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It's Sunday evening, just past midnight. I'm back in Ann Arbor. The bags are (mostly) unpacked. The trash and recycling (it's Ann Arbor, where they have full-color glossy guides with photographs to tell you what goes into which bin) are out by the curb. There's a pile of tee-shirts from NN still waiting to be put where I can get at them. The cats are extracting their revenge for being left behind for the past couple of days.

And I doubt I'll ever be quite the same person I was before Wednesday. So even though I likely have absolutely nothing of substance to add to the many diaries already published about NN14, I invite you to join me below the Orange Cheese Curd to see what it was like for me to experience NN for the first time.

Oh, and this is for ericlewis0, who told me I need to start writing stuff here again.

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Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:46 AM PST

55 and Stayin' Alive!

by ProvokingMeaning

On this first day in February – true, this is no jive--
Peregrine Kate has reached a birthday: number fifty-five.
And how did she, you ask, arrange at this point to arrive?
oo, oo, oo, oo: Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Thus far it’s been a journey, with some troubles to survive,
And challenges along the path to two score, ten, and five;
So now it’s time to party loud, and celebrate her drive:
oo, oo, oo, oo: Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Your presence is essential! We must all connive
To mark the start of her next year, and guarantee she’ll thrive
For many, many more to come (and never take a dive):
oo, oo, oo, oo: Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

We treasure most what’s dearest. So like bees around the hive,
Let’s congregate here virtually, shout, and help revive
The spirits of our birthday girl who’s five times ten, plus five:
oo, oo, oo, oo: Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Do you have any clue how few the rhymes there are for five?
No matter: on with confidence and joy and strength and drive …
oo, oo, oo, oo: Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Poll

The bestest birthday present evah?

0%0 votes
18%4 votes
4%1 votes
9%2 votes
4%1 votes
63%14 votes

| 22 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

So I'm driving to work at Wayne State this morning for the last day of instruction for the semester, wearing a red tie to show (muted) solidarity with my labor friends, when the radio cuts to an advert from the Michigan Freedom To Work coalition, and the "man of the people" commentator sez,

"If their clients believe that unions are doing a good job for them,
they're free to join them."

That's when I finally get it. To the folks on the other side, everybody's a customer. Everybody's a client.

Problem is that some organizations in society don't align with that paradigm. Families, for example. Communities (whether virtual or real), for another.

Families have members, not clients.

Communities have members, not clients.

The client mindset says: you're on your own. Just select the provider whose services you believe offer the best value.

The family/community mindset says: we're all in this together.

Or so it seems to me, driving along I-94, wearing my red tie.

Note: title revised to reflect solid input from Peregrine Kate and Triciawyse.

Discuss

If you read my profile, you'll see that I'm a conductor and composer. What I am definitely not is a poet, as the following doggerel (to be sung to tune of "Yankee Doodle") clearly confirms:

Willard Romney came to town
Astride his wife's prize pony;
Put ol' Seamus on the car
Till Biden cried, "Baloney."

Time for you to zip your lip,
Willard Romney, honey;
You and Ann should take a trip
Abroad, and count your money.

Paulie Boy from Janesville, Wis,
Still has a job (just barely);
Though it's clear his math is piss--
Obama trounced you squarely.

Time for you to shut your trap,
Watch Harriet and Ozzie;
John McCain: go take your nap,
and quit shouting "Benghazi."

Lizbeth Warren's on her way,
Her Commonwealth has spoken;
John of Orange, you're up next:
Pelosi's not some token.

Even if our Soros checks
Have not yet left the station,
We will spend the "gifts" we have
To help rebuild our nation.

Discuss

Want to pierce the veil to Republican thinking? No problem!

All you have to do is take equal parts of Willard’s recent post-mortem speech (AKA “I did SO mean what I said about the 47%”) and this gem of a quote from 2016 Presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana):

We need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education.
To reach American MiddleClass Nirvana, just follow the five simple steps (apologies to the returning Alan Grayson for the last one) shared below the Satanic Orange Wingding.
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Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 05:46 PM PDT

The GOP Ticket in Seven Words

by ProvokingMeaning

This will likely be the shortest diary I've ever written, or ever will write.

Driving to my church job this morning (it's all part of being a choral musician: on Sundays I belong to Baby Jesus), I had a small epiphany concerning how to succinctly summarize the true agenda of the Two White Guys In Suits we're campaigning against.

(Actually, I think it's more important what we're campaigning for -- like decent health care -- but that's another diary, and there are far more compelling voices taking care of that around here, I know).

You can give credit for this insight, presuming you like it, to the Higher Power of your Choice: Ceiling Cat, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Ineffable Ground of All Being, or the Magick That Moves The Tides Unbidden.

Join me below the squishy thing for the unveiling.

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Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7-8 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.
What do the following items have in common?

Arts & Culture
Criminal Justice
Economy
Education
Elections
Environment
Foreign Policy & National Security
Immigration
Labor
LGBT
Local
Media / Journalism / Blogging
Organizing & Movement Building
OWS
SCOTUS
Technology / Data / Innovation
Women
Youth

That’s right – they’re the items in the “filter by tag” menu, a utility that allows you to slice and dice (sort and select) the multitude of events slated for Netroots Nation 12, organizing them around a category of particular personalized interest. You can think of it as a TripTik for conference-going progressives.

But did you notice anything missing? Yeah, I thought so. Me too. Join me below the Kossified Wingding d’Orange to consider what we’re gonna do about it, won’t you?

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There are few certainties about life. We're born. We grow. We age. We die.

If we manage to stumble into the right combination of time, parents, location, and opportunity, we learn. If we're able to survive enough of our mistakes, we eventually garner some degree of wisdom. If we're lucky, we discover something that we're able to do that we're reasonably good at doing. Maybe we get paid for doing it. Maybe we don't.

And if we're luckier than most, we discover the capacity to give love and receive it.

I don't know much more that that. But I do know that hard times will come. If you'd like to hear one way I found to cope with them a bit, I'd be honored to have your company below the Ornamental Orange Ortifact.

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Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7-8 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.
There are hundreds of books about caring for someone close to you who has cancer. I have read precisely none of them. I possess no secret wisdom and claim no particular expertise in what follows. I’ve only been doing this for a little more than a year, and all I have to offer is my own experience. It that’s of interest to you, then you’re cordially invited to follow me down the orange rabbit hole and join me on the other side.
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I'm a professional musician. Like most of my colleagues, I make my living by pursuing multiple gigs: I conduct four choirs in a suburban Detroit mainline church, plus a community choir in what locals refer to as the "downriver" area. I compose music, some of which gets recorded. I write articles and columns.

And I teach music theory and composition to undergraduates at Wayne State University, the only one of Michigan's "Research I" universities actually located in a major urban setting. My building is just a few short blocks from Cass Avenue, one of the prime locations of the 1967 riots that shook Detroit to its foundations.

Perhaps half of my students are classical musicians. The rest are jazz studies majors. Want to know what I assigned all of them to do tomorrow, when the University is closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Join me below the fold to find out.

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Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 12:59 PM PDT

The Boy Who Wasn't There

by ProvokingMeaning

Imagine that you’re a twelve year old boy.

Imagine that you’re a twelve year old boy and that there’s nothing you’ve ever wanted more in your entire life than to join the Boy Scout troop sponsored by your local Catholic parish.

Imagine that you’re a twelve year old boy on your very first overnight camping trip with the church sponsored Scout troop you've dreamed of joining for years, and that in the middle of the night you’re suddenly woken up, yanked from your sleeping bag, marched deep into a dark forest, stripped naked, tied to a tree, surrounded by a crowd of young men who force you to watch as they expose their genitals, and then leave you there—frightened, screaming, and alone.

More below the fold...

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