Category Archives: Connect the Dots

Smartest podcast program on the web?

Against the Grain gets my vote. Listen to this interview with Timothy Morton:

Gaia theory holds that the Earth is a living, self-regulating system, a whole much bigger than the sum of its parts. Timothy Morton dares to challenge not only that perspective’s holism, but also the very existence of “nature.” Morton’s belief in radical interconnectedness is informed in part by his close reading of Darwin.

Can’t follow the conversation without moving pictures?

ok, here you go.  A talk about Hegel, ecology and subjective positioning.

Ferguson v. Port of Olympia, Part II

Ok, jumping back in on the Port of Olympia. If you want to start at the beginning, go here for Part I.Logs Oly port 2011July1 (3)

If you want to start with Part II and not look back, the story is that former finance director Kevin Ferguson has sued the Port of Olympia and Edward Galligan for wrongful discharge, violation of whistleblower law and other tortious conduct.

So, working from the lawsuit Ferguson v. Port of Olympia again, I note/quote from the lawsuit:

  • “In approximately late June/early July, 2011, plaintiff (Ferguson) met with two Commissioners to alert them to what plaintiff considered to be some of the serious issues that he had reported to Galligan (Port Executive Director Edward Galligan) , and advised them that Galligan had failed to take any remedial action.  The issues that plaintiff reported at that time included the failure of Galligan to follow Port personnel policies, and the apparent nepotism and increased technology expenses in a potentially unlawful awarding of a technology contract.”


  • “on August 16, 2011, plaintiff was compelled to submit a written report via email to Port Commissioner Jeff Davis, which laid out plaintiff’s reasonable belief about violations of law or policy and waste of Port funds, most of which implicated Galligan.  The written report identified a variety of matters with details information, including but not limited to the following:

(a.) Nepotism in the award of the Port’s IT contract to the brother-in-law of Galligan’s former secretary and the Port’s HR Manager, who was directly responsible for all information technology at the Port, which appeared in conflict with Port Policy 108.

(b.) Change of the IT award/oversight from the HR Manager to a staff person, who was nevertheless supervised by the HR Manager, continuing to appear in conflict with Port Policy 108.

(c.) Waste of Port funds in paying an excessive amount of $10,000 per month to maintain the IT system, and payment of such amounts with lack of adequate service by the IT consultants – one who resided in Vermont most of the year and the other who left the Port without local technology support while out of the area.

(d.) Award of the IT contract to an entity which has a statutory two year ban from public work due to previously operating without a license

(e.) Payment to the IT contractor after the contract expired, and renewal of an expired contract without first requesting new proposals for qualifications or bids.”

In reading through the 17 page Ferguson complaint, it becomes clear that the IT contract is a somewhat central thread that should be subject to public scrutiny for the purposes of deciding if the Port is operating in an ethical and forthright manner.

So, how would we start to get to the heart of this story?   Why not start with a quick look at the contracting entity and the contract?

Sorry, need to go to work, will be back with a look at the contracting entity and the contract in a day or two.

Ferguson v. Port of Olympia, Part I

What is going on at the Port of Olympia?proppant ship

The Daily Olympian carried a story on May 21, 2013 about a lawsuit filed by the Port’s former finance director, Kevin Ferguson, against the Port and the Port’s Exec Director, Edward Galligan. .  Among other things, Ferguson’s lawsuit alleges that the Port’s contract for IT services is not quite right.

That’s an interesting allegation and one that might be easy to sort out.

Here are specific passages and allegations from the Ferguson lawsuit:

  • “In approximately January, 2011, Galligan directed plaintiff (Ferguson) to write a leter or recommendation to the Port Commissioners in support of a pay raise for Galligan.  Although he was not comfortable with this directive, plaintiff was compelled to follow Galligan’s instruction.  Plaintiff wrote the letter, but only after informing two commissioners in advance as to the directive he had been given.”

A little bit of context for this bit: Galligan was Ferguson’s direct supervisor at the time and the commissioners are charged with supervising the executive director.  Is there a cause of action here?  Probably not, but I think lots of us understand that this type of request from a direct supervisor would feel coercive and manipulative.

  • “Throughout plaintiff’s employment he observed and discovered a variety of matters which adversely impacted the financial status of the Port and which he reasonabley believed to constitute mismanagement, waste or violations of law…  Many of the items plaintiff was discovering and observing included acts or omissions by the office of the Executive Director, Galligan.”

A little bit of context for this item:  The Port belongs to all of us.  The Port holds title to property with a value in the range of 300 million dollars.  The management of these holdings require that the tax payers of Thurston County ante up 4.8 million dollars per year to keep the Port afloat.  These simple facts do raise questions about the financial management at the Port.  Couldn’t we simply hire a property management firm and get a better return on investment?

The Port likes to tout its role in job creation, but I think a hard look at the jobs that would actually disappear if the port property was operated by a property management firm instead of a quasi-public agency would reveal that the public is buying very few good local jobs with the investment of 4.8 million per year.

That’s enough for today, back in a few days with more from the Port on questions about the IT contract and the Port’s environmental record.


Earth Day? Olympia Port of Commissioners Political Action

The Port of Olympia continues to move fracking materials from China to the Bakken Formation in North Dakota.  I think that makes the Port an accessory to murder of the planet.

We have some work to do with the Port of Olympia Commissioners.  We continue to talk to the three commissioners.  The next opportunity to speak to them is April 22nd at 5:30 pm at the LOTT Building.  If you want to sign a petition to ask the Commissoners to stop importing fracking materials, click on this link.

If you want to reach the commissioners by email or phone, click on the links below:

The Port of Olympia could be a cornerstone of sustainable South Sound economics, but it appears at this time that we have only one commissioner willing to vote for sustainable projects over simple economic projects.  That commissioner is George Barner.

We have another commissioner, Jeff Davis, talking a good game about the environment and actively engaged with Oly Enviro Activists, but so far refusing to commit to any changes in Port policy that would change the facts on the ground.

The last commissioner, Bill McGregor, appears to be tone-deaf to concerns about the environment.  From what I have heard from Bill, I think he is hopeless on the environment and we should simply work to replace him.

It takes a lot of energy to develop and sustain a Port action as activists who remember the 2007 Olympia Port Militarization Resistance may tell you, but there are times when it is necessary.  We may be in one of those times.

But we can take a shortcut to Port Revolution later this year through the election process.  Commissioners Davis and McGregor are both up for re-election later this year and replacing either or both of them with a Commissioner who is committed to a sustainable economy and environment would bring significant change.

Commissioner Jeff Davis represents District 3 which is the west third of Thurston County.  Dave Peeler has run for that position in the past and would bring strong environmental sensibilities to the Board. I am not aware that Dave Peeler has expressed any interest in running this year, but somebody should talk to him about that. I have heard rumors that other folks are considering a run, but nothing solid yet.

Commissioner McGregor represents District Two which is the eastern third of the County.  You have to live in the District to be an elected commissioner.  Can we find a good environmental candidate in District Two for this election?

April 29th is the first day the Auditor’s Office can accept filings by mail.  Filing week is May 13 to May 17.

We need a couple of folks to step in to the big shoes and help Thurston County reduce its carbon footprint.

Thurston County District Map

Scanning the News

A few items jumped out at me.

  •  WAPO says Obama is looking ahead to the 2014 congressional election because the current GOP house is hopeless. Our situation on the shore of the Salish Sea is the same, but it’s the Repub senate in WA State that is the big problem on the local level.  It worth noting that the US popular vote for House of Reps went solidly to the dems in 2012 despite a lot of vote suppression work, but thanks to successful district gerrymandering by the Republican Party.  I am not sanguine about the legislative results that derive from the Democratic Congress that Barack might dream about.  I am thinking we need to elect the climate congress at State and Federal level in 2014.  That would be a group who would actually act on global warming.  The dems talk the talk.  The Repubs talk denial by and large.  We need elected bodies who will walk the walk.  That would be a peaceful revolution to elect Climate Congress in 2014.  I am down with that.
  • Alternet reports that some important assumptions that underly the “science” of economics and human nature are probably wrong.  The study is controversial in several regards, but the results seem to indicate that economists and psychologists have viewed the world through the lens provided by studying human nature as it exists in industrialized communities and making an assumption about how the dominant paradigm of industrialized communities is human nature.  Oops.

  • More human nature stuff from Alternet and
    Could feelings of disgust be the key to saving the planet from global warming? Strange as it might seem, the answer may be yes.

    Concern over environmental harm is disproportionately a liberal phenomena, but concern over violating the purity and sanctity of nature cuts across ideological lines. What’s more, it’s not an abstract concern. Violations of morality of the purity/sanctity kind are linked to a visceral disgust.

    This isn’t just idle speculation. A new series of studies suggests a potential way out of the polarized gridlock that’s crippled our national response to the threat of global warming. ” The Moral Roots of Environmental Attitudes,” by Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer, published in Psychological Science in December, studied the impact of framing environmental communication in terms of different moral frameworks, and concluded that messaging based on the moral value of purity, which appeals primarily to conservatives, can help bridge the ideological divide on environmental issues—including global warming.

Spike Lee is correct:  Do the right thing.

Paul Cienfuegos on Community Rights Ordinances

Five minutes and 20 seconds.  Grab a cup of coffee and give Paul a listen.

Paul and I agree on a lot of things, but we both start from the point that single issue activism is not going to get the work done.

Paul is a TESC (The Evergreen State College) alum, here is Paul’s website. He has done trainings in Olympia and Shelton on community rights and helped Salish Sea activists shut down the biomass projects a couple of years ago.

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

Hey, Toto.

2 big blizzards in a couple of weeks.  One of the complications of global warming is that the warmed atmosphere holds more water vapor and guess what?  More water vapor means heavier snowfalls.  Thanks to

I scanned this piece quickly and did not see any mention of global warming or climate change.

Same thing last week in the mainstream coverage of the snowstorm.   Is it irresponsible not to give readers the background information?

Last week was Storm Q (I like the Blizzard of Oz name better).  This week is Storm R.

I did spot some coverage that referenced the fact that the last 100 year snowstorm was two years ago when I was scanning the news for mainstream connections to the largest global story – global warming, but I think that coverage did not mention global warming either.

Here is what Yahoo News is running on the second storm in two weeks:

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Blizzard conditions slammed parts of the central Plains Monday, forcing the closure of highways in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and sending public works crews scrambling for salt and sand anew just days after a massive storm blanketed the region with snow.

National Weather Service officials in Kansas and Oklahoma issued blizzard warnings and watches through late Monday as the storm packing snow and high winds tracked eastward across West Texas toward Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Forecasters also warned of possible tornadoes further southeast.

Snow covered Amarillo, Texas, where forecasters said up to 18 inches could fall, accompanied by wind gusts up to 65 mph. Paul Braun, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transport, said whiteout conditions and drifting snow had made all roads in the Texas Panhandle impassable. Interstate 40 was closed from Amarillo to the Oklahoma state line.

Want to read the whole story?  Go ahead.  Please let me know if they mention global warming.

February 17, 2013 at Heritage Park, 3 pm – Be There

Open rally in Olympia, Washington in support of the Washington DC Keystone XL Pipeline Demonstration.

We will be at Heritage Park with PA, music, speakers, tabling and general merriment.  Come and join us.

Want to help us send a message to Governor

Inslee?  Please sign on!   Want to sign the Credo Petition to Governor Inslee?  Please do.  It’s starts with a thought, it moves on to a click, can we move on to action and change?    We better.

Ok, working on the schedule:

  • John Prine – Paradise
  • 2:30 pm or maybe a little earlier we will have popup tents set up and music playing
  • somewhere around 2:30 or maybe a little later we have Crow Drummers  and we are off to dance and merriment.  Thanks to Oly Rhythm and Dance.  They can’t make it, but they helped us connect with Crow Drummers.  Thank you!
  • Around 3:10 our master of ceremonies Paul Pickett will speak and get us going
  • Schedule is firming up and looks like:
    • 3:20 We have a 30 second message from EXXON Hates Your Children.
    • 3:21  Beth Doglio with the No Coal Train campaign
    • 3:25  Chiara Dangelo -from the Coal Free PSE campaign.
    • 3:30  We will stream 4 minutes from RFK Jr. Let’s Go to the Barricades!
    • 3:35  County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela will speak
    • 3:42  Rhonda Hunter – will talk about climate change, what we can do about it
    • 3:47  Holly Gwinn Graham will sing and get us moving
    • 3:55  Gar Lipow will speak about Jobs and Green Energy
    • 4:02  Bourtai Hargrove will read her letter to Governor Inslee
    • 4:05  Lady Liberty and Olympia Raging Grannies will lead us in song and flash mob performance
    • 4:21  Zoltan Grossman on the Achilles Heel of the Fossil Fuel Industry
    • 4:25 We have invited President Carter to join by Skype, but no response yet, so we will have the The Hinges – Danny Kelly and Karen Hancock cover as we wait for phone call from Jimmy
    • 4:35  Glen Anderson on the moral dimensions of our struggle to prevent disastrous global warming
    • 4:38 Patricia Ridge will speak about climate change, how it impacts low income families and generational justice
    • 4:40 Greg Black takes over and plays some tunes for us

We will try to keep building and refining the schedule and answers to questions into this blog item and will update as often as possible.

More links:

Why are we getting out in February in Western Washington?

read’m and weep:

February 9, 2013 from the NYT:

Storm Leaves Northeast Reeling

 A gigantic midwinter storm buried the Northeast in snow on Saturday, leaving behind a debilitated and disoriented region digging through plump white drifts and reeling from gale-force winds.

Painting a white landscape from Maine to New York, the storm expressed itself much as weather forecasters had predicted. New York City eluded its worst bite, and muffled-up pedestrians trooped along slushy sidewalks as insouciantly as after any matter-of-fact winter snowfall. But points to the north and east were battered hard.

Read the whole piece?  No mention of global warming, but this is what global warming looks like.  More moisture in the atmosphere leads to heavier snow and rain.  We have to start connecting the dots and encouraging folks to understand that when they see a hundred year flood or snowstorm every two or three years – that is global warming.  It’s bad.  It’s going to get worse.   We have to start addressing it here and now.

here is a recent local story:

KUOW Radio January 31, 2013

Northwest on Verge of Becoming Pacific Crude Oil Gateway

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The Northwest is on the verge of becoming a gateway for crude oil. Three different developers have plans to use docks on Grays Harbor, Washington to transfer crude oil from trains to ships. Other projects are getting off the ground in Tacoma, Vancouver, B.C. and on the lower Columbia River.

There was a huge turnout Wednesday night at an introductory public workshop in Aberdeen, Washington. The response indicates crude-by-rail may be the region’s next big environmental controversy…
To hear / read the rest of the story

We are also gathering signatures and sending letters to Governor Jay Inslee regarding global warming and the need for change.  Here is the letter that Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation has drafted:


 Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

TTY/TDD users should contact the Washington Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-833-6388.


Dear Governor Inslee:

          As citizens deeply concerned about the climate crisis, we were encouraged by the remarks you made in your inaugural address about the need to reduce the risk of climate change from carbon emissions. You specifically emphasized the need to “replace rhetoric with quantifiable results.” We hope this means that you will take immediate action to promote a progressive carbon tax, fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and divest state funds from fossil fuels.

          As you know, we have a narrow window of time in which to reduce Co2 emissions before runaway, irreversible climate change condemns us to a global temperature rise of 4 to 6 degrees C. Unless we act immediately and with sufficient determination, we risk civilization as we know it. The only way to produce the necessary level of greenhouse gas reductions is a full-scale, all-hands-on-deck mobilization, what William James called “the moral equivalent of war.” We are asking you to become a leader in this fight, to proclaim the urgency of the climate crisis, and to make our state an example of how much can be done to reduce greenhouse gases in a short period of time.

          On February 17, 2013, thousands of people will converge on Washington D.C. to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline which would convey dirty tar sands oil to refineries and export ports in Gulf Coast. As climate scientist John Abraham, of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, said, “If we burn all the tar sand oil, the temperature rise, just from burning that tar sand will be half of what we’ve already seen.” James Hansen, probably the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist, is even more emphatic. Discussing the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions, he said, “If tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is game over for the planet.” In support of the action in Washington D.C., we are holding a No Keystone XL Pipeline rally in Olympia on Sunday, February 17th at 3:00 PM in Heritage Park. We invite you to join us and to use this protest to voice your opposition to the expansion of the Alberta tar sands.

          In the past you have recognized that the proposed coal export terminals for the Northwest, pose the “largest decision our state will be making from a carbon pollution standpoint, certainly in my lifetime, and nothing even comes close to it.” In an interview with Grist magazine, you said “I’m going to be giving some thought to this.” We hope that you have since recognized that the proposed coal exports from the Northwest are a carbon bomb, which could potentially produce enough Co2 to push the planet towards catastrophic climate chaos. We hope that you have since thought of significant ways that you, as Governor, can defuse the coal export carbon bomb and prevent the proposed coal export terminals and massive trains that would transport coal from the Powder River Basin through our state.

          Last year, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber wrote to the Bureau of Land Management and the Army Corp of Engineers asking for a comprehensive environmental impact review of the proposed coal ports in the Northwest – a review that takes into account the cumulative environmental impacts of all the proposed ports and the trains that would transport the coal from Montana and Wyoming through Oregon and Washington. As the new Governor of Washington – a Governor who stated that he is seeking ways to reduce the risk of climate change in his inaugural address – you can do no less.  Indeed, we hope, or rather, we are confident that you will take additional significant actions to prevent coal export from Washington ports.


Name                      Address                             E-mail address

Extreme Weather Events! Get Used to Them.

Lots of news coverage of Frankenstorm, but not much mention of the role that our carbon economy plays in the production of this storm.

Hey, mainstream media,  can you say Global Warming?

Here is what Joe Romm has to say about Hurricane Sandy:

Why Hurricane Sandy Has Morphed into a ‘Frankenstorm’ — And Why We Should Get Used to Catastrophic Weather

Here’s how manmade carbon pollution is making many of the most destructive kinds of extreme weather events — Frankenstorms — more frequent and more intense.

October 28, 2012  |


This GOES-13 satellite image provided by the US Naval Research Laboratory shows the eye of Hurricane Sandy it churns just off the eastern coast of the US.
Photo Credit: AFP




What would you call an “ unprecedented and bizarre “ storm that is:

  • The “largest hurricane in Atlantic history measured by diameter of gale force winds (1,040mi)” [ Capital Weather Gang ]
  • “A Storm Like No Other” [National Weather Service via  AP]. NWS“I cannot recall ever seeing model forecasts of such an expansive areal wind field with values so high for so long a time. We are breaking new ground here.”
  • “Transitioning from a warm-core (ocean-powered) hurricane into an extra-tropical low pressure system, a classic Nor’easter, fed by powerful temperature extremes and swirling jet stream winds aloft to amplify and focus the storm’s fury” [meteorologist  Paul Douglas ]
  • Being fueled in part by “ocean temperatures along the Northeast U.S. coast [] about 5°F above average,” so “there will be an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain” [former Hurricane Hunter  Jeff Masters ]
  • Also being driven by a high pressure blocking pattern near Greenland “forecast to be three standard deviations from the average” [ Climate Central  and CWG]
  • “Stitched together from some spooky combination of the natural and the unnatural.” [ Bill McKibben ]

Read the whole thing?  Good idea.    Alternet is carrying the story, but Joe Romm sets up shop at Climate Progress.