Ep. 26: Democrats Finally Have a Majority in Olympia, What the Hell are they Gonna Do With It? -- Sen. Jeannie Darneille

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In this week’s episode Nate dug into the current 60 day legislative session with Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D-27, Tacoma).

4:00 We begin with a discussion of Western State Hospital and the state of mental health treatment in Washington. This lead to a discussion around arresting and incarcerating people with mental illness (8:00) and the struggles with staffing mental health nurses across the state (11:30).

14:00 Speaking of health care, Jeannie addressed the state’s investment in its children. How can we treat them, give them preventative care, and help via government health programs?

20:00 In Washington, some of our students with the highest needs are in our 36 juvenile detention centers. Jeannie addressed the Alternatives Initiative, reducing census, and “status offense.”

23:00  This lead to a discussion about banning suspensions for all students from kindergarten through second grade, racial disproportionality (25:00), preschool, and language acquisition. (27:00).

39:00 How are we dealing with statewide issues, such as de-escalation in law enforcement and deadly force.

44:00 Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the nation. So Nate pushed Jeannie to talk about tax policy and possible tax reforms, especially in the aftermath of the $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress.  

53:00 Given the Democratic Majority in the both Houses of the State Legislature, Nate asked Jeannie for a quickfire take of the likelihood of several progressive policy priorities:

  1. Sanctuary state status

  2. Automatic voter registration

  3. Vote by mail and same day registration

  4. Capital gains tax


Hot Take 5

  1. What are you reading right now?

  2. Who do you listen to for counsel in Olympia?

  3. What’s one thing your constituents understood about the complexity about the work you’re trying to do now?

  4. Ferguson or Constantine for governor?

  5. When you finish with legislature, what do you want your legacy to be? Who would you like to replace you?


Going Further

The Truly Awful Kentucky Medicaid Bill

NY Times Kentucky Medicaid Article

Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves

Status Offense

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus


Ep. 25: An Educational State of the Union for Washington State

Wash Capitol.jpg

Sharonne Navas, Equity in Education Coalition

Michaela Miller, Washington State Deputy Superintendent of Schools

Claudia Rowe, Education Reporter, Seattle Times

This week’s conversation centers around the state of education in Washington State. The panel consists of an education reporter, the deputy state superintendent, and an advocate for ed equity.

The panel takes a few minutes to discuss some of the highlights around the state (3:00) as well as the areas we have for growth.

14:00: Michaela begins the discussion on assessment. We continue this conversation at and again 23:00.

“What’s the best education for each and every child as opposed to ‘all children’?”

27:00: We move from testing to de-linking testing for graduation begins, along with a discussion on credit requirement across states.

42:00: Nate asks for the tea on on why the Seattle Superintendent job is a revolving door and insights on charter school enrollment. The group attempts to address what the students aren’t getting in the public school system.

55:00 the panel has a discourse on how we mentor new teachers, incoming teachers, and student teachers. Should we let them teach longer? Should we have mentor teachers in schools after graduation? Are we setting teachers up for failure because they are young adults who go into the world without training to do their job and do it well.  

Exit Questions

  1. Who was your favorite teacher and why?

  2. Netflix Recommendations

*Nate and the entire panel condemn alleged actions of Aziz Ansari; it'll make more sense after you listen.

Going Further

McCleary Decision

Graduation Standards for All 50 States

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus


Ep. 24: Twenty Years from Now, Y’all Will All Claim You Loved Colin Kaepernick and Other Musings -- Steve Zakuani, Color Analyst, Seattle Sounders


*We begin with a quick annotation of the origin of the title “Nerd Farmer.”

2:00: Steve summarizes the backstory of his youth that begins in the Congo (then Zaire) and life in English Council Estates (projects) in Tottenham. American soccer saved his life. Steve found that, in America, one could play soccer and go to a university. He was on this way to the University of Akron (where Lebron is from and we find out more about that at 45:00.)

14:45: Steve and Nate discuss the MLS Cup in Toronto and the roster fallout including what to expect from  Clint Dempsey and Osvaldo (Ozzie) Alonzo’s future with the team.

Never stop. Keep progressing.

33:00 Steve gives his take on the career of Sounders Legend Brad Evans and his future with the Sounders. This is followed by a discussion of the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League and Steve’s work and future as an analyst.

When it’s good, I’ll be the biggest cheerleader, when it’s bad, I’ll be the biggest critic

42:00: The conversation switches to politics. Steve talks about how he uses his platform to address issues of justice. Steve recalls a story that his principal told him about a teacher being stabbed on his first day of school and his love of the book Malcolm X while growing up in London. He also discussed the London Riots that began in Tottenham when as a young man he had some questions about the murder of an innocent man named Mark Duggan.

52:00: Steve opens up about how he feels about kneeling and the Anthem at sporting events. As an outsider, Steve can’t understand how “you’re so patriotic that you're ignoring the fact that the country you love is murdering its’ citizens.”

Hot Take 5

  1. Your thoughts on the Sigi Experiment in LA.

  2. Your thoughts on Darlignton Nagbe moving to Atlanta.

  3. What’s up with Caleb Porter?

  4. In reference to the US Men’s National Team: if I make you technical director of US Soccer, what do you do?

  5. Who are the soccer writers who you read first, who do you trust? Who is doing good work?


Going Further

London Riots

Colin Kaepernick

Steve’s Website

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus

Ep. 23: She was Eight Years in Power -- Mayor Marilyn Strickland an Exit Interview


For this episode Nate sat down with the outgoing, two-term mayor of the City of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland.

Mayor Strickland came to power in the midst of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression and guided the city through tough times and into an era of uneven, but undeniable prosperity (sound familiar?).

The interview is a retrospective over her two-terms in office. Mayor Strickland discussed her successes/shortcomings, issues around homelessness, what's next for her politically, and her thoughts about the upcoming season of Game of Thrones (warning: episode contains GoT Season 7 spoilers -- she has a great take about all the women being in power).

She also answered questions from listeners: What’s the deal with China? Best tacos in Tacoma? Best Korean BBQ in Tacoma? What will/won’t she miss most about the job?

Also recommended: this piece from News Tribune reporter and friend of the pod, Candice Ruud.

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus

Ep. 22: "Holy Crap 2017 Was a Mess, A Year End Reporters' Roundtable"

Featuring: Will James, 88.5 KNKX FM, Kate Martin: The News Tribune, Elisa Hahn: KING 5 TV

Featuring: Will James, 88.5 KNKX FM, Kate Martin: The News Tribune, Elisa Hahn: KING 5 TV

Nate sat down with three local journalist to discuss the national and local stories of the year, newsmaker of the year (hint: it’s not all Trump), and stories to watch in 2018.

Nate gave his opinion and tried (as much as possible) to avoid talk of the President.


Hot Take 5:

  1. Who or what do you read?

  2. What is your favorite podcast? (The answers WILL surprise you.)

  3. What’s your take on the new mayors in Tacoma and Seattle, respectively?

  4. What is the best thing you’ve read in 2017?

  5. As Santa, give a local politician a gift. What is it?


Featured News:

"Me, Too" Article in New York Times  

Matt Driscoll Criminalization of Homelessness

Heather Heyer NY Times Article

Tavis Smiley Allegations

What Happened in Charlottesville?

Burien Election Heated

Robert Mueller Investigation

Bob Ferguson's Lawsuits Against Trump


What to Read:

Seattle Times

The News Tribune

Washington Post: Chris Mooney



Chris Hardwick: The Nerdist

The Daily


The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus

Ep. 21: "Building a Better School System in Washington State (Hopefully)" with State Superintendent Chris Reykdal


Chris Reykdal is the Superintendent of Schools in Washington State. He’s a former Democratic lawmaker from Olympia who resides in Tumwater and lives to help the students in Washington. He and Nate spent time talking about improving education, wishlists in a changing world, and the Rightful Secretary of Education Tony Evers of Wisconson.

Chris has great ideas on getting parents involved, working with children in homes with foster parents, and standardized testing.

Find out what Washington schools would be like if Chris were “King of Education,” what it means to “design school backwards” and what Mr. Reykdal thinks of Betsy Devos.

“Speaking Multiple Languages is a beautiful thing.”

To Better Educate in a Perfect World:

  1. Longer K-8 School years

  2. Infuse 2nd language learning beginning in kindergarten

  3. Give more time for student learning

  4. Middle school begins career exploration

  5. Move standardized testing to 10th grade

  6. Find multiple ways to demonstrate proficiency

  7. By 11th and 12th grades, let them go touch the world: (i.e. high school credit for employment, dual college credit, while working)

Hot Take 5

  1. How are you feeling about Cougar football?

  2. Best place in Olympia to get lunch?

  3. What are your thoughts on the Washington Governor democratic primary?

  4. Best book you’ve read in the last year?

  5. What would you put under the tree for every student in Washington?

The Socials: State Superintendent Chris Reykdal Twitter

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus

Episode 20: #NerdFarmReads Audio Bookclub "The Hate U Give"


Kenny Coble: Literature Aficionado, Bookseller, Observer of the Human Spirit

Jamika Scott: Tacoma Action Collective, Activist, Mimosa Lover

Hope Teague-Bowling: English Teacher, Interchangeable White Lady, Pod Spouse

This week during the book club, Nate and company discuss the good, the encouraging, and the controversial nature of “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. The novel follows protagonist, Starr, on her journey after a childhood friend is murdered by a police officer. Starr wrestles with herself, the system, the police, and her relationships.

According to Kenny, this book has a unique way of "meeting you where you are." Whether you’ve been paying attention or you’re new to these issues, you have an opportunity to glance inside this painful, confusing world. Wherever you are in your Woke Journey, this book is a great first or next step.

Starr’s voice is maintained throughout the novel, and yet her speech changes with different characters. Angie Thomas does an impeccable job of using code-switching throughout Starr’s different relationships.

The crew find their favorite characters and characters that remind them of people in their lives. From Uncle Carlos to her parents “kitchen dancing” after a fight to White non-ally Hailey, this book contains a lot of people we all know personally.

Near the break Jamika told us about her organization Tacoma Action Collective:

First, it was a march with a national call to action, 4 mile march, based on the number of hours Mike Brown was laying out in the sun after he was killed, the 4 minutes Tamir Rice went without medical attention after being shot. I learned about Mike Brown via Tumblr.

“Black Brunch” took us into “White Spaces.” We took a little time,  3-4 minutes, to speak about people being murdered and uplifting the names with our voices. After a while, a journalist wrote a story about us. It was dangerous. We made the group to almost disguise ourselves. [It] began with 3 black women. The activism that TAC does changes with what is happening in our lives.

Why should you read the book?


Jamika: It meets you where you’re at. If you’ve been focused on the movement in the past or if you’ve never seen it from this point of view, or even if you feel like ‘all lives matter.’ It’s going to touch you. There will be something meaningful.

Hope: I think it’s important for white people to read this book. If you think you’re woke, if you think you know things, it’s just another perspective that may open your eyes.

Hot Takes

  1. Jamika: What is the best brunch in Tacoma? (She's wrong by the way)

  2. Kenny: If someone enjoyed this book as Woke Literature, where should they go next?

  3. Hope, Unofficial Mayor of White America: What should White Allies start or stop doing?


The Socials


Going Further

Code Switching Turning Black Men Into Method Actors

Black Brunch article

Stop Being Awful to Parents of Color Over Charters


Kenny’s Book Recs

Dear Martin

The New Jim Crow

Don't Call Us Dead


Next Book Club!

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus


Episode 19: Machael David, Colorado Rapids -- A Dream of Soccer and Purpose

Photo from MLS

Photo from MLS

On this episode, Machael David tells the his compelling story of how he made his way from Nigeria to Italy to New York to Tacoma. The story begins with a four year boy and a soccer ball. Machael began by comparing his home to Compton and the necessity to ‘get out.’

Machael began playing for club teams when he was very young. Soccer was a way to get off the streets and have a purpose. As time moved forward, he went to Italy to play. When his documents ran out and he no longer had a team, he had a choice to make: go home a ‘failure’ or find a different way. Machael found a "different" way. He came to America: first New York, then the shock of the PNW.

“Soccer is My Love Language”

Machael began playing soccer for GHHS and Washington Premier. He was amazing. Pros wanted him. Colleges wanted him. He was coveted. Machael, again, had a choice to make. If he went pro, college would never be an option. If he went to school, he’d have to wait to go pro. His academics weren’t good enough for University of Washington. They backed out, as did many others.

A fateful game had Machael playing in California when a scout saw him play. The scout fell in love and urged Machael to work hard. Ending high school in 2 1/2 years with a 4.0, he received a full scholarship to UCSB. Junior year, Machael broke his leg. He had to heal. Senior year, he was back. Again, Machael broke his leg.

His injuries scared off many teams. He was drafted to Colorado Rapids.  Shortly afterward, Machael’s nose began to bleed. He learned he had a medical condition that wouldn’t allow him to live in that elevation. Another obstacle, another challenge.

A Community Doesn’t Define Who You Are, the People Define the Community

Machael explains the name of his book, Every Mother’s Nightmare, the inspirational story of growing up in Nigeria and the roadmap to surviving adversity playing soccer on his own terms.

He and Nate also discussed the US' recent failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The US hasn't missed qualifying since in 1986. How can we make the future of US Soccer brighter? Machael has thoughts:

  1. Get rid of Pay-To-Play

  2. Go find players.

  3. Develop them--it's that simple.

The Five:

  1. Why does everyone else hate Crossfire ?

  2. Best Player you ever play with or against?

  3. Why should we root for Nigeria in World Cup?

  4. Best Place for Nigerian Food in Washington?

  5. What advice do you have for the next US Coach?


Buy the Book:

Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble or directly from Machael on Facebook






Going Further

MLS Stats

Machael's Blog

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and is brought to you by Alaska Airlines and the Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus