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Archives for 11/19/2006 - 11/25/2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Scary Saturday! Guns drawn, police stop man for stealing his own car

posted by on November 25 at 1:27 PM

I just walked up to the intersection of Pine and Broadway to see seven cop cars, their occupants on the street in defensive positions, guns drawn and aimed at a little black hatch-back. The driver, a white guy with a black hat and a goatee, was already handcuffed and getting frisked. Then police shouted orders for the passenger to get out, hands in the air, walking backwards. It was all very dramatic. Police approached the empty car like it might jump up and punch them in the nose. On the street, we speculated the car had just been in a hit and run, or maybe held a few pounds of BC Bud. Alas. No. Twenty minutes passed and the cruisers cruised away, leaving the driver and his passenger chatting, un-hand-cuffed, with a lady cop on the sidewalk. I walked over and asked if they could tell me what happened. The driver said, “Yeah, actually. I’m starting to get pretty mad.” Jim Cross, 31, had had his ‘88 Ford Festiva stolen about a month ago from the lot outside a club. He reported it and a few days later the police called and told him they’d found his ride a few blocks away. He retrieved the car and went on with his life. This morning, he was headed to breakfast when he noticed police following him all the way from First Hill to Capitol Hill. One car pulled him over when he reached Broadway, and was quickly joined by six others, plus two bike cops. Then the guns, the orders, the frisking. “We were just hungover and going to Glo’s for breakfast,” Cross told me. “We just wanted some biscuits and gravy.” The officer who took Cross in her car told him he could have gotten shot or “knocked up the side of his head” by not cooperating. Cross said he tried to cooperate but couldn’t understand what was going on. By the end, it was the police who were applogizing. The officer talking to him on the street admitted the incident was embarrassing. She said the mixup probably stemmed from the fact that Cross hadn’t affixed a license plate to the front of his car, so instead of telling him to attach it, the police who found his stolen car reported the license plate stolen as well. Cross, however, points out that the officers who pulled him over should have noticed that the plates were registered to a black Festiva.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 25 at 10:00 AM

‘The Dina Martina Christmas Show’
(FREAKTASTIC HOLIDAY TRADITION) After another season spent thrilling crowds in New York City and Provincetown, Seattle’s one and only chanteuse/raconteur/train wreck Dina Martina returns to Re-bar with a new Christmas show. If you’ve never attended a Dina Martina Christmas show, you’re a dunce, and here’s your chance to experience the one and only thing that routinely makes Seattle’s vast array of godless freaks look forward to the holidays. (Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 325-6500, ticketwindowonline.com. 8 pm, $20, 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER

I Breathe, ha ha huh

posted by on November 25 at 12:33 AM

Ok, I realize that David Schmader has already started to pay tribute, but JESUS CHRIST SHE IS SEX.


Friday, November 24, 2006

You Shouldn’t Oughtn’a Done That

posted by on November 24 at 3:44 PM

Deep down I’m an awful person. That’s why in this edition of “You Shouldn’t Oughtn’a Done That,” I’m posting what could be one of the ear-buggiest songs of the ’80s, TARZAN BOY by Baltimora. You’ll watch, you’ll laugh, you’ll remember… and then you won’t be able to get the tune out of your head for THE REST OF THE WEEKEND.
What’s the phrase? Oh, yes… BWA-HA-HAAAAAAAA!

That’s the Spirit

posted by on November 24 at 3:15 PM

Here’s a fresh post in the I, Anonymous forum.

Have you ever hated a child? I have and I do. She’s 5 years old.

I seriously hate my niece. I mean HATE. She is the biggest fucking brat cunt motherfucker asshole bitch to have ever walked the planet. And you know what the beauty of it is? NO one else sees it but me and my husband!!!

I seriously hope she goes chasing after a ball on route 9.

Happy Black Friday.

News Flash: Tolls Work.

posted by on November 24 at 3:09 PM

No big shock here: People drive less when they have to pay for it.

For about eight months, drivers in 275 Seattle-area households agreed to pay for something the rest of us get for free: The right to drive on the region’s freeways and streets.

They were guinea pigs in a pioneering study that explored how motorists’ behavior might change if they had to pay tolls — not just on a few bridges or highways, but on almost every road with a yellow center line.

Researchers established virtual tolls ranging from a nickel to 50 cents a mile. They gave participants pre-paid accounts of between $600 and $3,000, and told them they could keep whatever the tolls didn’t eat up.

At the end of the experiment, researchers found that nearly 80 percent of the people involved drove less, modified their routes or drove at off-peak hours to avoid the higher rush-hour tolls. On average, they took five percent fewer trips and drove 2.5 miles less per day. And keep in mind that the money they were “spending” wasn’t their own; and they didn’t get any benefit (such as a faster, less congested commute) from the tolls. Factor in real money and real benefits, and the real-world effect would likely be much greater.

So our leaders are responding with overwhelming support for tolling, right? Um, no.

“The politics of that is just too tough,” said Richard Ford, chairman of the state Transportation Commission.

And:

State Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, said even constituents in his green, liberal district complain to him about the prospect of tolls on a new Highway 520 bridge.

“This isn’t Amsterdam — this is the West,” he said.

That attitude—”It hasn’t happened here, therefore it can’t happen here”—combined with the belief that no one should ever have to pay the true cost of driving, is exactly why we’re building a massive new freeway on our downtown waterfront.

The Birds: Part Three

posted by on November 24 at 3:05 PM

Near the corner of 12th and Jackson, a wild burst of birds, an eruption of flapping and feathers. Over a hundred pigeons fly up and out in every direction. They panic the air and startle pedestrians with bird shrieks. Suddenly, striking from the sky, a massive hawk nails one unfortunate pigeon with its claws. The pigeon is punctured, the pigeon struggles and screams, the pigeon’s life is crushed out of it by the unforgiving tarmac. (Thank god I’m not bald like ancient Aeschylus! I run across the street—this is too much, this is the middle of a fucking city!) The hawk then takes to the sky with its prey—neck and beak broken, tongue sticking out, black eyes blank. The hunt and kill happens with no thought, no pause, no waste—it’s just pure action, pure force: the hawk, the power of death; the pigeon, the weakness of life.

That is the end of The Birds series.

But Enough About the Books—How Was the Food?

posted by on November 24 at 2:50 PM

In this week’s issue, Angela Garbes reports from the National Book Awards dinner last week in New York City.

The National Book Awards ceremony—the “Oscars of the book world”—is an all-out party for the publishing industry featuring a mini red carpet, mediocre hors d’oeuvres, old white men in tuxedos, and a vague, unrelenting sense of sanctimony. Being associated with an independent poetry press based in Washington State, it is easier for me to feel overwhelmed than involved. “Who the hell are these people?” and “What am I doing here?” are recurring questions in my evening’s interior monologue.

And today on this here website there’s a new From the Archives article: Paul Bravmann’s hilarious report from the 1998 National Book Awards dinner.

By 7:00 p.m. the sixth-floor foyer of New York City’s Marriott Marquis was wall-to-wall tuxedos and designer dresses, many of which revealed the prosaic backs of publishing industry mavens. I felt like a slob in my thrift-store blazer and open collar, so I stood half-hidden behind a pillar at the scene’s periphery. After 10 minutes of pointless loitering, I spotted Harold (Western Canon) Bloom, whose Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, which the judges cited as “exacting and entertaining, infuriating and compelling,” was one of this year’s finalists. Bloom shambled past me, as graceful as a haystack, his jowls trembling slightly with each step. His hair, a fine gray froth, was caught by a draft and lifted off his dappled skull. His bow tie was askew. After observing Bloom, a man who manages to make a well-cut tux look dowdy, I felt free to circulate.

There’s also some stuff about books. Enjoy.

Basketball!

posted by on November 24 at 2:28 PM

Did you love, love, love Sherman Alexie’s Sonics story from a few weeks back? Or hate, hate, hate it? Do you have strong feelings about Luke Ridnour? Or Alexie’s ranking among the best writers in America? Or do you just really love basketball?

Come Dec 7, you can bid the shit out of this sweet package for Strangercrombie.

Attend a Sonics Game with Sherman Alexie and Dan Savage: You and a guest sit with Stranger editor Dan Savage and Sherman Alexie, the self-proclaimed 78th best writer in America, who recently wrote in this very paper: “And so I see every basketball game as a chapter of the novel known as a season. And I see each season as another volume in an unending series of mysteries… And, yes, I love Luke Ridnour. And I hate the little fucker, too.” Priceless! Opening bid: $1.99.

The Withdrawal Method

posted by on November 24 at 2:23 PM

More required reading for the “troops out now(ish)” crowd—I’m looking at you, Dan, and you, Unpaid Intern.

George Packer in the new New Yorker:

It is true that the presence of American troops is a source of great tension and violence in Iraq, and that overwhelming numbers of Iraqis want them to leave. But it is also true that wherever American troop levels have been reduced—in Falluja and Mosul in 2004, in Tal Afar in 2005, in Baghdad in 2006—security has deteriorated. In the absence of adequate and impartial Iraqi forces, Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias have filled the power vacuum with a reign of terror. An American withdrawal could produce the same result on a vast scale. That is why so many Iraqis, after expressing their ardent desire to see the last foreign troops leave their country, quickly add, “But not until they clean up the mess they made.” And it is why a public-service announcement scrolling across the bottom of the screen during a recent broadcast on an Iraqi network said, “The Ministry of Defense requests that civilians not comply with the orders of the Army or police on nightly patrols unless they are accompanied by coalition forces working in that area.”

The argument that Iraq would be better off on its own is a self-serving illusion that seems to offer Americans a win-win solution to a lose-lose problem. Like so much about this war, it has more to do with politics here than reality there. Such wishful thinking (reminiscent of the sweets-and-flowers variety that preceded the war) would have pernicious consequences, as the United States fails to anticipate one disaster after another in the wake of its departure: ethnic cleansing on a large scale, refugees pouring across Iraq’s borders, incursions by neighboring armies, and the slaughter of Iraqis who had joined the American project.

I’m no hawk. I was against the Iraq war, and I’ll freely admit that I was pretty skeptical about invading Afghanistan (on my birthday, no less) with very little attempt to explain to the American public why this was a necessary step. But I strongly oppose any attempt to equate anti-war sentiment with advocacy of immediate withdrawal, “phased redeployment,” or any other euphemism for “we have no idea what to do, so we’ll back away slowly and pretend this never happened.”

Civil War Watch

posted by on November 24 at 1:41 PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 24 — Defying a government-imposed curfew, Shiite militiamen stormed Sunni mosques in central Iraq today, shooting guards and burning down buildings in apparent retaliation for a series of devastating car bombs that killed hundreds of people the previous day in a Shiite slum, residents and police officials said.

As the death toll from those bombings rose above 200, gunmen drove through several neighborhoods in Baghdad and the nearby provincial capital of Baquba, taking aim at mosques with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades on the Muslim holy day, when many Iraqis go to mosques to pray.

Paris’s Puke, Polly’s Wang

posted by on November 24 at 12:54 PM

In what was certainly the most impressive performance of her career so far, Paris Hilton took the stage at a Jay-Z show in Vegas to lip-synch a couple of her hits—and promptly puked. (Video of the historic puke simply must exist somewhere, and when anyone finds it, they should immediately share it with me.)

In legitimate art news: PJ Harvey has a new record of old recordings, all of them made over the course of Harvey’s career for BBC radio host John Peel’s legendary Peel Sessions. Everyone will find something to gripe about with the song selections, but what’s on here is great, especially the long-banished-to-a-B-side cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Wang Dang Doodle,” one of PJ Harvey-the-band’s finest moments. If you like the woman, get the record.

In the meantime, please enjoy this classic clip from 1993. In the world of extended-single-shot performance videos, Sinead’s “Nothing Compares to You” is a Lifetime movie, and PJ’s “Man-size” is a Cassavetes film.

This Lady Is Hot and She Knows Everything

posted by on November 24 at 12:14 PM

Welcome to your new favorite search engine. Just try her out. Look for something.

Also, check out that city behind her…

(Thanks.)

Boobs & Boobs

posted by on November 24 at 10:51 AM

From MSNBC:

The government is violating the First Amendment by embarking on a “radical reinterpretation and expansion” of its power to punish broadcasters for indecent speech, a federal court was told Wednesday.

Fox, CBS Broadcasting Inc., NBC Universal Inc. and NBC Telemundo License Co. are suing the Federal Communications Commission, challenging the way the agency metes out punishment for airing shows that contain profanity. Fox filed formal arguments in a federal appeals court in New York. Later in the day, CBS and NBC also filed briefs.

Maybe if the cable networks—Fox News especially—hadn’t made such a stink about Janet Jackson’s exposed nipple during the Super Bowl they wouldn’t be fighting the F.C.C. in court. Fox should forward its legal fees to their Axis of Idiots: Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and John Gibson.

WWJD?

posted by on November 24 at 10:45 AM

The incoming leader of the Christian Coalition resigned because the CC was not receptive to his plans for expanding the group’s mission beyond fighting gay marriage and opposing abortion rights. Rev. Joel Hunter wanted to broaden the Christian group’s agenda to include fighting poverty and working to save the environment.

Thanks, DailyKos.

“Something deeply wrong with George W. Bush’s presidency”

posted by on November 24 at 10:28 AM

Now Novak tells us.

Hey, It’s OK…

posted by on November 24 at 10:10 AM

pani_di_casa_lg.jpg

I don’t read Glamour, as I’m too busy living it. But someone left the September ‘06 issue in the can, so I flipped through it. And, uh, wow. Women’s magazines are really compelling. I especially enjoyed “Hey, It’s OK…”, a regular Glamour featurette that let’s women know that, you know, it’s okay. Some of the items on the list are unisex—it’s okay “…if you suck at meditiating,” “…to flip to the end of a book you aren’t loving,” “…if you think a friend’s baby is kinda funny-looking”—but there was one item that was definitely for gals only.

Hey, It’s OK… to eat really sharp, crusty bread that hurts and wonder, how in God’s name will I deal with childbirth?

There would be hell to pay if a men’s magazine suggested that the pain of childbirth was in any way comparable to the pain of eating crusty bread.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 24 at 10:00 AM

Comeback
(DANCING) You don’t have to be gay to dance your Thanksgiving off at Comeback, but it helps. That said, straight people go to Comeback, too. Two months ago, I danced with a very hot girl, and kept dancing with her because she was a good dancer and, again, very hot, and later, outside the club, we made eyes. She spoke words. I spoke words. If I weren’t so gay I would’ve gone home with her. Are you paying attention, straight guys? With DJs Colby B, Porq, Fucking in the Streets, and MC Chompers. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, free before 10 pm/$5 after, 21+.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

The Morning News

posted by on November 24 at 9:00 AM

Poisoned Russian Spy Dies: When do we start being afraid of the Kremlin again?

How About Now? Russia sends rockets, nuke experts to Tehran.

Good Morning, Iraq! More than 200 died in yesterday’s coordinated bombings, worshipers burned alive in reprisal killing, powerful cleric threatens to boycott and bring down Iraq’s government if Iraq’s Prime Minister meets our Dear Leader.

Why Can’t It Happen Here? UK to jack up taxes on gas guzzling SUVs, known in London as “Chelsea tractors.”

Are Mormons Christians? Andrew Sullivan delivers a kick at that old hornet’s nest.

This Black Friday Bullshit? I don’t know anyone who rushes out to shop the day after Thanksgiving—do you? Shopping is unpleasant enough the rest of the year, why do any the day people can get on the news for punching you on the way to the $25 DVD players?

This Matters to Me, So No Making Fun: Betty Comden, famed Broadway lyricist (On the Town, Wonderful Town, Singing in the Rain), dies in New York, New York, that hell of a town.

Tradition, Tradition! It wouldn’t really be Thanksgiving if a family dispute didn’t end in gunfire, deaths.

Going Out With a Bang: It’s the latest thing in suicide bombers—exploding grandmothers.

Missing: Bellingham soldier survives a year in Iraq, goes missing after a night in Tennessee.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

All Birds, All the Time

posted by on November 23 at 9:21 PM

Down around Montlake circa 4 pm today the yards and sidewalks were FILLED with crows. These yards and sidewalks were covered in soaked, orangey-brown leaves, and the crows were having a field day. Eating the bugs in the decomposing leaves? I’m talking about, oh, sixty thousand crows? Yard after yard after yard. FILLED. Black birds on orange leaves. Feasting.

“And there’s more over there!” said the person who was driving the car I was in.

“We see them.”

“They’re everywhere. Do you see them over there too?”

“Don’t watch the crows. Watch the road.”

The Stranger Test Kitchen

posted by on November 23 at 4:20 PM

Herb Roasted Turkey 3A.jpg

Sure, we love Cook’s Illustrated too, but they’re not the only ones who work hard to perfect (and occasionally corrupt) classic American recipes. You can check out our latest culinary findings over here.

Because I Hate Fun

posted by on November 23 at 2:57 PM

An alternate take on Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving. It’s one of those execrable Christian holidays, such as the 4th of July, Christmas, or a wedding, when all Americans suddenly become insensible of any guiding principle except an enormous cultural pressure to capitulate unquestioningly to the demands of patriarchal theo-consumerist tradition. In the case of Thanksgiving, blind adherence to custom requires the uncompromising conformist to binge on cloying, pedestrian “comfort” food cooked for 3 days by women, while men watch TV.

Then the women go shopping.

Horribly, Thanksgiving’s repellent foodly intemperance is nearly always presented at some weird, un-dinner-like hour of the afternoon, then it’s back to the TV for the patriarchs, and back to the scullery for the womenfolk, where they scour off the carbonized substrate of the sugary sweet potato-marshmallow pie, wrap in foil the remains of the enhormoned, tortured Butterball, tuck into Tupperware the green been casserole made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and French’s Fried Onions, and chuck out the untouched can-shaped cylinder of Ocean Spray “cranberry sauce” that nobody understands, eats, or can live without. Afterward, everybody either falls comatose or writhes, suffering varying degrees of physical and emotional distress, on such seating — usually a small needlepoint footstool or one of the dining room chairs — as has not been previously commandeered by the football-watching males.

This ritual gluttony, which spikes pretty high on the Blame-O-Meter owing to its particular dependence on sex-based apartheid, is observed ostensibly to commemorate the patriarchally-approved European god-myths surrounding the so-called First Thanksgiving.

There’s more—lots more. Enjoy!

Chris Ware, Chris Ware, Chris Ware, Chris Ware

posted by on November 23 at 2:19 PM

This week’s New Yorker has four different covers, all by Chris Ware.

I hope I get this one with the birds. [You’ll like it, Mudede.]

061127on_ware_4.gif

Click here to make it big enough that you can actually read it.

To see all four covers—they are beautiful—click here. There’s also an online-only comic and an audio file of Ware talking about these wartime cartoons.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now please enjoy this holiday chestnut:

396814-bush_turkey.jpg

Crash Course

posted by on November 23 at 1:25 PM

L-tryptophan.jpg

Unlike Thanksgiving, other holiday feasts are, at least, preceded by some type of honorary ritual - egg hunting, present opening, candy begging. “Pass the gravy” is as close to a ritual incantation as we get. In lieu of any genuine ceremony, Thanksgiving is dedicated solely to gluttony.

One modern myth, however, has given Americans license to turn that gluttony into unabashed laziness. Tryptophan, the oft discussed amino acid in turkey that allegedly transorms us from dinner table socializers to couch sitting sloths, has been the scapegoat for all us folks who don’t want to do the dishes - or anything, for that matter.

Well, folks, don’t tell the kids on dish duty, but you’re not wiped out from the Tryptophan:

Nutritionists and other experts say that the tryptophan in turkey probably won’t trigger the body to produce more serotonin because tryptophan works best on an empty stomach. The tryptophan in a Thanksgiving turkey has to vie with all the other amino acids that the body is trying to use. So only part of the tryptophan makes it to the brain to help produce serotonin.

It is the whole traditional Thanksgiving meal that can produce that after-dinner lethargy. The meal is quite often heavy and high in carbohydrates — from mashed potatoes, bread, stuffing and pie — and your body is working hard to digest that food. Also, if you drink alcohol with your dinner, you will likely feel its sedative effect, too.

See - it’s not the Tryptophan - we’re just nation of drunken, lazy sows. “We’re all going to hell,” said my brother, Michael. “But the food in hell is excellent!” So, um, pass the gravy…

Happy Thanksgiving to You, You Live in a Zoo, You Draw Like an Undergrad Psych Student, and You Smell Like One, Too

posted by on November 23 at 12:34 PM

joking.jpg

To celebrate the day, please enjoy the results of an experiment conducted by a teacher’s assistant at Penn State, who took the liberty of adding the instruction “Draw a turkey” to the final page of a Psych 1 exam.

To see 274 different turkeys hand-drawn by 274 different first-year psychology students, go here.

The statistics alone are fascinating: Nine students drew turkeys in a cooked, Butterball style; five drew birds saying “Eat me”; six drew birds saying “Don’t eat me.” Then there are the drawings, which offer everything from primitive thrills to advanced dramatics.

Enjoy.

(All praise to turkey experiment masterminds Daniel and Sarah Drucker, and thanks to world-class noticer and all-around dream human Jake.)

The Web Abhors a Vacuum

posted by on November 23 at 12:15 PM

Note: There is no web site entitled www.ihatethanksgiving.com. Go ahead. Click on the link. See! Nothing!

I’m not necessarily telling you to get on it. I’m just sayin’…

Late Morning News

posted by on November 23 at 10:21 AM

Bush Pardons Turkey: Today the bird, tomorrow Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rice?

Some Things Are Looking Up In Iraq: Sadly it’s the civilian death toll.

More Civilian Dead: The previous story was written before today’s car bombs went off in Baghdad, which added at least 150 souls to the death toll in the deadliest attack since the start of the war.

Do As We Say, Not As We Do: The Catholic Church, which wants gays to be celibate, still having trouble getting their own priests to honor their vows of celibacy.

In Other Catholic News: With 25,00,000 dead of AIDS and 43,500,000 million infected with HIV the pope is now considering—just consideringsoftening the church’s stance on condom usage. Go tell your dead friends!

Flying During the Holidays: Something to be avoided at all costs.

Manhattan’s Balloon Fetishists Rejoice: Wind and rain forces Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade organizers to drag massive balloons practically along the ground, grazing the heads of spectators.

Jon Flushes John: Jon Stewart’s Daily Show gets Google to cancel the YouTube account of John Aravosis of Americablog. Is $500-a-share-Google destroying YouTube? That’s what John says.

This post was late thanks to my Comcastic Internet service.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 23 at 10:00 AM

‘Shut Up & Sing’
(PATRIOTISM) When Dixie Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines took the stage of Shepherds Bush Empire in London three years ago and told an audibly sympathetic audience that she was ashamed that Dubya was from the band’s home state of Texas, not even the most pessimistic liberal could have anticipated the fallout. Initially apologetic and bewildered, the Chicks’ journey from meek-voiced penitents to defiant and articulate free-speech advocates, as chronicled in this documentary, is nothing short of inspiring. Furthermore, watching Maines call Bush a “dumb fuck” is damn satisfying. (See Movie Times, p. 84, for details.) HANNAH LEVIN

Squabble, squabble

posted by on November 23 at 9:00 AM

Happy Thanksgiving!

squabbies!.JPG
From a friendly dish of toad-like squab.

Yes, that is actually the name of the recipe. It was invented by the French. Please make it for your Thanksgiving meal — conversation-provoking pigeon meat is cheap at $13 a pound.

Congrats to my friend Nathan for making this sqaubsome feast. Those eyes are capers, by the way.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Macy’s Parade Balloon, or Giant Poo on West 77th Street?

posted by on November 22 at 5:10 PM

The view from my brother’s window at work in New York earlier today. He says that when fully inflated, the brown blob in the right of the frame will look a lot less like doggy-doo, and a lot more like Scooby Doo. Happy Thanksgiving!

TDayParade.jpg

Shit’s in the PI

posted by on November 22 at 4:40 PM

From this morning’s Post-Intelligencer:

The operator of the Bellevue crane miraculously suffered only minor injuries, but his fitness for the job has been called into question because of his history of drug-related convictions.

And who was it that called Warren Taylor Yeakey’s fitness to operate a crane into question? It was the PI—and only the PI—that went after the Yeakey with both fucking barrels. The PI splashed his history of drug convictions all over its cover, complete with a sensationalistic headline that made it clear just who the PI thought was responsible for the accident. If anti-drug hysteria knocked over cranes the PI’s treatment of Yeakey wouldn’t have left one standing in the whole fucking state.

As I wrote earlier in the week, the PI’s treatment of Yeakey was a hypocritical departure from the PI’s usual take on folks with a history of drug abuse. Usually guys who get off drugs, go straight, and manage to hold down legit jobs come in for high praise in the pages of the PI—but only until something bad happens while a reformed drug user happens to be working in the vicinity. At that point the PI insists that the poor motherfucker’s “history of drug-related convictions” should have disqualified him from holding the job, whatever it is.

I wonder who exactly the PI thinks should be operating cranes or working construction around here? How squeaky clean does someone have to be? Should only nuns work construction? Girl Scouts? Lead singers in emo bands?

This Wednesday at the Movies

posted by on November 22 at 4:30 PM

Today is the day before Thanksgiving, and that means studios are letting their goods fly on a Wednesday to take advantage of your imminent freedom (or, for those with annoying families, your imminent imprisonment).

There are some good, if predictable, things (Michael Atkinson reviews AlmodĂłvar’s Volver), and some okay things (read our less than enthralled reviews of The Fountain, Bobby, and Tenacious D in ‘The Pick of Destiny’ here). And, to quote the incomparable Lindy West, there is the movie that action-phobes should not hesitate to “break their Jerry Bruck-hymen on” (I think that’s a recommendation): the time-hopping terrorism porn entitled DĂ©jĂ  Vu.

'splosion!

There is also one nasty, despicable movie that you should never see. In fact, if anyone offers to pay you to see it, offer to shoot yourself in the face instead. I wish I had.

Deck the Halls

This offensive piece of smoldering crap is good for nothing except a litmus test for potential friends. Does your would-be buddy think gay panic is fucking hilarious? Find out when a naked Danny DeVito snuggles into a sleeping bag with a frozen Matthew Broderick! Does this person think it’s really chuckle-worthy when two fathers inadvertently catcall their teenage daughters? How about when a bully sheriff bends over to reveal his ladies’ thong underwear? How about when Kristin Chenowith debases herself in the role of yet another shrill, aging, busty ditz? Unless you’re a bad person, Deck the Halls will make you want to strangle yourself with a string of Christmas lights and gouge out your own eyes with the hook end of a candy cane. (ANNIE WAGNER)

In other movie news, you have only two more days to see Iraq in Fragments at the Varsity—it, tragically, was not extended for a third week. Times today are 4:45 and 7:15 and tomorrow 2:30 (that’s a matinee!), 4:45, and 7:15.

To Have and Have Not, which is the first movie to pair Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, is fucking awesome. (Was you ever bit by a dead bee?) Catch it at the Grand Illusion today and tomorrow; Friday the GI switches to The Big Sleep, which The Stranger Suggests here. If you miss To Have and Have Not this week, Central Cinema is picking it up starting December 7.

On Friday Northwest Film Forum starts Malick’s Days of Heaven—not as awesome as Badlands, but still very, very good. Also Suggested, by moi.

_________________

WEB EXTRA this week: Andrew Wright’s interview with director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain). It’s online here.
_________________

Give thanks for the movies!

Re: Michael Richards Brouhaha

posted by on November 22 at 4:24 PM

The video of his tirade is horrifying. The whole thing saddens me deeply. I am a big Seinfeld fan, now every time I see an ad for the show, I cringe. What’s even weirder is that Richards is an alumnus of my alma mater The Evergreen State College. I can’t believe the indoctrination from the PC Police down in Olympia didn’t imprint more deeply.

Media Consolidation

posted by on November 22 at 4:10 PM

Mark your calendars.

There’s a public hearing at the downtown library next Thursday on the FCC’s new proposal to lift the cap on how many media outlets a single company can own in one market.

Sen. Cantwell, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein will be on hand.

FCC Hearing to be held in Seattle 6:00 — 9:00 pm Thursday, Nov. 30 2006 Seattle Public Library 4th and Madison, downtown Seattle. The FCC’s existing media ownership rules include a cap on national TV ownership, currently around 39% of the national market, and they want to raise the cap. Think about what it would mean to news if our local radio, TV and daily newspapers were owned by the same company.

Attend the hearing, bring colleagues, friends and family
Testify at the hearing; everyone will have 2 minutes to comment.
Write to the FCC — send a letter before December 31st. In 2002-2003 we beat back the FCC by sending over 3 million comments to them
Write to your members of Congress. Tell the new Congress that you value a fair and free media as essential to the workings of true democracy

This is one of 6 public hearings that’s taking place around the country. (Props to Senator Cantwell for getting one of the hearings to happen here in Seattle.)

One Toke Over State Lines

posted by on November 22 at 3:40 PM

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This morning, the Washington Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s criminal conviction of a woman who used medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. Unlike the slew of medical marijuana stories that have splashed across news pages in recent months, this case is different.

The debate wasn’t about whether medical marijuana is a legitimate therapy; it wasn’t about federal law trumping state law; and it wasn’t about the quantity of marijuana a patient may grow or possess. It was about a technical glitch in Washington’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act, created by Initiative 692, which was passed by voters in 1998. The Justices wrote in their majority opinion:

The initiative could have, but did not, define a qualifying doctor as one with a valid license from any state. Instead, it defined qualifying doctors as those licensed under Washington law. This was a deliberate choice, and Tracy gives us no statutory reason to find that the language does not mean what it appears to say.

Only qualifying patients are entitled to the defense under the act. … Among other things, qualifying patients must be patients of qualifying doctors. … Since Tracy was not a patient of a qualifying doctor, she is not entitled to assert the defense.

The problem began when Tracy visited California to care for her mother who suffers from cancer. While she was there, a California-licensed doctor gave her an authorization to treat her pain symptoms with marijuana.

But just as Thanksgiving travelers probably aren’t thinking twice about using their prescription medications while visiting other states, Tracy probably didn’t think twice about whether her doctor’s authorization was good in Washington. After all, she had a recommendation from a doctor, as specified by state law.

But the devil is in the details. Washington’s High Court cited a clause in the medical marijuana act that defines a “qualifying physician” by referring to a completely different statute. Basically, the Supremes held, since the doctor was from out of state, the authorization was bunk.

Fortunately, the problem can be easily patched by the Washington legislature during their upcoming session. “We are working with lawmakers to develop legislation that would carry out the voters’ intent to protect sick people who are using medical marijuana therapy under a doctor’s supervision,” said the ACLU of Washington’s Legislative Director Jennifer Shaw. The Olympia session begins on January 8th.

Blackification: Part Two

posted by on November 22 at 2:47 PM

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From Aural to Visual

posted by on November 22 at 1:46 PM

I have no comment on this video, other than the fact that this kid is utterly amazing, as are his mother’s refreshing parenting skills:

Hat tip to my friend Joey.

The Birds: Part Two

posted by on November 22 at 1:11 PM

A fancy friend in New York City decided to help the poor by volunteering at a soup kitchen. It was her first act of real charity. She served food, sorted clothes, and blogged about the experience here. Out of what she had to say, this particular passage caught my attention—it describes one of her three assigned tasks, “bread duty” :

As the line dwindled down, one woman, Sandra, came by with a huge cart and relieved me of all the bread to - you guessed it - feed the birds. According to Sandra, it’s best to hit the lesser known parks, as opposed to Central Park, because the birds in Central Park are quite spoiled when it comes to handouts.

The birds in this picture can be found every morning lining the telephone wires above a food bank on 12th, across the street from Seattle’s youth detention center.
626fc8ef0981.jpeg The birds are waiting for the poor and homeless to feed them bread. This is all they have to do to gather energy: the food bank opens, the homeless and poor get free bread and buns, and then feed them the surplus. It is an easy life.

But now we must ask a hard question. Why are homeless people often so kind, so generous to birds? And what is this type of generosity that grows from another, higher form of generosity? Do the homeless feed pigeons as a way of soothing the shame of being reduced to a recipient of pity? The pigeons are, at least, begging from them, the beggars. (The pigeons, however, have no pangs of shame—when generosity comes down to them, it meets its end with their panicked pecking.)

We all know nothing is worse than pity. It is the worst because it is a power that pretends that it is not a power. The rich at least are open about their power and are happy to exert it, to make us feel the full force of it. Not with those who take pity on us. They believe they are doing the right thing by giving help—a help which they are in a position to give. The homeless/broken person accepts the help (“this bitter earth”). She eats some of it and then offers what remains, what she doesn’t need, to the birds. The homeless person feeds the pigeons because it is an exertion from the last position of power in this society—power over the pigeons.

Coming Soon…

posted by on November 22 at 1:04 PM

Strangercrombie, our winter auction wherein all the proceeds go to Northwest Harvest to help feed the foodless. The issue comes out December 7, with gifts…

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…for gals…

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…and guys.

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(And, of course, our annual flesh parade photo shoot.) Strangercrombie: Sometimes even The Stranger does something nice.

Bush Appointee Not Even A Certified Doctor

posted by on November 22 at 12:40 PM

Anti-science, anti-contraception, anti-woman nutbag Eric Keroack, Bush’s pick to oversee $283 million in reproductive-health funding for low-income women, is not even certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist, according to the Washington Post, which reports (at the end of a dost-protest-too-much story titled “HHS Nominee Has Prescribed Birth Control”—as if that makes up for having a moral opposition to birth control based on the false premise that it is “demeaning” to women) that Keroack let his certification expire in 2005. While certification “is not a requirement for the job,” the Post notes, “HHS officials had cited Keroack’s expertise in defending his selection.”

Pertinent PSA for Stranger Readers (and staffers)

posted by on November 22 at 12:25 PM

In an effort to curb drunk driving, Harborview is starting a taxi stand program in concert with Seattle bars and restaurants. The first taxi stand will open on November 30 in Fremont—which Harborview’s survey identified as the “second-most popular drinking destination in Seattle.”

The stand will be located in front of PCC Natural Markets on Evanston, just north of 34th street. The taxi stand will operate Thursdays-Saturdays from 11:30 pm-2:30 am. In the coming months, according to Harborview, taxi stands will open in other neighborhoods: Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, Belltown, and Ballard.

Important Context: It’s illegal for cabbies to pick up people hailing cabs in Seattle … which is why it’s a bitch to try and get a cab on a Saturday night. A taxi stand, where cabs dock and wait for customers, will make it much easier to get your drunk ass into a cab after leaving the bar. Bartenders have too much going on to order every last customer a taxi while they’re also trying to wrap up.

Meanwhile: Here are some of the findings from Harborview’s drinking survey, based on answers from 300 21-34 year-olds living in Seattle who say they go out to drink:

Nearly 20% said they’d driven within the past month, even though they knew they’d had too much to drink.

There were 8,210 DUI arrests in King County last year, with an average blood alcohol level of 0.14 (legal limit is 0.08).

43% of 21-34 year olds in Seattle drink 2-4 times per week; 10% (17% of males) drink 5 or more days per week.

44% in Seattle typically have more than 2 drinks when they drink alcohol; 34% of men usually have more than 4 drinks.

40% of men and 24% of women binge drink at least once a month.

54% of people this age in Seattle drank at a bar, restaurant or club the last time they were drinking with others. Only 24% were in their own home.

Alcohol-related crashes kill more people ages 21 — 34 than people of other ages.

The most popular neighborhoods to go drinking, in order:
1) Capitol Hill (20%)
2) Fremont (18%)
3) Belltown (16%)
4) Downtown (13%)
5) Pioneer Square (12%)
6) U-District (8%)
7) Queen Anne (2%)


Blackification

posted by on November 22 at 11:58 AM

After giving the problems of the world (wars, pollution, poverty) great thought, the black American professor came to this conclusion, this final solution.

David Blaine Can Suck My Ass

posted by on November 22 at 11:45 AM

Continuining a lifelong tradition of ignoring legitimate horror to obsess over stupid flurries of nothing, I fucking hate David Blaine.

The “endurance artist”/magician/masochistic exhibitionist with a Jesus complex has been on my shitlist since I first learned of his creepy existence, and my scorn has grown with each of his self-serving public grotesqueries. What’s “magic” about spending half a week inside a closet of ice at Lincoln Center, or going without food while standing atop a 90-foot pillar for 36 hours? Nothing, and the driving force behind all of Blaine’s stunts has always seemed some perverse combination of a need for attention and a need to suffer. Ta-dah!

And then I saw Blaine’s new commercial for Target, where the world’s most self-obsessed sub bottom actually claims he’s doing it for the kids.

Blet.

Blet, blet, blet.

Mistress Matisse: Can you shed any light on Blaine’s hidden-in-plain-sight kink?

Confessions From a Straight Past (Or, How I Once Made Out With LA’s Dopest Attorney)

posted by on November 22 at 11:35 AM

While we’re talking about pot and pictures that bring back memories, holy shit, did I just see a picture that brought me way back. And in the LA Times no less!

Margolin.jpg

You see, gentle blog reader, there was a time when I kissed a woman or two, including the one above, who now defends pot-heads in Los Angeles and was recently portrayed on the front-page of the LA Times as “LA’s Dopest Attorney.”

It’s a funny thing to be gay and yet feel a sort of pride at the beautiful woman you once made out with in your freshman dorm room. But armchair psychologists take note: That’s exactly what I felt while reading about “LA’s Dopest Attorney” and how her clients lust after her, how she is trailed by two young men who answer her phone and clean out her car, how she puts her plunging necklines to good strategic use, and how, with her legal practice taking off, she now aspires to wear “only Chanel” and “make a lot of money.”

Am I still attracted to her? Am I jealous of her gaggle of fawning men? Am I thrilled that homely straight boys everywhere might now be jealous of me for having once landed a woman they can only dream of, and worse for the homely straight boys, a woman I myself never really dreamed of? Sorry, I’m saving it for the tell-all.

Confidential to Allison: You go, girl!

Confidential to life: What does it mean that she’s defending pot-heads while I’m working for them?

Confidential to straight Slog readers: Eat your hearts out…

Ghosts in the Womb

posted by on November 22 at 11:14 AM

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That is a fetal elephant, in utero, scanned and photographed for a National Geographic documentary.

Here is a golden retriever:

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Don’t they look like ghosts? Luminous, insubstantial, like they’re not really in the world yet, like they could disappear at any moment. I’d like to think of fetuses as tiny ghosts—that’s almost sweeter and more poetic than the theory of homunculi.

Slightly less poetic is this quote, from one of the filmmakers:

“Animals were trained to sit still near the scanners and we also inserted cameras into the womb via the elephant’s rectum—but it has been worth it.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on November 22 at 10:26 AM

Post-hunt, pre-Thanksgiving wishes, from the Prayer Warrior.

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November 22, 2006

Dear Prayer Warrior,

I want to wish you a great Thanksgiving, and pray for each of you to have safety in traveling this weekend. Praise God for all He’s done for us this past year!

Please pray for Dr. Dobson as he is on Larry King Live tonight.

Your Pastor,
Hutch

Michael Richards in Black Face (See? He’s Not Racist!)

posted by on November 22 at 9:56 AM

A wise person once paraphrased that to really understand someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. Michael Richards did just that with African Americans, when he put on black face for a role in the movie Whoops Apocalypse. See? Just like he said in his apology, he can’t be a racist!

Thanks Defamer!

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 22 at 8:15 AM

‘Abel Raises Cain’ (PRE-BORAT) Long before Borat, Alan Abel was giving interviews as ridiculous characters and whipping the world into a lather. In the 1950s, he ran a decency campaign to clothe naked animals. In the 1970s, he claimed to run a school for panhandlers. His 1976 film The Faking of the President inspired a riot. In 2000, he began a campaign to ban all breastfeeding. This loving documentary by Abel’s daughter shows the master of the hoax as he really is—amused, amusing, and sometimes wonderfully cantankerous. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.) BRENDAN KILEY

The Morning News

posted by on November 22 at 6:35 AM

AIDS in China: Cases up 30% in one year.

Nuts in UK: Scientologists Wooing London Cops.

Strife in Middle East: Now it’s Lebanon’s turn—again.

Imams in Airplanes: US Airways says no.

U.S. Snipers in Iraq: Not getting to shoot very many insurgents.

Bush and Maliki in Jordon: Maybe another meeting will turn things around in Iraq.

Obvious in Report: Gregoire told viaduct costs may yet rise.

Ass in Seattle: Still for sale on Craigslist—girl ass and boy ass.

Seattle City Employees in Australia, Hollywood, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria: We spend a shitload of money sending our elected officials and city staffers all over the fucking world.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Bush Curse

posted by on November 21 at 6:49 PM

Bush daughter robbed in Argentina

Secret Service agent protecting Bush daughter robbed, beaten to a pulp, also in Argentina.

White House staffer robbed and beaten in Hawaii.

Three motorcycle cops in Bush motorcade crash, suffering serious injuries, also in Hawaii.

All via Drudge.

Gothic Seattle

posted by on November 21 at 4:33 PM

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Name That Lady!

posted by on November 21 at 4:02 PM

Earlier today, Savage shared tender memories of Bradley Steinbacher’s debut night in drag, ending his post with a call for any and all photos that may exist of that historic night of Patsy Cline lip-synching and daunting depilatory action.

So far we’ve received exactly zero photos of draggy Brad, but I did happen upon this photo of two lovely Stranger ladies out on the town in the mid-’90s.

drag.jpg

Can you guess their boy names? (Hint: One is Savage, and the other is not Brad.) Good luck!

Meta-Slogging

posted by on November 21 at 3:07 PM

As meta as you can get: a post about a contest inspired by an interview with a prolific commenter on the Stranger’s blog.

“She Asked For It,” Take 1,287

posted by on November 21 at 2:34 PM

Two new headlines, one very old story:

From the BBC (via Alternet): Should women be more responsible?

And from the Times of London: Women who really do ask for it.

Money quote from the former:

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe says women have used date-rape drugs as an excuse when they have been attacked while drunk.

“It is time women accepted that part of liberation is taking responsibility for themselves and their safety,” she said.

“I think a lot of women say ‘he must have drugged me’ when what they really mean to say is ‘I got so drunk I can’t remember what really happened’.

“I have been saying for a very long time that drink is putting women in danger and I’ve also been saying for a very long time women have to take responsibility for themselves.”

And from the latter:

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you choose, as you are free to do, to wander about drunk and not wearing many clothes, it might be an idea to wear a coat to cover up your tiny dress when it’s time to roam the streets looking for an unlicensed minicab to take you home. It might be an idea to educate yourself about unlicensed minicabs in the first place. Or indeed not to sit on the laps of the group of lairy boys you meet on the night bus and give them the ” cuddle” they’re baying for.

There are confused men who don’t understand the mixed messages many of us sometimes give out inadvertently — especially if we are young and confused ourselves, and have spent all night flirting massively only to shriek with shock and disgust if the object of our flirtation dares to lunge.

Right. It’s really confusing when the girl is passed out drunk, because it’s so hard to tell whether she’s slurring “yes,” “no,” or “I’m calling the police.”

The genesis for both stories is a new study showing that, in cases where women believed they had been drugged and then raped, “date rape drugs” were far less common than alcohol in causing women’s incapacitation: 119 out of the 120 reported date rapes involved a victim who drank alcohol before she was raped. In all cases, the women were sufficiently incapacitated to believe they had been drugged and were unable to resist.

The obvious conclusion might be that men in the UK need to learn a few things about consent: Namely, that a woman’s incapacitation is not a free pass to fuck her without her permission. Nonetheless, UK politicians and editorial writers have seized on this statistic as evidence that women should be “more responsible” —the implication being, of course, that (i.e. rape them while they’re drunk.)

Note that when the Tory MP says “people need to take more responsibility for themselves,” what she really means is that women need to take more responsibility for men’s behavior and adapt our behavior to reflect the (deeply anti-male ) belief that all men are potential, and even probable, rapists—not that men who rape women need to take more responsibility and, you know, not rape women.

Re: Dollar Coins, YAY, Nixon, BOO!

posted by on November 21 at 1:45 PM

Bad news, Annie: Looks like mining interests are behind the reappearance of the dollar coin. From Matthew Yglesias:


Coverage of the new coins tends to start with a lot of talk about the Mint doing, thinking, or hoping this or that as if the US Mint is for some reason being run by people who don’t understand coins and don’t understand that the $1 coin is doomed as long as the $1 bill lives. Deeper in, though, you learn that “The coins were authorized by the 2005 Presidential Coin Act, which requires the minting of dollar coins commemorating the service of former United States presidents in the order in which they served.”

In other words, it wasn’t the mint’s idea at all — it came from congress. But why would congress pass a law like that? Well, I have some familiarity with this topic and my understanding is that, in essence, the idea was being pushed by mining interests hoping to sell the government some more of their metal. They hired some lobbyists, the North Dakota delegation and Ben Nighthorse Campbell put up an ultimately successful fight to secure the long-term future of the Sacagewa Dollar, and ta-da! your presidential commemorative coins will be here shortly. Similarly, it’s the zinc (or something) lobby that keeps the penny in existence. Only in America.

Via Unfogged, who really, really hates coins.

The Birds

posted by on November 21 at 1:45 PM

At around noon, dark clouds gathered in the south and strong winds rushed through trees, raised dead leaves, and made pedestrians nervous—something could suddenly fall out of nowhere (a telephone pole, a crane, a satellite dish) and crush us out of our only existence. In the sky just above the statue of the 13th century Buddhist monk Shinran Shonin, on 15th and Main, a flock of seagulls seemed to be playing with the force of this wind, which, for reasons that might be geographic or purely meteorological, seemed stronger there than elsewhere. Each seagull would, with all its bird strength, fly into the wind and then, switching off its bird strength, be blown backward by the wind. The wind not only blew the bird back like a lifeless kite but also, after a moment, sent it tumbling earthward. Just before crashing in the park that was watched by the stone form of Shonin, the seagull would re-ignite its strength and fly up and into the wind again. These birds were enjoying themselves. But even more than that: they were philosophizing. It was Plato who called philosophy “the practice of death,” practicing for the moment the soul is liberated from the body and returns to the forms, the light, to the eternal, the Sukhavati (the Pure Land of Shonin’s Buddhism). But this death practicing is not sad business, it is, as the birds make so clear, joyful and fun.

What The Fuck?

posted by on November 21 at 1:11 PM

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Read about this image… here.

“When I write badly, it’s because I’ve been cowardly, I’ve lied…”

posted by on November 21 at 12:35 PM

Slog reader Josh found this excellent radio interview with Zadie Smith on KCRW. She talks about the idea of the good, the idea of beauty extracted from all content, misunderstanding David Foster Wallace, Aristotle, the people who run liberal arts colleges, conservative characters versus liberal characters, hiding the scaffolding of a novel’s structure, Iris Murdoch, black people who think they’re inauthentic or aren’t black enough…

Constantly when I’m in interviews I’m being told, Your books are all about the search for identity, and I always think, My books are about that search being completely pointless.

A slightly longer sound bite on reading as an analogy of living, and Jane Austen:

Good reading is an anaolgy of good living, because it takes all kinds of sensitivities, committments, beliefs, passivity—all kinds of different qualities to understand, when you pick up, say, Pride and Prejudice, what’s going on in that book. Not just on the superficial level, its plot and character, but what it believes, that book. And, I mean, Austen, she was a bit of a rationalist-positivist in a sense because she really believed there are rational people who move through the world making these great choices, they make them very carefully, and at the end there’s a happy ending. So that’s not to everybody’s taste but it is a model for what fiction does. Her books are kind of a hypothetical ethical arena. You walk into them, you have all these choices in front of you, and the wonderful thing about them is they’re not life or death, they’re not your choices, they’re Elizabeth Bennet’s choices, but you place yourself in this arena and you move through this carefully affiliated world of choice. Austen does it in a quite a simple and beautiful way, other writers do it in incredibly complicated ways. And the complexity of that is a real education of the emotions and an education of the heart and it’s very hard to get that education elsewhere. So a piece of moral philosophy—On Beauty was half based on a book called On Beauty and Being Just, which is a small theoretical text, but the question is, a small theoretical text gives you an idea of beauty and makes an argument which you have to come to with your rational mind. Now a novel can make exactly the same case but it does it in a different way, and those procedures are vital, they’re really important to becoming a human being. Becoming a human being isn’t just something you get with your birth. It’s an exercise and it takes your whole life.

Here she is on writing badly:

Any writer, even though they may never make this argument because it’s very hard to make and defend yourself from critics and academics who will shoot you down, knows that, to be a good writer, it’s more than craft. To be a good writer is not just craft, it’s also yourself. And I don’t mean in some simple American self-improvement sense… When writers write bad books, it’s not just an act separate from themselves. It’s the writer who has written the bad book. When I write badly, it’s because I’ve been cowardly, I’ve lied—it seems odd to say in fiction I’ve lied but any writer knows what I’m talking about. I can reread a book, like I reread The Autograph Man on a plane for the first time a few days ago, and I was enjoying it to a point, and then I got to a 20-page section and I knew it was a lie, and I rememeber when I wrote it I knew it was a lie. That’s what I mean. It’s very, very hard to discuss as a critic or academic, but writers know what I’m talking about and it’s one of the most profound feelings of self-betrayal. You’ve betrayed yourself in some way.

If I’ve gotten any of her words wrong, it’s my fault—I just transcribed these passages. Listen to the whole thing, it’s great. I’ve listened to it several times now. (I am a big fan.) The lecture she says she’s going to give soon she gave at The New Yorker festival. ‘Twas awesome.

A Birthday Memory

posted by on November 21 at 12:29 PM

I know this an abuse of my Slogging rights—space on blogs is very, very limited, judging from the angry comments we get after we post something that isn’t breaking news, and should be reserved for important communiquĂ©s. But I would like to call in a point of personal privilege on this, Bradley Steinbacher’s 33rd Birthday.

Ah, memories…

When Brad first got involved with The Stranger he was something like 17 years old. The product of Catholic schools, Brad had never been around a gay man who wasn’t wearing a Roman collar. (Today’s priests wear Roman collars and house-arrest ankle bracelets.) Brad and I didn’t interact much at first. He was afraid of me then—and rightly so. I was scary. I still am, Brad constantly tells me.

But then came Brad’s 21st birthday.

Someone—I don’t remember who—thought it would be a good idea to put Brad in drag for his first legal drink. I thought it would be a good idea to enter Brad in the weekly lip-synch contest at the Brass Connection (now the War Room). Getting Brad into drag was… well, let’s just say it wasn’t easy. Zora did his makeup—but not until after I shaved Brad’s armpits and chest. If you’ve every laid eyes on Brad, then you know how hard I worked. Shaving Brad’s chest was like bringing in the corn harvest in the fall. Razors? Shit, we needed a combine. Once Brad was smooth, we put him in makeup—his bushy eyebrows concealed under a half a pound of putty—and then we put him in a tiny corset—a waist cinch, to the pros—and a smart little outfit. Then we rehearsed, drilling Brad in the art of the lip synch.

We walked over to the Brass Connection from my apartment. Brad sang “Back in Baby’s Arms.” At the end Brad jumped into the waiting arms of former Stranger editor Matt Cook—a large, tall man with a shaved head. Matt was wearing a diaper. The crowd went nuts. Brad won second place.

No pictures survive from that night—which is a tragedy. If anyone out there reading this was at the Brass Connection the night of Brad’s 21st birthday and has pictures, please get in touch! We will pay cash money to get our hands on a photo of Brad from that night—and we will, if we can track one down, put it on the cover of The Stranger.

Oh, and the next time you see Brad at the War Room, ask him to lip-synch a few bars of “Back in Baby’s Arms” for you…

And Happy Birthday, Brad!

Red Alert! WalMart Endangered by Gay Conspiracy!

posted by on November 21 at 12:24 PM

From the people who brought you Operation Rescue and Operation Save America comes a new work: Save WalMart!.

Yes, yes, yes, the abortion clinic harassing campaign — they’re the people who sit outside clinics snapping photos of every car in the parking lot — is getting a little weary (“Operation Rescue has never been tied to a violent crime! - NOT ONE!!” the website defensively declares) so now the reliable wingnuts are fueling their hero fantasies by protecting America’s largest employer from the demands of “diversity.”

They are being forced by the “politically correct” dogma (abortion, homosexuality, etc) of our day to accept his terms. If one chooses to defy this dogma, he will be forever branded as a right-wing, bigoted fascist, bent on forcing his own religion (Christianity) down everyone else’s throat.

Now Satan has Wal-Mart in his line of fire! This legacy of faith and love for Jesus Christ by Mr. Walton is being trashed before our very eyes!

After being lambasted for years by the anti-family, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, radical environmental left, Wal-Mart has finally succumbed to this constant harassment and blackmail. She has now chosen a policy of appeasement to assuage all of the false accusations leveled against her in hopes that the devil will somehow stop being so mean. It is sad to say that Wal-Mart has joined the The National Gay & Lesbian, Chamber of Commerce.

Their last stand for Freedom takes place the day after Thanksgiving, when Operation Save WalMart promises to deploy to 300 store locations. At their website, activists and snickering liberals can download fliers like:
sodomy!.jpg

The website doesn’t list the 300 WalMart locations, however, and they haven’t sent anything to their mailing list recently (of course I’m a member!) so I’m skeptical they’ll actually see the turn out they’re hyping. In any case, right wingers screaming about sodomy at families walking into WalMart on November 24th will be an exciting little vacation from all typical Christmas carolers.

New York: More Bike-Friendly than Seattle?

posted by on November 21 at 11:42 AM

I recently returned from a quick trip to New York. On the plane, I read this fantastic and very funny article by Ben McGrath about the New York City bikers’ rights movement, which these days…

…includes more than twenty groups, with names like Right of Way, FreeWheels, and Revolution Rickshaws, drawing inspiration from sources as varied as the French Situationist philosopher Guy Debord, the civil-rights leaders John Lewis and Hosea Williams, and the urban sociologist Jane Jacobs. Their aims are at once specific (mandating bike storage at office buildings) and all-encompassing: Revolution Rickshaws, for instance, seeks in effect to create an entire pedal-based economy, offering “eco-responsible execution in people-moving services,” “rapid urban cargo transport,” and “outdoor marketing promotions,” through the use of pedicabs, tricycle rigs capable of carrying a thousand pounds of freight, and towable billboards.

Their nominal constituency, the hundred and twenty thousand New Yorkers who ride bicycles every day, comprises three distinct types—commuters (book editors, say, wearing cargo pants), exercisers (lawyers in spandex), and messengers (streetwise minorities without health care)—whose agendas overlap only loosely. And, as with any growing movement, success has brought about factionalization. Roughly speaking, the bikers range, in their political leanings, from Hugo Chávez to Ned Lamont, and in methodology from anarchist street theatre to wonkish position papers. “I think a lot of people realize that this issue is really central to a lot of the dilemmas facing, you know, humanity right now,” Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said recently. “How are we going to deal with less oil? How are we going to make cities more sustainable, more livable?”

On 14th Street, I picked up this map of New York City bike routes. Surely Manhattan, even with its French Situationist bikers’ rights advocates, does not have better urban bike routes than Seattle, where our mayor has promised to make this the most bike-friendly city in the nation.

ManhattanMap.JPG

The dotted red lines are planned or proposed bike routes. The green lines are dedicated off-street bike paths (notice the green line that appears to be ringing the island — it’s called the Greenway, it’s an almost-finished loop around Manhattan, and it puts the in-city portions of Seattle’s Burke-Gilman to shame). The solid red lines? Those are streets that have been striped with bike lanes.

Now, let’s look at the official bike map for Seattle.

SeattleBikeMap.JPG

The blue lines? Those are “arterial streets commonly used by bicyclists,” meaning: You’re on your own, no city-created bike lanes, good luck. So subtract the blue lines. They don’t signify a real effort to make the city more bike-friendly. What’s left? A few solid red lines (shared use paths) and some dotted red lines (bicycle lanes on streets). But nothing approaching the scale of Manhattan’s street-level interventions on behalf of cyclists.

And here’s the thing that’s going to make my editor’s head explode. Dan has been furious about the lack of good bike lanes over Seattle’s bridges (particularly over the biker-terrorizing Ballard Bridge) for as long as I’ve worked here. Well, as Seattle struggles to figure out how to improve bike access on just three in-city bridges commonly used by cyclists (the Ballard Bridge, the Montlake Bridge, and the University Bridge) — as this city struggles to do that, every single bridge into and out of Manhattan has a separate, dedicated bike lane (including five serious, iconic, super-bridges: the George Washington Bridge, the Triborough Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Brooklyn Bridge).

Here’s a shot of the lower Manhattan bike map, with the paths over the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn bridges marked in solid green. Explosion of Dan’s head in five, four, three, two…

LowerManhattan.JPG

For the Woman Who Has Everything

posted by on November 21 at 11:12 AM

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Because your headphone cord is too short when your pants are down?

Overheard on a Patti Smith Album

posted by on November 21 at 11:02 AM

images.jpg

Those who have suffered,
Understand suffering,
And thereby extend their hand
The storm that brings harm
Also makes fertile
Blessed is the grass
And herb
And the true thorn
And…. LIGHT!

I was lost
In a valley of pleasure
I was lost
In the infinite sea
I was lost,
And measure for measure,
Love spewed
From the heart of me
I was lost, and the cost,
And the cost
Didn’t matter to me
I was lost, and the cost
Was to be outside society

Overheard at the Office

posted by on November 21 at 11:00 AM

Josh: “Bradley, it’s Tuesday! Why are you eating a pot cookie?”

Bradley: “It’s my goddamn birthday!”

Another Good Reason to Take Your Fiber (in Liquid Form)

posted by on November 21 at 10:43 AM

It’s very important that you get enough fiber in your diet. The Japanese know this, and so have created a delicious fiber drink called Fibe-Mini. Still not convinced that you need to ingest fiber in liquid form? Then perhaps you don’t care about the diseased organs that are attacking your school. Perhaps you don’t care about the amazing super powers you get from drinking Fibe-Mini. And perhaps you don’t care about watching one of the weirdest (and exciting) Japanese commercials about fiber drinks ever made.
I feel sorry for you.

The American People Want Us To Get Out of Iraq…

posted by on November 21 at 10:27 AM

…and the Iraqi people want us to get out of Iraq.

…the Iraqi people want the U.S. to exit their country. And most Iraqis now approve of attacks on U.S. forces, even though 94% express disapproval of al-Qaeda.

At one time, this was primarily a call by the Sunni minority, but now the Shiites have also come around to this view. The survey by much-respected World Public Opinion (WPO), taken in September, found that 74% of Shiites and 91% of Sunnis in Iraq want us to leave within a year. The number of Shiites making this call in Baghdad, where the U.S. may send more troops to bring order, is even higher (80%). In contrast, earlier this year, 57% of this same group backed an “open-ended” U.S. stay….

Support for attacks on U.S. forces now commands majority support among both Shiites and Sunnis.

But we’re going to stay—because our president says we can only lose if we leave. And the Dems can do is make vague calls for gradual troop reductions—and not now, but in “four to six months.” When, you know, things will be… better? No, probably worse. Says Atrios :

The basic content of what Obama is saying, divorced from the larger debate, is fine, but as to how it plays in the current debate it’s not fine. It allows us to wait around one more Friedman [a “Friedman” is a six month period]… and then something will happen. Except it won’t happen. Troops will not start coming home 4-6 months from now. And, most likely, 4-6 months from now Obama won’t be saying “bring them home now,” though I’ve put him on my little calendar and will make sure to check back then and let you know.

And, yes, I realize that this is all my fault.

Late, Great

posted by on November 21 at 10:09 AM

Robert Altman has died. He was 81.

Of all his films—titles like M*A*S*H and Nashville and McCabe & Mrs. Miller (not to mention The Player, Short Cuts, and California Split [and Kansas City, Gosford Park, and the criminally underrated Popeye])—it’s his version of Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, featuring a genius performance from Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe, that remains my favorite. I’ll be watching it tonight.

Israel and Gay Marriage

posted by on November 21 at 10:07 AM

From Sullivan…

The Jewish state will recognize same-sex marriages entered into in other countries in a 6 - 1 Supreme Court decision. The contrast with the murderous homophobia in the Arab-Muslim Middle East could not be starker.

Tuesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 21 at 9:36 AM

Sonics: The Supes beat the New Jersey Nets 99-87 last night. Frenchie Johan Petro had 12 points, six rebounds, and three blocks.

Seahawks: Hasselbeck is set to return on Monday against the Green Bay Packers. Hopefully Holmgren & Co. aren’t rushing him after Seneca Wallace’s lackluster performance last Sunday.

Mariners: Michael Garciaparra (younger brother of Nomar), three other players moved to the 40-man roster, as the Rule 5 draft looms

Also: Here’s a clip, via Deadspin, of Rainier Beach and UW alum Nate Robinson blocking a shot by Houston center Yao Ming. The kicker: Nate is 5’9”, Yao is 7’5”.

Gitmo Tribunals on Tape

posted by on November 21 at 9:13 AM

Thanks to a FOIA request made by the detainees’ lawyers, NPR obtained some low-quality tapes of Guantanamo military tribunals held to determine (ie, confirm) “enemy combatant” status. You know the rigamarole: the detainees are not permitted to hear the classified evidence against them, they don’t get lawyers, requested witnesses are rarely produced, etc. But actually hearing the sham proceedings? It’s humiliating.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 21 at 8:11 AM

Reggie and the Full Effect (MUSIC) It might not be “cool” to think a “joke” band like Reggie and the Full Effect are “totally awesome,” but if you shed your hipster inhibitions and your assumptions about the Vagrant Records outfit, you’d undoubtedly have a stellar time at this show. Reggie performances generally involve costumes, fake blood, and Slayer covers along with the usual onslaught of catchy keyboard-infected popcore. Openers Cute Is What We Aim For, however, are not good. Ignore them. Just go for Reggie. (El CorazĂłn, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094. 7 pm, $15 adv, all ages.) MEGAN SELING

The Morning News

posted by on November 21 at 8:00 AM

Old Grinder, New Meat: US considers plans to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq.

Iraqi Comedian Murdered: Death squads have no sense of humor—who knew?

The Lessons of Vietnam: Olbermann attempts to slap some sense into our president. Does Bush watch MSNBC?

March of the Gay Penguins: Exhibition on homosexuality in the animal kingdom draws big crowds in Oslo.

Hey, Big Spender: Hillary Clinton pisses off her supporters by blowing $30 million bucks—their bucks—on her cake-walk of a Senate race this year.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Statutory Rape: Remember how legalizing gay marriage would lead to polygamy? Well, somehow gay marriage is illegal in Utah while polygamy is widely practiced—on underage girls.

KKKramer: Michael Richards apologizes for racist tirade—no one saw that coming, huh?

Hold, Please: Seattle suicide hotline puts callers on hold.

$500: That’s what a single share in Google will cost you as of today.

39,500,000: That’s the number of people all over the world infected with HIV.

A Little Good News: Lost Seattle hiker found safe.

Kramer Blames Rageahol

posted by on November 21 at 7:54 AM

…or so it would seem.

Granted, Richards’ statements were obviously cropped, and maybe he said a lot more than what made the air. Still, I’d feel better if Richards had been more explicit about exactly what happened. Something like, “I’m a freaky rageoholic and I flipped out and said the worst, most hurtful thing I could possibly think of, and I succeeded, horribly, as you all saw, and I’m ashamed of myself. I’m an asshole, and I hope someday you can forgive me.”

But at least he looked legitimately freaked out, which is more than I can say for Mel Gibson. (Nevertheless, that line about “the weird thing is I’m not a racist!” stinks pretty hard.)

(Originally posted late Monday evening, then moved to Tuesday morning.)

Looking for a Problem

posted by on November 21 at 1:13 AM

The Seattle Times ran a political cartoon on Monday (by Jack Ohman of The Oregonian) which shows a grumpy Nancy Pelosi at one end of the breakfast table and an icy Stenny Hoyer at the other end. There are two squabbling children (Dem Liberals and Dem Moderates) sitting between them. An observer standing in the kitchen doorway remarks to another (I guess they’re supposed to be social workers) : “I hope the children stay together for the sake of the parents.”

Cute. But wrong. For starters, the assumption that the Democrats are facing some sort of crisis right now, just comes out of nowhere. The fact is: the Dems aren’t in trouble. They just won the elections in a landslide. They’re in control—232 to 198. And I’m not sure what issues the critics actually think the Dems are seriously divided over. (The war? Well, okay, but the GOP doesn’t seem in lockstep on that one either.) I mean, the Murtha/Hoyer split was over the war, but otherwise, both guys were moderate to conservative Dems. So, for starters, before glomming onto a pseudo piece of analysis, critics need to actually explain what the hefty divisions in the D House are about. Of the 27 D pick ups, just five are anti-choice.

More important, the grating conventional wisdom that (thanks to conservative and liberal factions) the Dems are in some kind of trouble right now, misses the whole point of what just happened.While conventional wisdom casts the Democrat’s breadth as a weakness—that breadth is actually its strength: The Democrats represent the majority of Americans, while the diminished GOP, in glorious lockstep, represents its circle-the-wagons, Southern Evangelical base.

(Even the minor majority on the Senate side is a big deal. If each senator represents half of his or her state’s population, then the Democratic Senate, with Joseph Lieberman and Bernie Sanders, represents about 58 percent of Americans.)

The Democratic Party was split in the 1950s (over civil rights), in the late 1960s (over the war) and in the 1970s (over social issues), and guess what: They dominated the agenda throughout that lengthy period of history. The GOP was irrelevant. Yes, Eisenhower and Nixon were in the WH for part of that time, but the Democrats, with Senate leaders like LBJ in the 50s, were dominant. And with Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter, they controlled the WH for a bulk of the time. They set the agenda, and in fact, ran Nixon’s ass out of office.

The fact that the Democrats are slightly divvied up now, simply highlights that they are the relevant, lively party. For example, moderate Joseph Lieberman wants to be there. And lefty lefty Bernie Sanders wants to be there. That’s a broad sweep of America. And it leaves the monotone GOP out of the equation.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Today In The Universe

posted by on November 20 at 8:46 PM

“In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of ‘world history’—yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.”

What Went Wrong?

posted by on November 20 at 5:43 PM

The boy had a mother and a father—how could this have happened?

Nancy Everson was shot to death early in the morning of Jan 15. Grant Everson, 21, is charged with plotting with his friends to murder his parents and allegedly profit from their life insurance….

Prior to Tom Everson’s testimony, the prosecution said in its opening statement that Grant Everson was spending most of his time at the Burnsville apartment of his friends, Joel Beckrich and Chris Fuhrman, where they habitually played video games and smoked marijuana. It was there that the men hatched a plan to slit the Eversons’ throats as they slept, bringing a shotgun as a back-up plan, said Assistant Carver County Attorney Peter Ivy….

The apparent motive was to use the life insurance money to open a coffee shop in Amsterdam and sell marijuana.

Well, at least Grant wasn’t out there operating any cranes.

Thanks to Slog tipper John F.

Dollar Coins, YAY, Nixon BOO!

posted by on November 20 at 4:59 PM

The dollar coin is coming back atcha, but minus those loser ladies that appeared on the failed 1999 and 2000 batches.

I loved and spent my Sacagawea dollars, like a good citizen unafraid of the fickle U.S. mint, but I’m just not sure about more dead presidents. Especially when, as forecast for the year 2016, Richard Nixon gets his turn on the merry-go-round.

Via Urban Honking.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on November 20 at 4:44 PM

The Prayer Warrior has returned from the hunt…

unknown.gif

November 20, 2006

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Thanks for Praying for my hunting trip God gave me tremendous influence over the men in the group.

Pray from me as I co-host the morning show with David Bose on KTTH 770 AM, Wednesday, November and 29 and Thursday, November 30, 2006.

Your Pastor,
Hutch

“To Start With, I Felt Very Alone.”

posted by on November 20 at 4:28 PM

Tear down a massive elevated freeway and perpetually gridlocked commuter route without building another freeway to replace it?

Insanity! Mayor Nickels says.

Madness! the state Department of Transportation chimes.

Folly! the City Council insists.

But they did it in Seoul, where a six-lane elevated freeway that carried 160,000 cars a day was demolished, reversing “one of the most comprehensive obliterations of the natural environment ever perpetrated” and replacing it with a five-mile long, 800-yard wide lateral park along the route of the river the freeway had displaced.

Kee Yeon Hwang, the urban planner who masterminded the demise of the freeway, called the Cheonggyecheon after the river it replaced, got the idea in 1999, when one of the three tunnels through the city had to be shut down. “Bizarrely,” he told the Guardian, “we found that that car volumes dropped. I thought this was odd. We discovered it was a case of ‘Braess paradox’, which says that by taking away space in an urban area you can actually increase the flow of traffic, and, by implication, by adding extra capacity to a road network you can reduce overall performance.”

The idea initially met with fierce and widespread opposition; people simply couldn’t believe the city could survive without the freeway. “To start with,” Hwang said, “I felt very alone. […] Ordinary people were a bit sceptical to start with, but then when they saw the river reappear, they got very excited.

The city didn’t just tear down the roadway; they improved bus service and gave people other options to avoid the city’s freeways, with surprising results:

As soon as we destroyed the road, the cars just disappeared and drivers changed their habits. A lot of people just gave up their cars. Others found a different way of driving. In some cases, they kept using their cars but changed their routes.”

The Cheonggyecheon before:

seoul1.jpg

seoul2.jpg

And after:

seoul3.jpg

seoul4.jpg

Here in Seattle, the naysayers continue to have sway over the debate about how to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, with their endless chorus of “It could never work here.” Everywhere else, meanwhile, it does.

Thomas Pynchon on Whore Pills?

posted by on November 20 at 3:23 PM

Here’s the first sentence of today’s New York Times review of the new Thomas Pynchon book:

Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Against the Day, reads like the sort of imitation of a Thomas Pynchon novel that a dogged but ungainly fan of this author’s might have written on quaaludes.

Now, please enjoy this list of street names for quaaludes: “714, Citrexal, Disco Biscuits, Down And Dirtys, Gorilla Biscuits, Ndanda, Lemmon 714, Lemons, Lennons, Lovers, Ludes, Mandies, Mandrax, Q, Quaalude, Quad, Quay, Sopor, The Love Drug, Vitamin Q, Wallbangers, and Whore Pills. It can also be found under the name Special Quay (rhyming with the letter “K”) and Turkey Gizzards.

Re: The Blue West

posted by on November 20 at 3:15 PM

The New Republic had a good article on all this West Coast Democratic renaissance stuff last week. In the article, titled “Democratic Saviors: West Wing,” they argued that politicians like Jon Tester are the necessary ingredient for the Democrats to finally make good on their twin program of social reform (civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights) and economic justice (protecting workers and guaranteeing security for the working and middle class).

TNR argues that those two agendas have been at odds because D victories on the social front (minority rights, womens rights, gay rights, for example) alienated white working class voters from the Democratic Party—and so, Dems with economic justice agendas haven’t been able to tap or even speak to the working class constituents they need to push that populist agenda.

Western Dems, they say, link the Democrats to the working class by finally (finally) mainlining some West coast Libertarianism into the Dem party—so that voters see the GOP is really the big government party (the PATRIOT Act, wiretapping, regulating our bedrooms). This, the TNR, predicts, has begun luring Reagan Democrats back home.

TNR writes:

The Democratic winners this week in the Mountain West include adamant partisans of Second Amendment rights as well as supporters of abortion rights—stances that fit well with the region’s libertarian ethos. “In the United States, we have a culture and a tradition of choice, freedom, and personal responsibility,” argued pro-choice candidate Patricia Madrid of New Mexico, who narrowly lost to Republican incumbent Heather Wilson in what was previously a safe GOP district. About one-third of the credible Western Democratic candidates for major office this election cycle received “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association. Many spoke out against the Patriot Act on privacy grounds. Few are proponents of gay marriage, but many opposed state constitutional amendments banning the practice. They are free to take these pragmatic positions because the districts and states they represent contain no liberal-interest-group infrastructure comparable to, say, the California district represented by Nancy Pelosi or the New York district represented by Charles Rangel.

As someone who dissented on the whole Urban Arhcipelago as political platform back in 2004 (yes, I was one of the authors, but ask anyone who was in on the discussion, I dissented and wrote it under duress), I’m encouraged by things like Tester’s win.

If the link above didn’t work, I’ve pasted excerpts from the TNR article below the jump.

Continue reading "Re: The Blue West" »

Train Wreck Alert: Michael Richards on Letterman?

posted by on November 20 at 3:01 PM

Oh, boy, oh, boy, OH BOY! I hope this one is true! According to Best Week Ever, newly discovered racist Michael Richards will be appearing on David Letterman tonight to express his sorrow over his big fat racist mouth.


An anonymous source reports that Michael Richards will appear on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight, liva via satellite. According to the source, Richards hijacks Jerry Seinfeld’s interview and uses the time to apologize for… well, you can take a guess.

Anybody want to place a bet on which intoxicant he’s going to blame his innate racism on? My guess is crystal meth!

kramer027.jpg

The Long Conversation

posted by on November 20 at 2:15 PM

Not to spread rumors or anything like that, but at this very moment Megan Seling, the music editor, is in a long and very involved conversation with the people at Playboy Magazine. What is she negotiating? What are we to make of this? Megan Seling doesn’t drink.

The Blue West

posted by on November 20 at 2:15 PM

Before you consider the map below (a map that Kos just brought to my attention) first consider how all-over-the-map this publication has been on the subject of rural voters.

Nevermind the 2004 Urban Archipelago manifesto (published before I was on staff) and the question of whether or not it is now “quaint.” The last few weeks alone have brought a dizzying number follow-up stories and blog posts about the rural vote and how it should be viewed by urban liberals.

Dan wants to keep calling rural voters “rubes.” Charles prefers the term “muddy people.” Brian Mann talks about “homelanders” and how the embrace of them is killing the Republican Party. I say that a lot of this “rube”-bashing by liberals is hypocritical and self-defeating, especially in light of this guy’s victory and the role it played in giving Democrats control of the Senate. And Postman finds it all very confusing.

Well, how about a pretty map to clear things up?

westerndems.jpg

This map comes from the Salt Lake Tribune, which did an analysis of Democratic gains in the Mountain West this year and reports:

After the Republican landslide of 1994, Democrats spent six years in a Western political wilderness. But since 2000, Democrats regionwide have hacked into the Republican majorities.

A Tribune analysis of U.S. House results shows that Democrats have narrowed a 20-point GOP edge in 2000 to a slim 48 percent to 47 percent deficit in 2006. In three states - Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico - Democrats have turned their red states blue, winning a majority in the House races.

In 1996, the eight states in the Rocky Mountain West sent 18 Republicans and four Democrats to the House. When Congress convenes next year, there will be 11 Democrats and 15 Republicans representing the Western districts.

Democrats now control five of the eight governorships and, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, picked up seats in five of the eight legislatures in 2006.

“All the way from Canada to Mexico you’re seeing blue,” says New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

“You now have five Western states that are in critical play for 2008,” says Denver-based political activist Mike Stratton, referring to Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and, now, Montana. A Democratic presidential candidate who can win two or three of those states will win the White House, he says.

In other words, at stake in the debate over how talk about (and to) rural voters is not just the prize for best political insult. It’s the ultimate political prize: the presidency.

Re: John McCain Is a Total Asswipe

posted by on November 20 at 2:08 PM

The Carpetbagger Report has a great list of John McCain flip-flops, including the following doozies:

• He called TV preacher Jerry Falwell a “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but has since befriended the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks, and has even hired his debate coach.

• He used to oppose Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy, but he changed his mind in February.

• He opposed torture before he supported it.

• He abandoned his signature policy issue, campaign-finance reform.

• He was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.

• He’s been both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

• And now he’s both for and against overturning Roe v. Wade.

In 1999, McCain was in New Hampshire, campaigning for the GOP nomination as a moderate. He proclaimed himself a pro-life candidate, but told reporters that “in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade.” He explained that overturning Roe would force “women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.” Yesterday, campaigning for the GOP nomination as a conservative, McCain said the opposite.

Here’s the transcript of George Stephanopoulos’ interview with McCain, via ThinkProgress:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask one question about abortion. Then I want to turn to Iraq. You’re for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, with some exceptions for life and rape and incest.

MCCAIN: Rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is President Bush, yet that hasn’t advanced in the six years he’s been in office. What are you going to do to advance a constitutional amendment that President Bush hasn’t done?

MCCAIN: I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’d be for that?

MCCAIN: Yes, because I’m a federalist. Just as I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states, so do I believe that we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return to the states. And I don’t believe the Supreme Court should be legislating in the way that they did on Roe v. Wade.

So, according to McCain’s logic, women have a right to control their own bodies—but only if their pregnancy is the result of rape or incest (or if it will kill them). If you get pregnant because, Jesus forbid, you wanted the sex that resulted in the pregnancy, you’re having that baby, little lady.

Moreover, as blogger Scott Lemieux has pointed out, McCain’s “federalism” is itself a flip-flop.

He had voted for nation-wide “partial birth” bans at least 6 times. He voted to deny the use of military facilities for women in the military who needed abortions. He voted for this year’s Fugitive Uterus Act. Indeed, given his 0% NARAL rating, he apparently has yet to meet a federal regulation of abortion he doesn’t like. So while I suppose it might be possible in the abstract to oppose Roe on “federalist” grounds, in McCain’s case it’s a pathetically disingenuous dodge. The brutal truth is that McCain clearly, unambiguously opposes abortion rights, and has no objection to federal restrictions of these rights, no matter what his centrist fans try to project onto him.

Any liberals out there who still contend McCain’s some sort of “maverick” or “moderate” need to look at his record, not his rhetoric.

Elderly Driver Kills 10…

posted by on November 20 at 1:40 PM

…elderly driver gets probation.

Pissed? Well, the driver is 90 now and, it seems, dying.

John McCain Is a Total Asswipe

posted by on November 20 at 1:25 PM

John McCain doesn’t believe that being gay is a defect or a sin. But he’s against gay marriage. McCain doesn’t think gay people should be discriminated against. But he’s against laws that would protect gays and lesbians from being fired solely for being gay or lesbian. McCain used to be against overturning Roe v. Wade. But now he’s for it. McCain used to bash “agents of intolerance” like Pat Robertson. Now he tours the country with his tongue lodged in Robertson’s asscrack.

John McCain: Total Asswipe.

OJ Simpson: Justice Prevails

posted by on November 20 at 1:04 PM

No, he hasn’t been retroactively convicted of murdering Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, but OJ Simpson’s psychotic plan to kinda-sorta confess to their killings in print and on TV has been officially canned.

Shit’s in the PI

posted by on November 20 at 12:06 PM

Every six months or so one of Seattle’s daily papers runs a story about some drug addict who, through drug treatment, managed to turn his or her life around. The stories are usually self-consciously gritty and predictably uplifting. “See?” they say. “Drug treatment really works! With a little help anyone can get his life back on track!”

Meet Warren Taylor Yeakey. Until Thursday night, Yeakey was a perfect candidate for one of those gritty turned-his-life-around profiles in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Until six years ago, Yeakey was in almost constant trouble with the law. He had a history of drug abuse, and busts for meth possession in 1994 and 2000. He served four months in prison after his 2000 arrest. He then completed a drug rehab program, got his GED, and got married. He also managed to get a good-paying job in construction.

Another drug-rehab success story, right? Yeah—until the crane Yeakey was operating collapsed in Bellevue on Thursday night, killing one man and causing millions of dollars worth of damage to three buildings. Yeakey was in the control booth at the top of the crane at the time of the collapse. It’s a miracle he survived the fall.

In the wake of the crane collapse, the PI has abandoned its addiction to the drug-addict-turns-life-around narrative. Instead of being given credit for going straight, instead of being seen as one of the victims of last Thursday’s accident, instead of being given any benefit of any doubt whatsoever, Yeakey is being crucified by the Post-Intelligencer and some of our dimmer local TV news personalities. Here’s the headline from the story in Saturday’s PI:

Operator in crane wreck has history of drug abuse

Well, yeah Yeakey does. I can think of a few PI reporters I’ve known over the years who enjoyed abusing drugs now and then too.

It seems that the PI would like us to be outraged about someone like Yeakey—a former drug abuser!—was allowed to work in construction or operate a crane. We’re not supposed to remember all those laudatory stories we’ve seen in the PI about convicted drug abusers and ex-cons who turned their lives around—some of whom, it seems likely, wound up working in construction. Here’s a few examples of the PI’s previous stories—pieces that ooze compassion—on drug abusers like Yeakey:

From Street Pimp to Dean’s List

By rights, White, 52, should be dead. Two years ago, after an arrest for drug possession, he swallowed the rock cocaine in his pockets, trying to hide it from Seattle police… On Saturday, he will graduate with honors from Seattle Central Community College with a degree in human services.

Tiny school is a lifeline in climb out of drug use

When 16-year-old Nicole entered Summit School this fall, she’d met all the prerequisites—and then some. She had abused pot, pills and booze for two years before moving on to meth’s toxic high. It made her mean and violent enough to beat up her sister and break two windows at home…. Only then was Nicole ready for Summit School, a public school where the resolve to stay clean is the most important prerequisite of all.

Once high on drugs, homeless learn to scale new heights—of achievement

Scott Galloway used to get high on cocaine and meth. In July, he will get high on Mount Baker, as part of an expedition of homeless men who will attempt to scale the 10,700-foot peak.

Here’s another. And another.

No one knows yet if the crane Yeakey was operating collapsed due to operator error or from some other cause—like, oh, the extremely high winds we’ve been experiencing around here for the last three weeks, or the crane’s construction. (It was bolted to I-beams, not to the ground.) Even if operator error played a role, drugs will only be relevant if Yeakey was, you know, high at the time of the accident. It’s possible that Yeakey was stone-cold sober and made some sort of human error—even ex-drug abusers are human, after all—but we don’t even know that yet.

And if Yeakey did have drugs in his system? Even then it’s possible that it’s not his fault—sometimes accidents just, you know, happen. They happen to stoned people, they happen to sober people. And what if Yeakey did have drugs in his system but the crane collapsed because of some fault in its construction or because of the wind? Is the wind his fault then? Because he was high? Or had been high two days ago? And if it turns out that Yeakey was sober and none of this was his fault, will the PI feature him in a blowjob story about how he turned his life around?

Reading the story on Saturday, I couldn’t help but conclude that it was a big hysterical and a whole lot hypocritical for the PI to splash Yeakey’s history of drug abuse all over its front pages.

And let me be clear: The piece isn’t hypocritical because there are people working at the PI who have used drugs, but because the PI has printed numerous stories about drug addicts who turned their lives around and became contributing members of the community. The PI was for drug addicts turning their lives around—the subjects of all the stories I cited above come are heaped with praise—before they were against them.

But, hey, that was then.

What the PI is saying now to and about Yeakey is this: It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been clean, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been sober. If you have a history of drug use—or a history of drug-abuse convictions—we will turn on your ass the moment you’re involved in an accident. We won’t wait to find out if your drug use is relevant, we won’t wait to find out if the accident was even you’re fault. You’re toast.

When I was done reading the piece, I couldn’t help but wonder if the reporters—Andrea James and John Iwasaki—had ever abused drugs themselves. And I wondered just what the editors at the PI were smoking when they signed off on it. And I wondered how long it would before the PI ran another story about a drug addict who turned his life around.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

posted by on November 20 at 12:04 PM

While Seattle is getting national attention (and hopefully setting an example) for rejecting the NBA’s bloated Socialist business model, (I’d link the NYT article on the Sonics initiative, but la-di-da Times Select)—Boulder, Colorado is getting some well-deserved national attention after their election too. Boulder put its money where its mouth is when it comes to fighting global warming and just passed the nation’s first carbon tax. Go, Boulder!

The idea may seem like a bit of lulu environmentalism from left field, but watch for Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and the 110th Congress to get behind it. Inslee, who says we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 70% from today’s levels, is pushing a carbon “cap & trade” system on CO2 emissions. Basically, Inslee says, the government should set a limit on CO2 emissions—and then divvy up and sell off the rights to companies to produce CO2 up to that limit. (Sounds like a de facto tax to me.)

Meanwhile, faux Green poster child, Mayor Nickels wants to expand auto capacity—and thus, CO2 emissions—on our waterfront from 110,000 vehicles a day (or is it 75,000?) to 140,000 a day.

Bad Hadid

posted by on November 20 at 11:38 AM

My love of Zaha Hadid’s work, and particularly her first built American project, Arts Center Cincinnati, which was completed just around the time America began shocking and awing the city of her birth, Baghdad.
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This love has been weakened, if not entirely destroyed, by her proposed design for the Nuragic and Contemporary Art Museum in Cagliari, Italy.

1000 Zaha Nuragic water level view.jpg
The badness of this future building speaks for itself. I will, however, point out that the human imagination often reaches the peak of poshlost (cheesiness) when it turns to the sea for inspiration.

Following the Money

posted by on November 20 at 11:36 AM

Back in March, a media expert named John McManus told me that he sees a journalistic future in which newspapers are outpaced by specialty blogs.

He envisions newsrooms being “depopulated” as these online ventures become profitable through advertising revenue and “micropayments” (charging, say, five cents a view for certain newsy offerings). Getting there is going to involve “a pretty bumpy middle,” McManus says, but on the other side could be work for newspaper employees… who may lose their current jobs in the transition.

Today, just nine months after McManus made that prediction, the Washington Post lost two of its top political reporters to… a new specialty blog. (Actually, it’s being described as a “multi-platform company,” one that is “anchored on the Web” and “just does politics.”)

I don’t understand the business model yet, but the yet-to-be-named venture has been given a ton of cash by something called Albritton Communications—enough cash, apparently, to make salary offers that two of the most highly-paid and respected political journalists in the business couldn’t refuse.

They’ve been given an impressive budget to go out and hire roughly six additional top, top political reporters (expect another big announcement/hire soon) at salaries competitive with those at the nation’s top newspapers. They are currently in talks to steal away top reporters from networks, magazines and newspapers… [The aim is] to take on the political coverage of the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Yet another thing for newspapers to worry about: Blogs with enough cash to poach their best reporters.

Sexual Healing, or Grandma says, “Orgasm for Peace!”

posted by on November 20 at 11:28 AM

Sick of war? Sure.
Selfish with your orgasms? Ditto.
Wanna do something about it? Yeah, me the fuck too.


Well, now we can!


Via Rawstory/the AP:

The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, whose immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm Dec. 22 while focusing on world peace.

“The orgasm gives out an incredible feeling of peace during it and after it,” Reffell said Sunday. “Your mind is like a blank. It’s like a meditative state. And mass meditations have been shown to make a change.”

The couple have studied evolutionary psychology and believe that war is mainly an outgrowth of men trying to impress potential mates, a case of “my missile is bigger than your missile,” as Reffell put it.

You can find a countdown to blast-off here on the official Global Orgasm homepage, which states, “This is the First Annual Solstice Synchronized Global Orgasm for Peace, leading up to the December Solstice of 2012, when the Mayan Calendar ends with a new beginning.

Hear that? The Mayan Calendar demands peace.

A few skeptics out there might be thinking, how will they measure the effectiveness of our big fucking orgasm? What sort of Litmus test do dead Mayans offer?

Rest assured, the website explains, “the results will be measured on the worldwide monitor system of the Global Consciousness Project.

Satisfied?

Only 31 days, 11 hours, 33 minutes and 11 seconds to go before orgasm! Peace!

Desperate GOP Tries Last-Ditch Effort: Comedy

posted by on November 20 at 10:55 AM

According to the Hollywood Reporter, FOX NEWS is prepping their own version of The Daily Show, with—SURPRISE!—a distinctly Republican bent. I love how fair and balanced (and desperate) these guys are!

The half-hour show is executive produced by “24’s” Joel Surnow and Manny Cota and creator Ned Rice, who previously wrote for “Politically Incorrect” and “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” through This Just In Prods. It would take aim at what Surnow calls “the sacred cows of the left” that don’t get made as much fun of by other comedy shows.

“It’s a satirical news format that would play more to the Fox News audience than the Michael Moore channel,” Surnow said. “It would tip more right as ‘The Daily Show’ tips left.”

Taped before a studio audience in Los Angeles, the show will feature two co-anchors, actors Kurt Long (“Cuts,” “Games Across America”) and Susan Yeagley (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Reno 911!”). It also will feature person-on-the-street interviews and correspondent reports like other shows. But Surnow said that it’s not going to be strictly conservative but more in the spirit of the old and rebellious “Saturday Night Live.”

“It’s not going to hit you over the head with partisan politics,” Surnow said. “It’ll hit anything that deserves to be hit.”

I’m thinking if anyone deserves to be hit, it’s these guys.

o'reilly.jpg

Hilarity, thy name is FOX NEWS!

From the Forgotten Zone: Another Reassuring Thought

posted by on November 20 at 10:43 AM

The NYT reports this morning about Tony Blair’s visit (his first!) to Kabul. He made a stop to check in with British troops in the chaotic southern province of Helmand, and came out with this pronouncement:

“Here, in this extraordinary piece of desert, is where the future of world security in the early 21st century is going to be played out,” he told troops at Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand.

Not that you’d know it by the policies of leaders like Bush and Blair.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 20 at 9:38 AM

Seahawks: 20-14. Ouch. The highlights: Seneca Wallace’s TD passes to Deion Branch and Darrell Jackson. The lowlights: Let’s see… there was Shaun Alexander’s return (17 carries, 37 yards), Wallace’s three INTs, Jerramy Stevens’s fumble, and the Hawks’ D giving up 212 rushing yards to Frank Gore.

(Alexander’s meager outing can be forgiven. Seneca Wallace’s rookie-like bungling, on the other hand…)

Over at the Seattle Times, Steve Kelley is calling the Hawks’ Super Bowl dreams over.

On the Hawks blog Field Gulls, “Shrug” is a tad angry:

Our defense: Terrible.

Our mental mistakes: Terrible.

Our playcalling on 4th-and-1-or-2 situations: Skull-crushingly, eye-gougingly, brow-beatingly, intelligence-insultingly, head-rammingly awful pathetic bad wrong sick ugly stupid stupid stupid TERRIBLE.

At the P.I., Art Thiel sums up the game nicely:

In the world of large, sweaty, mean men, it is unacceptable to show up with a canoe and picnic basket expecting a delightful day on the lake.

The Hawks are now 6-4. San Francisco is 5-5. One small silver lining: Mike in MO’s Rams got shut out by the Carolina Panthers, are now two games back at 4-6.

Up next: Monday Night Football returns, this time for the Hawks vs. Green Bay. Tony Kornheiser’s lame coffee and rain quips start NOW.

Apple Cup: Ty Willingham gets it. Beat the Cougs and the boosters won’t be as quick to call for your head.

Mariners: Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa posts today, and the M’s might make an offer.

Elsewhere: As pointed out by Chicago Fan, the Cubs are going to pay Alfonso Soriano $136 million for eight years, prompting Slog regular Gomez to comment:

Enjoy your 95 losses in 2007, Cubbies, along with those 35 errors at 2nd base or right field or wherever you stash ol’ High-sox the Hacker.

Also: Ohio State 1, Michigan 2, USC 3; Donovan McNabb is done for the season; and, in the freakish stat department, San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson has scored 14 touchdowns in his last four games.

TomKat Married; Scientologists One Step Closer to World Domination

posted by on November 20 at 9:35 AM

For those who like to enjoy weekend-long media blackouts, TOM CRUISE and KATIE HOLMES were married this past Saturday in an Italian castle. OOH-LA-LA. And while there is no current video of the ceremony, the peeps over at Simsgamer.com were nice enough to put together this startlingly realistic representation—which is a butt-load more realistic (and romantic) than the real people if you ask me.

Re: Letting Nickels Appoint the School Board

posted by on November 20 at 9:12 AM

As Dan flagged in The Morning News, advisers to Mayor Nickels are urging him to take over Seattle schools by appointing the board.

When Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis squared off against the Washington Education Association earlier this year in front of the Stranger’s editorial board over I-88, the failed initiative to let Seattle fund its own schools, we asked Ceis (he was there to advocate against I-88) if Nickels would consider a takeover. Ceis demurred and said: “Oh, noooo, that would just give you guys more fodder for conspiracy theories against us. You’d complain about a Team Nickels ‘Power Grab.’”

Au contraire, Mr. Ceis. If fear of the all-mighty Stranger is all that’s holding you back, trust me, you’ve had our blessing for over a year now.

KKKramer?

posted by on November 20 at 8:28 AM

Apparently, lanky Seinfeld alum Michael Richards does not appreciate talking during his attempts at stand-up, especially if the audience member doing the talking is black.

(If this were Andy Kaufman, I’d suspect a set-up. But as it is, I just think Richards snapped, and may never recover.)

Video courtesy of TMZ.com. (Story also mentioned in The Morning News.)

I, Anonymous: Sometimes People Get What They Deserve Edition

posted by on November 20 at 8:17 AM

After years of editing the I, Anonymous column and wrangling the I, Anonymous forum, I’ve become somewhat inured to the hideous extremes of both. (For example, I took this idiotically sadistic entry in stride until the responses—from dozens of outraged readers to one very concerned animal-control officer—started landing.)

However, the I, Anon submission below really stuck with me. Bolds are mine.

I was riding my bike down Pike approaching 6th in the pouring rain. You and your fat kid were taking up the whole sidewalk. I tried to get around you, I even called out to you that I was passing on the right. While swerving to avoid you, I hit a wet metal plate, was thrown from my bike and ate pavement. My bike flew out the other way and took out your fat kid. After causing me to fall face-first in a puddle in the street, not only did you not help me up but you had the nerve to yell at me! I said I was sorry, but I’m not. I hope next time the bike hits all 3 of you- in fact next time, I won’t bother trying to go around you. And when I’m in my car, I’ll be looking for you—and I won’t be the one face down in the road.

People using I, Anonymous to rail against perceived personal injustices is nothing new. But rarely has someone written in to bemoan an injustice that seems to me to be perfectly just karmic retribution. Call me crazy, but people who bike on sidewalks shouldn’t be surprised when they’re required to avoid people walking on the motherfucking sidewalks. If these sidewalk bikers are so klutzy they “eat pavement” while executing what should be an entirely routine maneuver, they shouldn’t be so stupid as to blame the sidewalk walkers for their own klutziness. And if a bike belonging to a klutzy asshole sidewalk biker happens to strike an innocent bystander, the klutzy asshole sidewalk biker really, really shouldn’t threaten to run down the innocent bystander/victim with a car. But maybe I’m old-fashioned.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 20 at 8:10 AM

‘Little Children’ (FILM) The children in Todd Field’s darkly fascinating movie (his first since 2001’s In the Bedroom) are like aliens: Cooped up in their own tiny heads, they stand around and stare and form passionate attachments to such objects as a plush jester’s hat. Their adulterous parents (Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson) do some childish things—she faded out of her PhD program before finishing her dissertation, he refuses to study for the bar exam—but at least we can understand their drive for physical pleasure. And then there’s the neighborhood pedophile… (See Movie Times for details.) ANNIE WAGNER

The Morning News

posted by on November 20 at 8:06 AM

MADD: Anti-drunk driving group wants alcohol-detection devices in every car in America.

Iraq: Henry Kissinger declares winning the war impossible.

Irag: Pentagon lays out three options—stay, go, or, uh, sorta stay. Oddly, “lose” isn’t on the Pentagon’s list.

Bush: The man is hated every where he goes.

Global Warming: The Europeans are prepared to do something about it.

The Seinfeld Curse: Michael “Kramer” Richards curses black audience members who heckled him—uses the “n” word, and longs for days when uppity black audience members at comedy clubs were lynched.

Seattle Schools: Nickels urged to take control—and not just by the Stranger anymore.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Might as well Slog

posted by on November 19 at 3:02 PM

Just to fill some space. Sometimes, you’d think the Stranger was staffed with a bunch of observant Christians, the way Sundays are so slow.

I imagine Brad and the other sports-loving staffers are sweating the SeaGulls game, as the mighty ‘49ers are currently treating the ‘Gulls like fresh meat at a mining claim campfire. Me, I didn’t catch all of the Bears game—helping the girlfriend around her house, assembling bookcases from Ikea—but liked what I saw and what I’ve read online. Teams that play shitty games and still manage to win are teams that go a long way in the playoffs.

And, speaking of shitty teams, word on the internets is that the Cubs are signing Alfonso Soriano to the fifth-biggest deal of all time. Now if we can just pry Ichiro loose from the Mariners, we’d have a chance…

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 19 at 8:44 AM

‘Borat’ (OVEREXPOSURE) Everywhere Borat goes, people expose themselves as vicious, ignorant boors. There’s the rodeo bit, with its bloodthirsty homophobes, and the morally and physically nauseating frat boys. Then there’s the naked wrestling where Borat exposes himself. (Hairy!) My favorite moment is in Alabama, when the audience realizes that the kindest, most humane character in the movie is a chubby black hooker and the worst slimeballs are the white southern gentry who condescend to teach Borat etiquette. There is a nihilistic joy in watching these arrogant pricks die of exposure. (See Movie Times for details.) BRENDAN KILEY