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Archives for 04/02/2006 - 04/08/2006

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Nothing to See Here…

posted by on April 8 at 9:30 PM

After majorly screwing up a few weeks ago—I confused Lorrie McKay with Laurie Jinkins (who knew there was more than one lesbian named Lorrie/Laurie in Seattle?)—I should probably just keep my mouth shut.

But what the fuck is going on at Washington Won’t Discriminate??

WWD is the group that’s supposed to be fighting Tim “Lying Sack of Shit” Eyman’s Referendum 65, which, if it passes, will overturn the state’s gay rights bill. Eyman is out gathering signatures, raising money, and lying his ass off . Eyman’s been all over the place, but we haven’t heard much from WWD. And this week Lorrie McKay suddenly announced that she is leaving the group after just four weeks.

Something’s up.

The parting is being described as amicable—and, hey, aren’t they all? McKay told the Seattle Gay News that she was stepping down because “we had a difference in style—the [Executive Committee of Washington Won’t Discriminate] and I…. I really had to ask myself if it was really more helpful for me stay [sic] or get out of the way.” Campaign co-chair Anne Levinson described McKay’s departure as “pretty normal for campaigns,” adding, “we will keep moving on.”

From the outside it looks like something’s rotten at WWD—and ERW, for that matter—and unless someone with direct knowledge of what exactly is going wrong at WWD is willing to step forward and make some non-amicable public comment, WWD will continue to limp along. Which wouldn’t be a problem if Tim Eyman weren’t sprinting past us. There’s a terrible fear of rocking the boat in Seattle’s gay political circles. If something is seriously wrong at WWD, Lorrie, say something now, not after Eyman kicks our asses this November.

The Surface

posted by on April 8 at 5:34 PM

I’m becoming a big fan of the mashup pretend previews for movies that will never happen. I imagine some of these kids are getting pretty good job offers for their considerable efforts, as they should. It’s the power of the intarweb, in action. Don’t you love the intarweb?

And now.. Titanic Two: The Surface.

Shake Up at McGavick Campaign

posted by on April 8 at 3:54 PM

McGavick’s stressed out campaign manager calls it quits.

Here’s an e-mail from McGavick’s communications director:

From: Julie Sund Sent: Friday, April 07, 2006 2:43 PM Subject: FYI: McGavick campaign announcement. Campaign Director Ian Goodhew announced today that he will be leaving the campaign.  Ian made the following comments to Mike and staff this morning: “I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved in the last eight months. We are one of the top-targeted races in the nation and because of a lot of hard work and long days, there is no doubt we will stay at the top of that list. You all know that I came on to this campaign after a long and stressful period as a prosecutor working specifically on the Green River case and prosecuting sex offenders.  And I now have to admit that our early success has taken more of a personal toll on me than I had anticipated.  We have worked really hard, we built a great team, and we are built for the long haul. Dan Brady came on board in February to manage the campaign day-to-day and that will continue. I have complete confidence that this team’s work will lead to victory in November.”   Mike added the following: “Ian has shown great leadership throughout this campaign. Because of his dedication and hard work, we are in a great position. Our grassroots effort is strong, we have had early fundraising success and a great team has been assembled.  I thank him for his friendship, counsel and all he has done to get us to this point.” Julie Sund Communications Director Mike McGavick for U.S. Senate

Suffice it to say, when a campaign manager, on a priority GOP campaing, decides to quit—the higher ups on the Republican side didn’t think things were going so well.

Here’s the Democratic reaction:

Seattle — Below is a statement from Dwight Pelz, Chair of the Washington State Democrats on the recent personnel changes at Mike McGavick’s campaign: “The McGavick campaign lost their message and now they’ve lost their manager. Lobbyist Mike! said he was running as a healer and a moderate, but then he turns around and invites Dick Cheney to town and is flying up to Alaska to take money from Big Oil courtesy of Sen. Ted Stevens. This is a sign of a floundering, desperate campaign that has been trying to hide the fact that Lobbyist Mike! is nothing more than a rubberstamp for the Bush Administration.”

The Cops “I Can’t Stay Focused” Tour: Home Stretch Edition

posted by on April 8 at 11:45 AM

Sunday, April 2

Every time we drive through Iowa it rains, and this time is no exception. In fact, it was pouring the entire drive—the kind of heavy rain Seattle never sees. On top of that, we barely missed a tornado ripping through Iowa City. There’s nothing like a white-knuckle drive through massive tornadic activity to make a band want to rock. Unfortunately, this was not to be. We show up at Gabe’s Oasis only to find that there are a total of two people paid on this tornado-ridden Sunday night. The first band, the Lepers, play while we wait to load in equipment. No one else shows up, so we cut the bartenders and soundman a break and pack it in. The contrast between tonight and Omaha the night before is epic, but touring is damn unpredictable at times. While it can be fun and exciting much of the time, it can also be boring. We often spend 8 hours in a van, get to a club, unload, sit around and wait, play to 10 people, and search for somewhere to crash. Not to demystify the experience, but its hard work for a questionable payoff at times. Also worth mentioning - Gabe’s Oasis has the most disgusting bathrooms in the entire country, and the chairs stick to the floor—-yum!

Monday, April 3

The following night at Mojo’s in Columbia, Missouri is a much better experience. We play this Monday night to an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 50 - many of whom were at our previous performance with the Hold Steady and the Constantines. We play with a band called Bum With a Dog (one of our favorite band names this tour) and Johnny O and the Jerks. Johnny O and the Jerks were friendly enough to put us up for the night, and even bought beers and pizza for the occasion. The night was a sad one for Johnny Cop as he receives word that his cat, Jodie Foster (who is a boy) had to be put to sleep. The old guy went down somewhere in the middle of our set. Afterwards, the Johnny O boys helped set up a vigil and we make many toasts in Jodie’s honor. Their compassion was very welcome and we’ll never forget the night. Rest in peace, Jodie Foster.

Tuesday, April 4

The next day, we arrive in Lawrence, Kansas obnoxiously early. We spend a sunny and warm afternoon combing record shops and chilling out while people watching to pass time. Michael’s friend from Omaha, Donnadea, makes a road trip to see the band and is kind enough to sneak us into her hotel room later that night. This is our second visit to the Replay Lounge this year. It is a cool little venue with hip dĂ©cor and several pinball machines.

We arrive this time to find the front facade boarded up due to a violent microburst from a tornado that blew out the windows just days earlier. Apparently these microbursts drop out of the sky, unannounced, and destroy all kinds of nearby destroyables - glad we missed that shitstorm. Tonight we follow a cover band that does the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks,” and the Stooges’ “TV Eye” - fun stuff. The Cops rock so hard tonight that a ceiling tile falls out mid-set. John fixes it at the end of the night so that we could be assured a welcome return. James, Replay booking agent and front man of the band Conner, was very friendly to us and the staff treats us with generous hospitality. James tells us not to expect any cops (actual cops) on the highway between Lawrence and Denver and that we can drive 90 mph the entire way.

Wednesday, April 5

On the way to Denver we see 15 state troopers within the first hour of driving - so much for speeding. This is the most boring drive of the entire tour. There is nothing to see other than miles of open plains and the world’s largest prairie dog. We make it to the Larimer Lounge in Denver in time to have food, drinks, and meet friends. The show tonight is ok and we play for another enthusiastic audience. A Denver band called Swayback shares the bill and they’re very good. Both bands are a solid match and we talk about touring together this summer. Dave and John’s college friend, Shannon, puts us up for the night.

Thursday, April 6

The following morning we awake early to get a head start and beat the massive snowstorms predicted in the Rocky Mountains. We have a long drive to Salt Lake City and tonight’s show starts early. We get through Colorado in good time only to hit near white out conditions in the mountains outside of Salt Lake. Dave white knuckles the wheel and we make it in time for our show at Kilby Court, a cool all-ages venue run by volunteers, similar to Seattle’s Vera Project. We arrive to find two feet of standing water at the entrance to the venue. Aarrggh.

Tonight we play to a small group of kids who stand at the front of the stage and respond in kind to every song. The 10-hour drive to play to a dozen spazzy kids seems worth it. We sell a few CDs and even sign a t-shirt. The night ends early as we grab a 12-pack and head to a hotel room to unwind. One more road show left before we come back to Seattle for our show Saturday at the Crocodile. The tour is coming to a bittersweet end, but we’re anxious to come home.

Ed. note: The Cops are heading back to Seattle from their last show at the Neurolux in Boise. They’ll be at the Crocodile tonight (doors at 9pm, $8) with Slender Means and Wintergreen. Welcome home, boys.

Regime Change in Iran? I Know History Repeats Itself—the 2nd Time as Farce. But What Happens When the 1rst Time (Iraq) was a Farce?

posted by on April 8 at 11:15 AM

All-star journalist Seymour Hersh has a whopping scoop in the latest New Yorker documenting President Bush’s intent to bomb Iran and spark regime change. Oh, and bomb Iran with nukes. Great hearts and minds move.

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, `What are they smoking?’ ”

Corporate Insecurity

posted by on April 8 at 10:55 AM

I missed this eye-opening editorial last week that argues Wal-Mart is undermining national security by using its heavy lobbying and campaign contribution clout to oppose port security measures.

Adding injury to injury, there’s a reason Wal-Mart, w/ $11 billion in profits in 2005, is fighting port security. It wants to protect the uninhibited flow of merchandise that it imports from overseas manufacturers. Bottom line: Wal-Mart is upending U.S. security so it can upend U.S. manufacturers. Wal-Mart is the #1 U.S. importer. (20 years ago, the company imported about 6 percent of its merchandise from overseas…today more than 2/3 of its products are imported from China alone.)

The editorial, written by AFL-CIO leader John Sweeney, gives examples of how Wal-Mart, the country’s third largest corporate campaign contributor to federal elections in the last presidential cycle at $2.7 million, prioritized an anti-port security agenda.

According to the editorial, Wal-Mart has:

1) Opposed the introduction of anti-terrorist “smart containers” and electronic seals for cargo containers coming into U.S. ports. The retail industry called them “feel good (security) measures.”
2) Opposed independent and regular inspections of supply-chain security practices around the world.
3) Opposed tougher rules requiring Wal-Mart to let Customs know what it’s shipping in and where it comes from. &
4) Opposed new container-handling fees to pay for improved port security

Great Men of Genius Debriefing #2: P.T. Barnum

posted by on April 8 at 10:27 AM

Our series of dueling dispatches from the stage and the audience continues. Featuring a very enthusiastic Scientologist! And pussy! (More information on Mike Daisey’s monologues here.)

Mike Daisey (performer): Creating the outline and preparing today was easier than the first monologue, as I’ve figured out now how to navigate, and it showed in performance—we learned from the first night, and there was a lighter, defter touch to every moment, and because of this the show was much more delightful for me than the night before. One exception: in the blackout after the monologue and before the curtain call I ran into the table trying to get around it, which is embarrassing because it’s the only blocking I have. The first person I talked to after the show was a very enthusiastic Scientologist who is looking forward to Sunday’s show on L. Ron Hubbard immensely. I agreed that I was looking forward to the show as well.
Anthony Hecht (audience member): The theater was nearly full for the second night of Mike Daisey’s Great Men of Genius at CHAC, and, as my companion noted, “there are a lot of hair and earth tones in here.” A lot of corduroy too, and, for some reason, Hawaiian shirts. Before the performance began, the audience jabbered while one whole row of patrons quietly read books—one a hardbound graphic novel and one a smaller book, presumably the Communist Manifesto. They must have thought it was Brecht night.

Instead, Daisey focused his gaze on P.T. Barnum. We learned that Barnum gave the world terms like “jumbo sized,” “Siamese twins,” and was responsible for making opera popular in the United States. (Is opera popular in the United States?) Did you also know that Barnum’s family crafted an elaborate lie (a “humbug”) that they told P.T. until he was a teenager, just for fun? Then they took him to a swamp and told him it was all a big joke, and they laughed and laughed. Good times! Or that he started his own newspaper called the Herald of Freedom soon after, but had to shut it down after he was sued for libel four or five times and briefly imprisoned? Me, I knew about the Siamese twins thing, but not the rest of it.

Daisey closely related aspects of Barnum’s personality and work to his own life and work, from his days as a Star Trek geek to his more recent work with the burlesque performers of New York. Barnum was first and foremost a showman, and, in Daisey’s eyes, much more than the huckster he’s commonly thought to be. Not only did Barnum never actually say “There’s a sucker born every minute,” but he believed the opposite. Barnum had deep respect for the intellect of his audience. He didn’t think they truly believed that the 80-year-old slave woman he was trotting around the country was actually 160 years old and had once been George Washington’s nurse, but he understood that they wanted to see her for themselves, and, more importantly, he understood they would pay him to do so.

Daisey returned to this last point several times throughout the performance—the money. “It is difficult and challenging work to be without shame,” he says, and, if done properly, it can be quite profitable.

For the record, I counted forty-nine swear words in tonight’s show—at least seven of those in quotes. I think that’s fewer than last night, and 60 to 70 percent of those were used for direct and great effect. I liked the swearing. The best use of swearing tonight: “Are you there God? It’s me, Judy Blume, spanking your ass,” followed closely by, “… and then her pussy says, `Hello, I love you.’”

Read the Great Men of Genius Debriefing #1: Bertolt Brecht here.

The Architecture of Blood

posted by on April 8 at 7:29 AM

For this image,
the Seattle Times provided these words:

The minaret of a major Shiite mosque in Baghdad, where three suicide bombers killed dozens attending prayer services Friday, is reflected in a bloody pool.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Why Was the P.S.1 Deputy in Seattle?

posted by on April 7 at 8:56 PM

Brett Littman, who is deputy director of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (the MoMA offshoot in Queens) and manager of the museum’s radio station (WPS1), made a minor stir when he showed up in Seattle last week. Turns out he was here to interview for the director job at the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art in Tacoma.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. The museum did offer the job to Littman, who has an extensive background writing about glass and curating shows in the medium, a spokeswoman at the museum confirmed earlier today. But Littman turned it down for personal reasons. The museum’s search committee will reconvene shortly to decide what to do next.

Littman visited Platform Gallery, where he saw William Powhida’s raving drawings (an interview with the artist is here) and bought one for his personal collection, the withering letter to the artist Dana Schutz. He also invited Powhida to be interviewed on his radio show later this month.

Powhida lives in Brooklyn, so he was understandably flummoxed that a New York museum mucky-muck discovered him here. “In Seattle,” he said, standing outside his opening, sounding bemused and tense.

Radical Notion, Unlikely Source

posted by on April 7 at 6:19 PM

Bruce Agnew of the conservative Discovery Institute (yes, that Discovery Institute, but this branch) pitched a simple but radical idea at a lunchtime forum put on by the Transportation Choices Coalition. As new technologies emerge, tolling cars to drive on certain roads or during certain hours is easier than ever. (High-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, for example, allow solo drivers to buy their way onto uncongested HOV lanes with EZ Tag-type technology.) So here’s Agnew’s idea: If you’re going to build a new road, toll it. “We believe that all general-purpose lanes in the region ought to be [tolled],” Agnew said. “Any new highway that’s put in ought to be considered a toll facility.”

Conservatives, Agnew said, ought to support tolling because, generally speaking, they don’t believe anyone should get a free ride. Tolls, he said, “are the ultimate user fee.”

Pranking Pitchfork

posted by on April 7 at 6:00 PM

Pitchfork, the music geek website everyone loves to hate, pulled one hell of a prank with their April Fool’s day edition (sorry, can’t find the archived site anywhere—if you find it, send it to me!), but they had the tables turned on them this week, courtesy of the mischevious and charming Rosie Thomas.

On a related note, this review of At the Drive-In’s Relationship of Command (written as if it’s a debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore) remains one of the funniest things ever.

MySpace Clamps Down on Seattle Promoter

posted by on April 7 at 5:26 PM

Just a week after I posted on Slog about MySpace’s deletion of 200,000 profiles, Rupert Murdoch’s online company 86’d a page close to the hearts of Seattle clubbers. The flier to local promoter Clayton Vomero’s new Pay to Cum night at Cha Cha must have been too risquĂ© for MySpace’s delicate sensibilities. Check it out for yourselves. Too nasty or no?

Picture 1.jpg

Vomero sent this message to his MySpace friends: “What’s up with that? No warning, just gone. Y’all never seen a lady spread her legs in a bird costume before?”

A weekend in South Park???

posted by on April 7 at 4:50 PM

It could happen. There’s an art walk on Saturday, as well as kayak tours of the Duwamish, which is, um, cleaner than the last time you saw it.

And Saturday also brings the dawn of a new era for South Park’s County Line Tavern, the den of iniquity that occupies the corner of Dallas Avenue South and the 16th Avenue bridge. It has long served the Boeing blue collar set, which appreciated the cheap drinks, the greasy ambience and the happy hour that started at 6 (a.m.).

And of course, the whores and drug dealers took over the night shift.

But Saturday night it will have an actual rock show. Amateur Radio Operator, Johanna Kunin, and Red Jacket Mine will play. That lineup represents major strides for a tavern that had been a favorite among the most desperate cover bands.

Much of the credit goes to Joel Clement, who works in Fremont but lives down the road from the tavern. A year ago, he was trying like hell to close down County Line. Eventually, he just invited his friends to hang out there, and since no one got stabbed or shot, they came back the next week. (The increased police presence didn’t hurt either.) Eventually, much of the riffraff shuffled off. Clement has now become so friendly with management that he has started promoting the bar as a rock venue.

Lest their be any concern the tavern’s lost its grit, remember: It’s only been a month since the last shooting.

On Not Reviewing Phat Girlz

posted by on April 7 at 4:43 PM

The P-I carried a brief AP story today about the many movies this season that studios are deciding not to screen for critics.

Since we’re a weekly, AP’s description of “scrambling” to write a review the day the film opens doesn’t really apply to us. (We have more problems with the big movies that studios choose to screen for critics the week of the opening, with a theater packed full of revved-up fans.) In fact, on occasion we’ve given a long review to one of these blind openers the following week—such as my essay on the fascinations of Tyler Perry.

Do people care about this critic fatwa? Would it actually be better if movie reviews came out the week after the film opened, like it works in theater? The phenomenon irritates me in some ways, but in other ways it’s all right. Did you really need someone to tell you that Doogal was gonna suck?

Jason Travers

posted by on April 7 at 4:08 PM

The family and friends of Jason Travers, one of the victims of the March 25 shooting on Capitol Hill, invited Stranger news reporter Thomas Francis to Jason’s memorial service. Jason’s ashes were scattered on a beach in West Seattle.

You can read about the service, and learn a little more about Jason, by clicking here.

RIP Vendetta Red

posted by on April 7 at 4:01 PM

As mentioned in this week’s Underage column, Vendetta Red will play their last show ever tomorrow night at El Corazon. The show starts at 7:30 pm, and costs $10 at the door. Sameer Shukla, the Divorce, and Kane Hodder are also playing.

Speaking of Kane Hodder, bassist Nick Cates and his buddy Jonah Bergman (of Schoolyard Heroes fame) geek out about Queen in this week’s paper. You can read it here. Hopefully it’s a fun read for you too, because I had a great time putting it together.

Sadly, I’m going to have to miss the VR show. I’ll be wandering around the Tacoma Dome for the Fall Out Boy show, trying to make sense of their popularity. If you’re there, give a shout! I’ll be the confused looking blonde girl who’s NOT singing along to every word. Oh, and remember those Fall Out Boy videos from a few months ago? Yeah, they’re still funny. Watch: “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down Swinging”, “Dance Dance”.

Club Z Insiders

posted by on April 7 at 3:37 PM

No one would talk when I was working on the article, but some readers who know about Club Z’s history have been coming forward to share things. Carolann Inman wrote in response to the statement that “Women were not—and are still not, and have never been—allowed in the club”:

To say woman were never allowed into the “Z” is not a correct statement. I for one have been in the “Z”, when my husband worked there, yes it was still a gay male business. I was also there when the Pope before John died. I sat in the TV room right off the front desk and watched the telecast with a group of towel clad men. I have also been above the first floor to go wake up my husband. And when workers did not show up Jim (the manager) was known to have Dale (my husband) call me to run the desk, so Dale could work the floor. Mark Sauer (a dear friend), who manager the “Z”, passed away in the late 80’s. Unfortunately some of the history of the “Z” will never be found through the channels you have accessed. Some of it lives with those of us who lived here on Capital Hill during the 70’s and 80’s. Although lots of my friends are gone there are still some of us around.

If I remember correctly one other woman has also been inside the “Z”, Tracy way back when. We all partied at the Axel Rock, the Marshall’s Office, and Johnny’s Handbar. We danced at the “church” and went to Morning Madness at the Clock. MDA was the drug of choice, which the gay population kept to themselves, it never transferred over to the straights.

I understand the financial reason behind the owner of the building wanting to develop it into something more profitable. I also understand that the building is and has been a fire trap for many years. Yes the building inside is dark and dirty and when knocked down the roaches and mice will run around First Hill looking for new homes. But a little part of my heart will shed a tear when it goes. After loosing over 100 friends to AIDS for me it will be another old friend gone.

Greg—who doesn’t want me to use his last name—writes:

I was one of the early members of the Zodiac as we called it then. The place when it first opened had no “cubicles” as today. There were only the rooms as they had been when it was a flop house. The owners were Jim Barrett and Jake, Jake was bi-sexual and lived in Tacoma and I never knew his last name. Jim and Jake had also owned the Atlas Steam baths. The one on 2nd Avenue and before that one it was in Pioneer Square. Plus some after hours clubs before the big police payoff scandal of the late 70’s. Mark Sauer was a manager for a very short time less then you article implies. The shower has been on the third floor as were the “clean out” faculties back in the early days… By the way the Z is far cleaner today then in late 70’s and early 80’s.

Rollin’ with the Party Crashers, Part 2

posted by on April 7 at 2:31 PM

Hey, if you have a question for Markos or Jerome, post it in the comments before 3 pm and I’ll ask your question on the way back into Seattle.

Rollin’ with the Party Crashers

posted by on April 7 at 2:09 PM

I jumped into Goldy’s Volvo earlier today and rode out to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond with Jerome Armstrong, the creator of MyDD and a co-author of Crashing the Gate, a new book on how bloggers are changing liberal politics. (Read my review here.)

In Redmond, we met up with Markos Moulitsas ZĂşniga, the other co-author of Crashing the Gate (and the force behind DailyKos), and now we’re in a small hall at Microsoft headquarters, listening as the bloggers lecture the techies on the future of politics in the age of the Internet.

I’m not allowed to write about what’s being said because this session is “off the record.” But I can tell you all about the Brave New World-ish scene that’s unfolding. The two bloggers (pictures here) are hooked up to microphones and are being watched by a video camera that’s broadcasting this session live to anyone inside the Microsoft Corporation who wants to watch. There are probably twice as many Microsoft employees watching this right now at their desks (desks in China, Redmond, and elsewhere, by the way) as there are people listening in this room right now.

In the front row is blogging celebrity Robert Scoble, who writes the tech blog Scobleizer—one of the most highly-trafficked tech blogs there is, I’m told. The rest of the seats are filled with geeks taking notes on fancy laptops, many of them with screens that spin and contort so that a laptop becomes a writing tablet. The vibe… basically a liberal nerd love-in.

On the way back, I’m going to try to do a digital-audio interview with Markos (who flew into Seattle this morning after being in New York for an appearance on the Colbert Report last night). It may take a day or two to get the interview up online, but I’ll do another post when it’s ready.

For information on the political bloggers’ appearance tonight in Seattle, click here.

Where Does Santorum Come From?

posted by on April 7 at 1:56 PM

Wondering where Santorum comes from? The former head of the Republican National Committee Ed Gillespie has the answer:

“He tends to come from behind.”

Tell us something we don’t already know, Ed.

You can read all about Santorum’s amazing come-from-behind powers here.

Homeland Security: It takes a criminal to spot one

posted by on April 7 at 12:53 PM

It seems the US Army has been hiring criminals as security guards at bases across the country, according to a recent report released by the Government Accountability Office (via Hampton Roads).

…this is the third time in three years that [the GAO] has warned the Army that the lack of proper background checks could jeopardize security at some of the largest and most important installations, including Fort Bragg and West Point.
The GAO report says that at one facility, which was unidentified… 61 security guards with criminal records had been hired, including two dozen with felonies and one with an outstanding warrant.

Artless Reading Tonight

posted by on April 7 at 12:24 PM

Tonight at Elliot Bay Books, Gary Cole will be reading from his new book Artless: The Odyssey of a Republican Cultural Creative.

I first met Gary Cole—who, it should be said, is not the Gary Cole from Office Space—in Portland in 2001, when his company Stage Direct produced a film of my play Straight. At the time, I knew Gary as a lawyer and theater-lover, and had no idea of his years spent working for the CIA, or the time and energy he spent supporting presidential bids by Bushtards 1 (in 1992) and 2 (in 2000). Turns out Gary is that rare Republican who can spend one month working to get some GOP goofball elected, and the next carrying out his dream of bringing fringe theater to the masses.

The collision of Gary’s lifelong passion for Republican politics and lifelong love of (and frequent participation in) non-mainstream theater is at the center of Artless, which was largely inspired by a job Cole was offered in 2003, to serve on the National Endowment for the Arts. Thrilled by the prospect of bringing the two parts of his life together though an arts-related job in a Republican administration, Cole accepted the offer and got started moving his family from Portland to D.C.

Suddenly, the NEA job offer was retracted. “I got a call from the NEA, withdrawing the offer without any explanation,” Cole told Stranger Theater Editor Brendan Kiley in 2004. “It’s a White House political decision in Karl Rove’s office—they have to sign off on all political appointments.” From insiders, Cole was told his role in producing such works as Poona the Fuckdog and, yes, Straight played a major role in the retraction. (Straight deals critically with conversion therapy for homosexuals, Poona includes the word “fuck” in the title, and apparently neither work is something an NEA official should have anything to with.)

The NEA job switcheroo is one of many interesting stories in Artless: The Odyssey of a Republican Cultural Creative, which tracks Cole’s twin obsessions from their inceptions, and from which Cole will be reading tonight at 7:30, at Elliott Bay Book Co (101 S Main St, Seattle WA, 98104).

Margin of Error

posted by on April 7 at 11:54 AM

The excitable dissident Democrats in Seattle’s 36th District (Ballard, Queen Anne) are at it again, shopping a resolution that expresses their dissatisfaction with Sen. Maria Cantwell.

WHEREAS Sen. Maria Cantwell voted in favor of H.J. Res. 114 (Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq);

WHEREAS the 36th District Democrats censured Sen. Cantwell for her support of H.J. Res. 114;

WHEREAS between October 2003 and December 2005 Sen. Cantwell made no substantive public policy statement on Iraq in her own words;

WHEREAS when she finally broke her silence she said she had no regrets over her vote to authorize the war in Iraq (Seattle P-I, January 19, 2006);

WHEREAS, by the historical standards of J. David Singer and his colleagues at the University of Michigan, Iraq is in a state of civil war (Errol A. Henderson and J. David Singer, “Civil War in the Post-Colonial World, 1946-92,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 37, No. 3, May 2000);

WHEREAS President Bush has stated his intention to keep U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq into 2009 (Washington Post, March 22, 2006);

WHEREAS the United States is spending about a billion dollars on permanent military bases in Iraq (Seattle P-I, March 22, 2006); and

WHEREAS the Seattle P-I editorial board has stated that Sen. Cantwell “should bring a legitimate voice to the debate on how to best get out of Iraq”(Seattle P-I, March 21, 2006);

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 36th District Democrats call upon Sen. Maria Cantwell to join the public debate on how to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from the Iraq civil war.

It’s not clear that Sen. Cantwell is as much of a burning controversy in the 36th as those pushing the resolution want to believe, though.

A poll on Cantwell posted on the 36th’s website, that’s been up for about 3 weeks now, shows 40% saying she’ll win this November in a landslide, 20% saying she’ll barely eke out a win, and 40% saying she’ll be the only Dem to lose this November.

While that hardly seems like a show of confidence—only 5 people took part in the poll.

Party Crashers

posted by on April 7 at 11:05 AM

Markos Moulitsas ZĂşniga, the man behind the ĂĽber-popular liberal blog DailyKos, will be speaking tonight at the Seattle Labor Temple, along with Jerome Armstrong, the founder of another popular liberal blog, MyDD. If you’re interested in how the Internet is transforming politics, you should check this event out.

The two blogging superstars are in town to promote their new book, Crashing the Gate, which looks at how the “netroots” are changing the Democratic Party and also provides a blueprint for further change that the authors believe will bring the Democrats back to power at the federal level. I review the book in this week’s Stranger, here.

What does a superstar blogger look like? Click here for Markos and here for Jerome. Exactly where and when is tonight’s event? Click here for details.

(Photo credits: Paul Delehanty for Markos’s photo and John Rohrbach for Jermone’s photo.)

The BACK SIDE view of Britney Giving Birth

posted by on April 7 at 10:43 AM

Oh, yes.


posted by on April 7 at 10:34 AM

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist sent out some cowboy-themed invites to a fundraiser this week. The Washington Post has the story:

It was with some trepidation that we opened a most interesting card, which announced on a blue-jeaned cowboy’s belt buckle something called the “5th Annual VOLPAC ‘06 Weekend” in Nashville on April 21-23.

Problem was you had to unbuckle the cowboy’s pants and look inside to see what this was all about. Seemed a bit too “Brokeback Mountain.”

…the back of the card shows the cowboy from behind with a red flowered handkerchief sticking out of his right pocket. Wait a minute—wasn’t there something about how this used to be some kind of code in the gay community years ago? A way to signal each other in crowded, noisy bars?

So we checked the’s Hanky Codes. Sure enough, there it was in the chart explaining what they mean: red hanky in right pocket. Oh, dear.

That’s where the Washington Post’s piece ends. Being a daily paper, and therefore a “family newspaper,” the WaPo can’t tell its readers—some of whom, the assumption goes, read the entire WaPo aloud to their children at bedtime—exactly what a red hanky in a man’s right-hand back pocket means. It means this: The wearer is advertising himself as a passive partner in a fisting scene. He’s a fistfuckee, in other words. You can read all about fisting here.

The State of Art in Seattle and Everywhere

posted by on April 7 at 10:25 AM

The LA art critic and consultant Edward Goldman will give his perspective about contemporary art nationally, regionally and locally from 2-3 pm Saturday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Goldman moved to LA 25 years ago, after having emigrated from the former Soviet Union, where he worked as an art educator at the Hermitage.

To check him out, listen to his broadcasts on the KCRW radio show Art Talk here.

The cost of the lecture is $7. Box office is 654-3121.

Great Men of Genius Debriefing Report #1: Bertolt Brecht

posted by on April 7 at 10:24 AM

Monologuist Mike Daisey is at the Capitol Hill Arts Center this week, premiering four “bio-logues” in four nights about great men of genius, some are evil geniuses, but most are morally ambiguous (my favorite kind).

Every day, I’ll post two reports from the previous night’s show—one from the stage (courtesy of Mr. Daisey himself), and one from the audience, where Anthony Hecht, our intrepid aficionado of all things genius, will sit through the four monologues. I am proud to present to you, gentle reader:

Great Men of Genius Debriefing Report #1: Bertolt Brecht

Mike Daisey: It was a surprisingly smooth opening night in terms of logistics—CHAC really stepped up to the plate, and I think the natural brick and wood of the space has made a fantastic set for the monologues. I’d like my transitions to be sharper and simultaneously cleaner, and sometimes I swear too much—that should clear up so that I’m only swearing for direct effect, but when I do a show for the very first time, sometimes there are extra epithets clinging to it. It was unfortunate, because I had elderly relatives in the audience for the opening and every time I said “fuck” and “shit” I imagined could feel them wincing and tsking. At one point there was an inexplicable rhythmic thumping that went on for about ten seconds—it sounded like the devil knocking from under the floor, trying to get in.
Anthony Hecht: It occurs to me that performing four monologues in four nights isn’t as challenging as attending four monologues in four nights. Wait—hear me out. Mike Daisey is a monologuist, and I’m sure he’s performed four nights in a row dozens of times. He’s probably pretty comfortable with this kind of thing. I, on the other hand, go to the theater maybe three or four times a year—going four nights in a row is, for me, quite a feat. So congratulations to me for making it through the first night. I’m pretty proud of myself.

The subject of the first night was Bertolt Brecht. I don’t really know who he is. I’ve heard of him and, if pressed, probably would allow that he was a playwright, probably the German kind. Daisey referred to people like me in the opening segment, and he made me feel at ease with my ignorance. He also went quite a ways towards curing me of it. Now, when someone brings up Brecht at a party—and someone always does—I’ll be able to give a brief biography of the man, and perhaps even a short analysis of the major themes of his work.

The most interesting stories in Daisey’s work are his own. He juxtaposed his own life with Brecht’s by interweaving stories from each, and speculated about the influence his early fascination with the playwright may have had on everything from his working relationship with his wife to his revolutionary and possibly ill-advised postering of his college campus in defense of free speech. Some sections worked better than others—the postering story was particularly good, Brecht’s later years fell a bit flat—but all of it was delivered with Daisey’s casual pacing and well-known humor and energy. When he’s at his best, Daisey is hilarious.

I can’t say if I would see it again and again, but I would definitely see something else like it. Probably tonight…

Andrew Huff Did A Good Thing

posted by on April 7 at 10:07 AM

In my review of Taproot Theatre’s The Voice of the Prairie this week, I wrote about a set design by Mark Lund that involved a video projection of sky. But it wasn’t a video projection, I found out yesterday. It was a lighting design by Andrew Huff. Just wanted to give Andrew some props.

A treasury of 99 cent records

posted by on April 7 at 9:08 AM

Some people search dilligently for a cure for cancer. Some fight dragons and outwit duplicitous elves (damn lying elves). And some of us spend an inordinate amount of time digging through bins of used records in search of unknown gems recorded by forgotten psyche bands, third-tier post-punk acts, and hotel entertainers from around the globe. If you fall into that last camp, or are simply a fan of Incredibly Strange Music, please visit Waxidermy. Set aside a fat chunk of time to get familiar with its extensive reviews of LPs you’ve never heard of, or only ever discussed in hushed, hopeful tones. All reviews include full-color cover art, most feature a brief sound sample or two—so you can decide more wisely whether or not to enter that eBay bidding war over the Klute soundtrack—and, unlike some groove collectors, the folks who post don’t seem to take themselves too seriously. (And muchas gracias to RJ at Jive Time for turning us on to this boffo site.)

Thursday, April 6, 2006

New GOP Bumpersticker Available!

posted by on April 6 at 10:36 PM

The Democrats are widely (and deservedly) criticized for not having a succinct message. You know, something they could just put on a bumper sticker.

Over the course of the last year, the GOP, on the other hand, has developed a crisp sound bite that pretty much captures the entire Republican program.

Today, using the same one-liner that was developed by such R luminaries as GOP Sen. leader Bill Frist, former GOP House leader Tom DeLay, former GOP Rep. Randy Cunningham, and GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, White House spokesman Scott McClellan broke out the concise GOP zinger—that he himself helped develop as well—one. more. time:

“We’re not commenting on an ongoing legal proceeding,” McClellan told the NYT.

I think the GOP oughta just put it on a bumper sticker already.

Vote Republican! We’re Not Commenting on an Ongoing Legal Proceeding

I don’t know, I think that looks pretty good.

Anyone have other suggestions for the GOP’s 2006 bumpersticker?

I swear I don’t Have it in for Hybrids. But…

posted by on April 6 at 6:18 PM

What’s an environmentalist to make of this report, which concludes that hybrid cars actually use more energy from design to disposal, because their components are more complex to design, manufacture, and recycle, than conventional, lower-fuel-economy cars?

Clark Williams-Derry is (I suspect rightly) skeptical.

Prank of the Month

posted by on April 6 at 6:01 PM

Courtesy of former and future Stranger freelancer Matt Corwine.

Matt also records and plays outstanding electronic music under the moniker Mister Leisure. Read next week’s Data Breaker column for more information about his Chop Suey appearance with Matthew “Audion” Dear and DJ Eddie on April 19.

“She probably saved my fricking life.”

posted by on April 6 at 5:43 PM

Local executive gets stranded in mainland China, faces “danger and indignity,” including “less than helpful” travel agency.

This is obviously a joke, right?

Much Ado About Law School, Part 3

posted by on April 6 at 5:20 PM

Some people in our comments, and many people in the comments over on Horsesass, have been suggesting that Darcy Burner spent only one year in law school because she “couldn’t handle the pressure” and dropped out. (That quote is straight from one of our Slog commenters, “Napoleon XIII.”)

This speculative story-line ignores what Burner’s campaign has already said about her law school experience: That she “attended a year of law school to better understand the law” before announcing her run for Congress. It also ignores the fact that Burner is no academic slouch, having won a National Merit Scholarship and studied computer science and economics at Harvard.

Now it turns out that this speculative story-line also ignores her law school grades. Goldy has Burner’s marks from law school, and they’re not the grades of someone who “couldn’t handle the pressure.”

Contract law: A-

Torts: A-

Civil Procedure: A-

Basic Legal Skills: A

Property law: A

Criminal law: A

Constitutional law: A

What say you now, Napoleon?

The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

posted by on April 6 at 5:10 PM

So, the pending Seattle Times article I spent all day yesterday warning and warning and warning readers to watch for—didn’t land today. Obviously.

I imagine, though, that it’ll run in next few days, if not Sunday, for full impact. Again: Their big story is that there’s only one person who has a city license to do all-ages shows—which evidently raises the question: How can kids be safe if they’re going to unlicensed shows? The answer is pretty simple. The majority of all-ages shows don’t need to get dance licenses because they’re concerts at venues (like Studio Seven) that already meet strict municipal safety and security requirements—including having undergone criminal background checks for their liquor licenses. AADO licenses are intended for independent promoters and atypical venues that need to get in line with those sort of requirements.

It is true that the zombie dance was unlicensed. That’s likely because “raves” don’t typically require AADO licenses, and, so, the promoter likely didn’t think to get one. (Raves actually fall under stricter guidelines than the AADO anyway, and indeed, the CHAC event had more than 6x the security that the AADO requires.) However, if the CHAC all-ages dance should have been licensed, as it appears it should’ve, the people who screwed up—both CHAC and the promoter, Annika Anderson it would seem—need to be held accountable.

Although, obviously, they should not be held accountable for Kyle Huff’s deranged rampage at a house party over a mile away from the club several hours later.

When the Seattle Times does run its article, they should also publish this letter (about their editorial calling for a crackdown on teen dances), which a Seattle Times reader cc:d to me today:

I crafted the letter below to be in a format that they might just consider for publication, but I have $5 that says they won’t. Just thought you’d want to see what they’re not printing…


It has been a full week since I read this piece and it’s still bothering me. It is such a dangerous argument to presume that teens would be protected by beefing up teen dance laws. In fact the exact opposite would be true. When Seattle’s Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO) was in place, raves and other such gatherings took place solely “underground.” The TDO was so restrictive that it basically made the legitimate production of such an event a virtual impossibility.

Many of these “underground” events were produced by older men that not only had the experience to pull it off, but the desires to exploit young teens. They made lots of money not as much on the gate but by selling drugs such as Ecstasy to the teens that came in droves.  Once on drugs, older men could manipulate the teens into positions that they otherwise would never get into on their own. There was never any real security at these events, there was no semblance of safety, there were lots of drugs and alcohol, and for many a teen that was the attraction.

With the repeal of the TDO came the production of many teen dances and music events produced by well established and legitimate concert producers and production companies. Safety and security reigns at these events. There is substantial staffing, people are booted for drug use, and organizations such as DanceSafe ( help to disseminate factual information about the dangers of drug use. The dangerous “underground” rave has virtually disappeared in the Seattle area.

Just as passing laws against abortion or alcohol simply drove it into a dangerous underground existence, passing laws that regulate teen dances will do the same. I’d rather have my daughter at CHAC or VERA Project than in the beckoning custody of unregulated and lecherous slimeballs.

I beg your editorial staff to rethink its position. I do not believe that any of us want to slide down that slippery slope of prohibition that will remove the only safety net we now have for our youth.

Ben Schroeter

The Contentious Suckiness of Rachael Ray/The Beard-Nominated Writing of Sara Dickerman

posted by on April 6 at 4:01 PM

Perhaps you’re familiar with Rachael Ray, the love-her-or-hate-her celebrity chef whose chipper mug is all over the Food Network and the nation’s cookbook aisles.

This week brought a fiery debate on the suckiness of Rachael Ray to the I, Anonymous forum—where it doesn’t really belong, so we’ve moved it over the brand-new Stranger forum devoted to TV (and games, if you’re into those.)

Check out the Rachael Ray debate in the TV/Games forum here.

And while we’re on the topic of female foodies and the media: Sara Dickerman, The Stranger’s dearly departed food writer, has been nominated for a James Beard Foundation writing award. The category is “Internet Writing on Food, Restaurant, Beverage, or Nutrition,” and the nomination is for a piece Dickerman wrote for Slate entitled “Down with Gloves: Why Chefs Shouldn’t Have to Wear Them.” Congrats, Sara!

My Hero John Lewis is Magical

posted by on April 6 at 3:49 PM

Civil rights-era star (and current U.S. Rep from Atlanta) John Lewis is one of my biggest heroes. So, I was curious all last week to see if he was going to weigh in on the controversy surrounding his Congressional colleague, Cynthia McKinney, another Rep from Atlanta’s metro area.

If you haven’t been following the story—McKinney held a press conference last week with the NAACP and NOW, claiming the Capitol police discriminated against her (and her new hair cut). McKinney, who’s black, had entered the Capitol without passing through the metal detector that screens visitors to the building. All 435 members of Congress are permitted to bypass the machines, but she was not wearing the required pin that identified her as a House member. The officer said he asked McKinney three times to stop. She did not. The Capitol police say the officer placed a hand on her and she responded by hitting him. He said McKinney’s race was not a factor. According to MSNBC:

The incident has embarrassed Democrats, including fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus, none of whom have publicly defended her behavior in the incident.

Well, Lewis—my hero in part because his blood stream is made of liquid valium— issued a statement early today calling on McKinney to “lower the temperature.”

Sure enough, McKinney apologized for the incident this afternoon.

Kissing Cats, Pulling Scroll from Vagina

posted by on April 6 at 3:21 PM

Those are two things that quintessential 1970s feminist artist Carolee Schneeman has done. This weekend is the last chance to see her latest exhibition at Presentation House Gallery in Vancouver, BC. It closes Sunday (April 9). Here’s an image from it, and a shot from her classic 1975 performance, “Interior Scroll.”



When I was in Vancouver a few weeks ago, I didn’t have a chance to see the Schneeman show. But Anne Lesley Selcer, a freelancer for The Stranger, pointed out that it’s worth giving a little ink and support to a contemporary show of a historically important artist, and one whose presence helps to counterbalance the overwhelming maleness of the Vancouver scene.

If you’re up there, stop by.

Here’s Selcer’s description and assessment of Devour, Schneeman’s 2003 response to world events, especially the war on terror:

As for the piece itself: it was a large, dual-screen video with 2 additional monitors placed off to the side on the floor showing large, slightly pixelated shots, each slowly fading into the next—an airplane coming in, a hectic war scene, a baby nursing, a mouth slurping a noodle, a vague torture scene, and a human & cat touching mouths. I believe that Schneeman is still working on the ’60s assumption that a collective rise of the positive or the intimate can counter aggression & war. Her piece doesn’t really work because the viewer will likely not share that assumption, so will not connect the images the way they seem to mean to work. The piece, though, is formally striking, ambitious, and subtle if given lots of time and a very quiet and generous reception. Schneeman does massive research into global conflict and power imbalance. I believe the highly personal way she responds—though part of ’70s feminist politics—is too easy to discount, for bad reasons but also good ones. Her assumption of what constitutes the personal is vaguely projective. I would rather see a just slightly more dispassionate reflection of global power imbalance, something which does reach the deepest interstices of the personal and the intimate, but in specific ways for those people that Schneeman may not just be able to just ‘tap into’ with general images of suckling and animal/human intimacy.

Mission “Keep America Stupid”

posted by on April 6 at 2:54 PM

I’m as guilty as anyone of perusing the latest hysterical headlines on magazines like these when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, but it’s still depressing to see figures like these illustrating just how increasingly popular weekly tabloids are. I guess the New Yorker and Harper’s really can’t compete with “celebrity bumps.” Ugh.

Original story via

light reading

posted by on April 6 at 2:49 PM

This NYTimes article about anorexia spring break challenges is as fascinating as it is scary and repulsive:

On Xanga groups of pro-ana members who link their blogs by a common interest in extreme weight loss sometimes participate in a perverse distortion of Weight Watchers. Instead of accumulating points for food eaten, points are granted for restraint: a point for every day survived under 500 calories; 6 points for every day under 100 calories; 2 points for each diet pill taken; a point for every photo of a skinny celebrity on a home page, known as “thinspiration” or “thinspo.” The points are gained during group challenges aimed at losing weight before spring break. Other challenges have focused on prom season, the holidays and summer.

I’ve had two close anorexic friends since high school; both have identified as vegans (which, I think, makes abstaining from food more socially acceptable in their minds). Thank god neither one of them has ever thought to challenge the other to a vegan-off.

(Hat tips and carrot sticks to Natalie.)

The Benefits of Lying?

posted by on April 6 at 2:41 PM

The Democrats are pouncing on GOP senate candidate Mike McGavick. They say he lied on the air yesterday on KUOW about his record of cutting benefits for SAFECO employees while he was SAFECO’s CEO.

Here’s the Dems got ya press release:


“I didn’t cut raises and benefits for employees while I was at Safeco.”

“About benefits, about cutting others earnings, no we did not do that. In fact we did the reverse.”

[about 1:55 pm, 4/5/06, KUOW “The Conversation”]

§ According to the company’s own filings with the US government, SIGNED by Mike McGavick himself, the company cut benefits. Their annual report for 2003 reported the following cuts, leading to the following newspaper quote: “Safeco recently announced it would cut retiree health benefits for newer and younger workers while lowering the subsidy for some current retirees.” [Seattle Times, 10/20/03]

Indeed, citing page 116 in SAFECO’s 2003 annual report, the D’s highlight these SAFECO policies:

1. Cutting Benefits For Older Employees, Retirees: reducing its share of healthcare benefits for current retirees and soon to retiree employees, making the current and near-future retirees pay more

2. Cutting Benefits For Future Retirees: Breaking the promise of ANY contribution to retiree health costs for younger employees, forcing them to cover all costs.

3. Cutting ALL Retirement Health Benefits For Youngest Employees: Cutting ALL access and help with retirement healthcare and life insurance benefits for the youngest employees and all future employees. During 2003, our OPRB [other post-retirement benefits] program was amended. For current retirees and employees who are age 50 and over with sufficient service time by December 31, 2004, we will continue to subsidize a portion of the cost of retiree healthcare benefits, but at a reduced rate. The rate of increase in our subsidy for these healthcare benefits will be capped in future years. We will also continue to provide a capped amount of retiree life insurance benefits to current retirees and employees age 50 and over with sufficient service time. For current employees age 36 or older who do not otherwise meet the above requirements, we will provide access to our group healthcare plan at retirement, but participants will pay the entire cost of coverage.

These actions resulted in OPRB curtailment gains totaling $15.2 pretax in 2003.

When I pointed out to Democratic spokesperson Viet Shelton that Mike McGavick is a Republican, and so, should be proud of making tough decisions to help SAFECO financially, Shelton laughed and said: “OK, but the problem is, McGavick said he didn’t cut benefits.” More to the point, Shelton added, “We have documentation that he did cut benefits. One has to wonder what he’s willing to say to get elected.”


Much Ado About Law School, Part 2

posted by on April 6 at 2:24 PM

Darcy Burner’s campaign manager, Zach Silk, just sent me this response to the Sharkansky-generated kerfuffle over Burner’s law school attendance:

This is classic bait and switch. The Rs have had a very bad week and they are trying to steal some of Darcy’s thunder by focusing on silly issues that aren’t relevant to the voters of the district…

For the record, Darcy left Microsoft to make sure that people who work hard and play by the rules get the opporunities they deserve.

Unlike many of our elected leaders, she has a healthy intellectual curiousity. She attended a year of law school to better understand the law.

We are focused on the parts of her biography that are relevant to the voters of the district.

Stefan is trying to make something out of nothing.

Missing Epigrams

posted by on April 6 at 2:22 PM

This week’s feature about the malevolent history of the building that Club Z is in originally had two epigrams at the top. They were edited out of the final version.* They are great quotes, and both were echoing in the distance as the piece was coming together. They are:

“…last night while [he] was sitting on my face, I began to think how futile life is, no matter what you do—it all ends in Death, we are given such a short time…”
—Andrew Holleran, Dancer from the Dance

“…promiscuity might be about an ambivalent need for love, or the desire, the stray hope, for something other than nothing.”
—Charles D’Ambrosio

[*There was some debate in The Stranger’s offices over whether epigrams are “pretentious.” My opinion is that epigrams are wonderful, that they give you a sense of what the writer has been reading and thinking about, that they draw you in and, when you’re done with an article, suggest something else you could go read—like Dancer from the Dance (a great novel) or D’Ambrosio’s (unfuckingbelievably great) essays—but my editor, not a huge fan of things “literary” or “twee,” wanted the epigrams to go, and another staffer, let’s say his name is Eli, agreed, writing in an e-mail: “I think an epigram can be off-putting. It can feel too self-justifying or too self-important, even if that’s not at all how it’s intended… It feels like a stalling tactic or a blast of trumpets, either way I don’t like it.” So they were killed.]

Much Ado About Law School

posted by on April 6 at 12:55 PM

There’s an intense blog-spat going on today between SoundPolitics and Horsesass over the academic history of eastside Democrat Darcy Burner.

As a highly interested observer, I’d say David Goldstein at Horsesass has done a pretty good job of smacking down the hyperventilating Stefan Shrakansky over at SoundPolitics. But now it looks like I’m being drawn into this fight, all because of one sentence in this profile of Burner that I wrote for The Stranger.

From: Stefan Sharkansky

Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 11:13:37 -0700

To: Eli Sanders

Subject: just curious


I know you’re a huge Darcy Burner fan, but I’m curious. In your “FIGHTING MOOD” article last month you wrote:

18 months ago, she decided it was time to pursue her interest in politics and retired from Microsoft in order to focus on a run for Congress.

Did she tell you that she was going to UW Law School?


I fail to understand why Burner’s law school attendance is a big deal, other than the fact that her alleged failure to finish law school before running for Congress (if it’s in fact true) could be rolled into the current Republican attack-meme that casts Burner as a lightweight.

Sharkansky is suggesting that Burner intentionally hid her law school years from me and others, but the truth, Stefan, is that law school never came up when I was talking to Burner and her campaign staff for my story.

Why did it never come up? If you think Burner’s alleged law school experience would be something for a person to be ashamed of, I can see how you would come up with a storyline that has her hiding this experience from the public. But in reality, there’s no shortage of successful politicians with unusual academic records (see, for example, Greg Nickels, who dropped out of college to pursue politics, or our current president, for that matter). And because of this, I doubt Burner’s been keeping her law school records in a campaign file marked TOP SECRET, dreading the day when someone like Sharkansky would begin looking into this part of her past.

It seems more likely to me that law school never came up because Burner (whose resume already includes Harvard and Microsoft) didn’t want to do exactly what Sharkansky accuses her of doing in another context: inflate her resume.

Smart, talented, accomplished people don’t brag about things they haven’t yet finished, Stefan. That’s not evidence of a cover-up. It’s evidence of confidence in one’s other accomplishments, and plain old social skills.

But I’ve sent an email to Burner’s campaign requesting clarification on all of this, and will let you know when I get an answer.

If Felons Can’t Become Citizens, Should They Be Presidents?

posted by on April 6 at 12:20 PM

I just got a press release from the Republicans—desperately trying to change the subject today—criticizing Senate Democrats for blocking an amendment to the immigration reform bill that would prevent illegal aliens convicted of felonies from getting US citizenship. In the press release State GOP chair Diane Tebelius asks: “Does Maria Cantwell support making U.S. Citizens out of illegal aliens with felony convictions?”

Speaking of felons.

Let’s change the subject back, shall we, to the leaker-in-chief: And ask Tebelius if the Republicans still support the reform they were considering earlier this year to make leaking classified info to journalists a felony?

The Washington Post reports: The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said yesterday that he may add language to the fiscal 2007 intelligence authorization bill to criminalize the leaking of a wider range of classified information than is now covered by law. He indicated the new measure would be similar to legislation vetoed by President Bill Clinton more than five years ago.

The statement by Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) comes as Bush administration is campaigning against leaks and focusing on the people who receive and distribute them, including journalists.

There’s Always Next Year

posted by on April 6 at 11:53 AM

Baseball season may have just started, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of NFL news. Here’s the just-released Seahawks schedule for next season:

Week 1 (Sunday, Sept. 10): Seattle at Detroit

Week 2 (Sunday, Sept. 17): Arizona at Seattle

Week 3 (Sunday, Sept. 24): New York Giants at Seattle

Week 4 (Sunday, Oct. 1): Seattle at Chicago

Week 5: Bye

Week 6 (Sunday, Oct. 15): Seattle at St. Louis

Week 7 (Sunday, Oct. 22): Minnesota at Seattle

Week 8 (Sunday, Oct. 29): Seattle at Kansas City

Week 9 (Monday, Nov. 6): Oakland at Seattle

Week 10 (Sunday, Nov. 12): St. Louis at Seattle

Week 11 (Sunday, Nov. 19): Seattle at San Francisco

Week 12 (Monday, Nov. 27): Green Bay at Seattle

Week 13 (Sunday, Dec. 3): Seattle at Denver

Week 14 (Sunday, Dec. 10): Seattle at Arizona

Week 15 (Thursday, Dec. 14): San Francisco at Seattle

Week 16 (Sunday, Dec. 24): San Diego at Seattle

Week 17 (Sunday, Dec. 31): Seattle at Tampa Bay

Two Monday night games, a Sunday night game, plus visits to old AFC West rivals Kansas City and Denver. Nice. Not so nice: weeks 14 and 15. Ouch.

Goldy vs. Stefan vs. Darcy

posted by on April 6 at 11:28 AM

Stefan Sharkansky tries to beat down rising Dem superstah Darcy Burner.

Goldy at succeeds in beating down Stefan Sharkansky.

Meet Brett Steidler

posted by on April 6 at 11:15 AM

Okay, it’s funny/tragic that Brett Steidler has to live with the results of his botched penis enlargement surgery. It’s crazy/comprehensible that Brett was so angry about his botched penis that he mailed a bomb to the surgeon who botched his penis. But the place where Brett lives with his botched penis? The town that the botched-penis-bomb was mailed from? That’s just funny/funny.

A man pleaded guilty to weapons of mass destruction charges for sending a mail bomb to a Chicago surgeon he said botched his penile enlargement surgery, though his attorney questioned whether the charges fit the offense.

Brett R. Steidler, 25, of Reamstown, Lancaster County, mailed the explosive device in February 2005 because he was “extremely unhappy with the results” of the $8,000 surgery.

The Nanny-State Texan

posted by on April 6 at 10:36 AM

Last month, I wrote this column about the Seattle Rep’s decision to buck the smoking ban in its production of Private Lives by Noel Coward, the 1920s farce about couples and smoking and drinking. Here’s the nut graph:

“This is a play and a play is an expressive activity,” said Bruce Johnson, chair of the Rep’s board and a First Amendment lawyer. “State and county laws prohibiting freedom of expression are not enforceable if they are contrary to the First Amendment.” The anti-smoking law, broadly written to prohibit “any lighted smoking equipment” in a public place, appears to ban incense in churches and temples as well as the odd stage cigarette.

Today I got a concerned response from Bob of Cypress, Texas (a suburb of Houston, pop. 18,000, and hometown of Fred Whitfield, a six-time calf roping world champion):

Seattle Repertory Theatre doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the state law prohibiting public indoor smoking. The purpose of the law is to the protect public health from very hazardous second-hand tobacco smoke, and public health always trumps the First Amendment.  Approximately ten percent of the population has asthma or another respiratory ailment.

Theatres are not exempt from the fire code, and should not be exempt from any health or safety code. Some theatrical people think that their creative license is more important than anybody’s health. That is totally egocentric, arrogant, and wrong.

If playwrights are so creative, they can use props like unlit cigarettes. Certainly they do not use real bourbon or bullets.


While I enjoy your last two sentences, you’re wrong, wrong, wrong. Legally speaking, I don’t think the courts would agree that public health trumps the Bill of Rights. Philosophically speaking, that sentiment is frightening. A state that gets to decide what’s in the public interest and suspending citizens’ rights accordingly is totalitarianism.

But that’s not really what bugs me about your letter, Bob. What bugs me is that you’re from Texas. I know, I know, there are all kinds of people who live in Texas, but isn’t your state motto “Don’t mess with Texas” or “Don’t tread on me” or something appropriately libertarian?

Actually, no. Turns out the Texas state motto is “Friendship.” How wussy! Texas has a wussy state motto! Washington’s state motto is “Alki,” the Chinook word for “by and by,” which totally kicks “Friendship“‘s ass.

“Don’t Mess with Texas” came from the Texas Department of Transportation in 1986, a slogan intended to reduce littering.

In conclusion: Bob’s wrong, Private Lives closed without incident, Texas has a wussy motto, and “Don’t Mess with Texas” is really about littering. Now, for dessert, please enjoy, a weird link I found while digging for information about Bob and his fair city.

Re: Worse to Worse

posted by on April 6 at 10:35 AM

And didn’t President Bush say that anyone involved in leaking classified information would no longer be working for his administration?

UPDATE: Here’s the quote, from Sept. 30, 2003:

“I don’t know of anyone in my administration who has leaked,” Mr. Bush told reporters in Chicago. But, he added, “If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.”

And then there’s this, from June 2004:

Asked at a June 10, 2004 news conference if he stood by his pledge to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame’s name, Bush answered, “Yes. And that’s up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts.”

But there’s also this, from July 2005:

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday that if anyone on his staff committed a crime in the CIA-leak case, that person will “no longer work in my administration.” His statement represented a shift from a previous comment, when he said that he would fire anyone shown to have leaked information that exposed the identity of a CIA officer.

Worse to Worse

posted by on April 6 at 10:22 AM

This is just the start:

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide told prosecutors President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame’s CIA identity.

But the disclosure in documents filed Wednesday means that the president and the vice president put Libby in play as a secret provider of information to reporters about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The authorization came as the Bush administration faced mounting criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main reason the president and his aides had given for going to war.

Libby’s participation in a critical conversation with Miller on July 8, 2003 “occurred only after the vice president advised defendant that the president specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the National Intelligence Estimate,” the papers by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald stated. The filing did not specify the “certain information.”

“Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller — getting approval from the president through the vice president to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval — were unique in his recollection,” the papers added.

Libby is asking for voluminous amounts of classified information from the government in order to defend himself against five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI in the Plame affair.

He is accused of making false statements about how he learned of Plame’s CIA employment and what he told reporters about it.

Her CIA status was publicly disclosed eight days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction.

In 2002, Wilson had been dispatched to Africa by the CIA to check out intelligence that Iraq had an agreement to acquire uranium yellowcake from Niger, and Wilson had concluded that there was no such arrangement.

Libby says he needs extensive classified files from the government to demonstrate that Plame’s CIA connection was a peripheral matter that he never focused on, and that the role of Wilson’s wife was a small piece in a building public controversy over the failure to find WMD in Iraq.

Fitzgerald said in the new court filing that Libby’s requests for information go too far and the prosecutor cited Libby’s own statements to investigators in an attempt to limit the amount of information the government must turn over to Cheney’s former chief of staff for his criminal defense.

According to Miller’s grand jury testimony, Libby told her about Plame’s CIA status in the July 8, 2003 conversation that took place shortly after the White House aide — according to the new court filing — was authorized by Bush through Cheney to disclose sensitive intelligence about Iraq and WMD contained in a National Intelligence Estimate.

The court filing was first disclosed by The New York Sun.

Rejected From the New Yorker

posted by on April 6 at 10:18 AM

Number one in a 4-part series:


by Matt Bors

Missing Link?

posted by on April 6 at 10:10 AM

From the New York Times:

Scientists have discovered fossils of a 375 million-year-old fish, a large scaly creature not seen before, that they say is a long-sought “missing link” in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land.

In addition to confirming elements of a major transition in evolution, the fossils are widely seen by scientists as a powerful rebuttal to religious creationists, who hold a literal biblical view on the origins and development of life.

Several well-preserved skeletons of the fossil fish were uncovered in sediments of former stream beds in the Canadian Arctic, 600 miles from the North Pole, it is being reported on Thursday in the journal Nature. The skeletons have the fins and scales and other attributes of a giant fish, four to nine feet long.

But on closer examination, scientists found telling anatomical traits of a transitional creature, a fish that is still a fish but exhibiting changes that anticipate the emergence of land animals — a predecessor thus of amphibians, reptiles and dinosaurs, mammals and eventually humans.

For those of us who don’t believe in Jesus Horses, this is pretty cool news.

More Naipaul

posted by on April 6 at 9:52 AM

A few years ago, V S Naipaul ended his career as a serious writer and began a new one as a literary stand-up comic—and a very good one at that. Blocked below is what he recently said about Jane Austen in the Literary Review.

Jane Austen?

What trouble I have with Jane Austen! Jane Austen is for those people who wish to be educated in English manners. If that isn’t part of your mission, you don’t know what to do with this material.
There was a conference at Bath a few years ago and I was invited. I was a very bad conference guest - I didn’t say a word. But they gave me a copy of Jane Austen’s novel set in Bath - Northanger Abbey. In my recent illness I’ve been looking at books I haven’t read before so I picked it up.
I thought halfway through the book, Here am I, a grown man reading about this terrible vapid woman and her so-called love life - she calls it ‘love’, having seen this fellow once. I said to myself, What am I doing with this material? This is for somebody else, really. It’s for someone down the road, not for me.

Are you then surprised that people make so much of her?

Yes, it purely depends on political power in the world. If you come from England when your country is important, then this kind of nonsensical writing becomes important for you. If the country had failed in the nineteenth century no one would have been reading Jane Austen. The books would have been about failure. They would have demonstrated the reasons for failure. I don’t want to be confused, in what I am saying about Jane Austen, with people from the Wise places, the Very Wise People who say that she represents a great hypocrisy, writing in this way about affairs of the heart and young people while there are the slaves toiling in the plantations of the Caribbean. What hypocrisy! That’s the kind of thing the Wise People do say. And it’s very foolish, because if they knew a bit more, beyond their little disciplines, they would know that the slave trade, the British slave trade, was abolished in 1807 and this wish to talk about sensibility, etc, was part of the climate that made this abolition of the trade possible and later, very quickly, in 1834, made the abolition of slavery itself possible. The idea of refinement, manner, that was the climate.

The Clash

posted by on April 6 at 8:51 AM

Yesterday London’s Daily Mail reported the disturbing story of Harraj Mann, the 24-year-old mobile phone salesman from Hartlepool, Teesside, who was hauled off a plane and questioned for three hours by terrorism investigators after listening to the Clash in a taxi on the way to the airport.

“The taxi had one of those tape deck things that plugs into your digital music player,” said Mann to the Daily Mail. “I played Procol Harum’s ‘Whiter Shade Of Pale’ first, which the taxi man liked. I figured he liked the classics so put on a bit of Led Zeppelin—‘Immigrant Song’—which he didn’t like. Then, since I was going to London, I played the song [‘London Calling’] by the Clash and finished up with ‘Nowhere Man’ by the Beatles.”

After his impromptu DJ gig, Mann boarded a plane at Durham Tees Valley Airport. Before takeoff, police raided the plane, marching Mann back to the terminal for the aforementioned three hours of questioning. Police told Mann he was being questioned under the Terrorism Act because his choice of music had aroused suspicions.

“It turned out the taxi driver alerted someone when I arrived at the airport and had spoken about my music,” Mann told the DM, which cited allegedly troublesome lyrics from both the Clash song—“London calling to the faraway towns, now war is declared and battle come down”—and Zep’s “Immigrant Song”: “The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands, to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!”

“The lyrics to both tracks made the driver fear his passenger was a terrorist,” reports the DM.

This isn’t the first time that Clash lyrics have landed an Englishman in trouble with British terror investigators. Back on June 3, 2004, The Guardian reported the story of Mike Devine, the 35-year-old punk musician from Bristol who was questioned as a terror suspect after text-messaging Clash lyrics to a bandmate.

The lyrics in question were from Give ‘Em Enough Rope’s “Tommy Gun,” whose lyrics indeed read like a terrorism red alert. But in this case, the sender wasn’t a terrorist, just a member of a Clash tribute band (which is its own kind of terrorism), texting lyrics to the band’s lead singer. It didn’t help that Mike Devine sent the text to the wrong number, thus setting in motion the bogus terror alert.

Full story on Harraj Mann here.

Full story on Mike Devine here.

Full story on the Clash here.

Mike Daisey’s Great Men of Genius at CHAC

posted by on April 6 at 8:33 AM

Stupid newspaper world: Due to space concerns, my planned preview piece on/interview with Mike Daisey, whose quartet of new solo works Great Men of Genius begins its four-night run tonight at Capitol Hill Arts Center, got bumped from this week’s paper.

But you should definitely check out Great Men of Genius, each night of which features a world-premiere performance on a different alleged genius.

Thursday, April 6: Bertolt Brecht.
Friday, April 7: P.T. Barnum.
Saturday, April 8: Nikola Tesla.
Sunday, April 9: L. Ron Hubbard.

For those who’ve never seen Daisey before, you should know and take comfort in the fact that he will not be pretending to be any of the above subjects, but will rather be telling his own stories about their lives and his obsession with each. “The master storyteller,” a little paper called The New York Times called him, and you should check out Daisey while you can. Each of the shows stands on its own, or see all four for a kaleidoscopic portrait of 20th-century genius and hubris.

Get your tickets here. In the meantime, check out some of Daisey’s stories published in The Stranger here and here.

(Note: Originally posted Wed night, then moved to Thurs morning so it won’t get lost.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

posted by on April 5 at 9:13 PM

The domain name is for sale. The site is currently “an international resource that is by, for, and about lesbians, queer womyn and our friends.” By this time next week it will be, without a doubt, a hard-core porn site that is about lesbians and queer womyn, but by and for straight guys.

The asking price? Two million dollars.

Marriage is Sacred

posted by on April 5 at 9:05 PM

A second marriage is, as they say, the triumph of hope over experience. What do they say about second divorces? And a second divorce from the same woman?

Eminem divorces first wife a second time

US rap superstar Eminem has filed for divorce from his wife Kim Mathers less than three months after he remarried her, a publicist for the singer said.

The couple—whose stormy relationship has been the focus of much of Eminem’s music—walked down the aisle for the second time on January 14 after reconciling following their 2001 divorce after two tears of marriage.

This saddens me in a way that I can’t quite explain.

Mystery Mash Note

posted by on April 5 at 4:59 PM

From a lucky and thoughtful reader:

“We found this note in the cushionless frame of a beat-up papasan chair at the Goodwill Outlet in Seattle on 6th & Holgate on some Tuesday in March.”


Thanks to the reader for taking care to share, and to Priestley for daring to love…

Timely Scare Tactics

posted by on April 5 at 4:30 PM

Watch for a front-page scare story in tomorrow’s Seattle Times warning parents that their kids aren’t safe at All-Ages shows.

The Seattle Times’s evidence: Only 1 promoter in town, Mark Johnson, has an active AADO license. The Seattle Times will then ask, given that there are up to 30 all-ages rock shows a week (but only one city-approved all-ages promoter who has undergone the AADO’s required background check): How can parents be sure that their kids are safe?

In addition to the obvious answer: You can never be sure your kids are safe unless you lock them in the cellar—there are a couple of other key facts.

First of all, there’s no track record of trouble at teen rock shows. Last week, The Stranger filed a public records request seeking all reports of disturbances at Seattle’s all-ages venues to find out for sure, but we do cover the scene religiously, and in the 4 years since the AADO was passed, we’ve only come across one problem incident. That incident involved a gang called FSU, and it was promptly handled by the SPD, who arrested the gang members—not using nanny-state teen dance laws—but existing weapons laws.

And the reason there’s no track record of trouble at teen dance venues? Because these venues already have the insurance and security that an AADO license mandates. AADO licenses are intended—not for venues that put on rock concerts (which explains the apparent discrepancy between the number of teen shows and licensed promoters)—but rather, for private promoters who want to rent venues to do dances. The fact that most all-ages shows are taking place at regulated and properly-licensed clubs that don’t need AADO licenses to do shows, makes the background check issue less problematic.

The Seattle Times is likely going to make hay out of the fact that Annika Anderson, the promoter who rented CHAC for the zombie dance on Friday March 24, failed to get an AADO license. That’s true. And whoever screwed up should be held accountable.

However, the event had 19 security staff—more than 6X the number the AADO requires.

More important, neither Anderson or CHAC should be held accountable, even by implication, for the deranged actions of Kyle Huff which took place over a mile away at a home on Capitol Hill.

This is ultimately the problem with the pending Seattle Times article. They have seized on the recent tragedy under the premise that it bears some connection to teen dance rules. Their goal all along, it seems, is to print scary headlines in the hopes of sparking a clampdown on our local music culture.

Read all about it in the Seattle Times tomorrow probably.

And they wonder why they’re losing young readership?

Latrine Chic

posted by on April 5 at 4:00 PM

Who redecorated the bathroom? Cheers to you; it’s a nice change from the white, white, white. If you have more time on your hands, the Editorial office needs a design makeover, too.

The Death of Newspapers, Objectivity, and Cab Cuties

posted by on April 5 at 3:43 PM

I’ve been reading a lot about the future of newspapers lately, and on my reading/listening list this week were two things I recommend checking out if you’re a journalism nerd:

-First there is this lecture, by Alan Rusbridger, the editor of London’s Guardian newspaper. I heard about the lecture via Sullivan’s blog and enjoyed the droll British take on the future of newspapers as we know them (in a word, bleak). I also enjoyed Rusbridger’s attempt to remember the name of a band currently sweeping Britain. He calls them “Death Cab Cuties.” (You have to listen all the way to the end for this.)

-And then over in Slate, there is this piece by Michael Kinsely suggesting that objectivity may be nearing its end as a journalistic conceit, and that this may be a good thing.

No one seriously doubts anymore that the Internet will fundamentally change the news business. The uncertainty is whether it will only change the method of delivering the product, or whether it will change the nature of the product as well. Will people want, in any form—and will they pay for—a collection of articles, written by professional journalists from a detached and purportedly objective point of view?


Would it be the end of the world if American newspapers abandoned the cult of objectivity? In intellectual fields other than journalism, the notion of an objective reality that words are capable of describing has been going ever more deeply out of fashion for decades. Maybe it doesn’t matter what linguists think. But even within journalism, there are reassuring models of what a post-objective press might look like.

He cites, as a prime example, Rusbridger’s Guardian.

Noisy Breakup

posted by on April 5 at 2:53 PM

The Infernal Noise Brigade is breaking up. Over the last few months, a lot of members of the planet-traversing marching band have announced that they are quitting, some because they don’t think the band is as tough or daring as it could be, some because of personal differences. People join and quit the Infernal Noise Brigade all the time, but the recent departures seemed like something of a mass exodus. (And, from a critical standpoint, the best and most interesting members of the band were, by and large, the ones who were quitting.) Then, last week, one member sent an email to the rest of the band, subject-lined “One shot in the dark,” proposing that they disband, and two days later it was official.

You could sort of see it in the defeated, our-heart’s-not-in-it-anymore show they did downtown at the Westlake plaza two weekends ago. They have one more scheduled performance on Saturday April 8 at Northwest Film Forum. Details here.

Goddamn Majority Rule! Part Two

posted by on April 5 at 2:41 PM

A nice person found and forwarded the New Yorker article discussed in GMR! Part One below. Some representative graphs:

Last Thursday morning, in one of the smaller function rooms at the National Press Club, in Washington, an ad-hoc bunch of amateurs, once-weres, might-bes, and goo-goos floated an initiative that, with a little luck, could enable our ramshackle republic to take a long, and long overdue, step toward a more perfect union. The idea behind their initiative is this: that the President of the United States should be elected by the people of the United States.
Its originator is a scientist—John R. Koza, a Stanford professor who teaches courses in genetic algorithms and made a small fortune by co-inventing the rub-off instant lottery ticket.
There’s a traditional view that without the Electoral College Presidential campaigns would simply ignore the small states. It hasn’t worked that way. The real division that the Electoral College creates, in tandem with the winner-take-all rule, is not between large states and small states but between battleground states and what might be called spectator states.
The worst of it is the death of participatory politics in two-thirds of the country. If you live in a spectator state, it might be fun to persuade your neighbors to vote your way, or ring their doorbells, or hand them leaflets. But it can’t make a difference… In this sense, our Presidential campaigns are not only not national; in most of the country they’re not local, either. They’re just not.

Nickels’s Anti-Rebuild Hysteria

posted by on April 5 at 2:28 PM

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, inaugurating what appears to be new phase in his campaign of pro-tunnel hysteria, released a list of “myths” today about a rebuilt Alaskan Way Viaduct, titled “Myths of a Big Ugly ‘Rebuild.’” (The rebuild is one of three viaduct replacement options that are likely to be on a November advisory ballot; the others are a $4 billion-plus tunnel, which Nickels supports, and a transit/surface option that involves tearing down the viaduct, replacing it with a boulevard, and making improvements to the street grid and transit connections downtown.)

The press release, which is as blatant an example of campaigning on government time as I’ve ever seen, sets up a list of “myths” about the rebuild (which Nickels insists on referring to, repeatedly, as “a bigger, uglier viaduct”) and knocks them down. Many of them are claims no one is actually making: things like “The bigger viaduct involves retrofitting the current viaduct”; “A bigger viaduct can be built without replacing utilities or rebuilding the seawall”; and “A bigger viaduct will be better for traffic” (huh?). Others are wildly exaggerated versions of claims people are actually (and, in many cases, legitimately) making: “The bigger viaduct will continue to provide stunning views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains (potentially true, contrary to what the mayor continues to claim), and “The tunnel is risky and will cost many times more than projected while a bigger viaduct involves little or no risk” (no one’s actually saying this, but it’s undeniable that projects that involve digging, like subways and underground freeways, are more likely to run into overruns than projects that happen on the surface.)

Voters can expect to hear more and more from the mayor as November’s election approaches. Last month, he sent out several press releases calling for voters to “say no to the Big Ugly” and held a press conference during a routine viaduct closure “celebrating a waterfront without noise.” But the campaign may be short-circuited by city elections law. Last year, Nickels got himself in trouble for using city money and employee time to produce an elaborate election-year brochure touting his accomplishments; if NIckels keeps up his pro-tunnel campaign after the city council puts the advisory measure on the ballot, Seattle Ethics and Elections director Wayne Barnett says, “that certainly does raise some pretty serious issues.”

Speaking of Majority Rule…

posted by on April 5 at 2:07 PM

Brendan’s post, “Goddamn Majority Rule,” had nothing to do with hardcore, but it still reminded me of the Washington DC hardcore band, Majority Rule. Anyone else a fan of these guys? I saw them play at 2nd Avenue Pizza a few years ago… They were really fucking good—heavy, intense, their layers of sound didn’t muddle together, unlike so many other thrashy and loud outfits. I think they broke up, or retired, or whatever (correct me if I’m wrong, please), but their songs live on… You can listen to ‘em here.

No More Rock ‘n’ Bowl

posted by on April 5 at 2:02 PM

Leilani Lanes may be no more (they closed for good last weekend—and yes, it’s to make way for more condo developments), but you can still own a piece of it.

“I apologize for the crude but effective language.”

posted by on April 5 at 2:01 PM

So said Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi yesterday after stating that only “dickheads” (coglioni) would vote for his left-leaning opposition.

During Berlusconi’s re-election campaign so far, he has vowed to abstain from sex (for the duration of the campaign), compared himself to Greats like Napoleon and Jesus, and claimed that seven out of nine sex workers have pledged to vote for him.

Oh, and he’s accused all communists of eating babies.

Forza Italia—Go Italy!

The Future is Unwritten

posted by on April 5 at 1:47 PM

On Monday, April 3, at 4:35pm, the young Slog reached a sweet milestone: Jen Graves—with a cool scoop about SAM—brought the # of Slog posts to the 5,000 mark.

Being a fan of milestones and anniversaries and dates (my Bonnie & Clyde commemorative shooting party is coming up next month, by the way), I didn’t want that historic footnote to go unnoticed.

As the poetess said: “I don’t fuck much with the past, but I fuck plenty with the few-cha.”

The Monorail: An Outsider’s Perspective

posted by on April 5 at 12:41 PM

Former Seattle Monorail Project employees are feeling vindicated by an article by Alex Marshall in this month’s Governing Magazine, which implicates Mayor Greg Nickels and other Seattle officials in the death of the monorail, arguing that if Nickels hadn’t viewed the voter-created project as an “alien entity” that arose outside the usual, accepted political channels, he could—and would—have worked to save it.

Marshall argues:

From the Big Dig in Boston to your average new cloverleaf, projects almost always have trouble at some point in making the numbers meet. Yet rather than help the monorail project leaders work out a new financing plan, Nickels and others sent a downsized version back for a fifth referendum — again hoping voters would kill it, which they did in the wake of misleading new cost figures.

He who lives by referendum, dies by referendum, I guess. But five referendums is at least three too many. Once voters approved a specific design and a financing plan, the city should have done everything it could to make it work.

Marshall is no fan of monorails—he calls them “expensive, ugly and impractical”—and he gets a few things wrong: you can call Dick Falkenbury lot of things, but “hippie cab driver” isn’t one of them, and the monorail was passed by an initiative, not a referendum. But Marshall does make a compelling case that democracy requires leaders to listen to the citizens the first (and second, and third, and fourth) time—not endlessly second-guess their decisions until the vote turns out the way they want.

Duckmandu, FFS

posted by on April 5 at 12:38 PM

Ever get the urge to hear Dead Kennedys songs played on accordion? Well, the artist known as Duckmandu will satisfy your perverse craving. His CD, Fresh Duck for Rotting Accordionists, contains many of your favorite Dead Kennedys tunes (with original DK bassist Klaus Fluoride sullying his legacy by singing backup on five songs), plus nuggets by Minutemen (“Jesus and Tequila”), Devo (“Girl U Want”), and Black Flag (“Police Story”). Duckmandu (AKA Aaron Seeman) also generously includes two versions of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. If you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to some Terry Riley to cleanse myself.

Goddamn Majority Rule!

posted by on April 5 at 12:37 PM

I first read about it in this the New Yorker: Another attempt to circumvent the electoral college (which, I shouldn’t have to remind you, cost the Dems a little presidential election a coupla years back). Instead of amending it out of the constitution, this group (from Chicago? I don’t have the issue and can’t find the article online) proposed rendering the college meaningless by making a pact that all states would cast their electoral college votes for the winner of the popular vote. The main benefit, according to the New Yorker piece, would be spreading a bit of the presidential attention and accountability out of the battleground states and into the rest of the country.

The yahoos over at my new favorite site (, responded thusly:

The left wing politicos in America know that turning the national elections into populist referendums will benefit their candidates.

Um, isn’t a national election supposed to be a populist referendum? Or is that just me?

More Hysterical Times

posted by on April 5 at 12:30 PM

Evidently, the Seattle Times is going to zoom in on the fact that only 8 AADO licenses have been issued since the AADO went into effect in 2002—and currently there’s only 1 active license. (License are issued on a yearly basis.)

Moreover, unless Annika Anderson, the promoter for the Friday March 24 CHAC zombie dance, works for Mark J. Johnson (currently the only AADO-licensed promoter in town), she didn’t have an AADO license. (The promoter of an all-ages dance, rather than the venue, needs the license.)

I’m guessing the Seattle Times—jonesing to exploit the Capitol Hill murders as a way to stigmatize the AADO—is going to make hay out of both these things: 1) The fact that there’s a bevy of teen concerts in town, yet so few licenses & 2) CHAC’s zombie dance was unlicensed.

Here’s the deal, though: teen concerts don’t need AADO licenses. That’s the whole point of the AADO vs. the TDO.

As for the CHAC event: Rave promoter Anderson may have been confused about the necessity for an AADO license because typically—raves don’t require AADO licenses. Usually, raves—which by definition, take place at “non-conforming” sites—are governed by fire dept. and assembly permit codes. (These are far stricter than the AADO.) In the CHAC instance, however, an AADO license was likely necessary because CHAC isn’t a “non-conforming” space.

If the CHAC event required an AADO license, the people who screwed up should be held accountable.
But, to repeat myself, they should not be held accountable for the deranged actions of Kyle Huff. There’s no cause and effect between the zombie dance at CHAC and the murders at 21st and Republican. Kyle Huff was going to kill people wether or not he went to a dance.

There is no set of public policy—short of stricter gun laws—that can prevent people like Kyle Huff from murdering innocent people with hand-held shot guns.

*I sent an e-mail to Anderson, but I have not heard back yet.

Free Vera show tonight!

posted by on April 5 at 12:27 PM

Get a sneak peak of the new Vera space tonight when Smoosh and Common Market play a free show at the Seattle Center Snoqualmie Room! Smoosh starts at 6 pm, and Common Market goes on at 7 pm. After tonight’s performance, the space is going to undergo a huge makeover and reopen this fall, when Vera officially moves into the new digs. Floorplans and a virtual tour are posted at, so you can see what the amazing new venue will look like when finished.

It’s all a part of Vera’s Capital Campaign, which I wrote about in this week’s Underage column.

Ed vs. Spencer

posted by on April 5 at 12:23 PM

Other than a passing interest in Top Chef and Project Runway, I’m not one for reality television—I prefer full-on escapism as a rule. However, I have just discovered a huge exception to that rule, thanks to BBC America and their new show, Ed vs. Spencer.

Ed and Spencer are two British friends and roommates who are in a multi-tiered match to out-do each other in a variety of inane categories. The first episode chronicles their battle to determine who can get the sickest. After receiving baseline physicals and relatively clean bills of health, they each launch campaigns to wreak havoc on their immune systems. Spencer, being the more clean-cut, healthy and responsible of the two, is befuddled by the challenge and makes a few unsuccessful tries, including chasing around a dog with a mysterious skin disease in a park and abrading his shoulder blade with the back of a skateboard and applying axl grease to the wound (supposedly in hopes of creating a near-fatal case of back acne). Ed, being the resident reckless hedonist, uses this as an excuse to drink and smoke non-stop and throw himself down the stairs repeatedly in pursuit of the ultimate carpet burn, among other high-risk activies. This sounds utterly stupid, and it is. It’s also fucking hysterical.

The second contest is “who can stay hand-cuffed the longest?” and results in more ridiculous behavior, particularly when they are forced to eat, drink and subsequently defecate together.

Thursday’s episode (airing at 8 pm on BBC) is “who’s the most attactive to women?” while future episodes include “who can survive in the woods the longest?” and “who is the ‘hardest’?” (whatever that may mean).

In short, it is a perfect merging of Withnail and I and Jackass (with just a pinch of The Odd Couple) and I simply cannot get enough. At this risk of drawing him into my moronic web—Brad, I think you’d love it.

Gossip Times

posted by on April 5 at 12:13 PM

Is it just me, or is the lovely Beth Ditto’s make-over, as a skinny mall chick, in this Seattle Times illustration kinda wack?

Charlie, we’re having our first quarrel!”

posted by on April 5 at 12:10 PM

I adore Netflix, Sweet Jesus I do, though I still feel a need to keep my membership with local neighborhood video stores for several reasons—the first being the usual small-business-related guilt, but also because sometimes I suddenly want to rent a movie that I’ve seen a bajillion times before, or because none of the movies that I have at home are what I’m craving. (The other problem with Netflix and buying things online in general is that my queue is currently filled with films like this one and, yes, this one, too.)
Anyway, long story short, I have the charming clerk at a local independent video store to thank for the information that…sit down, seriously…The African Queen is not available on DVD or video in the United States.
Yeah. I know! No, I don’t know why, and no, reading the novel isn’t a satisfying replacement. We need to work up the Intra-Nets equivalent of a screaming mob with pitchforks and flaming torches, and then we can charge the binary gates of…hell, I don’t know. Wal-Mart’s always a good one to blame. Or Katie Couric. Whatever.
Somebody do something, dammit!

Addictive Web Radio Site

posted by on April 5 at 11:41 AM

As usual, I’m probably about a year behind the zeitgeist on this one, but I think this site, which is an outgrowth of something called the Music Genome Project, is incredibly cool.

Darcy Burner Watch

posted by on April 5 at 11:34 AM

Cienna posted earlier today (here) about Darcy Burner’s appearance at Drinking Liberally last night. And this morning, the Seattle Times published a story, here, about Burner’s increasing momentum. The headline is “Dems’ hopes rise in 8th, along with rookie’s fortunes,” and it begins:

A little-known candidate running in the 8th Congressional District raised twice as much money last quarter as incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, raising Democrats’ hopes for a fierce race this fall.

(Oh, and Schmader has yet another sign of Burner’s momentum here.)

The Return of Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on April 5 at 11:14 AM

We discontinued Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch a few months ago after the slaughter rule kicked in—we were 16 and 20 pages bigger than our arch enemies for a few weeks running, and writing SSWW every week felt like picking on the retarded kid. So why is SSWW back? Well, because Weekly partisans—Weekly employees all (hi, Chuck!)—would spin elaborate conspiracy theories in our forums and comments about why I didn’t bring it back this week.

For the Week of April 6-13, 2006:

Seattle Weekly: 112
The Stranger: 108

The last time they were bigger than us was December 15, 2005. This week’s paper is a regular issue for The Stranger, and a special issue for Seattle Weekly.

Yes, it’s the Weekly’s tepidly-anticipated fashion issue, which begs the question: Would you take fashion advice from this guy? Or this guy? You probably shouldn’t take fashion advice from this guy either, but that last guy doesn’t tell you what to wear, now does he?

(Oh, and about that t-shirt… When I spoke at the University of Missouri, the gay group was in hot water over a drag show they had sponsored and a kinda, sorta filthy t-shirt they had handed out. I wore the t-shirt in solidarity with the belegured gay group. While it’s true that my boyfriend is probably better hung than yours, that’s not the sort of thing I would normally wear a t-shirt proclaiming.)

DL with Darcy Burner

posted by on April 5 at 10:19 AM

Darcy Burner stopped by Drinking Liberally last night and chatted with 60+ liberals in what some would describe as a liberal coo fest, but a deserved one.

Burner arrived to give props to local bloggers who helped her meet and exceed her quarter goal of $320,000 cash on hand (she ended up with $361,000) through online grassroots campaigning, making her eligible for an additional $250,000 from national dems.

Quoting many of the numbers Eli posted here yesterday, Burner informed the crowd that last quarter her campaign out-raised Team Reichert 2:1, and estimated that at least $5,000 and up to $20,000 dollars raised in the last 48 hours were a direct result of the blogosphere. Furthermore, 1,290 individuals have contributed 90% of donations, and 94% of those donors reside in the state of Washington.

Burner mingled and answered questions for several hours before disappearing with Goldy for a quick Podcasting Liberally debut (which hasn’t yet been posted here, but should sometime today).

When asked her opinion about the $20,000 dollars Dave Reichert received in campaign contributions from Tom Delay, Burner responded,
“Clearly [Reichert] should give it back,” adding that Delay raised at least another $100,000 dollars by campaigning for Reichert in Washington.

Burner chatted with me and several others briefly about how her approach to issues differs from her opponent: “I plan on approaching every issue by asking, `Will this hurt working class people?’”, she said, citing and criticizing Reichert’s deciding vote on a bill that introduced a five-year budget plan that will cut spending for Medicaid, student loans and other entitlement programs by $39.7 billion.

I asked Burner how she celebrated meeting her quarterly goal:

“I was scheduled for seven hours of phone calls—I spend at least 30 hours a week making calls to big Democratic donors and asking them for money—but instead I took the day off to install a PBX phone system in our campaign office. I got it off ebay for $60 dollars. I am such a geek.”

I would have built a fort out of money and then had sex in it, but whatever. Cheers to you, Darcy.

Oh. My. God. (Part Deux)

posted by on April 5 at 10:16 AM

From the Arizona Daily Star:

PHOENIX — The son of state Senate President Ken Bennett admitted in court Monday to assaulting middle school boys with a broomstick in their rectal areas, but a judge allowed charges against him to be reduced from 18 to one, and he may avoid jail.

Three of the 18 victims, all boys between the ages of 11 and 15, are from Tucson, and the families are angry that 18-year-old Clifton Bennett and co-defendant Kyle Wheeler, 19, were not charged with sexual assault.

Also, the families said Bennett is being treated favorably by the court system because of his father’s position in the Legislature. Bennett’s plea would allow the court to classify the aggravated-assault conviction as a misdemeanor, which means he could go on to become a teacher or counselor and would never have to disclose the so-called “brooming” incident.

Bennett and Wheeler pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in court Monday. Bennett pleaded to one count and Wheeler to two.

No jail time? For assaulting young boys in the ass with a broom handle? And justice for all indeed.

(Via The News Blog.)

Oh. My. God.

posted by on April 5 at 10:06 AM

From the Washington Post:

The deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security was arrested last night on charges that he used the Internet to seduce an undercover Florida sheriff’s detective who he thought was a 14-year-old girl, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, was arrested at his Silver Spring home at 7:45 p.m. and charged with seven counts of using a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmitting harmful materials to a minor, according to a sheriff’s office statement.

Agents with the department’s Inspector General’s Office, the U.S. Secret Service, the Montgomery County police and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant and seized his home computer and other materials, the statement said.

Doyle was online at the time awaiting what he thought was a nude image of a girl who had lymphoma, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in an interview with Fox News’ “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.” “We wanted to make sure he was using that computer and talking to detectives at the time of the arrest,” Judd said.

Nude images of a girl who had lymphoma?!?!?! If anyone needs me I’ll be in the bathroom wretching.

Hysterical Times

posted by on April 5 at 9:59 AM

In its attempt to exploit the murders on Capitol Hill for its anti-teen-dance agenda, the Seattle Times is currently working on a story about the All-Ages Dance Ordinance (AADO.)

It’s frustrating enough that the Seattle Times believes an unprecedented mass murder in a quiet Capitol Hill neighborhood is somehow connected to (and thus a news peg for) a story about the AADO. As everyone from Mayor Nickels to the SPD has made clear: There is no connection between Kyle Huff’s psychotic rampage and the city’s dance rules.

However, the Seattle Times is still pursuing its story.

According to people who have been interviewed for the story (and, by the way, kudos to all the players in Seattle’s music community who decided not to talk to the Seattle Times out of disgust for the paper’s agenda-driven insistence on connecting the murders to public policy), the Seattle Times is set to report that a lot of teen dances aren’t getting AADO licenses.

This is true. But there’s a good reason for that. They aren’t required to.

A little history: The AADO, passed by the city council in 2002, repealed 1985’s Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO). The TDO was bad legislation that—like a lot of bad legislation (ie, the PATRIOT Act)—was born in a fit of hysteria. It was passed in reaction to a problem dance club called the Monastery. The Monastery had a reputation for putting kids in sexual situations with adults. Unfortunately, the TDO was overly broad, and in its attempt to prevent clubs like the Monastery from doing business, it unwittingly upended the local teen music scene by preventing legitimate concerts and shows for young fans. Indeed, in the early ’90s, the SPD started using the TDO to unfairly shut down all-ages punk concerts.

The AADO, drafted with the police and the music community at the table, kept its eye on preventing businesses like the Monastery from springing up, but scaled back the TDO’s overly-broad regulations so it wouldn’t make the same mistake as the TDO and unwittingly unplug the youth music scene.

In so doing, it allows clubs to put on rock shows for underage audiences without getting AADO licenses. It also doesn’t address raves because by definition, raves take place at “non-conforming” venues, and in order for a promoter to put on a rave at a non-conforming venue they need to go to the Fire Dept. and get an assembly permit. Those permits trigger more stringent regulations and oversight than the TDO or AADO—and so raves don’t fall under the AADO.

If, as people who have been interviewed by the Seattle Times contend, the paper is set to do a story that implies there is a connection between Kyle Huff’s psychotic attack and the fact that venues don’t have AADO licenses (because they aren’t required to) it would be a strained piece of agenda-driven demagoguery.

Let’s be clear: if there are venues that should be getting AADO licenses—and they aren’t—those venues should be held accountable for shirking the law. However, they should not be held accountable for Kyle Huff.

The Face of Horniness?

posted by on April 5 at 9:55 AM


From the devoted folks at The Smoking Gun, here’s a mugshot of one Rachel Holt, the 34-year-old Delaware teacher facing rape charges for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old student. What’s shocking isn’t the fact of the charges, but the number: Holt has admitted to having intercourse with the boy 27 times during the last week of March. If you include the weekend, that’s 3.8 bangs a day, suggesting Holt is a sexoholic pedophile with a counting compulsion. Full story here.

Not Only Did DeLay Crash and Burn…

posted by on April 5 at 9:51 AM

… but he was determined to bring all the other Sugar Land Rs down with him:

DeLay was determined to hang on to his seat at least through the primary, said Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. That was because he considered his three Republican challengers gadflies and traitors and he was determined to try to block them from succeeding him.

I love it. I love it!


posted by on April 5 at 5:05 AM

I wake up, make coffee, prepare my morning readings, and while going through the top headlines find the best, the ultimate piece of news: A group of very talented astronomers have found heaven floating through deep space. This is where I want to go when I die.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

News Flash: All-Ages Dance Venue VERA, Doesn’t Have All-Ages Dance License. News Flash: Duh. It’s Exempt

posted by on April 4 at 6:45 PM

In the wake of the Seattle Times’s editorial-page push to stigmatize teen dances as somehow culpable for the March 25 murders on Capitol Hill, some nanny-staters are reportedly trying to make something out of the fact that VERA—a premiere teen concert venue in town—doesn’t have an All-Ages Dance Ordinance license.

It’s true. VERA doesn’t have an AADO license. That sounds like a big deal, but it isn’t. VERA doesn’t meet the criteria that requires venues to get AADO licenses. For starters, it puts on concerts, not dances. That makes VERA exempt right off the bat. Furthermore, AADO licenses are intended for venues and promoters that need to come in line with code and security requirements. VERA is already in compliance with those standards.

In short, city-funded VERA, a non-profit educational and entertainment venue for teens, was established to serve teens. AADO licenses are meant to make private promoters meet safety standards they might otherwise be overlooking.

The city, having vetted VERA, is awarding the venue $350,000 tomorrow to help the teen Mecca move into its new digs at Seattle Center.

Ask Bill Napoli

posted by on April 4 at 6:21 PM

It’s funny because it’s funny and because it’s sad.


The original, in all it’s horizontal, non-Slog-bustin’ glory, can be seen here, or purchased on eBay for $1725.00 (current top bid).

Darcy Burner Gets an Anonymous Mash Note

posted by on April 4 at 6:20 PM

Surely this is a sign of near-arrival: Darcy Burner has inspired her very own I, Anonymous submission.

Burner’s Fundraising Numbers

posted by on April 4 at 6:12 PM

While eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert is getting hammered for accepting money from the Hammer, Reichert’s Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner, just reported some rather impressive fundraising figures for the first quarter:

Burner has raised a total of over $530,000, has $355,000 cash on hand, and got more than $150,000 of that money from donations that poured in during the last ten days of the quarter (which ended March 31).

She’ll be at Drinking Liberally tonight in Montlake thanking supporters. Details are here, and more info from her campaign on the fundraising numbers is in the jump…

Continue reading "Burner's Fundraising Numbers" »

Union Backs $240 Million Tax for Schools

posted by on April 4 at 6:11 PM

After failing to convince the City Council to hand over $50 million over two years to Seattle schools, the Seattle Education Association has begun collecting signatures for a new city initiative that would raise $40 million a year for the next six years. According to the SEA’s newsletter, the money would pay for decreasing class sizes, hiring librarians, nurses and other support staff; and increasing staff training time. The SEA seems optimistic about the nascent initiative’s chances: According to the newsletter, “city voters are clear on their desire for excellent schools and they are willing to make it a priority.” The council decided not to give SEA the money it requested because, among other things, it would have eaten up half the city’s current and projected budget surplus, and because SEA would not say how it planned to spend the money.

Pelz to Reichert: Return DeLay’s Dollars

posted by on April 4 at 4:47 PM

According to local Democrats, Dave Reichert, the Republican Congressman from the eastside, has accepted $20,000 in “tainted” money from disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who announced yesterday that he is leaving Congress.

Now Dwight Pelz, the chairman of the Washington State Democrats, is urging Reichert to give the money back. Here’s an excerpt from the strongly-worded press release:

“People have given back campaign contributions from super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and people should give back their dirty DeLay dollars, especially Dave Reichert,” said Pelz. “This money is all part of the same Republican culture of corruption, and it’s wrong for Reichert to hold onto it.

Pelz noted that Reichert has accepted $20,000 in tainted money from Tom DeLay and his political action committees, and that Reichert has voted with DeLay 97 percent of the time.

“Tom DeLay is a crook and he’s doled out thousands of dollars in crooked cash,” said Pelz. “Dave Reichert should do the right thing, denounce Tom DeLay and give back this dirty money.”

Despite all scandals, indictments and today’s announcement that DeLay won’t run for reelection, Reichert still hasn’t returned the money he accepted from DeLay and his PAC.

From his tenure as King County Sheriff to his time now as a member of Congress, Dave Reichert has repeatedly demonstrated a pattern of turning a blind eye to bad behavior,” said Pelz. “Tom DeLay’s downfall should cause Reichert to take a good look at his own prospects for reelection this November. The people of the 8th district want honest leadership and reform, not Republican yes-men who take tainted money from the likes of DeLay.”

Poor, poor Georgia peaches

posted by on April 4 at 4:37 PM

An obscenity statute enacted in Atlanta, Georgia in 1975 that prohibited the sale or advertisement of any “device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs” was recently overturned by Adult entertainment lawyer Cary S. Wiggins. Huzzah!

Since 1977, Wiggins said, there have been 24 published Georgia Supreme Court opinions upholding Georgia’s sex toy ban, which has also been upheld by various state and federal courts on the grounds that devices for sexual gratification are not protected expression under the First Amendment or the Georgia Constitution.

Perhaps Georgians reasoned that outlawing “obscene” sex toys would eliminate the temptation of otherwise pious genitals to sin.

But while a vibrating dildo might still be hard to find, it seems that child prostitutes are not. Way to keep it pious, Georgia.

…Atlanta, [GA] the buckle of the U.S. Bible Belt, where the world’s busiest passenger airport provides a cheaper, more convenient and safer underage sex destination for men seeking girls as young as 10.

“Men fly in, are met by pimps, have sex with a 14-year-old for lunch, and get home in time for dinner with the family,” said Sanford Jones, the chief juvenile judge of Fulton County, Georgia.

…in Georgia, punishment for pimping or soliciting sex with a girl under 18 is only five to 20 years, according to Deborah Espy, the Deputy District Attorney of Fulton County.

According to the article, half of prostitutes in Atlanta are estimated to be under the age of 18. At least we can thank God these children haven’t been sinning themselves silly with vibrating dildos.

Sandwich Board of the Day

posted by on April 4 at 3:37 PM

Spotted on the Hill:

The Cops “I Can’t Stay Focused” Tour Blog, Installment 6

posted by on April 4 at 3:19 PM

The level of anticipation is high as we arrive in Athens, Ohio. Dave and John are excited to visit their old college haunts and the band is looking forward to catching up with friends. Our first stop is Tony’s, a bar famous for delicious shots called “hot nuts” and a former employer of Dave’s. We spend the day milling about town and visit a cool record store called Haffa’s where Michael picks up Randy Newman and the Saints on vinyl. Dave buys a Guided by Voices video and a Gallon Drunk comp. The venue tonight is Casa Cantina, an employee owned co-op style restaurant that serves delicious Mexican food and killer margs.

There is a large and lively crowd on this Tuesday night. Dave sets up drums on stage and the rest of the band are on the restaurant floor. The audience is “right up in our shit” and we are all for it. We knew quite a few of the folks in attendance and the between song banter was outta’ hand. At one point Mike told one audience member to fuck off. Our performance was stellar and a good night had by all. We watch the sun come up and then make our way towards Detroit.

We arrive at tonight’s venue Lager House and are greeted by soundman Adam who flips us the bird in a loving way. Despite a dismal turnout last time through, the venue digs us and is excited for our return. After load-in we head to Nemo’s for a bite and some idle chat with Dave’s dad. Later we meet an outfit based in Detroit who has started an online video documentary site focusing on bands that are trying to catch a break called “Can You Hear Me.” More info can be found here. John and Mike do a brief interview before our set. Afterwards they ask us if we are interested in having a film crew ride along with us in the van as we pull an overnight drive to get to Chicago in the morning for a 7 am load-in for a radio performance. They decide against it after we ask them to do the driving.

John is at the wheel for the night as the rest of us sleep. We stop at a rest area about an hour outside of Chi-town a sliver of rest before we awake late and haul ass to the radio station. Today we perform on the Mancow show, which is a shock jock show in the Howard Stern tradition. Mancow’s engineer, “Mini-freak” greets us at the loading dock and guides us through halls of the historical Merchandise Mart where the station is housed. We find out that today’s show has a number of unexpected visitors and our show time will be pushed back an hour or so. We are upstaged by such entertainers as SNL’s Kevin Nealon, Booker-T (a WWF wrestler), Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis, members of some crappy band named Shinedown, and two porn stars. We wait in the green room for hours only to find that we will not be playing live, but taping for the Monday show. We never meet Mancow, drink too much caffeinated water and leave exhausted for Dave’s sister’s apartment for some downtime.

Tonight we play at an old Baptist church converted into art center in south Chicago. The old church features a baptismal pool over the stage, which is a converted pulpit. The main feature of the room is a huge neon crucifix over the stage that says, “Jesus is the light of the world”. Tonight Dave sets up at the lip of the stage and Mike plays above him on what was once the pulpit. John’s guitar amp falls off the stage halfway through “Terribly Empty Pockets” but ends up being ok. The night ends nice and early as we are all in dire need of sleep.

Morning comes nice and early since as need to be in Minneapolis at 3 pm for an on-air taping for the local NPR station the Current. We get into St. Paul a half hour late and are greeted by Derrick and Sam, producer and engineer respectively. A beautiful studio and friendly folks are abound at the busy station as we set up and knock out “Protection Act,” “Controller,” and “Invisible City,” which will air later that evening on host Mark Wheat’s show.

Our show tonight at the Turf Club reunites us with pals Clair de Lune. We’re greeted with an enthusiastic crowd and we deliver with an impassioned set. Following the show we head to the CDL house for an after-hours party. John loses six dollars in a quarters catching match and Michael awakes to find his shoelaces tied together.

The next morning we drive six hours to Michael’s former hometown, Omaha, NE for our show at Sokol Underground with label mates Little Brazil and our friends in Race For Titles. Omaha is one of our favorite tour stops and the show tonight reaffirms that notion. After the show Michael talks with long-time friends Tim Kasher and Matt Maginn of the band Cursive. Tim and Michael confirm the details of an upcoming Cops/Cursive split 7 inch to be released later this summer. The night ends early the next morning and we catch a few hours of sleep before our trek to Iowa City. We’re all feeling a bit exhausted as we brace for the homebound stretch of our tour.

Where are the rich when the leeves break?

posted by on April 4 at 2:51 PM

The day after the levees broke in New Orleans, Louisana.


Today when the levees broke in Merced, California.


A Quotation from Marguerite Duras

posted by on April 4 at 1:58 PM

For Charles, who I believe is a little hung over today:

Alcohol doesn’t console, it doesn’t fill up anyone’s psychological gaps, all it replaces is the lack of God. It doesn’t comfort man. On the contrary, it encourages him in his folly, it transports him to the supreme regions where he is master of his own destiny.

Sonics to Split?

posted by on April 4 at 1:41 PM

Tomorrow, April 5, the Basketball Club of Seattle, a group of 58 Sonics investors headed by Howard Schultz, will meet to discuss … well, nobody knows, exactly, but the rumor is that the Sonics are up for sale. Starbucks CEO Schultz has already claimed that the Sonics have been offered a “blank check” to move to an unnamed city; Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, MO and Bellevue are among the reputed contenders.

The Sonics, Seattle’s oldest pro-sports franchise, have threatened to move because the city and state have refused to provide a new $200 million-plus tax subsidy to upgrade KeyArena. (The last upgrade, just 10 years ago, set taxpayers back $76 million, and the city continues to pay $2.6 million a year toward retiring those construction costs). Already, city and state lawmakers are looking at ways to upgrade KeyArena and keep Seattle Center afloat without a pro-basketball franchise; yesterday, city council president Nick Licata met with state House Speaker Frank Chopp to discuss ways to pay off the remaining debt on KeyArena and provide funding for the arts. “The discussion we had was not contingent on the Sonics remaining in Seattle,” Licata says.

Drink Liberally With Darcy Burner

posted by on April 4 at 1:35 PM

Last month Eli Sanders introduced Stranger readers to Darcy Burner, the Dem challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th District. Seattle Dems and progressives who want to check Burner out live and in person are encouraged to attend tonight’s Drinking Liberally.

Drinking Liberally takes place every Tuesday night at the Montlake Ale House (2307 24th Ave. E), at 8 P.M. For an idea of what Drinking Liberally is like, check out this piece by Cienna Madrid. For more about Drinking Liberally in general, and tonight’s DL in particular, check out Horse’s Ass. Go, drink, listen, blab.

And here’s hoping that Sandeep Kaushik doesn’t cause a scandal by using the f-word tonight. Let’s all be on our best behavior, Sandeep, so we don’t get Darcy in trouble with those easily shocked society matrons over at and KIRO radio.

Chronological Casualties in Iraq

posted by on April 4 at 1:32 PM

This certainly makes its tragic point with style.

If you watch, keep on the volume—the rhythmic aspect alone is impressive.

(If I wore a hat, it would be tipped to Mike Nipper.)

Cave Boyz

posted by on April 4 at 1:18 PM

Wow! According to news from the Discovery Channel (they have a news section?), the cave paintings made between 10,000 and 35,000 years ago were made by teenage boys, not tribal spiritual leaders.

The story goes, to my delight, like this:

It also explains why many of the images drawn in caves during the Pleistocene, between 10,000 and 35,000 years ago, somewhat mirror today’s artwork and graffiti that are produced by adolescent males. … “Female images dominate and are nude, almost every one full-figured above and below,” said R. Dale Guthrie, author of “The Nature of Paleolithic Art.” … Perhaps the most convincing piece of evidence for the new theory consists of 200 handprints that were left in the caves next to the art. These prints were produced by individuals who chewed ochre, held up a hand, and then spit the colorful orange-yellow spew all over the hand, leaving a wall imprint. Guthrie analyzed the handprints and then compared the results with earlier research on male and female hands. The hand lengths, palm widths and the finger widths and lengths mostly match hands that would have belonged to boys aged nine to 17. Some teen female handprints were identified in the caves, but young male prints were found more often. Other handprints resulting unintentionally from people leaning against muddy cave walls, as well as footprints, also suggest that young boys were creating the cave art, according to Guthrie.

We Are The Robots

posted by on April 4 at 1:13 PM

She can see the future.

Magic Chef’s New Plasma TVs

posted by on April 4 at 12:56 PM

This is the scam of the year.

Wal-Mart: A Little Less Despicable

posted by on April 4 at 12:32 PM

From the The Huffington Post:

Standing up to protests from a prominent Christian organization, Wal-Mart is not only carrying the DVD of Brokeback Mountain in its over 3,600 American stores, it is featuring ads for the film in the front of its stores. 138 million Americans pass through the front of these stores every week.

According to the L.A. Times, the American Family Association accuses Wal-Mart of pushing a gay agenda and is encouraging its purported 3 million members to boycott the store.

This probably has more to do with the almighty dollar than standing up to intolerance, but it’s still a victory.

Anyone Else Miss the Test Icicles?

posted by on April 4 at 11:27 AM

Well, the Domino band wasn’t around long enough to really miss them, given that the time span between inception and demise was comparable to the length of a Ramones’ set. Still, every time I put on that self-titled debut, I find myself frustrated that there’s no chance I’ll ever witness their Mclusky-esque cacophony in a live context.

For what it’s worth, Pitchfork reported this morning that former member Devonte Hynes has launched a new project called “Naked Babes,” though given their publicists’ cautionary tone, it very well may implode before it works its way to the U.S. All is not lost, however, as plans for a live Test Icicles DVD are in the works, along with a collection of remixes that includes re-toolings by the soon-to-be-huge kids from Spank Rock. Full story here.

In vaguely related news, Rolling Stone recently did a fascinating, if somewhat horrific piece on the endless train wreck that is Pete Dougherty’s crack and heroin-filled existence. Taint your mind at your own risk here.

Will Republicans Lose the House?

posted by on April 4 at 10:48 AM

Conservative David Brooks thinks so (via Crooks and Liars).

BROOKS: Right. There’s the war. There’s really a torpor in the administration. They’re not doing anything right now. I think it’s now likely to move the House—that they will lose the House. And I think House Republicans, privately, most of them admit that. For like a year they were saying, “Well, we’ve got it so sewed up with redistricting. We’ll lose, but we won’t lose the whole House.” I’d say about two weeks ago the conventional wisdom shifted and people said, “We’re in such trouble. We are going to lose the House.

KEXP Adds Stranger Flavor

posted by on April 4 at 10:26 AM

To follow up on a previous Slog post, Stranger writers Charles Mudede and Larry Mizell Jr. (the latter also raps in hiphop trio Cancer Rising) have finalized plans to co-host KEXP’s local-music program Audioasis on the third Saturday of every month. The eloquent, knowledgeable duo starts educating listeners in the art of Seattle hiphop on April 15. More information will surely appear here in the near future.

Murray vs. Thibaudeau

posted by on April 4 at 9:51 AM

So Ed Murray is running for the Washington State Senate in the 43rd against Pat Thibaudeau, a Democratic incumbent.

Haven’t heard of Thibaudeau? Well, that’s because she doesn’t do much in Olympia, and isn’t exactly respected by her fellow Ds. In 2005 she was in line to get the chair of the State Senate’s Health Care Committee, but her fellow Dems in the Senate replaced her—demoted her—because they apparently didn’t believe she could handle such an important committee. (Or as the PI’s Joel Connelly delicately put it in a column in December of 2005: “Thibaudeau did not get a committee chairmanship when Democrats organized the Senate early this year.”)

Murray, meanwhile, has been a player in the state house. He’s chair of the important Transportation Committee. This year he got the gay rights bill passed and passed a regional transportation package. Last year Murray got a transportation-funding gas tax through the house. It says something about Murray’s power and his progressivism that for the second year in a row right-wingers are trying to repeal bills he got passed: last year KVI pushed an unsuccessful repeal of the gas tax; this year Tim Eyman is pushing a repeal of the gay rights bill. (Great Goldy post here about what a lying sack of shit Eyman is.)

The Dems in the State Senate aren’t as progressive as the Dems in the House, and Murray would be a good addition to the Senate. Ed gets things done. And Murray will be as effective in the State Senate as he’s been in the House—and not just on gay issues. (In the same column Connelly wrote of Murray, “Murray has demonstrated in Olympia that it is possible to be liberal, progressive and gay, but also tough and highly effective. He is frequently mentioned as a successor to Seattle’s Congressman-for-life Jim McDermott.”)

But some folks have a problem with Murray running against Thibaudeau. They gripe that Murray shouldn’t be running against a democratic incumbent. But other Washington Dems have run against Dem incumbents. Gary Locke was elected to the legislature after defeating Peggy Maxie, an incumbent Dem and an African-American woman, in 1982. In 1994 Kip Takuda was elected to the state legislature when he defeated Vivian Caver, yet another African-American woman and a fellow Dem.

Oh, and guess who else has committed the unpardonable sin of running against an incumbent Dem in a state race?

Pat Thibaudeau.

In 1992 Thibaudeau ran against and defeated an incumbent Dem in the primary. Thibaudeau ran against Rep. Dick Nelson, one of the most liberal Dem members of the legislature at the time. And Thibaudeau not only ran against an incumbent, but she ran a dirty campaign, sending out hit pieces that misrepresented Nelson’s positions. Just how dirty was Pat in 1992? Thibaudeau was so dirty that the King County Democrats denied her their endorsement going into the general election in 1992. From the Seattle Times:

PARTY IRREGULAR: In the Democratic Party playbook, everybody happily joins hands after the bruising primary election and unites for the bruising general election. But not in King County, where party leaders voted this week not to endorse Pat Thibaudeau in the 43rd Legislative District.

Thibaudeau, who with a few absentee ballots still to be counted appears to have defeated Rep. Dick Nelson in the 43rd District primary, expected to get the party endorsement and would have if not for last-minute opposition from the Nelson camp. His supporters complained she was unduly nasty and misrepresented his legislative record. “[Thibaudeau] lied,” says Nelson campaign aide Roger Pence.”

Thibaudeau’s dirty campaign in 1992 wasn’t her first underhanded attempt to grab a seat in the state legislature—just her first successful attempt. In 1987 Pat Thibaudeau tried to grab the 43rd District House seat away from Cal Anderson. The seat was open, and the 43rd District Dems drew up a list of three candidates. Traditionally the King County Council appoints the top choice, and Anderson was the top choice. Anderson at the time was an openly gay aide to Seattle Mayor Charles Royer. The state legislature at the time had never had an openly gay member, and the Dems in the 43rd, home to Seattle’s gay community, felt it was important to send Anderson. (Remember, this was 1987, the height of the AIDS epidemic—gay people desperately needed representation in the legislature.)

Thibaudeau was the 43rd District Dems’ last choice—third on the list. But Thibaudeau had friends on the County Council—she was a lobbyist, you see—and she pressed her chums on the County Council to ignore what 43rd District Dems wanted and appoint her over of Cal Anderson. The 43rd District Dems cried foul, but Thibaudeau refused to play by the rules. (Before the list was drawn up, Anderson and the 43rd District Dems’ second choice both signed a letter agreeing to support the 43rd District Dems’ first choice, whoever it was. Thibaudeau refused to sign the letter.) The King County Democratic Party Chairman at the time, David McDonald, accused Thibaudeau of working to “undermine” the appointment process. He then called on the King County Democratic Central Committee to remove Thibaudeau from the list before sending it on to the County Council. Removing Thibaudeau required a two-thirds vote of the Central Committee. Thibaudeau lost the vote, and was removed from the list—a pretty resounding rejection of Thibaudeau and her slimy politics.

So if someone tells you that Murray is out of line for running against an incumbent, tell `em that Thibaudeau did the exact same thing in 1992. And if someone tells you that it’s ageist and sexist for Murray to take on Thibaudeau, then tell `em that it was homophobic and opportunistic for Thibaudeau’s to try and block Cal Anderson’s appointment in 1987. (And I suppose you should add that it was sexist and, er, racist for Locke and Takuda to run against and defeat African-American women.) And then tell them that in addition to being ineffectual, Thibaudeau is an ineffectual, self-serving pol who has twice been slapped down by her own party for her dirty campaigning and her dishonest, underhanded political maneuvering.

And then tell `em it’s time for Pat to go.

What Happens If You Take 25 Hits of Ecstasy Every Day for Four Years?

posted by on April 4 at 8:42 AM

Doctors from London University finally have an answer, thanks to “Mr. A”, the 37-year-old British man estimated to have taken 40,000 hits of ecstasy over nine years. Mr. A’s intake is believed to be the largest amount of ecstasy ever consumed by a single person, with the previous known record a now-paltry 2,000 hits.

Details come from a case study, written by consultants from the addiction centre at St George’s Medical School, published in the scientific journal Psychosomatics, and reported by The Guardian:

The man started using ecstasy at 21. For the first two years his use was an average of five pills per weekend. Gradually this escalated until he was taking around three and a half pills a day. At the peak, the man was taking an estimated 25 pills every day for four years. After several severe collapses at parties, Mr A decided to stop taking ecstasy.

Since quitting E, Mr. A has lived a life riddled with “severe physical and mental health side-effects, including extreme memory problems, paranoia, hallucinations and depression. He also suffers from painful muscle rigidity around his neck and jaw which often prevents him from opening his mouth. The doctors believe many of these symptoms may be permanent.”

Full story here. (And good fucking luck to whatever fool takes it upon him- of herself to top Mr. A’s world-historic intake.)

Monday, April 3, 2006


posted by on April 3 at 8:36 PM

Delay is out.

Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months….

DeLay’s fall has been stunningly swift, one of the most brutal and decisive in American history. He had to give up his title of Majority Leader, the No. 2 spot in the House Republican leadership, in September when a Texas grand jury indicted him on charges of trying to evade the state’s election law.

Wall of Sound Goes Online

posted by on April 3 at 6:41 PM

Wall of Sound, Seattle’s most perfectly formed avant/world/out-rock/drone/electronic/etc. music shop, has a new website. Run by the knowledgeable and congenial Jeffery Taylor (Climax Golden Twins’ guitarist) and Michael Ohlenroth, Wall of Sound draws me in every week to satisfy my esoteric music cravings. It would make me feel much better about my addiction if you became as enamored of its treasures as I am. Thank you.

And So It Begins…

posted by on April 3 at 5:30 PM

First game of the season: Anaheim 5, Mariners 4. Jamie Moyer pitched well, new catcher Kenji Johjima spanked a ball out of the park, and reliever J.J. Putz lived up to his name, coughing up two runs in the ninth inning.

Mariners baseball is back.

Burner Spooks Red State

posted by on April 3 at 4:49 PM

A comment that’s attached to my recent Darcy Burner post points out that the eastside Democrat is getting attention today from the conservative blog

On RedState, a diary post sounds the alarm about Burner’s increasing momentum in her race against Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, and appeals to Republicans for help:

This is one of races that we can not afford to lose. Our majority in the house is razor thin currently. 15 seats. Reps like Reichert are dems target #1. If they can knock off enough republicans in swing districts, they can retake the house. Not a picture I would like to see despite that fact that I’m less than pleased with the performance out of there at the current time.

In the RedState comments, the writer of the post goes on to say:

I do think that Reichert has the advantage here. But it is a slight one. This will not be an easy campaign for him from what I can tell.

The concern appears to have been generated by this article in today’s Tacoma News Tribune, which begins:

Seattle and Washington, D.C., Democrats are gaga over a political newcomer they say could help end Republican control of Congress.

It’s clearly been a good few days for the Burner campaign: They’ve spooked RedState, gotten the attention of the News Tribune, and hit a major fundraising target. And it’s only April.

Seattle Art Museum Makes Big Hire

posted by on April 3 at 4:35 PM

The Seattle Art Museum has hired Michael Darling, assistant curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, to be its next Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

I don’t know when he starts; the museum just made the announcement today to its staff, and hasn’t yet put out a release. (You heard it here first!)

This was a hotly anticipated hire for SAM. Contemporary curators work with living artists to establish a museum’s reputation at the forefront of artistic practice.

SAM’s former contemporary art curator, Lisa Corrin (who left to be director of the Williams College Museum of Art but is still working on the Olympic Sculpture Park) had a strong personality. She was also chief curator/deputy director of the museum, but that half of the job is now held by Chiyo Ishikawa, SAM’s longtime curator of collections and European painting and sculpture. Before Corrin was Trevor Fairbrother, who also made an impression in Seattle, and on behalf of the city in the museum world.

I have a call in to Darling, and I’ll soon find out more about him. I know only that he is a former art critic for the LA Weekly and that in Seattle, he’s best known for organizing local artist/architect Roy McMakin’s first museum exhibition, in 2002, called A Door Meant as Adornment, which opened in LA and came to the Henry Art Gallery here.

Painting in Tongues, a show of seven artists, each of whom is given an entire gallery at LA MoCA through the 17th of this month, is Darling’s doing.

Here’s one of the images from that show, Lucy McKenzie’s Deathwatch, a DVD projection and acrylic wall painting on concrete and fake brick wallpaper. (This is a detail.)


More to come …

And the beat shall go on…

posted by on April 3 at 3:46 PM

The press release was just delivered to my inbox…



WHEN: Wednesday, April, 12th - Doors @ 7pm — Show @ 7:30pm

WHERE: The Showbox - 1426 1st Avenue in Seattle

ENTERTAINMENT: 5-Track & Glass Goblins
King F**k You (Jeremy Martin’s band — one of the victims).
Pawn Council

WHY: To raise money to give to the victims’ families.

Tickets: $10 Advance/$12 Day of Show
Tickets available at The Showbox or
Food buffet donated by The Madison Market Organic Co-Op and other local retailers.

Dr. Doom to Planet: Die

posted by on April 3 at 3:27 PM

A University of Texas ecologist and Distinguished Texas Scientist for 2006 received a standing ovation last month when he enthusiastically argued before a meeting of the Texas Academy of Science that 90 percent of humans must die, preferably by disease, for life on earth to survive. According to this web site, the scientist, Professor Eric Pianka, suggested that the Ebola virus would be most effective, because it—unlike, say, AIDS—acts quickly and, conveniently enough, kills nearly 90 percent of its victims.

The Simpsons Finally Aim for the Silver Screen

posted by on April 3 at 3:25 PM

So it’s official: They’re making a Simpsons movie.

The “big secret” was revealed in two ostentatious ways this week—via a 25-second trailer placed before Friday’s opening night screenings of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown and a trimmed version of same which aired during last night’s Simpsons episode of Fox. According to the ads and press release, the movie’s due on July 27, 2007.

I wish I could be more wholeheartedly enthusiastic about this, but there are far too many things that could go horribly, horribly wrong. Considering the recent spate of sappy learning-and-growing Simpsons episodes, I’m right to be afraid.

Still, if the masterminds who once made The Simpsons the densest, most reliably sharp comedy in television history have decided to combine their talents to create a cinematic Simpsons blowout (the best episodes pack so much into 24 minutes it’ll be fascinting to see what they can do in 90), I’ll be the first to camp out in front of Annie Wagner’s desk for tickets to the press screening…

Rush Limbaugh, Oozing Anal Fissure

posted by on April 3 at 3:21 PM

From Media Matters:

During the March 31 broadcast of his national syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh referred to the alleged victim of a rape by members of the Duke University lacrosse team as a “ho.”

He later apologized for the comment after a listener called in to complain. Who knew Rush Limbaugh has sane listeners?

New WSDOT Poll on Viaduct Options

posted by on April 3 at 3:21 PM

I just got a look at the results of a WSDOT poll that came out a few days ago.

Bad news for tunnel option boosters. Polling between two viaduct options—a rebuild or a tunnel (no mention of the surface/transit option being hyped by folks like Peter Steinbrueck) showed that Seattleites favor the rebuild—58 to 38. (And the poll didn’t even include the whopping tunnel price tag—billions more than the rebuild.)

As for the rest of the poll. The bottom line is that people aren’t willing to put their money where their mouths are: Most of those polled (the poll was done in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties) think traffic is the most important problem facing the region. And 71% vs. 21% favored a combo roads and transportation package, much along the lines being pushed by RTID—extending light rail to Northgate and the Eastside, replacing the Viaduct and 520, and adding lanes to 405. However, just two questions later when people are told how much it will cost to do all that—increases in sales and MVET taxes for a $13 billion package—support drops 20 points to 51 to 45, basically a dead heat

On The Wings of Love

posted by on April 3 at 2:43 PM

I have always wondered what people with advanced degrees in literature do after completing their studies. Now I know. They go on to produce copy for penis enlargement spam. Evidence for this theory can found in my recent post The Future of Literature and also in the subject line for this email forwarded to me by Dan Paulus:

Subject: ***SPAM*** A man with a small penis is like a butterfly without wings. Get your wings with Advanced Gain Pro Penis Enlargement Pills. Date: April 3, 2006 3:36:17 PM PDT To:

Seattle Sexiest Patient

posted by on April 3 at 2:33 PM

Seattle Sexiest Drummer was hospitalized this weekend. This just arrived from Audrey, Adam’s lucky, lucky girlfriend…

Thought you’d be interested to hear that your Sexiest Drummer Adam Kozie is currently recovering from an appendectomy. His naughty little appendix starting acting up on Friday night and was removed yesterday at Virginia Mason. He’s doing really well and should be out of the hospital later today. The good news: removal of his appendix in no way diminished his sexy. Even wearing one of those awful hospital gowns and feeling weak as a kitten, he’s still smoking hot.


Best wishes to Adam—and, hey, if Adam needs a sponge bath or anything, Audrey, you have my email address.

Burner Hits Her Target

posted by on April 3 at 2:05 PM

On Friday Darcy Burner, the Democrat who’s trying to unseat Republican Congressman Dave Reichert in the eastside’s 8th District, announced she will meet (and likely beat) her first-quarter fundraising target of $320,000 cash on hand.

On Saturday, Horsesass said a few words about the role the liberal “netroots” played in helping Burner meet this important goal—an accomplishment that makes her campaign eligible for a grant of $250,000 in “Red to Blue” money from the national party. And yesterday, the New York Times ran an interesting and much-discussed article about how the Internet is reshaping politics.

Burner, a former Microsoft executive, is clearly trying to harness the power of the web to help her campaign, and her campaign manager, Zach Silk, is crediting the “netroots,” in part, for the deluge of money Burner received in the last 24 hours before the first fundraising quarter ended on Friday.

“The blogosphere was instrumental in taking us to the next level,” he told me today in an e-mail. Burner will be at Drinking Liberally in Seattle tomorrow to thank the netroots in person, and perhaps participate in an edition of Podcasting Liberally.

Silk told me Burner’s team of treasurers is still tabulating her official first-quarter take, but he’ll have a rough number later this afternoon (I’ll update when it comes) and an exact number mid-week.

There’s been considerable debate about whether the liberal blogosphere is really any good at raising money, so I’m particularly curious to see if the Burner campaign can break out how much it made via online donations in the last month, when liberal bloggers (including The Stranger’s Dan Savage) were soliciting pledges via their blogs. I’m also curious to know what percentage of Burner’s money is coming from Democrats in Seattle who can’t vote in Burner’s race, but who want to take back Congress so badly they’re willing to send their money across Lake Washington to help her.

UPDATE: Looks like we’ll have the rough number for Burner’s first quarter fundraising tomorrow, not today. I’ll do a new post when it comes in.

Decaffeinated Teabagging

posted by on April 3 at 2:00 PM


I frequently come to the defense of BDSMers in Savage Love—”they’re not hurting anyone who doesn’t want to be hurt,” “so long everything’s consensual, it’s nobody’s business,” and, er, “some of my best friends,” etc.—but I can’t defend this.

Three Men Charged in Dungeon Castration

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Three men have been arrested on charges of performing castrations on apparently willing participants in a sadomasochistic “dungeon” in a rural house, authorities said Friday…. Sheriff’s investigators said Richard Sciara, 61, Danny Reeves, 49, and Michael Mendez, 60, admitted performing at least eight surgeries, including castrations and testicle replacements, on six consenting clients over the past year. None of the three is licensed to practice medicine, officials said…

Detectives who searched the home Wednesday found medical supplies that included scalpels, sutures, bandages, anesthetic and artificial replacement testicles, sheriff’s officials said.

Also seized were videotaping equipment, and video recordings of the surgeries, sheriff’s officials said. Photos and videos made at the “dungeon” were apparently featured on a locally produced sadomasochistic Web site, officials said.

“This right here beats anything I have ever seen,” Sheriff Tom Alexander told the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that victims may have come from as far away as South America.

Each man faces 10 felony counts—five each of castration without malice and conspiracy to commit castration without malice—as well as eight misdemeanor counts of performing medical acts without a license.

Castration without malice?

I’ve got to give credit to the lawmakers who had the foresight to make castration without malice a crime. I mean, had non-malicious castrations—friendly castrations? just-between-chums castrations?— been a problem in North Carolina in the past? Or did someone in North Carolina’s legislature see this coming and act well in advance? Or… eesh… does this law have something to do with slavery?

For the record, there are some men out there who want to have their balls cut off. Some are sadomasochists, some are not. But I don’t think it’s a desire that anyone ought to accommodate—there’s no way it can be regarded as safe or sane, and even if someone agrees to it—hell, longs for it—castration is so extreme that consenting to it proves that you’re not mentally fit to consent to anything.

But for some men, giving up their testicles is the ultimate act of sexual surrender. Most men with castration fantasies don’t go through with it, as for most castration fetishists the thrills are to be found in anticipating/fearing that surrender. They may act out castration scenarios, but they want to live to enjoy their fantasies another day, so they hang on to their balls.

The Future of Literature

posted by on April 3 at 1:40 PM

The novelist Matthew Stadler forwarded this email to me at around 1:30 pm.

————— Forwarded message ————— From: Rosas Kyle Date: Apr 3, 2006 1:22 PM Subject: Re[4]: To: Rose Lamar

watch on this crazy German, he rushed towards the park gates at the corner of Bronnaya and Yermolay-evsky Streets. At once the professor seemed to recover his reason and good spirits. ‘Mikhail Alexandrovich! ’ he shouted after Berlioz, who shuddered as he turned round and then remembered that the professor could have learned his name from a newspaper. The professor, cupping his hands into a trumpet, shouted : ‘Wouldn’t you like me to send a telegram to your uncle in Kiev? ’ Another shock—how did this madman know that he had an uncle in Kiev? Nobody had ever put that in any newspaper. Could Bezdomny be right about him after all? And what about those phoney-looking documents of his? Definitely a weird character … ring up, ring up the Bureau at once … they’ll come and sort it all out in no time. Without waiting to hear any more, Berlioz ran on. At the park gates leading into Bronnaya Street, the identical man, whom a short while ago the editor had seen materialise out of a mirage, got up from a bench and walked toward him. This time, however, he was not made of air but of flesh and blood. In the early twilight Berlioz could clearly p ku gulunuoumt kurulu k topop sppsur mrrrir pr nnq rkrn rk oq rts nsss ns ks sststrgr lsus juns tsms psksgofs rpupr gqjtkn ksjl ktkjjgjfkqkij i jikmjok i kpmr kpki kt ho h slrhfhq hn pguk uj uqu p ts u ju gu nuftrrsrnrr rpsmsgsjsttnrt r mrprkrg nfrrsu s r sdjksdfsdfsdlgkj sdflkjsdf lksdjfsdfsdf

The email had this image attached to it:


My response to Matthew’s email:

this is marvelous writing. it’s so gogolian. who is it? what is it for? how i miss my mother russian literature.

Matthew’s response to my response:

I believe it is simply erectile spam, an ad for medication. Marvelous!

ITMFA Merch Update

posted by on April 3 at 1:15 PM

So, like, even though everything is under $5 (and buttons are under $2), the ITMFA merch I’m selling over at has managed to break through the $7,000 barrier.

ITMFA merch.jpg

I stuffed envelopes with lapel pins and buttons all weekend and it’s literally killing me. Literally! Wanna see my aching carpal-tunnel-afflicted elbows explode? Literally explode? Then order yourself some confrontational buttons or subtle lapel pins by clicking here.

Oh, Canada!

posted by on April 3 at 12:58 PM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s new Conservative government will scrap draft legislation which would have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Monday.

The legislation, drawn up by the previous Liberal government, alarmed police officials in Canada and the neighboring United States who said it would only encourage the already booming trade in pot.

Once the Liberals lost the January 23 election after 12 years in power, the bill looked to be in deep trouble. One of Harper’s five priorities is to clamp down on crime.

“We will not be reintroducing the Liberal government’s marijuana decriminalization legislation,” he told a meeting of the Canadian Professional Police Association.

“I thought we might find a receptive audience here,” he told his audience after winning a round of applause.

Under the Liberal bill, people found with small amounts of marijuana would have been fined but would not have received a criminal record.

The P-I: Let’s Go to the Video Tape

posted by on April 3 at 12:45 PM

There’ve been several comments on Slog pointing out how valuable the P-I is because they provided an alternative voice to the Seattle Times during last week’s shooting coverage. While the Seattle Times editorial page called for a “thorough review” of teen dance rules (“Bring Back the Dreaded TDO!”) the P-I ran a front-page story showing how marginalized the Seattle Times’s nanny-state position was. The P-I quoted the mayor and former city attorney Mark Sidran (and in an earlier article, council president Nick Licata) saying there was no connection between the killer’s rampage and teen dance laws. Cool.

(Similarly, the Stranger quoted the SPD and the mayor’s spokesperson saying the same thing: No connection. No one’s jonesing to crack down on teen dances…except Seattle Times edit board member, Joni Balter.)

However, when I slogged about the P-I’s coverage, I received a batch of comments accusing me of contradicting a Stranger essay written by Eli Sanders—that had argued it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the P-I shuttered its print edition and went 100% online.

I don’t believe I was contradicting Eli’s story. Balter and the Seattle Times are obviously in the minority on this issue w/ or w/out the P-I. (And to be honest, I don’t have much of an opinion either way about the 1-paper vs. 2-paper town thing. I’m happy to see the P-I stay, but I wont miss it much if it goes.)

But let’s set the record straight on this idea that the P-I provides an alternative view to the Seattle Times on teen dance rules. Sure, their recent news coverage showed that there’s no move afoot by city officials to crack down on teen dances, but the P-I’s editorial voice on teen dances has been clear. During the debate in 2000 and again in 2002, when activists fought to repeal the heavy-handed TDO, the P-I scoffed, supporting the status quo (here, here, here, and here), arguing to keep the TDO on the books.

The Benefits of Working Near Enormous Piles of Press Releases, Part One

posted by on April 3 at 12:17 PM

The Benefits of Working With Press Releases, Part One

You get to see a LOT of band names.

Best of the week: Ecce Hobo.

Worst of the week: Shitting Glitter.

The New New York Times Website

posted by on April 3 at 11:29 AM

Check out the New York Times’s new hairdo. It’s easy to complain about redesigns, but, uh, was something wrong with the old website? Why’d you have to go changing on us, I suppose the cramped, thin, low-impact fonts make room for more headlines on the front page, which, from a news-conveying standpoint, is good, and according to this note from the website editor there are other enhancing features built into the thing. But the impression it leaves is of frailty.

Don’t miss the story in today’s Times about “Helen Vendler, arguably the country’s most prominent poetry critic” taking on “Alice Quinn of The New Yorker, arguably the country’s most prominent poetry editor” over Quinn’s new collection of dead poet Elizabeth Bishop’s unpublished fragments, drafts, etc. Vendler says publishing this book is “reprehensible.” Quinn, who says she anticipated this attack from Vendler, will be in Seattle promoting the book on April 27 at Richard Hugo House.

Cocks Are Funny

posted by on April 3 at 11:26 AM

Those of you who don’t read the Times’ Sunday Sports section may have missed this highlight:

In an effort to win back season-ticket holders that hadn’t renewed, the Phillies this winter sent out 4,000 DVDs of team highlights. Unfortunately, some of the customers instead received Spanish-language videos of cockfighting.

See any good shows this weekend?

posted by on April 3 at 11:04 AM

Over in the music forums, I started a thread where ya’ll can post your own reviews of local shows. So if you saw anything awesome or awful this weekend, speak up here!

Eyeing Eyman’s Referendum

posted by on April 3 at 10:37 AM

One-man Tim Eyman antidote, 19-year-old Andrew Villeneuve, calls bullshit on R-65—Eyman’s attempt to repeal the gay civil rights bill.

For starters, Eyman’s ballot language says his initiative will stop gay marriage. But the civil rights bill has nothing to do with gay marriage.

Hat tip: Horse’s Ass.

Dept. of Useless Facts

posted by on April 3 at 9:52 AM

This Wednesday, when the clock strikes two minutes and three seconds after one a.m., the time/date will be: 01:02:03 04/05/06. The world will surely end at that very moment.

(Today’s useless fact courtesy of my dear mother, who believes that email exists solely for the purpose of inundating her son with crap like this.)

Minutemen: What the Fuck?

posted by on April 3 at 8:00 AM

Perhaps you’ve been hearing about the Minutemen, the volunteer militia that kicked off a month-long stakeout at the border crossing at British Columbia on Saturday. Here’s a KING 5 report about ‘em, and a quote, “[The Minutemen] say they are doing what they believe our border security has failed to do: keep illegal immigrants out of the United States.

From the Minuteman website:

“The Minuteman Project is not a call to arms, but a call to voices seeking a peaceful and respectable resolve to the chaotic neglect by members of our local, state and federal governments charged with applying U.S. immigration law…Accordingly, the men and women volunteering for this mission are those who are willing to sacrifice their time, and the comforts of a cozy home, to muster for something much more important than acquiring more ‘toys’ to play with while their nation is devoured and plundered by the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens.”

At the top of each page of the site is this quote: “MMP has no affiliation with, nor will we accept any assistance by or interference from, separatists, racists, or supremacy groups or individuals, no matter what their race, color, or creed.” But then there’s the group’s, uh, colorful reporting on the recent immigration marches:

“Occupying Army of Illegal Aliens Make Their Demands! The invaders demand all U.S. citizenship rights and privileges without pledging allegiance to the Red White and Blue, however many did pledge allegiance to the Red, White and Green. What was the response from Capitol Hill? Many cowardly Senators voted to give-in to the screaming hordes and passed treasonous legislation. Once again politicians surrender to the biggest thugs with the biggest clubs!”

For more, go here. For now, enjoy this tidbit from KING 5:

“They are out to get us, we know that,” said Tom Williams of the Washington Minuteman Detachment. Asked who “they” are, he said, “the enemies of our country, the al Qaida, whoever wants to come in and do our country harm.”

No word on what a Minuteman does when confronted by an enemy in action, but the group professes a commitment to nonviolence and lawful action. Stay tuned.

Lonely Little Slog

posted by on April 3 at 1:28 AM

Was everyone in church today or hungover in bed or what? I wanted this to be the one and only post of the day on Sunday, but it looks like I’m a few hours too late. Happy Monday.