Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

Archives for 07/23/2006 - 07/29/2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mel Gibson Accused of Anti-Semitic Drunken Tirade

posted by on July 29 at 7:24 PM

mel.jpegAccording to, the arrest report for Mel Gibson’s drunk driving escapade earlier in the week has allegedly been doctored to cover up Mel’s inebriated tirade in which he threatens to fuck a lot of people, as well as blame much of the world’s woes on the Jews. The entire sordid story is here… but here is some of the juicier bits.

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, “You mother f****r. I’m going to f*** you.” The report also says “Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he ‘owns Malibu’ and will spend all of his money to ‘get even’ with me.”

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: “F*****g Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson then asked the deputy, “Are you a Jew?”

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson’s tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, “What the f*** do you think you’re doing?”

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, “What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits?”

We’re told Gibson took two blood alcohol tests, which were videotaped, and continued saying how “f****d” he was and how he was going to “f***” Deputy Mee.

Talk about being persecuted! (On the other hand, I don’t believe Jesus Christ ever said anything about fucking Pontius Pilate.)

Gay Community Meeting Sunday Afternoon

posted by on July 29 at 6:37 PM


A note from Marriage Equality Now:

Marriage Equality Now is organizing a community gathering this Sunday at 2PM at Cal Anderson park in Capitol Hill.

In addition to being a second chance to attend a gathering for people who couldn’t make it to Wednesday’s event, this will be an opportunity to hear from LGBT organizations and elected officials (including State Rep and Senate candidate Ed Murray), and also to let your voice be heard if you have any questions or feelings about the Supreme Court decision. We will be taking questions after some brief remarks from our speakers. Come and join with the community as we resolve on what to do next and keep fighting for our rights!

Cal Anderson park is located in the heart of Capitol Hill, at 11th Ave E and E Olive St. We will be meeting in the grassy area just north of the ball field. There is very limited on-street parking available, but the park is accesible by Metro bus routes 8,9, 10, 11, 12, 43, 49, and 60, using the Broadway and Pine bus stop.

Sex Worker Tip O’ The Day: Don’t do this.

posted by on July 29 at 5:08 PM

Criminally stupid prostitute solicits uniformed police officer.

A Hero Emerges

posted by on July 29 at 3:53 PM

According to Brendan Kiley’s report from this afternoon’s press conference, the pregnant woman who was shot at the Jewish Federation in Belltown yesterday, Dayna Klein, 37, prevented the attack from being even worse—she not only saved her baby, but ended the shooting rampage.

Prepare yourself for this story, it’s stunning. It also alters the story that had emerged to date.

The Federation is reportedly a “highly secured” building with bullet proof glass, cameras, and a locked front door. Haq hid behind a large potted plant by the entrance. When a young teenager came to the entrance he emerged from hiding, put a gun to her head, and got her to let him in the building. Kerlikowske did not know how the teen got away, but once Haq was inside he started shooting. He was armed with two semiautomatic pistols, .40 and .45 caliber guns. He also had “substantial” extra ammunition. Kerlikowske said the guns were purchased legally from two guns shops in the Tri-Cities area, with the proper waiting period (roughly ten days). They were picked up on July 27, the day before the shooting.

Contrary to previous reports, Haq told his victims not to call 911. When Klein came into Haq’s sights, she put her arm over her abdomen to protect her baby and Haq fired at her, wounding her in the arm.

Klein then dragged herself into her office and called 911. Kerlikowske said there were approximately 18 people in the building, 17 of them female. Victims were jumping out of the second-story windows, running down the halls, and hiding in broom closets.

Haq, hunting down more victims, found Klein on the phone. He told her to get off the phone. She did not. She then coaxed Haq to get on the phone with the 911 officers.

Kerlikowske reports that during the 911 call Haq “was so enraged at first.” He told the 911 officers he wanted the U.S to leave Iraq, that his people were being mistreated, and that the US was arming Israel.

Kerlikowske added that Haq: “pointedly blamed Jewish people for all of these things.”

“I don’t care if I live,” Haq said to the officers. Kerlkowske said “it was clear he was losing the rampage that drove him to do what he did.”

The 911 officers convinced him to lay down his guns, put his hands on his head, and exit the building, where he was arrested without a fight.


Kerlikowske also said that Haq was stopped for a traffic ticket one half hour before the shooting, for a minor infraction. There was construction in the area and he was stopped for having his vehicle in a bus lane. “Nothing he did aroused officers’ suspicions,” Kerlikowske said.

Two search warrants have been issued, both in the Tri-Cities area—one at Haq’s parents house, one at his apartment. (Haq also has an apartment in Everett.)

Kerlikowske declined to discuss how long Haq had been planning the attack and whether he has displayed any symptoms of mental illness. “I’ll stay entirely away from that,” Kerlikowske said. Police still believe Haq was acting alone.

Arts in America

posted by on July 29 at 3:30 PM

To begin with:

Capitol Hill Block Party
(MUSIC) You already know why you need to go to the Capitol Hill Block Party. This year’s lineup is fucking killer! Obviously, the Murder City Devils are reuniting Saturday night, but you’ll also get to see Pretty Girls Make Graves, Band of Horses, Himsa, Thee Emergency, Common Market, the Divorce, and dozens of others! Full schedule is at There’s beer, sunshine, and food. No one’s too cool for that shit. Go. (10th Ave and E Pike St. Fri 3 pm—1:30 am, Sat 1 pm—1:30 am, $12, all ages.)

To end with:
The world is sleeping. Heads aint ready. This be the future of Pakistan. Peace.

$50 Million Bail

posted by on July 29 at 2:50 PM

Brendan reports from Haq’s hearing at King County Jail that bail was set at $50 million. The judge, Barbara Linde, asked the prosecution if they intended to file capital charges, and they said they weren’t ready to request that.

Brendan reports that Haq, being represented by a public defender who was there for all this afternoon’s defendants, was dressed in grayish orange jail issue garb and shackled at the feet. Haq was calm, thick-set, with short hair, and bald on top.

“Your guy is being kept in N7LC,” an officer told Brendan. “That’s the most highly isolated are of the jail, the psych isolation area. You can see everything, everything’s made of glass, everyone’s alone.”

There’s a press conference at 3:30. We will give a full update then.

Brendan spoke to a bail bondsman before the hearing (there were about four bondsmen hanging out in the hearing room). Brendan asked the guy how much he guessed Haq’s bail would be, and the bondsman guessed $10 million. When the judge set it at $50 million, you could hear the bondsmen whistling through their teeth.

Shelley Jackson reading tonight

posted by on July 29 at 11:55 AM

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

If you’re not camping out at the Block Party all evening, swing by Elliott Bay Book Company at 7:30 PM tonight for the reading by former Seattle resident Shelley Jackson. Jackson hasn’t been through town since I profiled her last year for Bumbershoot, and this time, she’s promoting her debut novel (finally!), Half-Life, about conjoined twins Nora and Blanche, who are not happy with each other, and seek out a mysterious service called “the Divorce.” Jackson is a delightful reader—she reviewed her 2002 reading at Elliott Bay for our Books section

Update: Shooting at Belltown Jewish Federation

posted by on July 29 at 9:58 AM


The man arrested in last night’s shooting has been identified as Naveed Haq.
He is 30. The portrait coming together indicates that he was at loose ends—a bit of a loner, without a job. He had been arrested in March at a mall in Kennewick for lewd conduct. In the incident, according to the Seattle Times, he catcalled women at a makeup counter while perched above on a nearby coin fountain, and allegedly, undid his pants and flashed women who passed by.

He lived in Richland and more recently Everett. Although, he apparently abruptly left his apt. in Everett a few weeks ago, telling his landlady he was moving to Pakistan. His parents live in Pasco in a nice development there.

The name of the one woman who was killed was released this morning: Pamela Waechter, 58. She worked at the Jewish Federation in outreach and fundraising. She had also been a two-term president at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.

Grand Old Police Blotter

posted by on July 29 at 9:29 AM

Republican party “power broker” arrested on child porn charges in Illinois…

The mayor of Green Oaks was charged Monday with distributing child pornography over the Internet after authorities executed a search warrant at his house, officials said….

Adams, a former chairman of the Lake County Republican Party and a longtime GOP power broker, is accused of using three screen names on America Online to send child porn from a computer in his home office, said Assistant State’s Atty.


[The “Grand Old Police Blotter” phrase was coined by Atrios—credit where credit’s due and like that.]

Friday, July 28, 2006

Update: Shooting at Jewish Federation in Belltown

posted by on July 28 at 9:58 PM

Federal and city officials—Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, FBI agent Laura Laughlin, and SPD Assistant Chief Nick Metz—held a press conference about the fatal shooting at (roughly) 8 pm this evening. The quartet was greeted by roughly a dozen impatient reporters. “It’s been a hell of a long day,” one reporter said. “I was covering Critical Mass and then got called down [to Belltown].”

“It’s a sad day,” began Mayor Nickels. “This is a crime of hate and there is no place for that in the city of Seattle.” Nickels and Police Chief Kerlikowske said the city was “taking steps to protect synagogues, temples, and mosques” to prevent any “retaliatory incidents. Everything we have now says this is an isolated incident.”

“Mosques,” one reporter asked. “Can we infer from this that the suspect was Muslim?”

“You could infer that,” Kerlikowske responded.


Kerlikowske said the suspect walked through the front entrance of the Jewish Federation with a large-caliber semi-automatic handgun, asked to see a manager, and began firing. Four of the wounded have been identified: Cheryl Stumbo, Layla Bush, Carol Goldman, and Dayna Klein, a pregnant woman who is in satisfactory condition with a gunshot wound in her arm. The name of the deceased has not yet been released by the medical examiner’s office.

At 4:03 pm, the police were called, informed of the shots and that the suspect might be holding a hostage. At 4:05 the suspect spoke to officers on 911. (Reports are mixed—either the suspect or the victims initiated the call, but the gunman eventually ended up on the phone with police.) By 4:15, the suspect had given himself up, with no injury to himself or police.

The suspect, according to FBI agent Laura Laughlin, is male, between 30 and 40 years old and a U.S. citizen, not from Seattle. (KING 5 reports the suspect is Naveed Haq, a 30-year-old Pakistani man with a criminal background. According to KING 5, Haq is from the Pasco area and is a U.S. citizen, but it was not immediately known how long he has lived in the United States. Also unknown is what sort of criminal record he has. Officials are on the way to the Pasco to interview his family. The Seattle Times reports that a man got through security at the Jewish Federation and told staff members, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel,” then began shooting, according to Amy Wasser-Simpson, the vice president for planning and community services for the Jewish Federation.)

Laughlin said the shooting would be investigated as a hate crime. “You said all the victims were women,” a reporter asked Kerlikowski. “Is there any indication that the suspect was targeting women?”

Kerlikowske shook his head: “I think the majority of people inside were women.”

“Was there any warning or indication to the SPD that an incident like this would occur?” I asked, clicking on a rumor I heard from another reporter.

“There have been protests on both side of this issue, but nothing to indicate a crime of this magnitude would happen,” Kerlikowske said.

“Which issue? The Lebanon-Israel conflict?”


“Is there any indication the suspect was inspired by the conflict in Lebanon?”

“I’m not going to address that.”

Assistant Chief Metz said the SPD had received a security alert the day before the shootings, indicating that security at synagogues should be buttressed.

“That was a general alert sent out by the FBI,” he said. “It was not specific to this kind of threat.”


Belltown Shooting: Two Bystanders

posted by on July 28 at 9:16 PM

Eyewitness and neighbor, Robin Alexander: An older black woman who has lived in Seattle all her life, Alexander was walking along the street outside the women’s shelter on Virginia across from the Jewish center when she heard a shot fired and a woman shout, “He’s waving a gun!” Everyone started running, she says, but she calmly kept walking to the end of the street, only several yards away from the Jewish center in the middle of the block. “If someone has a gun, I’m going to keep moving and not make it none of my business.” She says police arrived immediately and “swarmed” the woman who had been shot and was wounded outside the building. Alexander couldn’t get back to her apartment and, like dozens of others, felt stranded outside the police tape. Two people setting up their chairs for tomorrow’s SeaFair parade gave her a place to sit. Two hours after the shooting, she was still sitting and waiting, a black padded eyemask resting on her forehead as an artifact from the relaxing day she’d been enjoying hours before. Alexander, like the man who offered her the seat, felt the shooting was another sign from God of the coming apocalypse.

Scott Stezelecki, buff and with a Boston accent: Stezelecki says he trains government employees in counter-terrorism tactics, after himself being trained in Israel. Indeed, he was wearing a tight navy-blue T-shirt reading, “Israel: International Security Academy,” and as passersby repeatedly stopped to ask him what was going on, he became sort of the official curbside know-it-all on the situation. He said events like this happen in Israel all the time, and the reaction is much different than in America, where civilians are afraid and confused for hours. Since all Israeli citizens have gone through two years in the army, people react much more intelligently, much more like a group that knows roughly what to do, and conscious of noting identifying details of suspects. However, he thinks the Seattle police on the scene today were doing a good job. “They’re covering all their bases,” he said, as he stared at the police tape. He came down just to scope out the site, so he could talk about it later and offer his services to any groups that wanted them. “What do you think about this happening?” I asked. “It’s expected,” he said.

Shots Fired at Jewish center at 3rd & Virginia

posted by on July 28 at 8:00 PM

We’ll file an update after the SPD holds its press conference at 8:30. For now (it’s 8pm), here’s the report from our folks phoning in from the scene: 6 people shot. All women. 1 is dead. Another victim—not the dead woman—is pregnant; she was shot in the arm. The shooting occurred at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle at 3rd and Virginia at about 4 pm. Police were on the scene almost immediately. At least 10 ambulances responded. Speculation is that the shooter was Arab Muslim. He was apprehended after a tense hostage situation. Rumors are the shooter was angry about “the war in Israel.” He reportedly aimed low and asked the his victims to call 911.

From the PI report:

The gunman forced his way through the security door at the federation after an employee had punched in her security code, Marla Meislin-Dietrich, a database coordinator for the center, told The Associated Press. “He said ‘I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel,’ before opening fire on everyone,” Meislin-Dietrich said. “He was randomly shooting at everyone.

SPD spokeswoman Deanna Nollette, however, told us the identity of the shooter is pure media speculation.

SPD Chief Gil Kerlikowske was at an anti-terrorism conference in San Jose, CA. and is on route back to Seattle. The Mayor will speak at the press conference.

Witnesses say the shooter was waving a gun and then went into the building.

It’s cordoned off from 3rd and Virginia to 3rd and Blanchard. Helicopters are flying above. Tons of SPD cars are stationed at all corners. Small crowds have been hovering on street corners, gawking for hours now. One bystander said it was the “coming of the apocalypse” … (True that: Gays, Jews, heatwave…)

The place is flooded with reporters…TV camera crews. One gawker told The Stranger: “I wish someone would interview me. I don’t know anything. But I wish someone would interview me.”

Here’s the statement from Mayor Nickels:

This is a terrible tragedy for all of the victims and their families. Our prayers are with them today. We don’t know the exact reason, but it appears that it was purposeful. This is a community that prides itself on being a safe place to live and work. We will come together for these families and help them through this terrible situation. In the meantime, the Seattle Police Department will be providing added security to all Synagogues and Temples in the city until further notice.

That last line is a little chilling given that we heard a rumor (from a TV reporter) that there was a heightened security alert that went out yesterday in Seattle concerning local Jewish community centers.

*Personal footnote, and I know it seems super weird in the middle of this breaking news story. But that last line about protecting Jewish community centers is extra weird for a personal reason. Yesterday evening I was jogging on E. Interlaken Pl., that cool stretch of wooded paved road that runs along Interlaken Park on the North end of Capitol Hill. On that route, you pass a Jewish school. As I passed the school, a dad was pulling out onto Interlaken from the driveway to the school. He had a car load of kids, and we exchanged looks; him slowly rounding the corner…me slowly jogging up the hill. As we looked at each other, I flashed on Jewish identity and the war in the Middle East and vulnerability. (Maybe being alone on a wooded street added to that). I don’t know. This sounds a bit hokey, but I wondered if people like this dad—who are so Jewish identified—wondered himself what someone running by was thinking—as they saw him pulling out of this place that announced so loudly who he and his kids were. Especially at a time when Israel is at the center of a global conflict. I’m Jewish, and look Jewish, and I am increasingly, in my own head, Jewish identified. (It happens as you get older.) But still, I wondered what he was thinking. And I wondered if he was curious about what I was thinking.

Dept. of Caving

posted by on July 28 at 4:11 PM

I don’t want everyone to get Mitzi’s Abortion fatigue, but this is completely fucking ridiculous. Here’s an exchange (from this play about abortion) between two of Mitzi’s friends discussing how TriCare won’t cover her abortion:

NITA: The military won’t cover it? Everybody else’s insurance covers it. Blue Cross, Aetna, Group Health.
TIM: Oh honey, Group Health would love to cover this. Saves them a shitload of money in the end. I detest Group Health.

Little local joke, made people laugh, end of story. Right?

Wrong. Apparently, there was controversy. Some audience complaints. Some people (who saw a play about abortion) got all bunged up about a toss-away joke—made by a fictional character, mind you—about the cost-cutting reputation of a local HMO. So the playwright, Elizabeth Heffron, who has otherwise written a strong, funny play (about abortion), decided to change the name to a fictional health provider—PugetCare or some shit like that. (ACT’s p.r. deputy called to tell me about the decision, saying artistic integrity was a high priority, but “Elizabeth didn’t want the audience to get pulled out of the action of the play” by the reference. Boo to the audience members too weak-minded to roll with the joke and boo to the name change.)

I started to tell this story to a co-worker. “You know Group Health?” I asked. “You mean Group Death?” he replied.

I rest my case.


I called Group Health to ask if they did, in fact, cover any kind of abortion services. The person on the phone dodged (“I don’t know, it’s almost 5, all our folks are gone for the weekend, call back Monday”), but GH’s coverage—whether it’s good, bad, or middling—is kind of beside the point. Mitzi’s Abortion is a work of fiction in which a fictional character makes a joke that got a big laugh and offended a couple of Group Health fans. Now they’re pulling the joke. Because of a couple of tightly-wound audience members. There are more incindiary jokes about urinating on Jared (of Subway diet fame), churches (Baptists, Catholics, Foursquare Evangelical, et al), and artificial limbs, but nobody’s proposing pulling those. Ridiculous.

A Civil Rights Movement

posted by on July 28 at 3:31 PM

In the comments thread this post of Eli’s, Mike In MO Barry wrote…

The fact that you compared gay marriage to the civil rights struggle of the 60s shows exactly what’s wrong with gay marriage supporters. Would I like to see gays be able to marry? Definitely. But let’s not say their lack of access to marriage is at all congruent to blacks being jailed, beaten, killed, and denied voting rights.


For the last time: The gay and lesbian civil rights movement is a civil rights movement; it is not the Civil Rights Movement.

There can be—there has been—more than one. Respect for what African Americans suffered, and for the historic and stirring achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, does not require other minority groups to refrain for all eternity from demanding their own civil rights.

And gays and lesbians drive for “access to marriage” does have parallels in the African American experience. In addition to being jailed, beaten, killed, and denied their voting rights, legal bans on interracial marriage interfered with “access to marriage” for many African Americans. Loving v. Virginia was one of the signature victories of the Civil Rights Movement, Mike in MO Barry. You can read all about it here.

And those bans on interracial marriage? They only prevented straight people from marrying outside their own races. A straight black man could marry a black woman, but not a white woman. Bans on gay marriage prevent gay people from getting married at all, ever, to anyone, period.

And anti-gay discrimination isn’t a “white” issue. Some African Americans are gay and lesbian.

Chief Justice Alexander, in his own words

posted by on July 28 at 2:59 PM

Weeks ago, we—meaning I—scheduled interviews with the state’s Supreme Court candidates in preparation for our annual endorsement issue. Then, one day before the interview, the justices announced they were upholding the gay marriage ban. Coincidence? Entirely. Fortuitous? Very.

Imagine a justice who voted to uphold DOMA trapped in a room with Dan Savage (wielding a framed picture of his son, DJ) and the rest of the Stranger Election Control Board, for an entire hour Well, you don’t have to just imagine the showdown! Here is Justice Gerry Alexander starring in “An Inquisition”:

The first half of the interview.

It’s nine minutes long, so here are some highlights: use of the phrase “child-rearing” (0:34), the sound of Dan placing a picture of his son on the table (0:50), discussion of “suspect class” (5:19), eight-second pause as Alexander ponders response to “Is homosexuality an immutable characteristic?”(5:55-6:03)

The second half of the interview.

Highlights: “How could you sign off on this prejudiced conjecture?” (0:50), state discrimination against children of gay parents (8:10), rationality of the legislature (9:10), support for the Pre-Copernican Awareness Act (11:30)

We edited out the portions of the interview that didn’t pertain to gay marriage and also everything said by Alexander’s opponent, John Groen. The voices you’ll hear demanding answers are members of the esteemed Stranger Election Control Board: Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, Josh Feit, and Annie Wagner. Guest star, Stranger publisher Tim Keck, also chimes in.

Interviews trying to glean opinions from justices are almost always fruitless, since judges cannot comment on cases that could possibly come before the court. The above interviews are probably the most you’ll hear Alexander talk about his decision — at least in an election year. Enjoy.


Sherman: For the Surface Option Before He Was Against It?

posted by on July 28 at 2:53 PM

When the Sierra Club interviewed 43rd District candidate Bill Sherman as part of their endorsement process, they asked him whether, if Seattle voters expressed a preference for a surface/transit alternative to replacing the viaduct, he would champion that alternative. (This is a huge issue to the Sierra Club, because they support studying the surface/transit option. The Club ultimately endorsed Sherman.)

Here’s what Sherman said:

Yes, there’s a lot to like in the surface alternative - lower cost, greater disaster safety, and less environmental impact from construction. Both the tunnel and the surface alternative offer us a chance to reconnect downtown to the waterfront, something that cities from San Francisco to Portland to Cleveland to Baltimore have enjoyed. When it comes to roads, we need to make sure that officials and voters understand that building or rebuilding [auto] capacity is not the only option. After all, no matter what we do on Alaskan Way, we will have to do without a freeway for some time and maybe we’ll realize that in the end we can make do just fine without it.

And here’s what he told the Stranger’s editorial board just two days ago:

For so long, we’ve been used to our first question when it comes to transportation being capacity… We’ve got to get past that. We’ve got to think about moving people, not just automobiles. I am on the record supporting the tunnel and I do think that given the political landscape that we’ve got, I think that that’s our best option for connecting downtown to the water. I really that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for creating a great walking waterfront. I’d like us to take advantage of that.

So which is it, Bill: “a lot to like” in the surface/transit alternative, or unequivocal support for the tunnel?

Re: Fired KEXP DJ Clears the Air

posted by on July 28 at 2:33 PM

To elaborate on my previous short post alerting readers to this Line Out entry: fired jock Greg Jaspan provides an explosive glimpse behind the walls of one of the most influential radio stations in America. It’s essential reading (5,000 words’ worth) for anybody—fan or hater—who cares about KEXP.

Below are a few of Jaspan’s observations:

There’s a hush-hush saying that many of us KEXP DJs use when confiding among ourselves our displeasures with the direction the station has been taking over the past several years: “KEXP, where the money matters.”
KEXP management goes to great lengths to project an image of the station to the public that is very different from the reality.
John Richards and Don Yates are willfully ignorant of any types of music which they don’t personally like and which they don’t think fits KEXP’s branding image, and that includes most non-mainstream electronic music.

Time to Play… Spot the Typo!

posted by on July 28 at 2:32 PM

Can YOU find the problem on this week’s otherwise-glorious Stranger cover?

Abortion Reading

posted by on July 28 at 2:27 PM

Annie’s post from earlier today about Mitzi’s Abortion is startling because (1) she claims in the first sentence to have “really liked it” and in the second sentence that it’s “the most affecting play I’ve seen so far this year,” and as anyone who remembers Annie’s reign of terror as theater editor knows, these sorts of words do not come easily to her; and (2) because her point about there being almost no plays, TV shows, movies, or novels dealing with abortion is true, in spite of it being such a hot subject. The first thing you think of, if you survived four years of English in a decent high school, is Hemingway’s story “Hills Like White Elephants.” Here’s the text, accompanied by a transfixing picture of some woman.

Westlake Center. 5:30. Today.

posted by on July 28 at 1:53 PM

Judging from the comments I got a couple of days ago when I reported that the King County Prosecutor’s Office decided not to press charges against Critical Mass cyclist Zack Treisman (which indicated to me that Treisman probably has a good case against the KC undercover detectives who messed him up), I’m not sure CM riders want to hear from me.

You see, in that widely-condemned post, I also groused that Treisman wasn’t pressing charges, and I went on a jag about race and how police brutality isn’t a pressing issue for whites, and so the value of bringing a case against the Sheriff’s Dept. may not have been forefront for Treisman.

I don’t know Treisman. He did not speak to the press. As the story was breaking, I spoke over the phone with Treisman’s girlfriend. During the follow-up coverage, I spoke with Treisman’s attorney. I did see Treisman down at the Sheriff’s dept. And I did randomly see him at a local bar watching the Tour de France. I even exchanged a friendly e-mail with Treisman earlier this week (before my post). But again, I don’t know him. So, singling him out to make my point about race was unfair. However, I stand by my thought that this issue isn’t important in the white community, and the resolution of this drama is evidence of that.

Anyway: The reason I’m dredging all this back up is because today is the first CM bike ride since the arrests last month. It’s at 5:30 at Westlake Center.

Cue Brian May on electric guitar. Freddie Mercury says: “Get on Your Bikes and Ride.”

Mitzi’s “Sad, Even Tragic” Abortion

posted by on July 28 at 1:38 PM

I saw Mitzi’s Abortion at ACT Theatre yesterday, and I really liked it. Speaking strictly on aesthetic grounds, it’s the most affecting play I’ve seen so far this year. Sharia Pierce, as Mitzi, is a perfect little rubbery being—completely unmoved by the theological, political, and medical discussions going on around her, more or less accurately pigeonholed by the PowerPoint lecture describing a woman’s psychological responses as she progresses through a pregnancy. She’s not exactly my kind of woman, but I take a weird pleasure in stubborn, anti-intellectual female characters (see Xavière, in Simone de Beauvoir’s She Came to Stay), and Pierce is an unmistakable physical presence.

I have some quarrels with the play in its current incarnation—please, for the love of God, cut the third cell-phone interruption regarding wood chips. It’s waaaaay too much. And why does Aquinas, who is supposedly so sympathetic to Mitzi’s plight, disappear at her hour of need, only to reappear to grant her forgiveness in the eyes of the Catholic Church? There’s some bizarre implicit judgment going on there.

But overall, Mitzi’s Abortion is really funny, vivid, and deeply sad.

Why deeply sad? Because, despite the apparent neutrality (even universality) of the title, Mitzi’s Abortion is not about an unwanted pregnancy—at least at first. In spite of the fact that the vast majority of abortions are performed during the first trimester, playwright Elizabeth Heffron decided to approach the issue from the most extreme case imaginable. Mitzi’s fetus is anencephalic—it has no skull and no brain and will not survive more than a few days outside of the uterus. However, since it has a brain stem, it also will not spontaneously abort. It may continue to grow physically up to a year inside her body. Horrific, right? By the time this condition is discovered, it’s already past the point where her physician will even do a dilation-and-extraction (or “partial-birth abortion,” if you’re into vague and judgmental euphemisms). Mitzi has to be instillated, or injected with a saline solution which will simultaneously kill the fetus and instigate labor.

What I find most interesting about this approach (which is inseparable from the structure of the play as a whole) is that it precisely parallels Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that abortion be acknowledged as a “sad, even tragic choice for many, many women.” (My 2005 essay dissecting this rhetorical about-face is available here.) I’m not suggesting that Heffron had this tactic in mind, or even that her work should be considered primarily in a political light, but thinking about it from that perspective really gives me pause.

Let’s consider the context. There are very, very few plays being written right now that deal with abortion, whether as a tragic subject or a casual one. (Similarly, there are very few movies that deal with abortion, very few television shows that deal with abortion—I would even venture to suggest that there aren’t a whole lot of novels dealing with the subject in a non-peripheral manner.) If you’re going to write one of those very, very few plays, and you profess as a goal “I want to be able to say [the word abortion] out loud and not wait for a pipe bomb in my mailbox” (“From the Playwright,” in the Mitzi’s Abortion program), is the best strategy really to cloak the subject in solemnity, tragedy, grief, and even horror? No woman is going to be any closer to being able to bring up her abortion in casual conversation because of this play. Or a million plays like it.

I do not deny that this strategy is effective—I think even a “except in cases of incest, rape, or to save the life of a mother” pro-lifer would be able to see this play and be moved. I mean, seriously. I think it might even change a few minds. (This is a shocking accomplishment.) But at what cost?


posted by on July 28 at 1:28 PM

800-pound giant tire flip? 260-pound steel log lift? 530-pound farmer’s carry? Arm wrestling? Plus beer?

This year’s Strongman Contest begins at 10 am. Sounds like an excellent Block Party pre-func.

I, Anonymous ELF Battle

posted by on July 28 at 12:50 PM

There’s a spicy discussion going on over in the I, Anonymous Forum about the contentious tactics of the Earth Liberation Front. Here’s the opening shot:

you fucking ELF informant motherfucker. you deserve to have the shit beat out of you, you cowardly phony-ass cry baby. here are a bunch of individuals with the courage to try to go against the capitalistic, anti-environmental bullshit that’s been waging war on this country, more shamefully during the past 6 years of our current administration, and you chose to be a fucking baby nark. it is so depressing hearing about all of these people being nailed recently by the FBI on account of your traitor ass. these people have had the nerve to go to war against the establishment on behalf of the wildlife its been screwing over since the dawn of humans and you rat them out. i hope you enjoyed selling your soul in exchange for imprisonment of these noble activists. you fucking judas, i hope your guilty concience plagues you forever.

To view the ongoing battle of responses, go here.

The Pizza Menace

posted by on July 28 at 12:47 PM

This week, as part of the Stranger’s ongoing coverage of Mayor Greg Nickels’s crackdown on nightlife, I wrote about an Alki restaurant called Slices Pizza, whose liquor license application the city has opposed because some residents fear it will lead to public drunkenness, noise, litter and underage drinking. Slices owner Patrick Henley, seeming bemused by the imbroglio, told me, “It seemed pretty basic for a pizzeria to get a beer and wine license.” Nonetheless, the city has asked that Henley and Slices co-owner Tom Lin sign a “good-neighbor agreement” agreeing to certain conditions (typical good-neighbor requirements: no noise, no litter, extra security, no outdoor seating) before it will relinquish its objections.

Curious about why the city would view a tiny pizza joint as such a clear and present danger to the West Seattle beachfront strip, Stranger news editor Josh Feit and I ventured out to Slices on a recent weekday night.

Unfortunately, the tiny shack, which also boasts a postage-stamp front yard (from which the city believes patrons will be tempted to pass beer and wine to people on the sidewalk) was closed at 9pm. But we took some pictures (sorry they’re tiny; blame my camera phone):




As you can see (or not), Slices is basically a tiny shack with a single counter, a couple of seats inside, and a tiny front yard. The idea that it would somehow turn into a “beer garden” after hours (meaning when? between 8 and 10, when Slices closes?) is pretty tough to swallow.

(City Attorney Tom Carr says the city negotiated a good-neighbor agreement, which centered on “an assurance that they would monitor the front yard” for illegal activity, with the pizza joint, but Slices ultimately refused to sign. He also says Slices could always decide to extend its hours, serving the late-night beachgoing crowd until well into the evening if they wanted to. However, he adds, “I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, serving pizza and beer. I’ll probably go there myself.”)

Of course, if people really had their heart set on handing booze to passing minors while munching a slice of pizza, they could always go down the street to Christo’s, where Josh and I enjoyed a Greek special (feta, Kalamata olives, and spinach) while drinking wine (me) and a frou-frou mixed cocktail called an Orange Crush (Josh).

Live! Nude! Wizards!

posted by on July 28 at 12:37 PM

Harry Potter! Live! Onstage! Starkers!

Daniel Radcliffe will strip off his Harry Potter eyeglasses and robes for his London stage debut next year. The 17-year-old actor, who plays the bespectacled schoolboy wizard in the Hollywood adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s novels, will star as a troubled stableboy in Peter Shaffer’s “Equus.”

Arts in America

posted by on July 28 at 12:36 PM

To begin with:

If you are, like me, a street walker and in no mood to support or denounce the act of civil disobedience organized for and by what the German band Kraftwerk once described as the ultimate man/machine (the cyclist), there is for you tonight the terrific distraction of Mammy Vice (sorry, I mean Miami Vice). From Brad Steinbacher’s review:

[A] decidedly non-winking update of the ’80s television series—is in many ways the ultimate Michael Mann film. All the touchstones are there, from the shiny cars to the industrial locales to the heavy use of blues and grays. Oceans are on hand for lingering gazes; women are on hand for conflicted grazing—swap out the title card and this could easily be a description of Heat. But while that film has become a certifiable classic worthy of repeat viewings (the block-by-block shootout alone begs revisiting at least once a year)…

To end with:

A) Woody Allen has made yet another film. It’s called Scoop. It stars Scarlett Johansson. This passage is from USA Today’s review of Scoop:

“She was a femme fatale in last year’s serious whodunit Match Point, and in this comedic thriller she plays a university student on vacation in London. Johansson is not Allen’s new Diane Keaton. She’s closer to Mariel Hemingway — though even Allen couldn’t attempt to pull off a romance between his septuagenarian self and a girl in college.”
Woody is the man.

B) The Hindu has a conversation with Paul Theroux about his new book The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia. Here is the heart of that conversation:

Our talk moves on to some of the authors who have affected him. For starters, there is V.S. Naipaul, a famous love-hate relationship that’s recorded in Sir Vidia’s Shadow. “Naipaul is an awful person, a tyrannical uncle..”

C) Lastly, as Annie Wagner pointed out earlier this week, this is what the New Yorker has to say about Wikipedia. And this is what Wikipedia has to say about the personal life of the German philosopher who forced English readers to deal with dasein, Martin Heideggar:

In 1917, Heidegger married Elfriede Petri, in a Protestant wedding. She has been blamed for being a negative influence on him, by virtue of her strong anti-Semitic and Nazi sympathies. Heidegger had several extramarital affairs, including two very important ones with Jewish women who were his students, Hannah Arendt and Elisabeth Blochmann, with whom he remained in contact for the rest of his life (except during World War II). Only with the recent publication of the letters between Martin and Elfriede Heidegger in 2005 did it become known that the Heidegger marriage was an “open” one, in that Elfriede likewise had affairs, including one with the family doctor who fathered her first son, Hermann Heidegger.
Doctors will fuck any body.

Speaking of sex, while some of you were, to quote Shalamar, “dancing in the sheets” last night, I had a dream about being a civil engineer. I was building big bridges, improving the infrastructure, making sure that civilization was in excellent working order. Then I awoke. Through the open window by my purple bed, a cool stench from a ruptured sewer breezed into my room. To quote Weezer, “But when we wake/It’s all been erased/And so it seems/Only in dreams. only in dreams.”

More Intraoffice E-mail

posted by on July 28 at 12:01 PM

from: Joseline
subject: Kenny G
Don’t laugh, this is serious business. Does anyone know how to get in touch with Kenny G or his management directly?
from: David Schmader
subject: re: Kenny G
go in the bathroom wiht the lights out, stare into the mirror, and whisper “kenny g, kenny g, kenny g” twenty times.

McGavick: Even Less True Than Before

posted by on July 28 at 12:00 PM

Last weekend, I interviewed GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick in Moses Lake, WA.

When I asked McGavick what he thought of our state’s gay civil rights bill, passed by the legislature this year, he told me he was running for federal office, and so didn’t talk about state issues.
“I do not and will not talk about state issues, because I’m working at the federal level. I’ve been asked about the gas tax last year. I’m now being asked about this. I’ll be asked about other things. I do not comment on state initiatives because I’m focused on the federal issues.”

He told me he was simply following a precedent set by Sens. Warren G. Magnuson and Henry Jackson (way to take yourself way too seriously, dude!).

To which I responded, “The precedent for not answering questions?”

To which he got pretty mad.

Anyway, I’ve already refuted that claim once, pointing out that on a campaign stop in Colville, WA. (dam country), just a few days earlier, he criticized I-937, the state initiative that promotes solar and wind power.

Well, looks like it’s time to call double bullshit on Mike “I don’t talk about state issues!” McGavick.

Just four days after telling me he doesn’t talk about state issues!, McGavick told the Seattle Times that he thought I-200 (the anti-affirmative action initiative passed in the state in 1998) was the right thing to do.

The Seattle Times wrote on July 26:

[McGavick] also led an effort to fund minority scholarships at the University of Washington after Initiative 200 banned racial preferences in public-school enrollment. McGavick was not living in the state when I-200 was approved in 1998 but said he would have voted for it.

And, it turns out, on a campaign stop in Oak Harbor on July 6 (thanks Democrats, for taping all this stuff), McGavick told voters how to vote in this year’s heated state Supreme Court races.

Here’s McGavick not talking about issues! at the state level:

This judicial activism must be brought under control, and the simplest thing we can do at the state level is elect judges who are focused on providing the right kinds of adjudicating. And I’ll tell you there’s a couple of, I think, great candidates for the state Supreme Court, for example. John Groen and Steve Johnson I think are terrific candidates who have pledged themselves to restraint and I think that’s the kind of judges we want.
BTW: I met both of these candidates yesterday, and they’re both partisan conservatives, particularly GOP line state Sen. Stephen Johnson (R-Auburn/Covington). The other, John Groen, a property rights attorney, is being bankrolled by the conservative Building Industry Association of Washington.)

Celebrity Exhaustion

posted by on July 28 at 11:56 AM

“Exhaustion”—for celebrities, it’s the all-purpose smokescreen, excusing everything from blabbering coke-overs and alcoholic stupors to bulimia-induced collapse.

But as The Smoking Gun reports, at least one Hollywood producer is calling bullshit on exhaustion—specifically, the alleged exhaustion of hard-partying starlet Lindsay Lohan.

In a letter delivered to the 20-year-old actress at the Chateau Marmont hotel earlier this week, the chief executive of Morgan Creek Productions blasts Lohan’s “discourteous, irresponsible and unprofessional” behavior during the filming of Georgia Rule, co-starring Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman. Acknowledging Lohan’s claims of illness, Chief Executive James G. Robinson writes that he is “well aware that your ongoing all night heavy partying is the real reason for your so called ‘exhaustion.’”

To read the whole, actual letter sent to Ms. Lohan—who is threatened with legal action if she doesn’t clean up her act—go here.

Best Pitch Ever

posted by on July 28 at 11:51 AM

How well does Seattle City Light understand the media?

So well:

Pagliacci Pizza’s CEO Matt Galvin will dish up tasty, hot pizzas with green toppings made by guest chefs Seattle City Council member Jean Godden and City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco. The feast launches a campaign offering free pizza reward cards to Seattle residents who join the Green Up program for the first time.

Fresh, hot pizza slices will be served to press representatives covering the event.

(City Light’s “Green Up” program allows consumers to by up to 100% of their power from renewable sources such as the Stateline Wind Project in Eastern Washington. The cost is $3, $6 or $12 per month.)

Snakes on a Simile

posted by on July 28 at 11:46 AM

In an effort to begin the backlash against Snakes on a Plane so that, by the time the movie opens, the backlash to the backlash will have begun, and we can all just enjoy ourselves: After the jump, I present two (spoiler-free) sentences from one paragraph on page 179 of the Snakes On a Plane novelization (emphasis mine.)

Continue reading "Snakes on a Simile" »

Fired KEXP DJ Clears the Air

posted by on July 28 at 11:32 AM

Recently dismissed DJ Greg Jaspan vents on Line Out about the Seattle radio station “where the music matters.” He begs to disagree.

It’s a HUGE Hit… in France

posted by on July 28 at 11:26 AM

Check out this video for the biggest hit currently on the radio in France. It was apparently written the day after Zidane head-butted that guy in the World Cup, and while it focuses on booty-shaking, I think its intention is to celebrate the head butt. Why? Because the title of the song is Coupe de Boule, which translates to “Head Butt.” I give it a red card—for being overly infectious!

Another Reason Not to Eat at McDonald’s

posted by on July 28 at 11:22 AM

As documented on this blog, I am a hippie. However, this news from the USDA ought to give even the most red-blooded, gun-slingin’, SUV-driving meat eater pause:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said late last week that it will reduce testing for mad cow disease by 90 percent.

The United States began increased testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy in December 2003 with the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States. About 1,000 cows have been tested each day, but only two more cases have been detected.

“It’s time that our surveillance efforts reflect what we now know is a very, very low level of [mad cow disease] problem in the United States, and after all of this surveillance, I am able to say there never was,” said Mike Johanns, USDA secretary, in making the announcement.

To summarize: The USDA is OK with letting a “very, very low level” of mad-cow infected beef into the US food supply, despite the fact that the disease is not destroyed by cooking, processing or pretty much anything short of nuclear bombardment.

Now please enjoy this description of the symptoms of mad-cow’s human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Government Silences Katrina Trailer-Park Residents

posted by on July 28 at 11:00 AM

FEMA tells Katrina victims: Accept government help, give up your First Amendment rights.

From the AP:

MORGAN CITY, La. — Residents of trailer parks set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house hurricane victims in Louisiana aren’t allowed to talk to the press without an official escort, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reported. …

“If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” [FEMA spokeswoman Rachel] Rodi told the newspaper for its July 15 report. “That’s just a policy.”

Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said FEMA’s refusal to allow trailer-park residents to invite news media into their homes unescorted was unconstitutional.

Morgan City Mayor Timothy Matte told The Advocate that he was surprised residents were being barred from talking to reporters.

“I would think anyone who lives there would be allowed to have any visitor they wanted,” he said.

FEMA leases the land for the trailer park from the city, Matte said. “It’s public property. There’s no question about that. You would think the people would have the same freedom there as everyone else has,” he told the newspaper.

Hundreds of trailers at FEMA parks sit empty and unused in Louisiana, according to The Advocate.

Officials in Morgan City estimate that FEMA has spent about $7.5 million to build the trailer park but that only about 15 of the 198 trailers are being used.

“We all wonder why no one lives there,” Matte said.

FEMA officials refuse to say how much was spent to build the park or why 183 of the trailers are vacant.


The Rational Basis Dodge

posted by on July 28 at 10:20 AM

I missed this yesterday, but over in Slate there’s a gay marriage must-read by super-sharp legal writer Dahlia Lithwick. In her piece, she tears apart the “rational basis” dance that the Washington State Supreme Court (and others) have been engaging in when ruling on the constitutionality of gay marriage bans.

Her succinct summary of the Washington State Supreme Court’s logic: “Only if the ban was enacted by insane people can it fail constitutional review.”

Read the piece:

The [Washington] court refuses to take seriously its obligation to engage in rational review by repeating, as if sinking deeper and deeper into a state of yogic meditation, that, “at the risk of sounding monotonous, we repeat that the rational basis standard is extremely deferential.”

Even the most deferential review should grapple with whether banning gay marriage really encourages straight marriage; whether there is something about marriage that magically lures heterosexual parents into its grasp—something that would evaporate if it were also extended to gay parents. Even deferential review that was also deaf, dumb, and blind would do more than just assert that gay marriage is illegal because kids “thrive” in straight homes. That claim is not just slightly over- or underinclusive, as the majority would have it. It’s nonresponsive. Or, as the dissenters put it, better than I have: “denying same-sex couples the right to marry has no prospect of furthering any of those interests.”

To get to a just answer on the question of gay marriage one need not—and perhaps should not—go as far as the Massachusetts court went when it said that, “The history of constitutional law is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded.” It would have been enough for the Washington justices to say that when irrational laws are justified with irrational reasons, the courts should be brave enough to label them as such.

Graff Up

posted by on July 28 at 9:49 AM

These are the pieces of graffitti I passed on my way to work this morning.







Going, Going

posted by on July 28 at 9:15 AM

1. I’m going to Portland today to check out Cris Bruch’s sculpture show, Remains to Be Seen, at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Bruch is a meticulous Seattle sculptor whose turn from socially performative work in the 1980s to near-total abstraction fascinates me. So do his objects. He’ll have a show in Seattle in the fall at Lawrimore Project.

2. Also going away this weekend are two great shows here.

One is Todd Simeone’s first solo exhibition at James Harris Gallery, ending Saturday. Details of photographed objects are removed, changing the final images both slightly and significantly. Simeone’s alterations make you think, but they also make you look, and reward looking—they are quiet, almost shy, and striking. Here’s A Plan for A Plan (hey, I have one of those):


Charles Mudede Blarted about Simeone’s incomparable dice portraits here. Here’s one (each piece in the dice series is a perfect square, 14 inches on every side).


The other show to see closes end of day Sunday: Dawn Cerny and Alice Tippit’s The Artful Pursuit of Happiness at SOIL. I’ve already Slogged about this riot of drawings, paintings, cut-outs, and other objects that represent the fidgetings and obsessions of a fictional millionaire, but I got some insights about it yesterday from Tippit that I wanted to share in case you go (or already have, and have become curious about this distinctly curious show). She wrote in an email:

The project became an exploration of the pursuit of happiness, particularly that of an eccentric millionaire, a sort of Howard Hughes or Michael Jackson type, whose wealth and status allow him to behave as he likes. The project explores the new boundaries we create for ourselves when we have the ability to behave as we like; it is also an examination of a life lived so fully that it has become moribund in its expression. The estate drawings, in particular, are an attempt to create surroundings and control one’s environment to such an extent that they become a burden. … I should not forget to mention the diorama at the front of the gallery, a sort of monument to disappointment, created out of the frustration of not having a Venetian palazzo, a la Karen Kilimnick, to run amok in. And the canaries, inspired by Frederick the Great, who let his Italian Greyhounds have the run of Sans Souci, soiling the fine furnishings and making a mess of the place. This disregard for the possesions one has bothered to accumulate seems to occur in the very poor and the very rich for different reasons which I could barely begin to touch upon here.

Down with living so fully!

My Date With Justice (Alexander)

posted by on July 28 at 9:00 AM

As Josh wrote, our meeting yesterday with Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander was quite intense. I got there a few minutes late and found Alexander seated, looking slightly uncomfortable, staring at us over a framed photo of Dan’s son, D.J.

I’ll let Dan explain his intent in making the Chief Justice stare at D.J. throughout the interview, but I’m sure it had something to do with the concern Alexander and other justices expressed about “the well-being of children” as they voted to uphold Washington State’s ban on gay marriage (also known as the “Defense of Marriage Act,” or DOMA for short). My agenda during the interview was to get more information about the “rational basis” Alexander and others in the majority said they believed the state legislature was using when, in 1998, it decided to ban gay marriage in this state. Here’s the main “rational basis” quote from the gay-marriage-ban-upholding decision signed by Alexander:

…Therefore, we apply the highly deferential rational basis standard of review to the legislature’s decision that only opposite-sex couples are entitled to civil marriage in this state. Under this standard, DOMA is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents.

What got me focused on “rational basis” was our interview, earlier in the day, with liberal Justice Susan Owens (who voted to overturn DOMA for lacking a rational basis) and her conservative challenger, Stephen Johnson. Johnson is a Republican state senator from the Black Diamond area, and he was in the state legislature back when that body made its “rational” decision to ban gay marriage.

But when I and others pressed Johnson for his “rational” policy reasons for voting for DOMA back in 1998, Johnson couldn’t come up with any. First he suggested that he was simply representing the will of his district when he voted to ban gay marriage. Then he offered some vague statements about his fondness for tradition. But pandering for the purposes of political survival is not a policy rationale, and neither is sentimentality. What Johnson never articulated was a coherent, heart-felt, logical explanation for his vote in favor of DOMA.

Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this. In the decision signed by Alexander, it is noted that “the rational basis standard is extremely deferential.” It is so deferential, in fact, that as long as a court can find that the legislature has enacted a law based on some “rational basis,” then the power of the legislature, in the words of the decision signed by Alexander, is “nearly limitless.”

What we have here, then, is a huge potential for a breakdown in our representative democracy, and in our system of checks and balances. Say, just hypothetically, that the Washington State Legislature is filled with people, like Johnson, who are making law based primarily on the tyranny of the majority in their districts. This would mean that if the majority in their districts has an irrational prejudice against homosexuals, then they vote their constituents’ prejudices, rather than working to moderate their constituents’ prejudices in the service of protecting minority rights. This would be a clear failure of representative democracy.

And say, just hypothetically, that this legislature passes a ban on gay marriage, even though legislators are voting based on prejudice rather than on legitimate policy concerns. And then say, hypothetically, that this ban is challenged, and it comes before the state Supreme Court. Here is another, and perhaps the final, opportunity for a check on the tyranny of a prejudiced majority. But say the court feels it has to defer to whatever rationale the legislature has offered, even if it is a demonstrably incoherent rationale based on false notions. Well, if the court feels this way, then game over.

I asked Alexander to tell me what “rational basis” he believed the legislature had used to ban gay marriage. He couldn’t. I asked him if he would defer to the legislature if it decided to pass a law stating that the sun revolves around the earth, and if that law then was challenged in his court. I called the law the “Pre-Copernican Awareness Act,” or something like that, and pointed out that there’s even a certain rationale for believing the sun revolves around the earth (I mean, it sure looks like it does when you’re standing on the earth looking up at the sky). Alexander said such a law would never be upheld.

Exactly, I told him. And often, prejudice against homosexuals seems to be based upon precisely the kind of faulty reasoning that led people to believe the earth was the center of the universe. It’s a reasoning based on gut feeling rather than on open-minded inquiry. I feel like the center of the universe, therefore the sun revolves around me. I feel a revulsion toward homosexuality, therefore homosexuals shouldn’t be able to get married.

“I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable about this,” Alexander replied. He worried out-loud that we were attempting to change his mind on this issue—a sign that perhaps his mind was beginning to change?

I come from a family with its share of lawyers, so I don’t expect a lawyer, least of all the Chief Justice of a state supreme court, to out-and-out admit to faulty reasoning. But as we were having this exchange, Alexander looked to me like someone quite trapped by the rarefied legal circles in which he moves, and by the rules that prevented him from discussing the DOMA case outside of the supreme court chambers while it was being deliberated. He suggested as much during our interview, saying he was glad to be out of the “ivory tower,” talking to people who made him feel “humbled” (whether by the power of his position, or by his difficulty in explaining his reasoning, I don’t know). And in response to my suggestion that his “deference” to the legislature, if it went so far as to describe irrational laws as rational, would end up representing an abrogation of his responsibility to act as a check on legislative power, Alexander finally said:

“I can see how someone would make that argument.”

Morning News

posted by on July 28 at 8:45 AM

The Israelis have called in reinforcements but still haven’t committed to a ground war. Meanwhile, Arab states cheer on the underdog.

Should have linked this yesterday: An Oxford professor, with an op-ed in the L.A. Times, blames the war in Lebanon on 19th century Europe.

Under an obscure law passed by Republicans in 1996, the Bush administration’s handling of detainees just might qualify them as war criminals. Does the administration change its policy? Or change the law? Here’s your answer.

Landis denies doping.

America’s major power grids are showing signs of age. Nothing a little more deregulation can’t fix!

Progress in finding a vacccine for bird flu. And now there’s even a vaccine for smoking!

More Casey v. Savage Press

posted by on July 28 at 7:03 AM

From today’s Washington Post:

The campaign of Pennsylvania Senate candidate Bob Casey Jr. has returned a $2,100 contribution from syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage because of his “vulgar” jokes about conservative incumbent Rick Santorum—which, no, we can’t reprint. Savage said Democrat Casey’s campaign originally accepted the money… and invited him to a fundraiser before having a change of heart; he said yesterday the donation has been accepted instead by an unaffiliated group campaigning against the senator.

From today’s Philadelphia Daily News:

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that Bob Casey’s U.S. Senate campaign had rejected a $2,100 check from Dan Savage, the syndicated sex columnist whose work appears in Philadelphia Weekly. The Casey people decided that accepting money from the not-always-tasteful Savage, who has a vulgar anti-Santorum Web site, would cause more trouble than it was worth….

Smar said there is no firm policy on donations from sex columnists.

“We vet all checks we receive very carefully,” Smar said. “If they pass the vetting process, we’d accept them.”

The Savage money will still benefit Casey. After the rejection, Savage sent the check to Philadelphians Against Santorum, a group headed by Ray Murphy that’s registering young adults whose views on sex are closer to Savage’s than Santorum’s.

“We’re proud to accept Dan Savage’s contribution, and he can rest assured that we’ll smear Santorum like no one else in Philly can,” Murphy told us, tastelessly.

From Wonkette:

No one has done more to ruin Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.)’s good name than sex columnist Dan Savage… with the possible exception of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.). After the senator compared gay sex to bestiality and pedophilia, Savage ran a contest to rename something sexual in his honor. The winner: “The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

Earlier in the year Savage donated $2,100 to Santorum’s opponent, Democrat Bob Casey. And Savage learned what Traci Lords, Marilyn Chambers, and Richard Nixon learned before him: It’s hard to go legit.

Who Needs Marriage?

posted by on July 28 at 6:51 AM

A new group has jumped into the marriage wars: Beyond Marriage.

The time has come to reframe the narrow terms of the marriage debate in the United States. Conservatives are seeking to enshrine discrimination in the U.S. Constitution through the Federal Marriage Amendment. But their opposition to same-sex marriage is only one part of a broader pro-marriage, “family values” agenda that includes abstinence-only sex education, stringent divorce laws, coercive marriage promotion policies directed toward women on welfare, and attacks on reproductive freedom. Moreover, a thirty-year political assault on the social safety net has left households with more burdens and constraints and fewer resources.

Meanwhile, the LGBT movement has recently focused on marriage equality as a stand-alone issue. While this strategy may secure rights and benefits for some LGBT families, it has left us isolated and vulnerable to a virulent backlash. We must respond to the full scope of the conservative marriage agenda by building alliances across issues and constituencies. Our strategies must be visionary, creative, and practical to counter the right’s powerful and effective use of marriage as a “wedge” issue that pits one group against another. The struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families. To that end, we advocate…

Click here to find out what Beyond Marriage is advocating.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Supreme Injustice

posted by on July 27 at 6:50 PM

We just got out of our endorsement interview with Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and his opponent John Groen.

Pretty amazing turn of events that we scheduled the interview weeks ago—and it turned out to be the day after the gay marriage decision came down. Meaning: A table of Stranger fags—3 of the six Stranger Election Control Board members are gay—got to have at Chief Justice Alexander while emotions were still raw over yesterday’s, um, “imaginative” ruling.

We’ll put up an audio file of our interview with Alexander tomorrow. (Thanks for all the questions you Slog readers suggested.) It was a pretty intense interview. At one point Alexander tried to cop out, telling us that the line of questioning was making him uncomfortable. Anyway, if all-star intern Sarah Mirk stays up all night and does some fancy digital editing— you’ll hear it all on Slog tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s one bit that the recorder probably didn’t get, but I overheard because I was lucky enough to be standing next to Dan as Alexander was making his way out. As Alexander shook Dan’s hand, Savage said, pretty calmly: “I believe you have perpetuated a terrible injustice.” Alexander responded: “I’m a big boy. I can take the criticism.” Dan got the last word: “It’s not about you.”

Tableaux, Tableaux

posted by on July 27 at 5:52 PM

SuttonBeresCuller put up a Chinese restaurant at Lawrimore Project downtown that you must go to see if you have not. (It’s up through Aug. 3.) I wrote about it in this week’s Stranger here, and here’s a shot of its exterior:


If you’ve gone already, what did you think of it? Did you see it alone or with other people? Have you tried ordering food?

(Brendan Kiley, ever the performance editor, not only called Scott Lawrimore’s cell—the number on the restaurant’s sign—to order food right away on opening night, Brendan also asked Lawrimore what was in the Seafood Surprise, which stumped the gallerist who until moments earlier had no idea that his venue was about to double as a food joint.)

And by the way, on a tip from Michael Sweney at Davidson Contemporary, here’s another tableau exhibition, closing tomorrow at Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery in New York. Called Helter Swelter (bwah, bwah), it contains a full-fledged bodega (pictured), a temporary construction site, and an 18-foot ice-cream truck—summer city scenery, reproduced in three dimensions and enterable.


Obviously, Kienholz comes to mind, and even a little bit of Robert Gober’s environments, but these works also seem to be about photorealism, architecture, and maybe even journalism and reality television. I’m curious about what other people think …

While you’re at it, any theories on why people are dying to talk about classical music in depth on this blog, but not contemporary art? Tell me what you think, damnit!

MF Snakes Get off the MF Plane

posted by on July 27 at 4:49 PM

Local talent Ethan Newberry (Jet City Improv) sent his Snakes on a Plane-inspired rap video for ya’ll to enjoy. (Just watch it before you tell me exactly how sick of snakes on planes you are…)

An Excellent Reason to Leave Work Early Tomorrow…

posted by on July 27 at 4:20 PM


Duck out of work early tomorrow and kick off the 2006 Capitol Hill Block Party with cheap beer, good food, and great music from DJ Franki Chan. Come down before the bands start on the mainstage and start the weekend off with $2 Miller High Life, food from Annapurna CafĂ© (selections from India, Nepal, and Tibet), Thaiger Room (one of Seattle’s best-kept Thai secrets), and Hot Dog Joe’s. The Block Party Happy Hour is from 3:00 - 4:30 pm this Friday, and will be followed by sets from Slender Means (pictured above) on the mainstage and Tall Birds on the VERA stage.

It’s On TV Tonight!

posted by on July 27 at 3:48 PM

But just in case you are staying home, please, do not forget! Tonight is the dawning of a brand new reality show competition, and perhaps the NERDIEST SHOW IN THE WORLD! It’s “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” (SCI FI Channel, 9 pm) in which Marvel Comics impresario Stan Lee must choose the best hero out of a pack of normal nerds dressed up in homemade superhero costumes. Read more about it in this week’s I Love Television, but in a nutshell: These sweet supergeeks will be living together in some secret hideout, and in order to prove who is the most heroic, compete in a series of morality challenges. (BOOOOOO! Where’s the “It’s CLOBBERIN’ TIME!!” challenge??) Word on the street is that the show is surprisingly good-natured and fun, so check it out!

Good luck to Super Rabbi.

Tonight Is on Fire

posted by on July 27 at 3:27 PM

I’m going to see Bust at Empty Space (I loved Weedman in Amsterdam and Ticket/Ticket [Broadway Market and Pike Place Market] has half-price tickets) and also check out Licorous. What are you doing?

Moral: Fox News is Not Meant to be Funny

posted by on July 27 at 3:27 PM

A Fox News live shot about bike thievery goes awry. That was totally NOT COOL, dude.

Arts in America

posted by on July 27 at 2:19 PM

To begin with:

Big Wheel Bingo
(LEGAL GAMBLING/VARIETY SHOW) After a good couple of years honing its shtick and delighting crowds at the Rendezvous, Big Wheel Bingo—the po-mo game show/variety hour masterminded by Kaleb Hagan-Kerr, who doubles as host Bing Wheeler—finds a new home among the Frenchy psychedelica of Can Can Kitchen and Cabaret. It’s a night of glitzy game-show theatrics; special guest stars; good old-fashioned bingo; and thanks to the new locale, surprisingly yummy food and drink. (Can Can, 94 Pike Street, 652-0832. 9:30 pm, bingo is free, 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER

To end with:

A) Tate 2 is unveiled. From the Guardian: “‘Its design can,’ says architect Jacques Herzog, of Herzog and De Meuron, the Swiss practice which conjured Tate Modern from Bankside power station, ‘be interpreted in two ways: as the erosion of a pyramid and, in contrast, as a pyramid in the process of emerging.’” As an English lady might say, “Now that’s clever.”

B) If you agree with the great ideas of Karl Marx, then certainly you will see a connection between the enormous profits Exxon Mobil Corp. just cant stop enjoying and the condition of the arts.

C) Despite the American wars, the American president, the House of Representatives, Hollywood continues to rule the world.

Speaking of movies, Police Beat, which is directed by Robinson Devor—a man whose close association with me has cost him any chance of winning the Genius Award—is having its last night at the Varsity this evening. Tomorrow it will appear in Vancouver at Vancity. For those who know nothing about this film, here is by far my fav reveiw of it.

Me and My iPod Down by the Schoolyard

posted by on July 27 at 1:48 PM

Mudede’s post yesterday about standing at the Pearly Gates and glancing at the list of songs he listened to most in his life has made me think about what my own list would include. My iPod’s Top 25 Most Played list is helpful, but weirdly there’s no Paul Simon, and that’s insane—Paul Simon is a staple. (Paul Simon Is a Staple. That’s the title of my next mix CD.) According to my iPod, my most-played song is “I’m Looking Through You” by the Beatles, which is from Rubber Soul, the best album by the Beatles, no matter what Dave Segal or Sean Nelson say. These 10 songs would all be on my Pearly Gates list:

1) “I’m Looking Through You,” The Beatles
2) “Dirty Dream Number Two,” Belle & Sebastian
3) “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Paul Simon
4) “When My Boy Walks Down the Street,” Magnetic Fields
5) “Sea of Smiling Faces,” The Bee Gees
6) “Son of a Preacher Man,” Dusty Springfield
7) “People Die” (Medley), Kiki & Herb
8) “The Village Green Preservation Society,” The Kinks
9) “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Mormon Tabernacle Choir
10) “There’s Always Music,” United State of Electronica

Although that’s a bullshit list, because I listen to plenty of other songs by Belle & Sebastian or Magnetic Fields more than I listen to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” But the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” takes me back to being in church as a kid. I’d also have somewhere on the list: “This Charming Man,” The Smiths; “Ziggy Stardust,” David Bowie; “Killer Queen,” Queen; “Care of Cell 44,” The Zombies; “You and Whose Army?” Radiohead; “My Name Is,” Eminem; “New Slang,” The Shins; “Plague of Locusts,” Harvey Danger; “C’mon, Mom,” The Elected; “Dreams,” Fleetwood Mac; “Other Girls,” Eux Autres; “Nightswimming,” R.E.M (though I listened to it so much in high school I can’t listen to it anymore)… I’ll stop. This is undoubtedly making you crazy.

On an only-slightly-related note: Is your iPod weirdly freezing up? Mine does this thing where, after I hit play, it stalls, and then the screen info jumps to the next song, and the next one, but nothing’s playing, and then when I shut it off (holding down MENU and the center button at the same time) it treats me to an alarming graphic with a file folder and exclamation point. Here’s what you do: You spank it. Hard. A couple times. Until it works again. Amazing.

Khat Nipped

posted by on July 27 at 1:27 PM

I’ve always been curious about khat, the mild stimulant popular in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. But before I could get my hands on any, the fuzz has gone and busted our local khat-smuggling ring.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Dress to be Auctioned

posted by on July 27 at 1:26 PM


The Givenchy-designed dressed that Audrey Hepburn wore in the opening scenes of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is being auctioned off to benefit a children’s charity.

While I appreciate the iconic status of that striking black number, I’d be much more excited about the prospect of owning this pink number she wears later in the movie:


And let’s not forget about those amazing hats. I’d never have the balls to wear one of these, but I still think they’re pretty spectacular:



But the item that I’ve always coveted the most are her earplugs. Satin earplugs with tassles, for chrissakes. Every girl should own a pair of these:


Wednesday Wasn’t a Total Loss

posted by on July 27 at 12:59 PM

There was some good news for the homos yesterday: The Mariners fired Carl Everett.

Everett was a terrible designated hitter and there was, oh, a wee contretemps when he arrived in Seattle earlier this year. (All is forgiven, Seattlest.) Everett was a fundamentalist Christian who 1. had been investigated for child abuse, 2. insisted that dinosaurs were a hoax, and 3. famously stated that he “didn’t believe in” gays and lesbians.

Well, this gay guy was at the Ms game last night with his boyfriend and kid…


…and dumb ol’ Carl wasn’t. (Who doesn’t exist now, Carl?) Making it even sweeter, the Ms won.

The Stranger Election Control Board’s Top 3 Primary

posted by on July 27 at 12:52 PM

Congratulations, Jim Street, Stephanie Pure, and Jamie Pedersen. You’ve made it through the first round.

As you probably know by now, our state’s beloved blanket primary system was tossed out by the federal courts a few years ago. After a flurry of legislation, vetoes, an initiative for a “Top Two” primary system (meaning you don’t have to choose a party and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go through—a proposal I blasted in a 2004 endorsement), we’ve now got a party-line “Montana-style” primary. You pick a party ballot—presumably, most voters in the 43rd District will choose the Democratic ticket—and then the top Dem vote-getter floats on to a basically uncontested race in the general… at least here in the Commie 43rd.

What that means for you, 43rd-District voter, is that your representative to the state legislature will be chosen in the primary. There are six (6!) candidates still in the race, so that primary will be very messy. (I blame the local Dem leadership, which should have had the discipline to winnow down the field before we ever heard of Jamie Pedersen.) Here at the Stranger, we’ve decided to winnow the candidates down in a primary of our own (held yesterday), and we’ll shortly be inviting our Top Three vote getters—Jim Street, Stephanie Pure, and Jamie Pedersen—back for another round of vigorous debate.

Candidates we’ve eliminated & why:

Lynne Dodson: Despite her relatively commanding performance at the 43rd District “debate-format program” (whatever that means), Dodson did not give us the meaty answers we were looking for in the endorsement interview. From her call for more process-style nattering before dealing with the crumbling viaduct to her evasion of a question about where her agenda differs from that of teachers’ unions, she was uniformly unimpressive.

Bill Sherman: Slick Willy 2 has not smoked marijuana since the early ’90s, which disappointed some of our Election Control Board Members (not me, though: I haven’t smoked pot since the early nevers). He also can’t quit yapping about his young kids. On some issues (marijuana legislation, notably), he seemed slightly to the right of his opponents; on others (his preferred solution to the viaduct is, unequivocally, a cut & cover tunnel), we just plain disagree.

Dick Kelley: The former 43rd District Chair is a boring speaker, too caught up in regulatory nitpicks to bother addressing the biggest concerns of the voters. He’s running what is essentially a one-issue campaign—on campaign finance reform—that’s impossible to get excited about.

Advancing to the next round….

Jim Street: Though he can be pretentious at times, Street is obviously the best informed on the issues, including transportation policy (he’s hardcore and specific about reducing our dependence on the automobile) and drug policy reform (as a judge, he’s got a strong rap against buy/busts, and he was on the 2001 KCBA drug reform task force that set the stage for the group’s radical follow-up proposal to legalize drugs in 2005). We’re also excited to see if his contentious style will be able to draw out our two other top vote-getters.

Stephanie Pure: The blue-hairs populating the pews at the candidate forum notwithstanding: The 43rd is—probably more than any other district in the state—the home of urban young people. Pure has tremendous energy, and when she’s locked into an issue, she’s eloquent (she gave a great, informed answer on the viaduct, quickly zeroed in on a Puget Sound cleanup bill she’d propose if she were elected, and was the only candidate to bring up the recent pharmacy board snafu regarding refusal clauses). She’s going to face a steep learning curve if she’s elected, but the state legislature is usually considered a good place for a promising, young politician to start her political career.

Jamie Pedersen: There’s no argument—Pedersen is a drip. But as Stranger Election Control Board member David Schmader pointed out, yesterday (the day the rotten WA Supreme Court gay marriage decision was handed down) was Pedersen’s “sad day,” both for personal and professional reasons. Certain members of our board suffered sympathy pangs. I personally wanted to see a bit more fight in the guy, but we’ll see what he has to say next time around. It’s obvious that Pedersen would be a strong advocate for marriage equality in the legislature, and since the court option has now been exhausted, that’s what we need.

—Annie Wagner,
Stranger Election Control Board Member

Umm, Seattle Times?

posted by on July 27 at 12:51 PM

In the Seattle Times recap of yesterday’s Supreme Court concurrences & dissents, there’s an embarrassing gaffe in the summary of Chief Justice Gerry Alexander’s concurrence:

Alexander filed a two-paragraph concurrence, saying DOMA is constitutional. He wrote that the opinion “should be read as casting doubt on the right of the Legislature or the people to broaden the marriage act or provide other forms of civil union if that is their will.”

Actually, Alexander wrote “there is nothing in the opinion that I have signed which should be read as casting doubt on the right of the legislature or the people to broaden the marriage act…”



posted by on July 27 at 10:50 AM

Hey, the Stranger Election Control Board (our editorial endorsement board) has the Supreme Court candidates coming in today at 2pm.

That means we’ve got Chief Justice Gerry Alexander (who voted to uphold DOMA yesterday) coming in. I hope he’s ready to tell Dan why Dan and and his boyfriend of 10 years aren’t qualified to raise their kid. (I’ve met Dan’s son a million x, and it seems to me like Dan and Terry are pretty awesome parents.)

Anyway, we’ve also got Justice Susan Owens coming (she voted to overturn DOMA).

Despite Alexander’s vote to uphold DOMA, he’s one of the incumbent justices, along with Owens, who’s being targeted by the conservative Constitutional Law PAC (a PAC set up by the Building Industry Association of Washington). The BIAW’s candidates of choice: Stephen Johnson against Owens & John Groen against Alexander.

Groen, a Bellevue lawyer, has raised massive amounts of money—over $300K—and his fundraising has been controversial: Nine donations were over $10K, and as high as $25K. And they all came in less than a month before a new state law limiting judicial campaign contributions to $2,800 took effect June 7.

Anyway, while the Stranger Election Control Board—Erica C. Barnett, Eli Sanders, David Schmader, Dan Savage, Annie Wagner, and myself—is excited about today’s interviews, none of us has a law degree, and we’re a little intimidated. So, if any Slog readers have JDs, please post any questions you think we should ask these folks. In fact, even if you don’t have a law degree, please post your suggestions. We’ll report back later on the answers we got.

Lisa Stone of the Northwest Women’s Law Center is encouraged to post. (Stone’s NWLC filed the lawsuit along with Lambda Legal that put gay marriage in front of Washington’s Supreme Court.)

“To Me, It’s Just Like Running Up a Nazi Flag in a Jewish Neighborhood”

posted by on July 27 at 10:49 AM

That’s what some genius in Meade, Kansas said about the local bed and breakfast that dared to fly a rainbow flag—a popular symbol of gay pride—within the borders of the conservative town.

Looking past that dark chapter of history when proud homosexuals murdered six million conservative Kansans, it’s important to know that the rainbow flag in question has nothing to do with homosexuality. As B&B owner J.R. Knight told KBSD News, the flag was a gift from his 12-year-old son, who’d bought it as a souvenir at Dorothy’s House, the southwest Kansas museum devoted to The Wizard of Oz, because it reminded him of “Over the Rainbow.”

Despite its innocent origins, Knight’s rainbow flag has brought the wrath of many of the town’s inhabitants, spurred on by the local newspaper, which first directed people’s attention to the flag, and explained what it “meant.”

Still, Knight seems to be taking it all in stride. When a pastor compared flying a rainbow flag to displaying a pair of women’s panties, Knight told the pastor he might try that next.

As for the flag’s gay meaning, the heroic Knight told KBSD that it’s not meant to be a gay pride symbol but he doesn’t mind if that’s how it’s taken. “Any gay or lesbian people that do stop by will be treated with the best service I can give you,” said Knight. “When this rainbow flag shreds, I will buy another one, and another one, and another one - just like my American flag, I’ll buy another one.”

Full story here.

Marriage Decision: Day After Round-Up

posted by on July 27 at 10:15 AM

In the Seattle Times, Danny Westneat says no-thanks to the Supreme Court’s attempt to help him raise his kids by banning homosexual marriage:

The ruling blithely sanctions discrimination and is oblivious to the complexities of modern families. It’s also absurd — frightening even — if carried to its logical ends.

Gays and lesbians can’t have what I have because they can’t procreate, the court said.

It’s the state’s business to further procreation because it’s “essential to survival of the human race.” So it’s OK to bar homosexuals from marriage because they can’t have kids.

First off, we humans breed just fine without government oversight, thanks very much.

But the notion that marriage and procreation are necessarily linked is truly archaic. No doubt it comes as news to lesbian mothers who have given birth. And it will surely be a shock to all you marrieds who are infertile or who — gasp! — choose not to have kids.

What’s next? Mandatory pre-wedding fertility tests?

Also in the Times, David Postman has the analysis on our splintered Supreme Court.

“The culture on my court is everyone expresses themselves and it’s not principled to compromise,” Justice Tom Chambers, who voted to overturn the gay-marriage ban and wrote his own dissent, said in an interview.

“The outcome and the law should be clear and predictable, and when you have these fractured opinions, it’s not that way,” he said.

The P-I has a good look forward:

“It’s kind of the nail in the coffin for the litigation strategy, which for the last 30 years has been the only strategy,” said Rauch, author of the book “Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.”

“While that might be somewhat demoralizing in the short run, I think it’s reinvigorating in the long run. It gets us to stage two, which is taking our case to the political bodies — the legislatures and the people.”

And also in the P-I, Chris McGann sees the decision as good for Democrats:

The state Supreme Court ruling upholding Washington’s ban on same-sex marriages comes as a crushing blow to the gay community, but it’s a best-case scenario for Democrats hoping to broaden their majority in the Legislature this fall.

And finally, in TIME Magazine, this guy takes a short stab at what the Washington State decision means for the national gay rights movement.

Morning News

posted by on July 27 at 8:44 AM

Tour de France champ Floyd Landis tests positive for a banned substance.

More of what Condoleezza Rice calls “birth pangs of a new Middle East”, as the Israelis lose 9 soldiers and Hezbollah dozens. From his undisclosed location, Al-Zawahri muses about another kind of birth: an Islamic fundamentalist empire that stretches all the way to Spain.

The usual death and despair from Iraq.

The Big Dig gets a fall guy.

Big Oil gets richer and richer.

In local news, check out Erica C. Barnett’s piece on a pizza joint in Alki that is experiencing the wrath of Nickels, and Eli Sanders reporting on the Washington State Supreme Court’s upholding the Defense of Marriage legislation.

Nickels has a vision for a new waterfront.

And the school board approves the closure of 6 schools.

Le Doper?

posted by on July 27 at 7:48 AM

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has tested positive for “high levels of testosterone.” Further tests underway.

Casey To Savage: You’re Vulgar!

posted by on July 27 at 7:32 AM

I sent Bob Casey—Sen. Rick Santorum’s Dem opponent in PA—a big check, and Casey sent it back because he didn’t want to get any bad press for taking money from the likes of me. Well, Casey earned himself a little bad press anyway. From Wednesday’s Philadelphia Inquirer:

Democrat Bob Casey Jr. needs all the contributors he can get to unseat U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum—except Dan Savage, apparently.

The Seattle-based syndicated sex columnist who minted a raunchy definition of “santorum” and assembled a Web site to share it with all the world tried channeling his distaste for Pennsylvania’s junior senator with a $2,100 contribution to Casey’s campaign.

But six weeks after receiving a thank-you call from a Casey staffer and an invite to his Seattle fundraiser, Savage learned this week that his money wasn’t necessarily welcomed.

Not directly, at least.

Casey’s finance director called Savage on Tuesday to say thanks, but no thanks. The “higher ups” in the campaign decided the contribution could cause Casey more trouble than it was worth, Savage said he was told. Savage said he was then directed to some organizations supportive of Casey that might accept the check.

“That way Casey could benefit from my money without having to, you know, associate himself with the likes of me,” Savage wrote on his blog. “Huh.”

Casey’s spokesman, Larry Smar, said the campaign returned the check “because of the controversial comments on his Santorum Web site and his column.” They took a closer look at his work, decided his comments were “vulgar” and nixed the donation, Smar said.

Casey returned the money despite Santorum’s fundraising advantage. The senator has raised $20.1 million as of last month — double Casey’s campaign take.

Campaigns routinely vet their donors, looking to weed out people with unsavory backgrounds or anything else that could cause the candidate embarrassment down the road. Add sex columnist to the list of apparently questionable characters.

Then again, Savage isn’t just any sex columnist. His anti-Santorum Web site is the No. 1 hit on a Google search of the senator’s name, spawning a pop-culture reference used by the likes of liberal activist and actress Janeane Garofalo.

“Casey should man-up and take my money,” Savage said today in an interview. “A little money from me isn’t going to hurt him and he shouldn’t be such a baby about it.”

He admits to being miffed and a bit hurt. He did, after all, endure the scorn of some readers who objected to him supporting an anti-abortion candidate like Casey.

“I’m a pragmatic Democrat,” Savage said.

His donation will go to Philadelphians Against Santorum, a grassroots organization.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Best Reality Show Challenge IN HISTORY

posted by on July 26 at 10:12 PM

I realize that an art critic may never recover for posting something called “Best Reality Show Challenge IN HISTORY,” but my zealous loyalty to small dogs must have an outlet.


I can not write more right now, for fear that I may miss views of their little faces. (Annie, Christopher, Eli, you know what I mean here.)

I am the world’s biggest tiny (and embarrassing) dog fan. I am not remotely interested in recovering from this fanaticism. I already liked this show as the only real national conversation about design, however incomplete, but now that doggie sweaters are on the table, I will be a fan forever.

43rd District Race Candidate Interviews

posted by on July 26 at 4:04 PM

We’re in the conference room right now at Stranger HQ doing our endorsement interviews with the six candidates in the 43rd District House race. Some quick quotes…

Stephanie Pure just said that she would work well in “the 43rd District threesome” with Frank Chopp and Ed Murray. I’m trying not to picture that…

Dick Kelly: “I’m not gay.” Neither is Frank Chopp, Stephanie.

Bill Sherman: “As the only candidate here with young kids…”

Pure: “People of the same sex should be able to marry…” The WA Supremes agree with you, Stephanie—as they pointed out we’re free to marry opposite-sex partners whenever we like.

Lynn Dodson: “I’m not married anymore. I don’t think it’s the greatest institution in the world. But if you want it… I’m not gay… at the moment.”

Dick Kelley, Bill Sherman, and Jim Street are arguing about who has the best environmental qualifications. It’s riveting stuff.

Kelley: “Saving Puget Sound before it dies is incredibly important.”

Jamie Pedersen: “I have talked with a few more than three thousand identified voters, and I have yet to talk with a voter who identifies campaign finance reform as an important issue.”

Dodson: “No one is going to be bought for $700 or $1400.”

Pure: “I’m a working person, an independent candidate, a younger person… I would love to see publically financed campaign.”

Pure: “Teachers aren’t teachers. They’re public thugs out to get your children.” (To be fair: Pure was characterizing the attitude she encountered in Olympia in regards to education, not Dodson, the teacher who wants to be sent to Olympia.)

Dodson: “Gary Locke said education was important. He was the ‘education governor—and he systematically undercut education at every level.”

Street: “I believe that we should legalized marijuana.”

Dodson: “I believe we should we legalized marijuana.

Pure: “Legalize marijuana.”

Kelley: “Legalize marijuana, and perhaps some other drugs too.”

Pedersen: “Legalize marijuana.”

Sherman: “Don’t legalize marijuana.”

Pedersen: “I firmly believe that we need to tear down the Viaduct and build a cut-and-cover tunnel.”

Sherman: “I am on the record supporting the tunnel”

Dodson: “I don’t think there’s been enough sitting down and looking at the alternatives.”

Kelley: “I’m not for the tunnel… the legislature came to premature closure on this.”

Pedersen: Where did Ed Murray and Frank Chopp screw up? “Wal-Mart [Fair Share] and leaving domestic partners out of the transit bill.”

Dodson: “Labor is not one thing. There are so many different labor organizations, and they have so many different priorities.”

Kelley: “I seem to be the only person in this race talking about low-income housing and human services… There are people in this district who can’t afford to live in this district.”

Pure would vote for Kelley if she had to drop out, Kelley would vote for Pure. Pedersen would have to talk to the candidates about marriage.

Project Runway Tonight

posted by on July 26 at 3:46 PM

Project Runway is on tonight. Bravo. 10 pm.

Keith (the cocky menswear designer) and Laura (the classy mom) are gonna totally fight. She calls him a shithead. He calls her a bad mommy. It’s also Bradley’s (the quirky dreamboat) birthday.

If Angela still exists at the end of it, I quit. Who’s with me?

Not So Critical, I Guess.

posted by on July 26 at 2:59 PM

The KC Prosecutor’s Office just called to let me know KC will not be pressing felony charges against Critical Mass rider Zack Treisman.

The KC Sheriff’s Office originally said Treisman assaulted an officer, a felony.

I guess they got that wrong. Indeed, over 20 eyewitnesses disputed the KC Sheriff’s claims. The witnesses said the officers acted inappropriately—not identifying themselves, for one thing. Today, the Prosecutor’s Office acknowledged: “The events on June 30 unfolded very quickly and there exists substantial issues about precisely when and under what circumstances force was being used against the officers.”

Well, if they got that wrong, it seems to me, the questions about the undercover officers’ conduct that day become more compelling. That is, if KC doesn’t believe it has a case against Treisman, even though he put an officer in a choke hold, then I guess the prosecutor’s office thinks Treisman’s actions were understandable. If Treisman’s actions were understandable, that means the detectives screwed up.

I know, from talking to Treisman’s lawyer, that Treisman doesn’t want to press charges against the Sheriff’s department. (This whole thing has been a burden, and he just wants to move on.)

That too is understandable. But it also reflects a little white privilege. (Sorry, but it’s true.)

If the kind of police attack on civilians that happened last month happened in the black community, the black victim would rightfully be pressing some serious charges against the cops right about now. That’s because police brutality is a real issue in the black community.

In this instance, however, it seems, the victim is comfortable moving on because, really, no big deal. He, and other whites, can count on being comfortable in the future without needing to use this case as a precedent.

Arts in America

posted by on July 26 at 2:25 PM

To begin with:

(TALK) As a second grader, my friend Tom had two crushes. One on Eileen McCarthy, his playmate, and another on John Dean, President Nixon’s legal counsel who exposed the Watergate cover-up. Tom met his longtime crush earlier this year when Dean spoke at Town Hall about the Bush administration’s eavesdropping program, and reports that the button-down conservative is still crushworthy. See for yourself as Dean returns to discuss his latest presidential takedown, Conservatives Without Conscience. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, $5.) JOSH FEIT

Now, let’s get down to business:
A)The new theater in Minneapolis is ugly and sucks.

B) For obvious reasons, this exhibit in St. Petersburg doesn’t suck.

C) This art review in Beirut’s Daily Star doesn’t suck at all.

D) Only one movie in this list doesn’t suck eggs.

Speaking of lists, if I were to die at this very moment and find myself at heaven’s gate, I’d ask Peter, as he opens the tome containing the list of my sins, to skip all of that and just show me the list of songs I listened to the most during my life. I believe these songs would be at the top of that list:

1) “Night Fever”-Bee Gees
2)”Acknowledgement”-John Coltrane
3)”Hanging on a String”-Loose Ends
4)”I Feel Love”-Donna Summers
6)”Good Times”-Chic
7)”A Sort of Homecoming”-U2
8)”Jam On It”-Newcleus
9)”Fire Woman”-The Cult
10)”All Blues” -Miles Davis

Tyranny in Provincetown, MA

posted by on July 26 at 2:24 PM

I’m less concerned about whether state-sanctioned gay marriage will threaten families or the bedrock of civilization or whatever than I am about whether it will inspire homos to start punching me in the face. In Massachusetts, where the marriage parity question is in serious flux, the gays are feeling their oats and oppressing straights. And, even worse, Jamaicans!

In one serious incident a man was charged with assaulting a woman who signed a petition to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

Granted, I’m not likely to be caught signing petitions, but you know how violence spins out of control. Like in the Middle East. And video games. I don’t know about the other straight people in this office, but I’m getting a little nervous.

Justin Timberlake: Sexyback Video!

posted by on July 26 at 2:14 PM

Look. I fully realize that only 27 people in the world besides myself give a crap that Justin Timberlake has a hot new video that was released yesterday, entitled “Sexyback.” So for everyone else, I would advise you to please move along to other less interesting posts on this blog. HOWEVER! For those 27 Justin lovers? I think I speak for all of them when I say…

Intraoffice E-mail

posted by on July 26 at 1:54 PM

to: Editorial
from: Charles Mudede
subject: an afro comb
i want to file a complaint. because there are not enough black people in this office, i’m unable to borrow an afro comb. my hair is a mess; i forgot to comb it this morning at home; now i’m in the office and no one has the same type of hair that i do. just look at me. it really is unfair.
from: Tim Keck
Time for a Jerry Curl.

Joseph Donahue Rocked Belltown

posted by on July 26 at 1:24 PM

Last night I went to see Joseph Donahue and Peter O’Leary read at Open Books. I had a good time, but I ended up feeling guilty for having written this rather equivocal preview article. Joseph Donahue read poems about Leviticus and the Dead Sea scrolls in an utterly down-to-earth manner that underscored both their humor and their profundity. His interpretations made every line count, and left no room for the cynicism that I usually bring to silent reading (and journalism, for that matter). I laughed constantly during his reading—sometimes at jokes, but also from surprise at the precision and felicity of Donahue’s writing. I liked him before, but now he’s made me a fervent apostle.

I feel even more ridiculous because I wrote my article solely about Donahue (when I wasn’t writing about myself, that is). I could have mentioned that Peter O’Leary is also good—he read a gloriously depressing glossary of birdcalls, and pulled off the difficult trick of writing poetry about the weather. I could also have mentioned that Open Books has the best poetry selection I’ve ever seen—and I’ve skulked around in bookstores across three continents. I walked away last night with highly charitable feelings toward local poetry readings, as well as a $22 Apollinaire book that I didn’t know I needed.

-Andrew Bleeker

Decision Day: Washington State’s Gay Marriage Ban is Upheld; Gov. Gregoire Appears to Endorse Civil Unions

posted by on July 26 at 1:00 PM

[This was originally posted at 8 a.m.]

The Washington State Supreme Court just said no to gay marriage in this state.

The decision is here.

Justice Barbara A. Madsen, writing for a plurality of the five-justice majority, seems to have agreed with the recent decision from New York’s highest court, which ruled on July 7 that the state legislature there could rationally believe that denying marriage rights to same-sex couples protects children. Washington State’s 1998 “Defense of Marriage Act,” which limited marriage to one man and one woman, is in line with the Washington State Constitution, Madsen writes…

…because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents. Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not, in the legislature’s view, further these purposes. Accordingly, there is no violation of the privileges and immunities clause.

Justice Mary Fairhurst authored the four-justice dissent, writing that the majority had engaged in “blatant discrimination”:

The plurality and concurrence condone blatant discrimination against Washington’s gay and lesbian citizens in the name of encouraging procreation, marriage for individuals in relationships that result in children, and the raising of children in homes headed by opposite-sex parents, while ignoring the fact that denying same-sex couples the right to marry has no prospect of furthering any of those interests. With the proper issue in mind—whether denying same-sex couples the right to marry will encourage procreation, marriage for individuals in relationships that result in children, or child rearing in households headed by opposite-sex parents—I would hold that there is no rational basis for denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

Here are the five justices who voted to uphold the state’s ban on gay marriage:


And here are the four justices who dissented from the majority opinion:


Gay rights supporters had demanded marriage rights on three separate constitutional grounds: That the 1998 “Defense of Marriage Act” violated the state constitution’s “privileges and immunities” clause (which essentially prohibits one group of citizens from being given privileges that another group of citizens don’t get); that DOMA also violated the state constitution’s “due process” clause (which says that no person shall be deprived of liberty without due process); and, finally, that DOMA violated the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution (which mandates that members of both genders be treated equally).

Madsen, writing for the plurality, rejected the “privileges and immunities” argument by contending that DOMA does not “grant a privilege or immunity to a favored minority class” (emphasis mine). What she appears to be saying is that if the state grants a privilege to the majority (in this case, heterosexuals), and has a “rational basis” for doing so, it’s not a problem.

She rejected the “due process” argument by contending that DOMA “bears a reasonable relationship to legitimate state interests — procreation and child-rearing,” and added that anyway, the people of Washington “have not had in the past nor, at this time, are they entitled to an expectation that they may choose to marry a person of the same sex.” In other words, gay couples, in her mind, have an unreasonable expectation if they think their due process rights are being violated.

Finally, she rejected the Equal Rights Amendment argument by saying everyone is banned from engaging in state-certified gay marriages, therefore the ban does not represent unequal treatment. “DOMA treats both sexes the same,” she wrote. “Neither a man nor a woman may marry a person of the same sex.”

Religious conservatives, of course, will be elated at this decision. Meanwhile, the reaction from local liberal politicians has been one of dismay, coupled with a renewed promise to push for state recognition of gay unions in the legislature.

King County Executive Ron Sims, who helped start this whole legal process in 2004 by denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with DOMA (and then simultaneously inviting a lawsuit to test DOMA’s constitutionality), called today’s ruling an “unwise decision” that is “reminiscent of Plessy v. Ferguson.” Sims continued:

Separate but equal was once the law of the land too, but eventually Plessy was overturned. If the legislature does not make changes first, I firmly believe that a future court will take up this issue again. And on that day, a wiser and more enlightened generation will overturn this ruling.

King County Deputy Prosecutor Bill Sherman, who is running in a crowded race for the state legislature in Seattle’s 43rd District, rushed out a press release saying he is “deeply disappointed” by the ruling. He promised to fight for “full marriage equality for same-sex couples” if he is elected. Expect every other candidate in this race for State Rep. Ed Murray’s House seat to do the same.

Meanwhile, Murray himself, who is running for an open seat in the state senate, seemed to promise he would introduce legislation that would give gays and lesbians the right to marry:

My heart goes out to the thousands of gay and lesbian couples in Washington State disappointed by today’s ruling. But now is not the time to be disappointed — it’s a time to recommit ourselves to the struggle ahead and to someday pass marriage equality in the state Legislature. I will introduce legislation to achieve that equality.

As Murray and others were preparing for an 11 a.m. downtown press conference on the decision, Justice Richard Sanders was on KOMO radio explaining his reasons for voting with the five-justice majority that upheld DOMA. “The court is supposed to uphold the constitution,” he said. “The constitution does not mandate gay marriage.” He continued:

Marriage is something the terms of which is determined by the legislature. They’ve banned consanguinity, you can’t marry someone who’s a family member, you cannot marry someone who’s underage. These are all legislative classifications and the legislature has also said marriage must be between a man and a woman. I could find no part of the Washington State Constitution that conflicts with the traditional legislative role of determining the terms of marriage.

Asked how he would vote on gay marriage if he himself were in the state legislature, Justice Sanders offered a libertarian response: “I’d probably be against it, but on the other hand… maybe the government shouldn’t be in the marriage business.

Answering the argument that the current DOMA law is simply unfair to gays and lesbians, Justice Sanders said:

If we had a statute in this state that said gays and lesbians cannot get married, I think that would be problematic. But the statute says, “Only people of the opposite sex may get married.” So [gays and lesbians] have as much of a right to get married as anyone.

Meanwhile, at the press conference in front of the King County Administration Building (a location chosen because it’s the place in this county where marriage license applications are processed), gay rights lawyers put on their best faces and took pains to point out what they said were a few silver linings in today’s decision.

Roger Leishman, an attorney for the ACLU, along with Jamie Pedersen, an attorney with Lambda Legal (and also a candidate in the 43rd District race), both pointed out that seven of nine Supreme Court justices seemed to have acknowledged today that lesbian and gay couples, and their children, face discrimination. “The Defense of Marriage Act doesn’t protect children—it harms children,” said Leishman, sounding a theme we’re likely to hear a lot more of as gay marriage supporters turn to the legislature for remedies.

Pedersen said that after reading through the justices’ decisions, “I think it’s fair to say that they see that the law that we have now is not a good law.” In an effort to change the law, Murray promised he would, if elected to the state senate this fall, introduce legislation that would allow for gay marriages. He added, however, that he did not expect it to pass next legislative session, or any time soon.

As they were speaking, Gov. Christine Gregoire was pushing out a press release of her own, offering her long promised, and long awaited thoughts on gay marriage. It’s an extremely carefully worded statement, but the only conclusion I can draw from it is that Gregoire endorses civil unions for gays and lesbians, not marriage.

As Governor, I do not believe the state should discriminate against any citizen. I also believe that personal religious beliefs are protected by our Constitution.

On the issue of gay marriage, Washington is a very diverse state and there are many strongly held opinions and personal feelings on this issue. I ask all Washingtonians to respect their fellow citizens. The Supreme Court has ruled and we must accept their decision whether we agree with it or not.

As to my personal beliefs, Mike and I received the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic faith. State government provided us with certain rights and responsibilities, but the state did not marry us.

I believe the state should provide these same rights and responsibilities to all citizens. I also believe the sacrament of marriage is between two people and their faith; it is not the business of the state.

Like I said, it’s a very carefully worded statement, and a bit cryptic, but the most I see in it is an endorsement of civil unions.

More Nickels Pro-Tunnel Campaign Propaganda

posted by on July 26 at 12:58 PM

This morning, Mayor Greg Nickels announced the “city’s vision” for Seattle’s downtown waterfront. That “vision,” the product of months of taxpayer-funded work by the city’s Department of Planning and Development (which answers to the mayor), assumes—surprise!— a decision by the city (or voters) to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a cut-and-cover tunnel. In other words, Nickels’s propaganda piece assumes the existence of a waterfront tunnel as a way of selling it to voters, who have so far been skeptical, at best, about Nickels’s as-yet-unfunded $4-billion-plus tunnel. (Support for replacing the viaduct with another viaduct, meanwhile, remains high.)

But never mind reality; the mayor’s waterfront “vision” is pure politics. According to the web site unveiled by the mayor this morning, building the tunnel “is a once in a life time opportunity to reshape the city. The Waterfront Plan represents the City’s greatest aspiration to seize this extraordinary opportunity…. It is a project that will define the city for the next 100 years and one by which it will be measured in history.”

Good lord. Well, if I’d known that a waterfront Seattle citizens barely use would define the city for all of history, I would have supported the tunnel all along. The site continues floridly:

Removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct presents an unprecedented opportunity for creating a grand pedestrian promenade along the Waterfront and lively east-west connections for walking and bicycling to and from the Center City core. Walking is a healthy, sustainable, and enlivening urban experience and the Waterfront provides an exceptional opportunity for people to enjoy this activity.

Walking is healthy? Now that’s exactly the kind of information I rely on Mayor Nickels to tell me.

Elsewhere in the mayor’s presentation are photos showing what other cities have done after tearing down waterfront freeways. Among the cities featured are Melbourne, Sydney, Vancouver, Chicago, Portland, and NYC. What the presentation doesn’t mention is that in almost every case Nickels’s presentation cites, the cities tore down waterfront freeways and did not replace them—making the case against Nickels’s costly cut-and-cover tunnel and for the more sensible surface/transit option.

The mayor’s campaign for his controversial tunnel has become increasingly brazen over the last few months, as the line between Greg Nickels, Seattle mayor, and Greg Nickels, spokesperson for Citizens for a Better Waterfront, has blurred. Citizens, the Ethics and Elections-sanctioned front for Nickels’s tunnel campaign, has raised about $40,000 so far, much of it from the Downtown Seattle Association, the Holland America cruise line, and the Seattle Mariners.

So far, the pro-tunnel folks have spent the overwhelming majority of their money on three things: Polls, focus groups, and fundraising for more money. Nickels’s pollster, Don McDonough, wouldn’t say much what the focus groups and polls revealed, but given the difficulty Nickels has had separating his campaign activities from his official business, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see some of those poll results morph into official Nickels sound bites in the near future.

Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on July 26 at 12:11 PM

On the same day that the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that heterosexual marriage…

…furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents

…a jury in Texas found

…Andrea Yates not guilty by reason of insanity in the drowning deaths of her young children in the bathtub of their suburban home…

Yates’ attorneys never disputed that she drowned 6-month-old Mary, 2- year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah in their Houston-area home in June 2001. But they said she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, thought Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.

Yates was legally married to her opposite-sex partner, the father of her children, so her kids were reared by their biological parents and enjoyed the protections that legal marriage provides—until one of their biological parents decided to drown ‘em all in a bathtub.

Take Anything You Want

posted by on July 26 at 11:51 AM

This video has it all: advice on surviving a mugging, follow-along exercise routines, fashionable options for wearing bandanas. Also, the hottest dance track of the summer!

Americans: More Clueless than Ever

posted by on July 26 at 11:49 AM

Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 — up from 36 percent last year….In addition, 64 percent say Saddam had “strong links” with al Qaeda….Fifty-five percent said that “history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq.”….American confidence in the Iraqis has improved: 37 percent said Iraq would succeed in creating a stable democracy, up five points since November.

via Washington Monthly.


posted by on July 26 at 11:16 AM

I didn’t have time yesterday to add my two cents to a post Erica did on Greg Hill’s editorial about Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs), in which he says allowing more garage apts. in neighborhoods will ruin Seattle’s lifestyle for “most of us.”

There’s a giant flaw in his argument: If enough people are building and moving into garage apts.—or DADUs—to increase density (to the point that it’s a problem for Hill), wouldn’t that be a vote of confidence for increased density by the rest of the people in Hill’s neighborhood—who are doing the building and moving into garage apts.?

In other words, if his argument—DADUs will increase density—is true, that means “most of us” want DADUs.

Here’s an analogy: It’s like Detroit arguing against raising fuel efficiency standards because they’re scared most people will start demanding fuel efficient cars.

Re: In Other Ass Backward News

posted by on July 26 at 11:04 AM

Josh wrote:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t underage girls the ones that we should most want to get abortions if they get pregnant?

Exactly. Moreover, since teenage girls are the group most vulnerable to incest, shouldn’t we make special efforts to allow them access to abortion without forcing them to ask their rapist’s permission?

Aquaman: The Hottest Failure Yet!

posted by on July 26 at 10:30 AM

As you may have heard, the WB’s Aquaman series got washed up after the network merged with UPN and no longer had space for the show on its fall schedule. And yet? The unseen Aquaman pilot episode has been a HUGE hit on iTunes since the online video/music store posted it yesterday. Possibly because of the faux Aquaman movie that’s been a main plot point on Entourage? Or because the star of the series, Justin Hartley is wicked hot? Decide for yourself in this rarely seen trailer for the failed/now successful series.

A gay guy? In a boy band? Really?

posted by on July 26 at 10:24 AM

Lance Bass from *NSYNC is finally, officially, out of the closet.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Get the dish over in Line Out.

In Other Big Gay News 2

posted by on July 26 at 10:19 AM

Gays cause global warming

The rise in homosexuality coincided with global warming. Look it up. Back when winter was winter, gay guys lived in Key West and New Orleans and Santa Monica. They like to show off their legs and keep tan, that’s why. It’s a proven fact. Warming trends enabled the tribe to move into Massachusetts. The way to fend off gay marriage is to reduce carbon emissions.

In Other Ass Backwards News

posted by on July 26 at 10:09 AM

The U.S. Senate voted 65-34 (with 14 Dems—not Maria Cantwell or Patty Murray…or Joe Lieberman) joining 51 Republicans) to make it a federal crime to help an underage girl do an end-run around parental notification laws by going to another state to get an abortion.


Here’s the roll call.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t underage girls the ones that we should most want to get abortions if they get pregnant?

This law comes from the same place as all the War on Sex stuff. It’s living in denial about the fact that people—and unfortunately, teenage girls too—have sex and get pregnant. Certainly, we should do everything we can to prevent teenage girls from getting pregnant (because that’s a recipe for disaster), but once they get pregnant, there needs to be access to abortion.

This legislation basically says: Teenage girls shouldn’t get pregnant, but if they do, we’re going to punish them and the child. This casts doubt on the GOP’s motives. Are they really against teen pregnancy because of the social problems that come with it? This legislation suggests to me that their real stance on teenage sex is simply: It won’t exist if we say it won’t. That is, let’s relegate the teen and her child to outcast status by making them pay for the rest of their lives for a dumb teenage mistake.

Newsflash: Being a dumb teenager includes having sex. It has forever. And it always will.

In Other Big Gay News…

posted by on July 26 at 10:02 AM

Bill Clinton is a fag—or so says Anne Coulter. You see, Bill’s had sex with a lot of women… which is a pretty damn gay thing for a man to do.

Under prodding from Deutsch, Coulter repeated on the air something she had told him just before the cameras went on: She thinks Bill Clinton is at least a little bit gay. Her evidence? Well, all those sexual relations he’s had with women, of course. “I think that sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality,” Coulter explained.

WA Supremes: Other Blogs…

posted by on July 26 at 9:34 AM


It’s the procreation argument again. I need time to read the decision and I’m on a deadline. On a more positive front, Democratic gubernatorial front-runner in New York, Eliot Spitzer, said the following in a rambunctious debate last night:
“I think same sex marriage should be legal. I will propose a bill to permit that to be the case in the state of New York.”

And so the courts begin to retreat and the legislative process gains ground. Recall that the most populous state in the country has already passed marriage equality in its legislature. In some ways, a court pause before a looming legislative triumph may be good news.

John Aravosis:

First, I have to wonder whether we need a cultural and political strategy (answer: YES) to go along with this court strategy. It’s not like judges rule in a vacuum. We’ve done very little to try to convince the public of the rigtheousness of our side in this debate, then we wonder why the courts slam us down. (Having said that, 3 months before the election is NOT the time to run ads on this issue, as noted yesterday.)

Second, we need a political-court strategy - you don’t win court cases when conservative GOP judges keep being appointed to the court.

And finally, this “legalize marriage” court strategy looks increasingly like a runaway train, out of our control and stealing all the oxygen from the good work that’s been done over the past decade on job discrimination and so much more. You pick your battles strategically. (Well, you do if you want to win, and have any political sense.) No one is saying we roll over and play dead. But I am saying that we only have so much time and so much money - we need to use those limited assets wisely. And blowing the entire wad on marriage strikes me as foolish and counterproductive. Someone in the community with some influence needs to stand up and say “enough already,” and get our agenda back.


Civil marriage is a contract that confers certain legal rights on the participants, and I simply cannot see how same-sex marriage in any way threatens the rights of heterosexual couples. At the same time, same-sex couples will continue to live together and raise children as if they were legally married, regardless of this decision, and it’s hard to understand the state’s interest in denying these families the same rights accorded to others.

Dead Letter

posted by on July 26 at 9:32 AM

After reading an informative essay on Spinoza’s concept of God (the One substance), which in many ways is not that different from Hegel’s concept of God (the main difference being that Hegel historicizes God, or geist), I received this email letter from a publicist:


TTO: Charles Mudede, Associate Editor Stranger

What Would Happen If You Died Tomorrow?

Bloomfield Hills, MI-July 26,2006-Have you told your loved ones all they need to know about your personal history, your life, your final wishes? Would they know where to find the necessary paperwork documenting your insurance policies, investments and bank accounts? Would they be prepared to make medical, financial and legal decisions according to your wishes? Would they understand the life you lived and the legacy you would like to leave behind?

_Grant Me My Final Wish: A Personal Journal to Simplify Life’s Inevitable Journey_, written by Renata Marie Vestevich, makes recording your answers to these questions a gratifying experience. A guide to the practical and vital matters that death brings to the forefront, _Grant Me My Final Wish_ gently assists readers in recognizing and expressing their innermost desires.

Beautifully designed and clearly laid out, this journal compassionately helps readers to consider large issues and small details. It addresses such topics as organ donation, important people to notify, and care of beloved pets. The book also gives readers space to share special memories, messages and photographs with family and friends.

The end of life is a fact for everyone, and no one knows when or how it will occur. But Vestevich offers a chance to celebrate life, approach its end with peace of mind, and ultimately, make saying good-bye easier for those who pass and those who are left behind.

About the Author:
Renata Marie Vestevich, a business owner in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, knows firsthand the chaos and confusion that can overwhelm survivors when a loved one passes away. When Vestevich was 17, her father died suddenly from a massive heart attack, leaving behind his 39-year-old wife to raise six children alone. Years later, at age 34, Vestevich’s sister-in-law lost her courageous battle against cancer. These experiences, as well as her professional involvement with cancer patients, have inspired the author to create this personal, compassionate and practical guide no one should be without.

Vestevich, just because you know a few dead people doesn’t make you an authority on the most difficult of all human realities—death. In fact your book—its vapid themes, its empty goals—proves you know less about death than most people (and some animals—one would learn more from Hegel’s grass-eating cow than from all of your words put together). Please leave the king of all subjects alone and use your little intelligence to have a little life.

Morning News

posted by on July 26 at 9:00 AM

Rice won’t call for a cease fire in Lebanon until there are conditions for a “sustainable peace.” Meanwhile 4 UN observers die after an Israeli bomb hits their bunker, which a furious Kofi Annan says was “clearly marked.”

The Bush administration calls for more troops in Baghdad, where sectarian violence continues. This seems to diminish the chances of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq before the November elections. The Times runs an interesting column about the military strategy.

A leaner, meaner Saddam returns to court to quibble over the method of his execution. He’s partial to death by firing squad. Death by hanging is for “common criminals.” Whatever. As long as it’s televised.

As California cooks, Los Angeles detectives release photos of about 50 unnamed models who posed for Bill Bradford, a serial killer. They’re hoping the models or people who knew them step forward so they can find out how many of them he murdered. One million aspiring screenwriters kick themselves for not thinking of this plot before Bradford did.

What’s going on in Chicago? An alderman wants to give free parking to hybrids. This after last month another alderman introduced legislation that would ban trans fatty acids.

And the Money Dissent

posted by on July 26 at 8:48 AM

from Justice Mary E. Fairhurst:

Contrary to the plurality’s discussion, this case does not present the issue of whether allowing opposite-sex couples the right to marry is rationally related to the State’s supposed interests in encouraging procreation, marriage for relationships that result in children, and traditional child rearing… DOMA in no way affects the right of opposite-sex couples to marry—the only intent and effect of DOMA was to explicitly deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Therefore, the question we are called upon to ask and answer here, which the plurality fails to do, is how excluding committed same-sex couples from the rights of civil marriage furthers any of the interests that the State has put forth. Or, put another way, would giving same-sex couples the same right that opposite-sex couples enjoy injure the State’s interest in procreation and healthy child rearing?

WA Supremes: Some Children Are More Equal Than Others

posted by on July 26 at 8:41 AM

As with New York’s recent decision on gay marriage, the WA Supremes views marriage as a way to protect children. From today’s decision:

…limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to the survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents.

But what of children being raised by same-sex couples? What about their well-being?

There’s something perversely stingy about the WA and NY decisions. How does preventing same-sex couples from marrying make marriage a more stabilizing force in the lives of heterosexual couples? How does making my child’s life more insecure make the life of the kid with straight parents next door more secure? As one of the dissenting justices in NY pointed out, there is no shortage of marriage licenses—there are plenty to go around.

Even if you believe that marriage has a special role to play in the lives of heterosexuals (a point I’m only to happy to concede), can it not also play a similar-if-different role in the lives of homosexuals? Even among heterosexuals, marriage can have a different function depending on the circumstances of individual heterosexual couples. When my widowed grandfather remarried at age 65, he wasn’t seeking to further “the well-being of [his] children,” who were all grown and out of the house. He was seeking the security, stablity, companionship, and protections of marriage—for himself (and his female partner). The survival of the human race was the furthest thing from his mind.

So it comes to this, I guess: It seems that heterosexuals—so essential to the survival of the human race (Keep breeding, heteros! There just aren’t enough us on the planet!)—are the ones who need to be afforded special rights. Without the exclusive right to marriage, two courts in liberal states on opposite ends of the country both assume that heterosexuals could not be bothered to produce offspring at all—or, once they’ve produced them, could not be bothered to care for them.

Dissenting Justice Mary Fairhurst gets it:

The plurality and concurrence condone blatant discrimination against Washington’s gay and lesbian citizens in the name of encouraging procreation, marriage for individuals in relationships that result in children, and raising children in homes headed by opposite-sex parents, while ignoring the fact that denying same-sex couples the right to marry has no prospect of furthering any of those interests.

Reading on, it seems the the WA Supremes are siding with the fundies: Homosexuality, they arque, is not an “immutable characteristic”—in other, and more familiar words, the WA Supremes believe that homosexuality is a choice, and, what’s more, gay men and lesbians are not discriminated against because we are free to marry opposite-sex partners whenever we like.

Will Olympia Enact Civil Unions?

posted by on July 26 at 8:30 AM

Granted, I’m a damn optimist. But this conclusion from Justice Madsen does leave me hopeful that civil unions are in Washington’s future.

The plaintiffs and their amici have clearly demonstrated that many day-to-day decisions that are routine for married couples are more complex, more agonizing, and more costly for same-sex couples, unlike married couples who automatically have the advantages and rights provided to them in a myriad of laws and policies such as those surrounding medical conditions (e.g., the right to be present in the hospital and to help make difficult decisions), probate (e.g., the right to inherit property), and health insurance (e.g., the ability to obtain coverage for a spouse through employment policies).

Many local governments and businesses have recognized the difficulties facing same-sex couples and, nationally, many leading companies provide for equivalent work benefit packages for gay and lesbian employees….

There may be “more just and humane” ways to further the State’s interests, Murgia, 427 U.S. at 317, but
the State has met its burden in demonstrating that DOMA meets the minimum scrutiny required by the constitution. However, given the clear hardship faced by same sex couples evidenced in this lawsuit, the legislature may want to reexamine the impact of the marriage laws on all citizens of this state.

Here’s the Money Graph from the ‘YES’ DOMA, ‘NO’ Gay Marriage Decision

posted by on July 26 at 8:26 AM

…which I need a lawyer to help me understand. I think they’re saying, gays don’t have any special standing and therefore aren’t allowed to get married because DOMA promotes legitimate state interets like child rearing.

I don’t know. It all seems to beg the question of whether or not DOMA in itself is justified, but again, I’m not a lawyer.

In brief, unless a law is a grant of positive favoritism to a minority class, we apply the same constitutional analysis under the state constitution’s privileges and immunities clause that is applied under the federal constitution’s equal protection clause. DOMA does not grant a privilege or immunity to a favored minority class, and we accordingly apply the federal analysis. The plaintiffs have not established that they are members of a suspect class or that they have a fundamental right to marriage that includes the right to marry a person of the same sex. Therefore, we apply the highly deferential rational basis standard of review to the legislature’s decision that only opposite-sex couples are entitled to civil marriage in this state. Under this standard, DOMA is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents. Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not, in the legislature’s view, further these purposes.2 Accordingly, there is no violation of the privileges and immunities clause. There also is no violation of the state due process clause. DOMA bears a reasonable relationship to legitimate state interests — procreation and child-rearing. Nor do we find DOMA invalid as a violation of privacy interests protected by article I, section 7 of the Washington State Constitution. The people of Washington have not had in the past nor, at this time, are they entitled to an expectation that they may choose to marry a person of the same sex. Finally, DOMA does not violate the state constitution’s equal rights amendment because that provision prohibits laws that render benefits to or restrict or deny rights of one sex. DOMA treats both sexes the same; neither a man nor a woman may marry a person of the same sex.

Waiting for the Decision: A Pessimistic 2004 Flashback

posted by on July 26 at 7:38 AM

Last night, I re-read the decision that got the marriage fight started in Washington State: King County Superior Court Judge William L. Downing’s August 2004 decision declaring this state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

It’s a really well-written decision, and one of the strongest and most lucid statements of legal support for gay marriage rights I’ve ever read, but it begins with this not-very-optimistic opening:

Whether or not same-sex marriage’s day has arrived, the debaters of its attendant legal issues have now arrived in the courts of Washington…

Doesn’t sound to me like Downing had high hopes that the state Supreme Court would agree with him on appeal.

If I Were a Betting Man…

posted by on July 26 at 7:34 AM

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the WA Supremes are going to uphold DOMA. I don’t think this morning’s decision is going to go our way. I’m a pessimist, I guess, and a Catholic—if you allow yourself to presume that something good is about to happen, God will be annoyed at your presumption and intervene to fuck it all up for you. So even if I thought it was likely to go our way—which I don’t—I wouldn’t allow myself to actually think that for long.

As We Wait for This Morning’s Big Decision…

posted by on July 26 at 7:11 AM

Yesterday David Postman said this

But maybe it has taken so long for the court to rule that the issue of gay marriage is losing steam. A column up on the Governing magazine site says “Gay marriage may soon run out of steam as a political issue in the states.” Marriage is so last year. The big fight now is gay parenting.

Yes, the fight is increasingly about gay parents—as I wrote in the Stranger’s 2006 Queer Issue. But it is a debate that we’re in a much better position to win. Governing writes, “if the choice is seen as being between gay parents and no parents, gay rights advocates may gain the advantage,” and that’s an excellent point. But there’s also this: Gay and lesbian parents, unlike gay and lesbian married couples, already exist in huge numbers all over the country, not just in one blue state. Gay families are a fact on the ground, not a scary hypothetical that the American Taliban can demagogue about quite so easily—not when we’re showing up at White House Easter Egg Rolls and PTA meetings. Gay marriage can be presented as a terrifying “what if?”, but gay parents can not.

Same-sex couples are adopting or having children through artificial insemination or surrogacy every day; we may hear less about gay baby boom today than we did back in, oh, 1998, when I adopted, but it hasn’t slowed one bit. If anything it’s picked up pace. Every year for the last four years my family has trekked to Michigan for Gay Family Week in Saugatuck, and there are more same-sex couples there every year—this year I met tons of male couples who had just adopted infants.

Gay parents: We’re here, we’re queer, we’re just as exhausted as straight parents—and if you try and take our kids from us, we’ll kill ya.

The Countdown; or, Help Us, Yogic Flyers

posted by on July 26 at 6:00 AM

So here we are, in the final hours before the Washington State Supreme Court announces it decision on gay marriage, and all we can do is make predictions about whether Washington has more in common with Massachusetts (where gay marriage was approved) or New York (where the ban on gay marriage was upheld).

To help while away the minutes, I’ve been mulling over an email I received late yesterday. The subject line read Meditators Fly for Peace, and the text detailed the positivity-increasing, negativity-decreasing benefits of yogic flying:


Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that the stock market recorded one of its largest one-day gains of the year, with the Dow Jones skyrocketing 183 points, surpassing the key 11,000 level. CNBC national television headlined the surprising stock market upsurge with “Wall Street Euphoria” and “Blissful Shock.” CNBC added that the only blue chip stock in negative territory was the Phillip Morris cigarette company.“More than 50 published studies clearly show that group practice of Yogic Flying by just a small percentage of a population—as little as the square root of one percent—reduces negative trends and strengthens positive economic and social trends,” said Dr. John Hagelin, who directs the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management. For the United States, with a population of just over 300 million, the required number of peace-creating experts is 1730. However, Dr. Hagelin said, 3500 Yogic Flyers are assembling as a “safety factor.”

I have no idea what yogic flying is, but according to, it involves the mind “entertaing a specific formula,” causing the body to “lift up in a series of sponteaneous hops,” with the goal a “profound mind-body coordination producing high levels of brain wave coherence—resulting in the radiation of powerful waves of harmony and coherence throughout society.”

God knows how it works, but if any yogic flyers are up for doing some spontaneous hops in favor of gay marriage, I wouldn’t complain.

To those of us who think it’s hoo-ha, Dr. Hagelin offers these words :

“As the number of Yogic Flyers increases towards 3500, the world press will have more and more good news to report from America,” said Dr. Hagelin. “The government will enjoy greater success. Peace and prosperity will reign, and violence and conflict will subside completely as America rises to become a lighthouse of coherence and invincibility for the world.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Loving Lucky Louie

posted by on July 25 at 8:50 PM


The expense of cable is certainly an indulgence, but HBO keeps giving me excellent reasons to feel just fine about kicking down extra cash for their programming.

Aside from my Entourage addiction (and my boyfriend’s Deadwood obsession), my latest reason to stay in on Sundays is Lucky Louie, the half-hour comedy chronicling the pathetic life of a muffler shop repairman named Louie (played by stand-up veteran Louis C.K.)

The writing and the performances are spontaneous and wickedly funny (virtually every actor seems to be in possession of nearly-flawless comic timing), but what I really appreciate is the overall feel of the show. It’s filmed on videotape before a live audience, a logistical and aesthetic choice that is highly reminisent of both The Honeymooners and All in the Family (a decision that Louis C.K. happily acknowledges). And of course, since it’s HBO, profanity and lurid subject matter are fair game, including male full-frontal nudity—something I always consider to be a sign of progress, even if it’s within the goofy context that LL offers.

If you have a friend with cable, I recommend offering to spring for pizza and beer next Sunday so you can watch the next episode at their house. Short of that, do yourself a favor and check out some clips here.

Tattoo Tuesdays

posted by on July 25 at 6:56 PM

The best of the WORST tattoos in Seattle! This weeks’ winners…
one un-finished chicken

a “paisley” that now looks more like a pork chop (or a colostomy bag?)

and this “Will Smith Eating Rap Snacks” - just who DID copy who?

Queen anne’s Future Cosmopolis?

posted by on July 25 at 5:40 PM

Last night was the long-awaited public meeting on Queen Anne Hill where architects unveiled their new plan for the transformation of the Metropolitan Market on Queen Anne Ave. into a block-long QFC and housing development titled “Queen Anne Place.”


The tension in the room was more than palpable — it was audible. An estimated 150 people of all ages filled the seats in the oven-like Bethany Church and when a community council member announced that QFC donated bottled water for the meeting, many audience members actually heckled, “BOO!” The Cox family, which owns and is developing the property, was brave enough to show up and a property manager made sure to mention after the family’s brief introduction, “The Coxes are not `property developers,’ they inherited the property.”

There’s nothing like an architect’s 30-minute description of massing studies to bore an audience into a submissive lull, however. After seeing the new plans for the project, many people took the time to thank the building owners for working with the public instead of just building an ugly but sellable monstrosity. This is the second time the “inheritors-not-developers” have come before the Queen Anne public and audience and community council members alike commented that the new plan looked much better than the one presented in January.

In response to vociferously expressed community concerns about the removal of apartments and a pedestrian-friendly environment, the architects reconfigured the four-story building from retail only with second-story parking to having only retail on the first floor and 55 housing units on the other three floors.

As Scott Smith, of Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth, said, “We presented six points specifically, this plan addresses two, borderline three, of them.” QANRG is upset with the basic plan of the development: replacing the local Metro Market with a QFC.

The main issues community members take with design of the project all stem from its size. This QFC is going to be 43,200 square feet and most of the comments made at the meeting regarded the Queen Anne Ave façade of the building — break it up! But not disjointed! — and the traffic/noise/pollution created by the QFC delivery trucks.

In response to this, the architects reduced the size of the QFC and made room for three small retail units on the ground floor. The 360 ft. long side of the building facing Queen Anne Ave is going to be broken up with modulation and entrances into the upper story apartments. Architect Lee Page said the building would look like it was owned by three different owners, though still allow for continuity. Here’s a picture of the second-story apartments that gives you the jist of the modulation:


To see more pictures of the proposed project, or to marvel at the bitter fighting between Slog commenters, check out last week’s post.

Next up: the design gets reviewed by the city. As Monday’s meeting proved, every single step of the way on this project is going to be arduous.

Arts in America

posted by on July 25 at 5:39 PM

Tonight The Stranger suggests:

‘Mitzi’s Abortion’
(THEATER) I haven’t seen the production, but I’ve read the world-premiere script by local playwright Elizabeth Heffron, and it’s subtler, lighter, and funnier than the title indicates. The play features a 22-year-old Army bride, an Esperanto club, and Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic saint and theologian, whose theory of “delayed ensoulment,” once accepted as church doctrine, means a fetus isn’t human until the second trimester. Whatever your politics are, Mitzi’s Abortion will complicate them. (ACT Theatre, 700 Union Ave, 292-7676. 7:30 pm, $10—$54. Through Aug 20.) BRENDAN KILEY


Museums are accused of not doing enough to locate art looted by Nazis.

Amazon will reportedly launch a movie-download service in August.

Vamos a Cuba gets to stay in Miami schools.

Low Blow

posted by on July 25 at 5:30 PM

(But how can I not?)

Is Seattle Art Museum sure that this is what it wants to bring to mind with its major marketing campaign touting the sculpture park and new building?


The huge “I AM SAM” signs are proliferating around town.


Even that would be a better association.

Marriage Decision Timing

posted by on July 25 at 4:55 PM

Earlier in the day, we said we weren’t certain what time the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage would be coming. I checked with the court, and am told the time to start hitting refresh is 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.

See you then.

Dept. of Brand Names

posted by on July 25 at 3:58 PM

Think “Honey Bucket” is a bad name? Check out the company handling porta-potties on Lopez Island:


Bob Casey: “Take Your Check And Shove It!”

posted by on July 25 at 3:55 PM


A couple of months ago I sent a big, fat check to Bob Casey, the Dem running against Sen. Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania. It was the maximum personal contribution, or $2100. I wrote about sending Casey that check, and encouraged readers of Savage Love to support to Casey. This didn’t sit well with some Savage Love readers—Casey, they pointed out, is anti-choice, and why didn’t I have a problem with that?

Yes, yes: Bob Casey is opposed to abortion. But electing Casey will take out Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum, a much more rabidly antichoice senator. Frothy Mix doesn’t think you should be able to choose masturbation, for crying out loud. Moreover, electing Casey could help Democrats take back the Senate, which will go a long way toward protecting choice, abortion rights, and other sexual freedoms—despite Casey’s stance on choice. Electing one or two pro-life Dems is the price we’re going to have to pay to put reliably pro-choice Dems in positions of power all over the Senate. So casting a vote for Casey, or sending a contribution to Casey, is a pragmatic, progressive, pro-choice bankshot.

The Casey campaign was grateful for my support. The day my check arrived at Casey HQ a staffer called to thank me for the dough and invited me to a Casey event taking place the same night in Seattle. Casey was going to be in town and I was personally invited to come meet Casey and get my picture taken with the candidate. I skipped the event, which turned out to be a mistake. Because it looks like I’m not going to be getting any more invites to Casey campaign events.

Jake Perry, finance director for Bob Casey, just called to tell me that Bob Casey is returning my check.

Here’s Jake: “We appreciate your willingness to support Bob, but my higher ups… people above me… they think that we may wind up spending more, you know, money then the contribution is worth. But we appreciate your willingness to support us.”

Uh… you’re welcome, I guess.

Jake explained that the Casey campaign is worried that Santorum’s flying monkeys—not their words—will spot my name on their campaign finance reports and raise holy hell about Casey taking money from me. I am, after all, the man who successfully smeared Santorum with santorum, the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex. (Still the #1 result when you Google “santorum.”) The Casey camp feels—perhaps rightly—that taking my money may result in their having to spend more than $2100 of staff time debating the merits of Savage Love and with Sen. ManOnDog if the Santorum camp decided to make an issue of Casey’s connection to me.

So my $2100 check is in the mail. Or it’s in the mail again, I should say, but this time it’s heading from PA to WA. Perry did suggest some other groups in Pennsylvania that could use the money—you know, independent groups and Dem orgs that are working to defeat Santorum but that aren’t affiliated with Bob Casey or his campaign. That way Casey could benefit from my money without having to, you know, associate himself with the likes of me.


While I’m a little miffed about Casey sending my check back—who wouldn`t be?—I am going to send the $2100 to a group working to defeat Rick Santorum. How could I not? I’ve asked my readers, who are overwhelmingly pro-choice, to be pragmatic and swallow hard and support Bob Casey in November. So I’m going to have to swallow hard and support Bob Casey whether he wants me to or not. So Bob Casey doesn’t want to take my dirty money—or doesn’t want to be seen taking my dirty money. So what? I still want Casey to see him beat the lube-and-fecal-matter-splattered pants off Rick Santorum this November. So I’m sending the $2100 Casey spurned to Philadelphians Against Santorum. (For the record: PAS is not one of the groups that Perry suggested.)

This is the first time a politician has ever sent back a check. John Kerry cashed my check, Ned Lamont cashed my check, Darcy Burner cashed my check—no problemo. But if I wanna keep sending money to mainstream politicians it looks like I’m going to have to form a political action committee (PAC) to fudge the source of the funds. Bob Casey may not take check from me, but maybe he’ll take one from my Fudge PAC.

War is Peace, and Density is Sprawl.

posted by on July 25 at 3:53 PM

Anti-growth activist Greg Hill’s op/ed in the P-I today opposing “detached accessory dwelling units” (garage apartments) is riddled with errors, mischaracterizations, and half-truths. I really recommend reading the whole loony thing for yourself, but here’s my personal favorite whopper:

Unlike the neighborhood plans, which call for new residential density to be focused, the DADU concept is for growth anywhere, creating an in-city sprawl that will increase auto-dependency.

“In-city sprawl”? Is Hill kidding? I really don’t even know where to start with this literally nonsensical, dishonest bullshit. (Maybe with the fact that “in-city” and “sprawl” have exactly opposite meanings? Or perhaps with the disingenuousness of using environmental buzzwords to promote policies that lead to sprawl?) More people per square foot is the definition of density. Density decreases auto dependence. The alternative—encouraging people who would rent DADUs to move to the suburbs—would increase it.

Let’s move on:

“Affordability” is the justification for the proposal. Four “affordable” DADU prototypes were built for an average of more than $200,000 each.

To inject a tiny dose of reality: The median house price in King County is $405,000. By that standard, $200,000 is affordable. And anyway, rent is dictated more by the housing market than by what a place costs to build. (If rent is even an issue: Many homeowners say they want to build DADUs for their elderly relatives or teenage children, who would presumably live rent-free.)

The city expects 10 to 20 a year will be built.

Hmm… So which is it, Greg: “growth anywhere” or ten new units a year? Because I have a hard time believing that ten new garage apartments (or even—horrors!—20) will have much impact on the city as a whole, good orbad.

Moving on:

Only one parking space per tenant is required. The young and restless at City Hall say we should live without cars. We should try to drive less, but car ownership is a reality. Seven tenants means seven cars.

And seven cars means seven parking spaces (which I think is way too much, but nobody asked me.) So… What, exactly, is the problem again?

Even the headline is nonsensical: “Don’t Allow Housing Units to Squeeze Out Backyard Tomatoes.” A better headline might have been: “Don’t Allow Homeowners to Subsidize Their Mortgages with Apartments on their Own Property.”

BREAKING: Gay Marriage Ruling Events

posted by on July 25 at 3:04 PM

As Eli already posted, the state Supreme Court announced just a few hours ago that tomorrow it expects to release its ruling on Andersen v. King County — the gay marriage case that was decided in favor of the gays at the county level and appealed to the higher court in 2004.

The Supreme Court usually releases its rulings on Thursday mornings, so this ahead-of-schedule announcement took a lot of activists by surprise. It’s uncertain whether the court will release its ruling at 9am or noon, but there are currently two events planned by for tomorrow evening. Whichever way the judges go, people are going to want to talk about it.

5:30pm-6:45pm Community gathering at Seattle First Baptist Church 1111 Harvard Avenue. The event is organized by, ACLU-WA, NW Women’s Law Center, and Lambda Legal and there will be several politicians speaking (Ron Sims, Ed Murray and David Upthegrove) as well as some couples.

7:00pm Following the community gathering is a non-demoninational prayer service at the same First Baptist Church organized by the Religious Coalition for Equality.

This info is via Equal Rights Washington

There are also rallies in Tacoma and Spokane, both at 5:30 pm at the South Sound Center and Federal Building, respectively. For other events around the state, check out the LAMBDA wesbite.

We’ll update the Slog with more information throughout the day.


posted by on July 25 at 2:54 PM

Got a favorite stripper at your local all-nude juice bar? (I know—God bless New Jersey.) Give her a hand.

Got a favorite butcher at your local halal meat shop? Give him your hand.


The second story contains this sentence: “Those who saw the action unfold remained jarred.” Not only is “remained jarred” an odd construction, but, as an encore to the first story, the use of “remain” and “jarred” is magnificently creepy. (Thanks to the eagle eyes of Mssr. Frizzelle.)

Remember when the House was the Crazy Branch of Congress?

posted by on July 25 at 2:20 PM

Those were the days.

A bill to make transporting a teen across state lines for an abortion would become a crime punishable by prison under a widely supported bill nearing passage in the Senate this afternoon.

Democrats tried and failed to attach several amendments to the bill that would have made it slightly less odious, including one by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., that would have encouraged the federal government to provide money for more sex education. It failed 48-51, but not before sparking this laughable “debate”:

“If we do nothing about teen pregnancy yet pass this punitive bill, then it proves that this (bill) is only a political charade and not a serious effort to combat the problem,” Lautenberg said.

Abstinence is the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy, responded Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

“How many people really think it’s in the best interest of young people to be sexually active outside of marriage? Does anything positive ever come from that?” Coburn asked.

Because forcing young girls to have babies they don’t want and can’t care for is the definition of a “positive” outcome.


posted by on July 25 at 1:58 PM

This is one of the reasons why cricket beats squash as the greatest sport invented by humans.

Stupid, Stupid

posted by on July 25 at 1:58 PM

As everyone knows, Florida is stupid. From The Stranger’s November 16, 2000 issue:


You know who else is stupid? The fanatical Xbox players who live in Florida. Stupid and deadly.

Re: Who Cares About the Music?

posted by on July 25 at 1:25 PM

Fnarf wrote:

As near as I can tell, the criticisms levied against Mr. Schwarz are identical to those made for the last 70+ years. Too conservative, limited repertoire, keep the little old ladies happy. All still true, of course, though I don’t think traditionally it’s been the dowagers so much as the conservative business elite — the names at the top of the benefactors list tell you all you need to know about who they want to keep happy.
There may well be a “artistically adventurous” crowd in Seattle now, but the question is, can or will they write $10,000 checks?

Fnarf, your assumption of the timelessness of the situation is off. Never before has the Seattle Symphony looked so painfully behind other orchestras traditionally assumed to be unimportant, i.e., San Francisco and Los Angeles.

And never before has American classical music been in such a state of self-awareness and self-questioning. Not that you’d know anything at all was going on if all you did was attend Seattle Symphony concerts.

Read Wall Street Journal critic and composer Greg Sandow’s blog on, or check out Joseph Horowitz’s 2005 book The Rise and Fall of Classical Music in America, or hell, go to an orchestral concert in any other city that is a part of this conversation—try the South Dakota Symphony in Sioux Falls, which has gained a serious following for performing major works by Pulitzer Prize winners on nearly every concert; or Cleveland, where the players go into the audience to talk to people after they play something new; or any number of places where the music directors actually host thoughtful discussions via blogs; or even the crusty New York Philharmonic, which has started to question its own habits by introducing new technologies (whether they work or not).

The conversation about classical music has markedly changed in the last few years. Most orchestras are well aware that something needs to change in the art form, or that something already has, and it needs to change back—like the fact that music should be played and talked about, not enshrined and worshiped. If the music is dead, what’s the point of writing the $10,000 checks anyway? The thoughtless repetitions that many of these concerts represent are an insult to the art form, and very much not the only way to do business. As other orchestras have proven very well these past years, it’s certainly not a choice between “risk,” that cliche that has become nothing more than an excuse for pablem, and survival.

The last time there was internal debate like this in American classical music might have been in 1869, after Patrick Gilmore’s Peace Jubilee in Boston, which Horowitz writes about in his book:

This account of classical music in the United States began with John Sullivan Dwight, whose worshipful promulgation of dead European composers defined “classical music” in contradistinction to popular culture generally and—in the case of the Peace Jubilee of 1869, with its anvil-pounding firemen—Patrick Gilmore specifically. Gilmore’s eclecticism—mixing high and low, New Worlds and Old—blithely embodied what classical music was not. Today, closing the circle, it is Dwight who signifies the past and Gilmore who suggests the future.

How Fat Are Americans?

posted by on July 25 at 1:13 PM

We’re so fat that Xrays no longer penetrate our bodies.

More and more obese people are unable to get full medical care because they are either too big to fit into scanners, or their fat is too dense for X-rays or sound waves to penetrate, radiologists reported on Tuesday.

With 64 percent of the U.S. population either overweight or obese, the problem is worsening, [said] Dr. Raul Uppot, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We noticed over the past couple of years that obesity was playing a role in our ability to see these images clearly,” Uppot said in a telephone interview.

BREAKING: Washington Gay Marriage Decision Coming Tomorrow

posted by on July 25 at 12:47 PM

According to the State Supreme Court web site.

Ambitious Stoners Foiled by French Fuzz

posted by on July 25 at 12:17 PM

Alas, the dream of a three-foot joint has been snuffed out by French authorities:

Police in France said they had thwarted an attempt by a group of marijuana smokers to roll the world’s longest joint by seizing a work-in-progress measuring 80 centimetres (32 inches) in length. “At some point, these young people had wanted to craft a joint of 1.12 metres to beat the world record in the discipline and get it officially registered,” said a police officer in eastern France [to the Associated Foreign Press].

Full story here.

Who Cares About the Music?

posted by on July 25 at 11:29 AM

What exactly does Mayor Greg Nickels consider to be 23-year Seattle Symphony music director Gerard Schwarz’s chief contribution to “artistic achievement throughout the city”?

The overwhelming vote of no confidence he received from his musicians in a survey made public July 14, six days before the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs announced Schwarz would receive one of the city’s 2006 arts awards?

The way critics and players say the orchestra performs better with guest conductors than Schwarz?

How almost nobody cheered when Schwarz’s contract was renewed for another three years this spring, including the experienced orchestra executive director, who promptly resigned?

The way the other orchestras of the West Coast—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and even Oregon—have left the Seattle Symphony in the artistic dust?

How Schwarz’s programming utterly lacks conviction or vision about where classical music is going?

How Seattle Symphony’s Made in America festival of the last two years—its “risk-taking” experiment in “new” music—was so conservative that it was hardly worth doing at all?

So much to choose from. The awards ceremony will be Sept 1. Don’t miss your chance to salute this artist without whom our city’s classical music leadership would not be the disappointment it is.

Payback’s a Bitch

posted by on July 25 at 11:21 AM

Apparently, Steely Dan—yes, Steely Dan—is all bent out of shape because Owen Wilson, star of “You, Me and Dupree,” has failed to acknowledge the debt his film owes to the band’s song “Cousin Dupree,” and they’re striking back—with a letter to Owen’s brother, Luke Wilson. From the band’s official website:

What we suspect may have happened is this: Some hack writer or producer or whatever they call themselves in Malibu or Los Feliz or something apparently heard our Grammy winning song “Cousin Dupree” on the radio and thought, hey, man, this is a cool idea for a character in a movie or something… They, like took our character, this real dog sleeping on the couch and all and put him in the middle of some hokey “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” ripoff story and then, when it came time to change the character’s name or whatever so people wouldn’t know what a rip the whole thing was, THEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO THINK UP A NEW FUCKING NAME FOR THE GUY!

… But hey, Luke, man… do you think you could persuade your bro do do the right thing and come on down to our Concert at Irvine and apologize to our fans for this travesty? I mean, he wouldn’t have to grovel or eat shit or get down on his hands and knees and ask forgiveness - we don’t want him to do anything he’s not comfortable with - but he would have to cop to the fact that what he and his Hollywood gangster pals did was wrong and that he wishes he had never agreed to get involved with this turkey in the ifirst place… You just tell him - he’ll come down to Irvine, apologize on stage, then we’ll load him up with cool Steely merch and he can party with us and the band. Otherwise, if this business goes unresolved, there are some pretty heavy people who are upset about this whole thing and we can’t guarantee what kind of heat little Owen may be bringing down on himself. When negative energy like this attaches itself to someone because they allow themselves to get involed in stuff that is not spiritually aligned for them on all levels, there can sometimes be very harsh trips that go down.

Read the whole amazing thing here.

Catholic Archbishop Opposed to Gay Marriage

posted by on July 25 at 10:52 AM

No way? Really? Opposed to gay marriage? And he’s our Catholic archbishop? Golly, what’s next? A Nazi pope?

Best Joke Ever

posted by on July 25 at 10:32 AM

So I was riding the 43 into work today and there was a gaggle of pre-schoolers in back on their way to Miller playfield. They were wearing matching tie-dyed shirts that hung past their knees and telling jokes.

“Baby cookies!”
“Who’s there?”
“Stop sign!”

Baby cookies?!? I think I’m in love.

The old Queen Anne High School

posted by on July 25 at 10:26 AM

There’s a familiar fortress sitting at the summit of Queen Anne Hill, right next to the television antennae: the old Queen Anne High School, at Galer Street and 2nd Avenue North.

This subject seemed to lend itself to video presentation. Unfortunately, our Stranger videographer won’t be starting for a few more weeks, and until then the camera is in the hands of rank amateurs. Like me.

Note: If you use Firefox, you’ll need to download QuickTime to view the movies.

Before I nauseate you with my video, let’s take a look from the sky, using Microsoft mapping:


We’re looking from the south. That’s 2nd Avenue North on the left side. You can see part of Galer Street along the picture’s top, and that’s 3rd Avenue North on the right side. That circular shape on the bottom is a fountain in a courtyard.

Video after the jump.

Continue reading "The old Queen Anne High School" »

Knitta Please Strikes Again

posted by on July 25 at 10:16 AM

Outside Linda’s on Pine…



Guess Whose Abs?

posted by on July 25 at 10:03 AM

Guess what celebrity is turning 41 today—and is the owner of these hot-shit abs? HINT: You will never guess.


The answer and more scandal after the leap!

Continue reading "Guess Whose Abs?" »

Morning News

posted by on July 25 at 8:51 AM

Israel took a break from bombing Beirut to talk with Condi Rice, but as soon as she left the fireworks started again. She was greeted by protesters in the West Bank, where she met with Mahmoud Abbas, of the Palestinian Authority.

The Iraqi prime minister visits the White House to express his opposition to American handling of the conflict in Lebanon, his support for amnesty for Iraqi insurgents and his interest in close ties with Iran. They just don’t make puppet dictators like they did in the Eighties, do they?

FEMA is fixed, according to FEMA. And just in time for hurricane season!

After the Bush veto, states have anted up for stem cell research.

The Bush administration knew about Pakistan’s nuclear reactor, which is supposed to make you feel better.

Environmentalists have teamed up with sportsmen to oppose oil and gas drilling in the West. What took ‘em so long?

Clinton is campaigning for Lieberman. Which is weird, since Hillary is rooting for Lieberman’s opponent, Ned Lamont.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Speaking of Sprawl…

posted by on July 24 at 6:10 PM

Grist has an interesting essay about Warrenton, a small town in exurban Virginia, that just accepted a payment from Dallas-based Centex Homes for $22 million—half the town’s annual budget. In exchange, Warrenton agreed to annex around 500 acres and provide city services to Centex’s new 300-home development. Some smart-growth advocates found the project acceptable, author Joel Hirschorn writes, because the developer agreed to cluster the homes on one corner of the property, leaving the rest of the land undeveloped. Additionally, Centex said it planned to market the homes to affluent class seniors, relieving the potential strain on the city’s schools. Hirschorn points out problems with each of these “concessions.” First, the undeveloped green space Centex agreed to provide won’t be a park. It won’t even be public. Instead, it will belong to the well-to-do seniors who populate the $850,000-and-up homes. Second, it’s hard to see how seniors could be prevented from reselling their homes to younger buyers, likely D.C. workers who want more roads to their jobs and more schools for their kids. Furthermore, a non-mixed-use (no stores or restaurants), demographically homogenous community is a recipe for social isolation

Hirschorn concludes:

Sprawl bribery is a growing dimension of sprawl politics, a shrewd tactic of the sprawl industry. It knows how to survive. It has not been stopped for over 50 years, despite repeated attempts to curb sprawl. It may seem sad that the opposition to sprawl is contributing to higher home prices, but higher prices for sprawl places might make them less attractive — except for the fact that so much new sprawl development is aimed at wealthy Americans.

New York Times Rates Burner-Reichert Race a “Toss-Up”

posted by on July 24 at 5:35 PM

Political geeks are certain to get flashbacks from the new “2006 Election Guide” that was posted today by New York Times. It’s basically an update of the very cool interactive graphic the paper had going in the lead-up to the 2004 elections — the one that allowed you to play with various Kerry-Bush electoral vote scenarios by pulling states in and out of the red or blue columns as polls (or gut feelings) warranted.

This year you can do the same with Senate races, House races, and Governors’ races — and in the process, you can see which various scenarios might (or might not) give Democrats control of Congress. You can also learn what races the Times thinks are currently toss-ups, and followers of local politics will be interested to learn that the Times has judged the local Darcy Burner-Dave Reichert race to be a toss-up. (It’s one of only 13 House races in the nation to get this designation.)


As for the Cantwell-McGavick Senate race, the Times finds it is only “leaning Democratic,” not “safely Democratic” — bad PR news for Cantwell.

Summer Vacation

posted by on July 24 at 3:20 PM

La Push.jpg

So I went to La Push this weekend to escape the dreaded once-a-year Seattle heat wave. Here are some things you can do on the northwest Washington coast:

1. Drink a really cold beer while sitting on the beach.
2. Watch your dog try a sip of saltwater, shake his head, and then stare down the ocean as if it had purposefully assaulted him.
3. Sleep in your brand-new tent that is much too big for you and enjoy its spaciousness, because, really, who the hell cares how much it weighs when all you’re doing is driving to the campsite anyway?
4. Eat at the River’s Edge restaurant and try one of the homemade (really) pies — this weekend featured apple, Marionberry (which always makes me think of the other Washington), and peach.
5. Watch the sun go down over the sea stacks and listen to the keen of the wind as it blows in from Japan bearing the scent of cherry blossoms and salt and sake.

A weekend was not long enough, but I felt refreshed upon returning to the city. Where do you go when you need a little time away?

Richard Likes It

posted by on July 24 at 3:19 PM

“They (most other American sculpture parks) look like parking lots for sculpture. To have a park that is accessing the language of sculpture is not only rare, it’s fucking magnificent.”

So said the sculptor Richard Serra in a conversation I had with him this morning in the shade of the pavilion on the southeast end of Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, as a crew bolted his installation Wake into the earth.

Wake is the first piece of art to go in at the park, which opens Oct 28, although Mark Dion’s Nurse Log and Teresita Fernandez’s Seattle Cloud Cover bridge are under construction. (No, no sign of Louise Bourgeois’s father-son fountain yet—that will be last to go in.)

Wake is a pod of five undulating forms made of Cor-ten steel, each one 50 feet long, 14 feet high, and weighing 60 tons. Two slabs of curving steel, shaped very loosely like the hull of a ship, are joined back to back in each one; the hollow space between them gives each form a footprint about 6 feet across. Each slab has identical curves but they’re inverted before they’re put together, like reflected versions of each other. They’re scattered on a bed of gravel, at irregular distances from each other that are nonetheless highly choreographed to provide echoing views as the light falls on each rusty surface slightly differently. Like all of Serra’s imposing installations, this will be worth spending time with.

The installation isn’t finished yet, but it stands low, in a valley beneath a sloping bed of trees that run along Western Avenue. Because it’s outdoors and doesn’t have the benefit of enclosure to emphasize its massive scale (plenty of his works are outdoors, but I like the ones indoors best; especially this at Dia Beacon), Serra designed retaining walls that circumscribe the space.

“Architects can be a pain in the ass,” he said, bringing to mind the tension between him and Frank Gehry. (He told me that his installation in the massive signature wing of Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao is his favorite treatment anywhere of his work; maybe it helps that critics declared it the artist’s total victory over the architect’s structure.) But he gushed about New York-based park architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi. I can understand that; I had many more reservations about the park until I took my first tour a few months ago and gained a sense of how sensitive and detailed their design actually seems to be.

It won’t really be possible to assess the experience of being in the 8.5-acre park until it’s closer to finished. Today I walked a small winding path through a grove of quaking Aspen trees, and sensed for the first time the “precincts” that the architects have been talking about—distinct spaces within the park that differ from each other. In the grove will be Tony Smith’s 1967 forest-floor abstraction Wandering Rocks.

Serra loves Seattle; in 1979-‘80, he made Wright’s Triangle for the Western Washington University Outdoor Sculpture Collection in Bellingham, at the invitation of Seattle art-collecting matriarch Virginia Wright. It was his first publicly sited work.

For him, any issue of the park’s success is settled. (At least for the opening lineup: “Will they screw it up when they change things around? I don’t know,” he said. That first lineup wil be up for at least a year.)

“This place has the possibility of making sculpture an issue,” the white-haired, barrel-chested 66-year-old nearly barked at the press corps. “I couldn’t be more happy, not only for myself, but for sculpture.”

George Michael Snogs 58-Year-Old in Bush

posted by on July 24 at 3:03 PM

Think American tabloid reporters can be cruel and relentless? They don’t hold a candle to the Brits, who filed this story in the Sunday News of the World: George Michael’s Sex Shame!
Apparently, photogs followed the ’80s pop icon to a London park, spied on him while he got nasty with an unemployed, “pot-bellied, 58-year-old” in a bush—and then took pictures and pursued both Michael and his quickie lover to their homes where they continued to harass them. WOW. That is the last time I ever bang somebody in a bush.
Check out the hilarious and sad and gruesome details after the leap!

George Michael…

And his park pal.

Continue reading "George Michael Snogs 58-Year-Old in Bush" »

Pop Culture

posted by on July 24 at 1:55 PM

Via our own Dan Paulus:

Virtual bubble wrap. Enjoy.

A Brief History of Empire

posted by on July 24 at 1:35 PM

“There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.” —Deleuze
In the book Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri extended an idea that was first articulated by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in the short essay “Postscript on the Societies of Control”. The idea being that a type of society that dominated life from the end of the 18th century to the end of the 20th century (defined internally by enclosures—the army, the factory, the school, the family, and so on—and externally by radial colonial arrangements), this type of society was in decline and being replaced by a new kind of order, a new kind of power that ruled by removing and smoothing enclosure walls and diffusing capital across the world. In 1990, Deleuze called this new order “control society”; in 1999, Hardt and Negri called it Empire.

In the way Mike Davis’s book City of Quartz explained the LA riots; Empire arrived just in time to explain the WTO riots that erupted in Seattle: Global capitalism was not bringing the world’s poor closer to paradise but, as other forms of power, pushing them deeper into hell. The confrontations between what Hardt and Negri called “multitude” (the global oppressed) and the institutions that organized transnational wealth, escalated. Something big was about to happen—and then the wrong big thing happened, WTC. After that blazing event, Empire was abandoned by its leading member, the US, which reverted to imperialism. “[T]he recent assertion of a ‘robust nationalism’” wrote Philip S Golub’s in an essay, “United States: the slide to disorder,” published last year by Le Monde Dilplomatique:

…has fundamentally altered the grammar and trajectory of world politics: liberal globalisation and interdependence have been superseded by naked imperial power politics. Just as the late 19th-century expansion of the free market was centred in London, underpinned by a political order and held together by transnational networks with a vested interest in peace in Europe, the pursuit of 20th-century globalisation requires the continued commitment of the US to a system of institutionalised interstate cooperation and liberal regimes of global governance.

Yet unlike Britain, which lost control, the US has chosen to wreck the global system. As Stanley Hoffmann puts it: “The US may want to return to pre-1914 conditions … or else, the US, seeing itself as the guardian of world order, would leave restraints on other states standing, and reserve to itself the right to select those restraints of international law and institutions that serve its interests and to reject all the others.” The dramatic implication in both cases is that the US is deconstructing the frameworks of multilateral cooperation that were designed after 1945 to introduce “some order and moderation into the jungle of traditional international conflicts”

While the Clinton administration’s composition and policies reflected, at least in part, the interests of this thin but influential cosmopolitan class, the contemporary right-wing power elite is centred in the military-industrial complex, which is the least autonomous and most nationalist part of the US political economy. The least autonomous because it is fused in the state and the most nationalist because it seeks by nature to maximise national power. These elite formations both call upon broad social bases: as the geographic dispersion of the 2004 elections neatly showed, the social base of the liberal internationalists is concentrated in densely populated, internationalised coastal urban areas, while the primary popular base of nationalism and militarism is found in rural areas, among the white lower, and lower middle, classes in the heartland.

In short, Clinton represented Empire, the society of control, whereas Bush represented an older form of power, one connected with disciplinary society, colonialism—power formations and institutions that began to dissolve after World War II. Hardt and Negri were confused by this regression. Why was American capital dropping the new and improved tools of power and picking up old and blunt ones? And not only that, American capital seemed to have a clear center and a clear national identity. Were Hardt and Negri completely wrong? Was there no such thing as Empire? “What is absolutely new with respect to Empire’s structure,” said Negri in a 2003 interview,

…is the fact that the American reaction is configuring itself as a regressive backlash contrary to the imperial tendency. It is an imperialist backlash within and against Empire that is linked to old structures of power, old methods of command, and a monocratic and substantialist conception of sovereignty that represents a counter tendency with respect to the molecular and relational characters of the imperial bio-power that we had analysed. The gravity of the situation today lies in this contradiciton.
For three years Hardt and Negri scratched their heads and kept relatively silent.

Last week, Hardt ended the silence with a big and loud article in The Nation. In it, he holds up, like a severed head, the grand and undisputed failure of 21st century American imperialism (its failed domestic and international agendas) as proof that that form of power is, as he and Negri had argued, dead. Bush is nothing more than a corpse’s last sign of life. “Some time in the future,” Hardt writes in The Nation

…looking back on our present period of US unilateralism, maybe it will seem like that clichĂ© moment at the end of every teen horror movie when the young survivors gather around the grave of the monster they’ve defeated. As the reassuring music starts and the protagonists are beginning to walk away from the grave, just when we expect the final credits to roll, the monster’s hand shoots up through the dirt and grabs one of them by the ankle, sending one last gasp of fear through the theater. But after that final shock they can cut off the arm, put the monster to rest and walk away. There is no point continuing the fight against the old monster, dead and buried. Its time has passed. But we know there will be a sequel with a new monster that requires new forms of struggle.”

Empire is now correcting itself. The US is still powerful but, as last week’s Time cover made clear, it now knows that its power alone is not enough to rule the world system.
As Empire returns to business as usual, its natural opponent, the multitude, must return to the business of resistance. Welcome back to the party.

The Times Misleads on Smart Growth

posted by on July 24 at 12:15 PM

Eric Pryne’s story in Sunday’s Seattle Times, headlined “Despite planners’ best efforts, many people choose the commute,” sounds like bad news for pro-density Smart Growthers who want to encourage people to live where they work through planning, zoning and transportation decisions. Pryne’s story makes the case that long commutes—from Auburn to Enumclaw, for example, or from Federal Way to Redmond—are becoming the norm because of personal choice, not because of poor city and transportation planning. (The conventional wisdom among Smart Growth supporters is that providing reliable, frequent transportation to the places people want to go and clustering jobs and housing in the same location will lead people to live and work in compact neighborhoods.) People frequently take jobs far away from home (and vice versa), Pryne argues, because of “personal preferences that are stronger than any aversion to longer commutes.”

One insurance agent who lives in Tacoma and drives every day to Enumclaw, Pryne writes,

says he considered moving when he got the job in Enumclaw, but uprooting his family was too big a price to pay.

“It would just upset a lot of the kids’ routines,” Griffiths says. “The only reason to move would be to reduce my commute time.”

Another Enumclaw worker drives one hour each way, or about 450 miles a week, from Fremont, because he and his wife “just like the neighborhood.”

Pryne’s smug conclusion: “People don’t necessarily do what planners think they will.”

But wait a minute. Buried elsewhere in the story is an important point:

The geographic divide between home and work is most pronounced in bedroom communities where there simply aren’t many jobs.

Six of seven working residents of Sammamish, 10 of 11 working residents of Mountlake Terrace and 11 of 12 working residents of Newcastle commute to jobs elsewhere.

In other words, living in the suburbs typically means driving a long way to work.

And check out the graphic that runs with the story. Areas that are orange have higher percentages of people who live where they work; areas that are green have lower percentages. Because the map only takes into account geographical area, not population per area (i.e. density) it looks like an awful lot of the Puget Sound region is made up of long-distance commuters. However, if you consider which areas have most of the region’s population, the picture grows considerably less grim: Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, and Redmond all have higher percentages of people living and working in the same community than outlying suburbs like Arlington, Black Diamond, and Maple Valley. And the densest community of all, Seattle, also has the highest percentage of people who both live and work there. The real conclusion of Pryne’s story, then, should be this: Sprawl doesn’t work. Density does.

Number of Embryos “Adopted” is Negligible

posted by on July 24 at 11:29 AM

So far, according to Newsweek, only 128 of 400,000 frozen embryos stored in medical facilities around the country have been “adopted,” resulting in pregnancies. Thanks in part to Bush’s veto of legislation expanding federal stem-cell research last week, the vast majority of these embryos will be thrown away instead of being used for potentially life-saving research—research prominent scientist Steven Hawking, who suffers from incurable motor neurone disease, called “morally equivalent to taking a heart transplant from a victim of a car accident” in a statement to the Independent this week.

Re: Rumors of a Seattle Times Sale?

posted by on July 24 at 11:20 AM

Meanwhile, if you’ve ever wondered how much this city’s local daily newspaper reporters make, the Times/P-I labor negotiations blog has the goods.

Which paper pays better? Reporters at the P-I generally make more than their counterparts at the Times, but Times photographers make more than P-I photographers. Editorial writers, for their part, make more at the P-I.

The median salary (both papers included) for a local daily newspaper Seattle Times reporter is $30.83/hr. That’s about $64,000/yr.

For columnists, its $41.03/hr, or about $85,000/yr.

For editorial writers, it’s $34.71, or about $72,000/yr.

UPDATE: In the comments, one of the labor union number-crunchers corrects some of the information above. The median salary information is for the Seattle Times only, she says.

Arts in America

posted by on July 24 at 11:20 AM

Today The Stranger suggests:

‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’ (FILM) So, Annie Wagner, did you like the movie? “Yes.” Why? “Well, there are these annoying people who owned this electric car, the EV1. Rich people, like Mel Gibson, and eager activists who want them back. See, GM rolled out the cars to great fanfare and then it took them back and said it wanted to squish them.” Squish them? “GM didn’t say ‘squish.’ It said ‘we’re going to put them in this parking lot.’” Wait, why did GM recall the cars? “Well, that’s what the movie’s about.” (Seven Gables and Uptown, see Movie Times for details.) BRENDAN KILEY

Um, yeah. I do recommend Who Killed the Electric Car?, and contrary to the tone of the above item, you don’t have to be a four-year-old to like it.


A figurative sculptor favored by Hitler stages a posthumous comeback in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Nazis are expected to pass out pamphlets.

Which is brings us to David Frankfurter’s thesis: Evil is evil is evil.

The New Yorker on Wikipedia: “What can be said for an encyclopedia that is sometimes right, sometimes wrong, and sometimes illiterate?” Apparently, 5,500 words.

And a quick weekend roundup: Tina Fey is leaving SNL, Bruce Lee’s family is producing a biopic about him, and the fantastic novel The Angel of Forgetfulness is out in paperback.

“Now, alas, the court must return to grownup land.”

posted by on July 24 at 11:19 AM

Funniest court ruling ever (and 100% genuine!):

Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact—complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words—to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed. Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions. With Big Chief tablet readied, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor’s edge sense of exhilaration, the Court begins. …

Via Alas, A Blog.

Selectively Open Mike

posted by on July 24 at 11:05 AM

I interviewed GOP senate candidate Mike McGavick this weekend. I went to Moses Lake, WA. to catch his “Open Mike” campaign in central Washington.

During the interview, I asked McGavick his opinion of our state’s gay civil rights bill and attempts to repeal it by initiative.

He said: “I do not and will not talk about state issues. Because I’m working at the federal level. I’ve been asked about the gas tax last year. I’m now being asked about this. I’ll be asked about other things. I do not comment on state initiatives because I’m focused on the federal issues.”

That’s clever. It’s also pretty lame. (I think someone who has the audacity to run for U.S. Senate should be forthcoming with the public about something that has dominated local headlines.)

It’s also not true. Earlier last week, on a campaign swing through Colville, Washington, McGavick talked about state initiative I-937. I-937 would invest money in renewable energy, although the initiative does not put much focus on hydro power.

Colville is in the northeastern corner of the state in Stevens county—where, hydro power is key to the economy.

According to a tape of his July 17 stop in Colville, here’s what McGavick said just five days before telling me he doesn’t comment on state initiatives: “I find it strange to have something put on the ballot that says we’ve got to work more towards renewable resources—which I think is a good idea, by the way—to work toward renewable resources, that won’t include hydroelectric power as a part of renewable resources.”

Rumors of a Seattle Times Sale?

posted by on July 24 at 10:56 AM

This morning I received the following email from “TimesLeak”:

Lots of rumors circulating around the Times that Blethen is preparing to sell the Times as soon as the JOA situation is settled.

Have you see the Times negotiations blog entry for July 14th?

Myself, I’m not sure what to make of the blog entry. The one commenter on the entry seems to see a contract negotiation pattern as a sign of an imminent Times sale.

Any Times-watchers out there want to weigh in?

Everbody Loves Fnarf

posted by on July 24 at 10:37 AM

A little love for Fnarf from a reader…

So, which Stranger writer is Fnarf (on the Slog boards)? Brad Steinbacher, maybe? He seems too knowledgeable and insightful about local events to NOT be an area writer. c.f. this thread

If he’s not a Stranger writer, he ought to be. When does he get a column?—Ivan

Fnarf isn’t a staffer, Ivan, and Brad Steinbacher is way to busy cleaning up the messes I make around here to post as much in the comments as Fnarf manages to…

The Mixed Gatsby

posted by on July 24 at 10:20 AM

Maybe The Great Gatsby was meant to stay a novel. Or, if it must be performed, it should be restricted to the Andy Kaufmans of the world. There have been lukewarm cinematic adaptations, a so-so Broadway run in 1926, a 2000 opera that critic Bernard Holland called an “overblown adventure,” and now a production in Minneapolis, at the Guthrie, directed by Rep boss David Esbjornson, that will come to the Rep in November.

And it’s getting mixed reviews:

The major flaw in director David Esbjornson’s staging is that he rather seriously confuses Fitzgerald with Tennessee Williams… Christina Baldwin plays Myrtle Wilson like a Value Meal Maggie the Cat with a side order of histrionics… But if Fitzgerald’s novel has that timeless sweep, it’s also a uniquely American tale, and should thus have special resonance. The Guthrie staging is clean. And it’s pretty. But it never thrums in our souls.
“Gatsby” is Nick’s memoir, recited in his own head and told in Fitzgerald’s lyric and elegiac voice—a narration that reads beautifully on the page, but has vexed attempts to move the story from behind the eyes to the visual realm.
One innovative approach, which Twin Cities audiences will have a look at in September, is to simply read the novel, from cover to cover. In “Gatz,” Elevator Repair Service is an avant-garde New York troupe that uses the text as the basis for a drama presented over six hours… Broadway producers are very interested in how the piece plays out. The New York Times reported recently that “Gatz” was not given a license to produce in New York because it was seen as potential competition.

Maybe some plucky local theater—say, Washington Ensemble Theatre or On the Boards—should invite Elevator Repair Service to Seattle this November. We jumped on Rachel Corrie when New York wussed out—we’re the perfect city to stage a Gatz versus Gatsby death match.

Jamie Pedersen Was For Accusing Justices of Playing Politics Before He Was Against It

posted by on July 24 at 10:11 AM

Jamie Pedersen, candidate in the 43rd District, said something remarkably impolitic a few months back. Pedersen’s entire campaign for Ed Murray’s old seat is based on his work on the gay marriage issue, and we’ve been waiting for a Washing State Supreme Court decision on gay marriage for what seems like years. Pedersen told the AP back in May that the justices were holding back their decision for purely political reasons.

A number of participants think justices will sit on it until after the election, because it’s such a hot-button issue, bound to anger the losing side and some voters.

“They’ll see the controversy and some will worry about re-election, and that’s a shame,” Pedersen says…

Last week Pedersen told the AP the exact opposite:

Jamie Pedersen, a lawyer representing the gay couples in the case, said he doesn’t fall into the camp of those who believed the court might delay the opinion for political reasons, and that he appreciates the care the court appears to be taking with the ruling. As a former law clerk, he said he knows how complex opinion-writing can be.

“Anytime somebody changes something in one opinion, the others get a chance to change what’s in their opinions,” he said. “They’ll issue the decision when they’re done writing it.”

That said, he’s eager to see the result.

“Obviously, we have all of our plaintiff couples and thousands of others in the state who live every day without the benefit of legal protection,” he said. “The sooner we get the ruling the better.”

So way back in May of 2006 Pedersen was solidly in the camp of folks who believed—perhaps correctly, although it’s impolitic to say so—that the court was delaying the gay marriage decision for purely political reasons. By July of 2006 Pedersen was the leading critic of “those who believed” the court is dragging this out for political reasons. Either Pedersen did his law clerking—which gave him so much perspective on the whole opinion-writing business—between May and July of 2006 or someone told Pedersen back in May that accusing WA’s Supreme Court justices of playing politics wasn’t a smooth political move.

Operation Project Runway: Action Tonight

posted by on July 24 at 10:08 AM

Attention citizens: As I mentioned last week, tonight brings your chance to affect some positive change in network television broadcasting.

At 8pm on NBC (that’s channel 5 for all us cable not-havers), Project Runway will air the second episode of its brand-new third season. Should enough of us tune in and kick the ratings high enough, the greatest show on cable will make the leap to network television.

Do your duty. 8pm. NBC. Tonight.

Raymond Carver’s Ex-Wife Finds a Plastic Bottle of Perfume in the Dryer…

posted by on July 24 at 10:04 AM

…and considers it a message from beyond the grave.

Now please enjoy the sound of Raymond Carver laughing.

Rollover for Santorum

posted by on July 24 at 9:33 AM

Via Americablog:


All things considered—from his low poll numbers to his name’s new meaning—should Senator Rick Santorum really be asking voters to “rollover” for him? I mean, ew. (Here’s a bigger shot for those with weak eyes.)

Morning News

posted by on July 24 at 8:59 AM

Condoleezza lands in Beirut.

The American Bar Association accuses Bush of undermining the rule of law by claiming the power to disregard selected provisions of bills that he signed.

Arlen Specter calls Bush’s electronic surveillance program “a festering sore on our body politic.” But Specter’s bill has problems of its own, as Glenn Greenwald points out.

Pakistan is building a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium for 40-50 nuclear weapons a year.

Ariel Sharon inches closer to death.

Wage stagnation for workers with bachelor’s degrees.

Gas prices hit 25-year high.

Tiger wins the British Open.

Floyd Landis wins the Tour de France.

Miss Puerto Rico wins Miss Universe

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Mother Paid $3 At the Met

posted by on July 23 at 2:51 PM

And nothing bad happened. It was just a little experiment we were trying this weekend in New York, seeing whether a woman who looks as legimitate as my mother (this woman was New York State Teacher of the Year in 2000, she knows how to dress like a functioning member of society) would be discouraged by the ticket-taker at the Metropolitan. But he was nice, she outed herself and asked him whether they were instructed to be rude depending on how much people pay (the museum’s “recommended” donation of $15 is about to rise to $20, and arts writers have been wagging tongues about it since last week), and he just told her that he didn’t really care how much people paid, and that he normally works at the information desk anyway, but that he knows the dirty looks “can happen.” So pretty much as we thought: whole lotta not much.

Christopher Knight of the LA Times has written that the museum should charge $49.99; Roberta Smith thinks the museum should be free. She also mentions the Seattle Art Museum is suggested only — something few people know. SAM will raise its admission to $10 when it opens next year. (The Olympic Sculpture Park=free.)

More later, since my plane home is boarding now …

Arts in America

posted by on July 23 at 2:12 PM

Today The Stranger suggests:

The Moaners
(MUSIC) Imagine Dry-era PJ Harvey infused with the effusive confidence of Catherine Keener and you’ve got a pretty decent idea of what makes Moaners frontwoman Melissa Swingle so compelling. The former Trailer Bride is a Southern-bred siren who sings deliciously dark tales of deviance and redemption, and occasionally throws in a little saw playing for good measure. (Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave NW, 789-3599. 9 pm, $10, 21+.) HANNAH LEVIN

Bonus Letter to the Editor

posted by on July 23 at 11:11 AM

Dear Seattle, What is wrong with you?

You move to the downtown of one of the 15 biggest cities in the country. Then you’re upset because there are tall buildings blocking your sunlight and views, and there are loud people on the streets at night.

You go into dive bars and you’re pissed off that the air is smoky, so you vote to pass a statewide smoking ban. Then you’re pissed off because drunk people are hanging around outside the bar smoking, talking loudly, and dropping cigarette butts on the sidewalk.

You fly into a rage about fiscal improprieties committed by your school district. Then the school district proposes to close down a few of the more dilapidated schools to try to save some money, and you scream about unfairness and discrimination.

You massively increase allowable density in the satellite neighborhoods around downtown and repeatedly vote to build a monorail. Then, after you’ve spent millions of dollars on design and land acquisition, construction is about to start, and the impacts of the density increases are just starting to materialize, you vote to forget the whole thing… because you find out you have to pay interest on the loans just like everyone else.

You work to decentralize poverty and improve not-so-nice inner city neighborhoods. Then you wring your hands when wealthier people (white or otherwise) and developers move in and gentrify the neighborhoods.

You build an elevated freeway through downtown, for a bizarre but critical road that is not freeway at either end of downtown. You live with its awful stink, filth, noise and appearance for 50+ years. Then you seriously consider rebuilding the exact same thing, except bigger this time?
I love you Seattle, but I just couldn’t hitch my wagon to your crazy train.

Andrew Kluess

Lefty Bartenders of Moses Lake, WA Unite!

posted by on July 23 at 2:18 AM

I was in Moses Lake, WA. yesterday. Moses Lake is about 2-and-a-half hours from Seattle on I-90. I was in Moses Lake because Mike McGavick, the former Safeco Insurance CEO-turned-U.S. Senate candidate for the GOP, was doing a stop on his “Open Mike” tour there. I wanted to watch McGavick in campaign mode east of the Cascades.

Moses Lake is in Grant County, which went 69.6% for Bush in 2004, and voted to repeal the gas tax by 61%. About 16% of the people live below the poverty line, as opposed to about 9.4% in King County. It’s a big agriculture town, loaded with Mexican restaurants, motels, a couple of bars, and some bartenders that don’t seem to agree much with the Republican patrons.

At the end of the day, I ended up at a place called Sporty’s Steakhouse, across the drag from the Pizza Hut, talking to a 28-year-old self-described “cowboy” who makes $15 an hour, working a hay machine 90 hours a week. He told me he voted for Bush twice and believes the bible should guide public policy. He said gay marriage has to be illegal because it’s against the bible. He also said it would be wrong to legalize stem cell research because that’s “killing babies.” He also thought the U.N. was stupid. He was a big, blonde bearded guy, in a dirty gray baseball cap, who ran through this political check list with a drunk smile, as if he was nonchalantly cruising down the aisles of a 7-11 at 1am picking up a pizza, some beef jerky, a 12-pack of Mountain Dew, a burrito, and, oh, throwing in a box of hot tamales at the counter for good measure. He also said you can never vote against a President when the country’s at war. But then he said he loved Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report and that Democratic minority leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) was his favorite politician. (?!?) He also said Bush was “the biggest liar of all the politicians,” but Bush is still good because “he stands by what he believes in.”

At that point, the 23-year-old bartender, a blonde woman named Michelle with a piercing just below her lower lip, jumped in: “Bush is retarded,” she said. “He’s uneducated. He’s just a rich kid.” The Bush/Reid fan, his name was Phil, then announced that he didn’t believe in condoms because they were birth control. “I don’t practice what I preach, though.”

“Well, that makes you a hypocrite,” the bar tender said. “Do you think the withdrawal method is against the bible?” She was on a roll. Then she said gay marriage was a civil rights issue. “Why withhold the right to start a family, just because someone is homosexual?” Finally, Phil, who confessed to being totally drunk (he was drinking it up because “some Mexican totaled my truck today”), told me the next time I run into him, he’ll probably “be a Democrat.”

I do wish Michelle and Phil had been at McGavick’s campaign stop. The “Open Mike” tour is McGavick’s folksy whistle-stop type campaign shtick where he rolls into town in a huge red rock tour bus and holds community meetings, taking questions from the audience for about an hour. Phil—talking about the withdrawal method in front of the crowd of mostly pot-bellied guys—would have been a marvel.

This “Open Mike”—with hot dogs and baked beans and Doritos and Gatorade—was in a park just off Exit 179, Moses Lake State Park, in the grassy southwest corner of town sloping down to the water. Later in the week, I’ll give a full report of the event, where I talked to several McGavick fans and hunkered down with Grant County Republican Chairman Tom Dent.

For now, I just want to Slog two kinda tense moments from my interview with McGavick today.

The first snippet is this: I played a quick round of that pop psychology game—where I would say something, and McGavick was supposed to say the first thing that came into his head.

Here it is:

JF: “I’m going to say something, and you say the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready. No one anticipated the breach of the levees.” MM: “Corruption.”

JF: “Hillary Rodham Clinton”
MM: “Smart.”

(A local Grant County Republican Precinct Committee Officer named Sherril Dormaier, was hovering nearby, and groaned: “Hillary? Corrupt.” More on her in a second.)

The game continued.

JF: “Seattle”
MM: “Home”

JF: “Paris Hilton’s singing career.”
MM: “No interest.”

JF: “$206,647.”
MM: “$206,647?” … (Honestly puzzled, McGavick looked over at his campaign manager.) “$206,647? … Um…Random.”

JF: “The insurance industry is your biggest contributor and that’s how much you’ve gotten from them.” (This is as of his first quarter campaign finance reports. 6 of his top 20 contributors are from the insurance industry.)

MM: “Random.” Then he suddenly locked me in a stare. “We have systems that we use to finance elections. But then we play this game that people own people? You can’t own me. I don’t care who you are.I don’t care who. you. are.”

This exchange wouldn’t have struck me as noteworthy, if there hadn’t been a similar snippet earlier in the interview, when, once again, McGavick got a little too icy, a little too quickly.

JF: Here in Washington state, the legislature passed a gay civil rights bill last spring. Do you support that bill?

MM: I have my hands full with federal issues. I do not and will not talk about state issues. Because, I’m working at the federal level. I’ve got my hands full.

JF: But surely you have an opinion…

MM: Again, you can look at my record at Safeco to understand that Safeco was a very welcoming employer and had very generous and very aggressively non-discriminatory benefits.

JF: So, Tim Eyman tried to get an initiative on the ballot to repeal [the gay civil rights bill]. Would you have voted for that?

MM: Again, I’ve been asked about the gas tax last year. I’m now being asked about this. I’ll be asked about other things. I do not comment on state initiatives because I’m focused on the federal issues. There’s plenty of issues to ask me about all day long. And by the way, the precedent for that was set by Scoop and Maggie. [Former Washington Senators Henry “Scoop” Jackson & Warren G. Magnuson].

JF: The precedent for not answering…[McGavick’s eyes darkened]… questions?…

MM: You can think it’s funny, I think it’s appropriate. As a senate leader working on federal issues to not wander into every state issue going on at the legislature…

JF: I’m just curious what you believe. I mean, you’re a Washingtonian. I’m a Washingtonian. This one issue is raging in our state. I want to know what you think about it.

MM: There are lots of issues that I will be able to affect as your Senator. So, let’s talk about them.

McGavick did go on to say, if the Washington state Supreme Court invalidated the state DOMA, it would give him a reason, if elected to the U.S. Senate, to vote for a Constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.

As I was leaving the picnic, Sherril Dormaier, the Republican PCO from Grant County who didn’t like Hillary Clinton, called to me form her car and asked what paper I was with. She clearly wanted to be interviewed. So, I took out my notebook and asked her what she thought of McGavick. She got out of her car. She was wearing red pants and a white tank top. She had a thick mop of gray hair, a prominent gold tooth, and she was wearing a cross around her neck. She started out saying she thought McGavick had “integrity”, and that “he couldn’t be bought and sold.” She said “he would uphold the Constitution” and that “he believed in the rights of citizens.” Then she started quoting the bible to me, telling me she was pro-life and that “nations will be judged that don’t defend the innocent.” She told me that “our country was founded on God,” and that “we would be judged if we abandoned that.”

I reminded her that McGavick said he would have voted for the Senate’s recent stem cell research bill…And while McGavick said he believes in parental notification laws and outlawing partial birth abortions, he also said, beyond that, he was committed to choice. Dormaier said McGavick was “a little soft” on that, but he was closer to her principles than Maria Cantwell.

She then told me that “God has already started punishing us.” I asked her what she meant, and she said, “…the weather. Are people so dumb that they can’t see that?”

Indeed, there’s plenty to say about Saturday and McGavick’s stop in Moses Lake, from the folks like Dormaier at the picnic eating Doritos mashed up with baked beans in styrofoam bowls to McGavick’s campaign strategy to the Democrat from the local community college (Big Bend Community College) who crashed the event with a nervous anti-war question.

There was also another liberal bartender at a place called Michael’s on The Lake—the Soc restaurant in town with corner couches, a marble bar top, cozy couples, servers in matching peach shirts, khakis and brown aprons, and a deck overlooking the water. This bartender, his name was David, had worked for a non-profit in NYC for a year helping low-income students. The non-profit was run by Eliot Spitzer’s wife. He said that everyone he knew in Moses Lake had voted for Bush, and when he asked them why, they said because Bush made them “feel safe.” “They’re scared of everything because they never leave here,” he said.