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Archives for 08/28/2005 - 09/03/2005

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Bush Faked Levee Repair Photo Op

posted by on September 3 at 9:15 PM

The press has been giving President Bush’s Gulf Coast drive by mixed reviews. Certainly, Bush’s Trent Lott blooper diminished the value of his photo ops with “our brothers and sisters along the Gulf Coast.” Basically, the analysis seemed to be that there was no bullhorn moment. So, not great, but not bad. However, this bomb shell revelation from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (she says Bush’s levee repair photo op was faked) could change all that!

If Bush Nominates Thomas as Chief Justice Does He Defuse His Kanye Problem?

posted by on September 3 at 8:31 PM

Rehnquist Dies

Preemptive Strike

posted by on September 3 at 7:46 PM

If the Bush administration tries to pull a Joesph Wilson on Kanye West (I can only imagine the racist shit they’ll try to pull on the 28-year-old hip hop star), please refer Karl Rove et Co. to last week’s Time cover:


Does that say “The Smartest Man in Pop Music” ? Why, yes, it does. Let’s see the mainstream media try and back track now.

The World Weighs In…

posted by on September 3 at 2:06 PM

…on President Bush’s response to Hurrican Katrina, and it ain’t pretty.

Amazing BBC Roundup of excerpts from around the globe here.

Reality TV

posted by on September 3 at 1:30 PM

Kanye Clip Here. Just click on the TV screen. Hopefully, someone will sample the “George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People” line and make it into a hit song on a Hurricane Katrina benefit CD.

Kanye Transcript

posted by on September 3 at 12:40 PM

Kanye West’s zeitgeist heavy comment about the president at last night’s “Concert for Hurricane Relief” was cut from NBC’s West Coast airing, which showed three hours later on tape.

But lucky for us West Coasters, the ever-attentive Kerri Harrop was watching the original broadcast on live feed from MSNBC and, thanks to TIVO, she transcribed his speech:

“I hate the way they portray us in the media, if you see a black family it says they’re looting, if you see a white family it says they’re looking for food.  And, you know, it’s been five days. Because most of the people are black.  And, even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite. Because, I’ve tried to turn away from the tv because it’s too hard too watch.  I’ve even been shopping before even giving a donation.  So, now I’m calling my business manager right now to see what’s, what is the biggest amount I can give.  

   And, and just to imagine if I was, if I was down there and those are, those are my people down there so anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help.  

   With the set up, the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well off, as slow as possible.  I mean, this is, Red Cross is doing everything they can.  We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war right now fighting another way and they, they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us.”

   Kerri reports: During this entire speech, he was visibly nervous and stammering.  Mike Meyers then stepped in with a few obviously scripted words, while Kanye stood, looking angry and upset.  Mike finished talking and Kanye then made a statement that made me really sit up and notice.  He looked straight at the camera and said, quite simply, yet with authority:


“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

   Kerri concludes:  Mike Meyers looked panic stricken and the camera was abruptly cut from them.NBC is set to re-broadcast this tonight and I will bet you whatever you like that they will not include this segment.  For those wondering, I transcribed Kanye’s script directly from the broadcast.  Although it is a bit disjointed, the dude really tried to make his point.  

   I finally have respect for TIVO.

Kanye West is my hero

posted by on September 3 at 11:21 AM

Finally, somebody had the guts to say it, and on live television: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” hip-hop star Kanye West declared on a live NBC telecast last night. And this less than two weeks after he publically called the world of hip-hop “too homophobic.”

Where’s your Election Night party?

posted by on September 3 at 10:34 AM

Josh Feit, I didn’t realize you were running for City Council. According to this (informal) poll, you’re tied as of right now. With…the write in space. But congrats!

Friday, September 2, 2005

Paige Prill Leaves EMP

posted by on September 2 at 5:55 PM

After six years on board, Prill announced today she’s leaving EMP and all PR matters will be handled by Christian Quilici.

Something Nice to Look At

posted by on September 2 at 5:48 PM

It was an awful week. So many distressing mental images, so many horrible pictures, so much depressing videotape. But there was one picture in the New York Times this week that was lovely to look at. I could stare at it for hours. Here it is, from a Thursday Styles piece on the mainstreaming of the mohawk. Sigh…

Bush’s Lucky Day

posted by on September 2 at 5:28 PM

I wrote yesterday that President Bush had one more day before his administration’s failure to effectively respond to the disaster in New Orleans would become a huge political liability.

That was yesterday. Today, thanks to a “John Wayne” general who presided over the arrival of the federal cavalry in New Orleans, it seems that Bush like the residents of that disintegrating city  has been given a reprieve. Whether it will last remains to be seen, but for now the images of dead bodies and screaming refugees have been replaced on TV screens and on the web by images of gun-toting National Guardsmen passing out water at the fetid Superdome and military medics tending to the sick and dying throughout the city.

That means the meta-story-line may return to the one Americans like: triumph over adversity. The horrified and ashamed tone in the news reports and newscasts that were coming out of New Orleans in the last few days suggested the meta-story-line was turning into a politically dangerous one, a story of a great nation brought low by its own failure to protect its citizens. That would have been a huge embarrassment to the Bush administration, and would have been seen, when paired with the situation Iraq, as a metaphor for this country being adrift and without a strong leader. It also would have exposed as it was beginning to the growing chasm between the haves and have-nots in America that is the unseen hallmark of the Bush administration, along with the disquieting concordance between class and race that created an all-black city of “left-behinds” in New Orleans, many of whom simply could not afford to flee as the hurricane approached.

But Bush, as they say, is a lucky guy. The day that began with New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin literally cursing at the Bush administration’s ineptitude (a powerful speech that was replayed on the cable news networks as Bush took off to tour the Gulf Coast) has ended with crowds of refugees in the city cheering the arrival finally of the National Guard. The media reports now include paragraphs like this:

At the New Orleans Convention Center, some of the thousands of storm victims awaiting their deliverance applauded, threw their hands heavenward and screamed, “Thank you, Jesus!” as the camouflage-green trucks and hundreds of soldiers arrived in what has become an increasingly desperate and lawless city. “Lord, I thank you for getting us out of here,” said Leschia Radford.

The same media reports, however, are also including statements like this:

There was also anger.

“Hell no, I’m not glad to see them,” said Michael Levy, 46, whose remarks were cheered by those around him. ” They should have been here days ago. I ain’t glad to see ‘em. I’ll be glad when 100 buses show up. We’ve been sleeping on the ground like rats.”

Evacuees at the center told a reporter that they had seen seven dead bodies on the third floor, and said a 14-year-old girl had been raped.

“We all are stuck here with no police protection,” Mr. Martin, one of the refugees, said. “There are kids here, you’ve got little girls that are being raped and they’re not stopping for us.”

And reporters keeping a watchful eye for a moment analogous to Bush’s “bullhorn moment” in the rubble of the World Trade Center after Sept. 11 didn’t find one. He did try to give the cameras what they wanted; he hugged displaced black residents of Mississippi, an image that will surely make the front pages. He also gave a strangely out of touch quote about having sympathy for Trent Lott, a man whose suffering (if he is suffering at all) can hardly be compared to that of most hurricane victims.

“The good news,” said the president, “is that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubble of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s gong to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”

And then he headed back to Washington, saying he wouldn’t forget what he saw. Oil prices remained high. The death toll continued to climb. Mayor Nagin hadn’t yet said whether Bush’s visit mollified his anger. And the Superdome still hadn’t been fully evacuated.

But Bush bought himself a bit more time, I think. This story is still on the brink of becoming a political disaster for him, and becoming a new frame through which his other failings will be viewed (and magnified). But, lucky for him, it’s not there yet, and could just as easily tip back into the more familiar Bush story-line: stumbling toward a hollow “victory.”

Non-Bumbershoot Activities of Note

posted by on September 2 at 4:44 PM

Katrina news-following gotcha down? Donated money to the relief cause and ready to lend a bit of levity to your righteous life? You may want to hit these events over the weekend, if’n you fear the teeming Bumbershoot masses.

Continue reading "Non-Bumbershoot Activities of Note" »

Schlock Imitating Life

posted by on September 2 at 4:28 PM

For the past few weeks, I’ve been occasionally playing around with, a massive online multiplayer zombie movie simulator. With a limited number of moves per day, players can search for weapons, explore ruins, and/or munch brains in a generic destroyed cityscape, while interacting with other players. While amusing at first, I quickly lost interest, due to the fact that nobody seemed all that interested in joining forces. In fact, with the exception of a group called The Many (a 60+ strong pack of zombies capable of wiping out entire blocks at a time) the cooperation element seemed all but unexplored.

In the past few days, though, the paradigm has dramatically shifted. Now, strangers hand out first-aid kits, safe houses are established where users can go temporarily offline without fear of being chewed on, and in-game cans of spraypaint are being used to warn of danger points, rather than just the usual “Cthulu rulez” geek speak. What this all means in a larger sense, I wouldn’t venture to guess, but any aspiring sociologists looking for a thesis topic may want to check it out.

In a final macabre twist, The Many has become much less of a threat lately, as the server for their coordinating website was apparently located in New Orleans.

Reality Check

posted by on September 2 at 3:01 PM

CNN pulls no punches…


…while the fuckers at “fair and balanced” FoxNews lick Bush’s ass…


(Hat tip: Gawker.)

The real problem in New Orleans…

posted by on September 2 at 2:47 PM

According to this nationally syndicated right-wing radio host, isn’t the wretched sanitation or the food shortage or the homelessness or the rotting corpses in the streets. It’s looting.

On Wednesday, Boortz called on police to shoot all looters, including those taking food, to kill. According to a poll on his web site, nearly two-thirds of his readers agree.

New Orleans Has Re-Framed the I-912 Debate

posted by on September 2 at 2:45 PM

Earlier today, I postedone more timeabout my disappointment in Gov. Gregoire’s failure to provide leadership opposing I-912. I ended that post by saying the dire situation in New Orleans highlights how serious the failure to fund infrastructure safety and maintenance can be. If I-912 passes, for example, the Viaduct is fuckedand it’s likely a couple hundred commuters will die.

What more does Gov. Gregoire need to feel confident to go public against I-912? New Orleans has framed the debate for you Gov. Gregoire. Get on it.


posted by on September 2 at 2:40 PM

You know, in a movie, this would be the point where people start throwing things at the screen:

The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.

More here.

Don’t Forget the Gays

posted by on September 2 at 2:34 PM

In this morning’s New York Times, there was an extensive list of charities accepting money to help hurricane victims. In addition to the Red Cross, there were Catholic, Lutheran, and Jewish specific organizations, among others, presumably raising aid for their own communities.

Now, I get an email from the folks at the National Youth Advocacy Group, the folks who stand up for LGBT kids. They’ve started a fundalong with a dozen other groups like Family Pride and the National Center for Lesbian Rightsand yep, it’s “directed toward LGBT youth and families affected by the hurricane.”

FEMA Director Brown Forced to Resign Once Before

posted by on September 2 at 2:30 PM

Those who are calling for FEMA Director Mike Brown’s head might be interested to know that he was forced to resign from his previous job as commissioner of the International Arabian Horses Association. Check out the story.

Broadway’s August Wilson Theater

posted by on September 2 at 1:55 PM

Seattle’s own August Wilson, who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, is being honored by having his name permanently attached to a Broadway theater marquee. The New York Times has the story. The venue in question was previously named for one Virginia M. Binger, who did nothing for the art of theater besides get married to a Broadway bigwig.

The Big Disconnect

posted by on September 2 at 1:20 PM

CNN has a great new feature it’s calling “The Big Disconnect,” in which it puts the rosy statements from Michael Brown, the man Bush appointed to head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, up against the grim reality on the ground in New Orleans. Example:

Violence and civil unrest

Brown: I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.

CNN’s Chris Lawrence: From here and from talking to the police officers, they’re losing control of the city. We’re now standing on the roof of one of the police stations. The police officers came by and told us in very, very strong terms it wasn’t safe to be out on the street.

Monorail Spokeswoman Wants Her Money Back

posted by on September 2 at 1:15 PM

This week, I reported that anti-monorail Jan Drago opponent Casey Corr accepted more than $2,300 from monorail supporters, including Seattle Monorail Project spokeswoman Natasha Jones, back when he was a pro-monorail candidate running against Richard Conlin.

On Wednesday, Jones called to say she had asked Corr to give her money back, which campaign reports indicate he did earlier this month. “As soon as he switched [races], I called him and said I want my money back,” Jones said. “He said he’d had to change his stance” on the monorail. “I told him I had to change my stance” on him.

“Drown it in a Bathtub”

posted by on September 2 at 12:48 PM

Hat tip, dailykos :


Holy Fuck

posted by on September 2 at 12:42 PM

From the desperate hell of New Orleans, reports of cannibalism.

“More Than Adequate”

posted by on September 2 at 12:15 PM

I just received this rant from invaluable citizen and pal Kerri Harrop, who is gaping in horror at the Laura Bush press conference on TV:

that cunt laura bush is conducting a press conference in lafayette right now, attempting to put a positive spin on the shamefully late response by the federal government.

 she feels the response has been “more than adequate.”

 in response to a question regarding race and the fact that the “minority population has been devastated” [note: people of color are NOT the minority in new orleans]:

 ”this is what happens when there is a natural disaster of this scope…the poor people are the most vulnerable and that’s just always what happens.”

 the fact that she willingly lets george w. bush stick his cock inside her on a regular basis only makes her comments all the more worse.

Thank you, Kerri. Fuck you, Bushes.

Hawtin = Hawt; Crowd = Not So Hawt

posted by on September 2 at 11:58 AM

Last night should go down as one of the greatest in Seattle techno history. I wish that statement meant more to more people in this city.

Continue reading "Hawtin = Hawt; Crowd = Not So Hawt" »

Climate change and the Pentagon

posted by on September 2 at 11:22 AM

This is from the introduction in Jonathan Raban’s new, not-yet-released book of essays My Holy War: Dispatches from the Home Front (it comes out in November):

Meanwhile the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war on terror at home and abroad has drained attention and resources from other — just as pressing — issues. In January 2004, Sir David King, chief scientific adviser to the British government, wrote in Nature that “climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today — more serious even than the threat of terrorism.” A month later, a study by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall, “An Abrupt Climate-Change Scenario and its Implications for National Security,” painted an extreme worst-case picture of flood, famine, and nuclear warfare, brought about by a sudden increase in global warming. What was primarily interesting about this paper was that it was financed, and released, by the Pentagon. What was secondarily interesting is that although it gained much notice in Europe, it was barely mentioned in the American press.

Evolution and Traditional Marriage

posted by on September 2 at 10:18 AM

This story about the mapping of the chimpanzee genome and research into the parallel evolution of the human Y chromosome is packed with fascinating tidbits, the full impact of which I’d probably need to read the relevant article in the journal Nature to appreciate.

I can’t hope to summarize the argument here, but apparently human sperm are relative weaklings. And there’s speculation that we might in fact be closer in the evolutionary tree to gorillas (because the males of the species keep female harems) than common chimps (because chimp females sleep around to ensure rival males don’t kill their babies). Crazy! I can’t wait till they get to the bonobo genome. (Bonobos engage in all combinations of same-sex play because it helps the group to share resources better.)

Also priceless, for those who’ve been following the convoluted semantics of traditional marriage freaks: “[E]xperts who study fossil human remains believe that the human mating system of long-term bonds between a man and woman evolved only some 1.7 million years ago.”

Some GOOD news about New Orleans musicians

posted by on September 2 at 10:15 AM

After published reports yesterday that the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas - who wrote and recorded the original “Time Is On My Side,” among other R&B classics - was missing in the flood, the latest news is that she is alive, okay, and in Gonzales, LA with family members. Some more details from the great woman herself here.

Re: Mayor Ray Nagin for President!

posted by on September 2 at 9:45 AM

The mayor of New Orleans is having a Rudy Giuliani moment giving voice to the anger of his city, being honest about the devastation and the death toll, and telling it like it is in a way that the media is loving. The difference, which is leaving him in tears, is that unlike Giuliani, he can’t promise the people he represents that help from the federal government is on the way.

Anderson Cooper Lashes Out on “360”

posted by on September 2 at 9:30 AM

Thanks to the good folks at Gawker, here’s a report and transcript.


posted by on September 2 at 9:06 AM

Here are the lyrics from “New Orleans!”, the opening number in “Streetcar!”, the musical version of a “Streetcar Named Desire,” in which Marge starred in an episode of “The Simpsons.”

Long before the SuperDome, Where the Saints of football play, Lived a city that the damned called home, Hear their hellish roundelay…

New Orleeeans…
Home of pirates, drunks, and whores!
New Orleeeans…
Tacky, overpriced, souvenir stores!
If you want to go to Hell, you should make that trip
to the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississipp’!

New Orleeeans…
Stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile!
New Orleaaans…
Putrid, brackish, maggoty, foul!
New Orleeeans…
Crummy, lousy, rancid, and rank!

New Orleeeans!

Yikes. Matt Groeining better have that episode yanked from syndication.

From California, A Bit of Good News

posted by on September 2 at 9:00 AM

While the rest of the country obsessed over the horrors of Hurricane Katrina and our government’s shameful failure to respond to said horrors, yesterday the California Senate voted in favor of gay marriage, becoming the first legislative body in the nation to back the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples. (Massachusetts’s pro-gay-marriage position was established via court rulings.)

Full story here.

Mayor Ray Nagin for President!

posted by on September 2 at 8:58 AM

Eli’s right the interview with New Orleans’ Mayor Ray Nagin is amazing:

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody’s eyes light up — you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can’t figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man…

And I don’t know whose problem it is. I don’t know whether it’s the governor’s problem. I don’t know whether it’s the president’s problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

(The latest rumor is that the feds’ are excusing their shoddy response with the line that LA’s governor didn’t ‘request’ their help.)

More Nagin:

Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there? What is more important?

And I’ll tell you, man, I’m probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I’m probably going to get in so much trouble it ain’t even funny. You probably won’t even want to deal with me after this interview is over….

I don’t want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can’t even count.

Don’t tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They’re not here. It’s too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

Repeat After Me Christine: “I’m Against I-912.” Why Won’t She Say It?

posted by on September 2 at 8:40 AM

This morning’s PI has an article on the invisible anti-I-912 campaign. The quote the PI managed to get out of Gregoire’s office “opposing” I-912 is yet another example of exactly what I’ve been complaining about. Greogire is just MIA on standing up to the repeal. Kerry Coughlin (Gregoire’s spokeswoman) offers another non-statement in which she pretends to come out against I-912, but manages not to utter the words “I-912” “Christine Gregoire” “Opposed” “Against” “We will fight against…” Here’s her limp quote:

“If people understand the importance of these economic, safety, freight-mobility projects, and if they realize how many projects are getting done statewide … people would agree that this is something we have to move forward with,” Coughlin said.

Huh? Look, unless Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire comes out strongly to specifically denounce I-912 (an initiative that will repeal the critical 9.5 cent gas tax slated for road maintenance and safetynot road expansionincluding help for the Viaduct), the taxthe centerpiece of Gregoire’s first legislative session has no chance of surviving. Why won’t Gregoire show any leadership on this? Fucking A, w/ the lesson we’re learning from New Orleans about what happens when basic maintenance and safety projects go unfunded, Gregoire should be denouncing I-912 in no uncertain terms.

Not Acceptable

posted by on September 2 at 8:19 AM

Bush this morning says what has been obvious to everyone in America for days: His administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina is “not acceptable.” Meanwhile, the mayor of New Orleans chooses different words, telling the federal government, “Get off your asses.”

Hear Mayor C. Ray Nagin cuss out the federal government here.

If You’re Going to Bumbershoot This Weekend…

posted by on September 2 at 8:15 AM

…Make sure you go see/hear In Resonance, the sound art show in the Rainier Room. I went to the preview with Nate Lippens on the opening night Wednesday, and not only is the exhibit a calm respite from the loud masses, but the delicate constructions (using such materials as tin cans, various sized speaker parts, and a “Talking Machine”) offer space to stop and think and enjoy the art of unusual noise. Curator Fionn Meade was interviewed on NPR this morning.

Krugman on the Incompetent Hurricane Response

posted by on September 2 at 8:00 AM

The NYT’s Paul Krugman makes a good point in his column today, a point similar to one that astute slog readers will have read yesterday:

I don’t think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn’t rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn’t get adequate armor.

At a fundamental level, I’d argue, our current leaders just aren’t serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don’t like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can’t-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Re: More Shame on Zaire

posted by on September 1 at 5:28 PM

Charles, a chimpanzee is also an ape. Check for tails!

Re: More Shame on Zaire

posted by on September 1 at 5:26 PM

Fine Annie, here is a chimp being prepared for dinner.

Re: More Shame on Zaire

posted by on September 1 at 3:56 PM

Charles, that’s a gorilla head. Gorillas are apes. And that’s an extremely disgusting picture.

From the Trenches

posted by on September 1 at 3:51 PM

New Orleans, minute by minute.

Fats Domino Safe

posted by on September 1 at 3:19 PM

Stranger photographer Victoria Renard (and former NOLA resident) reports that Fats Domino has turned up at the Superdome.

More Missing Musicians

posted by on September 1 at 2:58 PM

KEXP’s John Richards just told me he’s hearing rumors that Alex Chilton may be among the musicians missing. And the weather forecast for the area tonight? More rain. Be grateful for what you have, folks.

More Shame On Zaire

posted by on September 1 at 2:36 PM

Stop eating monkeys you monkeys in Zaire!

R.I.P., R.L.

posted by on September 1 at 2:08 PM

Fat Possum recording artist R.L. Burnside, the cantankerous cat who taught indie kids that the blues can be just as raunchy and confrontational as punk rock (check out his 1996 collaboration with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, A Ass Pocket Full of Whiskey if you require proof), passed away in Memphis today, age 78.

More on Musicians Missing From the Hurricane

posted by on September 1 at 1:41 PM

The following came from my buddy Kerri Harrop:
‘Fats’ Domino Missing in New Orleans
Thursday, September 01, 2005
By Roger Friedman

Katrina Benefits Should Acknowledge Local Legends

Before NBC, MTV, or anyone else puts on a telethon to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, they might want to explore some ancillary issues. To wit: New Orleans is a city famous for its famous musicians, but many of them are missing. Missing with a capital M.

Continue reading "More on Musicians Missing From the Hurricane" »

Reagan Dunn Wants to End “Tax Congestion”

posted by on September 1 at 1:31 PM

So, Reagan Dunn, the east side King County Council member (son of former U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn and yes, named after Ronald Reagan), is supposed to be the great telegenic hope of the local Republican party. He’s been hyped as a smooth, good looking R that can woo the region’s moderate swing voters.

Due to the reconfiguration of the County Council, Dunn is in a primary fight for a seat on the KC Council this year. Well, his Primary Election Video Voter’s Guide statement certainly upends any notion that Reagan takes after his namesake, the Great Communicator. After a pretty convoluted statement where it sounds like Dunn is saying King County government should be run like the hard working 9/11 hi-jacking operation, he goes on to stumble through this brilliant quote: “Elections is not the only department that has been ma… mismanaged. Everywhere you look there is waste. (Looks down at script. Long uncomfortable pause.) I…It drives up our property values and makes our taxes more congested.”

You’d think, with the four takes the candidates get to film these things, the “telegenic” Dunn would have gotten a better clip. I can’t even imagine his first 3 attempts. You can find the 2005 Primary Election Video Voter’s Guide here. His statement is at the 38 minute mark.

A Desperate SOS

posted by on September 1 at 1:14 PM

Yesterday Bush ticked off a list of all the help that was supposedly en route to New Orleans. Today the mayor of New Orleans issued a desperate SOS. Something is clearly going very wrong with the administration’s hurricane response.

With grim televised scenes showing bodies lying in the streets or in the city’s convention center, a meeting place for many refugees, and groups of people throughout the area still waiting desperately for the most basic assistance, Mayor C. Ray Nagin issued a dire cry for help.

“This is a desperate S.O.S.,” he said. “Right now, we are out of resources at the convention center and don’t anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently, the convention center is unsanitary and unsafe, and we are running out of supplies for 15 to 20,000 people.”

Spying on the Crazy Christians

posted by on September 1 at 12:58 PM

This, passed along to me from someone on the creepy “Faith and Freedom Network” email list. It’s a call to battle, no matter what the state supreme court soon decides about marriage equality. (Including a prediction that we’ll have a decision “within the next few week.”)

Meanwhile, Equal Rights Washingtonwhile busy, doing things like holding a high-end fundraiser with the Governor, Rep. Jim McDermott, and County Exec. Ron Sims on September 10hasn’t exactly sounded the alarm on the coming backlash. What are you guys waiting for? The crazy Christians to bust out their pitchforks?

Faith and Freedom Network

Dear XXX,

As you know, traditional values are under attack as never before. Particularly here in the Northwest.

Those who are pushing for gay marriage are not a majority, yet they are exerting a great deal of influence because of their deep commitment to their cause. We see this playing out on every front of the cultural war that is being fought for the very soul of our communities.

Nowhere is the battle more evident than right here in Washington State.

As you know, we are awaiting a ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage. That ruling should come within the next few weeks.

Our Chairman, Joe Fuiten, and I do not expect the ruling to favor traditional marriage, which is between one man and one woman.

If the Court rules against traditional marriage and in favor of gay marriage, we will immediately engage in a campaign to amend the State Constitution.

Continue reading "Spying on the Crazy Christians" »

We Ought To

posted by on September 1 at 12:34 PM

From the AP:

The president urged a crackdown on the lawlessness.

“I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this - whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud,” Bush said. “And I’ve made that clear to our attorney general. The citizens ought to be working together.”

You think there ought to be zero tolerance? Oh, I’m so glad that you’ve been thinking about it.

You’re the goddamn president. How about you start demanding lawful behavior, and backing up your words by doing something to make it happen? Instead of making something clear to your attorney general, why not make it clear directly to the refugees in New Orleans? Why not send in more of the National Guard, to prove you’re serious? Why not tell your citizenslike a president ought toto stop looting, to step up and help their fellow citizens, and to sit tight, as their country is working as fast as possible to get food, shelter, safety, and health care to everyone.

Unless you don’t really believe that’s going to happen. You just think it ought to.

One More Day

posted by on September 1 at 12:15 PM

Bush has one more day, if that, before his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina becomes a huge political disaster. Already, The New York Times Op-Ed page and the liberal blogosphere have turned on him. Sure, that’s predictable, but even the tone of mainstream news reports is becoming incredulous, like this CNN report on the chaos in New Orleans, in which the subtext is: “How can a major American city be this chaotic four days after a natural disaster that everyone knew was coming, and everyone predicted was going to be a catastrophe?”:

It’s hard to believe this is New Orleans.

We spent the last few hours at the New Orleans Convention Center. There are thousands of people lying in the street.

We saw mothers holding babies, some of them just three, four and five months old, living in horrible conditions. Diapers littered the ground. Feces were on the ground. Sewage was spilled all around.

These people are being forced to live like animals. When you look at the mothers, your heart just breaks.

Some of the images we have gathered are very, very graphic.

We saw dead bodies. People are dying at the center and there is no one to get them. We saw a grandmother in a wheelchair pushed up to the wall and covered with a sheet. Right next to her was another dead body wrapped in a white sheet.

Right in front of us a man went into a seizure on the ground. No one here has medical training. There is nowhere to evacuate these people to.

People have been sitting there without food and water and waiting. They are asking — “When are the buses coming? When are they coming to help us?”

We just had to say we don’t know.

The people tell us that National Guard units have come by as a show of force. They have tossed some military rations out. People are eating potato chips to survive and are looting some of the stores nearby for food and drink. It is not the kind of food these people need.

They are saying, “Don’t leave us here to die. We are stuck here. Why can’t they send the buses? Are they going to leave us here to die?”

Here is another report, from The Washington Post, that is getting a lot of play in the blogosphere today, and it highlights more precisely why Bush may be in huge trouble:

“This is mass chaos,” said Sgt. Jason Defess, 27, a National Guard military policeman who had been stationed on a ramp outside the Superdome since Monday. “To tell you the truth, I’d rather be in Iraq,” where he was deployed for 14 months until January.

“You got your constant danger, but I had something to protect myself,” he said. “Three meals a day. Communications. A plan. Here, they had no plan.”

The common thread that runs through Iraq and New Orleans is a failure to plan for the predictable unrest and civic disintegration that would follow a huge catastrophe (war, a category 4 hurricane) in an area with rickety infrastructure and simmering social and ethnic tensions (Baghdad, New Orleans). And now New Orleans is starting to look as bad as Baghdad. (Here is the latest Breaking News headline from CNN: “New Orleans hospital halts patient evacuations after coming under sniper fire.” And beneath that: “SCENE OF ANARCHY.”) The American people might give Bush a pass on failing to plan for the aftermath of the invasion in Iraq, but with their patience on that front fading, they are not going to forgive him for failing to stabilize a major American city four days after a hurricane.

Where are the war ships that were supposedly dispatched to New Orleans? Where are the thousands of National Guard troops that are supposedly coming to restore order? Where are the busses that were supposed to have emptied the stinking refugee camp in the Superdome yesterday? How can Bush say, as he did this morning on national television, “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breech of the levees,” when, as is being reported everywhere today, everyone anticipated a breech of the levees, including people within his own administration whose calls for more funding for the levees years ago were ignored?

Bush will visit New Orleans tomorrow, and if the scenes of anarchy in the city continue up to and through his visit, he is toast. He has one more day.

Re: Politicized

posted by on September 1 at 12:13 PM

I particularly appreciated this observation: “Truly, this is President Bush’s blue-dress moment.” I’m surprised no one’s found the opportunity to use that analogy before.

Americablog Rips Bush

posted by on September 1 at 12:03 PM

Go read Americablog… John is on fire today.


posted by on September 1 at 11:52 AM

This is required reading.

Locally-owned Stranger Vs. Yet Another Mega Media Chain

posted by on September 1 at 11:43 AM

The Seattle Weekly published a story this week about the pending merger between its parent chain company, VVM, and the larger media chain, New Times. At a first glance, the Weekly story seemed pretty straightforward. They reported the basics (New Times and its investment bankers, Alta, will control the boardwhile the Weekly’s parent, VVM and its investment bankers, will have a minority ownership of the company.)

Weirdly, though, rather than asking the front-and-center question for its readersWhat does it mean for the Seattle Weekly that the New Times 11-paper chain may take them over?the only issue the the Weekly story raised about the deal focused on … the Stranger. They wrote: “In Seattle, aggressive tactics by a merged company controlled by New Times could be trouble for the Stranger, the smaller, locally controlled weekly here.” Even weirder, they don’t bother to answer that burning question.

Well, I’m happy to take a stab at it. For starters, we’ve been here before. The Weekly was bought out by a larger company in 1997 (Stern’s Village Voice). The result? The “endangered” Stranger grew and grew and became more relevant while the Weekly started its slip. (Note: Before that buy-out, The Weekly was on average per week 37 pages bigger than the Stranger. By 2000, three years later, the Weekly was on average per week only 10 pages bigger than the Stranger. ) At that point, again in 2000, the Weekly got bought out a second time. Stern’s Village Voice company, including Seattle Weekly, was swallowed by an even bigger fish, VVM, and its investment bankers including Goldman Sachs and Weiss and Peck & Greer. (Goldman Sachs is a huge contributor to George W. Bush, by the way.) The result? The “endangered” Stranger grew and grew some more and the Seattle Weekly continued its decline. Today, the Weekly is on average per week 7 pages smaller than the Stranger. Hey, check out this week when the city’s biggest community event, Bumbershoot, gave way to a 156-page Stranger and a 112-page Seattle Weekly.

So, it seems to me that the locally-owned Stranger isn’t going to suffer when another bigger fish gobbles up the Weekly and tries to prop them up.

The issue the Weekly should be raising for its readers about the pending merger isn’t what the buy-out means for the Stranger, but what it means for Seattle Weekly. New Times is famous for coming in and cleaning house. A merger with New Times spells more trouble for current Weekly staffers than it does for the locally-owned Stranger.

Here’s a more insightful story about the pending merger.


posted by on September 1 at 11:29 AM

Citizens of Zaire please read this article and accept the evidence. Eating ‘bushmeat,’ as your people call it, is practically the same as eating humans. So, put the cooked hand down and focus your diet on creatures that have hoofs, fins, and wings.

Fats Domino Missing in New Orleans

posted by on September 1 at 11:15 AM

The news from Hurricane Katrina is continually dismal.


posted by on September 1 at 10:45 AM

Thousands possibly dead, an entire American city gone, and Condoleeza Rice checks out a Broadway show, then goes shoe shopping.


posted by on September 1 at 10:32 AM

Although they vow not to go down easy, legendary punk club CBGB is back to being evicted.

Weekly vs. Stranger

posted by on September 1 at 10:23 AM

We’re smaller?

Our Bumbershoot issue, as Tim points out, is 156 pages. Their Bumbershoot issue is 112.

The Weekly is owned by Republicans. Apparently they count like Republicans too.

Re: Our Dear Leader

posted by on September 1 at 10:19 AM

Here’s part of what the Weekly wrote, for those of us in the building blocked from their website. And for those of you outside the building who can’t be bothered to pick up the Weekly.

Should you care if the nation’s two biggest urban-weekly chains merge? That depends on how you feel about Seattle Weekly. This newspaper has been in the Village Voice family since 1997, when 48 local Seattle Weekly co-owners sold it. Papers in the Village Voice chain have operated with a great deal of independence, while New Times papers are to varying degrees aggressively centralized in editorial approach and lean business practices. The Bay Guardian is doing the key reporting on this issue because it is fighting New Times’ SF Weekly and East Bay Express, which are squeezing the Bay Guardian for readership and ad sales. In Seattle, aggressive tactics by a merged company controlled by New Times could be trouble for The Stranger, the smaller, locally controlled weekly here.

You bet.

Our Dear Leader

posted by on September 1 at 9:56 AM

The soon-to-be-unemployed folks at Seattle Weekly are trying to spin their upcoming sale as somehow a bad thing for The Stranger. In a story in today’s Weekly, they claim that being soldalong with the rest of the Village Voice Media chainto New Times is bad for us. Stranger publisher Tim Keck sent this email to his staff yesterday…

Hey Gang,

First off, congratulations on the Bumbershoot issuepeople put in heroic efforts and it turned out great. Thank you.

A few people have asked me about a possible merger/acquisition deal between Village Voice Media (VVM), which owns the Seattle Weekly, the Village Voice, and a handful of other alternative papers, and Phoenix-based New Times Inc., which owns a dozen or so other alt papers. (You can read about the sloppy negotiations and leaked documents at So far, the merger has been a mess.)

A little trip down memory lane:

In 1997, Seattle Weekly was purchased by real estate magnate Leonard Stern, who also owned the Village Voice and the other papers VVM has right now (plus three newspapers that have since gone out of business, including Seattle Weekly’s sister paper, Eastside Week). At that time, The Stranger was putting out 64-page papers and Seattle Weekly was regularly twice our size. The Weekly crowed that, with the backing of the Village Voice, it was going to become a giant paper, and that The Stranger was in deep trouble. Well, what happened was they lost advertisers, staff, and readers. And their new owners closed their sister paper, Eastside Week. We on the other hand had the biggest surge in both circulation and page count in the paper’s history.

In 2000, Village Voice Media was sold to a giant group of investment bankers, including Goldman Sachs, who have billions of dollars in holdings. Again folks at the Weekly claimed they were going to use their huge new resources to crush us. What happened? We surpassed them in advertisers and page count. Take this week: Both papers had Bumbershoot issues—ours was 156 pages, theirs 112. Or last week: We were 108 and they were 96.

There’s a pretty good chance Seattle Weekly will once again be purchased by a new “powerful entity.” They’ll make big claims about crushing The Stranger, most of their staff will be fired, and they will probably do another redesign. We’ll take the threat seriously, do an even better job, and be a better paper because of it. And we’ll beat `em again.

That’s the scoop and way to go on Bumbershoot.

Mysterious Mariners Sighting

posted by on September 1 at 9:43 AM

This morning, Last Days received this mysterious report from Hot Tipper Avery:

Last night, a man charged into left field from out of the stands during the Mariners/Yankee game. He held a sign with someone’s picture on it in one hand and appeared to be sprinkling someone’s cremated remains on the the field with the other. Once the dust settled, the man laid down on the field to wait to be escorted out of the stadium by security and police.

I searched stories on last night’s game at the various local news outlets, but learned nothing of the man, his ashes, or his mysterious sign. (I even checked the Seattle P-I’s Mariners Blog, easiest the spookiest six minutes I’ve ever spent in cyberspace, but still, nothing.) Readers who have any knowledge of, or even entertaining guesses about, the identity of the man, the nature of his protest, or the person pictured on the sign, please let me know in the Slog forum.

In other news, reading so many sports reports one after the other was fascinating. Most sources framed the game as a battle between the Mariners’ 19-year-old Felix Hernandez and the Yankees’ 41-year-old Randy Johnson, hence this remarkably catty P-I headline.

Still, I guess that’s better than the one used by the Seattle Times.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Divine Dining

posted by on August 31 at 6:10 PM

I took the day off today and had lunch at what I forgot is really one of my favorite Belltown spots…Matt’s in the Market. The place was buzzing with regular customers while the soft music of the Velvet Underground droned in the background. While the food is a bit pricy, I’m sure it’s fresh from the Market below, and they have an excellent wine selection too. There’s a counter for solo diners but at night the place has a nice romantic ambiance as well. Eating there, I felt like I was on vacation within my own city…and the service is excellent. I highly recommend the place (and the tuna sandwich, made with real tuna, not that canned shit).


posted by on August 31 at 5:01 PM

So happy to hear, Brad, that you’ve been converted to the fabulousness of the Seattle Storm and the WNBA. Aside: A few weeks ago I went to a Storm game and tried to talk to him about what fun it was (him being one of the only people around here interested in sports). He claimed that women’s basketball was… boring. (Gasp!) Even my threats of rescinding my friendship had no effect whatsoever. (Horrible!)

Now that the Storm are in the playoffs it should be better than ever!

Katrina’s Silver Lining

posted by on August 31 at 4:20 PM

George W. Bush has all the luck. Cindy Sheehan’s mother has a stroke, forcing Sheehan to leave Crawford just as her protest was obtaining what seemed like an almost unstoppable momentum. Her absence slowed her momentum. Tough luck for Sheehan, a stroke of luck for W.

And wouldn’t you know it? Katrina has a silver lining for George W. Bush too. Hundreds of thousands are homeless, thousands may be dead, and the federal government’s response is way to too little, way too late. Katrina will dominate the headlines for weeks if not monthsmeaning most Americans will miss this headline: August was the deadliest month for American servicemen in Iraq since January.

George W. Bush: Incompetent abroad, incompetent at home. But lucky, man, so fucking lucky.

Genius Alert: Seattle School’s Pop Smear Test

posted by on August 31 at 4:08 PM

In addition to the Hurricane Katrina benefit at the War Room, tonight brings another notable event: A new musical competition by Iron Composer creators and Stranger Genius award-winners Seattle School.

The new competitioncalled the Pop Smear Testis described as “a Human Body/Laptop Audio melee and competition,” and is the featured attraction of tonight’s Visual Art Gala Opening party at Bumbershoot.

As with most things undertaken by Seattle School, the Pop Smear Test is hilariously intricate:

Continue reading "Genius Alert: Seattle School's Pop Smear Test" »

Call Me a Convert

posted by on August 31 at 4:05 PM

There are few sports I won’t watch. Nascar is one, and up until last night, the WNBA was another. But after watching the Seattle Storm’s heroic 75-69 playoff win over the Houston Comets I’m officially hooked.

What took me so long? Especially since the Storm won the goddamn WNBA title last year? I could offer up a number of lame excuses, but the truth of the matter is that, until last night, I’d never given the league a chance. I appreciated the WNBA’s existence, but I was convinced I wouldn’t find it worth following. Obviously, me = big dumb dope. Feel free to clobber me upside the head with Title IX.

The next game is Thursday night. Watch it on ESPNor better yet, buy tickets and see it live.

That Didn’t Take Long

posted by on August 31 at 2:12 PM

God destroyed New Orleans because of the gays were planning a party. (I guess it’s just as well that Terry and I neglected to send God an invite to our big anniversary bash back in Feb.)

“Southern Decadence” has a history of filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars” Repent America director Michael Marcavage said in a statement Wednesday.

So that explains New Orleans. Drunken homosexuals are not supposed to engage in sex acts in publicin New Orleansonly drunken heterosexuals. But why did God destory Biloxi? Does God hate little old ladies who pump quarters into slot machines as much as He hates the gays?

Death Cities

posted by on August 31 at 12:46 PM

Just when you thought Baghdad was going to be out of the picture for a few days, eclipsed by New Orleans, it immediately returns with a vengeance. This is the aftermath.

Re: City of Death

posted by on August 31 at 12:35 PM

Reading Eli’s post about the Post’s essay on New Orleans reminded me of this article in last month’s Harper’s, about swarms of termites that are (or, rather, were) overtaking the French Quarter. I loved this section, in which the author stands on the levee and watches a swarm of termites that are forming a cloud in front of him:

My body is a mystery to me. It contains too many moving and multiplying parts working through processes I barely understand and cannot see. I fear this part of life, the unknown body, the old bone sack. The cells of the body are cryptic, until they fail or they multiply so rapidly that organs begin to shut down. I am afraid because they are cryptic, which is also the word often used in the scientific literature to describe the most basic problem in the study of subterranean termites: they spend their lives underground, out of sight, until once a year (in the case of C. Formosanus) some of them burst free and, no longer controlled by their ancient queen, set off in flight seeking their own mate and new foraging grounds. Unbearably fecund, nature’s center breaks and cannot be contained. It flutters toward the circumference, toward the opposite sex and some available wood, preferably soft.

Finally I rouse myself to go whooping it up around the oak tree, chasing alates from lamppost to lamppost with the others. They are just insects. These particular insects are evident in extremis, they’re invertebrates that annoy and threaten and disrupt our illusion of equilibrium, which is enough to classify them as a pestilence, purveyors of rot. The effort to kill off C. formosanus in New Orleans, or at least to control the overwhelming invasion, is an effort to settle the question of who owns the place, a deltaic crescent of mud and sand and dirt at a bend near the end of the Mississippi River. This is a real struggle, not a figurative one.

And yet the alates part at St. Louis’s like water around a boulder, and I think they are beautiful.

THERE IS ALLURE in the city’s rot, and not a few native authors have bridged the short etymological gap between decay and decadence, as if the city’s louche human history was written in the twisted, rotten, vinewrapped beams of the old Creole cottages of the French Quarter, the Victorian shotguns in Fauborg Marigny, and the rambling Queen Anne piles in the Garden District and Uptown. The city is wet, sunken, overgrown, and tropical, and marks-in our imaginations as well as on our maps-the dead center of our country’s underbelly. Of course the city is the preferred home of termites and wood mold and strippers and drunks and obese hot-dog vendors and moviegoers at odds with the universe. Look in the eyes of the New York television reporter making his report from the Quarter-The bug that ate New Orleans!-and you can see the city as a frontier land of plagues, oddities, and ghosts ruling over chaos.

re: Godly

posted by on August 31 at 11:51 AM

I had the exact same reaction to the P-I this morning. Is there anything more godly than a massive flood wiping out the decadent den of debauchery that was New Orleans? Of course God did this.

Charles, with today’s NYT cover photo in his hands, says, “You have to admit that it’s beautiful. Finally, we have Venice in America.”

The Tragedy of Lost Record Collections

posted by on August 31 at 11:43 AM

Katrina’s human toll and damage to New Orleans’ infrastructure are of course reasons for despair, but also think about all the great music in that city that’s been destroyed by flood water. I just received word that my friend Matt Castille of the band Vas Deferens Organization (the greatest, weirdest band you’ve never heard of) most likely lost his entire sizable collection of rare psychedelic and progressive rock albums, in addition to his recording studio, which contained several thousand dollars’ worth of state-of-the-art gear. Tears and words are not enough to convey the horror of this scenario…


posted by on August 31 at 11:20 AM

The cover of today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes, in big and bold letters, the catastrophe in New Orleans as “Ungodly.” But where else but the bible do we have natural disasters of that scale? What the headline should say instead is: “Biblical,” or “Straight Out Of The Bible,” or “Goddamn!,” or “Jesus Fucking Christ!”

That Didn’t Take Long

posted by on August 31 at 11:12 AM

Yesterday on the slog I started a countdown to the first announcement from some right-wing religious fanatic group placing blame for Hurricane Katrina on some supposed failing of liberal morality. And today, predictably, the group Columbia Christians for Life delivers, informing that if one looks at an image on an unborn fetus, and then looks at a satellite image of Hurricane Katrina as it bore down on the Gulf Coast, there are apparently similarities.


Salon quotes from the group’s email:

“The image of the hurricane … with its eye already ashore at 12:32 p.m. Monday, August 29, looks like a fetus (unborn human baby) facing to the left (west) in the womb, in the early weeks of gestation (approx. 6 weeks),” the e-mail message says. “Even the orange color of the image is reminiscent of a commonly used pro-life picture of early prenatal development.”

And in case you’re not getting the point, the e-mail message spells it out in black and white: “Louisiana has 10 child-murder-by-abortion centers,” the groups says, and “five are in New Orleans.”

All I can say is: Jesus Fucking Christ.

flippancy and hiphop commentary

posted by on August 31 at 10:41 AM

I just think the idea that cats arrange to get themselves shot for commercial gain is ridonkulous to the point of being naive. and i marvel at how figures from the hiphop industry, when getting shot or killed, are always subject to such flip commentary that other artists are not. i gotta give a little shit talk back on that… as an mc myself.

Naïve? I thought I was being cynical, Larry. Anyway, I deserve your “shit talk” and respect your viewpoint.

I will say I have been flip toward figures outside of hiphop, too. I’m an equal-opportunity flippant SOB.

A Staggering Centipede

posted by on August 31 at 10:06 AM

Enough about Katrina. What if you found this in your house.

Katrina: Aftermath/Benefit

posted by on August 31 at 9:45 AM

Today brings a fresh batch of horrifying details about post-Katrina New Orleans80 percent of the city swamped by floodwaters packed with sewage, rats, and industrial toxins; blacked-out hospitals where nurses are ventilating patients by hand; 110 confirmed fatalities in Mississippi, while Louisiana remains too busy finding survivors to count the dead.

It’s a numbing state of affairs, so thank God for folks like Kerri Harropaka DJ Cherry Canoewho’s organized (along with KEXP DJ Greg Vandy and superstar booker Scott Giampino) a benefit for the victims of this nightmare.

It’s tonight at the War Room, starting a 9pm. Full info below, see you there.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31 NEW ORLEANS RED CROSS BENEFIT TRAMP: A Night of old school soul and funk featuring DJ GREG VANDY (of KEXP’s “Roadhouse”), DJ CHERRY CANOE, and DJ SELF-ADMINISTERED BEATDOWN spinning the sweetest soul, the funkiest cuts, and the best of the best New Orleans jams 9pm doors no cover- $5 minimum suggested donation All proceeds go directly to the Red Cross War Room 722 E. Pike 21+

City of Death

posted by on August 31 at 7:52 AM

There is a nice, slightly dark essay in today’s Washington Post about poor, submerged New Orleans and its long relationship with death. The piece gets a bit over the top in places, but I liked reading this section, and I loved the use of the word “cussedness”:

New Orleans was born amid ghastly yellow fever epidemics, where corpses stained with black vomit were piled on carts to be hauled to above-ground crypts. The sepulcher flower vases bred the fever-freighted mosquitoes.

Climate, Catholicism and voodoo shaped the city, along with Latin fatalism, languorous hedonism and an atmosphere of poignant and elegant decay. It’s no accident that Anne Rice lived there to pen her vampire tales.

And yet, inseparable though they may be, New Orleans has always been more about the dance than about the death. Somewhere in the shade of its majestic live oaks and the shadows of its lacework balconies, among the saxophone riffs in its echoing alleys and the soft magenta glow of its crape myrtles at twilight, the flickering ghosts that haunt New Orleans whisper huskily of sweaty, sensual love and the promise of enduring memory. Even the street names whisper promises: Desire, Amour, Abundance; Pleasure, Treasure and Joy.

It is not comforting to realize that, in the wake of Katrina, bloated bodies are floating on those streets today. But to speak of New Orleans’s resilience is simply to cite its history — a demographic and cultural melting pot of German industry and French and Spanish elitism, of Irish gregariousness and Sicilian emotionalism, of African exuberance and American frontier cussedness that embraces death, too, as a part of life.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Re: R.I.P. Tablet

posted by on August 30 at 6:43 PM

Damn. Damn Damn Damn. Dan gave me my first shot at writing at all, which may or may not have been a good thing.

I appreciated their whole steez, and they held it down consistently for the hiphop with Sam Chesneau, Samson Spears, and Emily Youssef.

RIP Tablet. You will be missed.

re: boredom & gangsta rap

posted by on August 30 at 6:17 PM

In gangsta-rap circles, getting popped lends credibility and an aura of “realness” to an artist in the eyes of many.

sho ya right.

I just think the idea that cats arrange to get themselves shot for commercial gain is ridonkulous to the point of being naive. and i marvel at how figures from the hiphop industry, when getting shot or killed, are always subject to such flip commentary that other artists are not. i gotta give a little shit talk back on that… as an mc myself.

it’s all bueno baby.

So long, Tablet

posted by on August 30 at 6:05 PM

While I’m sure Jennifer’s sincere, I can’t shed crocodile tears at the passing of Tablet. I read their “goodbye, cruel world!” letter at 4 PM, after picking up the magazine the morning, and I rushed back to be the first to Slog about itand Megan beat me to it, damn her.

And isn’t that indicative of Tablet’s problem? People simply didn’t read the thingand it wasn’t just the tiny fonts or “snark-free” writing. The new Tablet was on the streets all day and no one inside our building, and no one outside our building, read their farewell letter and gave us a heads up. If after five years of publishing you don’t have a base of readers who care about your publication enough to crack it open when it comes out, then you’ve failed as a publication.

For all their accusations over the years re: The Strangeraccusations hinted at in Eric Hildebrandt’s farewell letter (gee, who’s snarky?)Tablet was altogether too smug and self-satisfied for its own good. They were far too busy congratulating themselves on their DIY spirit and pointing fingers to put out a publication that anyone gave a shit about.


posted by on August 30 at 5:30 PM

Hey Capitol Hill:
Did anyone else hear the gun fight? fireworks show? al Qaeda attack? extraterrestrial radio halo transmissions? at around 5 this morning? I was startled awake by a few sharp pops that sounded like gun fire, and then all hell broke lose and the sky lit up with star bursts and there was flaring and crackling for a full minute. I looked out my window and it seemed to me that the action was happening somewhere over by Melrose & Harrison. There are no SPD or SFD reports that correspond with that time or place.

re: R.I.P. Tablet

posted by on August 30 at 4:54 PM

I have to say the death of Tablet is a sad thing for Seattle. It’s great to have a ground level zine for new writers, new bands, new designers, etc. Editor Dan Halligan is always great about working with writers who don’t have experience but have passion, something bigger publications don’t always have time to do. (Plus Dan’s always up for a good debate/argument about music/pop culture.) Hopefully something will start up in its place, or the people involved will find a more financially viable way to cover local culture. I know working at a free/non paying publication ain’t easy, and they put a lot of work into the magazine.

R.I.P. Tablet

posted by on August 30 at 4:53 PM

Looks like Tablet Magazine is done.

The Prof. Needs to do His Homework (Or, Why I’m Obsessed With Al Runte)

posted by on August 30 at 4:16 PM

What bugs me about long shot mayor hopeful Prof. Al Runte is just how little he knows about policy specifics. The fact that the Prof. hasn’t done his homework shows up pretty clearly when you realize all he does is speak in sweeping generalizations that sound good and progressive in their own right, but in fact, end up contradicting the facts on the groundand contradicting Runte’s other sound bites.

Let’s start with some factual stuff.

Runte’s big gripe is that Nickels has ignored Runte’s own neighborhood, Wedgwood. Well, according to the city budget, Nickels has actually poured money, nearly $260,000, into nine Wedgwood projects, including the Wedgwood School Playground Improvement and the Picardo Farm P-Patch Tool Shed. If you’re going to run for mayor you better be familiar with the budget before you mouth off about it.

Runte says the mayor doesn’t care about parks. Huh? Nickels has overseen 40 new parks projects around the city (doing stuff like building new jungle gyms and resurfacing) and he’s acquired 41 new acres of open space.

Still on the parks theme, Runte denounces the parking garage that’s slated for the Woodland Park Zoo.
Huh? The community and the zoo asked for the garage to keep cars out of the neighborhood.
And this brings us to the real thing that galls me about Runte: The contradictions! The Contradictions!

Let me explain. As I said, Runte’s main themewhen he spoke to the Stranger Editorial Board last Fridaywas that Nickels has ignored the neighborhoods. In its own right that sounds groovy and progressive. But then I heard Runte on KEXP the next day, and he was pontificating about how terrible it is that Seattleites are so dependent on cars. Again, sounds groovy and progressive. But as far as I can tell, the main thing Nickels has proposed re: the neighborhoods is lowering parking requirements in and around designated neighborhood business districts to ween Seattle off cars. So, Nickels’s neighborhood policywhich also has an emphasis on density and smart growth (oh no, 4-story apartments in Wedgwood!!)is anti-car!

Also during our Friday interview, Runte decried Nickels for supporting big box development around town. When I told him that Nickels actually preventedin concert with Ballard neighborhood leadersbig box development on 85th, Runte said “That’s because the mayor can feel me breathing down his neck.” Um, Nickels started fighting the big box nearly a year ago!
Runte also says the lack of connectivity between Seattle’s transportation projects is our biggest problem. Well, the one transportaion project that Nickels is actually responsible for putting into playthe proposed SLU trolleylands one block from the bus tunnel.

C- for you, Prof.

There’s certainly stuff to take Nickels to task for (his shortsighted downtown development plan comes to mind), but just parroting the pro-neighborhood stuff without getting the specifics right is insulting to the voters.

Radio Drama Rebirth!

posted by on August 30 at 4:12 PM

From today’s column by Fox News’s Roger Friedman:

This weekend, Sirius Satellite Radio will offer multiple broadcasts of an extraordinary pair of radio comedies, “Theater of the New Ear.” The plays are written by Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) and the Coen brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski). The Coens’ play is called Sawbones; Kaufman’s is Hope Leaves the Theater. Among the actors who star are Meryl Streep, Steve Buscemi, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Goodman.

Wow…now how the hell do I get Sirius Satellite Radio?

The Stranger Goes to Jail

posted by on August 30 at 4:04 PM



Dear Stranger,

I’ve enclosed this $2.50 for shipment of an Stranger newspaper. Please send in a business envelope (Stranger) so they will allow in to me. I would request newest issue please.

Thank You


Pizzazz! Post-Mortem

posted by on August 30 at 3:40 PM

It’s official: After five fabulous years, Pizzazz!, The Stranger’s annual, citywide, more-fun-than-a-barrel-of-monkeys talent show is no more.

I wish I could give you a splashy reason for the demise, but there isn’t one. Back in 1999, I had an idea to write a play in the form of a talent show; to research the writing of this imaginary play, I imagined I’d need to attend an actual talent show. Then I realized: Why should I devise a show for actors to play talent-show contestants when real talent show contestants are ready and willing to play themselves?

Thus Pizzazz! was born, with the premiere contest taking place at good old Consolidated Works, and all subsequent shows packing the Bagley Wright theater at Bumbershoot. After five years, I’d learned all I needed to know about talent shows, and Pizzazz! was relegated to history.

A moment of silence for five years of jaw-dropping talentwhich is too great to list individually here, so I’ll just name-check some favorites, including the legendary Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, awesome human beatbox AudioPoet, indie superhero Great Guy, Circus Contraption’s Opera Diva, the dynamite ladies of Tap Explosion, and that adorable adolescent who played a Mariah Carey song on the piano while loudly tapping her foot to the beat.

Of special note is perennial Pizzazz! guest star Dina Martina, from whom we commissioned a Pizzazz! theme song, a wonderful ditty entitled “PIzzazz!” that I’m proud to say is now part of her permanent songbook, claiming a place of pride in the Dina Martina extravaganza that’s been kicking the ass of Provincetown all summer.

Thanks to all who attended and judged and competed. Rest in peace, Pizzazz!

Muni League Endorsements

posted by on August 30 at 3:22 PM

Maybe the reason the muni league ratings are losing their weight is cuz they don’t seem credible. For example, Darlene Madenwald (running against Richard Conlin) got a “Very Good”? Are you kidding? She’s the most unprepared candidate the Stranger has ever seen. Well, next to mayoral hopeful Prof. Al Runte, that is. The Muni Leage gave Runte a “Very Good” as well. What’s going on over at the Muni league? I’ll do a follow-up post on Runte in a second.

Iraq, New Orleans, Grand Rapids

posted by on August 30 at 3:18 PM

The tragedies are coming fast and furious.

Someone stole Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from a museum in Grand Rapids.

How can the president vacation at a time like this?

Ed Murray vs. Rumors (and vs. The Olympian)

posted by on August 30 at 3:15 PM

I was a bit mystified this morning when I received a mass email from State Representative Ed Murray denying “rumors” about what he “might or might not do politically in the near future.”

Then I read this story in The Olympian. It seems Murray (D-Seattle) recently gave some rather unambiguous quotes to a reporter for The Olympian, telling the reporter that he is considering running for higher office by challenging State Senator Pat Thibaudeau (D-Seattle) or, even more ambitiously, challenging Jim “Congressman for Life” McDermott (D-Seattle).

Either option would make for an exciting race, would shake up the local Democratic political scene, and would give Murray an opportunity for the type of higher post that many have long thought he should seek.

A few moments ago, Murray’s office issued the following statement. See if you can find anything close to a denial in there. I can’t:

Continue reading "Ed Murray vs. Rumors (and vs. The Olympian)" »

Definition of a Quagmire

posted by on August 30 at 3:06 PM

Crooks and Liars has posted an amazing audio clip from the NPR archives. Before you give it a listen, keep in mind that it was recorded while Dick Cheney was working for the previous President Bush.

Not only does the current administration refuse to listen to others, apparently it doesn’t even listen to itself.

The Hater in History

posted by on August 30 at 2:45 PM

Reading Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality, I came across this passage, which deserves special attention from hiphop scholarship:

The truly great haters in the history of the world have always been priests, also the most ingenious haters:—compared to the spirit of priestly revenge all the rest of spirit taken together hardly merits consideration.

The birth of the hater!

Here’s to you

posted by on August 30 at 2:31 PM

Check out this soldier’s blog entry, via Raw Story (via, in turn, Drudge Retort). He writes this not long after returning to Iraq after a leave:

What the fuck has my chain of command been doing? We were winning somewhat when I left. And now we’re being pinned down in our own fucking homes? Insurgents are pushing locals out of their homes and taking over my area at will? What kind of fucktarded plan have we been half-assedly executing? Obviously the kind that neglects sound contact with locals. Obviously the kind that gives further distance to unbridged gaps between soldiers and locals. Obviously the kind that has shown enough weakness when confronted by the insugency that it has been encouraged to grow.

Back home (the USA kind) I have no home, no job, and my commander in chief is on vacation (he’s about 20 days behind Ronald Reagan right now in the race to become the most vacationing president ever. Hey W! we all got our fingers crossed! Here’s to you and two more years of presidency…er vacationing!). Luckily pretty much everything that is important to me can fit into the back of a truck. Luckily I just paid off one of those.

His blog, One Foot in the Grave, is here:

Oh, and he died two days after writing that August 13 entry.

re: boredom & gangsta rap

posted by on August 30 at 2:30 PM

“He/she”? Which woman has ever been shot in the recorded history of hiphop? Getting blasted has solely been the business of the black American male. I don’t think there’s even one white (male) rapper who has been shot dead or alive. As for women, Lil Kim is the one example of female criminality in hiphop, and it is a case very much in the tradition of the gangster moll. So, don’t do this “he/she” nonsense when it comes to hiphop gun violence. It is all about, and can only be about, “he.”

Yes, I know, Charles. I was just being grammatically PC.

As for white rappers, Vanilla Ice wasn’t shot, but Death Row employees dangled him by his feet and threatened to drop him out of a very high window. Eminem probably wears Kevlar 24/7. And, uh, Everlast’s heart attacked him.

Re: Hurricane Casualty

posted by on August 30 at 2:26 PM

I am starting a countdown to the predictable moment when some right-wing religious fanatic blames the hurricane on New Orleans’ loose morals, or perhaps on in particular.

10… 9… 8…

White House West

posted by on August 30 at 1:27 PM

Americablog asks an interesting question.

Hurricane Casualty

posted by on August 30 at 1:00 PM

Hurricane Katrina isn’t just impacting people who live in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama. People all over the US are sufferingparticularly gay men looking for anonymous sex., one of the biggest gay internet hookup sites, is offline. Their offices are in New Orleans, and they’re underwater. (Hat tip to Rex Wockner.)

Return to Rainier Square

posted by on August 30 at 12:48 PM

Today in the PI:

Rainier Square, Fourth Avenue and University Street, is awful — a bleak terrace with a few token trees and the horrifying megahulk of Minoru Yamasaki’s Rainier Tower looming overhead on its wineglass-stem pedestal. No landscape architecture on Earth could redeem this space; even people who dig the tower’s structural engineering feel instinctive discomfort.

Three years ago in the Stranger:

[T]he plaza itself is a large empty expanse… and it’s carpeted. One massive white building looms over you, the Four Seasons Hotel is off to your left, and other buildings, big and small, line the edges of the park. You’re in a completely deserted park… and yet… you’re completely surrounded. Looking up at the windows of the buildings, not a soul can be seen looking back. You’re utterly alone. Anything could happen…. On each of my visits to the Rainier Square plaza, the park was infused with a palpable sense of evil. And while some would write me off as a loon, please consider the following: (1) How creepy is it to be completely isolated in a place where you shouldn’t be? Where signs of chaos—noise, traffic, goddamn people—should be everywhere, but aren’t?; and (2) How eerie would it feel to be standing in a large, open space, surrounded by hundreds—possibly thousands—of windows, and still feel that someone could kill you and no one would see it?

Evidently this plaza needs deeper consideration. Nor must we forget that its designer is the designer of the Twin Towers.

No, wait.

posted by on August 30 at 12:39 PM

This press release is even better.

Continue reading "No, wait." »

From the Department of Bizarre Press Releases

posted by on August 30 at 12:26 PM

Some kid from L.A. is going to bike to Seattle for a cup of coffee @ Starbucks’ headquarters. (An aside: The tiny coffeeshop in the lobby of Starbucks HQ makes great coffee. Better than any other Starbucks, fyi.)

The inexplicable twist to this stunt? He’s an internget it? an intern fetching coffee? ha!for “Venice-based brand communications agency 86 the onions.” And the trip has something to do with “daily rituals” as studied at the branding agency. And of course he will be filming it.

[Steve] Ounanian has been inspired to make the journey while interning at 86 the onions and watching himself become part of a ritual, one he calls “Design Ritual.” During the past 3 months, in order to better create emotional connections between brands and their consumers, he has been able to study human insight by observing why people do they things they do.

So he’s going to bike to Seattle… I still don’t get it. Anyway, read the rest yourself, if you want.

Continue reading "From the Department of Bizarre Press Releases" »

re: boredom & gangsta rap

posted by on August 30 at 12:26 PM

Dave, what do you mean by this:

If a rapper survives a shooting (hello, 50), he/she usually benefits commercially
“He/she”? Which woman has ever been shot in the recorded history of hiphop? Getting blasted has solely been the business of the black American male. I don’t think there’s even one white (male) rapper who has been shot dead or alive. As for women, Lil Kim is the one example of female criminality in hiphop, and it is a case very much in the tradition of the gangster moll. So, don’t do this “he/she” nonsense when it comes to hiphop gun violence. It is all about, and can only be about, “he.”

Have you seen my Madonna?

posted by on August 30 at 11:53 AM

I just noticed Pierre et Gilles’ Virgin, which used to hang above our second-floor toilet, has disappeared. I hope you are enjoying her, you filthy thief.

Re: Imminent Decision?

posted by on August 30 at 11:52 AM

Over the last few months, I’ve heard many predictions of an “imminent” decision coming from the Washington State Supreme Court on gay marriage. None has proven true. But just to keep you on the edge of your seat, here’s another authoritative-sounding prediction, this one from the P-I’s Chris McGann:
The state Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on gay marriage sometime late this summer or in early fall.

At least this prediction sounds well-informed (or, as well-informed as you can be about a decision date that’s entirely at the whim of the justices). It’s in line with what we’ve been hearing from lawyers involved with the case. But then again, they’re just guessing.

My money’s still on October. For no particular reason. I’m guessing too. (And obsessively checking the court’s site, where they post an ‘upcoming decisions’ notice every Wednesday.)

re: boredom & gangsta rap

posted by on August 30 at 11:30 AM

if that’s true, then the savviest career move he ever made was sitting next to his biggest selling artist when he was fatally shot. oh, the hilarity. Certainly got him all over “da internetz” and other media—too bad it didn’t do wonders for Death Row Records. Was Marc Cohn trying to stage a comeback when he got popped?

Larry, let’s not be coy: In gangsta-rap circles, getting popped lends credibility and an aura of “realness” to an artist in the eyes of many. If a rapper survives a shooting (hello, 50), he/she usually benefits commercially, if not artistically. So it’s not so far-fetched to think Suge may have orchestrated his own popping. For what it’s worth, I take no pleasure at all in this incident. Just Slogging away…

I’ll now return to my usual backpacker-hiphop monitoring…

Global Poverty

posted by on August 30 at 11:08 AM

If this is in fact true, if Chavez can actually do it, then globalization in its fullest sense has finally arrived:

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said on Monday his government plans to sell as much as 66,000 barrels per day of heating fuel from its U.S. Citgo refinery to poor communities in the United States. The offer, made after populist Chavez held talks with U.S. civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, would represent 10 percent of the 660,000 bpd of refined products processed by Citgo. The deals would cut consumer costs by direct sales. Venezuela’s Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said officials were still working on the details on how the oil would be sold from Citgo, a unit of the state oil firm PDVSA. “We are going to direct as much as 10 percent of the production, that means 66,000 barrels, without intermediaries, to poor communities, hospitals, religious communities, schools,” Chavez told reporters at a press conference. The world’s No. 5 oil exporter, oil cartel OPEC member Venezuela is a key supplier to the United States, providing about 15 percent of all U.S. energy imports. But relations between Caracas and Washington have become strained since left-winger Chavez was elected in 1998 promising social reforms. Chavez, a former army officer who survived a coup in 2002, frequently accuses the U.S. of backing efforts to kill him or topple his government. U.S. officials dismiss those charges but say Chavez has become a threat to regional stability.

Helping a brother/sister in need…

posted by on August 30 at 11:03 AM

What would the Seattle music community be without its myriad benefit shows? I’ve seen everything from fundraisers for musicians’ pets to support for those who have lost their homes. Tomorrow night’s benefit falls in the latter category, as some selfless local residents present: TRAMP: OLD SCHOOL SOUL & FUNK TO BENEFIT NEW ORLEANS at the War Room. Two of my favorite DJs Greg Vandy and Cherry Canoe will be spinning starting at 9pm. There’s no cover but bring some bills to donate at the door…all donations will go to the Red Cross.

Red States and Hurricanes

posted by on August 30 at 11:02 AM

I’ve heard a few lefties express satisfaction with the hurricane that slammed into Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. All three are southern red states, states that went for Bush, and I’ve listened to few folks say it serves `em right, fuck `em, hope there’s another hurricane comin’, blah blah blah. (For the record: No one at Stranger HQ made this argument I heard it when I went out last night to a couple of bars.) This is cracked for two reasons.

First, these places are going to be re-built with tax dollars from blue cities (there’s no such thing as a blue state, as we argued in our Urban Archipelago issue, only blue cities that are big enough to turn otherwise red states blue). And second, the coastal areas and cities being inundated are home to many of those three state’s outnumbered, pathetically isolated Dem voters. The hurricane isn’t washing away Republicans, it’s washing away big-city and coastal Dems.

It is legit, however, to point out that if a disaster of this magnitude had struck, say, Southern California, the American Taliban would take a break from calling for assassinations and blocking the sale of the morning after pill to claim the destruction was an expression of God’s displeasure with the porn industry or Will & Grace or rollerblading. When bad things happen to the Bible Belt, tax dollars flow out of blue cities to aide the victims. When bad things happen to cities, the flow condemnation out of the Bible Belt continues apace.

Good God

posted by on August 30 at 10:54 AM

So now the American Taliban is leading a charge to have the government regulate cable and satellite radio.

This would surely spell doom for HBO’s new series Rome, which is to gratuitous nudity what the Democratic party is to ankle-grabbing.

Re: Pleasantly Perplexing Performance

posted by on August 30 at 10:34 AM

I don’t currently have cable so I unfortunately missed Kelly Clarkson’s VMA performance, but I’d like to take this opportunity to come clean… Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” is the most played song on my iTunes at work. It’s effin’ good, dudes.

There. I said it.

But don’t dare ask me what #2 and #3 are… they’re even worse.

Salman Rushdie is an odd combination of cuddly and spiky to look at

posted by on August 30 at 10:06 AM

Here’s a great interview with Salman Rushdie on the Guardian’s website. Asked about his empathetic portrait of terrorists in his new book, he says: “I wasn’t thinking about forgiving terrorists. I don’t feel particularly forgiving.”

More Campaign Fodder

posted by on August 30 at 9:17 AM

The Seattle Municipal League just released its candidate evaluations for this year’s local races, including Seattle City Council, King County Council, and Seattle Monorail Project board. The nearly century-old Muni League doesn’t have the clout it once did, but political hacks still eagerly await its evaluations before every local election.

Katrina & The Media

posted by on August 30 at 9:08 AM

Unlike terrorist attacks, which are based on surprise, hurricanes allow for an unnerving level of advance speculation. In the case of Katrina, the predictions were the worst I’d ever encountered in the mainstream press, which warned of the whole of New Orleans being turned into a giant stagnant swamp filled with building debris, refinery chemicals, sewage, and unearthed coffins, leaving most of those who live in and around New Orleans homeless and creating a U.S. refugee camp of over a million people.

Then Katrina hit, and while the coffin-swamp didn’t materialize, the damage was tremendous and horrifying: Whole neighborhoods submerged to their roofs, power out to a quarter-million people, and at least 55 confirmed dead (which officials predict is the tip of the iceberg). It’s a horrible state of affairs, and if you’re so inclined, here’s where you can donate relief funds to the Red Cross.

That said, I must now mock the Seattle media for doing what it’s always done: Digging up some tenuous “Northwest connection” to any and all major tragedies. In this case, it was Northwest Cable News, which solemnly reported how “Katrina’s effects are being felt even here,” then cut to a Burien man with relatives in New Orleans (all of them safe), who sat in his living room watching random disaster footage on TV while saying, “Wow. Look at that. Wow.”

Monday, August 29, 2005

Pleasantly Perplexing Performance

posted by on August 29 at 11:49 PM

Was anyone else taken aback by Kelly Clarkson’s performance of “Since U Been Gone” that closed the VMAs? I’ve never paid any attention to the girl, other than the times that David Schmader was trying to rope me into watching American Idol or when I was subjected to the horrors of “A Moment Like This,” the bloodless tune that won her the first Idol title. But apparently she’s all about the throaty, believably passionate rock anthems now. It made me think we need a third Janis Joplin bio pic with Clarkson in the title role. Well, not really—but I was impressed.

re: boredom & gangsta rap

posted by on August 29 at 10:25 PM

if that’s true, then the savviest career move he ever made was sitting next to his biggest selling artist when he was fatally shot. oh, the hilarity. Certainly got him all over “da internetz” and other media—too bad it didn’t do wonders for Death Row Records. Was Marc Cohn trying to stage a comeback when he got popped?

Imminent Decision?

posted by on August 29 at 4:49 PM

Over the last few months, I’ve heard many predictions of an “imminent” decision coming from the Washington State Supreme Court on gay marriage. None has proven true. But just to keep you on the edge of your seat, here’s another authoritative-sounding prediction, this one from the P-I’s Chris McGann:

The state Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on gay marriage sometime late this summer or in early fall.

The MTV Carnival

posted by on August 29 at 4:05 PM

Here is a delightful summary of the MTV Music Video Awards. Yes, it was written by an englishman.

Typofighters Unite!

posted by on August 29 at 3:50 PM

One time, the manager at a hoity Belltown seafood restaurant comped my dinner after I proofread and annotated the menu. I’m looking forward to kicking Bumbershoot off at this discussion:

The Editorial We
Do you find yourself automatically proofreading restaurant menus? Are you turned off when an otherwise good book has a typo every few pages? Join the every-editor-needs-an-editor club. Just for fun, we’ll second-guess published authors and each other. Nicely, of course. Led by Jackie Pels of Hardscratch Press. (Sat, 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm, Ink Spot)

Blank Bush

posted by on August 29 at 3:41 PM

What the Bush Administration has effectively destroyed is the tradition of the American statesmen, or closer yet, the American diplomat. Meaning: the American civil servant who has a strong sense of the world and how it works is now a thing of the past. Reading a news report like this, which concerns Iraq’s doomed attempt to construct a functional constitution, makes it more than clear that no one in the present Administration has a clue about the world outside of his/her own imaginings. I know this is not a new point, but the total absence of professionalism and realism in American foreign policies astounds me to no end.

We Have a Winner

posted by on August 29 at 1:01 PM

Can I be accused of stuffing a ballot box I wasn’t aware existed?

Of course I can, and Sam Chenderson is just the man to do it.

But first: when I picked up my mail there was an envelope from The Seattle Times. Inside were two t-shirts, a decal, and a letter. “The votes are in and you’ve won! You’ve been selected as a winner in the Nwsource People’s Picks 2005 contesta contest where Seattleites chose you as their favorite.” It seems that I won best newspaper columnist.

I had never heard of the NWsource People’s Picks so I called Tracy Martinez, the contact person at the Seattle Times, who told me that the People’s Picks awards are in their second year. When I asked her if Danny Westneat or Nicole Brodeur were upset that I bested them as newspaper columnist in a contest run by the Seattle Times, the paper they work for, Tracy told me she had no idea who they were.

I don’t know who to thankwell, besides Mike Fancher, of course, who writes the “Inside the Times” column. Fancher’s column features more analingus in one installment than Savage Love does in a year. (Fancher’s tongue has been lodged in the ass of Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen for so long that Fancher is now fed through a tube that goes directly into his stomach.) For regular readers of the Seattle Times, my column must seem positively wholesome compared to Fancher’s. And I have them to thank for this honor.

A final note: A few years ago I won the best newspaper columnist honors in Seattle Weekly’s annual Best of Seattle poll. The Weekly eliminated the category the next year and hasn’t risked including it since.

Good News for Italian Breathers

posted by on August 29 at 12:00 PM

From the indefatigable clean-indoor-air activist Joe Cherner’s latest bulk email comes news of Italy passing a law in January to enforce smokefree environments in workplacesand most of the population has been loving it. Apparently, economic apocalypse has not transpired, as many opposed to this concept reflexively predict. American bar and club owners, take note.

“Have we suddenly become respectful and disciplined? No. It’s simply that we are not stupid,” wrote Beppe Severgnini in Milan-based daily, Corriere della Sera. “When a law is sensible we accept it. And when it is enforced - with penalties and social pressure - we even respect it.” The law’s success is largely due to the widespread awareness of the dangers of tobacco smoke.

The full heartening story continues below…

Continue reading "Good News for Italian Breathers" »

Save the Date

posted by on August 29 at 11:44 AM

After sitting through a couple freeform movies over the last couple months (the terribly boring Last Days and Broken Flowers and the excruciatingly pointless 9 Songs—basically a hipster porn flick with cool bands plugged in to attract the crowds) I finally saw a slow movie that I liked, Wong Kar Wai’s 2046. While the film doesn’t have a necessarily very compelling narrative, it’s so beautiful to look at (gorgeous vintage and futuristic costumes, amazing set designs and graphics) and longingly romantic it’s one of the best date movies currently in theaters. My advice—share a bottle of wine before the show, forget about a storyline, and lapse into a past/future vision of love and lust in multiple centuries. The film is playing this week at the Harvard Exit.

Re: Volume 1, Issue 2

posted by on August 29 at 11:42 AM

Two pages after excoriating local preachers for “blessing people with their bodies instead of the Holy Ghost” and allowing “women in the pulpit,” the Seattle Faze gets, yes, EVEN WEIRDER. A page-6 story, titled “When Love Goes Wrong,” is about a group called Men Against Abusive Women, which, according to the article, “deals with issues of male abuse [w]hen a male has been sent to jail by an angry and vindictive female for no other reason than to get him out of the house, due to anger, alcohol or … some misunderstanding or hidden agenda.”

The article continues: “Men Against Abusive Women, gives men the same option that women have Somewhere to turn when caught in an abusive situation and have been thrust from their home into a legal situation that is neither willing to uphold their innocence, or justify their inaction in defending themselves.”

Huh? Has anyone heard of this group? Are they for real?

Scary Water

posted by on August 29 at 11:30 AM

With all the talk of flooding and storm surges in New Orleans, it seems an appropriate time to bring up my recent argument with Alfred “The Professor” Runte, PhD, one of three no-chance candidates for mayor who the Stranger endorsement team had the pleasure of interviewing last Friday.

It’s safe to say I did not expect to be debating the likelihood of tsunamis in Puget Sound with Dr. Runte, but there I was, telling him I was very skeptical that a huge tsunami could even occur in the inland waters of Puget Sound, much less be used as a threat to justify his rather bold Viaduct plan (which involves running light rail over the Viaduct).

Dr. Runte, who says he is such a political threat to Mayor Nickels that the mayor can feel The Professor “breathing down his neck,” promptly emailed me after the interview:

Subject: Tsunamis

Dear Eli,
I very much enjoyed meeting you and your colleagues today.  You are a spirited and committed group.  Meanwhile, I have just Googled “Puget Sound and Tsunami,” and been advised of 27,000 “hits.”  One of the first appears below.  Mayor Nickels may not care about this research; I do.  I listen to scientists, not just developers.   I would hope The Stranger would do the same.   A journalist has the same obligation not to be dismissive before every source has been explored and heard.   As I said, this is the Old Professor talking, but I cut my teeth where you are today. 
I am copying this to Gene Hoglund, of Magnolia, who set me straight about tsunamis.  I am sure you can expect a “wave” of information back…

Mr. Hoglund did indeed hit me with a wave of tsunami information, and I now hereby relent. A tsunami is possible in Puget Sound. Although I am still not convinced that, as Hoglund alleges, there is a tsunami “cover-up” being perpetrated by various city departments.

Vol. 1/ Issue 2

posted by on August 29 at 10:35 AM

There’s a bizarre new paper in town called The Seattle Faze. It’s aimed at a black audience. There are articles on the Black Panthers and the African Heritage Festival & Parade; promotions for a new Urban Contemporary radio station, and a full-page editorial about the state of local black churches written by Faze Founder/Publisher/Managing Editor Rev. Julius Collins. It’s this last item where things get a little bizarre. I’m no lawyer, but in what seems to me like a potentially libelous attack, Collinsreferring to “the recent upheaval in one of our major churches”writes a screed against local preachers who are “running around with every sister of the church willing to spread their legs …They rob the church of its offerings and use it [to] buy fancy cars and dress like the Superflys that hustle on the street. Members are nothing more than ‘tricks’ to be used and abused…” Collins concludes the screedtitled “A Thin Line Between a Preacher and a Pimp” with a non sequitur rant against female preachers: “It is not a woman’s place to usurp the authority given by God to preach the Gospel, that is for the Preacher, and by all definitions a preacher is a male role.” Rev. Collins’s righteous paper also comes with a pair of escort ads. Their web address is:

Re: Brian Wilson made them Smile

posted by on August 29 at 10:33 AM

Meanwhile, in the Woodland Park Zoo, Neko Case made them… uh, soaked within an inch of pneumonia. After announcing her cover of “Buckets of Rain,” Case promised the song was going to have the opposite effect on the skies. Well, at a country show, promises are almost guaranteed to get broken. It poured and poured and poured. More than three-quarters of the crowd fled, allowing those wet and hardy souls remaining to creep forward until we had ourselves an intimate little concert. In the mud. Awesome.

Death and Didion

posted by on August 29 at 10:21 AM

Joan Didion’s forthcoming book about her husband’s recent sudden death, The Year of Magical Thinking, is rumored to be incredible. Now Didion’s daughter has also died. Jesus Christ.

re: boredom & gangsta rap

posted by on August 29 at 10:11 AM

For Suge Knight, getting shot is a savvy career move. Certainly got his name splattered all over da internetz and other media. Wouldn’t be surprised if he orchestrated the whole thing.

Brian Wilson made them Smile

posted by on August 29 at 9:23 AM

Some people spent their Sunday finding joy and redemption in a house of worship. I found both at Brian Wilson’s show last night at the Paramount, where the former Beach Boy made songs about sun, surf, sand, heroes, and villains shine with an innocence only his facial (non)expressions betrayed. Wilson played with a huge backing band, including a string section from Sweden, two percussionists, and a range of singers, while he sat on a stool up front facing two computer monitors and barely cracking a smile—except during a few fleeting moments that caused the crowd to cheer wildly. After running through past favorites (including tracks from Pet Sounds…two of my favorites were “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Little Saint Nick”) he performed his latest pop opus, Smile—props for which included fake fire, fire helmets, a fire hose, and lots of vegetables. And while Wilson himself looked like a damaged man, his clipped hand gestures barely alerting people to the fact that he was enjoying himself, the music lit up the rafters of the Paramount, taking the crowd (many of whom decked Hawaiian shirts for the occasion) to the summery, sunshiny coast of Southern California, if only in our collective minds. Side note: I don’t think I’ve been to a show in years where the 8 year-old in the seat next to us, the twentysomething two rows down, and a late fortysomething dude all knew all the words and were singing and pumping their fists right along. Amazing show.

Inspired Maneuvers Against Domestic Violence

posted by on August 29 at 8:32 AM

After reading Friday’s awful story of the Pierce County woman whom police say was killed by her fresh-out-of-jail-for-domestic-battery boyfriend, I was hungry for any sort of good news in the fight to protect women from violent boyfriends/husbands. Then came an item in Newsweek, about the hot new weapon in early abuse detection: hairdressers.

Cut It Out, a national organization sponsored by beauty-industry leaders, is currently training stylists to recognize the signs of domestic violence and offer resources, like hotline numbers and referrals to crisis centers for clients. “You get a client in the shampoo bowl and they just open up and tell is that they are being beaten,” said Twanda Hamilton, a Wichita, Kansas cosmetologist to Newsweek. “We hear so much in the salon that no one else hears.”

Launched in Alabama in 2001, Cut It Out now has programs in 11 states, with seven more scheduled to join up in the coming months. Meanwhile, the Kansas Attorney General has announced plans to expand Salons of Hope, a Wichita-based program similar to Cut It Out, to include over 22,000 cosmetologists in 3,600 salons.

It’s hard to pin hopes for such a vast problem on cosmetologists, but maybe if shit gets sussed out in the salon, it won’t escalate to the horrors found in last Friday’s tragedy, where a woman who did everything right (pressed charges, got a restraining order, called 911) still loses her life.

re: boredom & gangsta rap

posted by on August 29 at 12:12 AM

Yawn, yawn, yawn. When will gangsta rap just give up and die?

well something’s gotta offset the anemic yammering of all that extra-medium hipster-hop out there.

the dude got shot, charles.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Documents Reportedly Show Seattle Weekly to be Part of Media Merger by Year’s End

posted by on August 28 at 4:22 PM

The San Francisco Bay Guardian has the latest on the rumored corporate merger that could make the Seattle Weekly part of an 18-paper chain where the Weekly’s current parent company, VVM, would have 38% of equity in the new venture while Phoenix-based New Times and its primary venture-capital firm, the Boston-based Alta Communications, would have 62%.

Mouth full of blood

posted by on August 28 at 2:53 PM

Last night’s Fruit Bats show (and CD release party) at Chop Suey was… disappointing. The show just kept going wrong, and at first it was charming the way they played up the technical problems, singer Eric Johnson saying he hoped the show wouldn’t devolve into a “Cat Power-style meltdown,” but after a while of general suckiness (Johnson stopped one song midway because he said they were out of tune) and increasing disinterest on the part of the crowd, Johnson started getting grumpy. Johnson is a handsome dude and a great singer, but all his charm vanished when he snapped, “Play louder? Talk quieter.”

Whatever, we all have bad nights. Check this out on the Fruit Bats website — it’s a funny piece by Johnson about other careers he’s considered.

Re: Boredom and Gangsta Rap

posted by on August 28 at 1:21 PM

At least gangsta rap is going through its death throes in style:

A police report described the shooter only as a black male wearing a pink shirt.

Boredome and Gangsta Rap

posted by on August 28 at 8:46 AM

Founder of Death Row records, Suge Knight, was shot during a big Miami rap party last night. How fucking boring. What a fucking bore. Yawn, yawn, yawn. When will gangsta rap just give up and die?