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Archives for 12/03/2006 - 12/09/2006

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Non-Consensual Christianity

posted by on December 9 at 6:22 PM

Today’s New York Times has a really interesting story about a legal debate that’s been building in Iowa for the last year or so: a medium security prison in Newton, IA has a special facility for certain inmates… it’s got private bathrooms, doors with real doorknobs, many more computers and a better visiting area than the rest of the prison. All inmates have to do to live in this special, segregated wing is to be enrolled in a rehabilitation program called “Inner Change”. And what’s Inner Change? An Evangelical course where inmates must accept Jesus as the Savior, participate in revivals, prayer-groups and Bible reading sessions. In June, a federal judge ruled that this program was unconstitutional and would have to be discontinued.

The ruling was based on the grounds that public dollars were funding a religious group, but I think the more important argument to make is that faith-based programs like this (of which there are dozens around the country) violate the freedom of religion of Newton inmates. I volunteered in Newton prison last year as a history teacher. Half my class was Muslim — they wouldn’t have been allowed to enjoy the privileges of the program. The other half of my class just thought the program was for crackpots — they didn’t want to have to follow crazy church rules all day, even if it meant not having access to private bathrooms and nice visiting rooms. In an environment where people are not considered entirely in control of their own actions or choices (all sex in a prison, for example, is classified as nonconsesual), how is it not violating everyone’s freedom of religion by giving them major incentive to be only Christian?

Anyway, this whole ridiculous program stems from the Bush administration’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative, which emphasizes using churches and other religious organizations to fill community service needs that are usually met by the government. So instead of there being a branch of the Iowa justice system that’s responsible for managing a rehabilitation program at Newton, funds are shuffled off onto a private faith-based organization to run the thing. Inner Change was the only rehabilitation program at Newton that has actual funding… Alcoholics Anonymous, English language classes, etc. are all run by volunteers.

What really bugs me is that religious converters get away with it because, after all, it’s for a good cause. The prisoners in the program are becoming more stable people, right? Shouldn’t the most important thing be that they’re efficiently and successfully help people?

In another case early last year, a federal judge struck down a federal grant in 2003 to MentorKids USA, a ministry based in Phoenix, to provide mentors for the children of prisoners. In a case filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., the judge noted that the exclusively Christian mentors had to regularly assess whether the young people in their care seemed “to be progressing in relationship with God.” In a program newsletter offered as evidence, its director said, “Our goal is to see every young adult choose Christ.”… “The court’s decision meant that there were 50 kids we could have served that we were not able to serve.”

That’s such irksome logic because it makes people who criticize Christian-conversion groups look like heartless rationalists — it’s more important whether or not a program violates the Constitution than whether it helps people live better lives. And that’s what happens: when these programs are found in violation of the First Amendment, they shut their doors and the kids, prisoners, kids of prisoners or whoever they’re helping get left in the cold. If they really cared about improving peoples’ lives rather than just pushing their own agenda, they would find some way to keep working legally by adapting their message or requirements. Judges shouldn’t have to choose between enforcing the First Amendment and making sure those in need get equal help and services. That’s the problem with the financial and political push for faith-based programs replacing (or being instated in place of) secular programs: they approach solving society’s probelms with a specific and intrinsically exclusionary agenda.

I’m just afraid that when the Newton prison program gets shut down, that facility will go unused. I can totally see the private toilets and nice visiting rooms being vacant for a long time — maybe the prison will even scrap the idea of an honor-wing altogether and say, “Sorry, boys, it’s the court’s fault.”

Photo Caption of the Day

posted by on December 9 at 3:56 PM

From a story on the BBC’s website about urban birds learning to rap:


There are an estimated 1.7million great tit pairs in the UK.

Dead Moon breakup

posted by on December 9 at 12:40 PM

Looks likely. Portlanders are mourning.

The Clash

posted by on December 9 at 10:51 AM

Granted, this is now old news. But it still brings fresh life and blood to one of the greatest lines in the long history of pop music:

“When they kick down your front door/How ya gonna come/With your hands upon your head/Or on the trigger of your gun” —The Clash

In Heaven, everyone wears cha cha heels

posted by on December 9 at 10:44 AM

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Van Smith, who created costumes and makeup for John Waters’ films, and helped Divine refine her signature look, is dead at 61, reports The New York Times.

Mr. Waters had this to say in the Baltimore Sun obituary:

“Divine’s look was totally Van’s creation,” Mr. Waters said yesterday, recalling that “he used portions of the film budget to buy an endless supply” of disposable razors to shave Divine’s body.

He said that Mr. Smith “knew every thrift shop in Baltimore” as a source of costumes and that he swore by cheap cosmetics. Mr. Smith favored Maybelline Black Velvet eyeliner.

Mr. Waters said that his collaborator experimented with all sorts of fake breasts - including socks, rags, foam rubber and a bra filled with lentils. “Van thought the lentils were the best because they moved with Divine.”

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 9 at 10:00 AM

End of an Era (ART/BOOK) While Independent Curator Jess Van Nostrand’s show at the Aqua Hotel in Miami this week represents members of SOIL Gallery during the art fair/megalopolis Art Basel Miami Beach, her last 20 exhibitions are being celebrated in a cozier way, at Joe Bar, over crepes and wine. Since 2004 at Joe Bar, Van Nostrand has done the hardest job in curating: nosing out talent without a stamp already on it. A tour of her choiceslike Alice Tippit, Diem Chau, and Maija Fiebigis on the walls, and there’s even a full-color book out for the occasion. (Joe Bar, 810 E Roy St, 324-0407, free.) JEN GRAVES

Friday, December 8, 2006

What the Fuck?

posted by on December 8 at 7:37 PM

…is going in on this tent?

I Heart “Rate the Critics”

posted by on December 8 at 5:56 PM

As might be expected, I lurv, lurv, lurv Time Out New York’s “Critiquing the Critics” feature this week, in which a panel of esteemed readers and artists bitch about and heap praise upon arts critics across the city. As the ever-loyal Carpetbagger points out, the TONY critics get ridiculously high scores, but at least the editors recognize that the polled artists might be flattering the hand that strokes them, and segregate the TONY critics from the regular rankings.

More hilarious: On an apparent 1-5 scale, New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley gets a 5.1 score for “influence,” with no comment. I mean, obviously he’s the most influential theater critic in el mundo, but did he really break the scale?!

Hope Springs Infernal

posted by on December 8 at 5:44 PM

Seth Kolloen, famed local sports writer and scribbler behind this week’s feature on hot yoga, has a theory that the Mariners, so thoroughly bungling this offseason, might still manage to contend this year.

It’s an interesting read, even if it’s complete horse-hockey.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 8 at 5:08 PM

Nelson Sings Nilsson (MUSIC) In 1970, the popular singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson released Nilsson Sings Newman, an LP of songs by the less-popular singer/songwriter Randy Newman that introduced scores of listeners to the brilliance of the Newman songbook. Tonight singer/songwriter/Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson returns the favor with Nelson Sings Nilsson, a one-night-only evening of songs from the incomparable Harry Nilsson. Performed with a 24-piece orchestra and the band “Awesome,” it’s a win-win gimmick, drawing much-deserved attention to the Nilsson songbook while providing a most attractive setting for Nelson’s simply lovely voice. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave,, 7 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, all ages.) DAVID SCHMADER

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on December 8 at 5:00 PM

Opening today: APOCALYPTO! Whatever you think of the man or the movie, that title suggests the best wanna-B movie since Snakes on a Plane. Brendan Kiley’s take (bloodied thumb up!) is here. Behold:


Also in theaters: Blood Diamond (reviewed by Michael Atkinson), plus Driving Lessons (stupid, but okay), The Architect (smart, but bad), The Holiday (stupid, but Kate Winslet), Candy (smack, but Heath Ledger), Mutual Appreciation (Bujalski Buschmalski), Unaccompanied Minors (stupid, but stupid kids)all reviewed here.


The Stranger’s Film Shorts (including a capsule review of Say I Do, a surprisingly good indie that’s playing only at Lincoln Square in Bellevue, and the heads-up about tonight’s Critics Wrap at the Frye Art Museum).

And our carefully compiled, lovingly updated Movie Times.

Teenage Poet Laureate

posted by on December 8 at 4:51 PM

Here comes the weekend. Wear any clothes, just as long as they’re bright!

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

posted by on December 8 at 4:32 PM

Besides the fact that the woman is OBVIOUSLY not that baby’s mother….



posted by on December 8 at 4:32 PM

Today is the 26th anniversary of John Lennon’s wildly premature death. Few incidents in my childhood marked me deeper than watching my peace activist/superfan mother completely break down when she heard the news, and the memory of that day is still astonishingly vivid and unsettling.

If you are a fan and you’ve never seen Imagine, I highly recommend renting it, though you should be prepared to bawl your eyes out at the end. That said, it might be hard to find a copy in stores today, so here’s a meager substitute:

And in effort to counter-balance all that misty-eyed sentimentality, please enjoy this clip of Lennon recording what is arguably the best revenge song ever written:

And the Non-Impact of the Democrats

posted by on December 8 at 4:04 PM

The top agenda items in Olympia for Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske are closing the gun-show loophole and renewing the assault-weapons ban. This hardly constitutes a move to nullify the Second Amendment, but rather it’s tailored legislation to make our city streets and our cops safer.

Well, the city is complaining that despite the Democrats’ new 62-36 advantage in the house (a mandate if there ever was one) Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford) is shy about moving forward on those two issues now.

I asked Representative Chopp about this yesterday.
Here’s what he said:

When you get to gun control you have to keep perspective. We’ve got plans moving forward on all these issues [Chopp talked about health-care coverage, fully funding education, and energy independence] and there’s a few issues on the margin that we’re still trying to sort out. I think the gun issue will divide our caucus. And that’s a problem. There are some people [in our caucus] who think you oughta have a right to a gun.

When I’m trying to get a political agenda done, which is very progressive, I need to have a unified caucus. I’m willing to sit down with Kerlikowske, but the first time he’s ever asked me for a meetig is like two days ago. So, I’ll think about it. I’ll check with our caucus members. I don’t know.

The Real-Life Impacts of Democratic Control

posted by on December 8 at 4:02 PM

Luke Esser may be busy lining up support to take over the chairmanship of the Washington State GOP from Diane Tebelius, but Rodney Tom (the former Eastside GOP state representative who switched parties to run against Esser because he felt the GOP had been hijacked by Christian conservatives) is now getting ready to take over Esser’s senate seat in the 48th District (Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish).

One of Tom’s first agenda items is to pass a bill the Democrats have been shopping for years: mandating that medically accurate sex education be taught in the public schools. With people like Esser in the senate, the Democrats have never been able to get it through. Tom, who actually cosponsored the bill in the house as a wayward Republican, recently told supporters he’s going to take the lead on it in the senate.

With federal dollars going to schools that teach Bush’s abstinence-only curriculum (which includes re-bop like: a 43-day-old fetus is a thinking being; condoms fail to prevent HIV; abortion leads to sterility; and you can contract HIV from sweat and tears), it’s excellent news that Tom is part of the new 32-17 majority in the state senatewhere the bill has historically stalled.

My Favorite Strangercrombie Package?

posted by on December 8 at 3:39 PM

Hugh Foskett’s, of course.

Now some stick-in-ass types assumed Seattle’s most outgoing Young Republican would be angry after Eli Sanders exposed his sombrero-wearin’, crotch-grabbin’, shotgunnin’, upchuckin’ ways. They were wrong. Hugh, you see, has a sense of humor. And not only did he appreciate the attention (and the votes he believes the attention brought him), Hugh dropped by the office in person to say thanks and agreed to let us auction him off with a couple dozen cases of beer to raise money to feed the homeless. He was so nice he hardly seemed like a Republican at all!

Here’s me and Hugh makin’ nice…


If you want to bid on Hugh Foskett’s Package, click here. Who knows? Maybe with enough beer in him Hugh Foskett will make the switchto the Democratic Party.

The Opposite of a Four-Foot Rule

posted by on December 8 at 2:09 PM

A Norwegian court ruled that stripping is an art form (half acting, half dancing) and should be free of value-added tax.

PLUS it’s the home of this 12th-century rocket ship (AKA stave church):


I love you, Norway.

The Day in Wingnuts

posted by on December 8 at 12:58 PM

Today’s WorldNetDaily gets all apoplectic over Senator Patty Murray, for referring to the 65-foot-tall silver fir outside the Capitol as a “holiday tree” during last night’s lighting ceremony.

Murray was in the minority in her use of “holiday tree,” as the event’s master of ceremonies, Alan Hantman, the architect of the Capitol, called it “the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.”

Additionally, Murray was immediately followed by a performance by the National Presbyterian School Chorus, which sang “O Christmas Tree.”

Yeah, it’s pretty hard to tell what holiday this is celebrating:


In other wingnut news, a group called Mission: America (tagline: “Learn the truth about homosexuality, witchcraft, changing Christian church, radical feminism, and the youth culture”) is offering “risk audits” to help parents determine whether their child’s school is engaged in “homosexual promotion.” The audits are supposed to help parents “clearly understand their responsibility: hold schools accountable for removing pro-homosexual material; and if this is not done, then move children to a different educational environment.”

Among the “warning signs” of “homosexual promotion” in the audit:

• An anti-bullying policy that includes sexual orientation;
• A nondiscrimination policy for teachers;
• Any diversity training;
• Federal funding for any sex education that isn’t explicitly abstinence only;
• Programs that teach about HIV;
• Political-science classes (!)

The audit goes on to say that stories and books that portray gay people as “normal” “indoctrinate all students to accept this lifestyle.”

The more these nutjobs spin their wheels like this, the clearer it becomes just how far outside the mainstream of America they really are. ¡Viva la homosexual Wiccan radical feminist youth revolucion!

Cross-posted over here.

“Trapped in the CLAUSet”

posted by on December 8 at 12:50 PM

This video will only be funny to those familiar with R. Kelly’s original 246-part hip-hopera “Trapped in the Closet,” to whom it will be fucking hysterical. (“I said, ‘What’s this got to do with cupcakes?’”)

Part one above, and here’s part 2 and part 3.

Thanks to Zach Slow for the creation and Jake for the heads-up.

Remember that Menorah?

posted by on December 8 at 12:49 PM

The one by Lauren Grossman that I mentioned yesterday?

It looks like this.

The 16 boxes of porn is currently going for $51.

The Quadro table is at a stoopid $54.

And one page of The Stranger, to fill however the buyer sees fit, is a mere $91.

Deals! Steals! And every dollar you spend feeds five people. Do some good in this do-goodin’ season. Now please enjoy this picture of the Orson Welles mask from the filmmaker’s package:


Holiday Treats

posted by on December 8 at 12:39 PM

If you haven’t picked up the paper this week, you’re missing out on some hot hunks of flesh in the form of our Strangercrombie models. Those of you outside Seattle and/or stuck at your desks are in luck: We just posted our annual Strangercrombie Parade of Flesh slideshow. Enjoy!


posted by on December 8 at 12:31 PM

Today’s Seattle Times story about a proposal to reduce or eliminate the amount of parking commercial and residential developers must provide (also linked here) frames the proposal entirely in terms of inconvenience to driversfrom the headline (“Think parking’s hard to find? It could get worse in Seattle”) to the body of the story:

Parking spaces may become harder to find in Seattle, but there could be more greenery to admire while you’re looking.

To get people out of their cars, sprout new neighborhood commerce, and grow a greener city, the Seattle City Council may tell developers and businesses they no longer need to provide parking in some areas, but will need to plant more grass.

The proposed rules, which Councilman Peter Steinbrueck calls the most sweeping change to commercial land-use laws in two decades, could make parking tougher across the city.

Rather than mocking the proposal to require more open green space (not “grass”) and whining repeatedly about “tougher parking,” the Times could have talked about the benefit to businesses in urban villages (which won’t have to provide expensive and often unnecessary parking), to pedestrians (who will benefit as the city creates public spaces that are bike and pedestrian oriented instead of car dependent), or to the environment (which will benefit by the addition of green roofs and open spaces, which mitigate the “heat island” effect of cities and absorb greenhouse-gas pollution). Instead, the Times writes everyone but harried shoppers driving their cars to neighborhood businesses out of the story.

Not Everyone Intends to Maintain a Respectul Silence About the Contents of Mary Cheney’s Uterus

posted by on December 8 at 11:47 AM

Dr. Paul Cameron, the rabidly anti-gay head of the Family Research Institute, intends to insert himself into Mary Cheney’s uterus. It’s quite a press release. Here’s the whole thing with my footnotes at the end:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Dec. 8, Christian NewswireMary Cheney, the Vice President’s unmarried daughter,1 is expecting. Dr. Paul Cameron, Chairman of the Family Research Institute, a Colorado Springs think-tank, condemned her decision:

“Unmarried women should not deliberately have children.2 Their children are more apt to experience privation and disruption.3 Consequently, such children are more apt to do poorly in school, disrupt society (e.g., engage in criminality), and be personally troubled.4 These wrongs are compounded when the child is brought into a homosexual setting.

“By this selfish action, Cheney is not merely disrupting society,5 she is being cruel to her child:

• Mary, 37, is currently ‘partnered’ with Heather Poe, 45. The median age of death for lesbians is around the late 50s.6 If Poe and Cheney stay together, odds are this child will lose at least one caretaker before graduating high school.

• Children of homosexuals testify that day-to-day living is more difficult7and they are more apt to report personal disturbance as a consequence.

• A high proportion of lesbian ‘partnerings’ break apart8with custody issues haunting the child for the rest of his life.

• The child will disproportionately associate with homosexualswho are as a class considerably more apt to have STDs and a criminal history, be interested in sex with children, involved in substance abuse, etc.9

• The child will have a much higher probability of learning homosexual tastes (at least a third of lesbian’s children adopt homosexuality).10

“Her pregnancy is further evidence that participation in homosexual activity distorts value systems, inducing practitioners to harm the commonweal. Our society already has too many children born without the benefits of marriage;11 Cheney’s action is not only a bad example, but poor treatment of an innocent child.”

1. Mary Cheney has been with Heather Poe for 15 years. They would marry if they could marry, but they can’t marry. It’s kind of disingenuous for opponents of gay marriage to hold Cheney’s unmarried state against her.

2. Would it be better if Mary Cheney, like so many straight women, got pregnant by accident? The very deliberateness that is required before a same-sex couple can start a family is one of the advantages our children enjoy. All children born to or adopted by same-sex couples are wanted children. My boyfriend and I did not get drunk and adopt one night; it’s highly unlikely that Mary Cheney and Heather Poe got pregnant as the result of a broken condom.

3. Proof? Or does just saying it make it so? And I hardly think that any child born to Mary Cheney and Heather Poethe very picture of wealthy lesbianswill experience “privation” of any sort.

4. Again, proof? Where are the studies that show dyke-raised kids rob banks at higher rates than, say, red-state kids? I’m fairly certain none existoutside of Cameron’s ass, which is where he pulls most of his “facts” from.

5. Cheney is “disrupting society”? How exactly did she manage to do that?

6. Cite? Study? Proof? Data? Cameron is infamous for touting studies that “prove” that gay men have the life expectancies of, well, fruit flies. But this is the first I’ve heard of lesbians having shortened life spans. Is it the lack of makeup? More exposure to the sun’s harmful rays on golf courses? The backs of their mullets getting caught in factory machinery?

7. Yes, the children of homosexuals face certain difficultiesbecause of haters like Cameron and the fundie fools who keep him in business. It’s a neat trick: I make your life miserable, I make the world an inhospitable place for you, I stoke anti-gay hate and fearand then when you wanna have kids I point out that you’re being selfish because, hey, some people are mean to homosexuals. Really, Paul. Tell us all about it. I wonder if Nazis felt Jews shouldn’t have children for the very same reason. “Hey, you don’t want your kids to have to wear these tacky gold stars, do you?”

8. Yeah, those lesbian relationshipsso unstable. Unlike heterosexual relationships. No child of a heterosexual couple has had to endure the end of his parent’s marriage and “custody issues… for the rest of his life.” (I’m sure there are legit studies out there that show the exact opposite of Paul’s assertion herethat lesbian relationships are more stable, and more monogamous, than straight relationshipsand if I have a little time later today, I’ll go dig ‘em up. Anyone with some time on their hands is welcome to post cites in the comments, and I’ll add them to this post.)

9. Yes, homosexualsmale onestend to have higher rates of STIs. But lesbians have lower rates of STIs. By Paul’s logic, the children of heterosexuals should be taken from their homes and placed with lesbian couples to protect them from contracting STIs. As for substance abuse, guilty. Homos tend to abuse substances at higher ratesbut that’s an affliction more commonly found in unhappy, closeted, poorly adjusted homos. And, again, why are so many homos so miserable? Because of people like Paul. If Paul wants to see less dysfunction in the gay and lesbian community, he should stop persecuting gays and lesbians. And Mary and Heather certainly aren’t closeted and seem, despite everything, pretty well-adjusted. They’re unlikely to be drunks or meth addicts. As for criminal history? Cite, Paul? And as for sex with children, according to the FBI straight men are the biggest risk when it comes to child molestation. So we’re back to taking kids from heterosexuals and giving them to dykes to raise.

10. No, no. Numerous studieswill add links ASAPhave shown that the children of gays and lesbians are no more likely to be gay or lesbian when they grow up than are the children of heterosexuals. As for other “homosexual tastes,” I tried like hell to instill a taste for musical theater in my son. To no avail. He’s all about Common Market, Green Day, and Slayer. If anything, my son has instilled heterosexual tastes in his father. Repeated listening have instilled an appreciation for Green Day in me, I’ve taken up snowboarding, and my son taught me how to throw a football correctly.

11. Oh, that’s hilarious. Our society already has too many children born without the benefits of marriageI couldn’t agree more, Paul. So let Mary and Heather get married. Let me and my boyfriend get married. There are millions of children in the United States being raised by same-sex couplesif you want more children to enjoy the benefits of marriage, let more children’s parents marry. But don’t deny us the right to marry and then fault us for failing to marry.

Okay, Slog readers, a challenge: Friday is our crunch day for the paper. I would like to spend the day tracking down cites for my rebuttals, but I can’t. If anyone out there cares to do a little leg work for me, and put links in the comments, I’ll come back in a bit and amend this post. Am I slacking? Perhaps. But I prefer to think of this as a little Wiki-style entry.

Black Building?

posted by on December 8 at 11:27 AM

Under construction in Pittsburgh is The August Wilson Center for African American Culture, which when completed will look like this:

11000 AWilliams African Cultural.jpg

Designed by Perkins+Will, a Chicago-based firm, the two-story steel and aluminum building is not, as you can see, very interesting. Nor is it aesthetically black American. What makes this structure black? Nothing. But then again, can there be such a thing as black American architecture in the way there is, say, Japanese architecture? Those who believe such a distinction is possible will certainly turn to black American music to prove that a line can be drawn between black aesthetic practices and those derived from Japan or Europe. But is there an aesthetic correspondence between European music and architecture (something Goethe suggested)? Others have gone as far as to compare the scholastic summa with gothic architecture. But that comparison has more to do with complexity than with actual style. Reading a summa does not feel like walking through a cathedral. Summas are intellectual; cathedrals are cosmic.

In the plays of August Wilson, you can, for sure, hear the music of the blues; but not one blue note will exist in the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

Transit + Roads = Neighborhood Backlash

posted by on December 8 at 11:20 AM

So, I’ve been obsessed lately with the fact that RTID’s $7.4 billion (and about to climb) roads expansion ballot initiative and Sound Transit’s $9.5 billion transit expansion ballot initiative are linked and may even be linked further if the legislature decides to turn them into one ballot initiative.

My complaint is that transit advocates are being blackmailed into supporting massive roads expansion. RTID roads expansion (much less popular than ST and light rail expansion) is counting on progressive, transit-supporting Seattle voters to carry the day for roads.

Well, here’s the potential Achilles’ heel for that theory: Seattle NIMBYism trumps Seattle progressive values everytime and, unfortunately, a central piece of RTID is the 520 rebuild. The city’s current preferred option is the $3.34 to $5.43 billion Pacific Interchange optionwhich has several neighborhood organizations including: Madison Park, the U-District, Eastlake, Laurelhurst, Broadmoor, and Ravenna-Bryant pissed about lacking mitigation. These neighbors are active Seattle voters and may very well rise up against RTIDkilling light rail in the process.

Seattle’s Most Dangerous Intersections

posted by on December 8 at 10:50 AM

The P-I has a cool map of bike crash hot-spots, and an update on the Bicycle Master Plan machinations.


Worst intersection in Seattle for bike crashes? Northeast Blakely Street and 25th Avenue Northeast, although the Second Avenue bike lane also gets a lot of notice (and scorn).

At the bottom of the P-I article there’s a note to readers mentioning that the draft Bicycle Master Plan will be available online at the end of this month. Not mentioned: A near-final draft is already available online here.

The Week on Drugs

posted by on December 8 at 10:39 AM

Hiker: Lost in the woods then tossed in the slammer.

Immigrants: Conviction doesn’t mean eviction.

California: State can keep medical marijuana laws.

Baby: Wasted.

Gateway theory: On the wrong path.

Cincinnati: Busting dopers costs big bucks.

Huffing posts: YouTube censured to censor.

Venerable and vital: 120 and still smokin’.

Britney Replaces K.Fed with Pills

posted by on December 8 at 10:33 AM

According to In Touch weekly, BRITNEY SPEARS can add “pill-popping” to her many talents (which include flashing her VJ). Reportedly, she was recently seen in a restaurant bathroom dumping out the contents of her purse, when… HOLY MOTHER! Where did all those pills come from?? Says a source…

“It looked like a pharmacy in there - I have never seen so many pills,” a witness said.

“There was a bottle of Paxil (an antidepressant) and a bottle of Xanax (for anxiety) that she took out and put on the counter.”

Maybe Britney is just auditioning for the Valley of the Dolls remake?


CWA: Lesbians Use Abortion as Birth Control!!!!

posted by on December 8 at 10:32 AM

There’s much squishy reasoning in Janice Shaw Crouse’s (Concerned Women for America) blog entry about Mary Cheney, but this paragraph is especially loony:

Mary Cheney is among that burgeoning group of adult women over age 20 that are [sic] driving the trend of women who don’t want a man in the picture, but want to have a baby. [LESBIANS!] These older women are pushing out-of-wedlock birth statistics higher and higher [LESBIANS!]. At a time when teen births and teen abortions are declining dramatically, older women are having more un-wed births [LESBIANS!] and more abortions [LESBI—uh, wait a minute] , including repeat abortions (indicating that they are using abortion as birth control).

Janice, you are soooooo slippery.

(Via Howard Kurtz’s Media Notes Extra).

Tear Gas Memories

posted by on December 8 at 9:33 AM

Sarah’s Morning News item sure brings back a lot of great memories:


A real city (finally),
more anarchists,
Paul Schell,
police brutality,
a real riot (finally),
righteous activists,
shocked bystanders,
Norm Stamper,
and frantic cops.

And let me take this opportunity to say: I’m pro WTO. Corporations transcend national boundaries. Regulations must as well. Regulations of the world unite. Yes, the WTO is flawed because it has a record of catering to corporate interests, but I’m glad the WTO exists in concept. The point now is for real regulators to take control of it. Arguing for its demise is as dumb as arguing for the demise of the EPA because the Republicans are in control.

The National Review Intends to Maintain a Respectful Silence About the Contents of Mary Cheney’s Uterus

posted by on December 8 at 9:30 AM


The American Taliban and their media mouthpieces have spent the last decade and a half attacking gay and lesbian couples. In the last few years they’ve broadened their attack to gay and lesbian parents.

According to the American Taliban, same-sex marriage is a threat to civilization, as evidenced by the recent collapse of Canadian civilization. And gay parents are a threat to our own children because, well, because they say so. And while all studies of gay parents show the opposite to be truegay parents are just as fit as straight parentsthat’s because all the studies are biasedexcept for those infused with anti-gay bias. (As we’ve seen with creationism, global warming, and cigarettes, the only way to correct for bias is to begin with a conclusion and work backward from there.)

But there’s something about MaryMary Cheney, the dyke daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney. It’s no secret that Mary’s been in a gay relationship for 15 years; she worked on her father’s campaign, and Mary and her partner, Heather Poe, joined George W. Bush on the stage for his victory speech in 2004. (That’s the picture aboveand, hey, who let those dykes get so close to that little girl? Good lord, they may recruit her!) And now Mary is about to have a baby. So what is the American Taliban saying now? Not much. Because for Mary Cheney they’ll do something they absolutely refuse to do for the rest of American gays and lesbians: maintain a “respectful” silence. Speaking for the gay bashers at the National Review, Kathryn Jean-Lopez says…

Unless Mary Cheney asks to be part of a political debate about this, there is no need to have a public discussion about her life…. I could be wrong but the media/commentators seem to be making itMary Cheney’s pregnancya political issue.

Well, goodness gracious! Imagine that! Someone out there is attempting to make a political issue out of some lesbian’s private life! Why, the nerve of some people!

Excuse me while I puke all over my keyboard.

Jean-Lopez and her ilk had made the private lives of American gays and lesbians into one of the top two political issues of our timesright up there with Iraqand in the process have made America a laughingstock all over the world. We’ve got real problems in Iraq (all my fault, I realize) and at home, and what is our political class obsessed with? Whether my boyfriend spits or swallows. For her part, Jean-Lopez has always been fond of politicians who strive to politicize the private lives of Americans like Mary Cheneyparticularly the late, great Rick Santorum. Jean-Lopez’s tongue spent election season wedged in Santorum’s asscrack; she predicted days before the vote that Santorum would be reelected. Rick lost by 18 points. (Full disclosure/bragging rights: On election day, Jean-Lopez also wrote a column attacking widdle me for being so awfully mean to her BFF Rick Santorum.)

Andrew Sullivan has this to say to Jean-Lopez this morning…

This is absurd. Lopez aggressively favors all efforts to strip the Cheney grandchild of two mothers. Lopez has politicized this family’s personal life, and attacked it viciously. Lopez supported the Virginia state constitutional amendment that will mean that the Cheney grandchild will only ever have one secure parent. Lopez favors adding this terrible insecurity to the Cheney-Poe child’s life. And she wants it not to be personal. Sorry, but it is personal.

National Review institutionally believes that what Cheney’s family is doing is evil. Some have the integrity to keep saying so even when their actual impact on an actual human being thay actually care about is at stake. Lopez, Podhoretz, and Goldberg do not have that much integrity. Remember: David Frum once threatened to make Mary Cheney a criminal for her committed relationship of a decade and a half. Remember also: These people wanted to declare this family illegitimate in the very Constitution of the United States, declaring that one group of Americans do not belong in their own country. And now they find themselves demonizing and marginalizing and discriminating against one of their own. Stupid poetic justice, as Homer Simpson would say.

So what do they do? They are forced to be silent, or to blame others for bringing it up. Their double standards and intellectual dishonesty are now up there in neon lights. Where is Stanley “Slippery Slope” Kurtz? Cat got your tongue? Thousands of words to demonize abstract others. Sudden silence when he has to cast out one of his own. These people do not even have the courage of their own prejudices.

Morning News

posted by on December 8 at 8:16 AM

Money, money, money: U.S. wages rise faster than inflation for the first time since Clinton.

Uh, success?: Bush and his ilk skeptical about suggestions of Iraq Study Group though he admits he’s “disappointed by the pace of success” in Iraq.

Success!: Quashing a conservative move to re-outlaw same-sex marriage, Canada’s prime minister declares the debate is over.

British bondage: British religious groups have too long been “tightly bonded around religious, racial, or ethnic identities” — they’ll have to commit to “integration” before they receive public money.

Bipolar and Alone: How do kids with mental illness handle college?

Wii have a problem: Users of the new Nintendo console get too excited, resulting in broken windows and lamps.

Grass, not gas: City Council considers ending requirement for businesses to provide off-street parking, instead, they might have to cover 30 percent of their property with plants.

Riot Acting: Filming Battle in Seattle, starring Charlize Theron, this weekend in the city.

Cracks, Not Crack

posted by on December 8 at 7:59 AM

Neglect, not currently clean-and-sober crane operators with distant histories of drug abuse, would appear to be behind our “rash of crane failures.” So says this morning’s P-Iwhich has still not issued an apology to Warren Yeakey, the man operating a crane in Bellevue at the time of its collapse. That accident killed one man, and it was a miracle that Yeakey survived. Noting Yeakey’s history of drug convictionsthe last being in 2000the P-I ramped up the drug hysterics and charged, tried, and convicted Yeakey in an infamous headline.

It seemed like an open-and-shut case. Yeakey had a record of drug convictions, and this headline two days after the accident made it clear who the P-I thought was at fault:

Operator in crane wreck has history of drug abuse

Yeakey took a drug test, was found to be clean. Then the P-I told us that the crane might have collapsed due to an ongoing operator error, and implied that Yeakey was the only operator of the crane. Yeakey, in fact, was one of several workers who had operated the crane that collapsed. Now it turns outwell, what do you know?that the P-I may not be able to blame crane operators and crack pipes after all. From today’s story:

Cracks, loose welds, and sheared bolts aren’t common in tower cranes, but you’d never know it from a spate of alarming discoveries at construction sites in Bellevue and Redmond.

For four of the hulking cranes to develop serious safety problems over the past three weeks, experts say needed maintenance and inspections were likely being neglected.

“That sounds to me like people aren’t having their cranes inspected while they are on the ground in pieces,” said Ronald Brodek, owner of Brodek Crane Inspections Inc. in Arizona.

To the editors of the P-I: We’re still waiting on an apology to Warren Yeakey. Front page, above the fold, in the headline.

Mystery Train

posted by on December 8 at 12:05 AM

Last night brought this comment/call for answers from Slog reader Will:

So this is more of a call for answers than a comment. Can anyone explain why a household living on the southeast end of Capitol Hill would be hearing train horns in the middle of the night? Yes, we’ve considered ghosts, haunted house syndrome, and the mysterious crack heads trolling our neighborhood. But for real, WTF? We all hear it. It’s clearly a train. Where the F are these trains coming from?!!!

Has anyone else been hearing myterious trains at night? Or been running around impersonating trains at night?

Nelson Is Nelson

posted by on December 8 at 12:01 AM

Sean Nelson is performing with an upscale rock orchestra concoction (including the quirked-up band “Awesome”) at Town Hall tonight, Friday night.

For those who know Sean as the Johnny Lydon-meets-Elton John frontman for Harvey Danger, you are about to be blown away by Mr. Nelson’s true talents.

I’m not saying the guy doesn’t put out and put on a devastating rock show (“Ooooh-woooh-hooo/Woooh-hoooo!”), I’m just saying Sean has always been a showman in the masterful Artie Shaw sense that calls for Town Hall, more than he’s been a low-tech Iggy Pop tramp at home in the rock clubs. And with a giant orchestra and pitch-perfect singing voice at his disposal, I’m guaranteeing Mr. Nelson will shine in a coming-out performance like you’ve never seen. This is Mr. Nelson’s moment.

The conceit is great. It’s Nelson sings Nilsson. Never heard of Nilsson? Exactly. Harry Nilsson was a popular singer/songwriter in the late ’60s and early ’70s (Coconut, The Point). In 1970, Nilsson did a record of songs by the not-very-well-known Randy Newmancalled Nilsson Sings Newman.

I was happy to see Sean and HD go around once again late last year and earlier this year. But: As thrilling as those shows were (and even with some better-than-the-original-stuff, new songs like “Cream and Bastards Rise”), the finely tuned gigs always seemed like digitally remastered takes of an earlier era. I was always left wanting to know (and hear) where Sean Nelson was today.

Well, he’s at Town Hall onstage with a 24-piece orchestra. Do not miss this. (7 pm, $12, all ages, Eighth Ave and Seneca St in First Hill.)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Vote for Slog!

posted by on December 7 at 7:03 PM

I’m not sure what we’re voting for, but CHS has pitted our widdle blog against their own widdle blog in some sort of poll or something. I read the CHS post three times and I still can’t quite figure out if winning this poll is better than losing, but right now CHS is crushing Slog. CHS has almost 80% of 28 votes cast, which would be, uh, nearly 22.4 votes. Or something.

This can not stand! Vote for Slog!

UPDATE: Slog has pulled aheadSlog now leads CHS by nearly 30 pointsbut we can’t rest until the polls close. And, uh, I don’t know when that is exactly. So we’re going to keep the phone banks open and we’re going to crank up our GOTV efforts and we’re going to make sure every vote gets counted. Vote Slog!

UPDATE 2: A commenter points out that CHS has a cute little kitten. “What do you have, Dan?” We’ve got him:


UPDATE 3: Well, we’ve learned that the polls will close tonight. It’s 10:45 PM now, and with just one hour and a half left to vote, Slog is crushing CHS. Slog’s lead74% to 26%calls to mind the Cantwell/McGavick and Casey/Santorum vote totals from earlier this month. If Slog’s lead holds, Slog is going to go until the weekend with a strong mandate. A mandate to do what? We don’t know. But we have earned political capital in this election and we intend to spend it.

UPDATE 4: Going in to today’s election, CHS feared “a slaughter of Shoprite vs. Walgreens proportions.” In that recent election Shopright gave Walgreens a thumping, the former besting the latter 62% to 38%. Worried about their standing, CHS choose a little kitten as its running mate. But the kitten was an ineffective campaigner and did not do well in its one debate with the Stranger’s mascot, the boy shown above. Now, with less than an hourwe thinkleft to vote, Slog is pounding CHS 76% to 24%.

Where’s your kitten now, CHS?

UPDATE 4: It’s shortly before midnight and the final numbers are in: Slog 76%, CHS 24%. Slog has been waiting for CHS to make the traditional call to concede the race. Apparently CHS has no intention of concedinggraciously or otherwise. This short statement was released moments ago by the CHS campaign:

We don’t really want to talk about what happened…. We’re hurt.

Hmph. Soreloserman. But it’s been a long night. The people have spoken. God bless America.

Re: The Blood Scarf and Pencil-made Vagina Dentata

posted by on December 7 at 5:07 PM

That beautiful rippled pencil sculpture reminds me of this project I saw in Craft magazine a few days ago.


Crafty math nerds at the “Institute for Figuring” are crocheting coral reefs, sea urchins and anenomes using hyperbolic prinicples.


I Wonder If She Was About To Lip-Synch “I Will Survive”?

posted by on December 7 at 3:47 PM

A drag queen walked out on to a stage in Manillain her bare feetgrabbed the microphone and dropped dead.

A contestant in an international drag festival, held in Manila, Philippines, collapsed on stage after an apparent electrocution, in full view of a large crowd on Sunday. The outdoor show came to a halt when performer, under the name of Joan Montegracia, walked barefoot across the metal stage, picked up the microphone, and fell to the floor….

The audience apparently thought the fall was part of the act and applauded and cheered loudly, but were shocked when Montegracia didn’t rise.

An investigation is currently underway to determine the circumstances of the accident. It appears that there may have been moisture on the stage and the microphone had an electrical shortage.

It has also been discovered that the victim was not a resident of the Philippines. His exact identity and nationality have yet to be determined.

CNN + Local Band = Love

posted by on December 7 at 3:40 PM

A very observant Slog reader named Henri just sent us this note:

I was watching Anderson Cooper the other night and I heard Head Like a Kite. The funny thing was that I had just seen them the night before at Chop Suey. I double checked and confirmed on their website, CNN is in fact using their music as bumper music.

I think that’s pretty huge. CNN? Wow. How the hell does CNN know about Head Like a Kite, let alone use
them for their music?

Good question, but that’s pretty awesome exposure for the local band. Congrats, guys! For more info on Head Like a Kite, visit, where you can hear the band’s music and watch videos.

House Speaker Frank Chopp Open to Boulevard/Transit Option

posted by on December 7 at 3:33 PM

I did a long interview with House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford) today at the Tully’s on 45th and Meridian in Wallingford.

I’ll post a longer report about the interview after I get a chance to review the tape, but I want to report this tidbit right away: He’s against the current rebuild and open to the People’s Waterfront Coalition transit boulevard option.

Here’s what he said when I asked him if he was actually for the rebuild or just against the tunnel. “We can’t afford the tunnel,” he began, scoffing at the current estimate of between $3.6 to $5.5 billion, putting it at $6 billion at least. Then he took out a black pen and proceeded to draw a sketch of what he referred to, with a tone of frustration, as “the three alternatives people are aware of now.” He drew: the tunnel, the retrofit, and, in his words: “the ugly elevated thing.”


It was news to me that he was against the current rebuild option.

I reminded him that the retrofit was ruled out this week, and so he drew a big X through it, and said that leaves the tunnel, which he opposes, and the rebuild. He drew Xs through those two options as well: “I don’t like either one of those,” he said, calling the current rebuild proposal: “ugly, noisy, uninventive, stupid, you name it,” He also boasted about his “focus to kill the tunnel.” So in Chopp’s opinion, all the official options up for review are DOA.

Then Chopp surprised me again: “That leaves two alternatives that I’m very open to.” He started sketching again, drawing two options he felt hadn’t been given a fair hearing. “One is the surface transit option,” he said. “I’m okay with this if it’ll work.”

By “work” I asked him if that meant “maintain capacity”… and he said simply: “I don’t know if the surface transit option is good or bad, but I’m open about it. If that’s what we end up with, I’m happy.”

He also said we should look at a different redesign for the elevated option, although he didn’t give me specifics. “It’s great urban design!” he said cryptically. (I didn’t want to indulge him on that one, so I didn’t push for details. I’ve heard rumors that it’s a bizarre, expensive, three-tier design with an elevated park.)

Finally, re-emphasizing that we don’t have the money for the tunnel, he said: “If we don’t do the tunnel and we do one of these two other alternativesthe better elevated or the surface option, and I’m open to either one, then you have the money to pay for that.”

Beware lazy judges

posted by on December 7 at 2:24 PM

Of the 21 King County District Court judges up for reelection this year, only one was forced to run against an opponent (actually, there were two challengers). Now a group of criminal defense attorneys has launched a political action committee to raise funds to support candidates willing to challenge sitting judges. Attorney William Kirk, a member of the PAC, says it’s about work quality and accountability. Kirk said: “The level of competence [on the bench] has depreciated and having qualified opponents run against incumbent judges or open seats would only serve to elevate the quality of the district court bench.” Citing a “code of ethics,” Kirk said he couldn’t trash talk specific members of the bench. The PAC, Citizens for Judicial Excellence, hopes to have its website up and running by the end of the week.

Please Accept My Apologies in Advance

posted by on December 7 at 2:08 PM

for this.

And yes, it is this guy singing.

שקט בבקשה

posted by on December 7 at 1:59 PM

This week’s Sheket Bavakasha! (that’s STFU when spat out by an angry Hebrew school teacher) goes to State Senator Margarita Prentice. Prentice is still pushing for a subsidy for the Sonics even though the idea was already killed by the legislature in 2005 and 2006.

Reporter Chris McGann has the story in yesterday’s PI.

The story ends with this bit of wisdom from the incorrigible Prentice:

For those who complain that millionaires would end up the being recipients of public dollars:

“Poor people don’t buy teams,” she said.

And poor people can’t afford to go see the teams play either. Sheeesh. !שקט בבקשה

Is Seattle Becoming a Hotbed for Comedy?

posted by on December 7 at 1:24 PM

It sure seems like it, doesn’t it? We’ve written about it, Bumbershoot kills with it every year, and all of a sudden, major comedy acts seem to be touring in Seattle.

But, was this a national trend that had found a strong base in Seattle, or were we becoming producers in our own right? Producers we are, as proven by the Laffhole at CHAC Lower Level last night.

The event was completely sold out, if not oversold, and the first show appeared to also be a success (there were two, an all-ages event with a band at 8 and a 21+ show at 10 pm). This was unexpected, even though we posted about this event on slog yesterday. I had only heard one of the comedians before at the early show at Bumbershoot, and we don’t have a comedy scene in Seattle, right?

Wrong! Every single comedian was funny, and each had a different style. Emmet Montgomery was a king of Steven Wright-style awkward straight faced delivery (Silliest joke of the night: “Did you ever notice that eyebrows and moustaches are just hair-hats for face-holes?”). Dan Moore delivered his jokes in a [pseudo?] southern accent that moseyed along until he launched into a falsetto to imitate children and preachers. The difference was jarring and hilarious.

Hari Kondabolu, the headliner, focused on making fun of the hypocrisy that is American culture and it’s weird attitude towards people of color and immigrants, although his performance was almost certainly overshadowed by the appearance of 4 shirtless men who he proclaimed to be his adopted Finnish sons (and one of whom was our Hot Theater Intern, Tom. I repeat, Shirtless!).

In any case, I’m totally psyched for Laffhole. Even more so, I’m totally psyched for Seattle to have a comedy scene of quality. For people who kvetch as much as we do, I’m pretty sure we can find some humor in it.

It Isn’t Rape If She Was Drunk, Take 5,187

posted by on December 7 at 1:04 PM

This time in Britain, where a survey reveals that a majority of jurors “appear to believe that it is reasonable for a man to assume that a woman’s silence amounts to consent, even if it is due to her intoxication.”

From the Times:

The research, conducted with simulated juries because of the prohibition on jury research, also indicated that juries hold a drunken victim partially responsible for what happens.

This is either because she accepted drinks from the defendant, failed to stand her ground against pressure to drink more or did not take adequate care to ensure that her drinks were not spiked.

Even when a woman had unknowingly consumed a spiked drink, juries were reluctant to convict defendants of rape, unless they were convinced that the drink had been spiked with the specific intention of sexual assault, as opposed to “loosening up” a reluctant partner.

Another finding was that jurors were less inclined to see “taking advantage” of a drunken woman as rape in situations where the woman’s normal behaviour was to drink heavily in the company of men.

When I start to despair about the situation here in the US (where as recently as two months ago a judge ruled that a woman cannot withdraw consent for sex, no matter what happens after she has agreed), I can always look to Britain, where troglodyte attitudes about women remain very much in the mainstream.

More Buzz Buzz for Iraq in Fragments

posted by on December 7 at 12:42 PM

You have two final chances to see Stranger Genius Award winner James Longley’s Iraq in Fragments at the Crest: 6:45 and 9:10 pm tonight, for the sweet price of $3.

Today brings yet more Oscar buzz for this excellent locally-produced documentaryturns out that even though the National Board of Review picked Veep-backed juggernaut An Inconvenient Truth for the top prize in the doc category, Iraq in Fragments made the top five.

Remember Her? Of Course You Do

posted by on December 7 at 12:38 PM


Phylicia Rashad (aka Mrs. Claire Huxtable) is coming to the Rep to make her directorial debut with August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean in April. On one hand, she’s done a lot of theaterBroadway, Off-Broadway, Negro Ensemble Company, Lincoln Centerand she knows the play. Here’s her as Aunt Esther:


On the other hand: her directing debut? On Gem of the Oceanthe production that will complete the Rep’s 10-play Wilson cycle? Is this us being a provincial starfuckers, subordinating the play to the celebrity of the director? Or can she really do it?

I’m pulling for you, Mrs. Huxtable.

And Then There Was One

posted by on December 7 at 12:37 PM

So I’m down here in the art capital of the world this weekend, Miami, and I’m walking through Museum of Contemporary Art Miami’s Goldman warehouse space, where the show Artificial Light is up, when I realize the guards seem skittish. (This is about five minutes ago; I’m writing now sitting on the curb outside.)

I turn and see blue tape across the doorway into the piece I’m approaching. It’s supposed to be a pitch-black room in which the only light is the purple neon of Chilean artist Iván Navarro’s Black Electric Chairstwo chairs made entirely of neon tubing that reference utopic modernist design (they’re based on the Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer) and punishment.

But instead I meet a guy standing just inside the tape, waiting for a trash can to be wheeled his way.

Because minutes before, an old lady tried sitting in one of the chairs. It shattered (maybe she did, too? she was nowhere to be found by the time I got there). When the man turned on the light before the doorway was boarded up, the piece lay in pieces on the black carpet next to the other chair.

A MOCA employee in a black cocktail dress began berating a guard who sounded like he was from an African country. He said he was doing his best.

“We’re dealing with the situation,” said the woman at the desk, and diverted me to MOCA’s other location, where the Bruce Nauman show is up that’s coming to the Henry next month.

Funny aside: yesterday at the main fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, I saw one of Craig Kauffman’s orange transparent vacuum-formed wall piecesthe same piece (though a different one) that mysteriously broke earlier this year at the Pompidou. And you think your work is safe in a museum …

I wish I’d been able to ask the old woman who sat in the chair what she was thinking. Was she hurt? What’s her take on the piece now? Punishment, indeed. I imagine she thought the artist intended her to sit, even though the piece is overwhelmingly visualthe neon refuses to come into focus, recommending the chair to the eye rather than the body.

Then again: You have no idea what our feet are dealing with here. There are miles and miles and miles of galleries and art to see. This accidental vandalism constitutes the protest of an exhausted fairgoer! Who knew Pinochet and Art Basel Miami Beach would come together this way?

Poor MOCA. The showjust opened this morning, and its breakout piece is Growth (Survival) (2006) by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. It’s a staghorn fern hanging in the middle of a dark room, relying for light on a row of ladders of lit messages by Jenny Holzer. Not only is it a terrific spectacle and a touching piece of work, it got me thinking it might spawn a whole new genre of recombinant artart where artists use whole pre-existing works to create new work. I don’t mean reproductions or collaborations or really even refashionings. I mean original works with original works, aura y aura. A real response from the art world to mashups.


I realize that those of you in Seattle can’t see Artificial Light today. But as blogger Tyler Green has pointed out, it’s basically the same show as Into Black at Western Bridge in Seattle, so head on down there. (Call first; the director is here, so I don’t know about open hours.)

And now for more art …

Steal of the Moment

posted by on December 7 at 12:29 PM

Currently, the Vespa’s at $710 and the SIFF package is close behind at $686. Beat With the Pretty Stick is at a laughably low $20.50.

And Artsy Menorah, Frosted Jesus? It’s at $1.99.

The menorah is by artist Lauren Grossman, who was profiled by Jen Graves last March. (Her homepage is here.) The Jesus is a full Nativity scene, in pastries, baked and arranged by Cupcake Royale.

A steal!

Motherfucking Bone Crusher Redux

posted by on December 7 at 12:11 PM

Re: the best Slog post of 2006 (failing some last-minute Schmaderian coup, which is a distinct possibility): You can now sign up for the motherfucking bone crusher newsletter. Note cute translations on the form; the entire website is replete with such enjoyment, e.g., “Because in the case when two males are put together, these behave like a pair, but, obviously, they produce no eggs.” (Gay motherfucking bone crushers!)

No Blood Scarf This Time

posted by on December 7 at 11:59 AM

Although here it is, if you missed it the first time.

This is a sculpture made with pencils by an artist named Jennifer Maestre (via apostropher):


Much more, including similar pieces made with nails, available here.

In Abortion News

posted by on December 7 at 11:52 AM

A bill that would have required doctors to tell women (inaccurately, according to an extensive review of the evidence) that fetuses can feel pain as early as 20 weeks’ gestation* and offer them “fetal anasthetic” fell short of the two-thirds vote needed in the House yesterday (via Kaiser). Forty Democrats and 210 Republicans voted for the legislation, which was opposed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Abortion Federation but not by NARAL Pro-Choice America, whose leader, Nancy Keenan, is a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion.

* A few charming facts about this bill, which received the support of a majority of the House: It would have applied to all fetuses 20 weeks past fertilizationa definition rejected by doctors, who define fetal age by the number of weeks past a woman’s last menstrual period. Because many contraceptives prevent implantation, but not fertilization, this definition was widely seen as a sneaky attack on contraception. The bill also defined a “woman” as “a female human being who is capable of becoming pregnant”bad news for infertile and post-menopausal human beings who previously considered themselves women.

Volkswagen & Vicarious Traumatization

posted by on December 7 at 11:37 AM

For what seems like the past 17 months, Volkswagen has been running TV commercials like the one above, wherein a carload of friends is leisurely driving and chatting until CRASH!

At first I grudgingly praised the ads for their ingenious exploitation of the mechanics of trauma (when adrenaline skyrockets, memories get implanted more deeply, and the commercials’ post-crash info on the Jetta is probably deeply ingrained in the brains of countless viewers.)

Now I’m just sick of feeling like I’ve lived through 600 car crashes at the end of a leisurely evening of TV-watching. Who’s with me in filing a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen for vicarious traumatization?

Best State Supreme Court Footnote Ever

posted by on December 7 at 10:55 AM

The Washington State Supreme Court today struck down Tim Eyman’s tax-cutting Initiative 776 as unconstitutional, which means that Sound Transit can continue to collect its famous car-tab taxes. The decision was 8-1 in favor of Sound Transit, with Justice Richard Sanders offering the lone dissent.

And oh, the loneliness of the single man who is convinced that he is right and the rest of the world is wrong. As the sharp-eyed Postman reports, it’s enough to make a guy start quoting The Rolling Stones in his footnotes.

Justice Richard Sanders was the lone dissenter. And he relies on a compelling legal source in a footnote:
In principle, I admire the Lochnerian rigor with which the majority defends the sanctity of contractual obligation. Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S.45, 25 S. Ct. 539, 49 L. Ed. 937 (1905). Unfortunately, its proposed remedy finds no support in the law. In contracts, as in love, “you can’t always get what you want,” but the law of remedies ensures “you get what you need.”8

8 The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, on Let It Bleed (ABKCO 1969).

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on December 7 at 10:31 AM

Day three in Latvia…


Dear Prayer Warriors,

Your prayers were heard and answered more than I even dreamed. The meeting with the Latvian officals went so well, I can’t even put it into words!

They asked if we could help the Minister of Human Rights put together a world conference on the importance of the family to help fight the big push of the Europian Union and the homosexual aceptance movement in Latvia.

What an honor God has bestowed on us!

Please continue to pray without ceasing,

Pastor Hutch

Thursday Morning Sports Report (Still Kinda on Vacation Winter Meetings Edition)

posted by on December 7 at 10:09 AM

News from the Winter Meetings…

Gil Meche has signed a five year deal with Kansas City. Freddy Garcia has been traded to the Phillies. Ted Lilly went to the Cubs. Jason Schmidt signed with the Dodgers. And the Cardinals want to chat with Barry Bonds.

Meanwhile, the Mariners have made a move of their own, trading talented-but-fragile RHP Rafael Soriano to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for LHP Horacio Ramirez. It’s a deal Dave at U.S.S. Mariner sums up this way:

Forget everything else you’re going to hear for a minute. Forget the starter vs reliever designations, years of service, groundball rates, all of it. The M’s traded a pitcher who will be 27 in two weeks for a pitcher who turned 27 two weeks ago in a straight up, one for one deal. It’s a challenge trade, essentially. The M’s chose left-handedness and a designation as a starting pitcher over talent and performance. They swapped a good pitcher for a mediocre one, and none of the issues about rotation vs bullpen can wipe that away.

And Jeff at Lookout Landing says:

The things Horacio Ramirez does well are greatly overshadowed by the things he doesn’t. His control isn’t super, he never misses bats, and his groundball rate isn’t mindblowingly extreme. He’s nowhere close to Chien-Ming Wang’s ball-in-play profile, so we can’t expect him to have close to Chien-Ming Wang’s level of success. He’s just a random guy with boring stuff who’d be out of the league if he had to spend a year or two in front of a lousy infield defense. In Seattle he’s probably good for an ERA in the 4.50-5.00 range, with a little extra upside given the park and the shortstop. But these aren’t advantages of Ramirez’s - they apply to everyone, so who cares? Anyone can get lucky. That doesn’t make them prudent acquisitions

Also: Talks between the Mariners and Red Sox for Manny Ramireza Ramirez who’s, you know, actually goodappear to have stalled.

Right now, it looks like it’s going to be a long season.

UPDATE: Seth has a different take on the deal over at Seattlest:

They can’t make Soriano a starter—with his history of arm trouble, you could destroy the guy’s career—so they’ve got to turn him into a starter via trade. And with the market for starting pitching what it is (1/2 the clubs in baseball have called Gil Meche’s agent for chrissakes—that’s like 1/2 the clubs in the world calling Doug E. Fresh’s agent) you’re gonna overpay to get a starter.

And that’s what the M’s have done—overpaid for a starter. In a vacuum, it’s a horrible, awful, stupid, moronic, senseless trade. But in the real world of the 2007 Mariners, it may be the best they can do.

Britney is Sick of Britney’s Vagina, Too

posted by on December 7 at 10:07 AM

Have you checked out today yet? NO? Then what do you do all day? Anyway, it turns out that Britney Spears is just as sick of showing off her plucked vagina as we are. Here’s her note she posted today to her fan(s):


Thank god for Victoria’s Secret, thank god for Hanes, thank god for Underoos I don’t give a crap. I just thank god there’s something covering her vagina! BRRRRRR!

City Skate Park Proposal Released

posted by on December 7 at 9:00 AM

After almost a year of research, field trips and haggling with irate neighbors, the City’s Skate Park Advisory Committee just released its proposals for the Skatepark Plan last night. Read the full thing here (it’s 44 pages, but there’s lots of pictures). The report lays out locations of 26 skate parks the City should build and makes nine major suggestions for procedure the City should follow.

Topping the list are developing a city-wide criteria for siting skate parks and filling the gaps in the citywide skatepark system. They have some great ideas, I think, like making those kiddie wading pools around the city skateable during the winter and replacing benches in some areas with skate-resistant materials, turning places like Northgate transit center into a mini skatespot.

Just because the Skatepark Advisory Committee proposes these sites, though, doesn’t mean they’ll actually get built. The City currently has no funding allocated for construction or design, so the report identifies “community-funding resources.” And the Parks Department has their own, slightly different proposal it cans the major District skate park at the West Seattle Stadium.

In light of the years of process and lack of hard funding, some people are giving up on working through city channels at all (see Marginal Way or yesterday’s PI article about the River City Skate Park). The Skate Park Advisory Committee itself is working on printing a “cookbook” for getting a skate park built in your neighborhood d.i.y. style, without City process.

There’s a huge public hearing on the skate park proposal next Thursday night (December 14th) at 6:30PM at the Town Hall. NIMBYs, sk8rs, all invited.

Interested in reading more about the proposed locations and seeing the newest map? That, plus a vocab primer below the cut.

Continue reading "City Skate Park Proposal Released" »

Morning News

posted by on December 7 at 7:09 AM

Solving America’s problems, not Iraq’s: Could the Iraq Study Group report make Iraq worse?

Abomination no more: Conservative Jewish Rabbis vote to accept same-sex unions.

Trickle-down Effect: The Supreme Court runs out of cases… possibly because Congress is passing fewer laws and the federal gov’t is losing less in lower courts.

Fecal veggies, again?: Taco Bell E. Coli cases stemmed from green onions.

Who’s a Wichita-born Eagle Scout with a PhD in Russian and Soviet History? Our new Secretary of Defense.

Cancer for everyone!: 23 states complain about enforcing EPA mercury standards.

ManE.U.ver: Turkey agrees to open one port and one airport to Cyprus.

Going without their fecal veggies (or anything else): Swamped by rising gas prices and the booming senior population, Seattle Meals on Wheels might begin to wait-list disabled seniors in need of food.

Liberal defense: Tacoma bank-robbing Army Ranger says his “hypothetical motive” for the alleged robbery was US war crimes in Iraq.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Mary Cheney’s Uterus

posted by on December 6 at 8:53 PM

I was just on CNN discussing Mary Cheneyshe’s pregnant, dontcha knowwith some smarmy piece of shit from Concerned Women for America. Time really flies when you’re doing five minutes on a cable news program, and I didn’t get to what I really wanted to say. Which was this:

How is this any business of the Concerned Women for America? How is it my business? Or Anderson Cooper’s? This seems like it’s a private matter, something between Mary Cheney and her partner Heather Poe.

And you know what else? It really comes down to this: Mary Cheney’s uterus belongs to Mary Cheney and she can pretty much do whatever the fuck she likes with it. She can have babies with it or keep her car keys in it or fill it up with potting soil and plant tulip bulbs in it. It’s her uterus.

And even if the Concerned Women of Americaand the Christian Coalition and Mitt Romney and Pat Robertson and on and onthink it’s wrong, what the fuck do they plan to do about it? Fine, okay: They don’t think Mary Cheney or any other lesbian should be in charge of her own uterus. But how do they propose to enforce that exactly? Have states declare eminent domain over lesbian ovaries and seize them? Forced sterilizations at women’s music festivals?

And while a forced sterilization might have prevented Cheney’s pregnancy a few months back, it’s a little late for that now. She’s already pregnant. So what do these armies of compassion intend to do about Cheney now? Force her to get an abortion?

“Freedom,” as Mary Cheney’s father once said, “means freedom for everyone.” The gay haters on the right may not approve of what Mary Cheney is doing, just as they don’t approve of what my partner and I did eight years ago when we adopted, and they’re free to disappove. But they seem to think their disapproval should give them a veto.

That’s not the way freedom works.

I guess what I really wanted to say to that douche from Concerned Women for America was this: Like it or not, bitch, Mary Cheney is having a baby. Suck it.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on December 6 at 6:44 PM

Now comes the second letter from Latvia, in which the Prayer Warrior asks you to pray for him before you go to bed tonight…


There were over 2,500 at the rally…it was great, with really good music. God blessed me as I spoke. We had 2 people (that I know of) accept Christ!

Listen to this! …

Continue reading "Notes From The Prayer Warrior" »

From the Dept of No Shit, Sherlock

posted by on December 6 at 6:37 PM

Apparently ConWorks is dead. Who knew?

ConWorks - press release - 12-06-06 (80089715).jpg


SEATTLE, WA, December 6, 2006. Consolidated Works announces with regret that it will cease operations at the end of the year. The organization announced this past summer that it was unable to renew the lease for its warehouse space due to seismic improvements required to be made to the building. Later, it had to let go of its staff while efforts were made to find a formula to relocate and carry the organization forward. Unfortunately, those efforts have proved unsuccessful.

Allena Gabosch, President of ConWorks, observed, “This is a very difficult time for arts organizations. We see institutions like Empty Space Theatre closing after more than 30 years of operation, and we hear from other arts organizations that they too are considering closing. ConWorks has been at a standstill for several months now, and restarting the organization in the present climate seems less practical than throwing support to others in the hope that they will survive this period.”

ConWorks takes this opportunity to thank the many artists, staff members, donors, volunteers, and audience members who have supported the organization over the years. ConWorks is thankful to have had the opportunity to add to the cultural fabric of Seattle and the Northwest.

A couple of thoughts:

1. ConWorks comparing (even tangentially) its own rise and fall to that of Empty Space is nauseatingly arrogant. The difference in impact and scope and long-term community value and plain old longevitynot only aren’t they playing in the same ballpark, they’re not even playing the same goddamned game.

2. What “support” will ConWorks be “throwing” the rest of the arts community? It sold off its assets in a motherfucking garage sale.

To exit on a note of false benevolence and relevance is worse than just slipping out the door without saying goodbye.

What Is The World Coming To?

posted by on December 6 at 5:45 PM

Male star of Broadway musicals accused of molesting a 15 year-old girl.

It’s Here! It’s Finally Fucking Here!

posted by on December 6 at 4:41 PM


Holiday shopping begins here and now.

Want a whole lotta clothes from American Apparel ? Bidding starts at $1.99.

Want to shotgun some beer with Hugh Foskett? Bidding starts at $1.99.

Want your own recording of Harvey Danger and/or Dina Martina playing the cover song of your choice? Bidding starts at $1.99.

Want a brand-new Vespa with riding gear, bags, and tab fees thrown in? Bidding starts at $1.99.

Want a shopping spree at Easy Street Records? Bidding starts at $1.99.

Get the idea?

A birthday bash with the Rat City Roller Girls, a year’s worth of pizza, packages for writers, filmmakers, and actors, a dinner party cooked in your own home by a culinary deity, boat rides, Portland getaways, and all the cash goes to the good folks at Northwest Harvest.

So get to browsing! And bidding!

Merry Kwaanzukkah.

Wacky crime stats in PI gang story

posted by on December 6 at 4:05 PM

Today’s P.I. article on rising gang activity in Seattle strikes me as a little under-reported. The story refers to a 25 percent rise in Seattle gun assaults, but the Seattle Police Department says they don’t have that statistic. Their website shows about a 5 percent rise in aggravated assaults as of October of this year compared to the same period last year. And it doesn’t mean police have linked those firearm assaults to gangs they haven’t. Both the P.I.’s story and a similar recent article in the Times cite an increase in the number of cases referred to the SPD’s gang unit but police acknowledge that not all of the cases referred to the gang unit are gang related. And just because we might have a few gang bangers, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we have the kind of organized groups of occasionally psychopathic thugs who cause serious problems in Los Angeles and Chicago. Where’s the proof? How do we know this isn’t drug related crime? I’m not saying gangs don’t exist in Seattle. But hyping gangs is an easy way to get federal dollars (it’s a Bush priority), and I get the sense some of those federal dollars might be better spent….

Abercrombie & Fitch: So Gay, Not So Pro-Gay

posted by on December 6 at 3:50 PM


Gay male consumers are, let’s be frank, total suckers. If a company shows us enough good-looking, half-naked young jocks wearing their productsor not wearing their productswe will buy their t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, socks, kitchen magnets, whatever. And so long as the company keeps marketing their products with boy tit (get Bruce Weber to shoot your ad campaign!), the gay shopping zombies will treat your company right.

You would think that boy-tit-flashing companies would recognize their dependance on the gay consumer and treat the gays right.

But somehow despite their thoroughly homoeroticand thoroughly effectiveboytittastic ad campaigns, Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t feel like it needs to treat the gays right. Human Rights Campaign, a GLBT rights group, assesses corporations for their friendliness to gay and lesbian employees and consumers, looking at things like anti-discrimination protections, domestic partner benefits, and advertising practices. And HRC gives A&F a dismal 50 out of a possible 100 in their annual “Buying for Equality” guide.

It can’t be that hard to get a perfect score from HRC: Gap, Levi Strauss, Nike, Nordstrom, and SearsSears!all pulled in perfect 100 ratings.

As much as I wish it were not the case, I doubt the news that A&F treats its gay employees like shit will matter much to the kind of gay men who wear A&F.

The company markets to gay male consumers using the mystique of the impossibly beautiful, completely unattainable, likely hostile-to-homos straight boy. Internalized homophobia and thwarted longing infuses A&F’s marketing materials; some have featured “playful” and implied male-on-male gang rape. (Not that there’s anything wrong with thatso long the rape is just implied and, you know, playful and stuff.) But the guys in the ads are all exuberantly heterosexualthere’s usually a strategically placed girl, or a part of a girl, somewhere in the frame. (Let’s play spot the female!)

A&F boys (in ads) are comfortable naked around each other because the A&F boys (in ads) are not just equally and impossibly beautiful, they’re also equally and impossibly heterosexual. So they can romp naked in their locker rooms, lacrosse fields, and pasturesboxer shorts slung around their neckswithout worry because no upsetting male-on-male desire exists in the A&F universe. These guys aren’t sex objects to each other. They’re buds, and they’re safe around each othera little assgrabbing won’t be misunderstood, right?

Gay guys who wear A&F want to visit that care- and homo-free universe. (Many of us copped a few feels in it before we came out.) It’s not they want to live in a world without homosthey do notbut they want to look like they could live there. They want to believe that they, too, are impossibly beautiful enough and straight-acting enough to pass.

For these guys, I’m afraid, news of the A&F’s anti-gay business policies will only reinforce the appeal of the brand. HRC wants us all to know that no self-respecting gay guy would wear A&F.

But already know that, however, and that’s precisely why we wear A&F.

Re: Transit + Roads = Single Subject?

posted by on December 6 at 3:29 PM

Earlier today, I Slogged the news that there’s a move to combine Sound Transit expansion and RTID roads expansion into one ballot initiative.

Here’s some proof, from a recent poll, that RTID would be getting the better end of that marriage:

Sound Transit Poll taken within the RTA district boundary, on October 14-17, by Evans-McDonough, sample-size 800, margin of error + or - 3.5 points. “I’m going to read you a list of public organizations. Please tell me if you have a strongly favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or strongly unfavorable opinion of each one. If you have never heard of one, please just say so.

9. Sound Transit

Strong Favor 25%

Some Favor 40%

Some Unfavor 11%

Strong Unfavor 10%

Can’t Rate 8%

Never Heard 5%

Ratio 3.0 to 1

13. RTID, or the Regional Transportation Improvement District

Strong Favor 3%

Some Favor 12%

Some Unfavor 8%

Strong Unfavor 8%

Can’t Rate 15%

Never Heard 55%

Ratio 0.9 to 1

Hutcherson Trying to Repeal Gay Civil Rights Bill. (Again.)

posted by on December 6 at 2:50 PM

Over at Northwest Progrssive Institute, Andrew Villeneuve reports that eastside Pastor Ken Hutcherson has filed to run a 2007 state-wide ballot initiative to repeal the new gay civil rights bill.

NPI has obtained a copy of the text of this initiative, which does not yet have a number assigned. It was filed on November 28th, which was last week. It’s something of a clone of Tim Eyman’s failed Referendum 65, which tried to force a public vote on ESHB 2661.

Oddly enough, Hutcherson used his own name and Antioch’s church address to file the intiative.

Odd, perhaps, but not surprising.

Mayor Nickels’s Secret Agenda

posted by on December 6 at 2:36 PM

As Nancy Drew reports in the paper that comes out today (not online yet, alas), the mayor’s office, unlike the city council, doesn’t have to hold public meetings. That means that Nickels’s annual retreats, unlike the council’s, are not open to the public (or reporters). When we called to find out where the retreat was being held, the receptionist responded suspiciously, “Why do you need that information?” Then she explicitly refused to confirm or deny that a retreat was even taking place. (A hot tipper had already informed us that the mayor and 30 members of his staff were headed on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Suquamish Clearwater Resort and Casino on the Kitsap Peninsula for two days, but we wanted to confirm.)

Washington State Open Public Records Act to the rescue! Within less than a day of filling a records request with the mayor’s public information officer, we got a copy of the retreat agenda. Among the priorities: Understanding Seattle’s urban agenda; discussing the city’s leadership role in addressing global and local challenges; and rekindling “our dedication to public leadership and service.” Might we suggest adding a little transparency to that agenda?

Tragic end to lost family ordeal

posted by on December 6 at 2:34 PM

The father of the missing Kim family, who went looking for help four days ago and whose wife and kids were found alive two days ago, is dead.

Sad, sad, sad. The family missed the turnoff for a highway and ended up like this. Fucking shit.

Whiny Babies in Congress Now Have To Work Half As Much As You and Me

posted by on December 6 at 2:02 PM



Let’s all shed a collective tear for Congress, which now has to report to work by 6:30 p.m. on Monday and can leave no earlier than 2 p.m. on Friday.

“Keeping us up here eats away at families,” former two-day-a-week Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga) whined. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says.”

Right. I mean, who do you know who has to work more than three days a week? It’s against the American Way!

Tumble Outta Bed, Stumble to the Kitchen, Pour Myself a… a… Wha?

posted by on December 6 at 1:50 PM

As someone who’s gotten drunk at karaoke and tried to sing Eminemand bombed!I feel Jessica Simpson’s pain.

Smart Women

posted by on December 6 at 1:50 PM

We don’t do press release journalism at the Stranger, but in the case of the bad-ass Seattle-based Northwest Women’s Law Center, I will definitely make an exception. Despite the gay marriage lawsuit loss and despite the fact that the Stranger arts staff told me political groups weren’t eligible, I nominated NWLC for a Stranger Genius award in the organization category earlier this year.

And so, I’m happy to plaster Slog with their announcements. Verbatim:

Women’s groups encourage shoppers to think before they shop

What: Press Conference on Wal-Mart’s treatment of women and families

When: Thursday, December 7
10 a.m.

Where: Northwest Women’s Law Center, Paramount Theatre Tower Building, 907
Pine Street, Suite 500, Seattle, 98101; phone: 206-682-9552

Who: Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and representatives of Northwest Women’s Law Center, National Organization for Women, Local leaders, and grassroots activists.

Elected officials, representatives of women’s groups and others will ask shoppers to “think before you buy” in an event highlighting Wal-Mart’s mistreatment of women, families and children. They will also discuss Dukes V. Wal-Mart, the federal lawsuit against Wal-Mart, the largest gender discrimination case in U.S. history.

Wal-Mart has repeatedly broken child labor laws, punishes workers for taking a day off to care for a sick child, and fails to provide affordable health care coverage. Wal-Mart leaves over half of its workers, many of them women, without company health care. Wal-Mart has more employees on taxpayer-funded health plans than any other employer in Washington State.

Learn about Wal-Mart’s treatment of women and children here.

Spaced Out Indeed

posted by on December 6 at 1:35 PM

The PI’s lead editorial today praises the Seattle City Council for approving a “new way of looking at the automobile and its impact on the city” concluding that “the proposal has earned the support of developers, environmentalists, and affordable housing advocates.”

Unfortunately, (read the editorialit’s titled “Spaced Out”), the PI never says what the proposal is.

The proposal is this: Council wants to do away with minimum parking requirements for new commercial development. I agree with the PI that it’s an exciting move.

But here’s some advice to the PI: Next time you editorialize for a policy proposal, you might want to let readers know what the proposal is.

Would You Trust This Dark-Skinned Nanny With Your Perfect White Child?

posted by on December 6 at 1:32 PM

Today’s Seattle Times’ Life and Arts section has an ad for a background-check company called Intelius. The ad shows a dark-skinned “nanny” with a dark, frizzy pony-tail loading two perfect-looking blond-haired, blue-eyed kids into a white minivan in the suburbs. The back of her tank top reads: “Nanny for Hire. 3 Drunk Driving Convictions.”

The TV ad, which features the same scary, dark-skinned convict, dispenses with subtlety altogether, showing the woman (who appears to be Hispanic) marching her perfect white charges through the perfect white suburbs and strapping them, doe-eyed, into the back seat of a van. (It also includes a fraudulent contractor and a dude in a red sports car with a “long history of domestic violence”speaking of stereotypes):

Awesome. Why bother with subtext when you can use straight-up racism to scare readers into buying your services?

Transit + Roads = Single Subject?

posted by on December 6 at 1:11 PM

Last year, the State legislature linked RTID and Sound Transit. Voters have to approve both Sound Transit’s $9.5 billion Phase II plan (to go further north, further south, and to the eastside) and approve RTID’s $7.4 billion roads plan (expect that price tag to skyrocket when WashDOT releases the construction inflation adjusted numbers later this month) for either plan to go forward.

I think they should be de-coupled, so that voters can make a clean policy decision on transit and roads. Linking them seems a bit like last year’s GOP ploy at the federal level to link an estate tax repeal with a minimum wage increase, rather than having stand-alone votes.

Well, things are actually moving in the opposite direction: Jon Scholes, chief of staff for KC Council Member Julia Patterson, just told me that RTID attorneys are working with KC attorneys to make RTID and Sound Transit a single ballot initiative.

I’ve got a call in to Sound Transit to see how they feel about this. To me it seems like blackmailing transit voters into supporting massive roads expansion. Again, I think they should be completely separate questions.

Scholes says that polling shows voters want both roads and transit and want them coordinated. However, I’ve seen other recent polling that showed voters are more interested in funding transit than they are in funding roads or in funding the balanced approach that Scholes hyped.

Sound Transit Poll taken within the RTA district boundary, on October 14-17, by Evans-McDonough, sample-size 800, margin of error + or - 3.5 points. Question # 26: “Now I’d like to ask you about future transportation spending in Puget Sound. Please tell me which comes closest to your view.

Should invest more in roads 24%

Balanced investments in roads and transit 28%

Should invest more in transit 40%

Other/Undecided 2%

More than one 1%

None of the above 3%

Refused 1%

Update #1
Scholes just sent me some polling to back up his POV:

Evans McDonough WSDOT survey from October 2006. Sample size across three counties equaled 1600. Largest survey on transportation in the last 5 years.

Q17 Some people have said that we need a comprehensive and integrated transportation package that tackles current traffic and transit problems, balances investments in roads and transit, and anticipates the future needs of the region. In general, would you support or oppose a transportation package like this?

78% support overall in King County.

Findings (from Evans McDonough)

The concept of a comprehensive and balanced Roads and Transit package receives very strong support overall and within subregions of Puget Sound. Though support drops when voters hear the specific taxing mechanism, it rebounds once they hear the average household cost. The challenge, then, is linking the benefits of the package with this cost. There are many goals for the package that get a strong majority of voters to say they would be more likely to support the package after hearing them; the top four are that it makes needed safety improvements that it makes it easier to get around our area that it gives people options to get out of congestion that it integrates road and transit improvements to create a transportation system that works together. The strength of the package is derived from the variety within it; voters in different areas are attracted to the priorities that meet the needs of their area:

In North King, the top three items are all Light Rail

In East King, #1 is SR-520, #2 is Light Rail, and #3 is I-405

In South King, #1 is SR-167, #2 is I-405, and #3 is Light Rail

In Snohomish, #1 is safety on SR-2, #2 is widening I-5 and SR-2, and #3 is I-5 and SR-2

improvements in downtown Everett.

Update #2
Sound Transit spokesperson Ric Ilgenfritz just called back to give me Sound Transit’s position on combining RTID and light rail expansion into one ballot initiative. Ilgenfritz said: “Since we’re stuck in this marriage of convenience our board has asked us to enhance our chances of success, and [simplifying two measures into one] is one way to do that.”

The End of Irish Poetry

posted by on December 6 at 1:07 PM

The question is this: Is Irish poetry possible after Bono? Can it ever recover from his unrestrained, unbounded, ungoverned, extravagant, exuberant exploitation of it? Joycean scholars are happy to locate the Irish dialect as the source of the impressive achievements of Irish poetry in the 20th century. The poetry is from the people; it is their revenge on their conquerors (as Tricky put it in another cultural and historical context: “We will master your language.”)

The gifted writers of that colonized island built, word by word, phrase by musical phrase, a mighty bank of poetry. It was a national treasure. But in the late 20th century, Bono, the lead singer of U2, took that rich poetry to the realm of rock and there—on record, radio, music videos—wasted, squandered, spent every last word of it. In “New Year’s Day,” “Pride (In The Name Of Love),” and especially “A Sort Of Homecoming”—“And you know it’s time to go/Through the sleet and driving snow/Across the fields of morning/Lights in the distance/And you hunger for the time/Heel to time/Desire time/And your earth moves beneath/your own dream landscape”—song after song, poetry is not so much recited than exploded, dynamited into droning fragments of rock. At the end of U2’s peak, Joshua Tree, there was nothing left.

Not a death, as Auden would have it, but an insatiable pop hunger emptied Ireland of its poetry: “See the sun and burning rain/She will die and live again”; “I want to run/I want to hide/I want to tear up these walls that hold me inside”; “One man comes in the name of love/One man comes and goes”; “How long, how long shall we sing this song?”; “This desperation, dislocation, separation, condemnation, revelation, in temptation, isolation, desolation let it go.”

Tonight: “Eviscerated Western hypocrisy”!

posted by on December 6 at 12:50 PM

Capitol Hill Arts Center has long hosted the best damn stand-up comedy night in town with the worst damn name: the monthly LaffHole. The comics are young and smart and so are the audiences, so the jokes don’t have to pander to a Tacoma-type crowd. Tonight, the center kicks off an even better comedy event with, perhaps, an even worse name: Laffstraveganza. There are two shows, an all-ages one at 8 pm starring several under-21 comics and an adults-only show at 10 pm starring a bunch of cool guys, none of whom were featured in the Seattle International Comedy Festival. Tickets are $5. I’m buying one.

Headlining is Hari Kondabolu, who the Seattle Times glowingly profiled as a comic who “eviscerated Western hypocrisy with a verbal razor that had overtones of Lenny Bruce.” He tells jokes like this:

“I was a Republican when I was 7 years old. It wasn’t my fault. The symbol of the Republican Party is an elephant and I’m a Hindu. I got confused.”

Oh, snap. Eviscerated.

Oh for Fuck’s Sake

posted by on December 6 at 12:44 PM

In the comments of this post, Levide directed me to this story:

Damon Wayans became the first famous offender of the Laugh Factory’s ban on the use of the n-word, and was fined and banned from the club for three months as a result, Wayans’ publicist tells TMZ.

After the Michael Richards incident on November 17, the club decided to ban use of the word and fine comedians $20 for every offense. Wayans took the stage Sunday during a showcase of African-American comedians called “Chocolate Sundaes.” Wayans opened his routine with the line, “Give yourselves a big round of applause for coming down and supporting ‘N***** Night.’”

Michael Richards furiously calls black audience members niggers and he gets off with a voluntary tour of duty of the contrition circuit (while Seinfeld DVD sales go through the roof). Andy Dick addresses a crowd of indeterminate race as niggers and gets confused stares and his name in the papers. Damon Wayans uses the word and gets fined and banned. The fine was $320, which Wayans can easily afford half a million times over. Still, the fact that the only comedian to be legitmately punished for using “the N word” is a black man kind of makes me want to puke.

I’m far more offended by the Laugh Factory calling its Sunday-night African-American comedy showcase “Chocolate Sundaes” than by Damon Wayans saying the word nigger as many times as he wants.

Post-KKKramer Comedy: The Good and the Stupid

posted by on December 6 at 11:46 AM

So it’s been two and a half weeks since the instigation of Kramergate, wherein Kramer “Michael Richards” Kramer of Seinfeld fame repeatedly and furiously called a pair of black audience members niggers then went around issuing apologies of dubious value.

Now comes one of the key subsequent phases, wherein other comedians weigh in on the scandalwith comedy!

Case #1: The exceedingly lame and conceptually bankrupt endeavours of Andy Dick, who hopped onstage at L.A.’s Improv comedy club, grabbed the mic, and hollered at the audience, “You’re all a bunch of niggers!” Get it??? Just like Kramer!! Hyuk! (To confirm his status as an unfunny pussy, Dick followed up with an apologetic press release.)

Far funnier hay was made by Kathy Griffin, who weighed in on the Kramer fiasco during her appearance last night on Larry King Live:

KING: What do you make of the Michael Richards thing?

GRIFFIN: I think he is equal parts insane and racist. I don’t know if there is a dominant, but it’s bad….I don’t think he handled it properly. He’s, like, apologizing to everybody. And when I heard that he apologized to Al Sharpton and Jesse JacksonI know this is going to sound terrible, but didn’t it sort of sound like he just apologized to the only two black people he’s ever heard of? Come on. Who’s he going to call next, Fat Albert? That’s not the way you reach out to the community.

More to come, undoubtedly…


posted by on December 6 at 11:43 AM

There’s waterliquid water, not frozen wateron Mars.

Which means there may be life on Mars. Which means we may not be alone. Which means that creationists might have some ‘splaining to do. The creation of life on other planets doesn’t come in for a mention in Genesis.

Timelines and Deadlines

posted by on December 6 at 11:30 AM

The Iraq Study Group report is now in, but the debate about timelines and deadlines for various changes of course continues.

Meanwhile, there’s another deadline approaching, along a timeline that no one can quite predict, although this deadline now seems certain to arrive in the next few months.

The official body count for American soldiers in Iraq now stands at 2,887. The unofficial count, which is more up-to-the-minute, puts the American death toll at above 2,900.

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, whose memory was used to frighten and confuse the American people into supporting the unrelated adventure in Iraq, killed 2,973 people (2,997 if you count the missing, and a bit over 3,000 if you count the hijackers).

Sad particulars aside, the number of Sept. 11 deaths is fixed in the mind of the average American at “around 3,000.” When the body count in Iraq comes to include more than 3,000 dead American soldiers, as it will relatively soon, the cold (and generally silent) cost-benefit analysis that most people make when thinking about the war in Iraq will cease to produce an acceptable result, even for those who still think Iraq is a rational response to Sept. 11, or to the threat of terrorism in general.

When American deaths in Iraq pass 3,000 we will no longer be talking about the relative merits of “stay the course” or parsing the various definitions of “victory.” We will be talking about a project that has killed more Americans than the event whose reoccurence it was supposed to prevent.

At that point, all the lines the Bush administration has used to justify the Iraq war will be, politically speaking, dead.

I’m Gonna Be Metrosick

posted by on December 6 at 11:30 AM

It’s no secret that I hate Seattle Metropolitan magazine. It’s less clear exactly why I feel the need to read through it every single month. Is it the smug house style of the writing? The relentlessly stupid cheerleading of all the wrong parts of Seattle culture? The way that a reader can’t tell an ad from a feature? The cutesy headlines that make me believe that the editorial staff is a bunch of freshly-groomed poodles? (“Hey, there, girls, I’ve got a story about a guy who’s making a fancy espresso machine: should we call it Grounds Hero?” “Arf!” “Are you sure? Because that actually makes me think of Ground Zero, like, September Eleventh, and plus it’s a really stupid headline.” “Arf! Arf!” “Well, all right…”) Am I fascinated by Seattle Metropolitan’s Barbarella-like pandering desire to shoot for the lowest common denominator and miss…every single time?
I’ve been trying to not post about the Met, though, in hopes that it would go away faster. But this issue has an egregiously bad blurbicle. Met doesn’t have their content online, so I’m going to have to quote pretty liberally here: the blurbicle is titled “we told ya” and sub-titled “Seattle Metropolitan proves prophetic.”
It begins with this:

It feels great to be ahead of the curve. It took Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau $200,000 and 16 months to discover what everyone at this publication has known since we unveiled last March: metro is in. Yes, metronatural, the Bureau’s recently announced “destination brand position:—grand-dad used to call them “slogans”—will surely attract tourists to our “uniquely marketable combination of urban and outdoor experiences.” But it’s just the way we talk around here. In fact it’s what we metronaturally do: Promote our uniquely marketable city.

And there’s more. the body of the blurbicle contains references to Cheif Sealth as “our metro-Native American progenitor” and talks about how Pioneer Square used to be full of “prospectors and barroom gals doing the metronasty.” Seattle’s home to “people of every metronationality.” Also, it refers to how Seattleites are “funky,” which is just wrong, even without a metro stuck on it, and as an example of our funkiness it refers to Fremont, “home of the metrognome.” And if you “come down with metronatriuresis” you can go to a “metronaturapath” to be cured. It closes like this:

But enough. We and the Bureau just ask that this holiday season you take a moment to appreciate everything Seattle offers, whether you’re spinning the metrodreidle or setting up your metro-Nativity and listening to metro-Nat King Cole sing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. And will Seattle Metropolitan continue to do its part in the New Year? You metro-bottom dollar we will.

Besides the obvious fact that they’re pretending that one of the worst slogans this city full of bad slogans* has ever come up with is a great slogan that will somehow convince tourists to come and visit our city, they’re also apparently pushing to make metro- the new smurf-. What I’m wondering is: how do you write this blurbicle and not immediately want to kill yourself?

Continue reading "I'm Gonna Be Metrosick" »

UPDATE: Queen Anne QFC

posted by on December 6 at 11:24 AM

I won’t even brief you on the fight over replacing one grocery store with another up on Queen Anne Hill, except to say that well-mobilized neighbors, replete with a website and 36 media hits, have been giving the developer hell over a plan to replace the small Metropolitan Market with a much larger QFC. I slogged about the second Early Design Guidance meeting over the summer, when hundreds of people packed Queen Anne Presbyterian Church to complain about… well, everything from the tragedy of a beloved local store leaving the hill to the noise the QFC delivery trucks will create. The ruckus has died down since the summer, but Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth (QANRG) is still determined to heckle the planners into creating a project that fits their community vision.

Now, finally, the last Early Design Guidance meeting has arrived: Tonight, 6:30PM at the Queen Anne Community Center (1901 1st Ave W). I expect it to be exceptionally boring seeing as the items of discussion, after months and months of hashing out other parts of the plan, loading dock and parking configurations. But, unsurprisingly, these are hot issues for QANRG, which predicts a major negative impact from most parts of the project.

After the first round of acidic public comment, the local family redeveloping the store went back to the drawing board and made a slew of changes to make the project more in line with the neighborhood goals — including the addition of 55 upper-story apartments and two small retail spaces on the corners of the QFC. But the project is damned from the start, according to neighbors. “A lot of developers have been very proactive in their projects in coming to the community council and asking, ‘What can we develop that benefits us and also works for the community,’” says Kemp Hiatt, a QANRG leader, “[These developers] signed the lease with QFC before they discussed it with anyone. So it’s really put us in opposite corners and really given us no choice but to fight.”

So will the fight stop after the Early Design Guidance period is over? Of course not. Next up, it’s the entirely more cumbersome State Environmental Protection Act review process. Yeeha.

Wednesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on December 6 at 11:22 AM

Dan was supposed to write yesterday’s Tuesday morning sports report; however, he tells me nothing happened, so it’s my turn again.

In sports yesterday, the Sonics, confusingly, beat the Seahawks.

The Australian swim trials began a few days ago, for the first time in years without this man:


City Council member Peter Steinbrueck’s son Victor scored three points in the Seattle Prep basketball team’s loss to Chief Sealth.

And finally, hot tipper Seth Kolloen sent me a link to a video of some swishy guy named Brady. Who is this person? Is he gay? Please inform.

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s sports report, when we’ll update you on the latest news on figure skating, men’s cycling, and the environmental impact of skiing!

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 6 at 10:06 AM


From the brain productions of Dan the Automator we get Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Deltron 3030, Gorillaz, and Lovage. In the way Tarantino reanimated the dead careers of Hollywood actors (Harvey Keitel, John Travolta), Dan the Automator reanimated the dead careers of hiphop rappers (Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Kool Keith). Tonight, Chali 2na of Jurassic Five and Casual of Heiroglyphics will join the Automator on stage. Opening will be our own Common Market. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9442. 8 pm, $15 adv, all ages.) CHARLES MUDEDE

Scary Mary Poppins!

posted by on December 6 at 9:56 AM

For those who are naturally horrified by classic Disney filmsget ready to pee-pee your pants! It’s MARY POPPINS re-edited as a horror movie trailer. (And I’ll be damned if it isn’t pretty freaking creepy!)

Thanks to the Disney Blog!

The Bicycle Master Plan Meeting

posted by on December 6 at 9:22 AM

Here’s the Seattle Timesreport on last night’s Bicycle Master Plan meeting in Ballard, at which the city officially unveiled its draft of a 10-year plan to make Seattle more bike-friendly (a draft plan that was hotly debated after appearing here on the Slog last week).

Bicycle overpasses, “road diets,” bike lanes down Western Avenue in downtown, bicycle boulevards parallel to busy urban throughways like Aurora, “sharrows” on Broadway they’re all coming, according to the plan.

The Times’ take:

On the streets of Seattle, the balance of power is about to shift.

Missed last night’s meeting and want to see the plan in person (rather than online)? There will be another meeting tomorrow night from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S.

Children of India, Rejoice!

posted by on December 6 at 9:21 AM


The final price tag on this famous Givenchy dress: $807,000. That was six times the pre-sale estimate and a record figure for movie memorabilia auctions. The proceeds from the sale will go to City of Joy Aid, a charity apparently endorsed by the late Ms. Hepburn which helps poor populations in India.

A few interesting points of contrast: The lightsaber wielded by Mark Hamill in Star Wars sold for $200,600, while the kangaroo-hide bull whip cracked by Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark went for a mere $43,000. The costume Daryl Hannah wore in Bladerunner went for $18,000. Unsurprisingly, the pants, vest and tie worn by Hervé Villechaize (“Tatoo”) on Fantasy Island only sold for $600.

Morning News

posted by on December 6 at 8:43 AM

Study Buddies: The Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan, independent panel evaluating the war, presents their findings to Bush today, who says he will take them “very seriously”.

Haditha Hatred: 5 marines expected to be charged with the Haditha killings of 24 Iraqis, many of whom were unarmed women and children.

What’s your “terror score”? You’ll never know.

Banned from virtual dwellings, too: To reduce its use by sexual predators, Myspace moves to ban sex-offenders from registering profiles.

Rich People = Rich: First ever study of global household assests finds richest 1% of the population owns 40% of absolutely everything, richest 10% own 85% of everything, and half of the world’s populationthe poor halfown just 1% of everything.

Silicon Shakeup: Execs ditch Yahoo as the company changes management after being trounced by Google all year.

Norway not Nickels: Norwegian officials declare stripping is art (“it combines dance and acting”) and is therefore tax-exempt.

Grass, goosepoop, garages: Seattle Parks Dept head Ken Bounds retires.

Big box, big benefits: Litle Saigon wants community benefits if the Dearborn development goes in.

Mary Cheney: Knocked Up

posted by on December 6 at 7:46 AM

Mary Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney’s carpet-munching daughter, is pregnant. I wonder what the gay haters on the rightthey’re opposed to same-sex relationships, gay adoption, and the insemination of lesbiansare going to make of the news. Unless Cheney’s conception was immaculate, or Cheney’s butch partner is even butcher than she appears to be, Mary Cheney had some help.

It looks like the Washington Post refrained from asking the obvious follow-up question: Who’s the baby daddy? Who donated the spunk? Unknown donor? Frozen sperm? Or a known donor, a friend of Heather & Mary’s? A lot of lesbians are hooking up with gay men to make babiesthese newish arrangements were the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine piece. So was it a Republican homo donor dad? Ken Mehlmen? Ted Haggard? Mark Foley?

Inquiring minds wanna know.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

And The Oscar Goes To…

posted by on December 5 at 6:43 PM

Pete Costello of Vancouver, Washington, for his convincing portrayal of a retarded child, adolescent, and adult. It was the role of a lifetimeliterally.

Man Accused of Faking Retardation

For nearly 20 yearsever since Pete Costello was 8his mother has collected disability benefits on his behalf. In meetings with Social Security officials and psychologists, he appeared mentally retarded and unable to communicate. His mother insisted he couldn’t read or write, shower, take care of himself or drive a car.

But now prosecutors say it was all a huge fraud, and they have video of Costello contesting a traffic ticket to prove it.

”He’s like any other person trying to get out of a traffic ticket,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said Tuesday….

Barbosa filed with the court two videos of Pete Costello taken this year: In one, he allegedly feigns retardation during an interview with Social Security workers; the other is of him contesting the traffic ticket in a courtroom earlier this year.

Costello’s acting netted himor his motherover $100,000 worth of benefits over the last twenty years. He has a sister, also retarded, who may have been faking it too. She pulled down more than $200,000 worth of benefits. The authorities haven’t been able to locate Costello’s sister.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on December 5 at 5:33 PM

Look out Latvia, the Prayer Warrior has landed!


Dear Prayer Warrior,

Well, I arrived in Latvia, and after a long uneventful flight, thought we’d never survive the automobile ride from the airport. Praise God for keeping us safe!

I met a man tonight, who overheard me talking, and struck up a conversation with me. He is from Holland, and has a very successful business there, a system used in air control safety all over Europe, and even controlling the ships that come into the harbors.

Anyway, after hearing why I was there, he began asking questions, such as, “Why is the church dead?” I told him some churches were dead because there is no truth without Jesus, or religion without a Savior. He wanted to meet me again before he leaves on Saturday, to discuss this further.

Pray for an open door, and for the salvation of this person God placed in my path. What a wonderful opportunity!

Your Pastor,

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 5 at 5:24 PM

Elizabeth Kolbert (LECTURE) Elizabeth Kolbert’s continuing series in the New Yorker about global warming (her most recent essay discusses the acidification of the ocean) is popular science journalism at its most elegant. Interviewing her onstage is Tim Egan, author of National Book Awardwinning The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowlthe chronicle of yet another man-made ecological disaster. (Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 7:30 pm, $15$60.) ANNIE WAGNER

Fart Proudly

posted by on December 5 at 5:22 PM

How bad is your gas? Bad enough to bring down an airplane?

Flatulence, not turbulence forces plane landing in Nashville

American Flight 1053, from Washington Reagan National Airport and bound for Dallas/Fort Worth, made an emergency landing here after passengers reported smelling struck matches, said Lynne Lowrance, a spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority…. The passengers and five crew members were brought off the plane, together with all the luggage, to go through security checks again. Bomb-sniffing dogs found spent matches.

The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal body odor, Lowrance said. The woman lives near Dallas and has a medical condition.

The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane.

“American has banned her for a long time,” Lowrance said.

Retrofitting Viaduct: 400 Gazillion Dollars

posted by on December 5 at 4:31 PM

According to the state:

Repairing Viaduct would cost $2.3 billion, state says

Retrofitting, rather than replacing, the Alaskan Way Viaduct will cost $2.3 billion, according to a study by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The new numbers, released today, say the cost of a retrofit would be almost as much as a new elevated structure. It said T.Y. Lin has developed a plan that could retrofit the viaduct, but the costs are prohibitive.

“For an earthquake of serious severity likely to have a one in 10 chance of occurring in the next 50 years, the standard would require that the viaduct, though it might be damaged, would still be usable after repairs,” said the new state report. “T.Y. Lin’s report outlines what would be necessary to meet this standard, including new bracing and other improvements, and also strengthening the footings and piers located in the weak and earthquake vulnerable soil on which the viaduct rests.”

WSDOT estimates that replacing the viaduct with a new elevated structure would cost between $2.2 and $3.3 billion; replacing it with a scaled-back cut-and-cover tunnel would cost between $3.6 and $5.6 billion.

Backers of a retrofit have long described their preferred viaduct solution as the sensible, money-saving option. It’ll be pretty hard for them to claim that now.

My Personal Favorite Item

posted by on December 5 at 4:26 PM

Alex Ross’s iPod New Yorker music critic Alex Ross set music dorks’ hearts aflutter last year on his national iPod Tour, lecturing on 20th-century composers from Ligeti to Bjrk to Messiaen and playing samples from his iPod. Now here’s your chance to possess an Alex Rossprogrammed iPod of your very own. The venerable Ross has programmed four playlists into this very iPod Mini in his own New York apartment with his own delicate fingers. Eeeeee! Priceless! Opening bid: $1.99

The first playlist is called Silence and includes Stravinsky’s Pater Noster, Morton Feldman’s Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety, and a chunk of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (my number-one desert island record).

The second playlist is called The Twentieth Century and includes Ives, Schoenberg, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Gershwin (from Porgy and Bess), Pärt, Bjrk, the Gyrgys (Ligeti and Kurtág), and a few other diacritic-enhanced names.

The third playlist is dedicated to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and the fourth to Bob Dylan. If I were a selfish man, I’d exclude these details to make the package less interesting and improve my chances of being able to afford it. I make this sacrifice for you.

And here is a package for the slightly-less-dorky:

Get Out of Town #1Doe Bay Give nine of your closest friends the gift of a blowout party in the woods with this dream package, which includes three nights in a fantastic cabin on beautiful Orcas Island, a $100 voucher for meals in the Doe Bay Cafe (and 25 percent off more food), plus a keg of beer, courtesy of Mac & Jack’s! Holy Moses! Valued at over $1,200! Opening bid: $1.99

And here are pictures of pretty people:



Strangercrombie: We do this in remembrance of you.

Zombie Chickens!

posted by on December 5 at 4:26 PM

This is gross on several levels:

When Jim Stauffer of Petaluma saw a chicken crawling out of a mound of compost like the living dead, he knew something had changed at the egg farm next door.

“We called them zombie chickens,” Stauffer said. “Some of them crawled right up out of the ground. They’d get out and stagger around.”

Apparently, more than a half-million “spent hens”those that no longer produce eggsare euthanized and thrown on compost heaps every year in Sonoma County alone. Once upon a time, people would buy these hens and cook them; in recent years, however, the market for spent hens has collapsed.

I can’t decide what’s more disturbing: The idea of a chicken emerging from a pile of its dead comrades; the prospect of composting chickens in the first place; or the idea that a laying chicken, once its laying days are over, isn’t good for anything but fertilizer?

The “good” news is that the zombie chickens have inspired some entrepreneurs to propose alternative uses for the chickens: As to fuel to generate electricity; as feed for large reptiles like snakes and alligators; and as sausage for the poor. For now, though, all those ideas pose economic and technological challenges.

Richard Dawkins: ‘Atheists Are Nice!’

posted by on December 5 at 4:13 PM

Well, nicer than theater critics anyway:

I have scanned all three atheist sources carefully for polemic, and my honest judgment is that they are gentle by the standards of normal political commentary, say, or the standards of theater and arts critics.

The New World

posted by on December 5 at 3:58 PM

I more and more believe that Nov 7th marks the line between the end of a type of American politics that began in the early 80s and the birth of a new political era that is strange and interesting and has Obama as its leading symbol. The fact that Pastor Rick Warren invited Obama to speak to his church is a sign of the new times and a strong indication that the old marriage between Republicans and white evangelicals is heading for the rocks.

You won’t believe this, I can’t believe this, but after Obama pleaded for tolerance on the global AIDS crisis, Warren’s congregation gave him “a standing ovation.” Until now, a month after the mark of change, few of us could have imagined tolerance and white evangelicals existing in the same room.

When Rick Warren, one of the nation’s most popular evangelical pastors, faced down right-wing pressure and invited Sen. Barack Obama to speak at a gathering at his Saddleback Valley Community Church about the AIDS crisis, he sent a signal: A significant group of theologically conservative Christians no longer wants to be treated as a cog in the Republican political machine.
The Good Old Party will ultimately, and correctly, blame Bush for this political disaster. His stupidity is so loud, so disturbing that it finally woke up a section of America that was in the deepest sleep.

From Regina Hackett, Afnt Critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

posted by on December 5 at 3:57 PM

I admire (Jen) Graves wholeheartedly, and yet her enthusiasm can lead her to imply problems where there aren’t any. Reading her, I sometimes envision a cheerleader: Ok Guys! Give me an AF! Give me an N and add a T! What’s that spell? ART! (Shake of pom-poms.)

As I’m a bit of an art cheerleader myself, I warm to this tone. When I compare it to the DOA art criticism praticed at the Seattle Times, I want to shake my own pom-poms in tribute to Graves’ energy and committment. Go girl go.

Posted by Regina Hackett at December 4, 2006 4:46 p.m.

Now, I hate to imply another problem where there isn’t one, god knows. But for the sake of afnt in Seattle, and amity between afnt critics, can somebody tell me what this means?

UPDATE: So I just talked to Regina. She says a copyeditor at the P-I once told her she was the worst speller in the history of the paper, and she believes him. She simply meant to write A-R-T. “When it comes to me, it’s Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation is the right one,” she said. “I’m not Charles Mudede.”

Charles laughed one of those great Mudede laughs when he heard this.

I felt sure that my problem-implying problem would have me yelling out the wrong letters as a cheerleader. I need a drink.

Mystery solved.

Hidden Costs

posted by on December 5 at 3:21 PM

As you know, both the costs for Nickels’s tunnel and the costs for rebuilding 520 skyrocketed thanks to updated construction inflation. Nickels’s tunnel, for example went from costing between $2.2 billion and $3.3 billion to now, between $3.6 and $5.5a potential 66 percent increase.

The other projects that are part of the RTID packagelike SR 167 and the Cross Base Highwayalso got an inflation reality check. But WashDOT isn’t releasing those numbers.

The numbers exist, I was told by a WashDOT spokesperson Hadley Green, but she explained that WashDOT is waiting until Governor Gregoire releases her budget on December 18 before unveiling the new numbers. The apparent logic: The Governor’s budget will have an impact on RTID’s project choices.

But the numbers exist?
And the public can’t see them yet?

We’re doing a public records request so we can take a peek.

I just talked to another WashDOT spokesperson, Joy Carpine, who says her colleague got it wrong. The numbers are not ready yet.

Spidey senses are tingling.

That’s Right, Motherfuckers

posted by on December 5 at 2:30 PM


Thanks to Keith for my first super-exciting Christmas gift of 2006.

Koran is the new Christmas

posted by on December 5 at 2:20 PM

Remember last year when the holiday season brought warnings of a “War on Christmas,” or some such nonsense?

Well, in case you’ve missed it, this year the absurdist wing of the religious right has delivered unto the American media a raging pre-Christmas “debate” about whether America’s first Muslim Congressman, Democrat Keith Ellison of Minnesota, has a right to take his ceremonial oath of office using a Koran.

“No!” says Dennis Prager, who is, unbelievably, a Presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

Prager has, of course, been denounced by Muslims, Jews, and just about everyone else.

But he’s also played, with apparent relish, his part in what is becoming an annual American ritual: Taking some time out from the busy Christmas season to engage in a bit of old-fashioned xenophobia.

Attention shoppers: Nativism is the new nativity scene.

Lies and Lying Liars

posted by on December 5 at 1:54 PM

From the corrections in today’s Seattle Times:

Does photo from October provide evidence crane was leaning?: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Jana Downing is 31 years old. She inadvertently provided an incorrect age for a story about the Nov. 16 crane collapse in Bellevue. She is 32 years old.

People do not “inadvertently” provide false information about their ages to members of the press. I suspect that Ms. Downing shaved a year off her age intentionally. Vanity, vanity. Lying about your age is an unforgivable sin and I hope that Ms. Downing is ashamed of her aged self.


posted by on December 5 at 1:31 PM

Bethany Jean Clement, she of the intimidating vocabulary, has discovered this one for me: albedo. Follow that link and click on that little red speaker icon thing and a man will say it for you.

I may use it in an adventure article I’m writing for next week’s Stranger, if I can figure out a way to make it sound not totally pretentious.

For now, please enjoy some random photos of excellent albedo:




All hail albedo!

Then It’s a Tie, Right?

posted by on December 5 at 1:27 PM

This morning Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s nominee for Defense Secretary, told the U.S. Senate that he did not believe we are winning the war in Iraq.

This afternoon George W. Bush’s Press Secretary, Tony Snow, told the White House press that the George W. Bush respectfully disagrees with his… own… nominee… for Defense Secretary.

Q: …The President has said, we are winning. You from that podium said, we’re winning —

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q: — but we haven’t won.

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q: [Gates] said — he agreed that we are not winning. So how is that consistent —

MR. SNOW: And he also said we’re not losing….

The Heart of the Wolf

posted by on December 5 at 1:19 PM

He walked onto the bus (number 4, heading up to the CD from Downtown), sat on the seats across from mine, and began knitting. He was about 25, white, tall, dressed in black, with short black hair, and boots on his feet. His knitting needles were long, fat, and slowly materializing a thick something that shall (or shall fail to—more likely the latter) keep some member of the body warm. Because he recently learned how to knit, every part of his being—his mind, his eyes, his hands, his fingers—was lost in the process itself. He was nowhere else but in the knitting.

Now, what is the meaning of this? Why is the young man engaged in a painfully boring practice that is distinctly coded as a practice for painfully bored housewives and old women? What is he really after? Surely, he is not enjoying the knitting itself; the pleasure or the satisfaction must be derived from other areas in the realm of our culture.

I have two conjectures: One, this is a form of cultural colonialism. The young man, who is in a specific position in this society, is appropriating a practice or custom that is naturally a part of a lower position in the social order. We can all agree that no poor man (or woman, for that matter) would ever take knitting up as a hobby; he/she would only do it for money, for survival, for clothes they actually need. For the poor, knitting has a use value; for a man in his position, it has a value that is even more rarefied than that of a collector. The collector, in the primary sense, collects objects, whereas the man who knits for the sake of knitting is collecting work—the labor that makes objects. But even more than class appropriation, there is a gender one as well. As if all the things men can do in this society were not enough, there is now the domain of women to conquer and absorb.

The other conjecture: This is a clever bird trap. The bird the young man has in mind would, upon seeing him knitting (the trap), think that he is already domesticated, nothing left of him to tame, to break, to beat, to nag into submission. He is a young man I can bring home and bake cakes with, grow flowers with, make the bed with, wash dishes with, shop with, cry with, and watch my pregnancy with. But this man is not your future man; he is a man with a needling trap for catching what Lauren Hill calls “that thing.” His heart is my heart—and my heart is the heart of the other knowing men on that bus. We know what he is up to. The young man is nothing more than a wolf dressed up in granny practices.

New David Lynch Trailer!

posted by on December 5 at 1:18 PM

Calling all fans of director David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, etc.) and all things WEIRD. Here’s the trailer for his newest mind-fucker entitled INLAND EMPIRE. And it looks MUY CREEPY! Augghh! There’s weird guys in suits wearing rabbit heads! Augghh! There’s a gooey pancake face guy! Augghh! There’s drunk mom from Twin Peaks! Augghh! There’s confused Laura Dern! AUGGHHHH!

The New Journalism

posted by on December 5 at 12:30 PM

I know I’m one day late on this, but yesterday’s Washington Post brought an interesting vision of the future of journalism.

It’s a vision being pushed by the Gannett newspaper chain, and it involves spending a lot of time in your car, laptop computer plugged into cigarette lighter, writing about community news like, say, the local chamber of commerce’s new fundraising calendar.


Does a company even need trained journalists for such an enterprise? It’s a question Reuters is now asking in a slightly different context. In their opinion, anyone can be a photojournalist.

Today Trans Fats, Tomorrow Feces?

posted by on December 5 at 10:49 AM

The New York Health Board voted today to make New York City the first in the US to ban the use of trans fats in restaurants. Maybe the health board can vote tomorow on banning feces in Taco Bell tacos?


Mmm… deadly…

Obliteration Drunks

posted by on December 5 at 10:27 AM

Check out this story in today’s Seattle Times. It seems the county has discovered that being homeless can severely shorten your life expectancy. Homelessness also throws up a lot of “barriers to early and preventive health care.” No shit. Not having a place to live, any health insurance or money, and no means of transportation can really screw up a person’s health care regimen. How much did we spend on this study?

Now before I go all Sound Politics on your asses, let me say that I’m good lefty liberal on this issue. I’m for services for the homelessfor lots of services, and for lots of reasons. My son’s mother was a homeless street punk, and I know from homelessness. But I have an issue with the dangerously high levels of credulous liberal guilt slopping around in Warren King’s piece in today’s Seattle Times.

Here’s the headline:

94 deaths of homeless people highlight lack of care

And here’s the guilt…

“Like previous studies of homeless deaths, the causes … continue to reflect the harsh realities and risks faced by those who live on the streets and in shelters chronic health conditions, traumas and the troubling role of alcohol and drugs,” the report said.

King County has about 8,000 homeless people. Public Health nurses and substance-abuse experts seek them out in shelters and on the streets to try to steer them toward care at community health clinics and at Harborview Medical Center.

But other factors get in the way, including mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction and a lack of transportation to the clinics, Wilson said.

“They all cause delays in care,” she said. “It can be very challenging.”

Only about one-third of the King County homeless people who died in 2005 had seen a health-care provider during the year, the report said.

The role that substance abuse plays in the deaths of the homeless is not downplayed; however, the gist of the piece seems to be this: If there were only more services, if we would only spend more money, if only there wasn’t such a “lack of care” around here, we could have saved the lives 94 homeless people who died in King County last year. If there were only more clinics or more transportation options or more money, all those dead homeless people would have lived to a ripe old age.

Again, I’m for services for the homeless. But let’s not delude ourselves. Of the 94 deaths in King County last year, only one was from exposure to the elements (hypothermia). The largest single killer of the homeless was was alcohol abuse (30 deaths), another six deaths were attributed to substance abuse, and many of the other reported deaths involved booze or likely involved booze: cirrhosis of the liver (2 deaths), accidents (10 deaths), cardiovascular disease (14 deaths). And, hey, what were the blood-alcohol levels in the person who died of hypothermia?

What the report and King’s story fail to acknowledge is the fact that many of the homeless who died last year had been trying to kill themselves, probably for years, but only finally managed to succeed in 2005.

Reading King’s piece reminded me of this bit of sober-minded analysis by longtime Stranger contributer Sean Nelson:

But what few are willing to accept is that no matter how many shelters or social programs are put in place to help the diseased, there is a particular strain of the disease that defies help. Not resistsall alcoholics resist being helpeddefies. And as any successful recovering alcoholic (or anyone who has known an unsuccessful one) will tell you, the only way a person can stop drinking is to want to. People who don’t want to can’t be helped. Period.

Trying to help an obliteration drunk isn’t like trying to save a person from drowning, it’s like trying to save an anchor from drowning. Many of the causes may be socioeconomic, and the condition is certainly compounded by the brutal inertia of street life, but the fundamental problem is a personal one; it only becomes a social problem when the numbers start to swell, as they will in times of recession. The issue transcends class, for while the drunks occupy the economy’s lowest layer, not all of them came from there. It transcends race, though the most visible sufferers are ethnic minorities. And it transcends social programs, though those programs are often the only things keeping the drunks alive. But as we’ve seen, the shelters and hygiene centers, soup kitchens and street ministries are little more than stopgaps between bottles. Despite the large Christian influence on the social-assistance front, the phrase “past praying for” comes to mind.

This is why the city’s attempts to “do something about the drunks” can never be more than a finger in the dike; certain desires can’t be governed. The drunks, despite their pathos, are in fact acting out a right more fundamental than life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness: the right to destroy themselves. For many, it’s the only act of will they can muster. No amount of legislation, charity, conservative menace, or liberal concern can stand in the way of a drunk with a death wish.

The gist of King’s piece, the county’s study, and that headline in particular is this: Society somehow failed these 94 people. Well yes, some of them probably. But not even half. But the fact that a certain number of street drunks with death wishes manage to off themselves every year is not an indictment of our society. We need to provide services (we do provide services), we need public health officials working on the problem, and we need to make sure there’s help out there so that the street drunks who want help can get help. We need to save the lives we can.

But we need not pretend that we can save every life, that it’s just a matter of more money and more services and more nurses and more transportation options.

We have to recognize that there are limitslimits to what we can spend, and limits to the good it will do. Even with unlimited budgets and endless stream of resources, there will still be homeless people drinking themselves to death on the streets. And we have to recognize some of these deathmany of them, perhaps mostfor what they are: suicides.

Chick with Harp Rocks the Showbox

posted by on December 5 at 10:20 AM


Last night I was among the crowd that packed the Showbox to see singer/songwriter/harpist Joanna Newsom, and she was incredible.

Everything about Newsom’s art seems designed by God to repel me. Her voice sounds like Iris DeMent crossed with Bjork, her songs feature lyrics in Olde English, and she plays a motherfucking harp. Lucky for her and for me, she’s a genius, a true original, making music that’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard and is totally intoxicating.

(Actually, it’s her new record, Ys that’s totally intoxicating; her first record, The Milk-Eyed Mender, just gave me a light buzz.)

I’d end this post by urging all of you to go buy Ys right now, but I know better. Newsom’s peerlessly idiosyncratic musical style divides listeners into lovers and haters, and I’ve already guessed wrong with a couple of friends whose musical tastes I thought I knew. (One of them, a die-hard Kate Bush fan, was all set to attend last night’s show with me based on my ethusiasm alone. Then she tracked down a Newsom song on the web and politely backed out. What kind of Kate Bush fan whines about another artist’s “affectedness”?)

For more info on Ms. Newsom, check out this Stranger piece by Andy Beta and this New Yorker piece by Sasha Frere-Jones. (And go buy Ys RIGHT NOW!)

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 5 at 10:17 AM

Elizabeth Kolbert (LECTURE) Elizabeth Kolbert’s continuing series in the New Yorker about global warming (her most recent essay discusses the acidification of the ocean) is popular science journalism at its most elegant. Interviewing her onstage is Tim Egan, author of National Book Awardwinning The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowlthe chronicle of yet another man-made ecological disaster. (Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 7:30 pm, $15$60.) ANNIE WAGNER

Castle Nowhere

posted by on December 5 at 9:55 AM

In the current issue of the Believer, our own Jen Graves has a wonderful, moody piece about Washington’s Maryhill Museum of Art, its wild history, and its double, which appeared this past summer thanks to Stranger Genius Award winners Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo.

If you know the Believer you’ll be familiar with its helpful list-making. Here is the Believer’s list of topics discussed in Jen’s piece:

DISCUSSED: The World’s Most Isolated Art Museum, Feisty Apparitions, The Docile Promise of Classicism, Highly Irregular Architecture, Scaled-Down French Haute Couture, Failed Quaker Communities, Le Petit Trianon, The Full-Size Concrete Replica of Stonehenge, Gordon Matta-Clark, Scaffolding as Process, Louis XIV’s Marble Fireplace, Sam Hill’s Folly, Stendhal Syndrome, The Crown Prince of Belgium, Plumbism

Ummm… Is It Britney and Paris?

posted by on December 5 at 9:51 AM

In today’s Page Six gossip column, they are running what is perhaps the most obvious “blind item” EVER. Aren’t the point of these things to disguise the situation enough to protect the paper from lawsuits? Well, check out this sordid tale of cocaine and lesbianism for yourself!

WHICH recently separated celeb has a new habit to go along with her new friends? The cutie is spending way too much time in the bathroom of the many clubs she visits, hoovering down cocaine that her pals supply her with … WHICH hard-partying Hollywood starlet has club cocktail waitresses fueling rumors of rehab by whispering that the actress cuts her coke with strawberry Quik? … WHICH new pair of best friends are actually more? When they get back to their hotels or homes, the clothes come off.

WOW. I wonder who they’re talking about. How about a couple more clues: And WHICH former pop star that we’re talking about also has a Caesarian scar that runs above the vagina she was flashing all last week? And WHICH pal in question has a name that rhymes with “Blarest Schmilton”?
(Though I will admit I didn’t know that Britney likes strawberry Quik. I do too!)


Bush Intentionally Needled Webb About His Son

posted by on December 5 at 9:03 AM

There’s been a lot of screaming and yelling about whether or not Democrat James Webb, the incoming freshman senator from Virginia, was rude to our beloved president. Here’s the exchange:

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia’s newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn’t long before Bush found him.

“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly…

The right wing haters have been screaming about how awfully, terribly, monumentally rude James Webb was to George W. Bush. Love or hate himand most Americans hate himBush is the only president we’ve got, and what about respect for the office of the presidency?! And Webb was at a White House reception! And he was rude to his host! In the host’s own house! Tsk-tsk. (Waitdidn’t the wingers run around during the Clinton impeachment screaming about how the White House was our house, the American people’s house, and not Clinton’s house?)

Well, guess what? Today we learn that Bush was warned to be “extra sensitive” about asking Webb anything his son. While Bush’s partying daughters were causing a diplomatic row in Argentina, Webb’s son had a close call with a car bomb and almost died the day before in Iraq. But Bush being Bushand being Bush means being an assholecouldn’t resist the opportunity to piss on Webb.

As the WP reported, Webb tried to avoid Bush but “it wasn’t long before the Bush found him.” So Bush sought Webb out, and asked him about his son. And then when the Dear Leaders didn’t get the nice, polite, reassuring response he believes he deserves (“He’s fine, Mr. President! He’s loving his time in Iraq!”), Bush scolded Webb. And Webba Democrat with a spinewasn’t having it. Good for Webb.

“Nazareth is kind of a shithole, but it’s home.”

posted by on December 5 at 9:00 AM

You say you haven’t read Lindy West’s hilarious takedown of The Nativity Story in this week’s paper? Well get to it!

Morning News

posted by on December 5 at 8:25 AM

Hey! What’s the new giant gov’t plan that will spend at least $17 billion a year but has “no cost estimate” and establishes permanent bases? Nothing to do with Iraq, everything to do with moon bases. Moon bases. Involving lunar landers and polar craters.

Gates Opens: Hearings begin for a new defense secretary. Asked if the US is winning in Iraq, Bush’s top candidate, Robert Gates, says, “No, sir.”

Getting rid of Big Government: Fiji’s president dissolves the country’s Parliament, apparently in conjuction with a military coup. The Prime Minister is holed up in his office, refusing to leave.

Married at 4, murdered at 12: In Afghanistan, much-needed women’s shelters are open, but always in danger of attack from angry husbands… and the patriarchal justice system.

Photo developments: Using photographs and video it says proves Hezbollah fired on soldiers from residential neighborhoods, Israel defends itself from war crime accusations.

“Bush is the Devil” candidate re-elected in Venezuela, but Latin America is actually more moderate as a whole.

Obey God, buy me a jet: Fundie fraud Benny Hinn asks followers to send in $1,000 each toward the purchase of his Gulfstream “ministry tool” which will be christened Dove One.

More photo developments: The Department of Justice begins an investigation of sexual abuse and inadequate disease control at King County Jail, where last week a guard was convicted of photographing an inmate’s breasts.

Homeless deaths continue to rise in Seattle — in 2005, there were 94.

In hetero parents news: Drunk baby dropped off at a hospital in America’s homo-hating capital, Colorado Springs.

2005 vs. 2006

posted by on December 5 at 1:00 AM

I’m high… and listening to Puccini’s Tosca.

Yesterday, I reminded the Slog about Yahoo’s 2005 Top Ten Searches list.

Well, I get home tonight to find that the 2006 list was released today.

Compare and contrast. And discuss! And… who is Chris Brown?


1. Britney Spears
2. World Wrestling Entertainment
3. Shakira
4. Jessica Simpson
5. Paris Hilton
6. American Idol
7. Beyonce Knowles
8. Chris Brown
9. Pamela Anderson
10. Lindsay Lohan


1. Britney Spears
2. 50 Cent
3. Cartoon Network
4. Mariah Carey
5. Green Day
6. Jessica Simpson
7. Paris Hilton
8. Eminem
9. Ciara
10. Lindsay Lohan

Footnote on Yahoo’s poll:

Yahoo! included blogs and bloggers as a category for the first time, and was tops. The self-proclaimed “Hollywood’s most-hated Web site” is all about celebrity gossip, rumor and innuendo.

Other blogs in the Top 10 include Huffington Post,, Daily Kos, Little Green Footballs and Gawker.

The Drudge Report would have beaten them all, Early said, except that “our editors consider Drudge to be too mainstream to be a blogger.”

Monday, December 4, 2006

Licata on the Mayor’s Nightlife Legislation: Not This Year

posted by on December 4 at 10:07 PM

City Council president and public-safety committee chair Nick Licata says he’ll consider Mayor Greg Nickels’s proposed nightlife restrictionsbut not this year. “Next year, I’ll take a look at it,” Licata said today. “I’m not necessarily sitting on it forever, but I do want to give it serious consideration.” Licata said he’s concerned the legislation is “broader than it needs to be.” Among other things, the proposal would require club owners to patrol the area outside their clubs for crime and litter; prevent violent criminal activity; and keep noise to a level inaudible “to a person of normal hearing” standing 75 or more feet away. It would also apply to nearly 300 clubs and bars throughout the city.

Lost family found! … partly

posted by on December 4 at 6:52 PM

Since November 25th, the Kim family seemed to have just disappeared. The family of four (James Kim, an editor at CNET, Kati Kim and their two young daughters) were driving from Seattle to San Francisco and after stopping for dinner at a Denny’s outside Roseburg, OR, they never made it to their reserved hotel or back home to San Francisco.

A massive search effort ensued and just hours ago, a helicopter hired by the Kims’s family spotted Kati waving an umbrella near from near “Bear Camp Viewpoint” (elevation: 4,200 ft.) in southern Oregon. James left the family two days ago to get help, apparently, and has still not been found.

That’s all the information news agencies have for now: no word on how they went missing in the first place, the condition of Kati and the kids, or where the hell James could be.

Anyway, part one of the mystery is resolved, so you can all take one half-sigh of relief. No aliens, no kidnappers, so horrible random trail-stabbings. I hope James turns up and isn’t eating bark and freezing to death somewhere.

Wait, Wasn’t I Writing a Novel?

posted by on December 4 at 6:45 PM

Yes, yes, in fact I was. And I did, in fact, write the whole goddamned thing, from beginning to end. I passed the fifty thousand word mark on Thanksgiving and I wound up just shy of 65,000 words on the thirtieth, making my novel almost 15,000 words longer than The Great Gatsby (confidential to F. Scott Fitzgerald: take that!) I’ve spent the four days since, well, drinking. And now I feel practically normal again.
As I said in previous posts, this is my third completed novel. What have I learned? A full accounting after the jump.

Continue reading "Wait, Wasn't I Writing a Novel?" »

More Good News from the Forgotten War Zone

posted by on December 4 at 6:17 PM

In today’s NYT:

Five years after the fall of the Taliban, a joint report by the Pentagon and the State Department has found that the American-trained police force in Afghanistan is largely incapable of carrying out routine law enforcement work, and that managers of the $1.1 billion training program cannot say how many officers are actually on duty or where thousands of trucks and other equipment issued to police units have gone.

For Hardcore Junkies Only

posted by on December 4 at 6:07 PM

A good friend of minea whip smart researcher for a fancy Wall Street firmis pretty obsessive about politics, and he just did his own poll of colleagues, family and friends (nationwide) to come up with betting odds on which Democrat and which Republican will get their party’s nomination in ‘08. (This guy is also a bit of a gambler.)

I was one of the people he polled, so, you may want to discount his research right off the bat, but here’s his current odds. And at the end, he does a little analysis.

Democratic Party Nomination odds (X:1)

1) Hillary Clinton 1.8
2) Barack Obama 2.7
3) John Edwards 8.7

4) Al Gore 13.0
5) Evan Bayh 15.2
6) Wes Clark 28.3
7) Joe Biden 29.0
8) John Kerry 35.8
9) Howard Dean 73.1
10) Tom Vilsack 170.4
11) Harold Ford, Jr. 186.5
12) Janet Napolitano 192.5
13) Tim Kaine 192.5
14) Bill Richardson 199.0
15) Andy Stern 5999.0
16) Jennifer Granholm 5999.0

Republican Party Nomination odds (X:1)

1) John McCain 1.8
2) Rudy Giuliani 3.7
3) Mitt Romney 6.2

4) Jeb Bush 13.3
5) Newt Gingrich 24.0
6) Dick Cheney 26.3
7) Mike Huckabee 33.9
8) Chuck Hagel 36.5
9) Bill Frist 38.7
10) Condoleeza Rice 53.5
11) Sam Brownback 71.3
12) Colin Powell 84.7
13) Bill Owens 192.5
14) George Pataki 399.0
15) Dick Armey 499.0
16) George Allen 544.5
17) Patrick Fitzgerald 544.5
18) Duncan Hunter 544.5
19) Tim Pawlenty 544.5
20) Mark Sanford 544.5
21) Tom Tancredo 544.5

Obviously Frist is now out. Interesting stuff: Obama is really close to Hillary. Al Gore could make things interesting if he announces. Guys like Vilsack and Richardson are toast, in my opinion. Jeb Bush is way too high, he may get a chance, but not the next go round - people need a break from “Bush.” I wonder if Condy Rice could shoot up to #2 or #3 if she announced? From this list it looks like the Republicans will pragmatically swing towards the middle (McCain, Giuliani, Romney). I’m not so sure they will though - it wouldn’t surprise me if guy like Huckabee or Brownback consolidates the religious and far right vote as a counter to McCain or Giuliani. McCain is obviously trying to veer right to head off that strategy. If Obama jumps in, I think a bunch of those dems should just drop out - Obama will siphon off tons of money and talent.

An Open Letter to Thomas Hardy

posted by on December 4 at 5:31 PM

Dear Thomas Hardy,

On behalf of dim book critics everywhere, sorry.


PS—It’s pretty cool that your heart is buried in one place and the ashes of the rest of your body are buried somewhere else.

PPS—Nice moustache.

A Little Help?

posted by on December 4 at 5:00 PM

One of my many duties here at The Stranger is to receive, read, and generally ignore all kinds of technical advice and criticism regarding our website.

Today came this puzzling missive. Perhaps some of you sharp-witted Slog readers can help me figure out what in god’s name this person is talking about.

Whey don’t you take dechoise off you list they are a fraud I sent all information to your clams with attached email and yet the remain why????/? when will complaint be handled

If you are the writer of this note, please rest assured that our clams have received the information you sent, but, being clams, they are often slow to handle such complaints. Patience. If dechoise are indeed a fraud, we’ll get ‘em.

What to Give the Iraqi This Christmas Who Already Has Every Kind of Abuse?

posted by on December 4 at 4:49 PM

The answer to that question is: a coat of pinkish-purple paint covering his entire body, so he looks like a cross between Barney the Dinosaur and My Little Pony.

Yes, that is the treatment of choice by some anonymous vandals who last night painted Michael Magrath’s salt sculptures of Iraqi men and boys a vomitous shade of pinkish purple. The sculptures have been standing outside in Occidental Square since September.

Magrath, who has already had to defend his sculptures from the idiots at various news outlets who called them memorials to the American victims of September 11, now probably will have to take them down before they have a chance to fully melt. They were made with a salt-based material that was intended to melt, poignantly, to nothing. In the first few months, appendages had already begun to drop off, and the effect was powerful and creepy.

This from Magrath:

I just wanted to put out that this act of vandalism is not part of the intent of the artist, who finds the alteration incomprehensible. It’s not like it suggests blood or anything. That would at least have been a commentary. It’s a kind of pink or plum color. Like Christo’s island. It’s just stupid-looking. Unfortunately the outcome is that the sculptures will likely now be removed prematurely, as they cannot be cleaned, and the effect of the paint is to alter the work beyond recognition. Other than that, the city has been so amazingly kind to these figures. I am truly astounded at the outpouring of dismay. I am working now on recasting these figures and installing them in NYC soon, btw.

I agree with the “just stupid-looking” line of thinking. The only redeemable reason for this would be if it’s some kind of absurdist anti-statement-statement, and even then, the fact that it shuts down the actual function of the piece is contemptible. I’m having a bad day already, so I’m falling on the side of screw you, vandal, whoever you are and whatever you meant or didn’t mean. I for one wanted to see these things melting.

Here’s the sad spectacle now:



Rep. Judy Clibborn is New State House Transportation Chair

posted by on December 4 at 4:46 PM

Last week, I got the list of State House Democrats that were in the running to replace Rep. Ed Murrray (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-Distrcit, Wallingford) as transportation chair. (Murray is moving to the Sate Senate.)

My colleague Erica C. Barnett has confirmed that Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Is./Parts of Bellevue, Issaquah & Renton) just got the gig.

Clibborn is one of the Democrats who signed a recent letter to Gov. Gregoire denouncing Nickels’s tunnel project.


posted by on December 4 at 4:06 PM

So this is what SAM was after.

Copley jpeg medium.JPG

Since May, Seattle Art Museum has sold $2.35 million in American art at auction, and a portion of that money went to pay for this painting, John Singleton Copley’s Sylvester Gardiner (circa 1772).

In a recent conversation, SAM American art curator Patti Junker told me that major early American paintings were so expensive that they were “out of the question.” I guess all I can say to that is: um, not?

Sylvester Gardiner, measuring 40 by 50 inches, pictures a physician and real-estate developer born in Rhode Island who happened to be on the wrong side of the American Revolution (which meant he fled to Nova Scotia after 1776), unlike Copley’s other famous subject from his American period, Paul Revere (who comes off in Copley’s portrait a bit like a hobbit).

From SAM’s release:

The subject, a distinguished surgeon of admirable intellect, was a good friend of the artist’s in Boston, and their warm personal relationship may account for the extraordinary human presence that this painting conveys. Copley portrayed Gardiner simply as a man of seeming curiosity and bemusement. The portrait may have been the result of a business agreement; Gardiner had sold Copley property on Beacon Hill, and perhaps Copley painted the portrait as partial payment for those lots.

Copley was widely revered as a painter in the colonies prior to his departure for London in 1774. (He was primarily self-taught, and there’s an endearing strain of awkwardness to his portraiture before he decamped to Europe and joined the Royal Academy of Art in Britain.)

Of the portraits Copley painted between 1771 and 1774, “all but Sylvester Gardiner made their way into museum collections long ago,” according to the museum. “This work remained, in its original frame, in private hands until its recent acquisition for the Seattle Art Museum.”

Copley’s lack of expressed political conviction in this tumultuous time in Boston is partly explained by his careerism as a painter. He was known as the foremost portraitist in Boston, so he strained at neutrality and painted both patriot and loyalist subjects in various manners in the years leading up to his departure for Europe in 1774. In the end, at least circumstantially, he sided with his father-in-law, one of the merchants whose stuff was dumped in the Boston Tea Party, and other loyalists, in signing a letter against the patriots’ non-importation act. Copley never returned to America after he left.

The press release announces that this is SAM’s first 18th-century portrait, and it is probably one of the very few Copleys on the West Coast. In those terms, it is certainly the type of treasure the museum has been promising to buy in exchange for the paintings it has sold lately, including two Hartleys, a Marin, and a Cassatt. Funds from those sales were cobbled together to purchase Sylvester Gardiner from an unnamed private collection, and donors pitched in, too, but judging from the few auction records I could find for Copley paintings (around $400,000), the museum still has plenty of money to play with in the American department.

What should I say about whether the exchanges were worth it? Two thoughts come to mind. One, I never got to see the Hartleys, the Marin, or the Cassatt, except in reproduction. (An aside: As veteran P-I critic Regina Hackett pointed out to me privately recently, the museum did have one of the Hartleys on display a few years ago, even though the museum’s own exhibition records show that the painting in question had never been out of storage since coming to the museum. The museum’s response to this oversight is that exhibition records only record showings that generate scholarship, or catalogs, and that they don’t include permanent collection exhibitions. This, according to the museum, is standard practice in the industry. Well, so was keeping sales a secret, and that was wrong, tooso wrong that SAM has admirably changed its position and agreed to publicize its sales in annual reports. Hey, SAM, can I offer another request?: How about compiling real exhibition records for artworks? Otherwise, it’s impossible to determine which parts of your collection you value enough to include in rotating collection shows over time. That’s historically and culturally important, don’t you think?)

Because I never got to see those paintings, and because I’ve never seen Sylvester Gardiner eitherany more than you haveI can hardly throw out an educated opinion on which paintings are more appealing. And it’s arguable whether, say, Hartley or Copley is a better and more important artist for a West Coast museum to own in the year 2006. But in most cases at SAM, the museum hasn’t had to choose. It has kept other Hartleys and Cassatts, for example, and added Copley, and a whole vital segment of American history with him, to the roster.

My second thought is about museum sales in general. (In her blog, Hackett declares the subject too boring to give any time to. I’m torn; I have a secret fear that she’s right, but I also find it rather a more colorful corner of wonkery than most.) Bloggers like Tyler Green and Lee Rosenbaum seem opposed to most sales on principle, and they make good arguments. No matter how good the intentions of a museum, its decisions are always based on the subjective reasoning of a particular moment in time. (There was an era, for instance, when nobody would have cared whether Hartley took a hike; now it seems nobody cares whether a regional-period Hartley takes a hike.)

Yet hanging on to anything and everything by a name artist evokes the same spirit of hero worship that drives stale blockbuster shows. Isn’t this exactly what’s wrong with museums?

A museum like Seattle’s will never truly be encyclopedic in its collections, but that doesn’t mean that historical gaps in the collection will not be glaring if the museum intends to tell certain national stories. If SAM is to have an American department, which it now has for the first time in its history, better that the holdings reflect breadth in quality instead of shooting for skewed pockets of depth. (Not that four or five Hartleys, which is how many the museum had before it sold two, could ever constitute depth.)

I, for one, am excited to see Sylvester Gardiner. The traitor.

She’s Running

posted by on December 4 at 3:26 PM

Hillary. ‘08. Mark your calendars.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has hired a national fundraising director and a senior campaign spokesman, the latest sign the Democrat is moving quickly toward a likely 2008 presidential bid.

Bass Out of Luck

posted by on December 4 at 2:39 PM

The sweet, sweet love of Lance Bass & Reichen Lehmkuhl has joined that of Brittney & Kevin and Reese & Ryan on the ash heap of celebrity romance. Or something. Read all about it here.

Towering Tokyo

posted by on December 4 at 2:02 PM

Iconic architecture is the desert of ideas, but even I failed to resist the greatness of this proposal, which, sadly, is only a joke:
Picture 2.jpg

Ethically Challenged

posted by on December 4 at 1:37 PM

Usually, I love the Ethicist. His pithy, pun-filled responses to readers’ ethical questions are typically right-on. However, this Sunday’s column about child pornography was a total head-scratcher.

Here’s the ethical dilemma: An Internet technician found a trove of what appeared to be child pornography (“young childrenclearly less than 18, maybe early teens”) on his boss’s work computer. He asks, “Must I call the police? I think so, but I need my job.”

Cohen’s perplexing response: Since the situation is “fraught with uncertainty” (e.g., the porn might depict really, really young-looking adults; or the boss might not have paid (!) for the images, making his possession of them somehow more ethical), the technician should look the other way. Basically, Cohen’s argument is that if he turned his boss in, the boss could face icky repercussions.

Even if your boss were acquitted of criminal charges, the accusation itself imperils his job, his reputation and the company. If convicted, he faces years in prison. […]

Since you have no reason to believe your boss has had improper contact with children, you should not subject him to such ferocious repercussions for looking at forbidden pictures. […]

Your best recourse? Alas, silence.

Alas for whom, exactly? The reason our society has “ferocious repercussions” for looking at “forbidden pictures” of adults having sex with children is that the production and distribution of such images victimizes children (and promotes children’s victimization, by creating a market for it). If we aren’t talking about child porn, he hasn’t done anything illegal. Yes, porn charges would damage the boss’s reputation, but… If we are talking about child porn, the ethical obligation is to the children being victimized, not the boss’s reputation.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on December 4 at 1:30 PM

A few words from the Prayer Warrior before he heads to Eastern Europe…


Get on your prayer “horses” and begin praying as I head to Latvia. I will be meeting with church leaders, universities, goverment officials, and will be speaking at city wide rallies regarding marriage, family, and Christian influence to change society.

Pray for stamina (10 hour flight), strength and energy to complete the task that God has assigned for me there.

Your Pastor,

For the Housebound Gourmand

posted by on December 4 at 12:25 PM

Agoraphobic? Ancient and fragile? Under house arrest? Bring the restaurant to you with…

The Best Damned Dinner Party in the History of Ever: Culinary god Ethan Stowell, of downtown’s glorious Union, comes to your house to cook a feast for six. Stranger food critic and columnist Bethany Jean Clement tags along. Plus! Stellar wine pairings courtesy of Mark Ryan Winerya whole case’s worth! Priceless! Opening bid: $1.99

Strangercrombie: Coming this Thursday.

Re: Google searching and World of Whorecraft

posted by on December 4 at 12:25 PM


You spent your Friday night fucking around with a program that lets you tabulate Internet search data?

Wow, I guess you must be really really glad we convinced you to extend your summer internship and ditch your fall semester of college to stay here in exciting Seattle as a temporary Stranger news staffer thru December.

Anyway, just as interesting as ranking phrases and words by topic, is checking out the most popular topics overall on the Internet.

Yahoo published the Top-10 searches on its site in 2005. Britney Spears and .50 Cent topped their list last year.

This year, I imagine, “Congressional Page” and “Ted Haggard” will score pretty highdistilling 2006 as the year that GOP hypocrisy came home to roost. I imagine Britney Spears’s vagina” did pretty well too.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on December 4 at 11:54 AM

Brad Steinbacher is on vacation, so I’ve been appointed to write the Monday morning sports report.

Apparently, the Seahawks won yesterday. (“Clutch superstars”? A “big division lead”? Can somebody translate?)

Anyway, here’s what I’m excited about: The 2012 Olympics in London, which aims to be the first “one-planet” Olympic games.

“One-planet living,” in a nutshell, means living in such a way that we would only need a single planet to support ourselves. Currently, if everyone in the world lived the way we do in the United States, we would need five planets to support us. Therefore, for our way of life to be sustainable, we would need to reduce our ecological footprint by four-fifths. London would need to reduce its footprint by two-thirds.

Toward this goal, the London Olympics will aspire to:

• Be “zero-waste,” by diverting away from landfills all waste produced by construction and the Games themselves;

• Minimize carbon emissions by using renewable and low-emission energy sources, including a massive wind turbine that will power the Games;

Offset all carbon emissions produced by the Games, including the massive emissions produced by international air travel;

• Increase biodiversity by protecting and enhancing the wildlife and habitat of the Lower Lea Valley, where the Games will be held;

Provide low-emission transportation and transit, bicycle, and pedestrian access to all Olympic venues, while banning cars from the Games;

• Use reclaimed, recycled, and local consruction materials;

• Promote local food and compost all food waste; and

• Use recycled and reclaimed water and water-conserving appliances,

among other ecological improvements.

Obviously, there are major challenges (financial, infrastructural, practical) to actually achieving all these goals. However, I applaud London for making an effort. Efforts to reduce the impact of the Utah Olympics in 2002, in comparison, were minimal, and included things like reducing energy consumption by 25 percent, restoring 2.5 acres of wetlands, and offering trees to local citizens at a 20 percent discount.

Google searching and World of Whorecraft

posted by on December 4 at 11:25 AM

What did I spend Friday night doing? Trolling through a site that tabulates statistics for words and phrases searched on the Internet’s major search engines. It’s designed for people who want to buy Google ads (which appear on the side of the screen and relate to the words you searched) but keeping tabs on what Americans are searching reveals a lot of interesting information; it turns the internet into sort of a giant anonymous survey — what is it people really want to see?

Let’s take, for example, “whore”. The top five searched phrases including the word whore are Asian whore, teen whore, black whore, Japanese whore and myspace whore. Each of those has over 16,800 searches a month. Other races lag rather far behind — Thai whore clocks in at 11,400 and white whore is all the way down at 8,677. Still, all raced whores were searched relatively frequently. Down near the bottom of the list are “disney whore” with 3,742 (searching that takes you to down the subculture spiral of cartoon porn, which I find bizarre and surreal mostly because I’ve never thought to imagine Lilo & Stitch or Chuckie from Rugrats fucking anything) and “older fat whore” (not just old, older) at 3,458.

I’m not posting this to poke fun at what gets people off (watching Lilo porn is a way superior than chasing after actually little Lilos) but instead because I think it’s really interesting to get some sort of hard data about what Americans are into sexually. What else do we have to gauge sexual fantasies? Cosmo sex surveys and anecdotal evidence trickling out of the sex industry? Internet search engines are (relatively) anonymous, so this gives us some quantitative insight into what Americans really fetishize when they don’t have to fess up to it. Or, as Eli pointed out to me, what teenagers’ parents are desperately Googling after eavesdropping on their kids.

In other news, searching “Savage” reveals pop schlock band Savage Garden, with 1,175,594 monthly searches, is vastly more popular than any political savages. Conservative talk radio host (and, his website claims, “trained scientist”) Michael Savage, author of Liberalism is a Mental Disease, snags a frightening 126,963 searches while “savage love” and “Dan Savage” get a combined 15,547.

For your enjoyment, hot pix of Warcraft whores (searched 11,676 times a month) below the cut.

Continue reading "Google searching and World of Whorecraft" »

They Crushed Darwin, And Now They’re Going to Get Al Gore…

posted by on December 4 at 11:06 AM

Seattle’s very own Discovery Institute is hosting a talk on global warming by a “scholar” from the right-wing Hudson Institute. And guess what? This scholar believesaccording to the press releasethat “global Warming is inevitable and it’s also natural.”

For years Americans have been told that human consumption of fossil fuels is the primary cause of global climate change. But what if this hypothesis is flawed or simplistic? What if human activity is not the primary cause of global warming? Hudson Institute agricultural economist Dennis Avery will present the other side of the climate change debate at Discovery Institute in Seattle on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 from 4:30 to 6 p.m…. Discovery Institute’s offices are located at 1511 Third Avenue Suite 808 in downtown Seattle. There is no cost to attend this event. To register, please contact Annelise Davis at or call (206) 292-0401, ext. 153.

Yeah, what if the global warming hypothesis is flawed? What if we reduced our reliance on fossil fuels, developed alternative and clean sources of renewable energy, cleaned up our air, and cut back our carbon emissions all for nothing? Of course you could argue that the damage climate change will do to our world and our economy is so massive that we should err on the side of caution and side with the overwhelming majority of the science community on this one. And if it turns out they were all wrong and Avery and the creationists at the Discovery Institute were right? Well, then we’ll just have to live with the consequences of their error, I supposeyou know, cleaner air, cleaner water, less dependance on foreign oil. Won’t that be awful?

Re: Mother-In-Law Apartments

posted by on December 4 at 10:49 AM

Hey boss,

Attached accessory dwelling units have been legal in Seattle forever. DETACHED accessory dwelling units are now legal in Southeast Seattle, with the rest of the city expected to follow suit. As I, um, reported in your paper on August 10:

One citizen who testified against allowing mother-in-law apartments warned of “more people, more trash, and more crime” in the city; another said DADUs were being “dumped” on disadvantaged neighborhoods. Nonetheless, the once-controversial legislation passed 81, with only Richard McIver, who predicted “major problems,” voting in opposition.

Police Cutality

posted by on December 4 at 10:31 AM

If I die after a bunch of cops fire fifty rounds into my car…


…please God, let them be cute cops.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not making fun of the guy in New York who was sitting in his car with two friends when the police officers, who were not in uniform, charged at his car with guns drawn. Believing they were about to be carjacked, the men in the car attempted to drive off. The police opened fire since, you know, attempting to flee from strange men waving guns around is as good as a confession to a capitol crime. Fifty shots were fired into the car. Two men were injured, one man died. The dead man was supposed to be married the next day.

I’m posting this because I’m always a little amazed at how our culture lionizes copsall those TV shows, all those cop fetishists buying calendarswhile at the same time refusing to deal with or even acknowledge the reality of police brutality. Or police stupidity, as represented by the cops in Arizona who offered to let two black guys go without issuing a ticket if they would rap for the officers.

I mean, the cop shown above has really nice tits. But this seems to be a bad time to coming out with a sexy cops calendar. Scary cops is more like it.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 4 at 10:17 AM

Northwest Film Forum (HOLIDAY PARTY)

You enjoy le cinema. You enjoy parties. So what’s keeping you from the Northwest Film Forum’s annual holiday blowout? Not only will there be food and drink, not only will there be vintage holiday TV shows for the peeping, and not only will there be some sort of performance called “The Snowy Joey Christmas Show,” but our very own Annie Wagner, film editor and notorious boozehound, will be decked-out as Santa Claus. Unhappy with one of Annie’s reviews? Make sure to let her hear about it while sitting on her lap. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7 pm, FREE!) BRADLEY STEINBACHER

Dina Martina: Back with a Vengeance

posted by on December 4 at 9:15 AM


This weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending the new Dina Martina Christmas Show at Re-bar, and it was amazing. Extended touring has made the Dina Martina Experience an extremely tight and well-oiled machine, and the Christmas show is a start-to-finish knockout. The new material is prime, the recycled bits are choice and brightened by the recontextualization, and I laughed till I cried at least three different times. I tell people to go see all of Dina shows. This one you shouldn’t miss. Get your tickets here.

(And yes, that is a photo of Dina with Three’s Company Joyce DeWitt. And yes, Dina is wearing her signature brown pipe cleaner to help raise awareness for “rump cancer.”)

For those unfamiliar with the singular magic that is Dina Martina, here’s my Stranger profile of Dina creator Grady West from 1999, a treatise on the genius of Dina by Andrew Sullivan from 2006, and an astute if stuffy pro-Dina screed from

Morning News

posted by on December 4 at 8:27 AM

Largely incapable of carrying out routine police work: Pentagon reports that US-trained police in Afghanistan are failing.

Horrible mustache, even worse politics: UN Ambassador appointee John Bolton resigns after Senate Democrats block his confirmation.

Equal education: Supreme Court hears fresh arguments in Seattle schools and race case.

Masked, clanking prisoner: Videotape gives eerie glimpse of life as an imprisoned American enemy combatant.

Socialist Revolution! Leftist lightning rod! Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez unsurprisingly wins reelection.

“Be a pervert and Uncle Sam will approve”: In Egypt, politicians are making homosexuality an issue as a symbol of Western incursion and corruption.

Sales, not subsidies: Green power can actually be cheaper to produce than nonrenewable energy.

Red Light: Seattle’s four intersection cameras result in 5,500 tickets.

Fair Zoo

posted by on December 4 at 7:16 AM

Admittedly, I was expecting the worst from the Seattle Times’ staff columnist Danny Westneat. But instead he wrote a clear, calm, and fairly fair piece on what the movie Zoo is about.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Ah, the cold

posted by on December 3 at 6:20 PM

UPDATE ‘Hawks/Gulls/Hags/Shehawks win. Trolls blow. Weekly weak. See below, and greetings from Chicago. See y’all in January.

So, I’d ask where all the Stanger staffers who like sports are, but I assume they’re glued to their TVs, or too high or drunk to slog at the moment. Me, I’m still defrosting after the Bears game this afternoon, one ugly game (despite its result— Bears win NFC North), but I’ll do some Nepotism/Sports slogging to take up the Sunday night slack. All trolls are hereby advised that I don’t give a shit what they think.

I learned two things today: one, if it’s 20 F, the lovely cream-colored collar around the edge of a pint of Guiness will actually freeze, leaving a jagged ice shelf around one side of your pint as you drink it. Two, when a quarterback hits his receivers right in the hands, they’ll drop the ball. It’s like trying to catch a brick. A very cold brick. The Vikings receivers dropped a bunch of balls—the Bears receivers mostly just let the Vikings intercept—and both the Broncos and the Gulls should just concentrate on developing the running game. They’re both looking pretty brittle.

Till that last interception return, and then the fumble recovery. Even with the missed field-goal, I think the Gulls D will teach this rookie QB a thing or two, and will win. Just a prediction. Updates to come.

UPDATEOK, Seattle’s O looks as bad as the Bears’ O (hey Matt—fuck Griese, he ain’t done shit on his other 4 NFL stops, he’s born to hold a clipboard) but the Gulls’ D is looking sharp. This kind of game is, pun not intended but necessary, a slog. Keep the field position in your favor, and the D can score some more or give the O a short enough field that they can get a few field goals or a TD.

UPDATE Stupid pick. Stupid play-calling. Keep running the ball.

But it occurs to me that some of you all might like some cold-weather lessons, since you might be coming to Chicago in January. First, don’t wear all your cold-weather gear when you’re walking to the stadium. Then you get all sweaty, and when you sit down in the fucking freezing cold the sweat turns into a layer of ice over your flesh. This is much less pleasant than the effect of freezing air on Guinness.

UPDATE John Madden must have Alzheimer’s. When he says, as he just did, that this is “a big big drive for the Seahawks,” he’s not just stating the obvious, he’s stating the FUCKING OBVIOUS. The Gulls have great field position, and a TD can put them up a point. Duh. I bet that Sack just now (12:19 left in the 4th) was bad. Now a punt, that’s bad. The fake FG/Punt was a Nice Try. Guess I should stop listening to the TV and start just listening to the voices in my head. Except when they say “kill kill kill… “

UPDATE This injury is scary. Football is a violent game, and not to get soft and politically correct and all, but there is something to be said for thinking seriously about the way that some folks provide bread and circuses to the rest of us who watch, sometimes at the cost of their own physical or mental health and well-being. In sports it’s more dramatic and more often televised live than when some actor or musician burns out. But in whatever realm of artistic or athletic competition (and art is competitive, don’t kid yourself), there are lots of human casualties.

UPDATE Nice TD, nicer hit and fumble recovery on the kickoff. Like I predicted, the Gulls can win this. Lotsa time left, but only really great teams like the Bears can turn the ball over four or five times and still win. And Denver ain’t great.

UPDATE Hey STTW: ZZZ: go off to the Weekly, where their last blog post is from 9 this morning. No wonder you chose the cliche for snoring for your comments, your favorite paper is a fucking Yawn.

UPDATE OK, time to stick the knife in. The Gulls should go for a TD right now. Put it out of reach.
Taking advantage of a pick this late is imperative. But the conservative play-calling is just stupid, the same sort of thing that made y’all lose the Super Bowl last year. 3 points is better than nothing, but 7 woulda put much more pressure on the Broncos. And, as the Man from Eumenclaw could tell ya, you can never ask too much from a Bronco.

UPDATE WHAT THE FUCK. 2:37 left, and the Gulls D has let the Broncos back into the game. Hope your Special Teams are more prepared for the onside kick than the Bears were today. And if you don’t know what an onside kick is, go read the Weakly.

UPDATE This game is still very winnable. Just gotta get a field goal. Of course, it would have been more winnable if some earlier opportunities had been taken advantage of. But so it goes…

UPDATE OK, the gulls are driving for the potentially game-winning FG, and WTF? False start? Look, I love football, but I’m hoping to get home while my liver still functions, and now we’re looking at OT? Shit. And thanks to Celery Stalker and Ryan Sr. What’s the opposite of a Troll? You guys are it.

UPDATE The kick is up and it’s GOOD—And yes, this was REAL time. Let’s hope the five second left on the clock don’t come back and haunt the Gulls.

Black & White

posted by on December 3 at 1:16 PM

Here’s an ancient Stranger article from the Summer of ‘99 about the initial rumblings that would eventually become Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District the case that’s being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow.

The Plaintiffs, shot down in by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in late 2005, contend that the Seattle School District’s admission policy, used between 1999 and 2001, violated the 14th Amendment by discriminating against white students. The District policy used race as a tiebraker when the number of students trying to get into a particular shcool was greater than the spots available. The school district policy was an attempt to make the popular schools reflect the 60/40 split of non-white to white students respectively in the district as a whole.

Our ‘99 article cast the spotlight on the hypocrisy of a white liberal parent who put the issue on the map by becoming the poster mom for John Carlson and his crusade to enforce I-200 after her own child got bumped by the tiebreaker.

The money quote:

“Just because we didn’t pick a certain school, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad school—it’s just not best for our kid,” Spracklin says. Angst-ridden over the situation, she adds, “I don’t feel I’m a racist. It’s just really weird when, man, it’s your kid.”

Even more ancient history (and this will make John Carlson’s head explode): When I was a kid in public school kindergarten in Rockville, Maryland, my hippie teacher (Ms. Williams) used to have us sing this Three Dog Night #1 hit song:

Black & White


The ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

And now a child can understand
That this is the law of all the land, all the land

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

And now at last we plainly see
We’ll have a dance of Liberty, Liberty!

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

C’mon, get it, get it
Ohh-ohhhh, yeah, yeah
Keep it up now, around the world
Little boys and little girls
Yeah, yeah-eah, oh-ohhh

Bad Roboslog!

posted by on December 3 at 11:36 AM

This morning’s protest at the Mars Hill Jesus Emporium and Pastors’ Wives Weight Loss Center was cancelled, as I blogged yesterday. Unfortunately today’s Suggests post was created on Friday and automatically popped up this morning. Mistakes were made.

In more Mars Hill news, check out this hilarious unpacking of Driscoll’s non-apology for his idiotic, sexist ramblingsexcuse me, “sermons.”

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 3 at 10:14 AM

People Against Fundamentalism (PROTEST)

Mars Hill is an evangelical megachurch that lures converts with rock music, a “come-as-you-are” dress code, and a nightclublike setting. Its beliefs, however, are anything but modern: Pastor Mark Driscoll teaches his flock that women shouldn’t work outside the home; that Adam and Eve were real people and that evolution is a myth; and that homosexuality is akin to “cancer.” People Against Fundamentalism leads the protest during the first of Mars Hill’s four (four!) Sunday services. (Mars Hill Church, 1401 NW Leary Way. 1011:30 am.) ERICA C. BARNETT

For Sale at the Fremont Sunday Market

posted by on December 3 at 10:00 AM

fremont sunday mkt.jpg