June 15, 2012

U.S. to Stop Deporting Some Immigrants – NYTimes.com

by Mary Baechler

U.S. to Stop Deporting Some Immigrants – NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration.

Readers’ Comments

The policy, effective immediately, will apply to people who are currently under 30 years old, who arrived in the country before they turned 16 and have lived in the United States for five years. They must also have no criminal record, and have earned a high school diploma, remained in school or served in the military.

For the entire story:

U.S. to Stop Deporting Some Immigrants – NYTimes.com

June 14, 2012

Eight Reasons You Should Agree With Will Smith on Taxes | United for a Fair Economy

by Mary Baechler

Eight Reasons You Should Agree With Will Smith on Taxes | United for a Fair Economy.

May 11, 2012

America has been fantastic” to Will Smith. Like those profiled in our book, The Self-Made Myth, the 43 year-old actor, who makes an average salary of $36 million and has an estimated net worth of $215 million, knows much of his success wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else but here in the U.S. As such, he has “no problem” paying higher taxes for the good of the country.

Here are eight reasons why you should agree that the rich should pay higher taxes:

  1. Tax rates on the richest U.S. households are at historic lows.
  2. The share of national income going to the top 1% has reached a historic high.
  3. The richest 1% have all but recovered from the Great Recession, while the bottom 99% experience stagnation.
  4. Low taxes increase economic inequality.
  5. Lower tax rates do not lead to economic growth.
  6. Low taxes on the rich worsens the racial economic divide. (pdf)
  7. Historically, the wealthiest Americans have paid higher taxes during wartime (like right now).
  8. He is the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His break-through role was about a young man’s infiltration of the top 1%. Now, he’s actually in the top 1% and believes very wealthy people like himself should pay higher taxes. Considering the facts above, we should all agree.
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June 14, 2012

Eight Reasons You Should Agree With Will Smith on Taxes | United for a Fair Economy

by Mary Baechler

Eight Reasons You Should Agree With Will Smith on Taxes | United for a Fair Economy.


June 10, 2012

The Chosen Many

by ehungate

The National Democratic Party Convention will be in Charlotte, NC during the first week of September.  13 Delegates from Central Washington will participate, including 5 from Yakima.

Teri Staudinger of Pasco

Brad Taylor of Prosser

Rosalinda Mendoza of Union Gap

Jeremie Dufualt of Yakima

Matt Tomaskin of the Yakama Nation

Elizabeth Mendoza of Yakima

Mary Stephenson of Yakima

Ken Caylor of Othello

George Fearing of Richland

Dennis Montes of Nespelem

Lorrie DeKay of White Salmon

Jon Ferguson of Ellensburg

Karen Keleman of East Wenatchee

Alternate Delegates from Central Washington

John Orozco of Yakima

C’Ann Kariores of Colville  Nation

In November the Electoral College will meet in Olympia where the Democratic Presidential Electors will vote for Barack Obama.

Presidential Elector

George Fearing of Richland

Alternate Presidential Elector

Asa Washines of the Yakama Nation

June 10, 2012

How’s That Working for You?

by ehungate

Usually I make use of government statistics to make my economic arguments. This time I will use graphs sent out by a major Wall Street investment firm called John Thomas Financial. That’s kind of amusing; although, come to think of it, Wall Street is a great place to find authentic economic reports without a trace of ideology. This series of graphs is simple and easy to digest. It shows various measures of performance of the US economy between January 2007 and early 2012, with the enactment of the 2009 Stimulus marked clearly on each one. When you page through the graphs you can see the lag time between enactment and impact. You can see that the impact was significant and you can see that the impact is receding rapidly now.

President Obama has asked Congress to reconcile their respective Transportation bills and to pass something. The Transportation bill funds good public works programs that have always been approved by Republicans. Now, suddenly they aren’t okay, never mind what is good government. The President has asked for revenue-sharing for states, no more or less than in previous recessions under Republican Presidents. What was good for Reagan is good for the country. Today the House of Representatives refuses to take any fiscal steps to help the country get on its feet again. That’s not ideology, that’s a shame.

May 28, 2012

Sea policy needed for otter’s sake/ San Francisoco Chronicle

by Mary Baechler


The bill was inspired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent decision to give up on a failed 25-year policy – supported by commercial fishing interests – of trying to stop otters heading south. Past captures and relocations killed a number of young otters trying to colonize new territory. But in recent years, the small population around Monterey has failed to grow and so is at risk of extinction should a major oil spill or other disaster strike.

The bill claims that if the otters are allowed to establish a new population off someplace like Malibu, then they’ll interfere with military exercises. Six months ago, I spent time with the Navy and Marines training off Southern California and not one sailor or Marine expressed fear of otters to me. In fact, they got kind of excited when we’d spot dolphins, whales and sunfish in the waters off our ship.

Still, a California sea urchin diver told a House committee, “We need to balance the needs of all species, including human beings.” Apparently California’s sea otters, now numbering around 2,700, threaten to crowd out California’s 37 million people. The citizens group Friends of the Sea Otter calls Gallegly’s bill “dangerously counter-productive.”

It’s stories like this that make one wish that President Obama’s National Ocean Policy, which he signed in the wake of the BP oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, would get implemented sooner rather than later. This initiative, after all, is based on the recommendations of two blue-ribbon commissions, one appointed by President George W. Bush and the other headed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

It aims to resolve conflicts among different ocean users and would do so by getting more than 20 federal agencies with licensing and other ocean authority to eliminate their conflicting mandates on ocean management, reduce bureaucratic redundancies and work with regional groups to embrace local solutions to ensure healthy and productive seas. Perhaps sound ocean planning that balances economic activity and ecosystem services can be one of those rare bipartisan causes we can all embrace.

Or perhaps not.

Earlier this month on almost straight party lines, the House passed 246-174 a Commerce Department budget amendment proposed by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, to eliminate any funding for the National Ocean Policy. Flores, whose major campaign contributor is the oil and gas industry, was following the lead of House Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., whose major contributor is also oil and gas. Hastings calls the president’s ocean policy “mandatory ocean zoning … to block economic activity.”

We know whose economic activity he’s talking about. While many ocean interests, such as offshore wind energy development, ports and shipping, fishing captains, scientists, environmentalists and various states support the policy, the oil and gas industry does not. It has created a front group, the National Ocean Policy Coalition out of Houston, which opposes the president’s ocean policy because, unlike everyone else willing to come to the table to try to better manage our public seas, it already has priority seating.

If we want to see healthy populations of marine wildlife along our coasts and expanded opportunities for people to enjoy ocean recreation, transportation, trade, energy, food, medicine, security and a sense of awe and wonder from sea to shining sea, we need to understand that the ocean belongs to all of us – not a single industry or interest.

We also all share responsibility for its health. The National Ocean Policy is a good first step to support, as is letting otters swim free.

David Helvarg is an author and executive director of the Blue Frontier Campaign. His book, “The Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair With the Sea,” will be out in 2013.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/27/ED2N1OKFMM.DTL#ixzz1wBVaBsBv

May 25, 2012

Another Go at Our Public Money

by ehungate

The voters of Washington State have defeated Charter Schools three times. You would think that would deter another initiative to fund Charter Schools in this state. It hasn’t. There is so much potential profit to be made from privatizing education.

Quoting State Rep. Reykdal – “K-12 spending in Washington State represents over 2.5% of Gross State Product.  Billion dollar industries are created on a regular basis just pursuing a fraction of 1% of GSP, so you can imagine the market opportunity of a 2.5% share of the economy. From a 2007 prospectus provided by investment banking firm Montgomery Securities: “the education industry represents the largest market opportunity since health-care services were privatized during the 1970s.” They went on to say that the K-12 market “is the big enchilada.” So venture capitalists have long wanted to privatize K-12 for profit. In most states, it starts with contract mandates for goods, services, grounds maintenance, etc. Then they go after charter schools and they generally hide their intentions by selling them as non-profits with some kind of public accountability. Finally, the battle moves on to full blown voucher systems so students can shop around their voucher to those who market the best. This is exactly how it is playing out in Washington.”

Public schools, religious schools and home schools cannot thrive under corporate management. The way a business model has to squeeze costs in order to maximize efficiency and produce a profit is entirely different from an educational model that uses financial management in order to do a better job of seeing that every student makes academic progress. Only the public model aims to keep every single child in every community fully enrolled in an accredited school. That is one of the stunning aspirations of American education.

May 22, 2012

Follow the Action

by ehungate

Have you noticed how impossible it is to follow the action in Congress without having to read online newspapers? In the spirit of providing factual information, it is necessary to publish important Congressional votes. I subscribe to a customized weekly report from Megavote that is specific to this congressional district.


Congress is not in session this week. Last week, Hastings voted for a Defense Authorization that was passed by the House but is in trouble because it exceeds the Budget Act that was signed last year. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Budget Act and it is current law.

May 19, 2012

Doc Hastings wants to “improve” the Endangered Species Act

by Mary Baechler

Run, furry creatures, run!


May 17, 2012

Come the Revolution – NYTimes.com

by Mary Baechler

Great article by Thomas Friedman on the future of education!

Come the Revolution – NYTimes.com.


May 16, 2012

Hastings skeptical of proposed plants listings | capitalpress.com

by Mary Baechler

Hastings skeptical of proposed plants listings

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list as threatened under the Endangered Species Act two plants on and near Washington state’s Hanford National Monument.

A listing may restrict irrigated farming, recreational hiking, vehicle use and ultimately block the public from thousands of acres of Hanford monument and adjoining state and private lands, said Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and whose Washington’s 4th congressional district includes the area.

“Today’s action is the latest example of how the Endangered Species Act is being abused and warped by a barrage of costly lawsuits where lawyers seek to force hundreds of new ESA species listings through closed-door settlements with the federal government,” Hastings said in a news release.

For eight years, “an extreme environmental group” sued for federal listing of two Hanford Reach plants — the Umtanum Desert buckwheat and White Bluffs bladderpod, Hastings said.

The Obama administration has decided to press forward with a listing, Hastings said, noting he will closely examine the decision as chairman before any final decisions are made. He said he wants to ensure local community, private property and public access rights are protected.

The USFWS proposal includes about 344 acres as critical habitat for the buckwheat and 2,861 acres as critical habitat for the bladderpod. They include federal, state and private land.

Hastings sponsored HR2719, the Rattlesnake Mountain Public Access Act, which directs the Department of Interior to provide reasonable public access to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain in the Hanford Reach National Monument. The bill passed the House 416-0 on Dec. 15 and went to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The USFWS finalized a management plant for the monument in 2008 and has not provided public access.

— Dan Wheat

via Hastings skeptical of proposed plants listings | capitalpress.com.

May 15, 2012

50 Years of Government Spending, In 1 Graph : NPR

by Mary Baechler

50 Years of Government Spending, In 1 Graph : Planet Money : NPR.

Federal Spending

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May 14, 2012

World Population growth, in the last five minutes

by Mary Baechler

Wow, I went to look at  this website:


and they have this scary chart!   I couldn’t actually pull the exact numbers, because it moves so fast. Be sure to go look!





Here’s a documentary about Mother Earth:   Mother: Caring for 7 Billion  http://www.motherthefilm.com/

Thanks to Ed Patton of Yakima for this news tip!

May 12, 2012

Hello Yakima

by Mary Baechler

By Jeffry S. Bolinger

My apologies to the three or four people who log on to this blog. More than one opinion has been attempted to express but the same roadblock prevents completion and submission.

I am a christian and it is becoming more difficult to differentiate my opinion between the secular and the spiritual. My own shortcomings, failings and sins weigh heavily on how I choose my words because of my commitment to do what is right.

In some small way I have been allowed to influence others. How this happened is evidence. This is not what I aspired to become. Nevertheless this is who I am.

So to those who would listen. this is what I truly believe. I have been given the ability to know what is right and what is wrong. I know it almost immediately. I know at times I chose poorly. I know it never makes me happy.I know that when I choose wisely I am blessed with a peace the world cannot provide.

We live in the so called real world. This is a gift of love. How you use your talent is up to you. No one is here but for a purpose. Mine is to serve. My prayer is that you find yours.


J.S. Bohlinger

May 10, 2012

Free Movie Night! Sponsored by Tamaki Law

by Mary Baechler
Hot Coffee- Award; Award-winning documentary, sponsored by Tamaki Law

Hot Coffee- Award; Award-winning documentary, sponsored by Tamaki Law

This was a great documentary. Absolutely fascinating, especially since my son Oscar was burned by McDonald’s coffee (has a scar), years after the original case (which came after about 700 other burn incidents). MB




May 8, 2012

Talk by Chicago journalist Fern Schumer Chapman

by Mary Baechler

By Harris Meyer

Chicago journalist Fern Schumer Chapman gave a fascinating talk in Yakima on April 24 about how her mother, as well as the mother of Temple Shalom member Ann Sherman, came to the U.S. from Germany in 1938 as part of a U.S. interfaith rescue mission for Jewish children.

As Fern described in her book, Motherland – Beyond the Holocaust: A Mother-Daughter Journey to Reclaim the Past, her mother, Edith, came here when she was 12, part of the operation that saved about 1,000 children from the Nazis. Most of their parents, including Edith’s, couldn’t get out and perished. Ann’s mother’s parents were the rare exceptions who got out and survived — a wrenching story in itself.

There were so many interesting and moving parts of Fern’s talk, which took place at the home of Paula and John Vornbrock, that I’ll have to pick just a few. Continue reading

May 8, 2012

This Is Why We’re Fat! / Newsweek

by Mary Baechler

Gary Taubes is my favorite science writer! MB

The nation’s most powerful anti-obesity groups are teaming up for a new HBO documentary—but it pushes the same tired advice. Gary Taubes on the research they’re ignoring.

Most of my favorite factoids about obesity are historical ones, and they don’t make it into the new, four-part HBO documentary on the subject, The Weight of the Nation. Absent, for instance, is the fact that the very first childhood-obesity clinic in the United States was founded in the late 1930s at Columbia University by a young German physician, Hilde Bruch. As Bruch later told it, her inspiration was simple: she arrived in New York in 1934 and was “startled” by the number of fat kids she saw—“really fat ones, not only in clinics, but on the streets and subways, and in schools.”

What makes Bruch’s story relevant to the obesity problem today is that this was New York in the worst year of the Great Depression, an era of bread lines and soup kitchens, when 6 in 10 Americans were living in poverty. The conventional wisdom these days—promoted by government, obesity researchers, physicians, and probably your personal trainer as well—is that we get fat because we have too much to eat and not enough reasons to be physically active. But then why were the PC- and Big Mac–-deprived Depression-era kids fat? How can we blame the obesity epidemic on gluttony and sloth if we easily find epidemics of obesity throughout the past century in populations that barely had food to survive and had to work hard to earn it?

Why the Campaign to Stop America’s Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing – The Daily Beast.

Gary Taubes book at Amazon (also helpful for diabetics)

May 6, 2012

Forgot to Duck?

by Gregory W. Spearing

The Selah chapter of Ducks Unlimited celebrated their 32nd year and the parent organization’s 75th year at their annual fund raising dinner Saturday evening at the Elks Lodge in Selah. Ducks Unlimited combines ecology, family activities and responsible hunting.

What does Ducks Unlimited serve at their fund raising dinner? Continue reading