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Archives for 07/24/2005 - 07/30/2005

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Keep Your Laws Off My Body, I’m Pro-Cloning

posted by on July 30 at 12:54 PM

I exaggerated a little bit in that last post about Sen. Frist.

Expanding the pool of surplus fertility clinic embryos for stem cell research, as the current bill would do, is great, but it isn’t tantamount to pursuing a more important type of scientific research: Therapeutic Cloning, or Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). SCNT is the real medically important (and controversial) stuff because it involves cloning. In SCNT, scientists take a cell from a patient and implant its nucleus in an unfertilized egg. The scientists then induce the egg to divide, and when it reaches a few hundred cells, the so-called blastocyst stage, it can be used to derive embryonic stem cells that are genetically identical to the original donor. While this would have fantastic medical benefits, it scares people because it involves the same science used to clone a person. (In other words, what if the scientists didn’t stop at the replicant blastocyst stage?) The FAQ page at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute web site is a great resource on SCNT.

Today’s NYT editorial page rightly praises Frist for his decision to support expanding stem cell research, but they also rightly use this moment to advocate taking the next important step: SCNT, or therapeutic cloning. The editorial concludes:

That is a step forward, but a pathetically small one. The bill would not allow financing for the most promising kind of stem cell research, known as therapeutic cloning, which involves the creation of embryos genetically matched to patients with particular diseases. Even so, the Senate should approve this modest move forward, preferably by a margin large enough to override a presidential veto.

He’s Pro-Cloning, and He Votes

posted by on July 30 at 11:19 AM

Come on folks, yesterday’s announcement by Sen. Frist was huge. Let’s give the guy some props. I don’t care if he is a bad guy Republican or if he’s nakedly maneuvering for a Presidential run. He just completely changed the public debatemaking stem cell research legitimate. Even though two-thirds of Americans already support expanding stem cell research, the conservatives have been able to hold the issue hostage. Like it or not, Democrats don’t have the “moral” legitimacy to control the conversation or dictate terms on stuff like this.

But thanks to Frist, the zeitgeist has suddenly shifted. This is huge! Plus: There are some nice political side effects. First, Sen. Frist has put Bush in the awkward position of having to veto the bill. With the Bush administration increasingly embattled and unpopular, a veto is gonna look desperate and bad. Second, Frist’s announcement riled the Mullah Dobson crowd. Now, their bitter threats (finally) (and suddenly) sound like the loony sputterings from the fringe that they’ve always been.

Continue reading "He's Pro-Cloning, and He Votes" »

Friday, July 29, 2005

Grizzly Killings

posted by on July 29 at 6:05 PM

This report in the Vancouver Sun is about killing grizzly bears. What makes the report remarkable is the very fact that it is a report about killing grizzly bears, and it’s on the front page of a big daily newspaper. Only in the Northwest could such a report have any importance. Anywhere else, a grizzly bear would have to kill and eat a human if it hoped to make it to the front pages of a newspaper. But out here, we just want to know how things are working out for them in a nature managed by the government.

The Scoutocaust Continues

posted by on July 29 at 1:47 PM

If this keeps up, Boy Scout troop leaders will soon be an endangered species.

They should start giving badges for overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Regime of the Backdoor

posted by on July 29 at 1:46 PM

We already have a backdoor draft, and soon we will have a backdoor UN Ambassador. We must call this new political practice backdoorism.

Best News Tip Ever!

posted by on July 29 at 1:31 PM

“Um, hi, my name is , and I think I have a story that you guys might be interested in. My number is , and it’s basically a man being sent to jail, because he supposedly killed me. And I showed up to the court, and I’m completely fine. There’s not a scratch on me, but he’s about to be convicted, and he’s gonna go away for many many years, and I’m completely fine, and the judge was pretty weird.”

The Other President

posted by on July 29 at 11:50 AM

This man is the president of Zimbabwe.


Zimbabwe is fucked.

Post Crue Party

posted by on July 29 at 11:28 AM

For those heading over to White River this weekend to check in on Motley Crue, the Last Supper Club is having an afterparty Saturday, July 30th with Mr. Vince Neil himself. Sure, it’s gonna be way cheesy, but that’s all part of the Crue’s allure, right? Plus you know he was the best part of his season’s Surreal Life.

Arianna Huffington v. Judith Miller

posted by on July 29 at 10:35 AM

It’s a bit of a one-sided fight because Judith Miller is in jail, but Arianna Huffington is continuing on her blogging jag against the incarcerated New York Times reporter. Read all about it here.

Sweet Dreams Of Summer

posted by on July 29 at 10:04 AM

Camera-wielding Last Days Hot Tipper Katie sent this pic she snapped at Green Lake. This guy must have been having one lovely dream.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Curse of the Boy Scout Camp?

posted by on July 28 at 4:03 PM

At this week’s Virginia Boy Scout Jamboree, three scout leaders were electrocuted Monday (their tent pole struck an electrical line) and then 300 scouts and adults suffered from heatstroke on Wednesday. Call me superstitious, but I think I’d haul ass out of there at this point, badge or no badge.

Joel Connelly’s Mistake within a Mistake

posted by on July 28 at 2:55 PM

So, did everybody catch PI Columnist Joel Connelly’s hilarious screw up yesterday? He mistook an anti-Mike McGavick web-sitethe McGavick-spoof site blared, “It’s time for a man to represent Washington”for a real Mike McGavick web site. Then, when the confused Connelly visited the “McGavick” web site a second time, he found that the site was “currently under construction…” Connelly, thinking this was all real, took that to be a positive step, and wrote: “The soon-to-be-ex-Safeco CEO has taken charge of his political fortunes, exiling sexism.”
So, Connelly compounded his error. Rather than trashing what appeared to be McGavick’s initial overt sexism, Connellywhose column was called “McGavick Web Site cleans up; foes ought to do the same”went on to use “McGavick’s decision” to re-think “his” web-site (or cover up his apparent sexism!!!) as evidence that McGavick was taking the moral high ground over the Dems. NextPac, a Democratic PAC, had sent out e-mails with red Xes drawn over McGavick’s face (green checks over Cantwell’s)and Connelly’s column implied that NextPAC should follow McGavick’s example and rethink their tactics. (Connelly eventually discovered his goof up, and changed his column on-line to acknowledge the mistake.)

But my question is this: If Connelly actually thought McGavick would have ever truly considered campaigning on the slogan “It is time for a man to represent Washington,” and if Connelly thought that McGavickeven for an ill-advised momentactaully posted that slogan on a web site, why didn’t Connelly trash McGavick (rather than bending over backwards to turn the column into a slam on the Dems)? After all, NextPac’s e-mail was hardly offensive. Red X for McGavick, Green Check for Cantwell. Big deal.) Bottom line: If Connelly actually thought the “McGavick site” was real, he should have immediately called McGavick and asked him what the hell was going on. Had Connelly done that, the whole embarrassing episode would’ve never happened.

I’ve included the NextPac e-mail below. I don’t think the Xes and Checks come through, but you’ll get the idea.

Continue reading "Joel Connelly's Mistake within a Mistake" »

Here They Go! Again

posted by on July 28 at 2:46 PM

For those who were unlucky or unable to jam their sweaty bodies into the Go! Team’s sold out shows at the KEXP BBQ and Neumo’s recently, the band a) signed to Columbia and b) are coming back through town Oct 25 to the Showbox—where there should be a little more room to dance than at their previous local gigs.

Treason is the Reason

posted by on July 28 at 2:19 PM

Help come up with a catchy poster slogan in their campaign to force Rove outta the Whitehouse.

Judith Miller

posted by on July 28 at 1:09 PM

I still don’t know what to make of all the speculation about jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Are her motives for not testifying for the CIA leak investigation less altruistic then she claims? Might she really be protecting herself, rather than a source, by choosing jail over talking to the special prosecutor?

Huffington lays out the dark theory of Miller here, saying:

Not everyone in the Times building is on the same page when it comes to Judy Miller. The official story the paper is sticking to is that Miller is a heroic martyr, sacrificing her freedom in the name of journalistic integrity.

But a very different scenario is being floated in the halls.

And close readers of this New York Times story from today will notice that reporters for the paper are now asking their superiors for comment about what Miller knew and how she knew it.

In e-mail messages this week, Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, and George Freeman, an assistant general counsel of the newspaper, declined to address written questions about whether Ms. Miller was assigned to report about Mr. Wilson’s trip, whether she tried to write a story about it, or whether she ever told editors or colleagues at the newspaper that she had obtained information about the role played by Ms. Wilson.

Weird Coincidence

posted by on July 28 at 12:13 PM

On the same day that the Seattle Monorail Project signed a consulting contract with ex-Sound Transit finance committee chair Kevin Phelps, a highly regarded leader who recently stepped down from the Tacoma City Council, Sound Transit hired Austin Jenkins, the former director of operations for the SMP, to serve as the new director of operations at Sound Transit.

Jenkins lost his job in a recent round of layoffs at the SMP. Phelps stepped down from the City Council (and the Sound Transit board) earlier this month.

Even critics of the monorail see the board’s decision to hire Phelps (the first time the board has had anything resembling a staffer of its own) as good news. Phelps, a fiscal conservative known for asking tough questions as Sound Transit’s finance chair, is largely credited with restoring the agency’s credibility after massive cost overruns threatened to sink light rail in 2001. Whether he can pull off a similar turnaround at the troubled monorail agency - or whether the SMP’s financial problems are too profound to be fixed by a part-time consultant - remains unclear.

Congressional Leak Hearings

posted by on July 28 at 11:48 AM

Seattle native Ari Melber joins The Huffington Post crowd with a smart take on the upcoming hearings that Republicans in Congress have finally agreed to hold on the CIA leak scandal.

The Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pat Roberts, is organizing the hearings and says they are only supposed to be about how the CIA decides which officers to call “covert” — which gives Republicans an opportunity to question whether Valerie Plame really should have been considered covert at all, rather than asking why the Bush administration outed a covert CIA agent in the first place.

But as Ari notes, “this is a risky strategy that could backfire on live television.”

Continue reading "Congressional Leak Hearings" »

The Last Ditch: Anti-Terrorism Fatwa

posted by on July 28 at 11:14 AM

In a desperate attempt to recover Arab identity from the terrorist, who presently dominates the image of the Arab world and Islam, Muslim scholars in the US have issued a fatwa on terrorists. But it might be too little too late. A whole generation had to pass before Germans were finally recognized as Germans again, instead of Nazis. Maybe what the Muslim scholars should do is hire the best PR firm in the world to reduce (or remove entirely) the negative image that presently obscures all the other aspects of their religion. That might actually work.

breathing room

posted by on July 28 at 11:02 AM

Watertown in Lower Queen Anne is going smoke-free. Next time I’m craving a thirtysomething Eastsider in a shiny shirt, I’ll head straight there. Please let this trend gain steam…

Light-Rail to Boeing Field

posted by on July 28 at 10:24 AM

Stranger managing editor, Bradley Steinbacher came up with a brilliant solution to the Sims/Port standoff over Southwest and light-rail. Brad says build light-rail to Boeing Field instead of Sea-Tac!! Sims would be saying to the Port, OK if you’re going to threaten light-rail over the Southwest proposal, we’ll just move light-rail to Boeing field. That would put the station closer to Seattle, and so it would lower light-rail construction costs. The savings could help push light rail further north, and we’d have an accessible airport to the South! Sims should have hired Bradley rather than Sandeep. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

Seattle Federal Judge Sends Strong Message to Bush

posted by on July 28 at 9:05 AM

Seattle Federal District Court Judge John C. Coughenour took a conspicuous (and righteous) shot at the Bush administration on Wednesday. Check out what Judge Coughenour wrote in the Ressam ruling yesterday:

I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution. I would suggest that the message to the world from today’s sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections. Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens. Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel. The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won. It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I’ll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will be in recess.

Last Days: This Week’s Also-Rans

posted by on July 28 at 8:00 AM

Due to word limits and time constraints, not every news story boasting the requisite freakishness, horror, and/or pathos makes the cut for the week’s Last Days column. But thanks to the miracle of Slog, each week’s Last Days also-rans can now be shared with the public.

First up is a ridiculous tragedy from Oklahoma, where a 63-year-old man in the town of Hominy is facing murder charges after allegedly gunning down 26-year-old waitress in a local diner in broad daylight. According to the Editor & Publisher report, the motive for the alleged murder is believed to be a letter written by the waitress to the Hominy News Progress, suggesting the man was responsible for some local vandalism. Surreal fact: The Hominy News Progress had recently honored the alleged murderer as Citizen of the Year. Tragic fact: The waitness was 11 weeks pregnant.

Continue reading "Last Days: This Week's Also-Rans" »

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

You Know You’ve Made It As A Reporter When…

posted by on July 27 at 5:02 PM

….a suspended city commissioner whose allegedly dirty dealings you’ve chronicled in your column comes to your office lobby and shoots himself.

Triple the Pleasure

posted by on July 27 at 4:27 PM

I almost forgot to write how amazing the Sufjan Stevens show was at the Triple Door last weekend. Not only because his music is both ebullient and heartbreaking, or because the band all wore “I” cheerleading outfits for most of the set to symbolize the new Illinois album. Although those were great highlights. It’s also because of the club itself. Unlike most of the bigger venues in town, the Triple Door doesn’t overcrowd shows, they don’t allow smoking (which is such a huge difference) and the stage background is made up of lots of electric stars that change colors as the performer plays. Sure, you don’t need every rock show to be this classy, but it’s such a much needed respite from the norm I can only hope they’ll continue booking more rock shows, even if it’s only the softer side of the indie/folk stuff.

Lunch w/ Chamber Pres

posted by on July 27 at 4:13 PM

Just had lunch with Steve Leahy, the head of Seattle’s Chamber of Commerce. Apparently, I had caused a stir among his membership when I published a controversial e-mail he had written, so he wanted to meet me. I was his guest today at a rotary club lunch (weird patriotic songs, overly-friendly people), and then we hunkered down in the lobby of the Westin. Leahy was way different than I thought he’d be. I had talked to him on the phone when I was doing the e-mail story, and he sounded like a wine-sipping upper crust type. In peson, however, I found that he’s more of a Jimmy Hoffa Jr. typethat is: Kind of a fast-talking brawler in a suit with lots of strong opinions (mostly about transit issues.) We never struck a deal about on-the-record or off-the-record, so I could probably get away with quoting him here, but, again, since there was no agreement struck one way or the other, I’d have to be a real dick to go and quote him. He did say one thing, though, that unlike most of his opinions, wasn’t a policy point, but was, rather, a general observation about Seattle. Since I agree with him 100% on this point, and since I wouldn’t be showing his hand on a particular political issue, I’m going to repeat the crux of it here: He seemed to think that a lot the problems in town were caused by political leaders’ unwilingness to state their positions loud and clear and up front. In other words, their unwillingness to go on the record.

The Island of the Future

posted by on July 27 at 3:47 PM

It’s too bad more people aren’t going to see Michael Bay’s The Island. Not because it’s good. Oh my lord, no. It’s ass-out ‘orrible (despite the raging foxiness of its two stars and the supporting presence of Pete from Benson). NO. The reason it’s a pity is because if more people saw it, more people would be inspired by the sight (supposedly only 14 years into the future, in 2019) of monorails that fly on weightless paths, miles above the city streets and Amtrak trains that hover above their tracks while rocketing at supersonic speeds between Arizona and L.A. I feel that the time has come to demand not only a monorail, but a magical flying monorail. We’re about as likely to get one as we are the other, so why not insist on one that flies?

Space Rocks

posted by on July 27 at 1:42 PM

Scientists have recorded the “eerie sounds of Saturn” which sound freakier than a sci fi horror flick. And yet there’s something really cool in the echoing radio waves they’ve captured. Avant composers take note.

Caveman Tools

posted by on July 27 at 12:51 PM

Check out the prehistoric dildo scientists found in a cave in Germany. It’s 28,000 years old. Babeland should offer replicas.


posted by on July 27 at 11:03 AM

He may have undermined national security, but that doesn’t mean Karl Rove shouldn’t get a raise.

Port of Seattle to Ron Sims: Take That!

posted by on July 27 at 11:02 AM

Today’s front-page Seattle Times story “Airport may not get light rail” is obviously the result of some see-through petty politicking on the part of the Port. Basically, the Port is pissed at County Exec Ron Sims for orchestrating the recent SouthWest Airlines deal that has SouthWest leaving Sea-Tac. The Port’s announcement that it’s now putting about $580 million in airport-expansion projects on holdwhich could screw up plans to get light rail to the airportis obviously a payback slap at light rail-guy Sims. The irony being, of course, that the Port would be crazy to scuttle the Sea-Tac connection. Ah, but personal politics win the day! I love it.

Seattle Times supports gay marriage

posted by on July 27 at 10:47 AM

I’m not sure if this is new. Maybe The Seattle Times has already endorsed gay marriage. But either way the paper’s editorial from yesterday seems significant. Noting Canada’s recent legalization of gay marriage, The Seattle Times looks ahead to the coming gay marriage battle in this state says:

Americans need to get past the politics and cultural knee-jerk reactions to gay marriage and join our northern neighbors in allowing same-sex couples to legally marry.

Amen. Full editorial below….

Continue reading "Seattle Times supports gay marriage" »

State Rep. Ed Murray: Off the Light Rail Train?

posted by on July 27 at 10:42 AM

In this week’s paper we have a small article on what’s quickly turning into a big debate. The Seattle Times has a bigger story on it today as well. At question: Should Sound Transit scrap the light rail station that’s slated to serve First Hill? Going ahead with the station could, for a set of complicated reasons that have to do with federal funding, add up to $1 billion in costs, according to City Council Member Nick Licata. Licata voted against the station in a recent 7-1 council resolution aimed at influencing the ST board. (The resolution recommended building the station, and Licata was the lone vote against it.) The ST board is scheduled to vote on the stationwhich would be located between a Westlake station and a Capitol Hill stationtomorrow.
As we went to press yesterday, I got an urgent call from state Rep. Ed Murraythe House Transportation Chair, and a big ST fan. Despite the financial drawbacks of building the First Hill station, he told me he’s “off the Sound Transit train” if ST doesn’t build it. In a July 15 letter to the ST board Murray made his case:

“Choosing to bypass one of the region’s important employment centers, densely populated residential neighborhoods and a rich source of transit ridership would undermine the primary purpose of a high capacity transit system: connecting our region’s urban centers. Such a decision raises serious questions about how we find ourselves potentially building a high capacity system that would skip a major regional destination and one of the few truly dense urban residential populations in the region. The very type of areas high capacity transit was designed to serve.”


posted by on July 27 at 10:13 AM

Dreamworks is in deep trouble. Its latest film, Michael Bay’s The Island, cost $160 million to produce (plus $50 million to promote and distribute) and it only made $12 million when it opened last weekend. It will struggle to reach even $30 million. Money, money, money—welcome to a poor man’s world.

He’s Now Giving Head

posted by on July 27 at 10:10 AM

So for anyone who saw the defunct punk glam act the Girls knows member Zache Davis was never one for subtlety. Now in NY he’s found a new niche, though, that of a goof actor in a pretty hilarious Yahoo ad called “Head Cleaner”.

Now Might Be a Good Time…

posted by on July 27 at 9:35 AM

to catch Bin Laden. You know, it could help divert attention from this Rove thing and….oh whooops, is the CIA supposed to help us with that…. ?

Drip, Drip, Drip 2

posted by on July 27 at 8:57 AM

And for cinematic purposes, the best new tidbit will be The Post’s revelation of a mysterious “stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street” in the days before Novak published his fateful column. Novak and the stranger had a conversation that is apparently of interest to the grand jury:

In a strange twist in the investigation, the grand jury — acting on a tip from Wilson — has questioned a person who approached Novak on Pennsylvania Avenue on July 8, 2003, six days before his column appeared in The Post and other publications, Wilson said in an interview.

Drip, Drip, Drip

posted by on July 27 at 8:56 AM

Josh is totally right. The CIA of today is the angry and leaking FBI of the Watergate era. In this morning’s must-read Washington Post story there are several new, very damning pieces of information to leak out, apparently via pissed off CIA sources. The best, for administration critics, will be this:

Behind the scenes, the White House responded with twin attacks: one on Wilson and the other on the CIA, which it wanted to take the blame for allowing the 16 words to remain in Bush’s speech. As part of this effort, then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley spoke with Tenet during the week about clearing up CIA responsibility for the 16 words, even though both knew the agency did not think Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Translation: Both the administration and the CIA knew the Niger connection (aka the 16 words) was bogus when the President made the connection in his state of the union speech. The White House wasn’t misled by the CIA, as Bush later claimed. The White House knowingly lied to the public.

The Bush Administration is About to Get Spooked

posted by on July 27 at 8:45 AM

Rove & Co. crossed the CIA. Not a good move, guys. CIA is to RoveGate as FBI is to Watergate. The Bush Administration is completely fucked.

That is entertainment…

posted by on July 27 at 6:41 AM

I guess for me the problem with The Jam isn’t that I don’t like them or can’t hear the power and quality of their songs; It’s that I’ve never been able to develop a serious relationship with Paul Weller’s singing. It’s in the same family as Billy Bragg and Joe Strummervery muscularbut somehow, I just don’t connect. It goes without saying that this is my problem, and not a problem with The Jam, who were obviously amazing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Local Royalty Wins Lottery, Humanity Suffers

posted by on July 26 at 8:10 PM

Congratulations to Seattle superstar Sir Mix-A-Lot, whose eternal smash “Baby Got Back” has been placed at the center of a brand new TV commercial for Target, with Sir’s hymn to humongous ass reworked to hype the chain’s back-to-school campaign as “Baby Got Backpack.”

Dying To Rock

posted by on July 26 at 6:50 PM

During a performance at club in Leeds last Wednesday, the lead singer of the band Bad Beat Revuedescribed by LeedsMusicOnline as “Yorkshire’s finest exponents of punked up indie rock’n’roll, and probably the most entertaining band on the Leeds/Bradford scene,” and whose name I’d never heard before todayattempted a leap from the stage onto a lighting rig and fell to his death.

Yorkshire Post report on the death of 29-year-old Patrick Sherry here.

(Cruel twist that means nothing but must be mentioned: Bad Beat Revue signed on to the show just a few hours before the gig, after another band pulled out.)

Let’s Play Master And Servant

posted by on July 26 at 4:13 PM

The Islamic terrorists have a tendency of doing very Western things before attacking and killing Westerners. The suicide bombers who killed London commuters two weeks ago apparently went on a rafting retreat in Wales. Similarly, the 9-11 terrorists went on a boozing and strip-club binge before committing their holy crimes. What does this mean? It means this: at root, the suicide missions have nothing to do with God or Allah or whatever but instead the long and deep Arab sense of inferiority to Westerners. Western history, of course, is responsible for the development of this complex, because Europe’s imperial adventures were justified by looking down on Arabs, the conquered, as mere children (read Edward Said’s Orientalism on this subject). Black Africans were also subjected to Europe’s sense of superiority and eventually developed the same inferiority complex, but, as a culture, the Africans of today don’t resort to bombing innocent people as a means of overcoming it (though the psychiatrist Franz Fanon did recommend violent response against whites as the best cure for blacks). Many Arabs suffer from this inferiority complex, and a few of them feel it so acutely that they have to do things like 9-11, so that the West (the father/master) recognizes them (the slave). Yes, Hegel’s slave/master dialectic plays a leading role in all of this terrorism stuff.

Dick Falkenbury

posted by on July 26 at 4:03 PM

just called to tell me he’s running for the Seattle Monorail Project board against incumbent Cleve Stockmeyer, another longtime monorail supporter.

Public Opinion on Rove

posted by on July 26 at 3:00 PM

According to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll:

25% of Americans have never heard of Karl Rove.

Only 51% of the country is following the Rove affair at least somewhat closely.

Of the people who are actually following the affair (ie, excluding the no opinion people), 32% think Rove did something illegal, 49% think he did something unethical, but not illegal. In other words, 81% think he did something unethical.

Just over half of the people who are paying attention think Rove should be fired. 61% think he should resign.

Common Denominator Part 2: Republicans Trashing Bush Again

posted by on July 26 at 2:50 PM

I know McCain’s just running for president, but this sure makes the Bush admn. look bad.

And Again

posted by on July 26 at 2:36 PM

The press corps assaults Scott McClellan, again.

Meanwhile, McClellan finally resorted to shorthand for his pat response, which is always a version of “this is an ongoing investigation and we will not comment on an ongoing investigation because we are cooperating with the investigation.” Now, in today’s press briefing, he just says:

Q Former President Clinton, a friend of the first President Bush and a friend of this President Bush, has said “they’ve gotten away with murder.”

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, thank you. And you know our response on questions related to the investigation.

Unfortunately, we do.

More excerpt, below.

Continue reading "And Again" »

Video of Santorum v. Stewart

posted by on July 26 at 1:25 PM

People keep asking me to describe exactly what was so disappointing about Jon Stewart’s interview of Sen. Rick Santorum last night. I’ll do better. Here’s a video of the interview, courtesy of those indefatigable video compilers at Crooks and Liars.

And here’s what Crooks and Liars has to say about the segment:

Many people have emailed about this segment. They think Jon was too soft on Santorum.  You decide. Usually Jon does goes after these intellectual midgets, but not tonight. What is really sad is that we have to depend on The Daily Show to point out the lunacy in most things instead of the actual news services and when Stewart doesn’t then who is left?

More for Michael Dahlquist friends

posted by on July 26 at 12:49 PM

Steve Albini wrote about Silkworm’s Michael Dahlquist—who was killed recently in a tragic accident—for the Chicago Reader (scroll down from the big ad at the top of the page to the “Letters” section).

And this from one of his friends:

“Seattle Memorial for Michael Dahlquist:

On Sunday, July 31st, there will be a memorial for Michael Dahlquist at his parents’ home on Whidbey Island, Mike and Sydney Hoffman. It will start at 3:00 p.m. and end at about 8:00 p.m. We are asking everyone who attends to please bring a dish and drink of their choice to share. You are welcome to share your stories of Michael as well. To get there, you can take the Mukilteo Ferry to Clinton.

The home is located at: 4843 Salish Way, Langley, WA 98260

Also - you can check out on the message board for any other info. It’s so tragic and the world has lost a really great person.”

Bumbershoot Loses Two Headliners

posted by on July 26 at 12:24 PM

Both Ani DiFranco and Devo have cancelled their summer tours (which includes Bumbershoot)…opening new spaces for new headliners. (The festival’s official site encourages readers to check back soon for updates.) Even though it’s tough having big names cancel at the 11th hour, hopefully this will turn into a positive for Bumbershoot, giving them room to snag two headliners a little more on the edgier side of things. A couple suggestions…If they want to keep with the nostalgia theme, The Stooges would be amazing, as would a Pavement reunion (although I won’t hold my breath) and Big Star fans would most likely shit their pants if that band came through (they’re recording a new record). Personally I’d love to see someone like Mars Volta, High on Fire, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, Annie, Sufjan Stevens…just to name a few. Other suggestions?

Ten Days Before Halloween

posted by on July 26 at 11:52 AM

The Showbox will be hosting Turbonegro, an insane band with insane fans. When they played Graceland a while back it was a physical workout just staying standing for the entire show—fists flew, testosterone skyrocketed, and erections were repeatedly championed. Ah, Scandinavian rock ‘n’ roll.

Hipster Holocaust Narrowly Averted

posted by on July 26 at 11:22 AM

Today the New York Post reported that in 2002, Osama bin Laden allegedly tried to buy a massive amount of cocaine, with hopes of spiking it with poison, then selling it in the United States, killing thousands of Americans one year after the 9/11 attacks.

The terror plot was apparently foiled by those noted protectors of human life and justice, Colombian drug lords, who reportedly declined bin Laden’s lucrative offer out of fear it would ruin the U.S. market for cocaine. Which is probably right.

New Republic on Stewart

posted by on July 26 at 10:53 AM

T. A. Frank, of The New Republic online, agrees with me that Stewart needs to get more confrontational with guests like Santorum.

Interviewing Rick Santorum last night, Jon Stewart did what he invariably does with political guests—stick to gentle quips and harmless questions. Stewart is a smart observer of American politics. So why can’t he learn to argue?

For a price, you can read the whole article here.

Flip-Flop on Emergency Contraception

posted by on July 26 at 10:48 AM

Today brings more indication that emergency contraception is being misguidedly dragged into the abortion debate: Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of MA vetoed a bill passed by the legislature that would have expanded access to the emergency contraceptive Plan B. The bill, which will likely become law regardless, as it passed by veto-proof margins, would have allowed authorized pharmacists to dispense Plan B without a doctor’s prescription (just like in Washington State), and would have required hospitals to offer the pill to rape victims (which as far as I know isn’t yet law in Washington).

According to the Boston Globe, this is a major flip-flop for Romney, who promised to “support efforts to increase access to emergency contraception” in his 2002 campaign for governor, and may indicate that Romney is trying to spit-shine his pro-life image in advance of a possible presidential run.

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Guitarists, Guitarists, Guitarists

posted by on July 26 at 10:24 AM

Xiu Xiu guitarist Jamie Stewart has written an idiosyncratic top-10 guitarists list with cracked-genius commentary up on Pitchfork today. Included is Seattle’s Sam Mickens of the Dead Science. Stewart’s essay begins promisingly with these sentences:

The only reason I thought about writing about great guitar players is because of the complicated personal relationship I have with the guitar. I think it is the most boring instrument, and I can say with and without hostility that I hate guitar players generally.

His insights are highly entertaining and infuriating in equal measuremuch like Xiu Xiu’s music.


posted by on July 26 at 8:30 AM

I never thought I would say this, but Jon Stewart let me down. He had Sen. Rick Santorum as a guest last night, perhaps the greatest gift a late-night humorist could receive, and he blew it. It’s too sad to write about in detail now, maybe someone else who watched will have the strength. All I can do is ask:

What happened? Where is the Jon Stewart who shredded Tucker Carlson live on CNN, the Stewart I fell in love with? I am inconsolable.

Beat It, Freaks: The Christian Exodus

posted by on July 26 at 8:00 AM

It’s no secret that the a number of the key national debatesabortion, evolution, same-sex marriageare predicated on what many consider to be irreconcilable differences, capable of being settled only by fighting, as with the Civil War, or by breaking away, as proposed by the current Christian Exodus movement, the basics of which are described by

A Texas group wants conservative Christians to move to South Carolina 12,000 at a time to form a biblically inspired government and secede from the United States. Decrying a national tolerance of abortion and gay marriage, and the teaching of evolution, hopes to achieve a majority of like-minded Christians in the state by 2016, the planned year of secession.

The movement’s drawing criticism from non-crazy Christians, such as the folks behind ReligionBlog, who characterize the views the Exodus Movement’s leader28-year-old Cory Burnell, a Christian schoolteacher and mobile phone store manager in Tyler, Texasthusly:

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Bok Bok Bok Bok

posted by on July 25 at 6:23 PM

It looks like Santorum cancelled or rescheduled or chickened out of his interview on tonight’s Daily Show. Hopefully Jon Stewart will fill us in during tonight’s broadcast.

Mister Spitzer

posted by on July 25 at 5:00 PM

This Spitzer investigation settlement is amazingly good news. The radio promo industry is lousy with the kind of just-under-the-radar payola being described in all the news reports, but the idea of just punishing one company, even if it’s Sony, seems a bit funny. Pervasive isn’t even the word. This is boilerplate, the way things are done, seemingly inescapable. Maybe not, though. Score one for the forces of good, at long fucking last.

Getting to the Bottom of J.Lo’s Popularity

posted by on July 25 at 4:31 PM

Other than her charm-packed early performances in the films Out Of Sight and Antz, I’ve never, ever understood the appeal of Jennifer Lopez
Dave, butt of course, she’s sitting on it.

J. Lo: Finally, Some Answers

posted by on July 25 at 4:08 PM

Other than her charm-packed early performances in the films Out Of Sight and Antz, I’ve never, ever understood the appeal of Jennifer Lopez, especially once she launched her “J.Lo” music career, which combined adamantly bland dance-pop with unprecedented egotism and self-aggrandizement. (J.Lo, you may recall, had not one but two chart-toppers which took as their subject the endless humility and “realness” of Jenny from the block.)

Now Fox News’ Roger Friedman reports that at least three of J.Lo’s radio smashes were bought for her by Sony, including the previously alluded-to “I’m Real.”

Full story here.

My New Favorite Movie

posted by on July 25 at 3:41 PM

After suffering through countless cinematic epics fuled by alleged star-power and unequivocal bloat, I have no problem having a new favorite movie that runs exactly 30 seconds, especially when the short film in question is as rich as this one.

In particular, I love how the screams of laughter morph almost imperceptibly into screams of something else, and the amazing final freeze on that angry pig face, timed precisely with the first beep of the fire alarm. Brilliant.

(Thanks to Mike Nipper.)

Elliott Smith Tribute Disc

posted by on July 25 at 3:24 PM

Pitchfork’s Joel Ebner reported today that “a fledgling label called Expunged Records will be publishing a tribute album this fall featuring covers of [Elliott Smith’s] music. Each of the artists involved so far hail from Smith’s hometown of Portland, Oregon; the tentative roster includes the Decemberists (“Clementine”), Dolorean (“The Biggest Lie”), Lifesavas (“Happiness”), and the Thermals (“Ballad of Big Nothing”). A previously unreleased Smith song entitled “High Times” will be performed by Singer/Songwriter Sean Croghan; acts who have yet to confirm a selection include Jeff Trott, Sexton Blake, The Society of People of Ambience and Elegance, Amelia, Crosstide and Telephone, and Swords (formerly the Swords Project).” Ebner notes that the disc should be out around the 2-year anniversary of Smith’s death.

Re: Recuse Me?

posted by on July 25 at 2:22 PM

Perceived conflict between God and country is a big deal in a Supreme Court nominee, to be sure, but I’m also perturbed by the conflict I perceive between the selfsame LA Times writer’s intent and meaning in the following quotation:

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

Did he really appear nonplused? Bewildered, confused, puzzled, at a loss for words? (In that case, it would have been nice to have a qualifier like “Although he is renowned for his unflappable style…”) It seems that the “nonplused” was supposed to mean “chill.” Which it doesn’t.

Spam Kills

posted by on July 25 at 2:00 PM

The Moscow News headline says it all: Russia’s Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered in Apartment.

But here’s a little more:

Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.

Full report here.

Recuse Me?

posted by on July 25 at 1:48 PM

Last week, Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, a devout Catholic, was asked by Senator Richard Durbin (D-ILL) what he would do if the law required him to rule in a way the church would find immoral. His response? He would have to recuse himself.

The full story can be found in this Los Angeles Times op-ed (registration required).

Bloggers are pointing out that such a position (which will surely be “clarified”) could, conceivably, lead to him recusing himself from cases involving not just abortion and gay rights, but pornography and the death penalty. As Jeffrey Dubner writes at Tapped:

Hopefully this is just something that Roberts didn’t really mean and his handlers will find a way to walk it back. But if he was being honest, it’s a rather serious issue. Would he recuse himself after deciding that the law goes against Church teachings but let himself vote when his vote would meet Pope Benedict XVI’s approval? Is he more afraid of being a bad Catholic than of being a bad justice?

Discarded on the sidewalk at Pine and 13th…

posted by on July 25 at 1:33 PM

This disquieting to-do list:

APT. $

Stop Dribbling Your Cum

posted by on July 25 at 12:23 PM

Out of the many pieces of junk email that filled my box this weekend, this one, sent by a man named Ulysses A. Oneil (who apparently lives in New Zealand), caught my attention. The email says: “Heya! Has your cum ever dribbled and you wish it had shot out? Have you ever wanted to impress your girl with a huge cumshot?…Imagine the difference (look and feel) between dribbling your cum compared to shooting out burst after burst.”

Who exactly is this zealous New Zealander addressing? I mean, who, apart from that rare class of men whose hearts are set on becoming porn stars, worries about their cum “dribbling” instead of “shooting”? This is not a real anxiety but one that is purely manufactured. When the markets for real anxieties (erectile dysfunction, for example) become saturated, then the industry must invent new anxieties for products that will ultimately do nothing for ya man. And so it is in late, late capitalism: A produced anxiety is resolved by a produced solution (or better yet, the solution is produced before the anxiety is invented), and all for the purpose of producing a new circuit for the flow of money. Everything liquid melts into air.

Liberal Media

posted by on July 25 at 12:12 PM

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), everyone’s favorite fetus-cuddling senator, took part in a live chat for the Washington Post today, but only softballs were allowed to be lobbed at him through the moderator. Blogger Steve Gilliard has more.

Death Cult Strikes Again

posted by on July 25 at 11:48 AM

It was a beautiful weekend, so I decided to ruin it by going shoe shopping downtown. While I was there, I saw the headlines about the bombing in Egypt, and not five minutes later, saw a woman in a burqa stumbling up Pike Street from the market, and started shaking with rage. To the people who wrote letters last week blaming the war in Iraq for the London terror attacksreasoning that the attacks keep happening in war-supporting nations like U.S., Spain, and U.K. (uh, and Bali…)let me just say, you were wrong and you remain dangerously, disgustingly wrong.

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Free Blended Coffee Beverages

posted by on July 25 at 11:47 AM

Everybody knows how to claim their free Frappuccino, right? The Seattle Public Library is bribing “adult readers” (doesn’t that sound gross?) with $4 Starbucks gift cards, for the painless price of slogging through three books between the beginning of June and the end of August. I claimed mine yesterday, with one excellent novel (Steve Stern’s The Angel of Forgetfulness), one lightweight grad-school nostalgia trip (Lucasta Miller’s The Brontë Myth), and one disappointing faux-Victorian lesbian thriller (Sarah Waters’s Affinity—skip it and read Fingersmith instead). I can’t wait for my Frappuccino—frozen coffee being the only thing you should ever purchase at Starbucks, even if you’re using fake library cash.

Crimes Against Cooter

posted by on July 25 at 11:26 AM

Ben Jones, former Georgia Congressman and the man who brought Cooter to life on The Dukes of Hazzard, is denouncing the film version of the inarguably lame TV show due to its “profanity laced script with blatant sexual situations.”

He goes on to proclaim the original show had “good clean family values,” though just why he thinks a series built around disregard for the law and the safety of law enforcement officers (not to mention reckless driving and wanton ogling of skimpy-shorted family members) promoted good clean family values remains a mystery.

A side note: I caught an appearance by Jones on the Today show last week, and was surprised that Matt Lauer actually had some hard-hitting questions for him. The sad thing: Lauer asked more probing questions of Cooter than he’s ever asked a member of the Bush administration.

The Trrill Of It All

posted by on July 25 at 10:56 AM

One of my favorite new (to me, anyway) music-oriented blogs is Trrill, curated and smartly designed by an original aestheteNick Schollwho happens to intern with The Stranger. According to Scholl, Trrill is “concerned with (among other things) emerging, amateur, and miniature virtuosities in music, queer expression, and sensitive technology.” And opera. Loaded with MP3s and piquant observations about great obscure music (including Paperclip People, Jean-Jacques Perrey, Bjrk, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Matthew Herbert, and Arthur Russell), Trrill is a bonanza of esoteric epicureanism.

Music Fest Canceled… Completely.

posted by on July 25 at 10:37 AM

So first the Music Fest’s future was iffy, then it was canceled with slight possibility of a They Might Be Giants show at the Moore Theater, and now, well now it’s called off completely. The Northwest Programs for the Arts released this official statement this morning:

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New from Local Radio DJ Amanda Wilde

posted by on July 25 at 9:42 AM

Long after ex-KEXP DJ Amanda Wilde was let go from that station, I still received phone calls and emails in her support and asking why the station would let her go. Which goes to show she has some staunch supporters in this city. Amanda recently emailed me to get the news out about her newest radio project, “Music Sparks Memories,” which will air the first week in August on KUOW.

Amanda writes, “I’ve just completed the first piece of an audio documentary project called ‘Music Sparks Memories,’ a series which explores the visceral effects of music and memory.

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Tonight: Santorum on The Daily Show!

posted by on July 25 at 9:00 AM

Read Santorum’s voting record. Get mad. And then watch Jon Stewart have at him. Don’t blow it Jon. A lot of people are counting on you.

Recommended Reading

posted by on July 25 at 8:57 AM

One measure of a good scandal is that its basic chronology can be re-told as a gripping narrative. (Whitewater? No. Monica-gate? Sort of. Watergate? Absolutely.)

For a while I was worried that CIA-leak-gate, or whatever we now call it, would die simply because it was too hard to shoehorn into chronologic story form — too many characters for Americans to keep track of, too many murky motivations, too much flashing backward and forward required to explain where the scandal occurs and why it’s so scandalous. (“See, the President said this before the war, and then someone else said this after the war, and then Karl Rove might have said this somewhere in-between, and Scott McClellan then said that, and Robert Novack wrote this earlier, but then Matthew Cooper said this later…”)

But this story, from the Sunday New York Times, puts my fears to rest. It’s a great overview of events so far, inspired by what is now a great scandal. The story doesn’t reveal any new details. It just puts what is known into a damning chronology, beginning with the “muggy midsummer Sunday” on which Bush celebrated what was presumably an unhappy 57th birthday…

The Hot New Trend…

posted by on July 25 at 8:00 AM

…that I’m already kinda sick of: Professional journalists fired for the contents of their personal blogs.

As you probably know, bloggingelegantly described by the Daily Business Review as “the publication by individuals of comments of personal Internet sites called Web logs”has already led to a number of firings and lawsuits across the country. Cases cited by the Daily Business Review include the reporter for the Durham, NC Herald-Sun who lost her job after writing “I really hate my place of employment” on her blog, and the Wells Fargo Bank employee fired after blogging about his fellow worker’s suckiness.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Free Death Cab Screening

posted by on July 24 at 7:47 PM

The Triple Door is going to be screening the Death Cab for Cutie documentary, Drive Well, Sleep Carefully, tomorrow (Monday) night at 11 pm for free. The event is 21+, and you can reserve advance tickets by calling 838-4333. Visit or for more info.

A Suffix of One’s Own

posted by on July 24 at 5:47 PM

TreasonGate just keeps getting better. Check out the latest! But they say a scandal isn’t really worthy until it loses the “Gate” suffix, signaling that it’s a big story in its own right. Anyone got a good suggestion? Rove’s Revenge? The Plame Game?