Magic Coal Dust
Magic coal dust, magic coal dust,
In your sheets, between your toes.
Magic coal dust, magic coal dust,
On your toothbrush, up your nose.
Coal dust on your kitty, coal dust
on your dog,
Coal dust on the herons, coal dust
on the frogs.
A Magic Coal Dust Mountain
Piled up oh, so high!
Clouds of magic coal dust
Rising to the sky.
Coal dust on the waterslides,
Coal dust in the bay,
Coal dust on the golf course,
Who will come to play?
Coal dust on the eagle’s nest,
Coal dust in the rain,
Coal dust on the C Shop,
How long will it remain?
Coal dust in your garden,
Coal dust on your spouse.
Ask the Magic Coal Dust Fairy,
“Who will buy this house?”
Coal dust on your patio.
Think you’d like to sell?
Think again, my ripped-off friend,
‘Cause you’re in Coal Dust Hell!
America is the most religious country in the industrial world. Many Christians tell us that we were founded as a Christian nation. This is not true. Thomas Paine was an anti-theist and wrote extensively on the evils of religion. Thomas Jefferson insisted on a separation between church and state. John Adams wrote, “The government of the United States is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
People have lived on this continent for thousands of years complete with a myriad of their own religious beliefs, political systems and cultural practices long before Christianity arrived. Those who survived the disease and murder were stripped of their land, their culture and their sustainable way of life. Manifest Destiny became a policy, which stated that the continent was decreed by God to whites. Passages in the Bible were used to justify the ownership and exploitation of human beings. Can’t any act, be it the most kind or the most cruel, be justified by religion? To quote Steven Weinberg, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
Isn’t it ironic that we being so religious are at the same time suffering from so many social ills such as a failing educational system, health care for the wealthy only, highest percentage per capita worldwide of people in prison, highest percentage of drug abuse, increasing wealth disparity, increasing poverty levels and environmental destruction?
Let’s be honest and admit that religious beliefs do not correlate with morality and that secular societies that are more just, more tolerant, have a more equal distribution of wealth, places where there are no chosen ones or God-given lands, places where the health and well-being of all is more important than the redemption of believers only, places where the least fortunate are taken care of, not because God tells its citizens to do so or because they will be dammed to hell if they don’t, but for the simple reason that it is the right thing to do.
Come join us for a celebration honoring Jim Jorgensen. On August 4, we are having an evening of memories, good music and fun for the entire family. Music will be provided by Crystal Tricycle and Shiloh. There will be a silent auction to raise money for a park bench in Jim’s honor. Many local businesses have donated generously to support this event. We will be reminiscing about Jim’s years as a high school science teacher, his salmon chartering business and salmonar classes and his years as a port commissioner. He has been involved in many activities over the years – bird watching and field trips, to name a few.
We would love for the community to join us for this evening of family fun entertainment. Join us and sign the guest book. We will be at Blaine Marine Park from 4 to 9 p.m.
Most of us in Whatcom County know how fortunate we are to live in this beautiful, healthy place. But if instead we lived in a community near the Ridley coal-shipping terminal, our homes would be coated with so much coal dust that the terminal would send someone to power wash it off free of charge.
If we lived in a community near the Seward coal-shipping terminal, we would be living in a community that is suing the coal terminal because its coal dust damages the community’s neighborhoods, fishing boats and scenic harbor. If we lived in a Virginia community near the Dominion coal shipping terminal, we would be living in a place with the state’s highest number of asthma deaths and where the asthma rate is more than twice what it is in the rest of the state.
Whether by birth or by choice, we don’t live in those other communities. We have the good fortune to live in Whatcom County. But now SSA Marine’s owners (Goldman Sachs owns 49 percent) want to vastly increase their own personal fortunes by destroying ours – with the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT). GPT would ship more coal every year than the Ridley, Seward and Dominion terminals combined, and GPT would use the same failed methods for coal dust control. More than 3 million pounds of toxic coal dust would blow off GPT’s open coal storage piles every year and contaminate what is most precious to us – our health and our property. GPT would destroy our natural treasures – clean air, beautiful scenery, beaches, marine life such as salmon and orcas – and the fishing and tourism that go with them. The official GPT application (Table 4-3) shows that GPT would provide at most only 213 permanent jobs. Consider that T-Mobile is adding 350 new jobs this year in Whatcom County and not harming us at all. Who in Whatcom County thinks we should trade our health, personal wealth and natural treasures for 213 jobs? Fully informed citizens and elected officials who have integrity will not support the SSA Marine/Goldman Sachs GPT coal terminal.
When I graduated from Bellingham High School in 1961, the only living wage jobs available were industrial at Georgia Pacific and Intalco. Now, our children and grandchildren must leave Whatcom County to find a decent job. The Gateway Pacific Terminal will be located between a smelting plant and the BP oil refinery. I do not agree with statements saying this will destroy jobs and change the aesthetics of our community.
Bellingham and the rest of Whatcom County cannot rely on taxes from property owners alone. Broadening our tax base will improve our local economy. Simultaneously, increasing our exports will strengthen our country’s economy.
Regarding coal dust, it has been my experience as a resident who was born and raised in Bellingham that coal dust does not exist along the rail. With all the hysteria surrounding that issue, it would seem that someone would be able to provide evidence to support the claims. As of right now, no evidence has been brought forward.
The fact of the matter is, this is what this land was zoned for and coal trains will continue to pass through our community with or without the terminal. We have a great opportunity to employ members of our community. Join me in support of GTP.
As a lawyer and concerned community member, I feel obliged to share my perspective with voters in advance of the important primary election for Whatcom County Superior Court Judge. I have learned in my nine years of practice in Whatcom County Superior Court that our legal system is a cornerstone of our democracy. The decisions judges make on a daily basis have significant emotional and financial impacts on Whatcom County residents, perhaps more than any other elected official in our county.
When a person feels he has been wronged, or wrongly accused, he can turn to the courts for justice. Sometimes a case is won or lost due to a judge’s evidentiary or substantive ruling. A fact may be kept from the jury, or the jury could be misinformed regarding the law. Sometimes a judge’s bias or limited life experience prevents him from fully hearing from both sides. When the loser feels he or she has not had his or her day in court, the integrity of our entire democratic system suffers.
A good judge has the education and experience to understand the perspectives of the people asserting claims and defenses in her courtroom. He or she is humble enough to allow the lawyers to educate him or her through legal briefing and argument. He or she is a trial lawyer. He or she has a broad skill set and breadth of life experiences.
Without reservation, I endorse Carrie Coppinger Carter as the candidate who best exemplifies these qualities and as the best candidate for Superior Court Judge. She is a lifelong Whatcom County resident who learned the value of hard work by milking cows, driving garbage trucks, picking berries, and waitressing to put herself through school. She is a business owner. She has devoted her legal career to representing people in the courts, and much of her free time to advocating for people in our community.
When you get your primary ballot on July 20, vote for Carrie Coppinger Carter.