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Archives for 10/29/2006 - 11/04/2006

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Heard on the bus

posted by on November 4 at 9:43 PM

Best text message of the week, from my friend Leah:

Just overheard a man on the bus say that he has a king’s ransom of leather-wear for private use only.
KING’S! RANSOM! Not for public use!

The Day the World Was Invented Pt. 2

posted by on November 4 at 4:58 PM

27 years ago today.


I posted Pt. 1 yesterday.

Peace In Our Time

posted by on November 4 at 3:24 PM

The war in Iraq is over—that’s what Army recruiters are telling high school students.

An ABC News undercover investigation showed Army recruiters telling students that the war in Iraq was over, in an effort to get them to enlist.

ABC News and New York affiliate WABC equipped students with hidden video cameras before they visited 10 Army recruitment offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“Nobody is going over to Iraq anymore?” one student asks a recruiter.

“No, we’re bringing people back,” he replies.

“We’re not at war. War ended a long time ago,” another recruiter says.

So Much For Standing By Their Pastor

posted by on November 4 at 3:12 PM

Every last member of New Life Church that I’ve heard interviewed on the radio and TV, and seen quoted in print, said they were going to stand by “Pastor Ted.” Well, that was then.

The board of overseers announced today that Pastor Ted Haggard will be dismissed from New Life Church. The board, comprised of four pastors outside New Life, said in a statement Haggard “had commited sexually immoral conduct.”

“In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal.”

Oh, and here’s a nice little irony:

Standing before thousands of followers, the Rev. Ted Haggard prayed from the pulpit last Sunday for lies and deceptions to be exposed.

Who says God doesn’t hear our prayers. And was the man begging God to out him or what?

Major Bang

posted by on November 4 at 2:08 PM


Dear All of You Who Are Considering Standing in the Rain to Get Tickets to the Sold-Out Major Bang Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dirty Bomb at On the Boards:


Dear All of You Who Have Tickets but Are Considering Skipping the Show:


Dear All of You Who Don’t Have Tickets but Have the Option to Sit in a Dry Place with a Drink and a Good Conversationalist While Waiting to See if You Can Get In:

Yeah, okay. That sounds reasonable.

Major Bang is nominally about David Hahn, the real-life Boy Scout who, in 1994, built a nuclear reactor in a shed using bits of radioactive material from smoke detectors and old clocks with glow-in-the-dark paint. The story expands into a meditation on (of course) terrorism and dirty bombs and Dr. Strangelove and our newfound fear of abandoned backpacks in public areas. The actors are great (and delightfully nimble, falling in and out of characters from Lenny Bruce to a sexually charged boss at an irradiation plant), the script is mostly smart, and the magic (yes! card tricks, rope tricks, sleight of hand) is mostly successful. Major Bang is inventive and entertaining. It’s fun. But it leans too heavily on its ideas about Life During War-on-Terror-Time to justify its existence—unfortunately, those don’t take you anywhere you haven’t already been.

“What did you do in the whore, Daddy?”

posted by on November 4 at 10:10 AM

Remember this video, which I posted yesterday? Remember watching in horror as Ted Haggard answered questions about his big gay masseuse and big gay crystal meth habit—he was in the habit of purchasing meth and throwing it away—while his poor wife sat next to him looking like she wanted to die? Remember how sorry you felt for his wife? Well, guess what?

His kids were in the car too.

Some will blame the reporter, of course, for shoving her camera and mic into the car. I blame Haggard. At the beginning of the interview the reporter asks Haggard if he would step out of the car for a moment to answer a few questions. If he was going to go into all that detail, why didn’t he step out of the damn car?

Doogie Likes Dick, Kanye is One

posted by on November 4 at 9:57 AM

Okay, a little non-Haggard news…

Neal Patrick Harris is gay, he tells People Magazine.

“So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love.”

After [Doogie Howser, M.D.] went off the air in 1993, he shook off his teen image with roles in the musicals Rent and Assassins and a wild turn as an unhinged version himself in the 2004 movie Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

“I’m enjoying my 30s,” he told PEOPLE in 2004. “I feel like I know where I’m going. And I like where I’m going.”

Insert your own “going down” joke here.

Kanye West—whom we all fell in love with when he blurted out “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a nationally televised benefit for victims of Hurrican Katrina/George W. Bush—lost it at the MTV Europe Music Awards. From the NYT:

After failing to win for best video, [West] crashed the stage as the award was being given to the French electronic duo Justice and the British band Simian for their joint track “We Are Your Friends,” The Associated Press reported. In a tirade riddled with expletives, Mr. West — with the winning video’s directors, Martial Schmeltz and JĂ©rĂ©mie Rozan — said he should have won for his video “Touch the Sky” because it “cost a million dollars,” and “Pamela Anderson was in it.” He added, “If I don’t win, the awards show loses credibility.”

Here’s the video…

Friday, November 3, 2006

When a Conservative Christian Pastor Gets Caught Messing Around With Gay Hookers, Buying Crystal Meth, and Accepting Same-Sex Massages… Who’s to Blame?

posted by on November 3 at 6:38 PM

His lazy, fat bitch of a wife, of course.

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

I’m sure Ted Haggard is saying something along these lines to his wife right now: “Oh, honey… I wouldn’t have been having those meth-fueled ass-banging sessions with that gay hooker if you hadn’t have let yourself go like that!”

These words of wisdom were authored by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church, and posted today on his blog. It’s a lengthy post written in reaction to the Haggard scandal. “The pastor’s wife is a fat-ass slob” is at the top of Driscoll’s reasons why an otherwise upright Christian pastor might indulge in sinful sexual pursuits.

Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church—watch for a franchise opening in your neighborhood soon!—is modeled on mega-church’s like Haggard’s Colorado Springs mega-church. Here’s hoping Driscoll’s fall is modeled on Haggard’s as well.

Thanks to tipper Phil M.


posted by on November 3 at 5:39 PM

Check out Republican state senator Brad Benson (Spokane) speaking to a room of supporters last spring. (Benson, elected to the sate senate in 2004 after 8 years in the house, is facing a tough challenge this election from Democratic candidate Chris Marr, former chair of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce.) Benson tells the crowd that Planned Parenthood hands out condoms that have an 80% failure rate. He goes on to imply that they do it on purpose, “because they have an interest in the follow-up product.”

I called Planned Parenthood and talked to spokeswoman Kristen Glundberg-Prossor to ask her about Benson’s comments.

Here’s what she said:

When did he say this? That’s poppycock. That’s just bizarre and completely inaccurate. Studies show that people who use condoms have a 97% effectiveness rate against pregnancy. They’re also extremely successful at preventing HIV and STDs. It’s completely irresponsible to spread misinformation about condoms and about Planned Parenthood. The condoms we use are as effective as any other condoms.

Here’s hoping Spokane voters abort Benson on Tuesday.

Schooled Again

posted by on November 3 at 5:25 PM

So, badass sheriff-turned-Congressman Dave Reichert laid down the law with an Issaquah school bus driver—and got the driver fired.

Oh, whoops. Nope. Turns out, as David Postman points out on his blog, that the bus driver was already in trouble with the Issaquah school district. So Reichert’s attempt (pathetic as it was to begin with) to impress everyone by playing bad cop with a school bus driver wasn’t even true in the first place.

Well, it gets even funnier, because the story continues. Reichert scheduled a rally before this whole thing blew up in his face…and guess where it’s at. Back at the scene of the crime:

Saturday, November 4

WHAT: Mike attends the Reichert Rally in Issaquah

WHERE: Issaquah Middle School, 400 1st Ave SE

WHEN: 9:00AM — 10:00AM

Crystal Cathedral, Part 4

posted by on November 3 at 4:39 PM

Here’s a little video that makes you feel sorry for Ted Haggard—almost. You’ll definitely feel sorry for his wife after you watch this.

Via Sullivan.

Crystal Cathedral, Part 3

posted by on November 3 at 4:18 PM

This morning the radio was on and they were reporing on Ted Haggard and I was listening intently—until my son asked, “Daddy, what’s a ‘male prostitute’?”

It took me back to the dark days of the Bill & Monica scandal, the Starr Report, the impeachment, and all the talking heads on TV pursing their lips at the thought of—horrors!—a powerful man getting a blowjob from someone that wasn’t his lawful wife.

Lots of the average folks arguing for impeachment—not the pols, many of whom had been on the receiving end of extra-marital blowjobs themselves, or the TV talking heads, ditto, but the average conservative voter—were saying things like, “My children are listening to this on the TV!” They objected to being forced to discuss things with their children that 1. their children weren’t ready to discuss, or 2. that these parents didn’t want to discuss yet or ever.

I’ve had that same feeling twice in a month. First with Foley (“Daddy, what’s a ‘congressional page’?”) and now with Haggard (“Daddy, what’s a ‘male prostitute’?”). Back in ‘98 I was one of those people who dismissed the grumblings of freaked-out parents during the Bill & Monica scandal. I think I owe them an apology—I don’t think Bill should have been impeached, and if you’re going to mad at anyone, be mad at the Republicans that dragged his private life into the public square.

But, yeah, it’s a bummer having to explain to an eight year old eating a piece of toast exactly what a male prostitute is.

Crystal Cathedral, Cont.

posted by on November 3 at 4:12 PM

A reader asks…

Someone should determine how much meth $100 or $200 buys—seems unlikely in the very extreme you’d buy that much merely to satisfy your curiosity—3 times. You know damn well he bought it for a weekend away with Ross Parsley for a retreat on, well, you know, pastoral issues.

Anyone got any idea how much meth $100 or $200 gets you? That’s the amount Ted Haggard was recorded asking his “masseuse” to score for him. However much it gets you, it seems like a lot to be purchasing if you’re only curious and, as Haggard claims, tossing the stuff before you get around to satisfying your curiousity about it.

So, meth addicts: What’s a $100 get you from a dealer?

This Week at the Movies

posted by on November 3 at 3:23 PM

What movies should you see this weekend?

Well, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, duh. (Bemused haters can suck it!)

Also, I very much liked Babel, though it’s getting decidedly mixed reviews. I won’t tell the haters to suck it, but I will say that very little in the movie is actually a string of butterfly-wing events. There is a central catastrophic incident, but it’s as much a product of the past as it is a harbinger of the future. I interviewed director Alejandro González Iñarritu about the film last month, and you can read the transcript. He basically disagreed with everything I had to say about his movie, so hmmm.

If you’d prefer Lars von Trier-proportioned fuckedupedness, this weekend Crispin Glover is bringing his decades-in-the-making masterwork What Is It? (read Kelly O’s preview here) to Broadway Performance Hall. Kelly O also got the chance—of a lifetime!—to interview Mr. Hellion Glover over the telephone. I think she almost peed her Halloween costume. Here’s the tantalizing transcript.

In other news, a kid-friendly, made-for-TV documentary about global warming is opening at the Meridian. Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morissette are the narrators, as if climate change weren’t scary enough. We weren’t informed of this booking until the evening we went to press, so we don’t have a review. But help yourself to the slightly hyperbolic New York Times review.

Chris Rock Files For Divorce

posted by on November 3 at 3:08 PM


The most unfortunate detail: He’s currently doing post-production work on a film entitled I Think I Love My Wife.

Worst Headline of the Year

posted by on November 3 at 3:01 PM

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Endless Obama

posted by on November 3 at 2:53 PM

These are a few notes and points that I failed to push into the limited space of my review of Barack Obama’s new book The Audacity of Hope.


1) The book is easy to read because the life of Obama is, as a whole, interesting. Many years ago, one reason or another led me to read the biography of George Bush Sr.. All I can remember of that experience is a story about how he discovered chicken fried steak in some small town in some empty state and an almost mythological account of his “wildcatting days.” The life of Obama is global (spans three continents); his is a life that makes sense to our age of jet travel and what Steven Shaviro calls the “network society.” George Bush’s life is as meaningful to us as the giant life of Paul Bunyan.

2) Of the four reasons that white Americans like Obama, one of the biggest is this: he is not a black American in the historical sense. His pronounced African side (it’s something his publicity team promotes with no hesitance) removes a historic sting that, say, a white African (or European) would instantly feel if Obama was in power in Africa.

3) Although I admire Obama, his politics are not revolutionary enough to excite me. He is too practical, too reasonable, too pragmatic to inspire a truly original vision of what being an American can mean, can become, can bring to the community, history, and future of humans. And besides, if he were to become the president—and the only reason why he would be allowed to become the president—nothing would really happen to the capitalist power structure that exploits every living soul that is within the world-wide money extraction system. His would only be a soft version of Bush’s hard rule. (Admittedly, soft rule is much better than hard rule.)

4) In the book, Obama has a wonderful passage that describes the beauty and luxury of flying in a private jet. He writes:

“Then the plane took off, its Rolls-Royce engines gripping the air the way a well-made sports car grips the road. Shooting through the clouds, I turned on the small TV monior in front of my seat. A map of the United States appeared, with the image of our plane tracking west, along with our speed, our altitude, our time to destination, and the temperature outside. At forty thousand feet, the plane leveled off and I looked down at the curving horizon and the scatterd clouds, the geography of the earth laid out before me—first the flat, checkerboard fields of western Illinois, then the python curves of the Mississippi, then more farmland and eventually the jagged Rockies, still snow-peaked, until the sun went down and orange sky narrowed to a thin red line that was finally consumed by night and stars and moon.
Obama admits that private jets make his busy life easier, but they are also the source of guilt. They separate him from the masses, from the stories of the commoners. Obama wants to be a man of the people.

Haggard on Marriage: “First find a person of the opposite sex…”

posted by on November 3 at 2:33 PM


The secrets to a happy married life, according to Ted Haggard. (You can watch the video here.)

First of all, you find a person of the opposite sex, and you make a life-long commitment to them. Once you’ve made that life-long commitment, it will start to produce fruit. The vast majority of marriages, where couples love one another and enjoy one another and get a kick out of each other—the vast majority produce children. And then enjoy your children!

Some of our family meals take three hours—because, well, our kids are telling stories, and mom is bringing food.

I’m sure that dinner will take hours at the Haggard place tonight—because daddy has so much explaining to do. More from the tape…

It’s true. If people want to be selfish, if people want to be greedy… it makes marriages tough.

We can add this to the list of things that make marriage tough: “…if pastors want massages from naked men and use crystal meth and lie to their wives, children, and followers, and then stump for anti-gay marriage laws, that can also make marriage tough.”

On the bright side, Haggard is going to have a lot more time to enjoy his children.

Cassavetes vs Reagan

posted by on November 3 at 2:17 PM

Have you ever wanted to see John Cassavetes punch out Ronald Reagan while defending the honor of Angie Dickinson? Well, of course you have!

Via Nerve.

Bogus Viaduct Study

posted by on November 3 at 1:04 PM

The Times and P-I credulously reported today on a new study (funded by the Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center, American Auto Association, and the Holland America cruise line, among others) that predicts a $3.4 billion annual impact from closing the viaduct for construction. The study concluded that total viaduct closure would result in 32,146 lost jobs; $231 million in lost taxes; and that the retail sector would lose $300 million a year.

However, both the daily papers play down a fatal flaw in the study: It fails to take into account the city’s own long-planned Construction Transportation Management Plan, which includes programs to manage transportation demand to limit car traffic during the construction period. Among other elements, the plan includes new shuttle service into the work zone, conversion of long-term parking to short-term parking, traffic signal enhancements, expanded transit and vanpool service, and many other new programs. It also, as the P-I story points out, fails to account for the $800 million a year state planners estimate viaduct construction will contribute to the economy. The study cites no reason whatsoever for ignoring the city’s transportation management plan and the positive economic impact of construction.

Bush Admin: No Medicaid Coverage for Undocumented Immigrant Children

posted by on November 3 at 12:33 PM

A new, alarming policy from the Bush administration states that “children born in the United States to illegal immigrants with low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to health insurance through Medicaid.” Let’s read that again, slowly. And with the Constitution in mind.

Children born in the United States to illegal immigrants with low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to health insurance through Medicaid.”

Until today, undocumented immigrants were denied Medicaid, but could receive health care treatment in the case of an emergency, most typically childbirth. When children are born to low-income parents in hospitals on US soil, they immediately qualify for one year of Medicaid coverage. Now, since infants’ parents won’t be able to give birth in a hospital (unless they can afford to pay the medical tab out of pocket), parents must file an application for Medicaid coverage for the child, providing proof of citizenship. Obtaining a birth certificate for a child can take weeks and even if the parents do get one, they have to apply for Medicaid coverage at a state welfare office. How many undocumented immigrants are going to feel comfortable walking into a government office and basically announcing they’re here illegally?

This is inept and destructive policy on several accounts.

1. It in effect denies a certain group of U.S. citizens (those born to undocumented immigrant parents) rights granted to all other U.S. citizens. Children of undocumented immigrants are now, in all legality, second-class citizens: the Constitution grants them full citizenship, but they are denied the full rights and benefits of citizenship from the moment they are born until, at minimum, the several weeks it takes to get a birth certificate.

2. Immigrant women won’t stop getting pregnant and their babies won’t stop getting born just because the Medicaid coverage stops. They just won’t be able to afford to get hospital care, meaning more women will give birth without sanitary conditions and the help of trained doctors. More dead babies. More dead mothers. Again, the Republican administration cares more about what happens to fetuses (or clumps of cells hypothetically resulting in a fetus) than actual children.

3. It forces doctors and nurses to act as inhuman rationalists who must turn away women and infants in need of care if they can’t fill out the proper paperwork. Doctors should not be put in the moral bind of either denying mothers and infants possibly life-saving treatment or helping them at their own legal and financial risk.

4. It also forces doctors to act as defacto immigration police. When a pregnant woman rolls into a hospital about to give birth, the hospital admin will have to decide whether or not her documents are valid. If they treat her and her Social Security number turns out to be false, the hospital will have lost money. Immigration officials who check documents have special training and lots of experience — hospitals are going to have to decide on-the-spot whether or not questionable patients are legit citizens and several factors are likely to sway their judgement. Immigrant activists are afraid this hasty, uninformed process will lead to racial profiling.

5. Undocumented immigrants pay for Medicaid. When anti-immigrant groups rant and rave about the immigrant drain on Medicaid and hospital costs, they forget the inconvenient fact that undocumented immigrants who receive paychecks pay all the same taxes as legal citizens. Because most of them are using fradulent Social Security numbers, they pay into the system but they don’t get to collect. That’s right, they pay for Medicaid, but don’t get to use it. Hospitals take a serious financial hit when they choose to treat immigrants who lack documents, but that’s only because the government refuses to make up the difference even though it receives undocumented immigrant tax dollars.

Our economy is strong because of undocumented workers. We’re able to eat cheap food and wear cheap clothes because they’re willing to accept too-little money working in shitty conditions. The least we can do is not victimize their innocent, legal-citizen children and grant them the basic human decency of emergency medical care.

The Day the World Was Invented

posted by on November 3 at 12:12 PM

January 27, 1976.

Judged on “Artistic Ability,” “Imagination,” “Body Flow,” and “Fan Response,” it’s the very first Slam Dunk Contest.

This whole clip— the Ice Man, “rim shakers,” “twist around patented dunks,” and the Doctor—makes it plain. But you can just watch 5:23—5:33 if you want to see the exact 10 seconds when it truly goes down.

“He brought the ball back from behind himself somewhere as if he were a helicopter”—Carl Scheer

—”Really, none of us did much preparing for the contest; we all sort of winged it.”—Julius Erving, AKA: The Doctor.

Crystal Cathedral

posted by on November 3 at 11:44 AM

Gay ex-escort Mike Jones made two allegations against Ted Haggard: that Haggard asked Jones to score him some meth, and that Haggard paid Jones for sex—three years worth of sex. This morning we learned that Haggard had admitted to “some” of the allegations. Some? There were just two. He could admit to one or the other but not “some,” plural, without admitting to both, or all, of the allegations.

Well, now we learn that Haggard is admitting to asking Jones to get him meth—who knew meth was the drug of choice for pathetic urban faggots and powerful suburban evangelical pastors?—and to paying Jones for “massages.” From the wires:

Talking to reporters outside his house Friday, Haggard denied the sex allegations but said that he did buy meth from the man because he was curious. “I bought it for myself but never used it,” he said. “I was tempted, but I never used it.”

Haggard, a married father of five, said he never had sex with Mike Jones, a 49-year-old male prostitute who sparked the scandal when he told a radio station he had had a three-year sexual relationship with the minister. He said he did get a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a Denver hotel.

This only raises more questions: Name that hotel, pastor. It should be pretty easy to find out if the hotel in question was in the business of referring guests to unlicensed massage practitioners. And who goes to such great lengths to buy meth because they’re “curious”? What, Haggard saw those stories in Time and Newsweek about how meth is destroying lives and thought, “Hmm… maybe I should get some of that meth stuff and see if it really works?” Well, I’m sure the pastor would agree now that meth destroys lives. It seems to have destroyed his—or that’s what he would like us to believe.

It boggles the mind, doesn’t it? You know you’re embroiled in a sex scandal when your face-saving excuse amounts to, “Hey, I was just in it for the crystal meth and massages!” Pathetic!

UPDATE: Haggard tells CNN that he can’t remember the name of the hotel—the place he stayed just three years ago, a place that introduced him to the gay escort from whom he admit to buying meth. Oh, and he bought meth “a few times,” and threw it away. Three times. He bought meth three times, and threw it away. Three times.

Park ≠ Good

posted by on November 3 at 11:20 AM

Call me a hater, but can someone remind city planners that park does not necessarily equal good? I was channelling Jane Jacobs last night when I spotted the newly completed Cesar Chavez Park in South Park. The little postage stamp of green, stuffed next to a creepy overpass, far from any hustle and bustle, was completely abandoned. In a neighborhood where the perception of crime is as much a problem as real crime, the forlorn little spot of green, on which the city spent thousands of dollars, didn’t make me feel any safer. Jacobs wrote that parks often become the most dangerous places in a neighborhood because there’s no real reason for people to go there to do anything but cause trouble. Unfortunately, they’re also an easy way for cities to make it look like they care.

Presidential Speeches Word Cloud

posted by on November 3 at 11:04 AM

Via BoingBoing, an interactive timeline of words used in Presidential speeches, with the frequency of words indicated by their size. Bush’s most commonly used word, unsurprisingly, is “terrorist,” while Clinton’s most common word was “renewal.” (Note to Josh: James Madison was fond of the words “belligerent” and “savage,” while Thomas Jefferson talked about “debt” and “vessels.”

Best Headline Ever

posted by on November 3 at 10:31 AM

Letters to God end up in ocean, unread.

RIP Adrienne Shelly

posted by on November 3 at 9:58 AM


Here’s some sad and surprising news: Adrienne Shelly, the small and quirky actress many of us learned to love via her starring roles in Hal Hartley’s The Unbelievable Truth and Trust and who most recently appeared in the Bukowski adaptation Factotum, was found dead on Wednesday in her New York City office.

Full news report here.

In addition to acting, Ms. Shelly was the writer and director of numerous indie films, and endeared herself to the local film community by participating in SIFF’s 1999 Fly Filmmaking Challenge. No word yet on the cause of death. RIP, Ms. Shelly.

“Some of the Allegations Are True”

posted by on November 3 at 9:47 AM

Well, he’s admitted it—Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals has admitted to “some indiscretions.” Check out this report from ABC News:

Two observations:

First, the man who outed Haggard—Mike Jones, the former gay prostitute—is the best-looking 49-year-old man, gay or straight, that I’ve ever laid eyes on. Whoa. Is he stilll taking clients?

Second, at about the 3:30 minute mark in this report we meet the acting pastor of Haggard’s Colorado Springs mega-church. The acting pastor sure sets off my gaydar, how about yours? I haven’t seen a guy this fey on TV since Will & Grace went off the air. Who appointed him, I wonder? How close was he to Haggard?

Friday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 3 at 9:43 AM

Seahawks: Seneca Wallace has (supposedly) been given a green light to run.

Sonics: Can Danny Fortson keep from imploding? Coach Bob Hill sure hopes so. The Sonics take on the Lakers tonight.

UW basketball: Picked to finish third in the Pac-10, behind UCLA and Arizona.

Mariners: Ichiro awarded his sixth Gold Glove. His stats (.992 fielding percentage, just 3 errors) were certainly impressive.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on November 3 at 9:20 AM

This note from the Prayer Warrior came yesterday, and it didn’t really rise to the level of Slog-worthy Prayer Warrior missives. But then came the news that one of the country’s leading evangelical figures has stepped down amid accusations of sex with a gay prostitute. Given all that’s going on, I thought Slog readers might find a word from their local Prayer Warrior comforting.


November 2, 2006

Dear Prayer Warrior,

I am flying out to Bend Oregon to speak to pastors at a lunch for Restore America. Tonight I will be speaking at a mens group, and flying home tomorrow morning. Please pray for these speaking opportunities.

Also, please pray for tomorrow night Gideons Posse!!

Your Pastor,

The Morning News

posted by on November 3 at 6:45 AM

Closed Down: Aggressive U.S. Auditor’s Office in Iraq.

Taken Down: Government Website that Showed How to Make Atom Bomb.

Sued: Record Companies Sue Sister and Brother for Downloading and Distributing Over 1,000 Songs.

Arrested: 10,000 U.S. Fugitives Rounded up in Massive Sweep.

Killed: Israel Opens Fire on Gaza Mosque, Kills 2 Women.

Psyched: Dems Set to Go Up 26-24 in Governorships.

Deluded? : GOP Clings to Hope of Last-Minute Gains.

In Hypocrisy
Resigned: Rev. Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, Admits Truth to “Some” of the Scandalous Allegations.

In Local News
Fucked: Viaduct Closure During Construction Would Cost Area Businesses Billions.

And I Missed this Simply Shocking News from Yesterday:
Investigation: Did the Bush Administration Supress Findings on Global Warming?

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Stiff Upper Lip? Or Cocksucker’s Cramp?

posted by on November 2 at 7:09 PM

Noel Black is an occasional Stranger contributor—he wrote the piece instructing you on how to order free books and DVDs from Focus on the Family—and long-time resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, home to Ted Haggard’s homoerotic-art-displaying megachurch. Here’s his quick hit on the accusations leveled against the man Salon describes as “not just be the most important evangelical you’ve never heard of, but the most important evangelical, period.”

Aside from from Ted Haggard’s obvious case of gay face (stiff upper lip!), there’s always been something creepy and evasive about his and New Life Church’s stance on homosexuality.

Late last year, Haggard publicly snubbed James Dobson’s and Focus on the Family’s attempts to put an anti-gay marriage amendment on this year’s ballot. Instead, he insisted, he’d only get behind a “positive” initiative to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. That’s how Amedment 43 was born. It’s on the ballot in next week’s election and it defines marriage as between one man and one woman blah blah blah.

This has been New Life’s homophobia-lite for as long as I’ve had personal dealings with them. I had many debates with Ted’s right hand man, Rob Brendle, about the issue in which he insisted that gay marriage was an issue best left to the voters—a classic propagandish evasion of an issue they knew already enjoyed popular support. That said, Ted’s been rallying hard for 43 and against Referendum I, a measure on the ballot next week that would give same sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. If these allegations turn out to be true, it’ll make him the worst kind of self-hating homophobes.

Many in Colorado Springs, including Cara DeGette at have been pointing out the lack of evidence and speculating about why it hasn’t been released to the press yet. The Denver Post reported that it’s because it’s still being authenticated for legal reasons. I think it could be a strategic move to lure Haggard out of his closet with a denial on record. That way he turns out to be a liar and a hypocrite. And word on the street here is that Mike Jones’ voice tapes have been initially verified as authentic.

Maybe that stiff upper lip will turn out to be cocksucker’s cramp after all!

Here’s Cara DeGette’s take at

Colorado Confidential wants to know: Where is the veritable blue dress? Last night’s Channel 9 Wants to Know report that Pastor Ted Haggard has been having a “sexual business” relationship with a Denver man for three years has reverberated far and wide.

But so far, nothing has been produced by way of proof that would verify the man’s assertion that he has had gay sex with Haggard and even watched him do methamphetamine.

This morning, Pastor Ted’s right hand man, New Life Church Associate Pastor Rob Brendle, flat-out rejected Denver resident Mike Jones claims aired first on Peter Boyles’ radio show yesterday and epeated on Channel 9 News. In shocked tones, news anchor Bob Kendrick introduced the segment in which Jones made his unsubstantiated claims as, “a stunning accusation against the leader of one of Colorado’s most popular megachurches.”

Clearly distressed, Brendle said that he hadn’t yet spoken to Haggard, but had this to say about the gay escort’s claim: “This is clearly a political stunt. Ted is the farthest thing from a homosexual as you can get. Trust me.”

Which begs the question: I don’t think Ted Haggard is the farthest thing from a homosexual as you can get. Even if this all turns out to be an elaborate hoax (here’s hoping that doesn’t happen!), Ted looks like a lot of homosexuals I’ve known. And can a person, even a straight person, be the farthest thing from a homosexual? Wouldn’t you have to get into inanimate objects to really get to the farthest thing? Like a paperclip or a tree-stump or even a pansy?

Noel just let me know that, according to, they’ll be releasing audiotapes tomorrow. From

The hooker claims to have a letter, emails, and voicemails from Ted Haggard and plans to play the voicemails on Denver radio tomorrow afternoon. As always, you can come back here to JMG and I’ll have posted an MP3 of the voicemails for your chortling pleasure.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

posted by on November 2 at 5:35 PM

President Bush was in Montana today, trying to improve Republicans’ chances in the down-to-the-wire Senate race that I wrote about for this week’s Stranger.


What’s interesting about the Bush visit to Montana is who the national Democrats are sending out there in response: No one.

The Montana Senate race is all about a new kind of Democrat — the rugged, rural, populist Democrat embodied, in this particular Montana race, by third-generation farmer Jon Tester. And there’s not a very deep bench of national-level rural Democrats to send to rally voters in Montana, a state that doesn’t much care for citified liberals.

So while Bill Clinton was in Arizona today trying to tip that suddenly-close Senate race into Democratic hands, and while Barack Obama, Michael J. Fox, and Gen. Wesley Clark were in Virginia today trying to boost the chances of Democrat Jim Webb, there’s really no one to send to Tester’s rescue as his opponent, Republican incumbent Conrad Burns, closes in on Tester in the polls.

I’ve been emailing today with a well-placed Democrat in Montana who tells me that tonight Tester will be filming a last-minute commercial employing the closest thing the Democrats have to a national figure who can talk to rural voters: Brian Schweitzer.

Who’s he? Exactly. But lucky for Tester, Schweitzer happens to be the current governor of Montana, who pulled off the “Montana Miracle” in 2004 by putting the governorship in liberal hands for the first time in 16 years (and this during the same election that saw Bush take Montana by 20 points).

Will there be another “Montana Miracle” this election cycle? Who knows, but there is this….

As President Bush lands in Montana to plead for support for Sen. Conrad Burns, a new poll released Thursday shows challenger Jon Tester with a commanding 21% lead among early voters.

Phoning A Genius

posted by on November 2 at 5:08 PM

Just now up on the Henry’s Hankblog is the announcement of tonight’s opening, Take the Cake: Celebrating Stranger Genius Award Winners, 2003-2006, which started at 5.

This new piece by Susan Robb is part of the show


so I dialed the number, and this is what I heard Susan say to me:

Please write the following words on the wall in front of you: “I am not here. This isn’t happening.”

It’s mortifying being a Genius.

Better and Better

posted by on November 2 at 4:40 PM

More and more details keep, er, coming out about the big-time evangelical minister that was paying for gay sex. For instance, the hooker is 49 years old. Judging from my mail at “Savage Love,” most gay men in their late 40s find it nearly impossible to give sex away, much less charge for it. And the hooker’s motivation for coming out? Priceless.

Mike Jones, 49, of Denver, made his allegations on the Peter Boyles show on KHOW 630 AM, saying he was compelled to come forward because he believes Haggard, an opponent of same-sex unions, is being hypocritical.

“After sitting back and contemplating this issue, the biggest reason is being a gay man all my life, I have experience with my friends, some great sadness of people that were in a relationship through the years,” and were not able to enjoy the same rights and privileges as a married man and woman, Jones told Boyles on air.

“I felt it was my responsibility to my fellow brothers and sisters, that I had to take a stand, and I cannot sit back anymore and hear (what) to me is an anti-gay message.”

Jones, who told a bankruptcy judge last year that he is a self-employed fitness consultant, told Boyles that he was paid money by Haggard, who he says made frequent trips to Denver for sexual liaisons, that he has recorded voicemails and a letter from Haggard, and that he had also witnessed Haggard use methamphetamine.

Meet the pole-smoking, gay-hooker-hiring, crystal-meth-snorting big-time evangelical minister who talks to George Bush on the phone every Monday morning. A pleasure to meet you, sir. This should knock John Kerry off the front pages—we’re back to Republican hypocrisy, plush closets, and the dirty secrets of very powerful men. Oh, and check out this selection from YouTube, brought to our attention by Frank in the comments:

Does the preacher set your gaydar off? He sure sets mine off.

And via Americablog, some of the “art” in Haggard’s church
—that’s some of the gayest shit I’ve seen this side of those coffee table “art of the male nude” books marketed to homos.

And here’s a little more video on Haggard, in which he says—no shit—”I think I know what you did last night. If you send me a $1000 I won’t tell your wife.” Right back at you, you piece of shit.

The Truth About Jelly Bellies

posted by on November 2 at 4:33 PM

On October 11, the police chief of Winter Haven, Florida, Paul Goward, sent a memo to his 80-member force that complained about the high number of “jelly bellies” on the job. The force needed to lose weight, go on diet, look fitter.
He wrote:

“Take a good look at yourself…If you are unfit, do yourself and everyone else a favor. See a professional about a proper diet and a fitness training program, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and start thinking self-pride, confidence and respectability. And stop making excuses for delaying what you know you should have been doing years ago. We didn’t hire you unfit, and we don’t want you working unfit. Don’t mean to offend, this is just straight talk. I owe it to you.”
The honest memo was considered offensive and cost the chief his job.

Special Request: The Taser Ad

posted by on November 2 at 3:01 PM

And a request from the comments for the anti-Cranley “Taser Ad.” Dear God, it’s hilarious.

7 year olds!

The McRib Makes a Comeback

posted by on November 2 at 2:56 PM

Yes, again.


In other McRib-related news, McDonald’s launches its own petition drive to “save the McRib.” (Also check out this parody web site, sponsored by the “Boneless Pig Farmers of America”.)

In other McDonald’s news, I was in Prague recently and I marvelled at the incredible variability of the chain’s international offerings. “McToast,”anyone? Hungry Planet, a fantastic (and gorgeous) book about what the world eats talks a little about McDonald’s international variants, as does a recent New Yorker article about water scarcity in India, where McDonald’s (which serves chicken-only “Maharaja Macs” and vegetarian “McAloo Tikkis”) is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.

And in other junk food news, I saw a commercial last night for Jack In The Box’s new “sirloin ciabatta,” which looks for all the world like a worm sandwich. I wasn’t able to find a picture to post here, but in the process of looking I got sucked into Jack In the Box’s web site, where you can “build a meal” of Jack In the Box items on a virtual “tray.” I built what I considered a relatively modest meal: Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger, medium curly fries, small Pumpkin Pie Shake. The result: A gut-busting 2,350 calories, about 350 more than an average woman is supposed to have in a day. Oh, and 145 grams of fat, 3,228 milligrams of sodium, 279 milligrams of cholesterol, and 97 (!) grams of sugar. Bon appetit!

Maybe He Can Bunk With Foley in Rehab

posted by on November 2 at 2:48 PM

From the Denver Post:

The leader of one of Colorado’s most popular mega-churches, Ted Haggard, is temporarily stepping down from his leadership role, after allegations from a male prostitute that Haggard solicited gay sex.

Haggard, the founder and senior leader of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and president of the multimillion-member National Association of Evangelicals, denied the accusations raised by the prostitute on Wednesday.

The Path to Publication

posted by on November 2 at 2:45 PM

This just in:

Dear Editor,

My name is XXXXXX XXXXX and I am a student at Meadowdale High School. As a senior you are required to complete a final project of your choice. I have chosen to see how a student writer can become published. I have always enjoyed your paper and I was curious if you publish any amateur essays or work? I’m sure you are very busy but if you have any information of help you could give me i would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,

Does The Stranger publish amateur essays or work? Every damn week, XXXXXX. Shit, do we publish any other kind?

As for seeing how a student writer can “become published,” well, there are lots of ways to make that happen. You haven’t taken any abstinence pledges, have you? That could make your path to publication more complicated—not at The Stranger, of course, where we absolutely, positively do not have sex with 1. high school students, 2. wannabe freelancers, and 3. high school students. But the annals of literary history are packed to the rafters with stories by and about young people—male, female, intersexed—who gave their careers an early boost by putting out.

Suggested reading: The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt; It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton; and Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans.

Our Nation’s Finest

posted by on November 2 at 2:19 PM

This just in from my friend Jasen:

The best thing just happened. I was walking downtown and this homeless guy was standing on the sidewalk screaming “Fuck George Bush! Fuck Dick Cheney!” over and over. When I passed him I said “Right on, man” and he looked at me and screamed “And fuck Dan Savage!

In his defense, Dan has never started a war or shot a man in the face.

Buddy Architecture

posted by on November 2 at 2:19 PM

Ambivalence is the mood that dominates Lawrence W. Cheek’s reveiw of the Douglass-Truth branch library expansion. He writes:

The addition, which grows out of the east side of the 1914 Renaissance-ish Revival building like a copper cocoon, is so alien to the mood and language of its mate that it belongs to a different universe.

It’s easy to respect what Schacht Aslani has done here. It’s impossible not to be fascinated by it. But it’s very difficult to like it.

The solution? A backward gesture? No, Cheek’s uncertainly would be settled if the architects of the project, Schacht Aslani, had looked completely forward and rejected the old building it grows out of. With Daniel Libeskind’s new “deconstructionist pile” (Denver Art Museum) in mind, Cheek writes:
It would be better, frankly, if the addition were twice the size and three times as radical — then the 1914 building, which is no masterpiece, easily could be forgotten.
Here, I have to agree with Cheek. Douglass-Truth branch library expansion is impressive but even more could have been done, a harsher break could have been made. The past has its place, but the future must be hostile to the order of present and past things. The future must be trouble and not what the majority of buildings completed in the year 2006 are. One by one, they arrived and failed to trouble anything—from the past or in the present. The new buildings just want to be buddies with everybody.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 2 at 2:06 PM

Courtney Love
You have every right to scoff at the idea of Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love, but here’s the thing: It’s the most engaging and intoxicating work that Love has produced since Live Through This. Compiling life-spanning journal entries, rough drafts of classic lyrics, and an array of impressive lists (things to do, guys worth fucking), Dirty Blonde offers a fascinating glimpse into the making and maintenance of one of the 20th century’s most provocative and valuable art stars. (University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400. 5 pm, free.) DAVID SCHMADER

Greg Nickels’s “Green” Agenda

posted by on November 2 at 1:29 PM

Yesterday, I was looking out the Stranger’s window when I saw a City of Seattle employee doing some maintenance work at Cal Anderson Park across the street:

Yes, that’s a gas-powered leaf blower, paid for by the City of Seattle, being used by that City of Seattle employee.

In contrast, scores of cities—including Los Angeles; Aspen, Colorado; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Palo Alto, California—have banned gas-powered blowers, which emit toxic clouds of smoke, particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons and blow fertilizer, pesticides and animal waste into the air. But here in Seattle, we don’t just allow gas-powered blowers; we pay for them with our tax dollars.

Do Newspaper Endorsements Make a Difference?

posted by on November 2 at 1:14 PM

Postman wonders if newspaper endorsements matter. The Burner campaign sure seems to think so:

The Way They Get By

posted by on November 2 at 1:12 PM

Tonight at VAIN, freelance photographer (and occasional Stranger contributor) Breanne Koselke will unveil her latest project entitled “The Way We Get By.” The exhibit strives to show how a handful of local musicians continue to make rent and make music, capturing them in both their worlds of day job employee and onstage performer. I’ve always thought this was ripe subject matter and I’m glad Koselke has tackled it. Here is an example her photographic pairings—this is Shane Berry from local band the Divorce at work as a barista and onstage as a front man:

shane work.jpg

shane rock.jpg

Photos of the Catch, Siberian, Kane Hodder, Schoolyard Heroes, and White Gold are also featured—the show opens at 6 pm this evening as part of the first Thursday art walk.

Torture Kills

posted by on November 2 at 12:32 PM

Via E&P:

Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners.

She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Ariz., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”

Now That’s A Press Release

posted by on November 2 at 12:28 PM

Rob Clarke is 42 years old has been married for 5 years and has a two year old daughter. He has a long history of drug addiction and has been clean for 12 years. He works for a Mortuary as a Cremation Technician. He is a painter. At a early age he made a commitment to being an Artist.

These are the facts, but art is not a fact.

This arrived in my email inbox this morning. It’s for Rob Clarke’s show of paintings at Art Not Terminal gallery starting Dec. 9. I can not vouch for Clarke’s work, only the sheer rhetorical force of his press release.

Speaking of charmers, just hours after this email arrived I got a phone call from a lovely Frenchman with a thick accent who makes paintings and photographs of pink socks. “This is a way to walk on the earth with happiness and joy,” he said, adding that he has shown the work in Canada and Paris before bringing it here.

His opening is 7 pm tomorrow at Cafe Allegro, including the screening of a movie called “The Mystery of the Pink Socks,” which a friend of the Frenchman’s who works in French television made for him, he said.

I thought it was all a put-on, but no. Philippe Moncorgé is very much for real. This is his web site. Sadly, I could not find any images of the socks themselves, but I did find a listing for the show, titled Pink Socks of Earth.

Colbert Returns to YouTube

posted by on November 2 at 12:23 PM

A little good news for those of us that don’t always make it to midnight

Though YouTube has removed Comedy Central clips, their corporate parent Viacom has confirmed that it wants to find some way to keep the clips available. Viacom has apparently given the green light for YouTube to put the material back up.

Nothing Works Here

posted by on November 2 at 12:21 PM


In a comment attached to Josh’s post about Erica’s excellent Nickels-bullshit-calling piece in this week’s paper, SDA writes…

…adding bike lanes in Seattle is of limited usefulness. Erica cites Portland and Davis CA as examples. However, both cities are flatter and warmer than Seattle. Sure, you’ll get a few die hards doing serious bike commuting in Seattle. But with all the hills and the long wet winters (it is raining and 45 degrees as I write this), you’ll never get a substantial number of people out of their cars and onto bikes, no matter how many miles of bike lanes you install.

Uh… I grew up in Chicago, and rode my bike everywhere. Chicago is a hell of a lot colder than Seattle. And folks bike all over SF, which is a hell of a lot hillier than Seattle. For the most part people bike around hills, walk up steep ones if they have to (and besides Queen Anne, there really isn’t a hill so steep around here that you can’t ride up it)—and if you do walk up a hill, you’re rewarded with a nice, smooth, fast ride back down on the return part of your journey.

Look, put a bike lane on the Ballard Bridge, and a safe bike lane along that busy road that cuts straight downtown from Ballard (I ride it all the time, and I don’t know what it’s called), and folks that want a straight, flat commute by bike will move to Ballard or Fremont or Wallingford or the U-District.

I’ve never lived in any of those places—well, Wallingford once, for a year—but I’ve managed to get around town on a bike for 15 years. It can be done. And more people would do it if there were more paths for bikes. I mean, look at the numbers of people already out there biking around Seattle now—without paths, in the rain, on our hills. Build in some safety, some paths, and some bike rights-of-way, and you’ll see even more people out on bikes.

I get so sick of this “Oh, it’ll never work here—Seattle is a special case!” crapola. Elevated mass transit? Fine for Chicago, New York, Berlin, Tokyo, and on and on, but it’ll never work here! Urban density? Fine for every other big city on the planet, but it’ll never work here! ADUs? Never work here. Strip clubs? We don’t know how Portland and Vancouver manage to live with them, because they’ll never work here! Taking out an elevated urban freeway/blight? Oh, you can do that in SF, Portland, Milwaukee—but it’ll never work here! Because Seattle is so unique, so special—so special that nothing works here, nothing at all.

Borat’s Secret Weapon

posted by on November 2 at 12:11 PM


Like so many others, I cannot wait to spend two hours gaping in awe and horror at Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which opens this Friday in Seattle and which Annie Wagner gives an intelligent rave here.

With Borat on the brain, I recalled one of the details that made my appreciation of creator Sacha Baron Cohen skyrocket in the first place: Borat’s suit. I wish I could recall exactly where I read this, but it was in a relatively in-depth profiley piece on Cohen/Borat when Da Ali G Show was airing in the U.S., and it changed my perception of Borat forever.

Basically, Borat has one suit—that schlumpy beige number we all know so well. At the time of the writing of the mystery profile—several years after the U.K. birth of Borat—the suit had never been washed. Along with his bumbling bigotry, Borat extended to his interviewees an ever-more-merciless stench, and rewatching old Borat segments with this new knowledge blew my mind all over again.

For better or worse, for many Americans, any person exuding a terrible odor may as well be wearing a sign reading “I AM POOR AND/OR FOREIGN, OR WORSE,” and for Cohen to capitalize on the unique sanctimony only a horrible stench can elicit is further proof of his genius.

Now it’s 2006, and the Borat movie’s here, and I guess I assumed that in making the jump to Hollywood, Borat may have given his suit a washing, or at least ordered his 9-year-old bride to bang it against some rocks in a Kazahk river. I was wrong. The day before yesterday in Manhattan, my fella Jake had the good luck to share an escalator with Sacha Baron Cohen in full Borat regalia. “He smelled awful,” reports Jake.

All hail the (still surprisingly dreamy) Sacha Baron Cohen.

Cantwell Earns Techie Boasting Rights

posted by on November 2 at 12:10 PM

Cantwell probably sealed her rep as a staunch advocate for cyberights and the tech industry back as a congresswoman in the early 90s when she led the fight against President Clinton’s invasive Clipper Chip legislation. (The Clipper Chip program, which failed, would have forced telecommunications companies to adopt the government’s encryption code—giving the NSA access to all private data transmission.)

Well, according to the new rankings from CNET, she’s still earning her reputation with techies: CNET rated Cantwell the #1 Democratic Senator on tech issues.

If you ask me, though, Cantwell should have scored higher than she did. (They gave her a 67). If you click on her name to look at how she voted on CNET’s top issues, you wont find her dissident committe vote for Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality never made it to the floor, so I guess CNET didn’t count it???

Or maybe, as someone suggests over at Postman’s blog post about this, CNET isn’t much concerned with cyberights issues and only looks at votes dealing with the corporate bottom line.

Although, I’m not sure that’s right. CNET does look at things like the “Unconstitutional” Communications Decency Act, as they put it. Although, on the other hand, it’s hard to tell how CNET actually wanted Senators to vote on some other issues…and/or what the vote meant. For example, I can’t figure out CNET’s take on the scary sounding “Creating a national ID card and linking computer databases” vote.

McGavick, at odds with Puget Sound industry giants like Microsoft and, was against the Net Neutrality amendment.

On the Use and Abuse of Animals

posted by on November 2 at 11:52 AM

I’ve spent a little time killing animals and writing about killing animals. I wrung the head off a pigeon. I shot a rabbit and a squirrel. I sautĂ©ed slugs. But even I was a little shocked to read this in today’s lead story in the New York Times:

“My pig?” he said. “They shot him twice in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, and then six times with an AK-47 and then twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. And then he was set on fire.

“I kept him alive for 15 hours,” he said. “That was my pig.”

The human “he” in this story is Petty Officer Third Class Dustin E. Kirby, a marine medic in Iraq describing part of his training. Each corpsman gets an anesthetized pig to work with—learning about live tissue and major trauma just isn’t the same from a textbook. Or even an emergency room. Wartime medicine is a thing apart (here’s a photo of Petty Officer Kirby, holding a bullet that wound up in the head of one of his platoon members):


He put the bullet in his breast pocket, to give to an intelligence team later. Sweat kept rolling off his face, mixed with tears. His voice was almost cracking, but he managed to control it and keep it deep. “When I got there, there wasn’t much I could do,” he said. Then he nodded. He seemed to be talking to himself. “I kept him breathing,” he said.

The pig exercise is torture—keeping an animal alive for hours and hours in serious pain for edification or pleasure. It’s repulsive, but it (ostensibly) saves lives. Unlike veal. Or foie gras. So it’s hard for me to get worked up about these pigs if only because, compared to other animals we use and abuse, they have it pretty easy.

They might even have it easier than Petty Officer Kirby. I just stumbled across this passage by Nietzsche (sorry Mudede—and everyone else), lifted and pared down from the opening to The Use and Abuse of History:

Observe the herd which is grazing beside you. It does not know what yesterday or today is. To witness this is hard for man, because he boasts to himself that his human race is better than the beast and yet looks with jealousy at its happiness. One day the man demands of the beast: “Why do you not talk to me about your happiness and only gaze at me?” The beast wants to answer, too, and say: “That comes about because I always immediately forget what I wanted to say.” But by then the beast has already forgotten this reply and remains silent, so that the man wonders on once more.

But he also wonders about himself, that he is not able to learn to forget and that he always hangs onto past things. No matter how far or how fast he runs, this chain runs with him. For the man says, “I remember,” and envies the beast, which immediately forgets and sees each moment really perish, sink back in cloud and night, and vanish forever.

Yo! Votin for Realz!

posted by on November 2 at 11:37 AM

Pretty much every year, various political groups, media outlets and rap stars declare that this is the year for The Youth Vote. But yesterday an unusual player joined Team Youth Vote Revolution For Sure in 2006: Harvard Institute of Politics. According to their newest polling, the 18-24 year old demographic is planning to turn out in record numbers, with 32% saying they will “definitely vote.” That’s a huge jump over the last midterm elections, when only 19% voted… in fact, 32% is the highest polling in twenty years.

If the poll is valid, that’s good news for the liberals, since The Youth are decidedly hostile to the Bush regime. They rated GWB’s performance an average of C- on seven issues — that’s even worse that his infamous college GPA — the worst grade being a D+ on the War in Iraq. Only a dismal 18% think the country is headed in “the right direction” but teenage apathy be damned: 70% of 18-24 year olds think “politics is relevant to their lives.”

All of this might not make such a big impact for Washington races though, since our fair state ranks none too well in terms of youngins votin’ … in 2002 only 17% turned out, putting us right ahead of Mississippi.

Three of the top five youth voting states allow day-of registration at the polls. The deadline already passed in WA and yes, since I’m a youth, I registered on the last day possible (and yes, I love describing myself as “a youth”) . All the Dems can hope for now is that those “definitely voting” young things actually show up at the polls.

R.I.P. William Styron

posted by on November 2 at 11:37 AM

Not for the novels (though they’re fine), for the memoir. Darkness Visible. remains the essential code breaker for chronic, debilitating, life-threatening depression—in one’s self and in others.

01-08-22 styron.jpg

Eulogies will follow, but CNN news article is here.

For the Love of Zanja Yudell

posted by on November 2 at 11:29 AM

I will be in Vancouver, B.C., this weekend, where my college friend Zanja, a professor of the philosophy of physics (when did we get so old?), will be conferencing with other brainiacs by day and catching up with me and mine by night.

But if there were no Zanja on this wide earth, I’d most certainly be in Portland, where there’s some great stuff happening this weekend. The greatest has to be the opening of the Hadley + Maxwell show I Want to Show You Somewhere at Reed College’s Cooley Gallery on Saturday (with a not-to-be-missed back room symposium including the poet Lisa Robertson that night).

Curator Stephanie Snyder’s description of H+M’s work is so clear, I’ll just give it to you instead of trying to sum it up:

Hadley + Maxwell consider subjectivity and political experience through moving image, song, drawing, and printed matter, working, in part, from photographs of the Kent State riots on May 4, 1970, as chronicled in news magazines of the time. During the summer of 2006, Hadley + Maxwell improvised these photographs on the Reed College campus, alternating roles as victim and bystander, corpse and “person,” re-imagining and re-opening consideration of the images as historical records, but more critically, as spaces for the incomplete and idiosyncratic articulation of gesture, time, and attachment.

While the video is projected onto small, cut-out representations of the artists and reflected around the room, the artists ground our experience on the textured surfaces of a series of delicate graphite drawings based on the Kent State photographs. The drawings carefully record a process of identification between the artists and their subject, taking on the quality of a body of evidence that exists somewhere between public and private experience. Permeating the space is a recording of Hadley singing a somber and matter-of-fact rendition of “Gloomy Sunday,” a song written by RezsĂ´ Seress in 1933 that was banned from the airwaves in the 1940s for being too damn sad. Throughout the installation, the bodies of the artists are cropped and rescaled, deleted and reinserted. This dislocation makes space for, and summons, the viewer into the work — an invitation to “be-together” that resists over-definition; an invitation to “be” together, in consideration of something meaningful, an invitation to “be-together-in-meaning.” What Hadley + Maxwell invite the viewer to engage in, they first and foremost do themselves, together. The installation is neither a practice run for something else, nor a partial action.


Also up in Portland, at PAM, is Pierre Huyghe’s 24-minute puppet video This Is Not a Time for Dreaming, dramatizing the creation of Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center for the Arts at Harvard. In one gorgeous shot, a heap of rods on the floor is lifted slowly to form a three-dimensional puppet of the complex and beautiful skeleton of the building—quickly dropped back down again. The idea is born, it collapses, is fragile.


Huyghe is the man under the tree; later he struggles with Corbusier. The villain of it all is the gliding, matronly love child of Darth Vader and Duchamp’s praying mantis machine Bride, here seen (small and blurry, I admit—it was all I could find), on the right.


Happy Birthday, Stephanie Powers.

posted by on November 2 at 11:27 AM


In her honor, party tonight at the Hideout, after ArtWalk (stop at Punch and the Lee Center for sure).

The Return of Rachel

posted by on November 2 at 11:23 AM

For those of you who don’t read the print version of our paper:

Regina Has Her Own Publish Button Now

posted by on November 2 at 11:22 AM

Just found out via the Henry’s Hankblog that P-I critic Regina Hackett is up and running now as a blogger. I knew this was underway, but Regina wouldn’t let me say when. So … when!

‘Thank You So Much for Your Support - We Need it for Sure’

posted by on November 2 at 11:17 AM

That’s the artist Anne Mathern inviting everybody to Crawl Space’s Crawl Space Dog and Pony Show Horshoe-Cake-Eating Wear White and You May Receive a White Trophy fundraiser on Saturday night from 6 to 9 at the space, 504 E Denny Way. It costs $25 (Bench-Warmer), $100 (Cheerleader), $500 (Team Player), or $1,000 (Power Lifter) to get in—your choice.

Despite showing work like these here paintings below (both by Brad Biancardi) and receiving accolades and plaudits and every other form of manna from critical heaven, Crawl Space doesn’t sell much art at all and has to hustle to raise funds. Be Crawl Space’s pimp.



Thursday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 2 at 11:10 AM

Sonics: They opened their 2006-2007 campaign last night with a 110-106 loss to the Portland Trailblazers. The Seattle P.I. sums up the debacle quite well:

Not only did the Sonics lose their debut to a team unanimously picked as the worst in the Western Conference, they blew every conceivable opportunity in front of a sellout crowd of 17,072 and new owner Clay Bennett, who will spend the next several months trying to secure an arena to keep the team in Seattle.

On the bright side, UW alum Brandon Roy scored 20 points in his NBA debut. Unfortunately, he was drafted by Portland.

Seahawks: Pork Chop returns, Tubbs hits the pine.

Mariners: Japanese stud pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is off the team’s radar, which means Yankee pinstripes are undoubtedly in his future.

And finally, because I enjoy watching Josh Feit cry: Gilbert Arenas = 7 points in Wizards loss.

Barnett on Nickels

posted by on November 2 at 11:05 AM

Hey Slog Addicts,

We still put out a paper here too. And this week’s edition includes a great manifesto by Ercia C. Barnett that sets the record straight on our “Green” Mayor.

Here’s Barnett’s lead:

A year and a half ago, Mayor Greg Nickels convinced hundreds of urban mayors to pledge to enact laws that would reduce greenhouse gases to levels mandated by the Kyoto Protocol, which was rejected by President Bush. The gutsy move earned him political points in magazines from Rolling Stone (which dubbed him an environmental “hero”) to Vanity Fair (which praised him as a rising green star). But here in Seattle, Nickels’s own policies are frequently at odds with his professed green agenda. Even if meeting Kyoto Protocol targets were enough (and it isn’t), this mayor’s policies will do almost nothing to get us there.

Like a skilled attorney, Barnett goes on to make a devestating case, ridiculing Nickels’s status as one of America’s environmental mayors.

Now This is an Attack-Ad

posted by on November 2 at 10:57 AM

Down in the comments, there’s a raging argument about whether Dave Reichert’s latest attack-ad is sexist (and whether it’s self-defeating for liberals to argue about whether or not it might be sexist).

But if you think Reichert’s dumb-blonde ad is bad, check out this Republican hit-piece, which Wonkette has dubbed the “Gay Eskimo Transsexual Attack Ad.” It’s reared its head in Wisconsin and North Carolina this year, and is so bad it’s being kept off the air by television stations.

Architecture is Destiny

posted by on November 2 at 10:38 AM

That’s what Roberta Smith wrote in her takedown of the Taniguchi MoMA compared to the Tate Modern in yesterday’s NYT.

What of this destiny, knitting together the fates of the Seattle Art Museum and Washington Mutual corporate?

Washington Mutual - Seattle Art Museum-20060622-061538.jpg

I recently caught a glimpse of Cloepfil’s tower at night (the museum opens May 5), and I noticed that the very top of the tallest side (the WaMU side) is translucent, so you can see right through it. The structure, which is light anyway despite is girth, disappears up high, in deference to the sky.

It’s those kinds of details that make this office tower a minor triumph—as an office tower. Art museums are not office towers, so what does it mean to conflate the two? Well, first off, you’ve got to fend off suspicions that you’re conflating the two. And secondly, there’s a ton of pressure on the inside of this building—and the creative insiders in this building—to perform, given the standard towerishness of the architecture. Here’s the latest video rendering of what the space will look like on the inside here.

And related: Modern Art Notes this morning declares City Beautiful thinking is back when it comes to art museums (Ando in Fort Worth, Herzog and de Meuron at the de Young, Miami—and hey, isn’t this a return to the era when the now-neglected Seattle Asian Art Museum was built in Volunteer Park?).

Another related bit I love from MAN: Chicago mayor Daley says no to concrete. Outlawing an entire material is swinging cluelessly with a blunt instrument, but when has Nickels ever had an aesthetic bone to pick? Public figures expressing aesthetics?? Unheard of!! Fabulous!

Gay For Pray

posted by on November 2 at 9:07 AM

Leading anti-gay Evangelical bible thumper had a three year relationship with a gay male escort, according to the escort.

Ah, the irony—the sweet, predictable irony. How many “family values” hypocrites have to be exposed before we stop giving them the benefit of the doubt? People who scream and yell about the alleged moral failings of others are so often attempting to cover up or distract attention from their own that I think we should presume bible-thumpers are banging hookers, male and female, until proven otherwise.

The Morning News

posted by on November 2 at 8:49 AM

New Reuters/Zogby Poll: Democrats leading in 6 of 7 key Senate Races.

Final NYT Times/CBS Poll: Only 29 Percent Approve of How Bush is Handling the War.

Bush Tries to Rally GOP Base: Goes on Rush Limbaugh in Final Campaign Push.

Fuck You Bush:Issaquah School Bus Driver Fired for Giving Bush the Finger.

Vote by Mail: One-Third of Ballots Already Cast Here.

A Work in Progress, Pt. 1: U.S. Chief Military Spokesman Labels Iraq a Work of Art in Progress

A Work in Progress Pt. 2: Iraqi President Says U.S. Troops Should Stay 3 More Years.

A Piece of Work: Iran Follows Up U.S. War Games in Gulf with War Games of Its Own.

Another Piece of Work: Kerry Issues Apology for Gaffe.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

“This man has lost his mind.”

posted by on November 1 at 6:48 PM

That’s Andrew Sullivan’s take on President Bush. Enjoy.

Via Americablog.

Rock Star JAG

posted by on November 1 at 5:15 PM

Just back from sneaking into a guest lecture by Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift—the Navy lawyer who defended Guantanamo Bay inmate Salim Ahmed Hamdan—at the Seattle University law school. Dude is pretty much a rock star, even though, through the military’s up or out promotion system, he’ll be out of a job come this spring. (He told me he plans on retiring in March or April and is still in the process of hunting for a new job.) Speaking before a room of (mostly) swooning law students, Swift gave a rambling yet tidy speech that mixed historical allusions, legal philosophizing and I’m-just-a-normal-guy bullshit calling.

He compared military tribunals to a Monty Python movie, in which the government armed itself with lances and swords, and left his side “to defend the accused with a sharp stick.” His response, “Hey dude, let’s see if we can stick the stick in their eye.” He said the commissions were designed to get the government out of that pesky obligation to confront the accused.

On the boundless battlefield created by the worldwide war on terror, he said we can all expect to have our phones tapped. He’s a self-described quote machine, and offered proof faster than I could scribble: “A war in which there are no rules, presidential power with no limitations…Stalin said everyone was a soldier. … If you pay taxes, welcome to the military.”

He also quoted James Madison (“a pretty smart guy,” he said.) and Thomas Paine.

Sexism Watch

posted by on November 1 at 4:51 PM

There have been charges of sexism lodged in the Burner-Reichert contest before. Now come murmurs of sexist undertones to this new Reichert commercial, in which a dippy Burner stand-in applies for a job:

The Day in Correlation/Causation Fallacies, Part 2

posted by on November 1 at 4:18 PM

Another study, this one by researchers at the University of Iowa (note the unintentionally hilarious/uninformative caption) found that rural women who get divorced suffer higher rates of physical and mental health problems than women who stay married.

During the years immediately after divorce - from 1991 to 1994 - the divorced women reported 7 percent higher levels of psychological distress than married women. They did not report any differences in physical illness at that time.

A decade later, however, the divorced women reported 37 percent more physical illness, but no difference in psychological stress that could be directly linked to the divorce, said Lorenz, who co-authored the study with K.A.S. Wickrama, Rand Conger and Glen Elder. The research was conducted out of the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research based at Iowa State.

Remarrying, the study found, produced “positive influences on the women’s health.”

A few problems here. First, might it be the case that women don’t have mental health problems because they’re single, but because society isn’t exactly supportive of single women? Particularly rural ones (who lack job opportunities, quality health care and a stable safety net) and moms (who have to take care of kids alone)? Again, correlation (women get divorced; women become unhealthier) does not imply causation (marriage makes women healthy). There are too many factors at play here to reach such a simplistic conclusion.

Youngest Cuisine in America

posted by on November 1 at 4:18 PM

On the corner of Cherry and 12th is a sandwich-board sign for the restaurant Lemongrass, which I have not myself eaten at, and which evidently prefers its name to be written in lower-case.

Underneath the restaurant name is the claim “Vietnamese: The Youngest Cuisine in America.”

Is there something I should know? I wasn’t even aware there was a race on to win this title.

Support our troops! Vote no on I-933

posted by on November 1 at 4:00 PM

The Whidbey Island newspaper ran an article today about the I-933 controversy brewing on the island, where residents are afraid the property rights Initiative might lead to the closure of the island’s Naval Air Station. The Oak Harbor mayor (who’s concerned about the threatened closure of the base and the estimated $30 million the Initiative could cost Island County) is at odds with the County commissioner (who wants to “send a message to the Legislature, that it has allowed the pendulum to swing a little too far against property rights”).

[The mayor’s] biggest concern is protecting the Navy base from intrusive development. Both the city and county have long had noise zones around the Navy runways that restrict the intensity of development in noisy areas.

About six years ago, the city adjusted C-4 commercial zones to limit development in an effort to keep certain uses away from the base.

“The initiative would roll back land use decisions,” Cohen said, “and could lead to incompatible growth around the Navy base.”

If the long-term viabilty of the base is up in the air, it could wind up on the base closures list — since the gov’t is always looking to cut bases somewhere in the states. That would mean the loss of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station jobs, and its cute, clunky website where the FAQs include “How can I support our troops?”

Bye-Bye, Cha-Cha

posted by on November 1 at 3:26 PM

Meanwhile in local news: A 96-unit condo development is reportedly planned for the block of Pike-Pine that includes Kincora, the Cha-Cha, and the Bus Stop. I’m going to a meeting tonight on the development and will report back later with details.

So long, Pike/Pine.

The Day in Correlation/Causation Fallacies, Part 1

posted by on November 1 at 3:25 PM

Steven Landsburg has a piece in Slate today arguing that porn “prevents rape.”

What happens when more people view more of it? The rise of the Internet offers a gigantic natural experiment. Better yet, because Internet usage caught on at different times in different states, it offers 50 natural experiments.

It also offers a gigantic opportunity to make faulty assumptions, as this next paragraph makes clear:

The bottom line on these experiments is, “More Net access, less rape.” A 10 percent increase in Net access yields about a 7.3 percent decrease in reported rapes. States that adopted the Internet quickly saw the biggest declines. And, according to Clemson professor Todd Kendall, the effects remain even after you control for all of the obvious confounding variables, such as alcohol consumption, police presence, poverty and unemployment rates, population density, and so forth.

So basically, Landsburg found a correlation—more porn, less rape—and confused it with causation—more porn causes less rape. You might as well say lower rape rates were caused by the rise of the Republican party; or the spread of Starbucks; or any other goddamn thing that’s happened in the last ten years. Apart from that obvious logical fallacy, Landsburg ignores the fact that the rape rate has been going down in the US consistently for 30 years


… which makes Landsburg’s decision to limit his analysis to the last eight years all the more disingenuous.

Worse, he takes at face value Kendall’s assumption that rape is in all cases caused by sexual frustration, and if those poor sexually frustrated boys could just figure out a way to jerk off (because jerking off fulfills the exact same function as rape/sex, and is every bit as good as sex, as everyone knows) they wouldn’t go around raping women. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that even Landsburg’s hypothetical sexually frustrated potential rapists view jerking off a “substitute” for sex.

Note that I’m not saying some rapes might not be caused by sexual frustration. However, I’m firmly in the camp that believes rape, in general, is about violence and humiliating women as much as it is about “getting” sex. If that weren’t true, there would be no rapists who already have willing sexual partners, and rape wouldn’t so frequently involve humiliating and “excessively” brutalizing the woman raped.

Landsburg continues:

Psychologists have found that male subjects, immediately after watching pornography, are more likely to express misogynistic attitudes. But as professor Kendall points out, we need to be clear on what those experiments are testing: They are testing the effects of watching pornography in a controlled laboratory setting under the eyes of a researcher. The experience of viewing porn on the Internet, in the privacy of one’s own room, typically culminates in a slightly messier but far more satisfying experience—an experience that could plausibly tamp down some of the same aggressions that the pornus interruptus of the laboratory tends to stir up.

So rape and misogynistic attitudes are both caused by blue balls? You don’t say.

Three things Landsburg doesn’t note from Kendall’s study: 1) The paper itself is pretty wishy-washy; even Kendall acknowledges that virtually all of the previous research on the porn-rape “connection” has reached the opposite conclusion. 2) His own data indicate that increased computer ownership, taken as an independent variable from Internet availability, actually correlates with a higher rate of rape. And 3) Kendall himself stops short of endorsing porn, noting that its production and consumption “may have other deleterious effects besides rape, both on the consumer and on society.”

P.S. Part II to follow. I’m worn out.

P.P.S. I am not saying that porn causes rape.

Same Issue, Different Topic, Harper’s Redeemed

posted by on November 1 at 2:45 PM

So after I finished ranting about the recent Harper’s article about Barack Obama, I declared to my cubicle neighbors that the magazine sucked and if I could cancel my subscription again, I would. Then Christopher Frizzelle told me to read Marilynne Robinson’s piece on Richard Dawkins, which he predicted I would hate because I’m on the side of the atheists.

In fact I think it’s brilliant. Who knew a novelist (Pulitzer or no) could shred a shoddy argument like that? Fuck yeah, Harper’s rocks again.

For an excerpt, see Maud Newton.

Kerry’s Botched Joke: Good for Dems?

posted by on November 1 at 2:25 PM

So says Chris Bowers at MyDD.

In the end, Kerry could end up kickstarting a big, final week debate about Iraq, and give us the opportunity to engage in some of our toughest anti-Iraq messaging yet.

And it would be easier to see this if the left “didn’t have so many Chicken Littles running around these parts, desperate for any excuse to wail about impending doom,” says Kos.

I was clucking, I confess. I hope Bowers and Kos are right.

About Those Veils…

posted by on November 1 at 2:20 PM

Wearing the veil—or headscarves—it’s all about modesty, right? Well, not originally. It seems that the veil was to ancient Sumerians what fishnets and red light bulbs are to modern Amsterdam’s many, many hookers. From today’s NYT:

Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, a 92-year-old academic who specializes in Sumerian culture and history, went on trial on charges that she “insulted the people” and incited hatred in a book last summer in which she wrote that the head scarf was first used in religious rites by women who worked in Sumerian temples to initiate young men in sex, in order to differentiate them from women who worked as priests. Ms. Cig, who has translated about 3,000 stone tablets and published a number of books and papers, faces a prison sentence of up to three years if convicted of all charges.

Muazzez Ilmiye Cig didn’t insult “the people,” of course, she merely offended those ever-touchy Islamists. Color me Islamophobic, but it’s hard to have much respect for a religion* with believers so feeble and insecure that they demand the prosecution of 92 year-old academics for the crime of accurately translating ancient stone tablets. (*For the record: I have a hard time mustering up much respect for any organized or disorganized religion.)

Mon Dieu!

posted by on November 1 at 2:15 PM

Years ago I worked at the Egyptian theater, mainly during the busy Seattle International Film Festival—just one of many popcorn jockeys earning minimum wage picking up trash and tearing tickets. One of the few perks of the Festival, at least back then, was the amount of downtime we behind the concession stand would have for chess playing, book reading, and, on many an occasion, booze drinking.

One year, SIFF held a special retrospective of French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier. During the screening of his (then) latest film—I believe it was Capitaine Conan—Tavernier, himself no slouch with the bottle, came out to the concession stand in search of a drink. One was poured for him, then another, then another. Finally, as his film was nearing its end and Tavernier would soon be asked to take the stage for questions from the audience, one last drink was offered to him. His response: “My God! You drink more than the Finns!”

At the time, Tavernier’s quip seemed a little strange. Why the Finns? Were the Finns, and not the Irish, the traditional “lushes” of Europe? Was drinking so out of control in Finland that a common joke was that one “drank more than the Finns”?

The answer, if this BBC report is any indication, appears to be oui:

Alcohol has become the leading cause of death in Finland for men, and is a close second for women, a study says.

Figures for 2005 released by the state statistics agency showed alcohol killed more people aged 15 to 64 than cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Almost as many women died of alcohol-related causes as breast cancer last year.

Red, Red Wine

posted by on November 1 at 1:42 PM

Charles Mudede will outlive us all.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute of Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, offsets the bad effects of a high-calorie diet in mice and significantly extends their lifespan.

Not Safe For House Work

posted by on November 1 at 1:34 PM

A boy and his washing machine.


Via Fleshbot.

An Experiment

posted by on November 1 at 1:32 PM

The viaduct?

Mortar Macchiato

posted by on November 1 at 1:04 PM

What if we combined Seattleites’ two greatest pastimes: sitting in coffee shops and soothing our liberal consciences? A guy in Ethiopia is making espresso machines from old mortars and I, for one, wouldn’t feel so sheepish about dropping $4 on a latte if it came with the tagline, “Helped clean up old war rubble and feed poor Ethiopians.”

How badass would it be to drink a cappuccino made in a bombshell? More badass than drinking one not in a bombshell and frankly, friends, that’s all that matters.

“The shells were dropped in Ethiopia during the war with Eritrea. They were dropped so people hid them in their homes and now they sell them,” Mr Azmeraw says.

He uses old mortar shells, which stand about one metre high, to make his coffee machines.

He cuts off the pointed ends, seals them and puts holes into the aluminium cylinder. The cylinder channels the water, coffee and milk.


via boingboing

Also in Ethiopian Coffee News: Starbucks is blocking the country from trademarking its most popular beans here in the US.

Sylvia Plath’s Juvenilia

posted by on November 1 at 12:49 PM

In her senior year of college, Sylvia Plath wrote a poem drawing on her reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cervantes, Henry James, some others. It was never published. The poem was just discovered by a graduate student doing research at Indiana University, and today it was published in the online journal Blackbird.

Here’s Blackbird’s introduction to the poem.

Here is a photo of a draft of the poem.

Here is a photo of the final version of the poem.

Since it’s depressing to link to a not-very-good poem [and since Mudede will get on here and say that it only proves she wasn’t very good after all or whatever (that introduction I linked to above argues that this early poem proves how hard she worked to be the poet she was later on)] here for your reading pleasure, in honor of black birds, is a personal favorite, “Black Rook in Rainy Weather”:

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can’t honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then —
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical
Yet politic, ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur.
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance
Miracles. The wait’s begun again,
The long wait for the angel,

For that rare, random descent.

[Suck it, Mudede.]

Seattle Times Contributes Another $6K to Estate Tax Repeal Campaign

posted by on November 1 at 12:43 PM

Check out this campaign finance report from the estate tax repeal campaign. $6,061 worth in free ads from… The Seattle Times. (They also paid $8.58 for postage.)

Remember when Frank Blethen told David Postman he wasn’t going to contribute to the campaign?

Oh, and further down on the form, you’ll see another $280 from Seattle Times lobbyist Jill Mackie, bringing her in-kind contributions to the campaign to over $1000.


Santorum on Santorum

posted by on November 1 at 12:36 PM


Some naughty folks in Pennsylvania are defacing Rick Santorum signs with… well, I hope that’s chocolate pudding. Anyone producing lower-case santorum in that color and with that consistency needs to stop buttfucking immediately and see a doctor. Eesh.

The Latest 8th District Poll

posted by on November 1 at 12:20 PM

The newest KING-TV/Survey USA tracking poll, conducted Oct. 28 - 30, finds Dave Reichert beating Darcy Burner, 51 percent to 45 percent (margin of error +/- 4 percent).

But, and this is an important but, the same poll also finds early voters favoring Burner.

Compared to an identical SurveyUSA KING-TV poll released 10/18/06, Reichert has gained 1 point and Burner has lost 2 points. Reichert had led by 3, now leads by 6. But: 25% of those judged to be “likely” voters in WA8 have already voted, and among those who have already voted, the Democrat Burner is up by 8 points. Reichert leads by 11 points among those who have not yet voted but who tell SurveyUSA they are “absolutely certain” to vote. If Reichert succeeds at getting his supporters to mail ballots or go to the polls, he wins. If the Republican Get-Out-The-Vote operation falters, Burner is within striking distance.

It’s all about turnout now.

Meanwhile, here’s the new hard-hitting Iraq ad from the DCCC, intended to, among other things, boost Democratic turnout and win the support of Independent voters. It’s airing nationally:

(Via Kos)

Visit Beautiful Iran!

posted by on November 1 at 12:12 PM


Iran wants to attract western tourists—particularly Americans—and the Mullahs have concluded that there’s just one way to get westerners to visit a booze-, sex-, and homo-free country. (The photo above is of a public execution of two gay Iranian teenagers.) Put a price on our heads!

Iran will offer cash incentives to travel agencies to encourage Western tourists to visit the country, giving a premium for Americans, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The Islamic republic’s political leadership has been trying to reach out to ordinary Americans to show that a standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions is with the Bush administration—not U.S. citizens.

Josh has always wanted to visit Tehran. This might be your chance, Josh.

Botched Joke vs. Botched War

posted by on November 1 at 11:59 AM

While John Kerry is being accused of insulting U.S. soldiers, George Bush—under orders from the Iraqi Prime Minister (wait: who’s the puppet here?)—has abandoned a kidnapped U.S. soldier to his fate. It’s yet another one of those surreal if-Bill-Clinton-did-this-he’d-be-impeached-and-executed moment. Can you imagine the right-wing shitstorm if a Democratic president did this:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the removal of American checkpoints from the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, in what appeared to be his latest and boldest gambit in an increasingly tense struggle for more independence from his American protectors. Mr. Maliki’s public declaration seemed at first to catch American commanders off guard. But by nightfall, American troops had abandoned all the positions in eastern and central Baghdad that they had set up last week with Iraqi forces as part of a search for a missing American soldier….

The withdrawal was greeted with jubilation in the streets of Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite enclave where the Americans have focused their manhunt and where anti-American sentiment runs high. The initial American reaction to the order, which was released by Mr. Maliki’s press office, strongly suggested that the statement had not been issued in concert with the American authorities.

Again, imagine a President Clinton—Bill or Hillary—allowing something like this to happen. The Prime Minister of Iraq is now, it seems, the Commander in Chief of all U.S. forces in Iraq, and when he tells our army what to do—even if what he wants them to do is appease the anti-American Shiite mob in Sadr City—the U.S. army does it. No quesitons asked.

Impeachment? For sure. Firing squad? Highly likely.

The Day in Small-Screen Speculation

posted by on November 1 at 11:50 AM

Subject One: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorkin’s ridiculous-yet-entirely unfunny dramedy chronciling backstage dealings at an SNL-styled comedy show is reportedly riding its ever-growing wave of derision to an early grave.

As Roger “the only Fox News writer who doesn’t deserve to be punched in the face” Friedman put it:

Sorkin and friends will argue that NBC has done something wrong, or that the audience isn’t smart enough. Alas, in this case, neither is true. ‘Studio 60’—as I wrote on August 7th after viewing the pilot—is just a bad show. No one cares whether a bunch of over caffeinated, well off yuppies, some with expensive drug habits, put on a weekly comedy sketch show from Los Angeles. Even worse: no one cares whether or not the people from the Bartlett White House put on a comedy show. That’s what ‘Studio 60’ is, essentially: the “West Wing” annual talent show. There’s so much earnestness involved in this endeavour, you start to think that nuclear war will be declared if the ‘Studio 60’ staff doesn’t air some joke—usually one we don’t hear anyway. The whole thing just feels weighted down and frankly, not entertaining.

Amen, and condolences and congratulations to Mr. Sorkin, for giving us a Cop Rock for the new millennium.

Subject Two: Grey’s Anatomy, the super-popular, mercilessly grating romantic hospital drama that made tabloid headlines last month thanks to the on-set scuffle between stars Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington. At the time, “official reports” characterized the scuffle as a “heated exchange” that led to Washington grabbing Dempsey by the throat and shoving him.

Almost immediately, less-than-official reports were buzzing about Washington’s alleged use of a “gay slur” during the scuffle, with the buzzing soon followed by the abrupt self-outing of gay Grey’s Anatomy star T.R. Knight.

Well, thank god for Star magazine, which dared to fill in some of the saga’s many mysterious blanks in their Nov. 6 issue. Among the revelations: The allegation that Isaiah Washington spiced up his neck-throttling of Dempsey by loudly proclaiming, “I’m not your little faggot like [Knight]”, mortifying the show’s very gay-friendly cast and crew and allegedly putting Washington’s future on the show in jeopardy. (His contract’s reportedly up for renewal at the end of this season.)

This whole dust-up provides Grey’s Anatomy’s producers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’d be fools to squander. Isaiah Washington must not be fired. Instead, he must be made to stay on the show, where his character is promptly revealed to “another brother on the down-low.” In the weeks leading up to sweeps, Washington’s character will go trolling for homosexual sex on the internet, arranging a liaison where he gets violently gay-bashed. As sweeps hit, Washington’s Dr. Burke lies in Seattle Grace’s intensive care unit, where his soon-to-be-fatal injuries are tended to by his onscreen girlfriend/fellow doctor Sandra Oh. Caring for her dying, secretive lover, Sandra Oh earns an Emmy, Isaiah Washington dies in her arms, ratings soar, everybody wins.

Dear producers of Grey’s Anatomy: Please make my dream come true.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 1 at 11:47 AM

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Eagles of Death Metal
For libidinous and good-humored hard-rock fans, inspired pairings don’t get much more scintillating than this double shot of estrogen-fueled raunch and testosterone-fired bombast. The runaway appeal of Joan Jett’s aggressively hooky classic rock has been indefatigable for decades, thanks to the riot mama’s palpable passion, while the cheeky, sleazy vibe spewed forth by the Eagles of Death Metal is equal parts cocky comedy and killer riffage. With Throw Rag. (The Showbox, 1426 First Ave, 8 pm, $25, all ages.) HANNAH LEVIN

The Last Honest Conservative

posted by on November 1 at 11:25 AM

John Derbyshire at National Review Online:

John Kerry is awful, and anything we can do further to degrade his political prospects is worth doing. But really, I saw a clip of him making the much-deplored remark, and it was obvious that the dimwit in Iraq that he referred to was George W. Bush, not the American soldier. It was a dumb joke badly delivered, but his meaning was plain. My pleasure in watching JK squirm is just as great as any other conservative’s, but something is owed to honesty. There’s a lot of fake outrage going round here.

Via Sullivan.

Yes, there’s a lot of fake outrage going around—and it’s spreading.


Photo via Drudge.

UPDATE: Kerry says sorry.

The Humanity of Elephants

posted by on November 1 at 11:17 AM

Last night, over drinks, in a bar, The Rosebud, whose atmosphere was warmed by pre-bebop piano jazz, a poet, Shannon Borg, informed me of a strange experiment that proved something that’s so incredible it changed my whole understanding of the largest land mammal. Scientists painted a white mark on an elephant’s shoulder (or thereabouts) and placed the big beast in front of a big mirror. What happened? The elephant stared at itself for a moment and then with its trunk tried to wipe off or figure out what the mark was doing on its shoulder. Meaning, instead of reaching for the mark in its reflection (what a dumb animal would do), it reached for the mark on its actual self. Meaning, the elephant knew that it was looking at an image of itself. Meaning, the elephant was aware of itself. The conclusion:

Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, joining humans… as animals that possess…self-awareness

This has tremendous implications for human society because, by definition, what separates us from almost all other animals is nothing else but self-consciousness, self-awareness, awareness of our individuality. If elephants have this same power of self-recognition then killing one is the same as killing a human being. And it doesn’t stop there: If an elephant kills a human being, stomps him/her to dust and death, then it should be charged with murder and face the judgment of our law system. We must now make room on death row for such elephants (as well as apes and dolphins, as they also possess self-awareness).

The minute you know who you are is the minute you know what you are doing. Elephants, welcome to humanity.

Agent Zero Vs. LJ

posted by on November 1 at 11:15 AM

Jillbert takes on LeBron James tonite in a re-match I’ve been waiting for all summer.


Gilbert: Remember when LeBron put his finger on your chest and bad mouthed you at the line in the closing seconds of last year’s big loss? Time to wreak havoc.

Party With The Stranger On Election Night

posted by on November 1 at 11:10 AM


Hugh “Very Conservative” Foskett—Stranger-endorsed Republican candidate in the 43rd Distrcit House race—sounds like so much fun that we’re hoping he shows up at the Stranger’s Election Night Bash at Spitfire. Of course, we knew Hugh was a good time after we found his his Facebook photos. But the more we learn about Hugh, the more fun he sounds. Check this out

Mr. Foskett has made some waves recently…. this Young Republican in a sombrero vomiting explosively and fondling his male comrades. By an amazing coincidence, Hugh Foskett was my student back in the spring. I have some small experience dealing with the young gentleman. And I have to say that I’d be lying through my teeth if I claimed this came as any surprise. He’s just the kind of guy you expect to find handcuffed to a radiator by a tranny streetwalker, you know?

We didn’t, actually, but we know it now. And, hey, what do the French have to say about young Hugh Foskett? I don’t know, but it looks pretty positive. And I hope that whiny-ass little pansy who thought our treatment of Hugh was “mean-spirited” see this: Our endorsement of Hugh won him another endorsement. Or at least our endorsement was endorsed. Or something. But still—a Republican running in the 43rd with two endorsements! Has that ever happened before?

So join us and hopefully Hugh—drinks on us, Hugh!—for The Stranger’s Election Night Bash on Tuesday November 7, at Spitfire (2219 4th Ave). The party starts at 5 pm—when election results start coming in from the East Coast—and goes all night long. Come party with us as Rick Santorum goes down—and the Dems, with any luck (please shut your mouth, John Kerry!), take one or both houses of Congress. We’ve got 22 television screens, satellite feeds from over the country, and red and blue drink specials. Here’s hoping that The Stranger’s Election Night Bash at Spitfire in 2006, like our election night party at Chop Suey in 2004, is such a blowout that we run out of booze. But this time it’ll be because we’re toasting our victories, not drowning our sorrows. Join us for what just might be the party of the year.


Start Your Novels Today

posted by on November 1 at 10:38 AM

Happy National Novel Writing Month. For the third November in a row, I will be writing 1,667 words a day until the end of the month, whereupon I will have a 50,000-word unpublishable novel. Shut up. It’s an exercise.
This year I will be joined by two potential first-time-novelists: Our Worst Enemy Cienna Madrid and Stranger contributor Davida Marion. In an attempt to make our private pain a very public one, we’ve agreed to check in once a week on Slog with exemplary passages from our respective novels.
Will Cienna become the next chick lit phenomenon?
Will Davida go on to inspire the next generation of literature?
Will I get nailed for copying my books from Wikipedia?
Answers by November 30th.

Be Careful With the Details of the War

posted by on November 1 at 10:18 AM

Whoops! As the Morning News noted, a classified military PowerPoint slide, complete with handy color-coded chart, has turned up in New York Times. Follow the arrows to “chaos” in Iraq…


Buying It

posted by on November 1 at 10:16 AM


This is Vancouver artist Alex Pensato’s Readymade Happening: The Re-Birthing of a Capital Generating Machine Manifesting Itself as a Retail Space for Lease (Study #5). It’s part of the grand Or Gallery auction happening online through tomorrow. Prices are completely affordable; the starting bid for this Pensato is $150.

Closed Cantwell

posted by on November 1 at 8:59 AM

As we’ve been reporting on the SLOG for the last few days, a group of students wearing Mike McGavick t-shirts was turned away from a Cantwell rally last weekend. (Here’s their own YouTube of it.) Since then, the students have been getting a lot of press. We have a version of the story coming out in our weekly print version today by Sarah Mirk.

Mirk had a hell of a time getting the Cantwell campaign to return calls for her story, and when the campaign finally did call Sarah back, it had very little to say.

Last night, at around 10:30pm—after this story had been churning for four days—the campaign finally sent out this overwrought response to the students’ complaint.

Last week the Cantwell campaign paid to rent a Bellevue Community College space, paid for BCC campus security officers to police the event and at the request of BCC paid for police officers from the town of Bellevue so we could hold a Democratic rally for several congressional races with Senator Obama. When a handful of McGavick supporters attempted to join the Democratic rally, they were told they were welcome if they were willing to leave their campaign gear outside. They declined our invitation to join our rally. These students protested immediately outside the Democratic rally before, during and after the event. They protested several feet away from Senator Cantwell’s vehicle until she departed the site. Given these McGavick supporters’ behavior before, during and after the Democratic rally, it is clear it is their intention was to be disruptive.

Our campaign invited our supporters to come, students were certainly welcome to attend — and many did. Over 2,500 people did attend to support the Democratic ticket. Our campaign did not ask for BCC classes to be cancelled, nor were we at any time aware that BCC classes were being cancelled or that any BCC students were being required to attend by their professors. At no time did our campaign violate these students’ civil rights.

I’m not a lawyer, so I have no idea if the Cantwell campaign is making any sense, but I am a voter, and this looks really lame. First of all, Cantwell’s long overdue response (until the story blew up, all they’d give out was a terse one-liner) only makes matters worse. They should have apologized for the gaffe right away… or else, fully explained themselves in a less defensive way. And my God, Cantwell is the heavy frontrunner. McGavick’s campaign is (was) floundering. What’s the big deal about a small group of students in McGavick tee-shirts? Cantwell’s first response, barring the students from the event, was wildly out of proportion to the situation. Cantwell’s second response—dismissive one-liners—only exacerbated the story. And now, this overwrought stuff about the students’ “disruptive” behavoir? Maybe the students “protested several feet away from Senator Cantwell’s vehicle until she departed the site” because they were mad about being locked out of a rally on their campus!

Cantwell would be making sense if she had rented out a room at the Sheraton for a fund raising dinner, but this was a rally at a community college. By her logic, Bush should be able to schedule a rally and not let in John Kerry supporters… Oh, wait. Oh, right. And that was lame too, people. And rightly, we all laughed, scoffed and bitched about that.

Why am I so hung up on this story? Because it resonates off my experience covering both campaigns this summer.

Check it out.

McGavick did a series of events this summer, taking over picnic sites at community parks, and he didn’t even skip a beat while the Cantwell campaign—the Cantwell campaign—had a guy setting up shop in the middle of the crowd with a tripod and a video camera.

As for regular Cantwell supporters: Well, at the McGavick event I was at, a college student who supported Cantwell, stood up and asked a stern question, and McGavick answered it in stride.

Cantwell also held some of those outdoor rallies this summer at picnic grounds. At the one I attended in southwest Washington, there was a guy walking around beforehand with a video camera. The Cantwell staffer running the event was freaking out, fretting and wondering exactly who the guy was, and what should she do? I told her I’d ask the guy who he was. “Thank you,” she sighed. It turned out the guy was with a Democratic candidate who was running for local office there in the 18th legislative district, and he just wanted some footage of his Democratic candidate with Cantwell.

I found the campaign’s behavoir that day a little strange. Now, I see that it’s standard Cantwell operating procedure.

The Morning News

posted by on November 1 at 7:15 AM

John Kerry, the guy you voted for in 2004, gives the GOP a chance in 2006.

P.W. Botha, the guy you protested in the 1980s, is dead.

LSD: A weapon in the war on terror.

Pot: Harder to get, thanks to the war in Lebanon.

Chaos in Iraq has increased dramatically in last 8 months.

Testosterone levels in men have dropped dramatically over last 20 years.

Israel I: Negotiating Prisoner Swap with Hezbollah.

Israel II: Bombing Gaza.

Bush gets the bad news on Darfur.

Middle class gets the bad news about the cost of living.

In Local News
Nickels suggests 4 lane tunnel instead of 6 lane tunnel.

Woman gives birth 36 hours after first realizing she’d been pregnant.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Momentum for Surface/Transit Option

posted by on October 31 at 5:43 PM

City Council transportation chair Jan Drago and council member Peter Steinbrueck have drafted a budgetary mandate (known as a “budget proviso”) that would require the city to spend $500,000 in 2007 to study the surface/transit option for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct if the mayor’s $3.6-$5.5 billion tunnel proves “infeasible.” To date, the city has spent no money studying the surface/transit option. The proviso, if it passes (budget votes don’t happen until around Thanksgiving) will be great news for supporters of the surface/transit option, which the council recently adopted as its preferred backup plan if the tunnel proves too expensive.

John Kerry Likes Dick’s

posted by on October 31 at 4:48 PM

All I can say is today, at around 2:45 p.m. someone called and said “Hey! John Kerry is getting coffee at Vivace near Broadway”. I ran over there with a camera, only to catch him and his party (who were also carrying Dick’s Drive-In cups) already getting into a mini-van. I was desperately trying to paparazzi them before they drove away, when Kerry rolled down the window and said, “Aw, do you want a picture?”. He graciously got back out of the mini-van and posed for this picture. I look like a dork. He looks confident, like a man who just who just started a brawl with the President….


Will John Kerry Cost Us Two Elections?

posted by on October 31 at 4:42 PM

If you’re just tuning in, John Kerry said something today that the right-wing noise machine is spinning as an insult to our troops:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

And away we go…

“He insulted the troops!” says Bush.

“No, I insulted you!” says Kerry.

“Apologize!” says McCain.

“Just get it over with and apologize!” says Sullivan.

“Fuck no, don’t apologize!” says Kos.

“It really is Bush who should apologize!” says Joshua Marshall.

“Attack!” say desperate, right-wing hacks.

Lovin’ and Hatin’ with K-Fed

posted by on October 31 at 3:57 PM

Kevin Federline makes his, uh, journalism debut with an article for the New York Post. Okay, so I know that the NYPost doesn’t waste time courting eggheads, but this shit is unreal:

I honestly think the media is a give-and-take. It’s not that I can say, Completely f - - k you. I could just only say, Halfway f - - k you. But I know why they do it. It’s because they’re making a lot of money. So I can’t be mad at you. I come from a place where people do a lot of things to make money. So I cannot be mad at them. But I like that real journalism. I like putting other people’s words in a sentence and making people, like, their faces light up about it. Not frown. Light up.

And if that doesn’t make your eyes bleed:

It’s almost like, I didn’t realize how much people love to hate me! It’s crazy. I couldn’t really point a finger. You know, maybe I blame myself, like, explaining to people what kind of dad I am, because I like to keep my private life private. You don’t see pictures of me with my kids everywhere because I don’t - that’s not me. I want to do a book - the book is definite. It will be a biography of my life until I met my wife, so people will better understand who I am. I haven’t done it yet. You know, I’ll get a ghostwriter in there.

On another note, K-Fed reminds me of a ferret I drowned in a toilet once. On accident.

20 Artworks to See Before You Die

posted by on October 31 at 3:48 PM

The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones shares his list here.

The Truth Hurts

posted by on October 31 at 3:48 PM

The thing that is most despised in American politics is the truth. What John Kerry said about the types of people who are stuck with fighting the war in Iraq is not only true but it’s a truth everyone knows. It is the poor and uneducated who are paying for this war (and all other wars) with their lives. But the truth is not what matters, as this press release by the Washington State Republican Party makes clear:

Cantwell Joins Kerry Despite Offensive Comment About Troops “Silent Senator” takes campaign cash but won’t condemn remarks Seattle — Sen. Maria Cantwell honors former presidential candidate and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at a campaign fundraising event today in Seattle, but refuses to condemn Kerry’s remarks against the troops in Iraq and return the campaign cash from today’s event, said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Diane Tebelius.

“It’s deplorable that Senator Kerry would belittle our troops who are fighting terrorism in Iraq, and it’s inexcusable that Senator Cantwell would say nothing to defend our men and women in uniform, but instead honor John Kerry in Seattle and take campaign cash from today’s event,” Tebelius said.

Sen. Kerry said that: “You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t you get stuck in Iraq.”

Fighting terrorism in Iraq? How can anyone say such a thing and not feel embarrassed?

You Know What Else Rules About The Upcoming Election?

posted by on October 31 at 3:35 PM

Tim Eyman. MIA.

For the first time since 1998, Eyman doesn’t have anything on this year’s ballot. (Last year, he had I-900, the performance audit initiative.)

But this year, both his efforts, a gay rights repeal and his latest $30 tab initiative, failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Sorry, I haven’t responded to any of your e-mail lately, Tim. Maybe I’ll run into you on election night?

Oppressed BCC Students Take It To YouTube

posted by on October 31 at 2:01 PM

They have a legit first amendment beef—and the video to prove it.

But pairing Cantwell with Fidel? Hm… overplaying their hand? And what’s with the booze? I thought Mike! was the drinky candidate in this race.

Best Extinction Comeback Ever

posted by on October 31 at 1:26 PM

Who needs ghouls and horror and sexy, sexy [insert plural noun here] when you’ve got the motherfucking bone crusher?

From the International Herald Tribune

Europe’s immense bearded vulture, sometimes called the [motherfucking] “bone crusher,” boasts a wingspan of nearly 10 feet, plucks meals from avalanche debris, and breeds its chicks in the subzero temperatures of the wintertime Alps. Its gastric juices register a “1” on the pH scale, nearly pure acid. Seething belly bile is a necessity for a creature that subsists mainly on weather-bleached bones.

They were close to extinct, they’re coming back, and they’re badder than you.

From the wikipedia article on the motherfucking bone crusher (aka the “Lammergeier,” or “lamb-vulture”):

Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. It usually disdains the rotting meat however and lives on a diet that is 90% bone. It will drop large bones from a height to crack them to get smaller pieces. Its old name of Ossifrage (or [the motherfucking] Bone Crusher) relates to this habit. Live tortoises are also dropped in similar fashion to crack them open… According to legend, the Greek playwright Aeschylus was killed when a tortoise was dropped on his bald head by a Lammergeier which mistook it for a stone.

They’ve got acid for body fluids, they eat pure bone, and they kill playwrights for sport.

Theater is doomed.

All hail the motherfucking bone crusher!

Best Scientists Ever

posted by on October 31 at 1:19 PM

This might come in handy after the Stranger’s Election Party next week: British scientists are growing human livers in the laboratory.

Rapists 1, Women 0

posted by on October 31 at 1:05 PM

A Maryland court has ruled a woman can’t withdraw her consent to sex after initial penetration has occured.

In other words, once sex starts, you forfeit control over your own body. Changed your mind? Too bad. Feel coerced? Tough shit. Even if you say “stop,” or “no,” or “that hurts”—even if you yell and struggle and beg—your partner can do whatever he wants, as long as it’s already in. His right to come trumps your right to control your own body (by “withdrawing consent” to sex) every time.

The complainant, an 18-year-old-girl, told the court that the defendent “got on top of me and he tried to put it in and it hurt. So I said stop and that’s when he kept
pushing it in and I was pushing his knees to get off me.”

Pretty clear-cut, right?

Here’s how the court responded: “Under Maryland law, the answer is “no” to the question, “If a female consents to sex initially and, during the course of the sex act to which she consented, for whatever reason, she changes her mind and the … man continues until climax, does the result constitute rape?”


Via Feministing.

Stomping for Votes

posted by on October 31 at 12:57 PM

While Sen. Cantwell staffers may be denying McGavick supporters entry into Cantwell rallies (lame!), Sen. George Allen (R-VA)—currently down 50-46 to his Democratic challenger Jim Webb—is having unwanted guests thrown to the floor and beaten up. Check this out! (from HorsesAss).

Kerry vs. Bush, the Rematch

posted by on October 31 at 12:50 PM

If there was still any question about whether this mid-term election has been “nationalized,” it was answered today, with President Bush’s spokesman going on the attack against Senator John Kerry (warning: the rest of this sentence may cause flashbacks) over Kerry’s position on the Iraq War and the troops fighting it.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republicans unleashed a firestorm of criticism Tuesday against Sen. John Kerry after the Vietnam veteran told college students they’d “get stuck in Iraq” if they didn’t work hard in school.

Kerry later said the remark was a “botched joke” meant to target the president, not U.S. troops.

Before the clarification, White House press secretary Tony Snow, House Majority Leader John Boehner and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, lambasted the four-term senator and demanded he apologize.

Even more than they’d like to be sparring with New York liberal Charles Rangel in the run-up to the Nov. 7 Congressional elections, Republicans would love to be sparring with Kerry, the Massachusetts liberal whom Bush tarred, feathered, and then defeated in 2004. (And who, by the way, is not up for re-election this year.)

But if you liked what Rangel had to say yesterday when he pushed back against attacks from Dick Cheney (as many Slog commenters clearly did) you’ll love Kerry’s response to today’s Republican attacks on him — a response Kerry delivered, in part, from Seattle.

If anyone should apologize, Mr. Kerry said, it is President Bush and his administration officials who started the ill-conceived war. He said his remarks had been distorted and called the criticism directed at him the work of “assorted right-wing nut jobs and right-wing talk show hosts.”

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy,” Mr. Kerry said in a statement. “I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.”

I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq,” Mr. Kerry went on. “It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.”

Maryland Court Rules: Once It’s In, You’re Fucked

posted by on October 31 at 12:48 PM

Run this by me again: You want me to be abstinent, but I cannot withdraw my consent once the sex has actually started? Jesus Christ.

Car Commercial

posted by on October 31 at 12:36 PM

Most car commercials are insipid, but this one is frighteningly insipid:

Via Sullivan.

Is Hugh Foskett Celibate?

posted by on October 31 at 12:26 PM

His president hopes so. From the AP:

States can use their U.S. grants for abstinence education to reach out to people in their 20s rather than just focusing on teenagers, new federal guidance says.

The guidelines for this year’s $50 million program, known as Title V, include new wording about the populations that are the focus of the abstinence education. The age range cited is 12 through 29 years old.

Wade Horn, assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, said Congress has stipulated that the money should be targeted to those most likely to bear children out-of-wedlock….

One advocacy group says using abstinence education for twentysomethings won’t work. That’s because more than 90 percent have already had sexual intercourse, said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, an organization that seeks to help young people make responsible decisions about their sexual health.

“To be preaching at these adults a message of abstinence-only is absurd because it simply won’t work,” he said.

It may seem unfair to drag young Hugh Foskett into this, but I’m just following John Avarosis’ lead here. Over at Americablog , John has repeatedly made this very valid point: We have a right to expect that Republican elected officials and GOP candidates are walking their party’s talk on abstinence.

The GOP has made preventing sex-outside-of-marriage one of their chief policy goals. Winning the war in Iraq? Getting spending under control? Doing something about the health care crisis? All that can wait. What really preoccupies this White House, the GOP, and their Christian conservative base is making sure that men and women aren’t having sex outside of marriage. (American gays and lesbians, of course, can only have sex in Massachusetts.) So we have a right to know if GOP elected officials and GOP candidates are living up to the sexual standards they’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars—our money!—promoting. We have a right to ask single GOP candidates if they’re abstinent and married GOP candidates if they were virgins on their wedding nights.

So, Hugh: Are you a virgin? I’m going to fill out my absentee ballot tonight, and I’d kinda like to know. And how about you, Mr. McGavick? Virgin on both your wedding nights?

Scream-Worthy Soundtracks

posted by on October 31 at 12:14 PM

I’m an unapologetic fan of horror films, and by extension, the role that music plays in scaring people senseless. Audible ingredients are obviously important to movies of any genre, but when it comes to building and maintaining suspense, disorienting or disturbing an audience, or just generally creating uncomfortable ambience, a carefully crafted score or soundtrack is a critical tool for a horror film director.

The first time I remember being fundamentally spooked by a soundtrack was when I heard the ghostly strains of theremin that color the score to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 psychological thriller, Spellbound. The theremin (pictured below) went on to become the basis for many frightful features, including The Thing From Another World and The Day the Earth Stood Still, the latter of which was composed by Bernard Herrmann.


Herrmann ended up being Hitchcock’s most prominent collaborator and the man responsible for The Trouble With Harry, The Birds, Vertigo, and most notably, the stabbing violins of Psycho. Hitchcock was well aware of the gravity sound added to his work, and always gave Herrmann elaborate directions.

Unsurprisingly, late ’70s and early ’80s slasher films were infected by the same plastic sound that was infiltrating pop music at that time: the synthesizer. While this made for more than a few thoroughly unscary, dated-sounding scores, it was this simple, effective element that made Halloween one of the most disturbing movies of that era. In an effort to stay within the confines of his paltry budget, director John Carpenter composed Michael Myers’ tinny, relentless theme music himself.

More recently, I was impressed by the score for 28 Days Later, composed by Canadian avant garde art punks Godspeed! You Black Emperor, a beautifully paced and intricately constructed post-apocolyptic soundtrack. Despite what I enjoy in non-cinematic contexts, I find it completely distracting when directors recruit industrial rock artists like Trent Reznor (Seven) or Marilyn Manson (the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre) to create a what amounts to a music video soundtrack.

Sometimes the sheer absence of sound or the misappropriation of a formerly benign song as the backdrop for something henious is the most effective device of all. David Lynch used Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” with chilling results in Blue Velvet, as did Stanley Kubrick with “Singing in the Rain” in themerciless rape scene from A Clockwork Orange.


Locally, one of my favorite connoisseurs of disturbing music is KEXP’s Greg Vandy. Every Halloween, he does a special edition of his Roadhouse show using gothic alt-country and vintage Americana as the foundation. You can listen to this year’s edition here (just click on “most recent show”).

Is Masturbation Considered Abstinence?

posted by on October 31 at 11:57 AM

After I read the previously-mentioned, amazingly bizarre story about how the federal goverment is now trying to make grown people stop having sex, I found this piece by Steven Landsburg in Slate in which he opines that net porn prevents rape. I think calling this “proof” is a bit of a stretch, but it’s interesting, especially from a source like Slate, which I have always felt was sort nanny-state-liberal about icky things like porn. But apparently Dr. Landsburg has a book coming out entitled More Sex is Safer Sex, and Other Surprises, so perhaps he’s ramping up for that…

Chinese Peasant Hat (‘n’ Boots)

posted by on October 31 at 11:56 AM


The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban based his design for the Centre Pompidou-Metz—construction on it begins Tuesday—on a Chinese peasant hat. It also looks like a cathedral, and even has a central “nave.”

There’s something tawdry and gimmicky about wearing your metaphors on your sleeve like this, about all this simplistic free association in architecture. Why do buildings have to be birds and spines and turning torsos and sailboats? Why can’t they just be buildings?

And why, in the face of everything I’ve just said, do I Iike this oversized hut so much?

Scott Lawrimore suggested looking at the building in the context of the 1955 wonder-of-the-world Hat ‘n’ Boots Seattle gas station, which was saved from demolition in 1997 and moved, “hat first, then boots,” on December 13, 2003, to Oxbow Park in Georgetown. According to, the unfinished restoration of the Hat will require $50,000.

Here’s an early shot of the gorgeous thing.

Hat n Boots Seattle_WA (1).jpg

Yeah Library!

posted by on October 31 at 11:30 AM

Starting tomorrow, November 1, the DVD-checkout period is being extended to two weeks. Good news for those of us without cable who get an entire season of a television show at once. Ever tried to watch a whole season of The Sopranos in a week? It isn’t healthy for the psyche.

Sonics Initiative. Election Cheat Sheet

posted by on October 31 at 11:12 AM

I got a voice mail this morning from a befuddled voter who was confused about City of Seattle Initiative 91 (the Sonics subsidy initiative). He was against subsidizing the Sonics, but he said the wording was confusing, and he didn’t know how to vote. And he added: “Where is your guys’ voter guide?”

I apologize. Our endorsement issue (with our acclaimed Stranger Election Control Board Cheat Sheet) ran last week. But I forgot to re-run the cheat sheet this week. We have had it up on-line ever since our endorsements hit two weeks ago, though. And it will be in tomorrow’s paper.

As to I-91, vote YES.

Here’s our I-91 endorsement from 10/19:

Initiative 91

Vote YES

Admittedly, this is a bit of mob-rule politics, which isn’t generally the best way to make public policy. But the SECB sides with the rabble on this one. How else can we get the politicians to listen when it comes to putting the kibosh on our politicians’ penchant for subsidizing professional sports teams?

This initiative mandates that any public financing for professional sports be repaid at “fair value”—defined as the rate of a 30-year treasury bond, now about 5%. The reasonable proposal netted 24,000 signatures this spring in response to the Sonics incorrigible gambit to get $200 million in public subsidies for souping up KeyArena. (The public was still eating its original KeyArena loan to the tune of nearly $2.5 million a year).

Give fans reasonable ticket prices and stop jonesing for a yuppie entertainment plaza, and the SECB would be happy to support the Sonics and Storm. But we’re not interested in catering to the NBA’s bloated, unsustainable business model.

Opponents of the initiative claim that its requirements “handcuff” the city when it comes to working out the details of any deal to keep Seattle in the big-league professional-sports circuit. “You’re asking too much!” the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce admonished I-91 advocate Chris Van Dyk in front of the SECB. To which Van Dyk responded: “All I’m asking is that they make rent.” Vote Yes.

And in the Slog, I recently wrote:

Seattle Times: Technical Foul
Posted by JOSH FEIT at 02:59 PM
The Seattle Times comes out against Initiative 91 today. (I-91 is the angry angry initiative that would prevent the city from subsidizing pro sports teams by mandating a profitable return on the loan.)
Despite I-91’s nasty tenor, The Stranger Election Control Board came out in favor of the initiative (our endorsements hit the street today). I actually wrote a column against the initiative back in June. But we had the proponents (Chris Van Dyk) and opponents (the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce) come in last week—and our board (myself included) ended up siding with Van Dyk.
It was a tough call—the presence of the NBA and WNBA has an intangible, yet satisfying effect on a city, including Seattle. And personally, I’m a big NBA fan. Go! Gilbert Arenas!
But ultimately, we just couldn’t stomach the idea of subsidizing the NBA’s self-important business model: Outrageous salaries; prohibitive ticket prices; and one that revisions stadiums as yuppie entertainment palaces that selfishly and consciously suck business away from the surrounding neighborhood.
And that brings me to my gripe with the Seattle Times’ NO endorsement.
They conclude by stating: “The SuperSonics might not be delivering like a 30-year bond, but the team still has a positive impact on businesses.”
Says who? Even chamber of commerce folks who spoke to our edit board didn’t peddle that whopper. (They did talk quite eloquently about the intangible benefits, and again, that made it a tough call for us.)
The Seattle Times needs to cite a source on their suspect claim. Otherwise, it reads like, well, a lie.
I’ve been reporting on this damn issue for several years now. And several recent studies, one by the University of Minnesota, one by the Lincoln Insititute, one by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and another by the CATO Institute found that, if anything, professional sports teams may actually hurt local economies. The CATO study, for example, debunks industry claims that sports teams generate new consumer spending (they actually just suck up existing discretionary spending), and concludes, “the net economic impact [is] a reduction in real per-capita income over the entire metropolitan area.”
As for the Sonics’ recent claim that they pump about $234 million annually into the city, UW Professor Bill Beyers, hired by Seattle Center to do an economic analysis, said the Sonics’ impact study was “not a good study” and that the researcher who did it “did not know what they were doing…”
The economic impact argument would be a convincing and compelling one…if it were true. It’s irresponsible of the Seattle Times to haul it out without proving it…or at least citing the source.

Here’s some of my coverage of the issue:
An article.

A column.

Oh, and here’s the aforementioned column I wrote in June when I used to be against the initiative.

Party With The Stranger On Election Night

posted by on October 31 at 11:04 AM


Where were you when George W. Bush got re-elected?

I was at The Stranger’s Election Night Party at Chop Suey—me and hundreds of others. The place was so packed you could hardly move. We were full of hope early in the evening, but then watched in horror as state after state went red. We stared in disbelief as “values voters” and knuckle draggers in Jesusland sent George W. Bush back to the White House for a second term. All the time and energy we poured into meet-ups, our emotional investment, Howard Dean, the checks we wrote Kerry, Music for America, “Vote or Die”—all for nothing.

The serious substance abuse began once it was clear that Bush was going to win. People that had been drinking soda began drinking beer. People that had been nursing beers began doing shots. People that had been slamming shots began banging their heads against the wall. Our sorrows were great, and it took oceans of alcohol to drown them. By midnight something magical happened: Chop Suey ran out of booze. Kegs went dry, the hard alcohol was mostly gone. We were reduced to drinking shots of Goldschlagger.

It looks like something magical might happen again this year. The Democrats—with Howard Dean in charge—got up off their knees and fought back. Now the Dems are poised to take control of the House or Senate—or both. Republicans all over the country are running scared. Rick Santorum is going down. George Allen is going down. Mike McGavick is going down. Katherine “I Stole the 2000 Election” Harris is going down. Ken “I Stole the 2004 Election” Blackwell is going down. Hugh Foskett is going down.

The Stranger is hosting an election night party: Tuesday November 7, at Spitfire (2219 4th Ave). The party starts at 5 pm—when election results start coming in from the East Coast—and goes all night long. We’ve got 22 television screens, satellite feeds from over the country, and red and blue drink specials. Here’s hoping that Spitfire in 2006, like Chop Suey in 2004, runs out of booze. But this time it’ll be because we’re toasting our victories, not drowning our sorrows. Join us for what just might be the party of the year.

Rise of the Machines

posted by on October 31 at 11:02 AM


Today in scary Halloween geek news…

This month’s Wired magazine has an ominous article on the rise of so-called “botnets,”—armies of millions of malicious programs lurking on our computers, waiting for orders to attack.

“After learning about bots, you might think, ‘I feel hopelessly outgunned and outmatched,’” says Peter Tippett, CTO of security consultancy Cybertrust. “You are.”

Like viruses, bots spread by installing themselves on Net-connected computers. The difference is that, while viruses act individually according to an inflexible program, bots respond to external commands and then execute coordinated attacks. The operational software, known as command and control, or C&C, resides on a remote server. Think of a botnet as a terrorist sleeper cell: Its members lurk silently within ordinary desktop computers, inert and undetected, until C&C issues orders to strike.

While botnets are thought to be responsible for up to 90% of all e-mail spam, that’s not the scary part. The article recounts how one hacker unleashed his bot armies on an Israeli anti-spam company called Blue Security and in about 2 weeks put them out of business for good, doing serious damage to some of the Internet’s biggest companies along the way.

In the space of two weeks, an unidentified assailant had carried out a series of devastating attacks. He mowed down Six Apart, Tucows, several of their top-tier service providers, Prolexic, UltraDNS, and hundreds of thousands of Web sites, along with millions of Internet users who rely on their services.

And he put Blue Security out of business. Why? Who knows. “Someone decided to get rid of Blue Security, and he did,” Evron says. “It’s as simple as that.”

The conclusion is that we’re facing either a net that becomes less and less safe, or an ever-escalating arms race between good botnets and bad botnets. Seriously. And it’s not only pasty-faced, sexless teenagers doing this for thrills, governments are getting in on it too, not to mention “unlawful combatants.”

If you want to break a nuclear launch code,” Cybertrust’s Tippett told British newspaper The Independent last year, “then set a million computers to work on it.” Ominously, one botnet recently detected by Arbor Networks was controlled via chat channels called “jihad” and “allah-akbar.”

So there’s that.

Looking for something a little more tangible to be afraid of? Check out HBO’s new documentary Hacking Democracy, premiering this Thursday. The Democrats may have done a great job of not being Republicans in the past couple months (their most complex strategy to date), but it’s the computers—and the people who write the computers’ code—that really decide elections.

Don’t have HBO? Then how do you watch The Wire?

Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie: Robert Wilson Does Brad Pitt

posted by on October 31 at 10:29 AM


Well, it’s about fucking time: Avant-garde performance visionary Robert Wilson produces a life-size video portrait of Brad Pitt to hype Vanity Fair’s forthcoming, first-ever Art Issue.

To see the video portrait, go here.

(Thanks, Towleroad!)

“Son of a Bitch”

posted by on October 31 at 10:13 AM

So says Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), describing Vice President Dick Cheney and giving Republicans exactly what they want eight days before the election: A fight with a New York liberal.

Extra! Extra!

posted by on October 31 at 9:39 AM

The latest daily newspaper numbers are in.

In the 6th-month period ending Sept. 29: Seattle Times circulation dropped 1.3 percent and the PI dropped 4.9 percent.

Stop the Insanity

posted by on October 31 at 8:44 AM

Some dumbfuckers in the United States started some dumbfucked hugging “movement” by putting some dumbfucking video up on YouTube. It goes like this: You stand in a public place and offer hugs to complete strangers—people who never did you any harm, people who are just minding their own damn business, people who shouldn’t be made to feel anti-social just because they don’t want to be hugged. Well, it seems that this dumbfucking hugging shit has spread to China. From today’s NYT:

Participants opened their arms to embrace passers-by and brandished cards saying “Free hugs” in English and “Care from strangers” and “Refuse to be apathetic” in Chinese, The Beijing News reported.

I hate hugging—no, wait. That’s too strong. I hate hugging people with whom I do not have a relationship that rises to the level of routine physical embrace. I enjoy hugging my boyfriend, my mother, my son, and every now and then my siblings. I do not hug casual acquaintances, co-workers, baristas, or dumbfuck strangers standing around on street corners holding signs that say “Free hugs.” What’s more, I deeply resent being pulled into hugs against my will be hippy-dippy types who presume that everyone needs a nice hug every now and then.

Well, it seems that I should move to Beijing, where the authorities apparently share my sentiments.

In Beijing, the police moved in and took four huggers on one of the city’s most popular shopping streets away for questioning.

Right fucking on. Here’s hoping all four dumbfuck huggers were summarily executed.

The Morning News

posted by on October 31 at 8:30 AM

Iraq: President Talibani Says U.S. Troops Need to Stay.

North Korea: North Korea Says It Will Return to Negotiating Table.

And, Once Again Ladies and Gentleman, St. Louis: Police Stun Gun kills Teen.

No Fucking: DHHS Urges Abstinence for Adults.

No Hugging: Chinese Alarmed at Hugging Campaign.

No Balls: Feds Let Chevron Off the Hook.

At the State Level, with 1 Week to Go: Dems Poised to Take Control of State Legislatures.

At the Federal Level, with 1 Week to Go: Analysts Continue to Predict Massive Democratic Wave.

Pakistan: Bombing sparks Massive Protest.

Somalia: Peace Talks Stalled.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Impressive pumpkins

posted by on October 30 at 8:57 PM

154166293_b68f1e302e.jpgSearching the interweb for pumpkin carving ideas, I found this great set on Flickr. Prepare to be inspired.

$1.65 Billion* (*Colbert Not Included)

posted by on October 30 at 5:05 PM

As reported everywhere, YouTube is purging itself of all content with copyrights owned by Comedy Central—which is to say The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and South Park (which must constitute a significant percentage of YouTube viewership). Other TV shows, and music videos whose copyrights are owned by major labels will surely follow, along with most other even vaguely copyrighted material that isn’t explicitly licensed by the owner for online use. There will obviously be exceptions, but all the newish clips we’ve gotten used to sharing will again relegated to the world of P2P and bittorrent sharing, and YouTube will become an outlet for sanctioned TV and movie commercials and cell phone movies of kittens climbing curtains. And the Daily Show clips will cost $1.99.

YouTube is shaping up to be the top-loading VCR of the digital age. Or maybe another Too good for this world. Either way: pirates get your stream-recording software revved up in a hurry. Store’s closing.

The Male Pill

posted by on October 30 at 4:49 PM

And, no, I’m not talking about Viagra.

Men could soon be able to use a ‘male Pill’ that has no side effects…

Scientists have discovered a substance that can temporarily block the development of sperm without altering testosterone levels and without causing unwanted side effects. They hope human trials of a new contraceptive for men based on their discovery could begin within a few years.

Zombies are a Rich Metaphor

posted by on October 30 at 4:25 PM

I always check in on Wikipedia’s “Today’s Featured Article.” (It’s like the joy of listening to an I-pod on random play) … And today’s “Today’s Featured Article” (a famous movie)—is the best one I’ve ever stumbled onto.

I love how everyone loves, but no one can explain, this disquieting film. Everyone seems to feel that the movie is rich with meaning (and it is), but no one can exactly put their finger on it … other than to connect it to the zeitgeist of 60s subversion. Is it the scene when the little girl eats her mother? Or is it when the posse mistakes the black guy for a zombie and shoots him dead?

Just listen to this excited, reverant, but ultimately vague Wikipedia explanation:

It is so thoroughly riven with critiques of late 1960s American society that one historian described the film as “subversive on many levels.”

That is my favorite thing about this movie: Everyone feels it, but no one can explain it. For example: What “critiques” is this one historian referring to?

Re: Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on October 30 at 4:23 PM

Holy shit—I agree with Ken Hutcherson about something!

When a couple seeking to adopt a white baby is charged $35,000 and a couple seeking a black baby is charged $4,000, the image that comes to the Rev. Ken Hutcherson’s mind is of a practice that was outlawed in America nearly 150 years ago—the buying and selling of human beings.

The practice, which is widespread among private adoption facilitators, of charging prospective parents different fees depending on the race or ethnicity of the child they adopt is one that Hutcherson is fighting to change from his Redmond, Wash., church.

Couldn’t agree more—this practice is despicable. The article doesn’t go on to mention the even more distressing fact that mixed-race children are the hardest of all to place, since most white couples, black couples, Asian couples, Indian couples, etc., seeking to adopt won’t consider adopting a mixed-race child.

But while I support the Rev. in this, I fear his proposed solution:

The campaign to change the law is directed at Washington state legislators, but Hutcherson said he would prefer to see the federal government step in and create one set of regulations governing adoption, rather than leaving the issue to the states to decide.

Hmm… how much do you want to bet that Ken’s preferred single set of federal adoption regulations would include a ban on adoptions by gay and lesbian singles and couples as well as a ban on race-based/racist adoption fee structures? Adoption laws across the United States are a complicated patchwork—in some ways they’re a mess. In some states same-sex couples can adopt, in some we can’t. In some states we can adopt as single parents, then do an expensive, redundant second-parent adoption. In some states we can’t adopt at all—as singles or as couples. But the mess currently benefits gays and lesbians and children.

If the feds stepped in to impose uniform national adoption laws it’s a safe bet that they would ban all adoptions by gays and lesbians—which would please Ken about as much as banning those racist fees.

But make no mistake: The real victims of a gay adoption ban are not adult gays and lesbians who want to be parents. Ban adoptions by same-sex couples or gay singles and a lot more gay men and lesbians will be visiting fertility clinics and hiring surrogates—hell, you’ll even see more gay and lesbian co-parenting, with two same sex couples pooling, as it were, their sperm and eggs to start shared families.

Nope, the victims of a gay adoption ban will be kids. There are more kids out there that need to be adopted than there are parents willing and able to adopt them. Banning gay adoptions will not stop gays that want to have families from starting families. It will just mean that more kids—infants and in the system—will never find loving homes. More will spend a lifetime in foster care.

And guess what, Ken? A ban on gay parents will disproportionately harm African-American kids. They are among the hardest children to place for adoption—that’s why adoption agencies “offer” African American kids at low, low prices. Lots of these hard-to-place African American kids—older kids, HIV-infected kids, drug-exposed kids—are adopted by gay and lesbian parents. It seems that many gay couples, feeling a bit like outcasts themselves, feel a special responsibility to take in kids that no one else seems to want.

Like these guys did

Steve Lofton, a stay-at-home father, and Roger Croteau are raising five children: Frank, 14, Tracy, 14, Bert, 10, Wayne, 8, and Ernie, 5. Frank, Tracy and Bert have been with Lofton and Croteau since they were infants, making this the only family that they’ve ever known. But because of Florida’s ban, this may not be their permanent family. In fact, the state has been actively searching for a home for Bert, who was born HIV-positive, because he no longer tests positive and is now considered “adoptable.”


Of course Lofton and Croteau haven’t been allowed to adopt their kids—fuck Florida—which serves no one’s interests. Not the state’s, not this couple’s, not their kids’. Hopefully Ken can see that.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on October 30 at 3:35 PM

Ok, I admit, this is not your typical note from the Prayer Warrior. Those usually come via email, and this one comes via ABC News. Still, how can today’s quote from Ken Hutcherson pass without notice?


“When it comes to adoption, America needs an enema and I’m hoping God made me the chocolate laxative,” Hutcherson said.

Reese & Ryan

posted by on October 30 at 2:50 PM

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe are getting un-hitched.

The couple’s rep released a statement to TMZ Monday morning that says “We are saddened to announce that Reese & Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time.”

Sources say Witherspoon spoke with Kaufman about divorcing Ryan Phillippe, her husband of seven years. The couple has two children. They met at Witherspoon’s 21st birthday party.

Moral of the story: You’re supposed to get shitfaced at your 21st birthday party, not engaged.

A High-Tech Bitch-Slapping

posted by on October 30 at 2:42 PM

Which local blogger just said this to Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen?

Take it like a man Frank, and get used to it… because in this new media landscape of excerpts and aggregation, you’re my bitch.

(Answer on the click.)

UPDATE: Bellevue Community College students barred from Dem’s event

posted by on October 30 at 2:24 PM

This weekend Josh posted the letter we received from Bellevue Community College second-year Justin Yates, who was kept out of last week’s Burner/Cantwell/Obama appearance at the college. All BCC students received an invitation to the event, but after Yates and four friends reached the front of an hour-long entrance line, a Cantwell staffer wouldn’t let them in. Why? All five wore Mike McGavick t-shirts and signs (Cantwell’s campaign spokeswoman says they had signs, Yates says he has video footage to prove they didn’t).

Cantwell’s campaign says the five were there to disrupt the event and could have come in if they removed their t-shirts. The students, of course, refused. Instead, they stood talking to first the Cantwell staffers, then school administration, for the entire duration of the Dem’s speeches. Eventually, Yates said he told the school he’d be taking legal action. He is a legal studies student, after all.

Yates contacted the ACLU, the ACLJ and met with lawyers today from the Institute for Justice, who he says will probably pick up the case. The ACLU has also, in a somewhat ironic scenario, decided to fight for the Republicans. Postman has a link to the letter the ACLU sent Friday to the college.

They’re arguing on the grounds that the school and the Cantwell campaign violated not only the five students’ federal free speech and association rights, but also the section of Washington law that relates specifically to public community colleges:

Students are guaranteed rights of free inquiry, expression and peaceful assembly upon and within college facilities that are generally open and available to the public. Students and other members of the college community shall always be free to express their views or support causes by orderly means which do not disrupt the regular and essential operation of the college.

As to what they’re suing for (money? official apology?) it’s “yet to be determined,” according to Yates. Cantwell spokewoman Amanda Mahnke says she hasn’t received any notice that the potential lawsuit will be involve the campaign and not just BCC, though Yates indicated both as possible litigants.

In the meantime, Yates has had inquiries from 13 local and national media outlets (including the Seattle Times, the PI, KOMO, KING5, MSNBC and Bill O’Reilly), in addition to already having an article in the King County Journal, an appearence on KIRO and a scheduled appearance on the Lars Larson talk radio show.
“So I’d imagine you’re skipping school this week,” I said.
“No,” Yates replied, “The whole point of all this is the disruption of normal school procedures. They already have obligated us to attend the Cantwell event last Thursday, not more so by our choice but by academic procedure.”

Yates was supposed to attend the event to write a 750 word paper on — get this — Democratic Strategy. Even though he missed the event, I think he’ll have something to say on the topic.

Five community college kids in Republican t-shirts vs. shit-storm of media coverage? Bad move, Cantwell campaign.

Bitter Buffalo

posted by on October 30 at 1:58 PM

BĂ©ton brut!
1.jpg Raw concrete, rough and exposed. This building, the Buffalo City Court Building, was completed in 1974, right around the time Freeway Park, another masterpiece of raw concrete (brutalism), was completed. The judges in this almost windowless structure must be eagles made of marble. The law is inhuman; the law is hard on man.

Be a Mind Sticker

posted by on October 30 at 1:31 PM

Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on October 30 at 1:16 PM

LANSING, Michigan (AP)—A mother who claimed that her missing 7-year-old son had run away was found guilty Friday of his murder.

Lisa Holland cried quietly as jurors found her guilty of first-degree felony murder and child abuse in the death last year of her adopted son Ricky.

Prosecutors said Holland struck the boy in the head and then neglected to seek help as he slowly died of his injury. Her lawyer had told jurors that the real killer was her husband, Tim. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, second-degree murder, and testified against his wife….

When Ricky disappeared in July 2005, the couple said he ran away, sparking an extensive nine-day search by 1,700 volunteers and hundreds of law enforcement officers.

While Michigan now allows single gay or lesbian adults to adopt, it “protects” children from being adopted by same-sex couples.

Scary sexy sleepers

posted by on October 30 at 1:06 PM

This disorder, (and here) in which sleepers aggressively try to initiate sex, is more common than once thought. Can Peter Sarsgaard please get the bug and come crash at my house?

Round 3: Burner Leads Reichert (Just Barely)

posted by on October 30 at 1:05 PM

The group Majority Watch has just completed its third round of polling in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, and this new poll, conducted Oct. 24 - 26, finds Democrat Darcy Burner up by two percentage points.

That’s within the poll’s margin of error, but it’s good news for Burner, because undecideds (about 5-percent of 8th District voters, according to this poll) tend to break for the challenger.

Also: Check out the results in WA-05, which Majority Watch didn’t even bother to poll in the first two rounds, presumably because no one thought an Eastern Washington race would be this close.

(Via Goldy)

The Numbers Don’t Lie

posted by on October 30 at 12:52 PM

Gas taxes work. Citizens of the US, which has the cheapest gas ($2.49 a gallon, of which just 39 cents is tax) of the 21 countries surveyed, use .81 gallons of gas per person per day; in the Netherlands, where the tax on gas is $4.18 a gallon, people use just 0.18 gallons per person per day.


“WSDOT” Rewrites History

posted by on October 30 at 12:40 PM

Seattlest has a great find: the Wikipedia page on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which was revised by “WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Project” on Friday, October 27. (Update: And so does Sarah Mirk!) Most of the changes reveal a strong bias in favor of the tunnel.

From the old version:

Mayor Greg Nickels strongly favors the tunnel option, while the City Council is split among the choices, with a few strongly favoring the surface-level street options.

And the new one:

Mayor Greg Nickels strongly favors the tunnel option, and the City Council selected the tunnel as their preferred alternative by a majority vote in 2004 and 2006.


[The viaduct] 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.

And new:

It is 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.

The new version also eliminates the surface/transit option (formerly defined as an option that would “tear down the viaduct and disperse traffic to surface streets and to Interstate 5”) from a list of alternatives under consideration. Instead, the rewritten version defines the surface option as simply “replacing the viaduct with a six-lane surface-level Alaskan Way.” It also includes a laughably biased description of the tunnel as an option that would “maintain the mobility provided by SR 99 and reconnect downtown to the waterfront” while “open[ing] up Seattle’s waterfront to more scenic views” and eliminating “an unattractive blight on the city that cuts off easy access to the waterfront.”

Nice spin, “WSDOT”. And nice catch, Seattlest.

Fat people still fat, vex nation

posted by on October 30 at 12:29 PM

From yesterday’s NYTimes comes an article on how fat people may be ruining the world (global warming, health care costs, simple aesthetics, etc.) but probably aren’t to blame for it (“Genes play a significant role”). The Obese are labeled as gas hogs and scapegoats (mostly the latter), but the article shies away from drawing any conclusion other than being obese is worse than being armless and fat people eat more when they’re unhappy. They what will help these folks get healthy? Regulations like militant fat taxes? Help like healthier KFC? Soda bans? Derision?

Fat people are more reviled than ever, researchers find, even as more people become fat. When smokers and heavy drinkers turned pariah, rates of smoking and drinking went down. Won’t fat people, in time, follow suit?

Research suggests that the stigma of being fat leads to more eating, not less. And if reducing the stigma suggests a solution, that’s not working either.

“One hypothesis about getting rid of stigma is having more contact with the stigmatized group,” Dr. Brownell says. But with obesity, the stigma seems to be growing along with the national girth.

He cites a famous study in the 1960’s in which children were shown drawings of children with and without disabilities, as well as a drawing of a fat child. Who, they were asked, would you want for your friend? The fat child was picked last.

Now, three researchers have repeated the study, this time with college students. Once again, almost no one, not even fat people, liked the fat person. “Obesity was highly stigmatized,” wrote the researchers, Janet D. Latner of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Albert J. Stunkard of the University of Pennsylvania and C. Terence Wilson of Rutgers University, in the July 2005 issue of Obesity Research.

One problem with blaming people for being fat, obesity researchers say, is that getting thin is not like quitting smoking. People struggle to stop smoking, but many, in the end, succeed. Obesity is different. It’s not that the obese don’t care. Instead, as science has shown over and over, they have limited personal control over their weight. Genes play a significant role, the science says.

Lieberman: The Silver Lining

posted by on October 30 at 12:26 PM

If Lieberman wins, there will be two Independents in the U.S. Senate: Lieberman of CT. and Bernie Sanders of VT. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but this will be the first time in the modern era that the U.S. Senate will have two Is. (Watch for the Time Magazine cover with Lieberman and Sanders on it: “The Independents!”) Sure, there are Independents at the state level … most recently Jesse Ventura in MN. was a big deal. But I think a concentration of them on the national stage, two Senators, is something to applaud.

The de facto effect of a Lieberman win will be to open the country’s mind a little to the possibility of third parties.

Lieberman and Sanders, obviously, come from different poles of the Democratic Party. Sanders is a Democratic-Socialist. And Lieberman is a moderate. And people, please stop freaking out about Lieberman: His voting record is similar to Cantwell’s … (He was, in fact, a key player behind the scenes on the ANWR filibuster and a key vote against cloture on it.) I think he’s going to caucus with the Democrats. Sanders has already promised to. Yes, a Lieberman win will spoil the thrill of a full-fledged Bush referendum on Nov. 7, but I think the longer term effect of two Is in the Senate is more important.

There’s something sneaking up on us (it’s not happening the way it was supposed to) with two Is in the U.S. Senate. And it’s a good thing. The netroots wanted to upend the orthodoxy of the Democratic Party… and well…

And if I’m right and Lieberman caucuses with the Democrats, I think there’s something powerful and helpful (symbolically) to that. With two Is caucusing with the Democrats (rather than the monotone GOP), it lets the public know that the Democratic Party is the anchor for the more Independent minded politicians. In a country that’s longing for less polarization and more compromise, I think that reads really well for the Democrats.

Yes, I realize it could also look like a chipping away of the Democratic Party (vs. a unified GOP), but really, the unified GOP is going to read like an embattled circle the wagons kind of unity after Nov. 7.

Bushmiller’s Delight

posted by on October 30 at 12:18 PM

I honestly don’t remember if this has been Slogged before—it wasn’t in the archives—but in honor of David Schmader uncloseting his Sluggo fetish, I’d like everyone to take a moment to (re)enjoy:

Fast Food fleeing fat

posted by on October 30 at 11:57 AM

Weeks ago, New York City announced it’s considering a ban on trans fat used in restaurants within the city limits. This caused much foodie furor on Slog — some commentors thought the gov’t was within its right to ban the artificial fat, since it might save the state on health care and trans fat can be qualified as a poison, others decried “nanny state bullshit.” In any case, today KFC added some low linolenic soybean grease to the wheels turning toward trans-fat eradication. I don’t think KFC would have taken this step without heavy pressure from somewhere, though it’s usually the role of consumer health groups (not the government) to lean on fast food chains when it comes to upping nutrition. But KFC’s trans fat habit isn’t just in touble with the government, in June a doctor filed suit about the fat content.

Anyway, KFC paid their spokesman, who may or may not be a perky android, to recite lines like this to the papers: ”We’ve tested a wide variety of oils available and we’re pleased we have found a way to keep our chicken finger lickin’ good — but with zero grams of trans fat.

That quote is seamlessly juxtaposed in the AP article with this alarming expert opinion on KFC’s current product:

Artificial trans fat is so common that the average American eats 4.7 pounds of it a year, according to the Food and Drug Administration, yet so unhealthy, city health officials say it belongs in the same category as food spoiled by poor refrigeration or rodent droppings.

KFC is as healthy as rat shit? Maybe our next-door PETA protesters could use a new angle…

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on October 30 at 11:34 AM

Amy Sedaris
You’ve laughed yourself sick at Strangers with Candy, thrilled to her tumbling on The Colbert Report, and carved her name into your thigh with a razor. Now’s your chance to see Amy Sedaris up close and personal, as she takes the stage at Neumo’s with driven cineaste Warren Etheridge for a conversational interview. Afterward she’ll sign copies of her new book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (special signing tickets are available with purchase of the book at the University Book Store), and then everyone will dance to the lo-fi indie pop of Love Is All. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 6 pm, $5 adv/$7 DOS, 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER

Nancy for Halloween

posted by on October 30 at 11:24 AM


After about five Halloweens spent in our patented costumes of “Stoners on the Couch,” this year my fella Jake and I decided to get dressed up and hit the town.

After a small amount of discussion, we decided to go as Nancy and Sluggo, the stars of the Depression-era-and-beyond comic strip Nancy, whose commemorative stamp is pictured above. We both grew up reading Nancy, and found both the girl and her strip completely baffling yet somehow entrancing. As comic genius Lynda Barry puts it, “Nancy was my most favorite comic strip when I was growing up because it was so beautiful and strange and boring and homely and mysterious and normal. I could never not read it.” (Also, since childhood, I’ve been attracted to guys who look vaguely like Sluggo, so the opportunity to see my already vaguely-Sluggoesque boyfriend don full Sluggo regalia was a dream come true.)

Dressing like Sluggo means putting on a T-shirt and a hat. Dressing like Nancy means replicating the look of the weirdest-looking little girl in comic-strip history. Jake said he’d make the costume (he makes things for a living) and I said I’d wear it.

Once I’m ready to become the type of person who puts photos of himself dressed as Nancy on the internet, I will.

Until then, please enjoy this photo of the Nancy wig.

(All praise to Jake.)

An AK-47 Up Your Glory Hole

posted by on October 30 at 11:10 AM

Courtesy of the Brad Blog comes the charming story of a rabid right-winger who threatened a lefty radio host, received a call from that same lefty radio host, and then, when put on the spot, turned all yella and tried to claim that writing “As with Cindy Sheehan the best thing that could happen to you would be seeing some WONDERFUL activist sticking an AK-47 up your Glory Holes and sending you into eternity” wasn’t meant to be taken as a threat.

She Had a Drink, Dave…

posted by on October 30 at 10:54 AM

Albertville, Ala.—Police say a Marshall County teen raped his mother to get revenge on his brother.

Police say 19-year-old Gary Helms, Jr., raped his 45-year-old mother this past weekend at Willow Terrace Trailer Park on Doyle Drive in Albertville. It’s a twisted crime that police say Helms admits.

“From what we understand the rape stemmed from an argument between him and his brother. And apparently they were arguing over a girlfriend. And the rape was some sort of retaliation towards his brother,” said Sgt. Jamie Smith of the Albertville Police Department.

It was unusual retaliation on an unsuspecting victim.

Authorities say Helms’ mother was apparently passed out drunk on the couch when the rape started.

Via Drudge.

The Lesser-Known Risks of Childbirth

posted by on October 30 at 10:52 AM

The world’s unluckiest mother is allegedly raped by her son in an Alabama trailer park.

I need a drink.


posted by on October 30 at 10:49 AM

The image below was on the front page of the New York Times this morning.


These are the kinds of images the White House has desperately been trying to prevent us from seeing for the past several years. It’s not hard to see why—they are fucking heartbreaking. This disaster wouldn’t have gone on this long, and these fucktards wouldn’t still be in power, if more Americans could see the price we’re paying for their insane adventure.

The Times has a slideshow of similarly striking images here.

I’ve been reminded that the image above, of a family grieving for the wasting of their relative’s life in what could be described as “casual wear,” brings to mind the image below, of one of the richest and most powerful men in the world (pretending to) grieve for the wasting of six million lives in similar attire.

One image is poignant and sad, the other outrageous and infuriating. You make the call.


Red and Black

posted by on October 30 at 10:46 AM

NBA legend Red Auerbach died this weekend. He was 89. Auerbach was the coach of the unstoppable Boston Celtics during the team’s inimitable championship tear—1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966. (They also won in ‘68 and ‘69, after Auerbach had retired as coach to become the team’s general manager.)

Auerbach started out in the NBA’s earliest days as a coach of Washington, DC’s Capitols in 1947. And through the 60s, he personified the NBA’s thuggish, travelling-circus early days as the cigar-chomping coach, clutching the game program in his hand as he badgered the refs non-stop from the sidelines. These were the days when fans tossed eggs, beer bottles, lit cigarettes, and tomatoes at the players and coaches and refs.

More important, these were also the days (and this is what I think is overlooked about Auerbach … thanks to the Celtics lily-white Larry Bird image) when the league was changing from a game played by white, muscle-bound ex-Marine types to a predominantly black league. And Auerbach was a catalyst for this change.

In 1950, in his first year as Boston’s coach, Auerbach shocked everyone by picking Chuck Cooper (a black player) in the draft. Cooper was the first black player ever drafted into the NBA. (He didn’t turn out to be much of player, but in no short time, with Auerbach’s Celtics leading the way—black players would come to dominate the league.) This was no easy trick for Auerbach. At this time, Boston’s fan base was all Southie—the same working-class white crowd that would make Boston infamous in the mid-’60s and early ’70s for its anti-busing riots. After Auerbach picked Cooper, the owner of the New York Knicks asked if the Celtics realized Cooper was black. The Celtic’s owner, Walter Brown, reportedly replied, “I don’t care if he’s plaid, as long as he can play.”

In 1956, Auerbach drafted Bill Russell the NBA’s first black superstar. In 1963, Auerbach’s Celtics were the first NBA team to field an all-black starting 5, with Russell at center. In 1966/67, Auerbach hand-picked Russell as the new coach. It was another first—the NBA’s first black coach.

Mind you, I’m not much of a Celtics fan (nor an Auerbach fan really). I’m partial to Baylor and West on the Lakers… and of course, Chamberlain’s 1965-68 ‘76ers. (Although, all props to Russell.)

And really, my favorite Auerbach story has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the freak show years of the early NBA. Before the first game of the 1957 finals in St. Louis (the Celtics’ first trip to the finals…and Russell’s first season…go figure), Auerbach got into a yelling match with the St. Louis Hawks’ owner Ben Kerner. Auerbach had accused the Hawks of tampering with the height of the Celtics’ basket. Anyway, Kerner walked out onto the court to see what Auerbach was doing (Auerbach was out on the floor measuring the basket) and Auerbach just flat turned around and clocked Kerner in the mouth.

In Bed With Susie Bright

posted by on October 30 at 10:23 AM

Susie Bright is an author, blogger, speaker, and editor. Her most offering, in her editor role, is Best American Erotica 2006. Susie was also an advice columnist back when I was still renting videos to drunk frat boys.

It’s a good thing Susie Bright and I don’t live in the same town. We would spend all our time gabbing our heads off, and neither of us would get much in the way of actual work done. When we do get together—which doesn’t happen often enough—we get on like a house on fire. Which is not to say we agree about everything. We don’t. But we manage to have a blast even when we’re agreeing to disagree.

Which we did a few times during a recent taping for Susie’s podcast, “In Bed With Susie Bright.” We talked about everything from that scumbag Craigslist asshole to the upcoming election to tranny boys to my ever-popular proposal for a statute of limitation on bisexual identity. Go here to listen in.

Halloweekend Reflections

posted by on October 30 at 10:03 AM

I, for one, was disappointed by the lack of interesting costumes wandering around Seattle this weekend. I think what most Halloween-goers are lacking is ingenuity — you get one night a year to dress up guilt-free as anything you want in the world, why stick to the limited creativity of heavily-focus-grouped and suitable-for-mainstream-marketing store-bought costumes? Even people who make their own outfits usually fall into several safe and identifiable categories (though definite props to the Sexy Bee I spotted mingling with the Sexy Pirates, Cowgirls, etc., in Pioneer Square last night; anyone proudly dressing to attract insect fetishists has spunk in my book), dressing as characters or icons thought up by someone else. I know, I’m a snob when it comes to Halloween (same goes for pies and parmesan cheese) but the only originally-generated costume I saw all weekend was the girl dressed as Homeschool Mom with a frumpy lace-lined flowered dress, cat earrings and a crucifix necklace.

A spot of light in the bleak landscape of Halloween creativity: erotic pumpkin carving contest at Babeland.
babeland pumpkins.JPG

I love the Cumkin. You can submit, too, until Tuesday.

UPDATE: For the official record, Dave Schmader knows what’s up.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on October 30 at 9:37 AM

Seahawks: Ouch. The good news: Seneca Wallace looked fine, especially when he was forced from the pocket. And Deion Branch’s takeaway following a Wallace interception was one for the ages. The bad news: Our D has gone missing. Four touchdowns for Larry Johnson? He may have scored me 41 points in Fantasy Football, but I would’ve gladly traded those in for a Hawks win.

Sonics: Imploding before the season even begins.

Huskies: Time to forget about a bowl game?

Cougars: Nice job. Now try to keep from horking it in the Apple Cup.

And finally, the Bears: Impressive once again. Still, it was against San Francisco. Arizona, San Fran, Miami next week…wake me when they play a real opponent, Chicago Fan.

The Morning News

posted by on October 30 at 6:20 AM

Iraq: Hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces go unaccounted for.

Pakistan: Gunning for suspected terrorists, Government bombs religious school. 83 dead.

Iraq II: 100 U.S. troops killed in October. Worst U.S. death toll in a year.

Mexico: Federal Troops fight to retake Oaxaca from militant activists.

Brazil: Lefty Lula wins in a landslide.

North Korea: Set to do 2nd nuclear test.

Nigeria: Plane crash kills nearly 100.

St. Louis: Most dangerous city in U.S. says FBI.

Michael J. Fox’s fight against Rush Limbaugh: Righteous.

The fight against the influence of big money in political campaigns: Useless.

The fight against global warming: Limp.

The fight to save a young woman’s left breast after a piercing disaster: Tragic.

And In Local News:
Shootings in the U. District and Pioneer Square. Stabbings in the CD and S. Lake Union. (Not finding any strip clubs in the vicinity to blame, Mayor Nickels now proposes 4-foot rule between all people on Saturday nights after 10pm.)

PI Columnist Joel Connelly Trashes Mayor Nickels’s Transportation Levy. (Makes comparisons to Reagan…and Hitler!)

The Next Time You’re Standing Still at a Seattle Rock Show…

posted by on October 30 at 4:23 AM

please consider this article about The Iraqi National Folklore Group (the country’s famed national dance troupe).

Here’s the deal:

BAGHDAD, Oct. 29 — … Each turn of the hip and dip at the waist in their choreographed pieces has become weighted with a dangerous new reality … In today’s Iraq, with conservative religious parties and radical militias exerting growing influence over every aspect of life, even dancing is an act of bravery.

“Society is overwhelmed by these religious ideologies,” said Tariq Ibrahim, a male dancer in the Baghdad troupe, the Iraqi National Folklore Group. “Now a woman on the street without a head scarf attracts attention. What about a woman onstage dancing?”

Together they are a band of 10 women and 15 men from varied religious backgrounds. Once they toured the world together. Today they are simply trying to survive, hoping one day to thrive again as a troupe. But the religiosity sweeping Iraq does not bode well for their future.

It’s just so … basic. Here are some more excerpts from this unusually poetic, sad & groovy article:

Recently one of its members, Bushra Yousif, 21, a petite woman with delicate features who has been with the group for six years, received a note at home warning her to leave within 48 hours. A bullet was included in the envelope.

She was probably singled out because of her profession, she said, but she will continue to attend rehearsals every day. She loves dancing too much, she said describing it as the highest form of art to “deliver a message through your body.”

“Dying for this group would be like being martyred,” she said, adding that it is a risk she accepts.

And this:

“It should be like this,” Liqaa Shukr said, demonstrating with plenty of gyrating flourish. “Instead it is like this,” she said, switching to the languid movements they wound up performing.

And this:

Rana Anwar, who successfully auditioned for a spot in the troupe three months ago, has let her neighbors and friends continue to believe that she is still a student at a tourism institute in Baghdad.

“It is very hard with what’s going on to become a dancer,” she said. “But my main goal is to show Iraq is not a backward country. Iraqi people like to dance, they like to sing.”

So the dancers continue to practice daily in front of empty seats at the National Theater in central Baghdad. The dilapidated hall has become their sanctuary from the country’s tumult.

Can On the Boards please book these people? Now.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sane Letter of the Day

posted by on October 29 at 7:28 PM

The Seattle Times was in dost-protest-too-much mode today regarding its Mike McGavick endorsment. There’s an editorial by James Vesely explaining the endorsement process … plus an article by Mike Fancher tediously explaining the division between editorial and news.

The separation between editorial and news (yawn) and the Seattle Times endorsement process are both way off point when it comes to the criticism—at least the one I made —of their McGavick endorsement. The criticism was this: The endorsement contradicted basically all of the board’s previous editorial postions. In short, they failed to explain why they liked McGavick better.

Anyway, I was cc’d on this letter to James Vesely today:

Dear Mr. Vesely,

I read your column this morning with great interest. I realize that the Seattle Times has been taken to task by many in the local and national media for the paper’s election endorsements and understand your need to respond to the accusations of these critics.

I am afraid, however, that your characterization of their key complaint misses the mark. The reason that they attribute other “motives” to the Seattle Times’ endorsement decisions is not because they disagree with them, it is because they are poorly written and the arguments are insufficiently justified. Such gaps in logic inevitably lead readers to conclude that there are issues in play other than those suggested in the text.

When I was a young lad, my teachers always instructed me to “marshall my evidence to buttress my conclusion.” This is what you and your cohorts at the Seattle Times have failed to do, leaving yourselves open to such accusations of dishonesty. And I am not sure what to make of your “boil and simmer” technique — it would seem a poor analogy for any cognitive process and certainly no recipe for structuring an argument. It sounds more like a means of obfuscation or mental disintegration.

Jim Demetre
Publisher & Editor

Hear, hear, Mr. Demetre.

Weird Letter of the Day

posted by on October 29 at 3:34 PM

Apparently we are supposed to know every gay man in town:

hi. my name is Tania and I`am from Chile.
well, long time i go i know one gay, his name is Matt S, i was check the internet for loking for him… meibe you can help me.. his living now in seatlle and like 8 year a go, he was living in chile… if you know to him, can take me a contact whit him plase?


Matt S., write to and I’ll connect you.

Everybody else: Did you remember to set your clocks back an hour this morning?

Native White Son

posted by on October 29 at 1:34 PM

I’m currently writing a review of Intiman Theatre’s excellent adaptation of the first important black American novel, Native Son (1940). Those who know the story will certainly find a good laugh in this little piece of history:

[In 1947, a] Hollywood producer offers to film Native Son, but wants to change Bigger to a white man; Wright refuses.
I almost (no, I actually) wish Wright had accepted this offer; I would do (pay) anything to see a white man (Frank Sinatra? Marlon Brando? Robert Mitchum?) play Bigger Thomas.

Smoking Bans

posted by on October 29 at 9:18 AM

From today’s NYT:

On Jan. 10, 2005, Italy enacted a law that banned smoking in public places like offices, restaurants, cafes and bars. Smokers declared—basta!—they would never comply. Restaurateurs were certain business would flag. And politicians worried that an essential pleasure of Italy would be lost.

Nearly two years later, this is what has transpired, according to studies following the fallout from the law: People in Italy smoke a lot less and are exposed to far less secondhand smoke

In fact, the law has become very popular, with support for smoking bans increasing yearly among nonsmokers and smokers alike. Business in bars is up. A study in Turin found that the number of people brought to hospital emergency rooms after suffering heart attacks decreased after the ban (secondhand smoke could be a trigger), a finding that echoes studies in the United States.

In Italy—where laws are often enforced with a large degree of latitude and where red lights are ignored if they are deemed inconvenient—there is nearly 100 percent compliance with the antismoking statutes.

And yet in Seattle the whining goes on and on. Italy has banned smoking in bars, as have Scotland, Ireland, and now France. Smoking in public places is on its way out all over the world.