Episode 12: Will James, Reporter @ KNKX 88.5 FM -- On Covering the #CharleenaLyles Shooting & Refugee Resettlement

After being a stringer for the Wall Street Journal, freelancing for NPR affiliates, and working at Newsday, Will ended up as South Sound Bureau Chief at KNKX 88.5 FM. We talked about his recent reporting and the culture shock from moving from the New York to Cascadia..

Nate focused on two of Will's recent stories:

Charleena Lyles Shooting: Will recalls his first time reporting on a person of color being shot by an officer. His account of the family’s emotional response just two days after the incident expresses the reaction of watching the family internally process their feelings in a crowd of her friends and neighbors in the courtyard of her apartment building.

Nate notes, the vast majority of law enforcement are good people with good intentions. However, according to Killed By Police, 1100 people a year are killed by law enforcement. Eleven. Hundred.

Nate and Will discuss the questions with no answers: If she were white, would she be alive? How do police officers with mental illness? How do we de-escalate?

Refugees Resettlement in Western Washington: The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia  has joined a lawsuit by the ACLU against the Trump Administration’s travel ban citing their religious freedom being threatened. The group deems it an obligation of their faith, “we welcome the stranger.”

Washington is the 4th largest state for refugees in the country, specifically 74% are in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. The humans that come get some help, enough to begin a new life and head out on a path to sustain it. In a matter of weeks, the resettlement refugees must learn enough English to function, find housing, and establish employment that can pay the increasingly high rent.

The Future

Will discusses the dream projects he has, beginning with The Northwest Detention center, what makes Tacoma desirable, and how Tacomans view themselves.

The Socials

Will James' Twitter

KNKX Instagram

KNKX Facebook

KNKX Twitter


Going Further

Will James Charleena Lyles Article

The Muslim Ban and its Impact on Refugees

Northwest Detention Center Webpage

Church joins ACLU Fight


How to Help

Episcopal Diocese of Seattle Refugee Fund

Support KNKX

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is also available on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play.

Episode 11: Evelyn Lopez, Candidate for Mayor of Tacoma

On episode 4 of the podcast, with guests Zach Powers, Korbett Mosesly, we discussed the mayoral race here in Tacoma. In that episode all three of us expressed a preference for Victoria Woodards over Jim Merritt, but also expressed a desire for a third candidate in the race. Not long after the episode was released, Evelyn Lopez announced that she was entering the race. I met her at a recent City Club event and found her both passionate and insightful about civic matters and the local political scene. At the end of our conversation, she asked about coming on the show.

Evelyn was born in New Zealand and is a transplant to Tacoma. She previously worked in the State AG’s office and was executive director of the State Public Disclosure Commission, both of which she discussed in the interview.

I decided to follow up on some questions that I had based on Evelyn's @CitizenTacoma interview. If you haven't heard that interview, you should probably go listen to it first. Evelyn pulls no punches and if you listen to the end you'll hear which of her opponents she would support if she doesn't advance in the primary.

Episode 10: Victoria Woodards, Candidate for Mayor of Tacoma

On episode 4 of the podcast, with guests Zach Powers and Korbett Mosesly, we discussed the mayoral race here in Tacoma. In that episode all three of us expressed a preference for Victoria Woodards over Jim Merritt.

In early June, Victoria came to the Lincoln High School Senior Awards Night. There her and I talked about the campaign and she requested to come on the show. Victoria is a graduate of Lincoln, a veteran of the US Military, and a two-term city council member here in Tacoma. As you’ll hear in the interview, one of my favorite things about Victoria is the fact that she shows up in the community.

In this episode, I followed up on some remaining questions that I had from her @CitizenTacoma interview. If you haven't heard that interview you should probably go listen to it first.

Victoria lives on the South End of Tacoma (a rarity for someone running city-wide) and shared insights in this interview about the proposed liquefied natural gas plant, housing affordability (yes, density), and issues involving law enforcement. Toward the end of the interview we discussed how it feels as an African American woman to be painted as the establishment candidate by an architect from the North End.

Episode 9: Jenna Hanchard, KING 5 News -- Covering Tacoma, TV News, and Ferguson

This week Nate sits down with reporter, Jenna Hanchard, and listens as she speaks of her experiences as a woman of color in White Journalism.

In Jenna’s youth, she wanted to be a poet. As she grew and studied at both Rutgers and Syracuse, she found her way into broadcast media.

In a world in which the public is turning away from the television and turning to their computers, Jenna and her team are learning to engage people in both mediums to most effectively share the happenings and inform the public of the daily news.

Jenna reveals, to Nate’s surprise, her experience reporting from Ferguson, MO for 2 weeks.

As the Tacoma Bureau Chief, Jenna reports from as far north as the Canadian border and as far south as Centralia. She discusses finding a balance in protecting Tacoma stories and finding central themes to cover a more broad audience.

Journalism is a constant competitive struggle. Jenna navigates though by knowing that ‘competition is great for journalism.’ She wanted to work in a land in which she could see herself in others. Jenna’s rich history and unique perspective offer a myriad of emotions in this podcast.

Who are you listening to:

The Socials:

Going Further:


Episode 8: #NerdFarmReads Book Club: Citizen by Claudia Rankine

With Guests

Bernadette Ray, Assistant Principal Wilson HS, Connector of People & Reader of Books

Hope Teague-Bowling, Pod Spouse, Teacher, Human Observer

Kenny Coble, Bookseller, Eyewitness of the Human Condition

This podcast focuses on the book "Citizen" -- a book of lyrical essay-style prose poetry of Claudia Rankine. Nominated for the National Book Circle Criticism Award, this book is a collection of observations, poems, and micro-aggressions (heretofore just aggressions) -- people of color face everyday in America.

The litany of examples are exhausiting,  eye opening, and evoke a visceral reaction. The discussion centers around specific passages in the book including excerpts from the Serena Williams text, The Jena 6, and Invisible Invisibility.

The images in the book are meant to begin a dialogue and cause an internal emotional response. The images do not disappoint.

The discussion explores John Henry-ism, agressions, when to sigh vs groan at racism, a hilarious tweet thread from Drew in GA,  and a solid Master P reference.

Mentioned in the Show:

The Greatest Thread in the History of Twitter and an explanatory article

 Dane Caroline Wozniacki imitates Serena Williams

Dane Caroline Wozniacki imitates Serena Williams

 Page 134: "In memory"

Page 134: "In memory"

An example of the "Situation Videoes" described in the latter half of the text.

Final Thoughts:

Solange’s "A Seat at the Table" is an incredible record

Read this book. Just do it; it’s a great way to engage, or re-engage

Next Audio Book Club: Letters from a Birmingham Jail, October 2017

The Nerd Farmer Podcast is also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Episode 7: Justin Camarata and Linda Isenson -- #JimJensen, the Trouble With Bubbles & Prescriptions for Popping Them

 Graphic created by Vanessa Otero,  @vlotero

Graphic created by Vanessa Otero, @vlotero

#JimJensen, the Trouble With Bubbles & Prescriptions for Popping Them with Linda Isenson and Justin Camarata

Justin (local citizen activist), Linda (former chair of Pierce County Democrats), and Nate (Nerdfarmer) had a conversation about their respective ideological bubbles. Whether these bubbles be conservative, liberal, Antifa, or Libertarian -- we live in hubs created of our own predilections. How do we leave our bubbles and move forward in conversations and create a space for peace? This episode explores two examples of bubbles in the news: 

The Situation at Evergreen State College, the trio dug into Day of Absence and the firestorm created by a professor who decided to go on cable news, rather than talk within his learning community. Protesting should cause discomfort, but not death threats and disaster. An event meant to cause awareness went badly awry. In doing so the story jumped from lefty campus bubble into a violent right-wing one.

Jim The Man Jensen is a keyboard warrior, turned aspiring politician with strong negative feelings and hot takes about women, people of color, and low-income families. Before his campaign for Port Commissioner, he used his platform for distasteful, inappropriate tweets that subsequently led to Jim ending his campaign. Life lesson folks, tweets can be deleted, but screenshots are forever, Man.


Bursting Bubbles, we all want the same things. How do we get there? How do we come together? We can all stand at our opposing ends and meet halfway. We, as humans, all strive for love, security, and belonging. There are no humans to demonize, only humans with whom to compromise.

 Prescriptions for Bubble Popping:

  • Be aware of and acknowledge your bubbles
  • Promote tolerance within your bubbles.
  • Pop the bubbles by diversifying your media consumption.
  • Have real life relationships OUTSIDE of your bubbles.
  • Go talk to your conservative uncle
  • Remember, we have more in common than we don’t. 

Who Should We Be Following:

Ana Navarro (Conservative pundit)

Packsoldier (#StillNeverTrump Tweeter)

Evan McMullin (Ex-CIA Operative; Independent Candidate for POTUS)

Chris Vance (2016 Washington State Republican Senate Candidate)


Follow Our Guests on the Socials:

Justin Camarata

Linda Isenson


The Nerd Farmer Podcast is also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Episode 6: Cinthia Vazquez, Washington Dream Coalition - Families in Chaos: Undocumented Students, Uncertainty, and Liberal Indifference

Cinthia Vazquez, Washington Dream Coalition - Families in Chaos: Undocumented Students, Uncertainty, and Liberal Indifference

The show starts with a note from Nate about Podcast Book Club: Go get Citizen by Claudia Rankine from King’s Books (or wherever you buy books… but you should buy your books from King’s). Read it and let’s have a conversation using @nerdfarmpod and #nerdfarmreads.

Cinthia begins the interview by discussing the complications of being undocumented and claiming her space in this country.

Her Story: Cinthia’s story modestly begins on a Saturday morning when she arrived in this country fresh from Mexico. Two short days later on a Monday morning, Cinthia began her education in America. She couldn’t even begin to understand her own story until she began applying to colleges and realized that, simply because she wasn’t born here, she was ‘different.’ Through trials, tribulations, Act Six, and will of spirit, Cinthia graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane and has done more at 23 than most could imaginee possible at that age.

State Level Policies: Washington State is progressive but not perfect. There are certain benefits in place such as in-state tuition and state financial aid for students but there are also massive gaps and people,like Cinthia are working diligently toward new and better policies.

National Level Policies: During this administration, so many marginalized persons are being targeted and enduring psychological fear. Every day more and more people are being separated from families, being detained, and hiding in fear of their respective next steps, causing community panic. The state of the union has targeted undocumented humans by creating scapegoats and economic fear. The fact of the matter is that no person without documentation can receive federal housing assistance, financial aid, Medicaid, or any other federal government program benefits. In fact, they pay taxes like everyone else. They are paying for programs they aren’t even allowed to use.

This emotional interview discusses what we can do to band together, be a community, and stop criminalizing undocumented humans for existing. Undocumented persons are our neighbors, our friends, and our coworkers.

Sign the Petition!

Sanctuary City Petition


Going Further:

Vox Media

United We Dream




Facebook: Washington Dream Coalition



The Nerd Farmer Podcast is also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Episode 5: Prof Amy Young, Pacific Lutheran University - On Ignoring Calls for Civility, Reading Henry David Thoreau, and Cocktail Parties

 Photo: Mast Media, PLU

Photo: Mast Media, PLU

Professor Amy Young: On Ignoring Calls for Civility, Reading Henry David Thoreau, and Cocktail Parties

PLU Professor, Associate Professor of Communication, Chair of Communication and Theater

Nate began the show by discussing his recent visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. In short, if you can go, go.

Nate and Amy discussed how Henry David Thoreau can help us understand today’s fraught political climate. Amy discussed how often the implicit result of calls for “more civility” is a silencing of marginalized groups. 

They then switched to talking about Trump’s rise and his demagoguery. The question was posed whether we would accept this from other politicians, celebrating ‘non-conformity’ and “Working Class Whiteness” (short answer, nah). The interview then moved into an interesting look at talking over tough issues with people you love, cocktail party politics, fear of rejection, and the recent writings of conservative authors  David Frum and Julian Sanchez.

Amy explained her feelings on the political deployment of the term “white working class,” the Trump administration, toxic masculinity, and how to get through authoritarian leadership with Harry Potter.

The episode ended by wrapping back to the beginning, more conversation about the lessons of Thoreau.

And there’s always time for a quick fact about Prince.


Further Reading:

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

David Frum: About Those Georgetown Cocktail Parties

Julian Sanchez: Frum, Cocktail Parties, and the Threat of Doubt, Epistemic Closure

Joe Scarborough Twitter


To What Should We Be Reading, Watching, & Listening?

Washington Post

Time Magazine

Face the Nation

Pod Save America


Find Amy on the Socials





 The Nerd Farmer Podcast is also available on iTunes and Stitcher.