Tag Archives: Seattle

the other Washington … Seattle


PDF of today's Seattle Times front page

FIRED! for having an abortion..or using birth control..or getting pregnant…


Friend of Reproductive Rights …

Ben Betz, People For the American Way

Right Wing Watch

Congressional Republicans seem to think that workers are the property of their employers!

They want to reverse DC’s reproductive health non-discrimination law — making it so women could be fired for having an abortion or using birth control — because they say that kind of discrimination is a business owner’s “religious freedom!”

Please stand up to this outrageous extremism and tell Congress: hands off the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act!

sign the petition

First, I ask that you read this whole email, just so you can get a full appreciation for what’s going on here, and how absolutely appalling this example of right-wing extremism is that I’m about to share with you. (And, of course, your voice is also needed in response.)

The Washington, DC City Council recently passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. The law protects workers from being fired or punished by their employers for things like having an abortion, using contraception, or getting pregnant out of wedlock. Or for having a family member (spouse or dependent) engage in the same.

Congress has the authority to reverse local laws passed by the District of Columbia — which itself is a fundamentally undemocratic arrangement, but that’s a story for another email! — and now Republicans in the House are looking to use this authority to repeal the DC law.

Please speak out against this now (then keep reading)!

This repeal is a threat to every woman, and every family with a woman, in DC. Additionally, the driving force behind this Republican intervention represents an urgent national threat to women, to LGBT people, and to the principle of religious liberty.

That’s because at the same time Republicans in Congress are taking their anti-choice attacks to frightening levels, they are escalating the right-wing trend of hijacking “religious liberty” to justify discrimination.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said that Republicans believe the DC law unconstitutionally violates the religious freedom of employers because it “forces employers to hire and retain individuals whose beliefs regarding reproductive health decisions are different from what the employer advocates.”

Ummm, yeah! That’s the entire point of living in a free country! For a group of people who love to talk about “freedom” as much as they do they do, they really, really don’t get it.

In fact, it seems that Republicans think the definition of “freedom” is exclusively reserved for the freedom of businesses to own their employees and control every aspect of their lives.

Anyone who loves the First Amendment and values true religious freedom should be outraged. As should the people Republicans want to make vulnerable to discrimination.

Thanks for making it through this. If you are as incensed about this as I’d expect, please help by spreading the word after you take action.

Thanks!

— Ben Betz, Online Engagement Director

birthright birthers citizenship economy and austerity …


WordpressPicturesOutsidemywindow repost

just another continued rant on citizenship … from 2013

I thought Republicans had finally grown up and swept the birther issue under a rug somewhere safe.  That seems to have lasted for only about two Romney flip-flops. It is apparent that Tony Perkins, president of the Family Res Council, Republican members of Congress and Governors continue to tell Americans that birtherism, the War on Women and our Rights to… (You fill it in), are without a doubt much more important than our economy. I would be happy to see Republicans in Congress actually, do the people’s business at all, let alone increase it, as the current group works for 190days. Despite everything the Republicans have done, our economy is on the mend. Our slow economic recovery is happening without austerity measures though all the filibustering Mitch McConnell and his comrades continue to engage in against progress; austerity was and still is the word of the day and mission of the new Republican freshman. While some Americans, have seemingly had the wool pulled over their eyes in election 2010. The ugly truth began to leak out at town hall meetings and finally a smidge of buyer’s remorse set in as actual plans like the Paul Ryan plan received a 2nd look and was rejected but 2.0 has popped up and his path to economic prosperity deserves a whole lot of scrutiny.

In between all the confusing economy noise, the Republican Party continues to reach new lows in desperate behavior. While birtherism on its face is funny at times because who really takes this stuff serious …right.  Nevertheless, the topic, subject … stupid things conjured up through ideology continues to be added to the conservative conversation and list of ‘Religious Conscience‘ though some call it religious instinct. With severe conservatives like Mitt Romney, we all should wonder if religion, consciousness, or instinct should be allowed in the same sentence let alone our own – conscious thought, considering what Policies Romney will be throwing at Americans for the next six months. The War on women, immigration, workers, minorities, students, and voter rights are Republican issues , a slap of reality, or a rude awakening with so many states trying or passing strict negative conservative legislation against the middle and lower class cloaked in big bright new ideas on that path to prosperity that representative Paul Ryan is currently pushing. Except, the political Party of NO, the Republican Party of the 21st Century is no longer our parents conservative party.

We all have to know; that the path conservatives want us all on could destroy our democracy.

Hey, if you are sitting on the voting fence in this 2012 election year … look at Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, or Michigan for the current state of mind conservative lawmakers are lounging in. I will admit  I usually consider any conservative pledge as laughable -until the” Purity Pledge” from a group named N.O.M. popped up. Common sense if any available, tells you that a pledge to hurt others or exclude them definitely sounds silly, is way beyond offensive right, yet, it got signed by all the socially conservative candidates for President. It tells pledgers to, among other things commit to practicing exclusion and  lest we pay attention to their choice of words “purity” and I  become ill immediately, as that word covers so much more than their requirements listed here for any votes the candidate for President gets in exchange for a signature. This thing is not only archaic but this extremely conservative organization wants, “Signers to pledge: never to engage in pre-marital sex or extramarital affairs, end all viewing of pornography and gambling, never to marry a person of the same gender, and never to “favor any government action that would allow for civil unions of people of the same sex”. I don’t know if all Republicans agree with this purity pledge, we all know they signed the Norquist pledge and that has hurt all Americans as well as that “family values platform” which also covers birther issues too no less. Suffice it to say that conservatives behaving badly and that cliché, “do as i say not as i do; comes to mind as most if all are not that pure, if you get my drift. If you believe in social conservatism you will be voting against your own best interest in the 2012 elections, controlled by extreme policies and that is sad.

The commonality between birthers, birthrights citizenship economy, and austerity or the lack of it or any of the combinations out there is …that the latest comments coming from these social conservatives are code for and against “the other”. It should make us all stop and reassess not only the beliefs of these conservatives voted into positions of power and Public Service but we must all challenge them, their oath, and the servants they pledged to be. We all know this group has managed to get away with attacking women, gays, the undocumented and minorities with legislation that will has disenfranchised them. Then we crossed into Blunt territory – pun intended and luckily, that blunt was put out. I wonder if anyone else wonders or imagines how often these fools must meet plan and cover each other on the local state and federal level. Speaker Boehner, plays his part well, his buddies claim they want smaller Government yet their policies include controlling half the population. Given that bit of info, it bares reminding that anything done to one part of our system effects another…our system is interrelated thus adversely affecting birth, rights, citizenship, and our economy’s chances of being force fed austerity by Teapublicans.

It is not clear to me what Willard Mitt Romney stands for today but just wait … it could change. I have to complain about that nasty speech with Romney, smacking his lips and spewing something to his NH audience about Real Americans don’t apologize while abroad, that President Obama does not get real Americans and the BS about urban children. Mitt, what are you tryin to say ?The speech among a few others gave  us all proof of just how out of touch the Teapublican Candidate for President is . Romney has done nothing but flip flop since he announced his candidacy and still wins the nomination. I don’t know if Trump will be the next fool to win the nomination but given all his babbling … His comments on Race , Gender and Immigrants should not be ignored or forgotten at the 2016VotingBooth

The sole mission of this Republican Party of No – is to turn back the clock …It is beyond offensive and will affect all our families past present and

THE Plastic Bag Ban STORY …


beaseedforchangestickersGREEN

first posted – Nov.2011

What’s the Problem?

Washingtonians use more than 2 billion  single-use plastic bags  each year, and Seattle alone uses approximately 292  million plastic  bags annually and only 13% are recycled.  Too many plastic  bags end up  in Puget Sound where they do not biodegrade.  Plastic bags break down  into smaller and  smaller pieces that remain hazardous as they are  consumed by filter-feeders,  shellfish, fish, turtles, marine mammals,  and birds. PCB levels in Chinook  salmon from Puget Sound are 3- to  5-times higher than any other West Coast  populations. In 2010, a  beached gray whale was  found to have 20 plastic bags in its stomach!

Data source: Keeping Plastics Out of Puget Sound,  Environment Washington Report, November 2011

How would the plastic bag ban work?

by Mike O’brien

It’s simple – retailers are prohibited from offering plastic   carryout bags to customers.  Paper bags  may still be provided to  customers for a minimum of five cents – stores keep  the nickel to help  cover the cost of providing bags.  Everyone is encouraged to bring, sell  and use  reusable bags.

What bags?

  • Banned Bags Include: plasticbags provided at checkout of all  retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from non‐renewable  sources).
  • Exclusions: bags used by shoppers in a store to package bulk  foods, meat, flowers, bakery goods or prescriptions; newspaper, door  hanger bags and dry cleaning bags.

What stores?

  • Where the policy applies: all retail stores including but not  limited to grocery stores, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies,  department stores, farmers markets, restaurants and catering trucks.
  • Where it’s not applicable: for take‐out food where there is a public health risk if a bag is not provided.

What about paper?

  • Retailers may provide paper bags made of at least 40% recycled  paper for a minimum 5 cent pass through cost that retailers keep to  offset the cost of providing bags.
  • Low income customers who qualify for food assistance programs shall be provided paper bags at no charge.

Joining cities on the West Coast and around the world

Seattle would join cities along the West Coast, hundreds of cities  across the country and twenty nations worldwide that have already taken  action to reduce the use of single use plastic bags.

  • San Francisco, CA – Banned plastic bags in 2007.
  • Los Angeles County – Banned Plastic bags November 2010; includes a 10 cent fee on paper bags.
  • Portland, OR – Banned plastic bags in summer 2011.
  • Edmonds, WA – Banned Plastic Bags in 2009; law was implemented in August 2010.
  • Bellingham, WA – Banned plastic bags in 2011, in the model outlined in this document;  legislation to be implement in summer 2012.
  • Washington DC – Implemented a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2009; reduced  disposable bag use by 80% citywide in first year.

Background in Seattle

Approximately 292 million disposable  bags are used in the City  of Seattle annually.   In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance that  would have placed a 20 cent fee on disposable plastic and  paper bags  at grocery, drug and convenience stores in an effort to reduce  waste.   The ordinance passed the Council  in a 6-1 vote and then opposing  parties collected enough signatures to refer  the ordinance to the  ballot, where it was over-turned by the voters (53%-47%)  in the  November 2009 primary election.   The American Chemistry Council spent  over $1.4 million opposing the law during the ballot measure campaign.

Today, as the ban on plastic bags is implemented and or enforced most checkers were asking if you would like to buy a cotton bag because there were no flimsy plastic available. Now, after finally getting those flimsy bags out some stores, others such as the Dollar store and Safeway came up with or possibly the plastic industry came up with a heavy-duty supposedly reusable bag. I was at a Safeway and needed another bag. I honestly did not want to spend $5 and while I was looking around, I spot a heavy-duty plastic Safeway logo inscribed bag with pretty colours. This was a disappointing find on so many environmental official statewide ban levels though i admit it can be reused, it is quite large and was only .25 but they tear easily. I bought one to see how it would hold up and it lasted about 2hours … so, the next question for king county is if they actually have folks checking in on those heavy-duty reusable bag

What bags?

.beaseedforchangestickersGREEN

More States and Countries are choosing to Ban and or Reduce access to Plastic Bags


beaseedforchangestickersGREEN a repost … and more posts to follow on what is happening now … 2015

I have to include an 2015 update to what seemingly was a ban in 2012, was in reality. a choice to pay .5 – .10cents for plastic bags if you want them? The good news is that the transition to an actual ban on plastic as a choice is happening in some parts of Washington state! YAY I have been shaking my head for the last 2yrs when more often than not the checker goes into auto-reaction mode and grabs the plastic if the consumer didn’t bring their own. I am not sure what I expected, but having forgotten my own bags on several occasions the response or offer for a reusable bag was seldom or none and makes me wonder just how much of an impact is being made since the statistics are probably tainted with how many plastic bags are given out each day versus paper or offering a reusable bag. Now, in this year of 2015, no plastic bags are available at more grocery stores and if you don’t have your reusable some of the clerks actually say paper or you can buy one of ours …. finally.

In March of 2012, I heard that Alameda County California voted to implement their “ban” on single use bags not regulate them sometime around January 2013. It just so happens that at or around the same time things were being finalized in different parts of our beautiful state of Washington. Though it has been a long struggle for Washington State to move towards an ordinance that would “ban” bags at retail outlets due to big MONEY in the plastics industry. However, in late December, word was that the City Councils Zero Waste Initiative to “ban” plastic bags in limited and in graduated way realized after four years. In 2008, the Council banned Styrofoam and though they tried to regulate plastic bags they got serious push back from the industry, which spent about $1.4 million, collected signatures with rumors of leaving out some info … then had the ordinance repealed. It was nice to read about Council Bill 117345, a bill to protect Puget Sound, our marine wildlife and our Environment in general joining about twelve states and up to twenty nations. The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to implement the ban on plastic carry out bags.

After years of pulling out my small recycled bags for the checker to shove my groceries into, Washington State is joining the global movement to protect marine wildlife; the ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2012. It may be a cliché, but this ordinance is a change we can all believe in. I have to say, at first; in my experiences; checkers seemed a little annoyed at having to fight with the reusable bags. The word from most Checkers back in the day was, that plastic is just easier. Yes, the first reusable bags were too small, the dye ran the material was unforgiving, but as folks found better ways to make them; the cost came down and more people bought them including me.

Now, the bags not only cost a little bit more, they are bigger more stylish, last forever are definitely more flexible, and a highly recommended investment. The move to switch from plastic to” bring your own bag” will be difficult for some at first; I intend to carry a few extra to give away or sell; on my website because documented studies show that birds, sea turtles and other wildlife eat plastic bags and some are made with toxic chemicals that could be harmful. The time for a behavior change is now. We all know change is tough, but here we are in the 21st Century and that floating garbage circle, called the ” Great Pacific Garbage Patch discovered in the 90′s by Charles Moore, is only getting bigger. There will always be push back from the plastics industry, their supporters as well as environmental activists who all feel the government does not go far enough and they may be right, but we have to start somewhere.

It baffles me at how complicated people have made the effort to clean up our environment; we all know the need to reduce TRASH as a whole starts at home, although Seattle is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the nation, only 13 percent of plastic bags are recycled or re-used.

We owe it to our next generation…

Grocery stores, as well as food service outlets owe it to consumers and the environment.

It took quite sometime and we’ve come a long way from fighting the plastic industry to now finding that Indeed some Grocers feel the same way by eliminating plastic bags period ~ 2015

stay tuned in … who are the enforcers?

Get This Eco-Friendly 100% Organic Bag great for Shopping& the Beach-

www.bonanza.com/booths/BeaSeedforChange

repost from 2013