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Archives for 04/23/2006 - 04/29/2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Colbert Rips Bush Apart

posted by on April 29 at 9:54 PM

…and the President just had to sit there and take it. This is a must-read. Via Americablog.

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Noting those low ratings, Colbert advised, “The glass isn’t half empty - it’s 68% empty. There’s still some fluid in there, but I wouldn’t drink it.”

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “They are re-arranging the deck chairs—on the Hindenburg.”

Go read the whole Editor & Publisher report. It’s hilarious. The best part?

As he walked from the podium, the president and First Lady gave Colbert quick nods, unsmiling, and left immediately.

Crooks and Liars is promising video soon. Holy shit, I can’t wait.

EMP Pop-Con 2006: National Treasures on Guilty Pleasures

posted by on April 29 at 3:30 PM

Yesterday afternoon I got myself to the Experience Music Project for part of the first full day of the 2006 Pop Conference. I couldn’t stick around for as long as I would’ve liked, but the time I spent there was dreamy. This year’s thesis question“What forces are at work when we like something we ‘shouldn’t’?”is dear to my heart (my first play was about my tortured obsession with the art of then-homophobe-du-jour Axl Rose) and the gang of artists and writers EMP’s corralled to discuss the theme is impressive. Strolling around yesterday was like going to pointy-headed music heaven, with a parade of people sporting nametags I recognized from bylines (Blender guy! Spin girl!) and the previous night’s keynote speaker Stephin Merritt hanging out in the cafe. (As anyone who’s been exposed to my Stranger writing is aware, I love Stephin Merritt. However, there’s no denying that he bears a strong resemblance to David Sedaris. They’re both brilliant and hilarious and gay, and they both chain-smoke. Has anyone ever seen them in the same room, at the same time?)

Back to the conference: I attended the 4pm panel “Aural Correctness,” featuring one of my favorite living writers, Robert Christgau, who’s been hashing through the minutia of contentious art for decades (from Johnny Rotten to Professor Griff to Marshall Mathers) and who yesterday took on the crack-happy new strain of gangsta rap, as produced by Young Jeezy, L’il Wayne, and the Oscar-winning Three-Six Mafia. It was deeply entertaining, and surprisingly emotional: Recounting preparations for his father’s funeral, the crusty old Dean choked up a bit. It was a lovely thing to see, especially in the middle of a high-minded, equivocal paean to crack-slingin,’ bitch-slappin’ gangsta rap.

However, the definitive Christgau moment came seconds after his introduction by moderator RJ Smith, who praised him for “making the Village Voice what it is.”

“What it was,” Christgau growled, to applause.

The EMP Pop Conference continues through tomorrow at Seattle Center.


Dancing in the Rain

posted by on April 29 at 3:20 PM

At this moment, Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheatre is swarming with ravers and punks and rockers, who are dancing in the pouring rain to a techno DJ or huddling on the saturated grass, passing joints or cigarettes between umbrellas.

Ordinarily, these are nocturnal crowds, content with abandoned warehouses or basements; but today is a special occasion: They’ve invited the public to come see them in the light of day.

The hope was to inform some of the critics who blamed these sub-cultures for the shootings that happened March 25 on Capitol Hill. Several survivors of that tragedy are at this event.

I don’t think a lot of critics came. The last two hours of unrelenting rain haven’t helped, either. Ah well, maybe for some, ignorance is bliss; and all the partiers seem to be having a great time, despite the shortage of the usual party enhancements — alcohol and darkness.

Re: Bench Press

posted by on April 29 at 10:08 AM

PI reporter Neil Modie adds a bulk of info to the Slog post I did yesterday about FAIRPAC and the Constitutional Law PACthe two PACs that are squaring off in this fall’s state Supreme Court electionswith Con Law PAC backing conservatives and FAIRPAC backing liberals or “moderates.”

Modie’s got info on exactly who FAIRPac’s membership is:

The new PAC’s supporters include such prominent Democrats as former Gov. Gary Locke, King County Executive Ron Sims and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. But it also includes Ruth Woo, a Seattle political veteran who has worked on the campaigns of Republicans and Democrats alike. FairPAC’s initial supporters also include such generally left-of-center organizations as Naral Pro-Choice Washington, Washington Conservation Voters, Washington State Labor Council, Service Employees International Union, the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association and Equal Rights Washington.

First They Came for the Journalists

posted by on April 29 at 9:10 AM

The Bush admnistration is thinking of pursuing a legal strategy to prevent journalists from using leaks to report the news. The NYT has the story this morning.

The idea is to prosecute journalists for publishing storieslike the famous Pentagon Papers story (or the recent illegal wire tap story)that the newspaper shouldn’t have had because whoever leaked the story broke the law by handing it off.

This is bad enough in its own right because it will prevent the press from airing the concerns of whistleblowers who are privy to government abuses of power, but it also sets up a creepy slippery slope. The litmus test for the Bush administration is “national security”that is, the stories that are illegal to hand off to reporters are so because of national security. But what if reporters get classified documents from an Enron whistle blower…or what if reporters on the local level get stories that serve the public interest by outing information that is vital to local public policy decisions?

The Bush administration is pursuing legal precedents, it seems to me, that would make journalists criminals for writing those stories too.

A lot of these First Amendment issues are also at play in U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s appeal in the Gingrich cell phone leak case, which Eli Sanders wrote about in this week’s paper.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Eulogy

posted by on April 28 at 6:00 PM

A moment of silence, if you will, for NY Press film critic Matt Zoller Seitz, whose wife Jennifer died unexpectedly Thursday night, leaving behind him and their 2 young children. My personal interaction with Matt one of the sharpest, web-savviest writers around has been limited to a handful of online back-and-forths, but I’ve long admired his insights, to say nothing of his ability to make fellow Press reviewer Armond White seem, well, less loopy by association. Sympathies and best wishes to his family.

For more information, and the chance to comment, go to Matt’s blog.

Our Great State’s Quarter!

posted by on April 28 at 5:56 PM

Along with an estimated grazillion other citizens of the United States (and maybe a few damn foreigners), I am collecting the U.S. Mint’s state quarters. (I know: hot!) I ordered a handsome dark green folder for my coins from the cutest coin company in the world; a new quarter comes out every 10 weeks; it is all immensely satisfying. Some of the quarters appear to have been designed under the influence of hallucinogens (Arkansas literally has a diamond in the sky); others are simple and lovely; the Helen Keller quarter, actual size, makes it look like the poor lady’s in the electric chair; this tiny man is collecting syrup.

Now, dear Washingtonians, we must select our own quarter. There is, clearly, only one right choice. Hurry!

(As far as the commentary from the pupils in Sarah Dueweke’s 5th and 6th grade classes at Arlington Elementary in Spokane, I say: Lower the Ritalin dosage.)

Beef Brownies. Yum yum!

posted by on April 28 at 5:45 PM

I took a break from doing much baking after I made 80 different kinds of (Martha Stewart) cookies in two months over the winter (true story), but lately I’ve been getting the itch again so I’ve been on the hunt for interesting recipes. While in a West Seattle antique shop a couple weeks ago, a cookbook from the ’70s offered up this tasty treat: Beef Brownies. I saved my dollar and didn’t bring the book home, but lucky for all of you beef-hungry bakers out there, the recipe is available online.

Perhaps even more disgusting (if even slightly) is this: Spam Cupcakes.

Rush to Judgment

posted by on April 28 at 5:19 PM

Rush Limbaugh was arrested today on prescription drug charges, with his lawyer saying he has reached a deal with prosecutors that will eventually see the charges dismissed if he continues treatment for drug addiction.

The subject of a three-year investigation by prosecutors, Mr. Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities on a warrant charging him with fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Jail.

—snip—

Before his own problems became public, Mr. Limbaugh had decried drug use and abuse and had mocked President Bill Clinton for saying he had not inhaled when he tried marijuana. He often made the case that drug crimes deserve punishment.

Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country,” Mr. Limbaugh said on his short-lived television program on Oct. 5, 1995. “And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs.”

He added, “And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”

On the same show, he commented that the statistics that show blacks go to prison more often than whites for the same drug offenses only illustrated that “too many whites are getting away with drug use.”

Full Story. (hat tip - Nat)

La la la…

And yes, yes, drug use is a stupid crime, but Rush Limbaugh is a stupid man, and besides, fuck him.

The Debut Installment of From the Archives

posted by on April 28 at 4:59 PM

Most people know Matthew Richter, author of an awesome dissection of nonprofits in this week’s paper, as the founding director of ConWorks. But you’d have to have been around a while to know that, before ConWorks, Richter was the theater editor of The Stranger. And he wrote awesome things back thenlong before Al Gore invented the internet.

This week, we introduce a new web feature called From the Archives. On a fairly regular basis we’re going to be digging up old, awesome articles you can’t find onlineThe Stranger was founded in 1991, but our web archives only go back to 1999and making them available. For now, please enjoy Richter’s “He-Man Jew-Haters Club,” an unbelievable piece of undercover investigative journalism published August 16, 1995, back when this town was even more of a backwater than it is today.

(Props go to Brendan Kiley, who’s done a lot of work on getting this up, and his intern Kris Hambrick, who retyped the thing, and my intern Sam Schick, who found the thing in a box of brittle back issues and thought: Now here’s a great story…).

My Art Weekend

posted by on April 28 at 4:16 PM

If I were a red-blooded art-loving type looking for some satisfaction this weekend, here’s what I would do. These are two shows I’ve seen, and one recommended to me today by a trustworthy source.

The source was Tim Roda, the photographer whose show at Greg Kucera earlier this year knocked lotsa folks sideways, me included. He says to check out The Built House, photographs by UW BFA grad Steve Carlton at OlivoDoce Art Space at 1203 E Olive. There’s a reception tonight from 7-11, and the show is up through May 7, with works like these.

brick_win.jpg

s_15.gif

So that covers Friday night. Saturday, I’d make my way over to Crawl Space at 504 E Denny (open noon to 5) to see Personally Public, a sparkling group show of recent and ongoing interventions in public space by studio artists who recreate, document, or commit their acts in the exhibition. These are varied, intimate, and funnynothing like the blank, monolithic art we’ve come to expect from public projects that earn that title by receiving government funding.

Diana Falchuk, in getup and demeanor fit for a neurotic war bride of another era, cares for the mailboxes in her neighborhood, in her video performance Mailboxes Are People, Too (a title that, for the record, one Mr. Christopher Frizzelle adores). Peter Gaucys, a talented writer in another life, here shows a heaping red acrylic-yarn knot that he made in various public locations throughout the country and in Europe; people constantly wondered what he was doing. Sarah Kavage and Nicole Kistler took surveys about art. Robert Zverina returned inside-out food boxes to supermarket shelves. Sutton-Beres-Culler went to the zoo dressed as an elderly trio. The photos they took are set, family-room style, on a wooden side table.

Here’s a glimpse, from Mailboxes:

MBsAPT.jpg

So it’s Sunday now. (Crawl Space is open Sundays noon to 5, too, though, and the place I’m about to recommend is open Saturday, so reverse at will.) Go to Photographic Center Northwest at 900 12th Ave, where you’ll find Jessica Todd Harper’s photographs of the women in her Brahminic family (the artist teaches at Swarthmore, so she doesn’t fall far from the tree), in scenes that appear to mix biography with theater. For instance, a drop-dead gorgeous woman named Beckymaybe Jessica’s sister?is one of Jessica’s preoccupations, and I became fascinated with her as a character. Becky always seems to be hanging out with Jessica’s husband, Christopher, and the tension there (whether it’s real or for the camera) is palpable. Family rituals are here, too, holidays and the awful first trial of Jessica in front of her in-laws. Jessica often looks awkward and uncomfortable when she puts herself in front of the camera, but the other women are like goddesses. It’s rich stuff, almost too beautifully shot.

These first four are of Becky (see what I mean? I couldn’t resist using several), and the final one is the in-law torture.

becky.jpg

hoop.jpg

pillow.jpg

dining.jpg

inlaws.jpg

re: Overheard in the Office (or, What Kind of Article Is Our Theater Editor Working on Now?)

posted by on April 28 at 4:06 PM

That’s top secret, Frizzellelet’s just say I’m taking “participant criticism” to a whole new level.

For those of you with a few lazy Friday minutes to spare, check this video, on how to eat sushi, from the Japan Culture Lab.

Overheard in the Office (or, What Kind of Article Is Our Theater Editor Working on Now?)

posted by on April 28 at 4:04 PM

Brendan Kiley picked up his phone a second ago and said: “Hi, my name is Brendan Kiley, I work for The Stranger, and I had a couple questions about pellet guns.”

Oh Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven?

posted by on April 28 at 3:52 PM

If anyone finds themselves, drunk, at 7-Eleven this weekend, look at what they’ve gone and done. It’s pizza. It’s sandwich. It’s a “P’Eatzza Sandwich™”

pizza sammie.jpg

Historical Fidelity

posted by on April 28 at 3:48 PM

The Washington Post has a nice short article today on the relative fidelity to the historical record of various sections of United 93 (which I reviewed in this issue of The Stranger).

I keep getting emails from conspiracy-theory types about my review. (One accused me of treating the 9/11 Commission Report “as gospel.”) I’m actually kind of disturbed by this trend of “doubting” the “official story” about what happened on September 11. Many of the conspiracy-theorists are liberals, which is unsurprising, because the administration which they desperately want to doubt is conservative. But some of the stories just beggar belief. Why would the government want to deny shooting down United Flight 93? The Bush administration would happily claim credit for averting another plane-bomb, if there were any scrap of evidence that this were true.

This particular rumor makes me think that liberals do want a paternalistic government. They want to be protected from harm so desperately, they’ll make up an imaginary world in which the government did in fact take action to protect them. What’s fucked up is that this imaginary scenario releases the actual government from responding to criticism of its inept handling of 9/11.

Glovebox In-store Update

posted by on April 28 at 3:42 PM

Australian electro-pop band Glovebox will be playing Silver Platters Saturday April 29 at 4 pm, not 5 as noted in this week’s Data Breaker.

Here’s the address: Silver Platters, 9560 First Ave NE, 524-3472, free.

Britney’s havin’ a baby.

posted by on April 28 at 3:28 PM

According to this week’s Us Magazine, Britney Spears IS pregnant with baby Sean Preston’s little brother or sister. She’s said to be four months along and due October 2nd or 3rd.

God save us all.

Today in Speculation

posted by on April 28 at 3:12 PM

It’s been more than four months since my last edition of Today in Speculation. I gave up following the minutiae of Plame-gate after the Libby indictment, mostly because there didn’t seem to be much quality speculation out there. Plus, I felt burned by all that speculation last fall about an imminent Rove indictment, because it all turned out not to be true.

Or, maybe, not yet true.


TODAY IN SPECULATION

* From today’s New York Times:

WASHINGTON, April 27 Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday.

* And over at Firedoglake, where all the serious Plame-gate addicts hang out, there’s lots more.


That’s it for now. I need to catch back up on who said what to whom when, and why exactly Rove might be indicted. I imagine most of you do, too. But I’ll be back once I’m up to speed, and once there’s more good speculation.

Www.finethenleave.com

posted by on April 28 at 2:54 PM

If you, like us, recoil at the suggestion that taxpayers should spend $220 million to gold-plate KeyArena for the Sonics, show up at City Hall on Thursday, May 11 at noon for a Sonics going-away party. Details, along with a petition and guestbook where visitors can write personal messages to the Sonics, are available here.

SeattleSonicsRenton.jpg

Re: Sugar Free Weekend

posted by on April 28 at 2:39 PM

So Sugar isn’t opening tonightbut there’s still something cool for fags to do: Comeback at Chop Suey. Let’s have another look at that poster…

Comeback.jpg

Should’ve said so in my original post. Sorry about that, FITS! If my boyfriend decides to go, please keep an eye on him for me, ‘kay?

Neil Young’s Anti-Bush Album

posted by on April 28 at 2:27 PM

…is streaming here now. Stranger freelancer Tony Ware says it’s a good ‘un.

Portrait of a Lady: Day 3

posted by on April 28 at 2:24 PM

Good Afternoon Charles! I hope New York is treating you well. I hear tales of people eating while walking in the streets; hopefully your eyes have not begun bleeding of their own accord. That would be rude.

Diary of a Lady, Day 3: Thursday, April 27th (Final Installment)

5:00 pm: I returned home from a long butch day at the office, strapped on my apron and started cooking. Last night’s menu: Warm spinach salad with shitake mushrooms, sweet peppers, and sesame honey dressing and roasted
king salmon with orange-ginger salsa.

This poem was running through my head as I braised the salmon:

At fourteen I married My Lord you.

I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.

~Li Po

True story. I love happy endings.

8:00 pm: With my evening free from social commitments, I settled into my favorite pastime: breastfeeding. I am not currently a mother (or even ovulating) but I feel it is never too early to start practicing for the Big Day. This is Sweet Baby Suzie. I enjoy cuddling with her in my chair while writing Haikus about motherhood:

Oh sweet ovaries

Keep my eggs safe till I de-
cide to trap a man

Rock a Bye Baby

Swell proof that I am not too
damaged. Suckle me!

There you have it, Charles. I am a lady, although like all of God’s children, occasionally I slip into sin and eat pizza in public. Please forgive me.

Mexican Congress Decriminalizes Possession

posted by on April 28 at 2:23 PM

…of small amounts of coke, weed, heroin, and opium. Good news for Mexicans and Mexican vacationers.

Land of the Free, Home of the Sick

posted by on April 28 at 2:05 PM

As the United States prepares a team of 30 to defend its record on torture before a U.N. committee, Amnesty International has made public a report blasting the United States for failing to take appropriate steps to eradicate use of torture at U.S. detention sites around the world, RAW STORY has learned.

U.S. compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will be the topic of May 5 and 8 U.N. hearings in Geneva.

The United States last appeared before the Committee Against Torture in May, 2000. Amnesty claims that practices criticized by the Committee six years ago — such as the use of electro-shock weapons and excessively harsh conditions in “super-maximum” security prisons — have been used and exported by U.S. forces abroad.

The Amnesty report reviews several cases where U.S. detainees held in Afghanistan and Iraq have died as a result of torture. The group also lambasts U.S. use of electro-shock weapons, inhuman and degrading conditions of isolation in “super-max” security prisons and abuses against women in the prison system — including sexual abuse by male guards, shackling while pregnant and even in labor.

As of now, the U.S. has yet to prosecute a single official, military officer or private contractor for “torture” or “war crimes” related to its occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, or the “war on terror.”

Right-wing blowhards routinely accuse liberals of “hating America.” I don’t hate America, but thanks to the Bush administration I am very much ashamed of what it’s become.

VW is for Beaver

posted by on April 28 at 1:44 PM

Today my friend Lesley Hazleton, an English novelist who lives and works in Seattle, sent me this image. As you can see, it is, in essence, a hyper-feminine fantasy.

The story behind the beavered vehicle is this:

The police of Los Angeles recently found some amusement filling out papers to register a series of car accidents.


As it turned out, drivers were losing control and running into
other vehicles upon seeing a giant women’s pubis displayed on the
front part of an oncoming car.

The LA police started frantically looking for the dangerous pubis
and came upon the tracks of a young hairdresser named Nelly Node.
Nelly’s passion for the arts made the young woman photograph her own
crotch and put the zoomed picture on her Volkswagen Beetle.

Nelly decided to use such a shameless method to prepare her
college course work in which she analyzed the art of design.

The witty student’s idea worked for the college professors. She
was proudly driving her “pubic beetle” until the police arrested the
woman.

The court ruled that Nelly’s car was creating a dangerous situation on the roads. The girl had to paint over her car’s hood.

Yesterday my friend Nic Veroli, a French philosopher who lives and works in Seattle, sent me this link to short movie. Watch it to the end and you will see that it is, in essence, a hyper-masculine fantasy.

“Nuestro Himno” Climbing the Charts and Rattling the Right

posted by on April 28 at 1:32 PM

NPR just did a great piece on the Spanish version of the national anthem that is getting widespread airplay on Spanish radio stations. The translation, which includes contributions from Wyclef Jean and Pitbull, has been adopted as the signature song for the immigrant rights’ movement. Along with Bush, conservative talk radio host Frances Key Howard (a distant grandson of the song’s composer, Francis Scott Key) is already denouncing it. The reporter astutely points out that this is not the first time “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been reinterpreted for dramatic political effect (a moment in music history I truly wish I had witnessed).

Bench Press: State Supreme Court Races Get Interesting

posted by on April 28 at 1:28 PM

Earlier this week, a group called FAIRPAC registered with the state as a PAC, or political action committee. FAIRPAC is going to raise money on behalf of judicial candidates. 3 Washington Sate Supreme Court seats are up this year: liberal to moderate judges, Susan Owens, Tom Chambers, and Gerry Alexander.

The arrival of FAIRPAC is good news because another PAC, the Constitutional Law PAC, has been registered since late last year. Word is: Con Law PACas part of a successful national strategy being executed by conservatives is going to fund a slate of conservative judges to take out Owens, Chambers, and Alexander.

A quick cross reference of Con Law PAC’s contributors shows nearly 90% overlap with donors to the James Johnson campaigna business-friendly conservative Supreme Court candidate who took out the more liberal Mary Kay Becker in 2004. Former GOP Senator Slade Gorton is Con Law PAC’s chairman.

While there are contribution limits on judicial races in Washington state ($1400 per contributor), there are no limits on donating to PACs. That makes Con Law PAC a threatening force. According to the PI: “Johnson was elected in 2004 with the help of more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from the Building Industry Association of Washington and its affiliates…Johnson’s BIAW money alone dwarfed the entire campaign treasury of his opponent, Mary Kay Becker.”

Skatepark benefit this weekend!

posted by on April 28 at 12:48 PM

I wrote about it in this week’s Underage column, but I didn’t want anyone to forget that there’s a great benefit show at Neumo’s on Sunday with the Ruby Doe, Bullet Club, and the Senate Arcade. The show will raise money for a new, 10,000-square-foot skatepark to be built in the South Park neighborhood.

Grindline is designing the park (see all the awesome work they’ve done across the country on their website, www.grindline.com), and construction is set to begin in June. The goal is to have it open this time next year. More info about River City Skatepark is available at their website, www.rivercityskatepark.com. Sunday’s show starts at 7 pm and costs $8 at the door. It’s all ages.

Sugar Free Weekend

posted by on April 28 at 12:12 PM

Sugarthe new gay bar on Pike that was supposed to be opening this weekend and really should have been named Fagbarisn’t opening this weekend. Apparently Sugar has “plumbing issues.”

Or, hey, maybe the smoking ban did Sugar inbefore they even opened. Yeah, must have been that.

Putting the Blowjob Back in Literablowjobture

posted by on April 28 at 11:21 AM

Young adult author (responsible for, among other works, the Princess Diaries series) Meg Cabot vows to do her part to legitimize the literary blowjob:

I really feel like the blowjob just hasn’t had enough coverage in literature. I was like, “Damn it, I’m going to put that in, because we girls need to talk about it. I did that on purpose because I do feel like there has been a lot of talk lately about adolescent girls doing the whole blowjob-at-parties thing, and I feel like they’re not getting the point. You’ve got to get something back, because it’s great if you’re going to do that for him, but what’s he going to do for you? So I feel like that is something that older women think about, that I don’t know necessarily if girls are. That’s my callingto put the blowjob back in literature. It just hasn’t had enough exposure.

What with this and (sorry Charles) the adolescent blowjob scene in Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know, I smell a doctoral thesis in the making…

Ice Cube Can Take a Joke; His Fans Can’t

posted by on April 28 at 11:01 AM

It’s funny: Ice Cube’s art is largely based in humor, yet I’ve noticed many of his fans lack that important quality.

Samuel L. Chesneau, The Stranger’s hiphop columnist from 2003-2004, has voiced his displeasure with this week’s article on Ice Cube, “Rhyme PaysAgain.”

The travesty of your article on a hiphop legend Ice Cube was a disgrace. I’m seriously offended at Mr. Bruce’s poorly written article when you have other more qualified writers available to do an objective piece. Since Jennifer [Maerz] left the music department is a fucking joke, please stop unqualified writers from thinking because they snorted a few lines with a dealer that rocks a pair of Bapes sneakers and a Goods hoody that they actually know something about our culture that the Stranger continues to exploit and sugar coat for the Capitol Hill audience. You have qualified writers on your staff (even former staff) at your disposal, use them and keep these clowns from writing about our community and culture.

The first sentence amply demonstrates Chesneau’s dubious grasp of the English language. Later, Chesneau makes the common and misguided assumption that Stranger writers do blow; I don’t know why this perception exists, but for the record, I hate the stuff and so did former music editor Jennifer Maerz. (Furthermore, Shaun Bruce, the author of the Cube piece, lives in Austin, Texas and doesn’t know Capitol Hill from Phinney Ridge.)

Then this self-appointed defender of hiphop’s honor has the nerve to say, “You have qualified writers on your staff (even former staff) at your disposal…” Sam, you got canned because your work ethic was lackadaisical at best and your prose dull. Your bitterness is as unbecoming as your writing.

For those who want a more reverent take on Ice Cube, check out Larry Mizell Jr.’s My Philosophy column. I informed Mr. Mizell that we would be publishing a humorous piece on Ice Cube and that he was free to weigh in how he wished. Next time Cube plays Seattle, I’ll run a sober, hyper-analytical critique of his distinctive use of metaphor and simile. Then y’all can slam us for taking the man too seriously.

Ice Cube’s a phenomenal rapper, an occasionally inspired actor, and one of the funniest guys ever to spit into a mic. Let’s be frank: he’s talented, but not flawless, and he’s not above some good-natured ribbing. The puzzling thing is, for such a witty individual, he sure draws his share of woefully humor-deficient fans.

Cantwell on Iraq

posted by on April 28 at 10:56 AM

Sen. Maria Cantwell issued a statement on Iraq today. In my opinion, the statement doesn’t say anything substantive to differentiate her position from President Bush’s position. In fact, her statment is even vaguer than Bush’s calls to train more special forces, reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil and make 2006 a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty. I’ve linked the whole thing below. Decide for yourself.

Cantwell applauds the recent Iraqi moves to appoint a prime minister and says we need to bring the troops home after stability is achieved. (There are 133,000 troops in Iraq. There is talk of bringing 30,000 home by the end of the year.)

Cantwell does criticize Bush, sorta, kinda: “In the past, President Bush has not provided all the leadership necessary to build international support for stabilizing Iraq and getting the Iraqi troops trained.  The President must act with urgency.”

Not the hard-hitting kind of criticism that will satisfy anti-war activists, like the group who staged a sit-in at her office earlier this week, or fire up the anti-Bush base that needs to spark her campaign this fall.

Speaking of statements on Iraq and the sit-in at Cantwell’s Seattle office: The sit-in 7 also issued a statement today as a follow-up to Tuesday’s action. I’ve posted that below Cantwell’s statement.

Continue reading "Cantwell on Iraq" »

Art in the Streets

posted by on April 28 at 10:54 AM

If you are big fan of our Poster of the Week column, or street art in general, spend some time luxuriating in the photos collected by The Wooster Collective, who document compelling and oddball street art from around the globe.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Given the recent appearance of Knitta Please-style knitted tags in Seattle, I can only hope that we’ll see “magic cars,” duck decoys, and other such inspired flights of creativity in our nabes soon, too.

Charles Mudede, Poet Laureate

posted by on April 28 at 10:09 AM

Charles, your post this morning was way too humble.

As the proud “editor” of your weekly Police Beat column (you wrote a great column as always this week), I must say major mazel tov on today’s NYT review in anticipation of your film’s NYC debut tonight. You say the review is “by no means cold.” I say the review is by all means hot.

What strikes me about the the NYT review is this: the reviewer spills a lot of ink in a short piece quoting the script. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like reviewers don’t typically drop so many quotes into movie reviews.

And why does the NYT zoom in on the script? Because Charles Tonderai Mudede is a poet.

From this morning’s NYT review:

When the film opens, Z is staring at a dead man floating in the water, but his mind is elsewhere, drifting on eddies of paranoia. “You said we didn’t have anything in common,” he addresses the absent woman in voice-over. “You like wheat grass. … I like Peking duck. And so it goes.” Over the course of this short, fast film, Z will experience all the joy and pain of a relationship with a woman who is as mysterious to him as he sometimes seems in return.

Relationships are cruel,” Z says. “Therefore the world is cruel.” Here, amid bodies at rest and in restless motion, an officer of the peace finds lines of connection that both jaggedly disturb and sometimes unite.

“Your tree,” Z sternly tells her, “is dead, and if it’s not chopped down it will continue to harm and disturb the living.”

Note to Charles: Again, the review is hot not “by no means cold.” I quote the text message I got this morning from Martian Face Jenny who, presently, is visiting Manhattan and intends to see the movie tonight: “Rave review for police beat in today’s ny times!”

Headline of the Day

posted by on April 28 at 9:51 AM

No More Bear Meat in Glory Hole

Read all about it here.

Pete Doherty: Please Kill Him

posted by on April 28 at 9:25 AM

Watching the slow, staggering demise of Pete Doherty has been infuriating and heartbreaking.

I saw the Libertines at the Croc in 2003, and it was one of the most transcendent shows I’ve ever seen. (I wrote about it for The Stranger here.)

Even back then, Doherty was living on the edge of the edge, but who would’ve guessed how bad it would get? Or that he would survive long enough to make sure things got worse and worse?

Stunning new low: The photos of Doherty apparently injecting drugs into an unconscious female lying on the floor of his flat, printed in today’s The Sun.

This new twist won’t kill him, but it could get him sent to prison, which could kill him, or could save his life, for another few minutes.

Full story here.

Republicans and Whores

posted by on April 28 at 8:39 AM

The party of family valuesyou know, the dickheads who are always screaming and yelling about how gay men shouldn’t be allowed to marry because, you know, we’re not so good at monogamyhas a growing sex scandal on its hands. There’s a great summary with plenty of juicy links up on Daily Kos. To sum up: GOP lobbyists were running a “hospitality suite” at the Watergate Hotel (!) that included the services of prostitutes. At least a half-a-dozen Republican congressmen have been implicated, as has the former Republican head of the CIA. The story is only just beginning to come out. La la la.

Mormonism: Girl, You Know It’s True

posted by on April 28 at 8:21 AM

Yesterday I came home and found something on the front porch.

It was placed against the door, like something from UPS would have been, only this was a postcard produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

On the front of the card was a photo of Temple Square at night.

On the back was this printed text:

What is the purpose of life? What is the true nature of God? Can families be together forever? Where do we go after this life? Answers to these and other eternally significant questions can be found by visiting www.mormon.org. We’d love to have you visit us.

Underneath the printed text, in tiny handwritten capitals, was this:

THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AT FRED MEYER!

And the whole postcard was stuck into a cassette tape of Milli Vanilli’s Girl You Know It’s True.

What could this possibly mean??

The great thing about Mormonism is that, thanks to a belief in living prophets and continuing revelation, I can eventually just make up an explanation, then insist it was delivered to me by God.

But first I want to hear your guesses…


Delicate Police Beat in NYT

posted by on April 28 at 5:17 AM

Manohla Dargis’ review of Police Beat is certainly cooler than the one in the Village Voice but it’s by no means cold. Dargis writes: “It is both Z’s familiarity and his otherworldliness that bring all the bits and odd pieces of this lovely, modestly scaled film together.”


Thursday, April 27, 2006

See This Awesome Film

posted by on April 27 at 5:43 PM

Seattle musician Robert Millis (of Climax Golden Twins) is also a distinguished filmmaker. You can witness his cinematic skills tonight at a showing of PHI TA KHON: GHOSTS OF ISAN (about Thailand’s Ghost Music Festival) before it’s released on DVD by Sublime Frequencies. Here’s a clip you can preview.

The film screens Thursday April 27, 10:00 pm, at Seattle’s Rendezvous/Jewelbox Theatre, 2320 2nd Ave., 441-5823.

The Greatest Ending Ever

posted by on April 27 at 4:59 PM

The other night some friends and I were having drinks (as we often do), discussing bad pop culture (as we often do), when the subject of great TV series endings came up. Newhart was chatted about, as was the bizarre finale to the equally bizarre show Dinosaurs (which ended with the main characters gazing up at the sky watching as an asteroid descended upon themscientifically accurate, sure, but very strange for a kid’s show). But it was one ending in particular that we obsessed over: The finale of the short-lived Melrose Place spin-off Models Inc., which ended its first, and only, season with an unfortunate cliffhanger: Carrie Anne Moss’s character Carrie Spencer wakes up in South America and discovers she’s been sold into white slavery.

What happened to Ms. Spencer? Was she eventually rescued? Did she spend the rest of her days languishing in a hut? Does anyone else even remember this show? And just how pathetic are we to be sitting around obsessing over such trash?

The world may never know…

re: Stop the Presses

posted by on April 27 at 4:53 PM

Brendan’s post reminds me of this delightful photo we ran with our Movie Times a while back. Maude got bod!

bea[4].tif

Does anyone remember Movie Times photos?

Stop the Presses

posted by on April 27 at 4:51 PM

You might be interested to know that a Google images search for “Bea Arthur” and “bathing suit” returns exactly zero hits.

Nirvana’s Drum Kit For Sale?

posted by on April 27 at 4:48 PM

Lord knows whether this Craigslist posting has any validity, but if it does, someone could become the proud owner of one very expensive and very beat-up drum kit.

Re: The Full Monty

posted by on April 27 at 4:45 PM

A friend of mine who moved to the East coast last year says the thing they miss most about Seattle is Comeback. They even wrote a god damn poem about it:

Ode to Comeback


O Comeback, you are more than a mere mortal dance night.
You’re a supreme drunken orgy of faggy delights.
Your jaeger flows freely, your bathrooms coed!
You sparkle as a diamond, or a glass of Moet.

On the dance floor, all of us strangers do mingle,
We talk at the bar, and we talk as we tinkle.
I’ve thumbwrestled with fags, I’ve argued with trannies,
I’ve danced the rumba with a fairy in panties.

The music is loud and the dirt fags are dirty.
The straight boys are quiet and the dykes are so flirty.
The dance floor is a make-out den of iniquity,
Be carefulit’s slippy and sloshy and liquidy!

The only reason I look forward to month’s end,
Is to loose my freak flag amongst my best friends.
In your hallowed space, I can let it all go
For what is a ho if she hasn’t a mo?

I have but one more Comeback before I skip town.
May 27th is when the shit goes down.
As I drive East afterward, hangover a-poppin‚
You will live on in my heart where the beats droppin.

sigh…

Dumb. Asses.

posted by on April 27 at 4:31 PM

From the AP:

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a new conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive back the few block back to the U.S. Capitol.

capt.dcpm10904272019.gas_prices_dcpm109.jpg

Immigration Reform, Texas Style

posted by on April 27 at 3:50 PM

From Breitbart:

Two white teenagers severely beat and sodomized a 16-year-old Hispanic boy who they believed had tried to kiss a 12-year-old white girl at a party, authorities said.

The attackers forced the boy out of the Saturday night house party, beat him and sodomized him with a metal pipe, shouting epithets “associated with being Hispanic,” said Lt. John Martin with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department.

They then poured bleach over the boy, apparently to destroy DNA evidence and left him for dead, authorities said. He wasn’t discovered until Sunday, 12 hours after the attack.

The victim, who was not identified, suffered severe internal injuries and remained in critical condition Thursday.

(Via Andrew Sullivan.)

Gas Money

posted by on April 27 at 3:49 PM

I quoted from a GOP press release earlier today, so, let me report on today’s press release from the Democrats.

The Democrats are dinging GOP U.S. senate candidate Mike McGavick for taking campaign contributions from Exxon:

McGavick’s FEC report for the first quarter of 2006 reveals that he took $1,000 from Exxon Mobil’s PAC, in addition to PAC checks from Arctic drilling champions Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Lisa Murkowski.  Today, Exxon Mobil announced first quarter profits of $8.4 billion. Lobbyist! Mike’s latest FEC report does not include the oil-soaked fundraiser in Alaska, hosted by Ted Stevens and a who’s-who of big oil special interests this month. But it does include contributions from big oil all-stars Senator Ted Stevens (whose Northern Lights PAC gave McGavick $5,000) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (whose PAC gave McGavick $2,000) in addition to a $1,000 check from Exxon Mobil’s PAC. “McGavick’s oil-soaked FEC report shows where his true allegiance lies with big oil special interests not with Washington’s working families who are paying for Exxon’s greed at the pump,” said Kelly Steele, communications director for Washington State Democrats. “While Lobbyist! Mike has been courting Exxon Mobil and their big oil cronies, the oil companies have been lining their pockets for another quarter of sky-high earnings, paid for at the expense of average Washingtonians.”  “While Maria Cantwell is working to hold oil companies accountable for skyrocketing profits and price gouging at the pump, and while she’s leading the fight to protect the Arctic Refuge from oil drilling, Lobbyist! Mike is lining his pockets with big oil’s money,” said Steele.


Footnote: Thanks to fucked up gas prices, Exxon displaced Wal-Mart atop this year’s Fortune 500 list with a 25% jump in revenues over last year & a 42.6% jump in profits. Exxon took in $36 billion in profits this year off $339 billion in revenuesa 10.6 percent profit margin.

Ghost-Riding the Whip on Alki Ave

posted by on April 27 at 3:43 PM

Alki Beach residents were mortified Sunday by the invasion of music-blaring “gang members” into their otherwise peaceful environs. Various reports indicate that these visitors engaged in some spirited ghost-riding the whip.

I don’t see much MTV/BET, but I think ghost-riding the whip is the party fad popularized by this E-40 video. You get your car rolling in neutral, then you climb out and begin dancing alongside it. A hip-hop blasting stereo is recommended. Judging by this video, performing this stunt on a steep hill is not recommended.

Here is a firsthand report by a resident who wrote in anonymously to the Alki Beach newsgroup to alert neighbors:

On Sunday April 23rd scores if not hundreds of gang members* and their supporters took over the main street at Alki beach blocking traffic in both directions and creating terror in the neighborhood. Harassing every car that tried to get through they stood in front of the cars forcing them to stop then swarming around the victims cars trying to provoke some kind of defense by the victim, no doubt to hoping for an excuse for more violence. They rocked vehicles, sometimes jumping on them or rolling across the hood or trunk. There was one gangster racing an SUV up and down the street snaking back and forth across both lanes into and into oncoming traffic. First forward screeching to a stop at the side a car and screaming obscenities at whomever happened to be the randomly chosen victim trying to intimidate and provoke more violence then he’d slam the SUV in reverse and with the passenger door wide open race toward the next victim’s cars who was forced the veer away barely able to avoid impact or running into pedestrians.

* It is unclear how the witness succeeded in confirming the suspects’ membership in gangs.

The Full Monty

posted by on April 27 at 3:09 PM

Has Comeback finally gone to far? Posters and flyers for the alternafag club night at Chop Suey have always been dirtymostly shots of guys from vintage porn, mostly shots of backsidesbut they’ve never shown cock. Until now.

Comeback.jpg

Have the boys behind Comeback finally gone too far? Or is cock the new butt?

Wii

posted by on April 27 at 2:30 PM

Nintendo announced today that their next-generation gaming console, heretofore known by its code-name “Revolution,” will officially be called the—get ready for it—Wii.

nintendo wii

That’s right, Wii. And that’s not “W 2” with some kind of stylish though irritating lowercase roman numerals, it’s meant to be pronounced as a word — “we.”

As far as terrible consumer product names go, that’s pretty good. Wii? Seriously?

Nintendo explains:

“While the code-name Revolution expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer,” spokeswoman Perrin Kaplan told Reuters.

Oh!

Obviously this is of interest to absolutely no one, not even me, but it does give me an excuse to link to this, which makes it all better.

Speed

posted by on April 27 at 2:27 PM

My friend Nic Veroli, a French philosopher, just sent me a link to an amazing short film by Claude Lelouch. Before watching the movie read this:

On an August morning in 1978, French filmmaker Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive at breakneck speed through the heart of Paris. The film was limited for technical reasons to 10 minutes; the course was from Porte Dauphine, through the Louvre, to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.

No streets were closed, for Lelouch was unable to obtain a permit.

The driver completed the course in about 9 minutes, reaching nearly 140 MPH in some stretches. The footage reveals him running real red lights, nearly hitting real pedestrians, and driving the wrong way up real one-way streets….Upon showing the film in public for the first time, Lelouch was arrested. He has never revealed the identity of the driver, and the film went underground until a DVD release a few years ago.


Paris is a cinema city.

God’s Cruelty

posted by on April 27 at 2:10 PM

From the Palm Beach Post

WEST PALM BEACH One minute, Harold Bennett, 65, was smiling in the street as a light rain fell. The next, a bolt of lightning dropped from the sky, killing him instantly.

Next-door neighbor Judy Thompson saw the electricity pass through her longtime friend’s body.
More local news

The neighbors had been chatting outside around 6:30 p.m. about the upcoming hurricane season when Bennett, shirtless and in sandals, hiked up his shorts an inch and took three steps toward Thompson.

He was smiling when the sky lit up with electricity.

The lightning bolt struck his head from behind, and yellow sparks formed inside his mouth, Thompson said.

Standing about 25 feet away, Thompson watched in horror as her friend the most caring and energetic man she’d ever known died without a word.

He dropped to the ground in front of the house he’d lived in for more than 30 years.

Good afternoon Charles

posted by on April 27 at 1:37 PM

I trust none of Tuesday’s activities were too scandalizing. Here is what I did last night. I hope you approve.

Diary of a Lady, Day 2: Wednesday, April 27th

5:00 pm: I met friends at The Chapel for an after-work martini. There was no time to return home and freshen up, but luckily I keep a spare set of heels and pearls at my office. Ladies and boy scouts are always prepared. (Once while hiking with friends, I was dismayed to discover I had left my pearls at home. Luckily, my party crossed paths with a troupe of boy scouts, and one was kind enough to lend me his spare set. What a little gentleman!)

5:15 pm: My companions and I ordered prawns, bread, and cheese for an appetizer, which we ate while seated.

6:15 pm: We walked to the Triple Door for Dave Schmader’s Showgirls performance. It was hilarious. I feel honored to know such a sweet and clever man.

10:00 pm: My party and I walked to my house for dessert. I was set to prepare apple dumplings with medjool dates and maple sauce, but a quick poll showed that more people were interested in receiving a foot rub.

10:10 pm: I began rubbing my roommate’s size 14 feet. It reminded me of this poem:

I held a jewel in my fingers

And went to sleep
The day was warm, and winds were prosy
I said, “Twill keep”

I woke - and chide my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own

~ Emily Dickinson

10:30 pm: I turned my attention to my friend’s size 12 feet. The scent of man on my hands is more refreshing than a Summer’s Eve. Wouldn’t you agree, Charles?

11:30 pm: My guests left and I prepared myself for bed. After such a long day, my hands were too exhausted to turn the pages of my Bible (sorry Jesus!).

Pot Kettle Politics

posted by on April 27 at 1:30 PM

The Washington state Republicans sent out a press release this morning declaring: “Democrats turn surplus into deficit.”

Calling the Democrats an irresponsible party, the GOP press release reports: “According to the governor’s budget office, Washington State is now projected to face a $718 million budget shortfall. Earlier this year the state was expected to have a $1.6 billion surplus. ‘Democrats have managed to turn a record surplus into crippling deficits.’”


Pardon me if I can’t quite stomach the GOP hollering about budget deficits. But as The Economist reported last week: “America’s most urgent economic ill is the federal government’s budget. Under Mr Bush, this has slithered from showing a surplus of $236 billion in 2000 to running a deficit of $318 billion in 2005.”


I’m still waiting on the governor’s office and/or the Dems to call me back to explain the reversal of fortune at the state level. Although, I imagine it has to do with covering basic social serviceslike picking up the estimated $12 million in health care costs for uninsured Wal-Mart employees who qualify for public health care as low-income recipients.

Meanwhile, I already know The GOP excuse for their half trillion swing into the red. Bush’s $300 billion and counting war in Iraq. Yes, the worthy war in Iraq: declared in response to Iraq’s WMD arsenal… woops; declared in response to Iraq’s connection to al Qaeda…woops; declared in order to stop terrorism…woops;declared as a crusade to turn Iraq into a stable haven of democracy… woops.

So, that’s funding necessary services vs. an ill-advised war.

Who’s the irresponsible party?

Big City of Garlands; Big City of Garbage

posted by on April 27 at 1:27 PM

I’m visiting New York City at the moment, staying at Paul (DJ Spooky) Miller’s apartment.
6234d71eaaa1.jpg
Paul’s apartment is in Tribeca and was once occupied by the minimalist composer Steve Reich, who paid $65 a month to live here back in the 60s. Paul now pays above three grand a month for this space, which is comfortable but not that big at all.

Although I love NYC, I could never live here because it’s a dirty city. Seattle (a city I rarely leave—the last time I visited NYC was in 1993, on my way to Gabarone, Botswana) is as clean as a microchip when compared with the streets of even a nice neighborhood like Tribeca. Not far from where I’m writing this post is the building that houses Richard Parson, the CEO of Time-Warner. The worst streets in Seattle have nothing like the garbage, the crumbling, the decay you will find on the streets below Parson’s three-story apartment.

As a fan of minimalism in both architecture and music (which is why it’s such a pleasure to be staying in Reich’s former place), you can see how NYC might be a little unsettling/upsetting to me at times, with its dirty streets enclosed by rows upon rows of 19th century classical revival buildings, whose facades are heavily ornamented (a jungle of garlands, a sea of coquillages, thousands of opulent oculuses, millions of modillions). It gets to be a touch too much. (Speaking of minimalism: I’m all set to meet Jeff Mills on Monday, May 1st—Mills is the master of Detroit techno’s militantly minimal wing.)

This Week’s Cover

posted by on April 27 at 1:15 PM

When I first saw the image on this week’s cover I thought someone was pouring someone a margaritafrom, like, a great height. What did you think was going on when you saw this week’s cover?

Cover-400.jpg

Eyman’s Plea (Or is it Eyman’s Ploy?)

posted by on April 27 at 12:49 PM

Tim Eyman prides himself on being a shrewd media manipulator, so I’m guessing there’s probably a self-serving reason for the email he fired off yesterday to every journalist he knows, an email in which he complained about how badly his campaign to repeal Washington’s gay civil rights bill is going.

In the last 43 days, Eyman reported, he was able to gather only 8,718 signatures in support of his anti-gay referendum. Meanwhile, he says, he needs to gather 112,440 signatures in the next 43 days in order for R-65 to be on the November ballot a goal that seems like a long-shot given his progress so far.

What to think about this cry for help?

Maybe there won’t be an anti-gay referendum on the ballot after all. Or maybe Eyman’s trying to fake-out his opposition, as Ed Murray has suggested. Or maybe Eyman’s trying to use the media to scare conservatives into redoubling their lackluster signature-gathering efforts. Or maybe, just maybe, the referendum prospector is trying to squeeze a bit more income out of an investment that hasn’t generated much of a return so far:

Eyman said the campaign for the referendum has raised more than $13,000 with most of the money coming from Eyman and co-sponsors Mike and Jack Fagan but needed more money.

Brighten Your Day

posted by on April 27 at 12:43 PM

By spending a few minutes contemplating geocide.

Mystery Solved

posted by on April 27 at 12:32 PM

Back in March, I Slogged about the “A-list Hollywood actor” who allegedly wanked to completion in front of a Scottish masseuse, who’s considering legal action.

At the time, the UK’s The Mirror reported that the star could not be named “for legal reasons.”

This week, the UK’s TimesOnline went ahead and named him.

Full story here.

And: ew.

Finkbeiner’s Out

posted by on April 27 at 12:00 PM

Republican State Senator Bill Finkbeiner is dropping out of his senate race, turning the eastside’s 45th Legislative District into the third district in this state where a Republican-held senate seat has become an open seat. (The others are the the 26th and 47th.)

The Democrats currently have a two-seat advantage in the state senate, but with all these newly-open, formerly-Republican seats popping up, they’re sensing an opportunity to expand that majority. “It’s a bad time to be a Republican,” says Dean Nielsen of Progressive Majority, celebrating this morning’s news.

UPDATE: Republican State Representative Toby Nixon, who already represents the 45th Legislative District in the state house, has announced he will quit the house and run for Finkbeiner’s senate seat.

Finkbeiner’s statement is in the jump…

Continue reading "Finkbeiner's Out" »

A Simple Equation

posted by on April 27 at 11:34 AM

In his blog today, Stefan Sharkansky refers to my recent Slog post defending Peter Steinbrueck’s $1,700 annual auto expense reimbursement as “largely nonsensical,” and condemns Steinbrueck as “a hypocrite and a lousy policy maker” for leading the charge to tear down the Alaskan Way Viaduct and replace it with a surface boulevard, transit and improvements to surface streets downtown. Sharkansky even histrionically invokes the fear that “people will be killed in a viaduct collapse” if the council spends so much as five to six weeks studying the surface option.

What I actually said in my post is that bus commuting isn’t realistic for everyone. What I didn’t add (because it seemed self-evident) is that for many, it is. Bus service to downtown from neighborhoods like West Seattle and Ballard is frequent and convenient, but on many routes (like Ballard to Capitol Hill, for example, or Lake City to City Hall) busing takes many times longer than driving.

Unlike Sharkansky, though, I see this as a reason to spend more on transit, not less. Transit should be convenient. It shouldn’t require people to “cheerfully forfeit an extra hour of work every day in order to take the bus,” as Sharkansky puts it. That’s why the surface/transit plan makes sense: The more transit there is, the easier it will be for those with busy lives (workers with multiple jobs, people with kids, students) to use it. I’ll take a bus if service is fast, frequent and convenient; if it isn’t, I won’t.

Furthermore, you don’t have to be a “rabid anti-car ideologue” to recognize that if you do, for reasons of convenience or ideology, choose to drive, you, too, benefit from more people using transit. More people on buses = fewer cars on the road.

Best Punk Song Ever

posted by on April 27 at 10:47 AM

Wire’s “Mr Suit.” So damned economical (85 seconds), so damned swift, so damned righteous, so damned uplifting. Check it out on the recently reissued and great-sounding “Original Masters” version of Pink Flag on Pink Flag Records. And while you’re at it, score Wire’s classic second and third albums, Chairs Missing and 154. Look for a feature on these timeless gems in next week’s Stranger.

This Doesn’t Really Count as Public Grooming

posted by on April 27 at 10:25 AM

…but it’s still newsworthy: Woman Uses Nail Clippers in Desert Birth.

Burner Qualifies for National Dem Fundraising Program

posted by on April 27 at 10:24 AM

As expected, Democrat Darcy Burner has qualified for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red-to-Blue” program, which channels expert advice and big donor cash into close Congressional races.

Remember, the Democrats need to pick up 15 seats in the House this fall to regain control of that chamber, and the non-partisan Rothenberg Report recently described Burner’s race against freshman Republican Congressman Dave Reichert as a “toss up” race (still tilting in the Republicans’ favor, but only slightly).

By placing Burner among the 22 candidates to qualify for this “Red-to-Blue” program, the DCCC is signalling its belief that Burner can take the eastside’s 8th District from Reichert, and in doing so help the Democrats take back Congress.

The Ol’ Bait & Switch

posted by on April 27 at 10:17 AM

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Every American taxpayer would get a $100 rebate check to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote Thursday.

Wow, the GOP sure is being generous. Oh, wait…

However, the GOP energy package may face tough sledding because it also includes a controversial proposal to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration, which most Democrats and some moderate Republicans oppose.

Man Fucks Horse…

posted by on April 27 at 8:47 AM

…and lives! Unfortunately for the man, he was caught on tape, and now the cops are looking for him.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What’s Next?

posted by on April 26 at 5:27 PM

Northwest Environment Watch, a local environmental group with a terrific blog, has changed its name to Sightline Institute. The new name is in keeping with a trend in which do-gooder groups around the city are moving from straightforward, self-explanatory names (Northwest Environment Watch, 1000 Friends of Washington, King County Office of Arts and Culture) to nonsensical, impossible-to-remember compound nouns that sound like they were cooked up in focus groups (Sightline, FutureWise, 4Culture). Will the Transportation Choices Coalition be the next to go? Since I have trouble keeping these groups’ crazy new names straight already (VisionQuest? IntelliSight? ForwardShift?), I hope not.

An Unexpected Benefit of Working at Home

posted by on April 26 at 4:30 PM

If it wasn’t for the re-run of the Colbert Report playing in the background as I was writing today, I wouldn’t have heard about last week’s pay-per-view séance, conducted in effort to communicate with John Lennon. What I can’t determine, however, is whether I’m struck more by the idiocy of the attempt or the insensitivity of the act.

Dwight Pelz: “It’s Not Working”

posted by on April 26 at 4:12 PM

I missed this wire story on the recent DNC strategy setting convention in New Orleans , but given the recent sit-in at Cantwell’s office, these comments from Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz seem prescient.

From the April 23rd Knight Ridder account:

While not on the agenda, Iraq was raised in a meeting Dean had with state party officials Friday.

Washington State Party chairman Dwight Pelz told Dean the party’s “murkiness” on Iraq was causing problems with the rank and file and that tension between activists and the national party leadership in Washington could sap their energy this fall.

“I understand it’s always better to have a lot of passion around an election,” Dean said. “But what more passion could we possibly invoke than stopping George Bush from continuing to destroy the country?”

Responded Pelz: “It’s not working.”

Hat tip: Howie in Seattle.

Sonics Update

posted by on April 26 at 3:53 PM

The City Council’s parks committee just passed a resolution for full council to approve Monday that sets the conditions on any public subsidy for the Sonics. The Sonics, as everyone knows, are seeking $220 million to revamp KeyArena and a new lease. Otherwise, they’re threatening to leave town.

The terms seem solid. Especially the 4th item bolded below which challenges the NBA model of allowing the team to keep revenue from non-NBA arena events like rock concerts. Losing this revenue, could cost the city close to $1 million a year.

Here are the terms the parks committee set this afternoon:

Any proposal for public funding of a KeyArena renovation must be submitted to the voters of King County for their approval; No use of any of the City‚s general fund money will pay for a KeyArena renovation; Any funding package needs to include support for arts and heritage programs and facilities; The Sonics must contribute a significant amount toward a KeyArena renovation; The Sonics should be responsible for any capital cost overruns associated with a KeyArena renovation; Under any lease agreement, the City should receive annual net revenues that are at least equal to what the City projects KeyArena can generate without the Sonics/Storm as tenants; Any negotiated lease should require the Sonics to play at KeyArena for the duration of debt service issued for a KeyArena makeover; The Sonics should be responsible for major maintenance; A proposed lease should carefully address potential impacts to existing KeyArena employees who are currently Seattle Center/ City of Seattle employees; The Sonics need to commit to a package of tangible benefits to the public.

I <3 Stella.

posted by on April 26 at 3:36 PM

Unfortunately Comedy Central has officially decided to NOT renew the Stella show, featuring the hilarious comedy of David Wain, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Showalter, and that’s bad news indeed. But the good news is that a DVD is in the works, which will feature all of season one as well as a bunch of other extras.

And lest we forget how hilarious they really are, perhaps you should spend a few minutes (or hours) here, watching their early collection of shorts. It’ll make your workday go by much faster. “The Woods,” “David’s Cousin,” and “Saturday,” are a few of my favorites. Just sayin’.

Moog Porn

posted by on April 26 at 3:10 PM

Because you want to know about the synths used on the Apocalypse Now soundtrack.

The Right to Bear Arms (and Vice Versa)

posted by on April 26 at 2:56 PM

At last, the p.r. moment all you munitions-libertarians have been waiting fora news story about a killing in self-defense (sorta). Lucky for these guys that they live in Forks, Washington, USA, instead of some quasi-fascist police state like England, where it’s much, much harder to get good rifles (even if the resultant medical attention would be cheaperthose Brits have their priorities all fucked up).

To Charles

posted by on April 26 at 2:52 PM

Yesterday you made a public plea for me to curb my “uncouth habit” after catching me walking up Pine Street while eating a slice of pizza. Neither ladies nor gentlemen eat and walk at the same time, you admonished.

Purchasing that slice of chicken garlic pizza last Friday was rash, and my excuse is rather flimsy: I was hungry and I had places to be. However, I believe starving oneself is tasteless and being late is tacky, so I had ordered my meager dinner “to go” thinking it was the lesser evil, and prayed no one would witness my obscene food faux pas.

Alas, you have the eyes of a hawk, Mudede. It pains me to think that this altercation has damaged your opinion of me. Last night I thought hard about what I could do to rectify the matter and prove to you that I am a delicate lady worthy of your esteem.

For the rest of this week I will post a short photo-journal of the lady-like pursuits that occupy my evenings.

Tuesday, April 26

5:00 pm: I returned home from work and changed out of my work clothes. Time to tidy up the nest!

6:00 pm: My roommate came home after a stressful work day. I would normally give him a good shoulder rub to help him relax, but my hands were already busy making dinner. He had to settle for a stiff cocktail and a smile instead!

8:00 pm: Dinner’s ready! Last night’s menu included crab salad with asparagus, avocado, and lime vinaigrette and charred ahi tuna with pasta puttanesca. Yum!

9:30 pm: After eating (at the dinner table in our formal dining room), there was just enough time to clean up before bedtime.

10:00 pm: I settled into bed with my Bible and a night-cap.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

African American Film Fest Thru This Sunday

posted by on April 26 at 2:47 PM

Three cheers for the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (at 17th and Yesler) which is putting on its Third Annual African American Film festival this week, through Sunday.

Three cheers because last night, they screened The Untold Story of Emmett Till, and had the filmmaker, Keith Beauchamp, there for a Q&A. I’ve been dying to see the movie since it caused a stir two years ago after forcing the feds to reopen the Till case. And it was worth it. The film, particularly Beauchamp’s modern interviews with Till’s super-hero-powers mother, is chilling.

If you don’t know the Emmett Till story, it’s widely considered the catalyst of the Civil Rights movement. In 1955, several months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, Mamie Mobely Till, the mother of a 14-year-old lynching victim Emmett Till, made the historic decision to have an open casket funeral so the whole world could see the mangled face of racism, literally. Till was a black teen from Chicago who was brutally murdered after whistling at a white woman while visiting Mississippi. His head was bashed in and his eyes were gouged out of their sockets. The funeralTill’s disfigured face was published in Jet magazineand subsequent high-profile trial (the killers were acquitted by an all-white jury) tapped the rising mood of daring civil rights activism among increasing numbers of blacks.

Stranger Film Editor Annie Wagner wrote about the festival in last week’s paper (I’ve linked her write up and recommendations below), butafter attending last night’s inspiring screeningI wanted to give it a shout out of my own, and alert people again that it’s still going on.

Continue reading "African American Film Fest Thru This Sunday" »

Council Agrees to Study Third Viaduct Option

posted by on April 26 at 2:42 PM

The city council agreed today to spend $15,000 to study the “surface/transit” option for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. According to the press release, the $15,000 will pay for a consultant who will “analyze whether the capacity of the street grid and a reconfiguration with the deployment of additional transit services could sustain mobility given the loss of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.” Translation: Can we replace the viaduct’s capacity with transit and improvements to I-5 and the street grid? The People’s Waterfront Coalition, which has been pushing the council to consider its proposal for highway-free waterfront for more than two years, says yes.

Re: For Gun Control Yet?

posted by on April 26 at 2:08 PM

Eli argues that last night’s shooting at Broadway and John demonstrates “what happens when everybody in society gets to own a gun.”

Everyone on Capitol Hill would have been packing last night, just like the troublemaking young man. Every witness to his frightening behavior could have responded immediately with lethal force. There could have been a great big citizen shootout at the intersection of Broadway and John before the police even arrived on the scene to confront the man! Would that have been better? Or would it perhaps have been better for all concerned if this young man had never been able to get hold of a gun in the first place?

Let’s leave aside the aside for the moment the specious semantic debate over whether guns or people kill people: Almost no one, save for a few nutty blog posters, is arguing for universal gun ownershipfor teens, vision-impaired old ladies, crazy people, everybody. What reasonable gun proponents do argue is that in certain cases, gun ownership for a few makes everyone safer. I don’t own a gun, but, in certain circumstances, I would: If I owned a business, or had a family, or lived in a dangerous city, a firearm would give me the ability to protect myself and my property. I believe this is a constitutional privilege that I, as a law-abiding citizen, have the right to exercise if I choose to. (As for the argument that nations with fewer guns, like England, have lower rates of gun-related crime: There are plenty of counterexamples, like Israel and Switzerland, where gun ownership rates are high and homicide rates are low.)

I grew up around guns. My family owns about a dozen, including handguns, rifles, automatic pistols, and antiques that have never been fired. They were never careless with firearms, and I grew up understanding that guns were dangerous, deadly weapons that shouldn’t be handled without proper training, in the same way that I wasn’t allowed to drive a car alone until I’d passed a driving test. (The laws on this vary from state to state, but some states do have waiting periods, background checks, and safety standardsall of which are good ideas.)

Besides, there are obvious practical issues with the universal gun ban Eli proposes. Various estimates put gun ownership at between 35 and 50 percent of all US households, with nearly 200 million guns in American hands; how do gun-ban proponents suggest the government go about seizing them all?

The Super-Wealthy 18

posted by on April 26 at 1:37 PM

Yesterday the watchdog groups Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy released this report on the 10-year “stealth campaign” by certain super-wealthy families to repeal the Estate Tax. The report names two prominent local families and, according to the press release…

…details for the first time the vast money, influence and deceptive marketing techniques behind the rhetoric in the campaign to repeal the tax. It reveals how 18 families worth a total of $185.5 billion have financed and coordinated a 10-year effort to repeal the estate tax, a move that would collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion.

Can you guess which local families? Here’s the list:

Allyn-Soderberg Family (Welch Allyn Inc.)

Blethen Family (Seattle Times Co.)

Cox Family (Cox Enterprises, Inc.)

DeVos and Van Andel Families (Alticor/Amway)

Dorrance Family (Campbell Soup Company)

Gallo (E&J Gallo Winery)

Harbert Family

Johnson Family (BET, RLJ Development Co.)

Koch Family (Koch Industries)

Mars Family (Mars Inc.)

Mayer Family (Captiva Resources)

Nordstrom Family (Nordstrom Inc.)

Sobrato Family (Sobrato Development)

Stephens Family (Stephens Inc.)

Timken Family (The Timken Company)

Walton Family (Wal-Mart)

Wegman Family (Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.)

The First Slog Recipe Challenge

posted by on April 26 at 12:41 PM

Last night, after exiting the Peter Matthiessen lecture at Benaroya Hall (his last comment: watching his granddaughter do gymnastics that morning inspired him to reflect on what amazing creatures people are, so beautiful, creative, and accomplished, but that we are animals, after all, and these little girls would “be the ones to stick a fork in me if we were stuck in a life raft”) we found this list:

eggs
onions
garlic
whole milk
feta
green veg
fruit
hot water bottle

What delicious food could you make with these ingredients? You may include common kitchen items (flour, etc.), but extra credit for restricting yourself to the items on the list.

Look, Mom! I’m a podcast star!

posted by on April 26 at 11:56 AM

I’ve posted before about Never Forget, a local podcast by a few music geek friends of mine, and now I’ll gladly do it again because this week I’m the co-host! I had never done a podcast before, and it was a lot of fun to pretend like I was doing pirate radio like Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume (great movie, by the way).

For a whole hour, we play a bunch of great punk rock and make fun of each other and Pete Wentz. Here’s the playlist:

piebald - location is everything
possum dixon - we’re all happy
fifteen - inventions
hoover - TNT
meneguar - house of cats
lungfish - cleaner than your surroundings
mclusky - to hell with good intentions
team dresch - fagetarian and dyke
zero zero - true zero

So check it out by going to www.neverforgetpodcast.com. And apologies in advance for babbling, I tend to do that. Anyways, give a listen and let us know what you think! Your feedback keeps my heart beating.

To the Oddness of the Day

posted by on April 26 at 11:38 AM

Today feels strange, with the awfulness of the shooting hanging over things and these unproductively cloudy skies. I don’t want to be insensitive by posting something silly, but these two things are so weird, maybe they’re right for today somehow.

The first is a one-minute video in which the loopy Australian man often spotted making informercials with the even-loopier Kirk Cameron explains that the design of the banana is God’s explicit invitation to the human hand to hold it. He says things like, “Almighty God has made it with a non-slip surface.” It really is worth your minute.

The second item is something that came into my email inbox as a press release this morning, announcing that there is a new Sasquatch sculpture at the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries, made of ceramic and fake hair.

unknown.jpg

There are other casts of the furry guy at the museum. From the release:

The Directors are always delighted at the response the figure draws from kids and tourists and welcomes photos and don’t think the Sasquatch’s lack of clothes will be an issue as he is quite hairy and has a modest appearance. He is situated a the base of the stairs and his expression seems to convey he simply wants to fit in.

The museum is holding a naming contest. It is taking suggestions until July 2, when it will announce its choice at its picnic at Volunteer Park.

Unembedded

posted by on April 26 at 10:59 AM

If you’re looking for portraits of Iraq by journalists outside the Pentagon’s embedding program, Unembedded is a project by four photographers and two filmmakers that includes a traveling exhibition, a book, and this web site.

Unsurprisingly, the overall sense is of chaos, despair, and destruction, as in Seattle filmmaker James Longley’s devastating “Iraq in Fragments,” which screened at the end of last month at the Cinerama, when Annie Wagner reviewed it and did an extensive interview with Longley. The Unembedded images differ from the typical American media coverage in that they are unabashedly focused on Iraqi life, not American military personnel. They also feel overwhelmingly physical, as if they reflect the photographers’ sense of fear for their own lives, roaming as they are unconnected to any armed party, like many Iraqi civilians. I only wish there was a show like thisor really any meaningful coveragecoming out of Afghanistan, too.

Unembedded was recently seen at the Northern Arizona University’s School of Communication, is up now in Photographic Gallery in New York, and then it goes to the CONTACT photo festival in Toronto. (Interesting mix of venues.)

To compare these images with the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs from Iraq over the last three years, click here and then choose “2004” or “2005” on the timeline at the top, or go directly to this year’s winning portfolio, by Todd Heisler of the Rocky Mountain News here. Here’s an example of one of Heisler’s images:

heisler-04.jpg

Expand Your Worldview

posted by on April 26 at 10:56 AM

….by subjecting your psyche to this.

(Generally safe for work, as the adult-ish material is merely textual. P.S.: “AB” stands for adult babies.)

(Hat tip to Mike Nipper, who found this site. That’s all I know and that’s all I want to know.)

The Joys of Not Being at a Music Festival in Austin, Part One

posted by on April 26 at 10:55 AM

I love South by Southwest. Unlike many of my peers, I’ve only been half a dozen times, so I’ve yet to get all jaded and grumpy about it. That said, the routine at SXSW is pretty firmly cast before you walk into your first showcase—see a zillion bands in venues along 6th and Red River Road, drink, crash, repeat. This weekend, I had the pleasure of spending four days in Texas’ liberal oasis without feeling like I had to save my energy for a Vice after-party.

I was there with half a dozen friends to attend a wedding on Saturday, but arriving Friday night gave our group some time to hit Club DeVille and drink in a few rounds of nearly-flammable margaritas. The next morning, thanks to the sage advice of former Austinite Ian Moore, we ended up at a great breakfast place called Polvo’s on the southeast end of the city. We subsequently spent the afternoon wandering around local thrift and indie-boutique stores, where I discovered the vintage ice bucket of my dreams (a mere $14) while another member of our party found a pair of gold hotpants emblazoned with Eazy-E’s lecherous mug (too much, both in price and visual impact). However, the best part of that leisurely exploration was not happening upon Austin’s own Six Feet Under set, but coming across an enchanting-yet-creepy junkyard/museum of antique neon art, including an especially awesome, 20-foot tall chicken.

Who Cleans Up the Blood?

posted by on April 26 at 10:19 AM

A forums post, with photos.

Activists Get Meeting w/ Cantwell

posted by on April 26 at 10:10 AM

Six of the original seven antiwar activists who showed up at Senator Maria Cantwell’s downtown Seattle offices yesterday to protest Cantwell’s position on Iraq, ended up spending the night there on Tuesdaysleeping on the floor or in chairs in a conference room.

The activists report that Cantwell has agreed to meet with them. A meeting is scheduled for May 6, they say.

Rather than have the protesters removed, two Cantwell staffers and one of the staffer’s boyfriends spent the night in Cantwell’s 32nd floor offices as wellacting as federally required escorts. One activist says the Cantwell chaperones were, “cool and amenable.”

Cantwell spokesperson Charla Neuman did call me back yesterday. Sounding weary and calm she explained why they didn’t have the protesters removed: “They’re good constituents, and I’ve got a sleeping bag.”

It sounds like the activistsincluding an Iraq war vet, the father of a soldier who was killed in Iraq, and the pastor at Wallingford’s United Church of Christare going to leave Cantwell’s office this morning after they agree on the final details about the pending meeting with Senator Cantwell.

Yesterday, the activists showed up at Cantwell’s offices demanding that Cantwell either sign off on Senator John Kerry’s troop withdrawal plan (out by Dec. 2006) or agree to hold a meeting where she clarifies her position.

I’ve got a call out to Neuman to confirm the activist’s report.

UPDATE: Neuman called to say the activists went home at around 1:50 today. (A tired Neuman, who also stayed the night, “walked out the door with them.” She confirmed that the activists have a meeting with Senator Cantwell scheduled for May 6. She said the activists were a nice group. She lent them a deck of cards last night so they could pass the time.

Yesterday, with Greg Nickels

posted by on April 26 at 9:16 AM

While that armed, ex-speed-using kid was going about what would be his last day on earth—on the one-month anniversary of the Capitol Hill massacre, no less—Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was in NYC, joining mayors from fourteen other U.S. cities at a summit aimed at getting guns off city streets.

The Associated Press reports that the 15 mayors agreed on a six-point statement of principles in combatting gun violence, including opposition to federal efforts to restrict the cities’ right “to access, use and share trace data that is so essential to effective enforcement, or to interfere with the ability of the (ATF) to combat illegal gun trafficking.” “If the leadership won’t come from Congress or from the White House, it will have to come from us,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who led the summit with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

(Of course the NRA had something to say, dismissing the summit as “a taxpayer-funded publicity stunt.”)

Full story here.

For Gun Control Yet?

posted by on April 26 at 8:04 AM

After the March 25 Capitol Hill shooting the one in which Kyle Huff used a 12-gauge shotgun and a .40-caliber pistol to kill six people in a shared rental house a number of Slog readers suggested that events that day would have turned out better had everyone in the rental house been armed.

Gun control is not the answer, these readers suggested. More guns are the answer. That way armed citizens can kill someone like Kyle Huff before he kills them.

Well, last night’s shooting on Capitol Hill shows what happens when everyone in a society gets to have a gun. The young man who pulled a gun on police last night, and who was shot to death as a result, appears to have been one of the troubled, strung-out kids who clog Broadway’s sidewalks, particularly near the intersection with John Street. Friends of the young man told reporters that he was drunk, depressed, recently out of rehab, recovering from a speed addiction, etc.

Pay attention, gun boosters: This is the type of person you arm when you wish for everyone to have a weapon.

But hey, let’s suspend all logic for a moment and pretend that universal gun ownership would actually make us all safer. And then let’s imagine how a realization of that gun booster fantasy would have affected events leading up to last night’s Capitol Hill shooting:

Everyone on Capitol Hill would have been packing last night, just like the troublemaking young man. Every witness to his frightening behavior could have responded immediately with lethal force. There could have been a great big citizen shootout at the intersection of Broadway and John before the police even arrived on the scene to confront the man! Would that have been better?

Or would it perhaps have been better for all concerned if this young man had never been able to get hold of a gun in the first place?


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

John Street Shooting Photos

posted by on April 25 at 11:42 PM

It’s 11:45about three hours after the shooting. The dead guy was just uncovered for a minute and eight people in various uniforms were taking pictures of his naked body. He has short dark hair, looks young. Then they covered him again, lifted him onto a gurney, wheeled him over to the side of a city truck, and have uncovered him again and are taking more pictures of himpictures upon pictures. Presumably he’s about to be transported away. Here is what the scened has looked like for the last three hours, up until a couple minutes ago.

deadjohn1.jpg

deadjohn2.jpg

Bullets Over Broadway

posted by on April 25 at 11:33 PM

Seattle Police officers shot and killed a man at the bus stop on E John Street Tuesday night after he refused to lay down his weapon.

Department spokesman Rich Pruitt says dispatchers took a call at 8:17 p.m. from a person who had had an altercation with the man as he crossed Broadway, near the bus stop. The caller had seen a pistol tucked in the man’s waistband, in the small of his back.

Witnesses also told police that the man — described as Caucasian of about twenty, wearing a black hat, white T-shirt and gray jeans — had been creating a disturbance at the bus stop. “Apparently he was stomping around and he made a verbal threat that ‘If police show up I’m going to shoot them,’” says Pruitt.


Police arrived at the bus stop, near East John’s intersection of Broadway, within 90 seconds of the call, according to Pruitt. “They confronted him near the bus stop, told him to drop his weapon and get on the ground,” says Pruitt. “He drew his gun and pointed it at the officers. We believe he fired rounds. They fired back, killing him.”

Pruitt says that it appears the man was struck in the chest with one of the bullets and that another bullet struck the muzzle of the gun — suggesting that it was pointed directly at the officers.

A man near the scene, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the dead man was his friend and describes him as “scruffy, short, with black hair and tattoos.” According to the source, the man went by the nickname, “Booster.”

Shooting Just Now on Capitol Hill

posted by on April 25 at 10:45 PM

There is a dead man on his back in the street outside Twice Sold Tales, on John Street, half a block east of Broadway. I have a perfect view of the scene from my apartment window. The man is naked but covered in a white sheet. His face and body and legs are hidden from view, but his white feet are poking out of the sheet. Clumps of his clothes are next to him. (Some people in the building watched the cops strip him naked and got a look at all his bullet wounds.) His shoes are off and they lay near his feet. The dead man is white and he lived on the street, according to a chaplain who explained a little bit about what was going on when I arrived home to my block cordoned off in yellow tape about a half an hour ago. Apparently the dead man was wielding a gun and was perceived to be enough of a threat by the copssome say he was firing the gun, everyone’s account is differentthat they shot and killed him. A minute ago three cops were scanning the exterior walls of Perfect Copy & Print, presumably looking for bullet holes. Another just shined his flashlight on an old-fashioned hand pistol with a wooden handle on the sidewalk just in front of KT Imports (that’s the sign on the empty storefront between Perfect Copy & Print and Twice Sold Tales). They’re not touching it.

According to someone in my building, the shots rang out sometime after 8 o’clockmeaning, about two hours agoand yet the guy is still there on the ground. According to this source, who is a 31-year-old musician who is currently staying with a friend of his in my building, no ambulance ever arrived, but according to someone else an ambulance and firetrucks arrived right after the shooting and then left.

He was working on his music when it all went down. He’s what he remembers:

“Basically, I was working on my music and I heard a bunch of shots, like firecrackers, because when there are lots of shots that’s what they sound like. So I jumped up and went to the window and noticed that, maybe like six or seven cops were aiming but not shooting anymorethey were already doneat the suspect who was already on the ground and [the suspect] appeared to have a gun near his hand but he wasn’t holding onto it anymore. I could tell that he’d been shot because he was slumped over very awkwardly. I saw his face, unfortunately. That was the worst part. I’ve only seen one other person die. His arms were still moving around in the beginning, that’s probably why they were still aiming. He was convulsing.”

“Right after this I noticed there were three or four more cop cars, and then I noticed that there were three or four more cops on foot, and cop cars still kept coming. And no ambulance was to be found. It was just odd. After they shot him, they waited a long time, and then one of the cops said to one of the officers to go get the rifle. So he went to the back trunk and opened a backpack and got a rifle to make sure they could aim it at him when he could obviously not do anything, he was laying there slowly dying. His face was whitelike, you’re dying, you have no oxygen, all the oxygen’s going away, you’re dying. And then they all started walking together, like six or seven cops, but taking very, very long, and finally they get to him, with their guns pointed, and tell him to get on his stomach. In which case he obviously didn’t do anything. Basically the whole time they were approaching him he was dying. Then they waited a while longer, maybe a few more minutes at least, and then they finally moved over to him and knocked away the gun [that was near the dead man’s hand]. Someone else downstairs told me that he had a big huge gun and was shooting into walls and things, but I didn’t see that, I don’t know if that’s true.”

“They”the cops”kind of picked him up after they finally got to him, after they kicked the gun away, they picked him up kind of to turn him on his stomach, and his head smashed into the ground. It was really bad lookingthey just picked him up and his head smashed into the ground. And then I didn’t see the rest, but someone who kept watching saw them strip him naked. A bunch of people in the apartment saw them strip him and saw him naked in the street covered in bullet wounds.”

“Two accounts that I heard downstairs were that (1) maybe he was shooting at cops, but I didn’t see any cops wounded in the area, and (2) that he had a big gun and he was shooting holes in walls. Someone else said maybe he just shot a bullet into the air. The cops were right along Broadway and he was in the middle of the block, in front of Twice Sold Tales.”

But what happened to Andrae?

posted by on April 25 at 10:16 PM

Hey guys.
I just stopped to pick up a tasty late dinner from my fave neighborhood sushi spot, Musashi’s. As I walked toward the restaurant, I saw three people standing outside, looking dejected because the place had just closed (I called ahead). One of them was very tall, and was wearing an outfit far too stylish for Seattle (or at least Wallingford). I heard him say, “I don’t know. KFC?” That motherfucker was Santino. I tried to walk past them conspicuously so he would notice my outfit (it’s a good one today), but they didn’t see me. That’s when I realized that I am a douchebag.

Check it Out

posted by on April 25 at 10:00 PM

This photo made my dayhell, it made my week.

ITMFAtruck.jpg

And the woman who drives that truck? She lives in North Fucking Carolina.

Inside Baseball

posted by on April 25 at 8:37 PM

Terry Coe, publisher of Der Weekly, is apparently leaving the paper. So… did he leave or was he pushed? Is it the new owners’ first big fire? Coe is moving to Atlanta to head up some pub there.

Over and out.

Cantwell Sit-In Continues

posted by on April 25 at 5:47 PM

Just got a message from Adam, one of the 7 anti-war activists who’s standing his ground at Sen. Maria Cantwell’s Seattle offices.

He says the group had a long conference call with two Cantwell staffers in D.C. plus Kurt Beckett here in Seattle. Adam described Cantwell’s line as “candy coated bullshit” because the Cantwell folks just wouldn’t answer the simple Yes or No question: Does Cantwell support Sen. Kerry’s call for troop withdrawal by Dec. 2006?

Several members of the group were prepared to “go the civil disobedience route” meaning they’d get removed by federal security guards, cited, and fined. But, evidently in order to avoid the controversy and attention that would come with arrests, Cantwell’s staff decided to let the protesters stay in the building after hours while staff stays with them.

I still haven’t heard back from Cantwell’s press people.

The Vomit Comet

posted by on April 25 at 5:23 PM

Courtesy of ABC News:

Iowa Deputies Seek Serial Vomit Dumper

Iowa Deputies Trying Top Find the Person Who Keeps Dumping Bags of Human Vomit in Ditches

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa - Sheriff’s deputies in Henry County are stuck in the middle of a less than appetizing investigation. Investigators are trying to find the person who has dumped bags of what appears to be human vomit in ditches in a 1 1/2-mile area northeast of the city.

Deputy Dan Wesley said as many as 50 garbage and trash bags containing regurgitated food has been dumped over the past three years.

Bags, ranging in size from small white trash bags to large black lawn bags, have been found with only a couple of inches of the substance in them, Wesley said.

“It’s pretty weird,” he said. “It’s pretty unusual for us … we haven’t worked anything like this before.”

Coincidentally, our own Dan Savage landed in Iowa this very morning for a speaking engagement.

Re: Advice to the Dance Fan Sitting Next to Me

posted by on April 25 at 5:20 PM

And may I add, Mr. Frizzelle, that OtB has a scheduled a bitchin’ lineup for their Northwest New Works Festival in June? Actor Mark Boeker will perform something involving a “Sensitive Zombie,” Marya Sea Kaminski and WET will do a show with a hoop skirt hiding all kinds of surprises, I don’t know anything about Slow Dance Recyttal except they use clarinets and animations and they’ve got a neat name, and The Cody Rivers Show is a comedy duo that is just aching to jump into ArtsyFartsyLand (and ArtsyFartsyLand is aching to have them, it just doesn’t know it yet).

And check out these crazy dancin’ dudes from The Offshore Project.

Hooray, Mayor Nickels!

posted by on April 25 at 5:17 PM

OK, technically, the incredible civic accomplishment that is the renovated Cal Anderson Park isn’t Greg Nickels’s doing: It was paid for by the Pro Parks Levy, which voters approved in 2000. However, since certain Slog readers have accused me of being too soft on city council members like Peter Steinbrueck and too tough on Nickels, and since the parks department technically answers to the mayor, I’ll give Nickels all the credit: Cal Anderson Park, from which I’m writing this Slog post, is an invaluable addition to Capitol Hill, and a testament to the fact that, as in Sim City, if you build a park, the peoplewith their Hula hoops, laptaps, tanning oil, dogs and Frisbeeswill congregate. (The free wi-fi, however, belongs to Vivace).

Anyway: Thanks, Greg!

Police Bleat

posted by on April 25 at 4:45 PM

Our own Charles Mudede has received a positively swimmy-eyed review in the Village Voice for the gorgeous Police Beat. Congratulations to Charles, and if you’re in New York this weekend, you should attend the world theatrical premiere on Friday at 7 pm at Anthology Film Archives. Charles will be introducing the movie (plus, if you’re lucky and ask funny questions, I imagine he’ll also chuckle).

Diary of Anne Frank String Quartet

posted by on April 25 at 4:28 PM

Yesterday, in order to compel the music heads here at the Stranger to keep posting on Slog, I posted “Teenage Upsetters”the doo-wop playlist from my I-pod. My point: If we lose you guys to our new music blog, Line Out, the poor Slog is going to be stuck with my teenage music science.

To keep the threat alive, today I’m posting Anne Frank Quartet, the chamber music playlist from my I-pod.

Tomorrow: Bubble Gum Consciousness.

Continue reading "Diary of Anne Frank String Quartet" »

Tulum Dreams

posted by on April 25 at 4:24 PM

tulumbeach.jpg
In December, I asked Slog readers where in Mexico I should spend a few days. Several people mentioned Tulum, and having just returned from a brief escape to the Mayan Caribbean (roll footage of snorkeling in the beautifully creepy caverns of the world’s largest underground river system, croc spotting in a coastal lagoon, climbing a 1,500 year-old pyramid hidden deep in a jungle, eating shark-and-tortilla pie piled with smoky chilies in the atrium of a colonial villa, jumping gentle turquoise waves, shopping for hand-woven hammocks, sipping custard-flavored rompope-and-rum cocktails, chasing translucent crabs as they doodled sideways over soft white sand, laughing hysterically with three of my favorite people under a generously starry moonless sky…) I am grateful for the sound advice.

Advice to the Dance Fan Sitting Next to Me

posted by on April 25 at 4:07 PM

Buttrock Suites at Velocity was sold out on Saturday night. PBR was on concession. Bon Jovi, Mtley Crüe, Def Leppard, and Journey were in the offing. A woman with straight, straight hair and pointy, pointy shoesher husband in tow, carrying the beerscame and sat next to me. I paraphrase:

“Are these taken? They’re not taken? We can sit here. First row! Do you go to dance much? I love dance. He hates dance. Always dragging him along. Yes I do too have to drag you along. He doesn’t like dance. But I know he’ll like this. This is so cool! I saw it in the newspaper and cut it out and said, ‘Well, this he’ll go to with me.’ Plus they have beer! Did you see it in the newspaper too? You must have read the same thing I saw. Ever go to Fifth Avenue Theatre? He won’t go to the Fifth Avenue anymore. I don’t like it either. We had season tickets. You know, we’d go to dinner, we’d be having a great night, really having fun, and then it was time to go to the Fifth Avenue Theatre, the show was about to start, and we’d go, ‘Do we have to go?’ We’d be dreading it”

“I would just sit there begging for intermission,” her husband interrupted.

“So now he doesn’t go anymore. Refuses. But I said to him, ‘You’re going to like this show.’ He knows all the words to Bon Jovi. Do you? Are you going to sing? So where can we go if we don’t like Fifth Avenue Theatre? We like dance. I like dance. Is there anywhere else you can see dance that’s not at Fifth Avenue Theatre? Like where? I like this theater. Never been here. I like small theaters. This iswhat would you call thiscutting edge? So tell me before it starts, where should we go? I love dance.”

I told her she should go to On the Boards. Local dancers, international dancers, cutting edge stuff, beereverything this lady wants is at On the Boards, I told her. After Buttrock Suites was overshe loved it, as did the rest of the crowd, especially “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” featuring a huge sack of sugar actually being poured on two dancersshe asked me again “the name of the place” and I repeated: “On the Boards.”
“On thewhat?”
“On the Boards.”
“Omnivores?”
“On the Boards.”
“Onthemoors?”
“On. The. Boards. On the Boards!”

Cursèd Canada

posted by on April 25 at 4:05 PM

On global warming: “Canada is being enthusiastic about a meaningless public relations stunt by the U.S. government.”

On its war dead: “Canada’s government defended on Tuesday a controversial decision not to lower flags to mark the deaths of soldiers killed in Afghanistan, denying it wanted to play down an increasing death toll. Critics say the moveas well as a decision to ban media from filming the arrival of the coffins at Trenton air force base in Ontarioshowed Prime Minister Stephen Harper was following the lead of President Bush.”

Canadian stocks are dropping, its cows are crazy, its health care is privatizing, and its lunch monitors are weirdly dictatorial about how Filipino children eat their lunches.

And I used to think you were cool…

Squid Ink

posted by on April 25 at 4:02 PM

One Mike Seely, a Seattle Weekly staff writer and a man who once sent me a box of frozen squid in a professional contextas an act of vengeance or a joke, I couldn’t quite tellwrites to ask what our restaurant reviewing policies are. Mr. Seely, in answer to your queries, we restaurant reviewers here at The Stranger dine anonymously, we are reimbursed for our dining expenses, and the number of times we visit each establishment varies. Thank you for your interest. Packages may be sent c/o The Stranger, 1535 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122.

The Good Lord Giveth…

posted by on April 25 at 4:00 PM

and the Good Lord Taketh Away.

Don’t forget about Lineout!

posted by on April 25 at 3:47 PM

I just posted a long show review in the new music-only blog, Lineout. While I don’t want to bore everyone here who may not give a shit about how fun an all-ages show was last weekend at the Old Fire House, I know some of you might wanna see it, so don’t forget to check out Lineout, where the Stranger’s music writers will be posting obsessive music-geek posts all day long!

To Cienna

posted by on April 25 at 3:44 PM

Yesterday you said to my very face that I looked hot in my dark clothes. And I, after a quick look in my handy bag of colonial expressions, told you that a gentleman knows no weather. But this morning, I decided to lighten up a bit and wear something that’s in tune with the spring that has suddenly fallen upon us. As you can see in this image, I’m wearing a shirt whose blue is much lighter than the blue of the shirt I wore yesterday.
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Now, Madrid, let’s turn the table. After you pointed out my flaw, I pointed out yours: Last Friday I caught sight of you eating while walking up Pike. A lady must never do such a thing—walking and eating at the same time. It is very unbecoming, even for a man. As I have made the effort to adjust my look, I hope you make the effort to undo your uncouth habit.

Big Brother Is Bouncing You

posted by on April 25 at 3:16 PM

It’s billed as “the future of nightclub security.” According to an article in by Patrick Sisson in XLR8R, BioBouncer is an “electronic face book” based around “a system of unobtrusive cameras that uses 2D and 3D facial recognition technology to identify unwanted or troublesome customers.” The system doesn’t collect personal data; it simply captures facial images. Sisson continues:

BioBouncer is a simple setup. A pair of video cameras scans and analyzes patrons and checks them against images in the club’s database of problem customers. These customerswho were kicked out for causing trouble or violating club policyhad their pictures captured by trigger cameras at the exits and added to the system’s database. When they try to re-enter the venue at a later date, BioBouncer picks their photo out of the database and alerts the owner and security personnel (via a computer screen or wireless message), and the real-life bouncers get to work.

New York-based BioBouncer founder Jeff Dussich of JAD Communications and Security wouldn’t comment on when and where the system made its debut, but he notes that club owners from the U.S., Germany, Italy, and New Zealand have expressed interest in it.

Does BioBouncer make you feel safer or is this going too far to keep out the riff-raff?

Cantwell Sit-In Update

posted by on April 25 at 2:49 PM

The 7 anti-war activists who are refusing to leave Sen. Cantwell’s offices in downtown Seattle, just talked briefly with Sen. Cantwell’s lead local staffer Kurt Beckett. Beckett told them he’s trying to arrange a conference call with Cantwell’s chief of staff back in D.C.
Supposedly that’s going to happen in about a half hour.

Meanwhile, federal security officers politely let the protesters know that if they aren’t out of the building when it shuts down at 5:30, they will be fined, given a citation and a court hearing, and sent on their way.

I’ve got a call into Cantwell’s office. No response yet.

Poor Howard Schultz

posted by on April 25 at 2:01 PM

Less than a week after Sonics owners issued their 30-day, $220 million ultimatuma move that observers in city and state government, with stunning unanimity, regarded as a massive public-relations blunderStarbucks CEO and Sonics owner Howard Schultz got a rare bit of positive PR, starring in a glowing 60 Minutes segment that mythologized Schultz’s ascension from “a poor kid growing up in a Brooklyn tenement to head of [the] Starbucks empire.”

In the piece, 60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley takes Schultz to the apartment where he grew up, where Schultz stares at the door of Apartment 7G, talks about being “afraid to dream,” and even sheds a tear or two.

From the transcript:

Schultz is given to leaps of imagination. He had to be. He started out as a poor kid in Brooklyn who sold his own blood just to get through college.

PELLEY: So, this is the old neighborhood?

(Footage of Pelley and Schultz visiting neighborhood where Schultz grew up)

PELLEY: (Voiceover) But that is something he could never have imagined as a boy. Schultz grew up broke, living in this public housing project in Brooklyn. There are bullet holes in the door leading to apartment 7G.

Mr. SCHULTZ: That was my apartment.

PELLEY: When you were living here at the end of the hallway…

Mr. SCHULTZ: Yeah.

PELLEY: …age 15, age 16…

Mr. SCHULTZ: Yeah.

PELLEY: …what did you want to be? What was your dream?

Mr. SCHULTZ: You know, my dream was to get out. It was—I never allowed myself to dream beyond that. I was afraid to dream beyond that.

(Footage of photo of Schultz as a young boy with his father)

PELLEY: (Voiceover) Dreams, he told us, seemed futile after his father Fred was injured on the job.

Mr. SCHULTZ: This is the hallway I walked down at the age of seven and opened up that door and saw my father on a couch with a cast. And…

PELLEY: He’d broken his leg on the job.

Mr. SCHULTZ: He broke his leg on the job. He was a delivery driver picking up and delivering cloth diapers. Terrible job. When he fell on the job, he basically was turned loose. He was out of work. There was no hospitalization, no health insurance, no workmen’s compensation, and we were done as a family. And I saw the hopelessness, I saw the plight of a working class family. I saw the fracturing of the American dream firsthand, at the age of seven. That memory scarred me.

(Footage of customers in Starbucks; warehouse filled with bags of coffee beans)

PELLEY: (Voiceover) So now, Schultz has organized his company around that memory. He provides health insurance to employees who work as little as 20 hours a week. …

PELLEY: (Voiceover) When you pay 4 bucks for coffee, you’re funding Schultz’s social agendathe health care, stock options for employees and more. He pays farmers higher than market rate for beans. Schultz got out of here but something about it never left him.

Mr. SCHULTZ: It’s all right.

PELLEY: What are you thinking?

Mr. SCHULTZ: Just everything that’s happened to me since standing here, how many times I walked through that door. I think there were many moments when people said, not to me directly, but I remembered hearing things that, `Don’t aim too high.’ Not my parents, but people. `You’re from Brooklyn, you’re from the projects. Don’t aim too high.’

Schultz’s commitment to his workers is laudable, but this gushing puff piecewhich came out less than one week after Schultz’s attempt to blackmail the city into giving his team hundreds of millions of dollarsdoesn’t do much to arouse sympathy.

Occupying Cantwell’s Office

posted by on April 25 at 1:32 PM

As we speak, seven anti-war activisits, including an Iraq war vet named Josh Farris; 64-year-old Joe Colgan, the father of an Iraq war casualty; the wife of an Iraq war vet named Stacy Bannerman; a 92-year-old WWII vet named Abe Osheroff; and the pastor of United Church of Christ in Wallingford, Rev. Richard Gamble, are in a conference room at Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office in downtown Seattle, refusing to leave until Cantwell either signs off on Sen. John Kerry’s position for troop withdrawal by Dec. 2006 or pledges to hold a public meeting to clarify her position on the war.

With no appointment scheduled, the group arrived at the 32nd floor of the federal building at noon today and talked to a Cantwell staffer before being escorted to the conference room.

They report that they’re loaded with protein bars and water and plan to stay until Sen. Cantwell meets their demands or until federal officials remove them.

Viaduct Red Herring

posted by on April 25 at 1:05 PM

One criticism that people have raised about the transit & boulevard option that Cary Moon presented yesterday is this: The state only authorized money ($2 billion) for a project that accommodates current capacity. Therefore, they argue, the boulevard option is DOA.

Moon’s panel fielded this question yesterday. (Council Member Jan Drago raised it.) Sierra Club political director Kevin Fullerton tried to answer the question by repeating Moon’s rap that we shouldn’t be building to accommodate our bad habits, but rather building a system that deprioritizes the auto as much as possible. Unfortunately, Fullerton’s answerwhile smart in its own right wasn’t a direct response to Drago’s question.

Thankfully, Council Member Richard Conlin set the record straight. “It’s not that the state can’t fund it,” he said, “It’s just that the legislature would have to take action to make it possible.”

Indeed, if Seattle voters ended up choosing the no-freeway option, Olympia legislators would be remiss and out-of-line if they didn’t tweak the authorizing legislation to meet the local will.

Saying we can’t choose the no-freeway option because the current legislation doesn’t permit it is like arguing: I can’t lose weight because I eat a piece of cake every day.

Go Douglass-Truth

posted by on April 25 at 12:57 PM

Today, on the corner of 22nd and Yesler, you will see, rising above the fence of a construction site, the initial growth of the gold skin that will soon cover Douglass-Truth Branch’s extension:
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Two points to make: One, it’s incredible to imagine how this utopia of aurum with its futuristic band of light will look next to the old, Italianate building with its ornamented pilsters, foliated capitals, and Greek fretwork. Two, not one of the three new libraries (Ballard, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill) can be counted as a design success. All are a mess, with the worst, Beacon Hill, looking like something built on an idea a designer conceived during a very long and very heavy bowel movement. The aureatic expansion of Douglass-Truth Branch, however, promises to be the second addition to Seattle’s library system from a mind that has an understanding of what constitutes and what doesn’t constitute the real condition of architecture.


Sharkansky’s Faulty Logic

posted by on April 25 at 12:20 PM

In response to recent pro-transit and -“trip reduction” statements by council member Peter Steinbrueck, right-wing blogger Stefan Sharkansky decided to see if council members, and Steinbrueck in particular, practice what they preach. He made a records request to determine how city council members get to work, whether they use a city-owned garage near City Hall, and how much they use the city’s motor pool on official business. The results are posted here.

According to Sharkansky:

[T]he most prolific automobilist on the Council? It appears to be Peter “trip reduction” Steinbrueck himself [with $1,746.98 in annual city vehicle expenses]. …

If Peter Steinbrueck’s personal goal is “trip reduction”, he can reduce his own trips — move closer to work and eventually buy one of the high-tax downtown highrise condos with limited parking that he thinks other people should live in. In the meantime, he can ride the bus.

Parts of Sharkansky’s argument are sound: If council members are going to proselytize in favor of public transit for others, clearly, they should use transit themselves. However, there are several flaws in Sharkansky’s logic. First, the amount council members spend on transportation is miniscule compared to the mileage logged by other civil servants, like the members of the King County Council, whose personal car and SUV use costs the county many thousands of dollars a year. (For example, Republican Pete von Reichbauer, the county council’s gas-guzzlingest member, was reimbursed more than $8,200 by the county in 2004). City council members’ auto expenditures, which range from $0 (Jean Godden and Richard McIver) to practically $0 (Nick Licata, at $16, and Tom Rasmussen, at $85) to Steinbrueck’s $1,746, are a fraction of their county council counterparts’.

Second, while it’s true that Steinbrueck “reports no use of public transportation for commuting or city business,” , under public records law, he doesn’t have to. (Only half the council responded to this part of the request.) Sharkansky’s records request was for both expense reports and “a reasonable estimate of the various modes of travel you use”; however, only the former is subject to public records law.

Ånd finally, council members’ use of a city-owned parking garage is hardly an indictment of city policy. The city charges dearly for the use of its garage$218 a month for a reserved spot at City Hall, or $190 a month for an unreserved spot up the street, according to council finance manager Eric Ishino.

For people with busy lives and young kids (two of ‘em), even a rabid transit supporter like me will admit that bus commuting isn’t always realistic. (Especially on Seattle’s less-than-stellar bus system: Getting from Steinbrueck’s house in Lake City to City Hall, for example, requires one bus transfer and takes approximately 40 minutes, assuming both buses show up on time; driving, according to Mapquest, takes just 13.) For the record, though, Steinbrueck’s staff says he sometimes takes the bus or walks, especially to appointments downtown. “Trip reduction,” which Steinbrueck supports, means just that: Taking alternative transit when you can, and driving when you must.

Jane Jacobs is Dead

posted by on April 25 at 11:42 AM

At 89.

Everyone who loved her has their own reasons, I’m sure. I loved her because she helped me love New York in a new way. I’ll miss her honest prose, and her affection for that dishonest city.

P.S. Attention Viaduct replacement planners:

Jacobs, who was born in Scranton, Pa., advocated density and mixed use in communities, staunchly opposed large highways and warned of urban sprawl.

Wes Anderson Sells Out

posted by on April 25 at 11:19 AM

to American Express.

Angel of History or: On Nuking Iran

posted by on April 25 at 10:43 AM

klee_engel_higher-res.jpg

“A Klee painting named `Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.” —Walter Benjamin

The Starbucks Effect

posted by on April 25 at 10:12 AM

A good book came out this spring called The Wal-Mart Effect.
It’s reminiscent of Fast Food Nation in that the author, a thorough, former Washington Post reporter named Charles Fishman, digs down into the “Wal-Mart ecosystem” for lenghty anecodtes about the manufacture and sale of everything from lawnmowers to pickles to bikes to power tools to bacon cookers to boys’ shirts to salmon (Wal-Mart is the #1 purchaser of Salmon in the U.S. and buys 1/3 of the annual salmon that Chilethe #1 salmon harvester in the worldsells to the U.S.). Fishman uses his reporting to explain exacty how the $11 billion in profits retail chain impacts the economic food chain. It’s a fascinating peek behind the curtain el capitalismo.

What makes the book much better (more challenging) than the entertaining Fast Food Nation, though, is this: Rather than being a heavy-handed and predictable takedown of Wal-Mart, the book provides data and details that both praise Wal-Mart (lowers the overall rate of grocery inflation in the U.S. by 15 percent, cuts out wasteful packaging to the benefit of the envrionment, and yes, actually does create more jobs per county than it displaces when it moves to town) and condemn Wal-Mart (forces U.S. manufacturers to layoff U.S. workers and rely on exploitative and inhumane labor practices overseas, forces a downgrade in quality on manufacturers so that consumers are buying less durable goods, oh, and those new jobs, don’t pay as well as the jobs they displace.)

Anyway, I’ve still got one chapter to go, so I’m not sure what Fishman’s conclusion is. However, the book has been so even-handed and unopinionated to this point that I don’t expect him to break out a 10th-grade rant now.

Indeed, so far there have really been only 3 times when Fishman openly editorializes. And it’s not about Wal-Mart. In Fishman’s stoically, even-keeled book, he tells you exactly how he feels about 3 other U.S. compnaies. Southwest Airlines…and then…two Seattle companies: Amazon.com and Starbucks.

He loves Southwest Airlines (“Southwest staff members are not just cheerful, they are well-paid. The airline’s business model, the low prices they offer customers, doesn’t require our silent complicity in exploiting the very people who are taking care of us. There is no hidden universe of squeezed suppliers.)

Amazon and Starbucks, however, don’t rate so well. First, in a weird, off-hand, snipe, Fishman blisters Amazon.com: “As you can imagine, that process lags behind the real marketplacethe federal bureaucracy moves more slowly than Amazon.com.”

Andafter saying that “the average product we buy from Wal-Mart costs less than $3”Fishman bust Starbucks: “Starbucks is built on a customer philosophy exactly opposite to Wal-Mart’s, charging more for a cup of coffee than anyone would have imagined 20 years ago. The price of half the drinks on the Starbucks menu board is more than $3. A desire for indulgence has created the world’s most popular cafe.”

Anyway, it’s kinda weird that in a bookarguably about the most provocative company in the worldthe two companies Fishman apparently finds irksomeirksome enough to break out of his objective tone for a half secondare our very own Starbucks and Amazon.


Uh oh, Chongo

posted by on April 25 at 9:58 AM

The following brief trailer is dedicated to every kid who watched too much tv in the late 70’s. I mean, Jesus, I remember being freaked out for months.

The P-I’s Creepy Detail

posted by on April 25 at 8:34 AM

Today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer features a front-page story on the news conference held yesterday by Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, who addressed “the recent wave of gun violence in Seattle that has claimed nine lives and left at least 10 people injured in the past month.”

From the P-I:

The most recent shooting in Seattle happened just before 10 a.m. Sunday in North Seattle when Pablo Gonzalez, 53, armed with a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, fired more than 20 shots at neighboring homes and arriving police officers before shooting himself in the head. One of the officers was injured by shrapnel. Kerlikowske said detectives searching Gonzalez’s home found evidence he had financial problems. The only newspaper found in his home was a copy of The Stranger opened to an article on the Capitol Hill murders.

Full story here.

Straw Poll Results (Warning: Totally Unscientific, but Totally Interesting)

posted by on April 25 at 8:00 AM

Wow. Wonks unite! I think you people set a Slog record yesterday, dropping over 100 votes into the comments section of my straw poll on the six serious candidates who are seeking to be the next state representative from Seattle’s 43rd District. I’ll get to the significance of this totally unscientific, completely subject to manipulation, and wildly early poll in a moment. But first, the results:

Lynne Dodson: 42 votes

Stephanie Pure: 19 votes

Jamie Pedersen: 17 votes

Dick Kelley: 4 votes

Bill Sherman: 4 votes

Jim Street: 4 votes

Andrew Boike (a person who doesn’t seem to be filed in this race and whose name I don’t recognize) : 2 votes

Stan Lippman (who has raised a total of $1,242 … all from himself) : 1 vote

If that doesn’t add up to the total number of “votes” that were cast before midnight well, like I said, this was a very unscientific poll. Plus, I tabulated the results after a dinner party that included wine and martinis. And, a small number of people appear to have commented but not voted.

So, what does this mean? Well, I’d say that this poll is primarily an indication of how seriously certain candidates in this race are taking online organizing. Clearly, Dodson knows how to a) rally the online troops and/or b) knows how to manipulate an online straw poll.

Will web organizing be important in this race? I’m not sure, but if the MySpace pages of Jim Street and Stephanie Pure are any indication, some of the candidates certainly think so. (UPDATE: Jamie Pedersen has one too.)

Congrats to Lynne. We’ll be checking back in on this race regularly as the campaign season progresses…

Public Grooming Revolution?

posted by on April 25 at 7:58 AM

The text below was posted yesterday in the I, Anonymous forum. The revolution is upon us..

Public groomers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains! Mocked by mainstream society too long have we hid in the shadows, clipping our our nails in basements and trimming our nose hairs in dank back alleys. No more! The Stranger has became a tool of those who would have us grovel and live in shame! I propose that we strike back at those who would deride and humiliate us. May 1st all public groomers should converge on the offices of The Stranger at 12:00PM and groom before the public eye with our heads held high! Shave in your cars or on the bus! Pluck your eyebrows! Floss while bellowing up at the heavens! Hold your nail clippers high! Unite! Public grooming day is at hand!

Counting the minutes till May…


Monday, April 24, 2006

Moon’s Day in the Sun

posted by on April 24 at 7:14 PM

Just got back from City Hall, where Cary Moon presented the transit and surface boulevard option for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaductor her “let’s not make the same mistake we made in the 1950s by building a freeway through downtown” option, a la Greg Nickels.

The council will be hearing from proponents of the two build-a -freeway options (rebuild an aerial freeway or build a tunnel freeway) on May 15th and May 30th, respectively.

After WSDOT presented, telling the council that Moon’s boulevard option won’t accommodate the number of vehicles that use the viaduct (110K), and that it would create congestion on downtown streets, Moon got the microphone.

Right off the bat, she reframed the debate, saying she wasn’t trying to accommodate our car dependent habits in the first place, and so the boulevard proposal openly seeks to diminish auto capacity by only accommodating 75 to 80K trips. Moon rightly argues that slicing 30 to 35K vehicle trips per day fits the city’s and, in particular, the mayor’s goal of reducing auto emissions and building walkable, dense communities throughout the city. Moon says the rest of the trips will be accommodated as follows: 25K to 40K will be dispersed into the existing downtown grid, where the city’s own studies show we’re currently only using 60 percent of the available capacity; 15K will go on the new four-lane boulevard that replaces the viaduct; and 20 to 30K will take transit.

Perhaps Moon’s most persuasive stat, propping up her belief that we shouldn’t build to accommodate current auto usage, was this one: 75% of the trips on the viaduct are not work-related. If she’s right, this means that many viaduct trips are in some way discretionary.

Teenage Upsetters

posted by on April 24 at 6:30 PM

Now that we’re starting Line Out, a separate Stranger music blog, I’m nervous there won’t be any music posts here on Slog.

I’m going to provoke the music kids to keep posting on Slog by doing a music post of my own this afternoon. (This is an example of what will happen if we lose the music staff to Line Out entirely.)

So, here’s “Teenage Upsetters” (linked below)the Doo-Wop playlist from my I-pod.

(“Upset” is gospel & doo-wop slang from the 1950s that meant: hot and botheredas in: Sam Cooke sang at the church last night and upset all the chicks.)

If this doesn’t draw a hail of music posts on Slog from Segal & Company, I will continue to post my I-pod playlists. Tomorrow: “Anne Frank Quartet”my string quartet I-pod playlist.

Continue reading "Teenage Upsetters" »

Maputo In Hollywood Hell

posted by on April 24 at 5:57 PM

Director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai, Courage Under Fire) is making a movie, The Blood Diamond, that stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly, is set in Africa, and being shot in Maputo, Mozambique. Here is what a citizen of Maputo has to say about the impact the big production has had on the pretty seaside city:

I live in Maputo, and I have to say that the way the Blood Diamond filming was organized was not very pleasant for those who live and work in the city. I don’t believe this is entirely the fault of the production company - to a certain extent, they have gone through the procedures, such as they are, to get official permission for occupying large areas of the city for filming.

Unfortunately, in only one case did the police/city council give any prior warning to citizens - the result being traffic hell. Last week the main coast road was blocked, and yesterday one of the busiest junctions in the city was thrown into chaos because half of it was taken over by Mr. de Caprio being filmed in an old taxi cab. Even pedestrians were squeezed out - including street traders and stallholders whose only livelihood is from selling on that street, and have a marginal income at best.

Some of the runners from the production company (who shooed people out of the filming area) were quite polite, others were rather arrogant, appearing to forget that they disrupted our lives without any warning, consultation, or recompense. Meanwhile, the police (who are never there when you are robbed) were out in force to browbeat and threaten citizens who dared to stray off the pavement.

In terms of benefit for Mozambique, certainly a lot of the low-level staff, and some extras, were Mozambican. But all of the skilled workers appeared to be foreign (mainly South African). This is understandable, given that the skill-base in SA is much wider and deeper. However I do hope that the city council charged a reasonable sum for the massive disruptions caused, and that some of the money is spent on repairing the urban infrastructure.

Changing Times

posted by on April 24 at 5:53 PM

Looks like the Seattle Times is going to bargain separately from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer during upcoming contract negotiations with the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild.

This is big news for members of the guild (which represents about 800 reporters, photographers, artists, ad salespeople, and circulation workers at the two papers). In the past, union members from the Times and P-I have negotiated together on one side of the bargaining table, while corporate representatives from the two papers have sat on the other side of the table, also negotiating together.

No more. With the two papers heading into arbitration to end their long-running legal battle, the Times has decided to bargain alone. An email from Times management is in the jump…

Continue reading "Changing Times" »

“The Lonely Planet Guide to My Apartment”

posted by on April 24 at 4:37 PM

Sometimes you don’t realize you need a laugh until you get one.

Transportation Solutions

posted by on April 24 at 4:19 PM

I made the mistake of reading this while I was eating my lunchsome of us still like print newspapers, Eli, and some of us even work at oneand nearly puked. The Seattle Times is praising Ron Sims latest transportation planbuses! More of them! Lots more!

…a fast-growing region cannot afford to be blasé about transportation planning. This is a smart time to invest in transportation.

Buses are a flexible, useful way to move people around if land-use and transportation policies are in sync enough to provide sufficient ridership….

Sims’ so-called “RapidRide” would change the way riders think about bus riding. Riders in key areas would not need bus schedules, as buses would arrive every 10 minutes throughout the day.

Yeah, a fast-growing region cannot afford to be blasé about transportation planning. Tell us all about it, Seattle Times. Because we’re really great at planning transportation fixes around hereand yakking about them, and studying them, and trashing them. What we’re not so good at is, as you know, is actually fucking building them. Witness the monorail’s collapse, which The Seattle Times did everything in its power to bring about. So now we’re never going to have a real rapid transit system in this citysomething that is grade-separated, something like a subway system or an elevated system, a transportation option that would be faster than drivingand so that leaves… buses.

Busesthe public transportation option favored by people who do not take public transportation. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that there aren’t any bus commuters on the Seattle Times op-ed board. And Ron Sims? That man only rides the bus for photo-ops. Buses are slow, noisy, and dirty. And thanks to our ride-free area downtown, around here they’re also rolling homeless shelters. Putting more of slow, crowded, stinky buses on the streets isn’t going to do anything to address Seattle’s transportation problem.

Because only grade-separated rapid transit can tempt people out of their cars. People don’t take the subway in New York or the “L” in Chicago because it’s virtuous. They take public transit in those cities because it’s faster than driving. Busesslow, stuck in traffic, unpleasantcan’t offer commuters speed in exchange for sacrificing the autonomy and privacy of driving. So putting more of them on the street won’t change a fucking thingand it’s not worth raising taxes to do, as Sims is proposing.

But, gee, what about dedicated bus lanes? Won’t that make buses swift and speedy?

Uh, maybe. But it’s never gonna happen. One of the complaints about the monorailand the Seattle Times never met a complaint about the monorail that it wouldn’t splash all over its front pagewas that it would take a few lanes away from cars on a couple of downtown streets. This, of course, annoyed drivers, who seem to think that they own the streets, and the Seattle Times spent a lot of time feeling their pain. Can you imagine the outcry if Sims actually tries to take lanes away from cars on dozens of streets running all over the country so that buses can use them exclusively? The few HOV lanes we’ve got make drivers crazythose same drivers are not going to smile on hundreds of miles of dedicated bus lanes, and they will punish any pol who proposes such a scheme.

Let’s face it, folks. We blew itelevated transit was our only real transportation solution (tunnels are too expensive), and a lack of courage on the part of our elected officials (fuck you, Greg & Ron), the bungling at the monorail agency, the greed of Second Avenue property owners, and the furious cluelessness of the media all conspired to do it in. The least we can do now is refrain from pretending that buses are going to make things better. Get used to those long commutes, folks, whether you’re sitting alone in your car or sitting next to some street lunatic on the bus. Or move closer to work. Those are your only options nowthanks, in large part, to the Seattle Times.

Jen Graves Hates Art? Pshaw!

posted by on April 24 at 3:56 PM

Tomorrow night, Stranger visual art editor and critic (and best friend to Regina Hackett!) Jen Graves is holding forth on art she loves in a panel discussion called “Seen Any Great Shows Lately?” The panelists to her left and right will be snappily dressed mo-fo, onetime Stranger critic, and current Western Bridge curator extraordinaire Eric Fredericksen; the airplane-minded artist Fred Birchman; and Platform Gallery’s awesomely named Dirk Park (sounds like a civic pornstar or something, doesn’t it?).

“Each of the panelists will discuss for ten minutes several of the most remarkable and memorable exhibitions they have seen, either recently or during their career,” according to an announcement. “Visuals will accompany some of the descriptions. The remaining portion of the panel discussion will be devoted to interpanel dialogue and comments from the audience.” Beth Sellars, of Suyama Space, moderates. This happens at Francine Seders Gallery, 6701 Greenwood Avenue N, 782-0355, 6 pm.

[For what it’s worth, “interpanel” is not in the dictionary.]

Rothenberg Report: Burner Race Is Now a “Toss Up”

posted by on April 24 at 3:50 PM

The influential (and non-partisan) Rothenberg Political Report just released its latest look at House races across the nation, and the new report finds that the race for Washington State’s 8th District, between freshman Republican Congressman Dave Reichert and Democratic challenger Darcy Burner, has moved into the “Toss Up/Tilt Republican” category up from the “Lean Republican” category, where it was earlier this year.

Burner campaign manager Zach Silk tells me this new analysis means that the Burner-Reichert race has become one of the top 14 most competitive races in the country.

You have to be a subscriber to get the Rothenberg Report, which is widely read among strategists and opinion-makers in D.C. But a Democratic insider sent me a copy today, along with this analysis:

On the national level, this means yet another seat that Republicans are going to have to defend. On the local level, it means even more focus on how vulnerable Reichert is.

Bullshit in Moderation

posted by on April 24 at 3:36 PM

From ABC News:

Some of the very same men who helped derail Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2000 using techniques the Arizona Republican alleged were illegal and whom McCain likened to the prairie carnivores are now leading financial supporters of his “Straight Talk America” political action committee and possible backers of his anticipated 2008 presidential run.

The news from campaign contribution reports and an invitation to a McCain fundraiser obtained by ABC News comes a few weeks after the announcement that the self-styled maverick will deliver the commencement address at an evangelical college started by Rev. Jerry Falwell, whom McCain had once dubbed an “agent of intolerance.”

It’s surprising how many democrats remain snowed by McCain’s bullshit “maverick streak.” Either he’s far more hard right than he’s portrayed himself to be (or been portrayed by the media to be), or he’s willing to cast aside any and all ethics in order to gain voteseither way, he’s not a man who should be president.

Stirring

posted by on April 24 at 3:19 PM

Last week I hated on Liberty’s windows, so I guess it’s only right that I show some love to West 5’s stylish swizzle sticks.

west5.jpg

Oh, and we’re sorry about the light Slogging. Our Internet service has been down most of the day. We’re getting back on our feet now, and we should return our regularly scheduled gripes, score-settlings, inconsequential minutiae, wonkery, inter-office gossip, Weekly bashing, and other unseemly displays shortly.

“I’m the only guy in here reading a newspaper…”

posted by on April 24 at 1:55 PM

A few weeks ago, BBC reporter Matthew Wells flew out to Seattle to do a piece about online journalism, our city’s local newspaper war, and the future of newspapers in general.

During his time here, he went to “one of Seattle’s stylish and ubiquitous coffee shops” (a phrase that sounds great when said in a British accent) and found he was the only person reading an actual paper newspaper (the rest of the customers were reading news on their laptops). He also came up to the Stranger’s offices to talk to me about this controversial story, went down to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to speak to the P-I’s managing editor about that paper’s online future, and had coffee with Dan from Seattlest.

What did Mr. Wells find? Well, his piece aired Friday on the BBC World Service, and he kindly sent me an MP3 of the broadcast. You can listen to it here.

The piece is quite interesting, although, for the record, I didn’t tell him I’d never bought a newspaper. I do buy newspapers off the street every once in a long while, mostly when I’m in another city. But I don’t subscribe. Being 28, I’ve never seen the point of subscribing to a daily newspaper. By the time I was old enough to afford a subscription, all the daily news I wanted was available for free online. I subscribe to magazines, because I like to read longer pieces in print, and when it went live last fall I subscribed to the New York Times’ TimesSelect because I didn’t think I could live without Frank Rich’s Op-Ed column. But a newspaper subscription call me young and foolish, but I see it as a waste of money.

Good Morning Darcy Burner Fans and Skeptics!

posted by on April 24 at 10:40 AM

Darcy Burner, who is currently duking it out with freshman republican incumbent Dave Reichert to represent the 8th Congressional District, answers slog readers’ questions! Read and enjoy:

Where is Burner on efforts to protect Puget Sound from oil spills, protect ANWR, protect the national forests, etc?

BURNER: We must protect our environment, and I will fight hard to do so.
Clean water, clean air, healthy ecosystems, and strongly protected federal parks, forests, and wildlife refuges are an important legacy we must leave for our children. There has been an unfortunate tendency in recent years to allow some companies to do things which are greatly profitable to them but which all of the rest of us pay for in environmental impact. When we allow companies to ignore their impact on these things, it means that we pay the environmental costs while those companies reap the profits.
I would fight to:
—protect Puget Sound from oil spills;
—protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling; and
—protect all national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges from development, mining, and environmentally-destructive resource extraction, as was intended by designating them protected lands.

This stands in stark contrast to my opponent, who was rated at 28% on his environmental record by the non-partisan League of Conservation Voters. As a few examples:
—he cast the deciding vote on H.R. 4241, which allows privatization of public lands, including national forest and national park lands;
—he cast the deciding vote on H.R. 3893, which gutted a number of environmental safeguards affecting the oil industry;
—he voted for H.R. 6 (the Energy Bill), which also decreased environmental safeguards related to the oil industry and shielded manufacturers of MBTE from lawsuits, despite its presence in much of America’s drinking water and its links to cancer; and
—despite his high-profile claims about opposing drilling in the Arctic, he has in fact voted several times to allow such drilling.
I expect, by contrast, to be as strong an advocate for the environment as Congressman Jay Inslee, who scored a 100% on the LCV scorecard.

Washington citizens bear a huge tax burden that should be lessened. Do you agree or do you think taxes should be increased?

BURNER: I approach this the same way I have approached managing finances in my role as a businesswoman or in my household: balance the budget while making the best investments possible.
I find it unconscionable that the Bush administration wants to pile their debt onto our children, while slashing the investments in education, infrastructure, and technology development that would secure a better future for everyone. It is especially awful to do it in order to pad the nests of profitable corporations and the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
Our current tax system places an unfair burden on middle class and working families and the Bush administration and Republican Congress have made it worse. The President’s tax policies are bankrupting future generations for the short-term benefit of those who need it the least.
Bush and his allies in Congress have riddled the tax code with new loopholes and subsidies that benefit special-interests and the very wealthy. By doing so, they have created a tax code that undermines the value of work and shifted more of the tax burden onto the middle class.
Under Bush, the middle-class share of the tax burden has risen while the wealthiest Americans’ share has dropped. The corporate picture is, in many cases, even worse, with companies like Exxon Mobil receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies at the same time they post the largest quarterly profits of any company in the history of the planet.
The tax system must be changed to ease the burden on the middle class and small businesses and ensure that large corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share. This must be done in conjunction with balancing the federal budget and making smart investments in our national priorities.

Aside, obviously, from getting comfortable… what is your first major goal as WA District 8’s Congressional representative? Name your highest priorities.

BURNER: First, I’m going to find my office. Then I’m going to pay a visit to each member of the Washington Congressional Delegation and ask their advice about how I can be most effective in my first term. Then I’ll see about my committee assignments probably by following up on the conversation I had last week with Congressman Steny Hoyer, who will likely be the new House Majority Leader if the Democrats take the fifteen seats they need.
Then I’ll vote in favor of the five votes that will happen in the first five days the Democrats control the House, which will establish the country’s national priorities. These are:

A bill to make college as universal in the 21st century as high school was in the 20th;
A bill to create a National Institute of Science and Engineering, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A bill to promote energy independence;
A bill ensuring that everyone who has a job has healthcare;
A bill to organize a bipartisan summit on the budget and then balance it.

Continue reading "Good Morning Darcy Burner Fans and Skeptics!" »

So, Who Did You Like? (A Totally Unscientific Straw Poll)

posted by on April 24 at 8:00 AM

Last week I brought you Slog posts by five candidates who want to be the next state representative from Seattle’s 43rd District. In case you missed all the politicking, and the great discussions that ensued in the comments, here it is, a week’s worth of wonky glory:

MONDAY: Dick Kelley

TUESDAY: Bill Sherman

WEDNESDAY: Jim Street

THURSDAY: Stephanie Pure

FRIDAY: Lynne Dodson

And here is an article I wrote in The Stranger two weeks ago about the sixth contender:

Jamie Pedersen

So: Who do you like for the 43rd? Post your favorite candidate’s name in the comments, feel free to explain your reasoning, feel free to vote early and often, and check back tomorrow, by which time I will have tabulated the results of this totally unscientific, completely subject to manipulation, and wildly early (the election’s still months and months away) straw poll.

Voting ends at midnight tonight!


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Will Somebody Please Blow Bush?

posted by on April 23 at 4:47 PM

Reader Sue Partridge wrote, “I can’t believe this photo hasn’t made it into the Slog. ITFMA!”

Dear Sue: Your wish is our command.

blowjob.jpg