Pacific County included in Columbia-Pacific Heritage Area Study Act - passed by House & Senate

Look what was happening in my own home county while my attention has been elsewhere these last years.  Read it in full here.

The Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area Study Act passed the Senate last week as part of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act.  It passed the House last year.  Now the act will be sent to President Bush for his signature.

U.S. Rep Brian Baird, D- Wash, who sponsored a bill for the designation in the House was ecstatic, "Congress recognized the historic and cultural significance of this region, and this is an important step to preserve the mouth of the Columbia River for generations to come' he said.  

Baid, whose Washington district includes Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, said there are significant potential benefits.

  read more below the fold  

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ONDCP in Des Moines, WA

Just got a notice about an upcoming summit on random student drug testing being held in Des Moines, WA on January 17.  Here's the text of the announcement:

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Report from Lietta Ruger: Storm Causes Complete Infrastructure Collapse in Pacific Co.

[Note: see previous story by Arthur Ruger: Inconvenient Truths, Washington State and Willapa Bay.]

I just spoke with Lietta Ruger, one of Washblog's editors, and she asked me to post a little summary of our conversation. She plans to post something more in-depth later.

She and Arthur Ruger live in the Willapa Bay community in Bay Center. There is no locally owned broadcast media in the area, and so they rely primarily on King 5 TV for their storm warnings. KIRO and KOMO generally don't provide coverage on their area. She said that no warnings came through mainstream media on the severe impacts that their community was expected to face from the impending storm last weekend. It was only because they happen to subscribe to what she describes as a tiny newspaper, a weekly called The Chinook Observer, that she learned her community was facing perhaps "the storm of the decade."

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Frank Chopp (no longer) reaming Republicans

In response to Republicans complaining that they didn't get as many members to the House Appropriations Committee than they wanted, Frank Chopp has decided to give them a reason to quit whining. Chopp is adding two more Republicans to the appropriations committee, according to what he said this morning on KUOW's Weekday.

Whacky Nation blog covers the GOP hyperventalation earlier on, and Carl smacks him down.

Chopp did not reflect on how their electoral loss has left them with less members actually elected, and therefor less members to have on committees, including fun ones like appropriations.

Rep. Richard Debolt, leader of the minority said in response (I kid you not): "That's awesome." I agree, it is like totally sweet for Chopp to do that. He's cool like that though.

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U.S. Rep. Brian Baird - WA stands with 'Operation House Call' in DC

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird from Washington state joins MFSO members in D.C. participating in 'Operation House Call'

Good on you Rep. Baird; who represents us in the southwest part of WA state.  Thank you for standing with the good people of 'Operation House Call' in Washington D.C..  We, from Pacific County and other southwest counties in WA state are proud of U.S. Representative Baird! Thank you, Sir, for honoring our efforts both in D.C. and here at home.

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'Operation House Call' and Meeting w Sen. Murray - topic - what else - Iraq occupation

In Seattle, WA, you might say we're making a 'house call' on Senator Murray.  You may remember we have already made three separate 'house call's' on Sen. Cantwell. A meeting has been scheduled to meet with Senator Murray, Wed., June 28, 2006. Actually the meeting will be with her Dir. of Special Projects, Ardis Dumett. Veterans, military families, faith community,student activists and concerned citizens have scheduled meeting to discuss strategy for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  

I'm invited to the meeting in Seattle representing Military Families Speak Out, and cannot make that time and date. As you may know, I'm fairly busy, along with thousands of others, in support actions for Lt. Ehren Watada right now.  But I sent an advance statement (below the fold) for consideration at the meeting.  

Meanwhile, over in the other Washington - DC, while our Senators and Representatives are in DC on Tues/Wed/Thurs --

Stacy Bannerman, from Kent, WA, is in Washington DC  for summer-long 'Operation House Call'. Stacy at right, wearing cap

Military Families Speak Out  has mobilized 'Operation House Call' a visual display summer- long campaign to highlight the damage caused by the Iraq War. See press conference on C-Span . While we make 'house calls' on our Senators at home in WA state, Stacy Bannerman , of our MFSO - Washington state chapter will be making 'House Calls' on our U.S. Senators and Representatives in DC. She plans to remain in DC through the summer, and I'm sure she'll be making a House Call on both Sen. Murray and Sen. Cantwell, along with the other Senators and Representatives hard at work in DC. Daily Blog from Operation House Call - read it here .

 (You're welcome to borrow the postcard image and send your own postcards daily to both Sen. Murray and Sen. Cantwell's offices ... make your own 'House Call'.)

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In a second Lt Watada press conference; supporter Col Ann Wright says illegal war and war crimes

{Update - Tomorrow = Natl Day of Action to Stand Up with Lt. Ehren Watada - Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Ft. Lewis, WA - 7am - Morning bannering on the Exit 119 (DuPont Rd.) bridge over Interstate 5.
Ft. Lewis, WA - 4pm - Bannering and support rally on the Exit 119 (DuPont) bridge over Interstate 5.
Tacoma, WA - 7am - Bannering: (1) McKinley Way overpass above I-5; and (2) Pedestrian Bridge over Route 16 near Narrows Bridge.
Tacoma, WA - 4pm - Bannering: (1) McKinley Way overpass above I-5; and (2) Pedestrian Bridge over Route 16 near Narrows Bridge.
Seattle, WA - 5pm - Vigil and sign holding: (1) Westlake Park, 4th and Pine Streets; and (2) Greenlake, East Green Lake Way N and N 64th St.

[Update - June 22, 2006. Lt. Watada refused Iraq deployment this morning; Under restriction and gag-order. More at website Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada ]

In a second press conference Lt Ehren Watada held in Seattle, June 19, 2006, (ret) Army Colonel and Diplomat, Ann Wright, speaks in support of Lt. Watada's decision to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq as his right to disobey illegal orders.  His parents, Robert Watada and Carolyn Ho, came from Hawaii to be with their son in Seattle and spoke at his press conference.  I had the opportunity to have a personal phone call exchange with his mother, Carolyn Ho, as she was on her way from Seatac airport to the University Lutheran Church in Seattle, for the 6:15 PM press conference.

  Mother to mother, military family to military family we talked, me with two returning Iraq veterans in our family who will be redeployed; she with a son who is an Officer in U.S. Army making the monumental decision as an Officer to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.  I valued our exchange and she said she valued what I had to share with her. She seemed very moved when I said to her that her son, as an Officer, was doing what I would expect an Officer to do and if he were an Officer for the two Sgts in our family, I would want him to deliberate on the orders being given for our two to carry out.

  While I wasn't able to make the 3 hour trip up to Seattle on Monday evening, I was able to listen to the video of the press conference that KING 5 has posted to their online website (you have to listen first to a 20 second commercial then the video coverage begins).  It helped me feel very much  like I was there.  Gratitude to KING 5 for posting the entirety of the press conference making it available for all to hear firsthand. There is strength in the words of Col Ann Wright, and rather than report on her words, I have transcribed her speech and am placing it here.

NOTE: June 27 will be a national day of action in support of Lt. Watada and his refusal to deploy.  Supporters have planned events across the country, including events at Ft Lewis, WA; Charlotte, NC; Cleveland, OH; Harrisburg, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Oklahoma City, OK.

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Toolkit by Kirkdorffer: Demonstrating who Reichert Really Represents

Daniel Kirkdorffer of On the Road to 2008 has been putting his tech knowledge to work to help elect Darcy Burner.  One of the main things we need to accomplish is to demonstrate that Reichert is not a moderate and that he represents Bush & Co, not the voters of the 8th Congressional District.

His post on Kos today is a must read: Bush, Rove and Reichert will crush you! Burner will fight for you!  This is like a toolkit for activists.  It distills and clarifies just how it is that Reichert fails to represent his constituency. Consider recommending to keep up the readership on KOS on this critical race.

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Military Families support Lt Watada at Tacoma press conference

[Update] The Nation has comprehensive and substanative article, June 12, 2006, addressing Lt Watada's decision, position and legalities; Lieutenant Watada's War Against the War [end update]

Reporting on press conference of Lt Ehren Watada, Tacoma, WA, June 7, 2006.  Yes, that is me in the photo, to the right of Lt Watada when he was first introduced at the 6 PM media conference.  I'm in the white Military Families Speak Out - (WA state chapter) t-shirt.  Supporters give him welcome applause.

I was there at the noon press conference, Lt Watada was prohibited by his Fort Lewis chain of command from attending the scheduled noon press conference. In his absence his statement was given  in the prepared video taped DVD.  Announcement made that Lt Watada would be available at 6 PM to answer questions if media/press wanted to return at that time.  Media/press did return, and I was there for both the noon and the 6PM press conferences.  

My report and perceptions with links to actual video of Lt Watada answering questions from the media which you can hear for yourself and form your own perceptual opinions.  He is very poised and even in expressing his thoughts and I was very impressed with this young 28 yr old Officer.  

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Creeping obsolescence of the mainstream Republican

By "mainstream", of course, I mean mainstream among their radical far-right constituency.  We know what mainstream means to the right in 2006 America - war = good, taxes = bad, deficit = good, privacy = bad, security = from Mexicans, leadership = WHA NOW?, integrity = liberal bias, science education = liberal bias, etc. etc. etc.

This is an opinion piece.  Don't knock yourself out looking for links to cited sources and stuff; I'm not into that today.  Today is just switzer's gut take on the increasing irrelevance of the political retardation foisted on America, and our fine state, by today's evangelical-driven Republican party.  

America, while a by-and-large religious country, has never really been "Christian".  I'll spare you the tired "deist" info; we all know it and the crazee Churchees ain't listening.  But when you look at breakdowns, roughly 90% of the country have some religious affiliation - be it Wicca, Baptist, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, or just "spiritual", or any of the other 70-odd classifications that usually get polled.  Only 10% really have no religious affiliation at all.  That 90% is interesting, but it's so important to understand that about half that number doesn't worship (or believe in) "God", at least not the one our Christian friends do.  Good people of faith have long understood this, and the Republican right has gotten away with ignoring it, but now people are starting to say, "Hey, that's not what I believe - quit lumping me in with your craziness!"

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Pictures from KC convention

With minimal commentary, I'll post a link to these pictures that I took at the convention yesterday.
Pictures from King County convention

There was some contentiousness during the last hour and a half, during the debates over platform planks and rules. One man walked out mad, others were reprimanded for "speechifying". Other objectors were asked to suggest alternate language to the platform committee. We ran out of time before the resolutions.

But first, the speeches:
Darcy Burner's speech was eloquent in that simple and sincere style most people can relate to. The former Microsofty said becoming a mother 3 years ago spurred her desire to turn our country to a better direction. She appeared modest yet confident, and unfazed by the probability that she would be the target of smear attacks by Republicans during this campaign season: "I have no skeletons in my closet, so they'll have to invent some." I think she's noticeably more confident than at the Crab Feast in February. My husband was "blown away" by Darcy. I'm still trying to persuade him to canvass for her, like I plan to do next weekend.

More below:

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The section says Pacific County and the topic says..."Building the base."

It's important to me to be understood as someone who writes a personal blog based out of Pacific County with the un-urban title of Willapa View.

The viewpoint from Willapa Bay is about as rural as you can get - the only difference between the rurality of the SW Washington Coast and that of Eastern Washington  is the presence of salty water out here.

Rural Washington is a place where scramble and struggle come with the territory,

where $3.25 a gallon is a disaster if one needs to drive more than ten miles for groceries or get to work;

and where the loss of a loved one to a war  someplace on the other side of the left coast and Jesus' evangelical heartland is a heavy burden to handle in the loneliness of a military funeral, 21-gun salutes and condolences offered by people who bought the lies and supported the deceivers.

Lietta and I moved out of Bellevue the first chance we got with an employment transfer to rural America and we've never looked back and we ain't going back neither.

So no, our thoughts aren't generated out of King County no matter how much fun we have when we visit and how many wonderful people we encounter and with whom we find mutual support

But we ain't urban sophisticates

and we ain't stupid just because we ain't urbane.

Washblog founder, Brian Moran, invited me to join because he wanted voices from all over the state. Well, Brian gets what he wanted from me.

Lietta's and my running joke about driving 3 hours one way to speak, sit-in or just plain rally is truly an act of long distance patriotism. It's trying to change the spark plugs from the area of the tail pipe.

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