In White Skin
Mon, Feb 01, 2016, 3:00 am // Ralph Schwartz“I’m just a lost soul in white skin / Trying to find my way to a new end” I won’t quit my day job to write rap lyrics,…
Thu, Feb 04, 2016, 8:42 am // John Servais
As publisher, I was delighted when Ralph Scwhartz said yes to becoming a writer for NWCitizen. He left the Herald last November and I immediately contacted him as his reporting was the best of anyone at the Herald in several years and I had linked to his articles from here more than once. So when he said he wanted his first article to be more of a pesonal subject, I said sure, whatever he wanted.
His post - In White Skin - is a very different type of article than we have posted in our 20 years. When I read the draft, it seemed obvious this was the time for such a perspective. In the past couple years all of us who are not black have become shockingly more aware of our inherent racism. Even if we thought ourselves sensitive and aware before. Ralph's article is by a white guy and to white people. That is 99% of Bellingham. We feel we are a liberal or progressive city, but we have a lot of unconscious racism in our community.
Unconscions. Not intended, but there. Today's Bellingham Herald entertainment section, the Take 5, has a cover illustration of the two Super Bowl quarterbacks - Cam Newton and Peyton Manning. The very black Cam is shown at least 2 inches shorter than Peyton. Our culture ascribes better with taller. In truth, both players are 6 feet 5 inches tall - exactly the same height. One can say 'oh get over it, it is nothing' or that Cam had to be shorter to allow room for the section title. And that response would in the past go unchallenged. It should not go unchallenged any longer.
So - if you think this is about nothing, let me suggest that if Peyton were shown 2 inches shorter than Cam then we would hear from many about the error and obvious ignorance of the artist and the editors. We are sensitive via very sophisticated psychological filters. This is not a criticism of the Herald nor the artist - as indeed the artist probably was told to leave room for the section title. And the Herald's corporate parent, McClatchy, sent this illustration to the Herald. Most of us would have accepted this without a second thought in the past. We should change.
There is a new young black writer we might read. Ta-Nehisi Coates. He writes well and makes sense. He could educate all of us on the racism in our country. He also had a book published a few months ago - Between the World and Me. If we are seriously concerned about making progress against racism, then it is a very valuable book to us. While this is Black History Month, we might just use this month as a start towards reducing racism. We will try here.
Mon, Feb 01, 2016, 5:26 am // Dick Conoboy
To borrow phraseology from candidate Bill Clinton and at the risk of again being characterized as Chicken Little, here is some information that may make your teeth itch and your toenails curl. Compare this piece with the rhetoric of our President Obama during his State of the Onion speech regarding our economy, “Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” This statement makes the Sword of Damocles look like a paring knife. Excerpt: "According to a report from one of the regulators of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, as of September 30, 2015, insured U.S. commercial banks and savings associations had exposure to $192.2 trillion notional (face amount) of derivatives. (Yes, that’s trillion with a “t”.) The report goes on to terrify with the revelation that only four banks hold 90.8 percent of all derivatives: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America." Derivatives took down AIG during the last crash. And it gets worse as you read on....here.
And to those who look to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to protect your deposits, guess again. "In 2009, when the FDIC fund went $8.2 billion in the hole, Chairwoman Sheila Bair assured depositors that their money was protected by a hefty credit line with the Treasury. But the FDIC is funded with premiums from its member banks, which had to replenish the fund. The special assessment required to do it was crippling for the smaller banks, and that was just to recover $8.2 billion. What happens when Bank of America or JPMorganChase, which have commingled their massive derivatives casinos with their depositary arms, is propelled into bankruptcy by a major derivatives fiasco? These two banks both have deposits exceeding $1 trillion, and they both have derivatives books with notional values exceeding the GDP of the world. [nearly $200 trillion]" (From Bail-out Is Out, Bail-in Is In: Time for Some Publicly Owned Banks.)
Then the "bail-ins" begin wherein the banks take your money to recapitalize and leave you broke.
Fri, Jan 29, 2016, 6:44 pm // Dick Conoboy
As a veteran, I am a more than a bit sensitive about those who would profit over the condition of veterans in the US especially since those who send those soldiers into combat have little regard for their plight once they return. The vultures circle in the absence of support. A particularly odious practice is forming a charity that spends an inordinate amount for overhead and salaries. This particular veteran oriented charity (Wounded Warriors Project whose logo apears above) advertises widely on TV with the help of celebrities who are either duped into or complicit in the charade. Reports surfaced about this outfit years ago and I understand the charity spent considerable funds to attack those who exposed their chicanery.
Note this piece (on the Wounded Warrior "charity") in Alternet by Sarah Lazare entitled “Famous Charity for Veterans Accused of Inappropriate and Lavish Expenditures”. Excerpt: “About 40 percent of the organization’s donations in 2014 were spent on its overhead, or about $124 million, according to the charity-rating group Charity Navigator,” the Times reports. “While that percentage, which includes administrative expenses and marketing costs, is not as much as for some groups, it is far more than for many veterans charities, including the Semper Fi Fund, a wounded-veterans group that spent about 8 percent of donations on overhead.”
A review of charities is advisable for all of us prior to giving. A good source of information on charities is CharityWatch.org. That is why I refuse to give and complain to management about attempts to collect money from me at the cash register of any number of stores in Bellingham. These establishments may or may not vet these charities but even if they do their vetting may not be to the standards I would hold them to. These merchants seems to count on my being embarrassed into giving in that I am in line and in proximity to others who would overhear my refusal to give a mere dollar to save the _______ (fill in the blank). However well intentioned, this borders on shakedown.
In Whatcom County there is an excellent veterans self help group, Growing Veterans. Check it out. A chance to give locally to an award winning group.
[The Bellingham Herald ran a story from the NYTimes on the same topic that you can read here until such time as the article is no longer available on line.]
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 10:50 am // John Servais
Over at the local blog "Coal Stop," Sandy Robson has done an effective take down of the Lynden Tribune for running an anti-Lummi Nation opinion piece. Robson does her usual deep research and posts it all for her readers. The Lynden Tribune ran a article by the leaders of Northwest Jobs Alliance, a front group for the corporate interests of Cherry Point's proposed coal terminal. With Lummi Nation trying to prevent the total destruction of their fishing rights by the proposed mega coal terminal, the Lynden Tribune allowed a hatchet-job opinion piece to grace their newspaper pages. In truth, it is a racist hit piece on our neighbors, the Lummi. Robson does the dissection very nicely.
Like most of her articles, Robson's article is long and well referenced. She does not write for those looking for a quick take on issues but rather for those who want to know all the relevant information. We have kept a link to her website at the top of our links column since she opened the site about a year ago. I tip my hat to her fine research and comprehensive writing. Her website is another valuable source of local news, information, and opinion.
Note: no link to Lynden site as they put the article behind a firewall.
Wed, Dec 30, 2015, 11:27 am // John Servais
In the photo to left, the ship Bayport is slowly lifted from the water, resting on the deck of a floating drydock. This scene is playing out this morning off the Fairhaven waterfront, as this view from Marine Park shows. The drydock even has a name - the Faithful Servant - and is part of the Fairhaven Shipyard complex. The drydock actually sank itself so the Bayport could float over it and now the drydock is pumping water out of itself so as to rise and lift the ship Bayport. It will then be towed back to the shipyard which is next to Marine Park.
Yes, this floating drydock operates just as does the huge Dockwise Vanguard lifted the Shell floating oil drilling rig. But our drydock is 300 feet long, compared to 900 feet for the larger Vanguard. And ours stays right here on our Bellingham waterfront.
The Bayport is a dredging barge, 303 feet long and 3,541 tons. It is used around Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. While on the drydock for about a month, it will have repairs and maintenance - mostly welding work. It will be easily visible on the Fairhaven waterfront as one drives south on the Boulevard.
Since the 1800s, ships have been built and repaired at the shipyards in Fairhaven. While the historic village is well known for its laid back ambience, art shops and dining, its residents have always and strongly supported a working waterfront. The shipyard has refurbished Alaska ferries, Washington State ferries and US Coast Guard vessels. The shipyard rents the property from the Port of Bellingham.
Tue, Dec 01, 2015, 8:49 pm // John Servais
Word is in this evening that no appeal was filed within the allotted 30 days so the Skagit County court ruling stands and the huge 50,000 watt radio towers will not be built in Port Roberts. The coalition of Americans living in Point Roberts and Canadians living across the border in Tsawwassen has won.
This effort of citizens against huge financial interests has been thought of as a David vs. Goliath contest. The folks over there are celebrating tonight, and for good reason. The proposed radio towers were said to be so powerful that toasters and such would play music or talk shows. The towers were planned to broadcast to the large south Asian population in southern British Columbia. There was no audience planned for Point Roberts or Whatcom County or the United States.
John Lesow, one of the writers for NWCitizen, lives in Point Roberts and has written three articles on this issue. You can quickly find his articles by choosing his name from the drop down menu of writers. Or click for the Oct 22, 2014 article here, the July 14, 2015 article here, and the Oct 8, 2015 article here.
We expect more information on this tomorrow and will post. We are pleased NWCitizen could be a supporter in this citizen effort against vested interests who cared little for two wonderful residential communities.
Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 2:39 pm // John Servais
Elisabeth Britt dissects the dysfunctional laws surrounding legal drugs, marijuana and guns. The federales are going nuts because they cannot stop people from enjoying a toke now and then. The law she dissects uses the term "addicted" to describe anyone who even smokes once. And ... too much for here. You want to read her article. Britt lays it all out is a short pithy post.
Check out "Should the City of Bellingham issue concealed weapon permits to; or, allow individuals to own or possess firearms and ammunition who are addicted to mind-altering drugs?" on the Latte Republic, her blog.
Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 7:28 pm // Tip Johnson
Today marked a milestone in the site preparation for the Bellingham waterfront redevelopment. The gigantic hoppers that fed chips to the pulp digesters were toppled to clear the way for demolishing the rest of the digester building. Demolition should proceed quickly from here. A reasonable crowd of a hundred or so braved the cold to watch for the eventful moment.
The public should be wary of fugitive dust emissions from the site, as mercury has been seen to saturate building materials in the vicinity of mercury vapor emissions such as occurred from the chlor-alkali production cells. Similarly, the demolition debris should be tested, since methylation of mercury is known to occur even in environments with high sulfide concentrations. The sulfide based operation of Georgia-Pacific has often been used to suggest that methylation of mercury should be minimal, but studies elsewhere have shown otherwise.
Wed, Nov 18, 2015, 3:45 pm // John Servais
Elisabeth Britt over on her Latte Republic website has a new article that raises good questions about our county planning department. The proposed 'Lincoln Park Retirement Center' for Lincolm Road between Blaine and Birch Bay is being denied by the county. Why? Elisabeth explores the issue in her article. This senior living home would provide senior living residences plus suites for dementia patients. There is a need for both these types of homes in Whatcom County.
On my read, it seems the county planning staff just plain do not think this the right place for a senior living facility, even though the planning codes very specifically allow for it. Maybe not the rule of law. The article includes an action agenda with contacts to encourage the county to follow its own codes.
Find blog entries by month of year
Numbers indicate how many blog entries posted each month.
Find articles by month of year
Numbers indicate how many articles posted each month.
We continue to add old articles from the old website.
Fri, Feb 05, 2016, 11:45 am
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 4:49 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 1:53 pm
Mon, Feb 01, 2016, 3:00 am
2 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016
Sun, Jan 31, 2016, 11:04 am
3 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016
Mon, Jan 18, 2016, 5:35 am
1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2016
Mon, Jan 11, 2016, 11:18 pm
1 comments; last on Jan 13, 2016
Wed, Dec 30, 2015, 12:15 am
Tue, Dec 29, 2015, 11:06 am
4 comments; last on Dec 31, 2015
Fri, Dec 25, 2015, 10:31 am
2 comments; last on Dec 25, 2015
Mon, Dec 21, 2015, 2:14 am
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 11:11 am
1 comments; last on Dec 20, 2015
Mon, Dec 14, 2015, 3:58 pm
Wed, Dec 02, 2015, 8:31 pm
3 comments; last on Dec 06, 2015
Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 5:29 am
Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 5:41 am
7 comments; last on Dec 27, 2015
Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 10:41 pm
9 comments; last on Nov 19, 2015
Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 4:30 am
9 comments; last on Dec 10, 2015
Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 5:33 pm
3 comments; last on Nov 19, 2015
Wed, Nov 11, 2015, 4:23 am
1 comments; last on Nov 11, 2015
Sun, Nov 08, 2015, 9:25 pm
3 comments; last on Dec 29, 2015
Fri, Nov 06, 2015, 4:37 pm
1 comments; last on Nov 07, 2015
Thu, Nov 05, 2015, 9:17 pm
1 comments; last on Nov 06, 2015
Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 6:45 pm
2 comments; last on Nov 05, 2015
Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 12:05 am
7 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015
Mon, Nov 02, 2015, 8:04 am
2 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015
Sun, Nov 01, 2015, 9:31 am
24 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015
Sat, Oct 31, 2015, 2:02 am
8 comments; last on Nov 03, 2015
Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 6:56 pm
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 11:39 pm
5 comments; last on Oct 28, 2015
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 3:32 pm
4 comments; last on Oct 28, 2015
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 1:57 pm
3 comments; last on Oct 29, 2015
Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 1:26 pm
6 comments; last on Oct 26, 2015
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 2:53 pm
1 comments; last on Oct 21, 2015
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 9:25 am
8 comments; last on Oct 24, 2015
Sun, Oct 18, 2015, 11:37 am
4 comments; last on Oct 20, 2015
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 4:52 pm
9 comments; last on Oct 19, 2015
Thu, Oct 08, 2015, 7:14 am
Sat, Oct 03, 2015, 2:47 pm
1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2015
Fri, Oct 02, 2015, 10:48 am
11 comments; last on Oct 09, 2015
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 4:54 pm
5 comments; last on Sep 25, 2015
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 3:37 pm
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 5:26 pm
13 comments; last on Oct 16, 2015
Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 8:42 am
2 comments; last on Sep 18, 2015
Mon, Sep 07, 2015, 8:06 pm
Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 9:17 am
4 comments; last on Sep 05, 2015
Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 4:11 am
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 6:55 pm
15 comments; last on Sep 04, 2015
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 4:00 am
2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2015
Mon, Aug 17, 2015, 11:17 pm
5 comments; last on Aug 27, 2015
Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 2:39 pm
1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2015
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 10:29 am
1 comments; last on Aug 13, 2015
Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 10:52 am
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 7:09 pm
8 comments; last on Aug 06, 2015
Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 9:14 am
9 comments; last on Aug 08, 2015
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 11:42 pm
10 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
Tue, Jul 14, 2015, 3:13 pm
3 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015
Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 4:38 am
6 comments; last on Jul 14, 2015
Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 7:27 am
2 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015
Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 8:27 am
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
About NWCitizenDonate to help support
Thru the years
Coal, Oil & TrainsCoal Stop
Community Wise Bham
Powder River Basin R. C.
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut C. Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice
Governments- Whatcom County
Port of Bellingham
US Supreme Court
US The White House
NWCitizen 1995-2007Early Northwest Citizen
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
EPIC World Photos
Nat Hurricane Center
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Change The Mascot
Foreign Policy in Focus
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Register
Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
Intrnational Herald Tribune
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph