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Archives for 05/28/2006 - 06/03/2006

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Competing Visions

posted by on June 3 at 8:10 PM

The GOP sent out a press release today w the following headline: Democrat divide over Iraq War hurts Cantwell.

The Democrats sent out a press release today w the following headline:
Convention: State Democrats Unite Behind Maria Cantwell.

From the GOP press release:

As anticipated, Democrats were fiercely divided over the Iraq War, and their incumbent US Senate candidate, Maria Cantwell. Reactions to Cantwell’s appearance at the convention were mixed. Many delegates sported “No War” buttons, and before her speech chanted “No more war.” Washington State Republican Party Chairman Diane Tebelius said: “There is a clear division within the Democratic Party over Maria Cantwell. The Democratic base’s obvious lack of enthusiasm for Cantwell is definitely going to hurt her in November. The rift in the Democratic Party is not going to heal overnight. Washington voters are not going to vote for a party that does not have a clear message.”

From the Democratic press release:

Highlighted by a united show of support for Senator Maria Cantwell and a slew of Democratic Congressional and legislative candidates, the convention officially kicked off the 2006 campaign season for the 1000-plus delegates in attendance and Democrats throughout Washington state. Chair of the Washington State Democrats, Dwight Pelz said: “Washington State Democrats are energized and ready to roll up their sleeves to re-elect Maria Cantwell, send fresh new leadership to Congress and expand our majorities in the legislature. The grassroots of the Party has come together and demonstrated our strength and commitment to take back our country from the incompetent and failed leadership of Bush and the Republicans in Congress.”

Dwight Pelz & Diane Tebelius should just get a room already.

An Inconvenient Truth, Seattle Opening

posted by on June 3 at 2:30 PM

I saw Al Gore’s movie last night opening night in Seattle and want to join Dan, Annie, Goldy, Franklin Foer, and all the rest who are saying this is a film you shouldn’t miss if you’re a human being living on this planet. (That means you!)

Here are two incentives to see An Inconvenient Truth this weekend:

One, Franklin Foer is predicting, correctly I think, that this movie…

…has the potential to become a seminal political document—a cinematic Silent Spring. It will certainly change elite opinion.

Want to join the American elite? This weekend it will cost you less than $10.

Two, as Goldy notes:

Big crowds will assure wider release.

He means big crowds on opening weekend. So if being part of the elite doesn’t thrill you, or makes you feel uncomfortable and frustrated, you should still see the movie this weekend. That way, you’ll help it reach the masses.

I saw the movie at Pacific Place, and I could go on and on about what it left me thinking and feeling, but here’s what’s most prominent in my mind at the moment:

As a journalist, it left me feeling as if this profession has failed on a very basic level to inform the public about global warming. There’s a moment in An Inconvenient Truth when Gore debunks the whole notion that there is a scientific “controversy” over the reality of global climate change, and part of the debunking involves this study, which looked at 928 scientific papers on climate change published in peer-reviewed science journals between 1993 and 2003.

None of those scientific papers disagreed with the consensus position: That climate change is real, is tied to human activity, and is happening now.

Then, Gore pointed to the results of another study, I think it was this one, which looked at coverage of global warming in the “U.S. prestige press” (that is, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times) between 1988 and 2002. At a time when there really was no scientific disagreement on global climate change, 53 percent of the mainstream “prestige press” articles surveyed gave a sense that there was indeed some sort of scientific disagreement.

No wonder Americans, from the elites on down, are so confused about global warming, and no wonder this country is still the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.

Also, as a citizen and a voter, the movie was a stark reminder of how rare it is these days for someone to try to rally this country with calls for moral action that are grounded in science and how close we were to having a different kind of national discourse.

Here’s what I mean: On Friday evening, I sat in a movie theater and listened to Al Gore give what is essentially a riveting science lecture intended to make an argument for saving this planet. It felt strange refreshing, but still strange given how much of the national conversation these days is taken up with irrational, unscientific arguments that are intended to appeal to our emotions, not our critical thinking. Fast forward to Monday, when back in the current reality I will turn on my television (or my web-based equivalent) and watch the man who sent Al Gore into political exile, President Bush, give a Rose Garden press conference arguing for a Constitutional ban on gay marriage an argument that will be grounded in Christianist religious doctrine, an argument intended for no higher purpose than to help Republicans with short-term political concerns, and an argument doomed to go nowhere, since the gay marriage ban has no chance of passing in the Senate. Meanwhile, the planet gets warmer.

Thankfully, movie theaters are air conditioned. Get yourself to one!

815 Pine Street

posted by on June 3 at 1:56 PM


Gregoire Shocked Into Action

posted by on June 3 at 9:49 AM

Seattle Times reporter David Postman reports on his blog that Gov. Gregoire has just learned that the Board of Pharmacy was never confirmed.

None of the members of the state Board of Pharmacy have been confirmed by the state Senate and in January Gov. Chris Gregoire could replace the entire panel if she wanted.

And she may. The governor told me last night that she’s learned the board members had never been confirmed, neither the two members she appointed or the five appointed by Gary Locke. On Thursday the board voted 5-0, the two non-pharmacists on the board don’t get a vote, to to endorse a regulation that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense medication on moral grounds. The vote moves the proposal forward to a public hearing in late summer, after which another vote will be taken by the board.

Gregoire has been criticized for not fighting harder to stop the proposal. Now, though, she says she’s committed to a tough and aggressive campaign to get the board to reverse its position. And that could mean replacing board members next year.

“This is all about patients’ rights and they must focus on patients. And if they’re not going to do that I need a group that will. But they’ve got a chance. They can make it right. They have until August.”

I interviewed Gregoire in Yakima last night after she spoke to the Democratic state convention. In the convention hall she papered the room with copies of her letter to the pharmacy board opposing the plan and mentioned it in her speech to delegates.
Gregoire is also working to build a coalition of interest groups to lobby the board. Gregoire said she is trying to enlist groups like the AARP, cancer organizations and doctors. While much of the attention on the proposal has been on emergency contraception, Gregoire says it goes much further.

“What if I came up and you assumed that I was an undocumented (worker), so you’re going to deny me, because you decided I was getting some sort of state help and I don’t deserve it. Or you decided because I’m getting some prescription having to do with AIDS, therefore I’m gay and you don’t like that or I have some sort of cancer and you think I’ve been a smoker and that’s my problem so you’re not going to do that. I could go on with the list. I think there’s no end to it. This board did not appreciate what they were doing. They did it too quickly. They looked for a compromise and they failed to understand what they’ve done and once I think they are aware of it, I have confidence they’ll do the right thing in the end.”

Gregoire has been on record since January opposing the plan. But should she have moved sooner to build a coalition and speak out publicly as she began to do just last night? “I’ve asked myself that today,” she told me. But I was left with the clear sense that she didn’t think that would have worked before now. Most people, she said, thought about the proposal only in terms of birth control and she said there was “complacency” about the board’s deliberations.

Now, though, she seems jolted into action “I don’t know of another state that’s gone this way and I am shocked that we have,” she said.

This is certainly good news. It’s frustrating, though, that Gregoire just learned she’s got this leverage over the board. Groups like the Northwest Women’s Law Center & Planned Parenthood have been meeting w Gregoire behind the scenes for months urging her to get involved. Nancy Sapiro, NWLC’s senior legal and legislative counsel complained to me yesterday that Gregoire’s “hands off style” to “honor the process” was a constant frustration to the coalition that was lobbying the Pharmacy Board. Gregoire apparently didn’t take Sapiro and her colleagues seriously until the situation got out of hand. It’s troubling that Gregoire doesn’t seem to listen to the people she claimed as constituents when she ran in 2004especially on a social issue like this one where she had cast her opponent, Dino Rossi, as such a blockhead.

As for removing the board…I’ll believe that when I see it.

Friday, June 2, 2006

CA-50: The Talk of Next Week

posted by on June 2 at 6:03 PM

Want to impress your political friends? Get up to speed on CA-50 this weekend, because starting Tuesday it will be the bellwether du jour in the Democrats’ effort to take back the House of Representatives.

(What the hell is CA-50? See here, here, and here, for starters.)

“It’s the Right Thing To Do”

posted by on June 2 at 5:19 PM

Last night I attended the meeting of the Northeast District Council, the most recent stop on the Nickels campaign to promote the annexation of North Highline. I wrote on this subject in February, and I was curious to see whether Nickels staffers have since revised a sales pitch that back then seemed incomplete — suspiciously so.

The proposal is for Seattle to annex North Highline, the unincorporated sliver of land on Seattle’s southwest border, just north of Burien. The area — which includes parts of White Center, Boulevard Park and part of South Park — has a depressed tax base relative to Seattle, such that it can’t give revenue back to the city in proportion to the services it would get from the city. What’s more, there is a significant, increasingly organized opposition within North Highline to Seattle’s overtures.

So…why is Nickels so hellbent on making this happen? What is in it for him? Or us, as Seattle taxpayers?

Nickels’s representative Julien Loh, who has been assigned the task of promoting this bewildering idea, answered that question thus:

“We think it’s the right thing to do.”

But that didn’t satisfy anybody. Since when do politicians care about the right thing to do — especially when it runs against self-interest? So the question was asked again, and this time he answered:

“We can offer better services to the people of North Highline then King County.”

Still, he’s not speaking about Seattle’s interest. The question is rephrased and asked again, to which he answers that Seattle wants a “stable neighborhood south of its border.”

More iterations of the same question only bring more of the same incomplete answer: It’s because Nickels represented the area when he was on county council, and he feels an affection toward those folks. Or it’s because it’s a very diverse neighborhood which would add to the cultural fabric of our city. Or it’s because the Growth Management Act said cities should absorb unincorporated areas and that’s what we’re doing. Did I mention it’s the right thing to do?

All of the above happened at the Southwest District Council meeting I attended February 1 — four months ago. Since then, I wrote a critical article. And then this past week, the P-I wrote almost the same piece.

So surely the Nickels promotional team has reacted to the skepticism and tweaked its campaign.

Nope. Last night’s meeting unfolded exactly like the one four months ago, as members of the district council put the same questions to Loh and he answered in the same platitudes. I counted three times that he said, “the right thing to do.” It was like being at a press conference emceed by Scott McClellan.

People at the meeting wanted to know what the financial cost of annexation would be, and Loh told them the financial assessment would be released next month. Which is the same answer he gave when the same question came up in February.

The members became agitated as Loh kept to his talking points, and they only calmed down after University District Community Council president Matt Fox seized the floor and gave everyone a neat five minute rebuttal to Loh’s presentation that reduced the city’s case to rubble and, seemingly, confirmed the skepticism of all present. Loh didn’t even bother contesting Fox’s points.

It’s remarkable to see a campaign which is ostensbily designed to promote a policy have the exact opposite effect. Maybe Nickels’ motives aren’t sinister, but when the media and residents on both ends of the city all have the same reaction, that’s a campaign that needs fixing — and it shouldn’t take four months.

Double Abyss

posted by on June 2 at 4:19 PM

While drifting through digital space, I came across this passage from Nabokov’s memoir Speak, Memory:

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged — the same house, the same people — and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.”

The passage appears early in the book and is second in greatness to another passage that appears shortly after the middle of the memoir and describes, with marble smoothness, two lovers walking at night through an empty city. In the passage above, the English language and reality are almost one and the same.

Shooting for the Moon

posted by on June 2 at 4:13 PM

Gus Hellthaler had already made up his mind to sell his University District tavern, the Blue Moon, but now he wonders if he’ll sell an empty building. On May 25, says Hellthaler, a Seattle official gave notice to the Washington State Liquor Control Board of the city’s objection to Blue Moon’s beer and liquor license, which is only good through September.

Hellthaler has had a target on his back ever since February 2005, when he refused to sign the“Community Good Neighbor Agreement” thrust at him by the City Attorney’s office.

Those agreements have always carried an implied threat: If you don’t sign, the city will write to the liquor board objecting to your license. Technically, the city has no power over a state board; but by the same token cities have more resources for monitoring clubs and for that reason, say critics, the liquor board takes the city’s opinions at face value — and rules accordingly.

If so, the Blue Moon appears to be one case where that policy seems deeply flawed. The tavern hasn’t provoked anger from its neighbors. It doesn’t have a long list of liquor violations. It hasn’t attracted violence. Nor has the police department made a convincing case that the Blue Moon presents a drug-dealing threat — any more so than any other bar in the city.

All of this leads Hellthaler and his tavern’s defenders to draw the same conclusion: that Nickels’s administration is making an example of the Blue Moon.

That is, all the other nightclub owners in town are put on notice: Sign a good neighbor agreement, because if you don’t, it won’t matter whether you have a clean record or not. You’re going down.

A New Capitol Hill Bar That Even I Can Love

posted by on June 2 at 3:24 PM

With the obvious exception of the live music venues which I frequent and the occasional stop in Linda’s, I don’t go out for cocktails on Capitol Hill—I’m much more fond of neighborhood bars in Ballard and other North End environs. However, Havana—the new establishment being built by former Viceroy manager Quentin Ertel—has the potential to keep me on the Hill for happy hours this summer.

Set to open in late June, Ertel’s space is located between 10th and 11th on Pike Street. It’s not easy to find at the moment, as its side entrance is tucked into the parking lot that faces Vita. Kelly O and I went over there recently, chatted with Quentin and took a couple of photos, including this one that gives a sense of what the ornate and pleasingly old-fashioned bar will look like (Quentin wants it to feel like a vintage bar that was just re-discovered):


The space has the advantage of some pretty sweet contrasting elements: soaring, pressed tin ceilings and elegant, enormous picture windows alongside cavernous enclaves and cozy balcony seating, creating the potential to be both visually dramatic and invitingly intimate:


Color choices as of now are blessedly free of local design cliches (read: the walls will be avocado green, not blood-red), and Quentin is using his exceptional thrifting skills to collect great light fixtures and accessories that reflect the old-world look he’s going for. What’s more, the boy has a killer track record—he’s managed a ton of successful local bars, including the Showbox, Linda’s, Chop Suey, and was the key element that made Viceroy such a hit. I’ll leave it to your imagination what sort of DJs and theme nights he’ll be drawing to Havana—and I’ll be writing about it more in a future edition of my Rocka Rolla column.

An additional note: He’s keeping the menu simple—essentially just a rotating artisan cheese plate. However, he has worked out a deal with the folks over at neighboring Via Tribunali to run over their Neapolitan-style pizzas, an idea I heartily support.

Speaking of Sex Machines…

posted by on June 2 at 3:02 PM

As anyone who grew up with Sears catalogs in the house knows, the difference between underwear advertising and pornography is often in the eye (and lap) of the beholder.

However, this negligible difference is obliterated on the website for the Shock Absorber sports bra.

(Go to site, skip the intro, then “click to see the Bounce-o-meter in action and find your perfect sports bra!” For best effect, choose double-D or higher, and the peak level of activity.)

Enjoy! Or don’t.

(Hat tip to Stranger distro prince Joe G.)

Counter-Programming SIFF

posted by on June 2 at 2:55 PM

So SIFF is entering its second exhilarating/exhausting week today, and the counterprogrammers—who were cowering a bit on opening weekend—are finally coming out to play.

Seattle True Independent Film Festival (STIFF) kicks off today with an impressively packed lineup of underground/low-budget/local/microcinema offerings. Andrew Wright previews the festival here. In addition to his worthy picks, I also recommend you check out Grand Luncheonette, a short by Peter Sillen (who co-directed the great Benjamin Smoke with Jem Cohen) about the closing of a Times Square lunch counter. It looks like it should be 16 mm, or at least a film-to-video transfer. Dansk Stil is a movie about the Danish hiphop scene, which makes for a nice counter-programming choice given that SIFF is doing a Danish spotlight. Charles Mudede says he’s heard good things about Wally. There are also lots and lots of movies about zombies and ninjas and clowns.


Grand Illusion, which sells general tickets for a sweet $7.50, is in the second week of a Fritz Lang series—either an ambitious or a completely foolhardy alternative to SIFF’s archival presentations. Go, now, watch M. Next week, they’re retreating to more traditional microcinema territory with a movie called Psychopathia Sexualis (it’s a dramatization of the Krafft-Ebbing text).


Northwest Film Forum embraced the SIFF behemoth last week, with a pretty damn good SIFF program entitled “Alternate Cinema” (so far, a Darkness Swallowed is my favorite experimental film of the year). This week, they’re breaking away from SIFF and doing something pretty smart: music festival documentaries. Who knew such a genre existed? It should appeal to people who aren’t so into SIFF’s (I hate to say it) disappointing music-oriented programming. The T.A.M.I. Show starts tonight at 7 and 9; Festival starts Monday (Megan Seling’s capsule review is here). Next week: Coachella.

Beautiful Sex Machine

posted by on June 2 at 2:28 PM

A gorgeous photograph from Timothy Archibald’s book “Sex Machines.”

(NSFW. Image after the jump.)

Continue reading "Beautiful Sex Machine" »

Sugar Ain’t So Sweet

posted by on June 2 at 1:39 PM

It’s only been open a couple months, but Sugar, the new Capitol Hill gay nightclub, is already seeing some trouble. Last Thursday, the club’s booker and promoter, LA Kendall of Re:Launch HitGirl!, pulled all her programming after consistently butting heads with the club’s owner, George Foster.

“Week after week I was being told to slash the budget and fire people,” says Kendall. “So I set him down and I had a meeting. He started bringing up that he was upset the clientele wasn’t younger, white, gay boys and he was also expressing concern about not making enough money. He had a real problem with all the women in the DJ booth… Colby B was just nominated to be one of the Top 5 DJs in Seattle, what more could you want?”

Even though the club had been packed during it’s opening weekend (over 500 paid each night and the club’s capacity is 475), Foster still wanted to see more people, and different kinds of people. So instead of continuing to fight Foster, Kendall severed ties, pulling not only her programming (including tonight’s now cancelled “Are We Not Men” night), but also her employees. About 30 people total, she estimates.

“It was just time to go. He wants to go with a more circuty kind of feel to things. And he would ask me to try and make that work, but I don’t know anything about that. It’s not my forte, my business is a little more diverse, and I didn’t want to be a part of something that I knew was going to fail.”

I called Foster and left a message from him at the club.

Coming Down/Going Up

posted by on June 2 at 12:40 PM

Future installments of this column will delight in the conflicts that accompany major construction projects in Seattle, but our first stop, First Hill, is an exception to that rule. Here at least, developers are welcomed — or at least those who have the good sense to consult with neighbors before they call in the backhoe.

Says Michael Gray of First Hill Home Improvement Association, “We want a mix of housing. We have very high-end housing and we have low-end, but we don’t have much in between.”

Until now or very, very soon. First Hill’s got the boomingest condo market in the city, and most of these new buildings are targeting young Seattle professionals who make around $50,000. I’ve snapped pictures of all the ground zeroes. Next to those I’ve pasted artists’ renderings of the future project. Yes, this is illustrated land use wonkery.

In this post I’m only covering the major residential projects. There’s an expansion project at Harborview, as well as one at Virginia Mason, but as you’ll see we have more than enough condos and assisted living communities to discuss. I don’t want to clog the Slog, so the slide show presentation starts after the jump.

Continue reading "Coming Down/Going Up" »

Bad News for Rove’s Election Plan

posted by on June 2 at 12:13 PM

First, read this story from three days ago:

May 30 (Bloomberg) — Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s top political adviser, laid out a plan to win the 2002 congressional elections by stressing national security. For 2006, Rove is framing a strategy for Republicans to sell the U.S. economy.

In a recent speech, Rove argued that Bush’s policies of tax cuts and trade agreements had pulled the nation out of recession, created millions of jobs, boosted productivity and increased disposable income. That record can help lead Republicans to victory in November, Rove said in the May 15 speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Oops. Now check out this New York Times story from today:

The American economy added a surprisingly weak number of jobs in May, a sign that nervousness over a cooling economy may be spreading among the nation’s employers.

The net increase in nonfarm payrolls in May 75,000 is a significant falloff from April, when the Labor Department estimates that 126,000 jobs were added, a figure it revised downward today from the 138,000 it initially reported.

Anything below about 150,000 net new jobs a month is regarded as too slow to keep up with population growth, so in effect, workers are losing ground.

The Labor Department statistics were the latest in a series of recent reports pointing to a slowdown in the expansion of the economy.

New York Has No National Monuments or Icons

posted by on June 2 at 12:06 PM

So says Homeland Security. At least the giant lava lamp in Soap Lake is on the protected list.


It did seem so unreal …

(Via Modern Art Notes.)

Tonight’s Entertainment Options: Trash & Treasure

posted by on June 2 at 11:42 AM

I imagine Christopher will be posting the official Stranger Suggestion for tonight soon enough, but in the meantime, here are a couple of notable runners-up, the first of which gets hyped mightily by Stranger news intern Sarah Mirk:

Marjane Satrapi, the author of Persepolis, the most phenomenal graphic novel published in the last couple years, is stopping by Seattle and those who don’t see her will be kicking themselves years from now when they finally drop their fluffy fiction and pick up her comics. Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s upbringing in Iran at the time of the Iranian revolution. Her simple black and white drawings follow her journey through bombings, veils and rock-n-roll rebellion.” (Town Hall at 8th and Seneca, 7:30 pm, no tickets required.)

On the trashier end of the entertainment spectrum, tonight also brings the TV show Dateline NBC, featuring an exclusive, one-year-later interview with the Northwest’s most notorious not-so-newlyweds Mary Kay Letourneau and Villi Fualaau.
“[T]heir first network primetime television interview since their May 2005 wedding!” crows the show’s website, which also features a most creepy teaser clip, in which Mary Kay explains Villi’s “forceful” pursuit of her hot, elementary-school-teacher lovin’. “He was quite the man,” purrs Letourneau.

Mary Kay and Villi: still icky after all these years. (And fans of the ick should tune into NBC at 8:00pm.)

Baby Bribes

posted by on June 2 at 11:39 AM

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has proposed paying women to have babies. Putin, alarmed by Russia’s falling fertility rates (and the economic decline that could follow as Russia’s median age increases), has suggested a $36,000 lump-sum payment to goad women into having more kids.

Grist has a good piece today about why this is a bad idea. To summarize: Russia’s falling fertility rates coincide with rapidly declining life expectancy (now in the 50s) and the highest child mortality rate in the industrialized world. Raising children costs a whole lot more than $36,000; Russia is poor. All of which makes it extremely unlikely that paying women to have more babies will improve Russia’s situation in the long run.

The bottom line is this: Where would China’s economic miracle be today if the government had insisted that every woman have five kids instead of promoting family planning? The way out of the fertility problem is economic growth through well-implemented immigration programs, which is also a very effective way to share wealth and reduce poverty. Vladimir, listen to me, you can’t reproduce your way out of this mess. You are going to have to be a little more creative than this.

Who’s There?

posted by on June 2 at 11:39 AM

May I suggest a dark-n-arty happy hour tonight at Noc Noc? With new paintings by sci-fi surrealist Joe Vollan, plus $2 wells, $1 Miller and PBR drafts, and scrumptious tater-tots. I’ll see you there around 6 pm. (Noc Noc is on the east side of Second Ave between Pike and Pine.)
ate.jpgate, Joe Vollan

Hardline Organics (A Tale of Absurd Optimism)

posted by on June 2 at 11:35 AM




These images look only summarily like the installation that went up last night at Soilthey’re design prototypesbut they capture the general impression of exuberant excess offset by rigorous structure that’s suggested by the show’s title, Hardline Organics (A Tale of Absurd Optimism). The installation swallows the gallery in four segments, all different but of a piece, all made by the fivesome of Craig Miller, Jenny Heishman, Yuki Nakamura, Saya Moriyasu, and Etsuko Ichikawain a grand exception to the usual rule about art made by committee.

As you walk in, red light animates paper sculptures hanging on lines like geometric laundry; a little farther into the space, enormous plywood and neon pods jut across the space and up toward the ceiling. The centerpiece, in the heart of the gallery, is a partly deconstructed geodesic dome shape that you walk inside. It’s made of the plywood ends of wire spools, the holes covered in colored plastic, and tiny ceramic figurines gather and play on ledges on the outside of the dome, outside the holes, so if you’re on the inside looking closely, you see their little suburban lives through the plastic windows. In the back area of the gallery is a sort of rainbow of plywood strips above three concrete cylinders where, again, some kind of ceramic community has formed, including a sparkling blue swimming pool. Everything is here: modernist interior design, Eastern formalism, futuristic cinema, utilitarian architecture, cartoon utopia, abject figuration, humor, wishing. It’s up through July 1, Tuesdays-Sundays noon to 5.

I also stopped by Shift Studio, which last month had the sublimeand I do mean partly frighteningstalagmites of Elise Richman. This month, Donna Stack and Andrew Kaufman are showing separate work that conjoins thematically. Stack’s sutured-together stuffed animals, trapped in asphyxiating hugs, and pink rabbit fur pelt are in tribute to her former sculpture professor, who committed suicide in 2004. Kaufman documents trauma and recovery in single splats of paint or ink, first made in black, then reproduced in white, then in negative, as if the impact is rehearsed repeatedly. The two artists are a couple (recently reunited, according to Shift’s web site), based in Ellensburg. Shift is open Fridays and Saturdays noon to 5.

Candy Mountain

posted by on June 2 at 11:10 AM

When the weather is too wet to enjoy, and the news gets too depressing to read, and I have a slight eye tic that’s driving me insane and a stubbed toe that no one wants to hear about, I like to escape to Candy Mountain.

(and shun the non-believers. shun them!)

Scissors Stab Wolf! Water Drowns Devil!

posted by on June 2 at 10:22 AM

Rock paper scissors times five.

(Via Melissa).

Do Any Republicans Read The Slog? If So: Achtung, Please.

posted by on June 2 at 10:07 AM

I wanted to call your attention to a comment that your blogging hero (and former Stranger columnist), Stefan Sharkansky, made here on the comments threads re: the controversial plank that the GOP passed at its convention last weekend. As you know, the Washington State GOP now opposes granting citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants. As has been roundly pointed out, the plank is unconstitutional.

Here’s what Stefan had to add:

Of course this particular plank is unconstitutional. Who cares? It’s a symbolic statement that represents nothing more than the wishful thinking of the grassroots convention delegates. It’s not like this in and of itself is going to cause elected officials to try to enact this into law.

I wanted highlight Sharkansky’s quote for the GOP rank and file. Any GOPers out there have a problem w Sharkansky patting you on the head & belittling your plank this way?

P.s. to Stefan: Of course it’s not going to get enacted into lawit’s unconstitutional. But that’s not why the plank was freaking people out. People were talking about it because they were shocked. The plank reflected some pretty extremist values on the part of the GOP. (It violates the 14th Amendment.) And I think people like David Postman, who led the reporting on it, felt it was newsworthy that one of the two major political parties in the state was embracing such a belligerent POV.

YahooEvil, Very Evil

posted by on June 2 at 9:50 AM

Journalists in the UK call for a boycott of Yahoo

The National Union of Journalists said it sent a letter on Friday to Dominique Vidal, Yahoo Europe’s vice president, denouncing the company for allegedly providing information to Chinese authorities about journalists. The union also said it would stop using all Yahoo-operated services.

Yahoo has been cited in court decisions as supplying China’s government with information to help them identify, prosecute and jail writers advocating democracy.

This Is Still Going On? Or, You Named Yourself ‘The Poodles’?

posted by on June 2 at 9:46 AM

One night of passion, indeed.

Does Eyman Have Enough Signatures for His Anti-Gay Referendum?

posted by on June 2 at 9:05 AM

The speculation continues, with the P-I sounding weary of Eyman’s antics but confirming that it is R-65 signatures that Eyman will be turning in on Monday. Now the only question is: How many?

Kinky Cults, Continued…

posted by on June 2 at 8:41 AM

So, in the wake of my column mentioning a group of UK kinksters, I received an email claiming to be from the father of a seventeen-year-old boy involved with the group. I’m slightly baffled as to what he thought I could do to help him, but you can read my column here, and his letter to me and my reply to him are here on my personal blog.

Other Morning News

posted by on June 2 at 7:58 AM

New Iraqi Prime Minister: US Troops Killing Iraqis for Sport.

And Your Little Dog Too: Baghdad Pet Market Bombed.

Iran’s Nukes: Inching Toward a Deal.

Abu Ghraib: The convictions keep comingbut when does Rummy go on trial?

Princess Diana: Did you know her death is still being investigated?

Proud to be an American: 74 year-old put to death in Texas.

Republicans Re-Think Opposition to Abortion: Anna Nicole Smith is pregnant.

America Wins Spelling Bee! America Wins Spelling Bee!

posted by on June 2 at 7:44 AM

So last night was the first ever primetime television Scripps National Spelling Bee — which was, of course, AWESOME, and could only be improved upon by making all the kids live together in one house with a case of liquor. However! For reasons that are still galling to me, they actually let a CANADIAN participate in this classically AMERICAN competition which is HORSESHIT, I’m sure you’ll agree. And that little Canuck almost won! Thank god for the word “weltschmerz” or 14-year-old Toronto native Finola Mei Hwa Hacket (who I will agree was nerdy cute) would’ve won the whole shebang. Although it is ironic that a Canadian was defeated in an AMERICAN competition by a German word. Finally! Those krauts are good for something!
Anyhoo, big ups to New Jersey gal and AMERICAN, 13-year-old Katharine Close for bringing home the spelling gold with the word “ursprache” — which originally meant “parent language” and now has a new meaning. U…S…A! U…S…A! U…S…A!

Up yours, Canada!

Faith Night

posted by on June 2 at 7:33 AM

Jesus Christ, is nothing secular anymore?

…the latest in ballpark promotions: Faith Nights, a spiritual twist on Frisbee Nights and Bat Days. While religious-themed sports promotions were once largely a Bible Belt phenomenon that entailed little more than ticket discounts for church and synagogue groups, Faith Nights feature bands, giveaways and revival-style testimonials from players. They have migrated from the Deep South to northern stadiums from Spokane, Wash., to Bridgewater, N.J.

Third Coast Sports, a company in Nashville that says it specializes in church marketing and event planning for sports teams, has scheduled 70 this year in 44 cities, and many teams produce Faith Nights on their own.

They are about to become even bigger. This summer, the religious promotions will hit Major League Baseball. The Atlanta Braves are planning three Faith Days this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks one. The Florida Marlins have tentatively scheduled a Faith Night for September.

The Morning News

posted by on June 2 at 5:56 AM

Good Morning Gov. Gregoire. You are now the Governor of a state, a blue state, that’s poised to have a Refusal Clause on the books. That is: On your watch, your Board of Pharmacy endorsed new rules that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for whatever reason they want. The Seattle Times has the front-page story this morning.

Although, it’s not clear The Seattle Times truly gets it.

They say the Board’s proposed rules prevent a pharmacist from obstructing a patient’s ablility to obtain a prescription.

But here’s the language of the Board’s proposed rule (which I Slogged & slogged about yesterday afternoon…and Wednesday too ):

(1) A pharmacist and pharmacy ancillary personnel shall not obstruct a patient in obtaining a lawfully prescribed drug or device. If a pharmacist cannot dispense a lawfully prescribed stocked drug or device, then the pharmacist must provide timely alternatives for the patient to obtain treatment. These alternatives may include, but are not limited to: (a) referring the patient or patient’s agent to another on-site pharmacist, (b) if requested by patients or their agents, transfer the prescription to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice; (c) providing the medication at another time consistent with the normal timeframe for the prescription, (d) consulting with the prescriber to provide an alternative medication therapy, (e) return unfilled lawful prescription to the patient or agent, (f) provide to patient or agent a timely alternative for appropriate therapy.

It’s no wonder The Seattle Times was a little confused. This language is so bad that, am I reading this correctly, it says one of the options for providing a timely alternative is “providing medication another time” …. ? Much worse: the language says a pharmacist can “return the unfilled prescription” … if “they cannot dispense [it]” even though the rule begins by saying “a pharmacist shall not obstruct a patient in obtaining a lawfully prescribed drug or device.”

The story is also on the front-page of the PI.

I’ve been writing and Slogging about this issue for months. Here’s the first story I wrote last April when I broke the news that the board had received formal complaints about pharmacists, including a Seattle pharmacist, who were already refusing to fill prescriptions related to birth control.

All along, I urged Gov. Gregoire to use her bully pulpit to pressure the Washington State Board of Pharmacy (which she appoints) to prioritize a patient’s health over a pharmacist’s feelings.

I don’t know if she simply never took the issue seriously, but she never weighed in…in a substantive way. Now, Gregoirewho campaigned in 2004 on the fact that Dino Rossi was a scary social conservativeis stuck w perhaps the scariest, socially conservative “conscience clause” in the country: One that allows pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for any reason at all. “You want birth control? You’re not married? Sorry, I can’t fill that prescription.”

You blew it Gov. Gregoire. A lot of people (like the Northwest Women’s Law Center & Planned Parnethood & NARAL) are disappointed in you…and pissed. I know that they are meeting w you today to pressure you to finally…finally do something. (At this point, I’m not sure what you can do. If the Board puts this in the rule book at its final August 31 vote, only the legislature can undo it.)

Here’s what I wrote a month ago:

During Christine Gregoire’s lackluster campaign for governor in 2004, the Democratic Partyaware that Gregoire wasn’t giving Democrats any meaty reasons to vote for herresorted to badmouthing Gregoire’s opponent, Dino Rossi. The Democrats rightly painted Rossi as a social conservative who opposed blue-state litmus tests like abortion rights. And so Gregoire, despite running as a cipher, eked out a victory based on who she’s not. But it turns out she’s not who she’s not.

With social conservatives launching a massive assault on women’s rights in Olympia, Gregoire is nowhere to be found.

Gregoire finally showed up yesterday afternoon when she fired off an angry letter to the Board. However, Seattle pharmacist Donna Dockter, the board member who drafted the new rule, scoffed at Gregoire: “The Governor is not a pharmacist,” she said.

The governor doesn’t seem like much of a governor either.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Help Draft Al Gore

posted by on June 1 at 7:59 PM

Want Al Gore to run for president? Well, you don’t have to sit there and wait for Gore to jump in anymorenow you can help draft Al Gore. Gore supporters are collecting $5 contributions in the hopes of demonstrating grassroots support.


Today, we kick off the formal formation of the Draft Gore 2008 PAC….

From June 1st through June 30th, when the second fiscal quarter closes for FEC-registered candidates and PACs, DG08 asks Gore supporters to vote with their wallets: While total fundraising amounts are important, our initial goal for our first reporting quarter is the number of supporters we can point to as wholeheartedly supporting Gore, whatever your financial position in life. Can we reach a goal of a hundred, or a thousand, or five thousand individuals within the grass- and net-roots willing to send the message that Gore is the most qualified candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2008? We believe we can.

Go give $5it’s quick and easy and you just might save the country and the planet.

Does Eyman Have Enough Signatures for His Anti-Gay Referendum?

posted by on June 1 at 6:02 PM

Looks like we many find out on Monday, one day before the signature-gathering deadline. Eyman just sent out an email saying that he’ll be dropping off a bunch of signed petitions at the Secretary of State’s office at 11 a.m. that day although his email doesn’t specify the type of petitions he’ll be dropping off, or the number of signatures that will be on them.

I just called Eyman for some clarification, and he said: “I don’t have anything to add to the email.” Then he hung up on me.

For anyone who wants to try his or her hand at reading the tea-leaves in this cryptic Eyman email, it’s in the jump. My assumption is that Eyman’s talking about his Referendum 65, which would repeal this state’s new gay civil rights law and needs over 100,000 signatures to get on the ballot, but who knows…

Continue reading "Does Eyman Have Enough Signatures for His Anti-Gay Referendum?" »

Coming Down/Going Up delayed

posted by on June 1 at 5:24 PM

I promised a column on First Hill development today, but we’re still waiting on a few developers to provide artist’s renderings of their projects, and without these pictures, we can’t tell the whole visual story. A very complete and very colorful presentation tomorrow.

Singing and Dancing on Top of the Twin Towers?

posted by on June 1 at 4:56 PM

Depeche Mode may have filmed a music video on top of the World Trade Center in 1990, as Charles pointed out earlier today, but Jesus got there firstHippie Jesus.


In the 1973 film version of Godspell, Hippie Jesus sings and dances on top of one of the recently completed Twin Towers with his Hippie Disciples. The Twin Towers don’t appear until the final shots in the number, but a still from the sequence was used on the album cover for the movie soundtrack. You can watch Hippie Jesus in action by clicking here. Ever since 9/11 it’s been hard to watch Hippie Jesus and company dance right on the edge of that 110-story drop.

I mentioned all of this in the column I wrote the day after 9/11, which you can read here. And, yes, Hippie Jesus is played by Victor Garber of ABC’s Alias.

The Pharmacy Board Ruling

posted by on June 1 at 4:50 PM

Okay, so the Board was trying to strike a balance between the guaranteed right of employees not to face religious discrimination & the guaranteed right of women in Washington state to have access to contraception. (Here’s the language from Washington state lawRCW 9.02.100: “Every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy with respect to personal reproductive decisions… every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse birth control.”)

One thing to add into this equation: There’s something known as a bonafide occupational requirement (BOQ), which means, while employers still have to make reasonable accommodations to respect an employee’s religion, they can force employees to do things that are essential to the joblike filling prescriptions.

Anyway, as I see it, the Pharmacy Board struck a balance by erring on the side of protecting someone’s feelings over protecting someone’s health.

Now, here’s a telling detail. Here’s some language that had initially been in the ruling (back when the ruling prohibited refusals), but was struck today. Check out 7C.

Again, this is language that was struck:

(1) A pharmacist’s primary responsibility is to ensure patients receive safe and appropriate medication therapy. Pharmacists shall dispense a lawfully prescribed drug or device or provide suitable therapeutic substitution in a timely manner consistent with reasonable expectations for filling these prescriptions except when:
(a) clinically contraindicated,
(b) potentially fraudulent, or
(c) another on-site pharmacist will fill the prescription without delay.

(7) Pharmacists and ancillary staff shall not:
(a) Destroy or refuse to return unfilled lawful prescriptions when requested to do so by patients or their agent,
(b) Violate a patient’s privacy, or
(c) Discriminate against patients or their agent in a manner prohibited by state or federal antidiscrimination laws.

Nancy Sapiro, of the Northwest Women’s Law Center, explains that the original languge, which had outlawed refusal clauses, made a point of re-stating the Pharmacy Board’s commitment to anti-discrimination…to make it clear that the board believed refusal clauses could be discriminatory. However, the new rule struck that language because, the board said, it was redundant with anti-discrimination law that’s already on the books…and so, it didn’t need to be re-stated here.

Or maybe it’s because the Board recognized that the rule they passed today is antithetical to anti-discrimination laws. Indeed, state law requires all public accommodations, like stores and pharmacies, to serve all people. Northwest Women’s Law Center argues that refusal clauses, like the one passed by the Pharmacy Board today, amounts to discrimination against women in a public place.

PS: The Board of Pharmacy hasn’t called me back yet.

More from Planned Parenthood and NWLC (part of the Alliance for Reproductive Choice in this case) linked below.

Continue reading "The Pharmacy Board Ruling" »

Public Art vs. Public Nuisance in Fremont

posted by on June 1 at 4:32 PM

There’s an interesting discussion going on in our Slog forum regarding the subject of last week’s feature on Benny the rock balancer, including a response from someone who appears to be the rock balancer himself.

More, More Al Gore!

posted by on June 1 at 3:44 PM

The complete transcript of my interview with former VP Al Gore is available now for your reading pleasure.


I will answer the most frequently asked questions first: There were no bodyguards, just a female publicist. He was wearing a black suit and blacker shoes. There was a much fancier food spread than mere film directors get, but everything else was pretty standard. It was very odd and great to meet him—it’s definitely the most exciting interview I’ve ever done.

Ladies in Tights

posted by on June 1 at 3:04 PM

It just so happens that there are currently two Shakespeare productions in Seattle with all-women casts. One of them is Hamlet and is apparently terrible. (In the glorious words of Mr. Paul Constant: “An all-female Hamlet? Sure, why not? But, then again, why?”) The other is King John, which is apparently great. Matter of fact, Brendan Kiley suggests you go see tonight:

‘King John’
A few facts about this rarely produced Shakespeare play: There is a hothead named Faulconbridge the Bastard, eye burning with a hot poker, excommunicated nobles, and a murderous monk. A few facts about this kick-ass production: The all-female cast is (mostly) bitchin’, Rosa Joshi directs with an ear for dialogue and an eye for clarity, and the set looks like a bloodstained metal checkerboard. (Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave, 800-838-3006. ThursSat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm, $15, through June 4.)

It’s also Alanis Morissette’s birthday. Celebrate as you will.

“Just Don’t Do It Here”

posted by on June 1 at 2:46 PM

Funny that the real WMDs aren’t in Iraqthey’re in Florida, being used by evengelical (aka, anti-pluralist) Christians against one Cafe Risque.

But first: One of my co-workers just mentioned that his dad’s favorite prayer is: “Lord, grant me patience and I want it right now.” Which reminds me of my favorite prayer, courtesy of St. Augustine: “Lord, grant me chastity and continence, but not just yet.” Augustine wrote that prayer ironically as a barb against lifetime philanderers who become deathbed converts. Ironic, isn’t it, that the same logical construction is being used unironically by one of the Florida Christians protesting the Cafe Risque Adult Superstore:

We’re not trying to stop you from doing your thing and having your free speech,” said Annette DeBusk, 43, of Waldo. “Just don’t do it here.”

As for the WMD (that’s the Alachua County Sheriff’s term, not mine), it seems to be a chemical attack.

[An unknown assailant] rigged up a rudimentary device to spew a hazardous substance through a hose into the Cafe Risque Adult Super Center… the adult bookstorewhich will sell magazines, videos and sex toyswas overtaken with hazardous materials teams in full gear, firefighters, police and the Department of Environmental Protection. The source of the leak was a water hose connected to two gallon-sized jugs of an unknown substance atop the business’ air conditioner. Preliminary tests indicate the substance was corrosive in nature.

(Via Maud Newton.)

Pharmacy Board Adopts Refusal Clause

posted by on June 1 at 2:36 PM

Here’s the languge adopted by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy at its meeting this morning.

It’s not good news.

“Pharmacists and Pharmacy ancillary personnell shall not obstruct a patient in obtaining a lawfully prescribed drug or device….”

Sounds good, but it goes on to nullify all that by saying:

“If a pharmacist cannot dispense a lawfully prescribed drug or device than the pharmacist must provide timely alternatives for the patient to obtaining treatment. Alternatives may include: Referring to another onsite pharmacist, transferring the prescription to another pharmacy, providing the medication at another time, consulting with provider about an alternative, return the unfilled lawful prescription. provide the patient a timely alternative …. “

This means pharmacists have no duty to fill a prescription. There’s no guidance or definitions around the language: “If a pharmacist cannot dispense” ….which means, if they don’t approve of you and your prescriptionyou & your health are SOL.

It was a unanimous 5-0 vote. It’s a 7 member board. 1 member was absent. The chair did not vote.
There’s a public comment period now. But this is rule that the Pharmacy Board intends to put on the books.

I’ve got a call into the executive director of the board to get his interpretation of the ruling.

I’ve attached the reaction of Planned Parenthood & The Northwest Women’s Law Center below

Continue reading "Pharmacy Board Adopts Refusal Clause" »

Enjoy The Twin Towers.

posted by on June 1 at 2:11 PM

I had to share this: A 1990 video of Depeche Mode performing “Enjoy The Silence” on the top of the World Trade Center. History has made WTC the perfect location for the video, as the song is essentially about nothingness.

Dave Gahan sings: “Words like violence/Break the silence/Come crashing in/Into my little world.”

Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

posted by on June 1 at 1:43 PM

The Rolling Stone article, by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is now online.

Reichert on Moderation

posted by on June 1 at 1:20 PM

One of the big questions hanging over the race for the eastside’s 8th Congressional District is whether the incumbent, freshman Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, is really a moderate.

In an article in this morning’s P-I, Neil Modie writes about how defeating Reichert, whatever descriptor he deserves, “fits into the Democrats’ national strategy” for taking back the House of Representatives, and Modie pegs this article to yesterday’s visit by Congressman Rahm Emanuel, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Emanuel was in town to support Reichert’s opponent (and the eastside’s Great Blue Hope) Darcy Burner, and in his article, Modie cites statistics from Emanuel that the Democrats say prove Reichert is not a moderate:

Emanuel, at a news conference with Burner on Wednesday at the Seattle Labor Temple, said Reichert has voted for Bush policies 86 percent of the time and for the Republican agenda 88 percent of the time.

Then, following the daily newspaper dictate of providing an “on the other hand” perspective, Modie quotes Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Dave Reichert is a Republican with a very strong and undeniable independent streak. He proved that … again and again with various pieces of environmental legislation. Democrat efforts to paint Dave Reichert as some kind of right-wing extremist are going to be futile because they fly in the face of the facts.

Well, which is it? Is Reichert with Bush and Congressional Republicans more than 85-percent of the time, or is he an “undeniable independent”? Just what are “the facts” here? The P-I article doesn’t answer the question.

There are lots of facts one could look at to resolve this debate: Reichert’s anti-choice, pro-Iraq-War, anti-gay-rights record; his willingeness to have Bush campaign for him here in Washington on June 16; his flip-flopping votes on drilling in ANWR (against it, then for it, then against it); his vote on the Schiavo intervention (against it, his one major “bucking the party” moment); and his votes against stem cell research, in favor of weakening the House Ethics Committee rules, and against national security measures pushed by the 9-11 Commission.

But I suppose one could also argue that there are no “facts” as such in the debate over whether Reichert is a moderate, just varying opinions on what makes a “moderate.” This would be one of those dreaded relativist-style arguments, but hey, let’s indulge it for a minute and take a look at what Reichert himself says about the issue. What’s his opinion?

On May 21, Reichert addressed the “Mainstream Republicans of Washington” at a gathering in Sea-Tac. The event was taped by TVW, and about 50 minutes into the video, Reichert explains his moderate identity, beginning with this statement: “Back in Washington [D.C.], there are lots of games played.”

Reichert goes on to tell an anecdote about a conservative voter who came up to him and complained that Reichert’s moderation was making him consider voting libertarian. As Reichert tells the slightly rambling story:

Now, I said, ‘You know what sir, that would be a huge mistake, and here’s why.’ (I wanted to explain to this person how things work back in Washington, D.C., and why certain votes have to be taken.)

Sometimes the leadership comes to me and says, ‘Dave, we want you to vote a certain way.’ Now, they know I can do that over here, that I have to do that over here. In other districts, that’s not a problem, but here I have to be able to be very flexible in where I place my votes. Because the big picture here is, keep this seat, keep the majority, keep the country moving forward with Republican ideals, especially on the budget, on protecting our troops, on protecting this country. Right? Being responsible with taxpayer dollars. All of those things. That’s the big picture. Not the vote I place on ANWAR that you may not agree with, or the vote that I place on protecting salmon.”

Perception is relative (unless you’re a conservative, right?) but it sounds to me as if Reichert may be apologizing here for the “moderate” votes he’s taken and making this apology in front of a group of “mainstream Republicans,” no less.

That’s where I need to be in a 50-50 district,” Reichert went on to say about his “moderate” votes. Are these the statements of a man with an “undeniable independent streak”? Or are these apologies from a conservative who wishes he didn’t have to cast a few moderate votes every once in a while to hang on to his seat?

Tapping the Infinite

posted by on June 1 at 1:10 PM

Well, it doesn’t contradict the 14th Amendment, but one plank the Democrats will be considering at their convention in Yakima this weekend is a call for a Federal Dept. of Peacelet’s call it The DOP. (The DOP idea is being recycled from Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign.)

Listen to Shaman Kucinich talk about the DOP back in 2004: “We can conceive of peace as… the presence of the capacity for a higher evolution of human awareness… to tap infinite capabilities of humanity to transform consciousness…”

The plank, which seems like it was written by 10th-grade theater kids channeling their new hero-poet, Allan Ginsbergis reportedly coming from the 2nd Congressional District’s Progressive Caucus. (The 2nd is Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, and Skagit counties: Bellingham, Everett, Mt. Vernon, Oak Harbor.)

I wanna see Diane Tebelius and Dwight Pelz debate “evolution of human awareness” & the possibility to “tap the infinite capabilities of humanity.”

Let the People’s Representatives Decide

posted by on June 1 at 1:04 PM

As I reported in this week’s paper, the City Council seems increasingly unlikely to put any viaduct replacement options on the November ballot. Instead, the council would choose its own preferred replacement option (likely the mayor’s $4.5 billion tunnel, but with a possible nod toward building the surface/transit option) and elimimate any direct citizen participation in the process.

Unlike the Seattle Times editorial board (which is all for citizen participation except when they’re against it), I think it’s time for the city council to stop paying lip service to direct democracy (the ballot would just be advisory, not directive) and start making some decisions. That is, after all, why we elect them.

Polls show that of the two leading candidates for viaduct replacement (the tunnel and the rebuild), voters like the rebuildan ugly, boxy structure 25 feet wider than the current viaductbecause it’s cheaper (and drivers like those views.) This is the Nick Licata school of public planning: moneysaving, but hardly visionary.

To put it bluntly: Citizens don’t always vote in their own best interest. Consider the monorail. Or the 2003 state initiative overturning ergonomics requirements. Or any number of tax-slashing Tim Eyman initiatives, which we now blame for our crumbling public infrastructure. In San Francisco, citizens voted to keep the Embarcadero, an elevated highway that was an eyesore on that city’s waterfront. It took an earthquake for the city’s leaders to do the right thing and tear it down.

We’ve already had an earthquakethe Nisqually quake of 2001, which damaged the viaduct and forced city and state leaders to start talking about a post-viaduct future. Five years have passed, and we’re scarcely any closer than we were then to making a decision about how to replace the viaductmuch less taking any action. Another earthquake could shut the viaduct down completely, or worse. It’s time for the council get moving on the viaduct before it’s out of ourand theirhands.

Not to foam at the mouth (again) or anything…

posted by on June 1 at 1:02 PM

So, you know, I am like violently repulsed by former Idaho governor Dirk Kempthorne. More than repulsed. If, hypothetically, I had been given the choice between having Dirk Kempthorne as our new Secretary of the Interior and being forced to sleep on a pillow stuffed with strange men’s pubic hair from now until death, I would be crying myself to sleep Every Night.

I mean, he’s pure evil. Who else but an agent of destruction would have their eyebrows routinely sculpted to resemble demonic horns?

Alas, on May 26, he was confirmed (surprise!) as our new Secretary of the Interior.

After his confirmation, Senator Cantwell (whom I, uh, politely criticized for her benign words of welcome to Kempthorne’s nomination) sent out emails to her constituents who expressed concern about this development. Here’s my favorite graph from Cantwell’s email:

As a member of the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee, I raised a number of concerns to Mr. Kempthorne during his nomination hearing on May 4, 2006. Having been vocally opposed to many of the environmental policies and decisions pushed the Bush Administration, I wanted to learn more about his plans as Interior Secretary and how his views differ from his controversial predecessor Gale Norton. Specifically, I noted my objections to Administration plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, gut the 2001 Roadless Rule, and cut funding for our national parks. I was pleased to learn that Mr. Kempthorne opposes the sale of our public lands to either pay down the national debt or to pay for the County Payments program, both of which are policies proposed by the Bush Administration that I have strongly opposed.

Actually, Kempthorne was all for gutting the 2001 Roadless Rule, although he claimed it was because “the Forest Service did not provide the state with maps of roadless sites and rebuffed Idaho’s requests to become a partner in the rule’s development,” and not because he’s thick as thieves with Boise-Cascade and coincidentally, “the only timber harvesting permitted in roadless areas would be for habitat restoration and fire prevention.”

And now here’s a graph from Jeffrey St. Clair’s article on the new Gale Norton in Slacks:

Kempthorne’s nomination was momentarily blocked by Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who begged for the governor’s assurance that he not open the Florida coastline to oil drilling. Kempthorne told the senator he would make no such pledge. Indeed, he brayed that his top priority would be to expand drilling for oil across all federal lands [ANWR, anyone?], including off shore reserves. Nelson wobbled and the Democrats Maginot Line crumbled once again. Kempthorne sailed through the committee without a vote against him and scarcely one probing question about the corruption scandal that shadows his every footstep. A week later the entire senate took a test vote on his nomination: only eight Democrats voted no. A few minutes later his nomination was approved on a voice vote without dissent.

Good times to come. Sigh. I fucking hate Dirk Kempthorne. Still.

Girl Is Hot

posted by on June 1 at 12:52 PM

About Kelly O’s balls (and her 100 Balls) in the June edition of the online mag Visual Codec: “A post-feminist, hipster laff riot maybe, but also part throwdown. O doesn’t push the envelope that Richardson, Kern, et al signed and sealed; she marks it Return To Sender. This is an homage with teeth and a big dollop of unsexy sex humor.”

The Freykis Files

posted by on June 1 at 12:22 PM

Hello citizens of the Slog.

If you are just joining the Freykis Fiesta, you can quickly get yourself up to speed here.

(Long story short: Gay-hating, allegedly Christian freak sends typo-packed hate mail to a member of the media, member of the media shares hate mail with readers, and all Hell breaks loose, in a bunch of bizarre and hilarious directions.)

In the synopsis linked above, I claim the saga started on April 12, when Daniel Freykis sent his premiere email to me. Actually, initial contact was established one day earlier, with a letter to the editor from brother Richard Freykis:

Ha ha ha! Man, did I just have the best lunch- I grabbed a sandwich and a copy of the Stranger, sat down and read a 50,000 word article about guys fucking each other in the ass and all of ‘em getting AIDS and then- here’s the kicker!- the writer blamed it on the building!!!!!! Oh, you guys slaaaaay me- what, is it a poltergeist who hates queers? Ha ha ha, a billion rim jobs going on and you fucking sick perverts wonder why you all have cold sores- you’re SICK FAGGOTS and you’re all going to die from AIDS and that is just nature taking out the trash! And you sickos want to get married. Over my dead body, you freaks! Listen, motherfuckers- you are just a propaganda service for ass fucking homo trash, and when I moved to my new condo I didn’t pay half a million dollars to have a bunch of cocksucking faggots in the street with your “pride”- “oooh, look at me, I’m so proud to eat shit and get fist fucked”…listen here, cum sucker, that to me is OBSCENITY and if some little innocent child should get hold of it YOU could go to jail! You probably want to jst entice them so you can ass rape them anyway huh, you and your fucking perverted goddamn pedophile freidns! Isn’t 18 young enough, you worthless little AIDS victim??? Say hi to all your faggot buddies- I mean, if you consider putting flowers on their gaves ‘cos they’re all dead of AIDS saying hi! Ha ha faggot, millions read your story adn now the word is out- queer homos are NOT reformed, your worse than ever and you will NEVER get the right to marry!!!! You will all die and burn in hell you fucking assholes. Go suck shit out of your boyfriend’s asshole, douche and I’ll laugh when your skinny faggot ass dies of AIDS!!!!!!

The “50,000 word article about guys fucking each other” that Richard references is Christopher Frizzelle’s Bleak House, which is only about 6,000 words long and (brilliantly) covers a whole lot more than guys fucking each other. However, Richard’s letter is clearly the inspiration for the letter that would soon arrive from Daniel, who picked up his elder brother’s barely coherent fury and made it his own, promptly giving the world an immortal catchphrase.

Speaking of Daniel Freykis’s impressionability: A couple weeks after the initial hubbub, I received this email from a man I’ll call Pastor X, who claimed to be Daniel Freykis’ “teacher”:

First of all, let me assure you that this is no idle letter of enmity or mere threat. My God commands me to go unto the wicked (Ge 6:5, Ps 5:4) and speak plainly and in truth (Ps 15:2, Ro 9:1) and that must be done as His will is my command. I am not writing to assail or engage in the contumely pastimes of your culture and the death it represents. I am, however, writing with great indignity and sorrow for the horrible campaign of slander you have effected against one of my dearest young friends, Daniel Freykis. You are a shameful lot, yet why is it that I know you do not tremble in the presence of great evil (Ex 15:14)? Disagreements are fine, and you people have many rights in this land which were never intended by our Founding Fathers (perhaps you should stop your campaigns of slander for a moment and read the Constitution?), yet have them you do nonetheless. This is not the time to engage in the ultimate results and dispensations germane to such proclivities and the wickedness of the nations (Eze 5:6) which has allowed such crimes- yes, even encouraged them. For now, let me tell you that while you may find it amusing to your sinful pride and hearts to engage in this organized campaign of terror against Daniel, there are ways in which the guilty may be punished, even in this whore of Babylon (Eze 23:17) unto which our Great Republic has seemingly been fallen. You homosexuals and your militant agenda are not the only ones with rights, damn you, and you have gone too far this time. Publishing this boy’s name and then going the extra step to initiate some kind of clothing line simply to defame him- and for what? He would not become as you are? NO! For he is a Child of Christ (1Jo 2:1) and not of your wiles, wills and excretions. This is not going to end anytime soon. Your militancy is not but a joke; it is slander, and it is illegal. You- and your co-conspirator- will answer to the laws of this country, of which Christians are still (barely) acknowledged as citizens thereof. I have friends in the national media. You will rue the day when you attacked one of MY friends. For I am his teacher, yes, but also have I learned from him. It is this wisdom you SODOMITES cannot stand; so now you must pay.

After reading his letter, I wondered if Pastor X was aware of the email Daniel sent to instigate this whole brouhahathe original “GOD FUCKING HATES YOU MAN!!!!!!! GO live in France pussy you faggots!!!!” letter. I also wondered if Pastor X didn’t think his time might be better spent helping Daniel become a less atrocious Christian, rather than defending him to media outlets to which he’s sent hate mail. I forwarded these questions (along with Daniel’s hate-packed email) to him, and got this response:

This is not the work of my friend Daniel. It is obviously a forgery. The Bloodlust has gone too far (2Ki 12:20). Christians have “had it” with being second class citizens. But, like the Romans, pushing one’s luck in the face of the immutable, ineffable laws of the universe leads only to obloquy and scorn. I will speak to young Daniel, and then from there a plan of battle.

After this, only silence…until yesterday’s “look what you have wrought!” missive from brother Richard Freykis.

Which brings us up to date, and leaves me with two major questions:

1. What if this is all some post-postmodern, post-post gay, and totally amazing joke? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility, and it’s great to imagine that God would never allow his children to be this stupid and hateful for real, but…I doubt it. (However, if it is a joke, the instigators will be the recipients of my eternal worship.)

2. What if these freaks are real, and really well-armed? A distinct possibility, but what are you gonna do? If I’m not allowed to defuse the spite hurled at me by enjoying it like a fascinating documentary (and sharing it with others), I may as well already be shot dead by two gay-hating brothers on the street.

Final mystery: Exactly how old is this poor Daniel Freykis? Judging by his cussing and fury, I’d guess at least 22. Judging by his spelling, I’d say eighteen months, with brain damage. Still, both Pastor X and brother Richard seem to treat Daniel as a kid who needs protecting, so maybe his “all fags should die!” letter-writing campaign is just a phase he’ll grow out of….a boy can dream…

Britney’s Manny’s Got Man Boobs

posted by on June 1 at 12:06 PM

For those just tuning in, Britney Spears recently fired her nanny for allegedly dropping baby Sean Preston on his noggin, and has hired the beefcake pictured below as her new “manny.” New information is beginning to trickle in about this mystery man, including 1) his name is “Perry.” 2) Even covered with dogshit he looks better than K.Fed. 3) He has boobs, and… wha? Huh? Wazzisnik? BOOBS?? WOW! Only Britney Spears can afford a manny who can actually milk the kid for her!!

Tip o’ the hat to!

Bruce Ramsey Sounds Sane

posted by on June 1 at 11:58 AM

For once, I agree with the Seattle Times’s crusty conservative. In today’s column, Bruce Ramsey comes out in favor of density and against overregulation of developers by the city’s Department of Planning and Development. In one example Ramsey cites, a builder was stuck in legal limbo for 14 months while the city conducted a State Environmental Policy Act review on six townhouses he wanted to build in the Central District. (The city could waive SEPA requirements on such a small development, but chose not to.) The delay cost the builder thousands of dollars.

As Ramsey notes: “Most lower-cost housing is old private housing. The best way to open up old private housing is to build new private housing. The city should encourage that.”

Ramsey’s right: Building condos in dense, inner-city Seattle is much different than building single-family homes in sprawling, outer-ring eastern suburbs. The city should be encouraging infillnot driving developers to Issaquah.

Coming Attraction

posted by on June 1 at 11:50 AM

Later today I’ll be posting the first edition of a weekly Slog column that we’re calling Coming Down/Going Up. The idea is to give readers a picture of new building developments in a Seattle neighborhood, along with any details I can get from its developers and any conflict from the neighbors. I’ll be going out to shoot pictures of the building to be demolished, or the hole where a new one will rise. And I’ll post those photos alongside artists’ renderings of the completed structure — at least to the extent that those renderings are available.

We’ll start with First Hill, which is in the midst of a condo boom. In the meantime, feel free to make your case for the neighborhood or project that you think should be the focus of next week’s column. And in the future, keep an eye out for Proposed Land Use Action signs that pique your curiosity.

Naturally, everything is open to criticism — with the exception of my skills as a photographer.

McPhee Sings at TomKat’s Wedding?

posted by on June 1 at 11:49 AM

Horrors of fucking horrors! Just when you thought you’d never again have to hear the atonal screeches of American Idol runner up Katharine McPhee, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have asked the full breasted harpy TO SING AT THEIR WEDDING. Why? Because she’s probably the only available singing celebrity SCIENTOLOGIST. Check it from…

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have secretly asked American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee to sing at their upcoming wedding. Actress Holmes reportedly met McPhee at Los Angeles’ Church of Scientology, where the singer allegedly attended courses with her boyfriend, and has since become a huge fan of the pretty brunette. And, after McPhee lost out to Taylor Hicks in the Idol finale last week, the celebrity couple got in touch with the California girl and asked her to perform at their wedding ceremony. A source close to the couple says, “Tom and Katie have become Katharine’s biggest fans. They think she’s destined to become a singing legend.” And Cruise’s War of the Worlds director Steven Spielberg is also a big McPhee fan—he has set up a meeting with the Idol star to discuss a possible future in films.

A FILM CAREER?? That’s it! I’m calling a goddam ban on any movie Katharine McPhee is part of. (Except for maybe the Iron Man movie… but only because I’m a GODDAM NERD and even she can’t ruin it for me.)

“May I interest you in some Scientology literature? Wait… let me move these breasts out of the way.”

Clear Cut

posted by on June 1 at 10:54 AM

I saw the documentary Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon at SIFF the other day and would recommend it for people interested in Northwesty stuffPhilomath is a small town near Corvallis. One resident made his fortune in logging and established a college scholarship for the town. All a student had to do to qualify was graduate from the high school. Now there is a fierce conflict between the teachers/administrators in the school system and the descendents that run the scholarship foundation.

It is fascinating to see this battle of conservative versus liberal values played out in this small townunfortunately at the expense of the town’s kids.

I saw the director, Peter Richardson, speak at the screening. He is from Philomath and benefited from the scholarship himself, he had even more weird stories to tell about the crazy goings-on in that town.

See The Stranger review here.

Clear Cut plays today, June 1, at Broadway Performance Hall at 4:30 p.m.

BDSM Fantasies and Celebrity Wangs

posted by on June 1 at 10:48 AM

Control Tower and Celeb I Saw U were left out of the paper this week so you could play Name That Nipple on the SIFF Fun Page, but rest easyfresh versions of both columns are online today.

Crime of the Century

posted by on June 1 at 10:43 AM

Courtesy of Reuters comes perhaps the greatest opening sentence ever:

A would-be Japanese bank robber asked staff how he should carry out the crime before meekly obeying a request to leave and then accidentally stabbing himself in the leg with a knife he was carrying.

Full story here.

…And This Stunning ‘Morning News’ Item Deserves a Post of Its Own

posted by on June 1 at 5:29 AM

Put this story in the “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees” file.

The Bush administration is cutting homeland security funding for NYC & DC by 40% each.

In Washington, where the funding dropped from about $77 million to about $46 million, Mayor Anthony A. Williams called the decision “shortsighted.”

New York’s grant plummeted from about $207 million to $124 million. A DHS risk scorecard for the city asserted that the home of the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge has “zero” national monuments or icons.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Department of Homeland Security and the administration have declared war on New York,” Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Associated Press.

Reflecting on the Bush-era incompetence, Mayor Bloomberg added, “When you stop a terrorist, they have a map of New York City in their pocket.”

The Morning News

posted by on June 1 at 3:20 AM

History Repeats Itself:

My Lai: Haditha

Iraq: Iran

Seriously. Iraq: Iran

Even worse. Iraq: Iraq

1994: 2006

1994: 2006!!

Segregation: DOMA

GOP Corruption: GOP Corruption

Jen Graves: The New York Times

….And the suburbs of Paris are burning again.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Paul Berendt is Back

posted by on May 31 at 5:30 PM

Former State Democratic Party Chair, Paul Berendt, is starting a lobbying firm in Olympia: Berendt & Associates.

Village Voice Hires Editor

posted by on May 31 at 5:12 PM

There’s a new editor at the Village Voice, and his name is Wemple. The New York Times seems a bit miffed that his interview took place in Phoenix.

We Wish We Were Shanghai

posted by on May 31 at 4:34 PM

It’s hard to believe that this station, Shanghai Rail Station, is an actual building in the actual world.
Shanghai Rail Station.jpg
If death should come to me today or tomorrow, it is at this very place, this very moment in the photo, that I would like to spend eternity.

Light Reading, Dark Sky

posted by on May 31 at 4:09 PM

I was momentarily wounded in my dentist’s lobby this morning when I came across Capitol Hill described as “a hilarious freak show” in the current issue of Seattle Magazine. Cheap shot! I stopped reading a few pages later where Alki’s bonfire pits are called “first-come, first-serve.” (Those who come first are the first to be serve?)

I was intrigued by SM’s summer podcast, which I’m just digging into. Thus far it seems too easy-listening for my tastes (the Heather Duby track is especially milquetoasty), but sort of suited for this weirdly humid afternoon. What do you think?

Lord Love a Freykis

posted by on May 31 at 3:16 PM

Dear citizens of the Slog:

Perhaps some of you recall the saga of Daniel Freykis, the furious fellow with whom I first became acquainted on April 12, when he sent me the following email (sic throughout):

Hey man, mu brother just sent me a link to your goddamn fish rapper…wow what a bunch of bullshit do you guys all eat each others ashole in that town to??? What in the FUCK man! He said “Dude you won’t believe how gay this town is!” sure enough you sound like a frickin’ fruit parade or something? Suck dick much???? Man you fags are something else but I supose it’s all Bush’s fault huh you aids infected dick bag? Christians have fuckin had it with your shit celean up your street and close down you fag clubs and then get back in the closet oh I guess you’ll be in a cofin soon enough with aids. Faggot. I CANNOT BELIVE my brother moved to such a fag town oh well he makes more money than YOU (guranteed!) so he’ll pay more taxes and maybe just habe all your pussy ass places where you shit on each other closed down do you think aids is just a coincidece? GOD FUCKING HATES YOU MAN!!!!!!! Fucking fags my brother is right it’s time to send all of you to a island and then nuke the fuckin island! GO live in France pussy you faggots!!!!

I immediately shared Freykis’ missive with the masses via the Slog. Naturally, “Go live in France pussy you faggots!” caught on like wildfire, with Freykis’ signature phrase quickly finding its way onto T-shirts and buttons.

Then all hell broke loose. Daniel Freykis accused me of slander (um, can you slander someone with their own words?) and of launching a hate campaign against him. He eventually got around to issuing threats. Eventually the hubbub died down.

Until today. This morning brought another Freykis emailnot from Daniel, but from his older brother Richard:

I want you to understand now what your campaign of terror against my brother Danny has wrought. In the past month thatnks to your ORGANIZED directives there have been numerous credit card frauds which used my brother’s email adress as the recipient. He has been contacted three times by the police and has had to have interviews tro explain all of these outrages. A lot of fraud has been done and for what? To get back at my brother for just telling it like it is…

From here, Richard claims the damage wrought by “hate campaign” has required his poor brother to be hospitalized for “nerves,” then wraps up with a grade-A Freykis freakout:

He’s just a kid and you have probably wrecked him for some time and all because he won’t sit back while you ‘guys’ try to organize marriage for your pals which is sick. You motherfucker you better listen. If Danny doesn’t recover I am holding you most repsonsible for this disaster. Take that for it will. I have called the cops but I guess they are all fags too cos they didn’t want to “hear it”. But that will not stop me from justice… Fuck you and you motherfuckers had better have a good laugh now, as I’m sure your satanic will be.

Wow. I never meant to land Daniel Freykis in the hospital, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? At this rate, the Freykis brothers are quickly overtaking the Olsen Twins as the most horrifically entertaining siblings in America.

Looped Horn Sets, Piano Fragments, Floating Chants

posted by on May 31 at 2:35 PM

For tonight, Charles Mudede suggests:

Pete Rock
By the middle of the ’90s, every hiphop producer was imitating Pete Rock’s style of echoing looped horn sets, piano fragments, and floating chants. His sound could be heard on the streets of Paris (Supreme NTM’s Paris Sous les Bombes), Tokyo (DJ Krush’s Big City Lover), and New York City (Queen Latifah’s Black Reign). To this day, his impact on hiphop can be felt in the music of local producers like Vitamin D and DJ Sabzi. Pete Rock is the number-one soul brother. (War Room, 722 E Pike St, 328-7666. 9 pm, free, 21+.)

SIFF News: Slow Death Edition

posted by on May 31 at 1:33 PM

First for the slow: Charles Mudede has a new review of The Hidden Blade (the second in a trilogy that began with The Twilight Samurai) up at The Stranger’s regularly updated SIFF Notes. Just for the record: Slowness does not a bad movie make.


Next for the death: I review Snow Cake, a maudlin actor’s movie, which attracted the likes of Alan Rickman (as English reserve embodied) and Sigourney Weaver (as an autistic woman coping with tragedy and dog vomit in her living room). Prominently featured are death, a funeral, and a wake.

As SIFF Forum readers correctly speculated, Stewart Copeland will not be attending “A Conversation With Steward Copeland” due to the death of his brother Ian. Here are the revised plans:

Without Copeland, the pre-screening conversation and film will proceed as such:

Ben London, Executive Director of the Northwest Chapter of the Recording Academy, will talk about Copeland’s life and career, with clips and trailers, and read a statement from Mr. Copeland. The screening of Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out will follow.

Those attending the screening will be offered a single ticket voucher good for a regular SIFF screening. Those requesting a refund can do so in person at the SIFF Main Box Offices, Broadway Performance Hall and the Pacific Place.

Christian Jihad: Video Game Edition

posted by on May 31 at 1:00 PM


Nutty right-wing Christian dominionists are marketing a series of first-person shooter games based on Tim LaHaye’s mega-selling “Left Behind” series. Your mission in Left Behind: Eternal Forces, set in post-apocalyptic New York City, is to hunt down and convert or kill all who resist the dominion of Christ in America: Muslims, Jews, Catholics, gays… you get the idea. (When you kill the infidels, your character yells, “Praise the Lord!”) If you accidentally blow away an innocent party, you lose “spirit points.” But you can get them back by saying a prayer, or by converting more godless Manhattanites.

According to the LA Times:

The game is set in New York City, where the Tribulation Force clashes with the Antichrist’s Global Community Peacekeepers in a tale that makes the United Nations a tool for Satan. Each side attempts to recruit lost souls in the battle for the city. “Eternal Forces” is a so-called real-time strategy game players act as battlefield generals for their virtual armies, deciding where to place units and when to order attacks or retreats.

In the game, Tribulation squads unleash the usual arsenal against the Antichrist: guns, tanks, helicopters. But soldiers lose some of their spirituality every time they kill an opponent and must be bolstered through prayer. The failure to nurture good guys causes their spirit points to drop, leaving them vulnerable to recruitment by the other side.

Get Down to Olympia…

posted by on May 31 at 12:53 PM

…or Tumwater, WA, actually…which is just south of Olympia on I-5.

1nce again, The Washington State Pharmacy Board is taking up the “conscience” clause debate (I prefer to call them refusal clauses).

It’s a debate between protecting someone’s feelings or protecting someone’s health. That should be a no-brainer, but the Pharmacy Board is considering language that would allow pharmacists to bounce customers to other pharmacies if they felt the prescription was “objectionable.”

Steven Saxe, the executive director of the pharmacy board (so not a board member), described the pending languge to me this way: “it provides for more options or opportunities for a pharmacist not to fill a prescription for reasons other than medical objections.” (The original proposal did not give pharmacists the room to turn customers away.)

So, people understand the implication of this, right? Not only does this jeopardize emergency contraception, butif a pharmacist objects to sex w/out procreationhe or she could refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control. A self righteous pharmacist could also refuse to fill prescriptions for HIV medication.

The hearing is at 9:30am. Here’s Planned Parenthood’s volunteer contact info if you want to see what you can do: 206-328-7713

I’ve linked Planned Parenthood’s press release below.

Continue reading "Get Down to Olympia..." »

Dems on Bush Visit: “Bring It On!”

posted by on May 31 at 12:20 PM

Yesterday evening I drove out to Mercer Island to watch a rally and fund-raiser that eastside Democrat Darcy Burner was holding with Rahm Emanuel, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Word that President Bush will visit Washington State to support Burner’s opponent, Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, had reached the Burner campaign earlier in the day and the response was something close to glee.

“Bring it on,” members of the audience shouted as Burner told them Bush was coming.

“You are correct,” Burner replied. “It is terrific news.”

“Kiss of death!” someone in the crowd shouted.

Burner smiled.

Her campaign just finished conducting a poll of the 8th District, and that poll found Bush’s approval rating at 24 percent in the 8th lower than his approval rating in all those recent national polls that have sent Republican incumbents scurrying to distance themselves from the president.

Meanwhile, Reichert will be embracing the president during his visit here next month, making it all the more easy for the Burner campaign to cast Reichert as a “rubber stamp” for an unpopular president. (Or, as Emanuel put it at a press event he held with Burner this morning at the Seattle Labor Temple: “President Bush, Dave Reichert, hand in glove.”)

I’ll have more on the Burner campaign’s poll results soon.

Name that Celebrity!

posted by on May 31 at 12:04 PM

Can you name this celebrity?


The answer and more juicy gossip after the leap!

Continue reading "Name that Celebrity!" »

Ashlee’s Collagen Injections?

posted by on May 31 at 12:00 PM

And… umm… hello? Either a hive of bees took a baseball bat to Ashlee Simpson’s lips — or she just got juiced up with some collagen to go along with that newly clipped snoot. Finally, a successor to the Michael Jackson throne!

Tip o’ the hat to Hollywood!

What’s Wrong With This Poster?

posted by on May 31 at 11:55 AM

As a Card-Carrying Prude™ and a Prematurely Old Man®, I dutifully shudder every time I pass one of those nasty-ass posters for Comeback or Comebucket or Deep Gash or whatever you libidinous bastards call your foul-named dance nights. But I don’t think there’s anything even slightly eye-popping about this:

POSTER11.5x17.5-for r#A9C20.jpg

Some business owners do. From Jennifer of the Akropolis company, who hired Jeff at Keep Posted to peddle the posters:

Things were especially tough on the Eastside, which Jeff said didn’t especially surprise or worry him because our biggest target area would be Belltown and Capitol Hill. He thought these areas would be more open to the poster, but then he started having difficulty in Belltownif I recall correctly, nearly 50% of places he went to refused to post it.

Fine, the Eastsiders don’t like it, the Belltowners don’t like itbut Capitol Hill?

Then Capitol Hill didn’t go as well as he expected… He called asking for us to grant permission for them to slice the image off the poster and then reposition it (with tape, I guess) so the male figure is pictured but the female is mostly eliminated. We did not grant that permission and don’t intend to.

What’s wrong with you people? Oedipus is a motherfucking classic and like most classics, motherfucking or otherwise, it’s got an enormous, unflinching scope: murder, incest, rape, plague, tyrants, you know, the good stuff. The poster is a pretty tame depiction of the play’s most famous themeare you lily-livered prudes really saying that you cannot endorse a motherfucking classic? Has a lifetime of FCC regulation dulled your taste for classics, in which mothers get fucked?

Either way, may your all your mothers-in-law be named Jocasta.

Nicole Brodeur Drives Everywhere

posted by on May 31 at 11:34 AM

Including the five blocks to her walking path. In one of her two cars. And this is something the Seattle Times columnist (who works, by the way, for a company that offers a 50 percent bus-pass subsidy) isn’t embarrassed to admit?

Family Feud. Now there was Good Television

posted by on May 31 at 10:53 AM

So, Democratic State Party Chair Dwight Pelz is scheduled to square of w GOP State Party Chair Diane Tebelius on the Lou Dobbs show tonight.

They’re going to do a 5 minute round (6:15 EST) about the state GOP’s new plank which opposes granting citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants.

The question, however, is this: Why is Pelz debating Tebelius? Shouldn’t someone from the GOP, someone like the highest elected GOP official in the state (AG Rob McKenna), go on Dobbs and debate Tebelius? McKenna told Seattle Times reporter David Postman that he thinks the GOP plank is unconstitutional.

Let me repeat that: The highest elected GOPer in the state thinks a new GOP party plank is unconstitutional.

Watching the Democrats attack a GOP plank is not so much interesting television. I’d rather see the Rs duke it out.

Minding the Store

posted by on May 31 at 10:20 AM


WASHINGTON May 31, 2006 (AP) President Bush learned of reports that U.S. Marines killed two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians only after reporters began asking questions, the White House said Tuesday.

Asked when Bush was first briefed about the events in Haditha, an insurgent stronghold in western Iraq, White House press secretary Tony Snow replied Tuesday: “When a Time reporter first made the call.”

To quote M (Judi Dench) in the otherwise forgettable Bond flick Goldeneye: “Unlike the Americans, we prefer not to get our bad news from CNN.”

Standing Up to George W. Bush

posted by on May 31 at 8:37 AM

If the Dixie Chicks can attack George W. Bush and survivetheir new album is #1 on the pop chartswhat the fuck are the Democrats so afraid of? The Dems can’t ITMFA, but they can scream and yell about how we really ought to ITMFA. (Via Atrios.)

And this…Just in…

posted by on May 31 at 8:08 AM

U.S. wants talks w Iran.

Librarians Are Hardcore

posted by on May 31 at 7:57 AM

Four librarians have finally been given permission by the courts to talk about the fact that the government sent them scary “national security letters” demanding patron records. According to the badass librarian who received the first letter, “Being free to speak now, weeks after the Patriot Act was reauthorized for several more years, was ‘like being allowed to call the Fire Department after the building has burned down.’”

Here’s the Seattle Public Library’s policy regarding USA PATRIOT Act compliance.

A Little Good News…

posted by on May 31 at 7:00 AM

Josh somehow missed some good news this morning out of South Dakota

An abortion rights group Tuesday submitted more than twice the number of the signatures needed to hold a statewide vote in November on whether to repeal South Dakota’s ban on abortion.

Love, Sex, T-Shirts

posted by on May 31 at 6:45 AM

I was on a panel last night at the 92 St. Y in New York City with buddy Andrew Sullivan and feminist icon Erica Jong. The topic was “Love, Sex, Politics, and Relationships”in other words, we could pretty much talk about whatever the hell we wanted to talk about. And we did: Republicans, sex scandals, monogamy, abortion, hypocrisy (the fags were pro, the icon was con), gay marriage, gay parents, gay sex, straight marriage, straight parents, straight sex. But the highlight of the evening for me, however, took place during the book signing after the talk.


The best looking guy at the lecture not only bought my books but also showed up in an ITMFA t-shirt.

The Morning News

posted by on May 31 at 6:17 AM

Maybe I had too much whiskey @ Megan Seling’s birthday party. Or maybe sexy Thurston Moore was right, and my spirit does = (-time) / my body. But this morning’s headlines look just like yesterday morning’s headlines:

Bush nominates Goldman Sachs guy as Treasury secretary;

Supreme Court shrinks rights of whistleblowers;


U.S. increases troop count in Iraq.

I don’t know, maybe these are follow-up “analysis” pieces.

And TPM Josh Marshall’s latest post says exactly what I said about the Democrats two days ago.

Maybe it’s late, and I’m feeling stupid about working from home at 2am. Maybe I’m feeling dull about hanging out earlier tonight w my very pretty ex…

But really there’s not much new news at this point (2am) except this new news about Lady Di’s death in 1997.

I’ll say this: Later today, pick up the new edition of the Stranger. Erica C. Barnett breaks some real news about the City Council and the Viaduct.

And where the fuck is David Postman’s story about the state GOP’s unconstitutional new immigration plank? That story is just too good to sleep on his damn blog.

Oh, and apparently, the Cantwell campaign is going to have some big announcement today.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pelz Vs Tebelius on Lou Dobbs

posted by on May 30 at 4:50 PM

Be sure to tune in Lou Dobbs on CNN tomorrow night.
Brawling Democratic Party state chair Dwight Pelz will be taking on GOP state chair Diane Tebelius over the GOP’s new 14th-Amendment-ignoring plank. The GOP delegates amended their party platform this weekend to say that the party now opposes granting citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants.

Watch for Pelzwho just told me, “Man, the Republicans really stepped in it,”to be in rare form.

Sexiest Books Ever!

posted by on May 30 at 4:02 PM

The redoubtable Playboy has compiled a pretty great list. And Susie Bright’s got a pretty great interview with one of the compilers. “Compiler” sounds dirty, doesn’t it?

Enter the Political Heavyweights

posted by on May 30 at 3:44 PM

Postman has the scoop on President Bush’s upcoming visit to Washington State, intended to help out eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert.

Meanwhile, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rahm Emanuel, is in town this evening for a Mercer Island fundraiser for Reichert’s opponent, Democrat Darcy Burner. (And tomorrow, Burner and Emanuel will be holding a press conference in Seattle on the topic of “retirement security.”)

The Democrats need to take 15 seats from Republicans in order to win control of the House of Representatives this fall, and clearly party leaders think this could be one of the races that tips the balance.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on May 30 at 3:21 PM

Yesterday brought this interesting note from Pastor Ken Hutcherson:


May 29, 2006

Dear Prayer Warior,

Please pray for me as I will be on Dr. James Dobson’s show tomorrow and Wednesday talking about marriage. Pray that God uses it mightily.

Pastor Hutch

The topic of that Dobson show? “Marriage and the African-American Church.” As my Prayer Warrior informant points out, there is some irony in Hutcherson addressing this topic, given that Hutcherson ministers to an almost all-white church in Redmond.

Everything’s Faster in Texas

posted by on May 30 at 2:19 PM

Texas (my home state) just raised the speed limit on some West Texas highways to 80 miles per hour - the highest posted speed limit in the nation. According to state Rep. Pete Gallego, the new speed limit “essentially legalizes the behavior that’s already out there and I don’t expect any change in safety. I really don’t think there’s going to be too much difference.”

Traffic safety experts say speed is one of the top two factors in fatal traffic accidents (The other is alcohol consumption.) When the national speed limit increased from 55 mph to 65 mph in the late 1980s, fatal crashes increased by 21 percent.

In addition, driving faster means wasting gas. For every 5 mph increase over 60 mph, drivers burn 7 percent more gas per mile. That’s one reason the US government responded to the 1973 Arab oil embargo by lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph. And it worked: demand for gasoline, which had steadily risen every year, stopped rising and remained essentially flat throughout the ’70s and early ’80s.

But whatever: Texans want to drive their Hummers faster! I bet other gas-guzzling states will soon follow suit. New Mexico?

End Station

posted by on May 30 at 2:18 PM

Last year, I edited an issue of the local architectural journal Arcade that was devoted to the future possibilities of the three old stations inside of the three big cities of our region—Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland. At that time, I supported the remodeling (or unmodeling) project that’s still, ever so slowly, in progress. For those who don’t know about it, this is more or less the story: forty or so years ago, in an effort to make the old station look modern, architects covered up its Italianate decorations and moldings. Ten or so years ago, with the rebirth of the station (primarily due to increased rail traffic between Seattle and Portland), a project to undo what the modernists had done to the station’s interiors was started. Though I favor modernist architecture to the revivalist architecture that began in the 19th century and finally died in the 1920s, covering up the problem at King Street Station was a bad idea—the architectural equivalent of sweeping a mess under a rug. It’s much better for a building to be what is rather than what it is not.

This weekend, an article about the new train station in Berlin (which is now the biggest station in Europe) changed my position on King Street Station. We should stop re/unmodeling it, tear the whole thing down, and build a station that’s as bold as the one in Berlin:
Berlin Central Station.jpg

Seattle must stop fussing over old buildings; let them go, let them die, and focus on the new, the future ahead. Leave Portland and Tacoma to do all the preservation and historic stuff.


Uncovering the past, as the contractors are presently doing in KSS, is ultimately meaningless because Seattle doesn’t have a past. We only own the future—even if the idea of a future is an illusion (more on this at another time).

Is Reichert for Repealing the 14th Amendment?

posted by on May 30 at 1:59 PM

As Postman has quite thoroughly chronicled, the state Republican Party this weekend adopted an eyebrow-raising immigration policy that would deny citizenship to babies born in the United States but only if those babies are born to illegal immigrants. Nevermind the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

And nevermind Hispanic voters, who the Republican party has been trying to court. Also: nevermind this state’s Republican Attorney General, Rob McKenna, who says the idea of stripping American-born babies of their citizenship is flatly unconstitutional; nevermind Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick, who doesn’t support the idea; and nevermind that the Republicans’ leader in the state senate, Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla, says “the party over-reached on this one.” Nevermind all of this, says the state Republican Party, as it eagerly presses to strip immigrant babies of their citizenship rights.

And who else is endorsing this unconstitutional agenda? Apparently Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, who Postman queried about the issue on Sunday:

Congressman Dave Reichert told me yesterday that he is willing to consider a proposal that would end automatic citizenship for babies born here. “It makes sense to me. This is people taking advantage of the system,” he said. Reichert said that he has heard stories of pregnant Mexican women “just moments before the baby is born crossing the border and having the baby in a parking lot … then claiming they can’t leave because their baby is a citizen.”

State Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, said denying citizenship to babies born in the United States would be unconstitutional. Reichert said that is something “for the lawyers” to hash out. “I think that has to be part of the entire discussion that has to take place,” he said.

I have calls in to Reichert’s D.C. office and his local campaign office requesting further amplification of the Congressman’s position of immigrant babies. I’ll let you know what I hear.

The Miracle of Life, in an Alley in Belltown

posted by on May 30 at 1:58 PM

Yesterday brought a most amazing Hot Tip from an anonymous Hot Tipper, about an event that transpiredin less than five minutesin Belltown on Saturday night:

Just after 10 pm, an unnamed woman in her mid 20s walked by the side service entrance of Black Bottle Gastro Tavern in Belltown and asked one of the kitchen staff if he know of any “ravers” who lived in the area, then continued walking along Vine street. She returned minutes later, still in an apparent daze, calmly asking a kitchen worker if he would call 911 as she was in the process of DELIVERING A BABY! After calling 911, the kitchen worker asked if he could do or get her anything. She asked for a cup of water, still in an apparent daze. The establishment’s chef, kitchen staff and owners were stunned as they could all distinctly hear the cry of a newborn somewhere near the side entrance, but no baby was visible. They were also stunned as the young woman GAVE BIRTH to her baby right in front of them, within minutes of her asking to call 911, and while standing completely upright on the sidewalk. The paramedics were also stunned when they arrived: After asking if the young woman was having a baby, she replied “I had a baby, it’s right here.” The paramedics took the young woman, now naked from the waist down, to the aid car as she held her newborn in her own wrap-around skirt. Everyone at the restaurant was too stunned to ask if the newborn was a boy or a girl.

I just called Black Bottle and got the story confirmed by the very friendly and helpful staffer who answered the phonewho also happened to be the one who cleaned the courtyard pavement after the freakishly impromptu but seemingly successful delivery. “It was bad,” said the guy about the mess. “But it’s so much better to have it be about new life, rather than someone getting shot.”

Hear, hear. Thanks to the anonymous tipster and the praiseworthy staff of Black Bottle, and best of luck to the new mom and her newborn.

Dark Horse at SIFF tonight!

posted by on May 30 at 1:55 PM

This is what I said about the film in the SIFF Notes:

Daniel is a charming young man, but as far as society is concerned, he’s basically worthless. He makes all his money by doing under-the-table work and graffiti murals for friends, and while he tries to be a good friend to those around him, he’s also self-involved. He’s always getting into and then magically out of trouble. This is a frustrating thing for his friend, nicknamed Grandpa, who is a fat soccer referee wannabe. The black-and-white movie about their friendship and lives is pretty hilarious.

I didn’t have enough room to mention the donut girl that goes to work while high on mushrooms, her slutty mom that is always hitting on all her guy friends and trying to get them wasted, and the parts where “Grandpa” makes Daniel play soccer by himself so he can practice refereeing the “game”… All the characters are their own kind of quirky and crazy. So go. See it. The movie is showing tonight at Pacific Place at 6:45 pm.

Revolting Sofas

posted by on May 30 at 1:41 PM

At last, a website of poetry and prose on the subject of revolting couches. Contributors include Jonathan Lethem and, the one local name, Anna Maria Hong.

Wait, hold on, hasn’t something like this been done before? (Now that’s a blast from the past.)

It’s Her Party

posted by on May 30 at 1:18 PM

Today is Megan Seling’s birthday, and to celebrate, she was assigned to write a Stranger Suggest item:

My Birthday!
(ROCK PARTY) Hell no, I’m not ashamed to write about my own party.
Tonight’s show at the Croc, a celebration of my 26th (sigh) birthday, features Speaker Speaker, Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger, the Pharmacy, Juhu Beach, and Spacesuit! Am I embarrassed to ask you to come, drink, dance, and celebrate with me? No way! There will be bands I like, people I like, and cupcakes I likeall crammed into a club I like. Why would you wanna miss that? (Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611. 9 pm, $6, 21+.)

The cupcakeswhich Megan was gonna get herewould be about $200 to feed the whole club, which is prohibitively expensive. Especially for someone to spend on their own birthday. So, strike that about their being free cupcakes for you. The thing to do, clearly, is to come to this show bearing cupcakes. Megan promises to eat every one she is offered.

Even More Disturbing Than The Original George and Martha

posted by on May 30 at 12:04 PM

I just read a snippet from performance artist Karen Finley’s new illustrated book “George and Martha”, the story of a one-night stand between George Bush and Martha Stewart, on Susie Bright’s blog. And wow, just reading the text makes me feel like I need a shower. Which probably means it’s brilliant or something.

Rambling Reichert

posted by on May 30 at 11:53 AM

Where have we heard this before?

Dave Reichert, U.S. House Rep He’s a good guy and my congressman, and I am going to vote for him. But I have hard time following him when he speaks. It’s not that he has a bad voice or comes off nervous or unsure of himself it’s just that sometimes I can’t figure out what his point is.

(Via Horsesass)

Damn You, Jolie!

posted by on May 30 at 11:34 AM

I am so SICK of Angelina Jolie! She does everything she can to thwart gossip whores (like ourselves), and is largely successful. For example? Keeping her baby confined in her vagina until the Memorial Day weekend, when SHE KNOWS no one will be paying attention! And what’s the baby supposed to do during all that time? Work Sudoku puzzles??
Then when we’re winding up to call her the biggest bitch homewrecker EVER, she goes and donates 315,000 smackers to Namibian hospitals to “help others in need”. WHATEVER! You still broke Jennifer Aniston’s heart, you philanthropic trollop! And if I were a Namibian, I’d tell you to donate your money… up your ass!


Joel Connelly Disses the P-I’s Political Coverage

posted by on May 30 at 11:21 AM

In his own political column:

Each paper has strengths. Albeit through gritted teeth, I’ll acknowledge The Seattle Times’ much better political coverage.

And as for those wascally web logs:

Newly appeared media — partisan, ideologically driven Web sites — pick up and print the nasty, negative sniping that comes out of both parties.

Neither Seattle paper has allowed itself to be a conduit of pettiness into the political bloodstream.

Hmmm… I wonder how long it will take the commenters on this “newly appeared” blog to dig up an example of Connelly himself being “a conduit of pettiness”? 10, 9, 8, 7…..

Another Movie You Must See (Again)

posted by on May 30 at 11:18 AM

steve martin.jpg

I revisited the Carl Reiner-directed big screen debut of Steve Martin last night. It’s nice to be reminded that before he gave us turds like Cheaper by the Dozen, he did simple-minded slapstick that is still hysterically funny 27 years later.


posted by on May 30 at 11:12 AM

The 80’s redux is official like a ref’s whistle- baby, the Delorean is back! Better than a briefcase fulla blow!
Courtesy of my new pal Al Cabino, the internationally known sneakerographer obsessed with the Nikes worn by Marty McFly in Back To The Future 2. So not kidding. Sign his petition if you are too.

Parents, lock up your parents.

posted by on May 30 at 11:11 AM

STDs Running Rampant In Retirement Community

(Thanks to witty slog-reader, Alithea, for the link.)

Pedophilia: Now open for discussion?

posted by on May 30 at 10:55 AM

Dutch pedophiles now want a voice in parliament and a hand in your child’s pants.

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals, sparking widespread outrage.

“A ban just makes children curious,” Ad van den Berg, one of the party’s founders, told the Algemeen Dagblad (AD) newspaper.

“We want to make pedophilia the subject of discussion,” he said, adding the subject had been a taboo since the 1996 Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal in neighboring Belgium.

As appalling as this is, I must admit I’m curious to find out who is brave/stupid enough to step up and become the talking head (or poster child, if you’ll pardon the terrible pun) for pedophiles everywhere.

ITMFA: Plates In, Money Out

posted by on May 30 at 10:50 AM

Here’s the ITMFA News…

My new Washington State License Plates have arrived!


And the checks have been sent…

$4000 to the ACLU.
$2000 to Ned Lamont.
$2000 to Bob Casey.

What an awesome fundraiser this ITMFA thing turned out to beremember, you can order pins and buttons at, and all profits go to progressive causes or candidates.

But who should get the next chunk of ITMFA change? Let me know who you think should get the next check. There’s another $2000 burning a hole in my checking acount, so write now!

Another Movie You Must See…

posted by on May 30 at 10:08 AM

is United 93

I finally saw it this weekend. (It’s still playing at Meridian 16).

The movie is hardly a dramatization. It’s a stripped back, almost real-time attempt to give viewers a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the flight 93 tragedy.

The script adds in a little drama (as if it needs any) by speculating on the lead hi-jacker’s state of mind.

Otherwise, this is an unsentimental movie that makes you bawl.

The last scene ranks with the famous closing scene of 1967’s Bonnie & Clyde as one of the most gripping finales ever filmed.

An Inconvienent Truth

posted by on May 30 at 9:53 AM


I saw a screening of Al Gore’s movie in a packed theater in Manhattan yesterdaya packed 7 PM screening on a scorching hot day during a severe thunderstorm warningand found it enraging, moving, empowering, blah blah blah. The most overwhelming moment, emotionally speaking, wasn’t watching the part of New York where I was sitting disappear under rising sea waters or Gore’s absolutely terrifying CO2 graph (your jaw hits your lapit’s the scariest thing thing you’ll see on movie screen this year), but having to watch George W. Bush being sworn in as President of the United States in January of 2001.

I was strongly pro-Gore in 2008 before I saw this movienow I’m rabidly for Gore. An Inconvienent Truth opens in Seattle this weekend. Go see it.

The Morning News

posted by on May 30 at 6:01 AM

The land of the free. Nope. Not if you’ve got something bad to say about the government.

The land of cronyism.Yep. (Bush’s nomination for treasury secretary is the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Bush’s 6th All-Time top Contributor.)

The U.S. is withdrawing troops from Iraq. Nope. (The U.S. is actually sending 3,500 new reserves to combat the ascendant insurgency in Western Iraq.)

Well, Baghdad is secure. Nope. Not according to CBS news, anyway.

At least Afghanistan is stableNope. Not exactly.

Hamas wants peace. Nope.
Israel wants peace. Nope.

Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid is caught in conflict of interest scancal. Nope.

W/ nearly 2,500 U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war, President Bush used Memorial day to acknowledge that the war was a tragic mistake. Um, Nope.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I’ve Said it Before…

posted by on May 29 at 4:59 PM

There’s an almost exciting AP article circulating right now for Democrats that lays out why they should shellack the GOP this November.

I say “almost” because this paragraph pops up in the middle of the story:

Inside the DNC, some officials point to internal polls that show voters holding both the Democratic and Republican parties in equally low esteem.

The fact that most voters, when forced to choose, tell pollsters they want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress is not a sign of strength, these officials say. Rather, it’s evidence that voters are simply giving Democrats a chance to win them overa chance that can be blown unless Democrats stand for something other than attacking Bush, these officials said.

In 1994 people wanted to toss the Democrats because they were excited about the alternative, the GOP’s Contract w America. It was a potent equation for the GOP: Out with the old/in with the new.

Right now, the Democrats definitely have the “out with the old” going for them (Bush’s vision is a failure), but I don’t think voters have any sense of what vision should replace it.

Case in point. When DNC Chair Howard Dean spoke in Olympia last February , he said he was tired of hearing the accusation that Democrats don’t have a message. “I can sum up the Democratic message in 25 seconds,” he said…and then he rattled off a list that included promoting a strong national defense, health care, public schools, and energy conservation…

At that time, I wrote:

The problem w/ Dean’s boast about summing up the Dems message in 25 seconds is that the Republicans can sum up their message in 5 seconds, if that. “Smaller Government.”
Deans 25-second list is all over the map.

Democrats can accuse the GOP of dumbing it down (and pat themselves on the back for being so attentive to so many issues) , but actually, the smaller government rap ropes in a whole intelligible sensibility. (Sure there are contradictions [in the GOP rap], but it does give voters a sense of a broader philosophy.)

Well, Democrats, I still agree w/ myself! It’s not so much that the Democrats need to have a 5-second message, but as the AP article points out, Democrats need to give voters a popular alternative. Democrats should be nervous that they’re six months out and they still don’t have a message beyond “Culture of Corruption” (um, hello Rep. Jefferson, D-LA)… And again, that message is about the Republicans.

Frankly, I don’t think the Democrats are going to come up with a message…because, frankly, I don’t think they have a guiding philosophy.

Okay Comments Thread: Enlighten me… And please don’t lecture me about how the NSA-happy GOP isn’t really about smaller govt. I know that. But my point isn’t about the GOP.

Queens of the Stone Age: Homophobic, or Just Dunces?

posted by on May 29 at 2:46 PM

I wasn’t able to make it to Sasqautch this year, which, considering the hail and Ben Harper, may have been a blessing. Today this report was sent to Last Days from Sasquatch attendee Jennifer:

I call for a Stranger boycott of Queens of the Stone Age, who—despite their deceptively queer-friendly name — ranted homophobic propaganda to the crowd at their Sunday May 28 Sasquatch appearance. Lead singer Josh Homme, a testosterone-filled Elvis-look-alike schmuck, told concert security guards to stop making girls climb down from boys’ shoulders during the songs. “Insurance is for pussies,” said Homme. “Just look the other way… And pretend not to be gay.” Perhaps cheering WSU frat boys in the audience, after ten Coor’s Light, appreciated this comment, but I didn’t. I call for a Stranger boycott of Homme and his band: may such faux-Queens never set foot on Capitol Hill soil again.

Hmm. Homme’s comments certainly suck, but do they qualify as boycott-worthy “homophobic propogranda”? Or is QOTSA’s crappy music reason enough for a boycott? Share your opinions at Line Out.

Because the Republican Party Needs More Gun-Toting, Gay-Bashing, Muslim-Slurring Sociopaths

posted by on May 29 at 2:05 PM

Ted Nugent’s running for governor of Michigan.

The War Dead

posted by on May 29 at 1:00 PM

Forgive me, but I have to get this out of my system: How long will this madness continue! The utter insult of lying to the dead, the war dead from Iraq. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction, there was no link to al-Qaeda, to September 11. The dead are dead for no good reason at all. Not an ounce of shame can be found in the White House.

I Can Tell You What I’m Afraid Of…

posted by on May 29 at 8:02 AM

It’s this.

Republican Party leaders continue to talk seriously about a continuation of the dynasty, a Bush III administration, with Jeb as a candidate in 2012 or 2016, when the memory of the current president’s dismal poll ratings will be less of a factor. That, at least, is what happened the last time around: President George Bush’s unpopularity at the end of his term in 1992 did not hurt his eldest son when he ran for president eight years later.

Perhaps Mary “I Ate Heather’s Pussy and All I Got Was This Lousy Constitutional Amendment” Cheney can be Jeb’s VP.

“We can’t tell what we’re afraid of - we’re just afraid.”

posted by on May 29 at 6:16 AM

This news report, which is about Indonesian villagers using superstition to make sense of a recent cluster of deaths caused by the bird flu, will not surprise those who have lived in a developing or underdeveloped country. Magic is often the final way to explain, to cope with a reality that has nothing to present but one hundred percent poverty. Mike Davis’s latest book, Planet of Slums (the Das Capital of the 21st century), dedicates a whole chapter to the direct connection that exists between poverty and superstition in the Third World, “The Little Witches of Kinshasa.”
Davis writes:

“The Mabutu dictatorship, which for 32 years systematically plundered the Congo, was the Frankenstein monster created and sustained by Washington, the IMF, and the World Bank… The World Bank—nudged when needed by the State Department—encouraged Mobutu to use the collateral of his nation’s mineral industries to borrow vast sums from foreign banks, knowing full well that most of the loans were going straight to private Swiss bank accounts. Then the IMF, starting with the first SAP [the neoliberal Structural Adjustment Program] in 1977, stepped in to make sure that ordinary Congolese paid off the debt with interest…”

Both SAP and Mabotu ruined the national economy of resource-rich Congo, and with no government or international support in sight, more and more people turned to magic for answers and hope.

“…[L]iteral perverse belief in Harry Potter has gripped Kinshasa [the capital of Congo]. leading to the mass-hysterical denunciation of thousands of child ‘witches’ and their expulsion to the streets, even their murder. The children, some barely more than infants, have been accused of every misdeed and are even believed, in the Nidjili slum at least, to fly about at night in swarms on broomsticks. Aid workers emphasize the novelty of the phenomenon. ‘Before 1990, there was hardly any talk of child witches in Kinshasa. The children who are now being accused of witchcraft…became an unproductive burden to parents who are no longer able to feed them. The children said to be ‘witches’ are most often from vert poor families.”
Read Planet of Slums.

The Morning News

posted by on May 29 at 6:15 AM

Indonesia: Earthquake death toll hits 5,000. 100,000 are left homeless.

Afghanistan: They don’t like us anymore.

And they still don’t like us in Iraq.

The United States’ Iran Policy: Wish we still had some allies.

The Pentagon: Wants a new pre-emptive strike weapon.

Haditha, Iraq: NYT has harrowing account from witnesses and survivors of alleged mass killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines

FBI V. Congress: Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Bill Frist agree…kinda.

Our very own Erica C. Barnett: Gets her picture in this morning’s PI.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hey, Nineteen… (Whoops, I mean Fourteen.)

posted by on May 28 at 11:51 PM

It’s hard to know what to think about this story of underage kink in Tacoma. If this girl really showed “Master Thorn” fake ID, and there’s no evidence he knew she was really fourteen, not nineteen, then I don’t think he should be convicted. However, one does wonder: could he really not tell?
Either way, it reminds me of a piece of advice my attorney once gave me about my career as a sex worker. “Never say (or write) anything you wouldn’t want read out loud in court.” I’m guessing Master Thorn would now agree with that sentiment.

Hey, Chong! There Are, Like, 20 Federal Agents at the Front Door

posted by on May 28 at 4:08 PM

I meant to post something about Friday’s screening of A/K/A Tommy Chong at the Egyptian but I… uh… I forgot. For some reason I forgot.

While we were in line, someone with a SIFF badge came up to us and said, “Anyone want to say something on camera for the SIFFcast? Something about the Cheech and Chong movie?” This guy holding the camera was someone who, well, let’s just say he seemed to be the kind of guy who has an intimate relationship with green stuff. Unsurprisingly, no one took him up on his offer. He walked away, then turned back, held up his badge, and said (I guess because he was paranoid or something), “I’m official!”

A/K/A Tommy Chong is a documentary about how Tommy Chong, who has turned his fame as that stoner from those movies into a business selling bongs over the Internet, was entrapped by the governmentan undercover “client” persuaded Chong’s company to sell and ship a box of bongs to one of the few states where such sales are illegaland what’s great about it is that filmmaker Josh Gilbert sets the story of the sting against a national backdrop, not long after 9/11, when you’d think that Ashcroft and company would be preoccupied with tasks other than, you know, spending tons of Justice Department resources to bust Tommy Chong for selling bongs. How, exactly, does that make America safer? (Their real motive is to bust Chong for “glamorizing” drug use in all those movies he made.) The documentary has the production values of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and there are a lot of interviews conducted while interview subjects are driving around surburban L.A. (or, later, while a certain interview subject is in his orange prison jumpsuit), but it’s funny, persuasive, maddening, etc. It plays again at the Egyptian on Tuesday, May 30 at 4:30 pm. I recommend it.

The guy who introduced the film stared out by saying, “I’m guessing we have some Cheech and Chong fans here? I’m guessing that we also have some fans of Initiative 75? Is that what it is? 75?” Cheers, applause, etc. The person behind me said, jokingly, “Is that the monorail?”

The movie also includes that great speech Bush made about how “If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terrorism in America” (remember that one?), tempered by some well-put commentary by Atlantic Monthly correspondent (and Fast Food Nation author) Eric Schlosser, who says things like, “It’s the power of the government to choose who they don’t like and destroy them.”

SIFF: New reviews!

posted by on May 28 at 1:33 PM

Kids from the International Community School in Kirkland—quite an adventurous lot—packed the screening of the found-footage shorts I had recommended earlier. They found something to like (the consensus favorite was Ringo) and I found something to love: Bill Morrison’s The Highwater Trilogy is even better than Decasia.

The Highwater Trilogy

This is not a very representative still. Most of the shots are starker and more horribly majestic. But it will have to do.

Blindingly bright, deliberately paced, perfectly scored (with the possible exception of the third-act flood, which was almost overwhelmed by its sawing, siren-inspired accompaniment), the end product is more than you could ever ask from a 30-minute experimental short. It’s even politically aware! Completely amazing. I also liked the riot-grrlish Wall of Sound Flowers, but wasn’t especially keen on Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine.

New reviews for this weekend include the locally shot Expiration Date (read my rant here) and Swedish wild child Lukas Moodysson’s Container (which I quite liked).

Postcards from Sasquatch II (Or, I Left My Feet in George):

posted by on May 28 at 1:30 PM

Yes, rain. And sleet. And lightning. And thunder. And hail. Lots of it. Piling on the ground. Putting the shows out of commission. It was cold and miserable for the rest of the night, but did we wuss out? Did we retreat to a hot, dry hearth with a glass of warm brandy? No, we did not (as much as we wanted to). We stuck it the fuck out to see the Flaming Lips (because My Ride is a Flaming Lips aficionado).
In the aftermath, some people sledded down the grassy hill on garbage bags, lots of people left, and Common Market rocketed up onto my Coolest Dudes Ever list. While the audience was still checking to see if any of its digits had been severed by an enormous hail-ball and Neko’s set was busy getting cancelled and the electricity was out everywhere, someone drove a car onto the grass by the stage where RA Scion, Our Lovable Emcee (OLÉ!), was scheduled to perform. The car doors opened, a CD of beats was played, and OLÉ took off, rapping on the grass to a car stereo for a small circle of people. In the proud tradition of hiphop-as-the-new-folk, OLÉ did his set despite inclement everything. And then he hooked up with his DJ who scratched it out under a tent set up by 107.7 on their crappy lil’ speakers. Way to improvise, RA Scion. (And I heard you were very politic with the drunk, shirtless white boy who wanted to get in an emcee battle and then engage in fisticuffs while you were rapping. Hooray for you.)
Tim Seeley also did well, getting up on one of the smaller stages sans his band and playing acoustic while he instructed the crowd to mouth out the electric riffs.
The Tragically Hip came on after the storm and freaked the fuck out, screaming, chanting, and slithering around the stage. I couldn’t tell if they were kidding, but the bizarre catharsis was just what we needed post-storm. TTH has never been on my radar, but they recalled me of some celebrity honky-tonk in Texas where Michael Stipe might rock out with Rob Zombie. In the middle of one song about courage, the singer berated his courage for having abandoned him at a crucial moment: ”You ain’t good-lookin’, Courage! So you’d better be on time!”
I want to kick Ben Harper in the throat,” My Ride said. Turns out that in the weather delay, it was decided that headliner Ben Harper (booooo-ring!) would actually play before the Flaming Lips. (Because the Ben Harper guys had a tighter schedule or something and had to get out of there.) So the Lips were stuck going on at midnight, just about the time the Ben Harper set, the final set was supposed to be finishing up. Harper kept going and going and going and going while we stood on a steep, soaked, freezing hill, waiting for the Lips and grumbling. I think he played his full two-hour set, which seemed rude under the circumstances.
The Flaming Lips covered Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m glad I stayed for that, even though I’m still not sure I can feel my feet. Sorry, My Ride, for sleeping most of the way back to Seattle.

Anderson Cooper’s Mysterious Secret

posted by on May 28 at 11:06 AM

From this week’s Entertainment Weekly, I give you Anderson Cooper on guilty television pleasures:

“I TiVo a lot of shows on MTV—stuff like My Super Sweet 16 that’s jaw-dropping and mind-numbing—and I’ll watch it on weekends. Now I like Tiara Girls. Oh, my God.”

On an entirely unrelated note, did you know that Mr. Cooper is a closeted Vanderbilt? Don’t you think that it’s kind of shameful that, in this day and age, someone should have to be afraid of the public’s reaction to his being a Vanderbilt? Say it, Anderson, say it! “I’m a Vanderbilt and I’m proud!