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Get Down, Get Nerdy

Gennablogginhead.jpgAttention nerds, geeks and assorted dorks of all stripes: The National Jukebox may well blow your mildly over-sized minds.

With a little bit of their library wizardry, the fine people of the National Library of Congress in Washington D.C. have posted thousands of recordings from 1900 - 1925, now available for streaming online at their website. While the majority of it is music, including some fantastic rag-time and big band recordings, you can also listen to old comedy routines and speeches.

In case you need proof of how far politics has come over the past 80+ years, check out this speech (seriously, give it a listen), designed to rally supporters for women's suffrage in 1914. If you have any idea what he's saying, you are really darn impressive - I think it's safe to say they spoke a little differently back then. But the tone hasn't really changed all that much.

And the nerd in me thinks that's REALLY COOL.


Welcome Wagon #1: As It Happened

Posted by Alex Miller at May 20, 2011 02:55 PM |

Wow, it is feeling goooood around the Bus office on this sunny Friday.  Maybe it's the weather, maybe because we just successfully reassembled a file cabinet, but I'm thinking it has more to do with the majestic folks who came to last night's Welcome Wagon!

That's right, we kicked off the first installment of Welcome Wagon, the Bus' monthly volunteer orientation/dinner/happy hour yesterday evening in a packed office full of wonderful people (and Stephen Bronskill*).  Suffice to say, we had an amazing time.

Admire some photos of some of the Bus rockstars who filled out their brand new pledge to vote cards at Welcome Wagon!









Nicole, just hours before winning an Xbox, speaks to the masses.

The next Welcome Wagon is going down on June, 23rd from 6-7:30pm.  Everyone's welcome (wagon)!

*Just kidding, Stephen - you're amazing

The Famed Mt. Busaturk

Posted by Alex Miller at May 20, 2011 10:42 AM |


Update - Reel Grrls offer a lesson in principles

Posted by Alex Miller at May 20, 2011 10:20 AM |


A quick update to yesterday's story about Comcast defunding $18,000 from Seattle non-profit Reel Grrls' summer film camp.  In keeping with their principled and classy approach to everything they do, Reel Grrls has said they will decline Comcast's offer to reinstate the funding should they continue to censor Reel Grrls' communications.

In the non-profit world it's none to easy to turn down $18,000 dollars. If you love them as much as we do, please consider donating to Reel Grrls.

Also, check out this quick video by a few Reel Grrls about the incident:

Comcast - not such a fan of summer film camps?


Reel Grrls supports the empowerment of hundreds of young women through media-based training, resources, and community building (check out our Hella Bus profile on Reel Grrls here). They do good stuff. They are also nice people.  That's why we were a wee bit concerned to hear the news that Comcast threatened to cut $18,000 in funding for their summer film camp for teens because of a tweet (which was on point, by the way).

The tweet referred to former FCC commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker's spectacularly shady departure  from the FCC to take a high-powered job at Comcast just months after approving the controversial Comcast-NBC merger.  Free Press and other media watchdog organizations have been calling for an investigation into what seems to be a pretty blatant conflict of interest.  Although, it seems to have been pretty much legal.

In the wake of a media-blitzing, the higher-ups at Comcast are claiming that the threat to defund the program was the work of a rogue employee and that Comcast will restore funding. “This is not the way Comcast behaves toward its nonprofit partners,” said Comcast Spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice.

However, should Comcast follow through with their threat, three Reel Grrls participants "who had signed up for the camp are planning to come in voluntarily to create a film about Comcast’s decision to pull their funding," noted the Washington Post.

If you aren't familiar with them already, please check out Reel Grrls and the excellent programs they have to offer! Seriously, they're great.

some things that happened this never-ending-doom-cloud-season (spring)

As far as legislative sessions go (a thrilling way to start any sentence), 2011 has been a doozy.  Between shortfalls, loopholes, special sessions, and a whole lot of Oly, it's tough to cut through the haze and see what's actually been going down.  Big thanks to Publicola for compiling this shortlist of some important legislation that successfully did that whole "bill comes a law" thing this spring/never-ending-doom-cloud-season.  Turns out, the list includes new environmental protections, increased rights for same-sex couples, taking the burden of proof off domestic violence victims, foreclosure protections, and many more.  Find the article by clicking.


In other news, Netflix takes up one third of the internet! Crazy!


A little dose of common sense from the #waleg (plus hip twitter references!)


On Hella Bus, we've spent a lot of time talking about some of the services we really like that also happen to save Washington a fair deal of money in the long run.  We think it makes a lot of sense to not lose sight of long-term benefits in the midst of a short-term budget fight (see the Shot of Oly series).  In the case of family planning, we are pleased as punch to hear the legislature (or #waleg as the kids on the twitter like to say) is feeling the same way.

Sen. Karen Keiser's bill to expand family planning services to low-income folks in Washington State is more than welcome in a budget facing more than it's share of cuts.  The bill just passed out of the Senate with a 30-17 vote and now moves on to the house.

We're excited not only because it expands access to healthcare for thousands of Washingtonians, but because the bill is projected to save the state $4.5 million in services for pregnancies later.  That means, this bill = better healthcare and more dollars back in the budget.  I think Elaine Rose of Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington said it best, “This bill is a big deal, but it’s actually just common sense.”

Get the details on the bill in the Tacoma News Tribune here.
Oh yeah, and...

Sodexo - Oh HELL(A) No.

Gennablogginhead.jpgWashington State student labor activists make our heart go pitter-patter on an average day, but our hearts have been LITERALLY beating out of our chests lately. It's super awkward in staff meetings. But the condition shows no sign of going away, if students around the state keep up the good work.

It was announced yesterday that student activists at Western Washington University have finally won their eight month campaign to have Sodexo dropped as their campus's food provider due to Sodexo's continued labor violations against workers. With Evergreen having dropped their contract with Sodexo in 2001, this leaves the University of Washington as the last public university in the state still doing business with Sodexo.

The campaign against Sodexo by the UW's Kick Out Sodexo coalition is in high gear, with 27 students getting arrested last week at their sit-in in UW president Phyllis Wise's office. Join them for a rally in red square at 3:30 this Thursday, and keep our hearts uncomfortably active.

Meet Your 2011 Summer Fellows: Part 1


Ahem. Excuse me. Trying to keep it together here.  It's just. You see, what I'm really trying to say is -


The Summer Fellows program doesn't start in earnest until June, 20th (oh and you should all come to the Summer Fellows Inauguration* in Nord Alley to hang out with them), but it's never too early for a first look at some of the most dynamic, talented, and effervescent (yeah, we went there) young people in the state who will be taking that next step towards running the world this summer.  The folks below come from our first round of applications, so expect a part 2 to this series with more of what you love: great young people doing great things.

Check out their pictures and a brief statement from each (if we tried to put their whole resumes on here we'd be here all night). Be astounded folks - astounded.


Ellie Zuckerman


I was born and raised in Seattle and now attend Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts where I am a Political Science Major and a Sophomore. I enjoy trying out new restaurants or recipes, watching TV, listening to music and exploring the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.

Jordan Alam


My name is Jordan Alam and I am a current Barnard College student studying in NYC, but am originally from Seattle. I identify as a woman, a Bengali-American, a writer, blogger, artist, knitter, and all-over curious person: I have a lot of projects and opinions that I would love to share with you! Find me at my blog

David Reyes


As soon as I graduate from college, I am buying Pokemon Black Version.  I spend way too many hours of my life listening to Pink Floyd and thinking.

Mikeya Jackson-Harper


Mikeya aka “Keyabee” is a spoken word poet, hip hop emcee, educator, youth mentor, song writer, activist, student, & social justice passionate. She attends Washington State University majoring in Sociology and Digital Technology and Culture.  Please read her poetry at:

Katharine Buckmaster


Katharine Buckmaster, a recent graduate from the International School, will be attending Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies in the fall, where she will be pursuing LGBT/gender studies, human sexuality, and social change. Katharine is an active member of Diverse Harmony and the Unitarian Universalist community, and enjoys spending excessive amounts of time on Tumblr, streaming movies on Netflix, and sleeping.

Hannah Lertola


I moved to Seattle from East Lansing, Michigan in August to become a member of the South King County Washington Reading Corps, where I currently serve as a literacy tutor and mentor for really awesome youth at Tukwila Elementary. I graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 with a degree in Social Work. I like to spend time traveling and exploring, taking pictures, reading and learning, jamming to good music and snuggling with my fat cat, Mama.

Paris Randall


My name is Paris Randall. I am a self-motivated peacemaker, creator, and lover of the world.


Keep your eyes peeled - more amazing Fellows to come! Oh and you - yes, you - are invited to the Summer Fellows Inauguration on June, 20th:



*spelled right in only 3 tries!

Your Summer Soundtrack is Here. Get Ready.




FINALLY, Seattle-ites. It's finally sunny enough outside that you can listen to summery music without feeling like you're living in a fantasy world. In celebration of this, I give you four recent albums guaranteed to keep you energized for a long, beautiful summer of activism and Vote-Bot dance parties.


Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'

This album reveals a brilliant new side of the man who's already a master of R&B. Even though his influences come through loud and clear (Sly & the Family Stone and Ray Charles especially), he still sounds completely fresh. Get your '60s shoes and suspenders out and get ready to dance til dawn.

Cut Copy - Zonoscope

This album basically oozes sunshine. Your summer needs more synth-pop. Trust me on this.

Saigon - The Greatest Story Never Told

This album covers a ridiculously wide range of lyrical topics without ever losing direction or musical genius. Sure to sound fresh for the whole summer.

MEN - Talk About Body

If you thought that funk, electronica and gender politics couldn't coexist, J.D. Samson is here to blow your mind.


Breaking News: UW Sit-In

Posted by Alex Miller at May 11, 2011 01:55 PM |


Some very interesting breaking news: We just got word that over 50 University of Washington students are sitting in President Wise's office in protest of the University's contract with Sodexo at this very moment.  This is another in a series of protests organized by UW's branch of the United Students Against Sweatshops.  Word is that students are gathering in red square in support at the moment.  Check out their website to find out more.

Update: The protesters are live-blogging here.

Another Update:  The story has been picked up by MSNBC and King 5.

*** 25 UW students were arrested - see Seattle Times' recap. And OAG has posted a flickr feed of the protesters in the office here.


Today in Things To Be Excited About: Southeast Seattle's first art-walk!


New arts organization and good people Community Arts Create (CAC) are kicking off a whole array of exciting programs, starting with an art-walk in Columbia City on the 3rd Thursdays of every month.  With a city full of art-walks, this one is particularly exciting for a couple reasons. 1) The walk will feature a whole array of mediums, including your classic visual art, music, performance, spoken word, dance, and food.  2) It's about time that Southeast Seattle had an art-walk of its own! CAC are using an artwork as a great way to showcase the huge range of artistic expression in Columbia City, one of Seattle's most historic and diverse neighborhoods. Big win as far as I can see.

The Launch Party for the art-walk is going down this Saturday, find the event details here.

Want to help make it happen?  You can sign up to volunteer here, and/or give a gift to make the art-walk sustainable!

Meet Your Summer Fellows Staff

Summer Fellows. We love 'em.  But, the sort of boundless energy they bring day in and day out requires equally effervescent staff to keep up and help them along the way.  Enter, Summer Fellows Staff.  The three amazing people below are more than stunning smiles, folks. Each bring a wealth of high-level experience, talent, and rapier-like witticisms and are set to help guide the 2011 Summer Fellows to be all they can be (and be themselves while they're at it).  Having all been Summer Fellows last year, they know the program like the inside of Votebot's cardboard head and we consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have them back on the Bus!


Sera Day will serve as the Mentorship Staff this summer.  Sera is an almost-graduate of the UW School of Social Work, and a former Summer Fellow (class of 2010). She loves to practice yoga and make delicious desserts from scratch. When not engaging young voters and contemplating social justice, she daydreams of the Central California sunshine.


Genna Watson will serve as the Curriculum Staff this summer.  After considering the various ways to work more dancing robots into her life, Genna finally settled on working with the Washington Bus in every capacity possible. At any given moment, you will likely find her geeking out about ballot initiatives, reading comic books, or continuing her epic quest to find Seattle's best taco bus.


Stephen Bronskill will serve as the Field Staff for the summer.  Stephen grew up in Toronto, Canada with a number of moose, polar bears, and other woodland creatures. After leaving his family’s igloo for Seattle, he fell in love with the beautiful non-tundra filled wonders of Washington State. A soon to be junior at American University in Washington D.C., Stephen is studying Environmental Studies and Political Science. When not busy consuming copious amounts of Canadian bacon and maple syrup or compulsively hitting refresh on Politico, he enjoys biking, hiking and the great outdoors. Stephen is super stoked to be part of the Summer Fellows staff and can’t wait to help empower young people to stand for change in 2011 and beyond.

Get on the Welcome Wagon


On Thursday, May 19th, get on the Welcome Wagon, a dinner, a party and grand overview of the work that we do at the Bus and how you can get involved. Bus stalwart? come hang, we miss you.  Never been to an event, but curious? this is the event to see what all the buzz is about.

The Welcome Wagon marks the birth of a new era of leadership at the Bus, namely, yours. This is the easiest way to see what the Bus has cooking for the next year, and your first chance to reserve a front seat in the movement driving a more inclusive, engaging, and downright enjoyable generation of politics. If you can't tell, we're a wee bit excited.

There are two things the Bus loves above all else:

1) You.

2) You driving the Bus. (we won’t expect you to do donuts in the parking lot *)

There will be a party. There will be prizes (ranging from shirts to the intangible flush of foosball victory). There will be a chance to take leadership at the Bus. There will be amazing and brilliant people. But most importantly, there will be YOU.

Put it on your calendar - like right now would work well for us.

Help us make sure we have plenty of food and drink: RSVP by sending a fun fact about yourself to nicole (at) washingtonbus (dot) org or call us at the office at 206-325-1889!


Welcome Wagon
Thursday, May 19
6-7:30 pm
Bus HQ: 1100 E Union St, Suite 1E, Seattle, WA


To spell things out, at the Welcome Wagon any or all of this could be yours:

1) Food - yum.

2) Drinks - delectable.

3) Good company - party time, excellent.

4) Insanely sweet volunteer opportunities (perhaps at little old things like Bumbershoot, Sasquatch, Capitol Hill Block Party, and Candidate Survivor) - kaboom.

5) Hands-on training and networking opportunities - get it.

6) Foosball tournament - merciless.

7) An evening dedicated to empowering a new generation of leaders in our state - yes and yes.

8) For some reason, I like it when these lists end up on even numbers - illogical.

We're going to do a Welcome Wagon every single month, because we meet good folks every single day. All you have to do is show up - the rest is all smooth-like.

The May installment is special because it's the first one, and if you are asking yourself what the Bus can do for you (and what you can do for the Bus, natch), then you are psyched for Welcome Wagon!


*although it could be arranged**

**It probably can't be arranged



"The cup has fallen!"

Today in news regarding buses and their ability to crush things: Real Madrid, returning home after victory in the legendary Copa del Rey over arch-nemesis Barcelona, got all loosey-goosey with the cup on a double-decker bus.  Madrid defender Sergio Ramos - appearing to be wearing the cup like a hat while perched precariously at the front of the moving vehicle - yes, this sentence finishes exactly like you expect it to - dropped it right under the front tire of the bus.


What I appreciate most is Ramos' Tolkiensian reaction - "The cup has fallen into shadow!"  While all credible sources insist that the cup was shattered in ten pieces, Ramos continues to claim that it is fine.

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