third Bridge (of both East and West, since it would have connected these two sides of Salem) almost certainly was put to death. Not by having a house... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Joe, I neglected to mention in the post that the heart patients knew they were being prayed for. Here's an excerpt from the New York Times story I linked to: "Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found. And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested."
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The writing is on the wall as regards the eventual demise of the Salem River Crossing, a.k.a. Third Bridge. Or rather, the writing is in the form of a motion to be made by Mayor Chuck Bennett at next Monday's City Council meeting to form a Council task force "to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I needed this -- resounding victories for Democrats in the races that mattered most in this off-year election. Let's count the ways my progressive spirit was lifted in these oft-depressing Trumpian times. (1) Closest to home, the Salem Library Bond passed handily, 63-37 in the first big round of results.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2017 at Salem Political Snark