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Archives for 10/30/2005 - 11/05/2005

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Hershmanlandia

posted by on November 5 at 5:44 PM

The Henry Art Gallery just opened a great retrospective of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s work in a variety of disciplines. (You can read my review in next week’s issue.) In conjunction with the exhibition, they’re showing most of Hershman Leeson’s films in the Henry Auditorium. One screening (Teknolust) is already over—sorry I failed to alert you earlier. You can still catch Conceiving Ada, which screens tomorrow at 2 pm, and her short films and video diaries will screen over the next two weeks. See this page for a complete schedule.

In the meantime, check out Hershman Leeson’s interactive online chat-bot Agent Ruby. Yesterday I got Ruby to tell me she has womanly proportions, her eyes are blue, green, and brown and she has red wires instead of hair.


Friday, November 4, 2005

Re: Sorry, Sound Politics

posted by on November 4 at 6:38 PM

Gems, from the comments on the Sound Politics blog:

“Someone call Vance a whaaaaaaambulance! That ever so small, under 10% margin of error is several time more than the one he and Sharkansky ptiched a fit about in the last election. Pathetic.” Posted by John at November 4, 2005 05:08 PM

“Gee, who’s more disreputable, the ‘leftwing’ blogs, who were the first to press with factual information? The GOP lackey, who merely signed a form ‘under penalty of perjury’ without verifying its contents? The corrupt political party, which did an increadibly sloppy job in their hunt for illegal voters? Or the right-wing blogger who attacked the Stranger for getting the truth out?” Posted by John at November 4, 2005 05:13 PM

“Chris Vance at November 4, 2005 04:02 PM — ‘Your “small number of errors’ were easily avoidable with the exercise of due diligence before filing those challenges. If your people cannot get such simple things right, why should anyone have confidence in you?”
Posted by Micajah at November 4, 2005 05:25 PM

“First Scooter Libby, now Linda Soleto… you Republicans don’t know when to stop defending perjury, do you?” Posted by Joshua H at November 4, 2005 05:42 PM

“My previous post called Lori Soleto ‘Linda Soleto.’ My intern typed the previous post under my name, but I place full blame on Stefan Sharkansky, Chris Vance, and David Irons.” Posted by Joshua H at November 4, 2005 05:45 PM

The Future of DJing?

posted by on November 4 at 6:27 PM

Perhaps. But this nifty device could spell doom for manufacturers of portable record boxes and for disc jockeys’ chiropractors.

Aleister Crowley was a playwright

posted by on November 4 at 4:56 PM

Who knew? This weekend, you can take in The Rite of Saturn a piece of “ritual theater” by the occultist/libertine/self-described Great Beast at the Empty Space Theatre. According to the director, The Rite of Saturn is one of seven “planetary works” Crowley wrote for the stage: “Saturn is a Titan, father of the gods, who ate his children, so it’s kind of dark, a fun little play about time and death.” In honor of Saturn, audience members can buy gingerbread cookies shaped like babies to munch at intermission. Freaky. The company has produced four of Crowley’s other ritual plays (which feature hymns, speeches, and blessings) at the Seattle Art Museum, the Union Garage, a Masonic hall, and the woods.

The Rite of Saturn plays Friday at 7 and Saturday at 3, $10 advance/$12 day of show. You can reserve tickets at (where else?) 206-PAN-1999.

Casey Corr = Wuss

posted by on November 4 at 3:15 PM

Our awesome intern, Sarah, is assembling a list of election night parties, so we can crash ‘em and give you a full report of what the winners and losers are up to all night.

When Sarah called up Casey Corr’s campaign office, the mayor’s boy himself answered. And where, she asked, is his party?

“I appreciate your work, but I’m not going to give you any information.”

Oh, come on Casey! Are you really so scared of the Stranger—or pissed because we endorsed your opponent, Jan Drago—that we’re banned from your party? And are you really that stupid?

We’re reporters, Casey. Remember? You used to be one of those. It’s our job to get information.

And got the info, we did. We simply gave a politically-minded young woman—someone unaffiliated with the Stranger—your phone number. She just called: “Wow! He answered his own phone, and his party is at 21 Mercer at 8:00. He also wanted to tell me about his bristling young democrats and how awesome they are. Weirdo.”

See ya at T.S. McHugh’s, Casey!

vignette-160.jpg

The Jump Cut

posted by on November 4 at 3:12 PM

The only thing that’s interesting about the Rubber Soul V. Revolver debate (otherwise, yawn), is that you guys have hit on the key moment of the 20th Century, a sort of Jump Cut in time: 1965 into 1966.

Things were churning in 1965, but it’s all still anchored to the past. ‘66 explodes. 1966 gives us: National Organization of Women (NOW); Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed; the Freedom of Information Act; Bergman’s Persona (which, interestingly enough, includes a bizarre “rip” or “jump cut” in the middle of the movie); the first Velvet Underground sessions; Stokely Carmichael first utters the phrase “Black Power” at a rally in June; Time’s “Is God Dead?” cover; Antonioni’s Blow Up; Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation; Eight Miles High; Beatles come out against the War; mini-skirts and go-go boots, protests instead of peace marches. None of this was possible in 1965. And there it all is, just a few months later in ‘66.

You can certainly hear this “jump cut” when you compare Rubber Soul (‘65) and Revolver (‘66). The guitars on Revolver are distorted and backward…and studio effects abound. Rubber Soul is punchy, but it’s not modern music. This is not why Revolver is better (which it is in its own right), but they are two albums where, listened to side by side, you hear the 20th Century changeover. Kind of exciting.

Now: Brahms or Dvorak? I pick Dvorak!!!

Yes to Konono NĀŗ1

posted by on November 4 at 3:08 PM

In all likelihood, you will not see a better Congolese likembĆ©-and-scrapyard-percussion unit than Konono NĀŗ1, who play two shows at Con Works tonight (8 and 10:30) as part of the Earshot Jazz festival. Don’t sleep.

KEXP pulls out of Tacoma

posted by on November 4 at 2:42 PM

As reported on KEXP’s own site and in the Tacoma News Tribune KEXP is planning to pull out of its Tacoma frequency, 91.7 FM, by the end of the year. The official word is the station wants to “consolidate resources”—rumor has it a big investor pulled out and 91.7 cost the station a ton of money in losses. Either way, Tacoma residents can listen to the station online, but the loss of a clear radio signal from the station is hitting the independant music community down south hard, if conversations on local email groups are any indication. All the more reason for their next pledge drive to pull in donations.

Re: God as… Tinkerbell?

posted by on November 4 at 2:39 PM

The really great thing about that NY Times article, which is available here, is it reveals some incipient hairline cracks in the intelligent design movement. Until now, the movement—from sneaky little pronouncements by Catholic cardinals to the peppy press release (and correction to that press release) that arrived in my inbox yesterday—has been intensely orchestrated by Seattle’s own Discovery Institute. The Discovery folks are strict about keeping religion out of the picture, pushing carefully vetted PhD spokespeople in fields like chemistry and physics (very rarely do they get a biologist), etc. But now?

Here’s what the Discovery Institute has to say about that upstart, lawsuit-bait school board in Dover: “‘The school district never consulted us and did the exact opposite of what we suggested,’ said John G. West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, an organization in the forefront of the intelligent design movement. ‘Frankly I don’t even know if school board members know what intelligent design is. They and their supporters are trying to hijack intelligent design for their own purposes. They think they’re sending signals in the culture wars.’”

Let the infighting commence! And let the Republicans in Congress show thee the way!

God as… Tinkerbell?

posted by on November 4 at 1:08 PM

The NY Times has some fun coverage (and great quotes) on the intelligent design case in PA, which was sparked after a school board voted to begin warning children that evolution is not fact—and that intelligent design is a happy alternate theory.

Chairman of the Thomas More Law Center (the non-profit law center defending the school board) Bowie Kuhn said the group has searched for years for a case like this to defend because while ID isn’t necessarily a religious theory, “it is being opposed because people think it is religious.” And the group’s main mission is “to protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square. “

So… Is it a religious theory or not?

Mr. Thompson, one of the organizations co-founders, aka God’s New Mouthpiece, has concluded that “America’s culture has been influenced by Christianity from the very beginning, but there is an attempt to slowly remove every symbol of Christianity and religious faith in our country. This is a very dangerous movement because what will ultimately happen is, out of sight, out of mind.”

Is religion really so delicate? I can declare that I don’t believe in fairies or Christianity, and God will lose his wings and/or tenacious hold on Easter?

RE: Beastie Phone

posted by on November 4 at 12:19 PM

While is wasn’t a whole movie, the Presidents of the United States of America shot their video for the single “Some Postman” with Sony cell phones too. You can watch it here. It’ll be interesting to see how the Beasties work with the format.

Beastie Phone

posted by on November 4 at 12:02 PM

107.7 the End reported yesterday that the Beastie Boys are shooting a new movie (tour doc?) entirely on camera phone.

Today in Speculation

posted by on November 4 at 11:22 AM

President Bush is in Latin America today, where he is pursing his lips and declining to comment on…

TODAY IN SPECULATION

* MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - President Bush sidestepped questions Friday about whether he owes the American people an apology for the role of administration officials in the CIA leak case. He also refused to comment on calls for a staff shakeup. “We’re going through a very serious investigation,” Bush told reporters. “I have told you before that I’m not going to discuss the investigation until it’s completed. My obligation is to set an agenda and I have done that.” He also declined to say whether Karl Rove, his top political adviser, should remain in his job.

* Meanwhile, what do the American people think of the Bush agenda? The Washington Post: “Bush Popularity Reaches New Low.” Zogby: 51 percent of Americans are now in favor of considering impeachment proceedings against Bush if he is shown to have lied about Iraq.

* And speaking of Karl Rove, The New York Times reports that Fitzgerald’s narrow focus on the president’s man is narrowing even further. And Raw Story has Democrats pushing harder for Rove’s security clearance to be revoked.

* Meanwhile, over in Italy… (Featuring Rocco Martino, who wins today’s contest for Best Name in an International Scandal.)

* Oh, and Scooter Libby was arraigned yesterday. Read about it here, and about the no-nonsense judge here.

Voter Registration Challenge

posted by on November 4 at 11:09 AM

Check out this forum post about a voter whose entire apartment complex was challenged about whether or not their voter registration was valid….I thought my letter was random, seems someone is making things challenging for a whole mess of people….

Hetracil

posted by on November 4 at 11:08 AM

This has got to be a fake, right? I mean, yeah. It is. Obviously.

But is it funny? Is it supposed to be?

HETRACIL is the most widely prescribed anti-effeminate medication in the United States, helping 16 million Americans who suffer from Behavioral Effeminism and Male Homosexuality Disorder.

The site so completely avoids tipping its hand in any way that it gets a little disturbing. Read, for example, the FAQ.

Continue reading "Hetracil" »

Re: Beatles Bickering

posted by on November 4 at 10:44 AM

First, kudos to Dave Segal for this:

The reason we fight about this subject so tenaciously is because so little is at stake.

Truer words have never been Slogged, and please allow me to join the fray.

The real Beatles debate involves not individual records but individual members. Unlike some, I do not hate Paul McCartney, or George Harrison. But neither compared to John Lennon, and I eventually realized that I wanted to hear any given Beatles record’s John songs about ten times as often as I wanted to hear the same record’s non-John songs. This was particularly true of the band’s alleged peaks Revolver and The White Album, and after years of suffering through “I Want To Tell You” and “Martha, My Dear” and “Don’t Pass Me By” (shudder), I isolated all my beloved John songs and strung ‘em together on one CD: The John Songs, which is easily a top-if-illegal contender for my most beloved recording of all time.

(For the curious, it goes like this: Tomorrow Never Knows/I’m A Loser/Ticket To Ride/You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away/Help!/Norwegian Wood/Girl/In My Life/Run For Your Life/I’m Only Sleeping/She Said She Said/Strawberry Fields Forever/Dear Prudence/I’m So Tired/Cry Baby Cry/Come Together/Across the Universe/Jealous Guy/Oh Yoko!/God)

Back to Slog Beatles talk: I was very excited to learn from Sean Nelson that my take-him-or-leave-him Beatle Paul included in his set last night at Key Arena one of my very favorite Beatles-as-a-band songs—“Please Please Me,” recorded in ‘62, when the Beatles didn’t care about saving the world, they just wanted their girlfriends to take their mouths downtown for a while.

And finally, to the Forum writer who blasted John’s glorious, Rubber Soul-closing “Run For Your Life” as “mind-boggingly hateful”—have you ever been in love?

From the Savage Love Mailbag

posted by on November 4 at 10:24 AM

This just arrived in my Savage Love inbox…

I am a gay man and I have a sexual interest in the sounds of men using the toilet. There are several restaurants very close to my home, and I hide a wireless telephone headset in an inconspicuous place in the bathroom close to the toilets. I can then record the sound of men farting and defecating from my home. My husband is aware of this and tolerates it, but he believes that this is unacceptable behaviour which infringes on the privacy of others. I believe that no harm is done and that there is no good reason not to do this.

But I just want to make a few things clear. I do record the transmissions, but only for my own personal use. I don’t share them on the internet or anything like that. No cameras are involved - I record audio only. I am not interested in seeing the men I hear (in fact, it would ruin the experience for me). I never go into a womens washroom either. Since these are public washrooms with multiple stalls only, and since the sounds that any person makes there can be heard by any number of perfect strangers, I do not feel I am invading anyone’s privacy. Lastly, as far as I know nobody is aware of it at all (my microphone has never been moved or stolen), and the whole situation is anonymous (I have no way to identify anyone by their noise).

My husband believes that recording anyone without their permission is invasive, but anyone who even enters the premises is filmed by the restaurant security cameras, and my audio recordings are much less invasive. However, I have agreed that I will turn over to my husband all my recording equipment and live with the recordings I already have if even Dan Savage himself thinks what I do is wrong.

Pitching Headsets And Retiring Telephones?

Hm. This is a question that could stump a modern Solomon. No man using a public, mutli-stalled restroom can reasonably expect that his farts go unheard; still, in many places it’s illegal to tape record someone without their knowledge—but those laws are usually about tape recording conversations, not flatulence. And while no one would like to think that their farts are being recorded and, er, enjoyed by a perv/stranger, none of these men know they’ve been taped, or their gas has been taped, and even if the tapes were to fell into the hands of someone tempted to broadcast them—a local TV news team, a sex advice columnist, or Howard Stern—there would be no one to match any individual with his farts. So… no harm, no foul? I wonder…

Sometimes I can’t believe I get paid a living wage to contemplate things like this. But why should I have all the fun? What do you think, SLOG readers?

Problematic I, Anonymous

posted by on November 4 at 9:53 AM

I can certainly understand the fury of a pothead robbed.

But what does the robbed pothead in question achieve with this that he couldn’t have achieved just as well with a race-resistant epithet like motherfucker? Besides revealing himself to be someone who’ll resort to something he allegedly abhors over twenty bucks?

Times vs. PI

posted by on November 4 at 7:31 AM

The two dailies took two very different approaches to writing up yesterday’s landmark state Supreme Court Ruling, which gave a non-biological, non-adoptive lesbian mom a chance to establish her parental rights, and be a continued part of her kid’s life.

The PI wrote a nicely balanced headline—”Wider parental status in lesbian case; A state Supreme Court ruling created a new way that people ranging from same-sex partners to grandparents can be considered parents in the eyes of the law.” It’s thoughtful, without provoking.

But the Seattle Times took a nearly histrionic approach, utilizing language—”redefined,” for example—I’m more used to seeing in right-wing anti-same sex marriage, gays are after “special rights” PR than in Seattle’s daily paper: “State Supreme Court redefines parenthood; The ruling essentially creates a new class of parent in Washington state.” I can just imagine nuts like Ken Hutcherson reading that one over breakfast this morning, and getting all riled up.

And I can’t wait to see the Times’ headline when the State Supreme Court rules on the marriage case: “State Supreme Court redefines marriage,” most likely.

Rubber Soul/Revolver/Paul McCartney Live

posted by on November 4 at 6:31 AM

I’m glad to see that such a healthy Beatles-related debate can thrive even in my absence from the offices—and by healthy, of course, I mean petty and unsubstantiatable—because such questions as “what is the best Beatles album, or indeed, song, are always worth asking and fighting over. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t leap in to the fray to say that while Revolver and Rubber Soul are both brilliant, the White Album is actually the best Beatles record. HOWEVER, please consider the set list from the (three-hour, 37-song deep) Paul McCartney show at Key Arena last night (at which I think I may have been the youngest audience member, and easily the most excited, having never seen the man before, and having sat in the 14th row, close enough to see his face lift scars), which leaned heavily on Mr. Segal’s choice, but touched many other bases. If not basses.

Continue reading "Rubber Soul/Revolver/Paul McCartney Live" »


Thursday, November 3, 2005

re: Roadblocks to Voting

posted by on November 3 at 6:14 PM

So I just got a call from the King County Board of Elections, where a nice lady explained that there is a place to signature check in Seattle if you have problems with your mail-in ballot: at the King County Administration Building, 500 4th Ave., which isn’t listed as a “community service center” but nonetheless will make your vote count.

More Revolver Vs Rubber Soul

posted by on November 3 at 6:10 PM

Dave Segal is, it goes without saying, wrong about this. I know everyone is supposed to say that Revolver is the best Beatle’s album, because that’s what Rolling Stone thinks, or whatever, but Rolling Stone and Dave Segal and all other acid-addled “experts” who are in agreement on this are wrong. This idea that “Taxman,” for example, is a great song, is ridiculous.

If it goes without saying, why did you say it?
Your illogical phrase aside, I don’t care what those senile coots at Rolling Stone or anyone else think: I know from lysergic experience and some 30 years of living with it that Revolver is the superior album. Although it’s not without flaws (see especially “Yellow Submarine,ā€¯ which Frizzelle likes and which automatically makes everything he writes about the Beatles suspect), Revolver has many more towering peaks than Rubber Soul, which stays in a very nice, comfortable zone throughout most of its duration. Don’t get it twisted: I think Rubber Soul is great; it just doesn’t take me to as many interesting places as does Revolver.

Continue reading "More Revolver Vs Rubber Soul" »

Hat Tip to Sharkansky

posted by on November 3 at 5:34 PM

He hasn’t been here for 5 years or shaped the news section like Amy J., but this week also featured the last installment of Stefan Sharkansky’s Sound Bite —our token conservative column.

I brought Stefan on several months ago because I had to admit that his conservative blog, Sound Politics, had been doing a great job covering the biggest political story in the state, the contested governor’s election, and so I wanted his voice in our paper. (In something of a crescendo of that coverage, Stefan filed a great story with us a few weeks ago that showed King County not only screwed up the election, but knowingly counted invalid votes.)

Anyway, no more Sharkansky, but I do recommend his blog. In fact, specifically, check it out today. He’s got a pretty explosive scoop about the Ron Sims campaign handing out political favors to a race track in Kent.

Calling Down for Mayo

posted by on November 3 at 5:20 PM

There is an impressive new post in the I, Anonymous forum. Not only does it detail a disturbingly hilarious run-in between coed housemates, it introduces a hot new euphemism for male masturbation (see subject line).

Cheney’s War

posted by on November 3 at 3:44 PM

It’ll make your stomach churn, but NPR’s interview with Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, gives much insight into the vice president’s control over the Iraq war.

Seattle: Steal This Idea

posted by on November 3 at 3:29 PM

Once a year in Amsterdam, on the first Saturday in November, an incredible, magical thing happens:

Every museum, arts, and cultural institution (40 or more), plus the zoo and aquarium, stay open all night and entertain the public with live music, DJs, lectures, dance, and other random delights. Imagine a candle-lit organ concert accompanying a Bela Lugosi film projected onto the stone walls inside Amsterdam’s oldest church. A sweaty Bollywood dance party in the Museum of the Tropics. A lantern-lit tour of Rembrandt’s house. An Arabic percussion workshop in the Bible Museum. Amsterdam’s Philharmonic bouncing melodies off the walls of the Van Gogh Museum.

Beams of light reach into the inky sky above each participating venue, and bus, tram, and canal-bus connections are part of the all-inclusive ticket price (ā‚¬ 17.50). The Amsterdammers call it “Museumnacht” (Museum Night) or “n8”. Practically the entire city is out on the town, bundled up against the autumn but lively and boisterous (and usually delighted to discover a tourist or two in the crowd).

Christopher and I are off to Amsterdam tomorrow, so I can think of nothing else. Wish you all could join us…

I’ll Have What She’s Having

posted by on November 3 at 3:26 PM

I don’t know what Laura Bush is drinking—or smoking—but I’d like to get my hands on some.

laura4fh.jpg

Roadblocks to Voting

posted by on November 3 at 3:20 PM

I thought that making your vote count was supposed to be a fairly simple and painless process—either show up in person on November 8 or vote by mail, the latter option I chose this election. But instead of being rewarded for my participation, the county has added some roadblocks to making my vote count. I just received a letter announcing that my signature on the ballot I sent in doesn’t match the signature on my voter registration (the first time I’ve heard that) and that I need to complete a new voter registration form in person in one of King County’s community service centers. And where are these centers located? According to the attached paperwork, they’re in Renton, Woodinville, Bothell, Kent, Sammamish, and Vashon—and nothing in Seattle. And none of them are open on the weekends. So in order to make my vote count, I have to take time off work, hop in a car to another city, and perfect my signature. I want to vote this election, but really, who is going to go to all that trouble?

The 4th Amendment!

posted by on November 3 at 1:52 PM

Dan, don’t forget about the 4th Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.

It’s not just the 9th and 14th Penumbra stuff from the somewhat kooky Justice Douglas. The 4th Amendment guarantees privacy in a much more specific way and Justice Brandeis’s famous dissent (“the right to be left alone”) in 1928 cued up that (eventual) mainstream reading of the 4th.

I don’t think James Madison and gang were as dumb as you think, and they probably don’t need Ted Kennedy’s help.

Here are some good backgrounders on Brandeis and the 4th:

The Right to be Left Alone.

Brandeis Quote

Purgatorio is hell

posted by on November 3 at 1:15 PM

I saw the world premiere opening of Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio at Seattle Rep last night. It’s the new artistic director’s first show there. It’s terrible. The set is nice, although blinding, migraine-causing white. It takes place in this strange bureaucratic version of purgatory where people who’ve done bad things shout about all the bad things they’ve done and whether or not they’re sorry or forgive the people they did them to. It’s two actors. I didn’t believe either of them for a second. The script is very weak. The actors are jittery and actor-ish and do that actor-yelling thing that drives me crazy, and when she actually needs to take things up a level at the climax she has nowhere else to go, because she’s been screamy from the get-go. Happily, it’s one act. But if I’d paid to see it, I’d have been sorely annoyed.

Sorry, Revolver is not the best Beatles album (I mean, I don’t really care about this stuff, but it’s not)

posted by on November 3 at 1:01 PM

Dave Segal is, it goes without saying, wrong about this. I know everyone is supposed to say that Revolver is the best Beatle’s album, because that’s what Rolling Stone thinks, or whatever, but Rolling Stone and Dave Segal and all other acid-addled “experts” who are in agreement on this are wrong. This idea that “Taxman,” for example, is a great song, is ridiculous.

CUZ I’M THE TAX MAN. YEAAAAAHII’MMMTHETAXMAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAN.

Followed by that awful clanging bullshit. Gives me a headache. It’s like they’re trying to sound annoying. Someone back me up please. Rubber Soul is the best Beatles album and “I’m Looking Through You” is not just “in the top 20” as Segal puts it. Top 5 at least.

The Right to Privacy—Stick It In!

posted by on November 3 at 12:59 PM

Estelle Griswold is a name that anyone who cares about women’s rights, access to birth control, freedom of expression (read: looking at porn in your own home), and gay rights should familiarize themselves with. In a decision in 1965, the Supreme Court overturned Estelle’s conviction on charges that she—horrors!—made birth control available to married couples. At the time Connecticut—Connecticut!—had a law agin’ that sort of nonsense, as the state believed it was its job to discourage straight people from havng recreational sex. (Believe it or not, the having of recreational sex used to be a controversial topic. Sex, as many believed and few practiced, was strictly for procreation.)

The Supreme Court struck down that idiotic law, stating that it violated the “right to privacy.ā€¯ Much flows from Griswold, including 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas, which found that even homos had a right to privacy, and that consensual, private homosexual sex can’t be criminalized. (That was the end of sodomy laws in the U.S.) You can read all about Griswold here.

Problematically, a right to privacy is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. The majority argued that the right was among the “unenumeratedā€¯ rights implied by something called the “penumbrus,ā€¯ which sounds like something that a sodomy law would prevent you from touching with your tongue.

Here we are, decades after Griswold, and social conservatives and liberals are constantly arguing about whether or not the right to privacy, which is a popular right (naturally enough), and one to which most Americans believe they’re entitled, is actually a right to which Americans are entitled, constitutionally-speaking. Liberals love it because the RTP underpins our constitutional right to have access to birth control, abortion services, gay sex, porn. Social conservatives hate it for that very reason.

The debate raged when John Roberts was being confirmed (read about here, here, here, and here), and it is raging again as Sam Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court makes its way through the Senate (you can read all about it here, here, and here). Is the RTP in there? Or isn’t it?

I find myself wondering why we don’t just put it in there? If the Republicans can propose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, can’t the Dems propose a “Right to Privacyā€¯ amendment? Since the RTP is popular (unlike the anti-gay marriage amendment), the Dems should put it out there and let the Republicans run around the country explainging why they’re against a right to privacy—not a winning position. Then, once it passes, we’ll be spared the debate over whether or not the RTP is in there every time a conservative is nominated to the Supreme Court.

The Right to Privacy Amendment—c’mon, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, Patty Murray, Barak Obama! Propose it!

Back by Popular Demand

posted by on November 3 at 12:25 PM

I’m with Dan on feeling burned by the anti-climax of last week’s single indictment. Is it too much to ask that our government officials and our special prosecutor create the dramatic moments in this case with a bit more thought to those of us watching at home? Sheesh. If the CIA leak investigation ever becomes a big enough deal to be made into a movie, ala “All the President’s Men,” this interminable waiting period between the mini-climax of the Libby indictment and the mega-climax of the increasingly probable (according to the speculators) Rove indictment will be cut down to about two seconds. But until the movie is made, we will have to make due with…

TODAY IN SPECULATION

* And what better way to kick off the return of speculation than with a picture of John Bolton:

boltondim.jpg

Yes, as many have long speculated, the man in the moustache is linked to Plame-gate, at least according to Raw Story. Now, I have to say: Until Today in Speculation was brought back by popular demand (or, perhaps, by editor demand… And what really is the difference anyway? And isn’t Plame-gate, in one respect, all about the interesting way in which reporters and editors both reflect and create popular demand?) … Anyway, until Today in Speculation was brought back, I had made a vow not to read Raw Story this week, because I blamed Raw Story’s pre-indictment hype for my post-indictment let-down. But as a sign of my devotion to speculation, I’ve now skimmed today’s piece, and must admit that if you want to be up on the latest in speculation, it is a must-read.

* As Dan noted, all speculators should also read The Washington Post today.

* And they should read this Newsweek piece about Rove potentially losing his security clearance.

* And then for those who want to enter the seductive world of Niger forgeries speculation, today’s Talking Points Memo is awash in talk of Hadley and SISMI and so on. Oh my!

‘Tis the Season for John Waters

posted by on November 3 at 12:20 PM

I was recently sent a copy of A John Waters Christmas, an album that wryly mixes the holiday spirit with Waters’s snide sense of humor. The disc, which came out last year, features such heart-warmers as “Here Comes Fatty Clause,” “Santa Claus is a Black Man,” and “Fat Daddy,” songs that sound old and sweet until you actually listen to the lyrics. Now that the pumpkin weekend has passed us by, I recommend this record for those looking to capture the “joyful spirit.” (And it’s almost time to watch my favorite holiday film of all time, Bad Santa—the opening credits alone are wickedly funny).

Anyone heading to Orange County can check out the art showcase John Waters: Change of Life at the Orange County Museum of Art, and man himself will embark on a holiday Xmas tour between San Francisco and New York… no word yet on if he’ll bring the sleigh ride this far north.

Vote No on I-912

posted by on November 3 at 11:45 AM

The campaign against I-912 - an initiative that would repeal a 9.5-cent gas tax passed by the Legislature last year - has sent me no fewer than eight pieces of mail in the past two weeks. In an election season that’s lousy with bad political propaganda, the anti-912 literature is some of the best mail I’ve ever seen. It plays down the fact that 912 would repeal a gas tax (because who likes taxes?) and emphasizes the fact that the initiative would “CANCEL 274 road and bridge improvements across Washington,” including 520 bridge expansion, seismic retrofitting of bridges throughout King County, and Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement. (The mail is also targeted by county, which is why my mail all focuses on Seattle-area projects. Folks in Spokane learn that 912 would cancel replacement of the Spokane River Bridge; those in Yakima learn that it would eliminate a project designed to improve emergency access into downtown.)

I hope it works. 912 is a short-sighted, reactionary law that would set transportation improvements in Washington State back a decade and perpetuate the state’s moronic tradition of overturning taxes with no regard for consequences (particularly for Eastern Washington, which has received a huge tax subsidy for roads from Puget Sound-area residents for years.) Defeating 912 would also be a defeat for the two right-wing radio hosts behind the campaign, who oppose the gas tax mainly because, in addition to building miles and miles of new freeways, it would fund 19 miles of HOV lanes and a few new freeway onramps. (Typical quote from I-912 spokesman Brett Bader: “It’s all designed for mass transit and to make our individual commutes so horrible we’ll consider a train or a bus.” Oh, so that’s what those 115 miles of new general-purpose highway lanes are for!)

To learn more about why you should vote against 912, go here.

Ex-FEMA Head Email Horror Show

posted by on November 3 at 11:44 AM

As if the entire country needed another reason to believe that ex-FEMA head Michael Brown is a human being several orders of magnitude lower than, say, someone who puts grated shit on your pastry.

Well, we got one.

A Louisiana congressman has released a bunch of emails from and to Brown during the height of the Katrina crisis. (PDF of emails)

Here’s one from one of the only FEMA employees on the ground in New Orleans on Aug. 31.

Pretty stark. “Situation past critical,” “dying within hours,” “out of food and water.” Scary stuff.

Brown’s response, in its entirety…

My favorite, though, has to be this email from his press secretary…


“Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working.”

There’s more. It gets worse.

Meanwhile…

posted by on November 3 at 11:41 AM

One Paris is burning. The other is fuming.

Ann Rule Sucks

posted by on November 3 at 11:32 AM

The cover for Ann Rule’s new paperback on the Green River Killer, Green River, Running Red (no comment on the title), is unforgivably sick.

ann_rule.jpg

Not just that it’s sexy, but most of the women Gary Ridgway murdered were not at all glamourous—they were often poor, addicted to hard drugs, and running away from broken homes. The leggy woman on the cover obscures (for the sake of a quick profit) the harsh class realities of the Green River nightmare.

Amy Jenniges

posted by on November 3 at 11:28 AM

If my lengthy SLOG posts about Community Good Neighbor Agreements yesterday left you a little confused, here’s the fat news story by Amy Jenniges that sparked the whole thing.

Appropriately enough, that was Amy J.’s last story for the Stranger news section—yet another awesome scoop.

Amy J. started as a news intern here over 5 years ago, and she had such an obvious nose for news, we hired her while she still had a year to go at college. (She finished her degree in her spare time, while spending most of her days breaking stories for the Stranger.)

Amy’s moving to Portland next week to head up the news squad at our sister paper there, the Mercury. Mazel Tov on the new gig Amy and thanks for a great 5 year run.

Sound Off Deadline Extended.

posted by on November 3 at 11:26 AM

Folks at the EMP have extended the deadline for entries for Sound Off, the annual underage battle of the bands. All entries are now due December 1st, so if you’re in a band (every member must be 21 or under), get a demo together right quick and send get it to the EMP. Sound Off alumni include the Schoolyard Heroes, Idiot Pilot, Mon Frere, the Spit Licks, and the Gruff Mummies.

The press release is pasted below…

Continue reading "Sound Off Deadline Extended." »

More on the Supreme Court lesbian custody case

posted by on November 3 at 11:22 AM

The Northwest Women’s Law Center just issued a press release on the court ruling:

“WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES NON-BIOLOGICAL LESBIAN MOTHER AS PARENT

Court Finds Early Childhood Caretaking, Parental Responsibilities Critical To Definition Of “Parentā€¯”

The Northwest Women’s Law Center and other women’s children and family advocates welcome this decision as an important step toward legal equality for all families.

The whole release is after the cut.

Continue reading "More on the Supreme Court lesbian custody case" »

Will Texas Ban Straight Marriage?

posted by on November 3 at 11:00 AM

When votes in Ohio banned gay marriage they accidentally legalized domestic violence—if a couple is unmarried, the state can’t treat them as if they are legally a couple, which did away with domestic violence statutes that covered same- and opposite-sex non-married couples. Swift move, Ohio. The law of unintended consequences is a bitch, ain’t it?

Now in Texas voters may be poised to outlaw heterosexual marriage. A Savage Love reader writes…

While it may be too late to motivate your readers in Texas to vote against Proposition 2 (the so called defense of marriage amendment to the Texas constitution) on November 8th, I thought you might like to take a look at the wording and at least get a chuckle. It seems that the morons in charge of governing the state may manage to ban ALL marriage in Texas if this passes. I’m not alone in thinking this either. Some democrats have been speaking out on this point and my wife, who is an English teacher, also agrees that they forgot some words if they truly want to ban only gay marriage. It would serve Texans right to screw their own marriages by trying to exclude one group of people. What a bunch of morons.

You can read the full text of the amendment here. The problematic language reads…

The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Hm… the seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? If voters pass this, Texas will be banned from “recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.ā€¯ What could be more identical to marriage than, er, marriage? Pass this law, Texas, and the state won’t be able to recognize marriage, gay or straight.

Today the Associated Press reports that backers of the gay marriage ban are angry about opponents letting voters know about this problematic provision.

Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in Texas have a message for you: The proposition could mean trouble for marriage between a man and woman. With telephone calls, e-mails and Internet postings, gay rights activists and others opposed to Proposition 2 are spreading that idea as part of their longshot battle to derail the measure in Tuesday’s election.

The tactic has supporters of the same-sex marriage ban crying foul.

Why are the right-wingers who pushed the marriage ban so upset about this tactic? Well, besides exposing them as dopes, the supporters of gay marriage are borrowing this tactic from the right-wing playbook. Fear mongering, distortions, push-polling, whispering campaigns—that’s pure Rove, and right-wing Republicans and fundies have used it to defeat everything from a national health care plan to John McCain. Payback is a bitch, ain’t it?

New Poll Numbers on Next Week’s Municipal Election

posted by on November 3 at 10:50 AM

Survey USA released a new poll on the municipal elections last night. The monorail looks doomed (58 no to 40 yes).

Meanwhile, Jan Drago is at 54% to Casey Corr’s 34%; Richard McIver is at 50% to Dwight Pelz’s 34%; and Richard Conlin is at 49% to Paige Miller’s 37%.

Here’s the link to the cross tabs, which break down the data and tell you stuff like: Among Democratic voters Drago’s outpacing Corr 60 to 27. Go figure.

Fossil Sex

posted by on November 3 at 10:47 AM

Yo, check it:

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LUCKNOW, India — This was no one-night stand. Scientists in India say they have discovered two fossils fused together in sexual union for 65 million years.

The findings were published in the October edition of the Indian journal “Current Science,” which said it was the first time that sexual copulation had been discovered in a fossil state, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

But voyeurs will need a microscope to view the eternal lovers.

The fossils are tiny swarm cells, a stage in the development of the fungus myxomycetes, also known as slime molds.
The cells reproduce by “fusing,” Ranjeet Kar of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow reportedly told PTI. Once the cells fuse, long, threadlike appendages known as flagella, are lost, he said.
Finding the fossils in a fused position and with their flagella shed, is evidence that the two cells were having sex, Kar said.
“The sexual organs being delicate and the time of conjugation short lived, it is indeed rare to get this stage in the fossil state,” the study said.
The cells were discovered in a 30-foot deep dry well in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Fecal Felon Update

posted by on November 3 at 10:40 AM

Following queasy initial reports in this week’s Savage Love and Last Days, here’s an update on Behrouz Nahidmobarekeh, the Texas cabbie convicted of sprinkling his own dried-and-grated feces over pastries at a Dallas grocery store.

First, KGBT News shares a statement the fecal felon delivered in court, about how he came to possess the soon-to-be-sprinkled feces (sic, and sick): “I was sitting at home and I was in one of my [heroin] withdrawal and I had the feces there,” suggesting the admitted-junkie cabbie had deployed the junk-kicking maneuver touted in Trainspotting (lock yourself in a room for three days with three buckets—one for piss, one for shit, one for puke).

Then there’s this fascinating blog allegedly written by the jury foreman of the recently concluded criminal trial. Among the official-looking delights: images of the cabbie’s handwritten confession (where he admits to subjecting his poo to a “cheez grader”) as well as surveillance-tape images of the actual sprinkling. Enjoy!

Tea Leaves and the Marriage Equality Case

posted by on November 3 at 10:12 AM

This just in from the Washington State Supreme Court: They ruled on a custody dispute between two lesbians who had a kid in 1994, broke up in 2001, and started a sticky custody battle in 2002. The non-biological, non-adoptive mom wanted parental rights.

We must now determine whether Sue Ellen Carvin, who is neither a biological nor adoptive parent, has standing under Washington law to petition our courts for a determination of coparentage with regard to L.B. We conclude that she does…. We thus hold that henceforth in Washington, a de facto parent stands in legal parity with an otherwise legal parent, whether biological, adoptive, or otherwise.

The court ruled that a “de facto” parent—someone who’s there every step of the way, from the insemination and birth, to the first day of school, and every day in between—has the same rights with a legal parent. Now Carvin can go back to King County Superior court, show that she’s the de facto parent—by proving that she had a “parent-like” relationship, lived in the same household, assumed parental obligations without expectation of financial compensation, was in a parental role long enough to develop a “bonded, dependent relationship” with the child, and had “fully and completely undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed, and responsible parental role in the child’s life.” Then she can seek custody or visitation.

What’s this mean for the marriage equality case, on which we’re all waiting (some of us not so patiently) for a ruling? Well, I have a feeling the court wanted to deal with this case first, as the problems presented in it — two women in a custody mess because of a break up — likely could have been prevented had the women been able to seek legal recognition of their relationship. (Ahem: “Because the parties’ dispute did not arise in the context of dissolution of a marriage, a legal impossibility because of their lesbian relationship, statutory visitation was unavailable.”) Now that they’ve ruled on this one, hopefully the marriage case ruling is coming soon.

Second, the court included a few choice lines that seem to lay a foundation for the “same sex marriage is good for kids in same sex families” argument, including references to “modern” “nontraditional” families, “evolving notions of what comprises a family unit,” and the fact that “individuals may comprise a legally cognizable family through means other than biological or adoptive.” Most importantly, the court recognized that kids in same sex families today are pretty much screwed, especially if their unable-to-be-married parents have a messy breakup: “Our legislature has been conspicuously silent when it comes to the rights of children like L.B., who are born into nontraditional families, including any interests they may have in maintaining their relationships with the members of the family unit in which they are raised.” Here, here.

Bring Back “Today in Speculation”

posted by on November 3 at 9:58 AM

So last week’s indictments were a bit of an anti-climax. I had heard rumors about the Vice President being marched out of the White House in handcuffs (or having to resign), and so anything that fell short of that scenario was bound to be a bit of a let down. So when just Scooter was indicted, and Rove escaped indictment, I felt dumb for letting myself get so emotionally invested in Plamegate. But a story in today’s Washington Post amped me back up…

While Rove faces doubts about his White House status, there are new indications that he remains in legal jeopardy from Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s criminal investigation of the Plame leak…. Fitzgerald is considering charging Rove with making false statements in the course of the 22-month probe, and sources close to Rove—who holds the titles of senior adviser and White House deputy chief of staff—said they expect to know within weeks whether the most powerful aide in the White House will be accused of a crime.

But some top Republicans said yesterday that Rove’s problems may not end there. Bush’s top advisers are considering whether it is tenable for Rove to remain on the staff, given that Fitzgerald has already documented something that Rove and White House official spokesmen once emphatically denied—that he played a central role in discussions with journalists about Plame’s role at the CIA and her marriage to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a critic of the Iraq war.

So, Eli, I guess you’ll have to bring back—and start torturing us again with—your tormenting, teasing, hopes-getting-upping regular Slog feature “Today in Speculation.”


Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Beatles’ Best Album = Revolver

posted by on November 2 at 6:14 PM

Speaking of being high, I was on a road trip recently and we listened to the best Beatles album Rubber Soul — don’t argue! it is! — again and again.

Sorry to bring you down, Christopher, but Revolver is actually the best Beatles album (right, Sean?). Rubber Soul is fantastic, but its finest compositions can’t compete with “She Said She Said,” “Taxman,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “I’m Only Sleeping,ā€¯ “Good Day Sunshine,ā€¯ “I Want to Tell You,ā€¯ “For No One,ā€¯ “Love You To,” “Dr. Robert,” and the Beatles’ best song, “Tomorrow Never Knows” (though “I’m Looking Through You” is certainly in the group’s top 20).

All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine got it right: “Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album and it’s still as emulated as it was upon its original release.ā€¯

Portland v. Seattle, Part Deux

posted by on November 2 at 5:32 PM

The New York Times has a great story on the front page of its arts section: A touring exhibition of art from the Hesse Collection is coming to our doorstep… or perhaps I mean backyard. The show, which is composed largely of German art that’s never been seen here before, is making its first (and only?) U.S. stop at the Portland Art Museum. Meanwhile, on our actual doorstep, the Seattle Art Museum is showing some crowd-pleasing lamps.

If this isn’t proof that Regina Hackett was right—the Portland art scene is giving us a whupping—I don’t know what is.

While you’re at it, be sure to check out the Hans Holbein Madonna.

madonnazoom.jpg

That unhappy, drugged-looking Baby Jesus is priceless. (Too bad PAM’s image zoom tool is completely worthless—I guess we can console ourselves with the fact that Seattle’s still got PDX beat in the tech arena.)

Alito on Sodomy

posted by on November 2 at 5:28 PM

He’s for it. Or, at least, he was as a college student…

WASHINGTON — In college, Samuel Alito led a student conference that urged legalization of sodomy…

Three decades before the Supreme Court decriminalized gay sex, Alito declared on behalf of his group of fellow Princeton students that “no private sexual act between consenting adults should be forbidden.” Alito also called for an end to discrimination against homosexuals in hiring.

KUSF Kills it again

posted by on November 2 at 5:21 PM

I’ve posted before about how great San Francisco station KUSF is for daytime programming. Theirs is one of the most eclectic playlists I’ve had the pleasure of listening to during work hours. A small selection of what’s come over the old internet connection today: Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman, Blue Cheer, Jello Biafra and the Melvins, Hannibal Peterson and the Sunrise Orchestra (soul jazz). KEXP is a great station that does amazing work promoting indie artists, but their daytime programming (time when I’m most likely to listen to the radio) can sometimes disappoint. There’s more to music than indie rock, and I’d love to hear a more genre-blended playlist from one of this country’s most popular internet radio stations. Until then, my work hours often belong to San Francisco radio.

A live Beatle

posted by on November 2 at 4:14 PM

This didn’t make it into the readings calendar in the paper that comes out today/tomorrow, because we got the info too late, but I just thought I’d let all Beatles fans know that Paul McCartney will be doing a reading and signing of his children’s book High in the Clouds this Friday at Third Place Books (17171 Bothell Way NE, 366-3333) at 1:30 pm. And it’s free.

Speaking of being high, I was on a road trip recently and we listened to the best Beatles album Rubber Soul — don’t argue! it is! — again and again. The best song on the best album is, obviously, “I’m Looking Through You,” but I also recommend revisiting, for anyone who hasn’t heard it in a while, “Girl,” the song where they inhale incredibly loudly again and again. The louder you play it, the better.

Re: More Kill Whitie

posted by on November 2 at 4:13 PM

and here’s a response to the aformentioned piece on the Kill Whitie club night (thanks to Mairead Case for the links).

Kill Whitie/Long Live Irony?

posted by on November 2 at 3:57 PM

I can’t imagine this night goes off in New York—but maybe it thrives because it’s technically in Williamsburg—but here’s a good article from the Washington Post about white hipsters finding irony in booty hiphop at a pasty kid club night called Kill Whitie. A couple interesting quotes:

Casady was raised in Santa Barbara, Calif., but quickly notes her worldliness by listing the cities where she has lived along the trail to Brooklyn. A regular Kill Whitie partygoer, she tried the conventional (that is, non-hipster) hip-hop clubs but found the men “really hard-core.” In this vastly whiter scene, Casady said that “it’s a safe environment to be freaky.”
and one that’ll bring on the cringe
His street fliers come emblazoned with the words “Kill Whitie” across a woman’s backside.Another flier offers free admission to anyone with a bucket of fried chicken.
Is it that tough to enjoy a night of raunchy hiphop just to enjoy it? thoughts?

And Another Thing! Re: Nickels V. Nightlife

posted by on November 2 at 3:47 PM

Also at this morning’s press conference, Mayor Nickels announced that he’s making the Joint Assessment Team (JAT) permanent. (The JAT is a group that goes into clubs at night to look for violations.) Erica C. Barnett wrote an article about the JAT last August, and made a compelling case that the JAT was redolent of Sidran-era club crackdown nonsense.

In fact, when Nickels interviewed with our Editorial board last August before the primary, he acknowledged, when questioned by Erica about the JAT, that it had serious problems. Nickels told us: “It does look heavy handed.”

We were stunned when Nickels acknowledged that his program might strike the community as “heavy handed.”

Savage repeated Nickels’s statement back to Nickels. Savage: “It does look heavy handed?”

Nickels: “It does look heavy handed. I admit that.”

So, the question today Greg is, WTF? If your goal is to work with the music community to promote our vibrant scene, why would you make a pilot project that strikes the community as “heavy handed” a permanent thing?

Were you just putting us on at the endorsement interview to get our endorsement?

You did get that endorsement, didn’t you?

Man. I’m with Bradley: Why did we endorse Nickels?

I know. I know. Former Asst. Prof Al Runte is not qualified to be mayor. But damn. I no longer support Nickels.

His density thing is no longer good enough to outweigh all this other shit: club crackdowns, strip club rules, developer sell outs. Indeed, his density thing is especially hollow ever since he killed the monorail. You can’t say you’re for density and then bail on the monorail project.

Anyway, Mayor Gridlock loses my vote.

Re: Mayor Nickels V. Seattle Night Life Pt. 2

posted by on November 2 at 2:52 PM

Draconian strip club regulations, caving to Harbor Properties, pulling his support for the monorail when it became politically expedient, trying to muscle his boot-licking lackey onto the city council, unwarranted crackdowns on bars and clubs… just why, exactly, did this paper endorse Greg Nickels?

Four years ago I thought I voted for Nickels instead of Mark Sidran. Now it seems I somehow voted for Sidran after all.

re: Third Sign of the Apocalypse: Madonna

posted by on November 2 at 2:34 PM

I’ve seen some ink on Madonna recently, but mostly it’s been about the Blender cover Mrs. Thing was supposedly supposed to get but was instead handed to one untalented fembot named Ashlee Simpson. In theory, it’s great that Madonna’s still going strong—physically, spiritually, as a mother…not as an actress—but in actuality her edge has been blunted to a soft corner, something that the big media machines will tip their hat to at times but the rest of us could really care less about. (The last thing I’ll credit her for is introducing people to William Orbit years back…)

Mayor Nickels V. Seattle Night Life Pt. 2

posted by on November 2 at 2:08 PM

At Mayor Nickels’s press conference this morning, where he announced his “Good Neighbor Action Plan” to monitor problem clubs, I took the opportunity to ask him why the city had been cracking down on non-problem clubs w/ an extra layer of regulations known as “Community Good Neighbor Agreements” (CGNAs) that give the city excessive powers to crack down above and beyond the laws that are already in place.

Background: For months, the city has been claiming that there are drug problems at The Blue Moon Tavern in the U. District & demanding that the club owner sign a CGNA. The 32-point plan includes stuff like what neighborhood associations the club has to join. The city won’t sign off on the Blue Moon’s liquor license renewal unless the club signs the “agreement.”

The city has, in fact, been getting away with this bullying act with clubs all over the town, making brand new clubs that hadn’t even opened yet (like Fremont’s Brower’s) sign the “agreement” even though, obviously, there is no history of problems.

There’s no history of problems at The Blue Moon either. The club has had 2 liquor violations in the past 23 years and none in the last four years. The city also set up some pot “buy busts” there…(that’s where the SPD goes undercover)… and all four buy busts netted a total of one ounce of marijuana. (Hell, you could score a dime bag in one buy bust outside City Hall.)

Sooooo, the Blue Moon’s Club owner called the city’s bluff and refused to sign… making the city take its claims to an administrative hearing earlier this week… in front of a judge.

Of coures, at the hearing, the city’s case totally fell apart, with the SPD admitting there were no substantive neighborhood complaints against the club. The SPD even withdrew its evidence on the buy busts.

After outlining the city’s embarrassing attempt to coerce the Blue Moon, here’s what I asked the mayor this morning: “Why is the city demanding that law abiding clubs sign agreements that should be reserved for problem clubs?”

Continue reading "Mayor Nickels V. Seattle Night Life Pt. 2" »

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on November 2 at 1:01 PM

For the week of November 2-8, 2005:

The Stranger: 108 pages.
Seattle Weekly: 100 pages.

UPDATE: Doh! Apparently the Weekly has an advertiser-bait pullout/insert this week—it’s called the “Menu of Menus.” There aren’t any menus in it, just ads for restaurants and a table of contents directing you to the ads which people will be reading for, ah, pleasure? A lot of old alt weeklies do “Menu of Menus.” But I wonder who reads these things? I know what alt-weekly sales folks tell people about them—”Readers will save this all year! Whenever they even think about going out to eat they’ll retrieve their treasured, dog-eared copy of “Menu of Menus,” and they’ll see your ad and eat in your restaurant!”—and I’m surprised that smart restaurant owners fall for it. But still, they do. And it’s 28 pages, and so this week’s Smaller Weekly Watch needs an asterisk. If you include the Menu of Menus, the Weekly is 128.

On Charles Jencks

posted by on November 2 at 12:40 PM

Now that Seattle has entered the dazzling world of iconic architecture with a flop, EMP, and a hit, Seattle Public Library, it’s time for us to closely listen to people who can articulate the source and substance of our big architectural desires. Charles Jencks, who is a leading theorist of contemporary architecture (and whose new book, The Iconic Building, includes a few words on the world-famous Seattle Public Library), will appear today (Wednesday, November 2, 7:30pm) in Benaroya Hall and make us better understand what we got ourselves into—a raw confusion of money, paranoia, kitsch and serious art. Jencks must save us.

Damn This is Funny….

posted by on November 2 at 11:54 AM

It’s about time someone went after that warm-honey preview voice, which this clip does and then some…

re: I’m with Gomezticator—we should slap a tax on SUVs

posted by on November 2 at 11:35 AM

Dan, a reader sent this link to an interesting Slate piece on the fact that big SUVs (anything over 6,000 pounds) are illegal on most of California’s residential streets (though no one’s enforcing it).

The SDOT website implies that Seattle’s load limit on non-arterial streets is 10,000 pounds of gross weight (with a few exceptions). That might exclude the Hummer H1, but not much else. Damn.

Third Sign of the Apocalypse: Madonna Releases Documentary, No One Cares

posted by on November 2 at 11:30 AM

It’s no secret that we’re living in a time of deep, dark shit. (For fresh evidence, see Christopher’s preceding post about the brilliant and terrifying speech given during yesterday’s closed Senate session by Minority Leader Harry Reid.)

However, the full weight of the current national worries—Plamegate, bird flu, hurricanes, the ongoing tragedy of Iraq—didn’t really hit me until I realized that Madonna had made and released a new documentary film about her life and no one cared.

Cognizant thirty-somethings will recall the release of Madonna’s previous documentary film about her life—1991’s Madonna: Truth or Dare, which screened at Cannes, enjoyed a wide theatrical release, and was widely praised as the richest work of art Madonna had ever involved herself in.

The same will not be said of the new Madonna: I’m Going To Tell You A Secret, which screened at Hunter College, was given a straight-to-MTV release, and will forever be remembered (by me, at least) by its alternate title, Madonna: Now I Am Retarded.

Like Truth or Dare, Secret/Retarded follows Madonna on tour, but where the earlier film caught her at a thrilling tipping point—moving from pop-slut star to invaluable American artist—the new film finds her married, middle-aged, and mystic. Kabballah stinks up the movie like a parade of farts, tainting both the quality of her art (the tour features some of the most ludicrously pretentious stage-craft since Spinal Tap) and her offstage entertainment value (when she’s not subjecting her audience to Cremaster-inspired video segments about the Evil Beast of the World or trying to pass off yoga poses as choreography, she’s visiting dignitaries in Israel or reading self-penned rhyming poetry into the camera).

For what it’s worth, Madonna seems like a much better person now—stable, sane, and a good mom. (The segments with Rocco and Lourdes are the most interesting in the film, in no small part because both kids seem wonferfully, messily normal.)

But I may never forgive her for making me watch her line-dance in front of huge images of war casualties….

Still, you’ve gotta love a woman who can get words like these into the goddamn USA Today: “For me, the idea of God, or the idea of spirit, has nothing to do with religion. Religion is about separating people…Just about every war that’s ever been started has been started in the name of God.”

Yesterday’s closed session in the Senate

posted by on November 2 at 11:00 AM

Andrew Tobias writes:

As you know, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats invoked Rule 21 yesterday to force the Senate into closed session — one of just 53 such sessions since 1929.

Time was, a historic speech like Harry Reid’s today would have been big news, perhaps carried in its entirety on the radio or TV.

NBC made mention of it, but devoted a lot more time to a story on the controversy over cell phones in National Parks.

Here’s the speech Reid gave (I’m posting the beginning of it for you to see here and the rest of it as an extended entry — just click on “Continue reading ‘Yesterday’s closed session in the Senate’ to see the whole thing):

Minority Leader Harry Reid
November 1, 2005
United States Senate

This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in 135 years.

This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant.

The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm’s way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress.

Continue reading "Yesterday's closed session in the Senate" »

Don’t forget!

posted by on November 2 at 10:12 AM

Last month the Vera Project asked the county for extra funding to help with the remodeling of a new venue while still maintaining their high level of programming. Before the County can give them the money, though, they need to hear from Vera supporters just how great the all-ages venue is for our community. So if you have something good to say about Vera (and who doesn’t?) say it tonight at the public testimony at the King County Council Chambers. Everyone is welcome to speak including band members who appreciate having a place to play, Vera volunteers, show goers, and parents who are happy their kids have a safe place to hang out. Testimony starts at 7 pm (though you have to sign up early to speak, around 6 pm), and the Chambers are located at 3rd and James, 10th floor. If you’re unable to attend, they’re also accepting electronic testimony here.

Shannon Stewart has this to say about it:

Continue reading "Don't forget!" »

Lesson Learned

posted by on November 2 at 9:02 AM

Back in June, my brother Bill Savage—an author, a scholar, a prof, and the beneficiary of a little nepotism—wrote an essay for the Stranger about the “problemā€¯ of Red states outbreeding Blue states. No problem, Billy said, because eventually those Red kids would require college educations, and that would expose them to liberals and progressive profs like Bill, and that exposure would turn some of those Red kids Blue.

Billy made it clear that he wasn’t indoctrinating his students:

I don’t indoctrinate my students. My job, as an English professor, is to teach my students to read deeply, to think for themselves, and then to write their own arguments effectively. I suspect that the Bill O’Reillys of the world believe that lefty academics engage in all-out Maoist Cultural Revolution- style indoctrination because that’s the only way they can picture a classroom, not having been in one for a while or ever… As our politics show all too often, we lefties have hyper-developed consciences. To force students to agree with me would be unthinkable, not to mention boring. What really happens to students in my classroom is this: They get exposed to the world around them…

Despite having made himself perfectly clear (you can read the whole essay here), Billy’s piece is being used as evidence that left-wing academics are indoctrinating their Red-State students. Today I got this email from Billy about the latest attempt to misrepresent his piece:

Some things never end. When I was asked to write about the idea that the Red States would outbreed the Blue States, from the point of view of higher education, back just after the ‘04 elections, I had no clue what I was getting into. By the time The Stranger ran the piece, (insert URL, date and title here), I had almost forgotten what the damn thing.

I argued that however Red the Red states might get, their children will largely be educated in Blue towns, counties, and cities, since bastions of higher education also tend to be bastions of liberalism. I used some provocative language, but my overall point was simply that children of the Red states will have their minds opened by seeing their professors have open minds. (Not all of academia is as left as people think: at NU, the biggest undergraduate major is Economics, and last time I looked we didn’t have any Marxist-Leninists in the department. And like most fair-minded liberals, I feel the need to present both sides of all arguments, even as I make my own claims.)

But then the right-wingnuts got on the case. I made the mistake of appearing on Michael Medved’s radio show (though I’m told by some listeners I put the windbag in his place) and my bosses at Northwestern—from the Dean up to the University President—got several emails with the lovely subject heading “A Disgrace to Northwestern.” (Luckily for me, they are strict constructionists when it comes to the First Amendment, and like all faculty here I’m free to express my opinions.) A few more irate emails after the show re-ran, and then I thought I was done, and could go back to scholarly solitude.

But no: a couple weeks ago, I got a phone call from a home-schooler who immediately identified herself as “not a conservative Christian.” She informed me that Patrick Henry College, a fundamentalist right-wing outfit that takes no Federal money so it won’t have to abide by various laws it doesn’t like, was using my essay in their fundraising letters. She had Googled my essay, read it and found it reasonable, and just wanted me to know I was being used by these Bible-thumpers as a bogey-man (bogey-prof?) to raise money. She forwarded me the letter (with her contact info cut out: she says she fears them, and I don’t blame her).

So, on it goes. Michael Farris, JD, President of Patrick Henry College, if you’re reading this: Thanks. I am flattered that you think that my essay will inspire people to give you money. I am honored to be held up as an enemy of everything you stand for, because I am one. As an American proud to support the separation of Church and State, I am glad you don’t take any of my tax dollars for your “educational” enterprise. As your letter states, “this is a philosophical war.”

I thought I’d fired my shot and could retire behind the lines. Your letter reminds me that this is not an option: the Culture Wars are in full swing. See you on the battlefield.

Never Thought I Would See…

posted by on November 2 at 8:47 AM

…RINO Republican and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg beating off George W. Bush. This campaign ad for Bloomberg’s challenger, Democrat Freddy Ferrer, features just such a scene. Some insightful observations here, and here’s a hit tip to Andrew Sulllivan.


Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Mayor Nickels V. Seattle Night Life

posted by on November 1 at 6:32 PM

Ha! Mayor Nickels just sent out this press release:


City of Seattle Date: Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2005

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: Norman B. Rice Conference Room,
7th Floor, City Hall,
600 Fourth Ave.

Description: Mayor Greg Nickels will discuss the city’s efforts to ensure the growing number of clubs and bars remain a safe, vital part of Seattle neighborhoods. He will be joined by Councilmember Nick Licata and Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

###

Perfect timing. Tomorrow Amy Jenniges is publishing a scoop in our paper that lays out exactly what the Mayor is doing about clubs and bars in Seattle neighborhoods: He’s using trumped up charges to intimidate them into signing unfair agreements.

Nickels’s press conference should be fun when we ask the mayor to explain what Amy has uncovered. See you there!


Generation Kill

posted by on November 1 at 5:40 PM

I recently finished reading Generation Kill by Rolling Stone correspondent Evan Wright. The author was embedded with the all-volunteer First Recon Marine Battalion throughout the spring of 2003 as it spearheaded the invasion into Iraq. Wright endures all the hardships and dangers these elite troops do. For his troubles, he was able to fill his book with vivid reportage capturing the fighting, boredom, tangy military lingo, and often surprising thoughts of these highly trained killers.

Continue reading "Generation Kill" »

Re: Matriarchs and Cowards

posted by on November 1 at 5:10 PM

On the other hand, who can forget George Howland’s stirring tribute to Seattle’s “power lesbians,” in which he so movingly observed that just as “Seattle is famous for walking the talk when it comes to racial diversity and elected officials… No less striking is our region’s shattering of glass ceilings when it comes to lesbians.”

With such eloquent advocates at the Weekly, it’s no wonder that it’s the first place Seattle women turn for advice on how to achieve a more diverse, nurturing society that puts women in their place… um, of power.

Burqas Against the Ban

posted by on November 1 at 5:04 PM

I just got back from downtown, where I happened upon a woman in a burqa collecting signatures to repeal Seattle’s new ban on lap dances at strip clubs.

She was standing outside of Westlake Mall, a black veil over her face, black gloves over her hands, not one bit of skin showing, and she was encouraging passersby to sign a petition to let Seattle voters decide on whether strip clubs and lap dances are really as big a scourge as Mayor Nickels and the City Council seem to think.

At first I thought the woman in the burqa was some sort of performance art, but through her veil she told me she is for real: As a Muslim in post-9/11 America, she said, she feels compelled to oppose any infringements on civil liberties or personal expression.

Not that “Sister Muhammad,” as she identified herself, ever goes to strip clubs, or could ever imagine stripping off her burqa for money. She just wants other people to have the freedom to do so if they please — plus, she said, she’s earning $1.50 per signature.

Fragging In Iraq

posted by on November 1 at 4:52 PM

Unpopular wars are breeding grounds for fragging. When the heady mists of nationalism clear, the naked realities of class appear and burn.

Gomezticator

posted by on November 1 at 3:57 PM

I’m with Gomezticator—we should slap a tax on SUVs, Hummers, and any other car that doesn’t get at least 25 MPG. Writing about the Monorail’s MVET tax in the Stranger Forums, Gomezticator says…

How about an annual tax on SUV’s, trucks, hummers and other vehicles newer than ‘97 or so, that get less than 25 mpg, instead? Tax those people $300-500 a head. Most of them can afford it, and you’d probably make more money for the monorail while penalizing the wealthy and the irresponsible for driving gas guzzlers.

I’m left wondering, is this possible? Can a city slap taxes on specific kinds of cars? Does anyone out there know?

Two of the reasons why so many people drive SUVs is that 1. they’re classified as “light trucks,ā€¯ and 2. they get certain tax breaks. The former allows SUV manufacturers to avoid gas-mileage standards; the later subsidizes the purchase of SUVs and artificially makes them more affordable than better, smaller cars. So anything we could do to make them less affordable, we should. Any big-city mayor who’s interested in, say, enacting the provisions of the Kyoto treaty should immediately slap a tax on SUVs and other gas-guzzlin’ cars and trucks.

If we can, then we should. This isn’t something the mayor or city council would be brave enough to do, so that leaves the initiative process. Is it possible? Again, does anyone know?

And if it is possible, where do I sign? Where do I send a check?

Matriarchs & Cowards

posted by on November 1 at 2:43 PM

Seattle Channel host C.R. Douglas invited Stranger News Editor Josh Feit to come on his show this Friday to talk about the upcoming election—the mayor, the monorail, the city council races. C.R. also invited Seattle Weekly political editor George Howland to come on the same show. Howland refused because, according to Douglas, Howland was “uncomfortable” going on the show with someone from the Stranger.

What is Howland afraid of? He was no doubt pissing his pants at the thought of Josh picking apart the Weekly’s lame-brained endorsement of city council candidate Casey Corr. The Weekly endorsed Corr, A.K.A. “The Mayor’s Boy,” claiming Corr split with Nickels over the South Lake Union trolley. But Corr actually supports the trolley. Corr is an enthusiastic backer of Greg Nickels’s entire South Lake Union agenda. But that didn’t stop the Weekly from citing Jan Drago’s support for the mayor’s South Lake Union agenda as the reason they oppose her re-election. (Drago is Corr’s opponent.)

So the self-described male “matriarchsā€¯ and “feministsā€¯ at the Weekly twist the record, ignore the facts, and tell fibs in order to deny their endorsement to ONE of the TWO women on our nine-member city council. According to the Weekly, we should replace Jan Drago, a woman who stands up to our powerful male mayor (a mayor the Weekly claims to hate!), with a man who is a former mayoral staffer and who will be, if he gets on to the city council, a future mayoral yes man/ass kisser. How matriarchal of you, boys.

If all Seattle newspapers were run by matriarchs like the boys running the Weekly Washington would have two male U.S. Senators today instead of Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

Josh is happy to go on the show even without Howland to slap around. (And we can slap Howland around on the Slog whenever we like.) But Howland’s limp attempt at keeping The Stranger off Seattle Channel makes me wonder about something else. No one from The Stranger is ever asked to appear on KUOW’s Weekday anymore. Josh used to be a regular presence on that show. One of the current regular guests on KUOW’s Weekday is Seattle Weekly editor Knute Berger. So did Berger pull the same stunt? Did he tell KUOW that he wouldn’t go on if Josh went on too? The Stranger news team, which Josh leads, provides detailed—even obsessive—city hall coverage. (Josh says he’s never actually seen Knute at city hall.) It seems extremely odd that KUOW shuts the Stranger out of a show about local news and politics week after week.

Anyway, props to C.R. Douglas for not letting those matriarchal babies at the Weekly push him around. And shame on Steve Scher at KUOW if he’s letting the Weekly push him around.

Re: The Democrats Find Some Balls

posted by on November 1 at 2:30 PM

DailyKos has more on today’s rather extroardinary move by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Kos says the Dems are prepared to call a closed session every day until the Republicans stop obstructing the Senate investigation into how the Bush administration came to make all those false claims about Iraq’s WMDs.

With Bush’s Alito nomination yesterday and his bird flu announcement today, the administration was trying to change the subject — it wanted to turn the national conversation away from the CIA leak investigation, and its part in the meta-narrative about the way this country was (mis)led into war with Iraq. With today’s move, Reid has deftly changed the subject right back to one that favors Democrats: the false information the led us to war. What are the Republicans going to do now, argue against getting to the bottom of things with more than 2,000 American soldiers dead and no WMDs discovered?

That Reid is willing to do this is also an implicit threat that he’s willing to use all the procedural tools available to him to keep Republicans from crossing the line — including a fillibuster of the apparently anti-choice Alito.

Tomorrow’s Hawthorne Heights show cancelled.

posted by on November 1 at 2:20 PM

The “Never Sleep Again” Tour—featuring Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, Bayside, and local boys Aiden—has been cancelled, including the Nov 2nd Showbox show.

Bayside, one of the tour’s opening bands, was in a tragic accident yesterday morning when their van hit a patch of ice outside Cheyenne, WY. Drummer John Holohan was killed and bassist Nick Ghanbarian was seriously injured. Members of the band’s crew also remain hospitalized.

Donations to John’s family can be made via Paypal to the John Holohan Bayside Memorial Fund.

Ticket refunds are available at point of purchase.

Re: W Stands for Dead Women

posted by on November 1 at 2:17 PM

some folks are opposed to the introduction of a vaccine for two strains of HPV, the virus that causes genital wart and can also cause cervical cancer in women.

I was a part of those clinical tests that proved this vaccine is 100% effective. And I didn’t just sign up for all the free pap smears! I joined because my mom and my aunt—and probably quite a few other women I know—had pre-cancerous scares, biopsies, sleepless nights, etc. (P.S. - three out of four people get infected with HPV at some point in their life. It’s like the freakin’ common cold. Except it can cause cancer.)

I wanted to do my part to stop cervical cancer, so I rolled up my sleeve and got lots of shots. I certainly didn’t do it so the right wing assholes could hold up the vaccine in the name of abstinence education. Bastards.

Headline of the Day

posted by on November 1 at 1:31 PM

From the PI:

“Teenage Editors Feel Bound and Gagged”

The editors of Everett High’s student newspaper—The Kodak—were angry after their principal cut a story from the paper. In protest, they took pictures of themselves with tape over their mouths and their hands tied and ran those in the paper. Robert Jamieson writes, “I’ll side with the kids on this one.” I’ll side with the kids too—hell, I’ll help out at their next photo shoot.

But a word of warning, Everett High eds: Turning your high school paper into a forum for bondage erotica may not be the best way to avoid censorship these days. It actually invites it. BDSM porn, however mild, is a porn genre the Bush Justice Department is currently waging war on. If you think your principal is a facist, eds, just wait until George W. and Alberto G. crawl up your ass.

The Democrats Find Some Balls

posted by on November 1 at 1:26 PM

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has called a closed Senate session.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Democratic leader Harry Reid said the American people and U.S. troops deserved to know the details of how the United States became engaged in the war, particularly in light of the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.

Reid demanded the Senate go into closed session. With a second by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the public was ordered out of the chamber, the lights were dimmed, senators filed to their seats on the floor and the doors were closed. No vote is required in such circumstances.

“The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions,” Reid said before the doors were closed.

It’s going to be an ugly November.

Teenage Revolutionary Footnote

posted by on November 1 at 12:55 PM

15-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested in March 1955 (nine months before Rosa Parks, 42) for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, AL. bus.
The local NAACP, itching for a case to challenge the bus segregation law, almost went with Colvin’s case, but dropped it because they didn’t think Colvin fit the bill: She allegedly resisted arrest, she was too dark-skinned, she was from the poorer part of town, and she was pregnant.

Colvin was a member of the youth chapter of the local NAACP and was party to the 1956 U.S. Supreme Court case (Browder V. Gayle) that eventually outlawed segregation on busses.

A footnote to this footnote: Colvin was mentioned in the original boycott fliers that went out after Parks’ arrest. However, the fliers misspelled her name

Pleated curtains cause migraines

posted by on November 1 at 12:44 PM

I was digging around on the web last night, reading old articles about Joan Didion (who is the best American writer currently living and who is doing a free event at the library a week from tomorrow), and came across this profile of her from 1979, written by a younger, kinder Michiko Kakutani. Not long into it, there’s a paragraph about how Didion believes her pleated curtains are causing her migraines.

Avoid handling surfaces contaminated with poultry feces or secretions

posted by on November 1 at 12:34 PM

In case you, like me, are experiencing vague bird-flu anxiety:
CNN’s “Bird Flu: What You Need to Know,” the much more in-depth CDC Avian Influenza fact sheet, and the transcript of NPR listeners’ Q&A with public-health experts tamped my germinating fears somewhat.

Canada’s Holy Fuck

posted by on November 1 at 12:33 PM

A friend of mine recently went to Canada and brought back a burned copy of a disc by this Toronto band Holy Fuck, saying the kids are going ape shit over their manic electronic improv. I’m a sucker for straight, to the point exclamations as band monikers, so I became intrigued. After checking out the disc, I would recommend giving the Holy Fuck a spin, as it’s some truly unusual shit. “No laptops, no samplers, no synths,” just toys, gadgets, bass, drums, and weird stuff. They were the backing act for Beans at the most recent Coachella. Prog-dance rock in the house.

W Stands for Dead Women

posted by on November 1 at 11:23 AM

As I wrote a few months ago in Savage Love, some folks are opposed to the introduction of a vaccine for two strains of HPV, the virus that causes genital wart and can also cause cervical cancer in women. HPV infections that lead to cervical cancer kill 4000 American women every year. Who could possibly be against the introduction of a vaccine—one that has proven 100% effective in clinical tests!—that will save thousands of women’s lives every year? Why, those “culture of lifeā€¯ assfucks, of course. From yesterday’s Washington Post:

A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teen-agers could encourage sexual activity.

Docs want all girls to receive the vaccine as a matter of routine when they hit puberty. The religious right is opposed to that. Why?

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage…. “I’ve talked to some who have said, ‘This is going to sabotage our abstinence message,’ ” said Gene Rudd, associate executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

There’s a problem with the right’s abstinence message. It doesn’t work. Young men and women still have sex, and kids who have been subjected to abstinence-only education, the right’s preferred brand, have more sex than kids who aren’t subjected to abstinence-only sex ed. So what the right is saying is this: We’re willing to kill American women in order to avoid “sabotaging” our lying , ineffectual, backfiring abstinence-only message.

And who gets to determine the government’s position on the HPV vaccine? And who gets to decide who gets it? And when they get it? Thanks to George W. Bush, the Christian fundies do. From the Washington Post:

The jockeying [around the HPV vaccine] reflects the growing influence social conservatives, who had long felt overlooked by Washington, have gained on a broad spectrum of policy issues under the Bush administration. In this case, a former member of the conservative group Focus on the Family serves on the federal panel that is playing a pivotal role in deciding how the vaccine is used.

W stands for women—that’s what he told us when he ran for president. But, hey, it wasn’t a lie. George W. Bush never said anything about standing for live women.

Hunger and Vowels

posted by on November 1 at 10:01 AM

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, the Senate is considering legislation that will filet $39 billion from the budget over the next five years by cutting from entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid, student loans, et al) and opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.

The prizewinning sentence:

As the Agriculture Committee was drafting budget-cutting legislation that could knock 295,000 people off food stamps [and, according to the Boston Globe, 40,000 kids off school lunches], the Agriculture Department released findings that 529,000 more Americans went hungry last year than in 2003.

The Department’s report contained a silver lining for Northwest chauvinists. Oregon, once the nation’s hungriest state, has ceded that distinction to Oklahoma. Also high on the list: Arkansas and Alaska. The lesson? Bring extra snacks when visiting states that begin with open vowels.


Monday, October 31, 2005

Green Demon

posted by on October 31 at 5:21 PM

Absinthe was made for a gray Halloween eve. Fun facts:
Thujone, the principal active ingredient in absinthe, is chemically similar to THC, and is thought to attach to the same receptors in the brain.
It wasn’t legal for me to bring those bottles home from the Czech Republic last year.
Absinthe oxidizes like wine once the bottle is open.
Green Devil sells a kit, including an ounce of organic Wormwood, so you can make your own.

This Is How Democracy Gets Blinded!

posted by on October 31 at 4:46 PM

Forget Free Speech Zones, in the future police will be able to blind entire groups of protesters with a single shot from their “PHaSR.”

The Wire Praises Yann Novak

posted by on October 31 at 3:41 PM

Seattle laptop producer Yann Novak’s album Fade Dis/Appearances received a positive review from Chris Sharp in The Wire’s October 2005 issue (see page 69; the review isn’t online). It’s quite a feat for a release on a tiny label such as Novak’s Dragon’s Eye to get ink in the highly respected U.K. magazine. Sharp compared one track to Gavin Bryars and deemed the disc “an assured and distinctive success.ā€¯ Congratulations to this promising recording artist whose label is becoming a fecund source of challenging abstract electronica.

Bird Flu…

posted by on October 31 at 3:40 PM

…in Canada. Isn’t that pretty close to here?

Rosa Parks and Ronald Reagan

posted by on October 31 at 3:40 PM

From the cover of today’s Seattle Times: “Nation pays tribute to the ‘mother of the America we grew to be’”

From Associated Press: “Parks honored at Capitol tribute fit for presidents”

We must not separate the current media spectacle of the death of Rosa Parks (who, to be honest, was a symbol of the civil rights movement and not much else) from the spectacle the was generated on the death of Ronald Reagan (he died a month after the New Yorker exposed Abu Ghraib). The nation is looking to the past because the present is so unbearable.

(Two quick notes on the headlines: One, the media has transformed dead Rosa Parks into the kind of black woman the nation can love and understand, a mother—meaning, a mammy. Two, the grandeur of Rosa Parks viewing and funeral has much in common with the funeral at the end of Sirk’s film Imitation of Life.)

Re: Alito’s Son…

posted by on October 31 at 3:22 PM

Dan, I’m surprised you failed to notice what Clinton’s right hand is secretly doing behind that young lady’s back. Even his image is up to no good.

Forget Alito’s Son….

posted by on October 31 at 2:36 PM

Check out this hottie, who ended up in my mailbox courtesy of a new Seattle Times marketing campaign:

cuteboy.jpg

He’s not the age of your average newspaper reader (that age is 55, according to a recent study). But he sure is nice to look at.

Alito’s Son…

posted by on October 31 at 1:53 PM

Alito is going to be a disaster, as everyone has already pointed out. But has anyone pointed out yet that Alito’s son is a freakin’ babe? That’s him, in the middle, next to his mother and under Bill Clinton. (That sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) Mmm… don’t you just love Italian boys with blond hair…

Blog+Image_alitos.jpg

Sigh.

Why are young Republicans always so much hotter than young Dems? And I may be reading too much into her expression, but Alito’s daughter? She’s the blond standing to the babe son’s right? She looks mighty pissed off about her father’s nomination. Hey, maybe she’s pro-choice—I mean, if Alan Keyes’ daughter turned out to be a dyke, it’s at least a possibility that Alito’s daughter is a member of NARAL, isn’t it?

Jesus Scoops

posted by on October 31 at 1:42 PM

From Focus on the Family’s website—via Americablog.org

So you’re a fundamentalist parent and you’ve banned your kids from participating in the satanic, pagan holiday being celebrated today. But still you don’t want to be a complete killjoy. Don’t worry! Your kids can carve a pumpkin today too—provided you make it a teaching moment, drop in a few bible passages, and stick a knife in…

The Pumpkin Gospel

Prepare a place for your pumpkin carving. Set newspapers on a table and get out the knife, spoon and bowl. Cut an opening in the top of the pumpkin. Have your kids pull out all of the seeds and scrape out the inside of the pumpkin.

What to talk about:
How is the stuff we pulled out of the pumpkin like sin in our heart? (They’re both yucky; sin is inside us; it’s sticky and smelly.) How is the way we cleaned out the pumpkin like the way Jesus cleans us out when we confess our sins? (All the yucky stuff is taken away; Jesus scoops out the sin.)

What to do:

Draw a happy face on the pumpkin, then use the sharp knife to carve it out. When you are finished, read aloud 2 Corinthians 5:17 and/or Ephesians 2:10.

What to talk about:
How have we made this pumpkin a “new creationā€¯? (It has a face now; it used to be just a pumpkin, but now it’s a jack-o’-lantern.) How do we become a new creation when Jesus comes into our hearts? (We learn to love Him more; we’re no longer filled with yucky stuff; we become God’s children.)

What to share:

When Jesus comes into our hearts, we become new creations, just as our pumpkin became a new creation. Read Matthew 5:14-16. Then light a candle and place it in the pumpkin. Turn off the room lights so everyone can see the candlelight coming through the pumpkin’s face.

What to talk about:

How is the way the candlelight comes through the pumpkin like the way God wants our light to shine? (God wants others to see how much we love Him; God wants our light to be seen by others.)

What to do:

Sing age-appropriate songs such as This Little Light of Mine (younger children) or Shine, Jesus, Shine (older children and teenagers.)

Sounds like a rockin’ party.

Cry Me a River

posted by on October 31 at 12:57 PM

The median MVET cost for the monorail is $81 a year.
That means half of Seattle’s car owners are paying less than $1.50 per week for the monorail.

The average MVET cost for the monorail is $130 per year.
That means the average car owner is paying $2.50 per week for the monorail.

So, the complaint is…. ???

Another War Launched on Distorted Intelligence

posted by on October 31 at 11:40 AM

Check out this eerie story in today’s New York Times. Apparently, the National Security Agency has been sitting on a report that shows the intelligence that caused the U.S. to declare war on Vietnam was deliberately falsified. And why has the NSA been sitting on this report, written by respected NSA historian Robert J. Hanyok, since 2001?

Mr. Hanyok’s findings were published nearly five years ago in a classified in-house journal, and starting in 2002 he and other government historians argued that it should be made public. But their effort was rebuffed by higher-level agency policymakers, who by the next year were fearful that it might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, according to an intelligence official familiar with some internal discussions of the matter.

Re: Hell Week

posted by on October 31 at 11:38 AM

I just read the New Yorker piece that Christopher linked to… and this, the final line, broke my freaking heart:

Thirty-nine months—five months more than John F. Kennedy’s entire Presidency—remain in the second term of George W. Bush.

How the hell are we going to get through this?

Paint It Black

posted by on October 31 at 11:30 AM

Just in time for Halloween, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer turns its attention to a mysterious subculture known as Goth, shedding specific light on the art of Gothic homemaking.

My favorite component: This front-page teaser…

seattlepi_goth.jpg

I, Anonymous Alert

posted by on October 31 at 11:05 AM

This morning brings a dazzling and disturbing new post to the I, Anonymous forum.

Entitled To Ease My Burning Conscience, this high-octane report should please all who love a good old-fashioned, potentially criminal I Anon.

Elsewhere in the forum, an anonymous citizen dares to call out a shit-happy dog by name (see Pick up after Butterscotch, you fat bitch!).

Hell Week

posted by on October 31 at 11:00 AM

I know I always post things from The New Yorker, but I can’t help it, this is great. They’ve dubbed last week in the White House “Hell Week.”

Well, well, well… if it isn’t Mon Frere.

posted by on October 31 at 11:00 AM

I just gotta say that local band Mon Frere put on a totally stellar performance last night at El Corazon. Not only did the old songs sound even better as vocalist Nouela Johnston’s pipes keep getting stronger, but the band played a couple new songs that proved their best material is yet to come. They start recording their debut full-length today, I believe, and they’re shooting for an early spring 2006 release date. In the mean time, pick up their latest, Real Vampires EP, on Cake Records.

And perhaps you saw the new MTV show “Homewreckers” last night? Ryan Dunn (so hot) hosts the show where they remodel homes in the name of revenge. The theme song is none other than Kane Hodder’s “Aboard the Leper Colony.” Nice work, boys.

Scalito, Schmalito

posted by on October 31 at 10:31 AM

So, Bush nominated the conservative favorite Samuel A. Alito for Sandra Day O’Connor’s associate justice seat. Known as “Scalito”—that’s little Scalia, for those unfamiliar with Romance languages—Alito is a strong conservative who sits on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. In his most famous dissent (Planned Parenthood v. Casey—download the PDF here), he argued a law requiring women to inform their husbands before having an abortion was a-okay.

Like Judge Roberts, Alito is a Catholic. Is anyone else finding it weird that so many Catholics are affiliated with an originalist/textualist judicial philosophy? I would think that the Catholic “Scripture+Church tradition” religious model would incline judges to a “Constitution+precedent” legal model (as opposed to the traditional Protestant reliance on the Bible alone, which would be analogous to the originalist dependence on the literal word of the Constitution).

Alito and Abortion

posted by on October 31 at 10:25 AM

It seems that a woman’s right to choose is already a big issue with Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Circuit Court Judge Samuel Alito. It’s hard for that issue not to come up with this conservative, though, who, for example, “Disagreed with the majority in a ruling striking down a Pennsylvania law that required women to notify their husbands if they planned to get an abortion” in 1991 (Source: CNN.) Fucking scary.

God’s Wrath

posted by on October 31 at 10:23 AM

Now if a man had been electrocuted during, say, a porn shoot or a lap dance or a confirmation hearing for a liberal nominated to the Supreme Court, the fundies would be screaming about how it was God’s Wrath, His Divine Judgment, the Lord Almighty Expressing His High Holy Displeasure (why can’t God, like any two year-old, use his words?).

So what exactly is God expressing when he electrocutes a fundamentalist preacher in the middle of performing a baptism?

A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning after grabbing a microphone while partially submerged, a church employee said.

The Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, was standing in water up to his shoulder in a baptismal at University Baptist Church when he was electrocuted, said Jamie Dudley, a church business administrator and wife of another pastor there.

Doctors in the congregation performed chest compressions for 40 minutes before Lake was taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, Dudley said. Police said they weren’t called and the hospital referred calls to the church… “He was grabbing the microphone so everyone could hear,” Dudley said. “It’s the only way you can be loud enough.”

About 800 people attended the morning service, which was larger than normal because it was homecoming weekend at nearby Baylor University, Dudley said.

Hm. Perhaps God was expressing that He is a Darwinist, and He doesn’t think anyone stupid enough to grab a mic while standing shoulder-deep in water should survive long enough to reproduce? Nope, can’t be that. The dead pastor already has three kids. While I would take this death as evidence that the universe is random and cruel, fundy Christians will attempt to tease out God’s message. I’ll save you the trouble of having to wait for their interp: As always, when something bad happens to them, it’s God’s testing their faith. When something bad happens to you, it’s God punishing your misdeeds.

My iPod

posted by on October 31 at 2:33 AM

Who ever you are, thank you for handing the bartenders at Noc Noc the iPOD I dropped in the process of hitting the dance floor with two friends done up as showgirls. I didn’t notice my mini music machine was gone until I got home, and in a panic I called the bar expecting to hear the worst but instead learned that honest people still roamed the wide world—they had my mini music machine. In your honor I’m repeatedly listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Cities in Dust.” Again, thanks.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Go Riot!

posted by on October 30 at 8:08 PM

Seattle sent three champion teams to Florida last weekend, but only one came back. Our men’s, women’s, and coed ultimate Frisbee teams swept last year’s Ultimate Player’s Association Club Championship—the World Series of ultimate Frisbee—in Sarasota. This year was less triumphant.

Sockeye (the boys) made it to the final game undefeated but lost 15-13 to Furious George (Vancouver, B.C.). Adding to the sting of defeat, Sockeye beat Furious 15-13 on the first day of the tournament. (The first team to score 15 points wins.)

The girls of Riot fared better, trouncing Backhoe (North Carolina) at 15-4.

Shazam, the coed team, didn’t make it to the finals.

Cheers to Riot and to everyone else—there’s always next year.

Libby, Schmibby—How About Those White Sox?

posted by on October 30 at 12:18 PM

Some final thoughts from my brother Bill, Cubs Fanatic, on the White Sox. As you’ll see, graciousness runs in the family. Oh, and there’s some encouraging words for Mariner’s fans in here too.

OK, I’m back from the window ledge. The clothesline is no longer tied into a hangman’s noose, and I’ve put all the sharp knives back in their drawers. No need to end it all over the White Sox—God, it kills me to type this—World Series victory. Why? Well, I’ve got my talking points in order, and a bright vision of the future for both the Cubs and the Mariners.

Talking points: the Sox only won because it was fixed. Every questionable call from the umpires went their way, and Major League Baseball forced Houston to play with the roof of Minute Maid Park open. The Astros were only 15-11 in the regular season with the roof open, while they were 36-17 with it closed. Forcing it to stay open took the home field advantage away from the Astros and sealed the deal. The suits wanted the larger media market to win (though this was the lowest rated World Series in TV history, thanks—I think—to the jackasses who announced it and Fox TV’s endless sound effects and promos and bullshit) and so the fix was in.

It’s so, Joe.

And whatever gloating the Sox fans might do, they still are Sox fans and have to live in their blighted neighborhoods, soulless suburban tornado-attracting trailer parks, and various jails, prisons and half-way houses. They still have their mullets and their velveeta and their lite beer and their meth labs. This distaste for all things White Sox Fans, by the way, is shared even by members of the clergy: the Reverend Andrew Greeley’s column in today’s Sun-Times says it all.

As for the bright future, it has been pointed out to me (by my cousin Chris Schneider, another fanatical Cubs fan in the family) that an encouraging pattern has emerged in the last two World Series. First, the Red Sox, who hadn’t won since 1918, won last year. Then this year, the White Sox, winless since 1917, win. So, God seems to be going backwards in time, giving long-sought victory to long-suffering fans. So, who’s next? Cubs, 1908. And 2006. As the late Cubs TV announcer Jack Brickhouse used to put it, “Any team can have a bad century.”

Then the magical reasoning stops and the pure conjecture begins: after the Cubs win next year, does it shift to the next longest Championship drought (the Cleveland Indians, 1948) or does it go to teams which have never won?

Here’s the deal for the Mariners: if God does not disappoint, and the next Series after the Cubs triumph goes to teams with the longest drought, the future is: ‘07, Cleveland, ‘08, Giants—then—in the order in which teams came into the majors—after Texas, Houston, Milwaukee, Washington and San Diego, the Mariners win it all in 2014. If, however, God goes to teams which have never won, then the Mariners win in 2012. You can bank on it.

Now, it’s time to drink. Opening Day is only about 26 weeks away.