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Morning Feature – Dangerous Convictions? (Meta Monday)

February 11, 2013

Morning Feature

Morning Feature – Dangerous Convictions? (Meta Monday)

“Professor Plum did it, in the Kitchen, with the Candlestick. So say we all,” read the memo from the resident faculty. As the BPI Clue tournament is next week, we hope this was a small-c clue. (More)

First our thanks to next week’s writers:

On Monday, you shared your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week and addisnana mused on Pockets in Midday Matinee.

On Tuesday, Winning Progressive reflected on The NFL And Progressive Values in Morning Feature, Jim W asked Will You Be IDEAL at 80? on Furthermore!, and readers helped tell Tuesday’s Tale: Ancient Carnaubans in Midday Matinee.

On Wednesday, Winning Progressive shared Hubert Humphrey and the Art of the Possible in morning Feature, the Squirrel discussed Drones and Future Schlock in Furthermore!, addisnana investigated Beyoncé and the Illuminati in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan offered 68,000 Years of Climate Data in Our Earth.

On Thursday, we began our series on Planning for 2014 with Where Are You? in Morning Feature, triciawyse offered Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan reported on Exploring Subglacial Lakes in Our Earth.

On Friday, we continued our series on Planning for 2014 with Where Is “There?” in Morning Feature, triciawyse brought us Frieday Critters in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan found Magnetism Takes Salmon Home in Our Earth.

On the weekend, we concluded our series on Planning for 2014 with Plans Into Action in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked about Freedumb? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, Winning Progressive offered Weekend Reading in Furthermore!, readers chuckled at Tuesday’s Tale: Droning On in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

Thus we return to the resident faculty memo, left outside the mail room as they made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

The memo informed us that Professor Plum did it, in the Kitchen, with the Candlestick. To the untrained eye, this might be mistaken for the solution to a game of Clue, and at first the staff wondered if we had misread the Campus Event Schedule. The Squirrel tapped away at his Blewberry and confirmed that the annual Blogistan Polytechnic Institute Clue Tournament is scheduled for next week. Sighs spread around the mail room, as the staff were assured that we had not yet missed this year’s celebration of that thrilling campus tradition.

We then began to study the memo in more detail:

Professor Plum did it, in the Kitchen, with the Candlestick. So say we all.

“That last sentence sounds familiar,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said. “I’m sure I’ve heard it before.”

“It sounds like a jury verdict,” Chef agreed.

“Yes, like he’s been convicted,” the Squirrel texted.

“Wat iz konvikted?” Pootie the Precious asked via her iHazPhone.

“It’s when a jury decides you did it,” the Squirrel replied.

“Ok,” Pootie the Precious responded. “Wat did he do?”

“If this were the solution to a game of Clue,” Chef explained, “it would mean he hit Mr. Boddy with the candlestick.”

“Dat soundz dangeruss,” Pootie the Precious texted.

“That’s it!” the Squirrel texted, flicking his tail in delight as he powered up the Official BPI Googlizationalizator on his Blewberry.

Knowing better than to interrupt, the staff complimented Chef on the white chocolate macadamia cookies she baked to share with the Squirrel’s new Twitter followers. We had just finished the sample batch as the Squirrel began texting.

“This week the resident faculty will discuss Tom Allen’s new book Dangerous Convictions: What’s Really Wrong with the U.S. Congress,” his message read. “This is from the Overview….”

In Dangerous Convictions, former Democratic Congressman Tom Allen argues that what’s really wrong with Congress is the widening, hardening conflict in worldviews that leaves the two parties unable to understand how the other thinks about what people should do on their own and what we should do together. Members of Congress don’t just disagree, they think the other side makes no sense. Why are conservatives preoccupied with cutting taxes, uninterested in expanding health care coverage and in denial about climate change? What will it take for Congress to recover a capacity for pragmatic compromise on these issues?

Allen writes that we should treat self-reliance (the quintessential American virtue) and community (our characteristic instinct to cooperate) as essential balancing components of American culture and politics, instead of setting them at war with each other. Combining his personal insights from 12 years In Congress with recent studies of how human beings form their political and religious views, Allen explains why we must escape the grip of our competing worldviews to enable Congress to work productively on our 21st century challenges.

The staff agreed, much to the relief of Professor Plum, who had just stopped by with Ms. Scarlet to sample Chef’s white chocolate macadamia cookies. Oops….


Happy Monday!

  • addisnana

    Since Allen has lived this issue, I’ll be interested in his insights. For now, where are the white chocolate macadamia cookies? They sound delicious.

    • NCrissieB

      Chef has a new batch of white chocolate macadamia cookies coming out of the oven now. If you hurry, you can probably get one in the kitchen. Unless you see Professor Plum standing there with the Candlestick…. 😯

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

  • winterbanyan

    This looks like a really great discussion coming up. 🙂 Given that Mr. Allen has an insider’s view his perspective on the studies ought to be especially fascinating.

    And it’s certainly a conflict that I’d like to understand better. Lately we seem to exist in opposing realities…or come from different planets.

    Looking forward to it!

    • NCrissieB

      The question that former Rep. Allen returned to again and again, both while he was in the U.S. House and later when he was writing his book, was … “Do Republicans really believe what they say?”

      He dispels several common myths about Congress, including: (1) that House and Senate members adopt policy positions based solely on political self-interest; and (2) that members of opposing parties need stronger social relationships in order to work together.

      His experience was that most members’ policy positions were not mere political calculation – despite the Beltway media’s cult of savviness – and that most senators and representatives already do form social relationships across party lines.

      Allen concludes that Democrats and Republicans have very different worldviews, which both discuss publicly but the media too often ignore in favor of other kinds of analysis. The result is that while Democrats and Republicans often debate common issues, they rarely discuss the same problems.

      On the issue of health care, for example, Democrats discuss how to ensure more Americans have “access to quality, affordable health care” … while Republicans focus on how to avoid a “culture of dependency” on “big government.”

      Those are not two different ways to frame the same problem. Those are two entirely different problems….

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      • winterbanyan

        This is definitely going to be fascinating. 🙂

      • Jim W

        Andy Schmookler views the Republicans.

        “The Truth is Our Weapon”

        • NCrissieB

          Thank you for sharing that, Jim. 🙂

          Good afternoon! ::hugggggs::