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    The Daily Troll: Obama picks REI's Jewell for Cabinet. Jose Banda not a pushover. Guilt-free plastic bags.

    Garfield tests despite boycotts. Seattle pushes for a larger climate action plan. Thanks for the plastic bag, but is it legal?
    The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute.

    The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute. Art work by Noel Franklin

    Sally Jewell to Cabinet

    President Obama is nominating REI CEO Sally Jewell as Secretary of Interior, according to reports out of D.C. Politico suggests that Beltway insiders are looking at the choice from various perspectives. Some welcome an outside perspective of someone who has grown REI's business significantly. Others speculate that the White House expects to be able to make the big decisions for a political newcomer. And in the case of at least one prominent Republican member of the House, Utah's Rob Bishop, complains that she pursued a "radical" agenda at REI. Translation: She supports open space. Imagine that for an Interior secretary.

    Plastic stragglers

    Even though Seattle banned plastic bags more than a year ago, some shoppers are still receiving free plastic bags when they check out. Before you go about pointing fingers at your neighborhood grocer for defying the ban, check in with Goldy at The Stranger. He addresses the issue today: Stores can still use bags stocked — or stockpiled — before the ban went into effect. And that was back on Jan. 19, 2012. A year's worth of bags and counting for some stores.

    Garfield can't shirk testing

    Seattle Public Schools went ahead with student testing at Garfield High School, where teachers and staff have largely boycotted the district-mandated Measures of Academic Progress tests. Superintendent Jose Banda explained the district's action in a statement, another sign of his ability to take a position without retreating behind a high wall. The Seattle Times account mentions that some form of discipline is expected, but boycotting teachers won't be docked pay.

    Banda notes that one reason for the testing is to provide information to the city of Seattle, which has pushed accountability for the millions in city special levies it dedicates to the school system. The boycott is occurring as voters finalize much more money in the sure-to-pass school levies. For a pro-boycott perspective, there's a parsing of Banda's message on the Save Seattle Schools blog.  

    The NFL's own best interest

    Washington State University scientists are challenging the longstanding idea that no new neurons can be generated in the brain, according to GeekWire. WSU researcher Krysztof Czaja is leading a team dedicated to work on recovery from brain injuries, bolstered by a $100,000 donation from pro football's NFL Charities.

    "Five years ago, Czaja and WSU colleagues discovered by accident that a nerve center just outside the brain can recover from damage by inducing developing stem cells to become functional nerve cells, or neurons. Now he is looking for the substances that get the process going," a recent WSU news release explained.

    Earth Opera

    Seattle Opera and The Nature Conservancy have collaborated in an unusual way: They have created an opera series for kids focused on the environment. The performers include regular singers from the Opera, its Youth Chorus and the Seattle Youth Symphony. The groups are taking to Twitter to give away a few free tickets for Sunday's opening performance; details here.  

    Green Ribbon Commission

    The Seattle City Council is looking for public input on its next-gen efforts to green Seattle. The city put together a powerhouse Green Ribbon Commission (including Denis Hayes of the Bullitt Foundation, Doris Koo of Enterprise Community Partners and K.C. Golden of Climate Solutions). The commission came out with a set of wide-ranging recommendations for a Climate Action Plan to green transportation, land-use and construction/retrofitting last December.

    For all of Seattle's self-referential obsession with its own greenness, the media and the public haven't paid much attention so far. The first big chance to comment on transportation and land-use policies is Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. when Councilmember Mike O'Brien's Energy and Environment Committee will host a public forum in Council Chambers.

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    Posted Tue, Feb 5, 9:49 p.m. Inappropriate

    Well, that Banda edict didn't work out so well. Two hundred students opted out by parents. Students who DID go to the testing stations didn't log on.

    I appreciate Banda's stance but he needs to listen to teachers. And parents. And students.


    Posted Wed, Feb 6, 7:29 a.m. Inappropriate

    Is Banda a pushover? It depends on whose narrative you buy into. The very framing of the issue of whether Banda is a pushover accepts the "downtown" narrative. But if you accept the teachers' narrative, Banda looks likes he's getting pushed around by the "downtown" interests who think he has to prove his toughness.

    Er, why? Why is a temporary suspension of the MAP and sitting down and working things out with the teachers framed as a sign of weakness? Why isn't it framed as sensible, collaborative leadership by a man new to the job and is still learning about the impact of the District's many past mistakes, including the MAP, that he has inherited?

    The stupidity of the downtown narrative is never questioned and is implicitly accepted by the writer, which, surprise, surprise, shows a Crosscut writer's anti-teacher bias. But who does the superintendent serve? To whom is he responsible? Is it the Seattle Times, the Alliance, Crosscut editorialists, and other business interests who think this is a labor dispute where management has to follow a rigid negotiation script? Or is he responsible to teachers and parents, essential members of the community he leads and who have a very legitimate concerns?

    Posted Wed, Feb 6, 2:20 p.m. Inappropriate

    Living, as I do, way up north in the Stanwood School District, I have no vested interest in the the MAP fight.

    But it did little good for Banda to issue an edict from his office. All he did was point to out everyone how little 'authority' he really has.

    Leadership means you go out and PERSUADE. Leadership and governing means selling, not telling. You need community buy in. Especially parents.

    Rookie mistake. Hope he's a quick learner.

    Ross Kane
    Warm Beach


    Posted Wed, Feb 6, 3:43 p.m. Inappropriate

    The only "guilt" surrounding plastic bags should be that they were banned to begin with. The most environmentally friendly type of grocery bag is the disposable plastic bag banned by Seattle and a few other cities that have bought into the "progressive" greenwashing on the issue.

    In 2011, the U.K.'s Environment Agency (their E.P.A.) issued a comprehensive report on the subject. It evaluated every different type of grocery bag on nine different environmental impact dimensions. In eight of the nine categories, disposable bags had the least impact on the environment.

    - Paper bags cause 16 times the water pollution and 4 times the air pollution and 4 times the global warming

    - Cotton bags have to be used an average of 179 times before they reach the same level of global warming contribution as using disposable plastic, and that's not counting the effect of laundering the bags.

    Seattle's phony "progressives" are forever talking about the science, but they're no less faith-based than the wingnuttiest wingnut on the other side of the mountains. In this city, and some others like Portland and San Francisco, it is entirely about appearances and self regard.

    Here's a link to the U.K. government report. The conclusions start on page 59.



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