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Archives for 11/12/2006 - 11/18/2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Items… Miscellaneous Items.

posted by on November 18 at 6:36 PM

Item the first: There has never been an actually good James Bond film. Good for their time, ok. Good relative to other Bond films, sure. Good for a few laughs, absolutely. But in the end, these once trusty barometers of intrigue and suaveness are terrible movies.

Item the second: Casino Royale kicks fucking ass. Daniel Craig is better than a thousand Sean Conneries (Seans Connery?), and all the other Bonds can suck it anyway. Craig rules. The movie rules. It’s like they went in and just surgically removed all the terrible bullshit that made the old movies suck and made a movie that looks and feels like the kind of Bond movie the old Bond movies were meant to be: i.e. thrilling (because they’re thrillers), actually funny (instead of wincingly “funny”), properly sexy (Eva Green, ladies and gentlemen), and, you know, GREAT. It’s fucking great. What a great action movie. It opens with the best running chase ever, and then gets better. Great fights, great plot, great integration of Ian Fleming’s obsession with games of chance, et cetera. Hooray. Andrew Wright was wright.

Item the last: The new Whole Foods is a goddamn cathedral.

Marketing Mystery…

posted by on November 18 at 9:49 AM

Yesterday afternoon strolling from one side of Westlake Center to the other, I got canvassed by Children International, handed a copy of Watchtower magazine and invited to win $10,000 in a giant man vs. computer Scrabble game… and then I saw these two good-looking young people in black t-shirts declaring “Are you who you want to be?”

I decided to play Guess The Cult. The shirt-wearers offered me a magnet me which was as intentionally crypitc as their clothing; it proffered only their website: AreYouWhoYouWantToBe.com.

The site greets visitors with a minute-long sequence of portraits of Normal Americans (father with daughters in a swimming pool, surfer and son, Honest-to-God cowboys reclining against a fence), fading in over each other to a strumming guitar and singer wailing, “Are you who yoouu waaant to beee?”

Then you’re offered this choice, starkly reminiscent of The Matrix:
chooseyerpoison.jpg

No worries, both buttons take you to the same “Personality Test” where you’re asked 18 insipid questions about stock images:
socially.jpg

And, finally, Who You Are or Who You Want to Be is presented via an outdated-pop-culture pie chart:
graph.jpg

After all this, the sponsoring group is revealed. I was completely surprised. And bewildered.

Assemble the clues, see if you can solve the mystery! Answer below the cut.

Continue reading "Marketing Mystery..." »

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 18 at 8:43 AM

‘I Love My Time, I Don’t Like My Time’ (ART) At the 2001 Armory Show in New York, I kept hearing, “This is Erwin Wurm’s year!” I loved his name alone, and then I saw a few of the Viennese artist’s pokingly funny performative pieces. And now, the Frye presents the man himself. He’ll give a talk at 2:00 p.m. to accompany the opening of his traveling 10-year retrospective at the museum. It’s a perfect Wurm primer, with everything from his ongoing One Minute Sculptures to the bloated, meditative, and conflicted house in Fat House/I Love My Time, I Don’t Like My Time. (Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250. 2 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

Friday, November 17, 2006

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 17 at 5:41 PM

The Decemberists (MUSIC) Yeah, so the Decemberists ditched their little local label and got sort of famous. Who cares, when their new big-label album, The Crane Wife, is just as smart and interesting as their small-time work? What other band can make a downright danceable song about the Battle of Manassas? Or craft a song cycle based on an obscure Japanese folk tale that feels fun, not pretentious? Even their folksy ballad about butchering children makes me grin. I’ll be at their show. And I’ll be dancing, damn it. (Paramount, 911 Pine St, www.ticketmaster.com. 8 pm, $25—$27, all ages.) SARAH MIRK

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on November 17 at 4:27 PM

A whole slew of movies opens today.

CHEER the following! Little Children—which features some of the best on-screen sex in quite a while, easily trumping Shortbus (which is apparently closing on Tuesday). In other adulterous movie news, Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Love, expanded from the adultery-themed Episode 6 in his famous Decalogue TV series, is playing at Northwest Film Forum Sunday at 7 and 9 pm. Also at the Film Forum, starting Monday, but having nothing whatsover to do with adultery, is Abel Rasies Cain, about the proto-Borat prankster Alan Abel. Brendan Kiley enthuses here (scroll all the way down).

In addition, Grand Illusion is starting one of their delicious themed repertory series. This time, it’s movies that pair Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Kicking the series off is To Have and Have Not, which Andrew Wright discusses here.

Tohaveandhavenot.jpg

Iraq in Fragments has extended for a second week at the Varsity. Don’t miss this locally made, beautiful documentary about the Iraq war.

SEE these new releases: Shut Up & Sing (Dixie Chicks are anti-Bush patriots!), Happy Feet (penguins are cute!), both reviewed here. AVOID these new releases: Fast Food Nation (overly declamatory), Fur (absurd to the point of dullness), For Your Consideration (not funny), all also reviewed here.

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WEB EXCLUSIVES: Read my interview with Fast Food Nation author (and Atlantic journalist) Eric Schlosser. Also exclusively online: Andrew Wright’s effusive review of the new James Bond movie Casino Royale.

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And peruse The Stranger’s carefully prepared, lovingly updated Movie Times.

Go and See

posted by on November 17 at 3:59 PM

Iraq In Fragments! It is a stunning film! One of the few locally produced films that achieves the condition of cinema. Its run at Landmark has been extended by a week, and if the attendance is high during this weekend, it will be extended again. Seattle, do not do what you did to Police Beat and We Go Way Back—both of which had strong opening weekends but significantly weaker following weekends. Go and see Iraq In Fragments now! The movie will make you a better person.

( As for Miranda July, you stole my thunder once, but not the second time around. So take that.)

Viaduct in the House, Pt. 2

posted by on November 17 at 3:44 PM

One of the Democrats who’s up for the House Transportation Chair spot, Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Is./Parts of Bellevue, Issaquah, Renton), got back to me about her position on the Viaduct.

She says her priorities are: 1) cost & 2) capacity. This, of course, is the mantra of the pro-rebuild contingent. The tunnel option is currently coming in at $3.6 to $5.5 billion while the re-build pencils in at about $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion. It would also maintain current capacity. (And in my opinion, keep us on the road to environmental doomsday.)

Clibborn says she’s been very up front about her preference for the re-build option, and in fact, signed a letter to Gov. Gregoire just yesterday coming out against the tunnel option, which she told me she considered “the Cadillac option.”

“If we were only dealing with the Viaduct, that would be one thing,” she said. “But there’s 520, which is in fact more dangerous. And there’s 405 which has worse traffic than I-5.”

When I asked her about the “surface/transit” option, she said Seattle is a thoroughfare for trucking and the surface street option would inhibit freight runs.

As for the anti-tunnel letter that Clibborn signed: It was also signed by South Central KC Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-47), the other local D who’s up for the Transportation Chair spot.

In fact, all five of the prospective transportation chairs except for one (Dennis Flannigan, D-27, Pierce County and Tacoma) signed the anti-tunnel letter. In addition to Clibborn and Simpson, Jeff Morris (D-40, San Juan County, Parts of Skagit and Whatcom Counties); and Bill Fromhold (D-49, Parts of Vancouver and Clark County) signed the letter.

The lead signature on the letter? Frank Chopp. (To read the whole letter click on the jump.)

Continue reading "Viaduct in the House, Pt. 2" »

Craftwork: The Remnants

posted by on November 17 at 3:13 PM

As part of Craftwork: The Stranger’s Tribute to Cool People Making Cool Crafty Shit That You Can Purchase and Give and Thus Not Be an Asshole Who Shops at Urban Outfitters, we interviewed some pairs of items, one made far away (generally in China, as is the case with the Piece of Crap below) very likely under unspeakable circumstances (by children being waterboarded, probably) and one made right here at home by a cool person under appropriately ventilated/lit/etc. conditions. We call this Piece of Crap Vs. Piece of Craft. Here’s one (interviews by our own dear David Schmader) that was left on the cutting room floor (due to space considerations only!).
Gap_bag.JPG
Piece of Crap
You’re part of the Gap sub-brand “1969.ā€¯ What’s that meant to signify?
I celebrate the very important year that saw the Beatles release Sgt. Pepper, Castro lead the Cuban revolution, and Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I have a dreamā€¯ speech. I am a classic yet revolutionary bag [$39.50, marked down to $19.99 at time of purchase].
Actually, Sgt. Pepper came out in 1967, the Cuban revolution began in 1953 and ended in 1959, and Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated before 1969 even began.
Oh.
Speaking of lies, I totally love those Audrey-Hepburn-as-dancing-corpse commercials. What’s next?
The Gap’s Christmas ads will feature the socially conscious hiphop artist Common, who’ll rap the self-penned “Holiday in Your Hood.ā€¯
Are you fucking kidding me?
No.

Alchemy_bag.JPG
Piece of Craft
You’re described as being “recycled.ā€¯ What does that mean?
My body is made of inner tubes procured from Seattle bike shops then cut open, washed, and stitched together. My strap is a seatbelt from the junkyard. My actual percentage of recycled material—the highest possible—is featured in my Alchemy Goods logo.
So you’re made of junk.
Yes, but really good junk. My seatbelt strap is super-strong, wide, and comfortable. And not only is my rubber body thoroughly water- and stain-proof, over time the tubes develop a finish that gives them the feeling of fine Italian leather. I am a bag of virtue and of beauty [$148, alchemygoods.com], for reals.

This Week’s New Yorker Cover

posted by on November 17 at 2:38 PM

Is wicked—less for what it says about the Republicans than what it implies about the Dems:

cover_newyorker_190.jpg

Banning the Burqa

posted by on November 17 at 2:18 PM

burqa.jpg

The Dutch have banned the wearing of burqas in public. An anti-Democratic restriction on the freedom of religious expression? A legitimate security measure? An attempt to rescue the roughly 50 Muslim women in Holland that do wear burqas from social isolation and misogynistic Islamic social customs?

Dutch to ban wearing of Muslim burqa in public

The Dutch government agreed on Friday a total ban on the wearing of burqas and other Muslim face veils in public, justifying the move on security grounds…. “The cabinet finds it undesirable that garments covering the face—including the burqa—should be worn in public in view of public order, (and) the security and protection of fellow citizens,” the Dutch Justice Ministry said in a statement.

The Netherlands would be the first European state to impose a countrywide ban on Islamic face coverings, though other countries have already outlawed them in specific places….

The Muslim community estimates that only about 50 women in the Netherlands wear the head-to-toe burqa or the niqab, a face veil that conceals everything but the eyes. Dutch Muslim groups have complained a burqa ban would make the country’s 1 million Muslims feel more victimized and alienated, regardless of whether they approve of burqas or not.

“This will just lead to more girls saying ‘hey I’m also going to wear a burqa as a protest’,” Naima Azough, a member of parliament from the opposition Green Left, told an election campaign meeting for fellow members of the Moroccan community.

I hate burqas. And veils. It annoys the fuck out of me when I see them in public—particularly on young girls. And it annoys when lefties talk about things like Burqa Barbie—an Islamic doll that comes with a short dress for the doll to wear inside the house and a garbage bag for her to wear outside the house—like its some triumph of tolerance.

Lest people think that she’s all about praying, there’s In-Out Razanne, whose wardrobe also includes a short, flowery dress she can wear inside the home, in view only of men in her family.

Oh, great. Dolls for little Muslim girls that reinforce the sexist crap that her religious parents are pounding into her head at home! How… delightfully… progressive.

Teaching young women that they are the property of men—so much so that only the men in her family have a right to lay eyes on her—is tantamount to child abuse. It’s sexual enslavement and it offends me deeply. Still, I think banning burqas—or Burqa Barbies—is wrong. It will, without a doubt, result in more women wearing them—some by choice, but more women will take up the burqa on orders from husbands, fathers, and brothers.

The burqa—and Burqa Barbie—should be allowed to die a natural death in the west. Any attempt to stamp it out will only prolong its life.

Overheard at Lunch

posted by on November 17 at 1:55 PM

Three businessmen walk into Stellina, the lunch place in the middle of all that construction on 12th Avenue. They are all wearing blue dress shirts and nice watches. They have RAFN hard hats and clipboards with spreadsheets on them. They were clearly just on a site visit. A huge, messy, block-wide construction project—this one—takes up the window behind them.

“Well, that was pretty macho.”

“From here we can see it all.”

“Becoming real.”

“It’s exciting.”

Overheard in the Office

posted by on November 17 at 1:51 PM

Just now:

Barnett to Savage: “Here, have some bubble wrap and shut up!”

[Random giggling, multiple, violent-sounding pops]

And earlier:

Mudede to Frizzelle: “Christopher, the music in my head is a jukebox; yours is a karaoke machine.”

NSFDC (Not Safe for Daycare)

posted by on November 17 at 1:46 PM

Behold! The latest in the Dora the Explorer line of sex toys for kids.

B000IM15QI.01-A1MAQUPG346QEU._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V41585629_.jpg

Muchos Gracias, GorillaMask.

Welcome to the Theocracy

posted by on November 17 at 1:01 PM

As I noted yesterday, Bush’s new appointee to oversee the federal office family planning and reproductive health, Eric Keroack, is a nut job who thinks having too many sex partners causes brain damage. (A revealing presentation by Keroack on this subject, replete with apparent crayon drawings and claims like “PRE-MARITAL SEX is really MODERN GERM WARFARE,” can be found here.

Keroack is currently medical director of A Woman’s Concern, a Christian “crisis pregnancy” organization that opposes not just abortion but contraception, on the grounds that it increases out-of-wedlock pregnancy and abortion rates. Among other inaccurate assertions, A Woman’s Concern claims that abortion causes breast cancer, “emotional coldness, repeat abortions, and suicide,” and infertility. (They also claim that emergency contraception causes abortion and that life begins at conception.)

He’s also on the board of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, which works to promote abstinence and prevent schools from providing medically accurate sex education, which is supported by the vast majority of Americans.

Keroack will oversee Title X funding, which is supposed to provide access to contraception and reproductive health information to low-income American women.

(Update: The GAO reports that the majority of government-funded abstinence-only programs are not reviewed for scientific accuracy before they receive federal funding. Awesome.)

Holy Meow!

posted by on November 17 at 12:45 PM

A cat gave birth to dogs! Sorta.

cat dogs.jpg

A cat, Mimi, nurses what its owner Cassia Aparecida de Souza claims are Mimi’s own offsprings born with dog traits last Friday, three months after mating with a neighbour’s dog, in the southern Brazilian city of Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul state, November 15, 2006. A geneticist from the Passo Fundo University plans to take blood samples from the animals to verify the claim by Cassia and her husband Rogerio that the puppies are part of Mimi’s litter of six, of which the three that were born with cat features died soon after birth, leaving the surviving three dog-like offsprings. REUTERS/Edison Vara (BRAZIL)

If that’s for real, that’s awesome.

(Sent to me by my friend Alissa who got it from her friend Matty’s LiveJournal who took it from Yahoo! News.)

Viaduct in the House

posted by on November 17 at 12:05 PM

While all eyes are on Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s House leadership picks, there’s an important House leadership pick at the state level that has serious implications for the top issue facing Seattle: The Viaduct. The state house transportation chair is currently up for grabs. Former chair Ed Murray (D-43) has moved on to the state Senate.

For those of us who are not pseudo populists (clamoring for the “People’s View” option—a rebuild that will mar the waterfront for another 100 years and keep us belching out CO2 at untenable levels by accommodating or even expanding current auto capacity)—Murray’s departure is bad news. (Murray supported a tunnel and was open to the surface/transit option too).

The appointment is in the hands of House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43), who’s one of those rebuild reactionaries (he’s got some wild design of his own for a 3-level rebuild with the top level being a park over the freeway. WSDOT told him it was unfeasible.)

I’ve heard that there are five Reps vying for the Transportation Committee Chair spot. Two are from King County: Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41) and Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-47). I’ve got calls into both to see which Viaduct option they support.

The Prime Suspect

posted by on November 17 at 11:37 AM

What time eats:
helen+mirren.jpg “O douleur! o douleur! Le Temps mange la vie/Et l obscur Ennemi qui nous ronge le coeur/Du sang que nous perdons croit et se fortifie!”

Snoop Dogg’s New Clothing Line… for Dogs. GET IT?!?

posted by on November 17 at 11:24 AM

In what is either exciting or very sad news (depending on how you feel about corporate sell-outs), Rap grandpappy SNOOP DOGG has announced he’ll be debuting a new line of clothing and accessories for dogs.

The first assortment in the Snoop Dogg line-up includes a DJ Headset, Boom Box, Dogg Bone and Football, all of which are double stitched and made from durable plush and ballistic fabrics for safe and fun play for dogs. From a Boom Box and Doberman Plush Toy that play bona fide sound clips of Snoop Dogg himself, to a Canvas Bone with a squeaker, Snoop Dogg toys keep dogs and their hip hop loving owners grooving together. Suggested retail prices range from $5.99-$8.99.

The Snoop Dogg clothing assortment from JPI Pets launching on Amazon.com personifies the iconic rapper’s style with a hip hop and urban feel. Styles in the first assortment include a Snoop Dogg doggie Basketball Jersey, animal print Faux Fur Coat and a Doggfather Hoodie Sweatshirt. Suggested retail price range from $12.99-$24.99.

Snoop Dogg says about his new pet products line, “Go get some quick, dogg-gone-it! ‘Cuz Snoop Dogg said so. Bow Wow!”

Umm… I really, really doubt he said that. Ugh.

wmark.jpeg

Dan Savage “Is Looking to Convert” to Judaism

posted by on November 17 at 11:23 AM

Hey boss, is it true?

Be Nice To Rubes!

posted by on November 17 at 11:12 AM

Borat.jpg

David Brooks, New York Times op-ed columnist, wrote an anti-Borat piece in yesterday’s NYT. (I would link to it but it’s behind the Times Select firewall.) In his column Brooks repeats what has become the conventional wisdom—indeed, John Teirney wrote a similar column in last week’s NYT—about the Borat movie: Funny, sure, but it’s unseemly when urban elites sneer at rural and southern rubes.

It’s also, as some have pointed out, bad politics. When urbanites sneer at the rubes in, say, Kansas, the rubes turn around and vote for Republicans. Why? Because Republicans pay ‘em compliments. It doesn’t seem to matter to the rubes that these same Republicans, once elected, enact fiscal and social policies that harm rural rubes and actively block programs that would help American families regardless of where they live.

It doesn’t matter to the rural rubes that Democrats, by backing programs like family leave to national health care to an increased minimum wage, demonstrate that they actually value families, and don’t just pay lip-service to “family values.” What matters to the rubes, it seems, is voting for people they want to have a beer with—even if, at the end of the legislative session, they can’t actually afford to buy a beer.

In this week’s Stranger, author and journalist Brian Mann writes about this urban/rural divide and its impact on last week’s election. Mann is the author of the new book Welcome to the Homeland, a book that’s bracing and infuriating in roughly equal measures. Mann’s book and Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation, Mann’s book is required reading for the fall. Buy and read both books.

Mann’s book focuses on his relationship with his brother Allen. Mann’s a “metro,” one of those urban sophisticates. His brother—despite being raised in the same home and have similar life experiences—is a mega-church-going, straight-Republican-ticket-voting rural, uh, rube. And like so many rural rubes, Allen has a towering persecution complex. Like so many rural rubes, Mann’s brother thinks the urban elite looks down at him and are hostile to him and he takes his revenge in the voting booth.

Mann’s brother says he feels uncomfortable in urban areas because he’s a hunter, and you know how we urbanites look down on hunters. “Living where I live I don’t have to be careful about what I say,” Allen says, “about my enjoyment of hunting or owning firearms, for example. Those things are really important to me.” Puh-leeze. It’s a fuck of a lot riskier for me to discuss the things that mean a lot to me—like, oh, sucking off my boyfriend or having a boyfriend at all—in rural America than it is for Mann’s brother to discuss hunting in urban America. (You can talk about it with Brendan anytime you like, Allen—and the owner of this here urban sophisticate paper is a hunter!)

This whining, the sense of being put upon, this feeling of being oppressed—it’s such bullshit. And we have a right call the Allens of the world on it, and we have a right to ridicule them for it. Because they are ridiculous.

And they’re hypocrites.

In addition to walking us through just how stacked our political system is against Dems and progressives (a lot of anti-democratic elements are hard-wired into our democracy, from the Electoral College to the disproportionate representation that rural states have in the U.S. Senate), Mann pounds home the point that rubes don’t like being disrespected and looked down on. But in an alarming scene in the book Mann’s brother jokes with his young children about shooting liberals. Liberals, his brother maintains, are like deer. Too many of us, oughta be picked off one by one, shot. Like vermin.

Hm. Despite being a member of the urban elite—ooh, smell me!—I don’t teach my kid to think of rural folks as animals, nor do I joke with him killing people like Allen and his children. I may marvel at Allen’s gullibility come election time. Still, we make sure our son sees the folks we meet on our annual cross-red-America road trip as human beings, even if they refuse to see us that way.

Which brings us to something that sticks in my craw about this sneering-urban-elites vs. angry-rural-rubes thing. The rubes run around screaming their rube heads off about all the godless heathens in the cities and how we’ve destroyed their country—”theirs,” mind you, not “ours.” According to the Allens, we urbanites are a pack of latte-sipping sodomites, sophisticates, softies. We’re also open America-haters and closeted Osama bin Laden fans. Unlike rubes, we have no values. No respect. No faith.

So… uh… who exactly is sneering at whom?

How come one ever calls the rubes on just how disrespectful they are of their fellow Americans? And, really, do they have a right to complain when the folks they’ve insulted and denigrated and refused to accept as “real” Americans for—what?—the last 40 fucking years don’t hold them in the highest regard? Contemptuous and backwards, the American rube wields disproportionate, un-democractic power over all of us— they hold the country back—and yet we’re the nasties when we make fun of them?

Weren’t we all taught that respect is a two-way street?

I, for one, am sick of being told I have to be polite to people who insist that I’m a sinful abomination and seek to make my life miserable. I’m not one of those pansies that wants to argue with religious folks about their beliefs. Hey, the fundies think I’m going to hell—great, fine, whatever. I’m going to hell with the Catholics, the yoga instructors, the adulterers, and the atheists. Shouldn’t that be enough? Eternal punishment? But somehow it’s not enough for folks like Mann’s brother. They have to punish me here on earth too.

At bottom it’s really not about respect for their values. It’s about insisting that everyone adopt their values. When we say, “We hear you, homelanders, but we think you’re wrong,” that’s makes ‘em mad. That’s what kills ‘em. That’s so insecure that they take our rejection of their oppressive, retrograde political agenda as somehow personally disrespectful—particularly of their religious beliefs. They only way to appease an Allen is to live like one. Not gonna happen.

Yes, yes: It’s bad politics to be openly dismissive of the homelanders, as they wield disproportionate political power, thanks to stacked Senate and the Electoral College. But we should call the rubes on their hypocrisy, their ignorance, and their fear. And mockery is one way to do it. If it makes the Allens angry, good. Maybe the anger will make him think.

God bless Borat.

Two Artists

posted by on November 17 at 11:08 AM

One, called unpatriotic in Clarksville, Tennessee, had his exhibit taken down 18 hours after it opened:

The exhibit featured three American flags with phrases printed on them and dozens of small American flags fried in peanut oil, egg batter, flour and black pepper.

Museum Executive Director Ned Crouch said he removed the flags because it could be interpreted as desecration of the flag.

Gentry said the point of the deep-fried art was to illustrate that obesity is the Number One killer of Americans.

Two, called racist, is a Dane in Uganda who is “persuading villagers to adopt his name in exchange for a pig or a goat.”

The criticism comes as an exhibition of Kristian Von Hornsleth’s photos from the village of Buteyongera opens in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

Hornsleth, however, says he is trying to help the villagers by highlighting the failure of international aid.

The exhibition is called: “We want to help you, but we want to own you.”

(See an example of a Ugandan woman with her new identity card here.)

Tombstone 2.0

posted by on November 17 at 11:07 AM

The gravesite of one dead Jewish Great-Grandfather has just gotten a little more dynamic. Relatives of the fantastically-named Hyman Victor connected his tombstone via satellite to his real immortal resting place — several internet sites with information about his life and family.

gravestone.jpg

While these include the expected links to geneology sites, you can also visit his Flikr photo stash and Facebook profile. This upsets the whole concept of burial: that there is one (possibly grassy) place where your dead great-grandfather resides and visiting him there is part of the memorial process. Now dead great-grandfathers can reside in multiple non-physical places, as well, and “visiting” them via clicking through links on your desktop isn’t the same asthetic or personal experience at all as driving to the cemetery and standing at a graveside. Especially when their post-mortem profile can bump shoulders with Hugh Foskett’s.

It increases accessibilty, it increases ease, it increases the deceased’s relevance to those still alive (young relatives will probably connect more with a Flickr photo collection available on their bedroom laptops than a hunk of stone located outside Chicago) and, for better or worse, it seems a sort of immortality. Information about the person can still be collected and gathered and shared — his internet personage is growing and changing while his actual person is in the ground. As long as his family keeps the sites running (and assuming they keep upgrading the sites as the Internet develops) his internet self could exist and grow forever.*

The family will definitely be criticized for trying to create internet immortality for Hyman (they’ll probably also be criticized for having a tacky video display in a graveyard) but I, for one, think Hyman Victor’s visage is worth preserving as long as possible. Just check out that sweet hat. Let us never forget the vast superiority of 1940s fashion sense.

deadguysweethatjpg.jpg
Via boingboing

*”forever” meaning “until the end of the relevance of the human race” which will definitely be sooner than any of us would hope, due to global warming or robots or whatever.

We’re Number Two

posted by on November 17 at 11:04 AM

It’s official: Seattle is the second-gayest city in America.

“Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, Seattle is second only to San Francisco in the percentage of residents identifying themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual,” reports the Seattle Times, citing a new study conducted by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

As the Times reports:

The findings do not necessarily suggest the number of gay people and couples is growing dramatically. Rather, say the study’s author and others, the findings may have more to do with people becoming more comfortable about disclosing their sexual orientation in government surveys.

“Basically, we’re looking at the size of America’s closet,” said researcher Gary Gates, whose top-ten list of out-and-proudest U.S. cities features Portland, Oregon at number eight and Manhattan not at all.

Full story here.

(And yes, Savage put a mention of this in a post yesterday.)

Friday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 17 at 11:03 AM

College football: While the rest of the country prepares for Michigan vs. Ohio State (ESPN has been running a countdown clock all week), we have the 99th Apple Cup to look forward to. Seth Kolloen of Seattlest—also a short-lister in this year’s Genius Awards—has penned a preview, of sorts, for the Seattle P.I..

Elsewhere: Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson hopes to take out some aggression on his former team; Twins pitcher Johan Santana wins the AL Cy Young Award; and the A’s name bench coach Bob Geren manager.

Reading in Bars; or, Kathleen Wilson, I Miss You

posted by on November 17 at 10:48 AM

A couple months ago, I tried to read a book in a bar and it didn’t go well. Someone on Slog reminded me that Kathleen Wilson, former Stranger columnist, had done a very similar column three years earlier. I was always a fan of Kathleen’s writing—people never believe me when I say this, because my taste in books runs toward the “serious” and “literary”—but her writing was forceful, merciless, and wickedly fun. Lo and behold, her column about other people giving you grief in bars while you’re trying to read is a lot better than mine. Check it.

By the way, a reader wrote to me last week about this very issue.

I’ve been meaning to recommend this place to you since the first time you wrote that article about trying to read at Purr. The Stumbling Monk. Unfortunately, there’s only beer there, but it’s good beer. I’ve gone there to read many times. They have counters with lamps that just seem specifically placed for readers. Even on weekends it’s fairly quiet—people playing backgammon or chess. Occasionally there’ll be a raucous discussion group, but I’ve never been unable to read there, and certainly I’ve never been mocked for reading there.

Thanks, Bill. I’ll try it out.

Good news

posted by on November 17 at 10:43 AM

A drug that contains a component of red wine has been shown to increase endurance. Not only is this good news for Charles Mudede, and me, but it also furthers my sneaking suspicion that we will all one day take performance enhancing drugs as if they were vitamins. Now if only I could get my hands on some EPO.

For You, Erica

posted by on November 17 at 10:03 AM

Who says art doesn’t have goals? Very, very, very specific goals?

A handful of Portland (and a few Seattle) artists this weekend are getting together to promote driving the speed limit.

Says (artist Joe) Macca, “Safety Dance is a one-day event intended to raise awareness in the neighborhood about the speeding on SE 41st avenue between Holgate and Steele. It’s a 25 mph residential zone, but people drive 40 mph. The goal of our event is to generate interest in the neighborhood to permanently slow the traffic down. If you live on 41st and are as irritated as me, please come by to talk about it.”

The event is at Joe’s house in the middle of the flagrant, flagrant speed zone, 4614 SE 41st Avenue (just off Holgate), 10-4 tomorrow.

The Morning News

posted by on November 17 at 6:49 AM

In victories: Nancy Pelosi unanimously wins Speaker seat.

In losses: Pelosi’s choice John Murtha cedes majority leader seat to Rep. Steny Hoyer.

In the War on Terror: Man arrested for carrying a ball of rubber bands onto an airplane.

In anti-gay hysteria: Illinois parents push for ban of penguin book with “homosexual overtones.”

In mortality: Free-market economic theorist Milton Friedman dies at 94.

In human tragedy: L.A. hospital rids itself of homeless patient by dumping her on Skid Row.

In racism: MS Sen. Lott’s racist comments “didn’t come up” in Republicans’ decision to anoint him Minority Whip.

In economic justice: Democrats want to raise minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

In self-pity: Abramoff e-mails friends: “One day, G-D willing, we will know why all of this had to happen.”

In corruption: Florida authorities open criminal investigation into messages sent by former US Rep. Mark Foley.

In cross-cultural relations: CNN correspondent challenges first Muslim congressman to “prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”

In religious tolerance: Robertson says all other religions worship “demonic powers.ā€¯

In retractions: Marines renege, decide to give Jesus dolls to poor kids after all.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

On Pedestrian Safety

posted by on November 16 at 6:47 PM

Tatsuo Nakata, the chief of staff to City Council member David Della who died two days ago, was run down in a marked crosswalk in West Seattle. The speed limit was 30 miles per hour; the crosswalk was marked with a flashing overhead signal and road signs that alert drivers in advance that they are approaching a crosswalk.

The mayor, city council, and police chief have responded to the tragedy by vowing to make pedestrian safety the city’s “number one priority” in the coming year. In that spirit, here’s a suggestion: Whenever a driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, take away their license. For good. A driver’s license is a privilege that can be taken away. A 2,000-pound car pitted against a 150-pound person can be a deadly weapon; if a driver is careless enough to hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk, where pedestrians always have the right of way, they have forfeited the right to drive.

Nakata, a compassionate, committed activist for social justice with an amazing Stevie Wonder karaoke voice, was 29.

Dessert’s Giant Shirt

posted by on November 16 at 5:05 PM

I know I’m pretty much alone in this, but I don’t really like dessert. I’ll take salty over sweet anytime, and a pile of sugar doesn’t present itself to me as the obvious punctuation for a meal. I have yet to investigate Coco La Ti Da, the “dessert lounge” (they’re big in N.Y.C., a fact that fills me with profound apathy) that just opened in the (marvelous) former Fork space on Capitol Hill. Coco Etc. is brought to you by Sue McCown, renowned pastry chef from, most recently, Earth & Ocean; it also has savory snacks, thankfully, and the desserts are at least promisingly complicated (sweet PLUS salty: now you’re talking) rather than just plain sweet.

To alert me to the opening, Coco Etc. sent me a T-shirt that is far bigger than the largest person I know. Weirdly, it’s not even an XXL, just XL; it is truly enormous. It made me think of that Far Side comic where the owner is standing in the middle of the doughnut shop saying to the counterperson, “I just can’t figure out what’s eating up our profits,” and there’s a mountain of a man in the corner holding a broom and looking guilty.

In Other Gay News

posted by on November 16 at 4:16 PM

Gays no longer sick like mentally-ill-sick, more sick like bedwetter sick. So says the U.S. Military.

Pentagon guidelines that classified homosexuality as a mental disorder now put it among a list of conditions or “circumstances” that range from bed-wetting to fear of flying…. The revision came in response to criticism this year when it was discovered that the guidelines listed homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.

Mental health professionals said Thursday they were not satisfied by the change.

Also, only SF tops Seattle in percentage of residents who are openly gay and lesbian.

The study reports found that 12.9 percent of Seattle residents—roughly 57,900 people—identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. In San Francisco, 15.4 percent of residents identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Your Daily “Ew.”

posted by on November 16 at 3:03 PM

If you’re interested in MIKE TYSON becoming your own personal stud… well… read on.

It’s your lucky day, ladies… Former boxer Mike Tyson has a great new gig: He has agreed to be a male escort at legendary Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss’ new legalized brothel (for female clients). Fleiss has bought 60 acres of land in Nevada and construction is scheduled to begin on “Heidi’s Stud Farm.” She apparently has high hopes for Tyson, once heavyweight champion of the world, despite the teensy fact that he’s a convicted rapist. Heidi says, “I told him, `You’re going to be my big stallion.’ “It’s every man’s fear that their girlfriend will go for Mike Tyson.” Tyson adds, “I don’t care what any man says, it’s every man’s dream to please every woman — and get paid for it.”

If the contents of your stomach are still in place… discuss.

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Tip o’ the ear to Amy Kate!

Mike Jones, Gay American Hero

posted by on November 16 at 2:14 PM

Gay blogger Joe My God is urging all of us to show some love to Mike Jones, the escort who outed Rev. Ted “Meth Headā€¯ Haggard.

Regardless of your personal opinions regarding Jones’ chosen field of work, you cannot ignore his unprecedented accomplishment of almost completely upending the Republican Party’s last minute campaign to divert the nation’s attention from the true issue of the election: the Iraq war.

Talking Heads: “The terrorists have just blah blah….gay marriage referendum blah blah….stem cell legislation blah blah…millions of illegal immigrants blah blah. Um, wait a minute. We have a breaking bulletin: Pastor Ted Haggard! Head of evangelical movement! Prostitution! Crystal meth! Close to the President! More! More! More! More!”

Repeat on every channel.

Headlines on every paper.

For five days.

The five days BEFORE the election.

All the billionaire George Soroses in the world could not have more effectively eclipsed the Republicans’ usual last minute diversionary tactics. It was pure delicious serendipity. It was kismet. And most of all, it was KARMA, baby….

I’ve been in contact with Mike over the last week. He tells me that the major gay rights organizations have extended nothing but ten-foot poles. He is unemployed and I imagine that for at least the short future, he is unemployable. He is facing the potential of huge legal bills. He has received death threats from Haggard’s followers and other peace-loving Christians.

Gentle readers, you and I owe Mike Jones a debt of gratitude. It’s a different country than it was seven days ago, and even if you think that Mike Jones had only the tiniest part in effecting that change, we OWE him. Remember those last two Senate seats were decided by just a few thousand votes each.

So please, show your thanks.

Go to PayPal’s Send Money screen and throw some love to our unlikely hero, using his email account: “massageandmuscle@aol.com” …

Send him the $10 you would have spent buying him drinks, if you ran into him in a bar. Send him the $20 you would have spent buying his dinner in a restaurant.

I couldn’t agree more. Send some love—in the form of cash—to Mike Jones. I did.

Memorial for Killed Cop

posted by on November 16 at 2:05 PM

Streets were closed around Capitol Hill this afternoon as the Seattle Police East Precinct held a small memorial for officer Elizabeth Nowak, who was hit in a fatal car accident Monday morning as she drove to work. Roughly 25 officers lined up outside the station and saluted a motorcycle-led procession of cars before heading into a conference room to hear more about Elizabeth, who worked the 3am shift at the precinct.

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All in all, a short, chilly service for an unexpected death.

Darfur Wall

posted by on November 16 at 1:32 PM

My friend Jonah, along with his brother and his father, have started a web site to raise money for peace in Darfur. The site, which sort of resembles the Vietnam War memorial, is tiled with the numbers 1 to 400,000, representing the number of people who have died there in fighting since 2003. With each pledge of $1 or more, one number lights up. The money will go to four nonprofits working in Darfur. Jonah, you’re kind of a jerk, but this is pretty cool.

Republican Science

posted by on November 16 at 1:29 PM

Part 1: Sex causes brain damage!

According to Bush’s new appointee to oversee family planning and reproductive health funding, a chemical called oxytocin is released during “positive social interaction”—hugging, “trust” encounters, and, by the way, sex. But, he warned at the Annual Abstinence Leadership Conference in Kansas, people who have too many sex partners use up all that magical bonding chemical and can’t become attached anymore:

“People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual.ā€¯

To quote Jessica at Feministing, “This is the guy who is going to have control over hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding meant to provide access to contraception and reproductive health information—specifically to low income Americans.” And there’s no confirmation process.

Part 2: Talking about climate change as if it’s actually happening constitutes “brainwashing.”

The U.S. Senate’s most vocal global warming skeptic*, James Inhofe, on Thursday dismissed a U.N. meeting on climate change as “a brainwashing session.”

Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who will step down as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee in January, told a news conference, “The idea that the science (on global warming) is settled is altogether wrong.”

Actually, the debate is over. It’s only Republican wingnuts who refuse to acknowledge it.

Boo, James Inhofe. Yay, Barbara Boxer!

* Ugh. I hate this usage. “Global warming”? Sounds nice! “Skeptic”? Sounds tough! What do news agencies have against “climate-change denier”?

Cross-posted.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 16 at 1:25 PM

Claire Messud (READING) A Manhattan public intellectual is on the verge of losing his public. (His intellect has been going for quite a while.) His preening daughter is having trouble finishing her eminently stupid book. His pudgy nephew is coming from upstate New York to worship or stalk him, or both. The Emperor’s Children doesn’t get truly great until its 9/11 coda, and author Claire Messud probably won’t be skipping ahead. But the beginning is packed with the kind of satirical characterizations that just beg to be dished out loud. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.) ANNIE WAGNER

Last Night in Food News

posted by on November 16 at 1:23 PM

After seeing Native Son last night at Intiman—Mudede’s review is here [he somehow fails to mention Felicia V. Loud, who is the best part of the whole friggin’ show]—I went to Mecca Cafe to get a milkshake. First we sat in the bar. My date ordered a cocktail. I ordered a milkshake. But the bartender refused to serve me a milkshake because, he said, if I ordered it from him, he’d have to make it, and he didn’t want to make one. So we went and sat in the restaurant part and my date ordered a cocktail and fries and I ordered a milkshake. “Nope, no milkshakes,” the waitress said. When pressed, she said they were out of ice cream.

Let me give you some help, Mecca: You’re supposed to have milkshakes. You are a late-night diner. You are not a gourmet destination. You are a milkshakes-and-fries destination. Your fries last night were fantastic, don’t get me wrong. But you know what’s even more fantastic? Fries and a milkshake. The holy combination! You, Mecca, are here on Earth to provide milkshakes to people. Not having milkshakes, or not being willing to make milkshakes for people, or whatever the problem is—that ain’t right.

Vapider and Vapider

posted by on November 16 at 1:07 PM

More and more, the New York Times’ style sections (Sunday and Thursday) appeal only to drunk, stay-at-home, rich moms. Like today’s feature on what happens when your personal trainer blabs about your baggage, “When Abs Are Tight, but Lips Are Loose.” Or last week’s feature on moms who drink on play dates with their kids. Gasp! At least the Washington Post’s style section is still trying to be what it should, wide-ranging, culturally literate, and fun. Also, they seem to actually do some reporting instead of just calling their sister’s PTA buddies on the Main Line.

Smart Mann

posted by on November 16 at 1:07 PM

Brian Mann’s breakdown of the political situation in America at this point in time has the heaviness of meat and potatoes and the ease of a sharp intelligence. Mann, the author of Welcome to the Homeland, argues that the Republican’s base is quickly dwindling and the only thing that has kept that party in power for so long has been an uneven sharing of political power between urban/suburban and rural. The rural areas are, he explains, grossly overrepresented in government, and so their dumb values have a force, a life in them that should have naturally expired years ago. But what Mann suggests, but doesn’t say openly, although Howard Dean said as much in San Francisco not too long ago, the political system that exists today, and will be a thing of the past by at least 2050, all comes down to the Grand Old Party being the white male party and the Democratic Party being the party for the rest (including white males).

Goodnight, Milt

posted by on November 16 at 12:45 PM

Milton Friedman, the laissez-faire economist and spiritual father of the Chicago School, has cashed in his options. (Full story here.)

There’s a lot to say about the man: His rejection of Keynesianism, his conservative anti-statism, the whole Pinochet thing. For now, let’s admire the fact that he lived as he taught, and credited his life and fortune to laissez-faire happenstance:

Friedman attributed his success to “accidents”: the immigration of his teenage parents from Czechoslovakia, enabling him to be an American and not a citizen of a Soviet bloc state; the skill of a high-school geometry teacher who showed him a connection between John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and the Pythagorean theorem, allowing him to see the beauty in the mathematical truth that the square of the sides of a right triangle equals the square of the hypotenuse; the scholarship to Rutgers, where he had Arthur Burns and Homer Jones as teachers.
In his first economic-theory class at Chicago, Friedman was the beneficiary of another accident - that his last name began with an “F.” The class was seated alphabetically, and he was placed next to Rose Director, a master’s degree candidate from Oregon. That seating arrangement shaped his whole life, he said. He married Director six years later. She became an important economist in her own right, then helped Friedman form his ideas and maintain his intellectual rigor.

Also notable: His name is an anagram for “a mint field morn” and “Lenin mad for Tim.”

“They put my sperm into a stranger’s vagina.”

posted by on November 16 at 12:30 PM

That’s the money quote in the lead from Stranger news writer Angela Valdez’s finely reported, finely written story that’s up on Salon right now about a wild paternity lawsuit in Oregon. The story starts off like a bad joke: So a couple walks into a fertility clinic and the guy’s sperm ends up in the wrong woman.

Anyway, check out Angela’s story!

The Day in Food News

posted by on November 16 at 12:24 PM

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You can’t eat semantics: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has eradicated hunger, replacing that ugly word with the far more palatable “very low food security” in its annual report.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts: A U.S. judge has ruled that a burrito is not a sandwich.

We have on our hands the beginning of an epidemic.

posted by on November 16 at 12:22 PM

The one thing that would have made this sweeter is a playground full of witnesses.

A man is accused of having sex with the carcass of a deer that he found lying beside the road—but his lawyer denies that he committed bestiality, on the grounds that a dead deer isn’t an animal any more.

[Public defender Fredric Anderson] gave the example of a roast turkey — with which it would be illegal to have sex under the broader interpretation of the law — claiming that it was unreasonable to suggest it should still be classified as an animal for the purposes of law.

Judge Michael Lucci noted when hearing the arguments that: ‘I’m a little surprised this issue hasn’t been tackled before in another case.’

I wasn’t aware fucking roadkill was such a hot-button issue, but now that I am, I’ll be thinking about this (tempt me not, sweet succubus!):

roadkill_deer.jpg

and carefully pondering the rights of ardent carcass fuckers everywhere. I mean, it’s not like his loving was hurting anyone, right?

If Hathaway is convicted, he could serve up to two years in prison, because of a previous conviction in 2005 for shooting dead a horse called Bambrick. So that he could have sex with it.

Oh.

Green Land

posted by on November 16 at 12:11 PM

SF BOS.jpg

Proving once again that San Francisco pushes the envelope more than just about anywhere else, the Board of Supervisors passed a bill Tuesday that de-prioritizes all marijuana law enforcement. Although the law (here’s a .pdf file of the ordinance) is based on Seattle’s voter-enacted Initiative 75, which concerns pot possession for adult personal use, the Bay Area permutation virtually decriminalizes sales and cultivation, too.

Police officials even supported the proposal, affirming that the ordinance is more than a gesture. San Francisco joins four other cities that have reformed marijuana enforcement policy at the local level in the last two weeks.

At the same meeting, the supervisors passed another green ordinance that bans plastic foam to-go food containers (ensuring paranoid stoners aren’t plagued with guilt for the box their munchies came in). Unlike dealers who sell pot, restaurant owners who hand out landfill-hogging styrofoam boxes will get slapped with a fine.

Thursday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 16 at 10:09 AM

Sonics: Home is where the loss is.

Seahawks: Depending on “how he feels,ā€¯ Shaun Alexander will most likely play this Sunday against the 49ers. As for Hasselbeck, probably not.

Also, the Hawks extended Seneca Wallace’s contract through 2007.

Huskies: Trouble brewing on Facebook.

Baseball: Alex Rodriguez doesn’t want to leave NY; the Blue Jays are close to signing Frank Thomas; Barry Bonds might take his juice elsewhere; and Joe Girardi gets shit-canned, wins National League Manager of the Year award.

Dancing with the Stars Upset! (Try to Care.)

posted by on November 16 at 9:52 AM

In an incredible upset that turned out to be not the least bit upsetting, football legend EMMITT SMITH beat out Saved by the Bell’s MARIO LOPEZ in last night’s Dancing with the Stars finale. This is of minor importance, because everyone thought the final two would be Mario and Blossom’s JOEY LAWRENCE, and yet Emmitt came from behind to defeat two far-superior dancers pretty much only because the TV audience liked him better.
THAT AIN’T RIGHT, AND YET?

I STILL CAN’T SEEM TO CARE. So much for my “willing suspension of disbelief” in reality television.

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In a related story, HEY GAY PEOPLE! LOOK AT THIS!

MarioLopez.jpg

Flood the Zone. A Theory on Why Burner Lost.

posted by on November 16 at 9:33 AM

Of course, the big post-mortem election question everyone’s asking is: Why didn’t Darcy Burner ride the Blue Wave? Not only did Democratic candidates score big all over the country in contested suburban turf that mirrors Washington’s 8th District (where Burner tried to unseat incumbent GOP Rep. Dave Reichert), but even in the 8th itself, the Democratic candidates running for the state legislature cleaned up. They stole 5 seats from the Republicans to take 11 out 15 eastside seats in Olympia.

There are 5 eastside King County state legislative district’s (LDs) within Washington’s 8th U.S. Congressional district. They are: The 45th, the 47th, the 48th, the 41st, and the 5th. There’s also a bit of Pierce County in the 8th and south KC LDs, but the eastside is key.

(If you want my opinion Burner didn’t win because she wasn’t such a good candidate. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell my boss. There was a lot of truth to the Republican rap that her experience didn’t match Dave Reichert’s. But I digress.)

Eric Oemig, one of the five eastside Democrats who stole a seat from the GOP last week (he won the race for the 45th LD senate seat), has a more interesting and instructive theory than my dismissive interpretation.

He says the fact that the state Democratic party didn’t field a single candidate in east central King County’s 5th LD (again, one of the five eastside KC state LDs within the 8th U.S. Congressional district), undercut Burner’s ability to get out the Democratic message to a constituency that was ready to flee the GOP. The state party, he says, should have reinforced Burner’s effort by tactically fielding state house candidates in the 5th LD.

Oemig points out that there were 3 Democratic candidates doorbelling in his District, and so, disenchanted Rs were repeatedly hearing an attractive Democratic message. This combined effort, Oemig says, enabled all 3 Democratic state legislature candidates to win in the 45th and take the suburbs—which many had considered GOP turf. Oemig posits that—if Democratic candidates at the state house level had been campaigning alongside Burner in the 5th—the tight race in King County could have swung her way. Again, the Dems didn’t field a single candidate in the 5th LD.

Oemig hit me with his theory earlier this week when I interviewed him for a story I intended to write about the Democrats’ state house successes on the eastside. However, after talking to him, I filed this story criticizing the Democrats for blowing it in 2006.

And In The Local Morning News

posted by on November 16 at 8:50 AM

Barnett left out some local news. One of the biggest stories is the scoop she had yesterday afternnon about the real traffic numbers—75,000 vehicle trips daily— for the Viaduct. This real number undermines the capacity propaganda (110,000 trips daily) that Team Nickels has been using to justify its $3.6 billion to $5.5 billion tunnel.

The Morning News

posted by on November 16 at 7:23 AM

Brief: Jackson performs fleeting version of “We Are the World,” throws his coat into befuddled crowd.

Under fire: Pelosi, who continues to back controversial congressman Murtha for House Majority Leader.

Making progress: Pakistan, which finally moved toward changing a rape law that requires victims to produce four male witnesses.

In the crosshairs: Animal-rights radicals, who now face stiffer penalties for “eco-terrorism” than ever.

Bizarre: the New York Times’ explanation for Marines’ rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, which the paper said resulted from “frustration” at insurgents who blend in with civilian population.

Intolerable: Conditions for women in Afghanistan, where increasing numbers of women are committing suicide by setting themselves on fire.

Tough: Democrats’ letter to Bush on global warming. “We pledge to work to pass an effective system of mandatory limits on greenhouse gases.”

The world’s tiniest violin: Playing for convicted ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who called his minimum-security prison a “nightmare.”

Icky: Boobs, according to Delta Airlines, which kicked a mom off a flight for breastfeeding.

No surprise: The press obsesses about Nancy Pelosi’s clothing choices.

Perplexing or just revolting? You decide: OJ book describes how he would have killed his wife, “If I Did It.”


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anti-Smoking Idiocy

posted by on November 15 at 5:11 PM

Let me be the first to say that this is nuts.

Belmont [CA] is set to make history by becoming the first city in the nation to ban smoking on its streets and almost everywhere….

The Belmont City Council voted unanimously last night to pursue a strict law that will prohibit smoking anywhere in the city except for single-family detached residences. Smoking on the street, in a park and even in one’s car will become illegal and police would have the option of handing out tickets if they catch someone.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Unenforceable, over-reaching, invitation-to-police-harrassment, tyrannical, and haven’t-we-learned-anything-from-the-dumbass-war-on-drugs stupid. I’ve never smoked—never a single puff—but if I lived in Belmont this law would prompt me to take it up.

Via Drudge.

Supertelevangelistic Sex-and-Drugs Psychosis

posted by on November 15 at 5:01 PM

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Supertelevangelistic Sex-and-Drugs Psychosis is apparently what ailed Ted Haggard. You can hear the latest tearful confession from America’s favorite disgraced pastor by clicking here.

Viaduct Numbers Inflated

posted by on November 15 at 4:48 PM

For years, the city and state have claimed the Alaskan Way Viaduct carries 110,000 vehicles a day. The figure has appeared for at least four years in local newspapers and on the web sites of the city and state transportation departments and has been a vital piece of evidence in the state and city’s argument that replacing the viaduct’s full car capacity is paramount. The two sides disagree about whether a tunnel or a rebuilt viaduct is the better solution, but both agree on one thing: Tearing down the viaduct and replacing it with a surface roadway would result in a traffic nightmare, leaving tens of thousands of cars with nowhere to go.

The 110,000 figure is based on traffic models and hasn’t changed since at least 2002, when newspapers first began reporting the figure. A look at WSDOT’s actual traffic counts, as measured by a computerized sensor on the roadway itself, however, shows “annual average daily traffic” of just 74,700 vehicles—just 68 percent of the number tunnel boosters like to use. In general, actual traffic counts are far more reliable than computerized models in estimating traffic flow. Viaduct project manager Ron Paananen has not yet returned a call requesting a description of WSDOT’s computer model.

(Update: A viaduct project spokeswoman says the higher number may be a result of the placement of the sensor; she says most of the traffic on the viaduct is north of where the sensor is located. However, it’s hard to imagine traffic increasing by 32 percent between the south and north end of Pioneer Square.)

The 74,700 figure could have major implications for the viaduct-replacement project, taking away the primary justification for building a massive new $3.6 to $5.5 billion waterfront freeway or rebuilding the viaduct where it stands—the need, in Mayor Nickels’s words, to “maintain traffic capacity” on the waterfront. A surface street, combined with improvements to the street grid and transit downtown, could more than accommodate 75,000 cars. Maybe that’s why no one at the mayor’s office or the state transportation department are talking about that number.

City Council member Peter Steinbrueck, an early advocate for studying the surface/transit option, however, is talking about it. “We’ve heard over and over that the viaduct carries—not in theory, but actually serves—110,000 vehicles a day. I think there’s been some misrepresentation,” Steinbrueck says. “Frankly, I’m quite consternated that we’ve invested so much time and effort in what may be a fabrication to support the traffic movers’ agenda.”

Governor Christine Gregoire is expected to announce her preferred alternative for replacing the viaduct after Thanksgiving; the odds are good that she will either recommend rebuilding the viaduct or punt the issue back to the City Council. Nickels, following the council’s lead, has said he’ll support the surface/transit option as a “backup” if both the tunnel and the rebuild are rejected. The latest numbers, damning though they may be, should be enough to give Nickels and his fellow tunnel-boosters pause: Even if you accept the argument that replacing the viaduct requires preserving capacity (and we don’t) a surface road should be more than enough to accommodate 75,000 cars.

Barney Fife Arrested in Failed Kidnapping

posted by on November 15 at 4:43 PM

From MSNBC:

WICHITA, Kan. - A botched kidnapping ended with one of the assailants shooting himself in the groin, Wichita police said.

The man had just stuck the gun back into his waistband when it fired, shooting him in the left testicle. He cringed, causing the gun to fire again and strike him in the left calf.

Walk Toward the Light

posted by on November 15 at 3:47 PM

I’ve never enjoyed airplanes—too paranoid about crashes and bombs and terrorists and cooties to ever “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flightā€¯—but I have reconciled myself to airports. I’ve actually come to enjoy airports. I look at it this way: When you’re in an airport, you’re not on an airplane. You survived the flight or you have yet to board—either way, the airport is preferable to the airplane in every possible way.

Not only can you get up and walk around, you can have yourself a drink (I’m a regular at a bar in the Minneapolis airport), surf the web, work, and watch people. But most importantly, again, when I’m in the airport and not in the air… I don’t have to stress out about my imminent demise. My head isn’t flooded by mental images of planes exploding or breaking into pieces (thanks, Lost). When I’m on the ground, I’m not thinking about my death.

Until yesterday, when I had to get to the “Cā€¯ gates at Detroit’s airport. Look at this picture…

DetroitSpooky.jpg

It’s a long, dark hallway, with diffuse and moody blue lighting. Oh, and there’s a soundtrack: spooky, ethereal, wind-chimey music. And all you have to do to get to your gate… is…

Walk toward the light.

Christ Almighty. I like Detroit’s airport—it’s nothing like Detroit proper—I try to schedule layovers here to break up long flights to the East Coast. (Yes, yes: the most dangerous parts of a flight are the takeoffs and landings, and by breaking my trips up I’m actually putting myself in greater danger. I never said my fear of flying was rational.) But no more “C” gate flights from Detroit again. Ever.

I mean, whose bright idea was it to simulate of a near-death experience for passengers about to board an aircraft?

“Mass Quantities of Cock Rings”

posted by on November 15 at 2:53 PM

On Ted Haggard’s shopping list, along with “graphic and gay videos,” hundreds of dollars a month worth of sex toys, and “an electrical unit designed to stimulate the urethra.”

“Dalliance,” my ass.

For Artists and Investors (aka the Dullest Post of the Year)

posted by on November 15 at 2:45 PM

A new(ish) article on Slate proposes an interesting solution to the nonprofit fundraising problem: Get investors. But since nonprofits are, you know, profitless, the investors would pursue their gains backwards—the “shares” in a nonprofit would be valued according to their tax deductibility.

The financial incentive created by the tax deduction is among the finest traditions in our law. Still, it treats you as a donor, not an investor.

The new [proposed] legislation changes that. It permits the Red Cross to issue “dynamically deductible shares.” Say the DD shares are offered at $10 each. You buy 60 of them, paying $600. You are not permitted to take a tax deduction, however, until you sell the shares. You choose to risk the size and timing of your deduction, based on your confidence that the price of Red Cross DD shares will go up.

Your bet pays off. Two years later, your 60 Red Cross DD shares are worth $16 each, or $960 total. You ask your broker to sell. That year, you get a federal charitable deduction of $960—worth $240 to you, assuming you’re in the same tax bracket. You have done good by providing capital to the Red Cross. And you have done well by reaping a gain of $90 (the difference between the $150 savings on federal taxes you would have gotten for a donation versus the $240 savings from investing in the DD shares).

And unlike private stock (sold by the company once, then sold between investors), each time an investor buys DD shares, the nonprofit gets a donation:

For the nonprofit, it provides an injection of capital every time DD shares change hands. You buy the 60 DD shares and the Red Cross gets $600. You sell the 60 DD shares two years later, and the Red Cross gets the proceeds as well—either the increased value, if the price has risen, or the decreased value, if it has dropped.

The article is a little fuzzy on how the market would work, leaving the heavy lifting to the Invisible Hand.

I’m not sure what I think about this scheme. Investors are going nuts for innovative futures, ETFs, and other new ways to gamble. Poorly-rated nonprofits wouldn’t necessarily suffer—they could keep fundraising the old-fashioned way—and new nonprofits with great ideas and no capital might get a leg up. But the possibilities for abuse seem legion—and at the expense of the vulnerable interests nonprofits are supposed to protect—and call me a big, fat socialist, but opening nonprofits to market forces seems worrysome. Then again, the nonprofit model doesn’t seem to be working so well these days.

Anyway. Thanks to Gavin for the heads up and the rest of you for snoozing through. Now please enjoy this video of Steve Coogan being extremely funny:

Fantastic 4!

posted by on November 15 at 2:08 PM

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Fantastic donut!

posted by on November 15 at 2:07 PM

The feature in this week’s soon-to-hit-the-streets issue is about local crafts and crafters. But my favorite local craft didn’t make it in the paper. It’s sitting right here on my desk.

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Oh my God! It’s a super cute donut! Doesn’t it look delicious?! Known food-stealer Josh Feit gawks at it all the time and nary a soul can walk by without wanting to pick the lit’l bugger up and give it a squeeze. Look! Here it is making friends with a manatee-shaped croissant:

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Hey there, cute stuff. The donut is hand-sewn from felt and red beads and 100% made in Seattle. You can pick one up at Schmancy downtown for $14. I love you, little donut.

Son of Man’s Best Friend

posted by on November 15 at 2:01 PM

As we enter this holiday season, let us take a moment to reflect on the special gift of life that has been given to us, and witness the manifestation of what can only be called a miracle.

courtesy of Bowlds

The Daily Show… for Chimps?

posted by on November 15 at 1:41 PM

In what will probably be the most fascinating waste of six minutes you’ve had all day, please check out this clip of a new Japanese show called “Chimpanzee News Channel.” I’m not sure how that monkey does what he does, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Added features: A camel sidekick by the name of Pierre, and a violent ape that rides a bicycle. THIS IS NOW MY FAVORITE SHOW OF ALL TIME.

One City

posted by on November 15 at 1:13 PM

What exactly is the problem? Everyone knows that if the Sonics go, the Trailblazers arrive. It is old news that right after the Sonics were sold, Paul Allen removed the sale sign from the Portland Trailblazers. The best thing that could happen to Seattle, and Amtrak for that matter, is to concentrate the professional sports market in Seattle. If the Sonics go to wherever that place is then the Portland/Seattle line would probably have a real opportunity to realize its high-speed train dream. Anything that promises to cut that dull trip down to an hour is reason for excitement.

Better Than A Falafel Rub!

posted by on November 15 at 12:41 PM

How could I have missed this? On Oct. 28, roving critic Jim Demetre announced on his web site Artdish that the site’s music editor, the fiery Igor Keller, has written an entire baroque oratorio devoted to the harassment lawsuit Andrea Mackris brought against Fox News demon Bill O’Reilly.

Jim wrote me just now to tell me that Keith Olbermann talked about the oratorio on last night’s show, and will be interviewing Keller soon, and that the oratorio, to premiere Jan. 12 and 13 at Meany Hall, just went up on Huffington Post.

A quote directly from the press release describes it best:

The piece is a setting of the sexual harassment complaint lodged against Fox News pundit, Bill O’Reilly, by staff producer, Andrea Mackris, in October 2004. It includes all memorable moments from the original complaint and more — paranoid rants, clumsy sexual innuendo, and the famous falafel fantasy. Composer Igor Keller has produced this 31-part, concert-length work in the form of a baroque oratorio, in the style of an updated Handel’s Messiah, for 31-piece chamber orchestra, 32-voice chorus and three soloists. It’s an oratorio for the 21st century!

Keller’s web site for Mackris V. O’Reilly (has another contemporary classical title ever inspired such glee?) is here. I’d get my tickets now. They’re $10.

Gore Vidal’s Caligula

posted by on November 15 at 12:05 PM

Like your art super-weird and star-studded? Then don’t miss this bizarre and glorious creation by Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli, included in both the Venice and Whitney Biennales, entitled Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal’s ‘Caligula’. (Not safe for work.)

“Trailers are a shrunken form of narrative,” Vezzoli told Men’s Vogue. “But in the case of a trailer for a movie that doesn’t exist, it’s like reflecting a vacuum. And sometimes that’s what Hollywood is about.”

(Thanks to Towleroad for the heads-up.)

K.Fed’s Hate Note to Britney

posted by on November 15 at 12:05 PM

For those few who were starting to feel a wee bit sorry for K.Fed after receiving last week’s dumpage from Britney, check out this little “love note” Kevin scrawled on a shower door at a recent gig in Chicago:

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Obviously, K.Fed could use some penmanship lessons, so for those who find it hard to read, it says:

Today I’m a free man
Ladies look out
Fuck a wife
Give me my kids Bitch!
—Kevin Federline

Sigh… what a dreamboat! He’s like the Cyrano De Bergerac of misogynistic lazy untalented creeps.

Sex on a plane

posted by on November 15 at 12:01 PM

A new form of terror, or innocent homeopathic remedy?

A couple’s ill-concealed sexual play aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles got them charged with violating the Patriot Act, intended for terrorist acts, and could land them in jail for 20 years.

“Persing was observed nuzzling or kissing Sewell on the neck, and … with his face pressed against Sewell’s vaginal area. During these actions, Sewell was observed smiling,” reads the indictment filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On a second warning from the flight attendant, Persing snapped back threatening the flight attendant with “serious consequences” if he did not leave them alone.

The comment was enough to have the couple, both in their early 40s, arrested when the plane reached its destination in Raleigh, North Carolina, and charged with obstructing a flight attendant and with criminal association.

According to his lawyer: Persing suffers from a chronic disease requiring medication that makes him drowsy, dizzy and irritable.

A chronic disease which recalled Persing’s head to his partner’s vagina like a homing pigeon, because everyone knows that nuzzling vaginas is a motherfucking cure-all. Bad day at the office? Stick your head in a vagina. Chronic migraine got you down? Tea-cozy that sucker. It’s why I do pilates.

My sympathies lie with the supposed “terrorists”. Here’s hoping both defendants find vaginas to console themselves in during this difficult time.

Signs of the Times

posted by on November 15 at 11:45 AM

Looks like Washington isn’t the only state with a 25’ rule…

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The Soft Bigotry of Yuppie Expectations

posted by on November 15 at 11:27 AM

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Stranger arts editor Christopher Frizzelle reviews the Seattle Rep’s production of the Great Gatsby in today’s edition of the Stranger .

I saw the play on the same night as Christopher, and we compared notes after the play (basically, nodding in agreement that the show was a flop). I cannot wait to read his review, which I imagine will be a much-deserved pan.

One observation I shared with Christopher was my reaction to Seattle Rep’s choice to cast a black sax player in a role modeled on jazz great, Lester Young. (The play featured a sort of omniscient black sax player who strolled around stage, commenting on the scene with knowing accompaniment on his horn.)

This Lester Young character opened the play (in silhouette, I believe) blowing a haunting melody as a prelude to the Gatsby tragedy.

At that, I immediately lost trust in this production. And felt a bit insulted too.

Gatsby is about the Jazz Age of the 1920s. It doesn’t take much research to know that the sultry, wailing sax has nothing whatsover to do with 1920s jazz. When you’re putting on a 20s set-piece like Gatsby, you certainly oughta get your 20s basics right.

Not only was their sexy sax an anachronism for the 20s (which is bad enough…sort of like watching a movie that’s supposed to take place in the ’70s and seeing a cell phone), but the Lester Young-style sax they conjured up is specifically evocative of the 1940s. (The sax didn’t emerge as a centerpiece of jazz combos until the late 30s and particularly the 1940s.)

However, I’m not just being a finicky music snob. The main reason their lazy fumble got my goat has to do with racism. To drop the trope of a black saxophonist just wailing his haunting sexy chops into this play was a sop to the Rep’s banal white yuppie audience that loves its comforting, nostalgic, romantic stereotypes of black Americans. (That the Rep got their specific racism wrong—it should have been Louie Armstrong on hot trumpet or maybe even a Jewish cornet player—is just sorta funny.)

To the Rep, I imagine, the 1920s=Jazz (with ’80s jazz hands). And for the Rep, Jazz=black people (haunting and sexy to boot). And so they plucked the black jazz Lester Young stereotype and dropped it into their production.

A few days after I saw the play, I griped to a friend (a sax player) about the discrepency and the racism, and he told me a funny anecdote. He said that earlier this year he was looking at musician wanted ads on-line and, in fact, saw the Rep’s Saxophonist Wanted ad for Gatsby. He was interested and so a week later he went looking for the ad again. He found it, but it had been tweaked to say African American Saxophonist wanted. Ugggh.

Update: I found the ad. It was posted on the Musician’s Union Referral list in early October. It didn’t say “African American.” It said “Person of Color.”

10-8 Tenor Sax player needed for a show at Seattle Repertory Theatre for a show run from Nov 3- Dec 10. There are 8 shows per week for 6 weeks. The play is “The Great Gatsby”. Character type: middle age male, with preference for a person of color.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 15 at 11:12 AM

‘Native Son’
(THEATER)
Last week, when I reviewed Intiman’s adaptation of the novel to which, before its arrival, in 1940, all black American novels were directed, and from which, after its arrival, all black American novels have departed, Native Son, I failed to mention its impressive stage design. The set is alive with movement: a bed, a globe, a car, and many other props glide on and off the elaborate stage, which is framed by a towering reproduction of a slum building. The more I think about this play, the more I’m impressed by it. (Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900. 7:30 pm, $42.) CHARLES MUDEDE

Communist Manifestoon

posted by on November 15 at 10:54 AM

The first chapter of the Communist Manifesto, which is a supreme work of literature, one of the greatest books ever written (and because it’s short, compressed, with each sentence exploding like a stick of dynamite—better than the first volume of Capital), is read with a visual mix of American cartoons that match the text. The experiment would have been a total success had the narrator put some life into his voice. Instead, he is so dry, so vapid that he kills the music and poetry of the revolution.

I, For One, Will Miss Him

posted by on November 15 at 10:36 AM

John Rockwell is leaving the New York Times. [Via Artsjournal.]

The Morning News, Special Late Edition

posted by on November 15 at 10:09 AM

Because the Internet was broken. Yes, all of it.

Frist: “We are not winning” in Iraq.

Top US commander in Middle East: “Our troop posture needs to stay where it is.”

Iraqi prime minister on kidnapping of academics: “The country is abundant with bad activities of these gangs, terrorist organizations, Saddamists and the militias.”

Rove: “Knows too much,” will stay.

Bush the First: US political climate is “probably a little worse now given electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things.”

New minority leader (and old Strom Thurmond apologist) Trent Lott: “The person who can get us back in the majority the fastest,” according to an ally.
Marine Toys for Tots rep, on Marines’ rejection of a talking Jesus toy: “Kids want a toy for Christmas that is fun.”

Creepy anti-abortion Christian women: “”Some people think that what I’m doing—having eleven children—is wrong. … They don’t believe in God, so they think we have to conserve what we have. But in my belief system, He’s going to give us a new earth.” (Also: “Our bodies are not our own.”)

After You, Father

posted by on November 15 at 9:48 AM

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You have to love those whacky U.S. Bishops. This header/subhead combo in this morning’s New York Times made me laugh out loud in the campus coffee shop where I was eating a bagel.

U.S. Bishops Adopt Guidelines on Gays

Urging celibacy for gay men and lesbians, and rejecting artificial contraception

Hm. Celibacy. Doesn’t the Catholic Church in the United States have a wee credibility problem where celibacy is concerned? Considering the inability of the Catholic Church to keep its own priests celibate, I don’t think think the sour-faced U.S. Bishops seen above are really going to have much luck with rank-and-file gay and lesbian Catholics, to say nothing of gay and lesbian non-Catholics.

Like most gay and lesbian readers of the New York Times, seeing today’s headline about the U.S. Bishops’ unwelcome, unsolicited plans for my life (loneliness, misery, and lifetime of sexual frustration—sign me up!), only reminded me of this headline from yesterday’s NYT:

New York Priest’s Sex-Abuse Trial Begins, in Pennsylvania

Celibacy? Get your priests to honor their own vows of celibacy and then maybe—maybe—we’ll consider contemplating your advice for us. (We’ll still reject it, of course, but we’ll contemplate it.) Until that blessed day arrives, well, let’s just say my first impulse on reading the story in the New York Times today was not to call my boyfriend and break up. I laughed—and not just at your proscriptions for gays and lesbians.

The guidelines welcome gay people, but they also affirm church teachings that “homosexual inclinationsā€¯ are inherently disordered. While having such inclinations is not sinful, gay sexual activity is, according to the core teachings. The guidelines, called “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination,ā€¯ passed by a vote of 194 to 37. They also speak out against same-sex marriage and adoptions by gay men and lesbians….

The bishops also adopted “Married Love and the Gift of Life,ā€¯ which is meant to explain church teachings about contraception for engaged and young married couples.

The document asserts that artificial contraception introduces a “false noteā€¯ into a marriage and has led to a decline in respect for life in society. Catholics use birth control to the same extent as other Americans; only 4 percent, the document said, use natural planning, the type of birth control backed by the church.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., said on Monday that gay Catholics who are not celibate and married Catholics who use artificial contraception should not receive Holy Communion.

Wow! How can I ever thank you guys for linking your sex-phobic, ill-informed, thoroughly-backwards and completely idiotic gay bashing with your equally sex-phobic, ill-informed, thoroughly-backwards straight bashing? By tackling both issues at once, by linking homosexual activity and heterosexual activity like this, you all have demonstrate that your issue isn’t really with homosexual sex, per se, but sex, period. And, I’m sorry, but your credibility on contraception isn’t much better than your cred on gay sex. Ask the average straight American Catholic what a priest might recommend as a birth control method and you’re likely to hear, “Come on the altar boy, not in him.”

And did you catch that, U.S. Bishops? Only 4% of straight married Catholics use “natural planning.” Do you really intend to deny Communion to 96% of American Catholics? Are you double agents working on behalf of the Lutheran Church or what? Are you trying to make Protestants of us all?

And speaking of “natural planning,” I guess the U.S. Bishops missed the big news about how many fertilized eggs—you know, human beings with souls and shit—wind up dying as a result of “natural family planning.” Also from the NYT:

A philosopher in Britain has ruffled feathers on both sides of the Atlantic by suggesting that the rhythm method of contraception may increase the risk of early embryonic death.

Luc Bovens, a philosopher at the London School of Economics, argues in the Journal of Medical Ethics that couples who try to prevent pregnancy by avoiding sex during the woman’s most fertile time of month may be more likely to produce embryos that do not develop or implant in the womb.

If this is correct, he writes, then “millions of rhythm method cycles per year globally depend for their success on massive embryonic death.”

Savage Hall

posted by on November 15 at 9:42 AM

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Looks as if they liked the speech I gave last night at Cornell—they’ve named a building after me. It’s not the loveliest building on campus, but it’s an honor nevertheless.

Wednesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 15 at 9:41 AM

Slow sports news day. The Huskies slipped past Northern Iowa in the Basketball Travelers Classic; the Red Sox ended up spending $51.1 for the right to talk to Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka; Mike Mussina re-signed with the Yankees for two years and $22.5 million; and the Arizona Cardinals apologized for bungling a tribute to Pat Tillman last Sunday.

O.J. is a Vicious Killer. Hypothetically.

posted by on November 15 at 9:40 AM

Just when FOX TV started whining like a baby over the fact no one watches their network anymore, they scored the “killer” interview of the century. In an exclusive interview, O.J. SIMPSON will describe how he murdered his former wife—HYPOTHETICALLY. Not that he really killed her, mind you. But if he HAD, this is how he would have done it. All together now… BRRRRRRRRRRRRR…

Check out a clip of the interview here, and tune in on Nov 27th and 29th for the two-part interview. Afterwards you’ll be wanting to take the longest shower of your life, so start conserving hot water now.

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Props from Chicago

posted by on November 15 at 7:50 AM

Y’all:

Given how often my brother disses Seattle in favor of Chicago, just thought y’all would like to hear some praise from the city of Big Shoulders, which was blackmailed three times to build expensive new stadia with plenty of taxpayer dollars. From Neil Steinberg in today’s Sun-Times:

Don’t let the door … Whenever a sports franchise extorts a tax break or a stadium out of a city by threatening to pull up stakes and leave otherwise, citizens inevitably wonder what would happen if they called the bluff.

Usually they do that wondering while digging into their pockets for the ransom.

But in Seattle on Election Day, a miracle occurred when 74.3 percent of the voters approved a measure forbidding public funds to be spent on sports facilities. Now the so-so SuperSonics are making noises about looking for a new home.

As satisfying as this is, the great part — for me — is the name of the group that fought to end welfare for rich team owners: Citizens for More Important Things. .

OK, we have rapid transit and a Mayor-for-Life-or-til-Indicted who loves bicycle lanes, but we also ponied up for the United Center, the New Comiskey Park (Now US Cellular Field, aka The Cell) and that Mother Ship on the Lake, the New Soldier Field. Your rejection of the Sonics beats Chicago’s chickenshit ways hands-down.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MAN Is Right

posted by on November 14 at 5:30 PM

Blake Gopnik’s review of the Morris Louis retrospective at the High is terrific. Read it all the way to the end; Gopnik thoroughly wrests this fascinating painter away from the cold dead formalist hands of Clement Greenberg once and for all. He makes a case for Louis as a performer, a conceptualist, and generally an action painter unlike the others. The fact that nobody knows how the suburban Louis actually made his works is a fruitful mystery.

I’m a total Louis junkie, so I’m sympathetic. The pieces just grab me. Seattle Art Museum has a single Louis in its collection, given by (who else?!) Virginia and Bagley Wright. (They showed it at their space on Dexter a couple of years ago.) It is Alpha Mu, from 1961, the year before Louis’s untimely death, and it measures a glorious 8 1/2-by-13 1/2 feet. I don’t have an image of it, but it is one of the ones with an expanse of blank canvas at its center. Here’s another of those, and some more Louis. (And thanks, MAN.)

This is Alpha-Phi, also from 1961, at the Tate.

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This is in the High show, dating the same year.

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O Litigious World!

posted by on November 14 at 4:59 PM

All these stories about people suing over their humiliating appearances in Borat are really sad—not because they were tricked into being worse than they are, but because they were tricked into being just as they are.

There is this story (referenced in today’s Morning News) about a fraternity brother who is suing over his portrayal as a drunken, racist buffoon. The following is a photo from his myspace page (note the wall decor):

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Even sadder is this story about the Romanians in the real-life village of Glod (literally: “mud”) who want to sue over their collective portrayal as violent, superstitious wife-beaters. When reporters showed up to ask about the suit:

One man was seen slapping his sister, who had appeared in the film, and slamming the gate to his ramshackle home shut to keep her from being interviewed. At another point, a resident threatened news photographers with a stick, and another pelted their car with rocks.

In all fairness, the villagers are also suing for being paid only a few dollars for letting animals shit in their houses and unknowingly strapping sex toys to their bodies. Meanwhile, Borat is raking in the millions. It must be aggravating to realize you’ve been bought for .00001% of the wealth you’ve helped generate—maybe even more aggravating than being portrayed as unflatteringly close to your true self.

Re: PI Credulous on Conversions

posted by on November 14 at 4:46 PM

Erica, the PI is just trying to atone for this article, from October 6—the heartbreaking story of a nice deaf lady named Ann Silver who was kicked out of her conveniently located digs and given only $500 and a pile of dust in exchange.

And what piece of “architectural heritage” was the Tacoma-based owners, Gintz Group, bent on preserving?

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This ugly, ugly, building has been newly christened Vertigo, as in “-inducing.” It’s a leading candidate for ugliest condo building in Seattle.

The only thing that could have possibly been historic about that building were the bizarre stained-glass doors featuring Romanian peasants or Spanish conquistadores, or something. Gintz got ‘em out of there fast. I don’t have a before picture (sob!), but here’s the after:

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No character. (Full disclosure: Bradley Steinbacher used to live in the building, and I used to walk by every single day. I miss you, conquistadores!)

Nut Pride

posted by on November 14 at 4:20 PM

Hey!

Is that “Power of Pride” sticker on your Hummer just not quite aggressive enough for you? Do you get the nagging feeling that someone else has thought of a much more obnoxious way to publicly display their assholery?

You’re right.

Meet Bumper Nuts.

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Available in blue (ha!), black, camo, red, yellow, flesh, white, brass (HA!), and aluminum, they have an awesome lifetime finish and are DROP FORGED IN THE USA! FUCK YEAH!

A friend in suburban Boston reports that these are all the rage among the soccer mom set. This makes me very confused.

Also confusing — this photo of a car with red Bumper Nuts, apparently driving into an icy lake. Brrrrr.

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P-I Credulous on Conversions

posted by on November 14 at 3:44 PM

Today’s Seattle P-I has a gushing piece praising condo conversions as a way of “keeping old buildings alive,” on the premise that if old, run-down, affordable apartment buildings aren’t converted into condos pronto, they’ll be torn down for new development.

Bonus: Condo conversions “bring needed investment in an old building and create many owners,” making future demolition less likely.

Ben Rankin, a principal at the company that’s converting the Pittsburgh Apartments on Queen Anne, justifies kicking out the building’s tenants by pointing out that “there are still a lot of buildings out there for rent.” And, the P-I notes, he paid the low-income tenants the legally mandated $500 relocation fee. The token “opposition” quote comes at the very bottom of the story, from Tenants Union advocate Michelle Thomas: “I’m not sure that preserving a building at the cost of preserving apartments that are affordable is that much of a priority.”

I don’t think it should be a priority at all; and, as far as I know, neither does the Tenants Union. I’m not sure what else Thomas told the reporter, but the tenants’ side of this story goes much farther. Seattle is seeing unprecedented rates of condo conversions (with at least eight new conversions announced in the past month alone); and with each conversion comes a building full of displaced tenants. Since most tenants can’t afford to buy the apartments they rented (the Queen Anne condos cited in the P-I story will sell for $239,000 to $370,000), they have to leave, often with minimal notice. Relocation assistance, while a nice gesture, doesn’t really help people without savings; try paying first and last month’s rent on a new place, plus moving costs, with $500 and whatever’s in your checking account (assuming you have one). If you’re not making less than 50 percent of the Seattle median (that is, if you’re not making less than $27,250 for a household of one), you can scratch that $500 from your ledger.

Hot Mess

posted by on November 14 at 3:22 PM

There has been a lot of talk of santorum lately, and as has been demonstrated, I’m a big fan of “Oops” moments caught on film and photo (especially as regards bodily fluids). Honestly, I don’t even care if this is real or fake. Apparently, these folks are in the middle of shooting a music video. I bet the finished product (if there ever was one) really stinks.

Totally not safe for life, much less for work.


The Vogue: Gossip Update

posted by on November 14 at 3:05 PM

I just received an update on the Vogue-related gossip I posted last week, from Slog reader Rachael:

The cat is now out of the bag among the goth community now so it might as well get put out there to the general public. Facts: 1) The Vogue is closing at the end of the year. 2) The new club will be called Blacklight and will be in the upper level of the Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC) and opening in the second half of January.

And there you have it, for now…

“Fucking ballsy vandals…”

posted by on November 14 at 2:57 PM

That’s what I’ve been saying every time I shuffle over the neon “Tokyo 2025” tag that speckles the sidewalks on both sides of my building. As I was contemplating calling the promoters (Tokyo 2025 is a future-themed breakbeat party at Barca this Saturday) and the city to bitch, I found this page on the party’s website, which explains that the paint is temporary. Interesting. Still, I think it looks like shit, and not just because I’m getting too old to pardon graffiti—it’s barely legible, the color is hideous, and it’s too obviously a marketing campaign to be cool.

Today in Neandertals

posted by on November 14 at 1:42 PM

Neandertals weren’t homo sapiens. They were hominids, like chimps and gorillas and orangutans. And if Neandertals weren’t technically human—if they were, in fact, animals—then this new research at the University of Chicago means that we’re descended from a little bestial dalliance.

Which, at first, sounds unpalatable. But should speciesism stand in the way of Middle Paleolithic love? And what early man could pass up the roguish charms of this young woma—er, I mean, thing?

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Also: Looks like the Neandertals helped us grow big brains, created the elegantly-named ChĆ¢telperronian tool technique, and might have carved the world’s first flute out of a bear femur (that, or somebody did some fortuitous chewing).

I don’t care if you weren’t all the way human, Neandertals. You’re all right by me. And, should any of your robust proto-women return from extinction, I will seriously consider any requests to uphold the family tradition and go on a date. (Australopithecines need not apply.)

The Burner Press Conference

posted by on November 14 at 1:20 PM

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A misty-eyed Darcy Burner officially conceded this morning, ending her race for the 8th District’s Congressional seat. Details on the race, Dave Reichert’s narrow victory, and Burner’s next steps in tomorrow’s Stranger.

(Photo by Kelly O)

Evangelicals and Zionists BFF

posted by on November 14 at 12:45 PM

As a lapsed Presbyterian, the creepy alliance between evangelicals and pro-Israel groups has always confused and amazed me. Here is some clarity on the biblically foretold alliance.

Another Take on the Strip-Club Referendum

posted by on November 14 at 12:14 PM

Which I’m going to reproduce almost in its entirety, because I think it’s an interesting, provocative alternative take (alternative, that is, to the position of this paper.). Via Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy:

The portion of the Referendum 1 to which the good townsfolk most strenuously objected was a restriction called the “4-Foot Ruleā€¯. This regulation would have kept strippers from coming within groping distance of their clients (although the knuckledraggers, with their longer arms, might still have had a shot), thus putting the kibosh on, as one journalist so wistfully put it, “strippers overflowing from their lingerie … [leading] men by the hand to dark booths for a dance.ā€¯ [..] According to the referendum’s vociferous opponents, the lap dance is no mere gentlemen’s entertainment. No. The lap dance is the physical expression of Jeffersonian political idealism. It is what our boys are fighting for. It is woven into the very fabric of Old Glory.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the aforementioned vociferous opponents were in fact a contingent of Seattle strip club owners/organized crime enthusiasts — i.e. men who sell women for a living — who spent almost a million smackeroos**** on their campaign. Their tireless efforts successfully persuaded voters (not that the average enflanneled yay-hoo needs much persuasion to view strip clubs as elemental to American dudeship) that a male groin without 24-hour access to abused, degraded, naked women constitutes a travesty so egregious that it must be construed as nothing less than an infringement on the right to free speech.

The awesomeness of strip clubs is a topic irresistible to the sort of male blogger who uses the word “awesome.ā€¯ Thus there ensued some lame hipster bloviating by Dan Savage fanboy James at Seattlest […] Quoth James, using the Royal We that we find so tiresome in our corporate proto-journalisto bloggers, “We’re voting no on Ref. 1 because we want the occasional lap dance. They’re sexy! They’re fun! […]

Not surprisingly, James appears not to have considered that strippers are sentient beings. But then a stripper wrote in to Seattlest to complain about James’ dudely entitled idea of sexyfun, and James posted it.

“Strippers,ā€¯ she wrote, “really hate the rise in lapdances and private room experiences that johns like you are increasingly demanding from us to have your `fun’. If imposing a four-foot rule keeps me from having one more asshole lick me, bite me, jam his fingers into me, rip my costume or otherwise act like an entitled fuckface, then four-foot rule it is. Asking you little boys nicely to stop hasn’t been working, and the last time I complained the manager laughed in my face and said, `You don’t have to work here, lots of girls will be happy to take a finger up the ass for what you’re getting paid.’ā€¯

James lost no time in conducting an email interview with his anonymous penpal in which she failed, alas, to effuse sufficient enthusiasm for her work. The resulting comments are unanimously venomous and fall into two categories:

ā€¢ Shut-The-Fuck- Up -You-Stupid-Whore: “You make 100 to 300 bucks an hour? I think you should shut the fuck up and ride the dick like a good girl, or quit the business and go legit making far less. Either way, shut the fuck upā€¯ (a sub-category is Who-Cares-If-You-Were- Abused -As-A-Child-Shut-The-Fuck-Up).

ā€¢ She-Is-Obviously-Not - A-Real-Stripper-Because - Real-Strippers-Love-Being-Groped: “So, the consensus on Fark (fark.com) is that this interview has never taken place, the interviewee (lol) is not a stripper but a man-hating feminist.ā€¯

In other words, men are entitled to abuse and degrade women as long as they pay them, and any sex worker who says different is a stinking feminist impostor.

Tonight on Frontline: Inside the Closet of Jim West

posted by on November 14 at 12:09 PM

Talk about timing: Smack dab in the middle of this season of shameful gay Republican sex revelations, PBS’s venerable Frontline devotes an hour to Jim West, the disgraced former mayor of Spokane who was sullying his Republican office by trawling for young men online back before sullying your Republican office by trawling for young men online was cool.

According to the PBS website, A Hidden Life will track both Jim West’s creepy double-dealings and the Spokane Spokesman-Review’s controversial method of exposing West’s lies. Those interested (and who isn’t?) should tune in to Seattle’s KCTS tonight at 10 pm. (For a sneak preview, go here.)

To Pee or Not To Pee

posted by on November 14 at 12:07 PM

A high-school student in Arkansas claims to have developed the drug test of the future, says the AP. Rather than using today’s common urinalysis, this one works by testing saliva. The top selling point is that the test could be administered to drivers roadside, rather than taking them back to the police station to pee in a cup.

Drug testing drivers to gauge impairment has long been a questionable practice. Traces of marijuana, for instance, can be stored in fat cells and produce a positive test weeks after the effects wear off.

Marc Hosken, a senior, said his new oral-based test can be observed directly. Traditional urine tests aren’t directly observed and a subject can cheat by diluting or substituting the specimen.

And not just the pee, some people are substituting the specimen with one of these.

The War on Christmas

posted by on November 14 at 12:06 PM

You win this battle, Bill O’Reilly. But we god-hating liberals who want to destroy Christmas will win the war!

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Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 14 at 11:09 AM

Philip Gourevitch
(INTERVIEW)
The editor of the Paris Review (and author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families) talks with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman about The Paris Review Interviews, a new collection of the magazine’s long conversations with T. S. Eliot, Dorothy Parker, Truman Capote, Kurt Vonnegut, Jorge Luis Borges, Joan Didion, Elizabeth Bishop, et al. Lorrie Moore blurbs it thus: “Here are their funny stories, their habits, dubious opinions, financial complaints—these glimpses compose an engaging and important literary record.” (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Land of the Free

posted by on November 14 at 10:41 AM

That would be… uh… South Africa.

The South African parliament passed legislation recognizing same-sex marriages Tuesday in an unprecedented move on a continent where homosexuality is taboo.

African National Congress veterans heralded the Civil Union bill for extending basic freedoms to everyone and equated it with liberation from the shackles of apartheid.

Ooh… wait until a certain local conservative pastor—hey there, Hutch!—learns that black South Africans are comparing their struggle against apartheid to the struggle of gays and lesbians for equal treatment under the law. That should make his head explode…

AEIOU… sometimes Y.

posted by on November 14 at 10:39 AM

Who knows why this one popped into my head today, but here’s one of my FAVE videos of the 80s, it’s EBN-OZN with their one (and only) hit, 1983’s “AEIOU… Sometimes Y.” Sure it has the superfluous rat-tails and Thomas Dolby “I’m ka-RAZY” hairdos—but it also has a crap-ton of great lines you’ll be quoting for the rest of the day. “Hey, you want to go out? HUH. DO I WANT TO GO OUT.” Lola… Lola… Lola…

Headline of the Day

posted by on November 14 at 10:32 AM

Well, better late than never…

“Bush Goes on Asia Trip, First Visit to Vietnam”

Does Ken Mehlman Have Blue Balls?

posted by on November 14 at 10:08 AM

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The long-rumored-to-be-gay, and recently-outed-live-on-CNN head of the Republican National Committee is stepping down. After the thumping the GOP took last week, what other choice did Ken “Adapt to Win” Mehlman have? A friend thinks something else might have forced Mehlman to step down: Ken’s aching balls.

After reading your Code of the Callboy piece in the NYT, I can’t help but wonder about the real reason for Ken Mehlman’s resignation. If he is gay—and it seems pretty clear that he is—then he is too well known, and too Republican, to have an active sex life. In all likelihood, he has been forced to remain celibate during his two years at the apex of the Republican Party lest he suffer the same long fall from heterosexual grace that destroyed Ted Haggard.

I mean, if you fucked Ken Mehlman wouldn’t you be tempted to out him for his breathtaking hypocrisy? Of course you would, and he is smart and disciplined enough to know that. So did Ken Mehlman give up his job as chairman of the Republican National Committee so he could get laid? Just asking.

Hm… it’s an interesting question, but there’s only one person who knows the answer: Ken Mehlman. And I don’t think he’s giving interviews to the likes of me—or to anyone else at the moment. And while I would certainly have exposed Ken if he had made the mistake of sleeping with me (and that would be the only reason I’d ever sleep with Ken), I’m pretty sure Ken would not fuck around with me. Nor would he need to. There are, as the religious right is discovering to its consternation, a hell of a lot of homos in the GOP—and not just Log Cabin types willing to wear “Kick Me!” signs on their backs at GOP conventions.

Nope, there are tons of homos like Ken in the GOP—closeted homos, in positions of power, positions they hold so long as they remain closeted. Ken can, and probably has, slept with them. Unfortunately for the Ken and his kin, the religious right is hunting for scapegoats and the old rules no longer apply. You can’t be gay in today’s GOP, period, not even if you’re willing to be closeted and celibate. The hard-core gay bashers in the GOP base are running around blaming Foley and Haggard and a secret cabal of undercover gay operatives—guys like you, Ken—for their big, fat, gay loss last week.

So you might as well come out and get those blue balls drained already, Ken. And once you’re out, you no longer have to worry about being outed. Once you’re no longer red, your balls don’t have to be blue. It’s a win-win.

Heidi Julavits Tonight at the Big Picture

posted by on November 14 at 10:06 AM

Let’s say you get to grill Heidi Julavits, and by grill I mean ask her some questions. What would you ask? Julavits is editor of The Believer

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…and the responsible party for that long manifesto in the first issue—back in March 2003—railing against “the snarky, dumbed-down world of book reviewing.” She’s also the author of three novels (one, two, three). Tonight’s event is a book party thrown by Seattle Magazine for Julavits’s third novel, The Uses of Enchantment, about a New England teenager who may or may not have faked her own abduction. There’s also some stuff about witches. And Freud. A portion of the book sales will go to 826 Seattle. There will be a bar, there will be snacks, and there will be an interview. We will talk about The Believer. We will talk about Moby-Dick. We may talk about Jonathan Franzen vs. Ben Marcus and/or hunting in nature for psychotropic mushrooms. If there’s anything you think she should be asked, put it in the comments and I’ll ask it.

This happens at the Big Picture, 2505 First Avenue, 7 pm, $10, 21+. More details here.

Other Great Moments in Corporate Shilldom

posted by on November 14 at 10:00 AM

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Analog Heaven

posted by on November 14 at 9:56 AM

Spare 125k? If so, you can pick up the legendary Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer on eBay. Analog mavens know that Stevie Wonder and Keith Emerson used the GX-1 in the 1970s, but for gearheads, find the lowdown in part two of the GX-1 article.

How Much Did John Richards Get Paid For That?

posted by on November 14 at 9:54 AM

It’s on the cover of today’s PI

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Here’s the PI’s caption…

John Richards of Seattle radio station KEXP sends a song from his Zune to one held by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates by using the wireless sharing feature in the new music device at Westlake Park in Seattle on Monday.

Care to write a caption of your own?

Tuesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 14 at 9:50 AM

Sonics: The Supes finished off their road trip with a win against the New Jersey Nets. Guard Luke Ridnour had a career-high 32 points and just one turnover. Up next: Allen Iverson and the 76ers.

Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander remain questionable for next Sunday’s game against the 49ers.

Mariners: The M’s are chatting with free agent pitcher Tomo Ohka, described by the John Hickey as…

…not at the top of the class of available starters, but with a 48-58 career record, he might serve as a fourth starter behind Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn and any elite pitcher the Mariners might sign.

Outside Seattle: Bob Knight is still an asshole; Mark Brunell’s ancient arm is being benched in favor of new blood; the Red Sox coughed up $42 million for a chance to woo Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka; and a Tiger and a Marlin received Rookie of the Year honors.

How Much Was That Times Endorsement Worth?

posted by on November 14 at 9:45 AM

With Darcy Burner apparently set to concede later this morning, it seems a good time to ask: Did that controversial Seattle Times endorsement of Dave Reichert swing this race?

Reichert is currently leading Burner by 4,727 votes. Many have asked whether newspaper endorsements make any difference, but it does seem plausible that the Times, with its heavy circulation on the eastside, could have given the Reichert campaign at least 5,000 votes (more than the current margin of victory) with its endorsement.

The Morning News

posted by on November 14 at 6:00 AM

Bush: Opposed to Democrats’ timetable for Iraq pullout.

GOP Congress: Back in session, days after overwhelming Democratic win.

Giant sucking sound: Perot taking American jobs to Mexico.

Blair: Urges “evolving” strategy in Middle East, potentially including a “new partnership” with Iran.

Detained immigrants: Have no rights, Bush says.

Ground: Broken, for MLK memorial.

Mistress-throttling: No problem. Mistresses who “whine” about being throttled? To blame for Republican losses.

Giuliani: In the running in 2008.

US: Worst on global warming, followed by Saudi Arabia and China.

Clothes and food and tender happiness and frills
: What Katie Holmes needs, according to Scientology.

Frat boy who sued Borat producers: “Drinks like a fish every day,” according to his Myspace page.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Update: Burner Concedes

posted by on November 13 at 10:12 PM

Via the AP:

Reichert said Burner called to congratulate him on a second term, and the two shared their frustrations about the slow pace of Washington’s largely vote-by-mail elections.

“Finally, something we agree on,” Reichert told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.

TAM to Hire Another Curator

posted by on November 13 at 8:25 PM

On Friday, I wrote about the promotion of Rock Hushka to senior curator at Tacoma Art Museum.

I speculated:

For months after former chief curator Patricia McDonnell left, I kept hearing that TAM wouldn’t hire another chief, that Hushka would be in charge of curatorial administration, that he would be first among equals, or something like that. Sounded like hooey to me. According to the press release, Hushka will “take on the responsibilities of senior curator at the museum, and will retain his former title of Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art.ā€¯ That just sounds like a way of folding two jobs together, and I hate to see curatorial jobs dwindle. But maybe this is TAM’s way of saying it only needs one curator, and we’ll see what comes of it.

In fact, this is not TAM’s way of saying it only needs one curator. It will continue with its fruitful custom, going back to Barbara Johns and Greg Bell, of hosting the tensile interplay of two curatorial personalities. The museum will hire a junior curator in the spring, maybe a determined climber currently on a low rung at a major museum, says director Stephanie Stebich.

“This person will likely focus on aspects of modernism and not-Northwest artists,” according to Hushka, who specializes in contemporary art and the Northwest. The junior curator will answer to Stebich, not Hushka.

Burner-Reichert: It’s Over

posted by on November 13 at 7:57 PM

Today’s count didn’t go very well for Darcy Burner (move along, nothing to see here) and now the Seattle Times is reporting that Dave Reichert has declared victory. In addition, the AP is reporting that it has called the race for Reichert.

I just spoke to Burner’s campaign manager, Zach Silk, and he tells me that Burner is going to be placing a call to Reichert tonight and will be holding a press conference at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning at her eastside headquarters.

Is Burner’s phone call tonight going to be the traditional concession call from the loser to the victor? Silk wouldn’t say. He would only repeat that the call was going to be made and that Burner and Reichert were going to have “a private conversation.”

“You can interpret that as you will,” Silk told me.

New Burner-Reichert Numbers

posted by on November 13 at 6:35 PM

Today’s count shows Burner improving her position losing ground in King County, where she is now only nine votes behind Reichert.

However, Further, Reichert is still picking up a much larger percentage of the vote in Pierce County, where he now has a 4,718-vote lead.

Which brings us to the overall totals: Reichert now leads by a total of 4,727 votes (that’s a bigger overall lead than he had on Saturday), and he currently has 51.14 percent of the total vote to Burner’s 48.86 percent.

Burner’s supporters have long expected her to start gaining ground in King County. Today’s returns do seem to be trending in her direction, and there are many more ballots left to be counted in King County (far more than there are left to be counted in Pierce County).

Still, But she doesn’t appear to be gaining ground, and now Burner’s going to have to pick up at least 4,728 more votes than Reichert over the next few counts in order to beat him. Is it doable?

Well, as a thought experiment, let’s say there are 100,000 ballots remaining to be counted in King County and zero ballots remaining in Pierce County (this is a best, best, best case scenario for Burner). She’d have to win 54.73 percent of the remaining ballots to win the race.

And, so far, I don’t remember seeing Burner come in at over 50 percent in any of the King County tallies (although as of this evening, in King County, she now has 49.9974 percent to Reichert’s 50.0026 percent).

Those blue bags of ballots are going to have to be very blue for Burner to pull this out.

UPDATE: I’m an idiot (or a “fucking idiot” depending on whom you ask). See the comments for further details. In my defense, I’ll just say that watching vote counts come in over a six-day period is not the most thrilling part of my job. Believe me, no one wishes this race was over more than I do.

Re: “Troops Out Nowā€¯ Just as Bad as “Stay the Courseā€¯?

posted by on November 13 at 4:48 PM

Annie: Looks like your fears are coming true. Pelosi has backed John “Cut-and-Run” Murtha (aka John “Don’t-Like-Campaign-Reform” Murtha aka John “Pro-Life” Murtha aka John “Check-Me-Out-I’m-a-Motherfucking-
Jack-o’-Lantern-in-a-Suit”
Murtha) for House Majority Leader.

Via Reuters.

In Frivolity News…

posted by on November 13 at 3:50 PM

WHO FORGOT TO TELL ME weather hottie Jim Castillo was back in town?

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He of the blindingly pearly white toothsomeness, he of the perpetual off-camera Bermuda shorts (I have this on no authority, but just look at the guy and TELL me he’s not secretly wearing Bermuda shorts), he of the Q13 fame… is now on KOMO, in the morning, which is obviously not the time to be wearing Bermuda shorts. But I digress.

Here is the inimitable Adrian Ryan on the glories of Jim Castillo:

Jim’s all-too-brief time in Seattle made as deep an impression upon the face of Northwest newscasting as Mr. X’s huge penis did upon whatever face happened to be on the other side of that glory hole. Jim neither lives nor broadcasts in Seattle anymore, but he still deserves deep and penetrating appreciation. In a far more scientific poll than the one conducted for Christine Chen, it was once determined that during the pinnacle of his local reign, 35.5 percent of news watchers would rather perform slurpy fellatio on Jim Castillo’s 7.5 inches of uncut lovesleeve over the uncut lovesleeves of any other local male newscaster. Sadly, in the summer of 2002, Jim and his hypothetical lovesleeve flew our Seattley coop to thrive sexily at another Fox affiliate in sexy, sexy New York instead. But it bears reflection that Jim’s general beefcakeyness was capitalized upon early in his career by wise female producers at one of his first stations in Columbia, Missouri, who increased their viewership by a gazillion, forcing Jim to strip down and get sweaty every day on air. “I loved it,” Jim once lied. Sadly, Jim Castillo is the only male newscaster in Seattle history that can be definitively ruled out as being Mr. X. Maybe.

Ignore all that blather about gay Mr. X. No, actually, read all about gay Mr. X. Again, I give you Adrian:

If this were indeed the right moment to finally expose the true identity of Mr. X, we could entertain you with details aplenty about pecker-waggy, booze-swilly scandal, for Mr. X, who isn’t and never was Karl Rove or Steve Pool or Kathi Goertzen, has allegedly been swilling the booze and wagging the pecker at pseudo-willing and mostly gay men in pseudo-salacious and mostly gay circumstances since the peckers and the booze and the gays were invented. Described variously as a “desperate slut,” “Seattle’s randiest TV news personality,” and a “fruity mass guaranteed to make you feel like shit in the morning” (but rarely, if ever, described as KING 5’s Jeff Renner), the legendary Mr. X’s widely celebrated deviant activity is hardly limited to the aforementioned indiscriminate wagging of his freakishly enormous baloney pony. In fact, more recent reports seem to indicate a nascent proclivity for, as it were, “taking it up the ass.” (Or as Jean Enersen calls it, “le poop chute.”)

Oh, mysterious and butt-anomalous Mr. X! Will we ever come to know the real you? May God seriously forbid.

Le poop chute. Dear god. Anyway, Jim Castillo!

Revelations: Dancing banned at Suburban Seattle college

posted by on November 13 at 3:47 PM

I went swing dancing last night at the Century Ballroom up here on Capitol Hill, which I discovered is a popular scene with the Mars Hill twentysomething crowd, since it’s pretty much the only good, clean fun to be had late at night. I met a girl, though, who was there surreptitiously. She was bustin’ a move despite the whispered fact that if word of her dancing got back to administrators at her college, she would be in serious trouble. Disciplined for dancing? By a college? Turns out the salacious swinger is a student at the Christian Northwest University, a 1,240 student school in Kirkland where dancing is banned because “a significant number of evangelical Christians view social dancing as a questionable activity.” Can’t resist the temptation of a God-given passion for the dance? That’s alright, “Some forms of choreographed movements in academic or collegiate activities, under the advisement and supervision of University personnel, however, may be acceptable.” Homosexual practices are also banned, but the handbook doesn’t make any caveats for that.

It’s not like I haven’t heard that some folk still consider dancing a punishable affront to morality — I have a friend who goes to a Christian college that bans dancing. But that college is in Texas. I had no idea such a stringent scholastic stronghold exists 20 minutes from Capitol Hill.

“A lot of churches that we’re affiliated with have frowned on or forbade a variety of activities,” explained Northwest Vice President of Marketing Merlin Quiggle (yes, real name) when I called the school today, “Going to movies, bowling, dancing, wearing make-up, but as times change and cultural mores change, some of these become more palatable and some don’t.” Bowling? Upgraded to morally acceptable. Dancing? Still not digestable, apparently. But some dancing is fine, like at last week’s talent show where two girls performed dances. The school makes a distinction between solo dancing (for art of performance, okayed as the aforementioned “choreographed movement in academic or collegiate activities”) and social dancing, which is (as Quiggle put it) “in the dark, probably aided and abetted by alcohol and designed for proximity between bodies.”

It all comes down to the role of a college, says Quiggle, and Northwest approaches in loco parentis more “actively” than, say, Evergreen State. “We’re not in the Dark Ages on this,” he explains, noting that well-known Midwestern Christian school Wheaton College recieved mainstream praise but some church scorn when it struck down its dancing ban two years ago.

But isn’t college a place where young adults are supposed to be learning for themselves how to make smart, responsible decisions and choices on their own, rather than having their lives be guided by a set of rules that replaces the restrictions of living with one’s parents? That’s the logic Wheaton gave when it struck down its ban:

“Students need to learn how to make responsible choices,” said Sam Shellhamer, vice president for student development. “We want to make students learn how to think critically, be discerning and learn how to make wise choices.”

Although Northwest students can’t decide whether to dance or drink, argues Quiggle, they still learn about responsible decision-making by choosing how they spend their money and time. They can choose how much to eat in the dining hall, for example. “If you want to waste your time and drink 18 cups of coffee, you can,” says Quiggle.

My main question, though, is what happens to students who do participate in back-alley dancing. I know my Texas friend has secret behind-closed-dorm-doors dance parties — would she or the Century Ballroom’s salacious swinger be expelled? Quiggle says neither would probably be punished very harshly but, more importantly, most students don’t want to dance at all. At least a third of the school is men, after all, who have little or no interest in dancing. And the female students don’t really care. “Most of the students come from a context where they didn’t dance and don’t miss it,” says Quiggle, “Students are too engaged in academics or preparing for a life in the ministry to have a strong sense about what they’re missing.” There’s lots to do on campus — kids don’t even notice the lack of dancing, wine-tasting and poker tournaments because there’s athletics, a music program and three chaples a week to fill time and energy. He says that, as VP of Marketing, he often meets with students about how to improve the school. Students have never mentioned the dance-ban to him.

More than anything, I want to attend a Northwest campus underground rave. And change my name to Merlin Quiggle.

Sharkansky’s Worst Nightmare

posted by on November 13 at 2:55 PM

Or perhaps his fondest dream

As we await the finally tally in the Burner-Reichert race, there comes word of 100 bags of absentee ballots — blue bags no less! and overstuffed, too! — bags that have broken zippers, unclosed seals, and as many as 20,000 uncounted ballots inside.

Remember, this is a race where the candidates are separated by only 3,514 votes (Republican Reichert is currently in the lead) so a new trove of ballots is interesting news.

Says Sharkansky:

What would Democrats do without ballots of questionable provenance?

Ah, and what would Sharkansky do without paranoid conspiracy theories to stoke?

Wingnut Driscoll At It Again

posted by on November 13 at 2:52 PM

Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll’s blog is always a rich trove of anti-woman, homobigoted wingnuttery. (Take his post two weeks ago, in which he blamed Ted Haggard’s wife for her husband’s dalliances with a male prostitute; after all, when a woman “lets herself go” and fails to fulfill her Godly role by spreading her legs whenever her man wants it, what choice does he have but to pay male prostitutes for meth-fueled sex?) In that same post, Driscoll criticized churches that let women serve as pastors’ assistants, saying that such women tend to “become too emotionally involved with the pastor as a sort of emotional and practical second wife.” (For the record, he suggested a young man would be a better pastor’s helper.)

Well, Driscoll’s at it again. In this week’s post, he takes on Episcopalians, women, and The Gays, accusing the Episcopal Church of apostasy for appointing a “pro-feminist, pro-homosexuality” —gasp—woman to head the national church. “In related news,” Driscoll notes (sarcastically?), “the testosterone levels of male Americans has dropped significantly in the past twenty years.”

All of this has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men. When asked for their perspective, some bunny rabbits simply said that they have been discriminated against long enough and that people need to “Get over it.”

Because women are the intellectual and moral equivalent of fluffy little bunnies—get it? So get out there, Christian men, and start putting those little bunnies—uh, women—in their place. After all, if they don’t understand that they belong in the kitchen or on their backs, they might start getting some “pro-feminist” ideas about equality and human rights and stuff.

Deaf, Dumb, and Blind

posted by on November 13 at 1:49 PM

It’s nothing new to point out that the Seattle Times’ editorial voice is out of sync with the values of Seattle. But man, the results of the election last week seem like a defining moment when it comes to assessing just how tone-deaf the paper has actually become.

The Seattle Times came out in favor of Mayor Nickels’s strip-club babysitting.
Seattle voters shellacked it by 62%.

The Seattle Times came out against the anti-sports subsidy initiative. Seattle voters supported it by 73%.

Meanwhile, I don’t have Seattle numbers for the state races, but judging from King County numbers, I imagine Seattle’s are even more lopsided.

Check it out:

The Seattle Times came out for Mike McGavick. King County went for his opponent, Maria Cantwell, by 66%.

The Seattle Times came out for the estate tax repeal. King County vetoed that idea by 66%.

The Seattle Times came out against the renewable energy initiative. King County passed that one by 59%.

The Seattle Times endorsed conservative State Supreme Court candidate Stephen Johnson. King County went for his opponent, Susan Owens, by 65%.

The Seattle Times did endorse Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris in the 5th (Eastern Washington/Okanogan County) … and she won with there with 55%. So, I guess the Seattle Times is lockstep with the voters of Conconully, Washington. Seattle, not so much.

Despite being out of step on all the initiatives, the Seattle Times does still have some suburban cred. They endorsed Dave Reichert in the 8th (Seattle’s eastside suburbs). As you know, Reichert appears to be squeaking by with 50.9%.

The Value of Monkey Laughter

posted by on November 13 at 12:31 PM

The mood of the moment, which flows from the recent puncture casued by the mid-term elections, is much like the mood of that memorable scene in the movie The Wizard of Oz: After the green witch has melted to nothing, there is much laughter in the air—her monster/monkey soldiers are elated, her death has liberated them. Bush is our witch, the election was his melting, and the cheerfullness of the monkey guards is the same cheerfulness that flows through this news report.

But hold up, wait a minute: Is this not the laughter of cowards, of slaves? What is the real value of a laughter that is only expressed after the oppressor of that laughter is rendered harmless? Now we are free to laugh at the absurdity of “Mission Accomplished,” now we laugh at the buffoonery of Rummy and Rove. If our joy is to be more than that of jackals then, as the Marxist philosopher Nic Veroli pointed out in the earlier part of this decade, our sense of joy must be there always, even during hard times.

Hydropower Not So “Green”

posted by on November 13 at 12:07 PM

A new study (via Grist) reveals that supposedly “clean” hydropower—the source of nearly all of our electricity here in the Northwest—produces slightly higher net emissions of methane than burning natural gas. I’ll let Grist explain:

Rivers generally have organic matter trapped in their silt and mud. This rots in the dark, wet environment, producing methane that’s dissolved in the water. In undammed rivers, bacteria consume the methane, converting it to CO2. (CO2 is a much less potent greenhouse gas than methane.) According to Fearnside’s research, the higher pressure created by large scale dams forces the dissolved methane out.

The findings could punch a serious hole in one of the chief complaints made by opponents of Initiative 937, a clean-energy measure passed statewided that requires large utilities to acquire 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Opponents, including several major newspapers, argued that hydropower was just as “green” as the solar and wind farms I-937 included among its renewable energy sources. Leaving aside the fact that the purpose of I-937 was to promote new investments in green energy—and the fact that massive dam construction has had devastating environmental and habitat impacts of its own—the latest news should strike a fatal blow to the argument that we shouldn’t invest in new energy sources because the old ones are working just fine.

Totally Taylor Townsend!

posted by on November 13 at 11:38 AM

First thing’s first— you can now buy Buster’s prosthetic hand (from Arrested Development) on eBay. Bidding is currently at 200 bucks. Secondly, as previously suspected, Taylor Townsend (real name: Autumn Reeser) from The O.C. is totally HOT!!

Check out her new pix from the upcoming ish of Stuff Magazine.

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More marginally safe for work pictures after the leap! Pant, pant, pant… AH-ROOOOO!

Continue reading "Totally Taylor Townsend!" »

“Troops Out Now” Just as Bad as “Stay the Course”?

posted by on November 13 at 11:33 AM

I have to say, I’m getting a little nervous about this crop of newly emboldened Dems.

Did everybody see the front page of the New York Times yesterday? This story, about a Shiite commander in the mixed Diyala province, is essential reading for anyone who blithely assumes “troops out now” is an improvement on “stay the course.”

Mars Hill Protest: About Freaking Time

posted by on November 13 at 11:20 AM

A group is planning a protest at Mars Hill Church—a move that might wake up some MHC members, most of whom seem unaware that their “hipster” pastor is somewhere to the right of Topeka’s Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps. From Seattlest:

A website entitled “People Against Fundamentalism” is setting up a direct action against the Seattle megachurch Mars Hill for December, 3, 11am, outside their Ballard campus to protest the preachings of Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll. There is a certain…passion to the website’s descriptions of Mark and his attitudes towards women…

On Driscoll’s blog this weekend, Seattle’s favorite pastor bitched about the Episcopal Church electing a female bishop—and then went on to compare female bishops to, uh, animals.

In related news, the testosterone levels of male Americans has dropped significantly in the past twenty years. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reports that “While a man’s testosterone level will fall steadily as he ages, the researchers observed a speedier decline in average testosterone levels than would have been expected with aging alone.”

All of this has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men. When asked for their perspective, some bunny rabbits simply said that they have been discriminated against long enough and that people need to “Get over it.”

Stand up, Christian males! Bitch slap that female bishop! Send her back to the maternity ward where she—and all of her gender—belong!

Nice pastor you got there, Mars Hill members.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 13 at 11:07 AM

‘12 Minutes Max’
(PERFORMANCE CABARET)
Genius Award—winning On the Boards presents a fresh installment of its invaluable performance exhibition 12 Minutes Max, and it looks like a dance lover’s dream, featuring performances of 12 minutes or less by Dayna Hanson, Pablo Cornejo, Zoe Scofield, and Vancouver, BC’s Christine Szarko. Off the dance floor, there’s a bit of solo theater by John Paulsen and an interactive multimedia lobby installation by Paul Rucker. (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 7 pm, $7 at the door.) DAVID SCHMADER

“I Am Macaca”

posted by on November 13 at 10:56 AM

By S.R. Sidarth.

The Day in Press Releases

posted by on November 13 at 10:49 AM

This morning brought a pair of impressive press releases to my inbox.

The first came from Cindy Cawaling, the King County Communications Specialist who wrote to tell me that Governing magazine bestowed its annual Public Official of the Year award upon King County Executive Ron Sims. According to Cawaling, the November issue of Governing calls Sims an “across-the-board innovator” who “produces better results than almost anyone in American local government.” Among the heroics attributed to Sims by the mag: “reforming health care, putting his county at the forefront battling global warming, launching an aggressive program of open space preservation, and deftly managing the county’s budget within the stringent limits set by state law.” Among the heroics left unmentioned: Sims’ taking of the “pro” side against Bible-thumping blowhard Ken Hutcherson in The Stranger’s public debate on gay marriage.) Congratulations, Mr. Sims!

The second press release comes Kathleen Finn, the Corporate Communications Manager for Jack in the Box, who wrote to tell me about the addition of Mozzarella Cheese Sticks to the restaurant’s finger-food menu. “Good news, Jack in the Box fans!” writes Finn, “Jack has has heard your plea for more finger foods and more cheese. Behold the new Mozzarella Cheese Sticks—they’re ooey, gooey, delicious and perfect for the fromage fan on the go!

(What has Ron Sims done for fromage fans on the go lately?)

Looking For Affirmation?

posted by on November 13 at 10:43 AM

Don’t look here, Democrats:

Democrats have been quick to claim that 2006 will be remembered as the end of a conservative era. No one doubts that the midterm election was a rejection of President Bush’s policies in Iraq and of the Republicans’ style of governance. But was it really a rejection of conservatism itself? It will take future elections to prove the Democrats’ claim.

What the election was not, in the view of strategists in both parties, was a powerful affirmation of the Democratic Party, despite its takeover of the House and Senate. One post-election survey, conducted for the liberal groups Democracy Corps and the Campaign for America’s Future, found that both Republicans and Democrats emerged from the contest with negative images.

“This is not an election where one party went down and the other party went up,” said Stan Greenberg, whose firm conducted the survey on election night and the night after. “The story still has to be written on how this period becomes a period for Democratic dominance.”

Borat Attacked (Rescued by Dr. House??)

posted by on November 13 at 10:05 AM

In not very surprising news, SACHA BARON COHEN (aka Borat) shot his mouth off to the wrong New Yorker recently and took a beating for his trouble. But in VERY surprising news, he was rescued by actor HUGH LAURIE known to TV fans as the star of the popular medical drama HOUSE. From Britain’s The Sun

BORAT star Sacha Baron Cohen was beaten up by a passer-by after he tried to play a prank as his alter ego.

He approached the man and said: “I like your clothings. Are nice! Please may I buying? I want have sex with it.ā€¯

But the bystander didn’t see the joke. He took one look at Cohen and punched him in the face.

The funnyman — known for his Borat catchphrase “Jagshemash!ā€¯ — yelled for help but was slugged again and again.

He was rescued by actor pal Hugh Laurie who had been on his way to a New York bar with Cohen.

Laurie rushed to help and pushed the man away as Cohen struggled to his feet. A pal of Cohen said: “Sacha couldn’t resist playing the fool as Borat, but picked on the wrong person.

“I guess this guy thought he was being attacked by someone unstable and lashed out. Sacha is very lucky he didn’t get a much worse beating.ā€¯

borat.jpg

“Now I am ready to fight with you.”

The Big Take Back

posted by on November 13 at 9:36 AM

I just recieved this honest email:

A few years ago I sent a letter to The Stranger mocking you for criticizing Chomsky. I recently saw your blurb about Bobby Hutcherson Quartet, wherin you wrote “the genius above all the other geniuses, Eric Dolphy.” I take it back, you are obviously an astute judge of genius. I am rethinking Chomsky.
This reader is not alone; his is the first of about two thousand take backs that are owed to me. Where are the rest? The clock is ticking. I’m waiting.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 13 at 9:30 AM

Seahawks: Well that was exciting. 24-22 thanks to another Rams-killing last second field goal from Josh Brown. The highs: Maurice Morris’s solid play, Nate Burleson’s 90-yard punt return, the Hawks’ D, and this here correspondent during most of the second half. The lows: Wallace’s two fumbles, one of which was returned for a TD. Still, Wallace played well in what may turn out to be his final start.

Also, sorry Mike in MO—that’s two games we’ve taken from you in the final minute. Up next: The San Francisco 49ers, who’ve been playing better as of late. Hopefully we won’t screw the pooch.

Huskies football: Ugh. Spanked by Stanford? The previously winless Stanford? Thank you and good night.

Cougars football: The 27-17 loss to Arizona was bad. The 47-14 loss to Arizona State was worse.

Huskies basketball: A season-opening win over Pepperdine. Up next: Nicholls State.

Mariners: Gil Meche files for free agency, looks to con another team with his “untapped talent.ā€¯

And finally: There’s at least one happy member of the Savage clan this morning.

Cop Killers

posted by on November 13 at 8:24 AM

Another Seattle police officer dies at the hands of another cracked out local crook who can’t drive.

A recently hired police officer on her way to work and a man driving a stolen Honda Civic died Monday morning when the stolen car broadsided the officer’s BMW, police said.

The 30-year-old officer, the second rookie in Seattle to die in a traffic accident in three months, spent five years at another law enforcement agency, was hired by the city a few months ago and had been working for about a week in the East Precinct, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said.

The collision occurred when the Civic, which was reported stolen Sunday night, ran a red light with its lights off about five blocks southeast of the Magnolia Bridge, Officer Sean P. Whitcomb said. Kerlikowske said the stolen car was speeding but did not give a speed estimate.

Both drivers died at the scene and a woman riding in the stolen car was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

The Morning News

posted by on November 13 at 6:50 AM

Iraqi prime minister tells US troops to get out; Bush responds with vague promises of a “fresh approach.” (He also stands by his man John Bolton for U.N. ambassador, despite overwhelming opposition from world and Congressional leadership.)

Always in touch with what’s really important, Bush tells US public to be “proud” they were given a chance to vote in a time of war.

Good news: Habeas may return!

Meanwhile, as McCain and Lieberman call for sending more troops to Iraq, the new Democratic leadership pushes for “phased redeployment” within four to six months.

Speaking of Lieberman, is it weird that his opponents in 2000 and 2006 got the exact same number of votes?

Anti-war Rep. John Murtha emerges as new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s choice for House Majority Leader.

New data show that global fossil-fuel emissions have increased four times as quickly in the last five years as they did during the preceding five years .

FEMA official takes a dunk to apologize for mishandling Katrina. 45 minutes? They should have kept him in there for 15 months.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Catfight!

posted by on November 12 at 12:56 PM

Oooh! Lisa Nicata is going after Alexis Sherman!

Dear Editor,

You cannot imagine the pride of being recognized in print by the literary giant Alexis Sherman in his ode to the Sonics. Although we’ve shared the platform to address the public on political and artistic matters, I sensed I didn’t register much above the other props on his stage.

So low and behold, here from an admitted leftist Democrat, I was singled out from among the 74% of Seattle voters who happened to agree with me that our wages shouldn’t subsidize big-business professional sports franchises. And my name was correctly spelled too! Although from someone who can quote from memory a few hundred poems, one should not expect less.

If only that prodigious mind could grasp the difference between appreciating Ray Allen’s jump shots from feeding an endless stream of coins into a broken machine. I am confident that the first is as beautiful as any Emily Dickinson prose, just as I am aware that the later can be as addicting as crack to a holistic basketball fan.

Nick Licata

Hm… Ms. Lisa Nicata senses that he didn’t register much above “the other props” on various stages when he has appeared in public with Ms. Alexis Sherman. But the non-registration appears to have been mutual, as the author of the piece on the Sonics in this week’s Stranger is actually Sherman Alexie, not his female double, that international woman of mystery, Alexis Sherman.

If nothing else good comes of this catfight between one of Seattle’s brightest literary stars and one of our leading lefty pols, there’s at least this: Sherman Alexie has a drag name now.

Alexie.jpg

The long hair is a little confusing, Alexis.

Burner-Reichert, the New Numbers

posted by on November 12 at 12:20 PM

After Saturday’s count of King County ballots, Reichert’s lead expanded again, to 3,550 votes.

I made a mess of Friday’s count, so let’s go the P-I, which put Reichert’s lead after Friday’s count at 3,095 votes.

What we’re seeing here is not the narrowing of Reichert’s lead that the Burner campaign has been hoping would occur as more King County ballots are counted. Instead, Reichert appears to be pulling further away from Burner each time a new batch of ballots is counted, whether those ballots are counted in King County (which is more liberal) or Pierce County (which is more conservative).

No one really knows how many mail-in and provisional ballots remain to be counted, but everyone seems to agree the number is in the tens of thousands, and that there are more in King County than there are in Pierce County. So it’s possible that a heavily pro-Burner batch of King County ballots has yet to be counted, one that will pull her ahead. But that seems unlikely based on the trend so far.

If the trend we’re seeing continues, we’ll have a Burner concession and a Reichert victory sometime in the next few days.

Tonight in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 12 at 11:17 AM

Starlight Mints (MUSIC) Like their Oklahoma brethren the Flaming Lips, Starlight Mints have an affection for constructing pretty pop songs and shooting them through a prism of black humor and unadulterated weirdness, pulling church bells, horns, piano, violin, tambourine, and triangle into the mix. This refracting technique would end up sounding scattershot in lesser hands, but the Mints are intuitively precise composers and the results are downright magical, particularly in a live setting. With Bishop Allen and Tom Heinl. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 7 pm, $10, 21+.) HANNAH LEVIN