Hella Bus Blog
What can be said about Sarah Nason that has not already been said about the Statue of Liberty?
Epic. Titanic. Defining. Very tall. Wait, scratch that last one.
It is with a proud single tear in our collective eye that the Bus gives Sarah a collective goodbye hug. After three and a half years at the Bus, Sarah is packing up her buttons, her chia pets, her laser focus on the bottom line, and her indomitable sense of humor, and is moving on.
Sarah Nason, how do we love you? Let us count the ways.
1. Official OG Bus status. Sarah was one of the original volunteers/conspirators who helped get the Bus started waaaay back when. Sarah was literally there before the Bus existed, and has seen the organization grow from helpless toddler to surly adolescent and into the self-assured (and under employed?) young adult. Not to mention the fact that she INVENTED VOTEBOT.
2. Director of Back End Services. If you've ever received an email from the Bus, or read something on our website, or, hell, noticed that we're doing a pretty good job of keeping on the right side of the law, then you are appreciating something that Sarah Nason has made possible. Sarah's brain power, attention to detail, and dogged determination to get the job done has made sure that all the crucial moving pieces that keep this organization going forward are ALWAYS working smoothly. It's a huge thing, and one that doesn't get nearly enough attention. Salute!
3. Duchess of Sustainability. The Bus has a commitment to having as small a footprint as possible. That means we don't use bottled water on Bus trips, it means we helped our office building get a green waste system set up, and it means that we ensure our partners at large festivals and events minimize the waste they produce. Sarah has been the driving force behind the Bus's sustainable mind-set. It's no coincidence that there is no styrofoam or extraneous plastic bags in the office. We're lean and green, because Sarah made sure we were.
4. Best Internal Emails Ever. The best part about doing a timesheet at the Bus (besides getting paid, natch) has been Sarah's hilarious and understated emails. Chuckles, guffaws, and outright LOLs IRL (amirite??) marked all of Sarah's communications with the rest of the team. They should be printed out and framed. Seriously.
Long story short - since the day the Bus first rolled, Sarah Nason has been the unsung foundation that we've built our successes on. It cannot be understated how crucial her dedication to young people and a stronger civic democracy has been to everything we have done. As she leaves, she leaves an organization that is indebted to her, and will feel her presence for a long time to come.
We're super excited for everything Sarah's got planned next, and we know we'll be seeing her a lot more. Thank you for everything the Bus, Sarah! Now go take over the world.
Sarah, breaking in the Votebot costume at Trick or Vote 2008:
And a few pictures from our glorious karaoke-heavy celebration of Sarah's last day:
The good peoples at Let's Get Healthy!, about the most enthusiastic and lovable public health organization around, are looking for volunteers for their exhibition in Seattle on May 9th! Check out the details below to help out at one of their education and research station and maybe learn a little about your own health in the process.
WHO WE ARE: Let’s Get Healthy! offers free events in which participants can visit exhibits on diet and exercise; take computer surveys on cancer risk, diet, and sleep; get measurements of their body composition; take their blood pressure; have blood samples measured for chemical analysis; and have saliva examples taken for genetic analysis. In addition to learning about their own health, attendees can contribute their data to an anonymous database for public health research.
THE EVENT: On Monday, May 9th, Let’s Get Healthy! will be presenting our exhibit at the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Program’s annual conference. We are looking for volunteers from 3:45pm – 7:00pm to help us run the education and research stations described above. On-site training is provided. Volunteers may sign up for a full or partial shift online at: http://healthdiscoveries.wufoo.com/forms/lets-get-healthy-volunteer-registration.
For more info contact Adam Lipus at lipus [at] ohsu [dot] edu or 503.494.3356.
The Bus, looking crazy good lounging by the beach in Montezuma, Costa Rica.
In a week when foreign policy and military investment is in/around America's collective frontal lobe (that's where you think things right?), there couldn't be a better day to share a remarkable article/document/manifesto that was released without much fanfare a few weeks ago. Authored by two members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "A National Strategic Narrative" is exactly what it sounds - a call to fundamentally re-think our approach to foreign policy in a globalized world.
Foreign Policy notes, "the report was issued under the pseudonym of "Mr. Y," a takeoff on George Kennan's 1946 "Long Telegram" from Moscow (published under the name "X" the following year in Foreign Affairs) that helped set containment as the cornerstone of U.S. strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union."
"Strategic Narrative" seeks to bring the "X" era to an end, so to speak. It deals in broad strokes, glossing over some major issues (global information exchange, for instance) and stays out of some notably contentious, but relevant debates (i.e. taxation). However, on the whole it offers a remarkably concise shorthand for the world we live in and what it takes for America to be a responsible and effective actor within it. I have to agree with Foreign Policy when they write, "Its findings are revelatory, and they deserve to be read and appreciated not only by every lawmaker in Congress, but by every American citizen." Follow the link and read the dang thing here.
The authors, both active-serving military officers, argue that a post-World War II foreign policy strategy based around containment and deterrence is increasingly irrelevant in a globalizing world. The blinding pace and increasingly diverse range of "global trends and conditions" in the world today render the traditional US state-centric viewpoint out of touch and, as the authors note, counterproductive to American interests.
Rather they argue that the modern world can no longer be contained or controlled, nor can the major actors be identified exclusively as states. This means investment at home, combined with a willingness to engage abroad on terms not based around misleading stereotypes is the most effective route towards developing credible influence in global affairs. They advocate cutting defense spending and instead increase funding to:
1) "intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America’s youth."
2) Directing government investment away from defense and protectionism and towards development and diplomacy. This includes viewing competition as an opportunity to benefit all parties, rather than a zero sum game.
3) "Develop a plan for the sustainable access to, cultivation and use of, the natural resources we need for our continued well-being, prosperity and economic growth in the world marketplace."
Invest in people as a key to national defense? I like where this is going. Hearing two members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff advocating massive cuts in defense spending and greater investment in social services should make us all stand up and take notice.
These words are particularly poignant given that funding to the pentagon has almost doubled in the last decade and funding for domestic services is being cut at remarkable rates despite rather important folks (Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, for example) calling for quite the opposite.
There's many, much, more good stuff in the article. Read a brief summary in Foreign Policy here, but I highly recommend you follow the link and read the full shebang.
X's piece in 1947 formed the basis of 60-some years of US foreign policy, one can hope that Mr. Y proves to be equally influential.
Ah the wonderful city of Bellingham, WA - home to (at least) five wonderful institutions of higher learning, hella farmers markets, beautiful Bellingham bay, and... coal?
Potentially. Several large coal companies plan to use Bellingham's Cherry Point Terminal as a shipping point for sending coal to Asia, posing potential health risks to Whatcom county's residents.
Our friends at Climate Solutions and the Sierra Club have organized a forum to discuss the potential impacts on the community and ways to get involved in the issue.
Peep the event info below:
Here's how you can help:
Join fellow community members at the Coal Hard Truth Forum and learn about the campaign to protect Bellingham and communities across Washington from the dirty and dangerous coal industry.
When: Wednesday, May 4th at 7:00 pm
Where: Bellingham Public Library (210 Central Avenue, Bellingham).
Who: Dan Pike, Mayor of Bellingham; Jean Melious, former Whatcom County Planning Commissioner; Robin Everett, Sierra Club; Matt Krogh, ReSources
v The regional picture of coal use and the health impacts of coal
v What this terminal proposal will mean for Bellingham, for the State of Washington and for the global community.
v Explore better alternatives and what you can do to make Washington Coal-Free!
For more information contact Llyn Doremus at firstname.lastname@example.org
Searching for one final reason to turn in your application for the Summer Fellows program? Look at the pretty pictures and listen to Dan Pink talk about what motivates people to do amazing things.
Here's why the fellows program is exactly what your summer's been waiting for: it's a brilliant combination of the three things that motivate people even more than money.
This summer you can choose your own political adventure with the Washington Bus, while at the same time mastering countless community organizing skills and working for progressive change in our lovable Washington State.
The deadline to apply is Monday, so hurry up and get on the Bus!
A sticker you may recognize, lounging outside Fenway Park!
The final application deadline for the summer of your dreams is right around the bend - a.k.a. this coming Monday, May 2nd. That means, there's still time to apply, but your window of opportunity is closing fast, so get on it y'all!
As inspiration, Hella Bus offers 5 ways to apply for the summer fellowship:
2) Contemplate the vastness of the universe, and then decide to make our corner of it a better place by applying.
3) Don't apply. Spend minutes sulking about the decision. Then apply.
5) Let's not make this any more complicated than it has to be shall we? Boom.
All are fair options, just do it already!
The new bus stickers are turning into a veritable pandemic (of the good, friendly, civically engaged kind). The Bus tour continues - now in Burlington, Vermont!
On a freaking flagpole y'all.
Bus, creepin' on Carnegie Music Hall (of the Pittsburgh variety):
At some point during your (ideally) brief and glorious career as a high school history student, you likely spent some time reading about many of the remarkably effective protest tactics used during the civil rights movement. Along with boycotts and marches, sit-ins were a common tool used by activists. At sit-ins, protesters sit down somewhere they're likely to get attention, then refuse to leave until they are forcibly removed or their demands are met.
But these sit-ins aren't just a tactic for the history books - on college campuses, the art of the sit-in is alive and well. Yesterday at Emory University, six students were arrested after staging a sit-in outside the administration building in protest of the college's food service contract with Sodexo, a corporation with frequent and severe labor violations against its employees.
Check out this unbelievable video of the arrests:
The University of Washington chapter of United Students of Sweatshops is organizing a campaign of their own against Sodexo, although what form the protests will take remains to be determined. Find out more about USAS and how to get involved at their website.
Make your voice heard, and maybe you'll be the one discussed in a history class someday.
Here at the Bus, we like to make sure that proper attention is given to local news stories that profoundly affect the public, but that might not get much coverage in local media. With that in mind, I urge you to check out this story from the A.P. shedding light on the dark side of our local nightlife - goldfish races.
The scene: A Tacoma bar racing goldfish through an 8-ft course, with onlookers urging the fish forward with squirt bottles.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending. "After complaints by phone and email, the Harmon Tap Room replaced goldfish racing with beer pong." Goldfish everywhere can sleep easier knowing that justice has been served.
The Bus has friends who like to travel the country. In bands. Making music. Turns out they like our stickers too, and we've started getting a trickle of photos from various stops that feature the brand spanking new Bus sticker.
We'll be posting them up as we get them - anybody think they can guess the tour?
Say out loud the first exciting thing you can think of, please. What was that? Budget graphs? ME TOO! (also this movie about a telepathic, murderous tire).
Well Internet, you're welcome:
This chart, based off numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, represents a couple, fairly simple things that tell us a lot about what balancing the federal budget in the future could look like. 1) The revenue being pulled in by the Federal Government (the dotted line) is much less than that being spent as of 2010 (hence that great, monstrous creature we sometimes call the deficit). 2) The Federal Budget looks remarkably like . 3) As Ezra Klein notes, the solution to balancing the budget is to do nothing (which is what happens on the "projected" side of things). That's right, just twiddle our thumbs and watch the budget balance itself.
What? My thoughts exactly. Turns out, the revenue on the projected side (where the dotted line stays even with the expenses represented by those three pretty colors) is based off of the numbers should three things that are scheduled to actually happen - actually happen. This includes implementing the medicare doc fix, the Affordable Care Act, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire in 2012.
As Ezra points out, this plan makes a lot of political sense because it is insulated, rather than obstructed by the now 60 votes it seems to take to pass anything out of the senate. Meaning, these three things will happen and the budget will be more or less balanced, unless the senate goes out of its way to prevent them from taking place. Sounds good, right?
Unfortunately, with the exception of the Affordable Care Act, this isn't the Obama Administration's plan. Instead, most of the tax cuts are likely to be extended, and the doc fix is unlikely to be implemented anytime soon.
In the context of this graph, all the clamoring about the deficit feels a little false given that the groundwork for balancing the budget is so present in front of us. And it feels like a pretty logical place to start a real discussion about our fiscal future.
Here's a bit of advice for any aspiring young journalists out there, every story you write, ever, should open with some iteration of the following:
"The US Navy has fired a laser gun from one of its ships for the first time."
After that just write the rest of your probably less interesting story, your readers will understand that you are a journalistic powerhouse and love/fear you forever.
In the case of this , the BBC goes a step beyond to note that the purpose of these laser guns is to attack pirates. I think we're all reeling from that one.
If you ever needed a reminder that we live in the future now then I would note that anti-pirate laser cannons now reign the high seas. My concern is, what the heck happens if pirates get their hands on this stuff?
I'm not sure what it's from, but I feel like this graphic is appropriate:
Watch a video and read all about it here!