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Sun Sep 08, 2013 at 03:56 PM PDT

Brothers and Sisters: A Meta-Free Zone

by bmaples

My wife was the proclaimer at church this morning -- her week in a schedule laid out months ago. She shared that when she saw the chosen scripture for today, she groaned, as it was a tough one to preach on. Then she commented, drawing a laugh from the congregation, "That's okay -- you can't always draw the Easy-Peasy Scripture Straw."

As I thought about tonight's Brothers and Sisters, I sort of felt the same way. NSA-good, NSA-bad; Rox-Sux; Syria-yes, Syria-no, Syria-WTFknows. And meta, meta, meta, as far as the eye could see.

And then I thought, Isn't this just the right time for a Brothers and Sisters diary?

Let me explain.

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Over the past few weeks, we've had diaries, and flame wars, and comment hijacking, and personal attacks, and a whole bunch of heat and not too much light.

So -- I thought it might be good to just do a poll. Straight up, do the voting thing, and let's see where things fall out.

Because in the midst of the loud shouting, we probably have a couple hundred thousand lurkers, and when do THEY get a chance to speak?

More below the orange graph from Calc 301.

Poll

Which of the following best describes your position in 2002-3 and tonight?

66%104 votes
6%10 votes
14%23 votes
4%7 votes
0%0 votes
1%2 votes
3%5 votes
0%0 votes
3%5 votes

| 156 votes | Vote | Results

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There was a news item recently that concerned the Bluegrass Pipeline and Andy Beshear. When I read it, I immediately made a connection with, of all things, grapefruit.

What in the world do a pipeline and grapefruit have in common, you ask?

Let me tell you a story.

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My wife and I recently spent a few days at a retreat center. It was in a rural area, but the cottage itself was comfortable, relatively modern, and more than enough for the two of us. It was on a hill, shaded by large trees, and overlooking a good-sized pond. The first night, the frogs were so loud we almost had to shout to be heard.

The pond, though, had a problem: it was full of algae and other growth. The green, slimy goop filled almost a third of the surface, and detracted quite a bit from the beauty of the scene.

I thought of that pond as I got ready for tonight's diary. I thought about what I had heard a long time ago about one of the causes of algae in ponds, and how it was related to our topic for tonight. So, here's a question for you to ponder:

Are you a pond, or a stream?
Join us under the orange cloud as we sit on the porch and think about it.
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Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:35 PM PDT

Are We Being Played?

by bmaples

I have always been an idealist. If you look up Pollyanna in the dictionary, you'll probably see my picture.

I've also been naive, at least about some things. It just never occurred to me that people could have a motive other than doing the right thing. And I usually assumed that things were as they appeared, just because that's usually the way I operated, so didn't everybody? And if someone said something, didn't they really mean it?

Then, some years ago, I began to get seriously involved in politics. As in, volunteering for campaigns, activism, donating, and then blogging and writing and building opinion web sites and the whole thing. I made some good friends along the way, and began to ask them for the "insider viewpoint" on events and people.

We had a situation locally where a pro-union bill came before a legislative body, and one elected Democratic official not known for being especially union-friendly came out as a major sponsor. He made some strong comments to the press, garnered lots of favorable attention as a result. I asked one of my more astute friends what was going on, and he reminded me that this elected official was beginning to run for a certain office, and one of his opponents was another Democrat who tried to walk a line between unions and business. My friend noted that the first official was trying to make it so the second one had to take a stand, and either piss off his business supporters or give up any hope of getting union support.

My friend continued, "We're being played." When I asked him if the reality could be that cynical, he said something I've never forgotten:

Bruce, in politics there is usually a stated reason for something, and then there's the real reason. Your job is to keep your eyes open and look around for the real reason. Who benefits? Who gets hurt? Where's the money? Who is meeting, and with whom?
So, even as we look at the NSA controversy and other issues and decisions, I think we need to constantly be on the lookout, asking ourselves: Are we being played?

More below the circuitous path.

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Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT

Somewhere Between {yawn} and "OMG!!!"

by bmaples

I have tried to be an observer of the NSA meta-meltdown here at dKos over the past weeks, even as I have also tried to keep straight all the programs, protocols, and technologies unveiled by everyone from leakers to the NSA itself.

After watching yet another shouting match in yet another diary, though, I decided to throw my own take on it into the ring. I mean, what's one more analysis between friends, right? And who knows, perhaps we might find at least two bullet points out of ten that we can agree on. So, let's give it a shot.

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Then Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you."

A simple, simple command. One that many of us have heard all our lives. But, there's a twist that we sometimes miss.

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth, and healing is welcome.
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For those of us of a certain vintage, the line in the title stirs memories of black-and-white reruns of a show from the 1950s. The hero would save the day, then ride off into the sunset without revealing his identity, thus prompting the episode-ending question "Who was that masked man?"

The show, of course, was the Lone Ranger. There is, perhaps, much we could discuss about that show, good and bad, all of which I acknowledge. But tonight, as a lead-in to this week's Brothers and Sisters, I just want to use that one line from the show. I'd like to use it to explore the Lenten season that Christians are in, and extend it to our community here. Yes, that's right -- we're going from the Lone Ranger to Jesus to Daily Kos.

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.
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This Thursday in the United States we will celebrate Thanksgiving, that traditional all-American holiday that is in danger of being swallowed up by Halloween, Election Day, and the behemoth that is Christmas. Which is a shame, really, as Thanksgiving can be one of the most important and health-giving of all the holidays. In fact, a key lesson of the day -- a lesson we often forget -- makes this more than your normal holiday.

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.
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Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:47 PM PDT

Is ADP Part of the Conspiracy?

by bmaples

The right wing is going crazy over the jobs numbers, claiming that somebody cooked the books. There are dark references to the "Chicago guys" doing anything to win, and pundit after pundit said the numbers had to be faked.

So, here's the question -- is ADP part of the conspiracy?

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Let's get the shocking part out of the way first. This is part of an interview in a Romney field office in Virginia by Christopher Crook of the Progressive:

What do you mean, exactly, I ask him. You say people are suffering under Obama, don't they need some help?

“No. No more help, enough is enough. People have to pick themselves up, take some responsibility. Why should we be paying for people’s mistakes and bad choices? All these illegitimate families just adding to the population, making all these bad decisions, then asking us to pay for it? It's time to cut them off."

I ask for some clarification: what do you mean, just starve them out? What if people can't find work? Let them starve?

"Look, there's always something you can do. You telling me people can't make a choice for a better life? We have to help all of them? No. I'll tell you what really need to do with these illegitimate families on welfare — give all the kids up for adoption and execute the parents."

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Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM PDT

Brothers and Sisters: Sanctuary

by bmaples

When you hear the word "sanctuary," what do you envision? What does it mean to you?

Tonight, let's take a few moments to consider sanctuary, and see how it applies to our lives. We may find some new meanings, and some new challenges.

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.
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