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Archives for 04/30/2006 - 05/06/2006

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Sugar Baby Love

posted by on May 6 at 11:16 AM

From director Wilfred Brimo, the most amazing, beautiful, sweet AIDS awareness PSA I’ve ever seen. The 3-minute cartoon is part of a French campaign called, “Live Long Enough to Find the Right One.” With no words, it says more (and more effectively) than every American AIDS campaign (“We All Have AIDS”) all rolled together.

(Click image to play video. Requires Quicktime.)

Last year, Brimo created this equally stunning video for the same campaign.

Was Sugar Sweet?

posted by on May 6 at 9:38 AM

Anyone make it to the opening of Seattle’s newest fag bar last night? How was it? Any early reports?

AP on Burner vs. Reichert

posted by on May 6 at 8:47 AM

The dean of Washington State’s political press corps, David Ammons, today offers this long report on our state’s hottest Congressional race:

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington already has a heavily Democratic congressional delegation, but hungry national Democrats are hoping to pick up at least one more House seat here.

They’re taking on The Sheriff, freshman Rep. Dave Reichert, in the increasingly independent 8th District east of Seattle. As President Bush’s poll ratings fall, Democrats say Reichert could be the most visible victim in Washington this year.

Ammons notes the “substantial buzz in the district and on liberal blogs” for Darcy Burner, Reichert’s Democratic challenger, and writes that if there’s a national pro-Democrat surge this fall, and if that surge is powerful enough to flip some swing districts into Democratic hands, “the textbook case could be the 8th.”

Republicans, of course, are downplaying that possibility:

“I predict we won’t see this sweep nationally … and that few districts are actually in play,” says state GOP Chairwoman Diane Tebelius.

Sure, people are unhappy and we realize it will be a tough year for the Republicans,” but strong candidates should trump that, she says.

Her prediction: All three GOP incumbents are returned to office and the GOP has a good shot at taking out Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen in the 2nd District.

And what do the political analysts say?

At the moment, independent analysts don’t see either the 8th or 2nd flipping, but say the possibility is strong enough to place on their watch lists.

The Cook Political Report says the 8th should lean to Reichert and that Larsen is likely to win a new term. Congressional Quarterly likewise says both are favored. The Rothenberg Political Report has the closest prognosis for the 8th, calling it a toss-up, tilted Republican.

The big unknown, of course, is the strength of any Democratic tide. Analyst Charlie Cook says the current trend is “clear enough to make any Republican candidate or consultant reach for an airsickness bag,” with Democrats in their strongest position since 1992.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Speaking of the Packed ACLU Event at Town Hall…

posted by on May 5 at 5:41 PM

Lisa Graves, senior counsel for legislative strategy for the ACLU in D.C., spoke at Town Hall last night along with John Dean.

They were both great, but I found Graves particularly good.

She went after Bush’s warrantless wire-tap program with calm (and even comic) aplomb. “He’s supposed to justify the case for a wiretap warrant in front of the FISA court,” she said, adding: “Um, thus the term warrant.”

She opened her remarks by explaining that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court—the panel of judges that approves wire taps on suspected terrorists when the NSA has probable cause (a pretty easy standard to meet)—is located just upstairs from the AG’s office in the Dept. of Justice. “All they have to do is go upstairs to get a wiretap approved,” Graves said. “And they can do that 72 hours after they initiate the wiretap.”

It was a funny image—the Bushies can’t be bothered to just walk upstairs and get the necessary approval. But then it got scary. Graves pointed out that the FISA court, stacked with judges appointed by Rehnquist, has approved an astronomical number of wiretaps since it came into existence in 1978 (I think she said 20,000 or 200,000 wiretaps)—while only rejecting 6.

She then asked a creepy question: “What does Bush want to do that this court wouldn’t approve of?”

Quote of the Day

posted by on May 5 at 5:06 PM

“It’s not true rapid transit.”

We just had a meeting with King County Exec Ron Sims, his spokesperson Sandeep Kaushik, and Kevin Desmond, general manager of Metro.

They were here to sell us on Transit Now, Sims’ proposed sales tax increase to boost Metro bus service. They describe the plan as “Bus Rapid Transit,” which is an odd thing to call adding more buses to already crowded city streets—because, um, aren’t all those new buses going to be stuck in traffic with the old buses and cars already on the road? Unless, of course, traffic lanes currently open to cars are reserved for buses only, right? (It’s a nice idea—hey, I’m for anything that makes driving less convenient—but I’m not holding my breath.) When I said that I didn’t think more buses stuck in traffic could be described as rapid transit, Desmond said, and I quote, “It’s not true rapid transit.”

Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Desmond.

This is a gotcha, I know, and I’m being a dick. (Which is soooo unlike me.) But we had a shot at actual rapid transit and the entire political establishment—Sims included—did everything in its power to stop rapid transit from coming to Seattle. But hey! I’m not bitter! And I’m for… buses. The ‘mo buses the ‘mo better. But it ticks me right fucking off to hear something that isn’t rapid transit being sold as rapid transit by the same folks who killed rapid transit. You can call it bus rapid transit if you dedicate lanes to buses, Ron. If you’re not prepared to do that, there’s nothing rapid about your transit plan.

Unchecked. Unbalanced.

posted by on May 5 at 5:00 PM

If Congress thinks Bush is doing something that’s unconstitutional—illegal wiretaps that violate the 4th Amendment—Bush does it anyway because he believes that in a post 9/11 world, the rules (that’d be the Constitution) have changed.

Meanwhile, when Congress passes amendments (no torturing) and laws (the F.B.I. must report on how it’s using the Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers) that W. thinks are unconstitutional because they encroach on his power as the commander in chief—he issues signing statements saying he’s not going to follow the law.

While these two positions seem contradictory—Bush thinks the Constitution is outdated/Bush thinks the Constitution is sacred (never mind if Congress’s laws actually violate the constitution or not), there’s obviously a common thread: Bush doesn’t respect the fundamental equation of U.S. government: Checks & Balances.

I hadn’t be paying attention to this signing statements story, first reported by the Boston Globe on Sunday, but John Dean brought it up last night—at a packed ACLU event I went to at Town Hall about Bush’s illegal wiretaps. (Turns out John Dean’s still relevant. He’s written an academic essay skewering Bush for his crush on signing statements.)

Here’s the basic from the Globe:

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ”whistle-blower” protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research. Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush’s assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ”to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ”execute” a law he believes is unconstitutional.

Climate Change = Death

posted by on May 5 at 4:27 PM

Here’s a way to get Republicans to care about global warming: Give them Dengue fever.

¡Celebre con seguridad!

posted by on May 5 at 2:33 PM

Beware of extra DUI patrols tonight. According to Chief Gil Kerlikowske, “If you drink and drive on Cinco de Mayo, a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or state trooper will find and arrest you.” Props to Ron Sims for nailing the history of the holiday in that press release.

Wonky Theater Post II: -re or -er?

posted by on May 5 at 2:20 PM

Yesterday, I posted this thing about the imminent destruction of the Guthrie Theater (which I praised for spelling theater with an -er), and poked fun at regional theater as pompous “theater-with-an-re,” inspiring this comment from Laurence Ballard, a talented local actor and all-around smart guy:

I think you might be conflating pomposity with clarity.

A ‘theater’ can be many things - a place where something happens: war, a medical operation, a place to show movies, a lecture, any room with tiered seats.

‘Theatre’ is from the Old French, or Latin, ‘theatrum’ and is not affiliated with or construed to be anything but a place where actors perform.

I’ve worked in both.

I responded thusly:

There are many explanations for the variant in spelling theater/re, none of them definitive:

1. re=pompous/er=democratic, humble

2. re=edifice for dramatic presentations /er=place-where-something-happens

3. re=theory or idea of (Theatre of Cruelty)/er=edifice, simple fact of

4. [my favorite] re=proper noun (ACT Theatre)/er=common noun (I like theater)

The Oxford English Dictionary does not outline any of the above distinctions, but only says there are variant spellings. It shows both “operating-theatre” as well as “high towers, faire temples, goodly theaters” (Spenser, 1591).

So, in the interest of clarity, I propose we dispense with the conflicting explanations of when to use “re” and when to use “er” and just go with one or the other in all cases. I’m stumping for “er” because I prefer the way it looks.

(Because the “r” looks rigorous and disciplined, like a sentinel guarding the end of the word.)

What does the polis say? (And does anybody besides me even care? Would Ms. Wagner deign to chime in?)

Why We Fight

posted by on May 5 at 2:07 PM

From the UK Independent:

Human rights groups have condemned the “barbaric” murder of a 14-year-old boy, who, according to witnesses, was shot on his doorstep by Iraqi police for the apparent crime of being gay.

Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by men in police uniforms, according to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad.

Campaign groups have warned of a surge in homophobic killings by state security services and religious militias following an anti-gay and anti-lesbian fatwa issued by Iraq’s most prominent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Mission accomplished indeed.

The Best of Burial

posted by on May 5 at 1:55 PM

The talented designer of this CD cover is Burial. 115444856_de4ced0dc6.jpg

Burial is from South London (the image on the CD cover is an aerial shot of South London), he is practically unknown, and this month he releases on Kode9’s label hyperdub, a CD that will be to the 00s what Tricky’s Maxinquaye was to the 90s. If you want to know the direction that sound art must (and will) go (to survive), then listen to this mix of Burial’s new and darkling music by Kode9 on Radio One’s electronic music show Breezeblock, which is hosted by the beautiful, blond motorcyclist Mary Anne Hobbs.

Now to my point (and I always have a point to make): This recent comment by Burial, which was made during an interview with the blogger Blackdown, offers a vital (if not the most vital) lesson not only to those who make art out of sound but those who use words to make art. Burial says: “I’m not a musician, and I’m still not, in any way, but when I heard those tunes, I realised you could make tunes without being `a musician.’” This is something poets of our post-human age can never say—a person who writes poetry wants to be known, recognized, revered as a poet.

In the middle of the 19th century, the French poet and translator Charles Baudelaire offered the poet two paths: one was to be found in the prose poem “The Lost Halo”; the other, in the poem “The Albatross.” By way of “The Lost Halo,” the poet dumps the holy importance of being a poet, and he/she heads in the direction that will end in their saying exactly what Burial now says about not being a musician. The “The Albatross” is a path that heads in the opposite direction of the total rejection of the holy halo. Along this misty way, “the poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky,” the albatross, the saint, the beautiful soul—the poet, the writer, the novelist. Go to poetry slams, open mics, literary readings of any kind, and what you will see, what will bore you to tears, is this albatross, flying and flying and flying in circles.

What literature really needs, if it is to survive, if it is to be of any relevance, if it is to make clear progress, is no more albatrosses. One must be able to write poetry, write a novel without being a poet, being a novelist. Burial is not a musician (the word makes him sick, suicidal even—”[If I were to make music like a musician,] I’d throw myself under a train at Clapham Junction.”) and this is the reason why his music is so much better than anything you will find on the poetry, fiction shelves of today’s bookstores.

On and On, South of Heaven

posted by on May 5 at 1:35 PM

For those of you still irritated from the National Day of Prayer, the nice boys in Slayer have the ideal salve.

A New Use for “(Theme from) The Monkees”

posted by on May 5 at 12:56 PM

Slip on over to Line Out to hear comedian Chris Petrillo slam BushCo to the tune of “(Theme from) The Monkees.”


posted by on May 5 at 12:43 PM

I was a guest blogger for On the Boards this morning: You can read my thoughts on the new Awesome show right over this way.

Concise summary: First act is bee-yootiful; the second act gave me hives. (Ooh, that was bad.) Moses Lake High School and David Russo rock.

Also, have you read Frizzelle’s Awesome piece in the theater section this week? Bowl cuts—snicker.

New Drink for Summer: Rum and Bloke

posted by on May 5 at 12:09 PM

Builders at a house in Hungary drank a barrel of rum, only to find a pickled corpse at the bottom, a Hungarian police website has reported.

Story here.

The marvelous Dawn Cerny

posted by on May 5 at 11:59 AM

Last night proved that Seattle’s gallery scene is strong enough for Artwalk to feel substantial even when the big three (James Harris, Howard House, and Greg Kucera) aren’t having openings (and Platform wasn’t new, either). Especially terrific was Dawn Cerny’s work at Gallery 4Culture, an installation of freestanding framed prints and drawings, and paintings made directly on the wall that infiltrated gilt frames and invaded the space of the etchings and paintings on paper inside those frames. It was a riot of overlapping narratives, loosely based on Walter Benjamin’s fragmented Arcades Project. I can’t wait to go back.

SOIL speaks in hushed tones this month, with a group show called nooksandcrannies by three artists that you encounter sort of clockwise inside the gallery, starting with a discernible but quiet river of styrofoam chips on the wall by Etsuko Ichikawa, then moving to a series of nearly invisible drawings made by poking tiny dots in the white wall by Julie Custer, and ending with a “drawing” that disappears in the context of the floor in one corner of the gallery by Marc Dombrosky. Each piece has a magnetic pull, drawing you a little further outside this world and into another one. (In the back space are photographs that Thom Heileson said represent a new direction for him, but honestly, it was difficult to look closely them amid the crowd, so again, I have to get back there.)

Punch, the newest artist-run collective, was another Pioneer Square hotspot. I’m curious about the contraption-sculpture containing water taken from near the Tate Modern (or something like that). Anyone know anything? The artist is Howard Barlow.

Tonight I’m driving to Tacoma for the opening of Critical Line, a new gallery run by the fine fellows of the amazing Tollbooth Gallery, Jared Pappas-Kelley and Michael Lent. These guys are great; I truly recommend anything they do, despite the commute. The inaugural show, Found Space, features photographic works by Matthew Keeney, Kevin Haas, EJ Hercyzk, Ann Kendellen, and video by Israeli artist Ido Fluk.

Speaking of Fall Out Boy…

posted by on May 5 at 11:54 AM

…you can find revealing pictures of the band’s bassist here. Pete Wentz has an impressive dick under an tragic tattoo.

Bigoted moms in North Carolina will not approve of these widely circulated images, but fags in Seattle were mighty impressed. Oh, and good product-placement for Morrissey, Pete.

Another Septieme Update

posted by on May 5 at 11:41 AM

I spoke with Victor Santiago, the owner of Cafe Septieme (currently the subject of heated debate because of his decision to fire manager Vance Wolfe for giving employees the day off Monday to attend the immigration march) late yesterday afternoon. Santiago called the decision to fire Wolfe “a business decision” he made because Wolfe was being insubordinate —one that he (understandably) now “regrets” because it has earned him so much bad publicity.

“One of the things I told [employees] is that I appreciate how they showed their loyalty to Vance,” Santiago said. “I don’t want anybody to apologize” for not showing up to work. “It’s on my head.”

As for the immigration march, Santiago said he did “support it,” but added, “I have to do my best to keep my business running.” (Although Septieme was closed Monday, Santiago’s Mexican restaurant, La Cocina y Cantina, remained open.)

Santiago has a personal interest in supporting immigration rights: He came here as an immigrant himself, in the 1980s. After working in the apple fields of Eastern Washington, Santiago moved to Seattle in 1986, where he got a job as a dishwasher, eventually taking a position at La Cocina y Cantina in 1989. Around the same time, the former apple picker became a US citizen. Twelve years later, he bought La Cocina. And two years ago, he bought Septieme from its original owner, Kurt Timmermeister.

A picket of Septieme is still being planned for 6 to 9 on Saturday. As far as I can tell, it does not have an official organizer, though word is spreading through Myspace.

Goss Out

posted by on May 5 at 11:09 AM

The head of the CIA resigned today. Gee, I wonder if his resignation has anything to do with crooked lobbyists hiring hookers to service federal officials at the Watergate.

Says Josh Marshal:

Here at TPM HQ we were listening to the president’s announcement. And the talking heads on CNN were speculating whether Goss’s departure might be part of Josh Bolten’s ‘new blood’ shake up in the Bush administration. I don’t suppose it anything to do with the fact that Goss is neck deep in the Wilkes-Corruption-and-Hookers story that’s been burbling in the background all week. We don’t know definitely why Goss pulled the plug yet. But the CIA Director doesn’t march over to the White House and resign, effective immediately, unless something very big is up.

Says Georgia10 at Kos:

This isn’t part of some White House shake-up. This is a scandal-plagued Bush appointee resigning just as an investigation into another Republican corruption scandal hits too close to home.

Former Republican lawmaker and current CIA Director Porter Goss’s name has surfaced time and time again in the Republican bribe scheme, which began with a focus on disgraced Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham and his Republican lobbyists (hmm, do I think I mentioned “Republican” enough in that sentence?)….

You will recall that Ken Silverstein, based on a source, noted that the prostitution scandal could touch a former lawmaker “who now holds a powerful intelligence post.” Speculation abounded that Porter Goss fit that description perfectly.

It may not be the hookers. It may not be his possible participation in a million-dollar bribery scheme affecting our national security. It may be that he hated his job, and the CIA hated him. Or it may just be that Goss decided to spend time with his family.

But the press has a duty to find out why one of our nation’s top intelligence officials just up and quit all of a sudden.

Feelies Fans: Prepare to Freak Out

posted by on May 5 at 11:04 AM

It’s not a full-blown reunion yet, but Pitchfork reports serious rumblings that front this morning:

Quanah Humphreys reports: This Sunday, May 7, sandwiched between the Sensational Soul Cruisers R&B revue and the “high energy rock” of Majorette, members of post-punk legends the Feelies will get together for an early afternoon performance at the Hoboken Spring Arts & Music Festival. Sounds like we’re in for some slightly-less-than-crazy rhythms.

It’s a partial Feelie formation, New Jersey’s Exit Weekly reports, with singer/guitarist Glenn Mercer and drummer Vinny DeNunzio performing a mix of Feelies songs and new material. Exit also reports that Feelies co-songwriter and guitarist Bill Million won’t be joining the duo due to personal and geographical restrictions (Million lives in Florida), dashing any chance of billing the performance as a full-fledged reunion.

The Feelies formed in the late 70s in New Jersey but quickly gained buzz in New York City as one of the most exciting bands in the city’s emerging new wave scene. The 1980 album Crazy Rhythms was a commercial failure but would go on to inspire countless young bands. The band suffered line-up changes and periods punctuated by on-and-off action but kept the core songwriting duo of Mercer and Million intact until the band skittered to a halt in 1991 with Million’s abrupt departure to Florida.

According to Exit Weekly, despite his absence from Sunday’s show, Million is interested in playing again with his former bandmates and might have larger plans for the Feelies than Hoboken festivals. For now, though, that’s all speculation. “It’s all fun at this point, and we’re going to be careful about the types of gigs we do,” Mercer told Exit. “We’re not just going to play for money. The shows have got to be fun.”


Histrionic Mom vs. Fall Out Boy

posted by on May 5 at 10:21 AM

The band’s music does nothing for me (and being over 14, I’m not sure it’s supposed to) but pop-punkers Fall Out Boy have earned my respect and affection, thanks to their ongoing battle with a furious mom in North Carolina.

The gist, courtesy of On Tuesday, the soon-to-be-enraged mother took her daughters to a Fall Out Boy show in Charlotte, NC. Afterwards, she sent a bitter email to Island Records, the band’s label:

“The ticket said ‘all ages,’ and your band was very foul-mouthed and anti-morals. Charlotte is not the demoralized city that liberal San Francisco and other cities across the North and West are…I had looked forward to this concert with my girls for months [and] I didn’t spend over $200 on gas, food and, unfortunately, shirts for you to give your own personal political testimony. … This was a concert, not some liberal homosexual rally.”

What did Fall Out Boy do to turn their all-ages show into an alleged homosexual rally? According to a post at Fall Out Boy’s website by FOB bassist Pete Wentz, “The only thing I said in Charlotte was, ‘You can leave this show and say, “I think this guy is an arrogant jerk,” or think, “This band is better than this one,” because these are your opinions. The only thing we consider unacceptable is for you to engage in sexist, racist or homophobic behavior. If you do, we don’t want you as a fan. Return our merch and leave.’ “

In his post, Wentz apologized for any cussing he might have done from the Charlotte stage, but refused to apologize for his beliefs: “I encourage fans of our band to grow up to become good people and to change the world. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that treating other people as inhuman is acceptable. If that is offensive to you, I apologize, but we don’t want you to be part of our fanbase. [Our show] is not a liberal homosexual rally, but at the same time, it will never be a Ku Klux Klan rally. We don’t need to sell tickets that badly.”

As for the angry mom: She’s vowed revenge, threatening to alert concerned mothers across the country about the band’s concerts-cum-homosexual rallies: “I am not the only parent with morals that had children at this concert … your responsibility was to sing your songs. When you opened your mouth to talk, you blew it…my children will not be a part of your sick idea of family.”

Speaking of family and mothers: Next Sunday is Mother’s Day. Why not surprise mom with her very own Fall Out Boy CD? She probably won’t enjoy it much, but it’s the thought that counts, and FOB deserves your money more than

Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?

posted by on May 5 at 9:55 AM

WIth the press corps completely uninterested in calling out the Bush administration on even their most blatant hypocrisies and lies, it’s left to the general public (and comedians) to speak truth to power.

A former CIA analyst takes on Rumsfeld in Atlanta last night…

QUESTION: Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?

RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I haven’t lied. I did not lie then. Colin Powell didn’t lie. He spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence Agency people and prepared a presentation that I know he believed was accurate, and he presented that to the United Nations. The president spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence people and he went to the American people and made a presentation. I’m not in the intelligence business. They gave the world their honest opinion. It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.

QUESTION: You said you knew where they were.

RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were and —

QUESTION: You said you knew where they were— Tikrit, Baghdad, northeast, south, west of there. Those are your words.

RUMSFELD: My words — my words were that — no, no, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let him stay one second. Just a second.

QUESTION: This is America.

RUMSFELD: You’re getting plenty of play, sir.

QUESTION: I’d just like an honest answer.

RUMSFELD: I’m giving it to you.

QUESTION: Well we’re talking about lies and your allegation there was bulletproof evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq.

RUMSFELD: Zarqawi was in Baghdad during the prewar period. That is a fact.

QUESTION: Zarqawi? He was in the north of Iraq in a place where Saddam Hussein had no rule. That’s also…

RUMSFELD: He was also in Baghdad.

QUESTION: Yes, when he needed to go to the hospital.

Come on, these people aren’t idiots. They know the story.


RUMSFELD: Let me give you an example.

It’s easy for you to make a charge, but why do you think that the men and women in uniform every day, when they came out of Kuwait and went into Iraq, put on chemical weapon protective suits? Because they liked the style?

They honestly believed that there were chemical weapons. We believed he had those weapons.

QUESTION: That’s what we call a non sequitur. It doesn’t matter what the troops believe; it matters what you believe.

MODERATOR: I think, Mr. Secretary, the debate is over. We have other questions, courtesy to the audience.

More details here and here.

Questioners from the other side of the political spectrum had a few tough questions for the Secretary as well. One asked, “what happened in your childhood to make you the man you are today? This might help some parents, because you’re a great man.”

La la la.

Teasing the Truth Out of Dwight Pelz

posted by on May 5 at 9:54 AM

Late last month, State Democratic Party Chair, Dwight Pelz told the AP that the National D party’s “murkiness” on Iraq could sap the energy of rank and file Democratic activists this fall.

Then, in this week’s story by Eli Sanders, Pelz elaborated and told the Stranger the party’s position on Iraq was making it hard to recruit activists: “The party’s position is not attractive to activists. We’re having a hard time recruiting them.”

Finally, today, Pelz elaborates even more, and breaks it down, telling The Seattle Times the problem is directly hurting Senator Cantwell. “Definitely right now there are a lot of activists who are not signing up to work on her campaign, and that’s very clear,” Pelz told Seattle Times reporter David Postman.

Flower Power

posted by on May 5 at 8:37 AM

Mexican florists are made of tougher stuff than their American counterparts. You see, florists—florists!—are rioting in Mexico. It would be funny if, uh, people weren’t dying.

Mexican Police Quell Florist Riot

SAN SALVADOR ATENCO, Mexico—Thousands of riot police stormed the town square early Thursday to subdue machete-wielding protesters who had beaten two officers into unconsciousness, dragging them through the streets in attacks televised nationwide.

Violence exploded in the area Wednesday when police tried to evict unlicensed flower sellers from a market in a nearby town…. A 14-year-old boy was reported killed and dozens more injured in the confrontations.

Rioters first blocked a stretch of federal highway about 14 miles northeast of Mexico City, turning back police with rocks, Molotov cocktails and large firework rockets.

Against Abortion?

posted by on May 5 at 7:56 AM

Then you had better be for the use—and wide availability—of effective contraception.

Today’s New York Times reports that the percentage of women not using contraception has been steadily rising. The headline should be tattooed on the heads of conservative Republicans who think that keeping contraception out of the hands of women is somehow pro-life: Use of Contraception Drops, Slowing Decline of Abortion Rate.

The rate of unintended pregnancies, which had declined 18 percent from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, has leveled off since about 1994…. While the abortion rate fell an average of 3.4 percent annually in the early 1990s, it declined an average of just 0.8 percent from 2000 to 2002.

If the Republican war on contraception—including Plan B, the morning after pill—doesn’t end soon, and abstinence “educators” continue to encourage American teenagers to view birth control as ineffective (and teenagers who obtain it as sinful), the abortion rate will soon be rising. Nice work, sexphobes.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Democratic Fusillade

posted by on May 4 at 5:15 PM

I’m not sure why all of this happened in one day, but the Darcy Burner campaign and national Democrats today put out four separate hits on eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert — in less than eight hours.

All of the hits are interesting, and here they come, in reverse chronological order:

3:55 pm: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in a press release, slams Reichert for voting today against a House amendment that “would have guaranteed 100% scanning and sealing of America-bound cargo” — a complaint that just added to the growing list of complaints Democrats have about Reichert’s moves on port security (other complaints include Reichert’s vote against $825 million for port security in March and his vote against blocking the Dubai Ports deal, also in March).

2:18 pm: The DCCC announces that its attack web site,, has named Reichert as its “GOP Crony of the Week.”

10:30 am: Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who chairs the DCCC, joins a conference call with Burner and a number of reporters from Seattle and D.C. to talk about rising gas prices, the country’s “energy crisis,” and Reichert’s vote to give tax breaks to oil companies (the oil and gas industry has given Reichert $40,000 in contributions since 2004).

“We should have a hybdrid-based energy policy,” Emanuel says. “Darcy, in my view, represents the new policies that we should have.” (Burner drives a hybrid SUV and today released a plan to “invest in energy independence.” [See 8:46 am.])

8:46 am: Burner calls for repealing the $14 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies that the Republican-controlled Congress has approved (with the help of Reichert). She calls for meaningful legislation against energy price gouging, increasing incentives for the purchase and production of alternative-fuel vehicles, and investments in new technology.

“Dave Reichert has endorsed the Bush energy policies that have failed the consumers of Washington,” said Burner. “He voted for the Bush energy bill that gave billions to the oil industry and failed to make investments that would reduce our addiction to oil. Reichert stands with Bush and big oil — I will stand with the consumers of Washington State.”

Like I said, I’m not sure why all of this happened in one day, but whatever the reason, it does seem to indicate that the Democrats are focused on this race and are prepared to hit Reichert hard, early, and often.

Downtown Seattle Stabocaust?

posted by on May 4 at 4:34 PM

Today—Thursday, May 4—brought three stabbings to downtown Seattle.


The first incident was at 9:30 a.m. at Third and Yesler, the second happened at about 11:15 a.m. at Third and Pine, and the third occurred at about noon at 14th and Minor.

All three stabbings were non-fatal, and involved a suspect described as “a black male, around 5’7” with a thin build and very bad or no teeth. He was wearing a black knit hat. He was last seen westbound on Pine Street.”

Full report here. All of you heading out this evening for art walks/gallery openings/open-air happy hours/speeches by Watergate whistleblowers, watch out for a small man with an unfortunate smile and a ready knife.

“Subject: Goodbye and Thanks”

posted by on May 4 at 4:27 PM

That’s the subject line of an e-mail I got today from Marc Moquin, the director of public relations for the Sonics.

Tomorrow’s his last day after 14 years. They have not hired a replacement.

Tres interesting.

Bye-Bye Guthrie

posted by on May 4 at 4:11 PM

In extreme theater-wonk news: They’re gonna tear down the Guthrie! The theater that basically invented the now-doomed regional theater movement is, well, doomed.

Some fun facts about the Guthrie Theater (and yes, they spell it -er, God bless ‘em):

1. It was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in Minneapolis in 1963 as a place where writers, actors, and directors could focus on Great Works of Literature (in new, if not always exciting, ways—like plain-dress Shakespeare!) outside Broadway, whose commericalism increasingly favored profit over artistic content.

2. Why Minneapolis? Because the city answered Sir Guthrie’s want ad. He published a small invitation on the theater page of the New York Times, looking for a community that was able and eager to help build a resident theater.

3. The Guthrie’s first production: Hamlet. Its final production: Hamlet. Its famous in-between productions included: Henry V, St. Joan, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Three Sisters, The House of Atreus, She Stoops to Conquer, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Seagull, and Tartuffe.

4. Sir Guthrie was decribed in by James Forsyth as: “Anti-Broadway, anti-West End, anti everything implied in the term ‘Legitimate Theatre,’ he ended up with a legitimate claim to the title of ‘most important, British-born theatre director of his time.’” (It is ironic that this renegade theatrical visionary kicked off the regional theater movement, now the hallowed home of Legitimate Theatre-with-an-re and widely considered the native nesting ground of the most stilted, snooze-inducing live entertainment this side of Swan Lake.)

The Guthrie organization has a fancy new building next to the Mississippi and the old theater: “probably faces the wrecking ball late this summer.”

But the Walker Art Center [which owns the Guthrie building] conducted a reuse study five years ago and found no groups to take over the Guthrie space. The study also found that renovating and operating the theater would be too expensive.

The Walker, which reopened last year after a $73 million expansion, plans to demolish the old Guthrie to make way for an expansion of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

“Who gives a shit?” you may ask. Preservationists and theater historians, for two. You know who gives a shit? The motherfucking Boss (kinda). Springsteen made his Twin Cities debut at the Guthrie in 1975, and, at a recent Minneapolis concert, suggested people join the cause: “It is important to save buildings that give cities their sense of self and identity. We lost two theaters in my hometown that I used to go to as a kid. My mother used to tell me to be quiet while we were in the lobby of those theaters before we actually got inside! Theaters and buildings give their cities a real sense of place.”

Should you, for whatever reason, want to help save the Guthrie, check out (where else?)

The Truth For Real

posted by on May 4 at 4:03 PM

The extension of Douglass-Truth Library, which is currently under construction, keeps getting better and better:
I cant wait to see what it will look like tomorrow. Beautiful buildings make me happier than spring.

Call Me…Old

posted by on May 4 at 3:40 PM

My boyfriend just called me to share this disturbing moment that occurred in the midst of his lunchtime bartending shift:

“There’s a 22 year-old girl in here with her boyfriend. She went over the jukebox to pick out songs and was obviously happy to see Blondie as one of the selections—‘Ooh, I LOVE Blondie,’ she squealed. ‘My grandmother used to play them all the time when I was a little girl.’ “

Grandmother? While I’m glad to hear about the hip grandmas out there in the world, and I’m perfectly happy to be my age (35), it was, well, unsettling.

Calling Out Gov. Gregoire

posted by on May 4 at 3:35 PM

I was looking for an excuse to bump the scary post I did on the pharmacy board rules—back to the top of the Slog.

I found one. Kristen at Planned Parenthood posted in the comments thread with advice on how to take action.

What I like about Kristen’s post is that, like me, she stresses the importance of asking the Governor to get involved in this fight to make sure that health care consumers (especially women) have unimpeded access to health care.

As a journalist, I hear a lot of people bitching (off-the-record) about politicians that they have to work with, but they’ll hardly ever say anything on-the-record or turn up the pressure publicly. What’s hot about Kristen’s comment is that she’s seems willing to call out Gregoire. She does it slyly, but she does it.

The Washington State Board of Pharmacy will meet again June 2nd, to decide which rule to choose — Donna Dockter’s or the Department of Health’s.


During the month of May, it is TOTALLY CRITICAL that we continue to bombard the Board of Pharmacy AND the Governor with our e-mails and faxes.

Continue to e-mail and fax the Pharmacy Board and the Governor. Spread the word — get your friends involved.

Contact Governor Gregoire

What to say: Governor Gregoire, please do everything in your power to ensure that the Washington State Board of Pharmacy does not adopt a rule that interferes with a patient’s ability to receive her / his prescriptions.

Phone (360) 902-4111

Fax (360) 753-4110


Contact the Washington State Board of Pharmacy

What to say: The Washington State Board of Pharmacy should not adopt a rule that interferes with a patient’s ability to obtain the safe and legal medications that she/he needs.
Fax (360) 586-4359


Posted by Kristen at Planned Parenthood - May 4, 2006 01:36 PM

Murray Vs. Thibaudeau

posted by on May 4 at 3:17 PM

Governor Gregoire just put out a press release announcing the creation of the health care commission.

That’s peachy. But the interesting thing about the press release is this:

Governor Gregoire and Senator Pat Thibaudeau will serve as the Co-Chairs of the commission, which will hold its first meeting on June 22, 2006.

Is the governor offering Thibaudeau a plum for her resume in her tough re-election battle. (Popular Democratic Rep. Ed Murray is running against Thibaudeau in the primary.)

Or is Gregoire offering Thibaudeau a graceful way out?

Indeed, one of the mightiest Democratic forces, SEIU (the service employees union), just gave its sole endorsement to Murray in the race.

Why didn’t they endorse longtime incumbent, Thibaudeau?

“It was a question of effectiveness,” says SEIU 775 spokesman Adam Glickman. “Ed has an impressive record of getting things done. We need more people like that in the senate. Pat’s been a great voice on health care and a strong supporter. We need more effective legislators.”

It’s National Prayer Day!

posted by on May 4 at 3:14 PM

Which I belatedly discovered after wandering into a giant prayer circle today at lunch. I had walked down to the Westlake Plaza to enjoy the sunshine, when a man confronted me:

“Do you want me to pray for you?”
He was a tank of a man, and he was staring at my legs.
“Nope,” I said. Part of me wanted to ask him why he felt compelled to pray for my legs, but mostly I just wanted him to leave.
The dude kept standing there. Staring.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to pray for you?”
“I’m fine. Thanks.”
“So you don’t want me to save you?”
“I said: So you don’t want me to save you?”
“That’s right.”

And then he rolled his eyes at me and stomped off with his hands above his heads in practiced supplication to God and/or the SPD. That is when I looked around and noticed that many people were walking hands raised towards several big velvety flags on the opposite end of the plaza. It looked like a police bust at a renaissance fair.

But no! As it turns out, it’s our National Day of Prayer! Not only was I unaware that we had a NDP, but that there is even a NDP Task Force! Exciting! I stuck around long enough to hear a heated, run-on prayer about themediathechurchgovernmentandcivilauthoritieshealthfamilies(mylegs?)andthepoor, but sadly had to leave before the Corporate Prayer.

It was awesome.

Christian War on Fiction

posted by on May 4 at 3:14 PM

You didn’t have to be Jesus to see this coming:

Christian activists are planning a boycott of the soon-to-be-released Da Vinci Code movie, which one influential pro-family group is calling “blasphemous.”

Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, is asking Christians to sign a petition condemning the movie. The petition accuses Sony Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, director Ron Howard and actor Tom Hanks of supporting a film that is offensive to Christians.

The movie, according to Baehr, is “fraught with misconceptions and blatantly false claims about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the history of Christianity, and the Catholic Church.”

Note to fundies: The Da Vinci Code is FICTION. As Bible readers, surely you have a grasp on the concept.


posted by on May 4 at 2:51 PM

Amy Kate has already revealed that I’m going to see John Dean speak tonight at Town Hall. Here’s why

ACLU of Washington

Town Hall Forum on “Spying, Secrecy, and Presidential Power”

May 4, 2006

7 p.m., (doors open at 6:15 p.m.) Town Hall Seattle, Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street.

Free and open to the public. No RSVP or tickets necessary.

Revelations about warrantless spying on Americans by the National Security Agency have sparked a nationwide controversy and sharp questions from lawmakers across the spectrum. Our panel will discuss the NSA spying program and what it means for civil liberties and our constitutional government.


John W. Dean was counsel to President Richard Nixon. He has emerged as a vocal critic of President George W. Bush’s domestic spying program, drawing comparisons between the actions and attitudes of the current administration and the abuse of executive power and defiance of the law by the Nixon White House.

Lisa Graves is senior counsel for legislative strategy for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office. Since news of the NSA spying program broke last year, Graves has led the ACLU’s efforts in Congress to end warrantless spying and to restore the rule of law.

Never Mind Seattle’s Crazy Liberals. How About Snohomish County’s?

posted by on May 4 at 2:15 PM

Former marine Mark Wilson is running as an anti-war progressive to the left of Senator Maria Cantwell in this September’s Democratic primary.

Only crazy Seattle liberals in the 36th District are supposed to have gripes with Cantwell. Right?


On Monday, he got the endorsement of the 38th District Democrats. That’s I-5 North: Snohomish County—Marysville, Everett, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Lake Stevens.

Hat Tip: The Left Shue, Chad Shue’s blog. (Chad Shue is the vice chair of the 38th.)

What We’re Doing Tonight

posted by on May 4 at 1:54 PM

There seems to be an unusually rich array of promising entertainments competing for our eyeballs and dollars tonight. I cruised around the office and compiled this list of what Stranger editorial staffers are aiming for after work. Go ahead, make a game of guessing who’s going where if that kind of thing pleases you.
“Art Walk, specifically the Punch gallery (an artists’ collective) in Pioneer Square.”
“Art Walk, 100 Balls, then drinks at the Hideout.”
“Gonna catch a buzz in the sun: happy hour at either the Broadway Grill or Julia’s.”
“The Funhouse, for psych-rockers Psychic Ills and Blood on the Wall.”
John Dean at Town Hall. He’s the former counsel to Nixon who brought down the Watergate house of cards by testifying on TV about the conspiracy to cover up the affair. He’s also a harsh critic of the current administration. Then, I’m watching a documentary with a friend that includes that TV footage of Dean’s testimony.”
“A long bike ride, then maybe the Hideout.”
“Sushi at Hana, followed by homemade lemon birthday cake and presents.”
“100 Balls, and maybe Bugs & Beer at Tashiro Kaplan, too.”
“Opening night of Cirque du Soleil at Marymoor Park.”
“Sleeping off my cold.”

Septieme Picket on Saturday

posted by on May 4 at 1:44 PM

This Saturday, between 6 and 9 pm, picketers will meet at Cafe Septieme on Broadway to protest the firing of former cafe manager Vance Wolfe earlier this week. As the Stranger first reported, Septieme owner Victor Santiago fired Wolfe because Wolfe gave employees Monday off to participate in a massive immigration rally that afternoon. Many of Septieme’s employees are, like Santiago, Latino, and most of the staff participated in the rally.

Yesterday, I went by Septieme and talked to employees there. The restaurant, ordinarily bustling at 9:30 on weeknights, was almost empty, and a waiter told me many of the regulars had not been coming in. (Santiago had also removed the stack of Strangers that ordinarily sits inside the door.) It’s unfortunate that the waiters will suffer because of their employer’s decision, but I think staying away for at least a couple of weeks sends a clear message: neighborhood restaurants like Septieme live and die on the loyalty of their regulars. If Septieme loses the loyal customers Santiago inherited from former owner Kurt Timmermaster, Santiago’s bottom line is going to take a major hit.

Knifing Seizures?

posted by on May 4 at 1:31 PM

In further knifing news, I overheard this today on the Aurora bus:
“See, my wife gets these seizures and they make her want to get a knife and slit my throat.”

Pinch Me

posted by on May 4 at 1:19 PM


[Gina Gershon]— coincidentally fresh from catching the stage show Showgirls, The Best Movie Ever Made. Ever!—reveals that yes, she is developing, as a writer and director, an off-Broadway musical adaptation of that which some will argue was not the best movie ever made. “[Showgirls scribe] Joe Eszterhas and I were at this 10th-anniversary thing in Vegas, and he [mentioned it to the crowd], and everyone went crazy!” Gershon reports with a laugh. “So there’s a built-in audience.”

Striking the right balance between adaptation/homage and poke-in-the-pasties parody, though, is the hurdle Gershon faces. “There’s a [precise] way to go about this,” she says. “It just has to be done exactly right to be really funny.”

Full story here.

Raw Data for Rubberneckers

posted by on May 4 at 1:18 PM

Speaking of stabbings, do you know about the real-time 911 fire and medic dispatch log that you can watch on the SFD website? Almost as interesting as and a lot less noisy than a scanner. I wish SPD offered the same type of feed.

White Flight vs. Gentrification

posted by on May 4 at 1:05 PM

I usually lie about my age—because I can, Skip, because I can—but for this post, I have to come clean: I’m 41 years-old, so I’m old enough to remember white flight, which was roaring in the late 1960s and early 1970s when I was a little kid.

Back then all white liberals—my parents included—were in agreement about white flight: It was a bad thing, and white people who fled the cities because they didn’t want to live in racially mixed neighborhoods were bigots. (My family stayed put in our Chicago neighborhood as it went from predominantly Irish to mostly Mexican.) Liberals screamed and yelled at white folks who fled cities for the ‘burbs. Those white folks were were assholes—and they contributed mightily to the decline of US cities in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. Then something strange started happening in the 1980s. White folks started moving back into the cities—some moved into racially mixed neighborhoods; some moved into predominantly minority neighborhoods. This trend has only picked up steam over the last twenty years.

And many of the same white liberals who condemned white flight are just as angry at the white folks who are moving back into the cities. When white people moved away in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, they were guilty of white flight. And when white people came back, they were guilty of gentrification.

Danny Westneat has a column in the Seattle Times today about gentrification—although he doesn’t use the word. He makes some good points about the cluelessness of white people who get angry at African Americans who express any reservations at all about white folks moving in to traditionally black neighborhoods.

“People should be welcome to live where they want to without regard to their skin color, without being regarded as ‘invaders,’ ” wrote Mark Hovila of Lake Forest Park.

Asked Ben Dobbs: “Could you imagine an article such as yours with roles reversed?” …

OK, I’ll play along. Let’s reverse the roles. Not just the skin color — the roles.

Suppose whites had been shunted via redlining into one of the most run-down parts of Seattle. Then, 40 years later, suppose some wealthy and connected African Americans began buying up the land, putting up megahouses, running the community councils and dominating the PTAs.

It’s a great point—the anger in the African American community as the Central District integrates is completely understandable. But African Americans are no longer shunted into just one neighborhood in the city—Westneat cites a UW study that shows that the city is less racially segregated now than it was 30 years ago—so the anger, while understandable, can’t really be regarded as legit. Or as something that can be accommodated. (More affordable housing—yes, yes, yes. But can anything be done to ensure that the Central District remains majority black? And do we once again think we’re talking about race when what we’re really talking—or should be talking about—is class?)

But even if he didn’t use the word, without a doubt many white liberals who read Westneat’s column today—including some of my co-workers, I suspect—shook their heads and thought, “Oh, gentrification is terrible! Terrible!” So I’d like to get this on record: White people can’t be assholes when they flee the cities and assholes when they return. Pick one and stick to it, but you can’t argue both points. I get annoyed when I hear the same people/same types of people who complained about white flight back in the 60s and 70s complaining about gentrification today.

More Blood on the Hill?

posted by on May 4 at 12:39 PM

This time it’s First Hill. A whole shitload of emergency vehicles have gathered at Minor near Pike, at the Wintonia, a shelter for chronic alcoholics. The call logs indicate assault with a deadly weapon. I’ll check it out, then slog.

Update: According to police spokesman Sean Whitcomb, a person at the Wintonia was stabbed and the suspect was still at large. While treating the victim, police found the suspect — and he’d been stabbed, too. They’ve been transported to Harborview. I called Wintonia but the woman who answered the phone refused to tell me anything more about the incident.

Electric Music for the Mind & Body

posted by on May 4 at 12:23 PM

So, my fears have come true. The Stranger music gang is posting so much over at our new music blog, Line Out, that we’re lacking for rock & roll posts here on Slog.

And so/ as threatened/I now proceed to post my I-pod playlists.
Here’s: Gloom-Room-A-Go-Go

Continue reading "Electric Music for the Mind & Body" »

The Verdict Is In

posted by on May 4 at 12:15 PM

People who live in dense urban areas like Chicago, downtown L.A., and San Francisco produce dramatically lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than people who live in outlying suburbs. Full-size version of the Chicago map here. (Courtesy of Gristmill.)

It’s In the P-I Stranger

posted by on May 4 at 11:50 AM

The Stranger, May 1.
The P-I, May 2.

The Stranger, April 26.
The P-I, May 2.

The Stranger, May 1.
The P-I, May 3.

The Stranger, April 27.
The P-I, May 3.

The Stranger, April 13.
The P-I, May 3.

Imperfect Sound Forever

posted by on May 4 at 11:42 AM

Head over to Line Out and dip into my post on the thoughtful, provocative essay written by Stylus magazine’s Nick Southall, which just may change the way you listen to music—or it may annoy the hell out of you.

Pharmacy Board Update: What You Can Do.

posted by on May 4 at 11:07 AM

Slog and Stranger readers know that I’ve been writing about the Washington Board of Pharmacy’s deliberations on rules that may allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions. I got onto the story a few weeks ago when I reported that a pharmacist at Swedish hospital in Seattle refused to fill a prescription for abortion related antibiotics.

It looked like the board was going to draft rules to protect a woman’s right to health care, but a Tuesday night board hearing changed all that.

Initially, at Tuesday night’s Board of Pharmacy hearing, the board was looking at adopting draft rules saying a pharmacist shall fill a lawful drug prescription. There was an exception if a pharmacist found that a doctor had made an unwitting mistake having to do with things like harmful drug interactions. Additionally, if the pharmacy was out of stock, the pharmacist was required to find another pharmacy that had the medication in stock and direct the customer there.

As I Slogged yesterday, one board member—a Seattle pharmacist named Donna Dockter—upended those rules. Here’s the language she had subbed in:

(Substituted for Section (1))

If a pharmacist cannot fill a lawfully prescribed stocked drug or device, then they must provide timely alternatives for the patient to obtain treatment. These alternatives may include but are not limited to:

1. Refer the patient to another on-site pharmacist
2. Transfer the prescription to another pharmacy
3. Provide the medication at another time consistent with the normal timeframe for such a prescription, or:
4. Consult with the prescriber to provide an alternative medication therapy

“Cannot fill” ? Shouldn’t a law governing something as significant as healthcare at least explain the justification a pharmacist needs to meet the “Cannot fill” loophole. Dockter’s language seems broad to me—which pretty much sacks the raison d’etre of the board: They’re appointed by the governor to “protect and improve the health of people in Washington State.” That is to say: the pharmacy board is not appointed to protect the feelings of pharmacists who might be upset about filling a prescription for Plan B.

Speaking of the governor. She has been absent on this issue. Get in the game, Gregoire. You can hire and fire these folks.

People have been posting in the comments thread to yesterday’s post asking what they can do to impact the board’s decision. (The draft rules are now on hold for a month.)

My suggestion would be to put pressure on Gregoire’s office: (360) 902-4111 or
The Governor can take advantage of the month-long delay by using her bully pulpit to draw public attention to this issue—which would pressure the board to do it’s job and protect people’s health.

I’d suggest asking for legislative director Marty Brown or a staffer named Christina Hulet.

Re: Re: Sims’s Bus Plan

posted by on May 4 at 10:44 AM

If people don’t like riding the bus “because it gets stuck in traffic,” as Josh claims below, then why are they so crazy about driving their cars?

Great news for Tim Gunn fans!

posted by on May 4 at 10:36 AM

Project Runway will be debuting its new season this summer, according to msnbc.

Bravo confirmed…that the show will debut this summer. An ad in an industry magazine was more specific, saying the show will kick off July 12. While there’s no confirmation of this, the early start date suggests that the finalists for season three will show their collections at fall Fashion Week.


(Hearts and Butterflies go to Natalie for making my day.)

Make Shitloads More Money He Will

posted by on May 4 at 10:05 AM

Good news for those who were (rightfully) enraged by Greedo shooting first. George Lucas has announced he’s releasing the classic, un-tinkered with versions of the first three Star Wars films on DVD.

Gitcher Balls Out!

posted by on May 4 at 10:00 AM

My girl Kelly O is presenting her solo photo show debut:

100 BALLS — Public Portraits of Private Parts

Come to Sweatshop Inc (1202 E Pine St. Suite B) this Thursday from 7 to midnight to get an eyeful of dudes like you’ve never seen them before. Extra credit if you can guess which portrait is me.

BALLS © KellyO.jpg

From the Recent Archives

posted by on May 4 at 9:30 AM

Here’s a Stranger story about a controversy at Cornish College that rocked the campus after some students put on a skit spoofing the Civil Rights movement.

The story, which ran in the Stranger three weeks ago, was written by our intern Kelsey Amble.

The Seattle Times went w/ the story today.

Thanks guys, now we’ve got an uppity intern on our hands.

UPDATE: I mean, check it out, Kelsey ambled in 40 minutes late today.

Lost Post Removed…

posted by on May 4 at 8:48 AM

…because, to quote commenters, I am an asshat and a tool who doesn’t know how to mark things with a spoiler alert. My apologies.

A License to ITMFA

posted by on May 4 at 8:46 AM

So ITMFA continues to kill me—every moment I’m not writing and/or editing, I’m stuffing lapel pins and buttons into envelopes—but the hard work and carpel tunnel seems worth it when the mail brings in a picture like this one:

itmfa 006.jpg

It warms my heart to know that this car is tooling around Virginia, a blood-red state and home to so many elected officials and federal workers. Thanks for sending in the pic, Andrew!

In other ITMFA news, we’re running the numbers and it looks like we’ll be sending a couple of big-ass checks to the ACLU and to Ned Lamont, the Dem running against Ol’ Joe Lieberman early next week. Stay tuned for details.

Burner on the War (and Gas Prices)

posted by on May 4 at 8:06 AM

Later today, eastside Democrat Darcy Burner and Rahm Emanuel, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, will be holding a conference call with local reporters to talk about rising gas prices and the ties that bind Republican Congressman Dave Reichert to the oil and gas industries.

The fact that the head of the DCCC is joining Burner for this kind of campaign-boosting moment is yet another sign that major players in D.C. think she can help the Democrats win back Congress by unseating Reichert this November.

I’ll Slog about the call sometime after it concludes, and in the meantime, here’s a piece I wrote for this week’s Stranger about Burner, Maria Cantwell, Dwight Pelz, the Iraq War, and a little town called Buckley.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Jesus Saves Sells

posted by on May 3 at 6:51 PM

Wondering why Microsoft stock took such a beating last week? Because Jesus is angry—oh, so angry. At least that’s what Rev. Hutcherson is claiming, and Hutch wouldn’t lie to us, now would he? It’s not like Hutch has ever lied to us in the past—er, except for when he has.

Blatherwatch has the full story.

Re: Sims’s Bus Plan

posted by on May 3 at 4:32 PM

Pretty good, Barnett. I’m glad you’re on the Stranger news squad.

I’m a little suspicious of Sims’s characterization of the 21 million rides as new rides, though. (And Barnett should be too.) It’s been reported this way: “The funding would provide a 20 percent increase in Metro’s passenger capacity, or 21 million more bus rides annually.”

So, is that capacity for 21 million new rides—or is it actually 21 million new rides. It seems to me, from riding the bus, that there’s a lot of unused capacity on Metro. (As Dan argues, people don’t like riding the bus because it gets stuck in traffic, unlike elevated mass transit.)

Meanwhile, the monorail was estimating 21 million rides. That could be spun the same way Sims is spinning the bus rides: A 20% increase over Metro’s current capacity. Here’s why. Even though only 18% of the monorail’s 21 million rides were new rides, you have to consider this: With the rest of the monorail’s ridership shifting from buses, Metro Capacity would increase in the exact same way it does under Sims’s bus plan.

Brown Betty Tans Herself to Death

posted by on May 3 at 4:09 PM

In the ’90s, this was my absolute favorite urban legend:

A young woman was getting married and she wanted to look her very best. She decided that her expensive white dress would be attractively set off by a golden tan. Unfortunately, she waited until a week before the wedding to start her tanning sessions. Salon after salon told her that she could only tan for thirty minutes, twice a week, to start. At this rate, she would not be tan in time for her wedding. The bride then had a brilliant idea: she would tan the maximum amount of time at every tanning salon in town.

The wedding day came, and the bride was beautiful — dark, perfect tan and all. However, on the wedding night, the groom noticed that his new wife had a peculiar smell — kind of like rotting meat. As the honeymoon wore on, the smell persisted and grew worse until he could stand it no longer: he insisted that his bride go to the hospital to find out what was causing the awful stench. Doctors examined her carefully, but could not identify the source of the odor.

The bride’s health began to fail, and after a few days she died. When the autopsy was performed, the horrified coroner discovered that the woman’s internal organs were cooked! Over-exposure to tanning rays had cooked the woman from the inside out, just like a microwave oven, and in the days following the wedding, the bride had begun to “spoil.”

From Urban Legends Reference Pages, where you can reassure yourself that this isn’t possibly true.

When Tan Goes Bad

posted by on May 3 at 3:13 PM

After reading Christopher Frizzelle’s celebrated recent feature “Bleak House,” I was relatively certain of one thing: It was unlikely that I would ever read a more disturbing story involving the word tan.

Then came this report from SkyNews , about the British woman who rented a sunbed from the Staffordshire firm Supertan. After setting the timer for twelve minutes and positioning herself in the machine, the woman found herself pinned beneath the collapsed (and electrified) canopy, which delivered a shock strong enough to knock her unconscious—for the next two and half hours.

Eventually the woman roused herself enough to set off an alarm, after which she was rushed to the hospital with “65 percent burns” and a horribly swollen body. Full report on the world’s unluckiest tanner—and the plethora of charges brought against the proprietor of Supertanhere.

Coming Soon to a Peaceful Protest Near You

posted by on May 3 at 2:57 PM

From New Scientist Tech (hat tip to Sploid):

Rioters could soon be in for a slippery surprise. Researchers at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, US, are working on a new non-lethal weapon that could quite literally bring them to their knees — by sliming them.

The institute has developed a super-slimy substance. When fired at an unruly mob it causes rioters to simply slip over.

Riot police or troops would wear a back pack with three cylinders — one containing compressed air, another filled with plain water and a third containing a supply of very dry, finely ground, polyacrylamide powder. A nozzle, resembling a shower head, would blasts two separate jets, containing the water and the polymer powder, in the general direction of an ugly crowd.

As the two jets mix in the air, after clearing the nozzle, they create a slimy mixture that covers the ground and causes everyone in the area to fall down. Even vehicles should be unable to get a grip on the goo, the patent says. And because the gel is non-toxic, it should cause no permanent harm, besides a few bruised bottoms, that is.

But can they have it ready in time for the 2008 Republican Convention?

Enter to Win a Free Trip to Holland

posted by on May 3 at 2:43 PM

By clicking here. Or better yet, don’t, and increase my odds.

Here is a picture of Amsterdam.


And now let’s zoom out with the help of Wikipedia, shall we?


The city did not really become popular until 1345, when an old Catholic threw up the sacrament he’d just eaten and it was discovered in the fireplace in one piece, untouched. A religious miracle. A message from God. Pilgrimages ensued.

Emergency Contraception Emergency!

posted by on May 3 at 2:41 PM

Some bad news came out of yesterday’s Board of Pharmacy hearing.

Here’s the report from Planned Parenthood:

The language originally proposed at yesterday’s meeting by the Department of Health would have required that pharmacists fill all lawfully prescribed drugs and devices unless those drugs are unsafe for the client or fraudulent, or if there is another pharmacist available on-site who will fill the prescription.

But by the end of the meeting an alternative version emerged that permits a pharmacist to refuse to serve a patient and refer them elsewhere.

The meeting was largely dominated by Pharmacy Board member Donna Dockter, a Seattle pharmacist whose term expires next January. Dockter spent the majority of the meeting expressing her strong opposition to a pharmacists’ duty to fill lawful prescriptions and advocated for new language that would permit a pharmacist to refuse a patient and refer them somewhere else.

Dockter’s version reads that if a pharmacist “cannot fill a lawfully prescribed stocked drug or device,” that pharmacist may “transfer the prescription to another pharmacist,” regardless of whether the other pharmacy stocks the drug or not.

As I’ve reported: refusals are a problem in Seattle.

Governor Gregoire needs to make it clear to the board that protecting women’s health is more important than protecting a fundamentalist’s feelings.

The Comet’s New Neighbor

posted by on May 3 at 2:30 PM

Sugar is officially set to open on Cinco de Mayo—inaugural entertainment will be provided by the touring group know as Cafe Mambo Ibiza, purportedly renowned for their world-class DJ action. That’s not a dis, I’m just not hip to the Euro-DJ scene.

Also opening that night, albeit on a much quieter and not-yet-public level is Spitfire, the hipster sports bar from Neumo’s/Bad JuJu owner Marcus Charles. Savage will be happy to hear that Logan Neitzel, christened “Sexiest Bar Back” by Stranger readers last year, is one of their many attractive employees.

McGavick Not Down w/ Monday’s Immigrant March & Rally

posted by on May 3 at 2:07 PM

From today’s : The Yakima Herald Republic

Mike McGavick, a Republican from Seattle who will likely face Cantwell in November, said in a statement before the rally that protests would likely offend more citizens.

“I fear that those Americans who are presently empathetic will become increasingly offended by disruptions of those who are not citizens,” he said.

Re: I’m Not Actually Obsessed w/ the Monorail Anymore, but…

posted by on May 3 at 1:55 PM

Josh says Sims’s bus plan would pay for “frequent bus service between downtown and West Seattle and Aurora/Ballard,” exactly the same route as “the monorail line.” Then he trashes it for costing $10 billion over 50 years - almost as much as the monorail’s $11-$14 billion prediction.

But wait a minute. If you look at Sims’s bus plan, it doesn’t just fund a single bus line between Ballard and West Seattle. In fact, it would pay for bus runs between downtown Seattle and West Seattle, Ballard and Aurora Avenue every 10 minutes, plus equally frequent trips from Bellevue to Redmond and along Pacific Highway South. Sims’s bus plan would also fund more trips to Eastside suburbs such as Sammamish, Kent and Covington; route expansions in the neighborhoods surrounding Sea-Tac; trips every 15 minutes between business districts on the Eastside; feeder buses from Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley to Sound Transit’s light-rail stations; more east-west trips among Queen Anne, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill; more Access buses for the disabled; and electronic message boards at the busiest bus stops, to announce when buses are arriving.

That’s a lot more service than one line between Ballard and West Seattle.

As for the 21 million rides being “the same as the monorail’s prediction,” that’s just not true: All 21 million of the rides Metro is predicting are new rides; the monorail’s 21 million included the monorail’s entire ridership, including people who used to ride buses. The monorail’s own estimates predicted that just 18 percent of its total riders would be new transit users, or about 3.78 million rides a year.

Finally, Metro’s $10 billion estimate includes both capital costs and operations and maintenance costs. The cost comparison only works if you assume the monorail would have paid for 100% of its operations from farebox revenues - something no transit system in the country has ever done (and something even monorail officials were saying was unlikely when the monorail imploded.)

I agree that spending money on buses doesn’t promote density like fixed-rail transit does. Duh - bus routes can be moved, which eliminates any real incentive to put new developments along bus lines. And buses get stuck in traffic. But let’s be realistic: The choice right now isn’t between fixed rail and buses. It’s between improving bus service and doing nothing.

And, as a bus rider, I also know that the real problem isn’t that buses get stuck in traffic (except downtown and during rush hour between Seattle and the Eastside); it’s that there simply aren’t enough buses to serve every neighborhood reliably. Unless you’re riding between Capitol Hill and downtown, buses typically arrive every 20 to 30 minutes - less frequently in outlying neighborhoods like Crown Hill and during off-peak hours. Of course people don’t ride the bus when it means waiting 45 minutes in the cold and rain: It’s much less convenient than driving a car. That’s why we need more bus service, not less.

Did Kobe Bryant Just Slam George Bush?

posted by on May 3 at 1:53 PM

In this era of corporate sponsored athletes, politicized sports stars along the lines of Muhammad Ali are nowhere to be found.

So, I’ll take what I can get. Buried at the bottom of an AP story about the Los Angeles Lakers today, Kobe Bryant (I know, I know), does his best Stephen Colbert.

Commenting on getting tossed out of last night’s playoff game after complaining to the Ref, Bryant told the AP:

“He didn’t like my toneage, if that’s a word. He’s the decider. Is that a word, decider?”

What You Should Do Tonight

posted by on May 3 at 12:53 PM

In Stranger Suggests for today—well, tonight—is Soul Position at Chop Suey. Charles Mudede, take it away:

Soul Position
When they bond, Blueprint and RJD2 become Soul Position. Although Blueprint is a competent rapper with many important things to say about his life, the state of the record industry, and the condition of society as a whole, it is the beat builder, RJD2, who makes Soul Position more than “your everyday crew.” RJD2 has one masterpiece, Dead Ringer, to his name. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 8 pm, $12 adv, all ages.)

Or, if you’re feeling flush, you should fly to New York City and see Mudede’s film Police Beat, now in theatrical release and getting rave reviews

I’m Not Actually Obsessed w/ the Monorail Anymore, but…

posted by on May 3 at 12:27 PM

We’re running a letter in today’s paper that trashes an article that Dan wrote in last week’s news section.

I’ve posted the letter below. Basically, the letter takes Savage to task for trashing Ron Sims’s new bus plan. Sims want to raise the sales tax one tenth of one percent (dinging tax payers for about $50 million in the first year). The money would fund frequent bus runs between downtown Seattle and West Seattle and Ballard/Aurora.

I don’t know why Savage didn’t feel compelled to respond. But he should have.

The angry letter blasts the monorail and “the amount of money that was going to be wasted” by comparing it Sims’s convenient bus plan.

But wait a minute: Frequent rides between downtown and West Seattle and Ballard? Isn’t that the monorail line? Yes. And go figure, Sims’s own ridership numbers for his bus plan predict 21 million rides annually—the same as the monorail’s predictions.

So, let’s compare the cost. The dreaded monorail got killed because it turned out that to pay it off, we were going to have to spend $11 billion over 45-50 years. That was just tooooo expensive for people to fathom. But let’s look at Sims’s plan factored out to serve us over the next 50 years (gotta keep replacing those buses to make it comparable to the long-term life of the monorail.) The $50 million a year, considering the government’s own 5.1% forecasts for sales tax revenue increases, will grow to over $10 billion.

So, while the angry letter below seems to make a good point that a citywide bus system serves more people than the ill-fated monorail Green Line would have, he ignores the fact that Sims’s new bus line itself, the plan Savage was attacking, has the same ridership numbers as the monorail and costs about as much as the monorail.

And keep in mind, there’s a key difference between investing in buses and monorail. Spending so much money on buses promotes our status quo “roads-only” infrastructure, while spending the same amount of money on elevated rapid transit creates a brand new car free infrastructure.

Point being: Ask New Yorkers or Chicagoans: 75 years ago, would you’ve rather had city planners invest in traditional roads or in rapid transit?

Continue reading "I'm Not Actually Obsessed w/ the Monorail Anymore, but..." »

Who Still Cares About Pearl Jam?

posted by on May 3 at 11:46 AM

Please visit Line Out and debate the merits of the new self-titled Pearl Jam album, which I greet with a shrug and a yawn.

What to Read

posted by on May 3 at 11:39 AM

Marion Nestle’s hefty but very readable new book, “What to Eat,” tackles the current nutritional scene, including health claims of various foods and supplements, with hard research and level-headed reason (she’s a professor of nutrition at at NYU). The skeptic in me loves this book.

Nestle investigates dubious health claims found on the labels of soy products, green tea, and yogurt; looks at the many dilemmas surrounding seafood consumption; explains the difference between conventional, natural, and organic meats; and calls bottled water “liquid gold” (for the beverage industry).

Here’s a tidbit I learned about eggs: Shell color is simply a genetic trait; some chickens lay brown eggs while others lay white. The nutritional contents are exactly the same. Nonetheless, some stores charge more for brown eggs; some charge more for white.

Top Chef

posted by on May 3 at 10:47 AM

I don’t know why I didn’t post about this sooner… maybe because I’m slightly embarrassed that reality TV shows are such a staple in my nightly viewing. Anyways, Top Chef on Bravo has filled that gaping hole that Project Runway’s absence left behind. Is anyone else addicted? I thought it was going to suck, since it’s about a bunch of hoity-toity chefs being put to challenges like having to cook a meal using a microwave or ingredients from a gas station store (yawn), but it’s actually pretty awesome! Anyone watch it? Anyone? I know I’m not alone. Please tell me I’m not alone here. Also, anyone else have their fingers tightly crossed that tonight’s the night that pompous fuck, Stephen, gets the boot!? That dude makes me wanna punch my television. What a dickhead.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Bravo tonight at 10 pm to see the light.

Also recommended viewing for tonight, America’s Next Top Model. They finally got ride of Nnenna last week. Thank god. Now they just need to get rid of Jade, the 25-year-old has been who never was. That chick bugs me.

Walking In

posted by on May 3 at 10:30 AM

On my walk into work today I saw two things of note:
First, I saw a guy pull up in his car, jump out with a bouquet of flowers, and head up toward a house. As he was walking up he hurried his step and craned his neck to be able to see his honey that much sooner. The scene warmed me up.

Second, I walked by the site of the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market on 20th Avenue and Madison Street and there were people there wandering about. They told me the season opening is this Friday, May 5, from 3 to 7 pm. They have the most delicious stuff there. Berries, fruit, veggies, baked goods…YUM!

Bad Advertising

posted by on May 3 at 10:19 AM

I was doing some internet research for a story when I ran across this little gem on a Christian site:

eternity with god.gif

She doesn’t seem very jazzed about the prospect…

Alex Ross, Johnny Depp, Lex Luthor

posted by on May 3 at 9:16 AM

When Alex Ross gave his iPod tour of 20th-century music at On the Boards Friday night, he had to condense the second half of the century, since he was allotted an hour to talk, and by the 90-minute mark, he was at 1954. The audience shuffled and wished for an intermission, and poor Ross had to seriously edit his late-century selections in order to avoid all-out mutiny. For those who felt that the likes of Nancarrow, Glass, Saariaho, and Ades got short shrift, or if you just want to know what you heard so you can check out more, Ross has posted the whole playlist (it covers 100 pieces!) on his blog.

Two other quick diversions this morning: the trailers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (opening July 7) here and Superman Returns (opening June 30) here. Both of the trailers make the movies look great. Nice octopus captain! Nice bald Kevin Spacey Lex!

Seattle Brainiac Does Jeopardy

posted by on May 3 at 7:45 AM

Thanks to the years I spent working at Bailey/Coy (where we sold her books) and the years a good friend has spent studying at Seattle’s Argosy University (where she teaches), I’ve known about Dr. Laura Brown for a while. For those unfamiliar with the mighty Dr. Brown: She’s a clinical and forensic psychologist celebrated for her contributions to feminist therapy theory. She also engages in hilarious side activities: serving as the psychologist-in-residence on the set of Survivor: Outback, or most recently, competing on Jeopardy.

Brown’s premiere Jeopardy episode aired last night, and it was delightful. After making the requisite chit-chat with Alex Trebek (to whom she told of her love for aikido), Brown got down to business, swiftly kicking the asses of her two (male) competitors.

Among the Jeopardy question-answers Brown nailed: The White Stripes; David Bowie; Jennifer Lopez; Hobart, Tasmania; Eskimos/Inuits; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night; Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities; and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Among those that passed her by: R. Kelly; Ali G; Kid Rock; Keny Rogers and Kim Carnes; and, uh, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which is the last thing you’d expect a freakishly well-read shrink to miss, but “it’s all in the thumb,” as Brown told my friend upon her return from CA, in reference to the Jeopardy joysticks that register contestants’ responses.

In the end, Brown triumphed, ending her first day with $17,000 in Jeopardy money.

Dr. Laura Brown’s Jeopardy round two airs tonight at 7:30 on KOMO 4…

(Updated at 12:25pm, to correct my placement of Hobart in New Zealand, rather than Tasmania. P.S: This was my mistake, not Dr. Laura Brown’s.)

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

NYT on Colbert

posted by on May 2 at 8:41 PM

The New York Times ignored Stephen Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner—much to the consternation of all thinking people everywhere—but the NYT weighs in tomorrow on the uproar over Colbert’s performance and the uproar over the mainstream media’s efforts to diminish the importance of Colbert’s performance.

At issue was a heavily nuanced, often ironic performance by Mr. Colbert, who got in many licks at the president—on the invasion of Iraq, on the administration’s penchant for secrecy, on domestic eavesdropping—with lines that sounded supportive of Mr. Bush but were quickly revealed to be anything but….

“Now I know there’s some polls out there saying this man has a 32-percent approval rating,” Mr. Colbert said a few moments later. “But guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking ‘in reality.’ And reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

That line got a relatively warm laugh, but many others were met with near silence. In one such instance, he criticized reporters for likening Mr. Bush’s recent staff changes to “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” “This administration is not sinking,” Mr. Colbert said; “this administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.”

The NYT goes on to justify their downplaying of Colbert by claiming that some folks didn’t find him funny. Yeah, no shit. I’m guessing George Bush and the folks from Fox News weren’t amused. What was newsworthy about Colbert’s performance wasn’t that it had everyone rolling in the aisles, but that Colbert managed to do in twenty minutes what the gathered members of the Washington press have seemed incapable of doing for the last six years: Colbert held Bush accountable. It was an audacious, breathtaking, gutsy performance—and it pissed of Bush and shocked the media establishment. And that’s what was newsworthy about it.

Yet more evidence of the NYT’s anti-Colbert bias for conspiracy theorists to chew on: the report, by Jacques Steinberg, mentionts the poll on Gawker that I linked to earlier today:

In an online survey begun yesterday, the snarky Web site Gawker sought to boil down the matter to its essence by asking readers to vote on whether they thought Mr. Colbert’s performance, broadcast live on C-Span and since then widely available on the Internet, was “one of the most patriotic acts I’ve witnessed of any individual” or “not really that funny.”

Steinberg doesn’t mention that “one of the most patriotic acts I’ve witnessed of any individual” won in a landslide: 85.5% to 14.5%.

Mark Simpson’s Big Adventure

posted by on May 2 at 6:28 PM

You can read all about the hard-core porn debut of prominent queer writer and occasional Stranger contributor Mark Simpson—a.k.a. He Who Coined the Term “Metrosexual”—over at Fleshbot.

Along with the rest of the gay press, British bad boy writer Mark Simpson has been closely following developments in the recent US military porn scandal involving, a story he’s perhaps better qualified to cover than most journalists; in an article in this month’s issue of Details, Simpson mentions the fact that he appeared in one of the productions himself a few years ago while on assignment.

Mark is a smart guy and a great writer. And, hey, if your taste in men run toward baby-faced men with great bods and huge brains, Mark is your kind of sex symbol. Mark wrote about Morrissey and anal sex for The Stranger. Read his pieces, buy his books, watch his porn.

A Memory of JFK

posted by on May 2 at 3:57 PM

While driving me from Sea-Tac to this office, after a uneventful five-hour flight from New York City, the first Mudede, my father, to ever set eyes (and a foot) on that big city of dreams tells me this story:

“Yes, it was 1971, autumn, and the pilot seemed to be promoting Manhattan, because we kept circling it, about five times. But I was impressed. I said to myself, ‘Now what is this?’

When we finally landed at JFK, I was informed by a ticket agent that I had missed my connection to Nashville. (All of that circling about the city must have been behind that.) Anyway, I was told that a flight for Nashville was available at another airport, La Guardia, later in the evening. I asked the ticket agent how far La Gardia was from JFK, and he told me about 12 miles. Because I was in the habit of walking that kind of distance in Qwe Qwe [Rhodesia-now called Zimbabwe], I decided to walk to La Guardia. This would also allow me to see the famous city from the ground.

Well, I started walking and walking and walking and walking; and it got darker and darker and darker. At last I came across a building with a lit window. In the window, I saw a woman, and I knocked on the glass. The woman turned and saw me. I asked her where I was, and she told me I was at JFK airport. My goodness, I thought to myself, walking was not going to work at all. The woman was kind enough to show me where I could catch a bus to La Guardia and that is how I eventually got there. New York City is very big, even by bus.”

How to Insult an Anthem

posted by on May 2 at 3:39 PM

Forget translation into something as benign as another language: The greatest way to besmirch a national anthem is to record it as a MIDI file.

This site is a cornucopia of anthems—most of them are dull and monolithic, but a few are incredible.

Morocco’s sounds like the opening credits to a vampire movie, while Saudi Arabia’s is like the theme song to some Japanese children’s show. The Netherlands’ is weirdly bombastic, not homey at all. The Vatican’s sounds like a wedding march (appropriate, since the Church is the bride of Christ and all), but Myanmar’s sounds like an old Catholic hymn. You could pogo to Togo’s. I really like Senegal’s, which seems geometric and layered and pretty in a Phillip Glass kind of way.

Then there are those fuckers in Lichtenstein—who totally ripped us off! Or, wait, did they rip England off? Or did those fuckers in England rip us off?

Somebody ripped us off, and rightly so. My Country ‘Tis of Thee has a bitchin’ hook.


posted by on May 2 at 3:05 PM

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing a performance of The Compendium of Nastiness. The show takes place in a private house in Madrona, and the evening begins with champagne and tasty homemade cookies in the kitchen. Then everyone troops downstairs to The Womb for the show. It is very intimate and not for the togetherness-challenged. There are puppets involved, which I was glad I didn’t know beforehand because I am somewhat skeptical of puppetry, but it turned out to be original, fun, and entertaining. I would recommend it for those looking for a different kind of performance. There are only two weekends left.

See Brendan’s thoughts here.

Extreme Makeover: Nightclub Edition

posted by on May 2 at 3:05 PM

Dan’s campaign for Fagbar foundered, but the Slog will continue trying to save nightclub owners from their own disastrous name choices.

This week’s contestant is Deano’s Cafe & Lounge, which needs a new name mainly because it needs a new image, sans crack whores. With the Washington State Liquor Control Board currently considering revocation of Deano’s liquor license, it’s a desperate case.

I just got off the phone with a co-owner, Darnell Parker, and he explained how he wants his bar to be less intimidating to white crowds. A more racially mixed clientele, he says, will appeal to the same white neighbors who have been clamoring for its closure. Here’s the name he’s come up with:

Chocolate City

So, white urban hipsters, would you go to the bar formerly known as Deano’s if it were named Chocolate City? And if not, what name will work the kinda magic Parker needs?

Send ideas fast. Parker says the sign’s going up tonight.

What You Should Do Today

posted by on May 2 at 2:42 PM

Jen Graves writes in Stranger Suggests:

Robyn O’Neil
In art school in Texas, Robyn O’Neil made brightly colored abstract paintings, and she kept at it when she moved to Chicago. But in 2000, the Nebraska native started making plain graphite drawings that gave her an escape from the “art people,” drawings modeled on her sweatsuit-clad father and his beer-swilling regular-guy friends. Ironically, those snowy, ambiguous, enormous landscapes with epic titles became her entrĂ©e into galleries in New York; her assumed hometown, Houston; and the Whitney Biennial 2004. Now they visit the Frye. (Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250. 10 am—5 pm, free.)

That’s right, free! Ditch work! Get there before they close! Get there before 4 and you can stop in the Frye’s cafe and have a lovely glass of wine… God love the Frye.

Did You Go to Coachella This Year?

posted by on May 2 at 2:39 PM

If you did, pop over to Line Out and tell my aching-with-regret heart how it was.

Starter Heroin

posted by on May 2 at 2:20 PM

Meanwhile in big D, little a, double l, a, s: The kids are crazy—my, oh yes!—for “starter heroin.”

A new heroin-laced powder known as “cheese” is popping up in middle and high schools in Texas, where dozens of youths have been caught with the drug, federal and local officials say.

So far the problem has been focused on schools in Dallas, where police first reported kids snorting the mixture of ground-up cold medicines and heroin at the start of this school year. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration, which calls the addictive concoction “starter heroin,” is concerned enough about the drug’s appearance in Dallas that it has alerted agents nationwide to watch for it.

La bandera de las estrellas

posted by on May 2 at 1:45 PM

Nevermind what Bush thinks. It turns out that “Nuestro Himno” did not set the precedent for Spanish-language lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The U.S. Library of Congress has in its online archive the sheet music to “La Bandera de las Estrellas,” published in 1919. The translation into Spanish was done by Francis Haffkine Snow. The music itself was arranged by none other than Walter Damrosch, who was, at that time, one of the most prominent conductors in New York (New York Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera). And get this: the LoC description states that “This version of the song was prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Education.”

On top of that, the Spanish lyrics to the 1919 version are virtually identical to the those used in “Nuestro Himno.”

Por lo tanto Bush puede chuparlo! Of course, none of this erases the fact that “Nuestro Himno” sucks.

Read All About It

posted by on May 2 at 1:35 PM

For those who were titillated by the history, but a little unsatisfied with last year’s Good Night & Good Luck, there’s a cool little book that just came out called Shooting Star: The Brief Arc of Joe McCarthy. It’s a compact primer that details exactly what happened. (It’s interesting how the GOP was split back then almost exactly as it is today, between radicals like McCarthy and the moderate wing. It’s too bad, though, that today—unlike then—the president is down with the radicals.)

If you want more than a compact little primer on the era, may I suggest this gigantic book about McCarthy’s progenitor in the 1940s, Sen. Pat McCarran.

AKA “Spoogelauncher 3000”

posted by on May 2 at 12:58 PM

This. Ain’t. Right.

Jose, Can You See?

posted by on May 2 at 12:58 PM

So George W. Bush doesn’t think the National Anthem should be sung in Spanish.

When the president was asked at a Rose Garden question-and-answer session whether the anthem should be sung in Spanish, he replied: “I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”

But as we’ve seen time and time again, the rules—not even his own rules—don’t apply to President Bush. From Think Progress:

But Bush’s highly-scripted 2001 inaugural ceremony actually featured a rendition of the national anthem sung in Spanish by Jon Secada. From Cox News Service, 1/18/01:

“The opening ceremony reflected that sentiment. A racially diverse string of famous and once famous performers entertained Bush, soon-to-be First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney and his wife, Lynne, who watched on stage from a special viewing area.

Pop star Jon Secada sang the national anthem in English and Spanish.”

Apparently, Secada singing the anthem in Spanish was a regular feature of the Bush campaign.

So when it helps get him elected—by misleading some voters into believing that Bush is tolerant— Spanish is fine. Viva diversity! But when his base decides to get upset about all those brown people mowing their lawns, raising their children, and making their beds, Spanish is very, very bad.

I’m going to bed now. Someone wake me up when it’s 2008. (Hat tip: Atrios.)

Drinking Liberally

posted by on May 2 at 12:50 PM

Drink liberally tonight at the Montlake Ale House.

The High Price of a Small Penis

posted by on May 2 at 12:08 PM

Earlier today, Savage slogged about “The High Price of a Nice Lawn,” directing readers to a London Free Press report about pesticide-contaminated water’s power to reduce penis size.

The threat of reduced wang size may seem petty, but try telling that to the parents of the 18-year-old in Singapore who jumped to his death from a tall building over what he perceived to be his inappropriately small penis.

Clearly, pretty lawns lead to small penises lead to suicide.

All Colbert, All the Time

posted by on May 2 at 11:33 AM

US News on Colbert vs. Bush:

“Colbert crossed the line,” said one top Bush aide, who rushed out of the hotel as soon as Colbert finished. Another said that the president was visibly angered by the sharp lines that kept coming.

“I’ve been there before, and I can see that he is [angry],” said a former top aide. “He’s got that look that he’s ready to blow.”

John Aravosis on Bush blowing:

That’s nice. I mean, we wouldn’t want Bush to blow a gasket over the fact that he lied to the American people, totally blew the war in Iraq, keeps his top aide on staff even though he’s a traitor and a known security risk, lost an entire American city while he was on vacation, blew the Clinton budget surplus, has destroyed America’s image in the world, was asleep at the switch on September 11, has yet to catch Osama, was ready to sell our ports to the United Arab Emirates, gutted mining safety right before those miners died, and oh so much more.

No, what apparently wakes Bush up from his stupor is a comedian making fun of him.

Over at Gawker, you can vote on Colbert’s performance:

Was Stephen Colbert’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner performance…

…one of the most patriotic acts I’ve witnessed of any individual.

…not really that funny.

Needless to say, “one of the most patriotic acts” is winning by a landslide.

Re: Where’s Stephen Colbert?

posted by on May 2 at 11:18 AM

Interesting comparative commentary at about how media response to Colbert’s skewering of Bush differed dramatically from the way a similar incident at a Clinton administration dinner was covered back in 1996.

R.I.P. Low-Life

posted by on May 2 at 10:58 AM

Planning on going to Low-Life, the kick-ass Tuesday night weekly at Viceroy tonight? Too bad. According to an early AM post by Death of the Party promoter Clayton Thomas Vomero, “everything has its shelf-life.” So effective immediately: No more Low-Life. We called Clay-Rock lickety-split to make sure we weren’t missing out on any juicy scuttlebutt, and he assured us that no, there wasn’t a conflict with the fine folks at Viceroy, it was simply time for Low-Life to go bye-bye.

Before you start weeping bitter tears, save your strength. Clayton (aka Glass Titty), awe-inspiring Low-Life resident DJ Curtis, Fourcolorzack, and DJ N8 will be launching a new Tuesday throwdown (“we own Tuesday night, bitch”) starting the second week of June. The location is as-yet-unannounced, but it will be on the Hill, and if you know the, ahem, high-flying circles these cats run in, it isn’t hard to guess. Vomero promises the still-nameless new party will be “like Low-Life, but bigger, better, and more crazy.”

Need more incentive than that? They’ll also be doing occasional runs of free promo T-shirts. If you’re familiar with the sick design aesthetic this crew loves (DOTP recently got censored by MySpace for one of its posters), you know these will be de rigueur fashion accessories this summer.

More Republican Jitters: Reichert Among the “At-Risk” 12

posted by on May 2 at 10:38 AM

The D.C. publication The Hill reports today that eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert is among 12 vulnerable legislators who are now holding weekly strategy meetings with House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) in order to craft a legislative agenda that might help them hold onto their seats.

Hat tip to Goldy.

The meetings with the staffs of vulnerable members occur once a week when the House is in session, Boehner spokesman Kevin Madden said, and staff from 12 offices usually attend.

Some of the members involved include Republican Reps. Steve Chabot (Ohio), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Jim Gerlach (Pa.), Bob Ney (Ohio), Dave Reichert (Wash.), Clay Shaw (Fla.) and Heather Wilson (N.M.). Each of those members’ districts is among the party’s most competitive, according to a chart compiled by The Cook Political Report.

How Did He Get There in the First Place?

posted by on May 2 at 10:30 AM

For those of you wondering what fool/accidental saint in the Bush camp authorized Colbert’s appearance, rumour has it that it was Bill Kristol, though the invite must have been issued before his appearance on the Colbert Report, where he was obviously in over his head.

German Engineering in Das Haus

posted by on May 2 at 10:16 AM

I don’t care how harmful to the environment and to my wallet it is; I want to buy three VWs after watching these clips.


posted by on May 2 at 8:44 AM

That’s the adjective Jon Stewart deployed during last night’s Daily Show to characterize and praise cohort Stephen Colbert’s jawdropping grilling of the President at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner (described by Stewart as “where the President and the press corps consummate their loveless marriage.”)

“Apparently he was under the impression that they’d hired him to do what he does every night on television,” said Stewart of Colbert, adding, “We’ve never been prouder of him, but HOLY [BLEEP]!”


As for the man himself: On last night’s Colbert Report, Colbert stayed perfectly in character, describing the nervewracking dead air that met the majority of his barbs as a “very respectful silence” and bragging of his success. “They practically carried me out on their shoulders,” said Colbert, “even though I wasn’t ready to go.”

(Hat tip, Editor & Publisher.)

The High Price of a Nice Lawn

posted by on May 2 at 7:59 AM

Hey, nice lawn! But it’s too bad about your son’s penis

A renowned U.S. scientist who has documented fertility and sex changes—including decreasing penis size—due to environmental contamination says he wouldn’t apply pesticides on his own lawn….

A zoologist, Guillette has spent the last decade studying the influence of environmental contaminants on fetal development and reproductive systems of wildlife and humans, including the differences between alligators living in contaminated Florida lakes and those in cleaner ones.

He found abnormalities in sex organs, dramatic differences in egg-hatching rates and hormone levels.

Penis size of the animals from the polluted lake was smaller than animals from the less-polluted lake.

“This is important because it is not just an alligator story. It is not just a lake story. We know there has been a dramatic increase in penile and genital abnormalities in baby boys,” Guillette said.

A followup study by another scientist involving healthy couples with 5,000 healthy babies also found reduced penis size with higher contamination levels.

Email of the Day

posted by on May 2 at 7:51 AM

In the email this morning:

Shower Mom for Mother’s Day!

Uh, I think I’ll send flowers instead.

Septieme Update

posted by on May 2 at 1:50 AM

After I broke the story that Cafe Septieme owner Victor Santiago fired manager Vance Wolfe for letting Septieme’s employees have the day off to participate in today’s immigration rally, I headed down to La Cocina y Cantina, the Mexican restaurant Santiago owns at Broadway and Republican. (Septieme’s employees participated in the rally, and Santiago was forced to shut down his restaurant for the day. Santiago refused to talk to me on the phone, but said he’d talk to me if I came by Cocina. Then he hung up on me.)

When I got there, Santiago refused to talk to me, telling me, “I talked to the P-I. You can read about it there. ” Wolfe told me Santiago said he would fire anyone who didn’t show up at work on Monday; I marched in the rally with several Septieme employees and two restaurant regulars, both of whom said they had serious reservations about coming back (as do I—for the last three years or so, I’ve gone to Septieme for dinner two or three times a week.)

When I walked by Septieme earlier, this banner was displayed behind the deadbolted door: “In Support of the Immigration Rally, We Will Be Closed Today.” But at Santiago’s Mexican restaurant down the street, it was business as usual.

Monday, May 1, 2006

The Lone Counter-Protestor

posted by on May 1 at 7:33 PM

Just got back from the march, where I spotted one counter-protestor.


Have a Shittier Economy

posted by on May 1 at 7:29 PM

Even as immigrants and their advocates march through Seattle, Spain has begun to figure out that its North African—and potential eastern European—migrants aren’t so bad. From the International Herald Tribune:

Conscious that the Spanish economy is already reliant on foreign labor, Zapatero, a member of the center-left Socialist Party, offered amnesty in 2005 to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who had been working in Spain.

This is a little ironic since Spain, like France and Holland and other European countries, is new to the accepting-immigrants game and is far more nationalist, reactionary, and xenophobic than the United States. Once upon a time, I was an illegal immigrant in Spain, doing a job for cash, renting an apartment in cash, and not paying a peseta in taxes for the sidewalks I traipsed down each day. I was illegal for the goofiest reasons—I had finished college, wanted a bit of adventure, I knew somebody who lived in northern Spain who said black market jobs and apartments were easy to come by. But my fellow illegals and I studiously avoided cops, never went to the hospital (even when I had that nasty lung infection and when my roommate gashed his hand—he really should’ve gotten stitches), and steered clear of anyone who had anything to do with the government.

Of course, I had it easy. I was there for a lark, but I lived in the illegal-immigrant part of town, mostly populated by poor Moroccans, who were there for all the poverty-and-desperation-and-yadda-yadda-you-read-all-about-it-in-Harper’s reasons. In the evenings, I used to hang in my neighborhood bar with the North Africans. Occasionally, the police would wander by and the clientele would slip out the back door. I always stuck it out, sitting with my beer, smiling tightly. I was American and figured they wouldn’t ask for my (nonexistent) papers unless I acted suspiciously. I was right.

It’s very simple: People have been sneaking over borders as long as there have been borders to sneak across. People, like capital, goods, and information (CGI), are an essential part of economy—and their movement in the global economy, like the movement of CGI, is accelerating. (It’s ironic that a country like America that depends on and stumps for the fluidity of CGI is so torn about restricting the movement of labor.)

People are ingenious; they follow the jobs. Drinking, talking, and being neighbors with Moroccans like Lucky and Adil and Muhammad and Hassan (all of them smart, intrepid dudes), it became clear to me that fences, border patrols, and legal apparatuses can slow a migrant tide, but they cannot stop it. The War on Immigration is like the War on Terror and the War on Drugs—it cannot be won through bureaucratic enforcement and we will bankrupt ourselves trying to. There is only one way to halt illegal immigration—have a shittier economy.

Punch and More

posted by on May 1 at 7:27 PM

I like Carrie E.A. Scott’s piece in the new edition of the online mag Visual Codec about the renewed vitality of Seattle’s art scene since the opening of the Tashiro-Kaplan building in Pioneer Square in 2004. (The lovely Ms. Scott also will weigh in on Trimpin in this week’s Stranger.)

She focuses on the latest artist-run gallery to open, Punch, which is definitely worth checking out. Its opening show last month included the complementary twisted natural-history drawings of Justin Gibbens and the odd-flora floor sculpture of Renee Adams, along with strong work by Jen Erickson and Lucas Martin. It was called Round One.

The bell sounds on Round Two during Artwalk Thursday, featuring sculpture by Howard Barlow, photo-based work by Justin Beckman and Michael Sherwin, and collage by Joanna Thomas.

Here’s Sherwin’s River Walk:


Theory of Relativity

posted by on May 1 at 4:38 PM

I don’t want to play gotcha journalism, but I just got off the phone with State GOP Chair Diane Tebelius, and well, she said some pretty stupid stuff.

I was talking to Tebelius about Rodney Tom, the former GOP state rep from the east side who recently changed suits to run as a Democrat. Tom’s rap is that the Republican party has changed—gotten too conservative.

Tebelius told me: “We didn’t move right, Rodney moved left.”
However, two seconds later, trying to paint Tom as a charlatan and opportunist, she told me: “Rodney’s positions are exactly the same as when he first got elected.”

Huh? If Tom’s positions are exactly the same as when he first got elected, but he’s also moved left relative to the GOP, doesn’t that mean—according to some physics law I learned in the 10th grade—that the GOP has in fact moved…to the right.

Sorry Diane. Gotcha!

Here’s Stephen Colbert

posted by on May 1 at 4:25 PM

As a public service, The Stranger is happy to provide the video everybody—everybody who doesn’t watch C-SPAN on Saturday evenings, anyway—is dying to see.

stephen colbert

In case that video doesn’t work in your particular browser, Colbert’s stunning performance is on You Tube in three parts:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3.

Tough Guys Love the Cure

posted by on May 1 at 4:03 PM

I was sitting in the Mecca yesterday, waiting to meet someone with whom I would have a beer and then see The House of Mirth, at the Seattle Center. (The play—based on the Edith Wharton novel—is about gambling debt, pride, and impropriety among the wealthy of the Gilded Age. It’s long, tragic, and pretty okay.)

I was waiting for my companion, listening to a couple of drunk dudes at the other end of the bar. From their talk, it seemed they were military boys on leave. They clumsily hit on women. They shouted and told stories about beating up other people. They were loud and obnoxious. A few quotes:

“I hope I don’t have to beat anybody up tonight!”
“Are you being a naughty girl today?”
“I never bring out my gun unless I go home—everybody’s got a gun there.” [slams palm on the bar.] “It’s like, BOOM!” [slams palm on the bar again.] “You gotta gun? I gotta fucking gun!”
“I made that guy suck that bottle like it was a dick.”
“Fuck it, the only thing that matters is that you have fun.”

You get the idea. They were macho dudes, toughs, hard-drinkin’, hard-hittin’ motherfuckers. They rocked to the jukebox and howled with drunk-afternoon glee.

Then “Caterpillar Girl,” by the Cure, came on the speakers. I wondered how they were going to take it. One turned to the other: “This is a great song.” The other turned to the bartender: “Excuse me, would you turn this up?” Then they shouted along to the lyrics, waving their arms in the air, closing their eyes and looking, for a moment, like teenage goth girls at a slumber party. The song ended with their voices cracking along with Robert Smith tremulous falsetto “Caterpillar giiiiirl.” There was a moment of silence.

“Let’s do a shot!” one shouted.
“Let’s do two shots!” the other shouted.
“Man, that’s a great fucking song!”

Where’s Stephen Colbert?

posted by on May 1 at 2:36 PM

After watching Stephen Colbert slice George W. Bush—and the reporters who rim cover him—into a million tiny pieces on Saturday night, I couldn’t wait to turn on the TV on Sunday morning and see clips of Colbert in heavy rotation on the Sunday talk shows, and on CNN and MSNBC all night long. But… hm… nothin’. The only clips I saw from the White House Correspondents’ dinner on CNN—over and over and over again—were of George W. Bush joshing around with a George W. Bush impersonator who comes close to seeming like a bigger fool than the actual president—hey, impressive.

But where, I wondered, was Colbert? His monologue wasn’t just hilarious, it was important. It was news. He rubbed Bush’s nose in his many failures, left questions hanging in the air that still needed to be answered, and—yowza—was Bush ever pissed. Colbert served up a scathing/hilarious critique of the administration and the media—at their big party. You can read a transcipt of Colbert’s routine here.

The media decided to downplay Colbert—but why? There’s some good analysis here and here and here. Some great stuff from Christopher Durang on the Huffington Post:

Yesterday the blogs were a-buzz with how shocking [Colbert’s] remarks were. In his comic persona of Bush Supporter Nonpareil, Colbert stood on the dais near the President and kept making eye contact with him as he said truly biting comic remarks….

It’s insane journalism not to write about Colbert’s appearance. It’s the main event. Like it or hate it, it’s the thing to talk about. You have to CHOOSE to focus on the lightweight entertainment that preceded it.

The right wing blogs are saying Colbert bombed, and in some ways that’s not wrong, the gathered audience wanted and expected something lighter—but that’s what makes the appearance so startling. It’s very witty when you read the text; but actuality as Colbert says these things to the President’s face, it’s very uncomfortable. Watching it, It’s like Hamlet forcing King Claudius to watch the play that accuses him of murder. Or it’s like a man asked to be Court Jester who shows up and tells the king exactly what’s wrong with him, and gets out of the building before they can behead him.

Colbert’s was a brave and shocking performance. And for the media to pretend it isn’t newsworthy is a total bafflement. And a symbol of how shoddy and suspect the media is….

This morning, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer giggled and got all warm about the cutesy performance of Bush and the Twin look-alike imitator. Really funsy. Colbert was not mentioned.

I’m old enough to remember when Eartha Kitt told off Lady Byrd Johnson for her husband’s policies in Vietnam at some innocent luncheon… the news media reported that, they didn’t only report on the chicken salad sandwiches.

Yesterday the New York Times had no coverage of the event, except buried in its Washington section was a small, uninteresting blurb picked up from Reuters.

This morning, lo and behold, they have more… a fawning piece by someone named Elizabeth Bumiller called “At Award Correspondents’ Dinner, A Set of Bush Twins Steal the Show.”

Like Katie and Matt’s briefer piece, this article too finds the President absolutely adorable. And makes the judgment call that the President’s darling sense of humor is the true story of the event.

And the Colbert appearance—which chilled the room, attacking journalists as well as Bush—is literally not worth reporting. Back before blogs and C-Span, we wouldn’t even know about it.

Well, thank God for blogs and C-Span, because the media can’t pretend that Colbert didn’t pull an Eartha Kitt on Saturday night. And thanks to the Internet the media can no longer play defacto censors for the Bush administration. As Georgia10 writes on Kos:

Where the media fails, the citizens step up. The Colbert critique has gone viral, with internet users rapidly emailing it to thousands online (I’ve received three forwards of it already). So go ahead…. Email the video to your friends, your family, Republican, Independent, and Democrat alike. I have, and in doing so, I know that Stephen Colbert speaks for me.

While the mainstream media attempts to stuff Colbert down the memory hole, average folks are lining up to thank him. You can too at Thank You Stephen Colbert.

Septieme Manager Fired over Immigration Rally

posted by on May 1 at 2:18 PM

Cafe Septieme on Broadway is closed today. Its staff members, the majority of whom are Hispanic, are attending today’s immigration rally, which starts at 20th and Jackson at 3:30 this afternoon. But the shutdown does not appear to be entirely voluntary. According to Septieme manager Vance Wolfe, the owner, Victor Santiago, fired Wolfe last night, after Wolfe told Santiago he was not scheduling any of his workers today in honor of the national immigrant walkout. According to Wolfe, “a lot of the staff, especially the Latino guys and girls wanted to take part in the rally, and Victor had always said anybody who doesn’t show up to work is going to be fired. … So the whole Septieme staff got together and said we’re all going to do this. Nobody’s coming in to work. We’re going to close the restaurant for the day.”

Wolfe says Santiago, who also owns the La Cocina y Cantina Mexican restaurant down the street, told him “‘I have to protect my business’” and then informed Wolfe that he was fired. Wolfe calls it “strange that somebody who’s Mexican, who’s a business owner, doesn’t support [iimmigration rights].”

A frequent customer named Marie Gagnon posted about Wolfe’s firing on her blog earlier today. “This breaks my heart on so many levels, including the fact that the owner who did the firing is a Latino man,” Gagnon wrote. “It was Vance that worked so hard to keep the original spirit of Septieme. He is also the best service person I’ve ever encountered. … I may need to stop going.”

Santiago answered the phone at La Cocina (which, unlike Septieme, is open today, but wanted to talk in person; I’m heading out to the rally in a few minutes, but I plan to stop by La Cocina later today to hear Santiago’s side of the story.

Christianity, Meet Feminism

posted by on May 1 at 1:54 PM

The “May Madness” web site, a fake competition between female Seattle Pacific University students for “hottest girl at SPU,” has been taken down and replaced by a site “celebrat[ing] the outstanding activities of all SPU women.”

The site, which disappeared after the Seattle Times and P-I ran stories about it on Friday, included photos and full names of all the women, many of whom wrote indignantly in the comments that they did not consent to have their photos on the site. The comments threads were particularly inflammatory: One commenter called a student “one hot sexy piece of ass”; another called students who complained “sluts”; and still another said the complainers should “sew up [their] vaginas and stop complaining.”

At a rally at SPU’s Martin Square Friday, attended by Stranger intern Kelsey Amble, about 200 students at the conservative Christian school gathered to protest the web site. Rally organizer Kristina Demain said she wasn’t surprised by the site but added, “this is not a Christian attitude and we are Christian women.” Addressing the men who created the web site, Demain continued, “God didn’t make you ignorant, stupid animals who can’t control themselves.” At the end of the rally, Amble reports, the women “huddled in a circle with arms wrapped around one another and prayed.”

Illegal Campaign Contributions for Reichert?

posted by on May 1 at 1:34 PM

If it stands up to scrutiny, Goldy has what could be a pretty interesting scoop regarding potentially illegal campaign contributions to Republican Congressman Dave Reichert.

Essentially, Goldy believes that Reichert booked about $100,000 in illegal excess campaign contributions last quarter in order to mask how badly Democrat Darcy Burner was beating him in the quarterly fundraising race.

Goldy came to this conclusion by poring through Federal Elections Commission reports, which are notoriously hard to read and confusing. He admits he could have made an error in his analysis, but he doubts it. We’re looking into this too, but for now, any FEC experts out there want to weigh in? Take a look at Goldy’s reporting and tell us what you think in the comments.

UPDATE: False alarm, Goldy says he’s made a mistake. Explanation is here.

Nickels Rejects Downtown Livability

posted by on May 1 at 1:09 PM

Mayor Nickels reportedly did not sign a downtown livability resolution passed unanimously by the council last month, sending what looks like a pretty clear signal to Peter Steinbreuck and the rest of the council that he does not support some or all of the 13 goals outlined in the resolution. (Because resolutions don’t have the force of law, the mayor can’t veto the livability resolution; but sending a resolution back unsigned sends a similar message.) Steinbrueck said this morning that he was “hugely disappointed” to learn of the mayor’s decision, adding, “we are going to have a real issue” funding some of the proposals embodied in the resolution without Nickels’s support. Among those goals: increasing the supply of affordable housing downtown, providing additional human services, developing a list of historic downtown buildings, planning “a major park” in downtown Seattle; and promoting “livable wage jobs,” a provision that helped win support for the mayor’s downtown height and density increases among advocates for low-income people such as the Seattle Alliance for Housing and Good Jobs for Everyone, whose director, Michael Ramos praised Steinbrueck for his “dedication to striving for a downtown—and a city—that people of all incomes could share” when the resolution passed in April.

Mayor Nickels’s spokesman, Marty McOmber, did not return a call for comment.

Wanted: Visual Art Intern

posted by on May 1 at 12:28 PM

My talented, gorgeous hunk of a viz-art intern, Craig Brownson, is on to other projects. After I dry my eyes, I’ll be looking for another intern.

The job involves putting together the art calendar every week. It’s probably a 4- to 6-hour weekly commitment, and you should be able to come into the office to work (Capitol Hill). There are other various and sundry tasks (Craig once went to an art lecture and took notes for me when I was sick with the flu), but mainly, the calendar’s the thing.

That means I need someone who knows a little something about art, and ideally about the local scene (who’ll notice if a big gallery is missing, for example). Attention to detail, naturally. Sense of humor, I beg you.

Seriously: NO FLAKES. Flakes just freak my shit out.

The position is unpaid. But! The non-monetary payment is that the internship could lead to contacts here that could lead to writing. So it doesn’t have to be totally thankless.

Send me a note and a resume if you’re interested:

An Idea. From a Democrat!

posted by on May 1 at 12:01 PM

Sen. Joseph Biden (D.-Del.) has a pretty smart opinion piece in today’s NYT.

The idea is to partition Iraq into Shia, Sunni, and Kurd states.

Obviously, this idea was floating around a few years ago (and the issue of Turkey Vs. the Kurds complicates it), but it seems like a sane way out.

Chaplains, Bigoted and Otherwise, in Iraq

posted by on May 1 at 11:45 AM

This article in the Washington Post Magazine this weekend was very readable, and very odd.

The good stuff (i.e., the horrifying stuff) is buried pretty deep, so read all the way through.

Among the facts which were new to me: If a serviceperson uses a chaplain for psychological counseling, that exchange is confidential. If a serviceperson uses a psychologist for the same reason, that exchange is not confidential: “Anything soldiers confess to social workers, psychologists or doctors becomes part of their service records and can be accessed by their military superiors.” Perhaps someone better versed in the law can tell me: What about this arrangement does not constitute an unconstitutional establishment of religion? If soldiers want confidential counseling, there is no secular option.

There’s also the Southern Baptist chaplain who’s profiled: He’s so uptight about “the enhancement of any religion outside Christianity” that he comes very close to refusing orders to clean up the grounds of a mosque on his base. I don’t think “bigot” is too strong a word.

Kucinich Looking Out For Anti-Bush Musicians

posted by on May 1 at 10:44 AM

Mifune, an Afro-beat band performing as part of Cleveland, Ohio’s Tri-City Jazzfest, was ordered to end their set prematurely by the venue’s management when their anti-Bush t-shirts were deemed inappropriate. Ohio congressman and former presidential aspirant Dennis J. Kucinich has written a letter to the managers of Tower City Center sharply protesting their actions. Read the full story here. Hat tip to Ben London at the Grammy Foundation.

Memory Lane

posted by on May 1 at 9:50 AM

Three years ago today, President Bush donned a Halloween costume flight suit and landed onboard the USS Lincoln to declare “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.

In honor of the anniversary, Media Matters For America has posted a greatest hits of all the media fellatio from that tremendous day. Enjoy, if you can keep from weeping.

My personal favorite? From convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy, who appears to have a bit of a boy crush on Dubya:

“Well, I — in the first place, I think it’s envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know — and I’ve worn those because I parachute — and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those — run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman’s vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count — they’re all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.”

Questions for Cantwell

posted by on May 1 at 9:21 AM

Adam Garcia, one of the seven people who staged a sit-in (and ended up staying overnight) at Sen. Cantwell’s Seattle offices last Tuesday, posted in the Slog comments thread last Friday night.

In case it got buried over the weekend, here’s Adam’s post. (At the end, he mentions that his group— which managed to score a May 6 meeting w/ Cantwell—is submitting 10 questions to Cantwell in advance of the meeting. Adam’s obviously reading the Slog. So, if people have suggestions for Cantwell questions, post ‘em here.)

I’m Adam, one of the seven at the sit-in. In the conference call we had with D.C., the first day, we asked her to explain why she doesn’t support Kerry’s statements made in his “A Right and Responsibility to Speak Out” speech on April 11th. Of course we didn’t speak with her, but her foreign policy experts. They circled jerked us with non-answers that were tantamount to asking if we liked Iraqis to have electricity, hospitals, etc. These weren’t rhetorical questions either, they were seriously asking us. They said all this while ignoring the fact by every conceivable metric Iraq is getting worse.

We simply couldn’t fathom why she refuses to take a leadership role here and publicly endorse Kerry. She is quick to point out the shortcomings of the administration but when given a chance, Feingold’s call for censure, she didn’t open her mouth. Censure doesn’t mean squat! It’s the political equivalent of thumbing your nose at someone. She couldn’t even do that, how sad.

At this sit-in we urged her to stand up, and galvanize the citizens against war. Russ Feingold is blazing a path that she needs to follow.

I know this is bad for her campaign now and that this is seen as a clandestine ploy by and for McGavick. That’s simply untrue. The truth is that the time to hem and haw while waiting for someone to act is over. That doesn’t mean we’re going to wait for the Dems to take the majority and suddenly be anti-war. Fuck that, if they aren’t anti-war now they won’t be later. Kerry said it best in his speech: “The true defeatists are those who believe America is so weak that it must sacrifice its principles to the pursuit of illusory power.”

This was my first action toward pressuring the Senator. Everyone else there had previous meetings with her as far back as November of last year. Back then she couldn’t have been troubled to read Joe Colgan’s two hundred word op-ed prior to the meeting. She read it there on the spot, and it really pissed off Abe.

At least at this next meeting her staffers promised that Cantwell would be able to respond to 10 questions that we are submitting prior to our meeting. At least she can give us that. Let’s hope she can do more.

Posted by Adam G - April 28, 2006 11:38 PM

Radiohead announce U.S. tour dates

posted by on May 1 at 9:18 AM

But the bad news for local fans? None of the shows are in Seattle, Portland, or even bloody San Francisco or Vancouver, BC. Oh well, it’s summer, right? So take a few vacation days and that “rainy day” money and go see ‘em at Bonnaroo, which has a pretty awesome line-up this year, including Tom Petty, Cat Power, Common, Dr. John, Nickel Creek, and Gomez. Plus the greatest novelty act that is anything but a novelty, Hasidic rap-reggae sensation Matisyahu.

Tickets for the earliest shows go on sale May 6. And while there are no plans for a new Radiohead album in 2006, the sets will reportedly feature lots of newly written material, which one imagines is earmarked for future release. Specific dates and details—for those of you who a) reside in other cities or b) are dripping with disposable income are below the cut…

Continue reading "Radiohead announce U.S. tour dates" »

Be Careful What You Wish For: Cinematic Midget Division

posted by on May 1 at 8:45 AM

Back in March, in a Slog post about Billy Barty’s role in the Busby Berkeley classic Gold Diggers of 1933, I expressed my wish for more of Hollywood’s baby/toddler roles to be taken by little people. (Not only is it hilarious to see a “baby” rollerskate, such casting could nip the mindfucky experience of child stardom in the bud.)

This weekend, before a screening of the new gymnastics dramedy Stick It (whose opening night crowd consisted entirely of adolescent gymnasts and adult homosexuals, a fine mix), I saw this preview, for the forthcoming Wayans brothers’ film Little Man.

Granted, instead of a little person, Little Man features a CGI-shrunk Marlon Wayans. Still, the preview changed my mind about the prospect of adult babies on film, and many other things. You may watch the preview here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tim Eyman and Washington Won’t Discriminate

posted by on May 1 at 6:00 AM

[I posted this on Saturday morning, but I’m moving it up to today’s Slog.]

I didn’t use to hate Tim Eyman as much as other WA state liberals, but Eyman jumped my personal shark when he started campaigning against the state’s gay rights bill.

It wasn’t so much that supposedly libertarian Eyman was leading an effort repeal the rights; heck, there’s a principled libertarian argument against minority rights protections. But Eyman wasn’t making a libertarian argument. Eyman’s Referendum 65 would overturn the state’s gay rights bill, which protects gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, and credit. But most people are either for those piddling protections and/or assume they’re already in place. So Eyman, that lying sack of shit (LSOS for short), is campaigning for R-65 with this tag line: “No quotas, no preferential treatment, no gay marriage!”

Uh, the state’s gay rights bill doesn’t require quotas or preferential treatment, and it has nothing to do with gay marriage. And LSOS, a smart guy, knows that.

Jumping ahead: earlier this week LSOS announced to his supporters that Referendum 65 might not make it onto the ballot this November. From the PI:

Tim Eyman sent the e-mail to supporters and the media, saying that only 8,718 signatures have been gathered. He needs 112,440 valid voter signatures by June 7 to get Referendum 65 on the November ballot.

“It’s gut-check time,” Eyman said by phone Wednesday. “Do we really want this thing on the ballot? Yes or no.”

Some analysis of the numbers from Goldy:

To qualify for the ballot Eyman must collect 112,440 signatures by June 7, but not all these will be valid. The Secretary of State recommends a cushion of 25 percent, but let’s be generous and say Tim can get by with only 10 percent, for a minimum target of 124,000 signatures.

As of yesterday, Eyman claimed to have collected only 8,718 signatures, while hateful, nutcase preacher Joe Fuiten claimed to have another 2,900. That left them about 112,000 shy of their target with only 42 days before the deadline…

To qualify for the ballot, the R-65 campaign would have to collect about 2,700 signatures a day, 7 days a week, from now until June 7… not necessarily an impossible task if you can afford to hire an army of paid signature gatherers.

But Eyman doesn’t have the funds to hire an army, and so it looks like R-65 won’t be on the ballot.

Continue reading "Tim Eyman and Washington Won't Discriminate" »

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rolling Stone Falls Out of Tree, Lives

posted by on April 30 at 5:31 PM

Keith Richards took a nasty fall out of a coconut tree in Fiji, the BBC reports, and is recovering from his injuries in a New Zealand hospital.

What the 62-year-old guitarist was doing on a coconut tree remains unanswered at the moment.

posted by on April 30 at 10:46 AM

That’s the e-mail address to contact and book
Tony Snow’s rock band, Beats Workin’.

Former Fox News guy Snow, the Great Decider’s new press secretary, plays guitar, sax, and ….flute.

Worst. President. Ever?

posted by on April 30 at 10:10 AM

Rolling Stone’s cover story this month is an analysis by Princeton historian Sean Wilentz on just how horrible the Bush administration is, really. (Answer: Oh, so horrible.)

worst president ever

While not revealing anything new, the article puts Bush’s presidency in historical context, laying out each of his major failures (it’s a long article) in the arenas of foreign policy, domestic policy, and personal credibility and competence and how they compare to the deeds of some of the other jerks who have held that office.

Bush is a particular tragedy as his presidency comes at such a critical time. The worst possible man to govern at the most important possible time.

How does any president’s reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.

Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties — Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush — have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures — an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.

Full article.

996 days to go…