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Archives for 10/15/2006 - 10/21/2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Grim and Dim

posted by on October 21 at 1:08 PM

The death toll for U.S. forces in Iraq just keeps climbing. It’s now at 78 for the month.

Three U.S. Marines were killed in combat Saturday in Anbar province, the military said, making October the deadliest month for American forces in Iraq this year.

There are still 10 days left to go in October.

And so much for “stay the course”:

Shi’ite militias battled Iraqi police for a second day running and a mortar attack killed more than a dozen people on Saturday, as President Bush talked of changing tactics.

Gulls Out

posted by on October 21 at 10:35 AM

Last year we called the Seahawks the “Seagulls”. This year we are calling them the “Shehawks.”

Please make a note of it.

P-I Endorses Burner

posted by on October 21 at 10:34 AM

Saying she’s simply better than Republican Congressman Dave Reichert:

Burner, a former Microsoft manager, is as informed in her views as she is forceful in delivering them. Frankly, at a P-I Editorial Board session, it was difficult to tell who was the incumbent because her answers carried weight.

From how to balance the federal budget (and how urgent it is to do so) to how crucial it is to reduce human contributions to global climate change to Congress’ role in Iraq war policy, Burner has the better grasp of the issues and the greater passion to deal with them.

World Series Factoid

posted by on October 21 at 10:07 AM

OK, so till my brother yanks my Slogging rights, I’ll continue with occasional sports postings. Commenters, feel free to complain about the conflict of interest represented by such blatant unpaid nepotism. Mom always like Dan best.

So, the raging debate about the World Series—will the Cardinals ride an emotional high from their win over the Mets to victory over the fat and complacent Tigers? Or will the well-rested Tigers feast on the exhausted redbirds?

Well, from today’s Sun-Times:

So this Series will start with a great debate: Is it better to go into Game 1 fully rested or riding an emotional high?

”It doesn’t matter how you get here,” Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols said.

Maybe, but stats show otherwise.

October fact: The last six teams that began the World Series with five or more days of rest all went on to win. Only twice in history have Series teams with such a long break not won — and both were led by La Russa.

”I think the game is so mental,” La Russa said. ”If you sit around and you’re mentally strong, you’re ready.”

The game is definitely so mental. Or, as Yogi Berra is alleged to have put it, “90% of baseball is half mental.”

And hey, you Seagulls: do the Bears a favor and beat the Vikings, willya?


Dog Fuckers

posted by on October 21 at 7:56 AM

Pit bull used in site.jpg

Congrats to Spanaway, Washington, which today seized the sick fuck crown from Enumclaw.

A Spanaway, Pierce County, man has become the first person charged under the state’s new felony bestiality law. Michael Patrick McPhail, 26, was charged Thursday with one count of first-degree animal cruelty after his wife allegedly caught him having sex with the family’s pit bull, according to charging papers filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

Oh, sure—he allegedly had sex with a pit bull. But isn’t that the sort of accusation that an angry woman might make? Maybe she caught her husband looking at web porn or something and called the police and filed a malicious charge. I mean, pit bulls? They aren’t exactly the most cuddly or, if I may be frank, attractive dogs around. Would a man seriously have sex with a pit bull? Unless she’s got some proof, I don’t know how the charge will stick…

The woman snapped two photos with her cellphone camera, then dialed 911, authorities said.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Genius Awards

posted by on October 20 at 6:06 PM


Overheard in the Office

posted by on October 20 at 4:40 PM

“I’m starting to think I’m mentally ill, and I just wanted to check with you guys.” —Anonymous, speaking on the phone with a source

Bias vs. Vested Interest

posted by on October 20 at 3:25 PM

In a letter to our readers in this week’s Stranger, visual arts writer Jen Graves responds to reader concern over the recent resignation of music editor Dave Segal and club ad coordinator Bailee Martin. Martin, unbeknownst to her supervisors and Segal’s managers, had been writing club reviews for Segal under the pseudonym “Keenan Bowen” while simultaneously selling ads to clubs. This was a direct violation of the division between advertising and editorial—a divide that is necessary to ensure that editorial content is not tainted by financial conflict of interest; it’s why people who sell movie ads don’t review movies, and why people who sell restaurant ads don’t write food reviews.

Graves’s piece addressed the issue of conflicts of interest between arts writers and arts organizations. One common accusation in response to the news of Segal’s resignation that Graves’s letter did not address was the claim the Stranger’s news and political writers (me, Eli Sanders and Josh Feit in particular) have showed bias toward politicians and causes we personally supported, and thus had an equivalent, if not worse, conflict of interest.

A few examples:

However, during September’s 46th District primary election, Savage and Erica Barnett endorsed a personal friend, Stephanie Pure, without disclosing their friendship with her. Could that be considered a conflict of interest? Many would think so, or at least a lack of good journalism standards.
While you’re at it, please find out if Eli Sanders is on the payroll of the Darcy Burner campaign.
It’s kinda fresh that the Stranger condemns someone for a conflict of interest when there’s clear and obvious conflicts of interest in all their political writings. You seriously think that Josh Feit and Erica Barnett aren’t conflicted with their personal biases for, say, Maria Cantwell and the People’s Waterfront Coalition, when they write their allegedly objective articles?
Erica and Josh have some vested interests and relationships with the people they clearly support in their writing.
How, aside from the money involved, is this different from ECB writing an article about how rebuilding the viaduct is BAD BAD BAD and advocates the ‘surface option’, and calling it objective journalism, knowing that ECB has a serious personal interest in the success of Cary Moon’s PWC, which proposes and lobbies for the surface option?

Let me explain very clearly how it’s different. It’s different because I do not have an actual or potential financial interest in which viaduct option is chosen; Josh does not have a financial interest in Maria Cantwell’s success or failure; Eli is not on the payroll of the Darcy Burner campaign.

This matters. It matters because the Stranger has never presented our paper as a source of an “unbiased,” “objective” journalism. The Stranger belongs to a long tradition of “advocacy journalism,” a type of alternative journalism that goes back to the founding of the Village Voice. There is no explicit distinction between editorial and reporting staff at the Stranger; we have a four-person news department, unlike daily papers with their large (and separate) news and editorial staffs. We write journalism that is accurate and factual but which sometimes has a point of view (although that’s by no means always the case).

However, an opinion is not a conflict of interest. Not being “objective” is not a conflict of interest. Having a “bias” is not a conflict of interest. Being friends with a candidate may be a conflict of interest, but it isn’t one I tried to conceal; in fact, it’s the reason I didn’t cover Pure’s campaign. As for our endorsement, Dan and I were just two members of a seven-member editorial board. (And Dan had only talked to her once before our endorsement meeting.) And none of those even come close to constituting a “vested interest,” which implies private gain. I do not stand to benefit in any way from a decision on the viaduct, or whether Stephanie Pure comes in fourth or fifth in her state legislative campaign, or any other issue I have ever covered.

Now, can we talk about something else?

Who’s Biased Now?

posted by on October 20 at 3:24 PM

The Downtown Republican Club is sponsoring a debate on Monday between state Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens and her challenger, GOP state senator Stephen Johnson. (The debate, the only one between the two candidates, will be broadcast on TVW and the Seattle Channel).

I was asked to be the co-moderator of the debate along with conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky.

After I agreed to be in the debate, however, I was told that the Johnson campaign would not participate.

The Downtown Republican Club caved, let Johnson call the shots, and I was ousted for Joel Connelly.

I think it’s ironic that Johnson wouldn’t participate (he pulled out when our Owens endorsement hit yesterday). It’s ironic because he’s hyping himself as a non-partisan candidate while his supporters are trashing Owens as a partisan. So, here’s Owens agreeing to be in a debate sponsored by the Republicans, and Johnson throwing a third-grade temper tantrum after I’m included on the panel.

Johnson is actually a GOP state senator—one of only two senators to consistently score a perfect 100% voting record with the Wasington Conservative Union and the Christian Coalition. He also got a perfect score with the Builiding Industry Association of Washington (which, along with affiliated conservative PACs have raised $900,000 for his campaign); and an “F” from the Sierra Club.

Here’s a couple of great Johnson votes: He voted against unemployment benefits for victims of domestic violence forced to quit their jobs to escape their abusers; voted against increases in the minimum wage to track inflation; and voted against the gay civil rights bill.

Johnson’s tantrum at my inclusion in the debate is just another sign that he’s not interested in bi-partisan debate.

The Movie Zoo

posted by on October 20 at 2:16 PM

Fenkel will bring THINKFilm’s International slate of completed films and projects in various stages of production to the American Film Market next month. Among the titles available for pre-sales’ is the eagerly anticipated and already buzz-worthy in-production documentary tentatively titled “ZOO”, an entertaining yet humanizing look at the life and bizarre death of a seemingly normal Seattle family man who met his untimely end while having sexual intercourse with a horse. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robinson Devor (WOMAN CHASER, POLICE BEAT) the film explores the ensuing media coverage and public outcry that uncovered a secret community of apparently upstanding citizens who share this extreme and exotic appetite, revealing the enormous gulf between what we appear to be and who we really are.

Overheard on on a Psychedelic Furs Album

posted by on October 20 at 2:14 PM

India-ahhh. I’m American Ha. Ha. Ha.

How Can I Tell if I’m Really in Love?

posted by on October 20 at 2:13 PM

OKAY! I hereby nominate this video as one of the greatest YouTubes we’ve ever posted! It’s the MONUMENTALLY CHEESY “How Can I Tell if I’m in Love” PSA from the mid-’80s, starring Jason Bateman, sis Justine Bateman and a totally tubular (pre-bald) Ted Danson! Who better to instruct teens on those confusing feelings of sexuality? MAN! This is so butt-cringey, my underpants crawled up my shoot!

Hat tips to Defamer!

On Pregnant Sex

posted by on October 20 at 1:54 PM

One of the big holes in the culture of this society is on the matter of sex and pregnancy. Meaning, we have answers for things like drinking and driving (the answer is no), for public sneezing (cover your mouth), clearing a clogged nose (must be done with a disposable tissue—the other day in Chinatown I saw an old Chinese man shut one his nostrils with a finger and blow the mucus in the open nostril out onto the street, in middle of the afternoon, in public, and he did it as if this was an OK thing to do in American society, which, of course, is not the case).

But when it comes down to the question of sex with a fully pregnant woman, there is silence. What should a couple do in this situation? Is it right? Is it wrong? And if a woman’s pregnancy is far along the way, having sex with her must mean having sex with the baby. Is this acceptable? Here is my personal answer: Sex with a pregnant women is not right or wrong but dishonest. It’s an act that is close to pity. One does it because one is trying to be nice, and not being honest about how much their partner’s body has changed.

The body that had the sex that resulted in the pregnancy is not the same as the body that is in the process of producing a whole new life. The first body was attractive (like a flower is attractive); the pregnant body, on the other hand, is used up by the function of the pregnancy. What a woman loses in the long process of a pregnancy is precisely what made the pregnancy possible, the flower of her body.

Some Random Thoughts From the First Class Cabin

posted by on October 20 at 1:44 PM

Class Traitor: Okay, so I occasionally fly first class. I don’t pay for first class—does anyone?—but use the mountains of frequent flyer miles I’ve “earned,ā€¯ and earned the hard way (i.e. by flying coach). I hate flying, and didn’t use to join frequent flyer programs. Frequent-flyer come-ons sounded about as appealing as, “Buy ten root canals and get your eleventh free!ā€¯ I don’t like root canals—why would I want to “earnā€¯ a free one?

So there I was in first class this morning, on the first leg of my trip today, when I suddenly realized that my cell phone, which had been on my lap, is missing. The flight attendant notices me looking around, and asks me if I needed help. We looked, couldn’t find it. I mentioned that I had been to the bathroom and another flight attendant tore the fucking can apart. She reached into the trash—half-way up her forearm—and rooted around in the Kleenex and god-alone-knows-what. The first gets on her hands and knees and crawls up the first class cabin, checking under every seat. When we land, I hang out—and two flight attendants rip my row apart. And they find the phone, wedged into this weird crevice that only flight attendants know about.

I felt like an asshole, of course, and I can’t help but wonder if they would have torn the plane apart for me if I had been in coach. Kinda, sorta doubt it.

Arm’s Length: The future of Brad Steinbacher’s forearms is sitting next to me. Brad has hairy forearms, as his friends can attest, but the man next to me has forearms so hairy that Brad could hide in their dense foliage.

Pity Party: Andrew Sullivan writes of straight men

Every now and again, the plight of the heterosexual male deserves some sympathy. Wired for sex, yet programmed for marriage, and forced to deal with an opposite sex they can neither fully understand nor easily resist, straight men do not have an easy time of it.

When I speak at colleges—I was at Kent State to give a talk yesterday—I’m often asked if I’ve learned anything that surprised me doing my goofy job. (Savage Love = my goofy job; editing The Stranger = my real job.) I always respond that I’m surprised by how sorry I’ve come to feel for straight men. I ache for them, the poor darlings. They are, as Andrew writes, “wired for sex,ā€¯ and yet they are told, over and over again, by church, mainstream media, and their partners, that being in love doesn’t just mean sleeping only sleeping with just one woman, but only wanting to sleep with just one woman. Despite the fact that straight men are in charge, we’ve built a sex-and-love culture that is hostile to male sexuality. Openly disrespectful, even—I mean, watch Dr. Phil lay into some poor asshole that cheated on his wife sometime. You would think he was cross-examining Joseph. Mengele. Straight men, like Andrew says, don’t have an easy time of it.

Gay men, on the other hand, have too easy a time of it—that’s our biggest perk and biggest problem. We’re wired for sex, and gay male sex culture—by dint of its maleness, not its gayness—is wired for sex. A straight man can spin out of control sexually, but he has to work at it. Gay men can spin out of control all too easily, and we have to work at preventing ourselves from doing just that.

Wiping Up Santorum: Rightwingnutjob Maggie Gallagher doesn’t like me.

The undying hatred of people with Dan Savage’s views is a badge of honor for Santorum personally, whatever happens in this election, but it is also the real reason for the millions of dollars flowing into Bob Casey’s campaign war chest: If Rick Santorum loses, nobody in Washington will ever want to lead on the gay marriage issue again.

God, let’s hope. And I have a badge here for you too, Maggie.

Best New Bar: A bar named “Retoxā€¯ will soon be opening in New York City, according to the New York Magazine I bought on my short layover in Minneapolis this morning. It’s a name so good, so clever, and yet so seemingly obvious that you wanna smack yourself for not thinking of it first. It’s right up there with The Onion reporting that Francis Bean Cobain had entered “pre-hab.ā€¯

Overheard at the New Yorker Festival

posted by on October 20 at 1:15 PM

Charles D’Ambrosio and Gary Shteyngart are at a party for the New Yorker festival.

Shteyngart: “I love the new Cormac McCarthy.”
D’Ambrosio: “Oh, don’t tell me what happens.”
Shteynhart: “Uh, nothing?”

Further reading: an email conversation between Shteyngart and Walter Kirn about the future of fiction, with some Cormac McCarthy stuff thrown in.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on October 20 at 1:12 PM

Charles Mudede: “You’re not interested in my theories of sandwich-making.”
Jen Graves: “I was interested for five minutes.”
Mudede: “But I had ten minutes of material.”
Graves: “Yes you did.”

New Study: “Math Gene” a Myth

posted by on October 20 at 11:39 AM

It should come as no surprise that studies that conclude that girls are “genetically” predisposed to perform poorly at math are scientifically flawed: no one has been able to find a gene for monogamy, homosexuality, violence, sexual predation, or rabid consumption of video games and comic books. Nor have scientists been able to identify a “math” gene, much less isolate it to the Y chromosome.

Now, new research shows that mathmatical ability (or lack thereof) may be a self-fulfilling prophecy:

A report published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science showed that women exposed to theories saying females are genetically bad at math performed far worse on math tests than women who had not been exposed to such beliefs. […]

Psychologists Steven Heine and Ilan Dar-Nimrod, co-author of the Science report, studied how 220 female students performed in math tests after reading fake research reports—all entirely invented by the psychologists—with bogus claims about males being better at math.

One phoney paper claimed to have discovered that the Y chromosome, which only men have, gave males a five percent edge over females in mathematics. […]

Heine said the research clearly showed that women who read the fake report about genetics did much more poorly on the math test.

The research, he said, shows that people believe they can overcome stereotyping and continue to try. But if they blame their genetic makeup and believe they have an innate lack of ability, they give up, he said.

“People think genes are at the core of who we are,” said Heine, who with Dar-Nimrod teaches at the University of British Columbia here. “But much genetics research is still unproved,” he said in an interview with AFP, and “just raising the question about genes has harmful consequences.”

Often, said Heine, science about research on genes affecting gender, obesity or homosexuality is “grossly simplified” in media stories.

You don’t say.

Dept of Truth

posted by on October 20 at 11:30 AM

1. Last night, I saw mockumentary, the dance/video/music spectacular by locust at On the Boards. Because I have friends in the show, I’ll leave the opining to others. But I will say this: It is loud. It is energetic. And it settles the long-standing debate about whether zombies are capable of love. (They are.)

2. During intermission, someone pointed out that my profile of Genius Award-winner Jennifer Zeyl contains an embarrassing factual error: “WET mounted the first full version of [Crave], Sarah Kane’s experimental play, which had been directed all over the world as a chamber piece to be read, not acted.” That someone was Sean Ryan, who directed a 2002 production of Crave, which I actually saw. Twice! He didn’t ask, but seemed to want to ask: How could you have forgotten? Here is an explanation (not an excuse): Sometimes, for me, writing a story is like walking into a new house. And I get so lost in exploring that house, I forget things, important things, about the outside world. It shouldn’t have happened. I feel stupid. I’m sorry.

3. On my way home from the theater, one of two middle-aged men in matching blue jeans and bright t-shirts with stacks of CDs stopped me on the sidewalk, said a loud hello, and held out a CD for me to take. I reached out, he pulled it back: “I will sell it to you.” I said I didn’t have any money on me. He then made three assertions, two true, one not true: “You do have money for this CD [not true]. You just like to get things for free [true], white man [also true].”

This Post for Mike in MO

posted by on October 20 at 11:20 AM

Congratulations on your beloved Cardinals making it to the World Series. Too bad the Tigers are going to spank Pujols and company.

I predict Detroit in 5 games.


posted by on October 20 at 11:17 AM

A commenter points out an overlooked story: Seattle’s new slogan is… Metronatural.

Holy Shit.

posted by on October 20 at 11:09 AM

Bush stumps for philanderer accused of beating his mistress during National Character Counts Week. According to the Washington Post,

it is not clear what benefit the White House found in sending Bush to stump for [Pennsylvania Congressman Don] Sherwood — smack dab in the middle of what Bush, in an official proclamation, dubbed “National Character Counts Week.” […] “I’m pleased to be here with Don Sherwood,” a smiling president told the congressman’s loyal but dispirited supporters at a luncheon fundraiser Thursday. “He has got a record of accomplishment.”

Here’s a little backgrounder on Sherwood’s record. In 2004, his mistress, a Peruvian immigrant more than 30 years his junior, locked herself in the bathroom and called 911 to report that Sherwood was beating her and trying to strangle her. (He told police he was just giving her a back massage.) The woman’s alleged injuries included “facial lacerations, bruises about the head, neck and other portions of her body, head injury, injuries to her teeth, mouth and gums, back and neck strain, and injuries to her scalp.” Last year, he settled a $5.5 million lawsuit with the woman.

Is that the “record of accomplishment” Bush was referring to?

Both Carol Sherwood and the couple’s daughter, Maria Sherwood, stood on stage behind the congressman, human inoculation against the charges. Before a dead-silent audience, Bush praised Carol Sherwood for writing a letter to her husband’s constituents calling a Democratic ad about the mistress’s allegations “needlessly cruel”. As Maria Sherwood’s face took on what some called an “agonized” expression behind him, Bush declared himself “deeply moved by [Carol Sherwood’s] words.”

The Day in Gay

posted by on October 20 at 11:07 AM


No Fuss, No Muss: Grey’s Anatomy star T.R. Knight tells People he’s gay, implicitly daring anyone to make a big deal out of it. Hurrah, Dr. McDorky!

In Lesser News: Long-lost American Idol: Season One contestant R.J. Helton says he’s gay, too.

Meanwhile in Jerusalem: Ultra-orthodox Jews blame the recent war in Lebanon on the gays. (You’d think several millennia as humanity’s scapegoats might’ve taught ‘em something about such casting of blame, but no.)

Morning News

posted by on October 20 at 8:01 AM

Shiite militia seizes control of Iraqi city … will the GOP rethink their “open-ended” war policy?

Good old days: Russian Kremlin forces foreign human rights organizations to shut their doors (temporarily?) under new law.

Nevermind: North Korea now has no plans for nuclear testing.

Values voters vs. the Homosexual Agenda: Gay Congressional Republicans reveals “dichotomy” on Capitol Hill. That, uh, apparently wasn’t obvious before?

WMD: Democrats deploying Bush as a campaign ad weapon.

That’s a rap: Seattle public school’s “hip-hop influenced” debate teams may get canned.

“The time for being nice is over”: P-Patch thefts are rampant and rude.

Kent State No Longer a Hotbed of Student Unrest…

posted by on October 20 at 5:40 AM

…and it probably hasn’t been for years and years. Still, it was surprised to find this headline in today’s Daily Kent Stater:

“Students Should Use Courtesy In Dealing With Faculty Members”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My First Community Meeting

posted by on October 19 at 10:53 PM

I just came back from my first Seattle community meeting. Wow. The zippy topic under discussion was the city’s plan for “community renewal” in Southeast Seattle. The plan is to declare the area blighted in order to take advantage of a state law that offers financial incentives for building affordable housing and other development in poor communities. Property owners aren’t excited about the specter of eminent domain, which they fear could take control away from local—often minority—businesses and home owners. Representatives from the mayor’s office, armed with power point and microphones, attempted to explain the plan to an auditorium full of property owners (almost all of them were, by a show of hands). They repeatedly insisted that the plan was just in the beginning phases, that nothing was set in stone. (And council hasn’t gotten it’s hands on it either.) The crowd expressed it’s skepticism with lots of incredulous snorts and a few high volume comments. Then came the exciting part. Steve Johnson, the director of the office of economic development, said something about “broadly shared prosperity” that ended with “so that not everybody’s pushed out.” Immediately, the cat-calls began. “Why should anybody be pushed out?” and “Your premise is not ours.” Johnson fumbled until someone from the Southeast District Council rushed up to the stage and begged the crowd to calm down. Things really got ugly when the meeting’s organizers tried to break the audience into small discussion groups, an impasse that was eventually resolved by sending the less combative folks downstairs. One loud guy down front actually referred to the departing audience members as socialists.

Eat Your Heart Out, Josh…

posted by on October 19 at 7:14 PM


I’m at Kent State… and you’re not…

So You Want to Read a Book by Jonathan Raban—Where Should You Start?

posted by on October 19 at 5:31 PM

A reader writes:

I read with interest your article on Jonathan Raban, it made me want to read something by him. He has quite a big body of work and I wondered if you could recommend something of his to start with. Also, I am a rabid Bush hater, and declared a news fast upon his election to a second term. Please don’t recommend anything that will make me read about G W Bush.

It’s a great question. After all, Raban has tons of books. It’s like he has a condition. He doesn’t stop.

I told her to start with Hunting Mister Heartbreak. I know, I know—it’s not new, but for a newcomer to the party I still say it’s the place to start. Scene for scene, sentence by sentence, it’s pure pleasure—quick, hilarious, uncomfortably insightful, about a million different things (New York City, security cameras at Macy’s, driving to Alabama, hotel porn, human bodies found in a lake, the KKK, airplane travel, the gang activity on Second Avenue in Seattle circa 1991, the rain, the writing life)… Man, it’s hard to describe good books. A good bookstore will either have it or be able to get it quickly.

Now Mudede will tell you that I’m wrong, that Passage to Juneau is the masterpiece, which may well be true. Political types should head straight for My Holy War, which is intimidatingly brilliant and rearranged my (admittedly somewhat ignorant) thinking about American foreign policy, young jihadists, and Iraq. It’s bristling, edifying, important

Get Your War On: The Play!

posted by on October 19 at 5:11 PM

Get Your War On is now a play by the Rude Mechanicals, out of Austin, and they’re touring it from Philly to Houston to D.C. to Marfa, TX.

Guess who’s salivating over it? Your favorite book-blogger and mine, Ms. Maud Newton.

The Rude Mechs [a theater group out of Austin] perform the show with four overhead projectors, cheap office furniture, telephones with dangling, disconnected cords, and a filing cabinet from which they pull the hundreds of transparencies they throw on the overheads during the show. It all begins with the classic line, “Oh yeah! Operation Enduring Freedom is in the house!”

Guess who else is salivating over it?

Every body else.

Latest Poll: WA-08 Still a Dead Heat

posted by on October 19 at 4:50 PM

The results of the latest Survey USA tracking poll are in, and Reichert is still at 50 percent while Burner is at 47 percent (with a margin of error of +/-4.7 percent). Survey USA’s analysis:

No Movement in Fierce Fight for WA8 House Seat: In an election for the U.S. House of Representatives today, 10/18/06, in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Dave Reichert and Democratic challenger Darcy Burner remain nose-to-nose, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KING-TV Seattle. 20 days to the 11/7/06 general election, Reichert gets 50% of the vote, the same as in an identical SurveyUSA KING-TV poll released on 9/27/06. Burner gets 47%, down a statistically insignificant 1 point. Most Demographic groups are stable. But two are worth noting: Among Independent voters, Reichert had led by 5, now trails by 10, a 15-point swing. Among affluent voters, Burner had led by 4, now trails by 5, a 9-point swing.

Happy News for the Radio Deprived

posted by on October 19 at 4:45 PM

This American Life is suddenly available as a free podcast! (Each episode is free for one week. After that, shows will migrate into the archives, where you can buy them for 95 cents. You’ll need to open iTunes while connected to the internet at least once a week, and long enough for the latest episode to download, or you could miss one.)

Borat Makes TeeVee Announcement for Commercialization of Music

posted by on October 19 at 3:10 PM

For the glory of Kazakhstan, Borat sends to you this teevee advertisement that demonstrates the music from his new movie-film. Very Niiiiiiiice. Especially when he sings to the children about the throwing of Jews down the well.

Erotic Tower

posted by on October 19 at 2:07 PM

The top feature on Arcspace is about this marvelous tower:


A comment I made not too long ago:

“That breakage of rhythm, that “subversive edge,” as Roland Barthes calls it in The Pleasure of the Text, gives us a bliss that’s frankly erotic. Barthes writes: “The subversive edge may seem privileged because it is the edge of violence; but it is not violence which affects pleasure … what pleasure wants is the site of a loss, a seam, the cut, the deflation, the dissolve which seizes the subject in the midst of bliss.” The new Hearst Tower in Manhattan also has a thrilling breaking point, but it happens vertically rather than horizontally [as is the case with the Douglass-Truth Library expansion]. “(I)ts chiseled glass form rises with blunt force from the core of the old 1928 Hearst building,” the New York Times reports. “Past and present don’t fit seamlessly here; they collide with ferocious energy.”

Borrowing heavily from Barthes, who had a big impact on the middle part of my 20s, I made, nearly a decade ago, in another context, this comment about essence of a rupture:

The rupture is erotic; it is the pause one takes during pleasures of sex, the pause that breaks the rhythm of passion, so that one may gaze at what is happening. Look at the tangled bodies and feel not so much the physical contact between warm flesh, but the aura of sex: its invisible traces, its emanations.

It’s not the trust upward that makes the Hearst Tower sexy but the sudden and powerful break it makes from the past, and not so much the break then the critical line (or the line of crisis) between a new order and an old order, a new body and a old body, one system of beauty and another, older system of beauty.

Speaking of Geniuses

posted by on October 19 at 1:37 PM

Not only is the kid playing Nixon an unprecedented comic actor, but whoever made this video (and I’m guessing it’s the kid playing Nixon) creatively misses(?) reinterprets(?) the Watergate scandal for today’s consumption.

For example, rather than giving us any of Nixon’s famous lines (“I am not a crook”), he gives us “America is safe.”

America is safe?? This has nothing to do with Watergate…and everything to do with 9/11…which gives the audience a weird lens on today’s students trying to make sense of 1973.

Weird & beautiful how the lacking understanding of Watergate translates.

If this was a project for his high school history class, I imagine he got a C minus. I say shortlist him for Stranger Genius 2007.

Transfer of Wealth

posted by on October 19 at 1:15 PM

Today The New York Times Co. and others reported that ad sales at newspapers are still sagging. Meanwhile, Google reported that its profits are still surging.

$2 lunch accomplished

posted by on October 19 at 1:08 PM

Actually, $1.99. At QFC. Breakfast sandwich, banana and a cookie. The sammy was slightly stale. And I scored, for free, white schmutz on my pants from my chair in the “dining area.”

Not In Nickels’s Backyard

posted by on October 19 at 12:33 PM

Mayor Nickels, who is pushing for zoning changes to accommodate density, is actually against easing zoning restrictions when it would affect City Hall.

County Exec Ron Sims wants to replace the ugly 9-story County administration building that’s directly across the street from City Hall, just south at 4th and James, with a 40 plus-story building. Nine floors would be owned by the County and the rest would be apartments or condos and retail.

The County says it needs to go beyond the current 34-story limit there to make the project pencil out for developers… that is… to keep the taxpayers off the hook.

The building falls just one block outside zone 1—where 60-story buildings are now allowed, thanks, actually, to Nickels’s recent push to build taller downtown.

In fact, the county jail, across the street to the east, falls within the new taller zone district. So, Sims had a proposal: Since the County’s not going to revamp the jail, let the County transfer the right to build higher just across the street.

But Team Nickels—which likes to talk about the benefits of density by tweaking zoning citywide—has found its inner-NIMBY when it comes to Sims’s plan to increase desnity next door to City Hall. Indeed, Deputy Mayor Ceis hauled out the stalest Seattle argument in the book: It’ll cast shadows.

The Seattle Times reports:

The county plan “would have a shading effect on City Hall for sure, and the council has been very protective of the civic campus,” Ceis said.

Way to set an example, Ceis. You’re asking neighborhoods all over the city to accept zoning changes. Now, when they bitch about “shadows,” they’ll just be following your dumb example.

Ceis officially objected yesterday when Sims first announced his plan.

And today, in a rare instance, Council Member Peter Steinbrueck agreed with Ceis.

NIMBYism makes strange bed fellows.

Money, Money, Money (and Calls)

posted by on October 19 at 12:20 PM

There’s a strong sense developing in Democratic circles that money could be the difference between a narrow Democratic takeover of the House and a blowout Democratic takeover of both the House and Senate.

Rahm Emanuel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says conditions are ripe for his party to grab more than 40 seats in Congress on Nov. 7.

If true, that’s an astounding reversal of fortune for the Democrats, who only need 15 seats to get a one-vote majority in the House (and until recently haven’t been sure they would even get that).

But with Republicans imploding and Iraq exlpoding, picking up more than 15 House seats doesn’t seem unrealistic. The problem, Democrats are saying, is money. There are suddenly more House races up for grabs than the party ever expected, and way more than it has resources to fund. There’s talk of national Democrats taking out a huge loan to cover a bigger bet on a House victory, and in the blogosphere, there are increasing demands that Democrats with safe seats part with some of their stored-up cash.

From MyDD:

I just did a quick tallying using Open Secrets, and calculated that the 45 Democrats who are not facing a Republican opponent this November have $26,288,418 in their campaign bank accounts as of September 30th, 2006. I put together a web page that details the cash on hand for each of the forty-five unopposed Democrats.

For the sake of comparison, the DCCC currently has $34,867,692 cash on hand, and the NRCC has $36,019,485 cash on hand. Further, Rahm Emmanuel apparently believes that Democrats are ahead, tied or competitive in 58 Republican held seats. The amount of money unopposed House Democrats are currently sitting on would equal $453,248.59 to each of those 58 districts.

There are also demands that Senators like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton funnel some of their enourmous cash reserves to the Democratic effort to take back both houses of Congress. (See here, here, here, and here.)

There’s even a “Hey, John!” site demanding that Kerry “let our money go.”

In 2004, over 171,154 Americans donated $328,479,245 and countless hours of time to help John Kerry get elected President. Now, two years later, Democrats have a real opportunity to regain a majority in both chambers of Congress.

John Kerry? He’s still hanging on to $8,352,685 of our money, while Democratic candidates in competitive districts are short on funds, and the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC are out of money.

Tell John Kerry to “let our money goā€¯ and help take back Congress by sending an email to

If the netroots can shake millions out of the campaign coffers of these safe Democrats, the achievement will dwarf anything the blogosphere could achieve on its own. As MyDD admits:

There is no way that the blogosphere can raise $26.3 million dollars in the next three weeks, but we might be able to persuade unopposed House incumbents to do just that.

Hence the coordinated pressure campaign. It’ll be interesting to see if it works.

Meanwhile, here’s another way that Democrats are employing technology to up their competitive advantage this election: After using the Lamont-Lieberman race as a test case, MoveOn has apparently figured out a way to successfully turn the web into one giant phone bank.

Where Art Thou, Wonder Showzen?

posted by on October 19 at 11:36 AM


For those of you wondering why the deviant delight that is Wonder Showzen seems to have disappeared from MTV 2, here’s the unfortunate answer (sort of).

Hat tip to Ma’Chell Duma LaVassar.

That French Philosopher

posted by on October 19 at 11:22 AM

Diana George & Nic Veroli sent Carceraglio their previously unpublished interview with Alain Badiou.

Interview with Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou gave this interview when he attended the “Is a History of the Cultural Revolution Possible?” conference at University of Washington, in February, 2006.

*Note: The interview was commissioned by a Seattle newspaper; the first few answers address readers who might not know Badiou’s work. Most of the following questions were prepared by Nicolas Veroli, who could not be present. Diana George conducted the interview.

The “Seattle newspaper” that commissioned the interview and failed to publish it was, of course, The Stranger. Nevertheless, the interview has real substance, though in my estimation the questions tend to be stronger than the answers.

Two Unrelated Questions

posted by on October 19 at 11:22 AM

One mine, one appropriated.

1. Why do we excoriate child molesters when they’re run-of-the-mill monsters, but give Catholic priests the benefit of the doubt? (cf. “We had a relationship,” “We loved each other like brothers,” “Great memories of our trips,” etc.)

2. What the hell is “post-post-post-feminism,” and how is it illustrated by this NYT photo of a “sexy witch”)?

Thank you.

The Peripheral Candidate

posted by on October 19 at 11:21 AM

In the Stranger Election Control Board’s endorsements we belittled GOP Senate candidate Mike McGavick’s recurring claim that Democratic incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell’s successes in the U.S. Senate have been “peripheral” and don’t deal with “the issues that keep us up at night.”

We ran through a list of Cantwell’s acheivments, writing:

For a freshman in the minority party, Cantwell’s record of achievement is jaw dropping: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge filibuster; extending the federal tax deduction for Washington’s regressive sales tax; protecting Snohomish ratepayers from Enron; keeping oil-tanker traffic out of the Puget Sound; extending low-income health-care coverage; passing identify-theft protection; and helping pass campaign-finance reform.

Former Safeco CEO McGavick calls Cantwell’s successes “peripheral,” but Cantwell, at heart a working-class Irish Catholic, sees them as populist.

Of course, we should have added: We see them as environmental. And if McGavcik thinks environmental issues are peripheral to Washington state than he is remarkably out of touch. This might explain why his campaign isn’t tracking, and why the national GOP seems to view him as a peripheral candidate now, putting their focus elswhere —like Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee, where they still might have a chance.

Indeed, Brand new Rasmussen Poll is Cantwell 53/McGavick…38.

Anyway, Clark County’s daily The Columbian also endorsed Cantwell today, and they picked up on McGavick’s tone deaf “peripheral” theme too. They write:

Cantwell’s issues might not keep McGavick awake nights, but they’re plenty important to Washingtonians. She has, for example, worked to restore methamphetamine-enforcement funds that had been dropped by the Bush administration. As Clark County residents and police know well, the Interstate 5 corridor is a virtual methamphetamine zone from Canada to Mexico.

Ultimately, it seems to me, that McGavick has winnowed the election down to only one “non-peripheral” issue: Fighting “Radical Islamic Terrorists.” Ever since Cantwell voted against Bush’s military tribunals bill (the bill iced the writ of Habeas Corpus and granted the President the leeway to interpret the Geneva Conventions on torture), McGavick has signed onto the GOP’s mail order campaign kit, hoping to salvage his chances by using the same old divisive Karl Rove scare tactic.

We’ll see if it works. I, for one, doubt it will.

Can Gravity Speed Up Seattle Process?

posted by on October 19 at 11:07 AM

I don’t want to see anyone get hurt but, Jesus Christ, it would be for the best if the fucking thing fell the fuck over already. Then we would be forced to clear it away, putting a default “surface option” into effect, and folks would quickly see that we could live without it, a replacement, or a tunnel.

Today’s Justin Timberlake Freak Out!

posted by on October 19 at 10:47 AM

Okay, I admit I get a bit obsessive-compulso over the totally awesome JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. His new FutureSex/LoveSounds CD is the most bumpin’ release of the year, and I was drooling to see his upcoming tour…
According to the Justin Timberlake fan club, JT isn’t coming anywhere NEAR the goddamn Northwest! All together now…
He’s going to East Rutherford, NJ but he can’t stop by Seattle or Portland? I proclaim this BULLSHIT!
What? Does he think we don’t show him enough support? What the eff do I have to do?? During his last tour, I happily paid top dollar to sit next to four nine-year-olds screaming like a busted tea kettle to give this guy some support!!
Leave work if you have to, but get off your duff RIGHT NOW and hit JT’s MySpace to email him and let him know this injustice WILL NOT STAND!!
(Sigh… I still adore him. And to see why, check out his new video “My Love.”)


Keith Tilford in Collapse

posted by on October 19 at 10:31 AM


Along with essays by and interviews with Alain Badiou (“Philosophy, Sciences, Mathematics”), Reza Negarestani (“The Militarization of Peace”), Nick Bostrom (“Existential Risk”), and Thomas Duzer (“On the Mathematics of Intensity”), the Seattle artist Keith Tilford (pictured above) has two crowd drawings published in the new philosophy journal Collapse, out of Oxford:

COLLAPSE is an unprecedented conjuncture of work by leading practitioners in diverse fields. Conceived as a carefully-compiled, compendious miscellany, grimoire or as an instruction manual without referent, as a delirious carnival of sobriety, COLLAPSE operates its war against good sense not through romantic flight but through the formal insanity secreted in the depths of the rational (‘the rational is not reasonable’).

It aims to force unforeseen conjunctions, singular correspondences, and cross-fertilisations; to diagram abstract sensations as yet unnamed.

The journal COLLAPSE exists as the explosive, perhaps fragmentary, product of the passion for thought, unrestrained by any thematic or formal constraint, any justificatory relation to any agency whatsoever.

Great, Big Weekend

posted by on October 19 at 10:13 AM

1. Naturally, the Genius Awards party Saturday night at 9 at the Henry. Christopher Frizzelle introduces the thinking behind the Genius in today’s issue.

And along with stories about Vis Art winners Lead Pencil Studio and Shortlisters Cat Clifford, Jeffry Mitchell, Cris Bruch, and Dawn Cerny, I did my first podcast!, with Lead Pencil.

The thing is 50 minutes long, but it’s worth listening to, I swear. Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo even imitate a peacock as they tell the epic story of this summer’s installation, Maryhill Double. (Please ignore my horrible high-pitched laughter.)

More vis-art podcasts to come. Who do you want to hear? I’m taking suggestions.

2. Opening tonight at Howard House, 6-8 pm, and followed by an artist talk at the gallery Saturday at noon.

EUR, the southern suburb of Rome planned and only partly executed by Mussolini for a Universal Exhibition celebrating fascist Italy is the setting for “Murmurs.ā€¯ Tens of thousands of starlings descend on the area in the winter months, and are the subject of a collaborative work by Richard Barnes, Alex Schweder, and Charles Mason.


3. The East River Project—a series of online downloads and direct street-encounter artworks that “activate” the streets of the International District, by Gretchen Bennett and Yann Novak—has its opening, including a performance, from 6 to 8 pm on Sunday at Erich Ginder Studio, 512 5th Ave S.

4. The semi-annual members show at Crawl Space—this time introducing a new member in the roster, the painter Ori Ornstein—opens Saturday night 6-9 pm. When you’re done there (504 E Denny Way), come over to Genius.

They Rise From the Seas to Conquer!

posted by on October 19 at 10:02 AM

Holy fucking shit. First they came for our nature show celebrities, now thy’re leaping into boats and stabbing fishermen in the chests. I always thought that Stingrays looked like something from outer-space, but now I’m entirely prepared to bow before my new alien masters. Let me be the first to raise the white flag of surrender, if only because “foot-long poisonous barb in chest” doesn’t even get to be on the same table as my long list of ways that I’d want to die.

The $2 lunch

posted by on October 19 at 10:02 AM

I never eat fast food hamburgers, and when I do, there’s usually a reason that has something to do with whiskey. But today, hell-bent on spending less than $2 on lunch, I tried in vain to find a McDonald’s in downtown Seattle. I just moved here, okay? It turns out I totally missed the outpost at 3rd and Pine. And now I’ve found this disturbing internet tool that could help me plan a road trip without ever losing a chance to indulge in the dollar menu.

Where else can I get a $2 lunch?

The Latest Moves in WA-08

posted by on October 19 at 9:10 AM

National Republicans recently shifted more money into Washington’s 8th Congressional District, trying to give a boost to Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, who’s now running neck-and-neck with Democrat Darcy Burner.

Will Democrats respond by upping their investment in the 8th District as well? It’s unclear, primarily because the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) isn’t commenting on its strategy. But yesterday the DCCC did release this new attack ad, which is based on a TVW video that was called to my attention (and then posted on the Slog) way back in June.

Notice that this Democratic commerical, like others, gives ample screen time to that video of Bush’s visit to Washington State in June. If Reichert loses, the shot of him descending from Airforce One with Bush will be a big part of the reason—if not the reason.

And in further campaign commercial news, there’s now a kerfuffle over whether the DCCC had the right to use a TVW clip in this commercial in the first place. I’ll let the legal types debate fair use principles.

But I think it’s funny that TVW is even contesting this. Postman says he’s never heard of a TVW clip appearing in a campaign commercial before, and I’ll bet one never has. (Hell, most people have never even heard of TVW.) So why is the low-budget public affairs station looking a gift horse in the mouth? This video, shot in May in a bland conference room at the Doubletree Hotel in SeaTac, is about to become the most-seen TVW broadcast of all time!

Morning News

posted by on October 19 at 8:21 AM

Increasing Iraqi violence is comparable to Vietnam’s Tet Offensive, admits Bush.

Bouying billions: Immigrants in America send home $45 billion per year — homeward bound cash makes up 15% of El Salvador’s GDP.

Republican Representative Bob Ney (Ohio) is found guilty of corruption, is headed to prison and refuses to leave office.

Tamil Tiger suicide bomb — disguised as a fishing boat — kills 16 Sri Lankans, just two days after a previous attack killed 100.

Bombs, not food: North Korea faces famine.

Graying Gays: Generation of aging homos find community support and services (except Tyron Garner).

Portland! A cheap place to die!

Pre-pregnant, now pre-cancerous? Washington doctor sued for not suggesting removal of healthy ovaries for woman who was a “waking time bomb” for cancer.

PTA Punchers: Seattle school closures meeting turns violent.

Sexy Witches!

posted by on October 19 at 6:39 AM


According to The New York Times, some women look forward to embracing their inner sluts on Halloween.

Drugs Made Me Do Him

posted by on October 19 at 6:15 AM

“I have to confess, I was going through a nervous breakdown. I was taking pills—tranquilizers. I used to take them all the time. They affected my mind a little bit.”

So says the Catholic priest who admits to having molested Mark “Rehab” Foley back when the disgraced congressman was an enticing altar boy.

The priest admits to massaging the teenage Foley when nude, skinny-dipping with him, being naked in the same room on overnight trips, and taking saunas with the boy. And one night, when Father Valley-of-the-Dolls was particularly fucked up “there was an incident he says he can’t clearly remember that might have gone too far.”

Mercieca said that, at the time, he considered his relationship with Foley innocent. But he now says he could see how his actions could be labeled inappropriate.

You think so, father?

What’s The Matter With Kansas?

posted by on October 19 at 4:52 AM

Less these days, it seems. From the Washington Post:

In a state that voted nearly 2 to 1 for President Bush in 2004, nine former Republicans will be on the November ballot as Democrats. Among them is Mark Parkinson, a former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, who changed parties to run for lieutenant governor with the popular Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius.

“I’d reached a breaking point,” Parkinson said, preparing for a rally in Wichita alongside Sebelius. “I want to work on relevant issues and not on a lot of things that don’t matter.”

Things like blocking stem cell research, picking on queers, stopping the teaching of evolution, etc.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Project Runway—It’s Over, Bitches!

posted by on October 18 at 11:13 PM

Michael’s collection? Hated it. Talk about crash and burn.

Laura’s collection? It was wonderful—if she were designing costumes for a production of On The 20th Century. And as Slog regular Mark Mitchell pointed out at Spitfire—which was a bit of a clusterfuck, no fault of the bar’s—Laura had a lot of nerve accusing Jeffrey of having outside help with his collection. All that beading? Beading takes time—shitloads of time. There must have been a sweatshop at the back of that gifuckingnormous apartment she lives in. Did she put her kids to work? Did she violate any child labor laws? Get Tim Gunn on it STAT!

Uli’s collection? Still beaches, but I loved it. And I loved her—particularly after hearing her story about growing up in East Germany. I spent some time in the drab ol’ DDR, and I will always have a soft spot for folks who endured that gray totalitarian nightmare. I was rooting for Uli at the end, cocktail in hand, I may have let my affection for her get the better of me.

Jeffrey’s collection? Rock and roll—but with money and class. Spoiler alert: Jeffrey deserved his win. It almost makes up for Chloe’s inexcusible first-place showing last season. He was such a dick, however, that I had a hard time getting past that and rooting for him. But since when do fashion designers—or advice columnists, for that matter—have to be nice to succeed? Congrats, Jeffrey, you big dickwad. We expect great things from you. First order of business: Get that fucking neck tattoo removed before your double chin settles into a waddle and it goes all origami on your ass.

Finally, it was nice to Daniel V. sitting in the front row. He’s still dreamy—and he should have won last season’s competition. Oh, and the clusterfuck at Spitfire? They had a live feed—so anyone who showed up early saw the East Coast airing at 7, the Central airing at 8, the Mountain airing at 9, and finally the West Coast airing at 10. If you arrived at ten minutes to ten, er, um, well, then you caught the last few minutes of the show. Talk about spoilers. Still, the drink specials were great, the bartenders were hot, and the hairdos were amazing. Thanks to Spitfire, Vain, and everyone who braved the first of what will be many shitty, shitty cold & wet fall/winter/spring days.

Albino Guinea Pig Sings Heavy Metal

posted by on October 18 at 6:53 PM

If I know my co-workers as well as I think I do, both Megan Seling and Jen Graves will love this video:

Blast From the Past

posted by on October 18 at 5:03 PM


Spotted on a car downtown the other day. Ah, memories.

Not as Bad as Santorum

posted by on October 18 at 4:57 PM

Here’s what conservative TV head Robert Novak has to say about Mike McGavick’s chances: “His polls look more promising than Santorum’s” … And, well, that’s about it. (Santourm is at 40%).

Here’s Novak:

The quest of former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick (R) to unseat Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) also appears to have floundered, even though his polls look more promising than Santorum’s.

And Novak’s analysis of all the Democratic Senate seats that are in play?

Likely Democratic Retention

1. Michigan (Stabenow)

2. Minnesota (Open [Dayton])

3. Nebraska (Nelson)

4. Vermont (Open [Jeffords])

5. Washington (Cantwell)

6. West Virginia (Byrd)


Likely Republican Takeover

Leans Dem
1. Maryland (Open [Sarbanes])
2. New Jersey (Menendez)

Leans GOP

Oh, and what Novak doesn’t tell you about the Jeffords’s seat…It’s not going to a Democrat. It’s going to a Democratic Socialist.

Luke Esser Fucks Pigs

posted by on October 18 at 4:26 PM

The man fucks pigs. And he’s a State Senator. He has to be the worst pig fucker in the entire Washington State legislature. I don’t know how he gets away with being suck a blatant pig fucker. But he does. How long are we going to stand for Luke Esser’s pig fuckery?

But seriously, this post from yesterday has to be the funniest thing Goldy’s ever done. I don’t know how I missed it.

Milk, Cows, Lawyers and Money

posted by on October 18 at 4:11 PM

I thought my head was fixin’ to explode when I read this piece of misogynistic crap from MSN, headlined “Afraid to Commit: Young Men Want to Wait on Marriage.” The author asks all of 60 men why they’ve waited to get married; he then uses the results of this extremely scientific study to conclude, and I’m paraphrasing, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Among the top 10 “reasons men won’t commit”:

ā€¢ They can easily get sex without getting married (unlike when? the ’50s? Seriously, is this still being used as an excuse to continue “playing the field”?)

ā€¢ They can “enjoy the benefits of having a wife” (housework? blow jobs?) without getting married.

ā€¢ They don’t want to get screwed over by a money-grubbing ex in divorce proceedings.

ā€¢ They’re waiting for a “woman who accepts them just as they are and won’t try to change them” but who is herself their “perfect soul mate.”

And finally

ā€¢ They enjoy the “freedom not to be responsible to anybody else” and to live exactly as they please.

(Also included as sidebars to the “study”: a list of “10 signs he’s about to propose,” tips on dragging him “from casual to commitment”; and a quiz to determine if you and your man are “on the same wavelength.” That’s right - this story is aimed at women.)

But while I was fantasizing about beating the author about the head and shoulders with a copy of “Backlash,” I started to wonder what this “study” would look like if it had reached the same conclusions about women. Cue the handy Regender machine!

Reason 2: Women can enjoy the benefits of having a husband by cohabiting rather than marrying. Women think living together is a good way to test out a marriage prospect. They also view living together as less risky than marriage. At the same time, the women in the study like the convenience of having a regular sex partner. And several said they appreciate the domestic benefits of cohabitation, and the ability to share expenses, but thought marriage unnecessary at this point in life.

Reason 3: Women want to avoid divorce and its financial risks. Women feel that their financial assets are better protected if they cohabit rather than marry. They also fear that an ex-husband will take financial advantage during settlement proceedings.

Reason 4: Women want to wait until they are older to have children. Although women understand that men worry about their biological clocks, they say they don’t have to. And they don’t want to be pressured into marriage by men who want marriage in order to have children.

Reason 6: Women are waiting for the perfect soul mate and he hasn’t yet appeared. A soul mate, the women said, is a man who accepts them just as they are and won’t try to change them.


And some of the “reactions” to the study, regendered::

“You should have an article on why divorced women will not marry again. The responses would be very interesting. For example:

They’ve already been taken to the cleaners at least once by a prior husband.

If a man has kids, he really has no use for a woman. He’s got the house, the BMW, the kids, and her support and alimony. […]

“I’m tired of the b.s. that it takes to even try to find a good man. In 90% of my prior relationships, I gave 110% to trying to forge a marriage. But that was only good for some half-hearted affection that soon disappears after the ring is brought forth. Then it’s all about what he needs, or worse yet — what his children need. I’m tired of trying to weed through the predatory men. It costs too much to the kind woman’s heart. So I quit.”


Whew. Thanks for letting me get that out of my system.

I Simply Don’t Understand How This Happened

posted by on October 18 at 3:14 PM

Remember when Vice President Dick Cheney shot that guy in the face?

How can it be that it’s taken me this long to encounter this joke?

Can the answer be as simple as “Weird Al” Yankovic being a closet Republican? (Or simply a non-partisan hater of Aerosmith?)

(Thanks to ThatShirtSite.)

Seattle Times: Technical Foul

posted by on October 18 at 2:59 PM

The Seattle Times comes out against Initiative 91 today. (I-91 is the angry angry initiative that would prevent the city from subsidizing pro sports teams by mandating a profitable return on the loan.)

Despite I-91’s nasty tenor, The Stranger Election Control Board came out in favor of the initiative (our endorsements hit the street today). I actually wrote a column against the initiative back in June. But we had the proponents (Chris Van Dyk) and opponents (the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce) come in last week—and our board (myself included) ended up siding with Van Dyk.

It was a tough call—the presence of the NBA and WNBA has an intangible, yet satisfying effect on a city, including Seattle. And personally, I’m a big NBA fan. Go! Gilbert Arenas!

But ultimately, we just couldn’t stomach the idea of subsidizing the NBA’s self-important business model: Outrageous salaries; prohibitive ticket prices; and one that revisions stadiums as yuppie entertainment palaces that selfishly and consciously suck business away from the surrounding neighborhood.

And that brings me to my gripe with the Seattle Times’ NO endorsement. They conclude by stating: “The SuperSonics might not be delivering like a 30-year bond, but the team still has a positive impact on businesses.”

Says who? Even chamber of commerce folks who spoke to our edit board didn’t peddle that whopper. (They did talk quite eloquently about the intangible benefits, and again, that made it a tough call for us.)

The Seattle Times needs to cite a source on their suspect claim. Otherwise, it reads like, well, a lie.

I’ve been reporting on this damn issue for several years now. And several recent studies, one by the University of Minnesota, one by the Lincoln Insititute, one by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and another by the CATO Institute found that, if anything, professional sports teams may actually hurt local economies. The CATO study, for example, debunks industry claims that sports teams generate new consumer spending (they actually just suck up existing discretionary spending), and concludes, “the net economic impact [is] a reduction in real per-capita income over the entire metropolitan area.”

As for the Sonics’ recent claim that they pump about $234 million annually into the city, UW Professor Bill Beyers, hired by Seattle Center to do an economic analysis, said the Sonics’ impact study was “not a good study” and that the researcher who did it “did not know what they were doing…”

The economic impact argument would be a convincing and compelling one…if it were true. It’s irresponsible of the Seattle Times to haul it out without proving it…or at least citing the source.

Warning: Bad Apples

posted by on October 18 at 2:24 PM

NEW YORK ( Reuters) - Some of Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod digital music players shipped in the past month carry a computer virus, according to a posting on Apple’s technical support Web site.

Apple said since September 12, less than 1 percent of Video iPods — pocket-sized devices that can play music files and video clips — left its contract manufacturer carrying the virus RavMonE.exe, which affects computers running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system.

Buy Gob’s Segway!

posted by on October 18 at 2:08 PM

For those who would love to own a super cool piece of TV history, how about Gob’s Segway from Arrested Development?


It’s on sale now at eBay for the low, low starting price of $2,500—and as of this moment, you still have five days left to somehow convince your spouse that buying this is a good idea.
Also up for grabs from the show: Tobias’ gay leather hat, Kitty’s tube top (“Say goodbye to THESE!”), George Michael’s tool belt (??), and Charlize Theron’s retard hat.
Makes the perfect X-mas gift!

Tip o’ the retard hat to James!

Who Said It?

posted by on October 18 at 1:30 PM

Who made each of the following statements—Ann Coulter or Stephen Colbert?

1. “Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do. They don’t have the energy. If they had that much energy, they’d have indoor plumbing by now.ā€¯

2. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay. I have plenty of friends who are going to hell.ā€¯

3. “I just think Rosa Parks was overrated. Last time I checked, she got famous for breaking the law.ā€¯

4. “Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity, as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of `Kill everyone who doesn’t smell bad and answer to the name Muhammad.’ ā€¯

5. “I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Muslim, or Jewish. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.ā€¯

6. “[North Korea] is a major threat. I just think it would be fun to nuke them and have it be a warning to the rest of the world.ā€¯

7. “Isn’t an agnostic just an atheist without balls?ā€¯

Answers below the jump.

Continue reading "Who Said It?" »

Carl’s Bad

posted by on October 18 at 1:15 PM

Carl Romanelli, the failed-to-get-on-the-ballot Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in PA, has some mighty strange buddies for a lefty progressive. The latest from TPM Muckraker:

The candidacy of Carl Romanelli, the Green who made a run for the Senate in Pennsylvania, may not have succeeded. The Pennsylvania courts ended his bid last month; a disappointment for the Santorum campaign, since that means he won’t be siphoning any votes from the Democrat Bob Casey. But at least we’ve learned about the surprisingly progressive views among his Republican supporters.

When we pored over the contributor list for Romanelli’s campaign before, we found a lobbyist for Halliburton and a hotel mogul among the unlikely group. Now Will Bunch has discovered Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater Security, which has the biggest mercenary security force in Iraq, is another closet lefty. Prince dropped $10,000 for Romanelli’s campaign in July. Apparently, when Prince isn’t using his connections to get a secret, no-bid contracts from the CIA, he’s doing what he can for people power. Who knew?

All of Romanelli’s money came from backers of Rick Santorum, and Romanelli’s efforts to get on the ballot were overseen by supporters of Rick Santorum. That’s the Green Party for you: Tools and fools for the radical right.

About Those Detention Centers

posted by on October 18 at 1:15 PM

One thing about working for an alt-weekly: For better or worse, you end up much closer to the fast-beating pulse of the paranoid left. The LaRouchies tend to think you’re convertable, the 9-11 conspiracy theorists flood you with emails, and, more recently, the secret detention center worriers beg you to expose the Bush/Halliburtion plan to round up “unpatriotic” Americans en masse.

I have no idea if the detention center fears are well-founded or not, but as a service to our worried readers, who have been posting about this in the comments for some time, I offer this story from the sometimes-accurate lefty news service TruthOut.

Recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy.

Top US officials have cited the need to challenge news that undercuts Bush’s actions as a key front in defeating the terrorists, who are aided by “news informers” in the words of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Plus, there was that curious development in January when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States, to deal with “an emergency influx of immigrants into the US, or to support the rapid development of new programs,” KBR said. [Market Watch, Jan. 26, 2006]

Meanwhile in Ohio…

posted by on October 18 at 1:04 PM

The Republican running for governor of Ohio is losing—and losing big time. Polls put him 27 points behind the Dem in the race. Unfortunately the Republican is also Ohio’s Secretary of State and he’s currently contemplating tossing the Dem off the ballot on a technicality. Would he? Could he?

The Republican is the deeply corrupt Ken Blackwell. An African American, Blackwelll did all he could to keep African Americans from getting to the polls in Ohio in 2004, thereby costing Kerry the state, and the Dems the White House. If anyone would pull a move like this, it would be Blackwell.

Read all about it here.

In WTF??? News

posted by on October 18 at 1:04 PM

“The most common reason for ingestion appeared to have been mistaking the product for a drink.”

What could have given them that impression?

(Via Majikthise.

Sexy nuns! Sexy pirates! Sexy children’s book heroes!

posted by on October 18 at 12:10 PM

Earlier this week, Erica railed against the ubiquity of ridiculous sexy Halloween costumes (what’s scarier than 15,000 UW freshwomen dressed as “wicked Playboy fairies”?).

But this, my friends, is taking it too far.


Do you really want to spend Halloween surrounded by drooling twelve-year-old boys? And Harry Potter fetishists?

Give That Murderer An Oscar

posted by on October 18 at 11:12 AM

In the October 9 issue of The New Yorker, Mark Singer writes about the criminal adventures of Richard McNair, a convicted murderer who’s finagled a number of stunning escapes from U.S. prisons (and remains on the lam as I write this.)

The video above shows McNair working some of his criminal magic. Shot by a police officer’s dashboard camera, it shows McNair being questioned by Louisiana policeman Carl Bordelon, who received word of an escaped convict then found McNair running down the railroad tracks.

Despite having no ID, lying about his eye color, and giving two different names (first he’s Robert Jones, then Jimmy Jones), McNair talks his way out of it.

Enjoy, and if you see anyone resembling Richard McNair, call 911.

Project Runway Finale Party TONIGHT!

posted by on October 18 at 10:55 AM

So many questions to be answered during tonight’s Project Runway finale!

Will Jeffrey get to show his collection at Fashion Week?
Will Michael magically make a whole new collection that doesn’t look like sequin-loving Kayne threw up all over it?
Who will be the next Project Runway winner?

Find out tonight at Spitfire (2219 Fourth Ave)! Dan Savage will be the evening’s host, and there will be guerrilla hair styling by Vain (to ensure you look fabulous), champagne, and Absolut drink specials.

The party starts at 5 pm. The finale starts at 10 pm and will be shown on all of Spitfire’s many glorious TV screens, so you won’t miss a minute.

Be there or be auf’d! (I’m sorry, that was cheesy.)

Noted Without Comment

posted by on October 18 at 10:27 AM


If Only He Had Been in a Boy Band

posted by on October 18 at 10:19 AM

This just ain’t right.

Tyron Garner, the African American plaintiff in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that overturned sodomy laws in the United States (and prompted the Supreme Court to reverse Bowers v. Hardwick, an earlier, rabidly anti-gay decision), died on September 11, 2006. He still hasn’t been buried, as his family can’t afford to pay for burial. If money isn’t raised immediately, Garner’s body will be chucked into an unmarked pauper’s grave by officials in Harris County Texas. Keith Boykin reports

Ironically, it was a police officer in Harris County who barged into a private apartment and arrested Garner for having consensual sex with a male partner. And it was the state of Texas that spent an enormous amount of time and money in pursuing the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, the state that sought to control his body while he was living may end up controlling it in his death.

So what’s the gay rights movement doing about this? Uh, not much.

Lambda Legal Defense Fund had previously announced a fund to be set up for Garner’s family to cover the cost of the funeral and burial, but apparently the funds have still not been raised. I don’t know the circumstances behind the fund, but Lambda is the second largest LGBT organization in the country and boasts an annual budget of $10.5 million….

Tyron Garner was a hero to the LGBT community. Without him, we would not be able to begin the conversation around marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. So there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be buried with dignity and respect. His case, Lawrence v. Texas, was the most important U.S. Supreme Court case for the gay and lesbian community.

The gay rights establishment, dominated by white gays and lesbians, is often accused of being thoughtlessly racist. Sometimes the charges are baseless and self-serving. In this instance, however, if the gay rights establishment doesn’t get it in gear and raise the money needed to properly bury Garner, then the institutional racism could and should stick.

Keith Boykin is going to put info on his website about where you can donate a few bucks. As soon as it’s up, I’ll be sending off a check. You should too.

UPDATE: Too late.

I just received word from Mitchell Katine, the local attorney in the Lawrence v. Texas case, who informed me that Tyron Garner’s brother Darnell signed the papers just this morning releasing Tyron’s body to the county for cremation (at no cost). The fund which had been set up for his burial had raised only $225.00 in 6 weeks.

This should never have happened… This man was a hero to our community, and the community failed him. The group that created this fund could have written a check itself to cover the cost of this man’s burial. And the community that was solicited should have given up far more than $225, almost half of which came from the lawyer. Are the lives of black gay men disposable? Does no one care?

Although it is too late to preserve Garner’s body, it is still possible to preserve his legacy and to help his family. The family would like for Tyron’s ashes to be put in a metal urn (instead of a plastic bag), and they would like to print some obituaries for Garner. The total cost for the metal urn and the obituaries is $430.00, meaning they need an additional $205 from the $225 already raised.

Several people have already contacted me and offered to give more than that amount to the fund. I encourage anyone who is interested to make a contribution anyway. All excess funds will go to the family, the lawyer tells me. Contributions should be made payable to the Tyrone Garner Fund and sent directly to:

Preferred Bank
11757 Katy Freeway, Suite 100
Houston, Texas 77079


posted by on October 18 at 10:18 AM

As I type this I’m on the couch at home, sick, undoubtedly dying—though my girlfriend says I’m just a whiner. Making matters worse, a Reese Witherspoon movie called Just Like Heaven is on and I can’t stop watching it. Things, obviously, are bleak.

My question for Slog readers, since I’m bored and Reese just made a miraculous recovery from her coma: What sort of remedies/comforting rituals do you reach to when you’re sick? I obviously need some guidance.

Can’t Keep Up?

posted by on October 18 at 10:17 AM

Wonkette’s got The Crook List, compiled for a reader who wrote to complain:

I have now officially lost count how many Bush administration/Congressional Republicans have been indicted/convicted/abruptly resigned “to spend more time with their families.”

It’s Official

posted by on October 18 at 9:23 AM

This is a moment sociologists, legal scholars, and historians will analyze for millennia to come, the moment when America turned a corner, the moment when the fear of skinned knees and hurt feelings outweighed the pleasures of fun, the moment when American elementary schools began to ban tag.

Morning News

posted by on October 18 at 7:57 AM

In Iraq, ten American soldiers (some say nine) die on the same day the Iraqi government fires the leaders of the infamous Special Police, hoping to curb the rampant death squads.

In alliance: Rice says US will defend Japan from North Korea.

In the meantime, former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl may bring down Dennis Hastert with his testimony later this week — or corroborate his side of the story.

In England, public school kids refuse new gov’t-mandated healthy lunches, demand return of french fry and butter sandwiches and “Turkey Twizzlers”.

In US public schools, students’ math skills are apparently falling behind Korean and Japanese students because we teach “self-esteem, joy and real world relevance.”

In case of chemical terror attack: use fish.

In KING 5 debate, the Libertarian is the winner?

In udder news: Skagit County utility was accidentally electrocuting cows.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Say It Ain’t Sorkin

posted by on October 17 at 10:55 PM

Not that this matters much in real life, but:

Last night I stopped rooting for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip to get good. It’s just not gonna happen, is it? Too many characters and too few good ones, the show-within-the-show is never even remotely funny, and the show proper is unfocused and rough drafty. Mainly, it lacks the stateliness of West Wing, the illusion of being somewhere real (however suffused with liberal idealism). Little moments poke through because it’s Aaron Sorkin, but it’s not full-blown Sorkin, which is kind of a bummer.


Not unlike the sight of Sting singing “Fields of Gold” while accompanying himself ON THE LUTE!

But then again, could anything matter less?

(Especially since The Wire is all the TV you’ll ever need.)

Insurance Commission Omission

posted by on October 17 at 5:28 PM

The PI article about title insurance companies illegally spending thousands of dollars to woo clients may be the most boring scandal ever exposed, but this afternoon it got slightly more interesting.

11 insurance companies are named in the State Insurance Commissioner’s report, all of which went over (um, really really over) the state’s $25 cap on “prizes, goods, wares or merchandise” given to realty companies with whom they want to get buddy-buddy.

But a tipster who used to work as an internal auditor for Fidelity Insurance (one of the companies named) called in today to tell us that the PI article left out a crucial point: while 11 companies are named, several of them are actually the same few corporations.

The PI’s list of the offending companies looks like this: Chicago Title Insurance, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance, Commonwealth Land Title of Puget Sound, Transnation Title Insurance, Fidelity National Insurance, First American Title Insurance, Old Republic Title, Pacific Northwest Title, Rainier Title, Stewart Title of Seattle, Ticor Title of Washington.

It really looks like this: Fidelity (owner of Fidelity, Ticor and Chicago Title), LandAmerica (owner of Rainier, Transnation and both Commonwealths), First American (owner of First American and Pacific Northwest), Stewart and Old Republic.

Why is this important? Because it means there’s really 5 violating companies, not 11. And because the reason State Insurance Comissioner Mike Kreidler gave for not prosecuting any of the companies despite the giant damning investigation is “because the problems were so widespread” and also that prosecution wasn’t completely necessary because “he expected companies obeying the law to start turning in competitors who weren’t.”

Doesn’t it drastically undermine Kreidler’s already shaky logic if the “widepsread” problem is the violation of 5 companies, not 11? And the field is only half as competitive as it’s portrayed to be?

File under boring but important, please.

New Casa for Casa?

posted by on October 17 at 5:19 PM

Casa Latina may have finally found a home. The service agency for migrant day laborers, which has been looking for a new location since late 2004, is exploring a move to 18th and Jackson in the Central District, according to several sources familiar with negotiations. Last May, they gave up a months-long attempt to move into a vacant Chubby & Tubby garden center at Rainier and Walden Aves. (I learned today that residents call their neighborhood Chubby & Tubby Heights. Great name for a commercial district, if you ask me.)

Casa abandoned its effort to move into the Chubby & Tubby site after neighborhood groups waged a savage ongoing protest, using every chance they could to complain that the day laborers would bring crime and blight to a viable commercial intersection. The resulting acrimony between the Black and Latino communities left up-and-coming Black pol Darryl Smith—who opposed Casa’s plans to move in—with a major dent to his reputation.

Sources say the Central District community actually worked to facilitate CASA’s move. How and why that happened is still unclear.

Grand Old Pansies

posted by on October 17 at 4:27 PM

Is anti-gay U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) a fag? Mike Rogers of BlogActive say so. Locally the debate rages on BlatherWatch.

Also on BlatherWatch: Co-founders of Air America to start a new liberal talk-radio network. Says BlatherWatch’s Michael Hood:

We’re hoping a with better business plan, more radio professionals and the grace of God, [this] endeavor will get up and go.

We’re sick of the conservatives convenient conclusion that the failure of Air America signals the end of liberalism.

Couldn’t agree more.

Aaron Dixon Arrested

posted by on October 17 at 3:33 PM

Seattle’s own Green Party candidate Aaron Dixon is currently in the hands of the police, after being arrested during a protest/media stunt outside KING 5’s senatorial candidates’ debate.

From the KING 5 story:

Dixon was not among the candidates that met KING 5’s criteria of public support and fundraising to qualify for the debate. Maria Cantwell, Mike McGavick and Bruce Guthrie met those qualifications.

Witnesses say Dixon attempted to push his way into the building after he was told by KING 5 staff that he was not allowed to enter. Seattle Police officers took him into custody for trespassing.

The police have yet to charge him, however, right now he’s still being questioned.

UPDATE:That “criteria of public support and fundraising”? Below the cut.

Continue reading "Aaron Dixon Arrested" »

I’m Sorry, So Sorry

posted by on October 17 at 2:27 PM

So last week I said something stupid during a video interview with a college journalist in Philadelphia. There’s this Green Party candidate in the Casey/Santorum race—or a Green Party candidate that had been in the Casey/Santorum race, I should say—who was allowing himself to be used by the GOP. His entire campaign was financed by rightwingers and friends of Rick Santorum. The Green is, ostensibly, a lefty, but he was willing, as so many Greens are, to be a tool of the right. For context on the race, check out these posts at TPM Muckraker and DailyKos.

Now, anyone doing anything that might help keep Santorum in the Senate pisses me right off. That’s my only excuse for using an image that was, well, violent and uncalled for and disrespectful while discussing Romanelli. Here it is:

Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.

Today blogger Michael Petrelis slapped me around for making the comment. And rightly so. It wasn’t kosher, and it was especially disrespectful of the memory of James Byrd Jr., a black man who was lynched in Texas in 1998 by being dragged behind a pickup truck. Here’s Michael Petrelis:

While the GOP has to put up with the ranting of Ann Coulter, the Democrats are blessed with gay journalist Dan Savage, whose weekly sexual advice column runs in many alternative newspapers. Savage is so keen to elect a Democrat to replace the truly nutty and homophobic Rick Santorum, he advocates violence against a Green Party leader in Pennsylvania and Green voters.

For the record: It was a stupid, shitty thing to say. And I would like the record to show that I did a very un-Coulter-like thing on October 12 before anyone beat me up for saying it: I withdrew the crack and apologized for it. From a Slog post on October 12:

You know, I just got off the plane and I haven’t watched the video. But here’s the diff between me and Coulter: I regret using that truck metaphor, and didn’t mean it literally, and it was in poor taste, and I regret it.

Jeezuhs, never have three Hoegardens before someone points a camera at your face. But the Green in the race there is scum, and should be slapped—just slapped—and slapped hard. Not literally, though. No violence.

Wait a minute… did I apologize or did I just “regret”? And were my regrets posted prominently enough on the Slog? They weren’t in their own post, just attached to another post in a comment thread. So that’s why I’m writing this post…

I’m sorry about that comment, and I regret it.

But I still hate that Romanelli bastard. And, hey, if I am Ann Coulter’s “political twin,” as Petrelis claims, how come I don’t make the money she does?

On Crying

posted by on October 17 at 2:14 PM

“Are gay men allowed to cry?” Eli Sanders asked me a month ago, and I promised to provide an answer within a month. That month has passed and this is the answer I have for him: no. Absolutely no. Why? Because—and women, though I don’t speak for you (yet), please pay close attention—crying is base, low, and primitive (in the unloaded sense of that word), which is why babies do it all of the time.

Now, what we need to do is make a clear distinction between two human states: one, emotional; two, feelings. Which is the higher state and which is the lower one? Emotions are certainly lower and feelings are by far higher. Feelings are developed over time, and, as the neurologist Antonio Damasio has pointed out, possible only in animals with the capacity to remember, to reflect on what is remembered, and to refine those rough memories into “precious memories,” as the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe once called them.

I’ll give you cry babies this: Emotions are the foundation, the ground, the soil for the development of feelings. But, and this is a crucial but, once you have outgrown emotions, which are useful to babies because they can’t talk, they must be abandoned (in the same way playing with toys is abandoned) and the adult must move on to the vast and dark sea of feelings. Emotions, which can be found even in worms, are incapable of making real art (and there is such a thing as real art), only feelings can produce something like the opening of Shostakovich’s “3. Largo” in his Symphony 5.

Leave crying to babies and become who you are—an adult! (Americans have the hardest time with this adult/children distinction, which is understandable. It is a consequence of socialization that the majority of Americans worship and stay stuck in childhood. When having to pick between ruling over children or adults, America’s dominant socializing machine, capitalism, will invariably pick the former, which is why 50 Cent is a millionaire and Cecil Taylor is unknown.)

K.Fed Bodyslam: It’s a Beautiful Day!

posted by on October 17 at 2:05 PM

For those who haven’t seen KEVIN FEDERLINE get bodyslammed on last night’s WWE presentation, here’s a particularly “beautiful” editing job in which we see K.Fed’s spine being snapped again… and again… and again.

Tips to Best Week Ever!

Cracker Barrel Refuses Service to Chris Rock’s MOTHER?!

posted by on October 17 at 1:55 PM

That’s what she and Al Sharpton say, and they’re threatening to sue.

Caption This Photo

posted by on October 17 at 1:19 PM


Why Downtown is No Place for Families

posted by on October 17 at 1:06 PM

The P-I had a lengthy story yesterday about the scarcity of families with children in downtown Seattle—just four percent in the urban core, compared with 20 percent in the city as a whole and 37 percent for King County outside Seattle. Among the reasons the P-I cites: few larger (three-bedroom-plus) units, no downtown schools, few amenities like grocery stores, and a lack of “kid-friendly outdoor space.”

I’m not sure grocery stores, parks and a downtown school would make downtown “friendly” to families anyway. For one thing, almost none of the condos that are going on the market now offer floor plans with more than two bedrooms; the few that do charge a million dollars or more. Families that could afford that kind of condo are pretty rare in Seattle; and they’re unlikely to send their kids to public school anyway. Cold, ultramodern downtown condos feel like high-end bachelor pads or empty nests, not places to raise kids and grow old. Finally, and more tangibly, downtown condos generally lack private outdoor space; having a yard is one reason many people cite for moving to the suburbs. I’m not suggesting that encouraging families to move downtown is a bad goal for the city to have; but there are large, structural issues preventing that from happening now, which market forces alone will never address.

Know Your Enemy

posted by on October 17 at 12:28 PM

Congresspersons and Bush counterterrorism officials don’t know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite:

At the end of a long interview, I asked Willie Hulon, chief of the bureau’s new national security branch, whether he thought that it was important for a man in his position to know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. “Yes, sure, it’s right to know the difference,ā€¯ he said. “It’s important to know who your targets are.ā€¯

That was a big advance over 2005. So next I asked him if he could tell me the difference. He was flummoxed. “The basics goes back to their beliefs and who they were following,ā€¯ he said. “And the conflicts between the Sunnis and the Shia and the difference between who they were following.ā€¯

O.K., I asked, trying to help, what about today? Which one is Iran — Sunni or Shiite? He thought for a second. “Iran and Hezbollah,ā€¯ I prompted. “Which are they?ā€¯

He took a stab: “Sunni.ā€¯


Al Qaeda? “Sunni.ā€¯


As author Jeff Stein notes, it would be unimaginable for British counterterrorism officials not to know the difference between Catholics and Protestants. Yet US officials in charge of counterterrorism efforts seem completely unfamiliar with the 1,400-year-old Shiite-Sunni rivalry that threatens to cleave Iraq into two independent, antagonistic states:

Representative Jo Ann Davis, a Virginia Republican who heads a House intelligence subcommittee charged with overseeing the C.I.A.’s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information, was similarly dumbfounded when I asked her if she knew the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.

“Do I?ā€¯ she asked me. A look of concentration came over her face. “You know, I should.ā€¯ She took a stab at it: “It’s a difference in their fundamental religious beliefs. The Sunni are more radical than the Shia. Or vice versa. But I think it’s the Sunnis who’re more radical than the Shia.ā€¯

Did she know which branch Al Qaeda’s leaders follow?

“Al Qaeda is the one that’s most radical, so I think they’re Sunni,ā€¯ she replied. “I may be wrong, but I think that’s right.ā€¯

Wesley Snipes Indicted on Tax Fraud

posted by on October 17 at 12:21 PM


If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in jail.

“Where is the outrage?”

posted by on October 17 at 12:19 PM

Yesterday I posted about Bob Herbert’s column in the New York Times, which asked, rhetorically, why the murder of five Amish girls was not being covered as a hate crime.

As it turns out, Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star (who refers to himself in an e-mail as “Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star) wrote a similar piece ten days before Bob Herbert did:

The story that touched our hearts this week was about 10 little girls shot point-blank in Pennsylvania’s Amish country.

Not 10 children, as some news reports put it. But 10 girls. The shooter wanted to harm only the girls.

Does it strike you as curious — the way it did me — that more wasn’t made of that?

Had he singled out and shot 10 black men or 10 Jews or 10 gays or 10 of almost any other group, we’d be calling it a hate crime — whether it fit the legal definition or not.

And on the talk shows and in the newspapers, wouldn’t the question have been asked over and over, “What causes such intolerance, bigotry and bitter resentment against one type of people?ā€¯

But the shooter at Nickel Mines, Pa., singled out his victims based on gender. And I found only one article that used the term “hate crime,ā€¯ and it said that the killings merely “followed the patternā€¯ of a hate crime.

Gee, you mean like the crime committed a week earlier in Bailey, Colo., when a sex offender burst into another school, singled out the girls, then molested them and killed one before turning the gun on himself — that kind of hate crime?

Or any number of other killings, rapes and beatings committed by males against females purely because they were female?

We didn’t hear the Nickel Mines story framed that way. Instead, the first question was, “Did he have a grudge against the Amish?ā€¯

And when the answer turned out to be “no, the Amish were simply convenient victims,ā€¯ public discussion turned to the peculiarities of the case. To the spread of school violence. To the need for gun control.

Hard saying why the broader theme of violence against women didn’t come up more.

So there. Two columnists have asked the question. Which actually further illustrates Herbert’s, and Hendricks’s, point.

Time to Get Back & Collect His Props

posted by on October 17 at 11:36 AM


Stranger columnist Larry Mizell Jr. nailed it way back in April, when the advance was first leaked, and now that the record’s hit stores I can second his opinion: Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor is just incredibly, gorgeously wonderful. (Or as Larry put it, “an outside-the-box masterwork of hiphop music.”)

Go buy it.

Public Service Announcement

posted by on October 17 at 11:01 AM

This weekend a friend of mine lost her sister to a household accident: The 32-year-old Edmonds woman was cleaning her bathtub and her tub drain simultaneously and the combination of the two products created a lethal gas. Her family asked me to remind everyone to never mix cleaning products. Specifically: Do not mix bleach and ammonia. Do not mix bleach and acids. Do not use two drain cleaners together, or one right after the other.

Thanks for noting it. Now, back to our program.

Under Fire from The American Spectator

posted by on October 17 at 10:49 AM

Looks like I have drawn the ire of The American Spectator.

The conservative magazine is pissed about the column I wrote for last week’s paper which got picked up by Atrios, AmericaBlog, and Andrew Sullivan.

You see, last week, I got a chance to ask former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani a few questions when he was at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle hosting a fundraising dinner for Mike McGavick. Giuliani was stumping on post-9/11 security issues—criticizing Cantwell as a wimp for voting against Bush’s military tribunals bill and hyping McGavick as a steward of homeland security.

So, I asked Giuliani—a supposedly vigilant homeland security advocate and a famous advocate for the assault weapons ban—what he thought about McGavick’s opposition to the assault weapons ban.

Giuliani, sacrificing his conviction (he once said that anyone who voted against the assault weapons ban was putting special interests over life or death issues), pooh-poohed the assualt weapons ban. He told me “the assault weapons ban is something I supported in the past” and that he “didn’t think it was one of the most critical issues right now.”

The Spectator applauds Giuliani for “backing off from his history of anti-gun demagoguery” and then takes me to task for calling AK-47s assault weapons.

Basically, the AK-47s you can get at Butch’s Gun Shop in Seattle are semi-automatic, not automatic, which—gun enthusiasts argue—mean they are not assault weapons. Never mind that semi-automatic weapons are more precise (deadly) than automatics and can easily be altered to function like automatics.

Furthermore, try explaining all that to al Qaeda, which actually published a manual (discovered by U.S. forces in Afghansitan) advising Qaeda recruits to take advantage of U.S. gun laws to get AK-47s. Al Qaeda doesn’t make any distinction between semi or auto, unlike the terrorist-huggers at the Spectator.

And that’s all beside the point, anyway. My column busted Giuliani for flip-flopping on the ban he supported (a ban he referenced as the assault weapons ban) in order to kiss GOP ass. The GOP was against flip-flopping (see: Kerry, 2004) before they were for it.

America’s Dumbest Congressmen

posted by on October 17 at 10:05 AM

There’s been a lot of talk this campaign season about Congressman Dave Reichert and whether he’s a sharp pencil or not.

So Reichert’s campaign will no doubt be relieved to hear that he didn’t make this list.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on October 17 at 8:53 AM

I wrote you once before, in response to a column you wrote for Salon, and said how warm and fuzzy I felt about you, even though I’m a straight, middle aged, married guys with a great family. Well, dammit, you did it again! I just read your piece about Mark Foley.
And what do I do with these e-mails? I delete them. Responding—to say nothing of taking any of these kids up on their offers (offers they would most surely withdraw when they saw me in person)—wouldn’t be right. Because the last thing gay teenage boys need in their lives, in my opinion, are gay middle-aged men.

Damn straight. Actually you could have written “Because the last thing teenagers need in their lives, in my opinion, are middle age men.” Duh, eh?

Once, I had a similar situation. A very attractive 16 daughter of a friend got the hots for me (trouble at home, parents eventually divorced over infidelities). Blonde, over-developed for her age, and, actually, very bright and mature. What did I do?

I am proud to say I ran like a bunny. I made sure I was never alone with her without her folks around, and did my best to avoid social situations where she was present at all. I told her folks I felt uncomfortable with her attentions. I shunned her by simple avoidance (I didn’t want to be mean and tell her to leave me alone, but I kept away from her). I told my wife what I thought was happening and asked her to run interference.

Today, she’s well over me and has an age appropriate boyfriend. I’m so glad I did what I did, even though she was by far the best looking woman who has ever evidenced attraction to me (like some of the boys who write you, this gal was hot). I don’t feel guilty. My family isn’t screwed up. And I didn’t start some kid with issues down a dark road. I acted like an adult. So do you.

The Marrying Kind

posted by on October 17 at 8:36 AM

Sunday’s New York Times featured a much-discussed story on married people in the United States becoming, for the first time in history, a minority group. Two days later it’s still one of the NYT’s most-emailed stories.

The American Community Survey, released this month by the Census Bureau, found that 49.7 percent, or 55.2 million, of the nation’s 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples—with and without children—just shy of a majority and down from more than 52 percent five years earlier.

The numbers by no means suggests marriage is dead or necessarily that a tipping point has been reached. The total number of married couples is higher than ever, and most Americans eventually marry. But marriage has been facing more competition. A growing number of adults are spending more of their lives single or living unmarried with partners, and the potential social and economic implications are profound.

The story goes on to report that 5% of all American households are made up of straight couples doing what used to be known as “shacking up,” which was, once upon a time, if you can believe it, I shit you not, an extraordinarily controversial thing for a straight couple to do. American families used to disown their straight children for shacking up, landlords would refuse to rent apartments to unmarried straight couples, hotels didn’t allow unmarried straight couples to dirty their sheets. When Republicans and religious conservatives pine for the good old days, straight folks, they don’t just want to stuff gays back in the closet. Nope. They also want to return us to the days when unmarried straight couples were forced to endure discrimination and petty slights.

The census survey also reports that there are nearly three quarters of a million same-sex couples living together in the United States. (413,000 male couples; 363,000 female couples.) Most of these couples are not legally married, of course. Same-sex couples can legally marry in just one state—marriage is under attack in Massachusetts, which nevertheless has the lowest divorce rates in the country—and the feds refuse to recognize the legality of those same-sex marriages. (Former House Rep. Gerry Studds, who died late last week, was married in Massachusetts. His widower, Dean Hara, won’t be receiving any part of Studds’ $114,337 federal pension . If Hara were a woman, he would be entitled to all of it.)

When shacked-up straight couples were asked why they weren’t marrying, a handful cited discrimination against gay and lesbian couples…

Some said that pregnancy was the only thing that would prompt them to make a legal commitment soon. Others said they never intended to marry. A few of those couples said they were inspired by solidarity with gay and lesbian couples who cannot legally marry in most states.

I know that some hip, progressive straight couples have qualms about marrying when their gay and lesbians family and friends cannot. I get letters every week at “Savage Loveā€¯ from straight couples that feel awkward about mailing out invites to their gay F&F. But all of these straight couples intend to get married; what they seem to want from me is absolution, special dispensation, along with a suggestion of some pro-marriage-equality gesture they can make before, during, or after the service. They want to marry—they are marrying—but they want to go on the record as supporters of marriage rights for all.

But, again, they’re getting married, regardless. And I support them in that—I want my straight friends and family to get married (hey there, Billy!).

So… I couldn’t help but wonder about these unmarried straight couples that told researchers that they aren’t getting married until us fags and dykes can. Hmm. Deeply held conviction or convenient excuse? Sincere gesture of solidarity with all oppressed homos everywhere? Or easy out, a convenient way for some straight folks to permanently get their parents off their backs?

Morning News

posted by on October 17 at 8:17 AM

Exposed to hormones on a regular basis (in food, in high-testosterone skin creams), kids around the world are experiencing preschool puberty. Speaking of which, the FDA approves meat and milk from clones.

Exploitation for a good cause: Tibetan refugees hold a Miss Tibet swimsuit competition to “raise awareness” of their plight.

Expanding into the great frontier — Wal-Mart heads into China. Oh, MTV, 2.

Expunged criminal record? Via the internet, it’s still there to haunt you.

Exciting espresso: Starbucks recalls it’s extravegantly-named “Barista Aroma Stainless Steel Eight-Cup Coffee Brewer” after 23 reports of defective wiring. (And complaints about its reeking barista aroma?)

Expelling obesity from the happiest place on Earth, Disney will now only lend its licensing to healthy foods.

Expose: Washington title insurance companies pass on the costs of pricey wining-and-dining of real estate agents to consumers.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Krrazy Karr

posted by on October 16 at 10:22 PM

From C-to-the-N-to-the-motherfucking-N:

John Mark Karr, the former suspect in the killing of JonBenet Ramsey, says he has never confessed to anything. In an exclusive interview, CNN’s Larry King asked Karr why he had admitted to the 10-year-old crime. Karr said, “I never gave a definitive overt yes or no to anything.” Karr, who also had computer child porn charges dismissed, says he might one day return to teaching.

Oh ye of little faith

posted by on October 16 at 9:35 PM

A category which includes me. Watching Monday Night Football, the consensus among the cognoscenti of Bruno and Tim’s was that the Bears were going to fucking lose. And, mind you, that they deserved to lose. WTF? How many turnovers can you allow-the Bears gave up six—and win? Yet the Bears managed to win.

To quote my pal Clay, “Any rational motherfucker expected the Bears to lose, outside of Terry Schaivo’s parents. They always think the dead can come back to life.” And Darrin the Bartender—who lent me the computer for the last liveslogging and for this pissant post—says “I wore red for a reason.” That’s what I get for letting him in on the ribs order. Motherfucker is a Vikings fan and, so, by extension, a Cardinals fan tonight. He too thought the Bears had no chance of winning.

As did I. Yet, thanks to scoring by the D and the special teams and an inexplicable miss by the Cardinals’ kicker, the Bears won. That is why watching sports is so great. If you’re at some Indie Music show in some fucking bar and the band is stinking up the joint, what chance do they have of suddenly pulling it all together and playing a killer set of Iggy Pop covers? If you’re at some Indie Movie screening and the first three reels BLOW, what chance does the director have of suddenly pulling a great fourth reel out and making you weep with joy that you saw this movie?

None. But in sports, anyfuckingthing can happen. Except the Cubs winning the World’s Series.

This is what makes sports great.


Monday Night Madonnaisance

posted by on October 16 at 6:39 PM


This evening, while working on the forthcoming Last Days, I had dinner at Ballet on Pike then moved to the Vivace Roasteria on Denny.

At both places, the air was filled with the same sound: Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection.

I’m not complaining, just noticing.

(And while I’m excercising my noticing bone, let me say that Vivace makes the greatest coffee in the entire fucking world and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”—both the music video and the original LP version of the song—is one of greatest works of art of the 20th century.)

Argue with me if you must. (And if you’ve got a good Hot Tip about something that happened yesterday—Sunday October 15—let me know.)

While We’re on the Subject of Burner…

posted by on October 16 at 5:30 PM

Did you catch the Seattle Times endorsement of Dave Reichert on Sunday? Goldy did, and he’s out for blood, calling the endorsement:

A turgidly written, rhetorically dishonest piece of sophistry.

Indeed, while Times columnist Joni Balter, a member of the editorial board, described Reichert in July as “not the sharpest pencil in the backpack,” the Times endorsement now praises him for having “matured” in office and for showing “a capacity for appreciating nuance and an appetite for seeking answers.”

What’s going on here? Goldy and McJoan at DailyKos both see one thing driving the Times’ endorsement: The Estate Tax. McJoan points out that when he voted to repeal the Estate Tax earlier this year, Reichert put out a press release mentioning the Times by name as a reason for his vote. And Goldy puts it this way:

The Times incessant shilling for estate tax repeal has so strained its credibility and bored its readers that its endorsements have become more an exercise in narcissism than civic engagement.

UPDATE: And over at Northwest Progressive Institute, Andrew Villeneuve says the Times has “disgraced itself.”

Science Proves Life Begins at Conception!

posted by on October 16 at 5:25 PM

Damn, I knew I had it wrong. Thank God these friendly physicians from South Dakota are here to enlighten me:

Collateral Damage From Anti-Gay Marriage Laws

posted by on October 16 at 4:36 PM

Abused women:

Ohio’s domestic-violence law is facing a constitutional challenge by defense attorneys and cultural conservatives who argue that the law conflicts with the state’s two-year-old gay marriage ban.

In a case from Warren County, Michael Carswell says that he shouldn’t be charged with felony domestic violence against his girlfriend because state law conflicts with the constitution. […]

The ban prohibits state or local government from recognizing a legal status for relationships that approximate marriage.

The domestic-violence law, adopted in 1979, specifically covers “persons living as a spouse.”

About 60 domestic-violence cases have challenged the law’s constitutionality.

Citizens for Community Values, the group that led the original anti-gay-marriage campaign, apparently considers abuse a community value: The group filed a brief supporting Carswell.

Via Shakes’ Sis.

The Ping Pong Club

posted by on October 16 at 4:25 PM

It’s fun to belong to a club. However, I would sincerely advise you to never, ever, EVER become a member of “The Ping Pong Club.” Here’s the opening sequence for this very strange Japanese cartoon, which I don’t think is safe for work. It’s mostly safe, but only if your boss is comfortable with you watching cartoons filled with bizarre sexual imagery.

Thanks (I think) to Cracked

While We’re on the Subject of Sexism…

posted by on October 16 at 3:55 PM

The Darcy Burner campaign is describing as “highly derogatory” this comment by Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, made at a press event last Thursday:

[Darcy Burner] has been on the planet 35 years. I’ve served the public for 35 years.

After getting Burner’s press release on this, I still wasn’t sure whether she was trying to say that Reichert’s comment was sexist or ageist, so I called up Burner’s spokeswoman, who told me that it’s both (and added that Burner will be holding an event with women’s leaders tomorrow calling on Reichert to apologize).

The Burner campaign is also comparing Reichert’s comment to a gaffe made by former Republican Rep. Rod Chandler during his 1992 debate with Patty Murray. (Don’t remember that one? Don’t worry, neither did I, but Joel Connelly remembers and the gaffe apparently involved a Roger Miller song and the phrase “woman would you weep for me.”)

The Burner campaign points out that Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (R-Spokane) was elected at age 33, and that if Reichert, 55, wanted to compare records, he could have compared his record in law enforcement to Burner’s record at Microsoft, rather than dismissing her simply because of her shorter time “on the planet.”

What do you think, Slog readers? Is this Reichert comment sexist? Ageist? Bad form? Smart politics? Is Burner making something out of nothing?

Two Great NYT Pieces, and a Coda About Costumes

posted by on October 16 at 3:21 PM

Two great pieces on the New York Times’ op-ed page today.

First, Bob Herbert poses a rhetorical question no one else has bothered to ask in the wake of the Amish shootings: “Why aren’t we shocked” that the killer targeted little girls?

Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.

Herbert’s NYT overlords hid his column behind the dreaded NYTSelect firewall, but Feminist Law Profs has a link to it here.

The second is a really smart piece by writer Allison Glock on the scarcity of un-“sexy” Halloween costumes for women. Glock went to the store to buy costumes for herself and her daughters, who are 4 and 6; the selection she found, however, was all of the “sexy kitten” variety. They included sexy bunny, sexy devil, sexy leopard, and even sexy Wonder Woman,” which, at $49.99,

was among the priciest costumes, along with the Geisha — both $20 more than Stewardess, which consisted only of a polyester wrap dress with a plunging neckline.

A quick trip to Wal-Mart and Kmart revealed the same dubious selections. While the hemlines were slightly lower on the Kmart French Maid and Cheerleader, Wal-Mart hewed to form with a saucy Red Riding Hood and a naughty rag doll, advertising a “sultry vinyl bodice and thigh highs … lollipop not included.ā€¯

A theme was emerging. And it wasn’t Halloween. Since when did Halloween costumes become marital aids? The hobo has turned into the Hillbilly Honey. The traditional vampire is now the Mistress of Darkness. I have nothing against playing erotic dress-up, or even mass-market fetishism. I’d just prefer it didn’t converge with a family holiday (and wasn’t sold next to the dryer sheets). If you want to play cheerleader at home, go team. But trick-or-treating with your children in anything featuring latex and cleavage seems like a little too much trick. […] My girls were confused. “Where are the monsters?ā€¯ they asked. “Where are the superheroes?ā€¯ I pointed weakly to Wonder Woman and her thigh-high boots. “She’s pretty,ā€¯ said my 4-year-old. Before adding, “You can see her breasts.ā€¯

This reminds me of a running joke between me and a coworker. Every year around Halloween, when we walk past the sex shop on Broadway, we have the following exchange:

“What should I be for Halloween?”
“How about a sexy nurse?”
“No, wait - a slutty farm girl!”
“No - a sexy schoolgirl!”
“No - a trampy stewardess!”
“What about a sexy bunny?”
“I know - a sexy cat!”

We can go on this way for hours.

So it cracked me up the other day to open up the Seattle Weekly and see an ad for Pierre Silber—“The sexiest Hallowen store in the world!”—featuring the following costumes: “Sexy Dorothy”; “Sexy bunny”; “Sexy sheriff”; “Sexy nun”, and even “Sexy referee.” That last one, which features a “naughty” minidress, knee socks, and what appear to be high-heeled cleats, is accompanied on the web site by its male counterpart—a plain old regular referee costume.

Just One Name

posted by on October 16 at 3:18 PM

Malawi — A 1-year-old boy whom Madonna and her husband are seeking to adopt left for England on Monday, flying first on a chartered plane to South Africa, then on a regularly scheduled flight to London, where the singer has a home. The boy, David Banda…
This question is for my brothers and sisters in Malawi, a country that was once joined with Zambia and Zimbabwe to form the Central African Federation: As a people, why are you so fond of the surname Banda? The certainty with which one knows a day must have a sun stands next to the certainty that the minute one hears a Malawian has entered a room is the very same minute one will hear the word “Banda.” It’s always this Banda, that Banda, those Bandas. Really—I’m being very serious now—why the utter lack of diversity when comes to this one thing? The name of that Madonna boy could so easily have been Hastings Banda.

Angela Valdez - our new highly emotional, cosmically creative reporter

posted by on October 16 at 2:40 PM

Today is the first day in our office for newly-hired Neghborhoods reporter Angela Valdez, whose work at Oregon’s Willamette Week caught our eye. It’s always tough being the new kid on the job, though, so we decided to see into her future … not only to soothe her worries, but to give us some insight into who Ms. Valdez really is. Luckily, we had this deck of Manga-themed Tarot cards (which arrived unsolicited last week to the Books section) to guide us…


It was soon revealed that Manga Tarot can only tell the fortunes of insecure heterosexual girls. We gave it our best shot, anyway, following the instructions to a tee:

“Dim the lights and maybe light a candle or some incense to create the atmosphere of a wise woman. Focus on the question in your mind. If it’s about how you’re going to get that boy to fancy you, it’ll be worth it…”

Her question: “Will I someday have Dan Savage’s job?”

Her answer:

Past:The Star — The Star is about hope, about reaching out to something beyond which you can touch and feel. Picking this card means you’ve reached beyond your own limits and risen above the crowd.”

Future:The Page of Cups — It’s time to tell people how you feel - especially the boy whose interest in you is growing. Look out for a family gathering or sleepover - a chance to let your hair down - and any new offers or projects. “

Present: “The Nine of Pentacles — You’re coming into your own power, which is making you feel more in control of yourself and your future. Get out and run around and you’ll feel even better.”

Advice: “The Empress — The Empress is all woman. She’s the symbol of the mysteries of femininity. She’s cosmically creative, highly emotional and astonishingly selfess. But just as she represents beauty and support, girly emotions can also include jealousy and spite. As a young woman, you’ll explore them all, but keep the ugly ones in check or you’ll find that being a woman isn’t such fun after all.”

So as long as previously super-star Angela can learn to keep her girly emotions under control and let down her hair, she’ll meet her dreams of success here at The Stranger! A paper that was at one time strong-armed by gays and feminists will soon come under new reign…


posted by on October 16 at 2:27 PM

CBS News’s blogs apparently consider “gay” a dirty word:



Farewell, Crappy Slogan

posted by on October 16 at 2:07 PM

That didn’t take long: Washington State offs the much-derided “Say WA” state tourism slogan.

Bodies: the Exploitation?

posted by on October 16 at 1:14 PM

The directors of the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries (“a paranormal science museum with exhibits, library, and cultural center exploring legends, lore, UFO history, bigfoot, ghosts… “) have been complaining, in long email missives, about Bodies: the Exhibition, presented by Premier Exhibitions.

That the cadavers haven’t consented. That their origins—in a big Chinese hospital—are suspect. That the glass cases they are in might leak and cause health problems. Et cetera. (And yes, it is a little bit funny that MotM, which hosts ghost tours, is getting exercised about Premier’s “exploitation of the dead,” but there is a difference.)

Now they’ve up and done something about it by filing a federal complain against Premier. The long email missive describing the move follows the jump. An excerpt:

A Minute Order issued by [U.S. District Court] Judge John C. Coughenour did not approve a request for an emergency injunction to stop the exhibit is the movant did not demonstrated “immediate and irreparable harm” but the doctors were informed the complaint will be forwarded to a magistrate and is on permanent file with the courts.

It seems improbable to me that the bodies are murdered Falun Gong members—if I were running a totalitarian state that practiced political assassination, I would do anything with my victims before I would hand them over to doctors from other countries for examination and display. Nevertheless, cheers to the Museum of the Mysteries for keeping the pressure on. There’s no evidence that Premier obtained these bodies illegally or unethically—but then, they haven’t provided any evidence to the contrary.

Continue reading "Bodies: the Exploitation?" »

Greg Nickels Cares What People Think. Just Not This Time.

posted by on October 16 at 1:11 PM

Mayor Nickels told the Seattle Times today that anything less than a cut-and-cover tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct would be “unacceptable.” His statements came in response to a new Times poll showing that voters overwhelmingly support rebuilding the viaduct, by a margin of two to one.

As Stranger and Slog readers know, I’m no supporter of rebuilding the viaduct. However, isn’t this the same mayor who called vociferously for a vote on the monorail (money quote: “Give the voters a say in this matter”), and then supported killing the project after it lost its fifth and final vote? The people have spoken on the viaduct too, but Nickels only listens when he likes what they’re saying.

Russian-Speaking Immigrants: The New Vanguard of the Anti-Gay Religious Right?

posted by on October 16 at 12:55 PM

Last week, the LA Times ran a very interesting story about the Russian-speaking immigrant community in Sacramento and how it has become the leading antagonist of gay Californians. These immigrants, from places like the Ukraine and Belarus, are mostly Evangelical Christians who fled religious persecution in the former Soviet Union and are now using their newfound religious freedom to persecute gay Americans

It’s a familiar irony: the persecuted becoming the persecutors. And it’s an irony that will be particularly resonant for anyone who followed the gay-bashing of former Seattle resident Micah Painter, who was attacked by three Russian-speaking Evangelical immigrants in 2004. That summer, on gay pride weekend, on a dark street near Capitol Hill, the three young immigrants beat and stabbed Painter simply because he talked back to them after they called him a faggot.

In my long reconstruction of the assault on Painter and the trial that followed, I tried to point out a further irony: That the religious movement at the center of this anti-gay violence by Russian-speaking immigrants is itself American-grown.

The young men who were later convicted of a hate crime for their attack on Painter—Vadim Samusenko, David Kravchenko, and Yevgeniy Savchak—were in a sense a modern product of the Biblical literalism and agressive proselytizing that grew out the 18th Century’s “Great Awakening,” a spiritual “revival” in colonial America that is seen as the beginning of Evangelical Christianity.

This new religion soon spread across oceans and continents, lodging in the minds of millions who came to believe in a need to be reborn and in the literal truth of the Bible. It was in this way that Evangelical Christianity eventually entered the mind of Vadim Samusenko, a young immigrant from Russia and a spiritual descendant of this landmark revival, who last summer awoke inside the cab of a white pickup truck that was rolling through downtown Seattle on a balmy summer night.

Not surprisingly, before he moved to this state Samusenko lived with his family in Sacramento, where the LA Times now finds that Russian-speaking Evangelicals are becoming so aggressive in their attempts to thwart gay rights and convert homosexuals that a recent gay pride festival required extra security precautions:

…The elaborate security preparations reflected growing tensions between Sacramento gays and the city’s large and vociferous community of fundamentalist Christians from the former Soviet Union.

Over the last 18 months, Sacramento Russian-language church members have picketed gay pride events, jammed into legislative committee meetings when gay issues were on the agenda and demonstrated at school board meetings.

Incited by firebrand Russian Pentacostal pastors and polemical Russian-language newspapers, the fundamentalists turn out en masse for state Capitol protest rallies.

Last June, urging readers to attend a massive rally, the Russian newspaper the Speaker told them:

“Make a choice. It’s your decision. Homosexuality is knocking on your doors and asking: ‘Can I make your son gay and your daughter lesbian?’ “

In most instances, the Russian-speaking demonstrators far outnumber representatives from all other anti-gay groups combined. Anti-homosexual rallies that a few years ago attracted a few dozen participants now regularly draw hundreds and sometimes thousands, many with a heavy Russian accent…

Signs displayed by the [Russian-speaking] demonstrators often equate homosexuality with pedophilia and describe the AIDS epidemic as a message from God. One of the common tactics of the demonstrators is to tap gays forcefully on the head and announce that they have been “saved.”

“They’ve declared war on us for some reason,” said Stand Up for Sacramento founder Nathan Feldman, a jewelry store clerk. “They got it into their heads that California is the land of sin and that it is their duty to cleanse the state, starting with homosexuals.”

Religious fundamentalism is not just a Saudi Arabian export. It’s an American export, too, and in this case it’s an exported Christian fundamentalism that, after incubating for more than a century in virulently homophobic regions of the former Soviet Union, is now being re-introduced to America—where this country’s Evangelical leaders are all too eager to embrace it:

Leaders of the religious right… celebrate the Russian efforts as a revival.

“My hope and my prayer,” said Mark Matta, a former legislative aide who heads the Christian Public Awareness Ministries, “is that they will become a voice in the wilderness for the rest of the country.”

Many credit the Slavic Christian immigrant community with filling a void left by the traditional American church and providing reinforcements in the ongoing culture wars over what should define family, acceptable sexual relationships and marriage.

“Russian Christians bring a fresh faith and uncorrupted family values to this country. They are a shining model for the rest of us in terms of faith, family, work ethic, patriotism and community,” said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families.

Rap and Reality

posted by on October 16 at 12:42 PM

A rapper in the local crew Corrupt Practice might spend much (if not all) of what remains of his youth behind bars if he’s convicted of, yes, corrupt practices. Agents arrested the rapper on “Friday on charges that he conned or bribed people to give up ATM cards, flooded the victims’ accounts with counterfeit check deposits, then withdrew cash.” While the law prepares to judge Slaughter as a criminal, you are welcome to judge him as a rapper.

Today I Must Report

posted by on October 16 at 12:05 PM

That in the summer of 1985 I played a gig at the now defunct CBGBs. (I have the pic to prove it.)
I did not, however, score 43 points and haul down 28 rebounds in my NBA debut.

Today’s TV News!

posted by on October 16 at 11:49 AM

SAD (and a bit scary). The 8-year-old daughter of dead Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is getting her own animal show. Says young Bindi Irwin, “I’m trying to get across the message that don’t be afraid of animals, they’re just put on this earth to help the environment and everything like that.” Funny, that’s what the stingray said.

SMELLY. The O.C. is finally getting its own fragrance. Yay! It’s been a dream of mine to smell just like Julie Cooper’s cootie.

INTERESTING. Does Battlestar Galactica support the Iraqi insurgency? What’s more, does Desperate Housewives support Kim Jong il?

HOTSY. Bravo’s TOP CHEF has given the boot to their former stick of dead wood, and has hired a new host. Who’s super hot. And married to Salman Rushdie?!?

I’m sorry… but I just can’t honor a marriage such as this. It’s time for a booty fatwa!

Rachel Corrie in NYC

posted by on October 16 at 11:26 AM

Here’s the New York Times review of the play based on Rachel Corrie’s letters and journals. Verdict? Rachel Corrie is interesting; Megan Dodds, who plays her as though “orating from a platform, bullhorn in hand” “merely playing young, with all the attendant cuteness” is not.

I’m not sure who’s playing Rachel in Seattle production. Hopefully she won’t have such angular cheekbones.

Care for a Condo to match that Prius?

posted by on October 16 at 11:17 AM

Wandering aimlessly around the Central Library a few weeks ago, I saw this slogan on a construction fence for the new 5th and Madison development: “Condominiums with a Conscience.ā€¯ My first reaction, of course, was to snark. Environmentally friendly, LEED-silver certified condos for the very wealthy? Sounds like a marketing ploy to soothe the liberal consciences of those who consume the most.

But I had nothing else to do, so I rode the elevator up 25 floors to the 5th and Madison show room and now I’m sold on the whole green condo idea.

Since 2000, the City has required Seattle public buildings to be green (City Hall, aforementioned library), but in May our esteemed City Council passed the Downtown Livability Plan which forces big private downtown developers to go green as well. Thus the rise of the Conscience Condos — expensive, elite and eco-friendly condominiums where the building’s environmental qualities are marketed and appreciated as part of the overall sophisticated package. Forget composting toilets and peat-moss houses, between Denny Way and King St., even the exclusive and elegant can enjoy luxurious living with a clean, green conscience.

Here’s the mock-up of 5th and Madison from where the library is now (so looking west from Madison, with 5th avenue to your left). All 24 stories of glass are insulated for energy efficiency.

And from 5th Avenue you can see their plaza, which counts as green space.

Buyers even get to customize their condos with earth-themed color motifs — storm, dawn, etc…
floor-al patterns.JPG

There’s six residences per floor and most are priced between $500,000 - $700,000, with higher ones going for up to $900,000.

So yeah, yeah, yeah, some of you may deride the people who buy 5th and Madison condos (or those at the also LEED-silver certified 1521 2nd Ave development, whose website opens with the phrase “Designed exclusively for the confident fewā€¯) as yuppies trying to buy their way into environmentalism, but is there anything really wrong with that? Having people willing to shell out a little extra for some eco-friendly refinements is what makes green building attractive and viable.

“Initially, when this happens, you need the right people, the right politics and the right place,ā€¯ explains Tony Gale, who was on Nickel’s green building team and is now the corporate architect for Starbucks. “There needs to be a mindset that can allow it to happen, a real world-view in the general populace, a ground-swell in interest from the general public.ā€¯

Even if the condo builders and buyers are motivated (like Gale) by a well-intentioned desire for a cleaner world, their decisions are founded on good financial sense. The 5th and Madison brochure makes sure to mention that green condos have a higher resale value than standard gas-grubbing homes and in Seattle, flush with money and liberalism, there is a definite and growing market for conscience condos.

“Five years ago, people wouldn’t have noticed, really, if it was green building,ā€¯ says 5th and Madison public relations manager Pam Perry, “The market’s on a tipping point.” According to Perry, the buyers are people in 30s, 40s and 50s, a lot of single men who “urban-oriented people comfortable with living downtown, a little more sophisticated.ā€¯ She explains:

That’s the whole shift in green, people think it’s yurt-like living, but of course the new green doesn’t look like that at all. You can’t really look at that building and go, “Oh, that’s a green building,ā€¯ The green part is all in the innards. A lot of people don’t necessarily walk in and go, “I’m buying because it’s green.ā€¯ It’s a bonus, they know their energy bills will be less.

So are green condos going to spread to all of Seattle or stay only downtown where they’re mandated? It’ll have a lot to do with how successful 5th and Madison turns out to be.

“You better be careful what you propose in the private sector,ā€¯ says Gale, “it better work.ā€¯

Project Runway: The Countdown Begins

posted by on October 16 at 9:00 AM


The countdown for the Project Runway finale—and attendant party (detailed above, click image to enlarge)—has officially begun, and to celebate here’s some relatively juicy gossip.

According to internet buzz, this Project Runway contestant has “found love” with this pop princess/TV personality.

Does this portend a winner? Could the pop princess in question love a loser? Time will tell. Full story here.

Morning News

posted by on October 16 at 8:28 AM

Cut and Run: Republicans give up on some swing state races and shift funding to others, making Tennessee and Missouri the new Ohio.

Stay the course: US pursues “financial isolation” against Iran and North Korea, China starts trade sanctions.

“Islamo fascists”: UK debates whether a Muslism public school teacher should be fired for wearing the veil.

Weapon of Mass Destruction: As AIDS medication improves, harsh stigma is the new untreatable disease.

Freedom-loving: After huge anti-French protest in Turkey, Jacques Chriac apologizes for proposed French law banning denial of Turkish genocide against Armenians. Turkey continues living in denial.

Go it alone: West coast drivers much more likely to carpool than East coasters.

Smoke ‘em Out: New York’s iconic CBGB closes. Millions of screen-printed CBGB hipster shirts now precious antiques.

Bring them on: Mayor Nickels says “no new Viaduct” despite Seattle Times poll showing voters hate his tunnel option.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on October 16 at 7:07 AM

Seahawks: Well that was exciting. It may not have been a pretty win, but it was definitely a big win. (On a related note: That had to sting Mike in MO.) Next week, back home for the Vikings.

Sonics: For those who still care.

Huskies: Ouch and ouch.

Cougars: It’s hard to win when you go 0-11 on third downs.

Miami vs. Florida International: 31 one players—that’s right, 31 players—suspended following Saturday’s brawl.

World Series: Detroit is in, NLCS is tied.

Sweet Lou: Manager of the Cubs? Take it away Chicago Fan…

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Future Is Here

posted by on October 15 at 8:00 PM

Finally, marriage is in the minority. And if that weren’t enough trouble for the “moral majority,” the fastest growing religion in the US is not any branch of Christianity but the complete opposite: atheism. It was only a matter of time.

Hello? Anyone home?

posted by on October 15 at 3:04 PM

Man, I go to check the Slog and no one is there. Not much to say, really, other than how your NFC champ Seagulls are looking a bit green about the gills, what with almost losing to St. Louis. Didn’t watch the game—working today to make up for missing tomorrow night with the Bears on MNF—but thought I’d see what someone in Seattle had to say. Guess everyone is getting re-vetted or something. Then I note folks are commenting on my Onion-linked post yesterday since they’re so lonely and there’s nowhere else to go.

So, some gasoline on the fire: the Seahawks and Bears will meet again in January, though not in the NFC Championship game—you guys’ll be outdone in the regular season by the Eagles or the Saints, no bye round. In a Wild-Card round game against the Giants, you will win but Shaun Alexander will break his pinky and be unavailable the next week and we’ll crush you like bugs before marching on to Miami and Super Bowl 41. Screw the roman numberals.

Meanwhile, various events revolving around music, politics, the Alaskan Way, coffee, anti-gay ministers and conflicts of interest will transpire in Seattle and be slogged mightily.