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Archives for 09/17/2006 - 09/23/2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What Good Does It Do Now for the Last Place Ms to Beat the World Champ Chicago White Sox?

posted by on September 23 at 10:29 AM

It does a lot of good, according to my brother Bill—but mostly for bitter Cubs fans. My brother is a college prof, a baseball historian, a Cubs fan, and a world-class Cracker Scholar. He wrote to share his thoughts—and his thanks—with Ms fans…

To add to the Slog conversation about sports, I’d like to extend thanks from the North Side of Chicago to the Mariners, for their help in playing spoiler against the White Sox.

Folks who don’t get sports (hi, Gurldoggie!), and even some who sorta get it, just don’t understand that it’s not all about winning. If it were, sports fans would all go mad. There are lots of things to enjoy about a game or a series, even if your team is mired in last place in a crappy division, like the Mariners are right now. They have no chance whatsoever of winning anything meaningful, so why watch?

To watch them prevent someone else from winning something meaningful, that’s why. While teams detest the terms “spoiler,” that’s what a last place team beating a team in contention for the playoffs is, one team spoiling another’s chances. But the essence of competition demands that teams play this role: professionals want to win every game they play, and they don’t want to be on the field when another team clinches a playoff spot or championship. Pennant races are often determined by last place teams: in 2003, the Cubs only made the playoffs because the last-place Brewers beat up on the Astros, allowing the Cubs to win the division by one game.

Over the last two days, the Mariners have trounced the White Sox, moving the White Sox closer to elimination from post-season play. By a combined score of 20-6, they took Thursday and Friday’s games, and over the next two days (depending on what the Twins and Tigers do) could drive the final nails in the coffin of the White Sox and their fans’ dream of repeating as champs. As a Cubs fan, I am risking cosmic payback by even talking about this before the Sox are actually eliminated, of course, but I’m willing to take that chance.

So, Seattle sports fans, watch the Mariners and enjoy the bitter taste of being a spoiler. It’s one of the things that makes sports great.

Shake the Shack, Indeed

posted by on September 23 at 9:39 AM

A friend of mine was leaving the Rockabilly Ball in Ballard last night when he encountered what sounds (and sorta looks) like a rather awesome sight. Apparently a cop car had just plowed straight through the front window of Matt’s Hot Dogs. It’s not much to go on, but here’s the photo he sent me from his cell:


Here’s the reason, according the the Seattle Times. Did any Slog readers witness this dangerous/hilarious spectacle themselves?

“A Lanoline-Like Wetness… an Everyday Life Skill”

posted by on September 23 at 8:00 AM

Has a band of monkeys overtaken the health reporting department at Reuters?

From the Dept. of News Stories that Already Read Like Parodies of Themselves: the latest on the penile wetness front. To wit:

Although many of the factors associated with penile wetness were poverty-related, Dr. O’Farrell’s group suggests that “information, education, and communication programs at a number of levels would be needed: for instance, encouraging washing related to sexual activity — precoital or postcoital or as an everyday life skill.

Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on September 23 at 6:50 AM

So the little girl was rushed to a hospital with a “kitchen knife lodged in her head.” That’s too bad—but, hey, at least she had a mother and a father.

A man repeatedly stabbed his toddler and estranged wife along an interstate while horrified people watched from their cars in rush-hour traffic Friday night, police and witnesses said. The 2-year-old girl was in a car with her parents when her father started stabbing his wife with a kitchen knife…

When the 26-year-old woman got out and ran for help from an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy in squad car just ahead of them, her husband stabbed his daughter, McKneely said.

“He kept stabbing her until the knife was stuck in her head,” witness Gloria Spears told WAFB-TV.

The man then put the girl on the highway and drove off, side-swiping the deputy’s car and striking his wife, police said. He sped into downtown Baton Rouge and knocked down at least three utility poles before his car hurtled through the air and overturned on top of another vehicle.

All three were taken to Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center. The child was in “extremely critical” condition, with a cut “along her midsection and a kitchen knife lodged in her head,” McKneely said.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Regret It But I Did Try

posted by on September 22 at 10:42 PM

This is an interesting read.

The Real Winner

posted by on September 22 at 5:54 PM

In this week’s primary election in the 43rd district: Stephanie Pure, who pulled 13 percent for fourth place (assuming the numbers continue to hold), defying expectations that she, as a young woman who had never before run for public office, would come in last. Two female political consultants, Linda Mitchell and Karen Cooper, actually pressured Pure to leave the race, arguing condescendingly that community college instructor and labor organizer Lynne Dodson was the better (read: older, more institutionally supported) candidate.

Mitchell and Cooper owe Pure an apology. As of Friday evening, Dodson is trailing Pure at 11.5 percent—only slightly better than current last-place finisher Dick Kelley, who has just over 11 percent. As many detractors were quick to point out, Pure raised less money and had fewer endorsements than candidates like Kelley and Dodson—and she beat them anyway. (The Stranger endorsed Pure.) The lesson? Sometimes chutzpah and hard work win out over money and institutional endorsements. Pure’s respectable, expectation-defying finish sets her up well for whatever she decides to do next. I hope her experience on this campaign hasn’t embittered Pure to the idea of running again—she’s a natural winner.

The Noblest Weapon

posted by on September 22 at 5:44 PM

Colombia, home of the modern-day Lysistratas:

The girlfriends of gang members in one of Colombia’s most violent cities have called off a sex strike aimed at ending a deadly gang feud… Pereira’s security chief hailed the strike as a success, saying the women had shown they could win with what he described as “very noble weapons”.

Quoth one of the gangster’s noble molls: “I would prefer him getting angry to having to go and cry at his funeral.”

Full story here.

So Cute, So Weird

posted by on September 22 at 5:11 PM

Thanks to Ms. Angela Garbes.

Because Baby Animals Make Everything Better

posted by on September 22 at 4:45 PM


You’re welcome.

Missing Pet Poster of the Day

posted by on September 22 at 4:37 PM


News Flash: Lesbo Action Okay With Straight Guys!

posted by on September 22 at 4:33 PM

According to a poll published today in a British newspaper, straight men are okay with their wives having lesbian sex—61% said it was fine with them, and only 3% would leave if their wives got it on with another woman. Would the men get to watch? The poll didn’t ask.

Women, on the other hand, are not into their husbands getting it on with other men—only 24% would be okay with it, and 11% would immediately dump their pole-smoking husbands.

Read all about it here.

Sunday, KEXP, Larry’s Lounge

posted by on September 22 at 4:10 PM

Hey folks,

Earlier this week, I Slogged about my search for the original recording of “Money Changes Everything,” by the Brains.

Later that day, I Slogged about the number of people that wrote in to help, one of them being KEXP’s Larry Rose, who offered to spin the track as part of his “Larry’s Lounge” show this Sunday afternoon from 3-6 pm.

After that, Larry kindly asked me to pitch a few more early ’80s songs that I love, for an “all David Schmader-request” mini-set on this Sunday’s show.

Of course I did (don’t gotta ask me twice) and now it’s worked out that I’ll be showing up to help Larry introduce the songs live on air. Ain’t Slog grand?

If you’re interested, tune in to KEXP this Sunday—I’ll be joining Larry at 4 pm for a set of beloved-by-me early ’80s ditties drawn from KEXP’s vast vinyl library. (No final set list yet, but so far nominees include treasures from the Brains (duh), the Nerves, the Smiths, Funky Four Plus One, New Order, Roxanne Shante, and Prince.)

It’s Friday and…We are Losers.

posted by on September 22 at 3:59 PM

Sarah’s doing wonked out posts (and designing graphs!) about condo conversions and affordable housing…

Erica C. Barnett is doing wonked out posts about the viaduct.

I posted an “analysis” about Mike McGavick’s TV ads.

And Eli S. is still counting votes in the 43rd.

This must end!

Time for a little teenage poet laureate. Here are the lyrics to a song I wrote a long long time ago:

Election Day in Israel

Siouxsie sings a song called Israel/
is she that sad and upside down?
w/ a radio song and a daisy chain/
poetry song/Palestine/

Where do we fall when we fall asleep?
Is there a water well down in the world?/
I want to fall fall down 4,000 miles/ into Palestine, Israel, satellite

Can’t stop thinking about you and me
election day in Israel/
saddest day in the world
election day in Israel/
I’ll send you flowers of romance
sad flowers/
i’ll send you flowers

As a Ballard resident, I couldn’t be more proud…

posted by on September 22 at 3:50 PM

Al Gore recently said this while giving a speech at NYU:

Individual Americans of all ages are becoming a part of a movement, asking what they can do as individuals and what they can do as consumers and as citizens and voters. Many individuals and businesses have decided to take an approach known as “Zero Carbon.” They are reducing their CO2 as much as possible and then offsetting the rest with reductions elsewhere including by the planting of trees. At least one entire community — Ballard, a city of 18,000 people in Washington State — is embarking on a goal of making the entire community zero carbon.


(Thanks, Seattlest.)

Condo Converts

posted by on September 22 at 3:28 PM

The hot topic in Seattle affordable housing these days is the condo conversion boom — though a forum of Seattle’s “brain trust of housing geeks” demonstrated some disagreement over whether condo conversions are actually a threat to low-income renters. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that developers are buying up affordable apartment buildings and redeveloping them into much more expensive units, thus giving low-income renters the boot and forcing them to scrounge for new homes in a more and more expensive housing market.

Preliminary results from a city-funded study, though, seem to indicate differently. Seattle Department of Housing director Adrienne Quinn thinks that condo conversions are not the primary threat to affordable housing in city and that the study shows the number of affordable units in Seattle has actually increased since 2004.

I posted about the study last week — it has yet to be released, and some affordable housing advocates are saying it’s flawed.

One thing there’s no denying is that a lot of apartment buildings are being converted into condos. Look, I even made a red-hot graph, via info from Low Income Housing Institute Director Sharon Lee, of the number of applications to the Department of Planning and Development for rental apartment to condo conversions:

The city study, though, shows that only a small percentage of the units being converted were affordable to begin with. All in all, 32 units affordable to households with incomes less than or equal to 50% of the area median were converted to condos in 2004 (out of the 430 converted total). For 2005, the number converted was 118 units (out of 1551 conversions) and for 2006, 320 units (out of 1423 conversions so far).

Condo conversions are not the only way affordable housing is lost, of course, there’s also demolitions. AND condo conversion could endanger affordable housing by driving up property values all over. But if the study is correct, then it means the majority of condos aren’t bulldozing previously affordable apartments.

Today’s Viaduct News

posted by on September 22 at 3:25 PM

The city council, as predicted, voted today against putting two viaduct replacement options on the ballot, in the wake of new cost estimates that would have likely doomed Nickels’s cut-and-cover tunnel (now $3.6-$5.5 billion*) and prompted voters to back an ugly (but cheaper) aerial rebuild, which a majority of the council opposes.

The real news, however, is that there are still two viaduct-replacement options—the tunnel and the surface/transit option, which has gradually emerged as a viable possibility as the remaining alternatives have proved unpopular or unaffordable. After approving, on a 7-1 vote (with Nick Licata dissenting and David Della absent), a resolution rejecting a new, larger viaduct as “inconsistent” with state and city law, the council adopted the tunnel as its preferred option, with the caveat that if the tunnel proves “infeasible,” the council recommends the surface/transit option. On Monday, the council will take up another resolution defining what a surface/transit proposal must look like; the language in the resolution corresponds exactly to what surface/transit proponents have been pushing all along.

This is a major victory for supporters of the surface/transit option—”a huge first step,” in the words of People’s Waterfront Coalition founder Cary Moon, who went home after this morning’s meeting “to celebrate.” Council member Richard Conlin, an early (and erstwhile) supporter of the surface/transit option, said after the meeting that he “really can’t tell” yet whether the tunnel will be “infeasible,” but he sounded doubtful that the mayor’s optimistic financial predictions would prove true. Nickels, Conlin said, “believes that the numbers will go down. I’m not so sure.”

* The Seattle Times continues to insist on using the state and Nickels’s misleading $4.6 billion figure as the new cost of the tunnel, calling it a $1 billion increase from the “$3.6 billion tunnel” proposed last spring. However, $3.6 billion was actually the high end of the earlier range; to be fair, the Times should compare the old $3.6 billion high estimate to the new $5.5 billion high . Taking Nickels’s middle number (which is helpfully bolded in all the press materials, and is the only number included in the state Department of Transportation’s brief press release) at face value is simply inaccurate.

But What Will He Buy With the Proceeds?

posted by on September 22 at 2:59 PM

How about 52 Priuses?

(Schwarzennegger sells his eight gas-guzzling Hummers; via Grist).

Afternoon News

posted by on September 22 at 2:57 PM

Angry drunk driver runs himself over, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Foot-licker terrorizes South Carolina Wal-Marts.

Willie Nelson gets busted with a humongous stash.

First Cocaine, now Rehab?

I’m Baaaaaack…

posted by on September 22 at 1:47 PM


I’m dragging ass—jet lag is a bitch.

I was in London last week with my boyfriend our son, DJ. We were there to see the Scissor Sisters’ show in Trafalgar Square—that’s a photo of Nelson’s Column taken during the show—and it was a fucking trip. I don’t have the most reliable taste in popular music, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good sign or a bad sign that I liked the band’s new album, Ta-Dah, as much as I did. Jason/Jake, the band’s lead singer and an old friend (and, why yes, I do take total credit for all of his success), gave us an early copy of the new album five months ago, and I’ve been listening to it non-stop since. So it was reassuring to be in a crowd with, oh, twenty thousand Brits clapping and screaming for each one of the band’s new songs.

The after-party was, if anything, even trippier than the concert. Since we had been hanging out with Jason for a couple of days we hung back at the party. We wanted to let him schmooze and, you know, be the triumphant chart-topping pop star that he is. But Jason dragged us into the VIP area—not entirely against our wills—and I wound up sitting in a booth, DJ on my lap, with Jason, Kylie Minogue, and David “Mrs. Elton John” Furnish. Our booth quickly reached gay critical mass—so thank God DJ is such a little straight boy. His presence was all that kept the club from imploding.

The Scissor Sisters are playing the Showbox in Seattle on October 2 and 3. Info and tickets here.

Anyway, it’s good to be back. Did I miss anything?

You May See This On Saturday

posted by on September 22 at 1:42 PM


SAM’s installing it in the Olympic Sculpture Park from 10:30 am to 2 pm. The park is still closed to the public until the end of January, but the art is going in piece by piece. (Naturally, the Bourgeois father-son fountain comes last.)

4-Foot Rule Goes Down…

posted by on September 22 at 12:39 PM

In Scottsdale, AZ.

Dude, that’s not very civil.

posted by on September 22 at 12:23 PM

As you know, GOP candidate Mike McGavick’s main campaign issue is civility & bipartisanship. You may even have seen McGavick’s TV ad featuring Sen. John McCain, where McGavick sings McCain’s praises for reaching across the aisle (“I look to the example of John McCain…”).

So, why is McGavick attacking McCain’s bipartisanship now?

Check it out:

As the campaign started in earnest this week after the primary, McGavick started talking up issues where he differs from his opponent, Sen. Maria Cantwell. One issue McGavick is stumping on (and one he hyped in his latest TV ad) is his claim that Cantwell is “giving tens of billions in public aid to illegals while Social Security is going broke.”

In his primary night victory speech, McGavick hit the issue again:

With Social Security going broke already, I don’t think paying benefits to illegal workers makes sense. And yet Sen. Cantwell voted to keep that practice in place.

These are direct attacks on Cantwell’s opposition to an amendment that would have prevented former illegal immigrants (who had paid into the Social Security system) from getting those payments back when they become legal.

Not only is McGavick’s attack way off base (ie, Social Security payments are not going to illegal workers), it’s also a swipe at the independent bipartisanship of John McCain.

Thanks to bipartisanship: 11 Republicans joined 39 Democrats and killed the amendment—50-49. Guess who the lead Republican fighting against the “fundamentally unfair” amendment (as he called it) was? Sen. John McCain.

Here’s McCain, after he joined Cantwell and voted against the amendment:

“We all know that millions of undocumented immigrants pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for years and sometimes decades while they work to contribute to our economy…It’s fundamentally unfair to collect taxes from these workers and then disqualify” them once they reach legal status, McCain said.

“The amendment would undermine the work of these people by preventing lawfully present immigrant workers from claiming Social Security benefits that they earned before they were authorized to work in our community,” he said. “If this amendment were enacted, the nest egg that these immigrants have worked hard for would be taken from them and their families.”

So, ummm, what was McGavick’s point again?

UPDATE: Seattle Art Museum Will Keep Pre-Auction Sales Secret

posted by on September 22 at 12:15 PM

In my column this week, I praised the Seattle Art Museum for agreeing to an unprecedented level of public transparency concerning its decisions about selling artworks. I reported, “Soon I’ll see a list of the artworks SAM has slated for the auction block.”

But evidently that was not to be. SAM director Mimi Gates, in a meeting last Tuesday, said the museum would be taking the unusually open step of starting to publish a list of its deaccessions (artworks from the permanent collection sold or otherwise disposed of) in its annual report. I reported this on the Slog early Thursday, which generated a great discussion, including comments from David A. Ross, former director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

In my Slog post that day, I praised the museum for taking this step. This makes SAM the only museum in the country, as far as I know, that voluntarily will publish a list of its deaccessions. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is compelled to do so by the New York State Attorney General, after a pattern in the 1970s—that some say continues today—of getting rid of art, or trying to, for questionable reasons.)

But I also pressed the point that I’d written about previously, that was proposed by Culturegrrl blogger Lee Rosenbaum. She argued that museums should publish a list of their planned deaccessions so that the public has a chance to take a gander before the sales are final, instead of after, when the deeds are already done.

I wrote SAM director Mimi Gates an email on Thursday asking her opinion of this. She wrote back a response that seemed to say, “we’re the experts, trust us, and we’ll report to you about it afterward.” “Transparency is important,” she wrote. “Listing works, if any, that have been exchanged or sold in our annual report allows for transparency.”

Since she didn’t engage the question directly, I sent a reply asking for clarification, again sent through a museum spokeswoman. By this point, and it was after 5 pm, the spokeswoman said Gates was no longer available to respond. Instead, the spokeswoman, Cara Egan, called me to elucidate the museum’s intentions.

Artworks still in the museum’s vetting process for deaccessions would be off-limits for public consumption, but works already vetted and waiting to go to auction would be fair game for reporting, Egan said. Egan would plan a meeting with me and a curator (she asked that I not disclose which curator, or the curator’s department, until after the meeting) in which the curator would share the list of works waiting to go to auction, as well as works that had recently been sold from that department’s collection, where the current deaccessions were coming from.

Unfortunately, Egan told me last night that she’d talked out of turn, and that SAM director Gates will not, in fact, allow the works waiting to be shipped to auction houses to become public knowledge. Only works that have already been sold can be reported publicly.

All of this should not overshadow the museum’s welcome decision to publish deaccessions in its annual report—a decision that makes it possible to publicly observe and assess, for the first time in history, the museum’s deaccessioning habits, even if it’s after the fact. (I’m still waiting to hear when the next report comes out.)

But I felt it necessary to explain why half of my column this week is, basically, null and void.

Still Counting in the 43rd…

posted by on September 22 at 11:50 AM

It’s pretty clear that the next state representative from Seattle’s 43rd District is going to be either Jamie Pedersen or Jim Street. But which one?

The current tally:

Jamie Pedersen 24.25%

Jim Street 22.74%

Pedersen’s number-crunchers are predicting that his lead is going to shrink as more absentee ballots are counted. Here’s why: The early absentees (those received by King County on or before election day) favored Pedersen by more than six points, with 28.65% of them going to Pedersen and 22.15% going to Street.

But at the polls on election day, Street beat Pedesen by more than 3 points, receiving 23.39% of the poll vote while Pedersen received only 20.15%.

Because Pedersen had such a big lead from the early absentees he was able to remain ahead even after the poll returns were all counted. But now the absentee ballots that were mailed on or around election day are trickling in to King County, and those ballots tend to mirror the poll vote. In other words, Street is likely to do better than Pedersen among the absentee voters whose ballots haven’t been counted yet.

No one knows exactly how many absentee ballots are left to count (partly because absentee ballots are still coming in). But Steve Finley, who’s been following the returns for Pedersen, guesses the number might be around 7,000:

If there are 7,000 more Democratic ballots to count, Street needs to receive 2.75% more of them than Jamie.

And keep in mind, these ballots are likely to mirror the ballots cast at the polls, and Street beat Pedersen at the polls by more than 3 percentage points. Which means it’s well within the realm of possibility that Street will hit that magic 2.75% lead among later absentee voters whose ballots have yet to be counted. Finley concludes, perhaps ominously for the Pedersen campaign:

I think we will see Jamie’s margin over Street fall in the next counts.

King County tells me the final tally is not likely to be in until early next week, perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday.

Phil Campbell Has Questions; or, The Best Book Blurb This Fall

posted by on September 22 at 11:45 AM

Former Stranger staffer Phil Campbell—and author of this book—”will be putting his reportorial skills to work with a series of Q&As” for the excellent literary blog Maud Newton.

His first Q&A is here. He questions the translator of GrĂ©goire Bouillier’s memoir The Mystery Guest.

I haven’t read The Mystery Guest—yet!—but it has the best blurb of this publishing season. It is by none other than John Hodgman: “Somewhere out in the woeful constellation of literary comparison, a lonely satellite drifts between remote stars—Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway, The Stranger and When Harry Met Sally—beguilingly reflecting the distant light of each. Taped to the bottom of that satellite is this perfect little book, a message to extraterrestrial intelligence that says: we are human, heartbroken, grim and funny in our despair, yet hopeful and miracle-prone, and some of us are French.

Dire Tugboat Shortage

posted by on September 22 at 11:31 AM

I know an unprotected coastline is nothing to cheer about, but this headline still made my day. Also, here is a movie about tugboats.

Required Listening for all Employees

posted by on September 22 at 10:55 AM

YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO TODAY. Therefore I have picked out what could be the most motivating song ever written (yes, even more than Europe’s “Final Countdown”). So LISTEN TO THIS SONG NOW and then? GET TO WORK!


They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

posted by on September 22 at 10:12 AM


According to a September 20 ABC News Online article promoting an upcoming appearance of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on ABC’s 20/20 to promote his new book Culture Warrior (Broadway, September 2006), O’Reilly stated that he receives “death threats on a daily basis,” and that it’s “a little disconcerting” that “the FBI came in and warned me and a few other people at Fox News that al Qaeda had us on a death list.”

Al Qaeda has Bill O’Reilly on a death list? Man, that’s some scary shit.

A federal law enforcement officer reportedly told the website Radar that he is “not aware of any FBI agents warning anyone at Fox News of their presence on any list” and that he is “not aware of any Al Qaeda hit list targeting journalists.” Radar also noted that one “correspondent” at Fox News said that “neither he nor anyone he’s spoken to at the network has been warned by the FBI,” and that “the government has warned Fox about threats in the past, but I don’t think they involved specific people.” Radar also reported said that Fox News media relations director Leah Yoon stated that the network had “nothing to say” about O’Reilly’s assertion, because “[w]e shouldn’t be shouldering the burden of something he said on someone else’s network.”



posted by on September 22 at 9:28 AM

I’ll be on 94.9 KUOW from 10 to 11 this morning talking about the viaduct, the primary elections, and what to expect in the upcoming elections in November. Join me, won’t you?

I Guess It’s Nice To Know I Can Still Be Shocked by Something

posted by on September 22 at 8:30 AM


Click image for full-size version, and thanks to Stranger distribution overlord Kevin for the amazing find.

The Morning News

posted by on September 22 at 6:45 AM

The White House and the GOP say they’ve reached a deal to honor the Geneva Conventions.

The Washington Post says the torture will continue.

In a follow-up speech in Harlem, Chavez says Bush is an alcoholic, sick man.

Pelosi says Chavez is a thug.

Wal-Mart says its low-cost generic drug pilot project will save Florida Medicaid system hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Nielsen Media Research says average American household has more TVs than people.

Hamas says it will not join coalition government if it has to recognize Israel.

U.S. House and Senate negotiators say: $70 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Latest vote count says Pedersen still leading in 43rd District race—by 200 votes.

The Seattle Times says public should get to vote on Tunnel vs. Rebuild.

The American Public Transit Association says high gas prices increased public transit use by 3.2%, doubling the increase over the same period last year.

The Center for Disease Control says HIV tests should be part of routine health check ups.

The Slog said Grant Cogswell was leaving town and having a yard sale. The PI does a story on it…???

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I-933 is officially awful

posted by on September 21 at 5:28 PM

The Office of Financial Management released a damning report today on the land use law-undermining, litigation-provoking Initiative 933, which we profiled a month ago.

Personally, I think I-933 is the most dangerous initiative on the ballot — yes, worse than the estate tax repeal — since it requires state and local governments enforcing land use laws that decrease the potential value of a property (think: environmental and zoning regulations) to either compensate property owners with bags of cash or repeal the laws.

The official report isn’t painting a happy picture either:

Initiative 933 is estimated to cost state agencies $2 billion to $2.18 billion over the next six years for compensation to property owners and administration of the measure. In the same time period, the initiative is estimated to cost cities $3.8 billion to $5.3 billion, based upon number of land-use actions since 1996, and is estimated to cost counties $1.49 billion to $1.51 billion. Costs are derived from the requirement that, with specific exceptions, state agencies and local governments must pay compensation when taking actions that prohibit or restrict the use of real and certain personal property.

And that doesn’t even include the inevitable litigation costs:

The Office of the Administrator for the Courts estimates that it will cost county governments an additional $495,000 to $830,000 over the next six years for appeals to Superior Courts resulting from state agency decisions.


The Astonishing Resolve of Vegetarians

posted by on September 21 at 4:29 PM

I have many friends who are vegetarians. I work with quite a few vegetarians. I even made a vegan meal for a dear friend the other night and I understand that there are plenty of healthful and political benefits to being a practicing vegetarian. However, such a diet will never be a feasible option for me; the few times I’ve tried to change my carnivorous ways, I’ve lasted less than 48 hours.

The meal I had last night at Volterra in Ballard was a perfect example of why I’m utterly perplexed by devout vegetarianism. We had wild greens with pork cheeks and chevre, lamb ragu with pepper-studded Sicilian pecorino, and wild boar tenderloin with blue cheese. How can anyone deny these things? To the vegetarians in my midst: your fortitude astounds me. To my fellow carnivores: Get thee to Volterra!

Sober Robert

posted by on September 21 at 4:27 PM

In the past, and not too distant past, I’ve had drinks with Robert Jamieson, at the Mecca on Queen Anne. He was a good drunk, so it’s sad to learn he is now no longer one of us. He is now one of them—those awful people who believe that the source of all their problems was in a bottle and not already in themselves. As the great John Lyly once said: “What is in the heart of a sober man is in the mouth of a drunk one.”

The sober are cut from the same cloth as the saved. In the way the saved never stop going on about how they are now saved, the sober can not stop going on about how they are now sober. What is in the mouth of a sober or saved man is, evidently, not in his heart. But, Robert, not all drunks are violent, reckless, and sleep in Pioneer Square (and besides, I would much rather be a drunk in Pioneer Square than a sober man in Spanaway). If you can’t handle liquor, fine. Just don’t make a virtue out of your weakness, your flaw, your inability to do what the rest of us can easily manage.

October Surprise

posted by on September 21 at 4:05 PM

Via everyone and their mother, including Wonkette:

WASHINGTON — In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an “October surprise” to help win the November congressional elections.

UPDATE: D’oh. Looks like “everyone and their mother” includes my esteemed colleague Brad Steinbacher, who posted about this very thing on Slog earlier today. (No word yet on whether he wants to be thought of as everyone or their mother).

White Lady vs. Red Bull

posted by on September 21 at 3:39 PM

It’s cocaine for kids, in guzzling form!


Via The Daily Mail:

The high-energy drink is being billed as a “legal alternative” to the class A drug, using a massive hit of caffeine instead of cocaine.

Cocaine is “350 percent stronger than Red Bull” but that people do not experience the “sugar crash” or jitters that [the drink’s inventor, Jamie Kirby] says some of the other energy drinks can produce.

The company has received inquiries about selling Cocaine in Britain and throughout Europe. At the moment it is being sold only in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas - mainly to teenagers.

Plus, unlike snorting real cocaine, which is tacky and graceless, you can funnel Cocaine directly into your tear ducts to stay awake. Grand Theft Auto IV: San Andreas has never before felt so real

Kirby says, “…it’s a fun name. As soon as people look at the can, they smile.” But critics slammed the technique as a cynical ploy which could tempt young people into using drugs.

It doesn’t tempt young people to use drugs so much as teach teens that drugs can be stimulating and fun. America’s youth needs more teachers like Cocaine and perhaps Tiny Tinkerbell’s My First Douching and Whimsical Pussy-Hair Sculpting Kit.

Cheers to good grooming and efficiency!

RE: UPDATE: Officer’s report in DV-one assault

posted by on September 21 at 3:29 PM

As Sarah noted below, DV’s daughter was detained for obstructing traffic; his daughter and her friend were taken to the precinct but had no charges filed against them. As such, his daughter’s civil suit will likely commence this week.

Brandon the Intern and I spoke with DV One briefly last night, after he finished spinning wax at the War Room’s Big Tunes beat battle; his account of the events at Memorial Stadium sounded verbatim of what his previous statement posted on Myspace was. DV said that he was told he would not be able to obtain a copy of his police report for 5 days, and was basically given the runaround. Crafty intern Brandon had also reported being stonewalled when trying to obtain said records.

Toby showed us his healing wounds- stating that he had the ‘healing powers of a vampire’- but the trauma was still readily apparent.

Don Williams

posted by on September 21 at 2:32 PM

While driving me from chore to chore, my father played on the car stereo his favorite country singer, Don Williams. Williams is on the margins in America but hugely popular in Africa, especially in the rural areas.
To my father: “Why is Williams big with Africans?”
My father to me: “It is because they understand what he is saying.”
To my father: “It doesn’t have to do with his themes? Some of his songs are so sad, so full of fate.”
My father to me: “He speaks clearly. Africans like clarity.”

Here are the lyrics for one of Don Williams’ biggest African hits, Amanda:

I’ve held it all inward, Lord knows I’ve tried.
It’s an awful awakening in a country boy’s life.
To look in the mirror in total surprise,
At the hair on your shoulders and the age in your eyes.

Amanda, light of my life,
Fate should have made you a gentleman’s wife.
Amanda, light of my life,
Fate should have made you a gentleman’s wife.

Well, a measure of people don’t understand,
The pleasures of life in a hillbilly band.
I got my first guitar when I was fourteen,
Now I’m crowding thirty and still wearing jeans.

Amanda, light of my life,
Fate should have made you a gentleman’s wife.
Amanda, light of my life,
Fate should have made you a gentleman’s wife.

Two gems: one, “…the hair on your shoulders and the age in your eyes”; two, “Now I’m crowding thirty and still wearing jeans.” With impressive clarity, both lines capture the misery of a man who is caught between the dreams of his youth and the realities of growing old. And captured in the chorus is the man’s awareness that his failure, and refusal to give up his youth, has come at the price of his wife’s happiness. The lives of two hillbillies are destroyed, and Africans want to hear more.

From Down the Road:

Guess there’s not much I can do or say Saw my baby with another guy today Though I love her and I try to tell her so It’s hello blues and down the road I go

Well I’ve never seen that guy before today
He held my baby in close this way
And the way she snuggled close to him I know
It’s hello blues and down the road I go

Well it seemed our thoughts were much alike,
Our likes were much the same
We even had our future planned
‘Til in the town he came
It’s hello blues and down the road I go

When Don Williams sings, “It’s hello blues and down the road I go,” my father laughs. But it’s not a cruel laugh, but one of understanding, of empathy. Who has not been in this situation? He has been there. He has made plans with a woman, and those plans were unexpectedly dashed. That is why he loves Williams. For us Africans, he says it like it is.

UPDATE: Officer’s report in DV-one assault

posted by on September 21 at 2:29 PM

As we slogged yesterday, King County has charged local DJ DV-one with felony assault after an scuffle in the Memorial Stadium parking lot. I just got a copy of the charges filed against him, which includes the statement from the female police officer who DV-one allegedly assaulted. Her side of the story is, of course, a lot different from DV-one’s.

(note: DV-one’s real name is Toby Christian but for some reason, the charges were filed against “Toby Christian AKA Toby Campbell” and he’s referred to as Suspect Campbell throughout. Why does this one man have so many names? That’s one of… oh… about 1,000 questions the case raises)

Officer Boggs’s Account:

“We were assigned to Memorial Stadium. There was a football game held at the stadium with rival schools playing each other. We were there for crowd control. There is a history of violence between rival parties which include assaults, shootings and stabbings… We were instructed to move the crowds out of the parking lot to prevent any further disturbances… I noticed that there were two females [DV-one’s daughter Andrea and a friend] walking in front of one of the vehicles that was moving slowly towards the exit. There were at least 15-20 vehicles waiting to exit. As they continued to walk in front of the vehicle preventing anyone from exiting, Ofc. Lundin asked that the two females move out of the traffic way to allow vehicles to exit. Suspect A. Campbell looked over at him and then looked over towards me and said, “I’m sorry!” in a very sarcastic tone… I asked the two females in a loud voice to move. They both looked at me and continued to walk down the middle of the traffic lane in the front of the same vehicle… I suddenly saw an adult male (later identified as Suspect Toby R. Campbell) running towards us. I could see he was running full force with a stern look on his face… As Suspect Campbell got within 15 ft, he slowed and walked quickly toward us. Suspect Campbell pushed me. I fell slightly backwards and grabbed his shirt. Suspect Campbell pushed me again, and then shoved his hands in my face. I tried grabbing his shirt again and then his arms… He shoved his hands in a forward motion at least 4-5 times, striking me in the face. I felt pain in my upper teeth. The motion he made was NOT a flailing motion. They were deliberate moves… We continued to struggle. And his arms ended up around me. It was almost a “bear hug” from behind type position he had on me. I realized we needed more units… I tried turning my body and was able to get my mike. I asked for more units. Suddenly, we fell to the ground and he was on top of me. I was able to get out from underneath him. I saw the taser had been deployed. Suspect Campbell was face down on the ground. By then, other units including the Adam bicycle units arrived to assist. He was taken into custody without further incident.

My injuries include a scrape to the left elbow, pain to both knees and pain to my upper four teeth. No medical attention at this time.

So her account of what happened is obviously a lot different than DV’s, in which he says the police officer pulled a flashlight out in an intimdating way and he immediately backed away.

Also while digging around today, I found that DV-one was charged with assault last September — that time for involvement in a vaguely described “motorcycle transaction dispute.” He plead guilty to misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree and received a deferred 6 month sentence, served one night in jail and fulfilled 80 hours of community service.

Re: What Goes Around Comes Around

posted by on September 21 at 12:15 PM

RTID is in huge trouble, both because of revised cost estimates for replacing the 520 bridge (what was a $1 billion shortfall is now a $2 to $3 billion shortfall) and because none of the other 5.6 billion in RTID projects have undergone the revised estimating process, and all, like the viaduct and 520, presume much lower (2-3 percent) construction-cost inflation than WSDOT now says is likely. Those megaprojects include SR 167 (for which RTID currently provides $1 billion) I-405 ($1.3 billion from RTID) and SR-509 ($870 million). The cost for all of those projects is likely to increase substantially, raising the question: How will RTID make up a likely multi-billion-dollar shortfall?

One possibility is that RTID could pare back its project list, cutting nonessentials such as the “cross-base highway” in Pierce County (SR 704). But any cuts will face a storm of protest from the county that gets funding for its pet projects slashed. RTID could also be uncoupled from Sound Transit (currently, neither 2007 ballot measure can pass without the other), allowing Sound Transit to move forward while the RTID board hashes out a new project list. Or both could go forward as planned, leaving many major projects insufficiently funded.

Sealth, Chief of the Suquamps, Namesake* of Seattle

posted by on September 21 at 11:56 AM

While I was fly fishing in Montana, a mistake made it into print: In our Back-to-School Guide’s “Say WA?” glossary of Seattle terms, we provided an incorrect pronunciation for “Chief Sealth” (AKA Chief Seattle). “SEE-alth” should have been “SEE-ahlsh” or something similar; the Puget Sound Salish language (Lushootseed) had no “th” sound. Northwest History Link has a nice essay on Chief Sealth, including this discussion of the pronunciation of his name:

The Lushootseed language is written using the International Phonetic Alphabet, and in it Chief Seattle’s name has two marks not found in English [illustration]. One mark looks like a question mark without the dot at the end. This is a glottal stop as in “Uh oh.” Chief Seattle’s name is sometimes written Se’ahl and the ’ is another type of glottal stop. (The mistaken “Sealth” notion has eliminated this sound, which the word Seattle, pronounced See-attle, retains.) No one language contains all the phonemes (individual language sounds) found in all human languages, and the end-sound of Seattle does not occur in English. In Seattle’s name, this sound has shifted, according to Skagit elder and Lushootseed language expert Vi Hilbert. Originally it had a “glottalized barred lambda” at the end, an explosive sound. Later the pronunciation shifted to a lateral “l,” a sound something like “alsh” and represented by a font that looks like an l but is crossed horizontally at the center. This pronunciation, according to Vi Hilbert, is now considered correct. Chief Seattle’s name is pronounced approximately “See-ahlsh.”

*Note on the term “namesake”:
Historically, there has been some disagreement as to whether the original or the secondary person or thing is the “namesake.” According to AHD, a namesake is one that is named after another (as in “I am my great-aunt’s namesake.”). But modern usage seems to follow the OED’s broader definition: A person who or thing which has the same name as another. (Thus, both “I am my great-aunt’s namesake” and “My great-aunt is my namesake” are correct.) Still, my ear prefers AHD’s stricter usage rule. Perhaps I’d have been better off with “eponym”!

The Office Season Premiere Tonight!

posted by on September 21 at 11:33 AM

Yay! Hooray! Hullaballooooo! One of my fave sitcoms, THE OFFICE, returns for a new season tonight (NBC, Thursday, 8:30 pm), and for all of those naysayers who inexplicably still pooh-pooh this great show for “not being the English version,” take a look at the following clip which will blow your stupid logic out of the water.
This clip was taken from last night’s The Tonight Show, and here’s the set up:
Michael (Steve Carrell) is in trouble once again with human resources guy Toby for gravely insulting employee Oscar—who Michael doesn’t know is gay.

Also on tonight!
MY NAME IS EARL (NBC, 8 pm)—Season Premiere!
GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC, 9 pm)—Season Premiere!
SHARK (with James Woods, CBS, 10 pm)—Debut!
E.R. (NBC, 10 pm)—Season Premiere!
SIX DEGREES (ABC, 10 pm)—Debut! (But it looks boring, so give it a pass.)

Tip o’ the hat to Best Week Ever!

What Goes Around Comes Around

posted by on September 21 at 11:28 AM

One thing about the revised (ballooning) cost estimates for the viaduct replacement is this: They were accompanied by ballooning cost estimates for replacing 520. Previously, for example, the two main 520 replacement options ranged from $2.3 billion-$2.8 billion and $2.7 billion-$3.1 billion. Now, those same options are coming in much higher at $2.8 billion-$4.9 billion and $3.3 billion-$5.3 billion respectively.

There’s a couple of reasons to take note of sharply increased 520 costs.

First, increased 520 costs jack up the price tag for next year’s RTID vote. The RTID vote is coupled with next year’s light rail expansion vote. (If RTID fails, light rail fails…even if voters vote yea on light rail.) Soooo, in order to shave costs off the package, the RTID (roads) advocates might force light rail advocates to cut light rail costs—which could jeopardize transit expansion.

Second, increased 520 costs affect the viaduct debate. Replacing 520 is a must, and so finding money for 520 will take priority over viaduct spending. This means the cheaper solutions to dealing with the viaduct will start to gain momentum. These include the no rebuild (transit/streets) option being pushed by transit greens and the retrofit option being pushed by council president Nick Licata. These cheaper viaduct options, particularly the no-rebuild option (which is similar to a contingency no-rebuild option already developed by SDOT to accommodate the years when the tunnel was supposed to be under construction), will start to look much better to the city council and to the state. Indeed, it’s hard not to believe that the daunting new viaduct numbers from the state were a targeted, well-timed political hit from Gregoire, who wants to nudge Nickels and Seattle toward choosing the cheapest option. After all, signing off on big dollar requests from Seattle hurts Gregoire and the Democrats statewide.

The city council will take up the bad numbers from the state at a special council meeting tomorrow morning where they’re likely to support Nickels’s call to pull the viaduct question back from a previously promised public vote…but aren’t likely to do much else.

Boeing - protecting freedom with robots

posted by on September 21 at 11:10 AM

Boeing won a Homeland Security contract to build a high-tech “virtual fence” along the Mexico/Arizona border. Republicans are hell-bent on building a high security fence along the southern border, but physical structures are highly controversial.

The Boeing plan uses radar, video cameras and unmanned robot airplanes to patrol the border, instead of building a tangible Jurassic Park-style fence. The Dept. of Homeland Security tab for the project is $2 billion, which the government can afford since Bush cut $4 billion from less important programs like the Dept of Education, EPA and Dept. of Housing.

When RSS = Random Shutdown Syndrome

posted by on September 21 at 10:43 AM

This morning my brand new MacBook shut down, randomly, for no apparent reason. This seemed a bad omen and I mentioned it to a tech-savvy friend who, in short order, discovered a whole universe of people with the same problem.

He also discovered a cryptic acknowledgment of the problem from Apple.

And then, of course, there’s the YouTube video of Random Shutdown Syndrome, which is about as entertaining as watching video of Brad Steinbacher eating a sandwich, but heartening, I guess, in that “someone else has my problem” sort of way.

Wondering if your cute new MacBook has Random Shutdown Syndrome? Here’s a simple test that might tell you.

Now Is the Time to Be Alive

posted by on September 21 at 10:41 AM

Not only is Showgirls being turned into a musical, Michael Jackson is reportedly planning to build a leprechaun-themed amusement park in Ireland.

They Sent It to Us

posted by on September 21 at 10:31 AM

From the Against The Grain Festival, which “reframes traditional views on men and dance.”

Approximately one in ten dancers in our North American culture is male. As the minority in this profession, men have sometimes struggled to find their voice. The Against The Grain Festival allows them the camaraderie and the opportunity to celebrate their art with pride while serving as a diversified role model for the male dancers of tomorrow.


posted by on September 21 at 10:29 AM

From Raw Story:

According to two conservative websites, White House political strategist Karl Rove has been promising GOP insiders that there will be an “October surprise” before the midterm elections.

“In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an ‘October surprise’ to help win the November congressional elections,” reports Ronald Kessler for Newsmax.

Any guesses what Rove’s “October surprise” will be? Also: Just how lame will the Democrats’ response be?

Blondes Have More Fun…

posted by on September 21 at 10:21 AM

But lesbians have more orgasms.

(And blonde lesbians have the most plentiful and funnest orgasms of all..)

The Matta-Clark Family

posted by on September 21 at 10:16 AM


That is a Cibachrome print taken by Gordon Matta-Clark. It shows two views of his 1977 masterwork, Office Baroque, for which he carved an interlocking series of curves, spheres, and arabesques into all five floors of an abandoned office building in Antwerp, carving a careful plan of shapes day and night under the radar of the authorities and with only one constant assistant.

The following year, Matta-Clark was dead of pancreatic cancer, at age 35. His practice of slicing buildings in half and into abstract shapes, devoting himself to structures nobody wanted, was something best, and only really fully, experienced firsthand. For this reason, there are few shows of Matta-Clark’s work anywhere, and fewer still that are remotely satisfying. I can’t emphasize enough how much Transmission: The Art of Matta and Gordon Matta-Clark, which I caught at the San Diego Museum of Art last weekend, is an exception to that grim rule.

When I entered, I was drawn immediately, probably because Matta-Clark is such an art phantom, to the sound of his voice in his documentary of the making of Office Baroque. “Anything worth documenting is hard to get,” he was saying, referring to the fact that it is impossible to take in a single view of the piece, and even impossible to construct a single view on film. Depending on where you’re standing, the shapes in the floors and walls echo each other and multiply, and in certain spots, you can see all the way to the sky, through the circles cut in the roof.

As Matta-Clark is saying this in voiceover, there’s a shot of him standing at the top of the building, in what looks like an open window, looking calmly into the sun. He is young and handsome and strapping as he works, like a classic sculptural hero, but in this one moment, something very old and very sad comes through. It has to do with his continuous futile attempts at rescue—the reviving of dead buildings, only for them to be demolished later. I can’t help but think that as he stands at that window, his twin brother’s death recurs for him on some level. Batan Matta-Clark, whose instability had him in and out of mental institutions his whole life, had fallen out a window to his death just two years earlier—the window of Gordon’s SoHo loft. And of course, for us now watching the documentary, the shadow of Gordon’s own death falls on every shot.

The ostensible subject of the show is to compare the work of Matta-Clark with the Surrealist paintings of his father, Roberto Sebastian Antonio Matta Echaurren, or simply, Matta. You’d think this would bestow greater insight on the son than the very established father, but the reverse is true. The power and wholeness of the son’s formal, emotional, and experiential explorations help to suggest new ways of looking at the rather cold paintings of Matta. Matta left his family when his sons were four months old and was only intermittently involved in their lives; by his own admission, he was threatened by Matta-Clark’s inventions as an artist. Seen in this light, a kind of desperation stalks Matta’s canvases. Meanwhile, Matta-Clark’s work invokes a realm, however fleeting, of power, light, mischief, and joy.

On view in the room showing the film of Office Baroque is a dual-layered, teardrop-shaped slice of hand-laid wood floor with delicate, diagonal interlocking slats, that was cut out of the building to make the installation. In the film, you can see it being gingerly lowered from up high in the building down onto the sidewalk. It is gorgeous, and simultaneously a documentary artifact, a sculpture, and a negative sculpture. Talk about the aura of the original.

Also great is a film in which Matta-Clark went down into the underground world of Paris with his camera and shot grainy, shaky, half-visible footage not long after his brother died, as a way of following grief into its nearsighted cave.

I love the way the curator, San Diego Museum of Art’s Betti-Sue Hertz, paid attention not only to the pairing of Gordon and his father, but also to the triangulations that went between them and flowed through their lives and work, especially featuring Batan and Marcel Duchamp (Matta-Clark’s godfather).

I hadn’t known that a very young Matta-Clark had created a web of string connecting the graves in a graveyard in honor of Duchamp’s Mile of String exhibition, which literally tied together a series of Surrealist paintings with a mile of string. In this one gesture is Matta, Matta-Clark, Duchamp, death, and the tangled mind of Batan.

There are also little gems I can’t forget: a photograph of a cancer-emaciated Matta-Clark at his wedding to the artist Jane Crawford the year he died, and his yellowing academic record from Cornell, where his grades in art, architecture, and design were just so-so, and where, next to the class “Theory of Architecture” is the marking “INC” for “incomplete.” Perfect.

Blue Thunder

posted by on September 21 at 9:24 AM

From the Seattle Times

The NFL sent a notice to the New York Giants and Seahawks, saying it would be keeping an eye — and presumably an ear — out to make sure the league’s restrictions on artificial noise are followed at the game Sunday. The notice mentioned allegations the crowd noise in Seattle was enhanced, though it did not specify the origin of that claim.

“It put a little smile on my face when I saw this memo,” Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. “If I’m a fan, I take that kind of personally. Like, ‘If you think last year was loud or the championship game was loud, wait until Sunday.’ “

I was at last Sunday’s game against Arizona. It was really, really loud. I’m sure the New York Giants aren’t too pleased about the NFL’s little investigation, since it’s sure to be even louder this Sunday.

My completely unscientific prediction for the game: Seattle 24, New York 17.

Counting the Seconds…

posted by on September 21 at 7:04 AM

With the help of the Tony-winning composers behind the smash musical Urinetown, Joe Esterhasz is turning Showgirls into a musical.

In the words of my best friend Mindy (she who introduced me to the film in the first place): “The only thing that could make the pool scene any better is singing.”

With Gina Gershon already on board, Showgirls: The Musical is set to open in Las Vegas sometime in the future, and certainly not soon enough…

The Morning News

posted by on September 21 at 6:49 AM

Local Elections
Jamie Pedersen maintains slight lead in 43rd race.

Alexander fends off Groen’s right wing challenge in state supreme court race.

Local Flip Flop.
Facing steep cost increases for his waterfont tunnel, Mayor Nickels retracts earlier commitment to hold public vote. Says decision is now too confusing for voters.

Science is Good.
Stem cells repair broken hearts.

Cloning stem cells may hold key to curing blindness.

Cars are Bad.
California sues automakers over green house gas emissions.

Cars are Cool.
Teens steal car, smash into U.S. military base.

Democrats Hate America, Obviously.
Democrats call for hearings on failed policy in Iraq.

Public Hates Congress
Approval rating for Congress reaches dismal 1994 levels.

Ahmadinejad Hates the Jews.
In debate with Council on Foreign Relations, Iranian President instists Holocaust is myth.

With Good Reason, Obviously.
658 years ago today, Jews accused of poisoning the wells.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh, Banksy

posted by on September 20 at 6:30 PM

Always driving home how much and how little art can do. First, you painted an elephant to match the wallpaper, and then you positioned him in the middle of your makeshift living-room-in-a-warehouse. The authorities got mad and forced you to wash him down. At least he was still standing there when Kerri Harrop arrived to see the three-day show this past weekend in LA. She wrote a great blog narrative about it here, with plenty of images.


Dave Meinert Writes to Say…

posted by on September 20 at 5:33 PM

…by the way, it should be pointed out that so far the poll I referred to is pretty close. ;)

He’s kidding, I think. The results of that controversial (and still unconfirmed) poll:

Street 15.8%

Pedersen 15%

Kelley 7%

Sherman 5%

Dodson 4%

Pure 3%

And last night’s results:

Pedersen 23.27%

Street 22.92%

Sherman 17.98%

Pure 12.93%

Dodson 11.65%

Kelley 11.19%

Zoo Story

posted by on September 20 at 5:08 PM

The man got drunk at the zoo. He jumped into the panda exhibit. He felt warmly toward the sleeping panda so he petted it. The panda bit him. He bit the panda back. The panda bit him again. He bit the panda back again. The two fought until they were separated. They are now mortal enemies. This happened.


posted by on September 20 at 5:05 PM

At Top Pot, to the counterperson: “This is my first time at Top Pot. What kind of doughnut would you recommend to go with a cup of coffee?

Bad News for Nickels

posted by on September 20 at 4:57 PM

As we predicted two days ago, the state’s new numbers for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with either a cut-and-cover tunnel or a new aerial rebuild are significantly higher than the original estimates. The new estimates put the cost of a “core tunnel” (that is, a tunnel that does not include fixing the northern seawall, lowering Aurora, or any other improvements north of the Battery Street Tunnel) at a range of $3.56 to $5.54 billion—an increase between 18 and 54 percent over the previous range of $3.0 to $3.6 billion. Put another way, the high estimate on the tunnel has increased nearly $2 billion. (The daily papers, taking a cue from Nickels’s press release, are reporting that the cost estimates have risen from “a range of $3.0 to $3.6 billion to $4.63 billion”; but that $4.63 billion estimate is actually the middle number. The real new range is $3.56 to $5.54 billion.)

Nickels looked visibly shaken at today’s press conference at City Hall, where he tried to spin the hugely inflated numbers as no big deal. “I remain committed and confident in our vision of reconnecting the city to the waterfront,” Nickels said. He blamed the much higher new numbers on the state department of transportation’s “desire to have a large range of cost estimates to cover any possible contingency.” He then added that the cost increase was due to “a $3 billion insurance policy.” The truth, however, is that the original numbers grossly underestimated construction-cost inflation, assuming an inflation rate of just 2.4 percent, versus current construction-cost inflation rates between 6 and 10 percent. (The state’s expert review panel called attention to this discrepancy two weeks ago, in a report that warned the council that the state’s original cost-inflation figures were “overly optimistic”. Still, even the new numbers assume much lower inflation than the current rate: just 4 percent.)

Nickels has a major problem. He barely had enough money (real and “anticipated,” including hundreds of millions that were shaky at best) to pay for the old “core tunnel.” (Indeed, the expert review panel called the city’s projection of $40 million in federal funding “optimistic,” and said it was “skeptical” that another $153 million in anticipated state funding “is viable, given that sales tax revenue”—the source for the presumed $153 million—”is typically earmarked for the state’s general fund.”) Now that cost estimates have ballooned between $560 million (the low end of the range) and $1.94 billion (the high end), the only way Nickels can build his tunnel is if he gets all the “anticipated” funds and the true cost is near the low end of the range—a scenario the city’s own estimate says is very unlikely, with a “strong prospect that risks will emerge beyond this level.” (The new low end, incidentally, is almost identical to the old high end).

And forget about the fully lidded tunnel and a reconnected street grid in South Lake Union: If the range of cost increases reflected in Nickels’s new core tunnel estimates are applied to the full tunnel, the new cost for a full tunnel will be between $4.4 billion and $6.9 billion—way outside anybody’s range of possibility.

Given all this bad news, it’s not surprising that Nickels, who had been pushing to put the viaduct question on the November ballot, had a sudden change of heart, declaring that now is not “the time to put a question about the viaduct on [the] ballot. We need to pick a preferred alternative and move it forward.” Nickels then echoed a majority of the city council, calling the viaduct question “the kind of thing elected officials need to dig into and make decisions on. When we have large policy issues we need to make decisions on them… It’s very confusing for the voters.” (Asked whether the cheaper tunnel proposal might also contain lots of confusing numbers, Nickels said something about the goalposts shifting, and went on to the next reporter’s question.)

Nickels, as he typically does, painted the viaduct decision as an urgent matter of public safety, calling the viaduct a “crumbling, deteriorating” structure. However, he declined to say whether he would close it down, saying only that “we hope we don’t get to that point.”

Re: DJ DV-One Assaulted By Police

posted by on September 20 at 4:14 PM

Originally posted by Christopher Hong on Line Out.

[edit: seems that Keenan and I posted at about the same time, so I’ve deleted the redundant info from my post]

Last Thursday, Sept. 14, DJ DV-One and his daughter were reportedly attacked by Seattle Police after attending a high school football game at Memorial Stadium.

It may be too late to show your support in person today as the prosecutor determines whether to press charges (2:30pm Today in the King County Jail BLDG courthouse, Courtroom #1, if you can run there now), but you can still write to local government officials showing your support for DV-One and your opposition to the sad clichĂ© that is, “police brutality,” and the particularly sadder clichĂ© of “police brutality” against a black man.

The following is re-posted from a bulletin by civic-minded local music industry man about town, Dave Meinert:

Once again the Seattle Police have brutally attacked an unarmed African American male, and prominent a member of the Seattle music community. We need to come out and make sure this abuse gets the attention it deserves. We must demand all charges against Toby and his daughter are dropped, that the Officers who committed these acts are prosecuted, and that Toby and his daughter are compensated for the pain and suffering caused by the people who are supposedly paid to protect us.

We know DV One to be a upstanding member of our community and the music scene in general.
Please write the following people demanding justice for Toby and his daughter. The below emails include the Mayor’s office, The City Attorney, and Seattle City Council. Write them immediately and demand all charges against Toby and his daughter are dropped and that an immediate investigation into the officers begins.

Send email to:

Regina LaBelle (; Tom Carr (; Asst. Chief of Police James Pugel (; David Della (; Nick Licata (; Richard Conlin (; Peter Steinbrueck (; Jean Godden (; Jan Drago (; Richard McIver (; Sally Clarke (

DJ DV-One Attacked by SPD

posted by on September 20 at 4:10 PM

From Keenan Bowen’s Line Out post:

A bulletin currently making the rounds on Myspace:

DV One and his daughter were brutally beaten and tazed by the Seattle Police in September of this year - and today DV one has a court hearing for charges that may or may not be brought against him. (DV’s personal account of what happened is pasted at the end of this bulletin)

Now is the time to put all of those “unity in hiphop” statements to work. We are trying to “rally the troops” and get as many people possible to pack the courtroom in support of DV. To speak for his good character (if you know him - you know how non violent and stand up he is) and if you don’t know him personally - to just come and show support for a member of the Seattle Hiphop Family.

His hearing is TODAY people - so come and stand up — and show the police and local officials that Seattle Hiphop is a movement that supports more that just the music - we support justice for everyone.

TODAY - WEDNESDAY 9/20/06 at 2:30pm in the King County Jail BLDG courthouse.

Courtroom ..1 (5th and James; downtown Seattle).


this is my declaration to be submitted ASAP.. 3 of 20+
photos attached

On September 15, 2006 at around 7:30pm I went to memorial stadium to pick up my daughter (Andrea Christian) from her high schools football game at memorial stadium. Upon my arrival I quickly located Andrea and directed her to the car so we could leave. As my daughter walked away (toward the car) I stayed behind and chatted with a friend briefly before being interrupted by one of Andreas friends, Adreianna Holmes.

Adreianna said Toby, the police have Andrea! and I should go see what was going on. As I went over to the scene I noticed Andrea being held by the police in an arm lock and being shoved repeatedly against a parked car by a police officer, while another officer stood guard. I approached the scene and was immediately stopped by the female police officer who said I couldnt go over there with her hands outstretched blocking. I identified myself as the parent of the child being detained and the officer said so what!

The female officer then reached for her flashlight and pulled it out. I put my hands up, and backed off
saying whoa, whoa, and she responded with oh so youre gonna hit me? and immediately radiod the all
call officer assaulted after sending the radio to other officers she proceeded forward rushing in toward
me swinging, the officer detaining my daughter pulled out his firearm as more officers swarmed in. I turned my back avoid being shot, hit, or grabbed. I was then slammed to the ground by two officers, handcuffed, kicked in the head (approx 20x), body and limbs repeatedly, berated and tazed at least twice, while already subdued on the ground.

The kicking and stomping of my head and body continued while I was being handcuffed, ridiculed, and humiliated in front of my daughter and many onlookers. Another officer grabbed my hand while I was cuffed pushing my wrist down and shoving my arms upward in some type of judo move, while telling me he would break my arm for hitting his female officer. I was then left on the ground while being searched and stood over by several police. When I was brought to my feet my shoulder felt dislocated, my face was bloody, my eyes and head extremely swollen, and body bruised from the police beating.

The officers then asked me how I liked being tazed and if it felt good. They then told me this
is going to be another felony on your record and youre going to prison now boy. After that I was rushed to a nearby police car. I was sat down to watch the officer who originally detained my 14 year old daughter proceed to grab, slam, scream and continue to berate her, blame her for what happened to her father.

The situation culminated with Andrea and Adreianna being handcuffed and taken into custody. Andrea is a honor student who recently graduated from St. Therese School, and a first week freshman at Franklin High School. She has no criminal record, respects authority, and goes to school everyday with a big pink tinkerbell backpack. Andrea is clearly not a threat to anyones safety, especially the police.

What happened to us that night was an obvious abuse of power. It was unjust, brutal and an easy civil rights violation. My beating and most certainly the abuse received by my daughter was unprovoked and completely unnecessary.


It’s Funny Because It’s True

posted by on September 20 at 2:47 PM


All praise to Jake.

Nickels Press Conference

posted by on September 20 at 2:05 PM

Mayor Nickels is scheduled to hold a press conference (in about 15 minutes) to address the cost increase of $780 million estimated for his tunnel plan… from $3.6 billion to $4.38 billion.

He’s obviously going to announce that the 19.4 percent cost increase is unacceptable and he’s decided to be fiscally responsible and pull the plug on the project.

Michael Knight is a Potty Mouth

posted by on September 20 at 2:04 PM

The Knight Rider Blooper Reel. Or… “Fuck YOU, K.I.T.T.!”

Last Night’s Coverage

posted by on September 20 at 1:59 PM

We’ve compiled last night’s election party slog coverage into one manageable document….
(including the video slogs with the candidates.)

Rather than Slogging thru the Slog just click here and get the time-lapsed coverage in one big story.

Re: For the Record

posted by on September 20 at 12:25 PM

I do think there’s something to the idea that older voters favor Street. My 91-year-old grandfather, for example, endorsed the grey-bearded former city councilman without thinking twice after Street came by his assisted living facility for a candidate forum. My grandpa couldn’t even remember seeing Pedersen, and he thought Pure seemed way too young.

But at the Pedersen party last night, they weren’t conceding the elderly absentee vote to Street.

Their argument: Street does really well among older men (like my grandfather), who tend not to be swayed by Pedersen’s boyish charm. But older women — that’s a different story. They, apparently, love a sweet little thing with blond hair and a sincere do-gooder pitch (and they tend not to mind as much that he’s gay). If the Pedersen camp is right, Erica may be buying pizza.

Also, people with the well-funded Pedersen campaign were bragging last night that they’d gone so far as to mine the out-of-the-country vote, sending specialized mailers to voters registered in the district but living abroad. According to Pedersen, they got a great response from this, in the form of donations and just plain old thank-you letters from people saying they’d never been contacted about a local race before, were glad to be included, and were now voting for him.

So if those voters are also included in the batch of absentees remaining to be counted, Street may not do as well as people think…

McGavin’s Bad Showing

posted by on September 20 at 12:15 PM

Not only did Maria Cantwell (supposedly with a demotivated anti-war base to deal with) get 100,000 more votes in her party’s primary (so far) than McGavick netted in his party’s primary (she’s at 310K, he’s at 210K), but check out McGavick’s bad showing in today’s NYT.

When Erica spotted this laugher in the NYT early this morning when we were all sleepy and drunk and delirious (after working all night to slog and video slog and get a story out for today’s paper), we thought maybe we were hallucinating a bit. But no, there it is in print this morning. Maybe the NYT folks were sleepy and drunk too, but get this. In a print edition article, “Easy Victories In Primaries in 2 States,” it says:

In Washington State, Senator Maria Cantwell won the Democratic primary for Senate, and Mike McGavin, a former insurance salesman won the Republican Senate primary.
(I’d link it, but they fixed it on-line.)

Anyway, Mr. McGavin, the insurance salesman (McGavick was actually the CEO of SAFECO), may laugh about this and have a Dewey Beats Truman moment if he wins in November. But right now it feels like a George H.W. Bush moment vomiting in Japan. Nothing’s going right for this poor sap: The paper of record can’t even get his job or his name right.

For the Record

posted by on September 20 at 11:21 AM

My prediction in the 43rd district race was, and remains, that Jim Street is going to win. (Josh and I bet a pizza on this, so it’s no small matter.) In the latest totals, Street pulled up to within 35 votes of Jamie Pedersen, erasing almost all of Pedersen’s lead. Late absentees are likely to favor Street, as they’ll skew toward older voters who recognize Street’s name from his many years in office.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Pure is maintaining fourth place with 13 percent, as King County Democrats-endorsed Dick Kelley and SEAMEC-endorsed Lynne Dodson trade places for last and fifth, respectively.

The Land of the Last Man

posted by on September 20 at 11:13 AM

In the comments to Melting Air, K posted a link to what for now looks very much like the end of history.
1dubaiWorld.jpg Here, and only here, dialects will come to a standstill.

Bill Gates and the Case of the Missing Leonardo

posted by on September 20 at 10:58 AM

Bill Gates owns one Leonardo, a valuable one, the Codex Leicester, a notebook of scientific observations. Evidently, the Art Newspaper reports, he told the Victoria and Albert Museum in London that he’d loan it to them, but only if they’d screen visitors, airport-style, and keep lighting levels on the pages much lower than for the other drawings in the show (or at the same lighting level, but for only one hour a day). [via]

The museum didn’t do it, so the notebook stays in Seattle. You may see it around town with its bodyguard.


Mr Gates owns no other Leonardo material, although he does have one of the finest collections of American paintings. His acquisitions are reported to include: Andrew Wyeth’s Distant Thunder ($7m in 1996), Winslow Homer’s Lost on the Grand Banks ($36m in 1998), George Bellows’ Polo Crowd ($28m in 1999), William Merritt Chase’s The Nursery ($10m) and Childe Hassam’s The Room of Flowers ($20m).

The Hassam:

The Wyeth:


“Tangled Up In Bleu”

posted by on September 20 at 10:41 AM

Yes, yes, everyone knows The Daily Show is the greatest thing since Jesus. However, the segment below—weighing the threat of gays in the military—may be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

I love you, Jason Jones.

The Morning News

posted by on September 20 at 6:35 AM

Once again: Predictions of civil war loom in Iraq.

For the second day in a row: Cantwell’s success bucking anti-war vote is a national story.

For the first time ever: The U.S. may admit Hamas is part of the equation.

Per usual: Bush and Ahmadinejad insult each other.

For once: The good guys might overcome right wing media blitz.

Continued from last week: GOP senators school the White House.

Within days: Israel will quit Lebanon.

Two days after the Slog reports it, The PI has the story: Cost estimates for Nickels’s tunnel are going to increase drastically.

For the first time in 15 years: Coup in Thailand.

Worst violence in 50 years. Demonstrations rock Hungary.

30 years ago today: Playboy publishes a scandolous interview with presidential candidate Jimmy Carter.

33 years ago today: Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match.

Another day: Another suicide bombing in Iraq.

VIDEO COVERAGE - Seattle Primary Election Sept 19, 2006

posted by on September 20 at 4:47 AM

Superstar reporter Sarah Mirk and Drunk of the Week photographer Kelly O high-five each other, then go to some election parties to ask a few questions. Please enjoy.

Not Enough Schmooze?
Jim Street answers the tough question of “what was the one mistake you made”….

Politics and Sobriety are Evil!
Politico David Meinert calls out Kelly O on “being sober” on election night. Damn.

Bill Sherman. Hollah. You ARE dressed well. Just stop.

Cookies and Door-Belling!
Is “Door-Belling” even a word? Jamie Pedersen talks to us, even though our video camera is small.

Just the Beginning
Underdog Stephanie Pure is smiling. Even though she’s polling 12%. Don’t sleep on this one….

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pedersen’s Speech

posted by on September 19 at 11:20 PM

Saying the “traditionalists” had demanded it, Jamie Pedersen stood on a wooden chair in his large unfinished basement/campaign headquarters and gave a quick speech after the last batch of results showed him still in the lead.

Everyone in the room seemed confident, loudly cheering Pedersen (who was not much more than a head taller than most of his audience, even standing on the chair).

Pedersen looked confident himself, turning first to thank Ed Murray, whom he said “absolutely did not have to take the chance of endorsing me.”


Murray then stood atop another chair, and after very brief remarks handed Pedersen a campaign pin from a race won by Cal Anderson, the state’s first openly-gay legislator. More thanks were passed around, and then Pedersen’s partner, Eric, a high school assistant-principal, came up for a kiss.

“However it comes out,” Pedersen told the crowd, “it has been a great experience.”

And a Whopping 500 More Votes Are In!

posted by on September 19 at 10:50 PM

The verdict: Pedersen drops a little bit (from 29 percent to 28 percent), but Street does too (from 22.1 percent to 21.8 percent), making the change a bit of a wash. Meanwhile, Pure pulls into fourth place, overcoming Dodson and Dick Kelley. None of this means a whole lot yet, though, as only 4,525 votes have been counted.

Some Analysis

posted by on September 19 at 10:35 PM

So while we’re waiting for those results, here are a few fairly unsubstantiated predictions about what tonight’s results mean:

Currently, Jim Street is trailing Jamie Pedersen 22 to 29 percent. However, Street could pull up in the next batch of votes, if late absentee voters skew in his direction. Absentee voters tend to be older, favoring a known quantity like Street (who targeted older voters in his mailing campaign.) Moreover, more voters supposedly held onto their ballots longer this year, meaning the effect of late absentees could be greater than usual. And turnout is expected to be low (around 30 percent), again favoring Street, because poll voters are likely to favor Pedersen. In any case, the next batch of votes will be a good indicator of which direction the next round will go, so we’ll have a better sense of the frontrunner when the new numbers arrive.

Murray Predicts a Winner

posted by on September 19 at 10:27 PM

At the Pedersen party, a cheery State Rep. Ed Murray just made his prediction: Pedersen by 4 or 5 percentage points.

Early to Bed for the I-88ers

posted by on September 19 at 10:27 PM

From Party Crasher at the Montlake Alehouse:

There is nothing interesting happening here. The I-88 people have gone, the Drinking Liberally people are drunk, and the Sherman people are sitting here, trying to pretend they’re not losing. Sherman’s face has fallen—he’s gone from grinny and bright to talking earnestly with arms folded, people crowding around him, trying to cheer him up. But nobody’s crying.

Over at the Montlake Ale House

posted by on September 19 at 10:26 PM

Josh reports that the scene is as raucous and ebullient as Pedersen’s party was proper, upper-middle-class, and staid. (Fat Tire and cheeseburgers vs. white wine and canapes). Sherman, wearing a blue suit, seemed cheerful and relaxed as he drank beer and mingled with rowdy supporters.

As for us back at home base: We’re still waiting for updated results, which are delayed more than ever this year by a new vote-counting system.

Back at the Pedersen Palace

posted by on September 19 at 10:05 PM

Josh, apparently blown away by Pedersen’s palatial Capitol Hill lair, just sent a ton of photos of what he describes as a “lavish” spread and an “incredible” house. Unfortunately, cell-phone-camera technology has not advanced sufficiently to do it justice. Nevertheless, here they are:




That last picture is an image of Pedersen’s basement/nerve center, where Josh ran into Capitol Hill gadfly Janice Van Cleve. As a longtime community activist, Van Cleve knows all the candidates well; and as a precinct-committee officer coordinator in the 43rd District, she had to sit down separately with Dodson and Pure, who are both PCOs, and explain why she was supporting their opponent. Van Cleve’s explanation: “He’s the most intelligent and articulate of the bunch. When you get down to Olympia, you have to be able to convince other people what’s right and Jamie has the skills to do that.” Asked if Pedersen’s homosexuality was a factor in her support, Van Cleve said, “Absolutely. It’s not a tangential issue.”

Besides Van Cleve (and several members of the Seattle Men’s Chorus), Pedersen’s party was mostly bereft of prominent local officials—perhaps fittingly for a candidate who received few major endorsements.

Not Paying Attention

posted by on September 19 at 9:55 PM

Our unpaid intern Lena is reporting from the B & O:

A quarter of the dining area is cordoned off for the Lynne Dodson party. There are around 50 people and an elaborate spread (cheeses, dips)—mostly middle-aged people drinking red wine and beer, very celebratory. I introduced myself to Lynne and she smiled, ushered me in, and turned around to talk to her sister. I later talked to the sister, asking what the latest update was. She said Dodson wasn’t going to pay attention to results until after 10.

Overheard at the Pedersen Party

posted by on September 19 at 9:49 PM

There’s not much drinking going on at the Pedersen party, which is being held in a huge 1909 craftsman near the 15th Avenue business district on Captiol Hill. Instead there’s lots of soda, cookies, and earnest conversation.

But over in the corner of the kitchen, where the wine is stashed, I met up with a gossipy Pedersen supporter who was ready to dish dirt. After asking me what Dan Savage would think about my having just poured myself a glass of white on the job (and after Stranger publisher Tim Keck told him exactly what Dan would think), the gossipy man told me that Pedersen had never been to a gay bar in Seattle until a recent campaign bar hop. Then the man corrected himself. He said Jamie had been to one gay bar before the recent campaign event: the Timberline, back when it still existed, to buy a ski ticket.

So much for the gay candidate. Or, as my chatty friend put it: “Jamie’s the least gay candidate in the race.

Pure’s Prospects

posted by on September 19 at 9:48 PM

Other notables at Stephanie Pure’s campaign-night party: Her brother and her mom, who flew all the way from Hawaii to canvass and make phone calls on Stephanie’s behalf. Earlier tonight, Pure arrived on the scene at Piecora’s flanked by her fiancĂ©, mom, and brother. She took one look at the long table festooned with People for Pure signs-turned-placemats (below) and laughed, “That’s really cool. And weird!”


When I talked to Pure earlier today, she sounded resigned to losing tonight, but upbeat about her campaign effort. “In retrospect, I absolutely should have quit my job sooner,” Pure said. “I should have had more money and more campaign organization earlier.” Nonetheless, Pure was excited for tonight, and tomorrow, when she and her mom plan to get massages and “a big fancy dinner.” Come Thursday, Pure says, she’s “back to the Steinbrueck office. And that’s that.”

Terrible Writing, Wonderful Signs

posted by on September 19 at 9:43 PM

Party Crasher is still wallowing at the Montlake Alehouse:

The laughter of children has left the Montlake Alehouse, and with it, both parties’ hopes of winning. I saw a Sherman supporter tear into one of the fans of I-88, the education levy. He was really upset because he owned a condo and “this will cost people another thousand dollars in property tax.” The two got into a fairly heated argument, but the condo buyer came away an I-88 supporter.

The most salient point is that the I-88 literature is all horrible—in the voter pamphlet, I-88 wrote its own description to sound like they would be charging all property owners 37 cents per $1,000 in property value, when they are actually proposing an increase of a nickel per $1,000 in property value.

The initiative supporters are terrible writers, which only demonstrates the need for more money for education. A pamphlet I am currently holding in my hand, says: “Wouldn’t you bend over backwards for Seattle’s children?” Isn’t that horrible? The condo buyer and I-88 convert said “I work for an advertising agency and this is just… wrong.”

Jody Granatir, a teacher who supports I-88, said: “We were slammed by the media and by the mayor, which made our fight an uphill battle.”

Sherman is still looking all glad-handy and hasn’t given up yet. Tonight will be a triumph for Jim Street’s sign makers—everybody here is just gushing over them. If he wins tonight, it will be for the quality of his signs.

Advice from Soon-to-Be-Senator Murray

posted by on September 19 at 9:37 PM

Earlier tonight, on our way out to the campaign parties, we ran into state Rep. Ed Murray (who holds the seat all six candidates we’re following tonight are seeking to fill) having dinner with his former boss Martha Cho and Democratic pollster Don McDonough at 1200 Bistro on Capitol Hill. (Murray is a shoo-in for state senator in the 43rd district, a race that’s on the ballot in November.) We had two questions for Murray: What advice would he give tonight’s winner; and what he would do if Jamie Pedersen, whom Murray endorsed, didn’t win?

To the first question, Murray said the winner would need to “spend time talking to their opponent’s supporters” and finding out what their issues are. Once in office, Murray said, the winner should “go to the unsung members of the caucus… and ask for their advice,” a tactic that served Murray well in his first term in office.

And if his candidate Pedersen doesn’t win?

Murray laughed, smiled, and responded: “That’s a tough question. You can’t expect me to answer that.”

Kids Fucking Everywhere

posted by on September 19 at 9:28 PM

Sarah Mirk is at the Montlake Alehouse, which is absolutely packed with Sherman supporters and pictures of his face:

The supporters here are younger voters, UW students, and the elementary-school kids. Party Crasher said “there are kids fucking everywhere,” which we could not confirm, though the beer is flowing freely and the pizza is flying.

A big-screened television is tuned to the results, but the tables are crowded with laptops searching for results. Only 3,000 votes have been counted in the 43rd and Sherman said the first thing he’s going to do if he’s elected is “get really drunk.”

Bill Sherman is standing outside, shaking hands, looking excited. Everybody is smiling.

And the Results, for What They’re Worth

posted by on September 19 at 9:27 PM

Jamie Pedersen
Democrat 1044

Bill Sherman
Democrat 554 15.2031%

Jim Street
Democrat 807 22.1460%

Lynne Dodson
Democrat 403 11.0593%

Dick Kelley
Democrat 428 11.7453%

Stephanie Pure
Democrat 408 11.1965%

Hugh Foskett
Republican 393 100%

Vote Totals 4037 100%

Early Returns

posted by on September 19 at 9:21 PM

The early results are in (and we mean very early results—only 4,037 votes have been counted) and Jamie Pedersen is in the lead, with 1,044 votes. Pedersen, who’s holding his election-night party at his beautiful home in east Capitol Hill, said “the early numbers don’t mean anything”—although, asked how many votes he’d received, Pedersen recited the numbers by heart. Pedersen’s spread included chips and salsa, turkey wraps, and homemade cookies that Pedersen baked himself.

Over at Stephanie Pure’s campaign party, about two dozen people (including city council members Jean Godden and Pure’s boss Peter Steinbrueck) gathered over pizza and beer to await the results. When the early returns put Pure in fifth place over labor candidate Lynne Dodson, Pure campaign consultant Jason Bennett quipped that campaign consultants “Linda Mitchell and Karen Cooper should have asked Lynne to drop out, not Stephanie.” Early in the campaign, Mitchell and Cooper urged Pure to drop out of the race so that their candidate, Dodson, could enjoy the benefit of being the only female candidate.

Meanwhile, as we left Pure’s party, Steinbrueck called out over his shoulder: “If Jamie wins, Preston Gates [the lobbying and law firm for which Pedersen works] wins. It’s the cheapest way they can get what they want in Olympia—just elect somebody.

Pure Knows It’s Finished

posted by on September 19 at 9:09 PM

Ace reporter Brad Steinbacher phones in from Stephanie Pure’s event at Piecora’s:

She’s lost and she knows it. She’s just hanging out with friends, turning it into a bit of a party. And that’s about it.

The Runup to Election Night

posted by on September 19 at 9:09 PM

In the weeks leading up to tonight’s primary election, voters in the 43rd District were inundated with mailers for the six candidates vying to represent the district in the state legislature. Here are the mailers I’ve received in the last two weeks:

Knowing that candidates target mailers to the people they believe are their base, and knowing that I’m a single woman living alone on Capitol Hill, I can conclude from my selection of mailers (eight from Jamie Pedersen, three from Stephanie Pure) that Pure thinks I’m concerned about choice (accurate), and Pedersen thinks I’m gay (not so accurate). A friend who also lives in the district—a 43-year-old male resident of Roosevelt—got about a dozen mailers from middle-aged male candidate Jim Street (who didn’t send me a single piece of mail) and not a single piece from Pure.

Baby Carrots for the Older Crowd

posted by on September 19 at 8:58 PM

Sarah Mirk is at Jim Street’s friend’s house—the home of the Ransom family—where she and Kelly O chatted briefly with a columnist from the Seattle Gay News:

She said she was going to ask Street about bringing the troops home—and that she was dating somebody at Ft. Lewis.

Street seemed hesitant, said he wasn’t sure if he was going to win and that “the race is full of good candidates.” If elected, one of his top priorities will be to decrease the number of high-school dropouts.

He said his biggest mistake on the campaign trail was “not schmoozing more” with the endorsement boards of environmental groups. The party was low-key, only about 20 people, all of them older, with delicious brownies, baby carrots, chips and salsa, and beer and wine. Very homey, with people clustered around a tiny television in the kitchen, all watching the returns come in. They were excited that Alexander had pulled ahead.

First Results: Pedersen Up By 6 Points

posted by on September 19 at 8:51 PM

As one savvy observer predicted yesterday, Pedersen has taken an early lead.

State Representative Legislative Dist No. 43 - Position 1 - Democratic

Jamie Pedersen D 1044 28.65%

Bill Sherman D 554 15.20%

Jim Street D 807 22.15%

Lynne Dodson D 403 11.06%

Dick Kelley D 428 11.75%

Stephanie Pure D 408 11.20%

And, uh, no surprise here but Ed Murray currently has 99 percent of the votes in his (unopposed) run for the state senate seat from the 43rd.

Party Crasher

posted by on September 19 at 8:47 PM

Party Crasher phones in from the Montlake Alehouse:

… which is where the Drinking Liberally people were. Bill Sherman had his campaign party here as well as folks from I-88. The I-88 people have stuffed the bar full of elementary-school kids—is that a subclause to the initiative?—and there are children running around everywhere.

I heard Sherman apologizing for having his event here. He said to one of the Drinking Liberally people: “Dude, it was your room.” Some of the Liberal Drinkers were unhappy and felt like Sherman’s double-booking was a tactic intended to co-opt Drinking Liberally’s youthful, motivated crowd. Apparently, this is the place to be. Somebody just arrived from Pure’s party at Piecora’s, saying it was “dead.”

The children are munching on nachos. There’s one little girl spinning another little girl around like a helicopter. I was at the Frye today going to the Henry Darger exhibit and this scene is really freaking me out. It’s like the Vivian Girls in the realm of the Democrats…

Primary Night

posted by on September 19 at 8:00 PM

Welcome to primary night. Expecting early results at 8 p.m.? Pour another drink… This year, well, take it away King County:

Poll results are expected to come in later this year. With new, accessible voting units, closing the polls will take longer. In addition, new requirements mean the county will not modem results from King County’s 508 polling places. Instead, poll results will be manually uploaded beginning around 10 p.m. and continue until 98-to-100 percent of polling places are reported online.

I’m headed off Jamie Pedersen’s party, where I hear that the candidate with the boyish face and the goodie-two-shoes rep is, shockingly, baking cookies for his guests…


Confirmed: Cyndi Lauper is a Genius, Slog Readers are Helpful

posted by on September 19 at 5:04 PM

Earlier today, I Slogged about my previously fruitless search for the Brains’ original of “Money Changes Everything,” a song I know and love through Cyndi Lauper’s cover version on her debut. While going back-n-forth in the comments, I also mentioned that I’d love to find the original of Robert Hazard’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” a song I also know and love through Cyndi Lauper’s cover version on her debut.

Well, thanks to some wonderful Slog readers—specifically Chris and the superstar known as Fnarf—I’ve ended the day having heard both tracks.

Actually, I only got to hear a 40-second snippet of Hazard’s “Girls…” (available here), but it sounds great, and the Brains’ track is awesome.

However, the true hero is Cyndi Lauper, who makes big, glossy masterpieces of both songs. I’m tempted to say her taste for and way with covers is beyond reproach, but I’m not so hot on her version of “When You Were Mine” (too tame compared to Prince’s original) and then there’s the matter of True Colors’ “Iko, Iko,” which is better left unmentioned.

Thanks again to Chris and Fnarf, as well as KEXP’s Larry Rose, who kindly offered to spin the Brains’ tune on “Larry’s Lounge” this Sunday from 3pm to 6pm…

South/North: Too Much Living Above All Else

posted by on September 19 at 5:00 PM

1. A few weeks ago I Slogged about Alice Wheeler’s show at Chambers in Portland (it’s up through Oct. 14; I haven’t seen it yet). Just noticed an in-depth review of it by Jeff Jahn here. (Jahn calls out this image, which struck me, too, even in reproduction.)


2. Sat down with the new issue of ARCADE last night, and it’s not bad, not bad at all. Includes a ranging, connective piece on the stellar collection at the Douglass Truth Library by Charles Mudede and a toothy debate about “Vancouverism” between Julie Bogdanowicz and James Eidse. Come on, ARCADE—put those stories on your web site with the others.

Until that happens, here are a few snippets from the Vancouver argument, diligently typed in by me:

Bogdanowicz: In an attempt to curtail sprawl by increasing housing in the center of the city, Vancouver planners have made a livable downtown that appeals to the suburban needs of predictability and control. The Vancouver Model is laudable in its attempt to address the issues that forced suburbanites out of the city in the first place; but, in some respects, this conception of livability impedes urbanity. … Of course a successful city has to be livable, but the livability in Vancouver has been narrowly defined and the preconcpetions of the Model obstruct possibilities. The planning department has not been critically engaged with the city. Instead it has coasted on this formula. Livability is the ideology through which the Model manifests itself.

Eidse: I don’t completely buy the ideology argument. The hybrid composition of the point-tower on podium is a case in point—where the podium addresses a New-Urbanist deference to the street, and the point-tower achieves a Hong Kong-style valorization of residential density. It’s a sort of New Urbanism from the waist down … My sense is that planners are a pragmatic group that simply want to be shown something better. The perceived orthodoxy of the present situation has as much to do with the architects’ failure to imagine and communicate other possibilities as it does with any sort of dogmatism on the part of the planning department.

Bogdanowicz:Yet Vancouverism has emerged as an ideology in its own right. The promise of our early innovations have become doctrinaire. This leaves little room for ingenuity … Somehow, livability and architecture have become mutually exclusive, which has enabled a new-urban-suburbanism in downtown Vancouver, with too much living above all else.

Eidse: The problem isn’t that the buildings look the same, but that they fundamentally are the same and don’t necessarily look it. Architects have responded to the planners’ Model by manipulating the only variable that remains: a frivolous play of surfaces. Architects have become either complacent participants in this marginalization, or have attempted to operate outside of this context, positioning themselves as critics rather than actors.

Any architects out there who care to engage the points?

The Writing MacArthurs

posted by on September 19 at 4:50 PM

It’s so nice when huge piles of money go to writers who are actually awesome.

Graves showed some pretty pictures of work by visual artists getting MacArthurs this year. I have no pretty pictures for you, but I can tell you that George Saunders is the motherfucking bomb—can you still call someone “the bomb”? should I say “the bizzy”? does “motherfucking” help?—and I’m not just saying that because the gods of Bumbershoot conspired to bring him here this year and, even more absurd, to let me be the one to ask questions on stage. He’s a nice, humble guy. Not a motherfucker at all. (Except in the Miles Davis sense.) The “definitive” Saunders fansite does not have this news yet, but here’s an article about Saunders’s reaction in a student newspaper at Syracuse University (where he teaches).

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc got a MacArthur for her nonfiction—she’s the author of Random Family. Here’s a Nightstand about her visiting Chief Sealth High School a couple years ago.

Atul Gawande writes on medical topics (interesting, uncomfortable topics, like how much money he makes as a doctor) for The New Yorker

Who are all of 2006’s winners, you ask? And what do they look like? And how old they are? Your questions are answered here.

Where the Party’s At

posted by on September 19 at 4:42 PM

Someone in the comments asked where the primary election parties are tonight. As it happens, we have the answer — because we’ll be bouncing around to all the parties and filing reports from them all night on the Slog, starting at 8 p.m.

The biggest race in town, of course, is the race for the state house seat from Seattle’s 43rd District. Here’s the party run-down for that contest (I’ll add more parties to this list as we hear about them).

Bill Sherman - Montlake Alehouse, 2307 24th Ave E - 8PM

Stephanie Pure - Piecora’s Pizza, 14th and E Madison (across from Chop Suey) - 8PM

Jamie Pedersen - private gathering at his house

Lynne Dodson - B&O Espresso, 204 Belmont Ave. E. - 8PM

Jim Street - private gathering at his house

Dick Kelley - private gathering at his house

We’re on the list for all the private parties, and we’re bringing cameras, so don’t feel bad if you were (inadvertantly, of course) left off the list at Kelley’s, Street’s, or Pedersen’s…

Andrew Sullivan Loves Dina Martina

posted by on September 19 at 4:01 PM


The national love for Seattle treasure Dina Martina continues to pour in, most recently in a gushy blog post by former New Repulbic editor and currrent Time writer Andrew Sullivan:

For the last two summers, performance-artist/drag-queen/comic genius Dina Martina has been playing in Provincetown. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen a lot of shows in Ptown over the last couple of decades and I’ve never seen anything as brilliant or as funny as Dina. This summer, my fiance and I saw her show seven times in nine weeks. Like all great comedy—Monty Python and South Park spring to mind—it gets funnier the more you experience it.

Read the full post here.

Death in the City: An Update

posted by on September 19 at 3:39 PM

Two Slog commenters have also seen perfectly fluffy, unsquashed dead squirrels, one in Greenwood, one in Volunteer Park. My friend Jill, with whom I just had lunch at Saint-Germain in Madison Valley (excellent croque monsieur sandwich, AND they are serving raw spinach—fearless! French!), also saw another on Capitol Hill yesterday. Be afraid; the end is nigh.

You Know What’s Boring?

posted by on September 19 at 2:58 PM

…all the shocked hand wringing about how much partisan money ($1million from the Building Industry Association of Washington, BIAW) that’s gone into the state supreme court races this year.

Columnists and editorial page editors are shocked, just shocked, that “Our highest court, supposedly the last bastion of impartiality and fair-mindedness in government, is for sale” …(that’s from a Seattle Times column) …

And here’s a PI editorial: “Attempts to stack appellate courts with ideologically bound candidates contradict the public interest in selecting an independent judiciary.”

What’s with the willful naivete about the state supreme court and the supposed apolitical vacuum it occupies?

Our supreme court justices are elected. The candidates seek endorsements from ideological groups. People vote—meaning: people make choices—based on those endorsements.

It’s ridiculous to pretend that people aren’t picking their supreme court candidates based on ideological or partisan grounds.

Even in situations where judges are appointed (like at the federal level), one of the main concerns every presidential election cycle is: How will a Democratic or Republican president tip the scales of ideology on the court?

Face it. The courts are political.

I wish everybody would stop putting on quaint appearances about our supreme court. Political objectivity is as absent from the bench as it is from the newspaper ed boards that endorse the judges who sit there.

Under current law, the BIAW has every right to dump loads of cash into the races. It’s a smart move. The BIAW—just like the unions that gave money to Groen’s liberal(ish) opponent, Gerry Alexander—get it.

I wish everyone else would stop pretending to be scandalized and own up to the real deal as well.

Melting Air

posted by on September 19 at 2:15 PM

This is the Burj al Arab.
It is the tallest hotel in the world, built on an artificial island, and is in the city that marks the terminal point of the Arab world, the point at which it becomes one with capitalism, Dubai. Bin Laden doesn’t stand a chance. Dubai is the future that no power, no religion, no amount of terror can deny.

The hotel celebrates the birthplace of modern capitalism—the seas (“Just as the earth, the firm and solid ground, is a precondition of the principle of family [village] life, so is the sea the natural element for the industry”). It takes its shape from a sail that’s full of air and rushing a ship’s cargo of commodities to its buyers, its destiny.

Drawing from this famous line: “[The slave] has experienced the fear of death, the absolute Lord… . [this] absolute melting away of everything stable,” Marx and Engles produced this famous line: “All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air…” What capital ultimately wants is total detachment from reality and history.

The hotel references two of capital’s primary aspirations: one, in shape it references movement, circulation, locomotion (in the original Greek sense of that word—location movement); two, the fact that it is built on an artificial island references capital’s emphasis on exchange value, its detach from the real, its melting into air.

Arts in America

posted by on September 19 at 2:00 PM

LL Cool J: He’s The Man, apparently.

Special fading hiphop stars edition…

Eminem returns to the hiphop fray with a mixtape titled The Re-Up (due Dec. 5 on Em’s Shady imprint). The disc is intended to spotlight the label’s new artists, with most of the tracks produced by Marshall Mathers III.

Beastie Boys get charitable with an Oct. 4 concert to benefit Gimme Shelter, an organization that strives to cease the euthanasia of healthy animals.

LL Cool J is producing and starring in a TV police drama called The Man. If it keeps him away from the mic, I’m all for it.

—Lightning-tongued British MC Lady Sovereign covers the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” on an upcoming episode of The O.C. Is nothing sacred? Thankfully, the answer is yes.

Afghan Whigs reunite (if only briefly); Hannah Levin rejoices. The former Sub Pop rockers are cutting new songs for a compilation due next spring on Rhino Records, titled Unbreakable.

—Speaking of Rhino, the label is releasing Rockin’ Bones: ’50s Punk and Rockabilly, a boxed set that commemorates rockabilly’s mavericks. Artists featured include Hasil Adkins, Charlie Feathers, Ronnie Dawson, Wanda Jackson, and obscure figures such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly.

—Finally, Megan Seling suggests that you board Boat tonight and get nautical with Maritime.

Maritime, Speaker Speaker, Boat (MUSIC) You’ll go to this show because the very loveable Boat and Speaker Speaker are playing, and because Boat’s new record, Songs That You Might Not Like, is a wonderful symphony of quirky sounds and goofy lyrics that make you feel like you’re walking through clouds made of cotton candy. And once at the show, you’ll stay because Maritime’s lovely and poignant indie pop makes you want to dance and smile more than you’ll want to stare at your shoes with watery eyes. (The Paradox, 1401 NW Leary Way, 7:30 pm, $8, all ages.) MEGAN SELING

Tune In!

posted by on September 19 at 1:46 PM

For the Stranger’s exhaustive, incessant, constantly-updated Slog coverage of tonight’s primary election, starting at 8:00!

First E. Coli, Now Frogs

posted by on September 19 at 1:31 PM

Is this picture a prank or a hoax?


All I know is I HATE being afraid of spinach. When will it be safe again?

Meet the Car Your Kids Will Drive

posted by on September 19 at 1:27 PM

GM’s ingenious fuel-cell powered Highwire:

Chilling Comparison

posted by on September 19 at 1:10 PM

Reading Andrew Sullivan’s description of the “interrogation technique” CIA officials describe as “Long Time Standing,” I couldn’t help but think of my recent visit to the Dachau concentration camp outside Munich. The SS used the so-called bunker, or prison building, to torture Dachau prisoners, by confining them in complete darkness, beating them behind double doors so their screams couldn’t be heard by other prisoners, and placing them in so-called “standing cells,” where they were unable to move for 72 hours at a time.

From a description of the standing cells:

Each standing cell was 2 ft. 6 inches square. Prisoners who had been condemned to this punishment were put into a standing cell for 72 hours at a time with no light or air. According to Dr. Neuhäusler, who was a “special prisoner” in the bunker, “the prisoner was compelled to stand for three days and three nights and was given only bread and water; every fourth day he came into a normal cell, ate prisoner’s fare and was allowed to sleep for one night on a plank bed. Then three days’ standing began again. Such were the abominations which the prisoners had to bear from the sadistic Nazis.”

And the CIA’s description of “Long Time Standing,” taken from Sullivan’s web site:

This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.

According to a story in the Guardian, the “alternative techniques” the Bush administration wants to use in interrogating prisoners include “induced hypothermia” (confining prisoners naked in freezing-cold cells); forcing suspects to stand for prolonged periods; sleep deprivation; and sound and light manipulation.

Death in the City

posted by on September 19 at 1:08 PM

This past Sunday, I saw four dead squirrels hither and yon on Capitol Hill. One was in front of the former site of Coffee Messiah on Olive (on the sidewalk; a big dog picked it up in its mouth, and the big dog’s owner made the big dog put it back down, which surely mystified and endlessly frustrated the big dog); one was on 12th around, say, Denny, in the street; two (two!) were in the street on the same block of East Union at Summit. I have tried to put these four dead squirrels out of my mind, but I cannot. The eerie thing: None of them were squashed, as a dead squirrel in the street (or even on the sidewalk) ought to be; they all looked just fine, fluffy and cute, like maybe they were sleeping. The Stranger news staff, usually so responsive to my alarmed calls about such things as brand-new bird-flu-esque epidemics, refuses to investigate. God help us.

LaRouchie’s crackdown continues!

posted by on September 19 at 12:51 PM

In what is becoming an alarming pattern, a second person has been arrested for playfully tormenting the aggressive, conspiracy-hawking Lyndon LaRouche campaigners who populate Seattle sidewalks on the weekends. Over the summer, the Stranger reported on UW grad Ashley Miller, who threw water balloons at irksome LaRouchies on the Ave and was later charged with assault.

This morning, I got a phone call from a Seattle University student named Brad, who says he was handcuffed and arrested at Vivace after dumping 5 pounds of flour on a LaRouche campaign table on Broadway. Brad is an anti-war protestor type, but was fed up with the canvassers. “I talked to them and I read all their material and it’s all crap,” he says. Annoyed by their inescapable presence on Broadway, Brad grabbed a 5 lb bag of flour from his house (he’s a baker), dumped it on their table and then went home, changed clothes to diguise his identity and headed past the table again to Vivace… where he was arrested, charged with destruction of property and spent a night in jail.

He’s currently out on his own recognizance, awaiting trial.

Smart Card for Transit

posted by on September 19 at 12:15 PM

OK, I know this doesn’t qualify as major news (it’s not like we’re getting a real regional transit system or anything) but I think it’s cool anyway: Seven regional transit agencies are testing a region-wide Smart Card, a credit-card-size pass that will work on every transit system in the Puget Sound area. (Those seven agencies, for the curious, are: Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, and the Washington State ferries.) The card, which is similar to smart cards in dozens of other US cities and abroad (surprise: we’re behind the curve), will keep track of the value of all tickets, transfers and passes and bill riders accordingly at the end of the month. If you’re interested in volunteering, a full list of test routes is available here.

Can You Help Me Find My Brains?

posted by on September 19 at 12:03 PM

Attention music know-abouters:

I am desperately—well, not so desperately, as it’s taken 23 years so far—looking for a copy or MP3 or whatever of the Brains’ original rendition of “Money Changes Everything,” the new-wave classic covered so winningly by Cyndi Lauper on She’s So Unusual.

I’ve done Google searches, and Limewire searches, and even asked The Stranger’s in-house music scholar Mike Nipper, who previously hooked me up with the Nerves’ original rendition of “Hangin’ on the Telephone,” the new-wave classic covered so winningly by Blondie on Parallel Lines. But no luck this time.

If any of you Slog readers have any leads—worthy websites, e-jukeboxes, etc—do let me know…

Mars Hill Church on

posted by on September 19 at 11:45 AM

After Driscoll prays for the continued fertility of his congregation, and the worship band cranks out a few fierce guitar licks, the sermon begins. Pacing the stage like a stand-up pro, blending observational humor about parenting with ribald biblical storytelling, Driscoll peppers his message with references to his own children as midget demons and recalls his own past in stories about duct-taping and hog-tying his own siblings. He riffs about waiting in a supermarket checkout line behind a woman who said to him, “You sure got a lot of kids! I hope you’ve figured out what causes that.”

“Yeah,” he flipped back. “A blessed wife. I bet you don’t have any kids.” The congregation hoots and hollers. “That shut her up,” he mutters.


Artistic Director for Theater Schmeater Stepping Down

posted by on September 19 at 11:45 AM

Rob West, who has been the executive artistic director of Capitol Hill’s Theater Schmeater for almost six years, is moving on. While he held the job, Schmeater produced some popular late-night shows (Twilight Zone, Money and Run by Wayne S. Rawley) and several local world premieres (including Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi, which won the Schmeater playwrighting competition in 2004 and, after its Schmeater run, went to New York where the New Yorker called it “brilliant and sinewy”).

He says he’s leaving to get married and film a movie he’s always wanted to make. No replacement has been selected.

A nice note to exit on: Theater Schmeater is currently running Soul of a Whore, the last in a three-part play cycle by Denis Johnson (who wrote Jesus’ Son), which was published four years ago in McSweeney’s, volume nine, and summarized in the magazine’s table of contents like this:

Eugene O’Neill meets Greek drama meets, of course, Denis Johnson. The characters are blurred in mystery and seem suspiciously connected through fate or destiny. This is a play you read and cannot wait to see performed on stage.

Now’s your chance.

Chubby Bunny Claims Another Victim

posted by on September 19 at 11:29 AM

And the actual story’s nowhere near as morbidly delightful as that headline.

The Chubby Bunny in question is not, as it turns out, an actual overweight rabbit, but a carnival game, wherein participants cram their mouths with marshmallows until they are unable to say the words “chubby bunny.”

Unfortunately, it’s horribly dangerous, as 32-year-old Janet Rudd and her loved ones learned the hard way, after Rudd was roped into a round of Chubby Bunny last week at the Western Fair in London, Ontario, and died.

Details come from Ontario’s Globe & Mail:

[A]fter putting four marshmallows in her mouth, Janet quit the contest and walked away from the stage. Fair officials say she spat out a wad of thick, white goop before leaving, and was 10 metres from the stage before she signalled for help. She collapsed, unable to breathe. A crowd gathered around her. First-aid workers tried to perform CPR and called an ambulance. The local ambulance service was on scene within minutes, but couldn’t revive her. According to Chris Darby, duty manager for Thames ambulance, Janet went into cardiac arrest.

“The game is insane,” said John Fish to the Globe & Mail. “You have these esophagus-sized plugs and you’re not allowed to chew them or swallow them, but your saliva’s acting on them and making them slippery—I mean it’s inevitable that someone is going to die.” (Mr. Fish should know—his 12-year-old daughter died after playing Chubby Bunny at school in 1999.)

“You breathe in at the wrong time and you draw a huge airway obstruction down into your airway that is essentially self-sealing,” said Chris Darby, duty manager for Thames ambulance. “It’s like spraying Styrofoam in there.”

Full story here.

Vote Today!

posted by on September 19 at 11:27 AM

Today is the day to vote in the primary election—either in person or have your mail-in ballot postmarked. Get to it, and don’t forget to select a party affiliation at the top of the ballot.

Looking for information on who to vote for? Read The Stranger primary endorsements and take an Election Cheat Sheet with you.

Polls are open until 8:00 p.m. Don’t know where to go? King County voters can look up their polling place here.

The Viz Art MacArthurs

posted by on September 19 at 11:26 AM

Josiah McElheny. This is his An End to Modernity, 2005 (chrome-plated aluminum, electric lighting, and hand-blown glass).


Shahzia Sikander. This is her Pathology of Suspension #10, 2005 (ink and gouache on prepared paper).


Anna Schuleit. These are images from her 2003 installation, Bloom, inside a Massachusetts mental institution.



Jackie Chan: Porn Star!

posted by on September 19 at 11:03 AM

Hey martial arts fans! Dig this story from today’s Shanghai Daily—which is twice as good as the NYT and has a killer Sudoku puzzle.

KUNGFU film star Jackie Chan yesterday admitted that he acted in a porn movie 31 years ago, responding to a report revealed by Hong Kong media, Information Times reported today.

“I had to do anything I could to make a living 31 years ago, but I don’t think it’s a big deal, even Marlon Brando used to be exposed in his movies,” Chan said.

“The porn movie at that time was more conservative than the current films,” he said.

Hong Kong netizens tipped local media that Chan was in the porn movie “All in the Family” in 1975, with a porn movie star who was famous at that time.

The Hong Kong made movie, directed by Zhu Mu, was defined as a comedy. Dean Shek, Tien Chun, and Sammo Hung were also co-stars.

So… a “conservative” porno entitled “All in the Family”? I figure Sammo Hung played Archie Bunker, and Jackie played “Meathead”?

Okay… that’s gross. Sorry.

Times Be Damned

posted by on September 19 at 11:02 AM

Part two to that last post is that the Times does have writers worth reading outside of pop music and the movies (that old standby John Rockwell, Roberta Smith, and Alan Riding are at the top of my version of their roster), but it isn’t the paper of record it once was for everything highbrow.

That paper of cultural record, absolutely positively, is the Guardian, which brings me to something I’ve been meaning to share with you since yesterday: Doug McLennan, creator and guru of ArtsJournal, now has a blog, Diacritical. His second post, today, is about why the Guardian is so great. Check it yourself. I bet you bookmark it.

The worst of Times

posted by on September 19 at 10:52 AM

This morning’s New York Times has the weirdest ad spread for … itself. The thing is a 24-page standalone section with only the words “THESE TIMES DEMAND” on the front, and the natural follow, “THE TIMES” on the inside page, with the claim, “In the following pages—and in the months ahead—we will introduce you to reporters who don’t simply cover a story; they uncover it.”

In the months ahead, there will be more spreads like these? Because this one alone seems rather desperate, confirming some of the doom-and-gloom reportage in this recent Vanity Fair story, “Panic on 43rd Street.”

OK, maybe the prediction of the Times’s demise is radical. But it’s worth considering what exactly goes down if the Times goes down. The good news is that, judging from this advertising spread, the fine arts have nothing to lose. The bad news is that the reason why is that there are no fine arts in the Times.

Across the 24 pages, we get splashy promotions of two film critics, a rock critic, a pop critic, a jazz critic, and the editor of the “style” magazine, T, but nary a mention of an art, theater, or classical music critic, writer, or editor.

What these times don’t demand, it seems, is anyone who can write thoughtfully about any cultural product besides movies, popular music, shoes, and home furnishings.

Fox Wants to Capture the “Gargantuan Christian Audience”

posted by on September 19 at 10:49 AM

The network is expected to announce plans today about its new Christian film studio, FoxFaith. I wish I was making this up, but I’m not. I also shudder to think what corporate Christian “reality” programming might look like, provided their film division eventually expands its scope.

The Drug War Heads to YouTube

posted by on September 19 at 9:30 AM

And the Associated Press counts down the minutes until people start turning the government’s anti-drug YouTube ads into YouTube spoofs.

The decision to distribute anti-drug, public-service announcements and other videos over YouTube represents the first concerted effort by the U.S. government to influence customers of the popular service, which shows more than 100 million videos per day…

“If just one teen sees this and decides illegal drug use is not the path for them, it will be a success,” said Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the drug office.

“Welcome to the great experiment,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. He predicted computer-savvy critics of U.S. drug policies will quickly edit the government’s videos to produce parodies and distribute those on YouTube.

Pot-heads, start your search engines…

The Rem

posted by on September 19 at 9:20 AM

“(D)esigner of the Seattle Public Library, the Las Vegas Guggenheim, and the Prada store in Lower Manhattan”: You’re hired. (That’s two links to his latest and greatest.)

You Go to an Election With the Candidate You’ve Got

posted by on September 19 at 9:16 AM

Today’s front-page New York Times article on the Cantwell/McGavick race doesn’t quite get it right.

The angle of the article is this: Anti-war voters and Sen. Maria Cantwell have both become less stubborn (anti-war voters swallowing their pride and supporting Cantwell) (Cantwell tweaking her position to satisfy the Democratic base) in a pragmatic compromise focused on beating Republican challenger Mike McGavick.

The NYT writes:

With a practical eye on that very different political reality, Ms. Cantwell and many of her antiwar critics have moved closer to each other, and the senator’s lead over Mr. McGavick has increased to double digits in some polls.

I think the article overplays the compromise angle—at least from Cantwell’s side of the equation.

As evidence that Cantwell’s changed her tune? The NYT cites the bill Cantwell sponsored with Sen. Joseph Biden in early August prohibiting permanent bases in Iraq (that’s a solid example, but it’s all they’ve really got.)

The NYT also cites Cantwell’s recent statement that if she knew then what she knows now—she wouldn’t have voted for the war. That’s not such a great example. First of all, it’s a wacky hypothetical that doesn’t mean anything about her current position on Iraq. Second: McGavick said the exact same thing…before Cantwell did. (She wasn’t about to get outflanked on the left by her Republican opponent’s enticing soundbite.)

The NYT also alludes to Cantwell’s support for the Levin amendment (which kinda sought a timetable for U.S. withdrawal). This is also a shaky example because the Levin amendment is limp legislation (it doesn’t mandate a thing) and it’s squishy—meaning, Cantwell could just as easily use the Levin amendment as evidence that she’s not an anti-war lefty if she had to. And the fact of the matter is, she’s not an anti-war lefty.

I wrote about Cantwell’s pseudo transition last month and concluded this way:

Senator Levin’s own press release stated: “The amendment… doesn’t establish a timetable for redeployment and it does not call for a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.”

Indeed, neither does Senator Cantwell. But Democrats don’t care about subtleties these days—they just want to win.

The liberal NYT wanted a neat story that explains why a Democrat who has got more in common with Joe Lieberman than Russ Feingold is a-okay in 2006—a weird phenomenon that doesn’t live up to conventional wisdom about the war and this season’s supposedly renergized Democratic party with its supposed backbone transplant. So, the NYT fudges it to make it look like Cantwell is responding to anti-war critics.

The story—and it’s been the story going back months now, when Cantwell started racking up Democratic organizational endorsements before she ever started to make superficial adjustments to her war stance—is this: Washington Democrats are desperate desperate desperate to take back the U.S. Senate. That means they’ve been forced to ignore Cantwell’s position on the war.

Covering Cantwell’s race, I’ve had a chance to talk to Democratic voters on the campaing trail, and they all say the same sorts of things when I ask what they think of Cantwell’s position on the war: She’s great on the environment; McGavick’s worse; she voted on bad information; it’s not the only issue.

The real story in Washington state isn’t that Cantwell compromised with an outraged base, it’s that Democratic voters are simply sucking it up on the war. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but that’s what’s going on here. And frankly, I think Cantwell’s been politically smart to stick to her guns.

The Morning News

posted by on September 19 at 6:59 AM

Bush approval up to 44%, highest in a year.
“The bounce comes with seven weeks before elections to decide control of Congress.”

Cantwell/McGavick race featured on front-page of NYT.
“Ms. Cantwell has made a clear effort to offset antiwar opposition.”

Bush still seeking compromise on his torture legislation with GOP senators.
“The committee last week passed its own bill that, unlike Bush’s plan, would set tighter limits on use of testimony obtained by coercion.”

Seattle Times reports that Steinbrueck thinks aerial option for Viaduct is illegal—a story the Slog reported last week.
“Steinbrueck said the elevated-viaduct option should be taken off the table because it would violate city law.”

New Sonics owner optimistic about staying in region.
“While Bellevue is emerging as potentially the most viable site for an arena, Bennett said he remains open to all options.”

President Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will both address U.N. today.
” ‘The world? Who is the world? The United States? The U.S. administration is not the entire world. Europe does not account for one-twentieth of the entire world,’ Ahmadinejad said.”

Never mind Congress, the Democrats might also take the lead in governor’s mansions for the first time since 1994.
“Currently, the GOP majority in governors’ mansions stands at 28 to Democrats’ 22, but the Republican Party is defending far more seats this fall than are the Democrats.”

USA Today reports that violent crime rates rise for first time in years.
” ‘This report should serve as a strong wake-up call,’ said Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske in Seattle, which recorded a 25% increase in gun-related crime last year.”

The Taliban is back.
“The bombing was in the southern village of Char Kota, in Pashmul, one of the areas that NATO troops had only just wrested from the control of Taliban fighters after two weeks of heavy fighting.”

Stranger reporter Erica C. Barnett reports on rising cost estimates for Viaduct options.
“Cost estimates are expected to be much higher than the current estimates of $3.6 billion and $2.4 billion for the tunnel and aerial rebuild, respectively.”

Seattle City Council sends Soncis subsidy to voters.
“Mayor Greg Nickels has said I-91 isn’t helpful to those who want to keep the teams in the state.”

Today is Election Day in Seattle.
Susan Owens is facing a well-funded social-conservative opponent, Republican State Senator Stephen Johnson, a member of the Christian Legal Society that is anti-choice and opposes stem-cell research. Johnson, a fierce opponent of education funding in the state senate, can’t even remember why he voted as a state senator to ban gay marriage back in 1998.”

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bad Viaduct News Imminent

posted by on September 18 at 6:51 PM

On Wednesday, the Washington State Department of Transportation will release new cost estimates for the various viaduct-replacement options (not including the surface/transit option, of course.) The new estimates come in response to Gov. Christine Gregoire’s request for updated figures. Two weeks ago, a state-appointed expert review panel found that WSDOT’s cost-inflation assumptions were “overly optimistic,” relying as they did on historic cost inflation figures, not current construction cost increases. The difference between the old and new inflation rates is substantial: 2.4 percent, versus current annual inflation rates between 6 and 10 percent. Sound Transit ran into similar problems with its cost inflation estimates. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, the light-rail agency assumed inflation of 3 to 4 percent during light-rail construction; actual costs for construction materials have been rising between 10 and 15 percent every year.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, then, that Wednesday’s cost estimates are expected to be much higher than the current high estimates of $3.6 billion and $2.4 billion for the tunnel and aerial rebuild, respectively. The new estimates could make a public vote unlikely, especially if the tunnel now appears unfeasible. (The council put off deciding whether to put the measure on the ballot until Friday; originally, it was scheduled for a vote this afternoon.) No one on the council, with the exception of David Della, is actively supporting the aerial rebuild proposal (this afternoon, Peter Steinbrueck proposed an ordinance declaring the rebuild option illegal, to widespread council support), so a vote that would almost certainly support the rebuild would, in the council’s view, be a disaster. “We’ve spent hundreds of hours in meetings discussing this project, so why are we even discussing a vote?” council member Tom Rasmussen says. “I think this is why people elect us.”

A majority of the council now reportedly opposes putting the viaduct proposals on the November ballot; as transportation committee chair Jan Drago puts it, “it’s too complicated a project and we don’t have the final numbers. If we didn’t learn anything from the monorail, we’re nuts!” The expert review panel expressed a similar view, noting that “as some agencies have found out the hard way, approving and publicizing an overly optimistic estimate of project costs—or “low-balling” the estimate to obtain initial project approval—becomes a significant liability as the project matures and the cost and schedule grows.”

Don’t keep the Wicker Man waiting!

posted by on September 18 at 6:16 PM

In the midst of my womanly ranting about Neil LaBute’s misogynistic bee obsession, I totally forgot to mention all the other silly shit in his remake of The Wicker Man. Luckily, my pal Jeff was right there with this spot-on, funny blog post, entitled “Aaah! My legs!”

While no studio movie in this day and age could possibly match the utter musical weirdness of the original, this is still an awfully goofy movie, punctuated regularly by Nic Cage basically admitting as much. When his cop character opens a child’s desk to find a trapped, angry bird, Cage exclaims “WHAT?!?” in a way that suggests that no one told the actor there was a bird in there. That exclamation is only matched by his cry of “Goddammit!” when he realizes he’s just dreamed a double fake-out (you know, he thinks he woke up from a nightmare but then he’s STILL IN THE NIGHTMARE and then he wakes up for real). Eventually Cage just decides the best solution would be to just punch everyone, which is especially funny once he’s dressed in a bear suit.

For the record, the “everyone” on the receiving end of Nic’s punching fist? Mostly old ladies. And “Aaah! My legs! MY LEGS!” is—if I remember correctly—Cage’s final line in the movie.

One mostly-unrelated sidenote:
At the Wicker Man screening I attended (10pm, Oak Tree), a twentysomething couple behind me exchanged the following words.
Girl: “Are you gonna chew?”
Guy: “Yeah.”
Girl: “How’d you feel about spitting into my water bottle, so it doesn’t smell?”
I assume he felt good about that, as I smelled nothing. I can only imagine how close that used chew-bottle was to my hair.

Zulu Ubermensch

posted by on September 18 at 2:43 PM

A chilling echo of Roskolikov is in this murder.

Arts in America

posted by on September 18 at 2:41 PM

Beck: Too slack to create his own album artwork.

—Apple’s iPod and iTunes face another challenger: now RealNetworks and SanDisk are teaming up to release a portable music player that more closely links with RealNetworks’ Rhapsody online music service.

Dave Chappelle is moving back to Yellow Springs, Ohio. Chappelle recently spurned a $50 million offer to continue his Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central. (That sound you hear is Chappelle’s agent weeping.) Dave’s now back on the standup circuit.

Beck drops the Nigel Godrich-produced The Information Oct. 3. What makes this album distinctive is the bonus DVD containing homemade videos for all 17 songs shot in the studio during the recording sessions. Also, each copy of The Information will contain a “blank package with one of four collectible sticker sheets specially designed by artists handpicked by Beck.” This allows Beck fans the chance to design a personalized CD cover—and it perhaps will sway the chronic downloaders to actually buy the album).

The U.S. vs. John Lennon documentary hits screens later this month. (Guess who won?) Special guests include Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, and Angela Davis.

Jay-Z shockingly ends his “retirement” with the release of Kingdom Come in the fall, and also shows dumbfounding respect for Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

And today Charles Mudede suggests that you keep up with this literary Jones.

Edward P. Jones

(BLACK FICTION) Edward P. Jones is the author of the historical novel The Known World, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2004 and is set in Virginia just before the Civil War. What distinguishes Jones’s book from others that examine the institution of American slavery is that it focuses on the ownership of black slaves by black freemen. Jones’s short stories regularly appear in the New Yorker, and he is certainly one of the leading lights of contemporary black American literature. (Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave, 386-4636, 7 pm, free.) CHARLES MUDEDE

Jesus Camp

posted by on September 18 at 2:29 PM

Take a quick looky-loo at this ABC News report about the new documentary Jesus Camp—about kids being indoctrinated into Christianity. The footage here is HEE-LARIOUS! Then… HORRIFYING! Then… HEE-LARIOUS! Then it gets so HORRIFYING you’ll never think anything is HEE-LARIOUS again because you’ll kill youself.

Man Eater

posted by on September 18 at 1:47 PM

It’s now time to give Anna Nicole Smith a little thought.
She is our Shiva. She is the universe. As the universe creates and destroys; she creates and destroys. It is an awesome power. The men who get too close to her breath, breasts, body are vaporized like bones in a furnace.

Granted the billionaire, J. Howard Marshall II, she married in 1994 was 89, and so his death, which almost immediately followed their marriage, seems hardly surprising. But what about the billionaire’s stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, Smith’s courtroom adversary? He unexpectedly died in July at the age of 67. And then, even more unexpectedly, her son dropped dead at only 20. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to Smith. Which is why the distance between her and the dead billionaire, or even between her dead son and newborn daughter, was so great. With Smith, the male order of grandfather, father, son is voided.

Smith’s son came into the world with nothing and left nothing in the world. He has been entirely consumed by his life-devouring/life-giving mother.

Not the Onion. But Just as Brilliant.

posted by on September 18 at 1:45 PM

From the Walla Walla Union Bulletin (Link works now.)

What’s hilarious about the priceless headline is this: It was written before the odd and comical discrepancies came out about Mike McGavick’s mea culpa.

Soooo, the headline turns out to be truer than the prankster editor could’ve ever imagined.


posted by on September 18 at 1:28 PM


Attention Scissor Sisters fans: In advance of its official U.S. release on Sept. 26, the band’s brand-new and dazzling Ta-Dah can be heard in its entirety at the Scissor Sisters’ MySpace page.

(And here’s a rave for the band’s recent show in Trafalgar Square, from the U.K.’s The Independent.)

The War on Drugs Students

posted by on September 18 at 1:22 PM

Violating the 4th Amendment isn’t just for al Qaeda suspects anymore. Check out H.R. 5295.

This bill, coming up in Congress this week, would allow school officials to search dozens or even hundreds of students based on the mere suspicion that just one student brought drugs to school.

I’ve attached a sample protest letter below from the Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Continue reading "The War on Drugs Students" »

EMP + Art (Nan Goldin Canceled)

posted by on September 18 at 12:42 PM

“I just got off the phone with her and there is an illness in Nan’s family and she has unfortunately had to cancel her Seattle itinerary. It will be rescheduled for later this year.”

That email came to me about a minute ago from Christian Quilici, EMP spokesperson. Goldin was scheduled to speak at Experience Music Project Thursday, accompanied by the West Coast premiere of her three-screen narrative work Sisters, Saints & Sibyls. According to Quilici, the plan is to reschedule the entire program for before the year is out.

How is EMP faring as an art museum?

DoubleTake, the exhibition at EMP that includes Goldin’s work and is the occasion of her coming, has been extended to Jan. 1, 2007. It is an interesting exhibition for two reasons: it is the first public showing of works (28 of them) from Paul Allen’s vaunted collection, and it is EMP’s first foray into art.

In the middle of the summer, in high season, Quilici reported that the show was seeing an average of 350-plus visitors each day in the DoubleTake gallery alone (not including the rest of the museum), and “we’re very pleased with those numbers.” (Last I was there, I sat through the intro movie alone and saw three other people in the gallery the entire time, but it was a weekday, and just before summer started. I’ve asked Quilici for updated numbers now that summer is over.)

EMP has so far declined to share attendance goals for the show. The release about the extension of the exhibition did not tout attendance numbers or make “by-popular-demand” claims. CEO Josi Callan simply remarked in a written statement, “We have had many members and educators ask us to keep the exhibition on view through the holiday period. This extension will afford even more visitors, members and school groups the opportunity to view these outstanding works of art.”

EMP has not yet decided whether to become a regular art museum as well as a rock-and-roll museum and a science fiction showplace, Quilici says. No further shows of Allen’s collection are in the works.

This is Goldin’s Stromboli at Dawn, Italy, 1996, from DoubleTake. Here’s my review of the show.


Curtis, Not Colby: A Correction

posted by on September 18 at 12:34 PM

It’s been corrected online, but the printed version of the Hump! 2 wrap-up in last week’s film section names the wrong DJ at the after party. It was DJ Curtis, not DJ Colby.

In the writer’s defense, that night was a blur.

WSDOT Ignores Economic, Environmental Benefits of Viaduct Teardown

posted by on September 18 at 12:00 PM

As Nancy Drew reported, the Congress for the New Urbanism and Center for Neighborhood Technology released a study last week finding that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), in studying alternatives for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, had overestimated downtown traffic projections, overstated the extent to which the viaduct is needed for freight mobility, and mischaracterized the car capacity of downtown streets, among other flaws. In a few weeks, the groups will release part 2 of their report, which addresses the economic impacts of the three viaduct-replacement alternatives. (The three choices are: Replace the viaduct with another aerial structure; replace it with an aerial structure and cut-and-cover tunnel; or tear it down and don’t replace it, supplementing the lost capacity by adding transit and re-routing viaduct trips through the street grid.) In a letter to Mayor Nickels, the presidents of the two organizations, John Norquist and Scott Bernstein, note that WSDOT’s analysis “did not analyze the potential benefits of more balanced traffic distribution” downtown and limited its economic considerations “solely to near term availability” of funds.

In other cities that have torn down waterfront freeways and not replaced them, Norquist and Bernstein write, the new waterfront boulevards “sparked the areas revitalization.” In Milwaukee, for example, as property values citywide went up 18 percent, property values on the reclaimed waterfront increased an astonishing 155%.

Norquist and Bernstein also criticize WSDOT and the city’s presumption that people won’t change their auto dependent habits if given real alternatives. Between 2000 and 2030, they note, the region’s residents will spend $1 trillion on out-of-pocket auto-related expenses: $10,000 per household per year. “If making the most of your existing assets… can save as much as 30 percent of that amount per household, then moving toward the direction of increasing traffic flow and inducing automobile use and dependence is an expensive mistake.” Moreover, “accomodating increased traffic and reducing [greenhouse-gas] emissions by 80 percent,” the city’s stated goal, “are not compatible goals.”

The letter concludes:

We ask that you not plan for the Viaduct replacement in isolation from the other commitments in which you are engaged, such as greenhouse gas reduction and increasing transit. We believe there are better choices to be made.

The city council votes Friday on what viaduct replacement options it will send to the ballot in November. At the moment, it appears the council plans to ignore the progressive groups’ advice, giving voters only two options: the ugly aerial rebuild and the costly, environmentally short-sighted tunnel.

Re: Rumors of a Poll in the 43rd District

posted by on September 18 at 11:40 AM

Local politics addicts (all seven of them) have been wondering two things about the rumors of a poll in the 43rd District. The poll allegedly showed Jim Street winning by a hair — or perhaps, in his case, an old school Seattle beard whisker — and was slipped to Dave Meinert. Here, again, are the alleged results:

Street 15.8%

Pedersen 15%

Kelley 7%

Sherman 5%

Dodson 4%

Pure 3%

(No word on margin of error, methodology, or when it was supposedly conducted. And note that 50 percent of respondents in the poll were apparently undecided.)

The first question people are asking: Is the poll for real? And question number two: Who conducted it?

I can’t definitively answer either question yet, but I’ve played a little process-of-elimination game and I can tell you who claims not to have conducted the poll and, perhaps more tellingly, who did not respond to my query.

The campaigns of Sherman, Dodson, Street, Kelley, and Pure all denied conducting the poll. Pedersen, however, has not replied to my question asking whether his campaign conducted the poll.

Which raises two more interesting questions
: Did Pedersen run a poll in recent weeks only to find himself in second place? And if so, what did he do to change that situation?

UPDATE: Just heard from Pedersen, who says his campaign hasn’t done any polling. So that means either Meinert is peddling misinformation or one of these six candidates is — gasp! — not telling the truth.

A dangerous combination?

posted by on September 18 at 11:00 AM

I drove up to Olympic National Park this weekend, passing through all those little towns on the other side of the Sound where gas stations are decorated with huge wood carvings of lumberjacks and eagles and roadside restaurants have friendly names like “Fat Smitty’s.” My favorite sight though, came in Port Angeles — a town of 20,000 whose unique mix of rural life and seeping Seattle influence is embodied by this store:

What really won me over, though, is the sign on the other side of the place:

This place gives whole new meaning to a double shot latte.

Cool Books for Sale

posted by on September 18 at 11:00 AM

Long longtime Seattle transit activist brain Grant Cogswell (also an accomplished poet and one-time city council candidate) is selling off his book collection to help fund his expatriate blast off to Mexico.

Cogswell, who once thought Seattle had the potential to be a world-changing beacon for environmental sanity, is leaving now, he says, because he’s disillusioned with how things have turned out here.

There’s no talking him out of leaving. True bummer. But, man, he’s selling off some great stuff:

From an e-mail he sent out:

Just to remind you of what’s available:

First editions by Alice Munro, Denis Johnson, Weldon Kees (that one’s gonna cost you), William T. Vollmann and more. Gorgeous antiquarian books: a 1933 Blake edited by Yeats, two pictorial guides to the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Carl Sandburg’s 1940 biography of Lincoln, with twin brass Lincoln bookweights, an 1899 Cambridge Press Poems and Letters of Keats in immaculate, like-new condition, 1910 edition of The Oxford Book of Ballads. Great collecteds of poetry: Berryman, Yeats, Rich, Merwin, Merrill, Jarrell, Browning, Tennyson, Kees, Rukeyser, Dylan Thomas. Newer editions of Anne Carson, illustrated Blake, monograph of Jacob Lawrence.

Rare oddities: ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’; Pulp edition of John Rechy’s ‘City of Night’, weird old Seattle guidebooks, DeKerchove’s 1948 Maritime Dictionary.

Politics, history, Seattleiana, and novels out the wazoo. These 400 or so books are the core of twenty years of aggressive book-collecting.

I’m also selling my beautiful 6 x 9 Turkish rug two lovely antique glass-fronted bookcases, signed posters by Evan Sult for Jason Lutes’ ‘Berlin’, Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes.

Where and when to be:

12 noon - 6 PM
1732 18th Avenue, Apartment J

Eye On the AbStats in the 43rd

posted by on September 18 at 10:40 AM

A person who has been a close observer of local elections over many years sent me an email on Saturday to call my attention to this link. The subject line of the email: “This is really odd.

The link is to King County’s “AbStats” page, wich sounds very exciting until one learns that “AbStats” stands for Absentee Ballot Return Statistics. (Still somewhat exciting, sure, but quite a bit less so than what one might at first imagine.)

What, I wondered, was so odd this year about the absentee ballot return statistics? My tipster explained:

The number of absentee ballots turned in for the 43rd at this point is unusually low. Take it from someone who has watched this stuff across the state for years, this is an unusual development. This means people have not made up their minds.

So far, only about 18 percent of the absentee ballots have been mailed back in Seattle’s 43rd District — a significantly lower percentage than the returns so far in other districts that don’t have a hot state house race like the one in 43rd between Jamie Pedersen, Jim Street, Bill Sherman, Lynne Dodson, Dick Kelley, and Stephanie Pure.

My tipster had been convinced that the well-funded and Ed-Murray-endorsed Jamie Pedersen would win the race by four or five points. Now, my tipster is not so sure.

Pedersen has the most passionate voters and they most likely have turned their ballots in first. This is also not a lazy district, it is an educated methodical group of voters, who don’t just hold on to their ballots. Maybe it is the supreme court races [that are holding up the absentee ballots]. But if I were running and had all the media exposure and money Jamie had, I would be very nervous.

My tipster’s prediction for tomorrow night’s returns: an early lead for Pedersen that will shrink throughout the evening. (The question is by how much, and whether Pedersen’s lead will then turn into a close second.) But the tipster says to keep an eye on those AbStats. If they’re still low in the 43rd on Tuesday, the tipster says, “all bets are off.

Good Morning!

posted by on September 18 at 8:58 AM


Might I interest you in some furniture porn?

(Totally SFW, BTW.)

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on September 18 at 7:43 AM

After failing to reach the endzone in Detroit last week, the Seahawks made the trip three times yesterday in a 21-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals. It was the defense that really carried the day—to the tune of five sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception. The Hawks are now 2-0, though you wouldn’t know it from watching ESPN. Then again, ESPN’s “experts” picked the Carolina Panthers (0-2) to win the Super Bowl. Suck it Salisbury!

The Mariners beat the Kansas City Royals yesterday. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Texas Rangers are waiting.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win: Washington 21, Fresno State 20 on Saturday. Washington State won as well—if you care about that sort of thing. (Also, it was good to watch Michigan spank Notre Dame, mainly because it’s always good to watch Notre Dame lose.)

And finally, my very own fantasy football squad goes into Monday Night Football down by just 11 points. Unfortunately, only my kicker is left to play. I. Am. Screwed.

The Morning News

posted by on September 18 at 7:16 AM

Why is it more embarrassing than usual to be an American today? Maybe because President Bush is speaking at the U.N. about democracy in the Middle East?

Is the Pope really sorry? Doesn’t sound like it, Muslim leaders say.

Is the murder of Sister Leonella Sgorbati revenge for the Pope’s anti-Islamic comments? “A very high possibility.”

What does it take to unite a secular Socialist and a Sharia Islamist? Wild guess: George Bush?

Can you replace your penis with someone else’s? No.

Will President Bush—after getting faced by GOP insurgents last week—strike a compromise on his detainees legislation? That’s up to John McCain.

Should kids eat their spinach? Not at the moment.

Has Bush’s $5.6 billion anti-bioterror R&D program delivered any results? Nope.

Does anyone care that the radical Islamist government in Sudan has waged a war on African tribes in Darfur that has killed 200,000 and dispalced 2 million? Thankfully, yes.

Will Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas be able to convince Hamas to change its stance on Israel? I’ll venture a guess on that one: No.

Is Barack Obama running for president in ‘08? 3,500 Iowans think so.

And locally:

Is your kid’s school getting closed? You’ll find out this morning.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

While I Was Gone

posted by on September 17 at 4:08 PM

For the past few weeks, I’ve been traveling through Berlin, Munich and Prague. My Internet access was intermittent while I was gone, and so—despite my itchy keyboard fingers—I’ve only slogged once in all that time. Here’s some of the stuff I missed and/or wanted to weigh in on while I was gone.

1. The block housing the Bus Stop, the Cha-Cha, Bimbo’s and Kincora has been sold, virtually ensuring that the Pike-Pine corridor will soon be overrun by more ugly, soulless condos—just like Broadway. (For the record, I’m no fan of the cold, monumental glass-walled developments that are currently all the rage in Seattle; density, yes, but not density that will age poorly and discourage diverse, mixed-use neighborhood with thriving business districts. And, as Josh points out, that block is already dense.) If the Cha-Cha and the Bus Stop are on their way out, can Pike-Pine’s anchoring institution, Linda’s, be far behind?

2. The Transportation Choices Coalition announced that it will support the joint Sound Transit-Regional Transit Investment District (RTID) ballot measure, in a press release and an editorial titled “A Road Package Enviros Can Love.” As we reported , the TCC’s support for RTID is contingent on a list of criteria that would, in theory, mitigate the awful-ness of massive road expansion by funding transit and focusing on maintenance, not car capacity. As I’ve written, I have some major issues with the TCC’s accomodationist approach, which accepts capacity expansion as a trade-off for light rail. I don’t accept the premise that enviros have to make these kinds of compromises. If “more roads are OK” is your starting position, where do you end up? Cars are the problem (the vast majority of Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions come from automobiles), and someone should be saying that. As long as the “lefty” position is “We like cars, we just want alternatives”—instead of “Traffic will never get better, no matter how many roads we build, and we have to accept that,” we’ll never get over our auto addiction. And we need to, now.

3. Nickels’ “Forever Tax” for transportation, as I originally dubbed it, was dramatically reduced to $365 million and nine years, from $1.6 billion and potentially infinite.

4. Former Texas Governor (and my hero) Ann Richards succumbed to esophagal cancer at 73. The recovered alcoholic rose through Texas’s frequently misogynistic political ranks from state treasurer, to keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, to Texas governor—only the second woman in state history to hold the office. Her pointed, often hilarious political speeches thrust her onto the national stage. Among her more famous quotes:

On George H.W. Bush, who Richards felt was out of touch with the needs of poor and working-class Americans: “Poor George, he can’t help it — he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

On women’s ability to equal men: “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

On her decision to enter the private sector as a lobbyist: “Life is like a layer cake. You put one layer on top of the other, and whether you frost it or not is up to you. I’m looking forward now to a little frosting.

On my desk is a picture of Richards and me, taken in Seattle two years ago. She was a tiny woman with huge white hair and a personality that was equal parts honey and vinegar. The world needs more like her.

5. A Michigan state senator introduced legislation that would require every sixth-grade girl to receive the vaccine against two strains of HPV that cause 70% percent of all cervical cancers. The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that all girls age 11 and 12 receive the vaccine, which was approved by the FDA in July.

6. The Congress for the New Urbanism released a report that found (surprise!) flaws in the Washington State Department of Transportation’s analysis of the surface/transit Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement alternative, “including the use of exaggerated estimates of future downtown street traffic and misleading conclusions about the amount of truck traffic on the viaduct.” The study also found that WSDOT did not include accurate transit forecasts in its analysis. WSDOT, which is primarily a highway-building agency, assumes that traffic volumes will continue to increase indefinitely; but increased transit availability and ever-rising gas prices suggest that people will find alternatives to driving alone in the very near future, like it or not. And if that happens, there’s absolutely no reason we need a freeway on our waterfront.

Pay Attention, People

posted by on September 17 at 2:53 PM

For the last 3 weeks, since The Stranger Election Control Board made its picks for this Tuesday’s primary election, we’ve been running a handy Cheat Sheet for you.

Just as important as our picks (Gerry Alexander in Supreme Court Justice position No. 8 ; Yes on Initiative No. 88, the education funding levy; Stephanie Pure in the 43rd District state house race) is this: Follow the damn directions we printed at the top of the page under the “Party Preference” choice.

As we wrote: “Voters must designate a party preference to vote in that party’s primary. You cannot vote in a Republican contest if you select Democratic.

As The Seattle Times reported in an alarming article last week about Snohomish County:

A sampling of 250 ballots collected for Tuesday’s primary shows about 20 percent of voters did not select a party, invalidating the choices they made in partisan races.

Once again: In our new “Pick-a-Party Primary” voters must select Republican or Democratic before voting in partisan races. And you can only vote in the partisan races that correspond to your party choice. For example, if you check Republican, you cannot vote in the 6-way 43rd District Democratic primary. You can only vote in the Republican primary. If you don’t check either Democratic or Republian—your vote in partisan races will not be counted. Similary, if you pick one party, but vote in both party’s primaries—or in the opposite party’s primary—your votes in partisan races will not count. If you fail to pick a party, your vote will be counted only in nonpartisan races and for ballot measures, like initiatives and the Supreme Court races.

Got it? Good. Now vote, vote, vote! And remeber: Pure, Alexander, Susan Owens, and Yes on I-88.

Here Come the Republicans

posted by on September 17 at 11:25 AM

Via TPM:

The NRCC on Friday dropped almost $2 million on TV attack ads in congressional districts from Washington State to New York.

And here’s the report on who’s paying for the media and direct mail buys. Looks like a group called Majority Communications Inc. (not to be confused with Majority Action) is going to be spending more than $25,000 on TV ads direct mail attacking eastside Democrat Darcy Burner in the 8th District.