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Archives for 05/14/2006 - 05/20/2006

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What Are You Doing Sunday Morning?

posted by on May 20 at 6:00 PM

Nothing doing? Maybe you should go to church.

Tim Eyman is promoting “Referendum Sunday,” a WA state riff on those “Justice Sunday” rallies the religious right was hosting a few months back. The point of Referendum Sunday? Eyman is hoping to gather signatures for his anti-gay-rights referendum, which he claims is struggling. He hopes to get his petitions into the hands of church-goers all over the state. But Goldy has a plan

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue, our state’s churches receive about $44 million in property tax exemptions annually—that’s tax burden that is shifted to ordinary citizens like you and me. But one of the prerequisites for maintaining this not-for-profit status is that these churches must refrain from actively engaging in political campaigns.

If tomorrow, on “Referendum Sunday,” these churches distribute petitions and/or canvass for signatures, or parishioners are instructed to do so, I would say that this would constitute a very real violation of the prohibition on electioneering, and would thus provide clear grounds for suing to have their tax exempt status revoked. Sound heavy handed? Well, no more heavy handed than say, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s penchant for filing Public Disclosure Commission complaints against school teachers who distribute political literature on school property.

So I strongly urge all my readers to show a little faith, and go to church tomorrow (focus on those evangelical mega-churches if you can,) and bring along a video camera or other recording device, just in case. And God forbid you find any prohibited political campaigning on church property, drop me an email.

It’s a great idea—and I’d like to join Goldy in strongly urging readers to head out to your local hate-spewing mega-church (hey there, Mars Hill) tomorrow morning. Let’s all make sure there’s no law breakin’ going on.

“Did you scrub the floors today? Did you?”

posted by on May 20 at 4:55 PM

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This was sent out to journalists to drum up excitement about Mommie Dearest: The Hollywood Royalty Edition, the new, deluxe DVD repackage (featuring commentary by John Waters), in stores June 6. Yes… that really is a can of scouring powder on the right. Wow.

Eyman Courts Evangenicals

posted by on May 20 at 4:37 PM

…for help in oppressing the gays. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Using a page torn from the Karl Rove playbook, initiative salesman Tim Eyman has turned to a network of evangelical churches to help repeal the gay-rights law that the Legislature passed this spring…Eyman is banking on an eleventh-hour surge from as many as 5,400 churches he hopes will participate in “Referendum Sunday.”

“[T]his weekend nearly 500,000 voters are going to hear about and talk about our effort to get a public vote on House Bill 2661,” Eyman wrote in an e-mail sent to the media and supporters. “They’ll be asked to not only sign the petition, but to take petitions home and fill them up and return them next Sunday.”

Read the full, loathesome story here.

My Brief Interview w/ Sen. Feingold

posted by on May 20 at 3:30 PM

“Did you ask him about the war?”

The question was a sarcastic barb from some Cantwell diehards after I had followed Sen. Russ Feingold out to his van and managed to score a brief interview with the Wisconsin Senator and anti-war hero. Feingold was the guest speaker today at a Maria Cantwell rally in Ballard at Whittier Elementary—a splashy kick-off for an afternoon of Cantwell doorbelling.

Feingold’s speech had (glaringly) made no mention of the war. He talked about: campaign finance, the budget deficit, the environment, and energy independence. This from the Senate’s leading opponent of the war? Indeed, less than a month ago, Feingold dramatically introduced an amendment to the appropriations bill that would have required the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq by December 31st, 2006.

Cantwell supporters didn’t want the war to come up today. Cantwell has been notably unapologetic about her 2002 vote for the war, and it’s hurting her with Democratic activists. Cantwell wanted the Feingold visit to put the progressive stamp of approval on her campaign—without complications. (No signs were allowed in the building.)

However, today’s “cheap stunt”—as one activist standing outside with an anti-war placard called the Feingold drive by—only heightened Cantwell’s Iraq problem.

There was Feingold, an obvious hero to the 200 or so Democratic activists in the room, up on stage and not talking about the issue that’s motivating Democratic activists right now: “The immoral war” (as the afternoon’s emcee, local Dem chair Peter House said by way of introducing Feingold.)

So, yes, I did ask Feingold about the war. In fact, it’s all I asked him about. It was the question that was on everyone’s mind. And it’s all they gave me time for.

Q: Why didn’t you talk about the war in Iraq today? Feingold: I’ve been very clear about my position on the war. I want the troops out by the end of the year. Q: Yes, Senator, you have been clear. I ask because this is a Cantwell rally and Senator Cantwell hasn’t been very clear about her position on the war… Feingold: I’ll let Senator Cantwell speak about her position on the war. I want to focus on the things that she’s a leader on… like the environment and energy independence.

I’ll file a longer story on this in next week’s Stranger, but glancing at my notes here’s one bit: After Feingold compared Wisconsin and Washington—calling both states purple, rather than blue—he told the crowd that despite that fact, he was able to win handily because people were willing to go out and do the grunt the work, the doorbelling. (Feingold got 55% in WI, while Kerry got 50%).

“That’s because you stand for something!” someone in the back of the room called out.

The Fight of the Year

posted by on May 20 at 2:17 PM

From the New York Post:

May 20, 2006 — Tommy Hilfiger really showed his “Appetite for Destruction” yesterday when he pummeled Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose in a dispute over a VIP table at Rosario Dawson’s birthday party, sources said.

The midnight turf battle erupted when Axl moved Hilfiger’s girlfriend’s drink in the banquette area of The Plumm nightclub on West 14th Street - where the “Rent” actress was celebrating her 27th birthday.

A densely packed crowd of celebs - including Lenny Kravitz and Kid Rock - had ringside seats to the battle.

Fair Weather

posted by on May 20 at 1:57 PM

street.JPGBluegrass buskers, signature gatherers, elephant ears, Hare Krishnas, hammocks, Peruvian bands, glass pipes, $4 lemonade, balloon-festooned children, glass art, straight-jacket escape artists, shaggy dogs on the lookout for curly fries… it’s time for the the U-Dictrict Street Fair. (Through tomorrow on University Avenue, free.)


posted by on May 20 at 11:02 AM

The Iran-imposing-dress-code-on-religious-minorities story was a hoax. Still, Iran is no paradise for religious minorities:

The persecution of Bahá’Ă­s has been common throughout Iranian history. In the 1950s, under the regime of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, Bahá’Ă­s and their holy places were attacked with tacit state approval. Since the Iranian revolution, more than 200 Bahá’Ă­s have been executed or killed, hundreds more have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have been deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities. All national Bahá’Ă­ administrative structures have been banned by the government, and holy places, shrines and cemeteries have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed. The Islamic government of Iran even destroys their graves [2].

Oh, yeah: Iran is also a pretty shitty place for gay people:

Iran: Two More Executions for Homosexual Conduct

Iran’s execution of two men last week for homosexual conduct highlights a pattern of persecution of gay men that stands in stark violation of the rights to life and privacy, Human Rights Watch said today.

On Sunday, November 13, the semi-official Tehran daily Kayhan reported that the Iranian government publicly hung two men, Mokhtar N. (24 years old) and Ali A. (25 years old), in the Shahid Bahonar Square of the northern town of Gorgan.

The government reportedly executed the two men for the crime of “lavat.” Iran’s shari`a-based penal code defines lavat as penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts between men. Iranian law punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with the death penalty. Non-penetrative sexual acts between men are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are punished with death. Sexual acts between women, which are defined differently, are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are also punished with death.

But Iran’s anti-gay policies are, it seems, okey-dokey with the Bush administration:

U.S. Aligned With Iran in Anti-Gay Vote

In a reversal of policy, the United States on Monday backed an Iranian initiative to deny United Nations consultative status to organizations working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people….

“This vote is an aggressive assault by the U.S. government on the right of sexual minorities to be heard,” said Scott Long, director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. “It is astonishing that the Bush administration would align itself with Sudan, China, Iran and Zimbabwe in a coalition of the homophobic.”

Four Out of Five Beer Drinkers Agree…

posted by on May 20 at 10:33 AM

…that’s it time to ITFMA!


And now let’s meet the brewer…

Keeping to the DIY spirit of ITMFA, I’ve brewed up a batch of Impeach The Motherfucker Already India Pale Ale (ITMFA IPA). This, of course, means that there’ll be one hell of a Fourth of July/ITMFA party at my house. We’re giving away ITMFA buttons as swag, and I’m sure there’ll be follow-up pictures.

Brewer and Patriot

Need some buttons or lapel pins to hand out as swag at your next party? You can order them at Unfortunately, we’re not selling the beer—you’ll have to brew your own of scam some off Brian.


posted by on May 20 at 12:23 AM

Car washes are beautiful. I realize they are not a good use of water. I almost never have them. But I just did. I even had wax and drying. My car is green.

This I just received in my inbox: “For your wifeÂ’s b-day you want to make a sperm firework for her?” I do.

Friday, May 19, 2006

How Would McGavick Have Voted at Yesterday’s Senate Committee Vote on Gay Marriage?

posted by on May 19 at 5:31 PM

HorsesAss has the story.

Done Forest?

posted by on May 19 at 4:56 PM

Sad news for Seattleites with fond memories of the Fun Forest. It might become a relic, and not just figuratively speaking. Seattle Center is looking to terminate the park’s lease.

Earlier this week, the Mayor’s Task Force for Seattle Center Sustainability released its report. A detail that may have gone unnoticed was the bleak assessment of the Fun Forest:

“The Fun Forest is worn and outdated… Its lack of relevance and currency has a huge impact on the visitor’s experience of Seattle Center. Once a consistent and important source of commercial rent, the Fun Forest has fallen behind in its lease payments. An assessment should be made of the optimal public use of this valuable five-acre property.”

The Fun Forest owed $191,000 on its lease at the end of 2005 & has been losing about $500,000 a year since 2000.

According to a series letters from spring 2006 between Fun Forest and Seattle Center officials obtained by the Stranger, it appears the Center is renegotiating the Fun Forest lease (which currently runs through 2019)—essentially offering to lower the Fun Forest’s rent while asking the amusement park to leave the Center in the next 4 or 5 years.

In an April 24 letter from Fun Forest to Seattle Center, Fun Forest Executive VP Steven Robertson summed up his understanding of the negotiations:

“In its simplest form, the City of Seattle is asking Fun Forest to relinquish the final nine or ten years of its current lease agreement in exchange for an amendment that would reduce its annual rent for the remainder of the lease.”

Seattle Center acting director Robert Nellams responded in a May 12 letter:

“I would like to see Fun Forest be able to retire its debt, but that can only happen if the City is made whole, too. In its simplest form, the City is willing to accept a significant reduction in rent to end this relationship amicably in exchange for bypassing a potentially nasty default process.

Questions Unfit for Ann Landers

posted by on May 19 at 4:47 PM

Nerve’s “Sex Advice From…” series has always been entertaining, if uneven in the caliber of its counseling. The most recent version features advice from Israeli soldiers. Pressing dilemmas addressed include how to have sex in a bathroom stall, conduct a threesome with a lower-ranking officer, and my favorite:

“I want guys to titty-fuck me, but my breasts are too small. What could we do that’s similar?”

At the Races

posted by on May 19 at 4:33 PM

The 2006 and 2007 council campaigns are, believe it or not, already underway. New council member Sally Clark, who must run in 2006 and, if she wins, again in 2007, has already raised $32,000, and has $17,000 on hand; Jean Godden, who said she was not going to run for reelection four years ago but has since changed her mind, has raised $45,000, with $34,000 on hand; council member-for-life Peter Steinbrueck, who hasn’t filed any reports since January, has raised $21,000, with $18,000 on hand; and David Della, whom I’ll go out on a limb and call the most vulnerable council incumbent, has raised $20,000, with just $6,000 on hand. (All numbers rounded to the nearest thousand.)

Overheard in the Office

posted by on May 19 at 4:21 PM

Uttered by Annie Wagner, in a matter-of-fact tone:

“The best nipple shots I could get were from the straight movies… I found all these nipples from the gay-themed movies, but they’re not ideal. They’re obscured, somebody’s sucking on them, stuff like that.”

Tunnel Vision

posted by on May 19 at 4:12 PM

More than two weeks after I wrote this story, I’m still hearing about hellish work conditions at the Sound Transit tunnel project in Beacon Hill.

But that story dealt with the graveyard shift, where black workers say they were harassed and/or targeted for termination. Brian Corwin, a miner, worked the swing shift, and he is white (Alaskan, actually) and while he doesn’t feel like he was chased off the job the way black workers allegedly were, Corwin reports the same dangerous corner-cutting as regards worker safety.

Continue reading "Tunnel Vision" »

Feingold in Ballard. Cantwell in Absentia

posted by on May 19 at 4:06 PM

The Cantwell rally tomorrow at Ballard’s Whittier Elementary (1320 NW 75 ST.) just keeps getting weirder. It’s awkward enough that anti-Iraq-War Sen. Russ Feingold is the guest speaker. Additionally, the event is supposed to give way to an afternoon of doorbelling for Cantwell by fired up volunteers.

This is something like winning a date w George Clooney, but he gets sick, and so Carrot Top shows up at your door. (Hat tip: Wm. Steven Humphrey.)

Goldy from Horsesass dressed me down for questioning the Cantwell event. He wrote:

No, it’s not weird. The best way to support the efforts of Senators like Russ Feingold is to give him a Democratic majority in the Senate. And the best way for WA voters to help do this is to reelect Maria Cantwell. Feingold ain’t stupid. Posted by: Goldy | May 17, 2006 01:59 PM

I responded:

OK, not weird…How about ironic?
Cantwell is having trouble getting volunteers thanks to her position on the war. So, she brings out someone with the exact opposite position to drum up volunteers on her behalf.
Feingold may not be stupid. But Cantwell sure seems to think anti-war voters are.
Posted by: Josh Feit | May 17, 2006 03:54 PM

Anyway, here’s a nice detail: Cantwell’s not going to be there.
Now, that’s weird, right?

How’s this theory: Cantwell’s not going to be there, so the protesters don’t show up.

A Dose of Sadness

posted by on May 19 at 3:50 PM

(From A Soap, playing at SIFF, and highly recommended by our reviewer Lindy West.)

New Blog on the Block

posted by on May 19 at 3:43 PM

The Seattle Times’ chief political reporter, David Postman, tells me that he’s going to become a blogger starting Monday.

The name of the blog: Postman on Politics. The link: TBA.

And in what I think is probably a first, at least locally, Postman will now be doing political blogging almost full time. In other words, dear blogosphere doubters, the Seattle Times has just assigned its chief political reporter to work the blogosphere every day, at least through the November elections.

My take: Good move for the Times, good move for Postman, and good luck to those of us bloggers who now have to compete with him. I covered the governor’s race trial with Postman last June in Wenatchee, and I remember the liveblogging that he did there — check out the time stamps for his posts from day one, they’re pretty intense.

POSTED 8:54 AM Monday

POSTED 9:44 AM Monday

POSTED 10:09 AM Monday

POSTED 10:54 AM Monday

POSTED 11:33 AM Monday

POSTED 11:33 AM Monday

POSTED 11:52 AM Monday

POSTED 1:34 PM Monday

POSTED 2:26 PM Monday

POSTED 2:26 PM Monday

POSTED 4:24 PM Monday

POSTED 4:52 PM Monday

POSTED 5:38 PM Monday

Granted, that was live-blogging, but still. Postman tells me his blog will be more analytical than opinionated, and that when his opinion enters into his posts, it won’t be ideological. Here, I think, lies the biggest question about the Postman on Politics experiment: Given that most successful political blogs these days are highly ideological, do web surfers really want a non-ideological blog that covers politics from an “objective” perspective?

We’re going to find out.

And Now for a Picture of Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes

posted by on May 19 at 3:43 PM


Found it here.

Black Rice

posted by on May 19 at 3:12 PM

Seeing that Condoleezza Rice is the Secretary of State, it’s fine to mock black Americans.

Halle Berry accused BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles of “racism” live on air on Thursday (18MAY06), after he impersonated a “big, fat black guy” on the show. Berry, who was in the studio with Hugh Jackman to promote X-Men: The Last Stand, was quick to pick up on the notorious shock jock’s joke. Jackman quipped that the rotund Moyles would be a perfect body double for him, should he ever land the part of James Bond. Moyles said, “Your Bond double? I could definitely do that. Put your hands up in the air! I’m a black American guy. A big, fat black guy. Put you hands up in the air. I don’t wanna be shooting yo a**!” Berry remarked, “Are we having a racist moment here?” To which Moyles hastily replied, “No, no! Not at all!” He later returned to the subject after Berry left the studio, sniping, “‘Are we having a racist moment here?’ Oh just get over yourself. What the hell was all that about?” A Radio 1 spokesman says, “There wasn’t anything racist in what Chris said.”

“Love is a stream. It is continuous. It does not stop.”

posted by on May 19 at 2:53 PM

So explains Gena Rowlands in 1984’s Love Streams. She’s not-so-firmly holding onto sanity when she says it. I love Love Streams.

Another quote from the film:

Everyone in the world is very screwed up.

A new print of Love Streams—it’s a new print made from a kind of junky old print, which is maybe the best way to reproduce Cassavetes films—is playing now at Northwest Film Forum. I suggest going to see it tonight, because tonight’s showing will be introduced by Richard Jensen (Clear Cut Press) and Calvin Johnson (K Records) and followed by a contentious debate. From Suggests:

I think we can all agree that Gena Rowlands is the greatest actress currently living. I think we can also agree that she’s better than all the dead ones.1 Love Streams has been described as John Cassavetes at his worst, but I really don’t see that argument. Rowlands pulling up at her brother’s house in a taxi full of goats and miniature horses? Rowlands trying to get Seymour Cassel to laugh by backflipping fully clothed into a swimming pool? What more do you want, people? After the screening, there will be a debate about this movie’s merits. There will also be free beer.

At the press screening—attended by me and one other person, who I think was a local blogger—Michael Seiwerath, the executive director of NWFF, introduced the film thusly: “I hate this film. This is the most divisive film we’ve ever played at Northwest Film Forum. Half the staff loves it, half the staff hates it.”

Here are some other opinions:

Nick Vroman, NWFF’s communication’s director:

I think Love Streams in incredible. I’ve been a huge fan of it for years.

Josh Feit, Stranger news editor:

It’s the worst film ever made.

Annie Wagner, Stranger film editor (who saw it once, long ago, she thinks):

Honestly, I don’t remember it at all.

Seiwerath again, not-quite-backpedaling:

Gena Rowlands is fucking brilliant in the film and above reproach. But Love Streams is a failure. If you hate Cassavetes, it reinforces everything wrong with him. First of all, Cassavetes, who is a great actor, is horrible in the movie. He’s miscast, and he knows it. John Voight was supposed to play the Cassavetes part, but his involvement fell through, which totally shows. Cassavetes’s acting is transparent. You can see right through it. He’s not convincing in the least. The biggest disaster of the movie is, of course, the opening sequence, the bar sequence—you’ve got this horrible singer in bad 80s clothing, she can’t sing, she’s not sexy, and of course the good things about Cassavetes’s films is the cinĂ©ma veritĂ© feel of them, they could be gritty and cheap but that’s fine, but for this bar scene, it’s painfully clear that they built the bar for the shoot, and the walls are so flimsy that they shake when someone goes to grab a bottle. It has none of the joy or camp of a good low-budget film. It doesn’t work. It takes you out of the film. It’s just a failure. Failure is the operative word of the whole film. It’s a John Cassavetes failure. Which is fine, he’s an uneven director. Some curators I’ve talked to say it’s the best film he ever made, which is an absurd statement in the face of A Woman Under the Influence. And Seymour Cassel is just stumbing around saying his lines, and he’s completely eclispsed by Gena Rowlands, to the point that he becomes invisible. Maybe during A Woman Under the Influence Cassavetes was drinking red wine and during Love Streams he was drinking NyQuil.

Rich Jensen:

It’s packed with complicated, messy, irresponsible characters that relish their sins, that laugh at things that aren’t funny, that dress and drink like grown-ups, and just keep going and going, colliding and colliding with each other. So, it’s just a farce, littered with children and a manic energy that overcomes any plot and keeps pausing to be seduced by astonishing music. Yes, it’s about love. I think it’s the right-shaped thing for capturing what love is like.

You really shouldn’t miss it. The movie is impossible to find as it is, and this version NWFF is showing has about 20 minutes extra than the version released theatrically in 1984. Northwest Film Forum is at 1515 12th Ave. The relevant phone number is 267-5380. The hour this occurs is 7 pm. The amount it will cost you is $5 or $8, depending on whether you’re a member of the organization. I’ll be wearing a necktie…

[1This sentence was edited out of Stranger Suggests for space reasons, not because it isn’t true.]

Photo Craft

posted by on May 19 at 1:41 PM

Got great digital photos impressing no one on your hard drive right now? has some swell and crafty ideas for you.

Stop Making Fun of Britney!

posted by on May 19 at 1:38 PM

Newsflash! Britney Bobbles Baby; Comes This Close to Nervous Breakdown!

People, we have a situation on our hands. Britney Spears can’t take too much more criticism over the way she’s raising her baby, and she’s this close to going ba-zonkers. First, baby Sean Preston took a nose-dive out of his high chair, then Britney was spotted driving with Sean Preston on her lap, then earlier this week, she was spotted driving Sean Preston who was facing the wrong way in his car seat, and yesterday, Britney almost dropped SP on a busy street while trying to balance a high ball glass. Now while the number of these instances could be seen as a cause for alarm, we all have to remember one thing: BRITNEY CAN’T READ. She has no idea what those funny words in those how-to-raise-a-baby books mean, and is being forced to “wing it.” SO CUT HER SOME FREAKING SLACK. I mean, look at this picture of Britney minutes after the baby bobble…
SHE’S A WRECK! AN ILLITERATE WRECK! We don’t make fun of retarded people (on a regular basis) do we? Then we must stop making fun of Britney. (Mostly because I never want to see a picture of her looking like that again. EEEESSHHHH!)

The Campaign Begins

posted by on May 19 at 1:29 PM

Team Nickels has registered its pro-Alaskan Way tunnel campaign and has already started raising money for a likely November showdown between the tunnel and a rebuilt viaduct. Prepare for a campaign blitz: They’ve already spent $25,000 on focus groups.

Of course, who needs campaign contributions when you have your very own publicly funded PR machine?

What About the Children?

posted by on May 19 at 1:25 PM

Knowing that censorship doesn’t play well with the public, the Republicans in congress are taking a backdoor approach: a tenfold raise in indecency fines.

Variety has the full story.

Sugar is Sweet

posted by on May 19 at 12:40 PM

I didn’t trust the comments about Sugar in my post the weekend they opened—they seemed like they were written by, oh, some of those sour-ass bitches who are always venting and hating on everything. So I asked a local fag I trust—Dominic Holden—what he thought of Sugar.

rainbow sugar.jpg

Sugar: One Hump or Two?

Since I can remember, the space next to the Comet Tavern has spent more time vacant than occupied. In its most recent incarnation, a KUBE banner hung across the building’s black facade and a few surly bouncers idled in the doorway. On Saturday nights shrieking girls would pour out of limos and stumble inside. It didn’t last.

Like most other Capitol Hill queers, I skeptically hoped the box’s reincarnation would be more… fitting. It is. Don’t let the glaring white paintjob on Pike St. near Broadway fool you. This is not Capitol Hill’s newest abortion clinic. The marquee promises weekend House music and a Tea Dance. The name is Sugar.

A week after Sugar opened to—ahem—long lines, I took the plunge. The unforgivable exterior is balanced by smooth white interiors, high ceilings and giant mirrors. But your attention is quickly captured by eye candy that’s even sweeter. Sugar’s lighting is fucking awesome. If the Starship Enterprise could smash Manray and Neighbours into a cube on the Holodeck, this is what it would look like. Strobes of color pulse from the rafters. Video canisters spin and whirl on all sides. And a DJ presides behind a wall of brilliant, high-intensity LEDs.

What the lights illuminate are even better. The. Boys. Are. Hot. Not just the barely-clad dancers—it’s an all-around good-lookin’ crowd. Girls, too.

A few tasty drinks later and I was ready to dance. The music was thumping—music which, Glory be, was not a string of corny radio hits—when a cute boy persuaded me to step on the dance floor. The sound was great. The floor was made of wood, which any true dance-oholic knows is prime, and I danced my ass off.

Time flew by, friends were made, numbers got exchanged and I was looking at two enticing companions. I hoped the night would get even better from there. It did.DOMINIC HOLDEN

Eyman Hams It Up

posted by on May 19 at 12:24 PM

Here’s the latest on Eyman’s initiative to repeal the anti-discrimination bill that passed the legislature this year.

Last we heard, Eyman said he was hurting for signatures. That sparked a guessing game: Was Eyman in earnest, or was it a ruse to lower expectations, so that when he turns in the signatures, it will give the impression of a come-from-behind campaign with unstoppable momentum.

Here’s a snippet from today’s Spokesman-Review article:

Tim Eyman, the referendum’s chief sponsor, said it was his standard policy not to estimate how many of the needed 112,440 signatures have been collected at this point in the campaign.

“We’re making good progress but we’re certainly not there yet,” he said,
adding his chances of qualifying for the ballot at 50-50.

Well, that answers that question: It’s pretty obvious that showman Eyman (he seems so so gay, that Eyman) is acting cagey—pretending he’s got a 50-50 shot—to add tension to the storyline and make it seem like he could be in trouble. Again, this will make it look like his campaign has rebounded w unstoppable momentum when he turns in his signatures on June 6.

Listen to Eyman ham it up in a press release he just sent out:

It’s been nearly a month since our announcement that we needed a big
increase in signatures. The effect couldn’t have turned out better. Our
supporters now know the facts. They know there’s work to be done. Emails
and phone calls have been pouring in ever since with offers to work even
harder. The media stories have been remarkably neutral. Opponents are
perplexed and disoriented (“Is it a political ploy? Do we stay quiet? Do
you attack? What do we do??????????”). There’s not an ounce of
overconfidence among any of our supporters now. We all know that it’s going
to take a lot of hard work to get Referendum 65 on the ballot.

We’ve got 19 days left. 19 days is a lifetime in politics IF AND ONLY
IF WE ALL GET GOING — AND GET GOING BIG TIME. Our deadline for signatures
is Tuesday, June 6th. The number of valid signatures needed is 112,440.


The Rebuild: Nickels Was For it Before he Was Against It

posted by on May 19 at 12:14 PM

In light of the mayor’s current over-the-top PR campaign for his $4.4 billion Alaskan Way tunnel proposal (and against a rebuilt viaduct, which the Nickels tunnel campaign refers to as “the Big Ugly”) it seems like a good time to drag out this old chestnut, from Nickels’s first campaign for mayor in 2001:

“The Alaskan Way Viaduct carries 100,000 people a day - aside from I-5 it’s the only north/south corridor through Seattle that isn’t a city street,” said [King County] Councilmember Nickels. “It is incumbent upon the Governor and Department of Transportation to fund a replacement right away. Talk of a huge new tunnel is another expensive, wasteful vision of the Mayor [Paul Schell] and we simply don’t have the time or resources to travel down this path. We need solutions immediately.”

Nearly five years into Nickels’s administration, we still don’t have any.

Identifying badges for religious minorities in Iran

posted by on May 19 at 12:10 PM

Scary shit via Drudge:

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country’s Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

Iran’s roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

“There’s no reason to believe they won’t pass this,” said Rabbi Hier. “It will certainly pass unless there’s some sort of international outcry over this.”

The new law was drafted two years ago, but was stuck in the Iranian parliament until recently when it was revived at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

You know, the same President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that publicly stated the Holocaust was a myth and called for Israel “to be wiped off the map.”

UPDATE: I’ve gotten a couple of comments about this report being false (thanks Levide), however it’s still up on Drudge, as well as Let’s hope it’s a fake.

UPDATE 2: Okay, so americablog is also calling bullshit on this report (scroll down to “Would you like a little Bush administration disinformation with your morning coffee?”). That’s nice, even though I still feel like I’ve just been punched in the gut. Um, TGIF, I guess.

Study the Retrofit? We Already Have

posted by on May 19 at 11:23 AM

Nick Licata, David Sucher, and others have argued that the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) should consider retrofitting the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct to withstand a major earthquake, rather than digging a tunnel, building a new viaduct, or simply tearing it down. Their complaints have prompted the DOT to agree to spend eight weeks studying a proposal by two retired engineers, Neil Twelker and Victor Gray, to brace the viaduct with a system of steel beams, shock dampers, and angular supports.

This sort of thing is exactly why we’ve been talking about the viaduct for five years instead of doing anything about it. WSDOT, after all, has already been down this path once before, in 2001, when its consultants concluded that the retrofit proposed by Gray and Twelker would not protect the viaduct in an earthquake. Nor would it address the eroding seawall, which also needs to be replaced. A retrofit, the study concluded, “may be effective in keeping certain sections of the viaduct intact [in an earthquake] but it will not serve the purpose of making the structure safe overall.”

In addition, the report continued, the retired engineers’ cost estimates - they now claim a retrofit could be done for $800 million, compared with $2 billion for the cheapest rebuild alternative - were “oversimplified” and “too low.” For example, the engineers estimated that jet grouting in the soil underneath the viaduct (basically turning the soft, liquifiable soil into concrete) would cost just $700,000, a figure WSDOT said ignored “the extra costs of working in difficult conditions, around and over traffic, challenging construction techniques and other peculiarities of the project.”

Then, in 2003, another study concluded that retrofitting the viaduct would be both less safe and only slightly less expensive than rebuilding it. Meanwhile, “after” renderings of the viaduct provided by Licata’s office showed a nearly solid box of concrete, with pillars twice as large as the current structure’s.

Legislating Language

posted by on May 19 at 10:57 AM

Headline: Senate supports English as U.S. national language. (Cantwell and Murray voted no, but Dems from Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, and Delaware voted for it. No Republicans voted against it, making headlines like Immigration tears Republicans in two a little harder to get excited about.)

Under the Republican proposal, the federal government is directed to “preserve and enhance the role of English as the national language of the United States of America.” It does not go as far as proposals to designate English the country’s official language, which would require all government publications and business to be in English.

Instead, it says government services and publications now offered in other languages would be unaffected. But the proposal declares that no one has “a right, entitlement, or claim to have the government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services or provide materials in any language other than English.”

Of course, the jingoist insist, anointing a “national language” is just a symbolic gesture—and that’s the fucking problem. It’s an cultural strike against pluralism that stokes the cultural fire against immigrants (a racist movement, even if the legislation supporting it technically isn’t; see this guy), it acclimates voters to more xenophobic and statist legislation in the future, and it’s a fucking stupid waste of time and energy. A state cannot legislate language. (See Ireland, Spain, the former Soviet Union, and the dozens of other countries where the fortunes of minority languages rise and fall independently of legislative attempts to either preserve or destroy them.) It can, however, burn economic and political capital trying to.

Let’s hope the Republicans are shooting themselves in the collective hoof. And that the speculation about conservative Latino voters abandoning the Republicans isn’t just a pleasant liberal fantasy.

Speaking of Racist Entertainers…

posted by on May 19 at 10:38 AM

Portrait of the fascist dictator as a funny, funny man: “Yo mama so lazy, she stopped after she invaded Belgium.” Hee-haw!

Thanks, New Yorker (home of Sasha Frere-Jones, who kicked off this whole Stephin Merritt shitstorm).

O.C. Recap! Marissa Cooper R.I.P!

posted by on May 19 at 9:32 AM

octitle.jpgWell, it wasn’t a drug overdose — but it should’ve been! After a three year letter writing campaign, the producers of The O.C. finally succumbed to my demands and killed off Marissa Cooper (of course, it might have something to do with Mischa Barton showing up late to work — or not at all — and wanting to get fired so she could pursue a failed movie career, but let’s not get nit-picky in this time of mourning).
Anyhoo, Seth finally comes clean about smoking some doobage in the Dark Lord Sith Sandy’s office and burning it down — and as usual, it was no big deal. Just a half mill in damages, and even the cops didn’t care enough about this subplot to pursue it. Oh, and speaking of ridiculous subplots, Surf Nazi threatens to narc on Ryan for NOT helping him steal a car, unless he ponies up some money for his great escape to Mexico. Inexplicably, Ryan agrees to Surf Nazi’s terms. Can someone please get this guy an MRI to check for brain damage?
MEANWHILE…. it’s Graduation Day! Which means we have to sit through 45 minutes of nothing but hugs and apologies — especially from Marissa who is contractually obligated to make us like her again before she’s killed off. Turns out daddy Cooper is now sailing ships for rich folk, and invites her to travel the world peeling potatoes for a year. Marissa figures this is better than getting a real education and jumps at the chance. To fill the gaping hole in the show, Mini-Coop (Kaitlyn) returns to Newport to, in her words, rule the school. (I love Kaitlyn — she’s like Hitler with pony lessons.)
MEANWHILE…. Nothing else happened. Ryan’s mom gave him a mid-`80s Land Cruiser for graduation (Thanks, Ma! Were they out of Celicas?), and there was some icky inferred kitchen floor make-up sex between Sandy and Kiki. Oh, and there was the aforementioned car crash, where jealous Surf Nazi runs Ryan and Marissa off the road. But I guess the producers weren’t too mad at Mischa, because other than a little chocolate syrup in her hair, she looked PERFECT.
NEXT SEASON ON THE O.C.: Summer goes to Brown, Seth sticks around for half a season, Taylor Townsend will apparently be around forever, and we can start begging the producers to get rid of Ryan — who, like Marissa — is now officially too stupid to live.

Talkin’ Bout the News

posted by on May 19 at 9:10 AM

I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday this morning at 10 am, talking about the news of the week and my Jim McDermott feature, just in case anyone wants to call in and tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Kyle Huff’s Suicide Note

posted by on May 19 at 9:00 AM

Or, perhaps, not Kyle Huff’s suicide note but rather the work of a prankster.

Seattle police are examining a suicide letter purportedly written by Kyle Huff, the man who killed six people at a Capitol Hill house party in March, in which the author expresses anger about the rave music scene.

But police have not verified that the one-page, handwritten letter is real, in part because it was found several weeks after the killing spree at a location where Huff didn’t live, Seattle police Detective Nathan Janes said Thursday night.

“It could be a prank,” Janes said.

Some choice quotes:

The letter offered “convoluted” and “vague” reasons for the author’s plans, Janes said, declining to elaborate on specific wording in the letter until it is analyzed.

However, KING-TV reported the author spoke disparagingly of the rave scene: “They’re packed in there, groping each other, having sex. … ” the TV station quoted the letter saying.

Moments before the killings, Huff spray-painted “NOW” on a sidewalk outside the house on East Republican Street. KING-TV reported the letter included a possible explanation for the reference: “I’ve got to do something about it,” the writer said of the rave scene. “These people are screwing up the world. Now, kids, now!”

I Think I Need A New Heart, And Some Fancy Dog Food

posted by on May 19 at 8:45 AM

Watching TV last night, my attention was caught by a commercial, whose soundtrack was instantly recognizable—“I Think I Need A New Heart,” one of the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs, whose jolly acoustic strum underscored an ad for Cesar Canine Cuisine, “Sophisticated Food for Sophisticated Dogs.”

The ad was, uh, cute, from what I remember, but mostly I was delighted to find one of Stephin Merritt’s songs in
such an unexpected place. As far as placement in commercials goes, “I Think I Need a New Heart” gets off easy: the ad features only the introductory riff and none of the lyrics (an ironic twist for such a literary songwriter as Merritt) and neither the ad or product is without wit or camp value. I know some folks get uppity about encountering songs they love in commercials, but for me, an ad’s gotta be pretty diabolical in its use of a song to piss me off (see Levi’s use of CCR’s anti-war “Fortunate Son,” isolating only the stanza about waving the “red white and blue” for cartoonishly patriotic ends). Under reasonable circumstances or better, ads in songs don’t bother me at all, especially when the song’s good, and the ad revenue is going to support an artist as gifted as Stephin Merritt.

(In light of recent accusations of racism made against Mr. Merritt, I’d like to confirm the aforementioned ad features both black and white dogs, and even, I think, some black-and-white dogs.)

Catholic Church Unfairly Maligned!

posted by on May 19 at 8:12 AM

The Da Vinci Code opens today—and, gee whiz, the Catholic Church is feeling unfairly maligned. Gosh, I wonder what that feels like?

“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”
Under the new instruction, the Church said it cannot admit to the seminary and to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called “gay culture.”
“Church teachings describe homosexual orientation as ‘objectively disordered’ and loving intimate acts as ‘intrinsically evil.’ In the last few weeks the Pope himself declared that same sex marriage is ‘a deplorable distortion’ and adoption by gay or lesbian parents ‘a grave danger.’”
Church Cannot Baptize Babies of Same-Sex Couples Says Quebec Cardinal

And on and on. In other Catholic news…

Spokane Diocese Sex Abuse Deal Rejected A federal judge rejected a $45.7-million settlement Thursday for 75 people who have filed sex abuse claims against the bankrupt Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane…. The judge, noting that bankruptcy law calls for settlements to be “fair and equitable” to all parties, decided the deal favored the 75 people over other alleged victims, lawyers for both sides said.

Spokane Bishop William Skylstad, president of U.S. Catholic bishops, is among the clerics accused of abuse in the bankruptcy claims.

In a decision approved by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican has said the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, accused of sexually abusing minors, should not exercise his priestly ministry publicly…. Nine former Legionaries, one of whom is now dead, publicly accused Father Maciel of sexually abusing them when they were teenage seminarians in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

No Comment

posted by on May 19 at 7:45 AM



The End

posted by on May 19 at 7:40 AM

How can they do this to Homer Simpson? Now that he is out of a job, how is he going to feed his family?

A Little Competition for L. Ron Hubbard

posted by on May 19 at 7:15 AM

The BBC reports on a cult in the UK based on the writings of an American science fiction author…

A sex slavery cult based on a series of 1960s science fiction novels has been uncovered by police in Darlington. Durham Police discovered the bizarre sect after raiding a home in the area, after receiving complaints that a woman was being held against her will.

But a spokesman said the Canadian was a willing participant and the other people involved were consenting adults.

The group, called Kaotians, follow the Chronicles of Gor novels which depict a society where women are dominated…. The books are set on the quasi-medieval planet of Gor, which has a caste system and uses women as slaves.

There are an estimated 25,000 Goreans worldwide.

Et tu, Prodi?

posted by on May 19 at 7:00 AM

Italy’s getting out. From the NYT:

Romano Prodi, the new prime minister, called the war in Iraq a “grave error” on Thursday in a speech in which he set Italy on a decisively different, more conventionally European, course from that of his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi….

The speech amounted to an inaugural announcement of his priorities, and he pledged major changes to Mr. Berlusconi’s approach on labor laws, conflict of interest, tax evasion and Italy’s deep public debt.

But it was on the issue of Iraq that Mr. Prodi spoke most sharply, reining Italy back from Mr. Berlusconi’s close relationship with President Bush and, in especially strong words, adopting a more skeptical stance on the war in Iraq.

“We consider the war in Iraq and the occupation of the country a grave error,” he said.

Well, so do a majority of Americans now—including, um, a majority of Americans who were dumb enough to support the invasion of Iraq at the outset. Besting Italy, I’ve been for getting out since last August—long before Murtha was for getting out.

Okay. Now you can let me have it in the comments thread.

What’s on My iTunes?

posted by on May 19 at 7:00 AM

Gee, what’s on my iTunes? Hm… let’s see…

Stephen Sondheim
Steve & Eydie
Irving Berlin
Marvin Hamlisch
Parker & Stone
Vikki Carr
Kander & Ebb
Rodgers & Hammerstein

I guess that makes me a racist.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Albert Gore, Superstar

posted by on May 18 at 5:23 PM

From The New Republic:


I hope this doesn’t sound too Arianna-like. But last night, I went to a screening of the Al Gore movie. And I found myself walking out in a strange mood. I had just seen a movie featuring a politician … and there wasn’t a trace of snark or cynicism coursing through my body. The film has genuine rhetorical power. It builds an incredibly frightening case without hints of fear-mongering or over-wrought moments. Because Gore is truly self-deprecating, the movie doesn’t ever feel like an ego-trip—although it does occasionally look like a giant product placement for Apple. At any rate, I walked out of the movie and decided to sell my car and begin otherwise preparing for our planet’s impending doom. I know this praise isn’t so unexpected coming from TNR. But I think the movie has the potential to become a seminal political document—a cinematic Silent Spring. It will certainly change elite opinion.—Franklin Foer

Trash W!

posted by on May 18 at 5:06 PM

ITMFA is going strong—I’m going to send some ginormous checks to the ACLU and Ned Lamont once we get the legal issues taken care of. In the meantime, ITMFA fan Iko sent in an awesome “ITMFA/Trash W” design last week.


Jason, another ITMFA fan, shared my enthusiasm for Iko’s design. Jason writes..

Wonderful site… I’m thrilled to join the movement, and have ordered some buttons for myself and some friends…

I took the liberty of taking the lo-tech trash W artwork to the next level… and I offer you (with the original artist’s permission, of course) a PDF file which you might offer to folks via the web site… they could print this PDF onto some of that fancy T-shirt transfer paper. These PDFs feature both the backwards and forwards versions for people to figure out… print the backwards page only if you want to do that crazy transfer thing…. print the normal version if you just want a fun little flyer to put up in your cubicle…

Power to the people, and all that…


Nice work, Jason—thanks! Anyone out there want to make “ITMFA/Trash W” t-shirts or stickers of your very own? Here’s the regular version; here’s a backwards version. Of all the ITMFA designs that have come in, I have to say that this one is my absolute favorite…

The Junior Senator

posted by on May 18 at 4:23 PM

I don’t know much about these Congressional Power Rankings just released by this group called Knowlegis, but Sen. Cantwell didn’t do so well. She’s #93.

Murray is #46.

Complete list here.

What is Della’s Vision?

posted by on May 18 at 4:17 PM

In this morning’s P-I, City Council Member David Della comes out in favor of the aerial rebuild option for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

He’s got 2 arguments against the competing options: Nickels’s tunnel would cost too much & the surface/transit option would stymie the Port.

I agree with Della about Nickels’s tunnel option. Indeed, the mayor’s office still needs to present a clearer finance plan to the public. However, I don’t fully follow Della’s argument about the Port. According to its most recent analysis—which is admittedly ten years old—about 70% of the Port’s land cargo goes by rail; 20% by I-5 or I-90; and the remaining 10% moves on surface streets, heading south through SoDo. And the Port’s current plan is to increase its rail cargo anyway. I suppose it’s true that replacing the viaduct w/ the surface option will throw cars onto I-5, which could jam up some of the port’s I-5 traffic.

Ultimately, while making his case against the two other competing options, Della never spells out why he’s for the aerial option.

While I have my problems with Nickels’s tunnel plan & nagging questions about the surface/transit option (will people really move to transit?), I am attracted by the attempt of both Nickels and the surface option boosters to earnestly promote an alternative vision for our city. If Della’s going to be taken seriously, he needs to explain what’s attractive about the status quo.

Me Like ‘Em Hairy

posted by on May 18 at 4:12 PM

From the Boston Globe:

Boston scientists released a provocative report yesterday that challenges the timeline of human evolution and suggests that human ancestors bred with chimpanzee ancestors long after they had initially separated into two species.

The researchers, working at the Cambridge-based Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, used a wealth of newly available genetic data to estimate the time when the first human ancestors split from the chimpanzees. The team arrived at an answer that is at least 1 million years later than paleontologists had believed, based on fossils of early, humanlike creatures.

The lead scientist said that this jarring conflict with the fossil record, combined with a number of other strange genetic patterns the team uncovered, led him to a startling explanation: that human ancestors evolved apart from the chimpanzees for hundreds of thousands of years, and then started breeding with them again before a final break.

Something very unusual happened,” said David Reich, one of the report’s authors and a geneticist at the Broad and Harvard Medical School.

Ah, science. It never ceases to amaze and/or make queasy.


posted by on May 18 at 3:40 PM

Cupcake Royale, makers of the best goddamn cupcakes in the WORLD, are opening a third location, this time in West Seattle. The new store is at 4556 California Ave SW, and they’re having a grand opening party tonight from 6-9 pm. They’ll open for business officially tomorrow. If a trip in West Seattle isn’t in your future, you can also snag their cakes in Ballard and Madrona.

Christ, I love cupcakes.

Two Uglies, One Pretty

posted by on May 18 at 3:06 PM

It doesn’t bear mentioning, but I can’t help myself: Bill O’Reilly ain’t got the sense he was born with. He explodes the rules of cause and effect (short version: “my makeup artist got mugged because Mexicans are intrinsically corrupt) here.

And here, George Stephanopoulos spins Bush’s crap poll numbers as “an opportunity” to happily surprise people when Iraq magically gets better. (I’m using that line of argument the next time I forget somebody’s birthday: “It’s okay, dear! This is just an opportunity to enjoy the wonders of deferred gratification!”)

Now, to clear your palate, please enjoy these Lords of the (Jazz) Dance cuttin’ a rug to DJ Z.

Red States—What’s Left of ‘Em

posted by on May 18 at 3:04 PM

It’s a beautiful sight


President Bush … has a positive job approval in just three of the 50 United States. This according to 50 separate but concurrent statewide public opinion polls conducted by SurveyUSA for its media clients across the country. Only residents of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho view the president favorably.

Hat tip: Americablog.

In 1,000 Years

posted by on May 18 at 2:09 PM

Yesterday, I had my Teenage Upsetters playlist going and In the Still of the Night, the 1956 doo-wop hit by the Five Satins, came on. I went over to Schmader’s desk to tell him I now knew what the greatest song of all time was. (David is the only one in the office who understands.)

Schmader then sent me this Q&A snippet with world famous rock critic Robert Christgau:

Q: In a hundred years, who do you think will still be remembered from the latter half of the 20th century in popular music? And what about in a thousand years (if our civilization is still around then)?

A: In a hundred years the top candidate is clearly James Brown. A thousand years is anyone’s guess. I hope there’s an inhabited planet in a thousand years, and that my great-greats-to-the-nth still have recorded sound. If so—James Brown! And also the Five Satins’ In the Still of the Night.

James Brown, obviously, totally sucks. Sex Machine. Oh, brother. But it’s Christgau and me for In the Still of the Night.


The White House Costs McGavick

posted by on May 18 at 1:33 PM

KREM TV in Spokane is reporting that U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick isn’t covering the costs of VP Cheney’s visit to Spokane after originally pledging to do so. (Cheney was in Spokane in April stumping for McGavick.)

BEFORE “For the expenses that are borne directly by the Vice President when he does political things, the party and we have to actually bear those costs, so they’re not borne by the taxpayers.” —Mike McGAvick to KREM 5 PM News, 4/19/2006

“His spokesperson says McGavick will pay part of the vice president’s travel expenses, but security is left to local taxpayers.” —KREM 11 PM News, 5/15/2006

I just talked to McGavick spokesperson Julie Sund, and she told me KREM misunderstood McGavick. She says McGavick always meant that his campaign would pick up Cheney’s costs, but not municipal security. She said she didn’t know what Cheney’s cost were.

Meanwhile, the security costs for Cheney’s visit, according to Spokane police and fire, doubled to a total of $20K.

I’ve got a call into the Spokane police to see what they think about all this.

Dept. of Shameless Self-Promotion

posted by on May 18 at 1:14 PM

Tonight at the Tractor Tavern at 7 pm I’m interviewing the author Nicole Krauss. Her first novel—it’s awesome—is called Man Walks Into a Room. It’s about a man found in the Mojave Desert with his memory wiped away. (Susan Sontag blurbed it: “Nicole Krauss, with this remarkably felt, sharp-witted debut novel, strides into the forecourt of American letters.”) Krauss’s second novel, The History of Love, recently out in paperback, was excerpted as a short story in the New Yorker.

The event tonight has been produced by the national organization for the advancement of Jewish literature, Nextbook—if you’ve never seen their website, check it out, it has lots of great stuff on it—and so I will probably ask a question or two about Philip Roth. We will also talk about volcanoes and the sex appeal of old people, among other topics.

The info: Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave NW, 7:30 pm, $8, 21+ (because of, you know, drinking). Please come!

Focus on the Family Mad-Libs!

posted by on May 18 at 12:39 PM

This email just arrived from a concerned reader named Dara:

Dear Editors: Focus on the Family, the fundamentalist evangelical political/religious organisation headed by James Dobson, has sent out an action item to its membership urging them to use their “letter writing wizard” to pick and choose pre-written paragraphs, and thereby generating an “original” letter to the editor. As I am aware that most editorial pages dislike prewritten, organisation-driven letters, I felt it was appropriate to give you this latest heads up on their efforts in this area.

Thanks, Dara!

And for all of you who want to take a whack at generating your very own Focus on the Family-approved letter, go here. It’s fun!

Congressional Catfight, Gay Marriage Edition

posted by on May 18 at 12:27 PM

Wonkette’s been running a funny blog series called Congressional Catfight, imagining fake face-offs between House members, but today brought an actual catfight in the Senate, between divas Arlen Specter and Russ Feingold over gay marriage.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Thursday, after a shouting match that ended when one Democrat strode out and the Republican chairman bid him “good riddance.”

“Tom Berry doesn’t have the HEART for State Assembly…”

posted by on May 18 at 12:25 PM

This is the most hilarious political flier I have seen in my short and humble life.

The best part? It’s R on R action: “Republicans deserve a strong candidate who won’t lose to a Democrat again.”

Click here for the full effect…

“Obscene” Sound Transit Statue?

posted by on May 18 at 11:42 AM


KING 5 has the hilarious story of the brouhaha over a proposed statue for Sound Transit in Lakewood.

After six years of discussion between the transit officials and the city, the art was shared with the public at open meetings…At the latest meeting, some members of the City Council found the piece objectionable, claiming it resembles a phallic symbol and a breast.

According to KING 5, artist Mark Calderon drew inspiration from “a bud vase to reflect the community’s Asian heritage, and a flower to reference Lakewood’s gardens.”

But apparently, for a number of Lakewood City Council members, it’s nothing but a wang and a boob.

Full story here.

O.C. Season Finale!

posted by on May 18 at 10:03 AM

MISCHA.jpgFor all of you O.C. fans, tonight could be the greatest night of TV ever, because it’s The O.C. season finale (FOX, 9 PM)! While it’s definitely been a lackluster season, I believe we can cast the blame squarely on one character — MARISSA “DEVIATED SEPTUM” COOPER. She has spent the entire run of this show creating an unstoppable juggernaut of mayhem — from her fling with insane Oliver, to the death of Surfer Johnny, to almost every fight Ryan has ever been in — AND SHE MUST BE STOPPED. And tonight, we may just see our dreams finally come to fruition. According to…

Actress Mischa Barton may be set to leave hit TV series The OC, according to media reports. The 20-year-old actress, who plays Marissa Cooper on the show, has expressed a desire to focus on a film career. According to, the show will return for its fourth season in the autumn, without Barton. The OC will air its season finale Thursday, where one character is killed-off. Producers have filmed several endings with different cast members dying, in order to keep viewers and the show’s staff in the dark. One of the endings reportedly features Barton’s character suffering a drug overdose.

Yay! A drug overdose! YAY! Waitasecond… didn’t she already have a drug overdose in Tijuana? She deserves a much more horrible death anyway, like slipping through a sewer grate and being swept out to sea.

Robertson Opens Mouth, Reveals Idiocy

posted by on May 18 at 9:17 AM

It’s been a while since we last had a good, stupid pronouncement from Pat Robertson—at least a week and a half—so thank God for the Associated Press, which reports Robertson’s most recent ass blather/slander of the Almighty.

Like all of Robertson’s best pronouncements, the new one came during a broadcast of The 700 Club, during which Robertson revealed how God told him that America’s coastline will be struck by storms—and possibly a tsunami—this year.

Robertson said the revelations about this year’s weather came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January. “If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms,” Robertson said, [later adding] “There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest.”

Never mind that predicting a serious storm season for 2006 is like predicting nightfall for the end of the day. My real concerns are these: Why is Robertson bothering God for information anyone with the ability to read could’ve learned just by picking up a newspaper? And why is God wasting time revealing the obvious to Robertson via secret communiques instead of applying Himself to stopping shit like this?

The Seattle Times Explains

posted by on May 18 at 9:00 AM

Seattle Times Managing Editor Dave Boardman just sent me an email explaining why his newspaper isn’t supporting Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott in McDermott’s big First Amendment court fight.

(I wrote about the McDermott case in this week’s Stranger, and earlier this morning, on the Slog, I raised some questions about why the Seattle Times hasn’t joined the 17 other media organizations that are backing McDermott through a “friend or court” brief—or, if you prefer the Latin, an amicus brief—that’s been filed in the case.)

Hi, Eli.

I was out of town when your question about the McDermott amicus came in. Without access to my records, I couldn’t recall absolutely whether we had been asked to join in the case, though I thought we had. On returning, I confirmed that we had in fact been asked by McDermott’s lawyer to file an amicus brief. We declined, not because we don’t support the underlying First Amendment issue but because of the journalistic conflict of interest that would arise with us taking an active position in a case which we continue to cover closely. We weighed that conflict against the negligible legal benefit of The Seattle Times joining a long list of amici already involved, and decided the conflict prevailed.

It’s an interesting position — but it’s also worth noting that this is not the position taken by the Hearst Corporation, owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


posted by on May 18 at 8:50 AM

If you are familiar with the long 18th century Chinese novel Hung Lou Meng (The Dream of the Red Chamber) by Cao Xueqin (Hung Lou Meng is to China what Remembrance of Things Past is to France and Tale of Genji is to Japan), and also are aware of the fact that the serious study of this novel is called Redology, then you will instantly enjoy this Borgesian article in China Daily.

Requiem for an Orgasmatron

posted by on May 18 at 8:35 AM

It pains me to report that this weekend’s screening of Sleeper at the Sci-fi Museum (which, er, I was slated to host, instead of the lovely and talented Tim Appelo) has been cancelled, due to a change in management. For those still wanting to hear my trenchant thoughts on Woody Allen’s one indisputable comedic masterpiece (The goddamn cheap Japanese Jet Pack! The Killer Pudding! The Giant Banana Peel gag! “Nobody move, or the nose gets it!”), I’ll be happy to hold forth at any given opportunity. My speaking fee? Malt Liquor. No Mickey’s.

Get Married or Get Out

posted by on May 18 at 8:35 AM

(CBS/AP) The city council in Black Jack, Mo., has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together. The mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town’s planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

“I’m just shocked,” Shelltrack said. “I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives.”

Mayor Norman McCourt said starting Wednesday the city will begin trying to evict groups who do not fit into Black Jack’s definition of family, reports CBS affiliate KMOV-TV in St. Louis.

A supposed pro-family institution being used to harm actual families. Nice.

The hijacking of Christianity by interolant fools is nearly complete. True Christians will soon have to find a new name for their faith.

(Via Andrew Sullivan.)

The Seattle Times: For Big First Amendment Fights (in 1984) Before it Was Against Them (in 2006)

posted by on May 18 at 8:00 AM

I recently returned from Washington, D.C., where I was working on this story about an interesting lawsuit that’s been plaguing Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott for the last eight years. While I was writing the piece, I came across this interesting side-story that I wasn’t able to fit into my article in this week’s Stranger:

The lawsuit against McDermott arises out of an audio tape that he leaked to the New York Times and other papers back in 1997, and over the years this suit has come to constitute a significant challenge to First Amendment freedoms that could soon wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The person who’s suing McDermott is Republican John Boehner of Ohio, currently the House Majority Leader. He’s upset because the tape recorded a secret conference call that he, Newt Gingrich, and other Republicans had convened in order to plot how to spin a 1996 ethics charge against Gingrich — exactly the type of spin that Gingrich had earlier promised the House ethics committee he wouldn’t engage in.

McDermott didn’t make the tape recording. (To read the long, strange tale of how it came to be in his hands, click here.) But Boehner now wants McDermott to pay dearly for leaking the tape, and has sued McDermott for violating his privacy. It’s the first time one Congressman has sued another, and the case has already cost each of them over half a million dollars.

Seventeen media organizations are backing McDermott in his argument (made most recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C.) that he had a First Amendment right to leak the tape. They all note that while the tape was made illegally, it wasn’t made illegally by McDermott. And once the tape landed in McDermott’s hands, he and the media organizations argue, he had a right to make sure such an important document was publicly disseminated. (Which, by the way, is exactly the kind of thing that newspapers often do when important information comes to them from sources who broke the law in order to obtain that information [see, for example, the Pentagon Papers]).

Among the media organizations supporting McDermott through their “friend of court” brief: The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN; Time Inc.; Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (publisher of the Wall Street Journal); Daily News, L.P. (publisher of the New York Daily News); and the Hearst Corporation (publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer).

Not backing McDermott: The Seattle Times.

Why not? Well, it’s not exactly clear, even to people at the Times, as you can tell from my story. The executives in the paper’s news department, who would have made the decision on whether or not to back McDermott, can’t recall whether they were ever asked to join the brief. But the editorial writers at the paper (who would not be involved in such a decision) have made their opinion on the matter quite clear, as evidenced by this recent editorial:

Rep. Jim McDermott, Seattle Democrat, was not acting ethically a decade ago when he leaked an illegally taped phone conversation to The New York Times… McDermott says it is a matter of principle: the right of the people to know what their government is doing. That is a right frequently invoked, but in practice it is a kind of general interest shared by the press and the public.

News organizations have their interests, and we note that ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post have joined with McDermott. Here, we think, they pursue their interests and excuse wrongdoing.

The right involved here is specific. It is privacy. McDermott took a private telephone conversation, protected by law, and gave it to a newspaper. Doing this was in his political interest — between the law and his interest, he chose his interest. His solicitude for people’s rights did not include the rights of political opponents not to be the subject of, in essence, private wiretapping.

An interesting argument. But if you get your hands on a copy of the brief filed by all those other, supposedly self-interested news organizations, you will find that they write this, on page 25:

Certainly, the government may seek to control invasions of privacy in communications, or seek to control the flow of sensitive information to third parties and the press under certain circumstances. [Just not this one.]

And then, as precedent for the idea that there are some limits to First Amendment protections, they cite the 1984 Supreme Court case Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart. It turns out that in 1984 the Seattle Times, the same paper that today is slamming McDermott for testing the limits of First Amendment rights, went all the way to the Supreme Court to defend its own limit-testing idea: That the Times had a right to publish sensitive information produced during pre-trial discovery.

And not just any pre-trial discovery, but pre-trial discovery in a libel suit filed against the Times by a small religious group (some have called it a cult) known as The Aquarian Foundation. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the Seattle Times, saying that courts can use “protective orders” to keep sensitive pre-trial discovery information from being made public, even by the media.

In other words, in 1984, the Seattle Times was the party trying to make private information public, and pushed so hard to do this that the Supreme Court unanimously felt it had to push back and draw a line beyond which First Amendment freedoms do not apply. At the time, the Seattle Times complained that this kind of line drawing would constitute a “prior restraint” on its freedom of expression. What a difference 22 years makes. Today, against the judgment of its media-industry peers (and betters), the Times is embracing its own brand of prior restraint, using its editorial page to try to dissuade McDermott from pursuing his own First Amendment fight.

BONUS ASSIGNMENT: If I was a betting man, I would bet that in the 1980s the Times ran editorials praising its own willingness to take a big First Amendment battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wouldn’t it be interesting to contrast one of those editorials with the editorial I quoted from above? The problem is, the Times’ online archives only go back to 1991. Internet fame is promised to anyone who can find me a Times editorial on the Rhinehart case that would make for fun reading when juxtaposed with the paper’s more recent stance on McDermott’s First Amendment case. (Dig fast, I have an intern down at the Seattle Public Library doing the same as we speak…)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jade is gone!

posted by on May 17 at 8:35 PM

YES!! Jade just got cut from America’s Next Top Model.

I LOVE seeing her get cut. Oh man.

Her parting words: “The judges overlooked my ability and my confidence was mistaken for arrogance. This face will definitely be hard to forget. Jade will be hard to forget.”

Then she read some crappy poem, and walked down the hall snapping her fingers and laughing like an asshole. That girl is absolutely awful.

Joanie is totally gonna win.

Re: Skipping Town

posted by on May 17 at 7:49 PM

I heard that Skip’s on vacation, but he hasn’t left the Weekly.

Here’s hoping loyal Slog contributor Philip Dawdy checks into our Comments section and gives us the inside scoop.

Skipping Town

posted by on May 17 at 6:57 PM

Word on the street is that Chief Old Hippie is leaving Seattle Weekly for a job in Atlanta.

UPDATE: Doh! My source at the Weekly—usually so reliable—just wrote to tell me that it’s the SW’s publisher, not their editor, who is leaving. This was already common knowledge. So, uh, withdrawn. Nevermind. Sorry.

Meet the Talking Chimp

posted by on May 17 at 5:34 PM

Headline up on Drudge now: The Monkey That Talks In Sentences. I don’t know why I thought that link would take me to the White House webpage—that monkey doesn’t talk in sentences.

Hey All You America’s Next Top Model Fans

posted by on May 17 at 5:21 PM

In advance of tonight’s “and then there were three” new episode, please enjoy this impressive interview with “the world’s first supermodel”/America’s sassiest corpse Janice Dickinson.

Not only does the psychotically divine Ms. D allude to having fucked Bill Clinton, she cannot contain her hatred of Britney’s hubby, whom she dubs “Kevin Priceline” before sharing her theory that Britney’s only with him because of his sizey wang.

(For the record, the “K-Fed is packing and Britney’s enslaved” theory was first put forth by Ms. Kerri Harrop, the day after the premiere of Brit & Kev’s show Chaotic. Having heard the completely specious theory from two women with reputable crotch instincts, I now consider it to be fact, or something.)

Lindsay Lohan: “Fire Crotch”?

posted by on May 17 at 5:21 PM

Newsflash! Lindsay Gets Repeatedly Called “Fire Crotch” by Paris Pal Brandon Davis… for Five Minutes… On Video. WOW.

Hollyweird’s hottest feud (between Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton) just went supernova! Last night, Paris and pal Brandon Davis were caught leaving a nightclub by the papparazzi and were asked, “What do you think of Lindsay?” Then, and for the next FIVE MINUTES, Brandon unleashed a volcano of obscenities toward Lindsay, the least of which calling her a “Fire Crotch.” Who is Brandon Davis? Not only did he date The O.C.’s Mischa Barton, the Davis clan is one of the richest families in Beverly Hills—Aaron Spelling allegedly came up with his show Dynasty based on this super-rich family. Which may explain why Brandon sneers when he says that Lindsay is “only worth 7 million.”
Watch the UNBELIEVABLE video here!

Maybe her Native American name was “Fire Crotch”?

Climb Every Mountain

posted by on May 17 at 5:21 PM

Hm. This newscaster can’t keep her story straight. She knows the mountain climber has a disability—but which one is it again?

Who’s to Blame?

posted by on May 17 at 5:17 PM

My boyfriend and I had a fight this afternoon. I blame the media .

It’s All This Sunlight—Who Can Keep Their Schedule Straight?

posted by on May 17 at 3:49 PM

Yesterday, I called attention to Amy Kate Horn’s suggestion that you go see Cirque du Soleil, but actually I meant to call attention to Dave Segal’s suggestion to go see George Clinton and Parliament at Chop Suey, which was last night, and Cirque du Soleil was what I was supposed to call attention to today, since that’s today’s Stranger Suggest

Sorry for that confusion. Say you went and saw Cirque du Soleil last night and are now casting around for ideas of what to do this evening. Here’s what I’d do. I’d go see La Mujer de Mi Hermano, a sexy, sexy movie set in Mexico City about some sexy, sexy people who are bored and rich and, you know, sexy, and have nothing better to do (what with all that money and boredom and muscle) than rip each other’s clothes off and ruin each other’s lives. It’s kind of soothing. Quickly: This woman is married to this man, but then she lets his brother, this guy, go down on her, and, well, things spiral out of control. Spoiler alert: one of them is secretly gay. There’s also a swimming pool and a lot of ambient music. It’s kind of stupid. Bring a date.

If that doesn’t sound appealing—if you like your movies smart and the opposite of soothing—I suggest heading to the movie store and renting John Cassavetes’ masterpiece A Woman Under the Influence, starring Gena Rowlands. For one, it’s a fantastic movie that not enough people have seen. (Went to a dinner party over the weekend and couldn’t find anyone who’d ever seen Gena Rowlands in anything.) Plus, A Woman Under the Influence is a good movie to see before you see Love Streams—also starring Rowlands, also directed by Cassavetes—a new print of which plays at Northwest Film Forum later this week.

More on Love Streams: At Friday night’s 7 pm showing, Love Streams will be introduced by Rich Jensen, of Clear Cut Press, and Calvin Johnson, of K Records. Then, afterward, there will be a debate about whether or not Love Streams sucks. There will also be free beer. Love Streams is a movie that has a lot of haters. (By the way, Love Streams is AWESOME.) Anyway, it’ll behoove you to have seen Gena Rowlands in something else. Something like A Woman Under the Influence.

UPDATE: Uh, OK, sorry everyone. La Mujer de mi Hermano is not playing anymore. It was playing at Meridian 16. It’s been pulled. Who knows why these things happen. I’m sorry for the triple confusion. I’m now going to find a hole to crawl into… where I will watch A Woman Under the Influence AGAIN.


posted by on May 17 at 3:25 PM

America is normalizing relations with Libya, spurring rumors around PNB that a certain amateur choreographer might finally have his day in the sun.

Mary’s Money

posted by on May 17 at 3:13 PM

John Aravosis tears Mary Cheney a million new assholes—and Simon & Schuster too, which paid Mary Cheney a million dollars for her bullshit memoir.

Simon & Schuster, a massive book publishing company that clearly hasn’t been around this long by wasting its money, reportedly pays the daughter of the sitting vice president a $1 million advance on a book that, well, doesn’t seem to do much of anything.

I just went with Joe to the local bookstore and we took a look at Mary’s book. Sure, we’d read the reviews that said Mary’s book had nothing new in it, but we thougt we’d take a look for ourselves.

What we found was 200 sparse pages of Mary’s reflections on the 2000 and 2004 elections, and some mentions of her gayness. What we did not find is a book that anyone in their right mind would pay $1 million for.

Go read the whole thing.

The Backlash Begins

posted by on May 17 at 3:01 PM

Just one week before the May 24 opening of Al Gore’s movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, the Competitive Enterprise Institute - a group that receives major financial backing from ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute - will release two 60-second ads on what it calls “global warming alarmism” in more than a dozen cities around the country. According to the press release, CEI believes that efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions represent “nothing short of an attempt to suppress energy use, which in turn would be economically devastating - all to avert an alleged catastrophe whose scientific basis is dubious.”

To read what actual scientists have to say about global warming, check out this 2004 Science Magazine essay, which analyzes 928 peer-reviewed scientific papers published between 1993 and 2003. “Remarkably, not one of the papers disagreed with the consensus” that the earth is getting warmer because of human activity.

Also, I know it’s a few weeks old, but if you missed it you really should check out this heartbreaking piece on Al Gore from the April 24 New Yorker.

Hangover Soundtracks

posted by on May 17 at 2:56 PM

I know you’re all responsible, moderate drinkers most of the time, but occasionally you falter and consume too much alcohol. So let us assume you have some familiarity with the condition known as “the hangover.” I had one once, and, damn, it was horrible.

Anyway, when you’re clobbered by the booze shit hammer, certain types of music can soothe your aching, throbbing noggin. Over on Line Out, I list some of my recommendations for albums and songs that may alleviate your self-induced pain. Care to share your own hangover soundtracks? I thought so, lushy.

GOP Bashing Hispanics—Good for the Dems!

posted by on May 17 at 2:49 PM

This just in: Senate OKs Border Fence, Backs Citizenship.

Here’s a headline from last week: Of U.S. Children Under 5, Nearly Half Are Minorities

Nearly half of the nation’s children under 5 are racial or ethnic minorities, and the percentage is increasing mainly because the Hispanic population is growing so rapidly, according to a census report released today.

Hispanics are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority group. They accounted for 49 percent of the country’s growth from 2004 to 2005, the report shows. And the increase in young children is largely a Hispanic story, driving 70 percent of the growth in children younger than 5. Forty-five percent of U.S. children younger than 5 are minorities.

The reaction of the right-wing media to the Washington Post’s story? Make more babies—you know, the right kind. The white kind. Here’s John Gibson on Fox News:

Do your duty. Make more babies. That’s a lesson drawn out of two interesting stories over the last couple of days.

First, a story yesterday that half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities. By far, the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably, the ones Hispanics call “gabachos”—white people—are having fewer.

Now, in this country, European ancestry people, white people, are having kids at the rate that does sustain the population…. To put it bluntly, we need more babies…. Why is this important? Because civilizations need population to survive. So far, we are doing our part here in America but Hispanics can’t carry the whole load. The rest of you, get busy. Make babies, or put another way—a slogan for our times: “procreation not recreation.”

Keep up, you right-wing idiot motherfuckers. You keep insulting the fasting growing segment of the population—Hispanics and immigrants—with your racist rhetoric and your fences and your “make more cracker babies!” hysterics. Immigration, legal and illegal, can’t be stopped, and your screaming and yelling about it is going to help the Dems. Keep it up!

Abuse study hits home in Seattle

posted by on May 17 at 2:12 PM

Gentlemen: Is this any way to treat the (pre-pregnant) mother of your children?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 40 percent of women surveyed in the Seattle area reported they had been physically or psychologically abused by their husbands, dates or boyfriends, researchers said on Wednesday.

And a second study showed that women who have been slapped, kicked or otherwise abused were four times more likely to report severe depressive symptoms and three times more likely to report fair or poor health.

For their study, [Dr. Robert Thompson of the Seattle-based Group Health Center for Health Studies] and colleagues interviewed a random sample of more than 3,400 women members of a Seattle health maintenance organization.

They found 44 percent of the women, aged 18 to 64, had suffered some form of what they call “intimate partner violence.” Most reported more than one type — for example, physical violence and verbal threats.

Comments Fixed

posted by on May 17 at 1:29 PM

Comments are working again! Yay, comments!

We apologize for the delays. We’ve missed you.

Let us have it.

That’s a Hell of a Thing

posted by on May 17 at 1:25 PM

I was forwarded some photos of the 50 foot fin whale found dead near Bellingham on Sunday, and now I must share them with you. These pictures were taken during the autopsy, which also revealed that the whale’s penis was 5.5’ long and 13” wide.

Click thumbnails for a closer look.




Cantwell’s Position on Iraq is

posted by on May 17 at 1:16 PM

sapping her campaign’s ability to stir volunteers, according to Democratic state party chair, Dwight Pelz.

Soooo, the Democrats are bringing out super anti-war Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) to rustle up a Cantwell canvassing effort.

Feingold will be in Seattle this Saturday, May 20 stumping for Sen. Maria Cantwell at Whittier Elementary School (1320 NW 75th St.) at 12:30pm. After the rally, the Democrats plan to send the crowd—presumably fired up by Feingold—out into the neighborhood to canvass on behalf of Cantwell.

Two Questions:

1) Does anyone think this is weird?

2) Is Pelz going to be there?

Consistent Messages From Ian McKellen

posted by on May 17 at 12:31 PM

The only good thing about all the blah blah blah about that Jesus-got-married movie is the chance to hear Ian McKellen in front of a microphone:

McKellen on why the Catholic church should like the book/movie: “When I put the book down I thought, ‘what a load of potential codswallop’. That’s still going on in my mind. But I’m very happy to believe that Jesus was married… I know that the Catholic church has problems with gay people and I thought that this was absolute truth that Jesus was not gay.”

McKellen on why he doesn’t care whether the Catholic church likes the book/movie: The Vatican “is always saying very rude and unnecessary things about gay people, so I tend to keep out of their way and not listen to what they say.”

McKellen on the crap-ass book: “I doubt if people have read The Da Vinci Code more than once. It’s not that sort of book. You understand it as you go along and having understood it—it’s like a crossword. Once you’ve done the crossword you don’t rub it out and do it all over again and go onto another one, do you? I don’t.”

McKellen on religious types who want a disclaimer before the movie saying that it’s fiction: “Well, I’ve often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it’s true, not that it’s factual, but that it’s a jolly good story.”

Mixed Messages From Saudi Arabia

posted by on May 17 at 12:30 PM

The bad news: The Saudi king has demanded that newspapers stop running pictures of women.

The good news: Soon, those women will be able to buy lingerie from shop girls instead of shop boys.

The Whole World Is Watching

posted by on May 17 at 12:13 PM

From a new international poll:

In the past, while Europeans, Asians and Arabs might have disliked American policies or specific U.S. leaders, they liked and admired Americans themselves.

Polls now show an ominous turn. Majorities around the world think Americans are greedy, violent and rude, and fewer than half in countries like Poland, Spain, Canada, China and Russia think Americans are honest.

“We found a rising antipathy toward Americans,” said Bruce Stokes of the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which interviewed 93,000 people in 50 countries over a four-year span.

The dislike is accelerating among youths, Stokes said. For instance, 20 percent of Britons under age 30 have an unfavorable opinion of Americans, double the percentage of 2002.

The ‘ugly’ stigma

The problem, Stokes said, “is Americans, not just (President) Bush.”

(Via Raw Story.)

The Cosby Show

posted by on May 17 at 12:10 PM

According to Bill Cosby, black American males have entirely failed and now it’s up to sisters to take charge and save the race. Cosby’s criticism of urban black males is not peculiar or original; it’s been around since at the late 60s, and is connected with two crucial moments: the rise of the black middle-class (who benefitted from Affirmative Action); and the fall of the black working-class (whose males were hit hard by the deindustrialization of American society). Instead of blaming global economic changes, as does William Julius Wilson’s book When Work Disappears: The World of the Urban Poor, the black middle-class (and its leading representative, Cosby) has blamed the character (and values) of underclass black males.

Terrible Idea of the Day

posted by on May 17 at 12:01 PM

Gladiator, the musical.

Actually, now that I think about it: Musical theater, gladiator movies… what took so long?

Swivel Release Party Tonight

posted by on May 17 at 11:59 AM

Info straight from the editor:

Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 17th, for the (first ever!) Swivel Release Party! With Swivel #4 hot off the press there’s plenty to celebrate (especially since we neglected to have release parties for the first three issues). So come on down to the Conor Byrne Pub in beautiful Ballard (5140 Ballard Ave NW) and raise a glass to all things Swivelicious.

Behold, the low-down, for your scheduling pleasure:

7:30 pm: Say hello! Have a beverage! Buy a Swivel!
8:00 pm: Listen to illustrious Swivel contributors read lively bits of brilliance! See illustrator Ellen Forney perform a “live” comic from her new book! And! Experience the glorious vocal stylings of Ivory Smith!
9:00 pm: Mingle! Also, now that you’re good and liquored up, why not buy a few more Swivels? They sure are tasty.

Savvy Swivelers will stick around til 9:30 when “Miss Mamie Lavona the Exotic Mulatta” takes the stage. Magic and mystery guaranteed!

Ah, Harper’s Index

posted by on May 17 at 11:47 AM

Alternately amusing and horrifing statistics from a publication I consider to be a national treasure (incidentally, this month’s issue is the first without Lewis H. Lapham in his editorial role—he is now a “National Correspondent”):

Chance that an American says he or she views France as a U.S. ally: 1 in 6

Chances that an American says he or she uses the word “fuck”: 2 in 3

Amount a Pennsylvania T-ball coach paid a player last year to hit an austistic teammate with a ball: $25

Estimated percentage of women in U.S. prisons or jails who are single mothers: 77

Shotgun Marriages

posted by on May 17 at 11:22 AM

Remember when the bride’s daddy held the gun at a shotgun marriage? Welcome to Bush’s American, where the state now holds the shotgun. From the AP:

Mo. Town Denies Unmarried Couple Permit

BLACK JACK, Mo. - The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married. The town’s planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

“I’m just shocked,” Shelltrack said. “I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives.”

….Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town’s definition of family could soon face eviction.

La la la. I’m going to keep saying it until it sinks in: The American Taliban isn’t just interested in oppressing homos. They’re not going to rest until heteros toe the Christianist line too.

Comments Down

posted by on May 17 at 11:15 AM

Dear Slog faithful,

Due to unforeseen technical conspiracies, comments are currently broken. We are busily tracking down the problem, and we’ll let you know when the name-calling can resume.

Thanks for your patience.

- Nerds

Barefoot and Pre-Pregnant

posted by on May 17 at 11:05 AM

Barefoot and pregnant—or if not pregnant, then “pre-pregnant.”

We’ve known for a long time that the American Taliban and their allies in the Bush administration view pregnant women as little more than incubators. Well, now guess what? New guidelines released by the CDC reveal that the Bush administration views women who aren’t pregnant as little more than empty incubators. You may not be pregnant/incubating now, ladies, but you could/should become pregnant soon! From the Washington Post:

Forever Pregnant

Guidelines: Treat Nearly All Women as Pre-Pregnant

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves—and to be treated by the health care system—as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it’s important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

Gee, it looks like Margaret Atwood was on to something. (It’s time to re-read or rent The Handmaids Tale.) Ordering American women and their doctors to regard every uterus as “pre-pregnant” at all times because a woman may do harm to a fetus she doesn’t know she’s carrying opens the door to one day prosecuting women for failing to regard themselves as “pre-pregnant.” Sound far-fetched? Well, so did a war on contraception a few years ago.

Of course, the Bush administration’s CDC has nothing to say about single, sexually-active straight men being treated as “pre-fathers.” As a parent and a male, I’d say that smoking, obesity, and chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes could seriously hamper a man’s ability to do the heavy lifting that comes with fatherhood. But men don’t have to “maintain a healthy weight” or quit smoking. When it comes to men’s bodies and choices, the CDC is silent. Weird.

There’s a Straight Rights Update in this week’s Savage Love—it takes up half of the column. Every time I write one I think, “Hey, this is the last one. Blocking life-saving vaccines, banning abortion, destroying sex education, moving to ban birth control—it can’t get much worse, right? Then you pick up the next day’s paper and wham! Things just got worse!

Three more years. Holy crap—how are we going to get through this?!?!

Big Capitol Hill Block Party News on Line Out

posted by on May 17 at 11:00 AM

The preliminary schedule for this summer’s Capitol Hill Block Party has been announced. Head over to Line Out to read all about it.

How fertile is your field?

posted by on May 17 at 10:40 AM

From The Washington Post:

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves — and to be treated by the health care system — as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

All sound suggestions, but phrasing women’s health it in terms of “pre-pregnancy health” makes me feel a little like a tap-dancing uterus waiting to be plugged.

Wombs aren’t just made for babies, you know.

Belated Postcard from NYC

posted by on May 17 at 8:45 AM

Howdy folks. Sorry I’ve been out of the Slog loop for a bit, but I spent last week running around New York, navigating a double-purpose trip that left little time for hunting down internet cafes. On one hand, I was there to see my fella Jake, who’s spending the year working in Manhattan. On the other, I was there to show my mom around on her premiere visit to NYC. Balancing a conjugal visit with a maternal field trip was a trip, but it all seemed to work out, and I got to see a ton of interesting art.

My mom is a theater-lover with a ready credit card, so I got to see a couple of the “big Broadway shows” I typically miss. Despite the (deservedly) mixed reviews, I was thrilled to see The Threepenny Opera, the Brecht/Weill classic remounted in a new translation by Wallace Shawn, featuring Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer, Cyndi Lauper, and Nellie McKay. The show was messy and far from satisfying, even in Brechtian terms, but a number of the individual performances were dazzling, particularly the two displaced (and brilliant) pop stars: Cyndi Lauper has a voice that elevates any song she lends it to, and her Threepenny numbers were the most impressive and moving of the night. As for Nellie McKay: As anyone who’s heard her records knows, the girl’s a freak, and her sweet, big-brained freakiness is showcased wonderfully in Threepenny. If only I could say the same for star Alan Cumming, who plays the nefarious Macheath, and who I always enjoy more as a good-natured dork (see Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion) than as a double-entendre-spewing homoerotic psychopath. (However, Cumming seems to be enjoying his own performance enough to make up for my lack of interest.)

Far less ambitious and far more satisfying than Threepenny was Bridge & Tunnel, the dozen-characters-at-a-poetry-slam solo show by Sarah Jones, who was yesterday awarded a special Tony for her virtuoso, Meryl Streep-approved performance. The show didn’t go anywhere you couldn’t have predicted from the plot synopsis, but Jones’ performance was amazing, and she deserves whatever awards anyone wants to give her.

Continue reading "Belated Postcard from NYC" »

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Re: McGavick Campaign Screws Up

posted by on May 16 at 9:15 PM

Hey, Slog-only readers: My McGavick story (as advertised this afternoon) is up on our home page.


posted by on May 16 at 6:04 PM

The Intiman Theater just won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Its artistic director, Mr. Bartlett Sher, was nominated for a Tony. Local choreographer Donald Byrd was nominated for his work on The Color Purple. As was Rob Ashford for his work on the 5th Avenue’s pre-Broadway production of The Wedding Singer.

Past regional winners include the mellifluously-named Theatre de la Jeune Lune (2005), the Seattle Rep (1990), and Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival (1983).

And, as the Tony announcement teaches us, “intiman” is Swedish for “intimate” and was named for a Stockholm theater founded by August Strindberg.

Now please enjoy this picture of four dingbats and a disturbing apron.

Wednesday Jokes!

posted by on May 16 at 5:42 PM

If you’re unsure of what to do this Wednesday, May 17th, to celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day (Syttende Mai! Holla!), let me recommend Comedy Night at the Mirabeau Room.

The show will feature a bunch of local comedians saying hilarious combinations of words into a microphone. I have seen some of these joketellers perform before, and am prepared to vouch for their jokes. This week’s headliner is the extremely funny Hari Kondabolu.

Doors at 8, show at 9. $5.

Help a Brother Out

posted by on May 16 at 4:27 PM

A rant from a reader, sent to Last Days:

is it possible that there’s not one god damn place in all of seattle to rent a freakin hot tub? i dare you to type in “hot tub rental” followed by any city name into google and you’ll find a hot tub to rent for parties. tahoe. portland. denver, twin cities. houston. *sigh* could seattle truly be the only place on earth where you can’t have 30 of your closet friends over to get nekked in a rented tub? i believe it may be so.

His Google claims appear to be true. Can anyone help this fellow out?

SIFF Teaser, Part II

posted by on May 16 at 4:12 PM

You may be the kind of person who avoids SIFF movies that are opening in Seattle imminently; you may want to be first on your block to see the new Robert Altman. Either way, you want to know what’s opening here, and when it’s opening, so you don’t waste your hard-earned time/cash.

Opening dates are always tentative, but you can count on the calendar shows—Northwest Film Forum, Varsity, and also the Grand Illusion (though so far the GI doesn’t have any crossover programming)—to stay solid. If it’s a low-profile movie and it’s got a date but it’s not at the NWFF, there’s maybe a five percent chance that it won’t ultimately open in Seattle at all.

Sketches of Frank Gehry (Landmark Theatres, June 2)
Twelve and Holding (June 2)
The Proposition (Landmark, June 9)
A Prairie Home Companion (June 9)
The Heart of the Game (Landmark, June 14)
Beowulf & Grendel (Landmark, Jun 16)
Wah-Wah (Landmark, June 16)
Expiration Date (Landmark, June 21)
Wordplay (June 23)
The King (Varsity calendar show, June 23)
Strangers With Candy (Landmark, July 7)
Russian Dolls (NWFF, July 7, available now on Comcast On Demand)
Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man (July 14)
Who Killed the Electric Car? (Landmark, July 14)
Three Times (NWFF, July 14, available now on Comcast On Demand)
Crossing the Bridge (Northwest Film Forum, July 28)
Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Varsity, July 28)
Brothers of the Head (Varsity, Aug 11)
The Science of Sleep (Aug 11)
Factotum (Aug 25)
Heading South (Varsity, Aug 25)
Another Gay Movie (Varsity, Sept 1)
Pierrepoint (September sometime)
Container (not confirmed)
Close to Home (not confirmed)
Princesses (not confirmed)

For tickets, see

City Calls $1,022 a Month “Affordable”

posted by on May 16 at 3:48 PM

The city council’s housing committee just voted to put off a motion that would grant $1.5 million in tax breaks to a U District developer in exchange for “affordable” rental units that would cost nearly $200 more than the average rent for the neighborhood. In exchange for the tax break, the developer, Lothlorien Apartments, would make 30 percent of its units “affordable” to renters making up to 70 percent of the Seattle median, or $38,150 for one person. For a one-bedroom, that works out to $1,022 a month; for a studio, $953. The average rent for a one-bedroom in the U District is between $757 and $843, depending on whose numbers you believe. Although the postponement won’t likely change the deal offered to Lothlorien, the Seattle Displacement Coalition’s John Fox said today’s discussion “shows the council is serious about reconsidering the criteria” for the tax-break program.

McGavick Campaign to Stranger: We Screwed Up

posted by on May 16 at 3:45 PM

The McGavick campaign acknowledged to me late this afternoon (after adamantly denying they had done anything wrong) that the campaign finance reports they filed with the FEC last month were likely incorrect.

Incorrect to the tune of at $120,000 and counting.

The story is coming out online this afternoon (and in The Stranger tomorrow). After reviewing both McGavick’s first-quarter campaign finance report and TV station advertising contracts, I discovered that the McGavick campaign did not accurately report how much money it spent on a TV blitz in the first quarter of 2006.

More startling to me is that in reporting this story, I learned McGavick’s campaign bought its TV ads on credit. This raises red flags for everyone I talked to—both GOP and Dem media buyers in the political ad business.

TV stations shy away from selling political ad time on credit—and traditionally abide by a “pay-7-days-in-advance rule”—because political campaigns are risky. How does a TV station know a campaign is going to meet its fundraising goals? Obviously, some candidates are richer than others and are good for it—but giving rich candidates the privilege of paying later diminishes the integrity of the public airwaves.

Additionally, when a campaign gets credit, it raises questions about in-kind contributions from the TV station to the campaign.

Go to This Thing

posted by on May 16 at 3:40 PM

So far, the city’s presentations to the City Council on the three viaduct replacement proposals have been informative, but a bit of a snooze. (And not exactly objective and unbiased: If you didn’t already know which option the city preferred, hearing Seattle DOT head Grace Crunican describe the elevated replacement option as “a significant visual and psychological barrier between the waterfront and downtown” yesterday would have answered that question).

For a more entertaining presentation (and a more sustainable transportation vision than the car-centric model that’s currently driving the city’s transportation decisions), go to a panel discussion at Town Hall next Monday featuring John Norquist, the articulate, entertaining former Milwaukee mayor whose administration tore down a waterfront freeway in 2001, and Scott Bernstein, co-founder of the Surface Transportation Policy Project. The event starts at 7:30 pm and costs five bucks.

Diarrhea Pocket!

posted by on May 16 at 3:37 PM

I’m so glad someone called bullshit on Hot Pockets.

It’s Really, Really Nice Out—You Rule, Global Warming!—and You Probably Already Know How You’re Going to Spend Your Evening…

posted by on May 16 at 3:14 PM

…but just in case you’re casting around for ideas, Amy Kate Horn suggests the new Cirque de Soleil show Varekai:

Varekai is a bright and beautiful spectacle. The dreamscape conjures both tropical forest and coral reef. A gilt contortionist bends herself in half while standing on one hand. The crowd-favorite Russian swings are back, with flame-colored acrobats flying between them. Plus juggling, magic, popcorn, and everything else you’d expect to find under Cirque du Soleil’s sophisticated big top.

The show is at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Tues—Wed 8 pm, Thurs—Sat 4 and 8 pm, Sun 1 and 5 pm; $35—$185, plus $10 parking. Tickets at 1-800-678-5440 or Ticketmaster.

US Fighters to Iran?

posted by on May 16 at 3:11 PM

Hugo Chaves, the president of Venezuela, is power pissed at the USA—and he’s not just going to take it. Nope, he’s going to do something about it.

Venezuela is considering selling its fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to another country, perhaps Iran, in response to a U.S. ban on arms sales to President Hugo Chavez’s government, a military official said Tuesday.

Gen. Alberto Muller, a senior adviser to Chavez, told The Associated Press he had recommended to the defense minister that Venezuela consider selling the 21 jets to another country. Muller said he thought it was worthwhile to consider “the feasibility of a negotiation with Iran for the sale of those planes.”

Gee, poor Venezuela. Wouldn’t it suck if our president was that petty and petulant? Oh wait

President George W. Bush’s temper tantrums are on the rise, with White House insiders reporting increasing tongue-lashing of staffers, obscenity-filled outbursts and a leader driven to the edge by what he sees as party disloyalty and a country that no longer trusts him….

“He’s out of control,” one White House aide says privately. “There’s no other way to put it. His anger spills over in meetings. He berates anyone who brings him bad news but there’s not a lot of good news we can bring the President right now.

For Your Fucking Information

posted by on May 16 at 3:09 PM

From the Federal Reserve Bank:

Median net worth by race, 2001

Median net worth by race, 1998

The Ongoing Benefits of Law and Order

posted by on May 16 at 2:36 PM

Thanks to Sunday night’s episode of Law and Order, I was reminded of just why I love Theresa Russell.

Another MySpace Sellout

posted by on May 16 at 2:20 PM

Remember when was YOUR space, and when Fox bought MySpace, they said it wasn’t going to be THEIR space? Well, get a load of THIS. Fox broadcasting announced today that they’re teaming up with Burger King (!) to put downloadable episodes of the the Fox hit 24 on MySpace for only a buck ninety-nine per episode.

The promotion launches Monday, May 22, in conjunction with the season finale of the record-breaking fifth season of 24. MySpace users will be able to download-to-own two episodes of the FOX drama at no cost from a special HAVE IT YOUR WAY page provided by BURGER KING.
In addition, MySpace will create a social network around 24, where users can interact with each other, create user generated content and download the entire first and fifth seasons of the top-rated drama for $1.99 per episode.

Why not just change the name from MySpace to


“I’m so”

God gets a makeover

posted by on May 16 at 2:17 PM

Hey Friends! Do you find God a little outdated? Is the Bible a bit too cumbersome and embarrassing to lug about in public? Do you cringe at melodramatic churchy jargon such as “faith” and “salvation”?

Because you are not alone. Thankfully, a few “uplifting community of friends” (formerly known as congregations) have asked God to tone it down a bit.

“People often think the church is boring, judgmental, not relevant,” said Richard Reising, president of the Dallas firm Artistry Marketing, which specializes in church advertising.

Groups such as Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ, Promise Keepers, the Billy Graham Center, and associations of Southern Baptists and Pentecostals have come together to form the Internet Evangelism Coalition and revamp God’s stodgy image.

The [Internet Evangelism Coalition’s] top tip: Don’t sound preachy. Avoid “churchy jargon” — words like ministry, salvation, redemption, even faith. Draw nonbelievers to Jesus (or attract “unchurched” Christians to your specific congregation) by presenting the church as an upbeat, uplifting community of friends.

God is now Blackberry friendly, text message savvy, and if you’re “bored with your pastor’s ramblings,” He loves to talk about Christian dating and sometimes Old Testament prophets on His wildly popular Godcasts!

With Jesus and his six-minute abs stealing the spotlight for decades, it’s about time the Old Man got hip.

Just Back From Cackalack

posted by on May 16 at 1:31 PM

… where I went to watch my little sister graduate from a small liberal arts college with a degree in biology and an emphasis in neuroscience. That’s right, my sister is a budding brain surgeon and I’m irrepressibly proud.

I’m also a little depressed. Spending a week in the Carolinas with fresh-faced college graduates felt like being a widow at a wedding. I toasted their youth. I mourned my own. I drank sweet tea. And bourbon. And ate pecan pie. And attended an event called “beer truck.”

None of the college kids, however, could explain the origins of “Cackalakca.” Many of them were scions of the Southern gentry and seemed to find the word distasteful or claimed they’d never heard it (I thought all college kids listened to A Tribe Called Quest). Where real education fails, Wikipedia illuminates: “Although some believe the term has existed since the 1950s, it has recently entered the vernacular due to the urban hip-hop community… It is also the name of a brand of hot sauces.”

I met a white woman named Mrs. Blackman, met a black man named Professor White, and a walking metaphor: a young woman from a rich family who graduated with honors, received scholarships, won prizes for essay contests, and is sunny and pretty and tanned and well-dressed and clear-skinned and bright-eyed and a leader on the campus and in her church—who apparently doesn’t flush the toilet after she shits, leaving her peers to clean up her mess. I’m going to keep my eye on that young lady. I have a hunch she’s going to be a big shot some day.

Big Stars

posted by on May 16 at 12:57 PM

Have you discovered a stellar music documentary lately? Go to Line Out and tell us about it.

Knitta Please!

posted by on May 16 at 12:28 PM

It looks like ITMFA is being embraced by the “fiber arts community.” Abigail spotted this post on Needles & Hooks , one of the cool knitting blogs she checks out every day…

I’m a big fan of Dan Savage. He’s the Editor of The Stranger, a Seattle weekly paper. He’s also widely known for his frank and amusing weekly sex advice column, Savage Love…. Often people write to him asking about a relationship and it’s clear from the description in the letter that the writer is being taken advantage of. Dan’s primary advice is “DTMFA” (dump the motherfucker already). In recent months, in response to Dan’s continued frustration with American politics, and most importantly, the man at the top, a reader suggested ITMFA (I=Impeach). It’s a grass roots movement, and he encourages people to make their own ITMFA projects. He sells lapel pins and buttons (donating proceeds to the ACLU), many have gotten license plates, made bumper stickers, and designed t-shirts.

I decided that there had to be a fiber contribution:


Wow! What beautiful work, Needles & Hooks! There’s a link to a PDF of N&H’s ITMFA pattern on her website. And, hey, I’d love to have one to hang on my wall here at ITMFA HQ…

Advance Copy: Seattle Center Report

posted by on May 16 at 12:22 PM

I wanted to call Slog readers’ attention to Erica Barnett’s story—currently up on our homepage— about the report released today by the Mayor’s Task Force on Seattle Center. (Attentive Slog readers probably saw Erica’s story up on Slog last night.)

Bottom line: The report says the city’s general fund should pick up the Center’s annual $6.5 million debt payment on the Key Arena. The city has already been kicking in about $2.2 million a year on average since 2000 to help with the debt payment, which was supposed to be covered by the Sonics revenues.

My 2 Cents: If the Sonics stay in the picture, this deal is unacceptable. The public put up the money to revamp Key Arena w/ the expectation that the Sonics would make good on the loan. Freeing Seattle Center from the debt is, de facto, letting the Sonics off the hook for their commitment.

A Diamond in the Dirt

posted by on May 16 at 12:04 PM

Courtesy of DMZ over at the indispensable Mariners blog U.S.S. Mariner comes this photo of a promotional event at yesterday’s Tacoma Rainiers game:


What’s happening is women are desperately digging through the infield with plastic spoons in the hopes of finding a buried diamond ring.

As promotional events go, it’s both strange and sad. Still, it’s better than the Mariners’ terminally lame grounds crew dance routine they inflict upon their fans every single goddamn game. That needs to stop NOW.

Lindsay vs. Paris: Catfight!

posted by on May 16 at 12:01 PM

Today’s Hot, HOT Gossip!

Newsflash! Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton Come This Close to a Celebrity Bar Brawl — Wait, That’s an Awesome Name for a TV Show!

lindsay paris.jpgOnly a couple weeks after making poor, stupid Jessica Simpson burst into tears, Lindsay Lohan is at it again — but this time she’s making a move to a higher weight division by taking on the reigning catfight champ, Paris Hilton. Here’s the scoop! While sharing drinks with pals at Hollywood hot spot Hyde, Paris is shocked to see Lindsay stomping up to her table. Ice cold words were exhanged with the two allegedly climbing dangerously close to each others’ respective grills. Lindsay then spun on her designer heel and huffed away.
Now according to Lindsay’s peeps, she was innocent AS USUAL, and we’re making far too big of a deal out of it — AS USUAL.

As Paris’ rep explains: “Paris was having a conversation with a couple of friends. Lindsay approached her table and at that moment Paris felt she was being interrupted and didn’t wish to speak to Lindsay. A couple of words were exchanged and Lindsay went back to her table.”
“I can understand how other patrons in the club could have thought it had been a bigger deal than it actually was,” he concluded, in a playing-it-down manner.

OH, SURE. Paris isn’t at all angry about Lindsay hooking up with former boytoy Stavros Niarchos (which totally sounds like a Russian Dorito flavor, doesn’t it?). Nor could she be mad about Lindsay acting all palsy-walsy with sworn enemy Nicole Richey. So they’re probably just having a disagreement over who should win this year’s American Idol. VOTE FOR ELLIOTT!

One Bear

posted by on May 16 at 11:23 AM

I think it’s wrong to kill wild animals that kill or try to kill humans. Wild animals are not criminals, they are not members of our society; they are only doing what wild animals must do for a living.

A Reasonable Response

posted by on May 16 at 11:13 AM

If only our own government would follow Germany’s lead. Not likely, obviously.

Three Bears

posted by on May 16 at 11:13 AM

Check this out.

Practice Growing Old

posted by on May 16 at 10:59 AM

The great American poet Stanley Kunitz is dead. We are less without him.

Here’s his obituary if you want to know more about what he did in his 100-year life.

If you want to know more about who he was, you should buy this.

And take a moment to read the poem below.

Passing Through
—on my seventy-ninth birthday

Nobody in the widow’s household
ever celebrated anniversaries.
In the secrecy of my room
I would not admit I cared
that my friends were given parties.
Before I left town for school
my birthday went up in smoke
in a fire at City Hall that gutted
the Department of Vital Statistics.
If it weren’t for a census report
of a five-year-old White Male
sharing my mother’s address
at the Green Street tenement in Worcester
I’d have no documentary proof
that I exist. You are the first,
my dear, to bully me
into these festive occasions.

Sometimes, you say, I wear
an abstracted look that drives you
up the wall, as though it signified
distress or disaffection.
Don’t take it so to heart.
Maybe I enjoy not-being as much
as being who I am. Maybe
it’s time for me to practice
growing old. The way I look
at it, I’m passing through a phase:
gradually I’m changing to a word.
Whatever you choose to claim
of me is always yours:
nothing is truly mine
except my name. I only
borrowed this dust.

He was really something.


posted by on May 16 at 8:54 AM

Last week, I did my column on a follow-up meeting Sen. Maria Cantwell held with anti-war protesters who had staged a sit-in at her Seattle offices.

I ran through the questions the group asked Cantwell—and I ran through Cantwell’s non-answers. I was particularly happy with the quote I got from Joshua Farris, a 25-year-old Iraq war vet who’s part of the group.

Iraq vet Farris, a Seattle Central Community College student, summed up the meeting this way: “When I asked her about bombing Fallujah, the way she answered the question, it made me think she really didn’t know what we had done there, that we had leveled the city. When I told her we had, I think that just for a second, I might have moved her a little. But she’s a good politician. She’s careful about what she says.”

Well, this is pretty cool. Today PI columnist Robert Jamieson gives the anti-war group some more well-deserved coverage.

Usually, I get bent out of shape when the dailies follow our stuff, but in this instance, it’s a great thing. The sit-in and the follow-up meeting deserve the attention.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Center of Attention: Task Force Recommends Larger City Subsidy for KeyArena

posted by on May 15 at 10:54 PM

[The Stranger is posting this news story about a report on Seattle Center finances that will be released tomorrow. We got an early look at the report. More details to follow tomorrow afternoon.]

The Mayor’s Task Force for Seattle Center Sustainability, a nine-member commission charged with coming up with a path to financial sustainability for the struggling, debt-saddled city department, will recommend Tuesday that the City Council move Seattle Center’s long-term debt, which is currently paid for out of the Center’s operating budget, to the city’s general fund. The move would free Seattle Center from the crippling annual debt that has forced it to sell off properties to make up the shortfall, but would saddle the city with an additional annual debt between $2 and $3 million.

The shortfall can be traced back to the economic downturn of 2000, when revenues from sales of luxury suites and club seats at Key Arena, which had funded annual payments from a 1995 renovation of the Sonics’ stadium, plummeted. In 1995, the arena, which the Sonics rent from Seattle Center, underwent a $73 million renovation. The Center’s annual debt for the renovation was supposed to be paid off with private revenues from Sonics games. But when the economy began its steep decline, luxury seat sales at Sonics games followed, forcing the Center to run deficits and pay for a growing annual shortfall by dipping into its operations budget. “Seattle Center needs to be growing right now, and not only is it not growing, it’s shrinking,” says David Heurtel, Seattle Center’s director of marketing. “The Kingdome, Qwest and Safeco each have a dedicated revenue source [i.e., a tax]” to pay for capital improvements “We’ve got to remove the Key Arena debt from the Seattle Center bottom line.” Already, the report says, the Center has had to cut 50 positions to pay for the shortfall, of which the report recommends 20 should be restored immediately.

The Safeco-got-city-funding-so-we-should-too argument may not win Seattle Center much sympathy on the City Council (the council’s biggest Sonics skeptics, Nick Licata and Peter Steinbrueck, were in Australia Monday, and the council member whose committee will take up the issue, David Della, had not returned a call by Monday evening) but the task force’s other argument might prove more compelling: Seattle Center, Heurtel points out, is a city department. As such, it relies on (and, Heurtel argues, deserves) ongoing city funding. Currently, the report notes, about 25% of Seattle Center’s budget—between $8 and $9 million a year—has come out of the city’s general fund. But that amount, the report argues, shouldn’t be seen as a prescriptive cap on spending. “Just as the City budget funds parks, human services, and educational support, it should continue to fund a portion of Seattle Center’s budget,” the report says. “To consider this `subsidizing,’ as is asserted by some, ignores the fact that Seattle Center is a public institution that generates public benefits for which the public should rightly pay.”

The ongoing public subsidy is only the first (and largest) of the task force’s proposals. The report also recommends that the Center restore the cuts to its operating budget, including safety and maintenance staff; that the city make a significant investment in the Seattle Center monorail; that the city pay for capital improvements to the Center, including the Center House; and that the city invest between $20 and $200 million in KeyArena: The higher number if the Seattle SuperSonics stay in the city, the lower number if, as appears increasingly likely, they don’t.

ITMFA… blocked? Whaa? Huh?

posted by on May 15 at 5:46 PM


I just got a very mysterious message from a man about his ITMFA order…

The reason I made the order is that I sent your URL to my son who is “fighting for Democracy” in Iraq and I got the email back saying that ITMFA site is prohibited by IZ Symantic mail security. Sign me,

“Is It Fascism Yet?”

Huh? Whaa? ITMFA prohibited by IZ Symantic? Mail security? What the fuck does this mean? Can anyone help me figure this shit out?

In other ITMFA news, after a short lull orders for ITMFA pins and buttons are once again pouring in. You can order a tasteful lapel pin or stark white-on-black button by clicking here.

Our Little Eli—All Grown Up Now

posted by on May 15 at 4:24 PM

Best Sex Writing 2006 just landed on my desk, and I was shocked—shocked!—to discover that the anthology includes a piece by our own Eli Sanders. I won’t say what the piece is about, but I will say this: I didn’t know Eli was capable of doing such things or writing such filth. For shame, Eli, for shame.


To read about Eli’s dirty, dirty exploits, buy a copy of BSW2006 at your local independent bookstore—or, if you want to do your local independent bookstore in, you can order a copy on Amazon.

Hoity Toity Critics and Upstart Bloggers

posted by on May 15 at 3:57 PM

There’s an intriguing, if not always illuminating, conversation going on at ArtsJournal about arts criticism in the age of arts blogs. Of interest to Seattle readers: the Seattle Times’ own Misha Berson weighs in here with a fine bit of sardonic hyperbole entitled “Is Blogging the Panacea?”

To be fair to Misha, some of the bloggers are getting a bit manifest-y in their enthusiasm. But not Maud Newton. I love Maud Newton.

Here’s Misha:

In mentoring younger critics, I’ve been surprised how many downplay fact-checking. Or don’t realize that ad hominum attacks on artists (or gushing, unsubstantiated praise for them) can not only be hurtful, but runious.

I’ve never taken one of Misha’s seminars (though Brendan Kiley has), but I’m frankly skeptical that her students routinely “downplay fact-checking.” As for “ad hominum attacks”? I am surprised by how many Misha Bersons downplay fact-checking! Ad hominem is not spelled with a “u”! Misha, I believe, construes “ad hominem attacks” very broadly—to include clear-eyed criticism of a famous actor’s performance, for example.

Britney’s New “Manny”

posted by on May 15 at 3:38 PM

zthmhu.jpgStop sending in your resumes! After Britney Spears fired her nanny last month for allowing baby Sean Preston to take a noggin crackin’ face flop out of his high chair, a replacement has finally been found, according to BUT HOLD ON A MINUTE! That ain’t no nanny — it’s a MANNY!
And while he’s certainly cute enough for Britney to pull a Jude Law, he looks a bit on the flabby side to be getting into physical altercations with the papparazzi. SIGH. Where’s Hulk Hogan when you need him?


Lest We Forget

posted by on May 15 at 2:32 PM

For all my erstwhile and estimable colleagues:

Nell cover.jpg

Re: Covergate

posted by on May 15 at 2:26 PM

I’m not trying to throw fuel on the overwrought debate over whether or not the Weekly hesitated about putting minorities on the cover because of a belief that it depresses circulation, but I feel compelled to respond to allegations that I was lying about meetings I attended at which Weekly editors debated that very issue. One specific discussion concerned this cover, for a feature about black residents leaving the Central District. I’m not “lying about” the discussions or “making shit up”; in fact, such debates are actually very common.

From a New York Times story (November 18, 2002), headlined “On Covers of Many Magazines, A Full Racial Palette Is Still Rare”:

There are signs that the freeze-out may beginning to thaw, as the continuing explosion of hip-hop has pushed many black artists into prominence, and as teenagers’ magazines that are less anxious about race are bringing more diversity. But in many broad-circulation magazines, the unspoken but routinely observed practice of not using nonwhite cover subjects — for fear they will depress newsstand sales — remains largely in effect.

A survey of 471 covers from 31 magazines published in 2002 — an array of men’s and women’s magazines, entertainment publications and teenagers’ magazines — conducted two weeks ago by The New York Times found that about one in five depicted minority members.

Publishing is a conservative industry, one that has been known to define risk as using a cover model with dark hair instead of blond.

Daniel Peres, editor of Details, a men’s magazine owned by Fairchild Publications, said there was pressure to stick with outdated conventions because newsstands now display so many more titles competing for the consumer’s attention.

“Everyone is terrified of a misstep,” he said. “While most people in the business would prefer it go unspoken because they are horrified at being perceived as racist, it is a well-known legend that blacks, especially black males, do not help generate newsstand sales.

Christina Kelly, now editor in chief of YM, a teenagers’ magazine owned by Gruner & Jahr USA, recalls a struggle with the circulation people when she worked as an editor in 1993 at the now-closed Sassy magazine.

“We wanted to put Mecca from the band Digable Planets on the cover because she was huge at the time and gorgeous,” she recalled. “The circulation guys hated the idea, but we just went ahead and did it. The magazine was bagged with a separate beauty booklet, which was usually placed in the back, but this time, it was bagged in front. It just happened to have a picture of a blond, blue-eyed woman on it.”

For women who write

posted by on May 15 at 2:06 PM

Ladies: The deadline for submitting essays, short stories, memoirs, photos, and poetry for the next edition of the women’s lit mag Swivel: The Nexus of Women and Wit is, uh, today.

I was first introduced to Swivel last summer during Bumbershoot, when I caught their Indiscretions Road Show, featuring Aimee Bender, Vendela Vida, Lauren Weedman, and Ali Davis, who blew me away with excerpts from her True Porn Clerk Diaries. It was a great show.

If you haven’t heard of Swivel before, I’d suggest picking up a copy (available at Elliot Bay books and probably other places). It’s a great read, plus it’s Seattle based! You can see what they’re about on their website. Peruse, enjoy, and maybe think about submitting something (if not today, think fondly of the future!). It can’t hurt.

Return to Shangri-Las

posted by on May 15 at 1:57 PM

Josh, are you sitting down? Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las is making a brand new album.

You Supply the Caption

posted by on May 15 at 1:52 PM


Post YOUR snappy caption for this hilarious, and VERY disturbing photo.

Hat tip: Blogtown, PDX.

Cattle Cars

posted by on May 15 at 1:41 PM

George W. Bush says we can’t round up and deport the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. Defeatist! This is America, fuck yeah! We can do anything! We can round up those 11 million illegal immigrants—or so says right-wing columnist Vox Day—novelist, libertarian, and ” member of the SFWA, Mensa and the Southern Baptist church.”

[Bush] he lied when he said: “Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic — it’s just not going to work.”

Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn’t possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don’t speak English and are not integrated into American society.

Don’t want illegals picking your food, raising your children, and making your beds? Round `em up, America, pack `em into cattle cars, and “rid” the country of them! That’s how Hitler solved Germany’s “Jewish problem,” why can’t we do the same to solve our immigration problem? The United States is already torturing prisoners and spying on it’s own citizens—just like Herr Hitler!—so why shouldn’t we act like Nazis if it will solve our illegal immigration problem too?

Holy crap.

I don’t know whether the American right is consciously trying to deliver the entire Hispanic vote to the Democrats for the next six generations, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Via Americablog.

Holy Men vs. the Volcano

posted by on May 15 at 1:26 PM

Some people in Indonesia have antique ideas about how to deal with volancoes. (“Although most Indonesians are Muslim, many also follow animist beliefs and worship ancient spirits. At full moon, they may trek to the crater’s rim to throw in rice, jewellery and live animals to appease the spirits of the volcano.”) The grumpy mountain in question is Mount Merapi. It’s getting grumpier.

Need we remind the Indonesians what happened in this state 26 years ago this week? (Mt. St. Helens is current closed to hikers “due to volcanic activity,” and it’s not even spewing lava or anything like Mount Merapi.)

Letter of the Day

posted by on May 15 at 1:19 PM

Hello there, I am writing you because I purchased an english bulldog over the intrenet and some how during the shipping it got lost and I got an email from the shipper saying that you guys had an english bulldog that was lost so is there a way I can talk to someone to see if maybe that is my dog. I would greatly apprecate any help you can give me. Thanks, Tabitha

If this is spam, it’s extra cryptic. I do wish we had a spare English Bulldog to give her…

Interview with an African

posted by on May 15 at 11:55 AM

There’s a short, great interview with Stranger associate editor, filmmaker, cultural critic, and university lecturer Charles Mudede (“a lazy hack”—Chuck Taylor, Seattle Weekly) in today’s Seattle P-I.

Police Beat has its theatrical release in Seattle in July.

How French

posted by on May 15 at 11:29 AM

If you’re looking for something to do tonight to commemorate England’s declaration of war against France in 1756, Germany’s march into Northern France in 1940, and the birth of French Baywatch star David Charvet in 1972, howzabout a French movie?

Brad Steinbacher suggests the forgotten French noir flick Classe Tous Risques:

There are many reasons to see Northwest Film Forum’s revival of Claude Sautet’s Classe Tous Risques. Here’re three: (1) Its thief-running-from-his-past plot is bleak yet surprisingly humanistic; (2) the gorgeous black-and-white photography and European locales make you long for a time and a place you’ll never experience; and (3) it serves as a handy reminder that Jean-Paul Belmondo remains one of the coolest actors ever to grace the screen—in any language.

It plays tonight at 7 pm and 9 pm at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Avenue, 267-5380.

Alligator Eats A Crackhead

posted by on May 15 at 10:50 AM

Over the past six weeks, three women in Florida have been eaten to death by alligators. This is one of the unfortunate deaths:

[T]he body of Judy Cooper, 43, was found mutilated in a pond.

“I saw what looked like a pair of trousers floating on the pond. Then I saw a pair of sneakers attached to it and my daughter went out there with a stick and pushed on it and it turned out to be a body,” said local resident Fred Ferderber.

“Her arms were missing and she had a couple of bite marks on her sides.”

…Ms Cooper, a single mother from New Port Richey, Florida, had been struggling to overcome a crack cocaine addiction. Drug-taking equipment was found at the scene, though the local coroner confirmed that an alligator did play a role in her death.

Re: More Gore

posted by on May 15 at 10:45 AM

How about a debate in here over the controversial idea—examined by Adam Nagourney in the New York Times this weekend—that it would actually be better for the Democrats not to get control of Congress this fall, but to make gains while leaving the Rs in power. That way, the thinking goes, the Republicans will retain their leadership role through the last sure-to-be-disastrous two years of the Bush presidency, paving the way for a Democratic sweep in 2008.

If the Democrats take control of one or both houses this fall, it will be by a very slim margin, leaving them in power but only barely, unable to really fix anything, but in a position to be blamed for everything anyway.

As strange as it might seem, there are moments when losing is winning in politics. Even as Democrats are doing everything they can to win, and believe that victory is critical for future battles over real issues, some of the party’s leading figures are also speculating that November could represent one of those moments.

From this perspective, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world politically to watch the Republicans struggle through the last two years of the Bush presidency. There’s the prospect of continued conflict in Iraq, high gas prices, corruption investigations, Republican infighting and a gridlocked Congress. Democrats would have a better chance of winning the presidency in 2008, by this reasoning, and for the future they enhance their stature at a time when Republicans are faltering.

Indeed, some Democrats worry that the worst-case scenario may be winning control of Congress by a slim margin, giving them responsibility without real authority. They might serve as a foil to Republicans and President Bush, who would be looking for someone to share the blame. Democrats need a net gain of 6 seats in the Senate, and 15 seats in the House. “The most politically advantageous thing for the Democrats is to pick up 11, 12 seats in the House and 3 or 4 seats in the Senate but let the Republicans continue to be responsible for government,” said Tony Coelho, a former House Democratic whip. “We are heading into this period of tremendous deficit, plus all the scandals, plus all the programs that have been cut. This way, they get blamed for everything.”

Mr. Coelho quickly added, “Obviously, from a party point of view we want to get in and do things, but I’m talking about the ideal political thing.”

Bill Kristol said the same thing on The Colbert Report a couple weeks ago—that he hopes the Democrats win in November because he’d love to see Pelosi and Reid in charge for the last two years of the Bush era.

Sure, it’s cynical, but this is politics we’re talking about—it’s a cynical game. The Republicans have accomplished what they have in the past 15-20 years because they took the long view on getting and keeping power. They compromised short-term wins for long-term victories and they were nothing if not cynical.


ABC News: Federal Government is Spying on Journalists’ Phone Calls

posted by on May 15 at 10:05 AM

Among the targeted media outlets: ABC News, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

Mary Cheney and the FMA

posted by on May 15 at 8:41 AM

So Mary Cheney is having her say—she’s got a book out, Now It’s My Turn.

The carpet-munching daughter of VP Dick Cheney is responsible for what was, for me, the most head-spinning moment of the 2004 election. Just reelected after a campaign that vilified gay people—gay couples in particular— George Bush gave his acceptance speech on a stage with both men’s families, and Mary Cheney and her long-term, bull-dykish partner, Heather, were up there on the stage with Bush. Like most gay Americans, I wanted to jump into the photo that ran on cover of the New York Times and slap Mary Cheney’s face.

Mary Cheney had nothing to say about the Federal Marriage Amendment during the campaign, and she worked hard to reelect her father. Now we learn in her new book that she contemplated quitting. Gee, a real profile in courage. She didn’t speak up when her words might have had an impact, but now two years after her father was reelected, she squeaks out a few pathetic words of dissent.

In finally speaking up, Mary has mostly demonstrated how pathetically misinformed she is—which Andrew Sullivan, who says he has no issues with M. Cheney (he’s got plenty with her father, though), pointed out after Mary Cheney was on Larry King. When King asked Mary Cheney if her relationship has any legal protection, Cheney replied: “My partner and I have living wills, regular wills, powers of attorney, everything that quite honestly any couple married or not should have.”

Yeah, any couple should have those documents, Mary—but no gay couple in Virginia can have them. Mary lives with her partner in Virginia, and that state has the most draconian anti-gay law in the country—a law that no homo living in Virginia could possibly be unaware of . The law bars gay or lesbian couples from using private contracts to “bestow the privileges and obligations of marriage.” Wills, powers of attorney, end-of-life directives—they are all “void and unenforceable in Virginia.” Mary’s will, her living will, and her powers of attorney are unenforceable, each having been shredded by Cheney’s fellow Republicans in the Virginia legislature.

Jonathan Rauch, author of Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, and also resident of Virginia, wrote this op-ed about Virginia’s anti-gay marriage law for the Washington Post in July of 2004—an op-ed that Mary Cheney obviously missed. Perhaps like her father, Mary Cheney watches nothing but Fox News and reads nothing but the Moonie-owned right-wing rag The Washington Times. Here’s a chunk of what Mary missed:

It is by entering into contracts that we bind ourselves to each other. Without the right of contract, participation in economic and social life is impossible; thus is that right enshrined in Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution. Slaves could not enter into contracts because they were the property of others rather than themselves; nor could children, who were wards of their parents. To be barred from contract, the founders understood, is to lose ownership of oneself.

To abridge the right of contract for same-sex partners, then, is to deny not just gay coupledom, in the law’s eyes, but gay personhood. It disenfranchises gay people as individuals. It makes us nonpersons, subcitizens. By stripping us of our bonds to each other, it strips us even of ownership of ourselves.

Americans have a name for the use of law in this fashion, and that name is Jim Crow.

Here’s another piece from the Washington Post: A lesbian couple who lived in Virginia—a couple that had been together for 40 yearshad to sell their home and move to another state. Mary apparently missed this story too:

All that matters to them is being able to know, 100 percent for sure, that they will be together until the very end. They already know what it is like to be kept apart. Tibby still reflexively puts her right hand on her heart when she describes being barred from Barbara’s recovery room at Alexandria’s now-closed Circle Terrace Hospital, where Barbara had a hysterectomy in 1984. “Family only,” the nurses said, quoting hospital policy. Then, as now, the law did not entitle Tibby to be with Barbara.

“I could see her being wheeled in there, and it just pulled at my heart, to have her alone in there,” Tibby says. She stalked the waiting room until shifts changed and returned to the nurse’s station with a new identity—Barbara’s sister.

Now the Affirmation of Marriage Act had stripped away their confidence that their medical directives, which left each in charge of health care decisions for the other, would trump Virginia’s refusal to recognize their relationship.

Somehow Mary Cheney missed this story—and Rauch’s, and all the hundreds of other stories written about Virginia’s draconian anti-gay law. Poor Mary Cheney—born with a silver blinders on, it would appear.

Anyway, I bring all this up now because of a story on the cover of this morning’s New York Times: Conservative Christians Warn Republicans Against Inaction. The American Taliban is displeased with Republican leaders for not enacting their social agenda.

Some of President Bush’s most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion….

And at a meeting in Northern Virginia this weekend of the Council for National Policy, an alliance of the most prominent Christian conservatives, several participants said sentiment toward the White House and Republicans in Congress had deteriorated sharply since the 2004 elections.

When the group met in the summer of 2004, it resembled a pep rally for Mr. Bush and his allies on Capitol Hill, and one session focused on how to use state initiatives seeking to ban same-sex marriage to help turn out the vote. This year, some participants are complaining that as soon as Mr. Bush was re-elected he stopped expressing his support for a constitutional amendment banning such unions.

So, Mary—to appease the assholes that nullified your wills, living wills, and powers of attorney in Virginia, the Senate is going to vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) in June. If the FMA passes, it will destroy what little protection same-sex couples in the United States—all of them except Virginia—currently enjoy. So now that you’re speaking up—finally—now that it’s “your turn,” I hope we’ll see you out there actively campaigning against the FMA, or “fighting the forces of intolerance,” to borrow a phrase. (It’s not like McCain is using it anymore.)

But if you’re not going to lift a finger to fight the FMA, Mary, if you’re just going to sit there in Virginia with your thumb up your own ass and your tongue up your father’s, then have the decency to shut your fucking mouth.

The P-I on the Burner-Blogger Relationship

posted by on May 15 at 8:19 AM

Interesting article in this morning’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the local liberal blogosphere and the impact it’s had on eastside Democrat Darcy Burner’s campaign for Congress.

The Burner-blogger relationship could point the way to the political future, in which Web-based activism exercises a growing influence over regional, statewide and even national elections.

I could be petty and complain that the P-I didn’t note the Slog in its list of local blogs that are watching the Burner race closely (even though we have a significantly higher readership than the other blogs mentioned). But instead I’ll be petty and smirk a bit at this sentence, which, in its earnest attempt to explain blogs to the P-I’s (aging) readers, ends up sounding a bit like Bush talking about those newfangled Internets.

The coinage “blog” comes from Web log and refers to an Internet site whose creator updates it with news or opinions on a theme while allowing visitors to type in comments that can be read by all other viewers.

Welcome to 2006, Seattle P-I readers!

But ribbing aside, the article is a local politics must-read, particularly for its closing paragraphs:

To Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, the larger question is whether blogs can change voting patterns.

Their rabid partisanship attracts mostly true believers, and they end up screeching to the choir.

“Blogs are good for motivating the base,” Shirky said. “They’re not good for convincing swing voters.”

Yet even as echo chambers, blogs will grow in political influence, he said.

“The total reader population of blogs has gone up dramatically,” he said. “The blogosphere is going to become increasingly of a scale that will swing first House races, then Senate races and then eventually presidential races.

Will the Burner race be one of those first House races that Shirky belives the blogoshpere, in its rise toward increasing political clout, is destined to swing? Six months left until we find out…

Tehran Glitter

posted by on May 15 at 2:10 AM

I’m not going to get into my histrionic reasons, but I’ve been obsessed with the ‘79 Iranian Hostage Crisis for as long as anyone who knows me has known me.

Ask anybody at work: I have a weathered photo from the crisis taped up on the door of my office. And at home, I have framed pictures from the NYT’s and Time magazine’s contemporaneous coverage. That’s how goofy I am about Tehran ‘79. (Man, I even wrote a 4-minute “operetta” about the whole thing—which I had performed at the Seattle Composer’s Salon in 2002.)

I will say this: Both in 1979—as a precocious kid—and to this day, I sympathize/d with “The Students.” They had a direct (and justified) connection to the mid-20th Century’s beautiful upheaval against the old guard.

There’s been a wave of new books about the crisis published in the last two years. And with titles like “Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War With Militant Islam” & “The Crisis: The President, The Prophet, and The Shah—1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam,” it’s apparent why there’s renewed interest in the 27-year-old event.

In a review of Guests of the Ayatollah in The NYT Book Review this Sunday, there was a beautiful passage that I’ve been waiting for since 2001:

“The seizure of the embassy was a form of political expression, if a violent and, in the end, extraordinarily cruel one. The students wanted to say something to America and the West; that’s why they argued with the hostages rather than beheading them. The terrorists who plant bombs on the London subway have nothing to say.”

While I dug the Iranian students, I have zero sympathy or “understanding” for bin laden and the fascist al qaeda movement. Zero. They are right wing reactionary thugs; “Reactionary Utopianism” as Christopher Hitchens accurately calls it. Those who claim to “understand” al qaeda’s anger are knee-jerk pseudo leftist morons. (I’m sorry, but mouthing convenient oppostion to America’s support of Israel is not a get out of jail free card for messianic fascism.)

The U.S. backed the Mujahadeen insurgency in Afghanistan. While trite leftists think that makes the U.S. hypocritical—it actually makes the U.S. consistent.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

More Gore

posted by on May 14 at 6:59 PM

I’m not alone in thinking Gore would make a good candidate in 2008—Joshua Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo digs Gore too. Joshua links to a letter from a reader posted on Andrew Sullivan’s website today from a Dem who predicts it will be Gore in 2008.

Gore’s big advantages: he’s been right on the issues, he retains stature among Democrats, and, surprisingly, he’ll appear fresh from being away so long. Other than SNL last night, when was the last time you saw Gore on TV (and if you didn’t see Gore on SNL…go to for a very good laugh!)? Gore-Warner is the winning ticket in ‘08.

Says Andrew…

I’d dismiss this if a very canny Republican hadn’t said exactly the same thing to me the other night. I still cannot see it. But in politics, anything can happen, I suppose.

November of this year—when, please God, Dems will take back one or both houses of Congress—is so maddeningly far off that I have to force myself not to think about it too much. I’m not sure I’ll be able to relax enough to enjoy the summer. So wondering who I’ll be voting for in November of 2008 makes my fucking head ache—that November is so fucking far off and George W. Bush is going to be the fucking’ president until then. Until the following January! Ugh. I have to go lay down.

Gore in 2008!

A Perfect Pair

posted by on May 14 at 6:45 PM

We all know what a thick-headed jackass George W. Bush is, and by extension most of us probably assume his wife isn’t the brightest light in the … thing with lights … either. She has to be pretty delusional to be married to that guy.

Well here’s some recent proof:

U.S. First lady Laura Bush said on Sunday she does not believe opinion polls showing her husband’s approval ratings at record low levels.

Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Laura Bush said she did not think people were losing confidence in President George W. Bush, despite a series of polls showing support for him at its lowest point in his five-year presidency and among the lowest for any president in the past 50 years.

“I don’t really believe those polls. I travel around the country. I see people, I see their responses to my husband. I see their response to me,” she said.

“As I travel around the United States, I see a lot of appreciation for him. A lot of people come up to me and say, ‘Stay the course’.

This woman is so amazingly dense that she thinks that the people who come to see her husband’s appearances are a representative sample of the population. It’s a random sampling of ordinary Americans, just happening by a $10,000-a-plate Republican fundraiser. She’s taken her own informal poll of people who love George Bush, and, why, they overwhelmingly love him! The polls in the papers are crazy!

Nearly every day I think my capacity to be stunned by Bush and his gang’s (and his family’s) unprecedented combination of evil and stupidity is at its limit, and nearly every day I’m yet more stunned. Maybe she’s not really this stupid—maybe she’s just saying what she’s told to say—but I prefer to think she’s an unbelievable dolt. It just fits.

Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on May 14 at 12:47 PM

The parents of baby girl in Tennessee have been arrested—for rape. They allegedly raped their own child. Anal rape. At the hospital where their baby was born. Read it and weep.

A Sort of Homecoming

posted by on May 14 at 12:17 PM

The success of the Police Beat film with New York City’s critics resulted in my first big profile in a major Zimbabwean newspaper, The Mirror. This is how I was introduced to my countrymen:

The name Charles Tonderai Mudede may not mean much to the millions of Zimbabwean arts enthusiasts apart from the fact that it is a typical Zimbabwean Shona name. But, actually, it is a name that belongs to a Zimbabwean academic and artist living in Seattle, United States who has penned a short film, Police Beat that has taken Seattle and international film buffs by storm.
I love the writer’s energy, but she is wrong about my name being typical. The reason why it’s easily recognizable to “millions of Zimbabwean arts enthusiasts” is because my father’s cousin, Tobaiwa Mudede, is the Register-General, and so my surname is on every registration card and passport issued by the Zimbabwean government. My name is also heard at the end of every dubious presidential election: “I, Tobaiwa Mudede do hereby declare Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who received the majority of the total valid votes cast, as president of the Republic of Zimbabwe.” Tobaiwa’s fame (or infamy, depending on where you are on the political spectrum), is the reason why Mudede is common in my native country.

Jeb Bush in 2008?

posted by on May 14 at 11:44 AM

There’s already a “Draft Jeb Bush” website— Say it ain’t so!

It’s Funny.

posted by on May 14 at 11:20 AM

But, God almighty, it hurts to watch. President Al Gore delivers a speech from the Oval Office on Saturday Night Live last night.

I hope Al Gore runs for president in 2008. Am I alone?