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Blogger Brian
Salem, Oregon
Recent Activity
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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 2 days ago 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 4 days ago 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
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During my 40-year tortured relationship with Salem -- love you! hate you! let's never part! divorce time! -- here's one of the things that bugs me the most about the town I both can't leave and can't be totally happy with. Salemians (the obviously proper word for people who live... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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We live in a polarized political world, both locally here in Salem and nationally. This is extremely bothersome. There's no way a city or a country can thrive when roughly half the population is viewed by the other half as worthy of disdain, because they hold views opposed to a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Salem can't tolerate this. "Tough guys" trying to take over a neighborhood association meeting, pushing people around and creating an uproar. I've gotten two reports of how supporters of the Salem Bridge Solutions group that wants the Third Bridge billion dollar boondoggle built disrupted last Monday's meeting of the West... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Here's one more of many reasons the Salem River Crossing (a.k.a. Third Bridge) is a really bad idea: An elevated bridge connection would pass about 10-15 feet over the west end of the Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail -- the way-cool non-vehicular bridge used by lots of people,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I wish Salem had more cheerleaders. I'm not talking about the rah-rah pom-pom wielding variety (though I love them too; my granddaughter is one), but people who manifest these qualities: (1) They have an over-arching creative progressive vision for the marvelous town Salem can become. (2) They have the charisma... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Over on the Salem Community Vision Facebook page, a post about this illegal sign has gotten a lot of attention. The sign is in the public right of way, which violates the City of Salem sign ordinance. So I'm wondering if Jesus loves illegal signs. Here's what the Salem Community... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I've got MSNBC and CNN prominently displayed on my VW's satellite radio -- along with a couple of music stations, Classic Rock and Chill. I'm a news junkie. Especially political news. But today I listened to a lot more music than usual, because almost every time I tuned in to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Many years ago, twenty-nine of them, I was the lead staff person for an Oregon Health Priorities for the 1990s project. In 1988 it culminated in a Citizen's Health Care Parliament organized by Oregon Health Decisions, which is still in existence (I was the first executive director of Oregon Health... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I'm giving the West Salem Neighborhood Association a big dose of Salem Political Snark for the shameful way a June 19 vote to support the Salem River Crossing (a.k.a. Third Bridge or Billion Dollar Boondoggle) was conducted. The pro-bridge Salem Bridge Solutions group is giddy with delight at how the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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The astroturf (fake grass roots) Salem Bridge Solutions group is super-excited about tonight's West Salem Neighborhood Association meeting. They think there will be a vote at the neighborhood association meeting to support building the Billion Dollar Boondoggle known as the Salem River Crossing, or Third Bridge. And also to build... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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If you're a loyal Statesman Journal subscriber like I am -- I've subscribed since 1977 -- here's some disturbing news for you: us existing subscribers are being charged double what new subscribers are paying. I consider this not only a rip-off, but an insult to those of us who have... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Good news for Salem: the massive waste of a billion dollars known as the Salem River Crossing (a.k.a. Third Bridge) encountered another roadblock at last night's City Council meeting. There was a public hearing on the FY 2017-18 budget, which included $3.6 million to do something with Marine Drive in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I'm starting to hear people wonder why goings-on at the City of Salem haven't changed more this year, given that four newly-elected city councilors joined Tom Andersen to form a 5-4 progressive majority on the City Council. Well, this is sort of similar to asking why Republicans haven't been able... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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The Powers That Be in Salem who love wasting taxpayer money on special interest projects have set up a new lobbying group for the Billion Dollar Boondoggle known as the Salem River Crossing, or Third Bridge. After browsing through the Salem Bridge Solutions Facebook page and web site, it seems... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Rain, it's pretty clear from the historical examples in this book that Donald Trump is the true tyrant. Liberals are very mild on the tyranny front by comparison. Trump's speech is tyrannical. His disdain for the media is tyrannical. His dismissal of facts and reason is tyrannical. Please, don't fall into the trap of false equivalency. Trump is not the same as any leading Democrat. The Republican Party is not the same as the Democratic Party. Trump and Republicans are behaving in a much more tyrannical manner than any Democrat has. This is a fact. Read this book and you'll better understand why.
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Yesterday Donald Trump made a great argument for the Salem Climate Action Plan that was a major focus of last night's City of Salem Strategic Plan open house at the Broadway Commons. In one of the most shameful actions in his scandal-plagued presidency, Trump pulled the United States out of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Donald Trump doesn't accept the reality of global warming. He's working to reverse our nation's environmental protection efforts aimed at reducing harmful carbon emissions. So this makes it even more important that Salem stand up for science, sustainability, and moving toward a 21st century economy that isn't based on outmoded... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Yesterday Salem voters approved a second-try $62 million police facility bond measure. This is a good time to recollect how citizen activism led by Salem Community Vision (and Salem Can Do Better, an offshoot formed to oppose the first-try bond measure) prevented bad police facility ideas from being implemented --... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at Salem Political Snark