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Archives for 10/22/2006 - 10/28/2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sexy, Sexy Rag Doll

posted by on October 28 at 9:18 PM

At this very moment I am attending a party in this ragdoll.jpg
sexed-up Raggedy Ann costume. Tomorrow I’ll tell you whether it got me laid.

UPDATE (Oct 29, 3:30 pm)
Yes, ladies and gentleman, I’m pleased to report that this getup got me play last night. (I have to admit that I knew it was fail-proof: I put it on the day it arrived in the mail weeks ago and got laid immediately.) Last night the action went both ways: My husband in his sailor uniform was hotter than my sexy Raggedy Ann. I love Halloween.

Young Republicans: Card Carrying Members of the ACLU

posted by on October 28 at 8:14 PM

This e-mail from a Bellevue Community College student came in today:

As a student at Bellevue Community College I was officially invited to observe the Senator Cantwell, Barack Obama event held on campus last week. The Cantwell campaign and BCC sent out an invitation to all students to attend this event held on public grounds where I am a student. I have a copy of the email invitation to ALL students from the school to attend without stipulation. After waiting in line for approximately an hour with other students, we arrived at the door to the public event in the gymnasium. Myself and approximately 6 other students were physically removed from the line and prohibited from entering the event, based upon the exclusive fact that we were wearing Mike McGavick t-shirts with his name on them. The Cantwell, Obama poiltical advisor Tim Barry made it clear we were not to be allowed in. The BCC Dean of Students first disagreed with the advisor and said we would be allowed to go in. Then after further discussion with the advisor she retracted and said we could only go in if we took off our t shirts. A minute later she then advised us we couldn’t go in at all. Class was cancelled for this event, and some of us were there for a graded assignment as well. The teachers who did cancel their class to accomodate this rally questioned the vice president as well to ask why we were unable to enter because of our t shirts that simply had Mike McGavicks name on them. An english professor who teaches at BCC was even escorted out of the gymnasium for holding a candidtate sign up. The ACLU is seeking to represent us, we have contacted the ACLJ, and The Institute for Justice, and we have been interviewed on various radio shows thus far. There is an article in the King County Journal as well with a few discrepancies about this. BCC and the Cantwell campaign discriminated against us and violated our first ammendment rights to free speech on our own government school organization campus. Legal action is being taken. No one was there to cause a disruption, and no one was cited or arrested for misconduct, yet the school who officially invited us as well as the Cantwell campaign discriminated against many after inviting all to attend. This is a clear violation of students free speech rights on college campus, and we wish to tell our story. Please contact should you need further information. Thank you Justin Yates

Photos from Circus Contraption’s ‘Jinxed’

posted by on October 28 at 11:37 AM

The Circus’s fans proved me right: These are a few of the hundreds of killer costumes in the audience at the sold-out and spectacular party at the Showbox last night.
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uni.jpg
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dracula.jpg
chicken.jpg
zombies.jpg
cheney.jpg
wings.jpg


Friday, October 27, 2006

Cardinals Win Series 4-1: World Series Champions

posted by on October 27 at 10:46 PM

This post dedicated to Mike in MO. Go nuts, my friend. Congratulations.

The Empty Space is Dead: The Update

posted by on October 27 at 6:11 PM

From the press release: “With deep regret, The Empty Space Board of Directors announced today that The Empty Space Theatre will cease operations effective immediately… The Empty Space does not have the financing needed to manage cash flow over the coming months.”

First it left its Fremont home, because it couldn’t afford the space. Seattle University coaxed it into the Lee Center for the Performing Arts on Capitol Hill, where it produced Bust (by Lauren Weedman) and Louis Slotin Sonanta
(by Paul Mullin), both of which were great productions.

Obviously, there are some questions that need asking: Wasn’t the SU home rent-free? Who are the debtors? Is SU pissed about it?

Damn. I really wanted to see Nick Garrison in I Am My Own Wife.

Update: I spoke with board president Erik Blachford who said the board had been seriously talking about shutting down for a week or so (though it had been in the backs of their minds for longer) and officially voted on it in the last day. It wasn’t the $75,000 debt that killed the theater as much as bad cash flow management. “In theater, there is more or less money coming in at different times of year,” he said. “Looking over the next several months, we saw a major deficit we couldn’t finance and thought it would be irresponsible to start spending money we didn’t have.”

Basically, the Empty Space was planning, in the next week, to start spending on marketing subscriptions for the next season and ramping up for their December production of Forbidden X-Mas. The theater couldn’t afford it, couldn’t get a line of credit to cover it, so had to close. Blachford said there was no specific grant that fell through, but there was, in his words “a smoking gun”: a too-small board.

“An organization the size of Empty Space should have around 20 people on its board,” he said, “and, as of yesterday, it only had eight.” That’s too small for the sustained fundraising that the Empty Space needed to stay afloat. “I haven’t been very effective in finding people to fill the board,” Blachford conceded.

And Seattle University? “They are very understanding about it,” he said. “They know that relationships with arts organizations involve risk.”

Did Someone Say John Houseman?

posted by on October 27 at 5:31 PM

This man made a great impression on my youth.
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Because there was no regulation on the amount of public television I could watch (commercial TV was practically banned from our house), the drama series I grew up with and learned to love was the Paper Chase, which ran on PBS and starred John Houseman as a merciless law professor. How I loved his stiffness, his meanness, the way he terrified students, and could them tremble with just his words and eyes. John Houseman was all I wanted to become.

Monster Chiller Super Happy Anti-Torture Fun Time Theater

posted by on October 27 at 4:44 PM

Happy Halloween, Future Cadavers of America! Join us for “Rahner’s Rotten Rentals” with Your Host, Mark “Rotter” Rahner of the Seattle Times. It’s his latest annual homage to the cheesy, late-night TV horror hosts of yesteryear, with his arch-nemesis the evil Dr. Zangor.

I’ll mostly let the above video speak for itself, as I am fairly speechless at the moment. I would be remiss however, not to mention the presence of an absolutely brilliant gag involving the pants of Henry Rollins.

WSDOT spinning Wikipedia?

posted by on October 27 at 4:20 PM

Seattlest has a fun scoop on someone tampering with the Viaduct’s Wikipedia entry to make the aging arterial seem more important than it is.

The now-defunct revision of the Viaduct’s entry, edited September 21st, read like this:

It is the smaller of the two major traffic corridors through Seattle, carrying up to 110,000 vehicles per day. Interstate 5, the city’s other major traffic corridor, handles about three times as many vehicles. The viaduct runs from S. Nevada Street in the south to the entrance of Belltown’s Battery Street Tunnel in the north.

Then this afternoon comes a revision from a new user called “WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Project”, who changed the entry to

It a primary north-south route through Seattle, carrying 110,000 vehicles per day, or about 20 to 25 percent of traffic traveling through downtown. The only other significant north-south route to and through downtown Seattle is Interstate 5. Interstate 5 handles about three times as many vehicles, but does not have the capacity to add trips searching for an alternative to the viaduct.

They also rework the “alternatives” section to conspicuously leave out the surface-transit option.

I’ve got few theories on the culprit: either this is some WSDOT employee taking matters into his or her own hands or you Viaduct-obsessors have taken passive-agressiveness to new heights, duking it out on the internet encyclopedia.

Do your own sleuthing on the revisions here.

On This, We Can All Agree

posted by on October 27 at 3:54 PM

Dear Capitol Hill Seattle,

Capitol Hill Arts Center, which is number one on your list of “nonprofits that help the neighborhood” is not, in fact, a nonprofit. It’s a great organization, but it’s for-profit, and you can’t make tax-deductible donations. Try Northwest Film Forum.

Mudede Does Longenbaugh

posted by on October 27 at 3:29 PM

In case you’ve missed it, Annie Wagner and John Longenbaugh have been having it out deep in comments-land—in the comments on this post yesterday.

Now, for your listening pleasure, here is Charles Mudede reading an excerpt from Longenbaugh’s comments.

Sexy Piece of Shit

posted by on October 27 at 3:28 PM

Here is The Stranger’s art department’s rendering of my second-best costume idea/comment on the sexy costume controversy. (Note that for some reason the model’s midsection possesses the quality of an owl’s neck. Is this sexy? Sexist? Who can say? A gay man made it; the owls are not what they seem.) Sexy Piece of Shit is easy (in more ways than one!), fun, and undeniably HOT. Ladies, have at it—I am going as my first-best costume idea/comment on the sexy sports-nickname controversy: a Shehawk, tight end, but of course! (“But girls can’t throw/play sports/be powerful!” “I KNOW! Sexy!”) Ladies, if you steal (that’s a football term!) this idea, we will have to have a catfight, and that will only serve to reinforce the dominant paradigm. Happy Halloween!

sexysexy.jpg

The Teeth of Women

posted by on October 27 at 2:52 PM

Plato is the one pointing up and Aristotle, his pupil, is the one pointing out.
zschoolofathensc2.jpg

Because he was a biologist and focused on the changing world, rather than on eternal forms, for years and years I sided with Aristotle (pointing out), the very ground of Western thinking. That all changed a few days ago when I discovered that Aristotle, the father of modern science, the man who put an emphasis on seeing, on observation, on theory (a word that comes from him and has its root meaning in seeing—to theorize is to think about what one sees)—this man, Aristotle, believed that women had fewer teeth than men. Such an idea, which has no truth, even a caveman could have verified by simply looking into a cavewoman’s mouth. Why didn’t Aristotle (“the greatest mind that ever lived”) do just that? Look into his wife’s mouth and count? This massive and inexcusable flaw forced me to conclude that Plato (pointing up) is the thinker I must side with from here on. Plato, by the way, believed women could rule as well as men.

New Jersey to Feds: Screw Your Abstinence Education Money

posted by on October 27 at 2:44 PM

New Jersey officials rejected $800,000 in federal abstinence-education funds, saying the new rules bar teachers from talking about contraception and require them to describe sex within marriage as “the expected standard of human activity.” New Jersey is the fourth state to reject abstinence education dollars.

“Some of the elements required are inconsistent and violate our own educational standards,” said Health Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs.

But Jacobs said new guidelines require the organizations to follow all sections, including one that teaches that monogamous in marriage is the only expected standard and that sex outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.

“Monogamy is not a bad idea, but having the government of New Jersey dictate these things for families is not something we wish to do,” Jacobs said. “It isn’t the function of state government to create standards (for sexual activity).”

Via Kaiser.


Slapping is the new Ballard

posted by on October 27 at 2:40 PM

Slapping is in. Slapping is current. Slapping is what the kids are doing. Can anyone explain it, this new, weird trend? I got slapped so many times last night that my hearing is off today, like I’m underground, or underwater, or walking around with paper towel rolls on each ear. And since no one actually slapped me on the ears, I can only attribute this to my brain getting a bit bashed around inside my skull. I have a touch of coup contrecoup.

Last night’s slapping occurred at Havana, at a costume/dance party to raise money for Washington Ensemble Theatre, where, in the “slapdance,” I was paired with Marya Sea Kaminski. We began by placing a hand on the other’s cheek. Gradually we worked up to harder hitting. Once I hit her too hard so she got to hit me hard back. Then Brendan Kiley walloped me. This was all while dancing.

A couple days before, a house party I went to—a party also involving Brendan Kiley—also devolved into a slapping war.

Erik, an acquaintance I always run into at the Hideout, was slapping people a couple months ago, random people, at the Hideout and other places. As he explains, the natural inclination of humans is to not want to be hit, but “in reality when you slap someone, usually they like it.” This is, of course, not always the case. Erik (who is straight) was so slap-happy that when he traveled to Austin a few months ago and met a cowboy in a bar, he slapped him. How did the cowboy respond? “He and his friends took me outside and beat me up.”

But here in Seattle, slapping is met with a this-is-fun, live-to-the-fullest, we’re-all-gonna-die-at-some-point, it-doesn’t-hurt-that-bad what-the-hell-ness. It’s odd. It’s wonderful. It’s hard to explain.

Seattle Times: No Boners, Please, We’re Skittish

posted by on October 27 at 2:11 PM

The Seattle Times is on a roll: They’ve endorsed Reichert, McMorris, McGavick, and Johnson. And today they urged readers to vote “Yes” on the ridiculous “four foot rule,” which will make Seattle a lap-dance-free zone. Their four-foot-rule endorsement is, at least, a touch more honest than their “Golly! We just like Mike!” McGavick endorsement. They refuse to admit the real reason they endorsed McGavick—and Reichert and McMorris, for that matter: Frank wants his estate tax cut. Period. But they do admit to wanting their real reason for backing the four-foot rule: They want to shut down Seattle’s strip clubs:

Something happens when such rules are on the books and enforced. Call them market forces. Dancers work as contractors. They pay club owners for the opportunity to generate lucrative tips up close and personal with customers via so-called private dances. Separate dancers from their sources of income and the clubs cannot recruit enough interpretive artists or attract enough First Amendment supporters to stay in business.

Hm… something happens when such rules are enforced… I remember reading something about what happens when regulations like this are enforced… when blue-nose, sex-phobic crap like four-foot rules are enforced… where did I read that… it was pretty recently…

Oh, yeah. It was in the Seattle Times. Yesterday. In Danny Westneat’s column:

4 feet from making sense

My favorite factoid from Campaign 2006 is the one about the Seattle cop who bought 300 lap dances at local strip clubs.

He was undercover, out to clean up the naked city. The goal: Catch strippers or customers in acts of prostitution or other crimes. It was all on your tab—at the going rate of $20 to $40 per lap dance. That’s roughly $10,000 for the strip-club expense account for that one detective (not including tips!).

And what were the fruits of this yeoman effort? Essentially nothing.

Since 2001, despite the work of this cop and several others as described to the City Council, the city apparently failed to charge a single dancer with prostitution. Or a single customer with soliciting it.

They did ring up 40 strippers for some misdemeanors. Such as being too naked. Or “simulating a sexual act” (as opposed to the real thing, which they had a hard time finding).

So it has gone in Seattle’s inane war on strip joints.

I bring it up because Seattle voters must decide Nov. 7 whether to crack down on the clubs, with a “4-foot rule.” It mandates everyone stay 4 feet apart — which would doubtless require ongoing police “work” to enforce.

…I wouldn’t mourn the strip clubs if they all died. But I agree with Licata, who calls the 4-foot rule “overkill” for something that isn’t much of a problem anyway.

Seattle’s strip clubs: Not a problem. The city has wasted time and our money looking for problems in the strip clubs and they’ve got squat to show for it. So why not leave ‘em alone? Why not turn to more pressing matters, like schools and mass transit and violent crime? There’s no prostitution at Rick’s, folks. Just hard-up guys with lumps in their pants tossing twenties at pretty girls. Leave ‘em alone.

But if the city didn’t find any prostitution going on at Seattle’s strip clubs, can’t we just change the definition of prostitution? That’s the Seattle Times ed board’s position. While the police can still make a distinction between lap dances and prostitution—again, that once hard working detective got $10,000 worth of lap dances but didn’t uncover any prostitution—the Seattle Times wants to blur the line. From their endorsement this morning:

Dancing, naked or clothed, is a lawful expression of free speech. The U.S. Supreme Court said so. Grinding away on customers in the dark for tips is not. Lap dancing is sex for hire.

Alert the vice squad—and arrest that detective who spent $10,000 on “sex for hire.”

What this is really about is Puritanism, pure and simpleminded. The best definition of Puritanism is still H.L. Menckin’s: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.ā€¯ The Seattle Times, like the mayor and the city council, is haunted by the specter of boners. There are men at Rick’s and Seattle’s other three strip clubs with hard-ons. They’re not putting up campaign posters for Mike! McGavick or writing software or tossing fish around at the Market. They’re getting lap dances, getting hard, and then going home to beat off. Oh, the horror of it all. God fucking forbid.

Next Tuesday vote no on Puritanism. Vote no on the waste of finite police time and city resources. Vote no on needlessly harrassing dancers and horny dudes. Vote no on the four foot rule.

The Trouble With “Objectivity”

posted by on October 27 at 2:04 PM

CNN has a story about a man accused of cutting off his daughter’s clitoris with a pair of scissors that struggles laboriously to present the practice in a “balanced” manner, eschewing the more accurate phrase “female genital mutilation” to describe the practice in favor of “female circumcision,” which female genital mutilation most assuredly is not. It also takes pains to describe the practice of cutting off girls’ clitorises as an “ancient” and “5,000-year-old” custom—or “procedure,” as the article, incredibly, describes it.

Female circumcision is common in Adem’s homeland, and his lawyer, Mark Hill, acknowledged that Adem’s daughter had been cut. But he said his client did not do it, and he implied that the family of Fortunate Adem, who immigrated from South Africa when she was 6, may have had the procedure done.[…]

The U.S. State Department estimates that up to 130 million women had undergone circumcision worldwide as of 2001.

Just to be clear: This is circumcision. This is not.

The article goes on to describe genital mutilation as “a preparation for marriage,” adding, “Activists say the practice is intended to deny women sexual pleasure.”

Hmm… Wonder why they would say that?

Stupid, Stupid NBC

posted by on October 27 at 1:52 PM

NBC is refusing to air ads for the forthcoming Dixie Chicks documentary, Shut Up and Sing. I’m going to a screening of the film next week and have high hopes, given the fact that it was directed by Barbara Kopple, best known for Harlan County, U.S.A.

No Marcel Ici

posted by on October 27 at 12:48 PM

Culturegrrl today has a great post about what’s missing from the 20th-century collection at the nation’s most encyclopedic museum, the Metropolitan. It includes the shocking note “Duchamp: None.” Wow!

Tonight We Suggest…

posted by on October 27 at 12:45 PM

halloween2006.jpg

(CIRQUE NOIR HALLOWEEN) Circus Contraption’s annual Halloween party always has the puppets, the band, and the re-creation of the zombie dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” This year’s Jinxed also includes Orkestar Zirkonium (the best Balkan-flavored brass band west of the Mississippi), Nanda (acrobats who combine kung fu and b-boying), the 35-member March Fourth Marching Band, and Scotty Walsh performing the water escape perfected by Harry Houdini, who died on October 31, 1926—80 Halloweens ago. (The Showbox, 1426 First Ave, ticketswest.com. 8 pm, $15 adv/$18 DOS, 21+.) BRENDAN KILEY
Circus Contraption’s Halloween extravaganzas are legendary. Expect to see amazing audience costumes on top of a crazy fun show. Look for me; I’m going as a gothic lolita.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on October 27 at 12:01 PM

I’ve been doing this for a while, so I don’t get many questions I haven’t seen some version of in the past. This one, however, is unique.

Hello. Please advise me Mr. Savage.

Last night I brushed my teeth at 9:30pm. I got to the club at 10:00pm. I spot a young lady. I was drinking Cranberry & vodka. Fast forward. Around 12am the young lady came up to me and asked if i had a piece of gum. “No. But I have this.” Listerine pocket mist. I gave her a squirt. I took acouple. We then made out—alot. Fast forward. I find out she shortly before me blew a guy. She let him cum in her mouth. She “spit,” …supposudly. I did ALOT of Listerine and MORE cranberry.

Now the questions: 1) How long does sperm stay alive after ejected? 2) Does dead sperm carry HIV??
3) Am I at any risk? I don’t have any open sores or any gum bledding when brushing. And finally: When some one asked for a piece of gum, is what they really mean “I just let someone spew in my mouth,…wanna make out”????

Dam I Made Out With A Slut

Hm… is DIMOWAS concerned about health issues? Or is this a case of homosexual panic? And if you’re making out with people you just met, can you complain about what—or who—they were doing before you met? And isn’t he a slut too?

G-Dubya: Freedoms Fighter

posted by on October 27 at 11:06 AM

Recently defending his freedom to ignore Congress: (Via Crooks and Liars, and the Washington Post)

President Bush reserved the right to ignore key changes in Congress’s overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency — including a requirement to appoint someone with experience handling disasters as the agency’s head — in setting aside dozens of provisions contained in a major homeland security spending bill [October 7th].

And flipping the bird to all those stiffs in suits who wanna put him in a box.

Besides objecting to Congress’s list of qualifications for FEMA’s director, the White House also claimed the right to edit or withhold reports to Congress by a watchdog agency within the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for protecting Americans’ personal privacy.

The standards for the FEMA director were inspired by criticism of former FEMA chief Michael D. Brown’s performance after Hurricane Katrina last year. Brown, a lawyer and judge of Arabian horses, had no experience in disaster response before joining FEMA.

Fuck you, congress.
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And fuck you too, box.
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Sexy Napoleon Dynamite

posted by on October 27 at 11:05 AM

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There’s an ad for Ricky’s, New York City’s “Halloween Superstore,ā€¯ in the most recent issue of New York Magazine.

They’re all there, all of Erica’s pet peeves: Sexy witch, sexy nurse, sexy maid, sexy, angel, sexy Raggedy Ann, sexy construction worker, sexy Supergirl, sexy baseball player, sexy pirate, sexy cat, sexy lunatic (a sexy woman in a sexy straightjacket). The costumes shown for men aren’t anywhere near as revealing—not one bares a single square inch of male flesh.

Most of the costumes for men go out of their way to be non-sexy. Men can pick from fully-clothed cop, fully-clothed Dracula, fully-clothed cowboy, fully-clothed pirate, fully-clothed Napoleon Dynamite, fully-clothed redneck.

Some regard this state of affairs, if you’ve been reading the Slog, as sexist in the extreme, deeply wrong. Just another example of how the culture oppresses women. I’d like to go on the record, however, with my full-throated (ahem) support for straight girls dressing up in sexy costumes on Halloween. I actually think there’s something right about it. (No one disputes for an instant that there’s everything wrong with—oh, so hugely fucked up—all those sluttastic Halloween costumes for little girls Erica wrote about earlier in the week.)

Some would argue that it’s sexist because men don’t wear those costumes. So why should women?!? Where’s the equality in that? (Erica claims she’s not against sexy costumes, per se, and that she’s not interested in equal time/baring of flesh. She just thinks there should be more options for women. But I can’t help but detect a whiff of women-shouldn’t-have-to-wear-this-shit-if-men-don’t in her posts.)

Here’s why straight women wear these things: Because they work, meaning they attract welcome attention from straight men. And here’s why straight men don’t wear comparatively sexy things: Because they wouldn’t work, meaning they wouldn’t attract attention—or the right kind of attention—from straight women.

While it’s easy to blame simple, straight-up sexism for the bare-flesh-gap that yawns between mass-marketed male and female Halloween costumes, what’s really at work is the invisible hand of the sexual marketplace. And women aren’t just victims of that marketplace (“aren’t just” means they are victimized in part), they’re also players, tastemakers, and enforcers. And most straight women, while content to compete with other women in the sexiness department, do not feel they should have to compete with men too. They resent men who attempt to out-sexy them on Halloween. (There will be lots of women who regard themselves as exceptions to this rule, women that want men to show up at Halloween parties in Speedos—and those women are likelier to be reading this blog, and they will shortly shred me in comments. You’re still the exception.)

Some men, of course, can and do wear revealing and/or sexy costumes on Halloween—they’re called “gay men.ā€¯ Want to see guys in flesh-baring costumes? Go out to the gay bars this weekend. And why do gay men wear revealing costumes? Because gay men, like straight women, are trying to catch the eyes of men. And all men, gay and straight, respond to un-subtle visual stim. Women, I contend, do not—or not as reliably as men do, I should perhaps say, so there’s less incentive for straight men to run around town in Speedos on Halloween.

So when I hear women say, “How come men don’t have to demean themselves by wearing `sexy’ Halloween costumes?ā€¯ I think—mostly to myself, because I don’t want to get yelled at—”Yeah, there’s the patriarchy, which should be destroyed and stuff, but you women play a part in this.ā€¯ Most straight women aren’t interested in men who seem a little too conscious of their own beauty—and pouring yourself into something tight, something that exposes your assets for the world to see, screams “I know how hot I am! Check me out!ā€¯ That’s a feminine thing to do—in large part because women want to reserve it for themselves. Which is why gay men can get away with it—it’s why we can do it (well, at least while we’re young)—and straight men can’t and don’t.

Sexy costumes makes a man less attractive to women, not more. Hence the Napoleon Dynamite costume, the full-cover baseball player costume, the drunk rube costume.

How to Show Cars

posted by on October 27 at 11:03 AM

I have a fond memory of the last time I shopped at an auto showroom. I was around nine years old, my single mother’s old red clunking GM had kicked it in the middle of the street outside K-Mart, and I watched as she got tough with a salesman who was trying to blow her over like a pair of walking eyelashes on the subject of a used purple Pontiac. (We had attempted to enlist a beard for the day, but no men had been available, so we trucked around looking for a deal, wearing brown and trying to seem huskily competent.)

I’m sure people are still going into auto showrooms to buy cars these days (evidently, as the NYT reports this week, auto dealerships are looking for design inspirations from theme parks and carnivals), but to me they just seem like a thing of the past, like cigar bars or overnight hair curlers. Even my mother, after two and a half decades of the nightly routine, doesn’t wear those anymore.

What’s funny is that when the new Seattle Art Museum opens downtown in May, it will look like a car dealership. I don’t mean this in a demeaning way: the design deliberately toys with a retail appearance, which may be the most interesting thing about it from the outside. The front wall will be glass, and visible from First Avenue—you can see the line of white Ford Tauruses parked in there now, waiting to be installed—will be Cai Guo-Qiang’s installation Inopportune: Stage One. (To see a short video narrated by the artist of the piece in its original incarnation at Mass MOCA, click here.)

Barack Obama’s standing-room-only book tour

posted by on October 27 at 11:01 AM

So although Barack Obama filled Benaroya Hall last night with a sold-out crowd of fans who interrupted every third sentence with applause, it wasn’t a political rally and it wasn’t even an especially invigorating oration. The Seattle audience was his largest on his 25-city book tour and the talk he gave was about his book, not about taking down Bush or getting out of Iraq or anything else the audience would have lapped up with yet another standing ovation (though he got three with just the book-selling speech).

The first thing he addressed was the title of his book, The Audacity of Hope, which, he explained, was “pilfered” from a sermon his United Church of Christ minister gave 18 years ago. “Looking at the way the world is, it’s easy to be cynical,” explained Obama. The audacious risk these days is “putting your shoulder to the grindstone to make the world better than it is.” He also told a short story about attending a barbeque in Southern Illinois just after becoming junior Senator, seeing 300 people wearing light blue Obama buttons and realizing just how unlikely it was that he — “with a mother from Kansas, a dad from Kenya and named Barack Obama” — was now serving as a state senator.

Much of his talk hit home the point that Americans should find those basic core values on which we all agree and find “common sense solutions” to our problems. There’s a lot of good ideas that aren’t Republican or Democrat, like making sure children get proper health care. Also, importantly, our policies should be “based on fact, not ideology.” (hallelujah!)

Obama had the audience (myself included) in the palm of his hand. He’s the only Democratic leader right now that I get excited about supporting. Voting for me is usually such an anti-climax — when I get to the polls and remember who it is I’m actually casting my ballot for, it’s never a proud moment. It’s a sighing, “Well, at least they’re not a Republican, right?” moment. Call me a doe-eyed optimist, but I think Obama can snap voters out of being reluctant Democrats.

That, along with Angela Valdez getting propositioned by a capitalist button seller, made it an exciting night… even if it was just a stop on a book tour.

Extra Special Drunk of the Week

posted by on October 27 at 10:45 AM

Kelly O is out of town, but she asked me to deliver this:

Happy Halloween from Your Friends at Drunk of the Week!

“I Could Give a Damn About Rush Limbaugh’s Pity”

posted by on October 27 at 10:20 AM

So says Michael J. Fox, in this arresting interview with Katie Couric.

Taking on a celebrity with Parkinson’s: Perhaps the best thing Limbaugh has ever done for the Democrats.

“Dancing With the Stars” Tour?!?

posted by on October 27 at 9:56 AM

I don’t know if I’m thrilled or nauseated… The hit ABC show (and my guiltiest of pleasures) DANCING WITH THE STARS is taking their D-list celebs and mostly naked professional dancers and doing a nationwide tour. And yes… THEY’RE COMING HERE. EEEEEEEEEE! (Again, not sure if that’s a scream of ecstasy or fear.) Here’s the scoop from KABC.


‘Dancing with the Stars’ is hitting the road and bringing stars and professional dancers from the first three seasons of the show to 38 cities in the United States.

Those hitting the road include Joey McIntyre who will be paired up with Kym Johnson, Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke, Lisa Rinna and Louis Van Amstel, Joey Lawrence and Edyta Sliwinska, Willa Ford and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Harry Hamlin and Karina Smirnoff.

The show will feature a recreation of the television show’s actual stage. There will also be a live orchestra to accompany the dances.

Tickets will go on sale November 4th.

The Northwest dates are December 22nd in Seattle, Key Arena & December 23rd in Portland, Rose Garden. Sound like the perfect X-mas gift?

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What? No Jerry?

Another Charmer from the New York Post

posted by on October 27 at 9:30 AM

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Selling Obama

posted by on October 27 at 9:24 AM

Leaving the Barack Obama book talk last night, I noticed a burly white guy loudly hawking buttons on the side walk. I wandered up to get a better look, risking my hearing in the process. Some of the buttons, $5 a piece, promoted Obama for pres. Others said Superbama and featured, I think (bad photo quality), him in a cape. A couple of middle-aged black women came up and asked the man where the profits were going. He said, “DNC gets a portion.” They nodded and made a purchase. When I asked, a few minutes later, who was getting the money, the man said boastfully, “I am!” I said: “So what do you think you’ll take home tonight?” He hooked me around the neck with his arm, and, pulling me into his belly said, “Hopefully you. I love braces!” I escaped.

Anyway. Obama clearly has star power and the entrepreneurs have already caught on. Capitalism at work. At the very least, Obama will sell a lot of books.

Danny Westneat Has Balls

posted by on October 27 at 9:13 AM

But does anyone know if he still has a job?

Here’s how the Seattle Times columnist described I-920, the estate tax repeal that his boss, publisher Frank Blethen, ordered his ed board to endorse, in his column yesterday:

The worst is Initiative 920, to repeal the state estate tax. Paid for by a handful of multimillionaires, it slashes taxes for a handful of multimillionaires. The kicker: It all comes out of the hide of education, just as schools are laying off librarians or cramming 30-plus kids in classes. If ever an initiative deserved a thrashing, this is it.

On of those millionaires is Westneat’s boss. Again, the man’s got balls—bigger balls than the entire ed board, it seems. Bigger even than Joni Balter’s. But I wonder how long he’ll have a job.

War Bulletin

posted by on October 27 at 9:00 AM

From the New York Times:

Five American service members were killed Wednesday in Anbar Province, the military command reported Thursday, raising the American death toll in October to at least 96, one of the worst monthly tolls of the war.

From the Washington Post:

With his chorus of critics expanding deeper into Republican ranks, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told detractors yesterday to pull back as U.S. and Iraqi officials grapple with the uncertainties of laying out Iraq’s course.

“You ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it’s complicated, it’s difficult,” Rumsfeld said, appearing unusually combative as he sparred with reporters at the Pentagon. “Honorable people are working on these things together,” he said, adding emphatically that “no daylight” exists between the U.S. and Iraqi sides.

From CNN:

A roadside blast Friday ripped through a vehicle in southern Afghanistan, killing 14 people as they traveled to a provincial capital for holiday celebrations, an official said.

The explosion, which also wounded three people, went off on a road leading to a small village just north of Tirin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province, said Abdul Qayum Qayumi, the governor’s spokesman.

It wasn’t clear if the explosion was from an old mine left over from past conflicts or a newly planted roadside bomb, Qayumi said.

From MSNBC:

“The extent of our social lives is a trip to the porta-john with an FHM magazine,” a soldier told me. The troops worry about “Jody.”

“Jody?”

I’d never heard of it. I know al-Qaida in Iraq, the Mahdi army, and other nefarious death squads that want to kill American troops. But “Jody?” I drew a blank.

A soldier filled me in:

“Jody is the guy that back home with you wife or your girlfriend,” he said, suddenly deadly serious. “He’s the guy hiding behind a corner, behind the curtain, hiding in the closet.

“I just hope that I never meet Jody. That’s how I feel about it. You never want that to happen to you and you try not to be Jody yourself.”

From the L.A. Times:

The Bush administration acknowledged Thursday that it had not won agreement from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki for a plan to crack down on sectarian militias, but asserted that Maliki had said he would work on “benchmarks” for achieving new security measures.

“Can I say that … the prime minister and his government have come down and said, ‘Yes, we’ll do this, we won’t do that,’ or ‘Yes, we will do this, we won’t do that, and we’ll do it by this time?’ No,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said at a contentious Pentagon news conference.

From Fox News:

The five-day trend toward diminished violence in the Iraqi capital was holding Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, as a curfew kept vehicles off the streets through the middle of the day.

The quiet in Baghdad followed a day of bloody house-to-house fighting outside a chaotic city to the north in which 43 people were killed.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A Marine pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of an Iraqi civilian last April.

Pfc. John J. Jodka III, 20 years old, entered the pleas through his lawyer Joseph Casas and then began testifying.

He was one of seven Marines and a Navy corpsman initially charged with murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, assault and housebreaking in the killing of 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the Iraqi town of Hamdania.

From Stars & Stripes:

The U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday that NATO could be in for an extended stay in the central Asian nation and called on member nations to be patient.

Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry urged the global community to devote more resources to the rebuilding of the country as it struggles to contain a resurgent Taliban militia.

“We need perseverance,” Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry told the Asia Pacific Summit in Vancouver.

“We cannot win this in a year. We cannot win this in two years,” he said via satellite from the U.S. Embassy in Vienna.

The Morning News

posted by on October 27 at 8:38 AM

Fuckwits: In a last-ditch ploy before the election, Bush and the GOP turn to big scary homos yet again.

Finance: New York ain’t the world financial capital it used to be.

Fire: Four firefighters dead, one in critical condition fighting a blaze near Palm Springs, California. Officials say arson is to blame.

Fuckwits, Cont.: The White House says Dick Cheney ain’t the torturing type.

Finance, Cont.: Economic growth slows due to a wheezing housing market.

Fish: Eat local salmon at your own risk.

Fields: Sims’s proposal for Boeing Field is on the cheap side, according to critics.

Focus: Having trouble paying attention? Ogle some boobies.

Fall Classic: St. Louis one win away from making regular Slog reader Mike in MO very happy.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Al Gore Suggests

posted by on October 26 at 9:20 PM

Worldchanging, a tiny Seattle nonprofit and web site that is well-known internationally (and to me) but relatively obscure on its home turf, is celebrating the release of its book, “Worldchanging: A User’s Guide to the 21st Century,” with a talk by sci-fi writer and futurist Bruce Sterling and Worldchanging.com editor Alex Steffen at Town Hall this Saturday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m., (leaving plenty of time for Halloween parties!). Tickets are $5.

The book is a latter-day Whole Earth Catalog with more than 600 pages of solutions to problems such as climate change, poverty, and the AIDS epidemic. It’s an optimistic peek at a future radically transformed by technology, green design, clean energy, nonviolent protest, green transportation, women’s rights, public health, new media and more.

In his forward to the book, former vice president Al Gore says it “not only shows what is already possible, but also helps all of us imagine what might be—in our own homes, in our communities, and for the planet as a whole. Taken together, these solutions present a picture of a future that is not dark or catastrophic, but one that is full of hope and within our grasp.”

Oops, Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

posted by on October 26 at 7:01 PM

G.O.P. Tries to Use Marriage Ruling to Rally Base.

In other words, homophobes will flock to the polls to vote for the Rs… everywhere except New Jersey, that is, where they’re sooo over it.

One place the New Jersey court ruling is not likely to have much of a political impact is, paradoxically, New Jersey, a largely Democratic state that does not have a proposed gay marriage ban on the ballot.

As Promised…

posted by on October 26 at 6:24 PM

… a very smart discussion of the NJ gay marriage decision from Dale Carpenter. Some money quotes:

New Jersey does not follow what the court calls the “rigidā€¯ three-tiered scrutiny of the federal equal protection cases: “strict scrutinyā€¯ for race classifications, “intermediateā€¯ scrutiny for sex/gender classifications, and “rational basisā€¯ for almost every other kind of classification. [ … ] Instead, the state courts have adopted a “flexibleā€¯ test that calls for distinctions between “similarly situated peopleā€¯ to be justified by “a substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose.ā€¯

[ … ]

This discussion of a gap [between the rights accorded under NJ’s domestic partnership system and full marriage] served two equal-protection functions in the opinion: it established the importance of the issue of rights already given to gay couples and highlighted the importance of the remaining rights denied them. (Unlike other courts addressing the issue, the court also emphasized the hardships that denial of the remaining rights places on children being raised by gay couples. Hardly any court before this one has underscored that point.)

All of this put pressure on the state to come up with a reason for the remaining gap. Here, the case differs in an important respect from other state court cases:

“The state does not argue that limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman is needed to encourage procreation or to create the optimal living environment for children. Other than sustaining the traditional definition of marriage, which is not implicated in this discussion, the State has not articulated any legitimate public need for depriving same-sex couples of the host of benefits and privileges catalogued [earlier in the opinion].”

Basically, the NJ courts have been nice to gays and lesbians in the past, the NJ legislature has been even nicer, and now the state’s lawyers have to be nicest. They can’t argue that not having gay marriage is for the good of the children, or the legislature might have thought that once it was maybe for the good of the children, or any other mindbending half-justification permitted under the “rational basis” test.

All of which leads to some darker news:

Seen in this light, the New Jersey court’s quotation from Justice Brandeis’ famous dissenting opinion praising the states as “laboratoriesā€¯ to “try novel social and economic experimentsā€¯ is a bit ironic. The New Jersey court now holds that once the state substantially experiments with gay equality it must go all the way, ending the experiment.

While the result in this case is surely a good one for gay families, it may chill experiments in other states where legislators might fear that they cannot move incrementally toward equality for gay couples without surrendering the judicial basis for any remaining distinctions. I doubt that’s really a great danger in most states, where courts tend to be less aggressive than New Jersey’s and where the standard rational-basis test should allow legislatures to proceed incrementally, but this opinion will surely be cited as a reason not to grant any rights to gay couples.

So NJ’s reasoning makes much more sense than the Andersen decision—and it’s a 180 degree turnaround from the Washington court, which held that the passage of Ed Murray’s gay civil rights bill was a reason not to give marriage rights to gays—but it’s still, ultimately, bad for the gays. Awesome. I told you it might be hard to swallow.

On the other hand, Menendez and Kean are pretty much unaffected, claims the New York Observer’s political blog.

More from smartypants Dale Carpenter here.

Nickels’ New Nightlife Regulations

posted by on October 26 at 5:36 PM

Mayor Nickels’s Office of Film and Music just released its new nightclub regulations, which now apply to bars without entertainment (defined, somewhat obscurely, as places that serve liquor and have an occupant density of one person per seven square feet) as well as clubs. (The old version applied to any place that offered live entertainment of almost any kind—still a very broad definition.) Among the new provisions in the legislation:

ā€¢ The definition of “impacted public areas” (where club owners must prevent litter and illegal behavior while the club is open and until half an hour after it closes) has been changed from “public property adjacent to the nightclub premises where either patrons or prospective patrons gatherā€¯—an almost impossibly vague standard—to areas within 50 feet of a club’s entrance. That’s better, but still too large; as owners of clubs in Pioneer Square have pointed out, the public areas “impacted” by each club will frequently overlap, forcing club owners to patrol the sidewalk in front of each other’s properties.

ā€¢ The noise standard has been loosened slightly, from noise “audible to a person of normal hearing” inside nearby buildings to “amplified sound [that] is plainly audible for a continuous period of sixty (60) seconds or longer to a person of normal hearing located either: 1) inside a residence or business other than the nightlife premises; or, 2) in a public place at a distance of seventy-five (75) feet or more from the nightlife premises.” Still pretty harsh, but better.

ā€¢ The absurd requirement that clubs “prevent” crimes inside their premises has been revised to a requirement that clubs “take all reasonable steps to prevent [violent] criminal activity”—not as big a change as club owners wanted, but an improvement nonetheless. Standards requiring club owners to prevent patrons from bringing weapons and drugs onto the premises have been removed.

ā€¢ A standard requiring clubs to have a staffed telephone line any time the club is open has been revised to require clubs to return calls within 24 hours.

Nightclubs would have their licenses suspended for seven days on the second violence or overcrowding violation, or the third violation of any rule, within a 24-month period—an improvement from the automatic suspension for a single violation in Nickels’s original legislation.

The club rules, notably, do not include another element of the plan that Nickels has long promised, but never delivered: Assistance to help nightlife thrive in Seattle. The new ordinance contains just three minor nods to Nickels’s original promise. The city will:

ā€¢ Create a “Nightlife Premises Guideline Handbookā€¯ listing rules for nightlife.

ā€¢ Designate a city office to serve as a liaison between club owners and the city.

ā€¢ Providing training opportunities for club security.

So what does it all mean? Nickels, most likely, will take credit for compromising with nightclubs and implementing reasonable regulations, as well as funding the liaison position (something he’s been crowing about for a while.) Club owners, meanwhile, will likely breathe a sigh of relief that the rules are so much less onerous than the mayor’s original proposal—and kvetch that the new ordinance does virtually nothing to help clubs. And the Stranger will point out a few things the city could do that would dramatically improve opportunities for nightlife businesses in the city, such 24-hour liquor licenses; requiring people who move into noisy nightlife districts to sign waivers acknowledging they know the nature of the businesses around them; and requiring better noise insulation on new and refurbished condos and apartments, not just clubs.

The mayor’s task force on nightlife will meet next Monday, October 30, to discuss the latest proposal, which has to be approved by the city council before it can become law.

Booze and Boys

posted by on October 26 at 5:00 PM

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Hmm… gay porn. Now all I need is a drink…

So there I was, sitting in—well, let’s just say I was sitting in a bar, one of Seattle’s better drinking establishments. I don’t want to say which bar for fear of bringing the wrath of the Washington State Liquor Control Board down on the bar’s owner. The bar, which may or may not be near my office, offers wireless Interent access to patrons. So after my drinking buddies abandoned me yesterday, I got out my laptop and checked my email.

A friend in Chicago emailed me a link to something he thought I might enjoy—a porn preview, some new porn company called “Euroboy.ā€¯ I clicked through because, well, I’m like that. And, hey, the bar was empty, so it wasn’t like any one was going to be forced to watch the clip. So I sat there, drinking and watching hard-core porn. In a bar. (If you want to see what I was watching, click here. Do I even need to mention that it’s NSFW? Unless, of course, you work at The Stranger.)

It wasn’t until a minute or two into the clip that I realized I was, like, totally watching porn—in a bar. In Washington State.

If there are two thing our Liquor Control Board doesn’t think should mix, it’s sex and booze. I’ll never forget when I first moved to Seattle and went to Re-bar for a beer—they only served beer and wine then, because the Liquor Control Board wouldn’t let taverns serve hard alcohol—and saw a shirtless bartender with two little pieces of black electrician’s tape over each of his nipples. They made two small and very alluring X’s on his chest. This was done to 1. protect me from the sight of his nipples and 2. prevent the bar from losing its liquor license. Because the Liquor Control Board didn’t want people drinking and thinking about sex at the same time. (Those little black X’s on Tom of Wyoming’s chest? Shit, they made it hard to think of anything else.)

Surely the same Liquor Control Board that keeps men’s nipples covered up, the same Liquor Control Board that prevents us from enjoying a drink while we watch a stripper do her job (which people are allowed to do in Portland and Vancouver, BC), the same Liquor control board that until a few years ago was still raiding the odd gay bar—that Liquor Control Board doesn’t want people viewing hard core porn in bars.

But I don’t know how they can stop it. People with laptops and airport cards are the new smokers—we’ll sit in a bars for hours, nursing our drinks and surfing the web. Which is why more and more bars are putting in WiFi. They know we’re addicts too, but at least our addiction doesn’t pollute the air and take years off the lives of their cocktail waitresses.

And empowered with our own laptops and a bar’s wireless Internet access, we can, if we so choose, and if the folks around us don’t mind, mix all the booze and sex we want, at least until we fall off our barstools. For me yesterday, it was a little hard-core gay twink porn and Maker’s Mark, neat. And I only watched that one clip, I swear.

Short of banning bars from having WiFi or making me cover my computer screen with black electrician’s tape, I don’t know what the Liquor Control Board can do about people watching porn in bars. So let’s here it for WiFi, huh? It’s finally brought booze and sex together, where they’ve always belonged.

Costume Mania

posted by on October 26 at 2:58 PM

My husband and no doubt countless of you are still in need of a great Halloween costume. I’ll trade you four of my easiest ideas for one of yours…

Bird Nut: Take an old jacket or sweatshirt and spill white and gray paint down the shoulders and arms to resemble bird crap. Get various fake birds from the craft store and staple them to the shoulders of the jacket. Save one to wire to a headband or hat. Wear mismatched layers and put binoculars around your neck. Fill your pockets with birdseed and sprinkle some in your hair. Talk to your birds and to yourself.

Man/Woman in the Wind: Wear a tie and attach wire to the back so you can bend it over your shoulder. Staple leaves and scraps of paper to one side of your body and gel your hair to the other side. Carry an umbrella turned inside out and walk with effort as if you’re in a windstorm.

A Sailor: Get a jaunty white cap and dress whites, or a striped pullover and blue pants, at an army/navy surplus store. Wear black boots and a smile.

Dan Savage: Print a mask and add well-worn light-blue jeans with holey knees, a solid black T-shirt, and tennis shoes. Carry a bike helmet and a Stranger.

Inslee Interview

posted by on October 26 at 2:47 PM

My own damn editor didn’t even catch this when I posted it on Slog a few weeks ago…

So, in case you missed it too, I’m re-posting this YouTube interview I did w/ Rep. Jay Inslee earlier this month.

Inslee said some great stuff… like this:

George Bush said, “What do they hate about us? They hate our freedoms.” So what do the Republicans want to do? Give away our freedoms…

Enjoy.

Barack Backlash

posted by on October 26 at 2:40 PM

On the recommendation of several commentators, I read that Harper’s article by Ken Silverstein purporting to show that Obama is owned by special interests and—gasp!—his Illinois constituency. The article is naive to the point of preposterousness (are you telling me politicians take donations?!), but I think this refutation from the Senator’s office is pretty concise and persuasive. (For the record, here’s Silverstein’s unruffled response.)

Briefly, the paragraphs that really annoyed me (and apparently Brendan Kiley, the owner of the magazine, who was prompted to scribble notes about Darfur in the margin):

The calibration of Obama’s own political rhetoric has been particularly evident in regard to the war in Iraq. At an antiwar rally in Chicago in October, 2002, when Obama was still a state senator, he savaged the Bush Administration for its by then obvious plans to invade. “I don’t oppose all wars,” he said that day. “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and hardships borne.”

Since taking office, Obama has become far more measured in his position. After Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha called for a withdrawal from Iraq last fall, Obama rejected such a move in a speech before the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, saying the United States needed “to manage our exit in a responsible way—with the hope of leaving a stable foundation for the future.” His stance won him praise from Washington Post columnist David Broder, the veritable weather vane of political conventional wisdom. Murtha’s was “not a carefully reasoned analysis of the strategic consequences of leaving Iraq,” Broder wrote, whereas Obama was helping his party define “a sensible common ground” and had “pointed the administration and the country toward a realistic and modestly hopeful course on Iraq.” Obama continues to reject any specific timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, even as public opposition to the war grows and the military rationale for staying becomes less and less apparent.

Shocking! Obama took an unpopular position against the war in Iraq when the politically expedient thing to do was to keep your mouth shut and march along; he’s now taking the unpopular position that a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be reckless. Funny, he’s just about the only politician I can think of who mirrors my opinions both then and now. All I can really conclude from this example is that Silverstein is a prescriptive ninny, not a pragmatic progressive.

More on Obama forthcoming, after Christopher Frizzelle and Charles Mudede (any others?) see him speak tonight at Benaroya Hall.

Is a Black Man Fucking Your Wife?

posted by on October 26 at 2:35 PM

Man, I’ve gotta say, I think the racist anti-Harold Ford ad is irreparable for the GOP. Particularly given RNC chair Ken Mehlman’s tone deaf response. Mehlman said he understands the public reaction to the ad, but he hopes people will respect his racism too. Classic GOP: He insinuates that critics aren’t being tolerant of his party’s right to be intolerant.

Mehlman didn’t literally say people should respect his racism, but check out his quote in today’s NYT.

Critics asserted that the advertisement was a clear effort to play to racial stereotypes and fears…[The NAACP] said the spot took aim at the sensitivities many Americans still have about interracial dating..

“I will tell you that when I looked at the ad, that was not my reaction,” Mehlman said. “I hear and respect people who had a different reaction, and I hope they respect me too.”

Respect that the RNC ran a commerical that spliced the original gene of racism (“they’re after our ladies”) into the campaign? Sorry, but no, I don’t respect you. The opposite, in fact.

It’s despicable. And well, it turns out, everybody knows it.

God, what haters…still.

Patient, Heal Thyself

posted by on October 26 at 2:28 PM

18 months ago, Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, lost the ability to speak due to Spasmodic Dysphonia, which he describes as:

Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis.

He was told by his doctor that nobody had recovered from the condition. There’s no cure, and the only real treatment is Botox injections into the throat, which only stops throat spasms from occurring.

The weird thing about Spasmodic Dysphonia, as Adams describes it, is…

… that speech is processed in different parts of the brain depending on the context. So people with this problem can often sing but they can’t talk. In my case I could do my normal professional speaking to large crowds but I could barely whisper and grunt off stage. And most people with this condition report they have the most trouble talking on the telephone or when there is background noise. I can speak normally alone, but not around others. That makes it sound like a social anxiety problem, but it’s really just a different context, because I could easily sing to those same people.

Now, however, despite the fact that there’s previously been no cure, Adams is able to speak again. How did he do it? The full story is a great read and can be found here.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on October 26 at 2:26 PM

Barack Obama at Benaroya Hall tonight is sold out. Lemony Snicket at Town Hall is sold out. What should you do? Put on a costume and dance, obviously:

Halloween Socialist Slap Dance Party
(BENEFIT)
A communist costume contest (“everybody wins”)! Pictures with Fidel Castro! Songs by someone named Chi-Chi Guevara! Slap dancing! In case you’ve been living under a socialist rock: A slap dance involves people dancing around and slapping the shit out of each other.* It is obviously the best thing in the world. This is a benefit for Washington Ensemble Theatre, whose members will probably be in a celebrating mood after this year’s Genius Awards. (Havana, 1010 E Pike St, www.washingtonensemble.org. $10 with costume/$13 without, 8 pm, 21+.) BRENDAN KILEY

*This may or may not be what a “slap dance” is. Brendan’s been in the mood to slap people, as you know if you’ve been at any of the same house parties lately.

Cigarettes: Safe, Legal, and Rare

posted by on October 26 at 2:26 PM

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Dominic Holden, local drug-reform movement superstar (and occasional Stranger contributor), emailed me this morning about a disturbing new poll. According to Zogby, a growing number of Americans support a federal ban on cigarettes—not a ban on smoking them in public places, which I support. But a ban, period. A whopping 45% of Americans said yes to a ban on cigarettes. Among younger voters—those between 18-29—support for a ban on cigarettes clocks in at 57%. Says Dominic…

Jeepers, this is a creepy poll… It shows that Americans are increasingly supportive of prohibiting cigarettes.

I think cigarettes suck and smokers are suckers, but arresting them seems a bit much. Not to mention that it would carry the same consequences of the drug war, only multiplied several times over. I mean, if people think dope-heads are fiendish, imagine trying to curb the black market for tens of millions of jonesing tobacco smokers.

Yikes.

Hello, America?

The War on Drugs has been a total failure—drugs are cheaper now, and easier to find, after decades wasted, billions spent, and countless lives ruined. A War on Drugs? What we’ve got is a war on minorities (they don’t use drugs at higher rates, but they’re prosecuted and incarcerated for drug use at higher rates), pleasure, and ultimately reality. You can’t ban a product that people want—remember when they tried that with booze?—without creating black markets, violence, and huge profits for criminal networks. The only rationale solution is to legalize all drugs—and to keep cigarettes legal—and apply the standards to all drugs when it comes to their use. Namely, use `em at home, in privacy, and be discrete about `em when you’re out in clubs or, um, hanging in the mayor’s office.

I hate cigarettes—no one hates `em more than I do. (Ask any of my long-suffering, cigarette-addicted co-workers.) But I am dead-set against banning them. Holy crap, what a bad idea. I don’t want people smoking in bars, near kids, or anywhere near me. But I think that smoking should be safe (at least for non-smokers who aren’t forced to breathe second-hand smoke), legal (just as pot will hopefully be one day), and rare (because it’s such a stupid fucking thing to do).

Windows Users SUCK!!

posted by on October 26 at 1:51 PM

For those of you who simply can’t wait an entire week, the season premiere of THE O.C. is online NOW on MySpace for your enjoyment! BUT ONLY… if you have Microsoft Windows—which I DON’T. Apparently, Fox doesn’t think there are MILLIONS of Mac users who would ALSO enjoy getting a sneaky peek of The O.C…. and to those poop-eating executives, I’d like to say EFF YOU.
What are they thinking?? Windows Users don’t even LIKE The O.C.! From what I’ve seen in the TV commercials, Microsoft people are all fat bumbling white guys with glasses, and Mac users are scruffy lovable hipsters—the primary demographic for The O.C.!
I bet Seth uses a Mac. (Sniff!)

oc-small.jpg
Can someone watch this and let me know is Marissa is still dead?

The Ark’s Republican-Rankling Washington, D.C. Show

posted by on October 26 at 1:47 PM

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You can read the Washington Post’s account here and the patentedly ridiculous spin from Fox here—then check out Stranger contributor Ma’Chell Duma LaVassar’s first-hand account over on Line Out.

Boeing: The CIA’s Torture-Travel Agent?

posted by on October 26 at 1:30 PM

In the current New Yorker, Jane Mayer reports that Washington’s favorite aerospace company has been helping the CIA with it’s “extraordinary rendition” program:

On the official Web site of Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, there is a section devoted to a subsidiary called Jeppesen International Trip Planning, based in San Jose, California. The write-up mentions that the division “offers everything needed for efficient, hassle-free, international flight operations,ā€¯ spanning the globe “from Aachen to Zhengzhou.ā€¯ The paragraph concludes, “Jeppesen has done it all.ā€¯

Boeing does not mention, either on its Web site or in its annual report, that Jeppesen’s clients include the C.I.A., and that among the international trips that the company plans for the agency are secret “extraordinary renditionā€¯ flights for terrorism suspects…

A former Jeppesen employee, who asked not to be identified, said recently that he had been startled to learn, during an internal corporate meeting, about the company’s involvement with the rendition flights. At the meeting, he recalled, Bob Overby, the managing director of Jeppesen International Trip Planning, said, “We do all of the extraordinary rendition flights—you know, the torture flights. Let’s face it, some of these flights end up that way.ā€¯ The former employee said that another executive told him, “We do the spook flights.ā€¯ He was told that two of the company’s trip planners were specially designated to handle renditions. He was deeply troubled by the rendition program, he said, and eventually quit his job. He recalled Overby saying, “It certainly pays well. Theyā€¯—the C.I.A.—”spare no expense. They have absolutely no worry about costs. What they have to get done, they get done.ā€¯

Bike Thefts Rise

posted by on October 26 at 1:14 PM

As of the end of September, Seattle bike thefts are up by 28 percent in the East Precinct and 34 percent in the West Precinct over the same period last year, according to new Seattle Police stats. Capt. Landy Black of East Precinct, which includes Capitol Hill and the Central Area, theorizes the blip has something to do with the nice weather. The real numbers are not so outlandish: in the East Precinct, 134 bikes were stolen this year compared to 104 during the same period last year. City wide, bike thefts rose just 6.6 percent, and theft in general is down, as of August, by about 18 percent. I’m not saying this is the solution.

Stories, In Brief

posted by on October 26 at 1:03 PM

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”), Wired Magazine asked sci-fi, fantasy and horror writers to come up with six-word stories of their own. Here are some of my favorites:

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?
- Eileen Gunn

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
- Joss Whedon

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
- Margaret Atwood

“Cellar?ā€¯ “Gate to, uh … hell, actually.ā€¯
- Ronald D. Moore

Epitaph: Foolish humans, never escaped Earth.
- Vernor Vinge

It cost too much, staying human.
- Bruce Sterling

We kissed. She melted. Mop please!
- James Patrick Kelly

It’s behind you! Hurry before it
- Rockne S. O’Bannon

I’m your future, child. Don’t cry.
- Stephen Baxter

He read his obituary with confusion.
- Steven Meretzky

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
- Orson Scott Card

TIME MACHINE REACHES FUTURE!!! … nobody there …
- Harry Harrison

I saw, darling, but do lie.
- Orson Scott Card

Bush told the truth. Hell froze.
- William Gibson

Some People Have Real Goals

posted by on October 26 at 12:50 PM

Through some crazy confluence of obsessive-compulsive memorization and luck, a Massachusetts carpenter has set a new record Scrabble score: 830! My goal is to beat my dad, the inimitable bingo-scoring, word-inventing Antonio Valdez.

re: Theater Is Not Virtuous

posted by on October 26 at 12:38 PM

Of course—theater is not vegetables. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for anybody. In fact, it’s insidious, awful, and corrupting. And, in the case of My Name is Rachel Corrie (now in New York, coming soon to the Rep), it “isn’t merely propaganda; it’s a polemic with a clear purpose: the creation of a secular saint. And not just an ordinary saint. It is a hagiography of a particular kind of saint: the victim of a Jewish blood libel.”

From The Jewish Exponent. (More inflammatory isn’t always better, but it’s nice to see a play kicking up the dust—and headed in this direction.)

Speaking of art-as-corruption: the famous brothel of Pompeii is restored and open for business:

brothel_painting3.jpg

Former White House Chef Speaks

posted by on October 26 at 11:12 AM

…and although he is circumspect, it’s all too clear that under W. and company the poor man was subjected to no end of jackassery. (Now, however, it sounds like he’s giggling whilst rolling in piles of money and attending lots of cocktail parties. Revenge is sweeter than, um, Coca-Cola Brined Pilgrim’s Pride Turkey with Dunkin’ Donuts Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnut Sweet and Savory Stuffing or maybe even Krispy Kreme “Snow Balls” with NestlĆ© “Nesquik” Hot Fudge Sauce and Asher’s Chocolate Covered Mini-Pretzels.)

The Day in Ridiculous Sexism

posted by on October 26 at 11:05 AM

FP2407~Mud-Flap-Girl-Posters.jpg

Down Under: Australia’s chief Muslim cleric compares unveiled women to uncovered meat, holds them accountable for their own gang rapes.

Across the pond: Kazakhstan’s most valuable export Borat (who arrived at the Toronto Film Fest in a cart pulled by six peasant women) wows the crowd at the London premiere of his film with another amazing speech. (One quote: “I have brought here with me my 11-year-old son, his wife and their new-born baby, who I am hoping to sell to singing transvestite Madonna.”)

In Savage Love: Dan and a doctor parse the finer points of the patently ridiculous Donkey Punch, wherein a man makes love to a lady from behind, tenderly punching her in the back of the head just before he climaxes, allegedly making her sphincter tighten delightfully. I first learned of the Donkey Punch from a female friend, who heard it being discussed on a shock-jock radio show in New York. To her great credit, she immediately phoned in to the station to tell them of the Viper Sting, wherein a lady makes love to a man, with the lady on top. When the lady is about to climax, she whips the knitting needles from her hair and drives them into the man’s testicles. (Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but I love the idea of all sexy women wearing hairdos that naturally involve knitting needles. Maybe they’re called “hair pins” or something, but needles are funnier…)

Now It’s Time For You To Show Your Ass, They Ain’t Handin Out No More Cash

posted by on October 26 at 11:04 AM

Warhol retail, rising to new levels this holiday season, has quadrupled in revenues in the last five years, generating more than $2 million this year for the Warhol endowment, which supports the arts.

26warh.5a.190.jpg

As The Coup teaches, “Now it’s time for you to show your ass.”

Why I Love Doug Harvey

posted by on October 26 at 10:46 AM

Artists and kindergarten—spend your time on it.

Skater Haters at Marginal Way

posted by on October 26 at 10:01 AM

The guys who built and run Marginal Way Skatepark are majorly pissed off. Tuesday night, someone spray-painted illegible graffiti tags, names and anti-skater messages around the volunteer-funded park, stole wood stockpiled for new projects and crudely screwed boards to an unfinished half-pipe.

The Marginal Way Collective — guys who cleaned up the trashy area under a freeway bridge on Marginal Way two years ago — suspects BMX bikers did the damage. There’s been hostility with BMXers since the park opened; steel/aluminum-framed BMX bikes can gouge skatepark cement and Marginal Way officially banned BMXers back in January. They’ve received angry emails from bikers, says Collective member Dan Barnett, “I tell them, you know, Home Depot sells shovels and bags of cement to bikers, too, and there’s plenty of bridges in town.”

Other Collective members are more hestitant about pointing the finger at BMXers, saying the ones who antagonize the park are just a handful of Seattle’s many bikers, but everyone is frustrated with the vandalism. “Part of our deal with the city is that we gotta keep it clean and people are down there destroying our hard work,” vents member Shawn Bishop, “If this goes on, the city could pull the plug.” Looking at the wood crudely nailed to the unfinished half-pipe, Barnett thinks BMXers came and hastily finished the ramp — leaving it in good enough condition to be used under the tough wheels of BMX bikes, but useless for skaters. The wood screwed on by the vandals will have to be thrown away and that, along with the outright stolen wood, will cost the park builders several hundred dollars.

This tag says “East Marginal Bitch” … Barnett politely kept the “bitch” slightly out of the photo frame.

marginalway.jpg

I’m about ready to go down there and camp out with a baseball bat,” says Barnett.

Learning From Dubai

posted by on October 26 at 9:56 AM

There is no end, no resistance, no reality in Dubai.
580_385 RUR 0-14 Dubai.jpg
Seeing and reading about the completed, incomplete, and planned big buildings in that 21st Century city is like reading the short stories of Borges. It’s all magic and madness, flying carpets and mirrors.


But there is something else besides the sorcery of capital that’s making this powerful hallucination possible, something ancient and geographic. It has to do with the nature of mirages. One never suffers from them when in the forest; they only appear when one is in the desert. The desert’s emptiness is so severe that one begins to see things that aren’t there. Because reality has failed to produce anything, the imagination projects trees, water, people on the screen of the heat wave. In the forest, because there is too much life going on (insects, plants, trees, leaves), it is not the eyes that are tricked but the ears; they hear things that are not there—the leopard in the branches, the killer behind the bush. (This is what made Blair Witch Project so scary: we hear everything we need to hear but see nothing we need to see until the very end.) Capital, like an hallucinogen, does its best work in areas that have been burned to the dust by the heat of our over-loving star.

Girls’s Costume Warehouse

posted by on October 26 at 9:36 AM

Are you a girl? Do you need a costume? Then come on down to Girls’s Costume Warehouse, home of THIS HILARIOUS FAUX COMMERCIAL.

collegehumor.JPG

The War On Heterosexual Sex

posted by on October 26 at 9:28 AM

I’ve been screaming my head off about the ongoing war on straight rights for years. It’s nice to see another writer take up the fight.

The lawyer that got arrested from having sex with a woman in a stall in a woman’s restroom at QWest Field? The one Brad mentioned in his morning news post? He wasn’t busted for the sex, but for his sex. From Seattlest:

According to the sheriff’s department spokesman, the sex isn’t why prosecutor man was arrested.
It’s not illegal to have sex in a public bathroom in Washington, provided the stall is shut and no one is committing indecent exposure, Urquhart said. The arrest was for trespassing—it’s illegal for a man to enter a women’s bathroom.

Hold on, now. So if two women or two men want to have sex in a bathroom, it’s totally ok, but if straight people do it, they get arrested?

Obviously there is a war on heterosexual sex in this country, and it must stop. Here we are, letting gay people marry (although, to be fair, we’re forcing them to do it in Jersey), and one Thurston County prosecutor can’t even become one with his paralegal during a football game.

All the cheering we did at the gay pride parade, we take it back.

Bad news for straights, good news for gays. Smelly, damp, disgusting toilet-stall sex? It’s all ours! We may not be able to get married in Washington State (and we still can’t in New Jersey, Seattlest), but we can still get it on in public restrooms that stank of stale urine and hotdog farts. Woo-hoo.

Still, the next time I go to the M’s with my boyfriend we’re going to exercise our right to toilet-stall sex. We have so few rights as it is, how can we pass on one we enjoy? So we’ll slip into a stall in one of the men’s rooms at Safeco and do our duty. Eat your heart out, Seattlest.

The Morning News

posted by on October 26 at 8:42 AM

Iraq: Bush can’t shut up about it; his fellow republicans want to talk about other things.

Homos: The New Jersey Supreme Court came down with its gay marriage decision yesterday. Some thoughts on it here and here.

Profits: Exxon Mobil reported earnings of $10.5 billion for the third quarter.

Casualties: 96 U.S. soldiers killed this month in Iraq.

Boeing: Dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into 787, freaking out investors in the process.

Abortion: Anti-abortion protesters, idealistic students clash at the University of Washington.

Sex: A Thurston County deputy prosecutor was arrested for allegedly humping up a storm in a woman’s restroom at Qwest Field during last Sunday’s Seahawks game. On a related note: A local alternative weekly Managing Editor was mocked by his friends after allegedly tumbling over a row of seats and landing on his ass in a drunken stupor during that same game.

Basketball: The prayers of Sonic fans everywhere have been answered: Team president Wally Walker is on his way out.

Hornets!: From the Seattle P.I.

A swarm of yellow jackets went wild Wednesday morning and stung high school students in Renton after at least one pupil stepped on a nest big enough to fill a five-gallon bucket.

The yellow jackets left their stingers in 44 students at Liberty High School, said Sara Niegowski, spokeswoman for the Issaquah School District, which has jurisdiction over the campus.

While some students were only stung once, others were hit multiple times. Niegowski described the yellow jackets as “very irritated” and said there was a “fair amount of swatting and running.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Where Jen Graves Meets David Schmader: What a Country!

posted by on October 25 at 8:23 PM

While it’s always dangerous to apply qualitative comparative standards to the appreciation of visual art, at times like this, one would do well to ask one’s self, “Which patriotic/devotional painting by immigrant stand-up comedian Yakov Smirnoff is the best patriotic/devotional painting by Yakov Smirnoff?”

Is it “America’s Heart”?
GAmericasHeart.jpg

Is it “America at Peace”?
paint_americaAtPeace.jpg

Is it “God and Country”?
paint_godAndCountry.jpg

Or is it, in fact, the Barry Gibb-inspired “Joy to the World”?
paint_joyToTheWorld.jpg

I’m no art critic, so I leave it to my learned colleagues to decide. Meanwhile, I’ll be wandering the aisles of the gift shop of Mr. Smirnoff’s theater in Branson, one town in Missouri where no one seems to be worked up about losing-ass baseball teams, stem cell research TV spots, or anything more than laughter, America, and personal expression through fine art.

What a country, indeed!

(Portrait of the artist, who recently celebrated 20 years of American citizenship):
shopImg1.jpg

New Elway Poll Numbers on State Initiatives & The Cantwell Race

posted by on October 25 at 7:30 PM

I-933 (Rolling back land-use regulations)
I-933 is losing 42 to 38. That might sound too close for comfort, but last month it was ahead 47 to 33.

I-920 (Estate tax repeal)
Sorry to the Seattle Times and the 250 or so families with $4 million estates who would benefit, but it’s losing 50 to 32. Last month, it was losing 45-38.

Cantwell V. McGavick
Again, sorry to the Seattle Times, but Elway says: “Cantwell holds lead, McGavick shows no traction.”
After the debates and a month of TV ads, Cantwell maintains her 18 point lead.
Cantwell 52/McGavick 34. Last month, Cantwell led 53 to 35.

I haven’t seen the cross tabs and all that wonky stuff you junkies want, so that’s all I’ve got to report.
Elway didn’t have numbers on the U.S. House races.

On Pregnancy and Sex

posted by on October 25 at 5:10 PM

I’ve stayed away from Charles’s post on “pregnant sex” (shorter version: sex with a pregnant woman is dishonest because the woman’s body has changed; thus sex with a pregnant woman is close to pity). Fortunately, one of my favorite bloggers, Amanda at Pandagon, has taken up the gauntlet:

From his Derbyshire-like insinuation that his unpopularity somehow bolsters his case that he’s right to suggesting that someone getting a Viagra-assisted hard-on and getting off and possibly taking a snooze is a bad ending, this paragraph is a work of genius. Yes, genius at horseshit, but genius is genius.

Well done, Mudede. I know this particular rabbit hole he’s plunging down all too well. Or versions of it—I’ve seen some bitter arguments over whether someone is still punk or a sell-out, and then there’s the perennial “lefter-than-thouā€¯ and “can feminists wear lipstickā€¯ insanities. But Mudede really does beat all in the authenticity obsession—affection, pregnancy, Viagra and who knows what else are all deeply dishonest threats to this Platonic ideal of authentic, unencumbered lust.

The more I turn Mudede’s points over and over in my head, the more I must reach the conclusion that by his very own cynical standards, there is no such thing as sexual desire. After excluding emotional reasons for lust (clearly, “honestā€¯ lust is all about your looks) and excluding anyone who claims they can feel physical desire for someone who doesn’t have “objectiveā€¯ good looks as defined by our entertainment industry and then excluding anyone who does have pure physical desire for standardly attractive bodies because we know their desire isn’t “honestā€¯ but a product of their environment, we are left to conclude there is no such thing as authentic sex.

Read the whole thing here.

Election Cheat Sheet

posted by on October 25 at 5:05 PM

Last week, the Stranger Election Control Board published its endorsements for the November 7 election.

We had intended to publish our corresponding handy election cheat sheet in every paper in the run-up to Nov. 7. We didn’t this week.

My bizl.

It’ll run in next week’s paper.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on October 25 at 5:04 PM

Cut Chemist
(MUSIC)
Ex-Jurassic 5/Ozomatli DJ Cut Chemist threw his dexterous self into the perilous arena of solo production, and killed it with 2006’s The Audience’s Listening. Turns out CC’s a serious sonic chameleon, as he often transcends his hiphop/turntablist roots and expands into diverse, unpredictable territory (Kraut rock, bossa nova, psych rock) and righteously predictable styles (smart indie rap, quirky space funk). Still, I wouldn’t bitch if Cut simply played vintage funk 45s all night from his awesome stash. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $18 adv/$20 DOS, all ages.) DAVE SEGAL

Don’t Want to Meet This in a Dark Alley

posted by on October 25 at 4:54 PM

BERBLD21.jpg

One of Albert Speer’s Nazi streetlamps in Berlin.

Poor, Poor BLACULA!

posted by on October 25 at 3:52 PM

Check out this new video courtesy of Gnarls Barkley entitled “Who Cares?” presenting us with the sad reminder that even Blaculas get depressed sometimes. I mean, really! What does a brother have to do to get a little sucky-sucky?

Fuck John Kerry

posted by on October 25 at 3:48 PM

Seriously. Fuck him.

Kerry and his spokesman recently said that they don’t have any plans to give any more money to Democratic candidates. So why is John Kerry fundraising during the last two weeks of the 2006 election if he isn’t planning on using any of that money to help the 2006 election? Are the Democrats Kerry is calling fully aware that he’s not planning on using their donations for this election?

Strikes me as a blend between bait-and-switch and ambulance-chasing. Kerry knows people are in a giving spirit, so he’s taking advantage of their generosity and their naivete…. Don’t think we won’t remember come 2008.

More Seattle Times Faulty Logic

posted by on October 25 at 3:38 PM

This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

So, today, when I pressed Seattle Times editorial page editor James Vesely to list some issues (any issues) that his board is in agreement with McGavick on as opposed to Cantwell…he said that McGavick is better on dam policy in Eastern Washington. That is, McGavick wouldn’t breach the dams…the assumption, I guess, being that Cantwell would?

But in today’s Seattle Times I find this report:

Campaigning in Eastern Washington, Republican Mike McGavick, a former insurance executive, spoke at a viewpoint overlooking Ice Harbor Dam near the Tri-Cities.

He declared he would never allow breaching of the Snake River dams and asked: “Who is the senator going to side with, the people of Eastern Washington who depend on hydropower or environmental activists who hide behind antiquated and ineffective federal laws like the Endangered Species Act?”

Cantwell has said she does not support breaching the dams.

Alice in Chains-Loving Poet in Florida Needs Your Help

posted by on October 25 at 3:29 PM

This email just arrived in my inbox:

Hello. I’m a writer and poet currently living in Orlando, Fla, hoping you can help me with a trivia question that has proven mighty difficult to answer. Maybe you or someone there can assist me on this one. What color was the 2000 Pontiac Trans Am that Layne Staley bought once he finally decided to purchase a brand spanking new vehicle? I am working on a poem about him and such details make all the difference. My friend has good, hard-earned $$$ bet that this car was black but somehow I don’t think that’s correct. Many Thanks.

I have no fucking idea. Does anyone??

Stay the Curse

posted by on October 25 at 3:20 PM

Harold Ford Response Ad

posted by on October 25 at 2:39 PM

Harold Ford should film a response to the GOP’s racist attack ad. He should look into the camera and say this:

The Republicans have accused me of being a heterosexual man. They’re implying that I have an interest in women. It would seem that today’s Republican Party is more comfortable with elected officials—male elected officials—who take an interest in teenage boys. Mark Foley is acceptable to Ken Mehlman’s GOP. Heterosexual men, it seems, are not.

Is it gay baiting? Yes it is, but so fucking what? African Americans in the GOP turn a blind eye to the the race-bating that their party indulges in. Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and Ken Blackwell haven’t had much to say about this ad, huh? Because they don’t care what their party says or does so long as it keeps ‘em in power.

If a little gay-baiting helps the Dems seize power, shit, gay bait away, Harold. Make that ad, Harold, and this fag will send you a big, fat, fucking gay check.

Sen. Santorum Says: See What That Pro-Gay New Jersey Supreme Court Decision Led To?

posted by on October 25 at 2:33 PM

This just in from America’s heartland

A 44-year-old Saginaw man remains jailed today on charges of bestiality after he was seen engaged in sexual acts with a dead dog, Michigan State Police troopers said. Ronald Kuch was arrested after police searched the area of Midland and Carter roads Friday for a man who ran away from a Bay County Animal Control officer.

Wow. Caught fucking a dead dog. It’s hard to see how this story could make Mr. Kuch look any worse…

The entire incident was within view of a nearby day care center.

Oh, man.

Seattle Times Editorial Page Editor James Vesely on Seattle Times McGavick Endorsement

posted by on October 25 at 2:28 PM

I’ve got an editorial coming out today criticizing the Seattle Times’ endorsement of Repubican Mike McGavick on the grounds that the record shows the Seattle Times editorial board disagrees with McGavick on most every issue (except publisher Frank Blethen’s pet estate tax repeal). The record also shows that the Seattle Times has praised Senator Maria Cantwell and criticized McGavick on issues (media consolidation and civil campaigning, respectively) that directly contradict what they wrote in their endorsement. The endorsement itself also states that the board disagrees with McGavick on fundamental issues like the war in Iraq and Social Security. Given all this, I wanted to know just what the Seattle Times editorial aboard agreed with McGavick about.

I called Seattle Times editorial page editor James Vesely for the story yesterday morning and yesterday afternoon (leaving detailed messages about the story I was working on), and I didn’t hear back from him until this morning. He was apologetic about that and had a good explanation for not calling back sooner.

You should read my story to make sense of Vesely’s quotes and our discussion, but here’s what he told me this morning.

He said the estate tax came up in the editorial board’s deliberations, but it “wasn’t the tipping point.” He said, “it always comes up, but it’s like 10th on the list…it’s not critical.”

He pointed out that the Seattle Times strongly supports Sen. Patty Murray, and she’s against the estate tax repeal.

He also said that the “sense of the ed board, not just [board member and publisher] Frank Blethen, was that McGavick was the better candidate.”

I asked him to name the issues where McGavick was more aligned with the ed board than Cantwell was, and he said McGavick was better on Eastern Washington dam issues (McGavick wouldn’t take them down); they liked McGavick’s private sector experience; and they didn’t like that Cantwell “follows the [Democratic] party line…McGavick displays more independence.”

I told him that the Stranger Election Control Board also looks for independent thinking (although Vesely did not cite any examples where McGavick breaks with the GOP), but ultimately, for us, it comes down to the issues themselves. That is, it’s kinda cool when a Democrat comes in and bucks the D party by saying they’re for charter schools or they don’t agree with the teachers union on this or that issue. But it’s more important that we agee with them on the issue itself. For example, if a Democrat came in and told me they were for privatizing Social Security, I’d respect their independence from the Democratic Party line, but I’d be wary of sending them to Congress. And again, the record is clear: McGavick’s positions—drilling in ANWR, anti-gun control, restrictions on choice, pro Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage—are hardly independent of the GOP and don’t jibe with the Seattle Times stated public positions.

Vesely acknowledged this, saying: “We said in the endorsement that we agree with Senator Cantwell on a lot of issues like on ANWR, and we disagree with McGavick on ANWR and the flag burning amendment and gay marriage and stem cell research…and the question comes to mind, ‘What on earth are we doing?’ … and it comes down to how much potential does the candidate have for the next six years.”

He said it was part a “gut feeling” on the board’s part, but they felt McGavick had better “leadership” qualities.

In what I considered a contradiction, Vesely also stated that the Seattle Times ed board, wary that 81% of voters lived west of the mountains and that Washington was increasingly in Democratic hands—thought McGavick would better represent the whole state because he wasn’t a Democrat.

Desperation, Thy Name is the RNC

posted by on October 25 at 2:14 PM

The Republicans are resorting to vicious race-baiting in their desperation to retain the House. Here’s the “bimbo ad” the RNC is using to target Harold Ford in Tennessee, via TPM:

The ad features a series of fake “man on the street” interviews; each parodies Democratic policy positions. For example, a young black woman says “Harold Ford looks nice—isn’t that enough?”; a hunter in camo gear says “Harold Ford is right —I do have too many guns”; and so forth.

But then, right in the middle is an “interview” with a white, blonde, apparently topless bimbo, who coos shrilly, “I met Harold at the Playboy party!” At the end, she shows up again, mouthing the words “Harold, call me!” while winking and vamping.

Josh Marshall asks:

What policy issue is she talking about? It’s not connected to anything. It’s just, ‘I’m a loose white woman. I hooked up with Harold at the Playboy mansion. And I can’t wait for him to do me again.’

This is the second time the RNC has run ads portraying Ford basically as a black pimp who sleeps with slutty white women; back in March, the RNC unveiled a web site featuring photos of Ford side-by-side with pictures of Playboy bunnies, all white. Titled “Fancy Ford,” the web site plays to the same racist fears, characterizing Ford as a “partier” who “just can’t help being fancy … with friends like Sarah Jessica Parker [the “Sex and the City” actress] who could help themselves?”

RNC head Ken Mehlman has said he doesn’t believe the ads are racist; however, even Ford’s Republican opponent, former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker, has asked local TV stations not to run the ad. In response, Mehlman claimed, astonishingly, that he can do nothing about the ad, calling it an “independent expenditure” that he has “no authority” to take down.

WA State Supremes: Not Going to Reconsider Anderson

posted by on October 25 at 2:08 PM

The WA State Supreme Court refused to reconsider their decision on gay marriage—their refusal was made public on the same day that New Jersey’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of equal treatment for same-sex couples.

Timing, as they say, is everything in politics—not that, you know, there was anything political about the WA State Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision.

Interviews with Geniuses

posted by on October 25 at 1:57 PM

Couldn’t make it to the Genius Awards party on Saturday night? Made it to the party but didn’t get a chance to talk to the geniuses? Always wondered what James Longley thinks is the most overrated virtue, or what talent Jennifer Zeyl wishes she had, or what Jonathan Raban thinks is the lowest depth of misery?

Here, for your viewing and listening pleasure, are the 2006 Stranger Geniuses interviewed in the elevator of the Henry Art Gallery while the party roared on around them.

Here’s Lane Czaplinski and James Longley (winners for arts organization and film, respectively—with Brendan Kiley standing between them).

Here’s Lead Pencil Studio (visual art). That laughter is Jen Graves’s.

Here’s Jennifer Zeyl (theater).

And—my personal favorite—here’s Jonathan Raban (literature).

The Cha Cha, Like My Heart, Will Go On

posted by on October 25 at 1:24 PM

Thanks to Slog tipster Colonel Keith Bacon, I just received word of the new liquor license application submitted by the owners of the Cha Cha Lounge, who appear to be fleeing their soon-to-be-condofied block on Pine Street for the sunnier-for-now pastures of Pike St.

According to the application notice, the Cha Cha will be moving in to the space currently occupied by the Des Amis Lounge at 1013 E Pike St. (It’s the place between the Wildrose and Cafe Vita on the south side of the street.) I just called Des Amis and got voice mail, but according to their outgoing message, they’re still up and running—but according to the liquor license application, the place will eventually become the Cha Cha. Early afternoon calls to the Cha Cha also went unanswered, but stay tuned, and join me in looking forward to the six-block migration of Mexican tchotchke from the old Cha Cha to the new Cha Cha in the coming months. (But what’s going to happen to my beloved Bus Stop??)

Surface/Transit in NYT

posted by on October 25 at 1:20 PM

There’s a good summary of the debate over the Alaskan Way Viaduct in today’s New York Times. Unlike most of the coverage here in Seattle, the Times article (buried, oddly, in the automotive section) accurately and succinctly characterizes the surface/transit option: “to tear down the old highway, build a waterfront park and smaller boulevard, increase transit service and modernize existing streets.” Moreover, the Times gives the surface/transit option as much weight as the two other options, a tunnel and a new, larger viaduct.

Yet as city and state leaders argue over whether to build a tunnel or a new viaduct, the idea of doing neither seems to be gaining credence as the experiences of other cities that faced similar turning points are brought into the discussion. Cleveland is replacing the western section of its Memorial Shoreway, along Lake Erie, with a boulevard that is intended to spur development. Buffalo is debating whether to build a boulevard in place of its elevated Skyway along Lake Erie. Washington is considering demolishing its elevated Whitehurst Expressway to link Georgetown to a new park along the Potomac River.

Milwaukee has already done so. The city spent $45 million to tear down the East Park Thruway in 2003, restored the street grid beneath it and freed up nearly 20 acres of land on the north side. “The hardest part was convincing people that the highway wasn’t needed,ā€¯ said John Norquist, a former mayor of Milwaukee and now president of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a design and planning group in Chicago. “What happens is that traffic, for the most part, redistributes. Drivers have brains. They find other ways to get around.ā€¯

If only our local papers—which have misrepresented the surface/transit option alternately as a proposal to “tear down the viaduct and route traffic onto surface streets”; a plan to “simply tear down the viaduct and not replace it”; and “a surface approach that would actually cut traffic capacity”—were as fair and accurate in their coverage of the surface/transit options as the Times.

Exhume Vito: New Jersey’s Gay Mobsters Can Get, Uh, Something Or Other

posted by on October 25 at 12:50 PM

Well, not married—unless the legislature allows it. They court is giving them six months to act. They have to extend marriage rights or create some sort of parallel institution.

The New Jersey Supreme Court just ruled in the marriage case. The majority ruled that all the legal protections of marriage must be given to same-sex couples. The legislature is given 180 days either to amend the marriage statutes or to create some other system to give same-sex couples the same legal rights under state law that heterosexuals have (as Vermont, Connecticut and California do). Three of the seven judges would have ruled that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry outright. There were no dissents.

Here’s the decision.

Overheard in the office: “K-boom, there go the Ds chances. This is exactly what they need to rally their Christian base.”

John at Americablog makes a great point: The New Jersey Supreme Court has backed George W. Bush’s stated position on this issue. From Americablog :

George Bush came out in support of gay civil unions before the 2004 election. He believes gay couples should get the benefits of marriage, but not marriage itself. The New Jersey Sup Ct just ruled the same. The rules specifically says NO to gay marriage, but YES to providing some kind of benefits to gay couples. That is George Bush’s position as enunciated prior to the 2004 elections.

The ruling states…

Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution…. We will not presume that a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

Here’s George W. Bush in 2004:

President Bush said in an interview this past weekend that he disagreed with the Republican Party platform opposing civil unions of same-sex couples and that the matter should be left up to the states.

Mr. Bush has previously said that states should be permitted to allow same-sex unions, even though White House officials have said he would not have endorsed such unions as governor of Texas. But Mr. Bush has never before made a point of so publicly disagreeing with his party’s official position on the issue…. Mr. Bush said, “I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so.”

“I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others.”

John’s right: Those liberal justices in New Jersey—surely to be condemned for their activism by the right—have merely taken the same position that their Dear Leader, George W. Bush, took in 2004: marriage is not a right, but civil unions should be made available to same-sex couples, so that we may “have rights like others.”

The money shot, courtesy of Rex Wockner:

Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.—The New Jersey Supreme Court, Oct. 25.

Originally posted at 12:25 PM.

Nickels: I Was Against Levies for Basic Services Before I was For Them

posted by on October 25 at 12:48 PM

So, Mayor Nickels wants to raise your property taxes to pay for some basic maintenance.

Here’s the deal:

Voters are being asked to approve the largest property-tax levy in city history to support a broad package, known as Bridging the Gap, that devotes a full half of its $544 million to other things: bike lanes, sidewalks, road signs, traffic lights, buses, street trees, stairways, neighborhood traffic circles, and even some basic maintenance the city says it can’t otherwise afford.

Mayor Greg Nickels insists the city should seize this chance to improve its roads and invest in pedestrian safety.

The city promises the new money would trim the backlog of substandard arterial streets and bridges by half, and add, for instance, four miles of bike trails in Ballard and Beacon Hill.

Well, check out what the mayor thought about using levies to fund basic maintenance when he was a candidate in 2001. The PI reported at the time.

Mayor Paul Schell last night accused King County Councilman Greg Nickels of “demagoguery” during a neighborhood forum for mayoral candidates that featured an unusually direct exchange between the two men.

Schell, Nickels and City Attorney Mark Sidran attended the event in Ravenna, one of the last forums before the primary Sept. 18.


Nickels had been hammering away at Schell’s budget priorities, saying the city should have paid for parks maintenance out of its budget instead of asking voters to approve a levy last year.

“That’s pure demagoguery,” Schell said.

“No,” Nickels interrupted, “that’s setting out clear priorities.”

“You had your chance,” Schell said.

“You had your chance before me,” Nickels said, apparently referring to Schell’s time in office.

Schell and Nickels also squared off earlier in the evening when the three men were asked how they’d improve city services.

Nickels promised to create one phone number to handle any questions about city services and respond within 24 hours “before you shouldn’t have to spend your time trolling through the bureaucracy.”

Both Nickels and Sidran have accused Schell of neglecting basics.

Schell quipped, “When you’re a candidate, you can say anything.”

Schell was right. Candidate Nickels did say anything. And, it turns out, Mayor Nickels is happy to ignore all of it.

Maybe there’s a difference between Nickels’s road maintenance levy and Schell’s Parks levy that would justify Nickels’s flip flop???

Actually, there is a big difference, but it makes Nickels’ look even more obnoxious. The Seattle Times reports:

It’s difficult to predict exactly what voters would get, because there’s no definite timetable. By contrast, recent measures for schools, parks and libraries came with very detailed commitments, so the public could judge what a new tax was expected to buy and then measure success…

Middle Name Envy

posted by on October 25 at 12:00 PM

Like I said, I’m on the road for a story about rural Democrats and the upcoming election. Here’s a funny thing: In my research (and now in the comments) there’s one amazing name that keeps coming up: David “Mudcat” Sanders.

Mudcat Sanders? Awesome. I’ve had my share of issues with rural America, but I’d move out here in a heartbeat if residency came with a middle name like that.

Fear, Loss, and Death Anxiety, Not Op

posted by on October 25 at 11:29 AM

The Village Voice’s Jerry Saltz

Grotjahn allows you to grasp that one-point perspective is a system that continually brings you to the same point and that this point asserts itself as optical law. Perspective is entirely about order and the psychological pleasure of the illusion of looking into space. One of the mad benefits of this maniacal ordering is that each person is also granted the demented, deluded position of being a god. You, the maharaja of all that you survey, are the fixed singularity that all things rush from or toward. It’s very lonely, insanely Freudian, and likely has to do with fear, loss, and death anxiety.

on the paintings of Mark Grotjahn

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Other White Lies

posted by on October 25 at 11:16 AM

The conversation my brother started below about believing or not believing accusations of rape is complicated. The pendulum has swung from blame-the-victim to assume-the-accused-is-guilty not just in the area of sexual violence, but in “hate crimes” in general, as a case here at Northwestern demonstrated a couple of years ago.

An Hispanic male freshman had “die spic” and some other stuff appear on the message board outside his room in one of the dorms. Understandable uproar ensues, much wringing of hands.

The next week: he says someone jumps him, puts a knife to his throat and makes some threats.
I hear this story before it hits the Daily Northwestern and immediately, in front of witnesses, say, “Bullshit. Never happened. Kid made it up.” Why? My son-of-a-cop instinct about criminals and the nature of different sorts of crimes. Someone who’d write something mean and hateful and prejudiced and bad anonymously on a message board was a coward, not someone who’d jump out of some bushes with a fucking knife at 2 in the morning. And the kid couldn’t identify the attacker, race or height or weight. Claimed to be too freaked out.

But after my initial expression of doubt, I kept my peace—wouldn’t want to appear insensitive to hate crimes. News coverage, student marches against hate etc, ensue. Kid gives impassioned speech against hate crimes, becomes campus hero.

A few weeks later, turns out the kid was lying. He wrote the slurs on his own board, he made up the knife attack. He wanted to be a campus leader and expose how evil hate crimes were. He gets kicked out of school and prosecuted for filing false police reports.

Lesson learned: anyone can lie. Facts are facts. Reserve judgment about serious matters until you know some facts.

Y’all remember Susan Smith, don’t you?

Havana After Work Today?

posted by on October 25 at 10:39 AM

From the Guardian:

Men who drank between one and a half and three units of alcohol a day on average had nearly a third of the risk of suffering heart attacks faced by healthy men who stayed off the booze. One unit is a glass of wine or a half-pint of beer.

Smoking pot prevents Alzheimer’s (and as we learn in this week’s “Savage Love,” helps some women achieive orgasm) and booze prevents heart attacks. Now if researches could only discover that chocolate cake with white frosting reduces your chances of contracting HIV—fingers crossed—then all my vices will officially become part of my health regimen.

Mmm… cake…

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Theater Is Not Virtuous

posted by on October 25 at 10:31 AM

KUOW’s Marcie Sillman is doing a multi-part series on Seattle theater that is mostly harmless, if superficial.

But one theme in her series really gives me hives. There is nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada, null set, NOTHING virtuous about attending live theater. There is nothing secret or mystical about the connection between audiences and performers. A bad night of theater is no more salutary than a bad night of TV. It’s that kind of snotty, self-righteous attitude that turns people off theater. (Well, that and the terrible productions they’re being asked to improve themselves upon.)

I would also like to bitch about one more thing, which is this edition of Weekday, a lazy compilation of the Marcie Sillman stories supplemented by live commentary by Misha Berson. Steve Scher is incompetent. With about five seconds before break, he invited a guy to talk about On the Boards and the risks it takes (a theme notably missing from the rest of the show). The poor guy got about as far as “Spalding” before Scher cut him off with something like “That’s great, you like On the Boards. Onto the break!” Obnoxious.

In closing, I would like to say, duh, theater is competing with the internet and movies. But don’t expect me to feel sorry for you, Mssrs Artistic Directors. Make me excited to get out of the goddamn apartment.

On Hancock

posted by on October 25 at 10:05 AM

To get to the substance of Herbie Hancock’s style (and the Hancock I have in mind is the one before the 70s—the real Hancock) one must hear it dialectically. What he resolves, subsumes, picks up, cancels out is the opposition between a father and a son, between Bud Powell and Bill Evans. Powell’s playing expressed force, will, strength; Evan’s expressed beauty, sensitivity, delicacy. Not that Powell had none of his son’s defining qualities (“Parisian Thoroughfare” is one of the most beautiful and precious compositions in the jazz canon); and nor did Evan’s lack all the force of his father, as his work on Charles Mingus’s East Coasting reveals. But, for the most part, Powell had too much strength (listen to his muscular “Bud on Bach” or the end of “Glass Enclosure”—a structure which his force smashes up in a fit of insanity); and Evans often had so little force and too much sensitivity that it was like looking at a beautiful boy who is so hurt, who is on the verge of crying (“My Man’s Gone Now,” “Turn Out The Stars”). In Hancock this opposition meets its resolution. His playing has the force of a lion and the delicacy of flowers—the shumba among the roses.

It’s Olsen Twins Wednesday!

posted by on October 25 at 10:00 AM

BOOOOOO! I mean… YAYYY! It’s a special Halloweeny edition of Olsen Twins Wednesday, where I creepily troll the web to bring YOU the finest in Olsen Twin videography. This week, we get double the fun with this clip from the classic Sleepover Party, wherein the twins lament the cruel shenanigans of their stupid brother and then get all obsessive-compulso over video games in a selection entitled “Video Monster!” Enjoy! (But then how could you not?)

Urban Archipelago… How Quaint.

posted by on October 25 at 9:15 AM

I’m in Montana, working on a story for next week’s Stranger. It’s a story about the upcoming Congressional elections and it’s taken me east, into those bad, bad rural lands that the editors of this paper lashed out against after John Kerry’s defeat in 2004.

I’ve passed through places like Moses Lake, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and Butte. You know, places where people like guns and fiscal conservatism and… Democrats?

Here in red Montana, as even the conservative Weekly Standard has noticed, a new generation of rural Democrats seems ascendant. (In fact, in this state the close race between Democratic farmer Jon Tester and Republican Senator Conrad Burns could well determine whether Democrats control the Senate after November 7th.)

It’s a phenomenon not limited to Montana. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, rural Democratic Congressional candidates are gaining against Republicans in eastern Washington and Idaho — Idaho! — in a development that is freaking out Republican leaders.

All of which makes The Stranger’s extremely popular Urban Archipelago manifesto from 2004 seem… well… I know others have had harsher words for it, but since I work with a lot of the people who wrote it I’ll stick with quaint.

More on this topic in next week’s issue, but for now, a few selections from “The Urban Archipelago” that you certainly won’t hear seconded on the campaign trail by Tester — a pro-gun-rights organic farmer from Big Sandy (pop. 710) who doesn’t like the way the war in Iraq is going, doesn’t want the government interfering in a woman’s choices about her health, does’t bash stem cell research, and currently leads his Republican opponent (just barely) in the polls.

For Democrats, it’s the cities, stupid—not the rural areas, not the prickly, hateful “heartland,” but the sane, sensible cities—including the cities trapped in the heartland. Pandering to rural voters is a waste of time.
To red-state voters, to the rural voters, residents of small, dying towns, and soulless sprawling exburbs, we say this: Fuck off. Your issues are no longer our issues.
Wal-Mart is not an urban issue. Neither is gun control. Our new position: We’ll fight to keep guns off the streets of our cities, but the more guns lying around out there in the heartland, the better… If a kid in a red state finds his daddy’s handgun and blows his head off, we’ll feel terrible (we’re like that), but we’ll try to look on the bright side: At least he won’t grow up to vote like his dad…

We officially no longer give a shit when family farms fail. Fewer family farms equal fewer rural voters. We will, however, continue to support small faggy organic farms, as we are willing to pay more for free-range chicken and beef from non-cannibal cows.

We won’t concern ourselves if red states restrict choice. We’ll just make sure that abortion remains safe and legal in the cities where we live, and the states we control, and when your daughter or sister or mother dies in a botched abortion, we’ll try not to feel too awful about it.

In short, we’re through with you people.

The Morning News

posted by on October 25 at 8:40 AM

War: President Bush holds press conference, says…

”I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq.”

…then proceeds to ramble on yet again about trusting his generals and refusing to set a timetable. But hey, at least we’re not `staying the course.’

Health: Hospitals inch closer to universal care all on their own in an effort to keep costs down.

Politics: Worried about the election, Bush and company set to work conning religious conservatives once again.

Crazy Dictators: North Korea warns South Korea of war.

Government Secrets: Police hold drug raid in New Mexico, turn up classified nuclear documents instead.

Science: Brits are gearing up for a the world’s first full face transplant.

Traffic: The New York Times notices our viaduct debate. (Note to viaduct obsessives: Please wait for separate post from Erica C. Barnett and/or Josh Feit instead of hijacking this thread. Thank you.)

Tax Dollars: Retiring Port of Seattle chief gets raise, already makes more than heads of Los Angeles and New York/New Jersey ports.

Dead Local Icon: Kurt Cobain now top-selling dead artist in America. Suck it, Elvis.

Living Local Icon: Could Ichiro be leaving after this season?

Little White Lies

posted by on October 25 at 8:27 AM

So.

Back in July I answered a letter in “Savage Loveā€¯ from a guy that seemed to be contemplating—seriously contemplating— murdering his girlfriend’s husband . The husband, the girlfriend/wife told him, was a very, very bad dude. He abused her, their four children, and had raped her twice. The man had even been tried for rape—tried! Was he convicted? Acquitted? “Love Is Faithful Eternallyā€¯ didn’t say.

I advised LIFE not to murder anyone, and suggested that he might want to make sure his girlfriend wasn’t lying to him.

Have you bothered to confirm your lover’s story? Your letter makes this woman’s husband seem perfectly monstrous. In fact, he seems a little too perfectly monstrous. Have you entertained the possibility that you’re being fed a massive load of shit, LIFE? Some cheaters invent elaborate tales of woe—the frigid shrew of a wife; the abusive husband—because the cheater wants to have her infidelities and her victim status too.

So, LIFE, before you run off and kill anyone: Have you checked her story out? If your lover’s husband was tried for rape, then there are records out there somewhere—trial transcripts, newspaper articles. Have you looked them up? It’s something you might want to do before you “remove” anybody.

Predictably, there was an uproar . This letter appeared in the column…

I was appalled by the advice you gave LIFE, the man sleeping with a woman in an abusive marriage. You… doubted the woman’s claims of abuse, calling them “too perfectly monstrous.” My mother and my whole family were abused by my father, and most of the time she wasn’t believed. Discrediting the victim by saying she’s “lying” probably made all abused women who read your column recall the times they were called liars. You should not perpetuate the idea that abused women are really lying…..

I responded…

I never intended to deny the reality of domestic violence, R. Too many women are monstrously abused; there was a story last week in the Detroit Free Press about a Michigan man who tore off his wife’s right arm. But the refusal to believe any woman’s claims of abuse should not, in my opinion, be replaced by a blanket acceptance of any woman’s claim of abuse. (If all claims of abuse are to be accepted at face value, why bother with domestic-violence charges or rape trials?) Women should get the benefit of the doubt as their lives—and right arms—may be at stake, but even that posture presupposes the possibility of doubt. That’s why I advised LIFE to check out the part of his girlfriend’s story that was verifiable: Her claim that her husband had once been prosecuted for rape. If it checks out, that goes a long way toward establishing her credibility. If it doesn’t, well, then it doesn’t. People do lie, R., as I’m sure you know. And women are people, as I’m sure you’d agree.

So many outraged letters poured that I posted a mess of them online . And most of the angry folks agreed: A woman who says she’s been raped must be believed—a point they wanted me to emphasize to LIFE, a guy who was contemplating the murder of this alleged rapist, his girlfriend’s husband.

All this came rushing back to me yesterday when I spotted this this AP story

A sailor pleaded guilty Monday to abducting and killing a Marine corporal he thought had been involved in a gang rape. The rape turned out to be a lie.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Cooper Jackson, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to premeditated murder, kidnapping, impersonating a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and obstruction of justice in connection with the death of Cpl. Justin L. Huff, 23.

…..Jackson had been fooled into falling in love with a woman who called herself Samantha and made up a story about being raped by servicemen. “Samantha” turned out to be Ashley Elrod, a 22-year-old hotel clerk on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, who testified that she lied about being raped. She said she “might have” told Jackson that one of the Marines was named Huff or Huffman, and she said Jackson called her after Huff was killed. Elrod has not been charged.

During his court-martial, Jackson told the Navy judge how he posed as an NCIS agent and took Huff to North Carolina to get information about the purported rape. He said he then slit Huff’s throat and buried the body to avoid being caught.

So, uh, gee. While I don’t think lots of women are running around telling lies about having been raped just for kicks, I do think that, as I said, some people do lie and that women are people. And I still think that folks should consult their bullshit detectors before they do anything rash—like, oh, slitting some poor motherfucker’s throat.

Seattle Kicks Memphis’ Ass

posted by on October 25 at 7:52 AM

Just continuing to abuse my slog privileges: from Forbes, via the BBC, it’s announced that Seattle’s Kurt Cobain is now the highest-earning dead guy, surpassing Elvis.

The rest of the Top Ten Corpse Cash Machines: Elvis, Charles Schultz, John Lennon, Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Dr. Seuss, Ray Charles, Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Cash.

Sociologically, this is one interesting look at what people like to spend their money on: or, what posters college students like to put on their walls of/by people whose image/work is still in copyright.

Gilbert Arenas, Rep. Jim McDermott, and the Sexy Queen of Jordan

posted by on October 25 at 1:48 AM

Knowing how much I dig NBA point guard Gilbert Arenas, several friends have pointed me to the November issue of Esquire. The magazine has an NBA 2007 preview. And unlike this week’s Sports Illustrated NBA preview, which predictably features LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, Esquire’s contrarian article stars Arenas. Esquire calls the Washington Wizards guard, “the NBA’s most unheralded superstar.” (True! 6 apg, 29.3 ppg, and a league-leading playoff average of 34 ppg last year.) Arenas is featured in the centerfold picture and featured in a goofed out “new journalism” interview.

There is a sidebar (ha!) on King James.

As Wizards fans know, national exposure for Jillbert is long overdue.

Here’s the excerpt my friends kept telling me about:

ENTRY 15: SELF-IMPOSED COMMUNICATION BARRIERS When I get a new cell phone, first thing I do is turn it off and call from my house phone and leave stupid little messages to myself. Like: “It’s me.” “It’s me.” “This is Gilbert.” “It’s me.” “It’s Gilbert.” I just fill it up, so no one can leave messages. If you don’t, you leave for an hour and thirteen people have called. So there are thirteen new messages you have to listen to and it’s like, Oh, man. I don’t feel like hearing people’s stories. Most people love leaving messages that they don’t want to tell you in person. So I cut that off.

And here’s the part I liked best:

ENTRY 16: SELF-MOTIVATIONAL MECHANISMS The subject steps out of his dressing closet holding a list he keeps there of every player in the 2001 NBA draft who was selected ahead of him. All thirty. He runs his fingers down the page. He has scratched out each player who is no longer in the league. “Hmpff,” he says, pausing on a name. “I got to get the pencil out. Utah. Raul Lopez? Ain’t seen him much lately.”

And here’s an excerpt I’m not sure I understand:

ENTRY 8: UNUSUAL SLEEPING RITUALS SUBJECT [interviewed while playing two-man Halo in his bedroom]: You can’t see very good. I’ll sit down on the floor if you want.

OBSERVER: No, I can tell you like to play on the bed. I’ll stay here.

SUBJECT: I just started sleeping in this bed after three years. I used to sleep over there.

OBSERVER: Where? On the couch?

SUBJECT: Yeah. I trained myself to sleep on the couch.

OBSERVER: Why would you do that?

SUBJECT: You know.

OBSERVER: Not really.

SUBJECT: I don’t like women all up on me, touching me. So I get up and go.

OBSERVER: Yeah?

SUBJECT: Then they get up and go. [Subject points to the video-game screen.] Stay there. Wait for me behind that door.

OBSERVER: What door?

SUBJECT [shaking his head]: I discovered that women don’t like that much.

Bonus
It’s also Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” issue. They go with Scarlett Johansson.

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And they’ve got all these other super foxy women too. For example, Queen Rania of Jordan! No burqa for her.

Extra Bonus
There’s also a great feature in the magazine on the upcoming mid-term elections. They choose the 9 worst members of Congress (the Cynthia McKinney Awards!) including: Frist, Santorum, Pelosi and Hastert. And they choose the nine best members of Congress, including: Hagel, Feingold, and Rep. John Lewis!

Then they make endorsements in every U.S. Senate, House, and Gubernatorial race in the country. I went right to Washington state to see if they get it. And they do: They endorse Burner over Reichert, Goldmark over McMorris, Cantwell over McGavick, Inslee (of course!) …and…something I wish the Stranger Election Control Board had the guts to do: They don’t endorse McDermott. I took that as proof that they did their homework.

Oh, there’s also a bubble-gum beatnik essay by Chuck Klosterman on why the NBA is cooler than other sports. A pseudo intellectual excerpt:

Basketball is different. Pro basketball changes with culture. It’s a youth game, it’s a street game, and it’s an artists’ game…its style of play reinvents itself every five or ten years. Basketball is dynamic, and basketball is reflective; if you profoundly understand the NBA, you can partially understand America. This is why the NBA is important.

Klosterman spouts the same Larry Bird/Magic Johnson 80s worship that everyone is so full of (way Overrated, in my opinion). Otherwise, it’s quite the re-bop write up.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Westin workers protest downtown

posted by on October 24 at 7:31 PM

At the downtown Westin this rainy afternoon, hotel workers and a handful of unions staged the second in what is looking to become a series of protests of the Westin’s employment practices. The first protest, back in June, drew hundreds of people (including Mayor Nickels) and featured that giant top-hatted capitalist “fat cat” balloon that made the rounds at a couple protests this summer. Today’s protest was smaller, but still managed to shut down the block of 5th outside the Westin as fifty or so people waved Chiller font signs and another twenty held a “Hotel Workers Rising!” banner across the street while they waited for their planned arrests to occur.

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After an hour of chanting through the primer of protest tunes (“Ain’t no power like the power of the people and the power of the people don’t stop!” “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” “The people! United! Will never be defeated!” “Hey! Ho! Corporate greed has got to go!” ) the police went down the line and handcuffed everyone who signed up for the civil disobedience, everyone else shouted support and the whole rally ended with a rousing chorus of “We will be back!” This last part confused me, since I thought the whole point of the protest was to put pressure of the Westin — if it works, they won’t be back. I guess they’re not optimistic.

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The Westin workers’ union is currently renegotiating its contract with the hotel and seriously miffed that the hotel management has offered only 10 cent raises, while increasing the weight of mattresses and the number of linens the maids are required to heft.

The arresting officer in a ski mask and shorts wins the SPD fashion award of the year, by the way.

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NJ Gay Marriage Decision: Tomorrow, Noon PST

posted by on October 24 at 6:14 PM

In the wake of the NJ gay marriage decision, I recommend checking out Dale Carpenter at Volokh Conspiracy for smart (if possibly hard-to-swallow) legal analysis.

Gay Marriage Decision Coming

posted by on October 24 at 5:54 PM

The New Jersey Supreme Court hands down its gay marriage decision tomorrow—and if it goes our way, it could benefit the Republicans. But there hasn’t been a marriage decision that went our way in a long, long while. Honestly I’m not sure what to root for: a pro-gay marriage decision that benefits gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey and harms the Democrats nationally, or a anti-gay marriage decision that hurts gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey and allows Democrats to avoid having to take a potentially harmful stand on this issue so close to an election.

Sheesh—the torments of a passionate gay Dem.

Movie Miscellany

posted by on October 24 at 5:11 PM

I haven’t been keeping up with Greencine Daily recently, though they linked to my review of The Prestige and my profile of James Longley, which was very nice of them. (Iraq in Fragments: Starts November 10, Varsity. Don’t miss.)

What I learned in my recent swift perusal:

1) The foreign language Oscar submissions, which are usually kinda treacly and lame, are looking pretty sweet this year. Anne Thompson’s buzz-meter picks include the entry from Kazakhstan—I seriously wonder if Sascha B. C. is to thank/blame. And I want to mention the Slovenian entry Gravehopping, which is one of the better black comedies I’ve seen this year.

2) You can watch Frontline’s The Lost Year in Iraq online.

3) You can tag along on a visit to Lady Antonia Fraser’s house here. The Marie Antoinette biographer intrigues me, not only because her Marie Antoinette: The Journey contains a rather detailed account of the French queen’s irregular menstrual periods (I read it in preparation for the Sofia Coppola film, which ended up not screening in Seattle in time for me to write the review—but we roped in Michael Atkinson, formerly of the Village Voice, to write it up, and he did a bang-up job), but because her daughter Flora Fraser wrote a first-rate biography of the daughters of King George III, recently out in paperback. Whew. That was a long sentence. Sorry.

On Point

posted by on October 24 at 5:09 PM

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As if I needed another reason to love this man…

You Can Attend a Free Band of Horses Show Tonight….

posted by on October 24 at 4:45 PM

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…but only if you go here, pronto.

The Last (Russian) Man

posted by on October 24 at 4:03 PM

Not only is there a new translation of the 19th century Russian novel Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov, but it includes an introduction by the great post-Soviet writer Tatyana Tolstaya, whose collection of short stories On The Golden Porch, which was published in 1989, occupies one of the warmest places in my heart.

For those who don’t know Oblomov, he is the Russian grandfather of the American couch potato. Tolstaya writes:

“[T]here is something deeply Russian in the character of Oblomov, something that strikes a chord in every Russian heart. This something lies in the seductive appeal of laziness and of good-natured idleness, the golden conservation of a serene, untroubled childhood when everyone loves one another and when life with its anxieties and demands is still over the horizon. It is to be found in the tact and delicacy of ‘live and let live,’ in taking the path of least resistance, in unassertiveness, and an aversion to fuss and bother of any kind.”
For the best results, you must read this novel while in bed or on a couch.

Post-Election Greeting Cards for Republicans

posted by on October 24 at 3:37 PM

“Everyone loves a winner.”

“Not that you would know.”

Was Biff Unavailable?

posted by on October 24 at 3:15 PM

Jim Caviezel, Jeff Suppan, Kurt Warner, and some others respond to Michael J. Fox’s stem-cell campaign ad.

Suppan pitches for the Cardinals in game 4 of the World Series. I hope the Tigers shellac the living shit out of him.

Men Are Horny

posted by on October 24 at 2:58 PM

Stop the presses: “Report finds sex always on men’s minds.” Says UPI…

Researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University say most men are always thinking of sex. A study released Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists found 54 percent of men and 19 percent of women admit they think about sex every day—or several times a day—in a society where they are bombarded with subconscious erotic images.

You gotta love this finding…

Researchers also found sexual orientation often determines how the brain reacts to erotic images. Heterosexual women, for example, were more tuned in to pictures of naked men, the same reaction exhibited by homosexual men. But homosexual woman were equally attuned to naked images of both sexes, the report said.

News Intern Needed!

posted by on October 24 at 2:10 PM

Unlike the bohemians in the film and theater depts., no one in the news dept. has ferocious halitosis or scabies, baby.

We are a serious bunch, currently obsessed with: Mike McGavick; Mayor Nickels’s hypocrisy; the Viaduct; Darcy Burner; Hitler’s bio; I-933; eco-feminism, “community renewal”; Hezbollah; adding bike lanes to Seattle’s streets; Gilbert Arenas; and prison investigations.

You don’t have to care about the above list specifically, but you should have a list of your own—and be jazzed at the prospect of working in a frenetic newsroom…and ideally, be able to make it much less frenetic. Seriously: We need someone who’s organized.

We need a commitment of about 20-hours a week. We know you have to wait tables or go to school, so we’re flexible with the schedule. It’s unpaid, but you are paid for anything you write. And typically, news interns get writing assignments thrown their way right off the bat.

Mostly, though, you’ll be doing follow-up phone calls, filing public records requests, tracking down story leads, fact checking, looking over PDC reports, doing math for me, picking up records downtown, transcribing interviews, dropping everything to pitch in on breaking news stories, and Slogging.

Current news staffer Sarah Mirk was a college student who moved here for the summer to do an internship, and look what happened!

Send cover letter and resume to josh@thestranger.com. Now.

Getcher Laugh On

posted by on October 24 at 1:59 PM

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After a couple of weeks of touring our great nation (spreading laughter, love, and thighs) my friend Moshe Kasher is bringing his comedy stylings to Seattle. Also on the bill is Brent Weinbach (it’s some sorta Heebish Humor package) and tonight they are rocking their stand-up comedy experience at the lovely Jewelbox Theater in the historic Rendezvous Bar and Restaurant. Come on down for some guffaws and support indie comedy.

Rendezvous
2320 2nd Ave
8pm, $6 (cheap)

Oh, Baby…

posted by on October 24 at 1:55 PM

For those who think the sexualization of Halloween* is just for grownups:

What will your daughter be for Halloween?

How about a sexy go-go girl?

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Or a sexy prison bondage girl? (Actual title: “Miss Behaved.”)

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Or a sexy army girl? (Actual title: “Major Flirt.”)

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Or wicked, wicked Dorothy?

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Or hell, why not just doll her up like Britney Spears?

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I’m no prude. I like sexy clothes, in context. (Said context preferably not being the one day a year I’m given “permission” to “go bad”—because as everyone knows, overt female sexuality is always “bad”.) However, correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that eight-year-olds are not supposed to be “sexy.” Even if you think Halloween is “empowering” (because it gives “good girls” an excuse to let out their “inner sluts”—by playing out male fantasies of subservience, conveniently), can anyone deny that tarting up preteens (another costume shows a six- or seven-year-old wearing a corset) in this fashion takes the whole “reclaiming sexist stereotypes” thing way too far?

*Other enticing choices for the preteen set (images too small to post, but you can find them here) include “Boy Toy,” “Harem Girl,” “Indian Babe,” “French Maid,” “Bunny Hunny,” “Cop Lady” (complete with tiny kid-sized hot pants), “Red Hot Teen” (a slutty devil), “Supergirl Sexy,” “Naughty Officer,” a “Bad Girl” jail getup, “Super Fire Fox”… etc. Sigh.)

The Agony & Ecstasy of the Borat Victim

posted by on October 24 at 1:26 PM

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If you’ve ever wondered how the hell Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen gets away with what he does, this BBC article provides some interesting answers.

(Among his secret weapons: confidence, strategically presented release forms, and cash.)

And if you’ve ever suspected that underneath all that brilliantly repulsive affectation, Sacha Baron Cohen might be a dreamy-looking man, you’re right.

It’s PETA Tuesday at KFC!

posted by on October 24 at 1:15 PM

I’m a vegetarian, but the words “PETA protest” make me cringe. Usually they are obnoxious and rather unproductive, doing more to perpetuate the “animal lovers = radical fringe” image than really convincing people Quarter Pounders are a problem.

Evidence A:
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But the PETA protesters who’ve been hanging around outside the Capitol Hill KFC (10th and Pine, $3.99 Famous Bowls) every Tuesday are downright adorable. Politely passing out pamphlets are two delightful old ladies who bring along their beloved Japanese Spaniel and say “thank you” to every person who passes.

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They also have endearing thick French accents. “We’ve been members for twenty years,” one woman told me, “We know ze people want to eat ze chicken, we just want zem to do it somewhere else.”

I’m not sure if they’re going to show up today, what with the crummy weather, but try to stop by some week and give them a hug.

Warning: Michael J Fox is an actor

posted by on October 24 at 12:10 PM

No big surprise, but Rush Limbaugh is accusing Michael J. Fox of embellishing his `Parkinson’s Act’ in this campaign ad (which Dan also linked to below).

Via Crooks and Liars:

“He was either off his medication, or he was acting. He is an actor, after all.ā€¯

Not that Limbaugh’s outrageous shit talking deserves a rebuttal, but A Doctor responds (again, over at C&L):

The chorea that Michael J Fox has in that ad comes from chronic use of dopamine agonists in the context of Parkinson’s. They’re movements from the medicine, not the disease itself. Although he might have odd movements OFF of his meds, they wouldn’t look like the ones in the ad.

As Limbaugh knows little about Parkinson’s Disease (or laying off the meds), this is further proof that he should be forcibly restrained while his scrotum is punctured by the pointy sticks of laughing school children.

Children, you see, are our future.

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Studio 60 Jumps Shark, Rapes Shark’s Corpse, Feasts on Remains

posted by on October 24 at 12:01 PM

It seems every Tuesday morning of late has brought some sort of Slog blast/victim commiseration regarding Studio 60, Aaron Sorkin’s bad-and-getting-worser romantic dramedy about the inner workings of a SNL-ish late-night comedy show.

This Tuesday will be no different.

Last night….last night was when Studio 60 officially became the Showgirls of network television—one of those near-miraculous works of failed art, recognizable by crappy plotlines you see coming a mile away, that end up veering off into horrifying places you never dreamed of.

Case in point: Last night’s storyline involving (great) elderly actor Eli Wallach, who showed up babbling backstage at the TV studio. As soon as he appeared, I thought, “Dear God, the last thing this show needs is an Olde Comedian to teach us the value of Laughter and Today”—but then he turned out to be a sentimental World War II vet TOO! As my friend Mindy put it: “I couldn’t even figure out which tired old plotline we were trotting out—confused elderly comedian who thinks he’s coming to work to write for Dick Van Dyke with Rose Marie again? WWII veteran to teach us what the Greatest Generation thinks about sketch comedy? Bradley Whitford’s elderly coke dealer/grandpa with Alzheimer’s? WTF?”

Exactly. And Grandpa Lovesalot was only one of several galling plot points in last night’s episode. Then there was the story line about the search for a new black writer, which left my jaw on the floor. Apparently, every young black comedian is on a one-way path to prison unless someone physically stops him and gives him his “big break” in comedy. (This was presented as The Truth about not one but two black comics during last night’s one-hour episode, for which Aaron Sorkin should be horsewhipped in the center of town.)

Throughout the show, every single situation is fleshed out with details that are seemingly designed for deaf and blind infants, and every episode contains those shots that make my skin crawl, where a person or work of art is supposedly so brilliant that he, she, or its brilliance is undeniable to all, but the writing is so crappy that the only way to show successful brilliance is by cutting to another character, mouth agape, dewey eyed, taking in the alleged brilliance with a silent “wow”…

God, I can’t wait until next Monday…I never knew TV could be this bad/good…

Frank’s Done It Before

posted by on October 24 at 10:59 AM

…and he’s prepared to do it again. Goldy over at Horse’s Ass got an early peek at the Seattle Times’ election day cover

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And, yes, Frank really has done it before. Eat your heart out, Brendan.

Happy Birthday, F. Murray Abraham!

posted by on October 24 at 10:44 AM

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Let the bells ring and confetti fall, it’s F. MURRAY ABRAHAM’s birthday! Here are some F. Murray Factoids from nndb.com!

AKA Fahrid Murray Abraham

Born: 24-Oct-1939
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, PA

Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Middle Eastern

Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Mozart’s antagonist in Amadeus

The name of actor F. Murray Abraham conjures up images of the half-mad composer Antonio Salieri in the film Amadeus (for which he won an Oscar as Best Actor) or the gargoyle-like inquisitor in The Name of the Rose. In his most widely-seen performance, however, Abraham played the talking leaf in TV commercials for Fruit of the Loom.

And here is a special birthday greeting to you, F. Murray Abraham, from all of your Slog friends!

It’s Ba-ack

posted by on October 24 at 10:31 AM

Thank goodness I moved to Seattle in time for the comeback of grunge. Urban Outfitters is onto it. Hot Topic, not so much.

One Jinxy Post

posted by on October 24 at 10:23 AM

So much good news floating around out there for Dems… it’s kind of scary. It’s kind of getting our hopes up, like those exit polls on election day in 2004 that showed Kerry winning. Hopefully just posting a few links to upbeat stories about upbeat Dems—and downcast Republicans—won’t screw this all up…

Polls Good & Tight: Some races are still in play, but things are looking good for Dems.

Gas Prices Down: That usually helps the party in power, but not this time.

Independent Streak: Independent voters backing Dems by a 2 to 1 margin.

Independents Mo: They’re breaking for Dems, and there are more and more of them out there.

Rocktober Surprise: This absolutely heartbreaking campaign ad featuring Michael J. Fox pleading on behalf of a Dem candidate who support stem cell research is having an impact in the Missouri senate race and will soon run in Maryland and Illinois.

Governors’ Races: More blue than red.

Republicans Turning on Each Other: Lindsey Graham is so mad at Rumsfeld and “the generals leading the war” that he soiled his own trousers.

More Indictments Coming? Remember the Abromoff scandal? It’s fresh in these guys’ minds.

Al Gore

posted by on October 24 at 9:45 AM

(Prologue: During the Q&A, a woman got on an audience microphone, said she’d seen An Inconvenient Truth and wrote Al Gore a letter the next day, offering to quit her job and work for him. She never heard back, but wondered if Gore would accept her letter then and there. He did. Would that young woman please email brendan@thestranger.com? We want to know if Al Gore gives you a job.)

The crowd at Key Arena seemed big, everybody primed to cheer on their Ezekiel, their doom and gloom prophet come from the wilderness with a message of repentance. Gore seemed caught in a tension between two tendencies: the desire to connect by playing the comedian (“put yourself in my place—I flew on Air Force Two for two years and now I have to take off my boots to get on a planeā€¯) and the professor (facts, figures, ice earthquakes in Greenland, collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, desertification, CO2 levels, forest fire patterns, study after study after study).

He started with a few jokes, (“I looked in the rear-view mirror and there was no motorcade—they talk about phantom limb pain… “), said he “had no plansā€¯ to run in ‘08. Then he started the slide show and presentation.

It was long. It was convincing. It was sad, ranging from the poetic (“within 15 years there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaroā€¯) to the disastrous. Gore demonstrated the distortion of the science on global warming by the Bush White House. For example: Climate change is a cyclical phenomenon, but the period of medieval warming was a tiny blip compared to the cliff of warming we’ve measured since the middle of the 20th century. Gore also demonstrated the motive for distortion: lobbyists in the White House, the Philip Cooney scandal, et al.

Then he took questions, made jokes, was generally charming, and even hit the local angle, stumping for light rail and good architecture and urban design. It seemed awfully like a campaign event, but Gore insisted his campaign in ‘08 would be to get voters to press all the candidates about climate change.

What’s With Hugh?

posted by on October 24 at 9:30 AM

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The Seattle Times isn’t the only local publication that has some ‘splaining to do about a recent endorsement. The Stranger endorsed Hugh Foskett, the Republican running to represent the 43rd District in the State House of Representatives. The 43rd is famously liberal and famously queer—so queer, in fact, that gay wunder ‘mo Jamie Pedersen won the Dem primary without a single major endorsement. (Sorry, Ed!)

So as we pound the Seattle Times for their inexplicable McGavick endorsement—no, wait. It was totally explicable: The edit board at the Seattle Times bent over for Frank Blethen and took it like a regular pack of Mike Fanchers. Frank wants his tax cut and if he has to shred his paper’s credibility and his ed board’s integrity to get it, by God he’s going to get it.

So how we do explain our Foskett endorsement? Our completely-in-earnest Foskett endorsement? Our by-no-means-a-joke endorsement of a candidate that doesn’t have a lube packet’s chance in Basic Plumbing of defeating Jamie Pedersen?

Well, we like Hugh. We like his spunk. We like his wandering hands and roaming fingers. We like his sombrero. And his spunk—did we mention his spunk?

We also fully expect that, armed now with our endorsement, young Hugh Foskett is going to win this election and that he will make an excellent addition to the Washington State Legislature. Don’t we need a little more diversity in the 43rd District’s legislative delegation in Olympia? One way or the other—Foskett or Pedersen—it’s going to be three white males. But the 43rd already has a gay rep (Murray), and it already has an old, out-of-touch rep (Chopp). What it doesn’t have is a young, out of touch rep—by which I mean, someone under 30 and conservative. And Hugh’s words, if not his actions, tell us that he’s a conservative:

I was raised in a very conservative home in Bellevue, and am a firm believer in conservative ideals.

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And why wouldn’t Hugh be a conservative? He is, after all, a graduate of Redmond’s Bear Creek School.

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Our mission is to provide a high-quality, Christian liberal arts education in a nurturing environment that will enable each student to become the individual God intends.

How does Bear Creek accomplish this? Why through…

…a combination of Christian Studies, service projects, an emphasis on building a caring community, and modeling of the Christian walk by faculty and staff….

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The Bear Creek School recognizes that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom—and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Our school community is built on biblical values that reveal God’s love for us and our need to love and care for our neighbor as ourselves.

And as Hugh has shown us, there’s more than one way to care for your neighbor.

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Paper Chase

posted by on October 24 at 9:12 AM

Maybe Mike McGavick would be polling better if more people in Washington State owned newspapers.

In Washington, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell has increased her sizable lead over Republican challenger Mike McGavick. She now leads by 15 percentage points, 52 percent to 37 percent, with 8 percent undecided. Last month, she led by 10 percentage points (50 percent to 40 percent).

Which means, kids, that Rick Santorum has more support in PA, where Casey leads Santorum by just 12 points, than Mike McGavick has in WA. Stick a fork him, Frank, he’s done. And if the Dems have any spine at all they’ll hike your estate tax after this.

No Contest: Blethen v. Gates on Estate Tax

posted by on October 24 at 9:03 AM

Frank Blethen, the estate-tax-obsessed owner of the Seattle Times, made a royal fool of himself on KUOW’s Weekday, where he debated philanthropist Bill Gates, Sr.yesterday morning on the merits of the tax. (The state estate tax falls on families whose estates are worth $2 million or more, and exempts farmland and timber if they make up more than half of the estate. The money from the tax goes into an education trust fund that pays for public education and student loans.)

Blethen’s opposition to the state estate tax, which could be repealed if a measure called Initiative 920 passes in November, is well documented; it is, in fact, apparently the only reason Blethen’s paper endorsed Sen. Maria Cantwell’s opponent Mike McGavick, with whom the Times editorial board disagrees on nearly every other issue.

After both multimillionaires acknowledged that they would personally pay the state estate tax, Blethen gave this appallingly disingenuous explanation for his opposition to the tax: “The problem with this tax is this tax renders Washington State at a serious economic disadvantage… which is going to come home to haunt us if we don’t repeal this tax.ā€¯ Already, Blethen claimed, “I’m doing the unimaginable and actually advising members of the Blethen family… to move out of state.ā€¯ Moreover, Blethen ranted, there has already been “a flight of businesses and wealth from the state in anticipation of this tax.I have talked to a number of people who have already moved their homes to Idaho and Arizonaā€¯ to flee the tax.

Gates gave this calm—and devastating—response: “I have a huge appreciation of the things that taxes do for us in this country. … I feel like it’s basically an indebtedness of those of us who’ve been fortunate enough to achieve enough wealth that we pay these taxes. It’s quite appropriate. It’s a recycling of funds. The business of being wealthy is a direct function of personal things like skill and eagerness and ambition and that sort of thing, but a lot of it is luck and even more than most people stop to think about it’s a function of where you live… When the end comes and one has had the enormous pleasure of a life full of discretion and the interesting things that you’re able to do, the choice between passing [wealth] along to heirs or the choice of paying something back to the society that made what happened to you possible … doesn’t seem to me to be much of an argument.ā€¯

Blethen, unbowed by Gates’s (pretty much irrefutable) argument, abruptly changed tacks, arguing, incredibly, that he wasn’t against funding public education; he just felt the estate tax went about it the wrong way. His Seattle Times, Blethen said, “has been probably the greatest champions this state has in terms of support for public education… until the Gates Foundation came along. … I think my own education credentials and my family’s and my newspapers’ are impeccable. And if I believed that this would help education and not hurt education and the economy I would be very supportive.ā€¯

Blethen then went even further, blaming the state estate tax (which affects a whopping 250 households in Washington State) for the consolidation of industries from media to drugstores to funeral homes. (If Ben Bagdikian was dead, he’d be spinning in his grave. “We went from 100 percent local and regional newspapers… to about 15 percent,ā€¯ because of the estate tax, Blethen claimed. “You see what used to be very engaged companies in their local communities … almost all owned or soon to be owned by out-of-state absentee corporations.ā€¯

Gates countered: “That whole [claim] of small businesses going away is just the most enormous fraud that’s been promulgated on people in the course of this argument… This state has one of the highest levels of starting new businesses. The small business is not going to go away.ā€¯

Moreover, Gates argued, Washington State already has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation. The estate tax is one of the few taxes that makes our system even modestly equitable, he said. “People in the lowest quintile of income pay 18 percent of their money to support the state,” Gates said. Meanwhile, “people in thie highest pay four percent. … We tax poor people more than we do rich people in order to support things like education. The estate tax [helps] to level out the contributions. The equity of that is plain to me.”

Okay, Who Leaked the Democratic Agenda to the Santorum Supporters?

posted by on October 24 at 8:54 AM

A supporter of Rick Santorum, interviewed by a reporter from the Toronto Star, makes a vewy scawy prediction about how things will change—basic cable, at least—if the Dems take power in November:

“I’m afraid of turning on the Health Channel on my TV and seeing an abortion of a child in its eighth month. Is that far-fetched? It might not be if the other side gets in.”

Oh, crap—they’re on to us! I was soooo looking forward to curling up in front of the TV and watching some late-term abortions with my kid if the Dems took control of the House and Senate! And now, thanks to some loose-lipped Democratic operative somewhere, my fondest hopes for the Health Channel may well have been dashed!

Who will break the news to Hillary?

The Morning News

posted by on October 24 at 8:40 AM

Justice: Jeffrey K. Skilling, ex-Chief Executive of Enron, was sentenced to 24 years yesterday. Frosting on the cake: He’s being forced to cough up $45 million, which should make him a broke-ass ex-con once he’s released.

War: The U.S. may increase its troop levels in Iraq.

More War: Thankfully, we’re not “staying the courseā€¯ anymore. At least, that’s what former Fox News blowhard White House Press Secretary Tony Snow says.

Money: The Dow had a triple-point gain yesterday, setting a new high of 12,116.91.

Politics: Democrats are feeling bullish about gubernatorial races.

Schools: Seattle Schools Superintendant Raj Manhas is taking his ball and going home.

Thankful blunders: From the Seattle P.I.:

A Whidbey Island man has pleaded guilty to charges of using the Internet to entice a 14- year-old girl to travel for sex — a plan that went awry when she flew to Washington, D.C., instead of Washington state.

Shehawks: Matt Hasselbeck to miss at least three weeks.

ITMFA: Ahead of the Curve

posted by on October 24 at 7:15 AM

From Wonkette:

Buried in this Newsweek story is the news that 51% of American voters want Bush impeached — 28% say High Priority, 23% say Low Priority, 44% against, 6% undecided or don’t know what a president is. And only 78% of Republicans oppose impeachment, proving something or other.

Didn’t Bush come back in `04 claiming 51% was a “mandateā€¯ for all kinds of new fun?

Hmm… perhaps I should get back in the button business.


Monday, October 23, 2006

The Seattle P-I Hearts Dan Savage

posted by on October 23 at 8:29 PM

And it’s not just because The Stranger’s celebrating those citizens driven to dump their Seattle Times subscriptions over the Blethen Gazette’s simultaneously shameful and shameless endorsement of Mike McGavick.

It’s also because no one can tell a story about a one-eyed chocolate toy poodle like our leader.

Full story (and call for stories) here.

Intern

posted by on October 23 at 5:05 PM

You know what film editor Annie Wagner and I could use in the near future? A fresh intern. Noah, our current intern, is a great guy, but he’s starting to lose consciousness.

Must be: meticulous to the maxo supreme, available on Tuesday afternoons, and willing to withstand Ms. Wagner’s ferocious halitosis.

Apply to: brendan@thestranger.com and/or annie@thestranger.com

Course Correction

posted by on October 23 at 4:24 PM

Via Kos.

Benched

posted by on October 23 at 4:12 PM

Stefan Sharkansky is omitting some pertinent details over at his blog.

He reports that Washington State Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens has dropped out of the debate tonight with her opponent, Republican State Senator Stephen Johnson. That much is true. (The debate is being put on by the Seattle Downtown Republican Club.)

But then Sharkansky writes:

She’s concerned that with me as a moderator it won’t be a “level playing field”. But her campaign knew that I was a moderator last week when they agreed to do it. We also let the Owens campaign suggest the second moderator and we went with their pick of P-I columnist Joel Connelly, whose newspaper endorsed Owens and who has personally criticized some of Johnson’s supporters for their campaign against Owens. We hope Justice Owens changes her mind and joins us, as the forum will be held with her or without her.

What Stefan leaves out is this: The reason Owens got to choose a second moderator is because the original second moderator, me, was kicked off the panel—by the Johnson campaign. Owens had only agreed to the debate after Sharkansky and the Republican club told her I was one of the moderators, and would provide balance to Sharkansky.

When our Owens endorsement came out last week, Johnson’s camp threw a tantrum, and I was taken off the panel at his request.

It seems to me, Owens has every right to be wary of a debate where she first had agreed to be there knowing who the moderators were, but then had them switched up on her—by the Johnson camp.

Farewell to the ‘Times’

posted by on October 23 at 4:11 PM

This morning I canceled my Seattle Times subscription by phone (464-2121). Doing so was difficult—the subscription office has a special taskforce of extra-persuasive people whose job it is to talk you out of canceling. When I was finally connected with a woman who had the power to close my account, I was gratified when she asked why I was leaving the Times and I could tell her “because of the stupid decision to endorse Mike McGavick for Senate.” She apologized sincerely, and didn’t try to change my mind, which I appreciated. I told her I was planning to switch to the P-I (which my husband prefers and which endorsed Cantwell) and she said she could set that up for me right then—that delivery of both papers is handled in the same office. But I couldn’t bring myself to resubscribe with the help of the same woman I’d just told off. My household is now paperless as a result of my righteousness.

Belated Suggests

posted by on October 23 at 3:45 PM

Harvey Pekar has made a career off being an inarticulate, unattractive grouch (who does that remind me of?) and although the more I read his comics, the less I want to be friends with him, I do think he’s an important artist and interesting guy.

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He’s speaking tonight at 7PM at the UW Bookstore. If you go, you’ll either feel immensely better about yourself or wonder why you, with all the advantages of not being born in Cleveland, are not as famous and/or successful as an unambitious Ohioan with the last name “Pee-car”.

Sorry To Bring This Up

posted by on October 23 at 3:27 PM

In the comments to my wildly unpopular post on pregnancy and sex, Diana asks, in response to my claim that making love with a pregnant woman is in essence dishonest, if making love to a man who uses viagra is in essence dishonest. My answer stands on harder ground than before: such a person is dishonest to the bone. They have reached the very peak of pity. They are not even making love with the man but with the medicine. Where is there any honesty in that? How can the man feel proud? How can his partner not feel that the definition of what they are doing is charity? How can this not end badly?

My point is not whether this or that kind of sex is right (all sex done within the circle of legal consent is right); what I want to know and expose is the motive for the sex. Why is he or she really doing it. Is it for money? is it for favors? is it, worst of all, for pity.

Maya Lin The Irrelevant

posted by on October 23 at 3:06 PM

This right-on, rock-hard beast of a story is why I love the Washington Post’s cultural critic Philip Kennicott. (My last link to him was his essay on the gilt framing of the dead head of Zarqawi at a press conference.)

The question about Lin, posed right there in the Post headline from yesterday (via), is “Why Has Maya Lin Retreated from the Battlefield of Ideas?”

Dear lord is that the right question, and I wish I’d thought to ask it in print when Lin was here. Over the course of a 90-minute interview with me, she said nothing intriguing, nothing of importance, nothing that wasn’t shockingly thin. Based on her Vietnam memorial, I thought this woman was a powerful thinker. “I wanted to bring the outdoors inside,” she told me. In his last, addled days, my grandfather could have come up with that.

Then, her show was gimpy and irrelevant. Her two lectures (which admittedly, I couldn’t and then didn’t, attend) stirred no conversation that I’ve heard of. In fact, everyone I’ve spoken to who attended was struck at the lectures’ total lack of insightfulness.

The only way the exhibition moved me was that I became needled by the knowledge that the Henry Art Gallery spent a whopping $288,000 on it. That makes it probably the highest-price exhibition the museum has ever put on, according to a museum spokeswoman. (Ninety thousand dollars of the $288,000 was labor costs to build the two least successful pieces: the mountainscape with grocery aisles between its parts, and the abbreviated hump of 2X4s that squeezed visitors to the walls around it and couldn’t be walked on without signing a waiver).

Every few years, the Henry commissions a major exhibition from a contemporary artist. It’s a noble act with plenty of risk involved, and the Henry can’t entirely be blamed for a dud. But let’s not pretend this show was an achievement. It was sad, and small, and disappointing, and very, very, very expensive.

Immigrants

posted by on October 23 at 2:51 PM

First they took our jobs, now they’re taking our jackpots.

Seattle Schools

posted by on October 23 at 2:45 PM

Fucked and getting fuck’der. The head of the Seattle school system resigned today.

Hey, Tim Ceis, will you please consider taking over the school system now—you know, like those big-city mayors in New York, Chicago, LA, etc.

That Laughter

posted by on October 23 at 1:29 PM

On November 1961, the John Coltrane Quartet recorded “Impressions.” The performance, which runs for 15 minutes, is on Impulse’s Impressions, in the middle of five tracks that begin with the mysteries of “India” and end with fond memories of “Dear Old Stockholm.” “Impressions” is a storm in the middle of calm Eastern meditations and European reflections. “After the Rain” is the Owl of Minerva that takes flight at dusk. But “Impressions” is a sonic rage and riot.

It opens on a solid (and even catchy) harmonic base and then, with the force of an explosion, charges into the future with the audacity, the recklessness, the passion of something supernatural, something half-bull and half-human. And the power that is expended in this search (for truth? meaning? aliens?) is enormous. The drums are at war with time, the bass tumbles, flattens, doubles, and the piano offers no peace but strikes and shocks that are sometimes ahead and sometimes behind the wild, radiant energy of the sax.

This is the sound of a creative catastrophe. The world is coming apart and coming together at once. There is no center to hold until the very end, when the harmony returns, cools down, and dies with the bass. Then the strangest thing happens. The musicians start laughing. You hear Jones and Tyner laughing. And Coltrane starts laughing. Why this laughter? What are they laughing at?

I read somewhere that laughter in early humans was not an expression of happiness but of mockery. After beating an enemy to a pulp, the early human victor laughed at his opponent’s failure, pain, and suffering. “Hah, hah, look at you now! Hah, hah!” Is some of that prehistorical type of laughter to be found in the laughter that follows the quartet’s performance? Is this the laughter of victory? And if so, who has been beaten down to a pulp? Western music? The musical tradition? The critics of jazz?

Certainly, the quartet’s laughter has nothing to do with happiness. They are not laughing at something humorous. This form of laughter is hard to define because our age doesn’t know how to laugh at what the quartet is laughing at—being the cause, the generator, the emanation of greatness. With a boldness that is foreign to us, a race of political and artistic mice, the four musicians shattered the limits of all that is understandably human and travelled far into the nothingness that surrounds the light of the human order. Upon their return from this dark beyond, there was nothing left for them to do but laugh at having outdone themselves.

McEndorsement

posted by on October 23 at 1:18 PM

Yesterday, in response to the Seattle Times Mike McGavick endorsement, I listed a number of McGavick’s positions—from pro-drilling in ANWR to pro-Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage to lax media regulations on the Internet to pro teaching Intelligent Design in public schools(!?!) —and pointed out that the Seattle Times (on its recent editorial pages) actually disagrees with their candidate of choice, McGavick, on these signature issues.

This raises the question: Where’s the list of issues that the Seattle Times and Mike McGavick agree on? Indeed, in its McGavick endorsement itself, the Seattle Times indicates it disagrees with him on two other signature issues: The War in Iraq and social security.

I challenge the Seattle Times to add up the issues on which it agrees with McGavick (I count 2, Yucca Mountain and repealing the estate tax) and then add up the issues on which they disagree with Mike McGavick (I count: the detainees bill, gay marriage, ANWR, net neutrality and media consolidation, teaching Intelligent Design in the public schools, the War in Iraq, and Social Security).

For example, on Social Security, The Seattle Times writes: “Cantwell says the system should retain its mandatory, fixed-benefit structure. We agree — and McGavick does not…”

On the war, The Seattle Times writes:

We are disappointed that neither candidate has called for America to leave Iraq…McGavick would consider the deployment of more troops…A candidate from either party calling for an immediate withdrawal would be refreshing, but that seems beyond the imagination of modern campaigns.

So, the question remains: What does the Seattle Times like about McGavick? Well, their endorsement credits him for running a “clean campaign.” That’s funny, in late August, the Seattle Times took the drastic move of publishing an editorial calling on McGavick to pull a misleading ad about Cantwell.

So, let’s try again: Why did The Seattle Times endorse McGavick?

Well, they write:

The nation’s democracy is at stake as giant media companies continue to calcify the country’s strong need for independent voices. Cantwell understands the issue, but once again has not shown significant leadership to a very real problem. We believe McGavick’s independent mind would be useful in untying the knot of media consolidation.

McGavick’s “independent mind” ? I have no idea what that means. So, let’s go to the specifics. As I pointed out yesterday, Cantwell strongly backed the Net Neutrality bill (and so did the Seattle Times.) The GOP killed the bill, and McGavick told me he didn’t support the Net Neutrality bill. Net Neutrality mandates that corporate Internet giants like AT&T cannot prioritize certain content providers over others. This is a huge deal for the Puget Sound’s high tech economy. Both Microsoft and Amazon have come out strongly for the bill.

Meanwhile, Andrew Villeneuve, over at the Northwest Progressive Institute blog, looks further at the media consolidation issue and writes:

Cantwell in 2004 joined with a bipartisan group of senators to oppose new FCC rules which would have allowed large media conglomerates to control a greater number of newspapers and radio and television stations.

Senator Cantwell’s positions and leadership role have not been a secret. And what’s more, the Seattle Times knows it. They have editorialized on it. Why, just last July, they pointed it out:
“Sen. Maria Cantwell has sent a letter to [FCC Chairman Kevin] Martin requesting a hearing in Washington. Our state is a logical location for hearings designed to gain a regional perspective outside the Beltway. It also makes sense to come to Washington because of Cantwell’s previous opposition to rule changes and her seat on the Commerce Committee, which oversees communications issues.”
And then there’s this, from another Seattle Times editorial:
Special notice goes to this state’s U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. In June, the Democrat was one of three senators to sponsor an amendment to suspend the FCC rules. The amendment was dropped in conference, but it did put the Senate on the record as voting against the FCC.”

Okay. So, I’m still in the dark here. The Seattle Times endorsed McGavick because… ???

Well, I tried to find the Seattle Times editorial position on the recent habeas corpus controversy—Bush’s detainees bill—which is a flash point between McGavick and Cantwell. McGavick hammered Cantwell for voting against the bill. But curiously, for such a high profile debate, the Seattle Times did not publish an editorial as the vote came to a head. Their ed board remained uncharacteristically silent as the hotly debated national issue made headlines.

I did, however find this Seattle Times editorial from September that comes out against Bush’s proposed detainees policy. The GOP congress passed the bill. McGavick cheered its passage. Cantwell voted no.

The Seattle Times attempts to innoculate itself against the accusation that the real reason they ignored the majority of their editorial positions to endorse McGavick is the estate tax, writing:

Critics will note that McGavick supports the elimination of the federal estate tax, a cause for which The Seattle Times has campaigned many years. That is part of why we endorse him, but not most of it.

Unfortunately, they fail to tell readers what “most of it” is.

Way to Poster

posted by on October 23 at 12:43 PM

Props, as the kids used to say, to Bad Actor Productions for their eye-catching and unique postering abilities. Check out this light pole with creatively arranged flyers for their recent production of Capitol Hill High

Posters.jpg

Found on the same pole: this wee hammering man…

ChoppingMan.jpg

“You could always stay at my place. I’m always here, I’m always lonely, and I’m always up for oral sex.”

posted by on October 23 at 12:31 PM

So said Mark Foley in response to a former congressional page’s e-mail asking about D.C. hotels.

And it wasn’t just former pages:

At times, Foley seemed to speak suggestively to boys before they left the program. A female former page remembers becoming uneasy one day in 2000 as she watched him talk “a little too much” on the House floor to a boy she knew. Right afterward, she asked what Foley had said. The boy, she recalled, told her Foley had admired the page’s “very big hands” and boasted about his “glorious” home in Florida. The boy added: “Eighteen. Eighteen’s that magic number.” The girl was appalled at what seemed to her to be a come-on that the boy did not fully understand.

After their graduation a few months later, she said, another male page told her that he and Foley were exchanging e-mails and that the congressman had asked him to mail a picture of himself to Foley’s Washington house.

The Republican page from 2002, who exchanged instant messages with Foley for two months, said the first one arrived just before the start of his senior year of high school. He found the message when he logged on to his family’s computer after dinner one night. At first, he assumed it was a prank by another page pretending to be the congressman. “It was a friendly conversation that got strange,” said the young man, now 21. In one, Foley asked whether his roommates had worn “no boxers or briefs to bed.”

Party of values, indeed.

Charo, Charo, Charo!

posted by on October 23 at 12:28 PM

scaled.3-charos.jpg

That’s right, motherfuckers! The one and only queen of coochie Charo—who’s rocked guest spots on everything from The Love Boat to The Brady Bunch Variety Hour to The Surreal Life—will be bringing her act to the the Skagit Valley Casino Resort for two shows on April 5, 2007.

If her hilarious persona, fabulous outfits, and ample bosom aren’t enough to tempt you to the Skagit, allow me to remind you that Charo is the Eddie Van Halen of flamenco guitar. Her stunningly fierce musical ability has been her secret weapon for over 10,000 years, and anyone with functional eyes and ears would be a fool to miss her. Tickets go on sale November 4 through Ticketmaster.

A thief among geniuses

posted by on October 23 at 12:07 PM

Jonathan Raban’s Genius Award speech was my favorite in recent history. I think he’s fantastic— something I didn’t get to tell him at the party because I was preoccupied with drinking and misplacing things (and Brendan, even if you don’t recall, your intro for Jennifer Zeyl was tops).

Sadly, the festivities were overshadowed by my purse getting stolen. It was later recovered minus my camera, bus pass, and cell phone battery. (Cell phone battery? How thorough. And lame.)

So, you know, if anyone feels like returning one or all of these items to me, drop them by The Stranger and I will bake you a pile of desserts as my way of saying thanks—no questions asked.

Worst. Congress. Ever.

posted by on October 23 at 11:26 AM

Allow me to suggest that you all read Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone cover story, Time to Go! Inside the Worst Congress Ever.

There’s nothing terribly new in the piece, but the litany of abuses collected all in one place is rather stunning. Taibbi’s decidedly irreverent and, might I say, Stranger-esque, tone is pretty fun to read as well.

These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula — a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.

Use it to get fired up for Election Day, and to fire up others.

(Also see the companion piece, The 10 Worst Congressmen, a list on which Republicans outnumber Democrats 9-1.)

Fantasy + Congress (not in the Mark Foley way)

posted by on October 23 at 11:20 AM

Let’s say you’re too nerdy to even play fantasy football. How will you possibly find a competitive way to waste time on the internets?

Welcome to Fantasy Congress.

As the NYT reports, today is the first day for the Fantasy Congress session. Draft a team of legislators and muscle your way to the top of the virtual Hill. Or buy a pun-laden shirt. Or just laugh at people who do either.

What I Remember about the Genius Awards

posted by on October 23 at 10:59 AM

There were a lot of people. At the invitation-only portion of the evening, when the Stella Artois flowed freely, the main room was packed, but in the blur that is my memory I see less than a dozen people: Hugo House’s executive director Lyall Bush in a leather jacket; nightclub entrepresario Linda Derschang in a black t-shirt; the poets Shannon Borg and Anna Maria Hong, looking radiant; artist/blogger/podcaster/robot-builder Bre Pettis in the argyle sweater seen here; Sarah Rudinoff in a gold jacket; Scott Lawrimore in pinstripes; and… well, that’s about it. At 9 pm, the doors opened to the public, and 1,500 people filed in. Har Mar Superstar got people to dance while stripping down to his underwear, and his set was followed by Aqueduct.

I don’t remember a single conversation the entire evening—I get nervous being on stage—except, at the start of the night, talking to Jonathan Raban’s daughter about why we each love Dave Eggers’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. And about what it’s like to have a dad who writes about you in his books. (She’s in Passage to Juneau and one of the essays in My Holy War.) The one quiet moment I got with Jonathan, we were in the Henry Art Gallery’s giant elevator, doing an interview that’s being edited and turned into a video file as I write this. Interviews with all of this year’s geniuses will be online later today.

Later, Raban gave an acceptance speech that was the talk of the night, and if I tell you what he said you’ll accuse me of tooting The Stranger’s horn or some such. As is your right. But in case you weren’t there: He talked about The Stranger’s coverage of the Kyle Huff shooting—he singled out the reporting of Eli Sanders and Megan Seling—and about the cover of The Stranger that week (a close-up of the blue siding of the house where the shooting happened), and about what the Slog has done to change local journalism, and about his surprise that a “young” and “cool” and “hip” paper would give this award to an “old,” “not cool,” and “not hip” guy like him. It was gracious and unexpected and the whole room shut up to hear him say it, which is more than they did for anyone else’s speeches.

That is all I remember.

Forgettances of Parties Past

posted by on October 23 at 10:31 AM

There is a lot I don’t remember about Saturday night’s Genius Awards. Like precisely how many drinks I had. And what I said when I introduced the theater winner Jennifer Zeyl.

But, of what little I do remember, these are my favorites, in roughly chronological order.

5. Simultaneously interviewing James Longley and Lane Czaplinski in the elevator at the Henry (video forthcoming).

4. Taking a sip of champagne out of Jennifer Zeyl’s golden Genius goblet.

3. Jonathan Raban’s blush-inducing acceptance speech in which he said all kinds of nice things about The Stranger.

2. Talking with Professor Donald Zeyl (Google hits: 336), father of Jennifer Zeyl (Google hits: 390). Prof. Zeyl is a translator and scholar of classical philosophy, particularly Plato (Google hits: 27,500,000) and suggested I read Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher by Gregory Vlastos, who applied the methods of analytic philosophy to the Platonic dialogues, transforming the verbal arguments into symbol logic to see if they were valid. Most of them were. He also said a lot of other things that went right over my head.

1. And later, much later, after my tie was off and I’d gotten in a slapping contest with several unwilling (but tolerant) contenders, I tried (and failed) to shotgun a beer. On a lawn. With a dozen people watching.

Two More Awesome Things About Justin Timberlake

posted by on October 23 at 10:08 AM

It’s Monday, which means my unhealthy obsession with everything Justin Timberlake continues. Here are two VERY important things you should realize:

1. Justin’s hottest song “My Love” is now even hotter thanks to this remix which makes it sound like a late ’80s Jazzercize video. LISTEN TO IT HERE, LISTEN TO IT NOW!

2. Justin Timberlake doesn’t mind getting slapped in the face with some meat. Check out this video from the British sitcom “Bo! in America.”

Evidence Of What, Exactly?

posted by on October 23 at 10:03 AM

Who says sex and drugs don’t mix? This short clip of a drug bust at a Minnesota house features a very amusing bit of “evidence” being carried out in a box behind the unwitting reporter on the scene. Or perhaps that thing is the battering ram he’s talking about…

24 Little Hours

posted by on October 23 at 9:38 AM

What a difference a day makes…

Sunday the Seattle Times endorsed Mike! McGavick, the Republican running against Dem incumbent Maria Cantwell. McGavick is, as Josh pointed out yesterday, for everything the Seattle Times is against and against everything the Seattle Times is for. But McGavick is for repealing the dreaded estate tax, which has been playing White Whale to Frank Blethen’s Ahab for more than a decade now.

Today the Seattle Times endorsed Dem challenger Rodney Tom over incumbent state senator Luke Esser. Why? Because Tom is pro-stem cell research, pro-choice, and pro-gay rights, positions the Seattle Times’ ed board supports. Esser, on the other hand, is anti-choice, anti-stem cell research, anti-gay rights… just like… you might want to sit down for this… Mike! McGavick!

Amazingly enough—file this under pot-calling-kettle—one of the Seattle Times’ chief beefs with Esser is that his position on taxes is too hard-line and too far-right. You know, kinda like Frank Blethen’s position.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on October 23 at 9:12 AM

Well that was embarrassing. 31-13. At home. On Steve Hutchinson’s return. Ouch. And then there’s the injury added to insult: Matt Hasselbeck’s sprained right knee. It’s probably safe to say that the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC won’t be coming through Qwest Field this year.

Moving on: It hurts to type this, but congratulations Wazzu on beating #16 Oregon. Don’t let it, or your four votes in the AP poll, go to your head. As for the Dawgs: Close, but not close enough.

And finally, 1-1 in the World Series after Detroit won game two. Kenny Rogers had brilliant stuff—once he cleaned the “mysterious” gunk from his throwing hand, that is. Let Mike in MO’s tirade begin!

The Morning News

posted by on October 23 at 8:49 AM

Built Ford Tough: A loss of $5.8 billion.

Darfur: Believe it or not, the situation may be getting worse.

Speaking of things getting worse: There’s that little country called Iraq where:

The Shiite-led government’s security forces, trained by the United States, proved immediately incapable of dealing with the sectarian violence in Balad, or, in many cases, abetted it, residents and police said.

Obama ‘08: It’s being considered.

Ground Zero: Building must go on—even if they’re still finding human remains.

Amnesia: Local man says it’s not just a lame Hollywood gimmick.

Vote: Today is the last day to register for the general election. Go to the King County elections office, 500 Fourth Ave., Room 553. Doors close at 4:30 p.m.

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic: Hitting the top 10 for the first time ever.

Proper grammar: Maki.ng! a, comebaā€¯ck.

The West Edge

posted by on October 23 at 8:02 AM

There was some debate in comments last week about the late, great attempt by local developers re-name a chunk of downtown the “West Edge.” Billboards went up, banners appeared on light poles, the term popped up in real estate listings. And then, as quickly as it came, it faded away…

WestEdge.jpg

…but not entirely. You may not be able to live in (on?) the West Edge anymore, but you can still park you car there.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mudede Headache

posted by on October 22 at 1:59 PM

You know it’s hard out here for a Mudede.

Re: Seattle Times Endorses McGavick

posted by on October 22 at 11:50 AM

I don’t have much to say about the Seattle Times and today’s embarrassing, transparent McGavick endorsement. It’s so obviously about the money, honey. Picking it apart requires taking it seriously, if only for a moment, and that temporarily lends the endorsement a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. Blethen wants his estate tax cut and if it wasn’t clear before it sure is clear now: Frank’s employees on the edit board would endorse Jeffrey Dahmer on his orders if Dahmer promised to vote Frank’s way on the estate tax issue.

Does anyone doubt for a moment that the edit board at the Seattle Times would, if left to its own devices, endorse candidates that actually jibe with the position the edit board takes the rest of the year? But they don’t, because Frank won’t let them. A gun is held to their heads at endorsement time, and they fall in line, voting for Frank’s handpicked, hard-right, tax-slashing candidates.

I don’t know that much about the folks on the Seattle Times op-ed board, but I do know the folks on the Stranger Election Control Board pretty damn well. And all I can say is this: If Tim Keck attempted to meddle with the SECB as blatantly and aggressively as Frank Blethen meddles with the Seattle Times op-ed board, Josh Feit, Erica C. Barnett, Eli Sanders, Annie Wagner, et al, would quit in protest. (Keck sits on the SECB, but he’s a non-voting member. He has a veto, which he has used, I think, once in 15 years.)

So this morning I’m just left wondering this: How do Joni Balter and James Vesely sleep at night?

Seattle Times Endorses McGavick

posted by on October 22 at 10:03 AM

McGavick is:
For teaching intelligent design in science class in the public schools; against the assault weapons ban; for an amendment to the constitution banning gay marriage; for drilling in ANWR; thinks NARAL is extremist; against allowing legalized immigrants to get back the money they paid into the social security system; against a Cantwell bill outlawing the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq; for President Bush’s miltiary comissions bill (the one that iced habeas corpus and gave the President the leeway to shimmy out of the Geneva Conventions); McGavick ran a $50,000 ad blitz (which the Seattle Times demanded he take down) where he said Cantwell was against allowing Washington sate taxpayers to deduct the sales tax on federal 1040s (Cantwell was the Senator who pushed the deduction through Congress in 2003); McGavick is for market-based social security accounts; was fined as CEO at SAFECO for using “credit scoring” to discriminate against minority and low-income policy holders; against net neutrality (net neutrality mandates that the big Internet providers like AT&T cannot prioritize certain content providers over others); Oh, and he’s for the estate tax repeal.

Here’s the Seattle Times’s endorsement.

And here’s the flip-flopping Seattle Times against McGavick before they were for him, editorializing in the past against most of the McGavick positions I’ve noted above:

Seattle Times says it supports gay marriage.

Seattle Times says it’s for the assault weapons ban.

Seattle Times says it’s for Net Neutrality.

Seattle Times says it’s against drilling in ANWR.

Seattle Times says it’s against teaching Intelligent Design in public schools.

But alas: Here’s the Seattle Times for owner Blethen’s pet issue, the Estate Tax Repeal. And there, Slog readers, you have it.