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Archives for 09/25/2005 - 10/01/2005

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Cops V. Stoners at Cal Anderson Park

posted by on October 1 at 4:42 PM

At 4:20 this afternoon, as suggested in this week’s Stranger, about 150 people gathered on the slope at the North East corner of Capitol Hill’s newly-revamped Cal Anderson Park to smoke pot. The event was organized by anti-drug-war warrior Dominic Holden. Holden helped pass Initiative-75 in 2003. I-75 reclassified arrests for smoking pot as the SPD’s “lowest priority.” (The Initiative passed by 57.7 percent.) Holden thought a smoke out would be a groovy way to celebrate the new Capitol Hill park.

Officer J. Hayes, joined by about 7 bike cops, greeted the crowd and told them he wished they wouldn’t light up. He urged them to “respect everyone in the community” that wants the new-and-improved park to undo the negatives of the old park. He then explained, over the strains of someone’s acoustic guitar, that people who did smoke would get parks exclusion tickets. That means they’d be banned from the park for at least a week.

Holden, wearing an “I Heart Dirty Hippies” T-shirt, told the officer he wanted the SPD to respect everyone in the community who passed I-75. Holden lit up. (And apparently so did a lot of others because the place started to smell like my older brother’s Led Zeppelin bedroom circa 1978). Holden, who also told Hayes he respected the SPD for arresting bona fide law breakers like people who break into homes, was given an exclusion notice and escorted to the park offices south of the hill on the edge of the soccer field.

As I was leaving, officer Hayes was explaining the parks exclusion rules to a young woman with curly blonde hair. She wanted to know how long the marijuana citation would be on her record. Hayes guesstimated “about three years.” The woman looked stymied. Hayes said: “I guess it depends on how important this is to you.”

Look for a full report on the event in next week’s paper from David Schmader, who was also on the scene, and even though he was, it seemed to me, stoned—got away without an exclusion notice of his own. Schmader was apparently savvy enough to have smoked a bowl at home beforehand.

Seattle Times V. The Facts

posted by on October 1 at 12:25 PM

The Seattle Times bends over backwards today (and ignores the facts) to spin the “write-in” phenomenon in the monorail board primary election vote as a sign of an anti-monorail sentiment.

Under the headline “Thousands of Voters Vented, Poked Fun at Monorail Mess” the Seattle Times writes:

Inspired by the stumbling Seattle Monorail Project, which has been collecting millions of dollars a month, thousands of voters bypassed the candidates listed on the September primary ballot. They preferred to suggest their own. Kill the Monorail, Waste of Money and Close it Down were the candidates of choice for some of Seattle’s more frustrated monorail watchers. One voter used a four-letter word to say what ought to be done with the troubled project.

But the facts upend the Seattle Times’s claim: Of the two monorail board elections, one race tallied a normal 1 percent write-in rate (exactly the same as the mayor’s race) and one tallied a stunning 4.47 percent write in rate. Hmmm? Well get this: In the race with the notable write-in percentage (4.47 as opposed to 1 ), the Stranger had recommended a write-in vote: Pro-Monorail star Peter Sherwin. So, if anything, the story here is that a whopping 3,662 people went with the write-in choice in the race where the Stranger recommended writing-in a pro-monorail candidate. Indeed, in the other race, only 900 people opted for the write-in slot.

In the Stranger this week, I wrote that the Seattle Times turns any monorail news into bad news. They proved it again today by running a front-page story that spins the Stranger’s, evidently successful pro-monorail write-in campaign as somehow reflecting an anti-monorail vote. (The Seattle Times article does mention our write-in campaign, but only in passing at the end of their article—after they’ve already made their point. And they fail to mention the huge difference in the number of write-in votes in the two different monorail board races.)

There’s no question that the monorail may go down in November, but the Seattle Times should wait until that happens before making claims about the voters’ anti-monorail mood. Milking negative front-page headlines out of facts that indicate otherwise is an example of the Seattle Times biased reporting on the monorail. (Hey, Lord knows there’s nothing wrong with biased monorail reporting. But the Seattle Times should stop pretending to be “objective.” )

Free new Annie track…

posted by on October 1 at 11:54 AM

Attention fans of Norwegian pop sensation Annie - while you’re waiting for the release of her new DJ Kicks compilation, you can amuse yourself with the free download of her new track “Wedding” (featured on that forthcoming mix CD) that you’ll receive just for forwarding this e-card to a friend. (And while you’re at it, make sure you snag the blistering remix of “Always Too Late” up at her official site, too.)

Gorillaz In The Mist of Consciousness

posted by on October 1 at 5:19 AM

The English version of the Chinese website People’s Daily reports:

Scientists spot first tool usage in wild gorilla

Scientists photographed for the first time ever [a wild gorilla using] a stick to test the depth of a pool before wading into it, according to a study appearing in Friday’s journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology.
Up to this point, all other species of great apes including chimpanzees and orangutans, have been observed using tools in the wild, but never gorillas. Scientists said this new finding is ‘astounding.’ …The observations were made in Mbeli Bai [Congo], a swampy clearing located in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park where monitoring has been ongoing since February 1995. The first instance occurred when a female gorilla nicknamed Leah by scientists attempted to wade through a pool of water created by elephants, but found herself waist deep after only a few steps.
Climbing out of the pool, Leah then retrieved a straight branch from a nearby dead tree and used it to test the depth of the water. Keeping her upper body above water, she moved some 10 meters out into the pool before returning to shore and her wailing infant.”

Friday, September 30, 2005

This Joke Made Me Laugh Like Something Else

posted by on September 30 at 4:17 PM

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: “Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed.”

“OH NO!” the President exclaims. “That’s terrible!”

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, “How many is a brazillion?”

Fucking Hell, Jamie Lidell

posted by on September 30 at 3:58 PM

I saw the future of soul music last night at Neumo’s in the form of pasty-faced Brit Jamie Lidell. In a performance that made D’Angelo and other neo-R&B lovermen seem quaint and obsolete, Lidell nonchalantly reinvented the genre for the new millennium. Everybody in the house seemed to be really feeling it. I’ve been clubbing for 26 years, and this show ranks in my top 10 of all time.

Continue reading "Fucking Hell, Jamie Lidell" »

Tim Ceis’s Favorite Book

posted by on September 30 at 1:40 PM

Overheard @ the Columbia Tower food court:
Two Seattle fire fighters sat down at a table and started talking about the mayor’s office.
One of them asks the other: “What do you think of Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis.”
The second fire fighter answers: “Oh, I love that guy. He once recommended a book to me called Warrior Ethics that says you have to put away your morals to get stuff done in politics. It’s a great book. I love that guy, Tim Ceis.”

An amazon search brings up a book called Warrior Politics. Perhaps this is the book they were talking about:

Robert Kaplan’s Warrior Politics is an extended, willfully provocative essay arguing that the bedrock of sound foreign policy should be “comprehensive pragmatism” rather than “utopian hopes.” Kaplan calls for a reestablishment of American (primarily) realpolitik, one distanced from Judeo-Christian (or private) virtue and closer to a “pagan” (public) one. He aligns himself with America’s Founding Fathers, who, he says, believed good government emerged only from a “sly understanding of men’s passions.” His book is a mix of aphoristic pronouncements, brief contemporary political analyses, rapid-fire parallels between conflicts ancient and current, and copious quotes from historians and thinkers through the ages (Livy, Thucydides, Sun-Tzu, Machiavelli, and Thomas Hobbes among them). Though its historical gleanings are often too summary and suspiciously convenient, Warrior Politics promises to generate controversy among students of global politics—just as it was designed to do. —H. O’Billovitch

Nothing Much to Report

posted by on September 30 at 1:09 PM

The urinals at the Atlanta airport are so close together you have to link arms with the guys on your left and right to take a leak. Oh, and there’s no drug stores in Ann Arbor - I went out looking for some pain killers, and couldn’t find shit. Ann Arbor is a college town - don’t the kids here get hangovers?


posted by on September 30 at 11:13 AM

From a reader, via email:

Uh…have you guys seen this? The Army National Guard is offering 3 free downloads from iTunes for every person that signs up for a recruiting call… Certain death in Iraq…or a $2.97 music credit. Hmm…

Last Night’s Endorsements

posted by on September 30 at 11:05 AM

36th District/Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Regrade
1) Mayor: Al Runte
2) Monorail: Build It
3) Council Position 4: Jan Drago
4) Council Position 2: Richard Conlin
5) Council Position 8: Dwight Pelz

46th District/North Seattle
1) Mayor: No Endorsement Made
2) Monorail: No Endorsement Made
3) Council Position 4: Jan Drago
4) Council Position 2: Richard Conlin
5) Council Position 8: Dual Endorsement of Dwight Pelz and Richard McIver

The Deaf Stars of The Achuar

posted by on September 30 at 10:53 AM

The French ethnologist Philippe Descole describes an aspect of the world-view of the Achaur, a tribe that lives in Amazon region, in this startlingly beautiful way:

“[For the Achaur, in nature there are a] set of things with which communication cannot be established. Opposite beings endowed with language, of which humans are the most perfect incarnation, stand those things deprived of speech that inhabit parallel, inaccessible worlds. The inability to communicate is often ascribed to the lack of soul that affects certain living species: most insects and fish, poultry, and numerous plants, which thus lead a mechanical, inconsequential existence. But the absence of communication is sometimes due to distance: the souls of stars and meteors, infinitely far away and prodigiously mobile, remain deaf to human words.”
Passages like this make my life happy.

Super Lovers

posted by on September 30 at 10:25 AM

In last week’s New York Times Magazine there is a photo essay about the new and old citizens of globalized Amsterdam. Two of the subjects profiled make a living by fucking each other a lot. It’s utterly amazing that a couple can have so much sex, night after night. Udi and Erica, their names, have achieved the closet thing to human perfection; indeed, they are hardly human anymore but have become what all want to be: sex machines.

‘Tis the Season

posted by on September 30 at 8:05 AM

On Wednesday, after Tom DeLay was indicted, I said that it seemed a season of indictments might be upon us. And now, just in time for indictment season, New York Times reporter Judith Miller has agreed to testify before the grand jury that is investigating the CIA leak case.

The agreement gets Miller out of jail and, according to media reports, clears the last big obstacle to concluding the investigation into who in the Bush administration may have illegally outed a covert CIA operative as an act of political retribution.

One lawyer said it could become clear as early as next week whether [Special Prosecutor Patrick] Fitzgerald plans to indict anyone or has negotiated a plea bargain.

When she testifies before the grand jury today, Miller will talk about conversations she had with her secret source on matters relating to the outed CIA operative. And who is that source? Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Who knew?

posted by on September 29 at 5:28 PM

You can buy coffins and urns at

W in Freefall

posted by on September 29 at 4:49 PM

This is weird and oddly compelling.

A terrible thing has happened

posted by on September 29 at 2:01 PM

Last night I had a date and we decided we wanted to go sit in the park. Cal Anderson Park. The park I’ve spent time in every day since they took down the gates (including one night when I brought my laptop there to do some work). The park that, as I’ve written, has restored my faith in all things civic. The park that is my current favorite place to be. I live on one side of the park and work on the other (literally).

It was 9 at night, and it was a date, so we brought PBRs. We sat in the middle of the fake-grass field. The sky was incredibly gorgeous. I was babbling about how much I love the park, and even the fake grass, which I had been skeptical about.

Until, two minutes in, cops seized us — illegal! illegal! this is illegal! you’re being illegal! what on earth are you doing? this is illegal! sit down! don’t stand up! this is illegal! give me your ID! you live there? you live over there? where? who are you? where do you live? this is illegal! oh, you didn’t realize this is illegal! well it is! ooh baby it’s illegal! etc, for, like, 20 minutes.

I am a person who’s never been in trouble with the law for anything. Matter of fact, I had my first sip of alcohol when I was 20. And — this is stupid, apparently, according to everyone I know — I actually didn’t know it was illegal (illegal! illegal! you’re breaking the law, you law-breaker!) to sit somewhere (in the dark, mind you, on a date, in the middle of a beautiful night) and drink a can of beer.

Long story short: I have been kicked out of the park — this park I’ve done more positive PR for than anyone else — for 7 days. I have to walk around the thing, between work and home, for 7 days. If I step foot into the park at all in the next 7 days, these goofy-looking but highly serious cops insisted, I will go to jail.

The New Face of the Republican Party

posted by on September 29 at 2:00 PM

People around the office can’t stop talking about this amazing image, which ran on the front page of The New York Times and The Seattle Times today.


The brilliance of the photo, I think, is in the cropping. It turns the microphones into snakes, which makes DeLay look like the most prominent head of a creepy Hyrda. It’s the perfect image for this political moment, in which the larger Hydra — the three Republican-controlled branches of government — faces damaging investigations and potential indictments on three fronts: In the House it’s Delay being indicted for allegedly illegal campaign financing, in the Senate it’s Frist being investigated for fishy stock deals, and at the White House it’s Karl Rove and others being investigated for leaking the name of a covert CIA agent.

But don’t get too excited, Democrats. As the dictionary reminds us, when you cut off one head of a Hydra, two more grow back in its place.

Jamieson vs. Jamieson

posted by on September 29 at 12:10 PM

We’ve used this space before to note P-I columnist Robert Jamieson’s evolving positions on certain matters.

Today brings another interesting example. Earlier this summer Jamieson attacked Cindy Sheehan as an insincere opportunist who was doing something “unfathomable” by making her private grief public. Then last weekend Jamieson decided to attend the anti-war march in Seattle, and today he’s crediting Sheehan in print with having ignited a “wildfire” that has energized the anti-war movement (he’s also now quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “A Time To Break The Silence” speech from 1967).

Jamieson, August 13, 2005:

Trouble is Sheehan is not sincerely interested in meeting Bush for a private, heartfelt chat about her understandable anguish and lingering questions.

She wants to make a public splash by allowing critics of the unjustified war in Iraq to use her as a human bazooka against Bush, who got us into this war mess.

That Sheehan would allow her private grief to be plied for a public stunt seems unfathomable… Sheehan’s Texas tantrum wittingly or unwittingly abets left-leaning forces that are happy to use her to get at the president. If the anemic antiwar movement needs a mourning mom to lead the charge against this unjust war, then the movement is in dire straits.

Jamieson today:

A war is going on, though you wouldn’t know it watching people dash to sports events, happy hours and outdoor decks to soak up fleeting remnants of the summer sun.

An anti-war movement also is going on, though again you might not notice it by reading local news. Several thousand people crowded into Westlake Center on Saturday to protest the war, but the gathering got only a few blurbs deep in the news pages the next day.

I felt compelled to go to the public event — as a reminder.

In a country preoccupied by “Desperate Housewives,” baseball pennant fever and the political fallout of killer hurricanes, American men and women are still risking and losing their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Walking through the Seattle crowd also offered a rebuke to what I wrote this summer — about the anti-war movement being misguided as a result of Cindy Sheehan, the mom who tried to shame the president over the death of her soldier son in Iraq.

It took time, but if the vocal yet peaceful Seattle demonstration was any indication, the anti-war movement is starting to harness the wildfires ignited by Sheehan.

Martha in Primetime

posted by on September 29 at 11:09 AM

With the title of Hot Figurehead Convict ready for transfer to Tom DeLay, the freshly unshackled Martha Stewart is busy splashing herself all over television. Although I am genereally pro=Martha—especially after the bad-assery displayed throughout her incarceration—I can’t be bothered with Martha’s daytime show, where she regularly embarrasses herself with the help of celebrity guests—learning to rap with P. Diddy (dear God), folding t-shirts with the Desperate Housewives.

However, Martha’s nighttime show—NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart—focuses on embarrassing others, and it’s brilliant. After three seasons of Trump’s Apprentice, producers know exactly how to skew the competition for maximum drama and hilarity, with a key component being potentially humiliating competetive challenges. (Forcing a bunch of rabidly ambitious young professionals to promote and open a gym=kinda interesting; forcing a bunch of rabidly ambitious young professionals forced to write and create a children’s book, then read the book to a group of children=heee-larious.)

Further delight is provided by the addition of classic Martha Stewart-isms: To honor Martha’s eternal hatred of unnecessary plastic, the only water bottles allowed on the show are these gorgeous glass Evian bottles I’ve never seen anywhere else, and Martha follows up each and every firing with a personal thank-you note: “Dear So-and-So, thank you for being on my show, good luck focusing on your strengths, etc etc etc..”

Pretty classy, for a media-whoring ex-con…

Beautiful Food

posted by on September 29 at 10:44 AM

Azura, the brand-new pan-Asian place that’s replaced the awful Tofoo, kitty-corner from Bauhaus on Pine, is really good. Last night I had superlative lemon shrimp: The veggies (sugar-snap peas, bell peppers, etc.) were crisp and plentiful, the shrimp tender and plump, and my entree came with the option of brown rice.

The dining room is lotus-flower pretty and bordered by a sexy blue translucent bar (thus far no hard licks available, but I bet that license is on its way). Something tells me this cuisine is too healthy to pique the interest of either Ms. Dickerman or Ms. Clement, hence my foray into their territory.

Stranger crew: It’s a bit of a walk for a dark day like today, but Azura has a handsome lunch menu (including dim sum).

An “Out of Iraq” Caucus

posted by on September 29 at 10:18 AM

Amid all the questions about whether last weekend’s big anti-war march in D.C. accomplished anything, here’s a sign that some politicians are in fact responding to the anti-war movement:

With Bush’s approval ratings already the lowest of his presidency, the administration is also facing an increasingly visible antiwar movement at home, from a weekend demonstration of about 100,000 people in Washington to a new “Out of Iraq” congressional caucus. The caucus, which has 68 members, all Democrats, is mounting a campaign to withdraw U.S. troops.

“We’re building a growing movement against the war in Iraq that will give people who feel uncomfortable about the war a place to share their concerns and discuss and work through a solution — should it be immediate withdrawal or an exit strategy. We want to build a consensus that we want to get out,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Nickels Doesn’t Care What You Think

posted by on September 29 at 9:45 AM

Remember how just a week-and-a-half ago Mayor Nickels said: “The people of Seattle will have the final say in the Monorail project.”

If Nickels meant that, if Nickels was honestly interested in the voters’ opinion, than you have to wonder about this bit of news that came my way: Nickels’s Deputy Mayor, Tim Ceis, and Nickels’s Director of Community Outreach, Marco Lowe, showed up to lobby against the monorail initiative at Monday night’s 36th District Democrats executive board endorsement meeting. (The 36th District represents Ballard, Queen Anne, Regrade, and Magnolia.)

Evidently, Ceis and Lowe weren’t very persuasive. The 36th Executive Board decided (by the necessary two-thirds majority) to recommend that its membership endorse the monorail line.

I’m going to see the Mayor tonight. In a pretty crazy turn of events, I’ve been asked to co-host a Katrina fund raiser with Gov. Gregoire, Sen. Cantwell, K.C. Exec Sims….and Mayor Nickels. I plan to ask the Mayor why he’s been so disingenuous about the monorail.

Sigur Bliss

posted by on September 29 at 9:04 AM

Naysayers surmise that Sigur RĂłs get too much hyperbolic praise, that the music in no way matches the effusive praise constantly lobbed the Icelandic band’s way. After finally seeing the band live last night at a sold-out show at the Paramount, though, I have to say the band deserves every sugary sweet compliment they get. They played an incredibly moving show, beginning and ending behind a scrim that showed only their shadows and filling the middle with gooey, melancholy post rock bliss. While many of the band members switched instruments (between drums, xylophones, pianos, keyboards, bass, guitar) singer Jon Thor Birgisson was the most intriguing talent to watch. Throwing his voice into its upper registers and playing his guitar with a violin bow, he was dedicated to transmitting the beautiful energy of the band through unconventional mediums. The three best moments of the show: when Birgisson sang into his guitar instead of the mic; when the song before the finale included a simple background of white bird silhouettes leaving and returning to a wire; and the fact that instead of doing a second and third encore, Sigur RĂłs held hands and took a bow, pushing their aesthetic further from a rock show and more towards a classical music concert.

Clap Your Hands AND Say Boo!

posted by on September 29 at 8:00 AM

In today’s paper you’ll see that we got the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s name wrong. We inserted a stray “and” (though two of us in the copy department feel strongly that there should be an “and” in there).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


posted by on September 28 at 5:28 PM

I just spoke to Lynn Bradach, the Gold Star mom from Portland who I profiled recently in The Stranger.

Turns out Bradach, a 53-year-old woman who hasn’t received a parking ticket since she was in her 20s, much less been arrested, decided to be a part of that sit-in outside the White House on Monday at which Cindy Sheehan and about 370 other people—including Bradach—were hauled away in handcuffs.

I didn’t realize Bradach had been arrested until recently because she’d told me over the weekend, while we were at the huge anti-war march in D.C., that she wasn’t going to do any illegal civil disobedience. I’d assumed she’d stuck with that plan. But apparently she ended up in a crowd of other mothers of dead soldiers on Monday, mothers who, like Sheehan, were hanging pictures of their dead sons on the White House fence—which is apparently illegal. Bradach knew this, and handed to someone else her picture of her son, Travis, who was killed in Karbala in 2003. But as she did this, she told me, she “felt like I was giving Travis away, sort of deserting him. I mean, I’m his mother and I didn’t have the courage to be arrested for hanging his picture on the White House fence?”

So she took the picture back, hung it up herself, sat down in the street in front of the White House, and was promptly arrested, charged with protesting without a permit, and at 4 a.m. the next morning, was let go with a $75 fine.

Bradach admitted that the protesters who got arrested on Monday were trying to get more attention for their weekend march, which was almost ignored by much of the mainstream media. It worked, getting Bradach on several radio stations and in at least one print news story in Portland.

If getting arrested is what it takes to get attention for their anti-war message, will she and the Gold Star families be doing more civil disobedience?

“If it’s a necessary thing, yes,” she told me.

City Soul Radio

posted by on September 28 at 4:51 PM

Good news for people who like adventurous, soulful breakbeat-oriented music: the SunTzu Sound collective are now broadcasting on KBCS 91.3FM.

Here’s the gist of the press release:

City Soul (1-3am Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning) focuses on connecting the dots between genres, cities, and people. On City Soul you’ll hear music from Tokyo and London, to Rio de Janeiro, the streets of Detroit, and beyond. City Soul intends to highlight the sounds from underground clubs, neo-soul hotspots, independent recording studios, and the streets of the world. The show’s hosts are Atlee, AC, and J-Justice; well-known local talent who are part of the DJ collective SunTzu Sound, based in Seattle. Tune into City Soul every week at KBCS 91.3FM or streaming live at ( will feature archived playlists and coming soon a downloadable podcast feature.

More on SunTzu Sound here.

New ConWorks Show

posted by on September 28 at 3:47 PM

Last night I went to a really random corporate event at ConWorks and was happy to escape into a room that I’ve since learned houses a show opening on Friday Sept. 30. It’s work by Trimpin called Sheng High that consists of large hunks of bamboo that move seemly randomly up and down. They’re connected to a larger contraption with wires and make this eerie horror movie soundtrack sound as they shift position. Standing amid this installation of sound art filled my friend and I with the good kind of dread that you might get in a particularly suspenseful horror movie. It’s a really cool piece, I recommend checking it out. The reception starts at 8pm.

Obviously Intolerant

posted by on September 28 at 3:30 PM

I just got this letter today, about a story I wrote in June. Little does this reader know how relevant the comments are—I have a feature due out tomorrow that revisits the separation of church and state problems over in the Lake Washington School District.

I just finished reading your article Separation Anxiety.

I was surprised to read how obviously intolerant you are towards Christians and the church. “Herbert, however, taking a page out of the Christian right’s persecution complex handbook,” That is a ridiculous statement. You seemed to neglect telling your readers that Kevin Teeley is a homosexual. Don’t you think that he may have an obvious bias towards the church? Wouldn’t that be the real reason he wants the church out of the school?

It’s sad that the liberal media influences society so much.


I had the pleasure of replying. We’ll see if I get a reponse…

You got me: I’m intolerant toward Christians who use their personal religious beliefs to try and influence politics and public life. Keep it in the church, please.

a homosexual with an obvious bias,
amy j

The Utility of Protest

posted by on September 28 at 2:10 PM

Today the blog DailyKos has an interesting post (by Kos himself!) that uses the recent anti-war march in D.C. as a jumping-off point for an inquiry into whether marches are even useful anymore.

He concludes, basically, that marching around in the streets is an anachronism that lefties need to jettison in favor of events that more effectively manipulate the media. I disagree. I think massing people in the streets — if you mass enough of them — will always be one of the most effective ways of getting the attention of politicians. (See the Ukraine for the most recent example.) And there are lots of comments on his blog from people who share my disagreement. But it’s a really interesting debate, and an important one considering how little coverage the massing of 150,000 people in D.C. received.

Nick Lampson for Congress!

posted by on September 28 at 11:55 AM

Now that Tom Delay (who represents my parents’ congressional district in Sugar Land, Texas, southwest of Houston) has been indicted for felony criminal conspiracy (the indictment alleges that DeLay illegally funneled corporate PAC dollars through the Republican National Committee into Republican Texas House campaigns in 2002, leading to the redistricting plan that gave the state a GOP Congressional majority two years later), the time may have finally come for Sugar Land, Texas to have a Democratic representative.

Could Nick Lampson be that Democrat? Lampson, a former US Rep who lost his Southeast Texas seat after his district was redrawn under DeLay’s plan to elect a Republican, has raised more than $500,000 so far, and political analysts were already giving him strong odds to take down the former bug man before DeLay’s indictment Wednesday.

iPod help

posted by on September 28 at 11:48 AM

I’ve now joined the masses whose iPod batteries crapped out, so now my spendy little portable music player plays only half the songs I’ve downloaded into it and always says the battery is empty. I took it to the Apple store, where the helpless clerk informed me that that’s pretty much the way it goes, that Apple wasn’t forthright in saying their players crap out at some point, and that I’ll have to spend a ton of money to fix this mess (after standing in a long line at a different Apple store, because of course this one will forever be out of batteries, they’re in such high demand).

My question is, has anyone had success dealing with this infuriating iPod situation? What’s the best (and ideally cheapest) way to fix this junk?

Last Days

posted by on September 28 at 11:29 AM

The DeLay indictment came on the last day left for the Texas grand jury that was investigating him and his allegedly illegal campaign financing.

Which reminds me: There’s another hot grand jury of the moment out there, the one that is investigating who in the Bush administration may have illegally outed a covert CIA operative. Its last day is Oct. 31.

Perhaps a season of indictments is upon us.

Cal Anderson park, day 8

posted by on September 28 at 11:03 AM

Last night I went to Cal Anderson Park around 9 with my laptop to do some work, and sat on the grassy hill, facing Vivace, writing and thinking that what would be truly amazing is if the park had wi-fi (as parks in New York City do), and then suddenly I saw that I was picking up free wi-fi from some magical, wi-fi-having house nearby. If you sit anywhere else on the hill other than the side that faces Vivace (or anywhere else in the park for that matter), no wi-fi. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

I know I’ve posted already about Cal Anderson Park, but I can’t help myself, I love the place…

Arcade: Architecture and Design in the Northwest

posted by on September 28 at 11:00 AM

The fall issue of the regional architectural journal Arcade was edited by me, Mr. Mudede. Personally, I think I did a great job, and the journal—which features new work by writers and artists like DJ Spooky, Matthew Stadler, and Jerry Garcia—is available at most magazine stores around town (Bull Dog News, J and S News on Broadway, and so on). This is the issue’s introduction:

Charles Tonderai Mudede
The three train stations embedded in the three major cities of the Pacific Northwest — Vancouver, Seattle, Portland — are in the processes of being resurrected. And now many of us are waiting: Will they (can they) bring together the main centers and make for all of us one big urban reality?
This feature package is not a professional study of this possibility, or a hard look at its feasibility, or a useful estimate of the losses and benefits of increased intercity travel. It is instead a soft experiment by six writers (myself, Bess Lovejoy, Matthew Stadler, Nic Veroli, Paul D. Miller, and Amy Kate Horn) and a photographer (architect Jerry Garcia). A soft experiment that puts some of these emerging energies into a language that drifts between what has happened in the (real/unreal) past and what can happen in the (real/unreal) future. For us, something is definitely happening, and so we must look at this something and say something about it.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on September 28 at 10:58 AM

For the week of September 29-October 5, 2005:

The Stranger: 116 pages.

Seattle Weekly: 120 pages.

It’s a special issue for them, a regular issue for us.

Overcoats In Hell

posted by on September 28 at 9:54 AM

Tom DeLay has been indicted.

Downtown Property Owner Makes $70 Million Profit Thanks to Special Treatment from the Mayor

posted by on September 28 at 8:57 AM

Harbor Steps, the luxury apt. complex in downtown Seattle between University and Seneca on 1st Ave., sold for a possible record $191.1 million a few days ago. That’s $70 million more than the assessed value. Why did Harbor Properties make such a killing? Hot real estate market, as the Seattle PI reports this morning?

Maybe. But there’s something the PI doesn’t mention. Here’s my theory: Nickels caved to Harbor Properties earlier this year by quietly taking the blocks around Harbor Steps off of the downtown rezoning plans. (Nickels famous downtown rezone would have raised nearby buildings and blocked views at Harbor Steps, but Harbor lobbied against that portion of the rezone.)

Nickels, supposedly committed to downtown heights, caved to a downtown property owner. Imagine.

p.s. to Dan: I spell fellate correctly in today’s paper. It’s in a story about Casey Corr and Mayor Nickels.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Drunken Sentimentality

posted by on September 27 at 8:58 PM

So last night’s booktour dispatch won me a rebuke from Dave Segal. My spelling, usually sterling, was off. Mr. Segal also disapproves of my insistence that booktour is one word. Perhaps it’s the tiny bit of German blood that flows in my veins (the Germans love to mash many words together into bignewwordsthatmeansomethingelse), but I feel that booktour is indeed one word, or should be. It will be in these tour posts.

One word I did misspell? Fellate has two Ls, not one. Sorry about that. Being this paper’s sex advice columnist—being the sex advice columnist for many, many papers—I should know how to spell fellate. But I flunked Latin in high school, Dave, and I tend to use slang in Savage Love (sucking cock, blowjobs, smoking pole, making rent, etc.), not Latin terms. So lay off, you cocksucker.

On to tonight’s reading: It was better. Barnes & Noble on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea is a better location, location, location for a book about gay marriage than some godforsaken bedroom “community” on Long Island somewhere. Don O’Keefe, the community relations manager, was gracious, the crowd was big, and save the forced removal of one nutcase (one word) who started screaming at me about Indian spirituality—who knew lunatics wander freely around Manhattan?—the reading went wonderfully well. Sold lots of books (buy one, why don’t you?), and met lots of nice folks.

The highlight, however, was this extremely cute boy who came up to get his book signed. He gave me a gift and a card that read….

A few years ago you gave me some sound advice about standing up as a bottom. You told me to basically never let a top talk me into sex w/out a condom. You told me to respect myself enough to insist. Having that sort of respect for myself really helped, and it was sparked by your advice…


I’ve often said that, unlike other advice columnists, I don’t delude myself. I haven’t convinced myself that I’m actually helping people. I don’t sit down to write a column and think, “Gee, I’m going to help some folks today! I’m helping! HELPING!” I simply sit down and try to write something that will entertain my readers—frequently at the expense of the folks who seek out my advice. After all, just one person asks the question while millions of people are reading my response. So who’s the column for? The lone dope with the problem or the millions? The millions, of course, and they’re reading to be entertained, not helped or enlightened or uplifted or edified. I try not to lose sight of that fact, and not losing sight of that fact is part of the reason “Savage Love” has lasted.

But it’s gratifying to know that I nevertheless manage to help someone every once in a while. It’s not my intent, of course, it’s not my first priority, it’s not my goal—but, still, inflicting a little positive collateral damage once in while makes me feel less ridiculous. Hey, I do some good on the margins! Who knew?

After the reading I said goodbye to my Dutton publicist, Beth Parker, who I’ve had the pleasure of hanging around with for the last couple of days (she’ll be managing me from afar for the rest of the tour), and then went out to dinner with Brian Tart, the president of Dutton, my publisher, and my former editor. We’ve been working together for six or seven years now and have only been in the same room, like, two or three times. (My new book got handed off to Julie Doughty when Brian got promoted in the middle of the editing/writing processs.) We stuffed ourselves in an Indian restaurant, drank beer, talked about books and weekly papers and kids and real estate and George W. Bush, and then had doughnuts and cheesecake for dessert. I took one last stroll through Manhattan—from Union Square to Tribeca—on the way back to my hotel. Two impressions: this city is so fucking alive, and, my God, the men here are beautiful (particularly the cocktail waiters here at the Tribeca Grand ).

But I miss my man—also a beauty. I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel, typing away, when Saint Etienne came on the sound system. They’re one of Terry’s favorite pop bands, and it’s hard to hear their music without missing my boys.

Shit. It’s one in the morning and I’ve got to be up and at the airport by seven. Tomorrow, Atlanta.

Monorail Meltdown

posted by on September 27 at 6:28 PM

I spent much of the past week running around from City Hall to the Seattle Monorail Project headquarters and back again, watching the monorail’s spectacular collapse. To recap:

• Two weeks ago, the mayor cancelled the monorail’s right-of-way agreement and called for an up-or-down advisory vote on the project, unless the SMP put its own measure on the ballot.

• After a series of increasingly chaotic (and ever more tedious) meetings, the SMP decided last Thursday to do nothing, instead adopting a resolution giving agency staff more time to come up with a new finance plan, find more money, and cut costs. The resolution also instructed the SMP board to “engage the City of Seattle, including the Mayor and the City Council, in constructive dialogue.” (Too bad they didn’t think of that, say, a week ago.) The risky resolution left open the possibility of a future ballot measure, and didn’t say whether that ballot measure would be binding.

Continue reading "Monorail Meltdown" »

Anti-Nickels, Pro-Monorail

posted by on September 27 at 6:08 PM

This just in from the 36th District Democrats (Magnolia, Queen Anne, Ballard): Mayoral candidate Al Runte got more votes than Nickels at yesterday night’s executive board endorsement recommendation meeting. Runte didn’t hit the two-thirds majority mark needed for the endorsement, but still…

Meanwhile, the 36th e-board gave the thumbs up to the monorail.

Those crazy kids in the 36th.

We’ll see what the general membership does this Thursday night.

Crusty / hardcore show alert

posted by on September 27 at 5:15 PM

If you wanted to see Caustic Christ and Iron Lung twice in one day, Wednesday (9/28) is the day to do it:

1) they play at 6 pm at Electric Heavyland, 252 NE 45th St. in Wallingford. It’s free and all ages.

2) they play at 9 pm at Galway Arms, 5257 University Way NE. It’s $3 and 21+. Mala Sangre is the opener at this show. The flier I saw for this described Mala Sangre as an “LA crust dude,” which is intriguing. I did a bit of internet research and found him/they described as “very heavy hardcore,” which seals the deal for me.

Just so we’re clear: Iron Lung consists of two guys from Reno rocking guitar, drums and vocals (I’ve seen them before, and I’d go see them again); and Caustic Christ consists of ex-Aus Rotten members, which I suppose speaks for itself. Here’s a Caustic Christ mp3 that I picked at random.

Personally, I haven’t decided if I’m going to go to one of these yet, though I’d like to. I’ll have to talk it over with my rock ‘n’ roll partner (you see, I just moved here from San Francisco with said rock ‘n’ roll partner, and he’s the only person I know who’d go with me—and I’ve found that going to shows alone just isn’t very fun). If I do go, I’ll report back on it.

Dina Martina Slobbers All Over The Big Apple…

posted by on September 27 at 4:22 PM

…and the Big Apple eats it up!

I attended Dina’s one-night-only showcase at NYC’s Cutting Room the week before last, and was very happy to see Michael Musto, lifelong Village Voice gossip columnist and seminal Manhattan scenester, in the audience.

I became even happier when I saw Musto’s latest column.

World domination is imminent! Go, Dina!

(photo by Ted Grudowski)

On writing and meat products

posted by on September 27 at 3:01 PM

One thing I love about being an editor is reading all the different ways people have to phrase things. It’s great when a writer finds a particularly concise and unique way to express a point—or, even better, to make me laugh. In working with writer Chris Estey on an upcoming CD review, he had this witty little aside to dealing with run-on sentences: “Sometimes I forget that a sentence isn’t like a sausage you’re trying to stuff all the meat into all at once.”

No American Idiots Here

posted by on September 27 at 1:32 PM

It appears that Ms. Maerz and I are going through a similar phase of appreciation for arena rock shows. I was also in attendance at the Nine Inch Nails show on Friday and was equally impressed by the volume, theatrics and unhinged crowd—it’s good to be a little scared at a rock show now and then.

My orgiastic week of live music also included some exceptional non-arena performances, such as the Arcade Fire at the Paramount and the New Pornographers at the Showbox, both of which were technically top-notch and generous in duration. But the grand finale of my premature Rocktober was last night’s Green Day show at the Tacoma Dome. Dear God.

Clocking in at nearly 2 hours, their show may end up being the highlight of my year. First, there was the impact of being in such a blatantly anti-war, anti-Bush atmosphere: the ever-changing stage back drop included endlessly looping, ominous silhouettes of bomb-dropping planes while spastic front man Billy Joe Armstrong spit out the lyrics to “Holiday” through a megaphone. Then there was the sheer joy of seeing such a wide range of ages in the audience: just two rows in front of me, I saw legendary old-school Seattle punk James “Babyteeth” Carbo pumping his fist in the air while standing next to three young girls who were so excited they had tears streaming down their faces. They capped all that with more pyrotechnics than I saw at metal shows back in the day, two cannons firing confetti and an encore cover of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” My companion, Visqueen frontwoman Rachel Flotard, agreed with my only-half-joking proposal that we exclusively attend arena rock shows from now on. Next up: Def Leppard at the Everett Events Center on November 8th.

This Week in God, Weeks Ago in The Stranger

posted by on September 27 at 12:37 PM

As a sharp-eyed Stranger forums participant has pointed out, last night’s Daily Show featured a segment, “This Week in God,” that was uncannily similar to a piece that ran in The Stranger a few weeks ago. (I also saw last night’s Daily Show, and thought the same thing as I watched the segment.)

Now, I’m not saying that The Daily Show swiped Stranger material — the funny guys there could easily have had the same idea as the funny guys here. I’m just saying, check out how similar these two “reports” on blame for Hurricane Katrina are:

The Stranger

The Daily Show (click on “This Week in God: Katrina”)

Words Fail Him

posted by on September 27 at 9:35 AM

This brief video contains nothing you don’t already know, but it’s amusing—and fascinatingly awful—to watch nonetheless.

I Didn’t Think It Could Get Any Worse for George Bush, but

posted by on September 27 at 3:08 AM

now he’s Jimmy Carter, umm…like, literally.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Book Tour Day 1

posted by on September 26 at 9:47 PM

So, like, I’m on a book tour.

It’s been pretty uneventful thus far—if meeting Elton John counts as uneventful, I suppose, although that had nothing to do with the booktour and everything to do with a good deed performed long ago, a good deed I won’t go into here, since I’m less comfortable fellating myself than many folks suppose. I will say this, though: Being introduced to Elton John is a bit like meeting the Statue of Liberty—you don’t know exactly what to say. “I love your work. Can’t get enough of those huddled masses/glorious pop songs.”

Anyway, Terry was with me for a few days, and we ran around and had fun and checked out boys and went out to eat in pricey restaurants and it was swell. But now I’m all alone in my hotel in Tribeca and I’ve been seized by the dread and dislocation that practically defines a booktour. Back before I wrote a single book, I occasionally listened to writers bitch about their book tours—the nice hotels, the room service meals, the tab picked up by the publisher you had somehow fooled into believing your book would be one of the very, very few that earned out its advance—and thought, “What whiners!” But after having been on a few—shit, this is my, like, sixth or something—I’m firmly with the whiners. You’re utterly alone, you’re interviewed for half an hour, you’re utterly alone, you’re interviewed for an hour, you’re utterly alone, you do your reading in a bookstore, you go to your hotel, you’re utterly alone.

So you order up some crud from room service and you allow yourself to have just a drink or two from the minibar—which you never, ever do when you’re paying the hotel bill (somehow $15 for a wee bottle of vodka seems more reasonable when it’s all on some massive corporation’s credit card)—and suddenly it’s midnight or one and you have to get up in a few hours and get to the airport so you can get to another city and do your interviews, be utterly alone, do your reading, and then head back to your hotel.

Anyway, I had a reading tonight in some tiny town on Long Island—no idea why my publisher thought that it would be a moral boost to have my first event in some bedroom community two hours from Manhattan by car—and spoke to a tiny crowd, and sold a few books. Depressing. Then I came back to my hotel—a fancy new place in Tribeca, the neighborhood where you could see John F. Kennedy Jr. back when he was alive, where I decided to eat at the bar, and was rewarded with a cockroach running across my plate—and now I’m in my room, a little tipsy, tucking into the minibar, wishing I was home.

Oh, and shit… a little unfinished Seattle business. Greg Nickels sent me back my money—but not all of it. I donated the $300 at a fundraising breakfast, so they only returned $275. The Nickels camp charged me $25 for some lousy food that I didn’t even eat. For shame, Team Nickels, for shame.

Decibel: An Appreciation

posted by on September 26 at 5:53 PM

This year’s Decibel festival, according to everyone I spoke to and from absorbing the overwhelmingly positive vibe permeating every show I attended over the last four nights, was an unabashed success (don’t know about the financials, but artistically and organizationally, it was indisputably a triumph; much credit should go to world-class sound engineer Vance Galloway and the donated KV2 sound system). While last year’s debut abounded with fantastic performances, it also experienced flaws typical to new large-scale music events. This year, most of the glitches observed were intentionally coming out of the PowerBooks of several producers. As it should be…

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Nine Inch Nails at KeyArena

posted by on September 26 at 4:10 PM

After professing my love for Nine Inch Nails in The Stranger I’m happy to report that the live show was amazing. Featuring a newly shaved and buffed Trent Reznor, the performance was an audio/visual attack. Between strobe-light theatrics, screens raining bugs, guitarist Aaron North’s volatile acrobatics (ending in an instrument-destroying tantrum), and a volume so loud it could compete with a fleet of jets, the band put on one of the best performances I’ve seen all year. It was 100-percent fierce. And to think I’d nearly sworn off arena shows for not providing the same captivating experience as the more intimate club scene.


posted by on September 26 at 3:51 PM

“This is the most beautiful park I’ve been to in a really long time,” said the woman—a Capitol Hill resident and city employee—on my voicemail this weekend, as she stood in Cal Anderson Park during the grand opening. It sounded like she was about to cry, she was so happy the park had reopened. “I’ve been waiting for this park for 11 years. It’s like Paris!”

Yes, the park is so grand, it moves people to tears.

The Last Letter

posted by on September 26 at 3:43 PM

Finally (in both senses of the word), my sister found this:

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — R&B crooner D’Angelo, who won over America with his ’90s soul ballads only to fade after bouts with the law and drugs, was critically injured in a car wreck outside his hometown of Richmond.

D’Angelo, 31, born Michael Eugene Archer, was in a 2003 Hummer sport utility vehicle on September 19 when it crossed the roadway and struck a fence, ejecting the singer, State Police Sgt. Kevin Barrick said Monday. Archer wasn’t wearing a seat restraint, Barrick said… Archer was initially listed in critical condition.

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The End’s Version of “Alternative”

posted by on September 26 at 1:50 PM

Another great forum debate is going on here. The topics at hand include what constitutes alternative music, an End employee’s recent firing, and the use of marketing in making playlists. Good stuff.

The Fuck Out Of Africa

posted by on September 26 at 1:47 PM

My sister Joseline is on a roll. She found and sent me this excellent article about Zimbabwean footballers who dumped spectacular careers in their home country for the opportunity to wash dishes in the United Kingdom. (When reading this, do not forget that there was a time in history when Europeans had to force Africans into their ships, chain them down for the trip across the sea, and whip them into cheap laborers.)

Zimbabwe footballers 8: Immigration officers 0 Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria, and Denis Campbell Sunday September 25 2005 The Observer

British immigration officials launched a nationwide hunt this weekend after eight Zimbabwean footballers vanished following an exhibition match in Yorkshire.

The players, some of them big stars at home, did not board their flights back to Harare in the days after the game in Bradford. ‘I can confirm that we are worried that some players and officials, who did not return on their scheduled flights, have actually joined those in the diaspora,’ said an official of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).

Six of the players are from Caps United, Zimbabwe’s champions, and the other two from their rivals Highlanders FC, who played each other at Bradford’s Odsal Stadium last Saturday. Several Caps personnel absconded soon after the match, while the Highlanders pair - goalkeeper Luckson Mutanga and defender Dalisizwe Dhlamini - checked in their luggage at Heathrow last Thursday, then melted into the crowd.

Continue reading "The Fuck Out Of Africa" »

No Way

posted by on September 26 at 11:48 AM

Joseline, my sister, just sent me this. Like her, I wonder if it’s at all true:

by Mark Townsend Houston Sunday September 25, 2005 The Observer

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy’s cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying ‘toxic dart’ guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet’s smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Continue reading "No Way" »

Sheehan Arrested

posted by on September 26 at 11:22 AM

Cindy Sheehan was arrested today while protesting in front of the White House.

Given how little TV coverage was generated by Saturday’s huge anti-war march in D.C., maybe Sheehan’s arrest today will provide the hurricane-obsessed broadcast media with the sexy news peg they need to also report: “Two days earlier, Sheehan and about 150,000 other people marched past the White House in the largest anti-war demonstration in D.C. since the start of the Iraq war…

Controversial Geniuses

posted by on September 26 at 10:21 AM

This morning brought I, Anonymous its first Stranger Genius Award-related submission.

Read the anti-SuttonBeresCuller rant, entitled, “Genius, Schmenius” here.

And while you’re in the I, Anon forum, check out the growing array of responses to the season’s hot new criminal trend, stealing disaster relief donation jars.

Saturday’s Peace March

posted by on September 26 at 9:16 AM

I attended the peace rally and march on Saturday and it was inspiring to be surrounded by so many like-minded people willing to protest and speak out.

The positive: The speakers at the rally were mostly great. There was a Dominican nun and peace activist who spent over two years in jail for protesting the nuclear arsenal at Bremerton and other places. Reverend Braxton talked about the role of Christians and the church in uplifting people and working for social justice, a direct slap to the policies of the so-called Christians in the current administration. The march was great, lots of energy and creativity.

My favorite sign at the rally: “Nice War, Asshole.”

The negative: I can’t believe how badly the daily newspapers handled the matter. There was no mention of what was going on in Washington, D.C., or right here in Seattle, on the day of the march. They completely ignored the whole issue. I went to a dinner party on Sunday night and no one there had even heard that the peace rally was going to happen. (Hellooo? Read The Stranger!)

Another positive: My longtime activist mom was there with her posse and her homemade sign—go Mom!

Back to Katrina

posted by on September 26 at 4:47 AM

I will never forgive the english department at UW for losing Steven Shaviro (who now teaches at Wayne State in Detroit). Because he is gone (and will never come back—the department made almost no effort to keep him) our city is practically theoryless. UW, you suck!

Anyway, Shaviro’s recent comment about the spectacle of American poverty that dominated the world’s covers and screens three weeks ago must be read and reread by those who are wandering “what’s left” (to use an expression by Marxist thinker Nic Veroli—our city’s final theorist) at the dawn of the 21st century.

Leftist philosophers, theorists, and cultural critics have usually been worried about the seductive power of images: the way that they disarm criticism by making What Is seem self-evident, by reifying particular moments and isolating them from their contexts, by preventing any analysis that would seek to go beneath surface appearances. And indeed, it’s true that images shorn of context have often been used for the most hideous propagandistic purposes. But here, in televisual feed coming from New Orleans this past week, we seem to have the reverse situation: images that ‘speak’ starkly of the ugly facts of race and class in America today, that show how the Powers That Be of government and business have relegated large numbers of human beings to the status of non-persons, that demonstrate eloquently that, however `natural’ the disaster, the differential experience of the victims is entirely man-made; while a flood (if I can use that metaphor) of speech and discourse strives to decontextualize and normalize these people’s suffering, and to `explain’ how, even in the face of sadness and tragedy, life goes on and the USA continues to be the greatest nation on earth.