January 31, 2014

“Lawmakers question safety of crude-oil trains”


A train leaves Spokane, Wash., a funnel for rail traffic to the Pacific Coast Energy firms want to move more raw materials through the region.
Photo credit: Rajah Bose for The New York Times.

Editor’s Note:
With one of the proposed train routes though the town of Rainier, this looks to become a contentious issue for Thurston County.

From Brad Shannon in The Olympian:
“As U.S. oil production soars and additional Canadian oil resources are becoming available stateside, crude oil is being shipped by rail through communities with greater frequency. Washington is no exception.

Oil-laden trains carrying crude from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota pass through the South Sound every day or two, headed to refineries in Tacoma and Anacortes. Export terminals on the drawing board for Vancouver and Grays Harbor are likely to send even more trains across the state. Some may come through the South Sound.

How many, how often and along which routes those are questions without clear answers. So far, the oil and rail industries are not saying much, which has stirred enough worry that Washington state lawmakers and local community leaders are starting to look into it.”

“But lawmakers do not appear to be reassured about rail shipments. Nor do advocates for environmental safety, who cited a recent report by McClatchy Newspapers on a huge increase in rail spills of oil last year.

The McClatchy report analyzed nearly four decades of federal data on oil spills and found that more crude oil spilled last year in rail accidents than over the rest of the period since 1975.”

“With that uncertainty in mind, Democratic Rep. Jessyn Farrell of Seattle has proposed House Bill 2347. Farrell said she is seeking more sunlight on the operations of oil companies and railroads that are shipping crude oil by rail. She said she also wants to give the Department of Ecology and communities more tools so they can anticipate and respond quickly to spills.”
Read more

– Today’s Editorial in The Olympian:
“Legislature should extend oil-shipping fee to rail”
Read more

– UPDATE: February 13, 2014
“Regulators ask PSE for more data on coal”
By Brad Shannon in The Olympian.
Read more

– UPDATE: March 29, 2014
“US government: Industry hampering oil train safety”
By the AP on KING 5-TV News in Seattle.
Read more


January 30, 2014

President Obama on marijuana – outrages Prohibitionists

On November 6, 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational use [Washington Initiative 502], similar to alcohol.

“Prohibitionists were outraged by President Obamas recent observation that marijuana is safer than alcoholnot because it is not true but because it contradicts the central myth underlying public support for the war on drugs. According to that myth, certain psychoactive substances are so dangerous that they cannot be tolerated, and the government has scientifically identified them. In reality, the distinctions drawn by our drug laws are arbitrary, and marijuana is the clearest illustration of that fact.

‘As has been well documented, Obama told The New Yorkers David Remnick in an interview published on Sunday, ‘I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I dont think it is more dangerous than alcohol.’ When Remnick pressed him to say whether marijuana is in fact less dangerous than alcohol, the president said yes, ‘in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.’

Judging from survey data, that is not a very controversial position. According to a recent CNN poll, 87 percent of Americans think marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, and 73 percent say it is less dangerous. Yet Obamas statement does seem inconsistent with his administrations stubborn defense of marijuanas placement on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a category supposedly reserved for drugs with a high abuse potential that have no recognized medical value and cannot be used safely, even under a doctors supervision,” quoting The Liberty Crier.
Read more


January 29, 2014

Is a drone destined for Puget Sound ?

Will a blimp or drone be coming to Puget Sound and to Yelm?


“A Raytheon Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted
Sensor System aerostat is pictured on the White Sands Missile Range,
New Mexico.” (FILE 2012)

– “Military Surveillance Blimps to Hover Over East Coast”
“Revelation prompts outcry as well as hopes ‘to relate and connect people in Baltimore to folks in Kandahar'”

“The U.S. Army will fly giant surveillance blimps with the capacity to track a broad swath of the U.S. east coast starting this October, the Washington Post revealed Friday [January 24, 2014].

News that this tracking and surveillance technologyused by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistanwill be deployed domestically is now sparking public outcry,” quoting Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams.org
Read more

– “Obama’s NSA Speech Makes Orwellian Surveillance Patriotic”
“When considering the revolutionary history of the United States, most would think of fighting for freedom, the enshrinement of basic human and civil rights in a constitutional government of the people, by the people and for the people.

But in his speech on reforms to the NSA and the United States’ intelligence gathering systems last week, President Obama had a creative new addition to the legacy of the American Revolution: surveillance.”

“The reforms proposed by the President’s speech amount to nothing short of a bouquet of roses for American intelligence agencies. The changes detailed in the speech do almost nothing to actually rein in the growing national surveillance state. Billions of phone calls by Americans would still be collected and retained every single day – too much information for even the NSA to wade through properly. We’re creating a massive database that could be used at basically any time to determine peoples’ associates and behaviors,” quoting Michael Ratner, Truthout .
Read more


January 28, 2014

Air Force Master Sgt. Phil Ryan donates time to Yelm


“Air Force Master Sgt. Phil Ryan takes notes in his office at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Jan. 17, 2014. Ryan is the
62nd Airlift Wing inspector general complaint resolution superintendent
and a reserve police officer in Yelm, Wash.”
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force by Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

“Air Force Master Sgt. Phil Ryan received the call early in his shift.”

“Ryan, the superintendent of complaint resolution for the 62nd Airlift Wing’s inspector general’s office at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., responded to the call and located the vehicle in the crowded parking lot.”

“If this sounds a bit beyond the scope of the Air Force IG’s mission, there’s a good reason for that. Ryan was not responding to the call as a member of the Air Force; he was responding under his role as a sworn peace officer, working for the Yelm Police Department here.

While not conducting investigations for the IG, the master sergeant spends dozens of hours of his free time each month as Officer Ryan, patrolling the streets of Yelm as a reserve police officer. He has about 800 hours of experience patrolling the streets after spending about 400 hours training at the police academy — all without pay.

Ryan said his Air Force career has both helped and been helped by his experiences in law enforcement.

‘I find the two jobs complement each other well,’ he said. ‘Like law enforcement, working in complaint resolution involves investigative work,'” quoting Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin, 62nd Airlift Wing, US Dept. of Defense American Forces Press Service.
Read more


January 27, 2014

‘Seahawk One’ arrives in New Jersey !


“A plane displaying the 12th man flag and carrying the Seattle Seahawks team
arrives at the Newark International Airport to finish off their preparations for the
48th Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos, in New Jersey, January 26, 2014.”
Photo credit: Eduardo Munoz, Reuters

Delta Airlines flight 8872, a 767-300 series aircraft manufactured right here in Puget Sound left the remote parking ramp at Sea-Tac an hour late Sunday at 11:29am (scheduled at 10:30am) and arrived at Delta’s gate B-46 in Newark at 7:27pm, 47 minutes late.
Read more by Todd Dybas in The Olympian.


January 27, 2014

“Court Grants Bloggers Same Protections As Mainstream Media”

“Bloggers who are accused of libel are entitled to the same rights as members of the mainstream media, an appeals court has ruled.

The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others writings, or tried to get both sides of a story, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling issued late last week.

The decision, viewed as a sweeping victory for bloggers, reversed a $2.5 million libel verdict against Crystal Cox. A three-judge appellate panel returned the case to the U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore. for a new trial,” quoting Wendy Davis for MediaPostNews.
Read more


January 26, 2014

“Are Americans living in an Orwellian time?”

Mitchel Townsend of Winlock wrote this excellent letter published in The Olympian:
“Every other day we hear new revelations about our government collecting and sorting through almost every aspect of our lives. The NSA Intelligence Director James Clapper has himself has been caught in several untruths in sworn testimony before Congress.

The collection of our personal and professional data has reached a point where we have literally been robbed of any privacy. When you add in the requirements of Obamacare, the theft is absolute. The Constitution of the United States of America clearly delineates the protections that we have been afforded regarding privacy, liberty and protection from unwarranted and illegal search and seizure.

I have a question: Is this what our Founding Fathers envisioned for our future? We are at an Orwellian crossroad in this nation. We either accept the loss of our liberty and freedom for a false sense of security or we roll back the unconstitutional actions of our government and bring them back under the oversight and management of their employers, we the people.
Read more

Editor’s note:
If you are unaware as to what Mr. Townsend refers when using the word Orwellian, read George Orwell’s book 1984.


January 25, 2014

“WA State Bill Proposes Criminalizing Help To NSA”


NSA listening post in Yakima, Washington. (Image: via Google Maps)

– “Washington State Bill Proposes Criminalizing Help To NSA, Turning Off Resources To Yakima Facility”
“The campaign to turn off power to the NSA has gotten a big boost. Washington has become the first state with a physical NSA location to consider a Fourth Amendment protection act designed to make life extremely difficult for the massive spy agency [January 15, 2014],” quoting Michael Boldin in Truthout, who is the executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, based in Los Angeles. Working with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the center is leading the OffNow coalition to push back against NSA spying on a state-level.
Read more

– “Help shut off NSA’s electricity”
“A bill with bipartisan support in the Washington State legislature would block all state support for NSA activities that violate the Fourth Amendment. This could include cutting off electricity and water to the NSA’s surveillance center at Yakima from which the NSA spies on our phones and emails without any warrant or probable cause,” quoting Roots Action Network.
Read more


– “Some States Have a Sneaky Plan to Stop the NSA”

“What are outraged American citizens to do after the federal government has pretty much decided to do nothing to fix the unconstitutional NSA spy program? Get the states involved! A handful of states across the country have already begun devising plans to thwart the dubious agency with state laws, including stopping the NSA facilities water and electricity access.

So far, six states (Missouri, California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Washington, and Indiana) have introduced bills that target the NSA. Though they all differ somewhat, each states bill would impede NSA operations within their boundaries.

In Washington, for example, the bill would attack the NSA on multiple fronts:

+ State and local officials would be barred from providing information or support to the NSA.
+ The NSA would be forbidden from researching and recruiting at state universities.
+ Evidence collected by the NSA would be inadmissible in state courts.
+ Businesses that have contracts with the state would not be allowed to conduct business with the NSA in any capacity; companies that disobeyed would lose their contracts and face criminal charges.
+ Access to water and electricity provided by the state would be cut off altogether,” ,” quoting Kevin Mathews, Care2.
Read more


January 24, 2014

Cliff Keeslar Memorial Service Saturday –
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Photo credit: The Keeslar Family

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
A memorial service for Cliff Keeslar will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, 1-2pm at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, Yelm, WA.
Gates will open at noon on 93rd Ave. S.E.
Click here for directions to the gate entrance.
Dr. Miceal Ledwith, L.Ph., L.D., D.D., LL.D (h.c) will officiate.

Cliff Keeslar, also affectionately known as CR, CRK, Double D, Clip, Lunch Box and Jack passed away Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 in Yelm. He was born June 2, 1937 in Elkhart, Ind. Cliff was an only child who went on to have nine children with his wife of 53 years, Sylvia. The entire family are residents of South Puget Sound.

Cliff was recently in the local news for assisting in the installation of a new stained glass window at the Triad Art Theater in Yelm his eldest son Paul designed.

Expressions of sympathy may be contributed to:
– The Sylvia Keeslar Family Fund at Twinstar Credit Union

Click here for the Obituary.

Editor’s Note:
A TRUE Patriarch and inspiring partner with his beloved wife Sylvia, the progenitors of 9 of the most wonderful children I have ever met in one family, plus their progeny, who are articulate, involved, uplifted and inspiring!
The Keeslar Family is one of the respected names in the Yelm/Rainier areas. They ALL deserve our honor and gratitude, as well, IMHO.


January 24, 2014

County Commissioner Romero’s Coffee Monday, Jan. 27
in Yelm OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!


Sandra Romero

FROM COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROMERO’S e-mailer:
Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, as she hosts her monthly informal coffee hours in Rainier and Yelm on Monday, January 27th:

Stormwater, Streams, and Stewardship
From the time a rain drop hits the pavement, to the time it enters a lake, stream, or the Puget Sound, it takes a journey that impacts our environment. On Monday, January 27, join Commissioner Romero and her guest, Thurston County Water Resources Program Manager Jim Bachmeier, for coffee, and learn about what the County is doing to monitor these impacts and how you can help protect one of our most precious resources; H2O.

Jim Bachmeier has been with Thurston County for 32 years, the last 12 of which he has served as the Water Resources Program Manager. Bachmeier has worked primarily on Storm and Surface Water Utilities and Lake Management Districts including coordinating the completion of more than 30 stormwater upgrade projects, expanding the rainfall, groundwater and streamflow monitoring program, and working with the Lake Management Districts at the Long Lake and Lake Lawrence communities for nearly two decades. Prior to his position at Water Resources, Bachmeier spent eight years as the Countys Utility Development Manager where he worked primarily on water and sewer system planning and development.

The Water Resources Program performs a wide array of activities to protect the health of streams, lakes and Puget Sound, with a focus on reducing pollution and erosion caused by stormwater runoff. Stormwater pollution from urban runoff can be a serious health risk and significant environmental threat to the quality of our rivers, lakes and streams. Every time it rains, pollutants such as sediment, oil, antifreeze, fertilizer, pesticides and animal waste are washed into storm drains and ditches, which then typically drains directly to a local water body, or into the ground — our source of drinking water.

There is a lot happening in Thurston County and we want to hear from you!
Once a month, Commissioner Romero meets with community members for informal coffee chats. These meetings give you the opportunity to talk about issues of concern, ask her questions about the county, and share ideas. Commissioner Romero provides participants’ coffee. She is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

What:
Citizen meeting with 2nd district County Commissioner Sandra Romero

When:
Monday, January 27, 2013

Where:

– Rainier: 9:30am 10:30am at Rainier City Hall, 102 Rochester St W

– Yelm: 11:00am Noon at regular location
Tacos Gaby, 307 Yelm Ave E
Read more

Read Commissioner Romero’s Fall 2013 Newsletter:
“Fall is here, and with it comes reflection on the accomplishments of the past year and visioning for what lies ahead in 2014.”
Click here


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