chris's blog

should military ships attend lakefair??

The Olympian's website – – is conducting an on-line poll at the left side of its home page. It asks whether military ships should be at Lakefair. Currently the poll results show 79% in favor of having military ships at Lakefair. Please visit the site and vote NO.

exercise empathy - foster kid sponsorship

My partner and I stopped "doing" christmas years ago. Mostly because it's a christian holiday and we're atheists and because it's a consumer holiday and we aspire to minimize our consumerism.  But I actually do miss gift giving. Gift giving is a way to celebrate your relationship with someone and I've always gained a lot of pleasure from finding a gift that a person will really enjoy and might not have thought of asking for.

Essentially, I think of gift giving as a fun exercise in empathy.

So, this year we decided to sponsor a foster kid. It's a little different because there is no relationship to celebrate. And maybe it's even a little consumerish because we'll be selecting items from a wishlist.  But foster kids already feel different from other kids and being able to say that they got x for christmas is a small thing that might make them fit in a little.

When I was a kid, I often received gifts from relatives I'd barely met and friends of my parents whom I'd never met. Maybe receiving gifts from a sponsor isn't that different from receiving a gift from some distant aunt you've never met.

In any case, I'm having a ton of fun brainstorming extra gifties that our foster kid might enjoy in addition to his wishlist items.

There are still a number of foster kids that do not yet have sponsors. Most of them are teenagers, which apparently is an age group that's harder to find sponsors for, probably because they want more expensive items. Personally, I prefer to sponsor a teenager - they have more developed interests, they're making plans for their future, and I have a stronger sense of empathy with teenagers than I do with young children.

If you're interested in sponsoring someone, the phone number to call is 725-6710

anti-war web developer network

Statistically ... the majority of Americans are silent anti-war nonactivists.

Well, I wish that were a true statement, but there are no statistics I know of that track such a thing. I do however believe in all my optimism that it's true: The majority of Americans do not support the war, but most Americans have not reached the necessary tipping point at which they will verbalize discomfort.

Whatever the reasons for that are (insert some negative stereotype here) there are other ways and means for activism and blogging is one of them ... It personalizes the war and is accessible to people who don't necessarily live near an activist community.

So, I have this idea that there should be a support network of web developer types willing to provide volunteer support to activist types who need assistance with their personal blogs and other online intiatives.  Sort of a web developer peace and justice thing ..

Any other web developers here interested?

Why *do* you shop at Ralphs and Bayview?

I shop at Ralphs often and have for the past 4 years and I see a lot of Coop shoppers there as well. I even run into people on the same pattern as me ... shop at the Coop, then go to Ralphs to get whatever the Coop doesn't have. 

Each time I go in there, I feel shitty about it because I know that a certain percentage of my money spent there will eventually be applied to political activities that  work to deny people's basic civil rights.

But the Stormans are crafty business people. They carry a lot of the same products as the Coop, while also carrying a few critical items that the Coop does not carry - free range beef, chicken and a wide variety of microbrews and wines. 

I know the Coop recently began carrying chicken and that's grand. I wish I could do all my shopping at the Coop because I trust the way the Coop spends my dollars.

But ...

  • I go to Ralphs when I'm in a hurry;
  • when I don't have time to risk something being out of stock at the Coop.
  • I initially began going to Ralphs because for a while it seemed the cash machine at the Coop broke a lot  ... which means a second trip home for the check book. 
  • I go to Ralphs when I need to buy beer or wine; 
  • when I need to buy boneless chicken breasts or free range beef that isn't frozen.
  • to buy sorbet that I don't have to cut with a sharp knife to dish up
  • mail: I can buy stamps, I can post my mail.
Let's face it, Ralphs is damned convenient. Most of the items I get at Ralphs are not easily found at another store.

So, while people are planning a temporary boycott of Ralphs due to their refusal to fill Plan B prescriptions, maybe it's time to consider the broader issue.

Ralphs and Bayview are owned by people who actively support religious politics that are quite contrary to many people's health and happiness.

women in I.T. at the Washington State Patrol

So, in today's Olympian, there was this article about some crazy fake party that employees at the Washington State patrol staged 2 years ago. Apparently, all the managers were away, and so as a joke, a bunch of employees videoed themselves snorting flour (fake cocaine) and drinking pop from unmarked cans.

Considering it was the state patrol, surely it was a joke in bad taste (I think it's funny; but maybe I'm missing something)

What disturbed me was this: They've disciplined 5 managers, most of whom were not present at the "party". All five of those managers are women who work in the I.T. Department, which is a rather rare thing ...  I.T. is  very male-dominated and mysogyny is a widely recognized problem in IT culture.

So, my question is ... were they really disciplined because their employees played a joke in bad taste?  The state patrol claims that the women are being disciplined for running a dysfunctional team (good god, we'd lose most of our state managerial workforce if that was a consistently viable reason). 

I suspect however, that the dysfunction was probably a result of having women in positions of power in an extremely male-dominated field and maybe those men they were supervising didn't like it. Pure speculation of course, but it would be consistent with research.

Oh yes, they're replacing the 1 manager placed on long-term leave with a man of course.

The War Tapes

Should be interesting - billed as "The first war movie filmed by the soldiers themselves"

local ownership of local resources

today's paper reports that the Olympia city council took action to reclaim our water rights at the brewery.

As I understand it, the current owner is in danger of defaulting on his loan. If he does, then the water rights will go to his lender in California or to the highest bidder.

With an impending worldwide water crises, selling off water rights to a company seems kind of assinine. Perhaps it makes sense for a community to lease those rights with a time limit, but not relinquish ownership.

I still don't think it should be legal for a company to determine how a community is able to manage it's local resources such as water. (e.g. when Miller closed the brewery in 2003, they were able to stipulate that beer could never be brewed on that site again - I can't find an online resource to quote for that though .. anyone?)

In any case, I'm so thrilled that our city council is trying save our water rights I think we should throw them a thank you party for not allowing it to languish.

Private land owner grants available

The Landowner Incentive Program has grants of up to $50,000 to give away to private landowners who want to take steps to protect endangered species.

Land owners only have to either match 25% of the $ or do in-kind work. Seems like an easy requirement.

If you know a private landowner who would use the money to do some good, send them that link above

Crawford update 8/28/05

posted by C for T

hello folks,

this will be brief, as there is much to do here and little time to do it.

i have grown quite used to living in the ditch. i like it here now. i have a great tan, and get plenty of exercise. i have lost seven pounds at last check.

all our food and water is donated from people all over the world. today we received over 3500 roses that were sent from mothers all over the world to place at the crosses in the ditch.

i have a photo of me and lt. sid franklin. who would ever have believed that i would have made such a good friend in a small town sheriff. when i get my stuff downloaded, i'll send you all a photo of us with our arms around each other.

i have had the opportunity to spend nearly a week in close proximity with joan baez. i have a photo of us together. i also gave russell means a tour of our ditch just the other day.

today we had two weddings, one in the big top tent at camp 2 and the other at down in the ditch.

the folks in the ditch refer to me as either sergeant major, or the ditch witch, depending.

i spend much time with the young vets that come in from the ivaw (iraq vets against the war) they don't seem to like it up at the big tent at camp 2 much, they love it down in camp casey... i've been trying to get one that used to only visit at night to come in the day, and just the other day, he was here for a few minutes. all of his fingers are blown off, one of his legs is, one arm is twisted, as is the other leg. his torso is a mass of burn scars.

his name is adam. the first time he came he would not allow me to touch him. he would not say his name and only stayed a short while. the second time, he told me his name and that his wife left him because he was too ugly now. the third time he came he said that wanted to talk to one of the vets. none of the young ivaw were there, but i got a vietnam vet for him. he only stayed a few minutes. 2 days ago, he came during the day, he touched my hand and let me hug him and kiss his check. he gave me his phone number. he was going to come back on saturday, but did not, and when i called him, i found him in the hospital recovering from seizures and let him talk to cody camacho of the ivaw on the phone.

Olympia Film Society fundraiser

If you're thinking of taking advantage of the Regal Cinemas $1 movie deal this week don't forget that all proceeds from Thursday night will be donated to the OFS.
First-run features include "The Cave," "The Brothers Grimm," "The Constant Gardener" and "Undiscovered."
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