Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude Bennington Mason County Progressive


Mason County, WA USA


Submitted to Shelton Blog by John Cox
Mason County Progressive

Regarding the 8/25/11 letter to the editor of the Shelton-Mason County Journal submitted by Brian Avery titled "Avery urges voters to support Dick Taylor" in which Mr. Avery states, "the bickering at the port has to end and since I will not be the one to end it, please support the only candidate who can -- Dick Taylor."

The "bickering" you refer to, Mr. Avery, is a sign that Port Commissioner Jack Miles is doing the right thing for the citizens of Mason County who don't have their hands in the taxpayer pockets or own half the forest land in the county, or who would clear cut the world and still not have their greed satisfied.

This is why we continue to BACK JACK and recommend others to do the same.

Yes, the primary was a bit close, but Jack is still in the race to retain his Port of Shelton Commissioner seat, hot though it is.

Dick Taylor and his supporters, many of whom adhere to the "corporate greed creed" are trying to make one of the main election issues, the manner in which Jack Miles was discharged from the Marines. Facts are facts, and Jack did what he did, and it doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, I admire him for standing up for his convictions.

I feel I can say this because I am a veteran too. I participated in the cold war as a sonar tech on a nuclear submarine with the primary mission of spying on Soviet submarines in the Pacific, and if the truth be told, one of my personal primary missions at that time seemed to have been getting drunk in various ports around the world.

That's how it seems looking back. I did a lot of things that, if caught, might have jeopardized my "honorable" discharge. I also didn't do some things that I should have done that would also have jeopardized my DD 214. Instead, I was lucky and/or lacking in the courage of my convictions at that young age. Anybody who has lived more than 5 or 6 decades and thinks they are any better than Jack Miles is a hypocrite, or has never really taken an honest look at themselves.

So now that Mr. Avery is out of the picture, we are back to the battle of the "archetypes". For me this is one of those GOOD vs EVIL duels. Dick Taylor wearing the black hat and Jack Miles wearing the white.

Actually, I don't know if Dick Taylor wears a hat, but the fact that he supported ADAGE, and still supports biomass incineration says volumes to me. It tells me that as a Port Commissioner, he would agree with anything that Jay Hupp says. My problem with this is that I personally tend to not agree with just about everything Jay Hupp says as a Port Commissioner. I know! I know! Who am I to disagree with Jay Hupp? I am but a mere citizen.

And that's the problem. Commissioners Jay Hupp and Tom Wallitner, and Port Director John Dobson do not want to hear anything that the citizens who do not support their positions have to say. If not for the laws of this state, I am sure the door to the Port would be shut tightly to any citizen who asks too many questions or opposes the plans of the present Port Regime.

And then there's Port Commissioner Jack Miles. He's the only commissioner that has any respect, whatsoever, for the average citizen. When he disagrees with the other Port Commissioners, you know it. There is no guile. There is no back room debauchery. There's just Jack telling it like he sees it.

What Jack Miles does is definitely not "bickering". It is standing up for what is right. And of course the present Port Regime despises him for it.

Photo by Christine

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

Excerpt from:

Shelton Hills Development
By Mark Hall, Developer, Shelton Hills

In his recent statement, Port Commissioner Jay Hupp claims the Port is merely defending the airport. The reality is that the Shelton Hills project poses no threat to the airport whatsoever. The real consequence of the Port’s actions is to block economic renewal for Shelton and Mason County.

It has been said that the Port of Shelton is the economic engine that drives Mason County. Unfortunately those at the wheel are driving in the wrong direction. Port officials fail to recognize that in order to attract the executives and employees of new industry to Mason County, the region must provide expanded retail services and modern housing. The Port is in no position to accomplish this. In contrast, the Shelton Hills development will provide expanded and modern retail services and high quality housing, as well as a professionally designed and appointed business park that the region needs in order to attract business to the area.

Mr. Hupp has stated that residences in our project will be built right up to the airport fence and that there would be no buffer between the airport and housing. This is factually incorrect. Actually, we will have an industrial park together with an extensive wetlands buffer between our residentially zoned properties and the airport. This buffer from the airport ranges from 2000 to 3000 feet wide.

Mr. Hupp is acting like Chicken Little when he talks about noise complaints. The Port has offered no proof that there will be a noise issue. In fact, the Port’s own studies show that airport noise will not pose a problem for residential development. The Port need only examine the work of its own consultants to calm its baseless hysteria and fears.

Mr. Hupp claims that the re-zone of a small portion of our land inventory from industrial to residential will “stifle business development” by reducing the amount of industrial and commercial land inventory available. The lack of inventory of commercial and industrial land that Mr. Hupp refers to is illusory. The demand for industrial and commercial land in Mason County is nowhere near available inventory capacity and to assert otherwise is frankly ridiculous. The County has enough industrial land for the next 20 years at least, even with the Shelton Hills conversion from industrial to residential property. The Growth Board has affirmed this fact.

Mr. Hupp fails to ask himself why there would be any demand for this remote piece of industrial property when the Port cannot find users for the thousands of acres of it’s own developed land that already has infrastructure serving it. Furthermore, Hupp knows full well that the Shelton Hills property in question is too steep for industrial uses. It is hard to imagine that there will ever be a market strong enough to pay for the cost of hillside industrial development behind the existing residential zoned property in our project, when so much perfectly flat and easily accessible land is already available.

As outlined in Mr. Hupps statement, we now hear, for the very first time, his latest argument that somehow the re-build of the Wallace-Kneeland interchange will inhibit mobility by making it “all but impossible for truck traffic” to move between the Wallace-Kneeland interchange and the Johns Prairie industrial park. Public officials must be held accountable for the truthfulness of their statements.

The fact is that Mr. Hupp's Port was directly involved in a 24 month long process that included the City, the County, the Transit Authority, the State Department of Transportation, and many very experienced and informed traffic engineers regarding the redesign of the Wallace-Kneeland interchange. With the Port’s direct involvement, the interchange was specifically configured to handle hog fuel trucks, pole trucks and logging trucks to allow free flowing movement and eliminate unnecessary stoplights. This was a primary design objective in order to improve mobility to Johns Prairie. Now the Chairman of the Port Board of Commissioners asserts it will be “all but impossible” to get through there. This is certainly a curious statement, to put it mildly.

Mr. Hupp states that the Port “has always been in support” of the Shelton Hills project. In fact the Port has initiated several lawsuits against the project. Until the lawsuits that we are defending have been settled, we cannot proceed forward. Mr Hupp knows this. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Mr. Hupp and the rest of the Port Commissioners and its Director, John Dobson, are preventing the citizens of the City of Shelton and Mason County from realizing the benefits of the project. They are single handedly attempting to destroy our project with unsupported and false allegations, some of which I outline here, and by employing a strategy based on outright abuse of the legal process. It is the elected officials of the City of Shelton who have jurisdiction over our land and who the people have selected to decide what is right for them, not the Port Commissioners.

We have a carefully thought out and financed plan to create infrastructure, retail services, industrial development, housing and jobs. We have deep experience at this and we are committed to the success and responsible stewardship of our plan. This plan will be implemented over many years, and we are here for the long haul. This plan will go a long way towards ending the economic despair in the community.

Mr. Hupp and fellow Port Commissioners I ask you point blank, what is your plan? If the Port does not have a sound, economically, environmentally and socially responsible plan for economic development, it should get out of the way of those who do.

Maybe it is time for the voters of Mason County to ask what exactly is the value in having a separate municipal government entity like the Port of Shelton? Do they pay their way, or are they really just an obstruction to progress and the efficient delivery of cost effective government services to the citizenry? Would it be better to collapse the Port and divvy up the oversight to the County and the City? Could the County and the City run the Port activities without the duplication in staff and save the taxpayers a few bucks? Could the Port owned land be sold off to private owners and the proceeds used to improve the roads and schools of the City and Mason County?

I believe that a continuation of the questionable behavior of the recent leadership of the Port of Shelton should cause all citizens of Mason County to take notice and start asking these sorts of questions.

Mark Hall, Developer, Shelton Hills

Link to complete article:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude Bennington Mason County Progressive

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Port Supports Simpson Nuclear Recycling


Submitted to Shelton Blog by John Cox Mason County Progressive

Port of Shelton Commissioner Jay Hupp, at a recent meeting of the Port Commission, released a statement in support of Simpson's latest totally separate enterprise to be named Nuclear United Technology Systems, LLC (NUTS). The operation center for this new enterprise will be located at a site next to the other completely separate operation that Simpson plans to not run, the proposed Solomon incinerator.

As a renewable energy project, NUTS will recycle radioactive waste into fuel for home heating systems and anti-terrorist defensive weapons. This new application of technology became possible only after the EPA ruled that radioactive contamination is a renewal resource. The local Chamber and the NRA are developing an ad campaign to encourage home owners to invest in this new technology as it will create jobs for our area.

Mason County Commissioner Tim Sheldon said he too supported the new job creator in the county, but wanted to know if trees could be included in the recycling mixture in order to create a truly green product.

Of course, not everyone supported the NUTS idea. Environmentally concerned citizens began asking questions at the Port meeting, but were soon escorted out by members of the ad hoc security committee of the pilots association, with Jack Krause commanding. Krause said, "They are just so disruptive and mean-spirited."

When asked if there might a pollution problem with the operation being so close to the harbor, Steve Bloomfield, known locally as the Clam Pirate, and a member of the Backroom Boys Consortium, answered from the audience. He suggested that any pollution from the new plant would benefit the shellfish industry for two reasons: the radiation absorbed by the oysters would kill harmful bacteria, and the glow would make it easy to harvest oysters at night.

Port Commissioner Miles objected to the proposed project, and inquired as to what official role the Port played in Simpson's latest plan. Port Executive Director John Dobson responded, "If there's a buck to be made, we want to be there! And, don't forget the jobs!"

Commissioners Hupp and Wallitner then turned their backs to Commissioner Miles and pointedly snubbed him until the meeting was adjourned.


Monday, August 22, 2011



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price
Mason County Progressive

This blog has been reporting for some time that certain state and federal agencies which were created to protect citizen health and rights have been staffed with corporate "yes-men". The result of this staffing is that some of our "environmental" agencies now exist to serve corporate polluters, rather than to protect citizens.

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, also known as ORCAA, which never met a permit it did not like, and the Department of Ecology, which believes Simpson Timber Company and Solomon Renewable Energy Co. are separate entities, are two examples of agencies citizens expect to protect them from pollution.

Silly citizens; these agencies not only do not protect the citizen, these agencies exist as a support agency and a permitting agency for polluting industry.

To confirm this, agencies responsible for making sure that construction does not occur without permits are ignoring Nippon's full-speed ahead construction in Port Angeles, notwithstanding the pending appeal of the Nippon project by FIVE environmental groups.

In the old days (when government agencies and the judiciary gave a rip about citizen health and citizen rights) one would have expected an injunction to have been granted by the court, pending resolution of the Nippon appeal. Such an injunction would prevent Nippon from proceeding with the project pending the appeal. But these are modern times, fellow citizens, and our right to breathe does not trump the right of industry to make a profit - even if it means making it dangerous for you and me to breathe.

As if to prove my point, the Department of Ecology has finally responded to my multiple inquires (beginning with my letter of April 7, 2011) in connection with their early determination that Simpson Timber Company and Solomon Renewable Energy Co. are separate entities.

It took Ecology something on the order of 10 days to decide these bad boys were "separate entities". It took them until August 8, 2011, to reply that yes, indeed, after investigation, Simpson and Solomon are two separate sources of pollution for purposes of permitting... and you know how they got there? I am not making this up, this is a direct quote from the June 2011 report of one Alan Newman, P.E., of the department of Ecology:

"Mr. Reed resigned his position with Simpson to work exclusively for Solomon."

That's all it took.

In order to stop being Simpson Timber Co. all that was needed was for Mr. Reed to resign from Simpson Timber Co. to "work exclusively for Solomon".

Four months I waited for their explanation. Three and one-half pages it took the Department of Ecology to tell me how they investigated my allegations that Simpson and Solomon WERE the same polluting source.

Three and one-half pages and four months later, ECOLOGY can now confirm that Simpson and Solomon are not the same source for calculating the TONS of pollutants they would pump into the air when operating simultaneously in the Shelton Harbor.

Now I know. How relieved I am to finally know that they are not the same; that they cannot be the same; and that the reason they are not and cannot be the same (according to the Department of Ecology) is because Mr. Reed of Simpson Timber Co. resigned from Simpson to "work exclusively for Solomon".

Case closed.

It's all good.

There's nothing to see here, citizens; return to your houses.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.


Link to pdf of DOE letter and document sent to Katherine Price:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nippon Exempt From Permit Violations?

Excerpt from:
Nippon’s temporary jumpstart on biomass project
without permit OK, city says
By Tom Callis

PORT ANGELES — Nippon Paper Industries USA won’t be fined for breaking ground on its biomass energy project without a permit, and opponents of the project are calling foul.

The paper mill on Marine Drive at the beginning of Ediz Hook recently completed the foundation for a new truck dumper that will be used as part of its $71 million cogeneration project.

The construction work needed a permit, said Nathan West, city economic and community development director, and the mill’s management told the city it was unaware the requirement applied to the structure.

Multiple requests for comment to mill Manager Harold Norlund and Biomass Project Coordinator Gary Holmquist were not returned.

West said the city is not issuing any fines since Nippon has applied for a permit after being told of the violation and is not continuing construction of the structure, which would tilt a truck trailer to quickly dump woody biomass.

Shirley Nixon, an environmental law attorney and critic of the mill’s biomass energy project, said the city should enforce its building code and accused it of giving Nippon special treatment.

“It’s scoffing at the law,” said Nixon, of Port Angeles, on Wednesday.

“It’s scoffing at the entire environmental permit process.”

Nixon objected to the city not fining the mill during the public comment portion of the Port Angeles City Council’s Tuesday meeting.

Duff Badgley, a Seattle activist who runs No Biomass Burn, said in a written statement that Nippon should be fined and prosecuted.

“Its arrogance is amazing,” he wrote. “And the city’s complicity is despicable.”

Link to complete article:


Below is Duff Badgley's statement quoted in this article



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Duff Badgley
Mason County Progressive

Under state law, Nippon Industries could be fined up to $1,000 per day or its leaders suffer jail terms for violating its new biomass project shoreline permit. Nippon has started construction on the project without obtaining any of the other permits required by the City of Port Angeles. But Nippon’s shoreline permit does not allow any site alteration for the project until all permits are in place.

“We demand the state attorney general or the Port Angeles city attorney enforce the law and order Nippon to shut down this project now,” said Duff Badgley of No Biomass Burn, one of seven environmental groups appealing Nippon’s air permit for the biomass project.

Nippon publicly admits it has started work on the controversial biomass project.

“The foundation work is continuing, and we've had continuous construction since the end of June,” (Nippon) mill manager Harold Norlund told the Peninsula Daily News on July 22, 2011. Published Peninsula Daily News photos confirm the start.

Port Angeles City Manager Kent Myers said on August 2, “Nippon currently has not filed for any building permits.” Myers also said the city has not yet even talked to Nippon about its new biomass project and permit requirements. He suggested multiple permits may be required.

Nippon’s shoreline permit, issued by Port Angeles on September 23, 2010, Condition # 2 states: “Applicant is responsible for obtaining all necessary permits…verification of permit issuance shall be provided to the City prior to commencement of any site alteration..."

RCW 90.58.210 imposes penalties for violating shoreline permits to include fines of up to $1,000 for each day of violation. RCW 90.58.220 imposes penalties for shoreline permit violations including jail terms of up to 90 days.

“Nippon should be fined $40,000 right now and prosecuted,” said Badgley. “Its arrogance is amazing. And the city’s complicity is despicable.”

“A corrupt three-way partnership exists among Nippon, the city, and the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) to poison the people of Port Angeles’” Badgley said. “Nippon doesn’t even bother to apply for its permits. The city doesn’t even bother to insist on the permits. And ORCAA colludes with Nippon to grossly lower pollution estimates for toxic emissions to come from the new project.”

For more information contact:
Duff Badgley
No Biomass Burn


Link to previous related post "Nippon ORCAA Air Permit Appeal Filed":

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude Bennington


Photo by Christine

Friday, August 19, 2011

County Commissioner Jerry Lingle Dies

Excerpts from:
Commissioner Jerry Lingle Dies
By Dedrick Allan

Mason County Commissioner Jerry Lingle has died. The Mason County Sheriff’s Office reports that Lingle was discovered in his home by his son about 4:30 PM Friday.

An initial investigation by the Sheriff's Office determined that there were NO indications of foul play and it is believed Lingle died of natural causes...

Lingle won the Commissioner District 3 seat last November as an Independent and served eight months in office. He was 57.

Link to complete article:


Excerpt from:
Five Groups Sue EPA Over Punt on
Greenhouse Gas Regulation
Mason County Progressive
Earlier this year, despite having initially included “biogenic” CO2 in the greenhouse gases to be newly regulated under the Clean Air Act, the EPA reversed its initial decision and announced it needed three years to decide how biomass carbon emissions should be regulated. In response, The Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Georgia ForestWatch, Natural Resources Council of Maine and Wild Virginia filed a lawsuit August 15 against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to overturn EPA’s three-year deferral.

Although EPA has been presented with ample evidence that existing biomass plants already use whole tree harvesting for fuel and that new biomass plants will harvest even more trees, EPA has justified the deferral by stating:

EPA has sufficient information at this time to conclude that at least some biomass feedstocks that may be utilized to produce energy have a negligible impact on the net carbon cycle, such as residue material (e.g., sawdust from milling operations) that would have decomposed under natural circumstances in a relatively short period of time (e.g., 10–15 years). Given this negligible impact on the carbon cycle, the gain from regulating emissions from combustion of this feedstock for bioenergy could be considered to be trivial.
EPA’s statement flies in the face of evidence like the air permit for the 75 MW biomass plant proposed in Berlin, NH, which states openly that the plant will burn 113 tons of “whole logs” per hour. In North Carolina, the state’s court of appeals has just upheld a decision by the utilities commission that Duke Energy can burn whole trees in its coal plants to generate “renewable” energy that is eligible for electricity ratepayer-funded renewable energy credits.

As if it weren’t enough that EPA caved into industry demands and issued the deferral, the agency also released guidance that allows facilities to use biomass as “best available control technology” for greenhouse gases. Just to be clear: EPA has said the best way for coal to reduce CO2 emissions is to burn biomass, which emits MORE carbon dioxide than coal itself.

This is the path that leads directly to the proposed Wolverine coal plant in Michigan, a 600 MW facility that will co-fire biomass to “reduce” CO2, and the refueling of three Dominion coal plants in Virginia with biomass (which will in fact dramatically increase CO2 emissions from the plants).

In the meantime, instead of passing a moratorium on the construction of new biomass facilities pending completion of its study of biogenic carbon, the EPA instead advertised the deferral as a way to promote the biomass industry, knowing that even if EPA regulates emissions in the future, these facilities will be “grandfathered” and exempt from regulation.

The press release on the suit filed by the five groups is blunt in its assessment: (see full press release):

“Biomass burning is not carbon neutral, and the EPA’s action will result not only in excessive greenhouse gas emissions but also unacceptable decreases in forest stocks,” said Jonathan Peress of the Conservation Law Foundation. “By ignoring science, the exemption will cause a far greater share of the earth’s carbon to be emitted into the atmosphere rather than stored in the forest.”
“The EPA has no authority to just waive the Clean Air Act for the benefit of politically favored industries, as it has for the forest products and bioenergy industries here,” said Kevin Bundy, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.
“The EPA is abdicating its regulatory responsibility and writing a blank check to energy companies by allowing massive increases in carbon dioxide from biomass incinerators on the drawing board in Virginia,” said Ernie Reed of Wild Virginia.
Link to complete article:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Toward Achieving a Coal Free Northwest

Protect WA from toxic coal exports!

Mason County Progressive
Link to previous related article "Coal to China Pollution for the World:

Warren Buffet On "Shared Sacrifice"

Excerpts from:
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
By Warren E. Buffett
Mason County Progressive
OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places...

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Link to complete article:

Sunday, August 14, 2011



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Linda Gruer Mason County Progressive

If there ever was one, this is a time for action. There are so many things we could be doing, it almost seems we are in shock and watching it all go by, like mosquitoes on a screen door, buzzing but not going very far, like we have no power.

We are conditioned to believe that there really is a screen and that we the people can do a little buzzing (we vote, we work for candidates, we work on issues, all crucial stuff), but that we are just destined to stay behind that screen. We certainly get knocked down often enough that it seems so. (Nothing like a big recession to keep the militant mosquitoes down.)

We are also conditioned by the idea of "the American Dream", which is pervasive and I am not sure I even know what it means these days. Just work hard, keep your mouth shut, and maybe you will be able to pay your bills, educate your children, have a few well-advertised "things" and make it to retirement with enough put aside, and hope the next generation will have it better than you did. Or that we will really become one of the "rich". Cynical? Or realistic?

Part of that "work hard" ethic is that we are expected to become a worker that has a skill that is wanted, a target that is constantly moving, most recently to another country. Don't get me wrong, I am the first to accept that everything has a cycle and there is nothing so permanent as change.

What I do resist is that people and workers are so often seen as expedient to the bottom line. I would like to see that screen torn down and that all people become as important as the balance sheet. What we are doing now (with all the income at the top, etc.) is simply unsustainable.

What am I calling for? For the people to realize that the screen door is just an illusion, and that we all begin to BUZZ in really large numbers, in unison. NOTHING could really stop us! And NOTHING has really ever happened for the people if the people haven't really BUZZED.

Sounds pretty general and idealistic, I know. But how about this? Let's start thinking that the issues we take on are part of a larger process. That process should have a goal, so I am proposing: an economy that exists for the workers, not the other way around. We need to build organizations that are not so interested in profits, as in workers' well-being. Managers don't need to make 50 (or more) times the wage of the average worker.

Instead of rewarding companies for shipping good jobs overseas, Americans want to close corporate loopholes and invest in good jobs in the USA. Instead of slashing Medicare and Medicaid, we want the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. Instead of scapegoating workers, we want working and middle income families to be able to bargain for good wages and benefits. We want to rebuild our lives (and that would include everyone in the world when you think about it) with good jobs and strong communities, and that includes clean air and water.

And now it seems I have come full circle; these goals sound more like the "American Dream" I am interested in. Just a little shift, it won't take as much as you think, if we all do a lot of BUZZING. Especially if we realize that the screen we think is there, really isn't.

What do you think?

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude Bennington

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Excerpts from:
The rich are different—
and not in a good way,
studies suggest
The 'Haves' show less empathy than 'Have-nots'
By Brian Alexander

Psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says the rich really are different, and not in a good way: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.

In fact, he says, the philosophical battle over economics, taxes, debt ceilings and defaults that are now roiling the stock market is partly rooted in an upper class "ideology of self-interest".

“We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” he said. “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.”

In an academic version of a Depression-era Frank Capra movie, Keltner and co-authors of an article called “Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm,” published this week in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, argue that “upper-class rank perceptions trigger a focus away from the context toward the self….”

In other words, rich people are more likely to think about themselves. “They think that economic success and political outcomes, and personal outcomes, have to do with individual behavior, a good work ethic,” said Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Because the rich gloss over the ways family connections, money and education helped, they come to denigrate the role of government and vigorously oppose taxes to fund it.

“I will quote from the Tea Party hero Ayn Rand: “‘It is the morality of altruism that men have to reject,’” he said.

Whether or not Keltner is right, there certainly is a “let them eat cake” vibe in the air. Last week The New York Times reported on booming sales of luxury goods, with stores keeping waiting lists for $9,000 coats and the former chairman of Saks saying, “If a designer shoe goes up from $800 to $860, who notices?”

According to Gallup, Americans earning more than $90,000 per year continued to increase their consumer spending in July while middle- and lower-income Americans remained stalled, even as the upper classes argue that they can’t pay any more taxes. Meanwhile, the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us continues to grow wider, with over 80 percent of the nation’s financial wealth controlled by about 20 percent of the people...

Keltner has also studied vagus nerve activation. The vagus nerve helps the brain record and respond to emotional inputs. When subjects are exposed to pictures of starving children, for example, their vagus nerve typically becomes more active as measured by electrodes on their chests and a sensor band around their waists. In recent tests, yet to be published, Keltner has found that those from lower-class backgrounds have more intense activation...

There is one interesting piece of evidence showing that many rich people may not be selfish as much as willfully clueless, and therefore unable to make the cognitive link between need and resources. Last year, research at Duke and Harvard universities showed that regardless of political affiliation or income, Americans tended to think wealth distribution ought to be more equal.

The problem? Rich people wrongly believed it already was.

Link to complete article:

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Excerpted from:
Public Hearing Slated for Renewal of Simpson Lumber AOP
ORCAA Website News Post 8/11/11

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) firmly believes in its motto, “Clean Air is Everyone’s Business.” As such, ORCAA seeks to keep everyone within our jurisdiction well informed about the actions­—and proposed actions—we take.

Public comment is currently being accepted on a draft Air Operating Permit (AOP) renewal for for Simpson Lumber Company, LLC (Simpson) located in Shelton, Washington, pursuant to Title V of the federal Clean Air Act and Chapter 173-401 of the Washington Administrative Code. This is a draft of the AOP renewal that will be in effect for five years. This will be the second renewal of the AOP for Simpson’s lumber mill in Shelton.

In response to requests from the public, a formal Public Hearing has been scheduled to allow ORCAA staff to hear testimony on this renewal of the AOP. The hearing is slated for:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
5 p.m.

Shelton Civic Center

525 West Cota Street

Shelton, WA 98584

Copies of the draft AOP Renewal and the associated Technical Support Document (TSD) for Simpson are on file and available for review at the Shelton branch of the Timberland Public Library located at 710 W Alder Street in Shelton, and at ORCAA’s office in Olympia. The draft AOP and TSD are also available online here.

Comments may be submitted to ORCAA in writing. Written comments should be addressed to: ORCAA, 2940-B Limited Lane NW, Olympia, WA 98502, and will be accepted up to close of the public hearing. Comments should pertain to adequacy of the draft AOP in assuring compliance with applicable air quality regulations and standards.

Link to notice on ORCAA website:



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

For those folks who have followed the Port of Shelton’s legal actions against the Shelton Hills Development Project, last week’s letter to the editor of the Shelton-Mason County Journal by Mark Hall, sponsor of the project, comes none too soon. In his letter, Mr. Hall lays out the facts of the matter, putting to rest, once and for all, any straw man arguments raised by the Port.

At issue is a decision by the City of Shelton to rezone 160 acres south of the airport from commercial industrial to neighborhood residential. Port resistance to the rezone centers on the fear that new residential development adjacent to the airport threatens the future of that facility. More clearly: Port Commissioners Jay Hupp, Tom Wallitner and Director John Dobson argue that residents of the new development will find airplane noise so intolerable they will band together and force closure of the airport.

To this I say, bull-feathers! There are scores of examples where small airports and adjacent neighborhoods coexist peacefully. And it follows that new residential developments can only increase public demand for additional airport amenities.

The protracted and expensive legal action brought by the Port is based on an unfounded premise bordering on paranoia. In reality, Port management has spent the better part of three years trying to sabotage what is essentially a major economic recovery opportunity for Mason County. This is a classic case of the few dictating to the many for the benefit of none.

Port resistance is made even more egregious when you consider the Shelton Hills Project will bring many permanent jobs, commercial opportunities and even a new city park to our community, as the developer builds out the entire 700 acre site. It is ironic that a municipality created to attract economic growth to Mason County should be the primary roadblock to precisely that objective.

The Port needs to stop fighting against our recovery and allow the rezone process to move forward. Mr. Hupp, Mr. Walitner and Mr. Dobson should get with the program or step aside and let clearer heads steer the future of our county.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Simpson AOP Comment Period Ends 8/15/11


Article submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive
& Cartoon submitted by Claude Bennington m

If you followed the ADAGE story on this blog (or elsewhere), you know that concerned citizens in this area organized and resisted with all their might a polluting industry being placed in the heart of their community.

This biomass incinerator (read "caveman technology") would have been located right next to the soccer fields, within shouting distance of a school, and right next to the neighborhood of Hiawatha.

It was planned that this fire-breathing dragon would burn Washington's forest "debris" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and that it would emit pollutants into the air measured in TONS.

This was quite bothersome to the citizens, whose vocal resistance is part of the reason ADAGE is no longer a threat to our community.
We learned quite a few things while studying the science and medicine in connection with the ADAGE proposed incinerator. We learned that pollutants measured in tons are unacceptable.

Simpson has been burning in the harbor for over 100 years. This is polluting our water. This is polluting our air.
The Simpson's ORCAA Air Operating Permit is up for a five year renewal.

Knowing what we now know, it is very important that we be afforded a public hearing in connection with Simpson renewing a five year air operating permit.

If you feel the same way, please let ORCAA know that you desire a public hearing, and that it be held in Shelton. Also ask for the public hearing notice to be published in the Shelton-Mason County Journal (for the ADAGE hearing, ORCAA published notice only in the Olympian!).

The science does not change from Johns Prairie to the Harbor. If it is not acceptable to rain death on Hiawatha and the soccer fields, why is it okay to rain death on downtown Shelton???

Comments and hearing requests must be submitted in writing by 8//15/11 to:

Fran L. McNair
ORCAA Executive Director 2940-B Limited Lane NW Olympia, WA 98502
Fax: 360-491-6308


Link to Simpson AOP info on ORCAA website:


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Duff Badgley Mason County Progressive

Excerpts from:
Critics turn up heat on Seattle wood burner
By Gary Chittim

SEATTLE -- Concerned residents and business owners are worried about the effects of a major wood burning operation in downtown Seattle.

Seattle Steam, which supplies steam to heat most buildings in the downtown core, began burning clean waste wood along with natural gas at its facility two years ago.

Seattle Steam CEO Stan Gent said the wood burning emissions are thoroughly scrubbed to meet federal and local clean air standards. He said the company is using wood to offset its burning of natural gas.

"It's well under the standards that are well understood and issued by the EPA," Gent said, "and we've got the best equipment and cleanest biomass plant, we believe, in North America."

But organizers of a group of in the Pike Place Market claim some people are getting sick from the wood smoke. They want the company to revert to burning 100 percent natural gas.

Gent said the company is continuing plans to increase wood burning to about 70 percent of its fuel.

Gent attended a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the Pike Place group to answer questions from concerned people in Pike Place Market.

Link to complete article:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond Mason County Progressive

Xinh's Clam & Oyster House, 221 W. Railroad Ave, Shelton,
hosted the August 8th, 2011 Sen. Maria Cantwell Fundraiser.

Although activists watched the doors at Xinh's from across
the street, awaiting Sen. Cantwell's arrival at the benefit,
she "somehow" managed to slip in unnoticed by both the
16+ demonstrators as well as the
Journal photographer!

Maria you are out of touch.
Host $5 a plate lunches.
Meet the middie class.
(Sign in truck window parked across from Xinh's.)

Demonstrations: where new & old friends meet to make a statement.

Port Commissioner Jack Miles mingles with constituents.

Although demonstrators missed Sen. Cantwell's entrance,
two activists later managed to go inside Xinh's & personally hand
senator a letter with 27 signatures, requesting her to intervene
with the EPA concerning
the 3 year biomass exemption from
the 2011 Clear Air Act regulations. When questioned about this
issue, Sen. Cantwell seemed to be unfamiliar with the exemption.

Senator Cantwell!
Support clean air in Mason County
& we'll support you!


Photos by Christine

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude Bennington

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dust Off Those No Biomass Protest Signs!

Let's Welcome Senator Maria Cantwell to Shelton!

Submitted to Shelton Blog by John Cox & Christine Armond mason county progressive
Senator Maria Cantwell will be in Shelton on Monday, August 8th for a fundraising benefit event.

As a receiver of beau coup bucks from the timber and related industries, it is no surprise that Sen. Cantwell supports biomass incineration.

The electrical power produced by biomass incineration is very expensive, old fashioned, and not economically feasible without government support of one kind or another. The incineration process is dirtier than that of coal, and produces massive amounts of carbon dioxide that contribute to increased global warming. Biomass incineration is not a renewable energy source in any realistic sense of the word.

Recently, the EPA, succumbing to biomass industry pressure, decided to not enforce the Clean Air Act provisions for control of green house gases for a period of 3 years for biomass incineration. This decision is clearly insane and not in the best interests of the planet and everything living on it.

It is true that biomass incineration is green, but that green is the color of the dollars being stuffed in the pocket$ of politician$ by lobbyist$ from the timber industry and other sociopathic endeavors.

Join us
Citizens' Street Benefit
Monday, August 8th
5:00 PM
Corner of Third St. & Railroad Ave

We are calling for an assembly of Sen. Cantwell's constituents, and anyone else who may or may not be attending the $100+ per person fundraising benefit at Xinh's Clam and Oyster House, 221 W. Railroad Ave, Shelton.

We will assemble on the corner of Third and Railroad, across the street from Xinh's, and demand that Sen. Cantwell act for the benefit of all her constituents, not just those with PR budgets and lobbyists.

Come and let Sen. Maria Cantwell know how you feel about her support for biomass incineration and insist that she do whatever she can to reverse the EPA's decision.

The EPA needs to do its job!

All provisions of the Clean Air Act need to be enforced!