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Posts made in: 'Politics' (176) Currently Viewing: 151 - 160 of 176

August 20, 2008 at 11:17am

Precinct Officer Hill


Tacoma seems to have finally elected Robert “the Traveller” Hill to office â€" kind of. According to early election results Hill is well on his way to becoming a precinct officer for the 27th â€" having received a whopping 65.88 percent of the vote. For those with the strange belief that government should be interesting, the news can be considered nothing but good.

LINK: Unofficial Primary Election results

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma,

August 19, 2008 at 10:46am

Election results


Keep your eye on the Pierce County Auditor's Web site for today's Primary Election results. The first batch will hit the site at 8:30 p.m. tonight.

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma,

July 28, 2008 at 6:42am

Calendar Girl


10 A.M. to 6 P.M.: For a good selection of artworks that teeter between "real" art and "home décor" i.e. that caters to a mass market without being too banal- go to Childhood's End Gallery in Olympia. The latest show centers on a travel theme with paintings by Sandy Hurd, serigraphs by Sherry Buckner and photographs by Jim Nilsen. More at the Edge

ALL DAY: Batman isn't a comic book anymore.  Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy.  It creates characters we come to care about. See the Movie Clock for theaters and starting times.

7 P.M.: Stan Finkelstein- executive director of the Association of Washington Cities- will be in Ruston tonight to discuss with citizens and the current Ruston town council what it really means to switch from a mayor-council form of government to a council-town manager form of government. Ruston Home has the details.

8 P.M.: Green plays the blues the way they're meant to be played; shuffles in G and slow burning blues without the designer makeover. Green and his band Double Shot will groove their way through standards and originals with style and grace tonight at the Swiss.

9 P.M.: If you give Tacoma a microphone it knows what to do with.  That much is proven night in and night out at karaoke joints all over town. Now, give Tacoma a microphone and a live band with enough chops to make Kry a bit jealous, and the rest is, well, history. Crazy, drunken, a little off pitch, kicking and jiving history every Monday night at Jazzbones.

LINK: Viva South Sound arts and entertainment calendar
LINK: Live music and DJs
LINK: Movie Clock

June 10, 2008 at 6:10pm

Why I'm not voting for him


Filed under: Politics,

April 28, 2008 at 12:50pm

Tacoma Smash ICE halted


Saturday morning I was sitting outside the Mad Hat Tea Company on Commerce enjoying a cup when I heard the drumming sound of protest making its way through downtown.  I made my way around the corner to see a crack team of professional riot police pouring out of several unmarked white minivans. The heavily armored stick-wielding infantry was flanked by a fleet of highly mobile bicycle police who were backed up by a handful of motorcycle cops who were double backed up by a squad of zooming patrol cars and paddy wagons.

And then I saw them. Obviously anarchy in motion at least 25 skinny teenage vegans â€" a.k.a. Tacoma Smash ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) â€" waving signs and holding banners â€" the largest of which read, "Burn all prisons now."

Their plan was to march across the Murray Morgan Bridge to the Northwest Detention Center in the Tide Flats Industrial District. The bridge was mysteriously drawn, though not a tall ship was in sight.

The message from the city seems clear.  We will do everything in our power to oppose these terrorists.   Props to our men in blue, some of those stick-spinning skills were sick.

LINK: Previously on Spew

LINK: A general overview of the demonstration

LINK: A point by point live blog

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma,

April 24, 2008 at 2:37pm

Kunstler paints a dim picture


Some people say five years.  Others will tell you we have 100 years.  The fact is, there was a finite amount of dinosaurs, and that means that there will be a finite amount of time before we run out of fossil fuels.  We have built a lot of dreams on the hope that we can figure out a way around this.  It is starting to look like we haven't done a good job.

James Howard Kunstler wants you to wake up to the fact that we are in trouble.   Local Life Tacoma and Exit 133 worked together to bring Kunstler to the Theater on the Square last night where he spoke on the energy crisis and the answers he believes will help us ease through the coming transition.   

As far as I could gather from the lecture, every system in America depends on a quickly depleting supply of foreign oil. Take Mexico for instance. They are our number three supplier of imported oil.  By the year 2010, they won’t have any surplus for us.  Yep, gone. DONE.  OUT.  FINITO.  Mexico isn't the only country that will stop sending oil our way.  Get it?  Oil is not only running out, but also our suppliers holding it close as they want to drive 60 years from now.  Think big picture; we didn't and our oil peaked in the ‘70s.  Likely, the world's oil recently peaked as well. The term called "Oil Nationalism" sucks when America is so out of favor with most of the world. 

Think about it, seriously.  The world should be laughing.  We have made ourselves strong by depleting our own supply too quickly, and then using our instant might to bully other places into supply us.   The places that still have oil aren't stupid, and as they realize that they are running out, they are simply refusing to sell it and keeping it for themselves.

A lot of people seem to think that change will come in the type of fuel we use. Kunstler warns that sometimes we think that Technology equals Energy.  This is false. 

"No combination of hydro, solar, bio, ethanol, wind, nuclear will allow us to keep Wall-Mart and Disney Land," Kunstler explains. 

Even if all of our cornfields were to grow only for bio-fuels, not only would we have more hungry people on the planet, it would only make up for 5 percent of the gas we currently use. We have to change, and the faster we face that change and stop acting like the universe will change for us so we don't have to, the less turmoil will go down during the transition.   

At first this sounds like doom, but I don't think it is.  It's possible that without cars we would be forced to live a lot simpler, healthier lives. 

"Agriculture will become a lot more integrated into everyday American life, food will have to be grown locally and on a modest scale," he says without a hint of sarcasm.  Somehow I don't think this fit into a lot of people's five-year plan.  Looking around the room last night I saw a lot of furrowed brows and darting eyes.  It's almost like no one wanted to hear it.

Kunstler has a few hopeful ideas:

"We need to restore the passenger railroad system,” he says.  “There is no other project that would have more impact on oil consumption.  It requires no new technology, and currently our railroad is something that the Bulgarians would be ashamed of." 

The second half of the lecture was on constructing cities in a manner that is made for human habitation.  He says all the public spaces in America are devoted to cars.  I don't think it's an argument about parking anymore; it's not about a wider expressway if there is nothing to drive on it.  Kunstler continues, "We are obsessed with how to keep the cars going, we need to talk about food, habitat and what vocations to teach our children outside of super fantasy technology…as fossil fuels deplete, new urbanism will be the only urbanism."  Apparently the suburbs will empty when you can't commute to work for an hour in your car.

It's funny to me, how hard it is to change.  Mankind lived for centuries without oil, now that we've had this brief highly mobile period in our history as a species, we don't ever want to go back.  We are addicted, and the delirious-tremens are going to be hell unless we wean ourselves off before we are forced to go cold turkey.

For more on the particulars of Kunstler's take on Tacoma herself and some methods for constructing cities that are habitable, tune into TV Tacoma channel 12, who will be airing the lecture for the next 30 days.

And ride your bike to work.

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma, Urbanism,

April 22, 2008 at 3:00pm

Interview with James Howard Kunstler


Kunstler I just had the honor of corresponding with a very important thinker in today’s mixed up and crazy world â€" James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency. Geography won him attention as a critic of sorts on America's poorly illustrated urban planning. He reminds us that oil is nearly gone and the way we have structured our lives, cities, and cultures, depends on something that cannot last.

This may not seem important to you. But just imagine where you would get your food and Starbucks when the truck wont start. On the eve of his lecture at the Theatre on the Square in downtown Tacoma I started my interview as a bit of a mock skeptic, and then he schooled me.

DANIEL BLUE: So much of the information we receive as a culture we have trained ourselves to dismiss as another advertisement or fear-based propaganda. I don't have a television, and most of the news I hear is transmitted orally. I hear whispers of the end of oil, but I hear rumors that there is plenty still locked in the arctic. As strange as it may seem, for every voice that sends a warning, there seems to be an equally extreme voice shouting that there is nothing to worry about and we have all the time we need. Who the hell do we believe here?
JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER: You're not paying attention. The “cognitive dissonance” has got you. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that we have a huge problem with oil, which will not be offset by the skimpy new discoveries that have come along recently.

BLUE: Who stands to gain from the end of oil? Won't the corporation that discovers an alternative energy source rule the world?
KUNSTLER: That's magical thinking â€" tinged with grandiosity and paranoia. There's no corporation that can bail us out of our oil-addiction problem with "rescue remedy." There are lots of alt.energy resources, and we will use everything possible, but we're sure to be disappointed by what they can do for us. That's the key to understanding what we face. As I've said a million times, no combination of solar, wind, ethanol, biodiesel, nuclear, or used-french-fry-oil will allow us to keep running Wal-Mart and the Interstate highway system (and that's the unstated wish behind your question). We have to make other arrangements for everyday life. Those who benefit will be those who are prepared to live locally and work shoulder-to-shoulder with their neighbors.

BLUE: What was your favorite celebrity divorce last year?
KUNSTLER: Oh Christ, I don't even remember who ditched whom.

BLUE: What role do you see the arts playing in the transformation of the human slave state?
KUNSTLER: I consider the arts of tremendous importance â€" more as a mentality than an instrumentality. Wendell Berry had a lot to say about this in Harpers Magazine recently. He is correct, of course. Our technological fixation has gotten us in a lot of trouble. These days we suffer from techno-triumphalism or techno-grandiosity that is very pernicious. It has led to much delusional thinking about technology's ability to rescue us from the diminishing returns of ... technology! We desperately need to turn instead to artistry, excellence, fine work, loving, and other human enactments not strictly technological

BLUE: Do you think there is oil on the moon? Mars?
KUNSTLER: No. It's a dumb question.

BLUE: Are we the dinosaurs that will fuel the next evolution?
KUNSTLER: Well, we're gonna leave a lot of crap behind, but not much that would be considered a precursor to great underground pools of oil.

BLUE: All of this doom is so depressing, what is your favorite anti-anxiety medication?
KUNSTLER: I'm actually pretty cheerful. But once in a while I'll pop a Xanax. For example, I get anxious in big concert crowds and situations like that. Xanax has an unpleasant fatigue-like blowback, so it's best taken later in the day.

BLUE: What are some things that my readers can do right now, this evening, to improve the quality of life for the whole? Where does your doom find traction in my current paradigm?
KUNSTLER: You say "your doom" as if I have ownership of a particular brand of doom. Not so. My new post-oil novel, World Made By Hand depicts the future as having many lovely qualities â€" though there is also much hardship. I'm not gloomy about the future. It's the present that I find disagreeable, especially the tyranny of cars and machines. Your readers can learn how to use hand tools, cultivate a social network of people they can depend on, learn to play musical instruments, stay healthy and fit by being active, grow something at whatever scale is available to you (even just a pot of herbs), read some of the 'great books' rather than turn on the boob tube, save money rather than spend it on electronic crap, and find somebody to love. ... Most of all, don't be crybabies.

BLUE: Love is all you need. Who will be the next hero? They killed John Lennon, why haven't they killed Bono?
KUNSTLER: Bono strikes me as more of a grandstander than a truly heroic figure. Somebody will get it, though, at some point in the future. Who can say?

BLUE: Yeah man. How do we wake up? Is anyone doing this right?  Do you have examples of communities who are living in a true sustainable manner?
KUNSTLER: How to wake up: pay attention. Be earnest and brave. Circumstances have not really forced the issue, so I don't think there are any great examples out there yet of how we will be actually living in the future. I am inclined to think that agriculture will come much closer to the center of our daily economic life than it has for generations.

BLUE: Are you interested in running for mayor of Tacoma?
KUNSTLER: That's obviously not a serious question.

BLUE: What is the question that you've always hoped someone would ask you?
KUNSTLER: Are you available to accept your Nobel Prize in person, or shall we just send the check?

If you have wondered how you are going to wake up, this would be a good start.
James Howard Kunstler will be speaking in Tacoma Wednesday, April 23, 7 p.m., at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts’ Theatre on the Square. Tickets are $18, $9 for students, at 253.591.5894.

Kunstler is funny and dangerous, don't miss it.

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma, Urbanism,

April 21, 2008 at 1:43pm

Tacoma looks to Gemzoe for answers


I spent six months at the University of Copenhagen as part of the University of Washington’s study abroad program for the Economics department.

I drank a lot of Elephant beer in school â€" both in class and after class with professors in neighboring pubs. Interesting enough, I earned my highest college semester GPA while studying in Denmark.

Strget On of the more impressive districts in Copenhagen was the walking street â€" Strøget. The car-free street was lined with retail, bars and restaurants â€" and hundreds and hundreds of people.

I drank a lot of beer on that street, too.

Danish architect/consultant/author Lars Gemzoe says "a change of urban culture" in Copenhagen resulted in more and more sites being reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. He said his nation’s capital, home to about 500,000 in its central district alone, opened its first car-free road in 1962.

He said walking "is a simple, cheap and low-noise activity" that doesn’t pollute the atmosphere and helps improve pedestrians’ fitness levels. From an urban design point of view, Mr. Gemzoe said, pedestrian-only streets downtown can provide a portal to improved human relationships.

Gemzoe will discuss the human element in public spaces Tuesday, April 22 during the noon Tacoma City Council study session in the Tacoma Municipal Building (7233 Market St., Room 16).  He’ll discuss making downtown Tacoma a more inviting and people-friendly place, including the empty Tollefson Plaza. (Why was that space empty after the Daffodil Parade when everyone was downtown?)

While the Council will not take public comment during the noon study session, it should make for an educational lunchtime.

The city is paying $15,000 to bring Gemzoe to town. That’s a lot of Elephant beer money.

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma, Urbanism,

April 17, 2008 at 1:20pm

Smash face Tacoma


Local anarchists plan a week of education and protest in opposition to a private prison for immigrants on the Tacoma Tide Flats. The current manifestation of the well-organized group of protesters calls itself Tacoma Smash I.C.E. (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), and has caught the attention of local law enforcement, who have circulated among local businesses calling the group a homeland security threat. Board up your windows and doors, conscientious college kids who care about the rights of immigrants are coming to get you. Their activities will include a series of educational get-togethers, culminating in a protest march from People’s Park to Wells Fargo Plaza, and on to the Tacoma Detention Center.

Schedule of Events
Monday 4/21:
7 p.m. â€" Hip-Hop Show @ Pitchpipe Infoshop (621 MLK Jr. Way, Tacoma) lineup TBA

Tuesday 4/22:
4 p.m. â€" High school teach-in @ Mad Hat Tea Co. (1130 Commerce St., Tacoma)

Wednesday 4/23:
2-4 p.m. â€" Author Jane Guskin lectures @ UWT in the Carwein Auditorium (University of Washington Tacoma 1900 Commerce St., Tacoma)
5 p.m. â€" Bake sale and drum-making workshop and conversational Spanish workshop @ Pitchpipe Infoshop

Thursday 4/24:
4 p.m. â€" Media meeting @ Kings Books, (218 St Helens Ave, Tacoma) all are welcome to sit in.

6:30 p.m. â€" Know Your Rights Workshop and vegan potluck @ Pitchpipe Infoshop

Friday 4/25:
4 p.m. â€" Public Teach-In @ Guadalupe House (1417 S. G St., Tacoma)

Saturday 4/26:
Noon â€" Demonstration against I.C.E. and the Northwest Detention Center Rally @ People's Park (Ninth and MLK Jr. Way, Tacoma) &
1 p.m. â€" March Downtown Tacoma

LINK: Tacoma Smash I.C.E. on MySpace

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma,

April 7, 2008 at 1:22pm

Gregoire rides Oregon to Tacoma


News Tribune reporter Nikki Sullivan sprinted past me a few minutes ago after Gov. Chris Gregoire's speech inside the Landmark Convention Center.  Sullivan is riding on Gregoire's bus.  I'll have something posted soon on the event.

In the meantime, check out the license plate on Gregoire's bus.

Gregoirebus031 Gregoirebus030_2 Oregon?

Thanks to the brain trust at Doyle's for pointing that one out.

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma,

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