Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Omen for the New Year?: Casselton, North Dakota Train Derailment Explosion

Sightline's series on coal and train transportation in the Northwest is here. This is the third or fourth major oil train explosion in recent months (See here and Endnotes below). The increased rate of oil train derailments and subsequent explosions is probably the result of increased shipments of fracked shale oil. The fracking of shale oil is a clear result of our failed attempts at developing non-carbon based energy economy.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Fwd: SEP Newsletter: Jobless benefits cut off for 1.3 million Americans

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Socialist Equality Party <>
Date: Sat, Dec 28, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Subject: SEP Newsletter: Jobless benefits cut off for 1.3 million Americans
To: "" <>

World Socialist Web Site

Socialist Equality Party Newsletter

Below is a selection of articles appearing on the World Socialist Web Site last week. Six days a week, the WSWS publishes on all the major political, social and cultural developments. To sign up for the daily newsletter, click here.
Socialist Equality Party
PO Box 48377
Oak Park, MI 48237
Phone: (313) - 409 - 8083
* Visit the website!
* Join the SEP!
* DONATE today!

A cruel Christmas gift: Jobless benefits cut off for 1.3 million Americans

Kate Randall and Barry Grey
28 December 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

341 Telegraph Road Meridian Neighborhood Development (Updated 12/31/2013)

Snipped and annotated (in red) From COB Notice for site development at MERIDIAN CAP2013-00070 DRC2013-00024 VAR2013-00031 SEP2013-00046 341 Telegraph Rd : PDF  MapLocation here
Note: I submitted the comment below the break tonight to COB planner Steve Sundin regarding an application for "Development of a 154 unit age-restricted residential complex with associated parking, landscaping, certain street improvements along Telegraph Road".  Because, I walk this area frequently, I am all too well aware of lack of pedestrian facilities in these parking lots and on Telegraph Rd. Comment must be submitted by December 31st, 2013 at 5:00 PM. (Update (12/31/2013) COB will continue to receive comment on this until there decision. See Below)  There is a developer request for a "for a variance from street frontage improvement requirements on Telegraph Road."   Thanks to Wendy Harris and the Whatcom Watch facebook group for notice of this. I think (!) this link will give you an aerial view of the site.

Whatcom County GE 2013 Wrap Up: Who Voted and Who Didn't: Part II

Lattice Graphics (R) Matrix of the 2013 Whatcom County General Election for 200 Series (Bellingham) Precincts.

Some Charts of the 2013 General Election in Whatcom County are below. Red is percentage, blue is number of votes.  Top two charts are all (178) precincts. R and SQL code on request. Click graphics to enlarge. The code for this post is available here.

Fwd: Today on the WSWS

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: World Socialist Web Site <>
Date: Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 9:56 PM
Subject: Today on the WSWS
To: "" <>

World Socialist Web Site

New Today -- 27 December 2013


Japanese PM revives militarist traditions

Abe's visit to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine to Japan's war dead is part of his campaign to whitewash past war crimes in order to prepare for new ones.

News & Analysis

US prepares strikes against Islamists in Iraq

Two years after Obama declared the US war in Iraq over, Washington is shipping Hellfire missiles and preparing for direct intervention against the same Islamist forces it backed in Syria.

Catalan nationalist parties set date for independence referendum

German Greens, Christian Democrats seal coalition pact in Hesse

Austrian grand coalition government intensifies austerity

Hundreds of thousands face Christmas holidays without electricity in US and Canada

Young worker and father of two killed at Detroit area steel mill

Half a million in the UK deprived of social care over the last five years

Elizabeth, South Australia: A city devastated by General Motors Holden

French humanitarian group alleges Sri Lankan security forces executed aid workers

The Bankruptcy of Detroit

Cancel Detroit's debt!

Arts Review

The year in music: Favorite recordings of 2013


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Fwd: Why unemployment insurance is a big deal

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "The White House" <>
Date: Dec 20, 2013 12:39 PM
Subject: Why unemployment insurance is a big deal
To: <>

The White House Friday, December 20, 2013
Why unemployment insurance is a big deal
If Congress doesn't act soon, more than a million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance benefits. This money is a vital lifeline that helps folks pay the bills while they work hard to find their next job.
Whether you're part of a family relying on unemployment insurance -- or if you know someone in your community who is -- we all have a stake in protecting this lifeline for millions of Americans.
That's why Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, sat down for a special edition of On the Clock to explain why this issue is so important -- in under 60 seconds.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fwd: Today on the WSWS

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "World Socialist Web Site" <>
Date: Dec 20, 2013 8:52 PM
Subject: Today on the WSWS
To: "" <>

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bellingham Downtown Planning, Old vs. New Economy, and Fracking the Bellingham Field

Schematic of the "Bellingham Basin Gas Play" from Johnson, S. Y.; Tennyson, M. E.; Lingley, W. S., Jr.; Law, B. E., 1997, Petroleum geology of the State of Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1582

Last night I attended "The Downtown Plan" Open House.  This was a topical affair with the Mayor and staff briefing the 100 plus  concerned citizens and staff packed into an Encore Room lined with dozens of presentations on zoning, building heights, parks, and civic space. On one chart I found graphics on  economics and employment.  There was a brief presentation on downtown revitalization for the last ten years: some pretty pictures of street art, redone plazas, public facilities and public spaces.  The general themes of the evening were of self-congratulatory comment, community planning euphemisms and "look what we have done so far" type rhetoric. If it weren't for the two steely-eyed Bellingham cops guarding the entrance, one could almost say 'civic spirit' pervaded the entire Encore Room.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Whatcom County GE 2013 Wrap Up: Who Voted and Who Didn't: Part I

This post is long, wonky, has SQL console output formatted in small print and is generally ugly. On most browsers you can you use the keystrokes CTRL + to zoom out. Click to enlarge the graphs. Standard caveat for all my data is that I do my best to ensure accuracy. I don't recommend quoting or using my work unless you verify it first with your own analysis. I don't recommend reading this unless these types of numbers matter to you. - RMF

Many precincts showed high turnout percentages in hte 2013 General Election.

This chart ranks precincts by lack of participation or the inverse of turnout. Some important Democratic precincts showed abysmal turnout percentages indicative of  either (your choice): apathy, vote suppression, or ballot theft.

For my $10, I received a 12.03.2013 voter database history from the fine folks that work the election desk downtown; one of a number I have collected this year as I ponder whether or not to run for the 42nd LD Senate seat.  If nothing else, my skillsets in PostgresSQL are improving. Here we go into the data. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fwd: Invest in the Next Generation

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Matt James <>
Date: Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 4:15 PM
Subject: Invest in the Next Generation

December 5, 2013

NG-Logo 2    DonateButton 3

Dear Friends,matt_j_appeal letter 2

As we head into what is known in non-profit circles as "The Giving Season," I know you will be receiving plenty of letters like this one, asking for your financial support. Let me make the case for why you should support our work at Next Generation.

Fwd: Today on the WSWS

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: World Socialist Web Site <>
Date: Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Subject: Today on the WSWS
To: "" <>

World Socialist Web Site

New Today -- 6 December 2013


The struggle for Ukraine

The protests in Ukraine bear the label "Made in Germany," "Made in the EU" and "Made in America."

News & Analysis

Detroit bankruptcy ruling triggers calls for pension cuts across the US

Within days of a federal judge's ruling in support of the Detroit bankruptcy filing, the devastating implications for the working class across the US are becoming apparent.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela dies

Biden lectures Chinese leaders on "human rights"

US congressional intelligence chiefs promote terror scare

US officials will no longer to provide information on Guantanamo hunger strikers

France steps up military intervention into Central African Republic

Poverty skyrockets in Ireland as the ruling elite gets richer

Russia moving to devalue the ruble

Nepal's Maoists suffer landslide election defeat

Qantas Airways announces another 1,000 job cuts

New York: Basic safety system absent in Metro North crash

The Bankruptcy of Detroit

Video: SEP holds press conference to announce workers' inquiry


As tensions in Asia mount, danger of world war emerges

Arts Review

Alexander Payne's Nebraska: How a great many people live today

Workers Struggles

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa


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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Francis: The relevant Pope

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” Francis wrote in the papal statement. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” “Meanwhile,” he added, “the excluded are still waiting.”from Washington Post on Pope Francis
While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common  good to exercise any form of control.  A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virutal, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and and rules...
 from Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium 11/24/2013
[emphasis on both quotes is my own]
If Pope Francis gets any more relevant, I might just decide to return to mass... To be honest, I've always seen Marxism as a direct descendant of the philosophy of Jesus Christ.  There's never been much difference, at a spiritual level, between my sixth grade reading of The Communist Manifesto and my ninth grade reading of the Biography of St. Francis. I have always thought that it was no accident that the father of at least half of the world's economic systems had a (converted) Lutheran father himself. Corporate Capitalism, always the scourge of justice, fair trade, and  the redistribution of wealth is rightfully the antithesis of Christian theology.

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Indeed. Or perhaps with a more secular modernization: "A society of 7B, many who live in painful poverty and hunger, is a catastrophe."

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This Sunday fifty years ago

"First examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings...
The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough -- more than enough -- of war and hate and oppression.
We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we must labor on--not towards a strategy of annihilation but towards a strategy of peace. " President John Fitzgerald Kennedy June 10, 1963
This Sunday fifty years ago a nation was in mourning over the loss of its first Catholic president. This is JFK's famous American University Speech given June 10, 1963. Audio (ogg file) is here.  A text of the speech is available here.  Reputedly, Kennedy and Ted Sorenson managed to keep the content secret until the speech was given. RFK Jr.'s moving examination of his uncle's drive toward world peace is available in this month's Rolling Stone.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fwd: SEP Newsletter: A half-century since the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Socialist Equality Party" <>
Date: Nov 23, 2013 9:34 AM
Subject: SEP Newsletter: A half-century since the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
To: "" <>

World Socialist Web Site

Socialist Equality Party Newsletter

Below is a selection of articles appearing on the World Socialist Web Site last week. Six days a week, the WSWS publishes on all the major political, social and cultural developments. To sign up for the daily newsletter, click here.
Take up the fight for socialism! Join the Socialist Equality Party! For more information and to get involved, click here.


A half-century since the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

By David North
22 November 2013
Fifty years ago today, on November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated as his motorcade made its way through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Unlike so many other clichéd phrases about American history, it is actually true that virtually no one who was old enough to be politically conscious would ever forget where they were when the news of the "three shots fired at the president's motorcade in Dallas" flashed across the United States and around the world. Even after a half-century, the traumatic events of that Friday afternoon and the days that followed remain vivid in the consciousness of countless millions of people.

Fwd: SEP Newsletter: The political implications of the NSA exposures

This was a November 2 posting from the WSWS. I help off on reposting it until after the election. BTW, you can subscribe to the WSWS  here - RMF

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Socialist Equality Party <>
Date: Sat, Nov 2, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Subject: SEP Newsletter: The political implications of the NSA exposures
To: "" <>

World Socialist Web Site

Socialist Equality Party Newsletter

Join the Socialist Equality Party! Take up the fight for socialism!

Dear SEP Supporters,
The past two weeks have seen a series of new exposures from whistle-blower Edward Snowden of massive and illegal NSA spying programs. As the perspective below explains, the crisis that these revelations has provoked in ruling circles is driven by the concern "not that terrorists will know what the US government is doing, but that the American people and broad masses of people around the world are beginning to see what the US government is doing... The collapse of democratic rights in the United States reflects a deep and unbridgeable social gulf between a parasitic financial aristocracy and the working class, the vast majority of the population. Those who dictate the policy of the government look around and see enemies, real and potential, everywhere."
Below we publish several reports from the WSWS over the past week. In addition to the perspective, "The political implications of the NSA exposures," this includes two articles that detail the exposures themselves--of a global spying operation on countries and states all over the world, and the secret theft of the entire data stream of Google and Yahoo, giving the NSA warrantless access to the communications of millions of people, including US citizens. A fourth article reviews the role of the mass media, and the New York Times in particular, as a component of the state apparatus.
The experience of the Obama administration has demonstrated that there exists no constituency within the political establishment for democratic rights. These rights must be defended, and the moves toward the establishment of a police state opposed, through the independent political mobilization of the working class against the entire capitalist system. The Socialist Equality Party is organizing this fight. For more information on joining the SEP, click here.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Why a Marxist movement is needed in the United States!

RFK Jr. has a brilliant article on his uncle's assassination and the struggles of JFK's presidency in this month's edition of Rolling Stone. The article is available on-line. I recommend everyone who still has hope in humanity read it and invite RFK Jr. to come speak at WWU in the comment section.  Last time he came, I managed to score a ticket in the front row seats.  I was politically inspired for an entire year.

But today, on the fiftieth anniversary of JFK's assassination, I was sitting in the my car dealership waiting for an oil change while working on my laptop. In the background of my earshot is an obvious right wing collection of nobodies discussing:

(a) How Lincoln was unpopular.
(b) How 50 years ago somebody took out Kennedy.
(c) How somebody is going to take out Obama.

This is followed by a lot of discussion about the evil of ACA....
"There's just a lot of emotion in the air...." is the summary quote.

Personally, I was waiting for the ghost of Curtis LeMay to come through the dealership door...and start handing out John Birch Society  pamphlets.  The center-left wing in this country badly needs a Marxist counter-balance to the brainwashed right wing fringe. These are people who honestly believe Obama is a socialist because he developed a moderate health reform care package that gave insurance companies almost everything they wanted.  Somehow, they need to understand exactly what Marxism and nationalization of industry would mean before the Kennedy center-left faction of American politics can be respected again.  Right now, they are ideologically free to paint the slightest liberal efforts as radical.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Doug Karlberg has lots to say about the Port

Doug Karlberg has lots to say about the Port... He says it here

Fwd: What would President Truman say about this Congress?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "David Simas, The White House" <>
Date: Nov 19, 2013 2:41 PM
Subject: What would President Truman say about this Congress?
To: <>

Monday, November 18, 2013

Did we let the "Old Boys" win again?

"You may be sure that we are as well aware as you of the difficulty of contending against your power and fortune, unless the terms be equal. But we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as yours, since we are just men fighting against unjust, and that what we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Lacedaemonians, who are bound, if only for very shame, to come to the aid of their kindred. Our confidence, therefore, after all is not so utterly irrational."  Response of the Melians to the Athenian Empire from  History of the Peloponnesian War 417 B.C.
"It is “really complex” and, surely, we citizens are not grown up enough to understand it. But, nonetheless, rest assured that it is yet another thing that we little people will end up paying for, and not the developers."  Alex McLean  //  Mon, Nov 18, 201 in response to Wendy Harris latest article in the Northwest Citizen
I feel like such a complacent idiot for not getting involved more in the Waterfront Planning Process. I suppose it was just one more thing that I didn't think I could handle. Better leave it to the people who actually know the difference between a VOC and an SVOC. Besides, it always seemed like competent activists were on it: The Waterfront Futures Group, The Healthy Bay Initiative, Frances Badgett,  Tim Johnson, Wendy Harris, Dan McShane. Now it looks to me like the "Old Boys" have won again. Through wearing good people down? Through ignoring our best citizen activists? Through distracting us by blaming some other "Old Boy" or "Old Girl" whose main objective was simply to run enough interference so the "Old Boys" could use tax payer dollars to:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fwd: RE: You did it once, now let's do it again!

Below the break, Robin Everett of the Sierra Club talks about stopping the Coal Port in Longview, WA. -RMF

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Robin Everett, Sierra Club" <>
Date: Nov 16, 2013 10:24 AM
Subject: RE: You did it once, now let's do it again!
To: <>

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Describing the 42nd WA Legislative District: Part I - Geography, People, Politics

Here are some screen shots from various sources that show not only the 40th and 42nd WA Legislative Districts but the Bellingham precincts inside the 42.  The first screenshot shows us how Bellingham is divided between the 40 and the 42. One significance of this division is that proposed "Larrabe Springs" or "King Mountain" urban village areas will add growth inside Bellingham or  in land destined to become Bellingham.


Fwd: We don't want it. Period.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Lisa Remlinger, Environmental Priorities Coalition" <>
Date: Nov 14, 2013 10:11 AM
Subject: We don't want it. Period.
To: <>

 Interim Banner 3 
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Dear Ryan,
Power Past Coal for FB Longview hearingHelp our friends at Power Past Coal by commenting on the proposed coal export facility in Longview, WA.  

This is our opportunity to say NO to this coal export facility and to voice our concerns about specific impacts.

If approved, the Millennium Bulk Terminals proposal in Longview, WA would be the largest permitted coal export terminal in the United States with plans to export 44 million tons of coal annually. Right now, the three agencies involved in issuing permits are trying to decide which impacts to take into account in their decision making process.

In addition to saying NO, this is your opportunity to provide input on what impacts you believe should be considered.  There are a myriad of potential impacts from increased train and shipping traffic, to our fragile eco-system, to our air quality and water quality, to global warming and more. What's important is that you voice your concerns.

Fwd: The Efficient Little Engine that Could

Below the break, Kate Gordon of Next Generation talks to us about "Charge Ahead California" -RMF

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Kate Gordon" <>
Date: Nov 14, 2013 12:25 PM
Subject: The Efficient Little Engine that Could
To: <>

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Socialist Kshama Sawant is ahead in City of Seattle Council Position No. 2

With over 165K votes in, Socialist Sawant is ahead of conservative Conlin. A number of contested ballots have yet to be decided. The election appears to have drawn more votes than any of the other three council races.  Notice that a single City of Seattle Council position draws three times more votes than the top Whatcom County County Council vote.  In Seattle, there are at least 83,095 people willing to vote for a Socialist. How many do we have in Bellingham, WA?

City of Seattle Council Position No. 2
        (Precincts                    (  952/ 952  )       100.00
        Richard Conlin                                                                    82693    49.75%
        Kshama Sawant                                                                     83095    49.99%

        Write-in                                                                            424     0.26%


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"El distrito legislativo 42 ª necesita representación Hispana!"

Below is my quote of the week. I asked my wife to translate it for me but she wasn't quite sure, so I used google translate:

"El distrito legislativo 42 ª necesita representación Hispana!"
"The 42nd legislative district needs Hispanic representation!"

There is a facebook discussion started by John Stark at the Herald where he challenges those commenting to come up with a plan for Democrats to win WA 42nd Legislative  District senate seat, currently held by Republican Doug Ericksen. Here are my comments from that thread:
Last year Maria Cantwell 'won' in the 42nd by over 3000 votes. If I remember correctly, the 42nd also voted for Obama over Romney and Inslee over McKenna (just barely). Remember that the 42nd is a diverse district that includes a significant Hispanic population, a large chunk of Bellingham precincts, the Lummi, and many others The first step to victory is to stop thinking that Lynden, WA is representative of the 42nd District. It simply isn't and there aren't enough 600 series precincts to stop a determined Democrat who can reach out to all the voters in the 42nd. There are plenty of us that live in both Bellingham AND the 42nd who would like a change in representation. Put your 'Whatcom Wins' hats back on and find us a candidate! If Loretta Sanchez can represent Orange County,Anaheim,Santa Anna, then (By God) we can find a Democrat to represent the 42nd here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

.The Aftermath: 2013 General Election - Why Renata K. Lost...And Why the Democrats Should Never Lose any County Wide Seat Again!

I do my best (as one solitary blogger can ) to create accurate analysis from the data I have. To be certain, you should check my work before quoting it as accurate. - RMF

This election is really providing fertile ground for data analysis. Some categorical distinctions can be made that aren't so swing vote oriented such that the precinct data becomes to 'fuzzy' to be meaningful. The tables below represent the precincts with the least turnout for the four county council and two ports seats. What strikes me  is:
  • How tragically low these turnouts really are for fairly populous precincts.
  • How solidly Democratic these districts should be. They are almost all Bellingham 200s except for Lummi (?)  133 and 137.
  • How much the Democrats would have to gain if their ground game would have worked in these precincts.
In general, these 10 low turnout precincts sum to about 9500 registrants.  Most of them swing solidly Democratic. If the Democrats unlocked these districts in "off years", they stand to gain as much as 5000 additional votes over and above their anemic (but mostly victorious) turnouts below. Surprisingly, the lowest precinct turnouts for all six of these races are WWU precincts: 245,252,253. So much for the idea that the students steal away local Bellingham votes.

The ~55% Whatcom county turnout for this "off year" election was impressive.  But the Democrats could have actually done much better. The important take-away is that populous precincts that should tend Democratic still have many votes untapped. The Dems should go get them next time.

The Aftermath: 2013 General Election - Whatcom County Turnout vs Other Counties

Post updated to reflect link to successful legal challenge based on Voting Rights Act - RMF

The vote is all but over now with a scant 120K left to be tabulated. After that tabulation is done, 1.76M out of 3.9M registered WA voters (~45%) will have voted in an important "off year" election. But if all the counties of WA had voted with the pluck of Whatcom County (54.5%), another 390K would have brought that voting total to 2.13M. The top ten counties give us 3.2M of the states total of 3.9M registered voters. So let's take a look at Whatcom County's significance. Data, sorted by registrants, is from :

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Are there sh*t kicking Montanans and Texans fuming in their boots and Stetsons about how they can't "get their coal out of the ground and into China" if they don't get rid of "all those g*d d*mn eco-terrorists" in Whatcom County? You Betcha!  But I wanted to thank them anyway for their efforts and to extend an invitation to come visit our beautiful city, Bellingham, WA.







Friday, November 8, 2013

Fwd: Election rollercoaster

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Aaron Ostrom, Fuse Votes <>
Date: Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM
Subject: Election rollercoaster
To: Ryan Ferris <>

Dear Friend,

There was a lot to feel great about on election night, but we're very disappointed that Sen. Nathan Schlicher lost by a narrow margin to Rep. Jan Angel in the 26th District.

Sometimes you don't win even when you go all in. Despite our coming up short, we're still very proud of what we did in this race. We started behind by 20 points in June – a seemingly insurmountable margin in a swing district that tilts conservative – and did everything we could to win this critical Senate seat.

Fuse staff, volunteers, and partner organizations getting ready to canvass in the 26th District.
We helped lead an incredible coalition campaign that organized hundreds of volunteers to make tens of thousands of phone calls and knock on thousands of doors. Our coalition bought television spots and online ads, and delivered persuasive mail to tens of thousands of voters. In addition, more than 3,000 people in the 26th district used the Progressive Voters Guide.

While big tobacco, insurance companies, and other ALEC members spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to squeak out a win, they still have plenty to worry about. They know we aren't slowing down, we're in it for the long run, and we're determined to topple their conservative Senate majority in next year's elections.

While we didn't win in the 26th, we do have good news to report from all over Washington:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1st Round Thoughts...Whatcom County

1st Round Thoughts:

(1) *I can't get precinct data for any county in WA yet* !!!
(2)  Either Whatcom County counts faster or has more turnout (see graph)
(3) Last day voters read your blog for recommendations!
(4) So far, the DEMS are kicking some serious a** !!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"City of Light" : A Whatcom County Story from the Future

"You should have been here in 1972 Ryan.  You should have been here when fishing and timber were in the dumps and all we had in Bellingham were plaid shirts and dive bars."  (Advice from "Tom" given to me in 2002 when I upon arrival, I complained about the lack of high tech jobs.)
Today is your last chance to vote. Your last chance to put your imprimatur on how your community chooses to look toward the light in a broken world littered with smokestacks, warships, disintegrating communities and hopelessness. Your chance to choose to live in a City of Light. The story below comes from the future. It is science fiction.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fwd: Where's your ballot?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lisa Remlinger, Environmental Priorities Coalition <>
Date: Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Subject: Where's your ballot?

Interim Banner 3 
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Dear Ryan,
Tony ballotHopefully the envelope is sealed and your ballot is cast, but if you're like many Americans you may be waiting until the last minute to fill in those circles. With many local elections being decided by a slim number, voting tomorrow is one of the most important ways you can help choose the direction of the state.

Need a good reason, or think your vote doesn't matter? Click here for some inspiration. 

Make your voice heard on issues like the environment, education, and transportation. It needs to be postmarked or dropped in a County Auditor Drop Box by Tuesday, November 5th for your vote to count.
GOTV Video 2
If you've already voted, make sure your signature was verified and your vote was counted!  Visit the Secretary of State's My Vote website, fill in your info, and click "ballot status" on the left hand side of the screen. If you have any questions about your ballot, you can also contact the Secretary of State's
office by phone: 1-800-448-4881.

Don't wake up on Wednesday and regret the difference between what is and what could have been…

Thanks for all you do,

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Group By PrecinctID, ResidenceZipCode,ResidenceCity ORDER BY precinctID,residencezipcode

I ran the query below the break on an 11.01.2013 voter data history. It splits precincts in zipcode groups and totals the registrants. Some of the numbers caught my attention; but I am not quite sure why yet. Perhaps you notice something I don't?


!!!!!KEEP VOTING!!!!!

You can check MyVote from the WA SOS to see:
  • Your Ballot Issues
  • Your Voting History
  • Your Ballot Status (whether your ballot was received)
My Ballot was marked received when I checked the next morning!  VOTE!! VOTE!! VOTE!!
Did I mention you should VOTE???!!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Who's Watching Us?

Who is watching us this election? Edelman PR? SSA Marine? Goldman Sachs? Cloud Peak Energy? Quintana Minerals? BNSF? Warren Buffet? The Koch Brothers? The President? China? Somebody is because we are 36 hours into November and this blog has had over 1K page views for the month already. Face It Bellinghammers: This is the election of our lives. Who we elect this week will determine the economic future of Bellingham and Whatcom County. I look at the total coal income flow as simply as this:

X = Spot Price PRB Coal
Y = China Domestic Price for Coal
Z = million metric tonnes per year
CIF = Coal Income Flow

(Y - X) * Z = $CIF/year

Low, medium, high examples:

  • (130 - 10) * 48 = $5.7B per year
  • (95 - 13) * 52 = $4.3B per year
  • (80 - 15) * 56 = $3.6B per year
But these amounts don't indicate the multiplier effects and leverage of such strong income flows:
  • the shipping industry
  • the diesel industry
  • the mining industry
  • the equipment and machinery industry
  • income flows to local utilities and municipalities for energy and water use
  • the tax flows to local, state, federal government
  • the hedge funds and financial (commodities) industry
The income multipliers for these industries are probably between 2x - 20x.  God only knows how much such flows can be leveraged/derived for additional capital and hedge funds.  Then there are the financial relationships that will develop because of economic production. So of course, Whatcom County is about to determine US financial history. I don't ask that you vote for or against candidates you think are either for or against the coal terminal. I just ask that you vote for the candidates the most likely and qualified to deal us in to these income flows for a prosperous city and county.

I'm not voting for the Democrats  because I think they will stop the coal port. If you pay attention to the fine details, you realize the County Council is being asked to act as a type of permitting board. They will have some narrow criteria on which they can approve or disapprove the coal terminal. I think the odds are pretty even that big coal will come here even if we elect all Democrats. But I'm voting for the Democrats anyway, because I think the group of them have a higher average IQ and more anti-establishment chutzpah than the Republicans.  The Democrats will be more worried about making sure big coal deals us in, doesn't trample our waterfront, and is appropriately taxed. We are going to need some intelligence and chutzpah in dealing with big coal. The last thing we need is a bunch of tea party brain washed Republicans who think big coal equals jobs and Nirvana.  Big Coal doesn't equal Nirvana. It equals West Virginia or maybe Eastern Tennessee. If that's what you want, vote Republican. Or better yet, just move there and bring your big coal vote some place else.