Ep. 30: #Nerdfarmreads Bookclub "Evicted" -- Matt Driscoll, Candice Ruud, and Halley Knigge


Matt Driscoll: Columnist for The News Tribune, Decent Dude: “What I gathered from Evicted are the Stories.”

Candice Ruud: Government Beat Writer of News Tribune, Former New Yorker: “We all come from different places and we could all end up experiencing homelessness.”

Halley Knigge: Professional Communicator, Astute Reader, Cancer-Beating Bad Ass, Raconteur : “This book is perspective changing.”

Evicted is a book of our times, the tales of vulnerable families, living on the brink, and sometimes going over the edge into poverty.

4:30: As the relationship between tenant and landlord becomes more transactional, It makes people living in rentals more vulnerable. Sharina, the landlord in Evicted, is such a landlord. The book gives perspective on both the harsh reality and necessity of the character, her job, and her lifestyle.

11:30: Halley shares her personal struggle with cancer and how this book both impacted her and brought to light all the “what-ifs” and “maybes” that could have broken her and her family with recent developments in her life.

16:30: Is there an eviction epidemic in Tacoma? If so, how are we  handling it, if at all? We do have a waitlist for Section 8 housing that is not much more than a lottery.

21:00: The panel discusses not their favorite, but most resonant passages of the text. 

30:00: Once you have an eviction, the difficulty increases. An eviction severely limits one’s ability to get good housing, as well as the location of the housing. Some persons would like to argue that is is our choices to lead us to the lives we live. But what are the choices?  

34:00 How can we make connections from Evicted to Tacoma Current State of Affairs? How do we define affordable housing and what is it?

38:00: Why is there so little political energy guided toward this problem?

43:00: Where are the points of light and hope in the book?

48:00: Advice from the panelists about why listeners should read this book?

“This book is about you and it’s about your neighbors.”


Halley Knigge

Matt Driscoll

Candace Ruud

Author Matthew Desmond



Evicted by Matthew Desmond

We Gon' Be Alright by Jeff Chang   


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. 29: Talking Congressional Gridlock, Jobs, and Star Wars -- Congressman Derek Kilmer, WA-6


Derek Kilmer is the democratic representative of Washington’s 6th district as well as a father, nature lover, and Star Wars Fan. Hailing from from Port Angeles, WA, the self-proclaimed nerd was elected into office on November, 6 2012. Kilmer holds a B.A. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton as well as an M.A. and a PhD in Comparative Social Policy and Intervention from University of Oxford.

5:30 This week Nate begins the conversation with Congressman Kilmer asking “What are the biggest differences between his past work in Olympia and his current work in in Washington DC?”

9:45 Derek talks about The Bipartisan Working Group that meets for breakfast every week, in which they hash out over hashbrowns. The group does three things: a) make pitches, brainstorm; b) tell the group what each of them is working on and; c) they discuss the big issues facing our country.

12:45 How the division in politics, particularly the Hastert Rule is causing stagnation and preventing policy change in the country.

16:45 Congressman Kilmer discusses most effective ways to engage with Congress, as well as the least effective methods. Derek gives great insight on qualitative versus quantitative tactics of citizen involvement. Hint: Be impactful. Begin where you are.

22:00 There are 537 elected federal officials. What is the role of the federal government’s as it pertains to gun violence, school shooting, and the opioid crisis? What can we do? Hint: Don’t Agonize. Organize.

“I am not willing to sit back and say ‘well this is just a fact of life in America today.’”

25:00 Kilmer explains the bipartisan bill he’s sponsoring with Parkland representative, Ted Deutch called The Stop School Violence Act. He has several ideas for responsible gun ownership, bills, and acts.

31:00 Washington is the most trade dependent state in the US. What are the implications of Trump's tariff and trade war on our state?

33:00 Congressman Kilmer discusses House leadership and the next generation of leaders in the House Democratic Caucus.

37:00 How do we ensure that the chief export of our community isn’t our young people?

40:00 Immigration, Dreamers and the Northwest Detention Center.

46:00 A discussion of universal healthcare and a proposed Medicare Bill (HB 676)

Kilmer in Studio.jpg

The 5

  1. What is the most underrated restaurant in Washington DC?

  2. Who is the funniest person in any caucus?

  3. Have you seen Black Panther?

  4. What are your Top 4 Star Wars movies?

  5. Is the fight scene with the Praetorian Guards in “The Last Jedi”  the best or the best EVER?


Contact Derek Kilmer

Contact Information



Going Further

The Stop School Violence Act

Find Your Representative Here

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. 28: Working in Latinx Media, Advocacy, and Navigating Uncomfortable Spaces with José Moreno

 Ep. 28 guest José Moreno with Seahawks Hall of Famer Walter Jones, this weekend at the Sounders opener, sadly we lost 0-1.

Ep. 28 guest José Moreno with Seahawks Hall of Famer Walter Jones, this weekend at the Sounders opener, sadly we lost 0-1.

**Note** This is your last chance! Read Evicted by Matthew Desmond and share your thoughts for #NerdFarmReads. We record 3/11.

6:00 José discusses being a journalist crossing lines between English, Spanish, and navigating Spanish-speaking networks and athletes.

10:00 The good, the bad, and the blocking on social media. How do we deal with the negativity and stupidity as well as the propagate to the positivity and light?

18:00 What is the measure of success for our young people?

27:00 Nate asks José how he feels about navigating primarily white spaces in his professional career. Spoiler: the answer may cause introspection.

30:00 How is the housing market is serving the communities?  How are we affected by systemic racism?

34:00 Discussing rhetoric of our public servants, how they’re serving us, and how we’re serving them.

38:00 Building bridges and how we have conversations to fill in the gaps.


The 5

  1. Is there a teacher you’d like to thank?

  2. Your thoughts on the name for the (hopefully) upcoming NHL franchise?

  3. Journalist either locally or nationally that you respect the most? (Nate strongly disagrees here)

  4. What are the Mariners off-season needs?

  5. Favorite athlete of all time?


The Socials

Twitter: prwithjam

Instagram: morenojosepr  


What to Read

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Nate's Blog: Our National Immigration Amnesia  

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. 27: Civil Liberties and Attacks on Undocumented Students in Schools -- Vanessa Hernandez, ACLU


Vanessa Hernandez is a former teacher turned ACLU Youth Policy director. Vanessa began her 7 year ACLU career as a litigator.

6:00: Nate and Vanessa dive into immigration policy and public schools, Vanessa speaks to things which are problematic, what has panicked her in the past, and ”othering” humans.

9:00: Startling conversation on DHS guidance in schools and ICE involvement. Currently, schools are a ‘sensitive location’ (as are places like churches) but since there is no actual law, this is subject to change at any time.

24:00: Discussion surrounding school disciplinary actions and security officers in schools. Are there too many? What are their actual duties? Are we (as a society) to harsh?

30:00: Speaking of SROs, Philadelphia has created more structured system with intentional use for SROs in schools.

32:00: A discussion on how schools become a pipeline to prisons via suspension and expulsion.

“There’s no educational value to suspension or expulsion. There’s nothing they learn expect ‘these people don’t want me around.’”

36:00: How we are and how we should be handling suspension. Are students learning from and suspension and while they are on suspension?

46:00: Law Enforcement Kills 1100 Americans per year with (basically) no repercussions. What is ACLU pushing for to help. Initiative 940. Washington state has to prove that the officer acted with malice. Washington has the highest standard in the nation to prove malice.

Listener Questions: 51:00

  1. How does the ACLU decide where to put it’s resources?

  2. Where is the ACLU on Second Amendment Issues?

  3. What is one civil liberty issue that no one is talking bout that we SHOULD be talking about?

  4. How can we help students protect their privacy online?


The 5:

  1. What are you reading?

  2. Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice (besides RBG)?

  3. What is the 9th Amendment?

  4. Your favorite Non-Nerdfarmer Podcast?

  5. Is there a teacher you’d like to thank?


What to read:

Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues on How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude M. Steele

Warcross by Marie Lu

Big Little Lies but Liane Moriarty

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward


Going Further:

9th Amendment


Hastert Rule

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

S J D.jpg

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