Recent local blog posts

Seattle Central Library and Adult Story hour!

seattle library bldgYou’ve probably heard about, or even been inside, the amazing Seattle Central Library located on 4th Avenue at Spring Street.  But did you know they have a free adult story hour on the first and third Mondays of the month at noon?

A full contingency of Rebels took advantage of this free and fun event.  Taking the bus to Seattle we exited on 4th at Seneca, one block north of the Library.  Some of us bought a lunch along the way, while others of us had packed a lunch to eat during the story hour.

The librarian which read a Ray Bradbury sci-fi thriller was excellent.  He had all of us glued to the edge of our seats.  What a fun way to spend an hour!  seattle library.kids section

After the story, we were met by long-time library docent, Hollis Williams.  His knowledge and passion about this amazing building and library system was evident in our private tour.  He told us about the architectural as well as functional design of the library.  We visited many sections, including the Seattle collection, the cheerful children’s section, 10th floor viewing area, reading rooms, meetings room floor (which is painted BRIGHT red), and the delightful gift shop.

After our tour, we headed north on 4th Avenue enjoying the sights and sounds of bustling downtown.  We caught our bus for our return trip on 2nd Avenue, between Pine and Stewart Avenues.

Another grand adventure!

Categories: Local Environment

Tacoma’s Wright Park

karpeles museum tacomaThis easy two-bus trip took us to the Stadium district in Tacoma.  Our first stop was to the Karpeles Manuscript Musuem.  In the 1960’s Mr. Karpeles (a real estate developer from San Diego) started purchasing historic manuscripts and artifacts in order to preserve history for future generations.  There are several of his free museums throughout the country, including Tacoma!

The Museum sits on the edge of Wright Park, across the street from the Conservatory.  The current exhibit was about John Quincy Adams, the country’s sixth President.  Did you know that both he and his father (John; the 2nd President) did NOT attend their successor’s innaguration?  That has never happened before or after…

wright park conservatoryAfter viewing the documents, we walked across the street to the lovely Conservatory.  This Victorian era greenhouse is operated by Tacoma Metro Parks.  The tropical humid smell welcomed us as we entered.  The seasonal display featured amazing chrysanthemums, in many styles and colors.

From there the group went in different directions to find lunch.  A few of us ate at the Art House Cafe, for a creative and very good meal.  From there, we headed to Kings Books, a huge used bookstore on St. Helens Avenue.

During this trek we broke a new Rebels by Bus record:  a pouring rain and wind storm soaked us to the skin!  Yuck.

We had all agreed to check in with each other at the bus stop at 1:00 pm.  We were so soggy that we decided it was time to head home…. and thankful that we weren’t doing the driving through the huge puddles and freeway spray.

A cup of tea sure sounded good…

Categories: Local Environment

Seattle holiday lights and Figgy Pudding Caroling contest

figgy pudding buttonOh what fun it is to ride… on a BUS!  A wonderful group of Rebels traveled to Seattle for the 28th annual Figgy Pudding Caroling contest.  This annual event is a true crowd pleaser and successful fundraiser for the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank.  We arrived in Seattle just after noon, so we were ready for lunch at the Westlake Mall Food Court.  From there, a few of us remained in town, while the rest of the group took the monorail to the Seattle Center Winterfest.  The Armory had a wonderful HUGE model train display, set in the early 1900s.  Beautifully done!  The Fischer Plaza ice skating rink was enjoyed by many. Other activities of the afternoon included visiting the Sheraton Hotel’s Gingerbread Village (Amazing and intricate designs); strolling through Nordstrom, Pacific Place, and Macys to see the holiday lights and displays; and simply gathering the spirit of the holidays.  Macy’s Santa was definitely the BEST Santa.  His beard was real, and his suit was made of boiled wool.  Classy guy! Next, it was time to wait for the Figgy Pudding kick-off.  A few of the the group “reserved” seats for us right on the corner in front of the Starbucks; it was a perfect place to watch the goings on.  macys star As Rebel Vicki says: “The weatherman graced us with a perfect rain free evening.  I must admit that I never really imagined I would EVER be located after dark, right across the street from the (Macys) Christmas star!  Wonderful memories added to the album in my mind!”

 

Categories: Local Environment

Comcast Donates $10,000 to the YWCA of Olympia’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Program

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 7:15am

ThurstonTalk

 

By Margo Greenman

comcast“When you support and empower one woman, you’re really supporting a whole network of people.” This was the message shared by Comcast’s Community Investment Manager, Diem Ly, earlier this week during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the YWCA of Olympia’s new Comcast Learning Lab.

ywca olympia

Walter Neary and Hilary Soens cut the ribbon for Comcast’s $10,000 Learning Lab donation to the YWCA of Olympia’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Program.

The Comcast Learning Lab is part of a $10,000 donation from the Comcast Foundation designed to help take the YWCA of Olympia’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) to the next level.

The Women’s Economic Empowerment Program provides low-income and unemployed women with the tools, hands-on training, and confidence they need to build real-life job skills necessary for entering the workforce and achieving financial stability. However, with the generous support of Comcast, the YWCA of Olympia is able to further enhance the program by providing program participants with access to computers and programs like Quickbooks, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, as well as other computer applications commonly used in the workplace.

“The Comcast Learning Lab is such a great opportunity for us to infuse technology in the entire program,” said YWCA of Olympia Executive Director, Hilary Soens. “Technology skills are critical no matter what type of job you go into. Without the Learning Lab we wouldn’t be able to provide the kind of quality learning experience we want these women to have.”

Representatives from Comcast and the YWCA of Olympia, along with Olympia City Councilwoman, Jeannine Roe, and members and the community all gathered inside of the YWCA’s Other Bank on Tuesday, Dec. 9, for the unveiling of the new technology center. “It’s with the vision of the Comcast Foundation and the YWCA that really enabled us to bring our full vision of what this program is to fruition,” remarked Soens during Tuesday’s unveiling.

ywca olympia

Women at the YWCA of Olympia can now learn and access computer programs that are common in the workplace thanks to a generous grant from Comcast.

After the ribbon cutting, guests were given the opportunity to tour the “classroom,” which is integrated throughout the YWCA’s Other Bank distribution center and retail area. The Other Bank, which provides low-income, unemployed, disabled, and homeless women and their families with access to vital health and wellness products that cannot be purchased with food stamps or obtained at food banks, gives program participants hands-on experience working inside an operational distribution center.

And, while the YWCA of Olympia’s EEP emphasizes careers in distribution and chain supply, EEP Program Director, Tanikka Watford, says the skills women learn through this program are transferable to many other careers as well.

Tatomya Wimbish is a former EEP participant turned YWCA of Olympia office coordinator and she says she’s excited about the benefits the Comcast Learning Lab brings to the program. “It’s one thing to offer job training, but it’s another thing to offer the skills and hands-on experience to actually apply [that training] toward a career,” said Wimbish. Wimbish, who enrolled in the program earlier this year, enrolled as a means to gain current work experience to add to her resumé after a stint in school left a hole in her employment history. After successfully going through the program and even landing a job with the YWCA of Olympia, Wimbish is certain that the Comcast Learning Lab will only add to the valuable hands-on learning that the EEP provides to women in the community.

ywca olympia

The YWCA of Olympia’s Economic Empowerment Program provides hands-on training and real-life job skills.

Like Soens, Watford, and Wimbish, Comcast believes that the Learning Lab will help Olympia-area women overcome poverty and achieve financial stability by providing relevant and accessible job training experience.

“In today’s world, it’s a huge barrier to not be digitally competent,” said Ly. “To be economically empowered includes understanding how to find, apply, and secure employment; and seek out and navigate needed resources and programs. Empowerment starts with awareness and education. Our partnership with the YWCA is a catalyst for that.”

Both Comcast and the YWCA of Olympia are excited to see the positive impact this program has, not just for the women who participate, but for the community as a whole. “We hope better computer skills means a single mom can find work and provide for her children,” explained Ly. “We hope career training for a woman transitioning from a challenging situation empowers the rest of her life.”

You can learn more about EEP and other services and resources available through the YWCA of Olympia by visiting their website. To find out more about the Comcast Foundation and it’s commitment to supporting communities through digital literacy, click here.

Boy, they really scraped the heck out of old Tono

Olympia Time - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:51am
I've written a few times about Tono, here at this blog and over at Thurston Talk.

The thing that surprises me every time I run into details about that old town is how total the destruction was. The town doesn't just not exist anymore, it was decimated. The very soil that it was on was moved away.

For the uninitiated, Tono was a small coal town just south of Bucoda and Tenino. From my Thurston Talk piece:
In 1932, as the Union Pacific was shifting from coal to diesel engines, the rail line sold the mines and the town to the Bucoda Mining Company. By the 1950s, most of the old town had disappeared and the mines closed down. Some of the old buildings were moved into neighboring towns. Only one couple, residing in the old superintendent’s house, stayed on the site through the 1970s. In 1969 coal mining in the fields around to the Tono site was revived when the Pacific Power and Light company bought the land and built a new steam plant to produce power. It was during this era that the Tono site saw its largest change. The ground on which the town had sat was scraped up, in order to get to the coal beneath it. The coal mining terraforming was so severe that the town site is currently dominated by two massive ponds.I've done overlays of old Tono before, using aerial photos from the USGS, but recently I ran into some coal maps that are published online by state DNR. These are just fascinating. Two hand drawn maps from the middle part of the century add a new level of detail to the Tono site that I wasn't able to see with the USGS aerials.

Take a look at this one in particular overlayed in Google Earth:


You can see that originally Tono was located in a small valley. But, in the 1960s, that valley was deepened and widened to locate the last coal deposits below the old townsite. And, if I'm correct in reading the map, the original coal field serviced by Tono was located south and east of town.
Lastly, the single structure I've seen out there (not up close) certainly is in the wrong spot to be part of the old townsite. If it is of the same vintage, it is likely connected to the mine operation itself.

Thrifty Thurston Climbs Mount Ellinor in the Winter

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:46am

ThurstonTalk

 

By Douglas Scott

oly ortho logoHigh above Lake Cushman in Mason County, overlooking the majority of Western Washington, Mount Ellinor is one of Olympic National Forest’s most popular trails. Seeing upwards of 15,000 people each year, Mount Ellinor can be quite busy in the summer months. As one of the more popular trails in Olympic National Forest, park officials put together a video about the hike for those interested.

In the winter months, the number of hikers on the trail is next to zero, even in years where there is little snow. Standing at 5,944 feet above sea level, Mount Ellinor offers some of the best views in the entire state. Looking from Ellinor’s summit, those willing to make the effort are greeted with vistas of every large mountain in the state, as well as views of the city of Seattle, the interior of Olympic National Park and out toward the Pacific Ocean.

mount ellinor

A slightly snowy Olympic shows the vistas from Mount Ellinor. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

Once the first snows start falling on the majestic peak, the trail becomes vacant, but that doesn’t mean your Mount Ellinor adventure has to end. For those looking for a more extreme hiking experience this winter, hitting the snowy slopes of Mount Ellinor will not only push your skills as a hiker, it also serves as an awesome workout with jaw-dropping views. After a steep climb up a small chute, those who will work for the summit are rewarded with a snowy panorama and an adrenaline giving glissade down the snowy chute you earlier climbed up. Climbing Ellinor isn’t for your average hiker, but rather for those looking for something unique and challenging on a snowy mountain.

Depending on the snow pack, in most winter months, the road to the upper trailhead to Mount Ellinor isn’t accessible.  This makes the usual 3.2 mile round trip hike, nearly double, clocking in at 6.2 miles in length. In order to hike and climb to the summit of Mount Ellinor in the winter, there are a few tips you need to know.

Check the Weather and Road Conditions

Before heading out on any hike, one should always check the road and weather conditions for the area they are planning to hike. Weather in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the winter, can take a turn at any minute. Plan a hike based on good weather and clear roads and stay far away from the region during heavy snow and rain events. Mount Ellinor weather forecasts can be seen here.

Have Proper Gear

mount ellinor

The chute to the summit of Mount Ellinor should only be attempted with safety precautions in place. Photo credit: Mount Ellinor

To reach the summit of Mount Ellinor in the winter, hikers need to always be prepared with the right gear. Once winter begins, hikers need to carry crampons/microspikes and an ice axe. After enough snow has built up, the trail will shift from the summer route to the winter route, which requires an ice axe and a crampons. Dress warmly with layers, including a hat, gaitors for your legs and waterproof boots for your feet. Finally, make sure you know how to use your ice axe properly before you head up Ellinor in the snow.  This is not a good first-time glissade.

Be Smart and Safe

Winter hiking is more dangerous than summer hiking, and knowing your limits can save your life. Climbing Mount Ellinor in the winter is a great experience, and can be done by hikers of any age, if done safely. Bring your essentials, know your limits and accept that you may have to turn around. There is never a bad reason to turn around, especially if it is for safety reasons. Hiking in the winter is a different world, and Olympic National Forest officials remind everyone to be extremely safe. More safety tips can be found at this link: http://bit.ly/1ncQHEM

Watch for Goats

Mount Ellinor is known for two things – impressive views and aggressive goats. In 2012, Mount Ellinor was forced to close due to reports of aggressive mountains goats. Mountain goats are an invasive species to the Olympic Mountains, and while gorgeous to see while hiking, have been known to charge, chase and even attack hikers. It is recommended by the National Forest Service to stay 50 yards away from mountain goats at all times. Staying far away from the goats on the trail will ensure not their health, but yours as well. More mountain goat safety rules can be found here.

Know the Route

mount ellinor

Magnificent views are your reward for climbing Mount Ellinor. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

Hiking Mount Ellinor in the snow is drastically different than in the summer. Typically, there is a well-groomed trail through the snow, kicked in from the handful of hikers that reach the summit each week, and for those with basic route finding skills, the winter route can be easily found. The most challenging aspect of this hike is the climb up the chute during the winter. Steeply kicking in steps, climbing up the chute can be exhausting, especially in the soft midday snow. Hitting the trail early is a key to success, as is following the correct mark. Olympic National Forest’s offices can help for those looking for a detailed route description.

Enjoy the View and Glissade

For those serious about looking for an incredibly great winter hiking experience, reaching the summit of Mount Ellinor means two things. First, you get a fantastic view of the Olympic Mountains, wrapped in blankets of powdery snow. Standing on top of the summit, with the Pacific Northwest at your frosty feet, the view from here is inspiring, rewarding and meditative. Second, once you reach the summit of Ellinor, if snowy enough, you get to glissade down the steepest sections of the trail, sliding down on your bum, controlling your speed with an ice axe and determination. For many, the glissade is reason alone to reach the summit of Mount Ellinor, descending an hour worth of hiking in a few dozen minutes.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for an article, send us a note at submit@thurstontalk.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

7 Tips to Prepare for High Wind Storm, Power Outage

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:40am

ThurstonTalk

 

Submitted by Mason County PUD

With wind gusts forecast to possibly exceed 55 MPH in the Puget Sound & Hood Canal region, Mason PUD 3 may be extremely busy working to restore electricity to customers tonight.

The highest wind gusts are expected to hit Mason County between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Here are some tips customers may find useful:

  • Charge up your mobile devices (tablets, laptop, smartphone or cellphone) now. If you have a car charger, you can get juice from your car.
  • Have an emergency outage kit. It should include a flashlight, battery operated radio, extra batteries, non-perishable foods, bottled water and blankets.
  • Turn on your porch light. Our crews will be able to easily see if electricity has been restored by making a quick patrol.
  • Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation.
  • Don’t use charcoal in your house or garage.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance.
  • Don’t forget the needs of your pets.

Ongoing updates during large power outages are available here:

Customers may monitor the status of outages using Facebook and Twitter, but the best way to report outages is by phone at 360-432-1533, 360-275-2833 (Belfair), or 360-861-4247 (Elma).

James Martin's Journey Encounter with Day Glo at Foster / White

South Sound Arts - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 3:42pm
James Martin, "Artists Delight," 18.5 x 21.25 inches, gouache on paper. Photo by
Watch for this one. Foster / White Gallery in Seattle will show small works on paper by James Martin Jan. 8-31. Martin creates a wild and whacky world all his own based on history, literature and his fertile imatination. Works in the show range from a strange version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with portraits of Rembrandt and van Gogh on the wall to a version of Washington crossing the Delaware without his soldiers in the boat but playing a guitar and with a mermaid on the bow of the boat (mermaids show up a lot in his paintings).

His painting style is much like Red Grooms and also like another popular Northwest painter, Gaylen Hansen. This should be a show worth traveling to Seattle for (or worth catching the bus if you live in Seattle).

There will be an opening reception Jan. 8 from 6-8 p.m.

F O S T E R / W H I T E G A L L E R Y
220 3rd Ave S #100, Seattle, WA 98104
www.fosterwhite.com 206.622.2833

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Starvation Alley Farms in Edible Seattle

The Plum Palate - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 10:18am
I visited Jessika and Jared at Starvation Alley Farms in the late, late summer. We sat at the kitchen counter in the house Jared’s parents purchased at a yard sale (really) on the Long Beach peninsula. The kitchen window looks out on five acres of cranberry bogs, land that was scenery until his parents purchased […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Mexico–a dissenting nation: the long night from Tlatelolco to Iguala

Works in Progress - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 9:04am

In October of 1968, ten days before the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, over ten thousand students gathered in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in the neighborhood of Tlatelolco, to protest the repressive government policies against labor, farmers, unions, and popular organizations as well as to oppose the irresponsible spending of very significant national resources to finance the Olympic Games—in detriment of needed social programs. The government of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz responded by shooting from helicopters and tanks killing over 300 students.

This massacre has remained in the collective memory of the Mexican and Latin American Student movement for decades. It has also permeated many Mexican cultural expressions in the arts, film, and literature, an example of which is Elena Poniatowska’s novel The Night of Tlatelolco. (She is the latest recipient of the Premio Cervantes, the equivalent of the Nobel prize for Hispanic literature). It was in the middle of organizing an event to commemorate in the city of Iguala their comrades fallen 46 years ago in Tlatelolco, that 43 young student teachers of the near by city of Ayotzinapa were kidnaped by police forces following orders of public functionaries, shot in cold blood, and then incinerated in a macabre pyre that burned for over 14 hours. According to The Guardian (November 9), the remains left “were collected in plastic bags and disposed in a nearby river.” The 82-year-old Poniatowska, revisited her indignation yesterday in Miami, where she is to inaugurate the American Book Fair, denouncing on American—Spanish television the slaughter of the students with these caustic words:

That 43 people be assassinated in such fashion, not just assassinated, they were burned in a garbage dump, like garbage, as if they were shit.

In response to the massacre, huge protest rallies with hundreds of thousands of participants have been organized throughout Mexico’s largest cities, towns, and small villages to protest this new crime. While his country shows legitimate indignation and demands justice, Enrique Peña Nieto, the current Mexican President, has decided not to interrupt the new Olympic Games of Mexican capitalism and continue his planned tour to China and Australia. Whereas the Chinese people have been kept silent by president Xi Jinpin’s suppressive state surveillance (Remember Tiananmen Square protest in 1989?); in Australia, numerous protests for the missing students have taken place during Peña Nieto’s visit demanding that he steps down as president.

The Berlin Wall American style, and Mexicans as “the other”

It is hardly an accident that a 680 miles long wall barriers, at a cost close to 50 billion dollars has been erected along the Mexican- American border in the States of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas allegedly to stop undocumented migrants and smugglers (ironically, at one point in history all those states used to be part of Mexico). The border-wall is an unequivocal architectural cultural testimony that shows how conservative, fundamentally white America characterizes “the other” at the south of the border though a discourse that assumes innate illegality by reasons of geography and skin color. Simultaneously, like all walls do, the border-wall also serves as a barrier to the exterior world that asserts and reinforces the isolation and parochialism of the U.S versus other countries. This double function of distortion and isolation, have been visible in the ways the American media has covered the events in Mexico focusing exclusively on describing the violence without an analysis of the forces behind and its beneficiaries on both sides of the border. It has also systematically ignored the massive dissenting struggle of the Mexican people against the status quo.

Complementing this dual function, the border-wall serves as an implicit ideological purifier demarcation, meant to create the illusion among Americans that the law and non-violence resides this side of the Rio Grande, ignoring the high military apparatus of men and equipment, integrated by official federal and state forces, and voluntary forces of right-wing vigilantes put in place along the border. The border-wall with its massive blocks of concrete and electronic surveillance in tall iron fences is the new iconic symbol of contemporary America, replacing The Statue of Liberty with 680 miles of barbwire.

It is not the purpose of this article to discuss the flaws of the border-wall forcing migrants to take perilous desert routes, or its pathetic un-effectiveness which according to ‘No Border-Wall .com‘, shows that 97 percent who tried to cross the U.S. –Mexico border eventually succeed at entering he country. Rather my purpose is to bring attention to how Mexico and its people has been criminalized in the American mind by the erection of tangible physical structures like the border-wall, the persistent racism in American culture, the economic exploitation of immigrants subjected to ‘inferior’ and underpaid jobs, as well as the one-sided media reports that portray Mexico as an out of control, violent land run by corrupt government officials in alliance with drug-cartels and the army. The reports on the massacre of the student teachers in Iguala last month exemplifies this approach in the sense that they have left out an important national historical trait of Mexican people: their ability to dissent and struggle against the hard conditions imposed by capitalism in its most current version. A form of capitalism directly conditioned by American interests in the region.

Mexico: a dissenting nation

If, as mentioned above, the Tlatelolco massacre lives on in the collective memory of students and people all over Latin America, so does the long revolutionary, dissenting tradition of contemporary Mexican history. From the first country in the Western world to organize an armed agrarian revolution in 1910 (of which Lenin and Mao where to learn more than one thing in 1917 and 1949 respectively); to the strong peasant and workers movements of the 30’s and 40’s; to the prominent intellectual role played by Mexican writers, poets, painters, muralists, etc. influencing south-American culture, to the New-Zapatista Army of National Liberation born in 1994 and still active nowadays in a anti-capitalist struggle in favor of Mexican indigenous peoples and the reforming of Mexican Political Constitution.

But most importantly, this article pays tribute to the Mexican people who through decades of social adversity— created by an alliance of mutual benefits between the traditional Mexican dominant capitalist classes, the drug cartels as new members of this class, (This distinction is important because the economy of drug-trafficking exist closely integrated in the Mexican economy), and the official and un-official armed forces in the country—still persist in its dissent and questions the violence generated by existent domination system, as proved by the dozens of public rallies and protest marches nation occupying the streets and plazas of their country.

I have chosen as a final example of the long ascendancy of dissent in Mexico, parts of a poem by Javier Raya that with eloquence and figuration combines in a popular form, his individual subjectivity with wider social sentiments. (Translated to English by me)

I Dissent

“I dissent your version of public health

as an illness to be cured by bullets.

I dissent your version of education

that allows the most brilliant

minds of my generation

condemned to telemarketing jobs

or living with their parents until their 30’s

and to fuck without making too much noise

 

The only luxury of young people has been hope

and even hope is sold to us on credit and overpriced,

they take advantage of us as they did with our parents

 

I dissent, when you tell me

that the 121 deaths until 2014,

and keep on counting

is just collateral damage

 

I dissent when you tell me

that the dead fit in a figure of cost analysis

or in the expenses of producing peace.

 

I dissent when you tell me

that the increasing violence

is in the name of happiness,

of unity, and national prosperity.

 

I know that everything will be fine

because I am not alone,

because we are many,

and we’ll make sure that everything will be fine.

 

Enrique Quintero, a political activist in Latin America during the 70’s, taught ESL and Second Language Acquisition in the Anchorage School District, and Spanish at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He currently lives and writes in Olympia.

 

México–una nación que diciente: la larga noche de Tlatelolco a Iguala

Works in Progress - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 9:00am

En octubre de 1968, diez días antes de los Juegos Olímpicos de Verano en la Ciudad de México, más de diez mil estudiantes se reunieron en la Plaza de las Tres Culturas en el barrio de Tlatelolco para protestar contra las políticas represivas del gobierno contra trabajadores, agricultores, sindicatos y organizaciones populares; y también para oponerse al gasto irresponsable de recursos nacionales para financiar los Juegos Olímpicos—en detrimento de los programas sociales necesarios. El gobierno de Gustavo Díaz Ordaz respondió disparando desde helicópteros y tanques matando a más de 300 estudiantes.

Esta masacre permanece viva en la memoria colectiva del movimiento estudiantil mexicano y latino-americano. En las ultimas décadas también ha permeado muchas expresiones culturales mexicanas en las artes, el cine y la literatura, un ejemplo de esto es la novela de Elena Poniatowska La noche de Tlatelolco. (Ella es el último ganador del Premio Cervantes, el equivalente al premio Nobel de la literatura hispano-americana.) Fue en medio de la organización de un evento para conmemorar en la ciudad de Iguala sus camaradas caídos hace 46 años en Tlatelolco, que 43 jóvenes estudiantes de pedagogía de la cercana ciudad de Ayotzinapa fueron secuestrados por fuerzas policíales siguiendo órdenes de los funcionarios públicos, asesinados a sangre fría, y luego incinerados en una pira macabra que ardió durante más de 14 horas. Según The Guardian (Domingo, 09 de noviembre 2014), los restos remanentes “fueron recogidos en bolsas de plástico y arrojados en un río cercano”. La octogenaria (82 años) Elena Poniatowska, volvió a revivir su indignación ayer en Miami, donde se encuentra para inaugurar la Feria del Libro en Estados Unidos, denunciando en la televisión hispano-parlante la masacre de los estudiantes con estas cáusticas palabras :

Que 43 personas sean asesinadas de esta manera, pero no sólo asesinadas, sino  que además fueran quemadas en un basurero, como basura, como si fueran          mierda.

En respuesta a la masacre, enormes manifestaciones de protesta con cientos de miles de participantes se han organizado a lo largo de las ciudades más grandes de México, pueblos y pequeñas aldeas para protestar este nuevo crimen. Mientras que su país muestra indignación legítima y exige justicia, Enrique Peña Nieto, el actual presidente mexicano, ha decidido no interrumpir los nuevos Juegos Olímpicos del capitalismo mexicano y continuar su planificada gira a China y Australia. Mientras que el pueblo chino se han mantenido en silencio bajo la vigilancia del estado y su presidente Xi Jinpin (Recuerdan protesta la plaza de Tiananmen en 1989?); en Australia, durante la visita de Peña Nieto han tenido lugar numerosas protestas por los estudiantes desaparecidos y exigiéndo la renuncia del presidente mexicano.

El Muro de Berlín a la American y los Mexicanos como “el otro”

No es casual que 680 millas de muro fronterizo, a un costo cercano a los 50 mil millones de dólares se han erigido a lo largo de la frontera mexicano-americana en los Estados de California, Arizona, Nuevo México y Texas; supuestamente para detener inmigrantes indocumentados y contrabandistas (irónicamente, en algún momento histórico todos esos estados solían ser parte de México). El muro fronterizo es un testimonio arquitectónico cultural y una muestra inequívoca de cómo fuerzas conservadoras, fundamentalmente blancas de los Estados Unidos caracterizan a “el otro” en el sur de la frontera, a través de un discurso que asume la ilegalidad innata por razones geográficas y por el color de la piel. Simultáneamente, como lo hacen todas las paredes, la pared fronteriza sirve también como una barrera hacia el mundo exterior que afirma y refuerza el aislamiento y la estrechez de miras de los EE.UU. frente a otros países. Esta doble función de distorsión y aislamiento, han sido visibles en las formas en que la prensa estadounidense ha cubierto los últimos acontecimientos en México, centrándose exclusivamente en la descripción de la violencia sin un análisis de las fuerzas detrás de la misma y de sus beneficiarios en ambos lados de la frontera. También ha ignorado sistemáticamente la lucha disidente masiva y persistente del pueblo mexicano contra el status quo.

Como complemento de esta doble función, el muro de la frontera sirve como instrumento implícito de demarcación y purificación ideológica, destinado a crear la ilusión entre los estadounidenses de que la ley y la no violencia reside a este lado del Río Grande, ignorando así la gran magnitud del aparato militar de hombres y equipo, integrado por fuerzas armadas oficiales federales y estatales, así como por voluntarios de extrema derecha y vigilantes a lo largo de la frontera. El muro de la frontera con sus enormes bloques de concreto y la vigilancia electrónica en sus altas vallas de hierro es el nuevo símbolo icónico de la América contemporánea. Se ha substituido La Estatua de la Libertad con 680 millas de alambre de púas.

No es el propósito de este artículo el hablar de otros efectos del muro en la frontera que obligan a los migrantes a tomar rutas desérticas peligrosas; o su patética falta de efectividad demostrada según ‘Sin Fronteras-Wall .com’, por el hecho que 97 por ciento de quienes intentan cruzar la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México, finalmente tienen éxito entrando al país. Más bien mi propósito es llamar la atención sobre la forma en que México y su gente han sido criminalizados y tipificados en la mentalidad americana a través de la erección de estructuras físicas tangibles como el muro fronterizo, el racismo persistente en la cultura americana, la explotación económica de los inmigrantes sometidos a puestos de trabajo mal pagados y considerados ‘inferiores’, así como los informes de los medios que nos presentan un retrato de un México fuera de control, una tierra violenta dirigida por funcionarios corruptos y por narco-traficantes. Los informes sobre la masacre de los estudiantes en Iguala el mes pasado es un ejemplo de este enfoque en el sentido de que ha dejado de lado un importante rasgo histórico nacional del pueblo mexicano: su capacidad de disentir y luchar contra las duras condiciones impuestas por el capitalismo. Un capitalismo que en su forma actual es directamente condicionado por los intereses estadounidenses en la región.

México: Una Nación Disidente

Si, como se mencionó anteriormente, la masacre de Tlatelolco vive en la memoria colectiva de los estudiantes y el pueblo latinoamericano; también viven en esta memoria la larga tradición revolucionaria y disidente de la historia mexicana contemporánea. In 1910, México fue el primer país en el mundo occidental en organizar una revolución agraria armada (de la cual Lenin y Mao, aprendieron más de una cosa en 1917 y 1949, respectivamente); los años 30’s y 40’s caracterizaron a México por altos niveles de organización y movilización obrera y campesina; en el pasado los intelectuales escritores mexicanos, poetas, pintores, muralistas, etc. jugaron un rol influyente en la cultura sur-americana y continúan haciéndolo en el presente; de igual modo Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, nacido en 1994 y sigue activo hoy en una lucha anticapitalista y en favor de los pueblos indígenas de México y por la reforma de la actual constitución política mexicana.

Pero aun más importante, este artículo rinde homenaje al pueblo mexicano que a través de décadas de adversidad social—creada por una alianza de beneficio mutuo entre las clases dominantes capitalistas tradicionales mexicanos y los carteles de la droga como nuevos miembros de esta clase, (Esta distinción es importante porque la economía del narcotráfico existe estrechamente integrada en la economía mexicana), y las fuerzas armadas oficiales y no-oficiales en el país—todavía persiste en su disidencia y cuestiona la violencia generada por el sistema de dominación existente como lo demuestran las decenas de mítines y marchas públicas de protesta ocupando las calles y plazas de Mexico.

He elegido como un ejemplo final de la larga ascendencia de disidencia en México, partes de un poema de Javier Raya que con la elocuencia y la figuración combina en una forma popular, su subjetividad individual con sentimientos sociales más amplios.

Disentimientos de la Nacion

Yo disiento tu versión de la salud

como una enfermedad que se cura a balazos.

Yo disiento de tu versión de la educación

que deja a las mentes más brillantes

de mi generación

condenadas a empleos de telemarketing

o viviendo con sus padres hasta los 30,

cogiendo sin hacer mucho ruido

 

El único lujo de los jóvenes ha sido la esperanza

e incluso la esperanza nos la venden a crédito y cara,

nos ven la cara como se la vieron a nuestros padres

 

Disiento, cuando me dices

que las 121 mil muertes hasta el año 2014

y contando

son bajas colaterales

 

Disiento cuando me dices

que los muertos caben en una cifra, en un costo,

en un gasto de producción de la paz.

 

Disiento cuando me dices

que la violencia creciente

es en nombre de la felicidad,

de la unidad, y la prosperidad nacional.

 

Yo sé que todo va a estar bien

porque no soy solo yo,

porque somos muchos,

y nos aseguraremos de que todo va a estar bien.

 

Enrique Quintero, un activista político en América Latina durante la década de los 70, enseñó ESL y adquisición de segundas lenguas en el Distrito Escolar de Anchorage, y español en la Universidad de Alaska Anchorage. Actualmente vive y escribe en Olympia.

The Voice of a Generation – Bret Michaels Comes to Lucky Eagle

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 6:59am

ThurstonTalk

 

bret michaels

Don’t miss the chance to rock with legendary performer Bret Michaels, front man of the iconic band Poison.

We all have songs that perfectly sum up a particular time in our life. There are bands, albums, anthems, and ballads that cause a flood of emotion years or even decades after their release. For many Gen-X’ers, singer/songwriter Bret Michaels of the band Poison is one of the iconic voices that can turn us into head-banging, hair-flinging, behind-the-wheel rockstars.

With a career spanning more than three decades in the spotlight, Michaels continues to draw in huge crowds of devoted fans. In the last few years this striking front man has released numerous successful singles, performing with such names as Miley Cyrus, Mark McGrath, Jimmy Buffett, Loretta Lynn, Peter Keys, and Phil Collen.

On Saturday, December 20, Michaels will grace our area with one of only two Washington shows on his tour. The 8:00 p.m., 21+ event takes place at Rochester’s Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel and promises to rock your socks off.

Casino Advertising Manager Lindy Waring explains that even though this is Michaels’ first visit to the Lucky Eagle, “classics like Bret are a big hit and people are really excited to have him here. We haven’t really had anyone from this genre of 80’s big hair bands in the last few years. He is very dedicated and loyal to his fans plus he sounds great!”

Tickets to the show start at $30 for Players Club members and are selling out fast. The unique venue offers an intimate setting for such a power performance with fewer than 1,000 seats on hand. For a performer with multiple Top 40 hits, multi-platinum albums, and solo chart toppers, this is a rare treat not to be missed.

That night the Lucky Eagle will also host the Ole Smoky Girls of Ole Smoky Moonshine. They will be offering cherry jello shots throughout the concert and casino for a discounted price.

bret michaels

At a November 22 tour stop in Wisconsin, Michaels rocked the crowd with songs from his award winning repertoire.

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a flurry of bad weather, frazzled nerves, overindulgence, and jam-packed calendars. Treat yourself to a night of hard-earned hard rock with the voice of a generation. Think of it as a guilt-free treat in a season known for excess.

Michaels has been quoted as saying, “my life is part humor, part roses, part thorns.” This time of year that can sum up everything we see (except our gardens). But as he said best, “Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song; every rose has its thorn…”

Details about the show can be found online or by calling the Lucky Eagle at 800-720-1788. The casino is located just off I-5 Exit 88 in Rochester.

Shivas “You Know What to Do” & “Do the Crocodile”

K Records - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:18am
Do you know what to do? The Shivas have faith you do. So do it. And while you are at it, do the Crocodile, too. Fudge, yeah. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is available from the K Mail Order Dept.    
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Saint Martin’s University announces Commitment to Expand College Access

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 3:34pm

ThurstonTalk

 

Submitted  by Saint Martin’s University

white houseSaint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., today  joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden, along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders, to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support President Obama’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

In response to the President’s call to action, Saint Martin’s University has committed to launching a series of initiatives that will result in an increase in admittance and retention of women, low-income students and under-represented minority students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees by 5-10 percent.

“This new commitment in making the attainment of a college education possible for many more students truly underscores our mission as a Catholic, Benedictine institution of higher education to empower students to pursue a lifetime of learning and accomplishment in all arenas of human endeavor,” Heynderickx said. “We want to continue to help all of our current and future students to learn to make a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of others.”

Today’s participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The President will announce new steps on how his administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.  Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.  Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

 

Evergreen Longhouse Hosts Annual Holiday Native Arts Fair December 12-13

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 3:31pm

ThurstonTalk

 

Submitted by The Evergreen State College 

Longhouse - Evergreen State CollegeThe Evergreen State College’s award-winning Longhouse Education & Cultural Center will host its 18th annual Holiday Native Arts Fair on Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fair will feature nearly 40 Native artists from Washington and Oregon, as well as Alaska Native and First Nations artists from British Columbia. Among the items for sale are original carvings, woven textiles, prints, basketry, jewelry, clothing, musical instruments and more.

Artists include Peter Boome of the Upper Skagit Tribe, a carver, painter, printmaker and Evergreen graduate student, who recently won awards in several categories at the Santa Fe Indian Market and was featured at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Evergreen student and artist Joe Seymour of the Squaxin Island Tribe will be selling prints and original designs on jackets, as well as drums. Malynn Foster of the Squaxin is also a vendor. The Hazel Pete Institute of Chehalis Basketry will have works by the daughters and granddaughters of the late Evans Chair Scholar and Evergreen graduate Hazel Pete. Additionally, artists Phil and Brenda Hamilton of the Muckleshoot, Andy Peterson and Denise Emerson of the Skokomish and Paul Kungi of the Yakama tribes will be selling their arts at the fair.

More than a holiday sales venue, the Longhouse, with support from the Ford Foundation, provides Native arts programs that have expanded beyond the Northwest into a national program for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artists. The Longhouse has also established an international indigenous residency program with the New Zealand government’s Ministry of Culture.

A public service center of The Evergreen State College, the Longhouse’s mission is to promote indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression and economic development.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is $2.00 on December 12, free on December 13.

 

 

 

City Launches On-Line Discussion for Input on Parks, Arts and Recreation Needs

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 3:28pm

ThurstonTalk

 

Submitted by The City of Olympia

The City has launched an on-line discussion at olyspeaks.org to solicit community input as it updates its Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan. This is your opportunity to share you what you feel are the greatest needs for parks, arts and recreation in your neighborhood and in your community! The on-line discussion mirrors questions being asked at a series of neighborhood meetings and will remain open through January 9, 2015.

The current Parks, Arts and Recreation plan was adopted in 2010. The City updates the plan every six years to remain eligible for grant funding from the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office.

In addition to the neighborhood meetings and online discussion, the City will conduct a telephone survey and hold a community-wide meeting to solicit additional input prior to completing the updated Parks, Arts and Recreation plan. For more information on the planning process or to get involved, visit www.olympiawa.gov/PARPlan

 

Welcome to the The Evergreen State College Art Lecture Series, winter quarter 2015

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 2:34pm
Posted on September 15, 2014 by oshas Welcome to the The Evergreen State College Art Lecture Series, winter quarter 2015

The series takes place in Lecture Hall 1 at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, on 4-6 Wednesdays per quarter, from 11:30-1:00 pm. Free to the public, Evergreen’s visual and literary arts programs offer an opportunity to hear local, national and international interdisciplinary artists, writers and art workers speak about their work.

Week 2, Janurary 14 Alexander McCarty, visual art

Week 3, January 21  Amaranth Borsuk and Andy Fitch, writing

Week 5, February 4  Thierry de Duve, Evans Scholar, art historian and theorist

Week 6, February 11 Allison Cobb, writing

Week 7, February 18 MK Guth, visual art

Week 9,  March 4 Johanna Gosse, art history, media studies

The Art Lecture Series is facilitated by Shaw Osha,  oshas@evergreen.edu
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Yelm’s Darren Harris Shooting for Third State Wrestling Championship

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 1:40pm

ThurstonTalk

 

By Gail Wood

les schwabAt the same moment, it was Darren Harris’ worst nightmare and most inspirational moment in wrestling.

Nearly two years ago, Harris, then a sophomore at Yelm High School, lost in the 4A state finals, placing second. He called it his worst moment because he placed second, not first. But that moment of disappointment, that defeat that hurt so bad became his best moment because that loss was his driving force, his ultimate pep talk.

He didn’t want to lose again. And he hasn’t.

yelm wrestling

Darren Harris, a senior at Yelm High School, went 35-0 last year during wrestling season.

“After that loss my sophomore year, it was built up in me,” Harris said.

With an intense, unrelenting focus that pushed him in the off season and during the season, Harris went 35-0 last year, pinning 34 of his opponents. His only opponent to escape being stacked up and pinned by Harris came in the 4A state finals.

“I was prepared. I was ready,” Harris said. “No matter what, I was going to win. Noting was going to stop me. I was just going to pin every match as fast as I could. And just get it over with. I meant business.”

Harris has had a headline grabbing high school wrestling career. Three years ago, he became the first freshman at Yelm to win a state championship, placing first at 106 pounds and finishing with a 29-2 record. As a sophomore, he finished second in state with a 32-3 record. Then last year as a junior Harris won the 4A state title at 120 pounds, going undefeated. Now, he’s shooting for his third state championship.

“He’s a good technician, really wise,” said Gaylord Strand, Yelm’s head wrestling coach. “He’s a real good scrambler. He’s got some wicked moves. He’s a lot stronger than he looks.”

From Harris’ perspective, moves and technique trump strength and power.

“Technique will beat strong every time,” Harris said.

yelm wrestling

Yelm wrestling coach Gaylord Strand gives advice to his wrestlers at practice.

It’s a matter of having the counter punch.

“They might try to out strengthen you, but if you know counter moves you’re going to win that match,” Harris said. “Strength is always going to help. Technique helps me a lot more.”

Harris and his brother, Dillon, started wrestling when they were in grade school. Darren was seven and his brother was nine. From the start, they both showed a knack for wrestling, placing high at state, regional and national meets.

“For the first couple of years, I was top dog,” Harris said. “That’s when I realized I like wrestling.”

While growing up, Harris’ father, Christopher, drove his two sons to wrestling camps and tournaments in Oregon and Washington. Harris had a live-in wrestling buddy – his brother, Dillon.

“We wrestled all the time,” Harris said about his brother. “He was always bigger, so he’d usually win.”

After winning state last year, Darren Harris qualified for nationals and placed fourth, earning him All-American honors. His dad was always the encourager, not to mention chauffeur.

“He was a great role model,” Harris said about his dad. “He drove us everywhere.”

yelm wrestling

At a recent practice, Yelm wrestlers work on their technique.

Now, with his final high school season nearly in his rearview mirror, Harris is looking at what’s next. Where will he wrestle next year? He’s not sure, but he’s hoping to wrestling at a Division I program. He’s looking at Oregon State, Arizona State, Boise State and Grand Canyon University. Harris, who took his SATs Saturday, has only talked with Grand Canyon.

“We’ll see what happens,” Harris said.

Dillon is turning out for wrestling at North Idaho College as a freshman, but he’s decided not to wrestle any matches to preserve his year of eligibility. He wants to transfer to the school his brother attends next year.

“Then we’ll have the same amount of years together,” Darren said. “We’ll be able to wrestle together.”

Besides Harris, Yelm is again loaded with talent. Of the 16 wrestlers that qualified for state last year, 12 return.

“I should have a state wrestler at every weight class come time except my unlimited,” said Strand, who is in his 41st season as Yelm’s head wrestling coach.

State qualifiers returning for another run to state include sophomore Mason Harrison (placed second at regionals and went 1-2 at state), James Page (placed fifth at regionals), Thomas Munoz (went 18-10 and didn’t place at state), Dakota Benson (went 1-2 at state and was third at regionals), Jacob Nolan (sixth at regionals), Jacob Rash (second at regionals), Tanner Page (regional champ and went 1-2 at state), Riley Hallman (went 1-2 at state), James Rodeman (eight at state at 160 pounds), Greg Bowers (fifth at regionals), Bo Campbell (second at district, sixth at state at 182 pounds), and Holden Miller (sixth at state). Brian Rodgers hurt his knee in football.  Rodgers is expected to return next year.

For the past two years that Yelm has been in the 4A classification, the Tornados have placed sixth at state.

“My goal is to be in the top three this year,” Strand said. “You just never know what’s going to happen at state. If we get a lot of people through regionals we can overload those brackets and that will really help us.”

Session Notes: Wireheads

K Records - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 12:26pm
I kicked off the Wireheads session by taking a face-plant, off the top of a bass cabinet,  through  a mic stand, while trying to hang their track sheet. I retaliated by ripping the whole cab apart (later). Fortunately, Calvin was doing the tracking so I had some time to walk it off before mixes. The […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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