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Archives for 03/25/2007 - 03/31/2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

How Will Fox News Spin This?

posted by on March 31 at 8:03 PM

The U.S. military death toll in March, the first full month of the security crackdown, was nearly twice that of the Iraqi army, which American and Iraqi officials say is taking the leading role in the latest attempt to curb violence in the capital, surrounding cities and Anbar province, according to figures compiled on Saturday.

The Associated Press count of U.S. military deaths for the month was 81, including a soldier who died from non-combat causes Friday. Figures compiled from officials in the Iraqi ministries of Defense, Health and Interior showed the Iraqi military toll was 44.

“Kerry Was Right”

posted by on March 31 at 5:07 PM

So says Matthew Dowd, George W. Bush’s top campaign strategist in 2004.

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership.

He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a “my way or the highway” mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.

“I really like him, which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things,” he said. He added, “I think he’s become more, in my view, secluded and bubbled in.”

In speaking out, Mr. Dowd became the first member of Mr. Bush’s inner circle to break so publicly with him….

Mr. Dowd, a crucial part of a team that cast Senator John Kerry as a flip-flopper who could not be trusted with national security during wartime, said he had even written but never submitted an op-ed article titled “Kerry Was Right,” arguing that Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 presidential candidate, was correct in calling last year for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Gay Marriage Out Polling Something!

posted by on March 31 at 4:57 PM

In California it’s illegal to own a ferret. Gay marriage is also illegal. And when asked, more Californians would vote to legalize gay marriage (43%) than ferrets (38%).

“That’s kind of absurd,” said Pat Wright, who founded Ferrets Anonymous in 1993 and directed a fundraising campaign to pay the $6,000 for Field Research to conduct the poll. “I thought California was more of a live-and-let-live state. If we had proposed legalized gay marriage or marijuana, we would’ve gotten a higher number.”

This is all very bad news for Wright and the others who sought a ballot measure to legalize ferrets as pets.

Tension is Building in Olympia

posted by on March 31 at 11:45 AM

The Olympian reports that Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22, Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, pictured below) threatened to resign his seat after House Dem leadership suggested watering down a Senate bill that Williams has been pushing in the House to give new homeowners recourse against shoddy construction.

The Olympian reports today:

“There is no point in continuing in this (job) if right-wing thugs like the Building Industry Association are allowed to run roughshod over the process,” Williams told the paper, referring to Chopp’s statement that he wanted to work with parties such as the building industry to craft a bill this summer.


UPDATE: Here are the speaking points against the home buyer protection bill the BIAW circulated to its membership.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 31 at 11:00 AM


Sarah Vowell
(Reading) The queen of This American Life and daughter of The Incredibles brings her baby voice and hulking wit to the Moore for a one-night-only reading. Tickets ain’t cheap, but Vowell is a reliably charming hostess and incisive writer. Plus, she’ll be signing books in the lobby after the show. (Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave, 8 pm, $28.50—$73.50.) DAVID SCHMADER

A Prediction

posted by on March 31 at 10:48 AM


For the record, I predict that if Sanjaya makes it through a couple more rounds of American Idol, he’ll bow out of the competition, under pressure from the producers.

Why? Because while he’s certainly a ratings draw, if he wins, it could potentially kill the show. If Howard Stern and others even manage to get him into the top 5 or so, people will go nuts fucking with the competition next season, and on and on. Once he starts sticking around while people with some degree of actual talent (it’s all relative, of course) get booted, they’ll push him out. At some point, his potential to fuck up their basic, zillion-dollar formula will outpace his ability to pull in big ratings right now. This things I believe.

And no, this topic doesn’t deserve this much thought, but I’ve had this goddamned song stuck in my head for a week (thanks Adrian!) so something had to give.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on March 31 at 10:26 AM


Bob Barr the Elephant? Lobbying for legalizing.

Puffin’ in the Pen: Jailbird allowed to have high times doing hard time.

Rockin’ on the Roll: Court dismisses crack case for man in wheelchair.

Cincinnati Dread: Council re-criminalizes ganja.

Yakima Dead: Toddler wins dealer-dad’s Beemer.

Smack and Speed: Neck and neck in Oregon deaths.

Strokes and Heart Attacks: Worse than irritable bowels, thinks the FDA.

Bud Pirates: Gay cruise ship raided Down Under.

The Morning News

posted by on March 31 at 9:41 AM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Sharp sticks and cap guns:
Pentagon plans for budget cuts

A crisis ignored: War returns to Mogadishu

Time off for [REDACTED]: Guantanamo prisoner sentenced to 7 years will only serve 9 months

WTF: You can get a permit to dump blood in the sewer???!!!

No road back: Olmert rules out Palestinian refugee return

Let’s get this light-rail thing going: Sea-tac parking lot hits capacity

A spoonful of sugar: Bush apologizes at Walter Reed

Deseamos la opción Protestors rally to legalize abortion in Mexico

All apologies: Another British sailor apologizes on TV

State Senate Edits High School Journalists Out of Student Press Bill

posted by on March 31 at 1:36 AM

Bad news for student journalists: The student press bill was gutted by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. High school students are no longer included in the bill. Only college journalists are protected from censorship.

Earlier this week, I wrote a column supporting the original bill—which granted full First Amendment rights to both high school and college reporters. Specifically, the column criticized The Seattle Times for its lengthy March 25 editorial against the bill— where they got the basic facts wrong. I’ve also written several Slog posts, like this one, in support of the bill throughout the session.

Rather than saying anything more, I’m publishing the statements issued today by: Kathy Schrier (President of the WA Journalism Education Association); Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33), the sponsor; and Brian Schraum (the student who brought the idea for the bill to Rep. Upthegrove.)

Here’s an excerpt from WSU student Schraum’s statement:

…the professional press share a part of the blame. Several newspapers, most notably the Seattle Times, editorialized against HB 1307. While I expected the paid administrator lobbyists to work actively against us, I really did expect better from the Times. I never thought I’d see the day when government censors and professional journalists would join hands against a free press – but the Seattle Times has exceeded my expectations.

Perhaps the greatest, scariest lesson I have learned from this process is not about the student press. It’s about the professional press, and the sad state of affairs this country is in when not even journalists will stand up for the First Amendment.

The Democrats outnumber the Republicans 5-3 on the committee. I’ll check in with bill sponsor Upthegrove to get his take on which Dems abandoned his bill. Rep. Upthegrove’s bill passed the House 58-37 on March 12.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Remember that Marine? Ann Coulter’s Buddy? The Marine That Did All That Gay Porn?

posted by on March 30 at 6:12 PM


It’s lookin’ like gay porn may be the least of Matt Sanchez’s problems.

The Corps on Friday was slated to wrap up an investigation into allegations that a corporal in the Individual Ready Reserve who appeared in gay porn films before enlisting solicited more than $12,000 from private organizations by asking them to fund a deployment to Iraq he never made… Sanchez’s participation in porn films was part of the investigation, but that two of the three allegations against him involved lying “to various people, including but not limited to, representatives of the New York City United War Veterans Council and U-Haul Corporation.”

Hey, fuck some man ass in gay porn if you must. But don’t go telling lies to the U-Haul Corporation. Lesbians depend on U-Haul, Matt.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie Has Been Extended

posted by on March 30 at 6:06 PM

This just in:

Due to overwhelming box office demand Seattle Repertory Theatre will extend My Name Is Rachel Corrie, playing in the Leo K Theatre through May 6. Additional performances are Tuesday, May 1, 7:30 pm, Wednesday, May 2, 7:30 pm, Thursday, May 3, 7:30 pm, Friday, May 4, 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 5, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 6, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm. Tickets are on sale now and available through the Seattle Repertory Theatre box office seven days a week at (206) 443-2222, toll-free at (877) 900-9285, as well as online at

Brendan’s review of it is here.

I left the show saying to the person I was with: “I’m glad I saw that.”

Germany Gets it Right

posted by on March 30 at 5:58 PM

US News and World Report has a feature this week on things other countries do better than the United States. Along with the usual suspects—bike paths in Berlin and Amsterdam, healthy eating habits in Japan, universal health care in the United Kingdom—is this entry about Germany:

Life is hard for German hookers these days. Sex work was legalized in 2002, and the red-light districts have become increasingly competitive since. Even in the best of times, prostitution is a career seriously lacking in long-term potential.

So when the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia announced a pilot employment program for women of the night, there was a lot of interest. “We wanted to help them find a market where there’s a future,” says Rita Kuehn, director of the program known as ProFridA.

Specifically, the 50-some participants are being retrained as elder-care workers. It makes perfect sense, says Kuehn, without irony. “Prostitutes have already learned to get along with people, and they’re usually very good listeners,” she says. “Plus, they have no reservations about touching people’s bodies.”

Just another reason to be a Deutschophile . Now can someone explain to me why German prostitutes all wear fanny packs?

Stranger Election Control Board’s 2003 Manning Endorsement

posted by on March 30 at 5:33 PM

This week’s Slog posts about this year’s (strangely uncrowded) City Council elections drew a lot of comments, including comments chiding us and/or asking for an explanation of our 2003 John Manning endorsement.

Back in 2003, the Stranger Election Control Board was called the Stranger Election Bowling League (we took the candidates bowling to watch their form) and it included: Me, ECB, Amy Jenniges, Dan Savage, Tim Keck, and Sandeep Kaushik.

Anyway, if memory serves correctly, Jenniges and I were the Manning fans. (ECB wants it known that she strongly opposed endorsing Manning because of the DV issue.)

However, we simply weren’t going to endorse Jim Compton, who ended up resigning in ‘05 anyway. He resigned in part because he was hobbled by his ethical lapses with Paul Allen’s Vulcan —which forced him to recuse himself from some of the biggest land use decisions that came before the council.

This is ironic given that he was one incumbent who wasn’t tossed in the 2003 election even though—like big time losers Heidi Wills and Judy Nicastro—he was also implicated in the Stripper Gate ethics scandal. (The always-popular Peter Steinbrueck also won in 2003.)

Jenniges and I bought Manning’s redemption rap on his domestic violence record and believed he deserved a second chance—especially given his earnest and enthusiastic commitment to civic issues. He also had kick ass bowling form.

Anyway, here’s our 2003 endorsement.

Seattle City Council Position 9

Vote for John Manning

We sorta endorsed John Manning in the primary: “Vote for [Jim] Compton’s opponent, John Manning.” That was all the enthusiasm we could muster then. But this is now—and we’re endorsing Manning for real.

First, a recap on conservative incumbent Compton: He’s timid on cop reform, a red light on renters’ rights, a brainless cheerleader for Paul Allen, ethically challenged, and God, are we tired of Compton’s cloying mea culpas about needing to be more sensitive about this and more aware of that. You’ve had four years to “get it,” Jim; learning-curve time is up.

Meanwhile, Manning is intent on restoring trust between neighborhoods and police. We like the idea of having this former cop with a neighborhood sensibility heading up the council’s police committee. (He gets that neighbors feel excluded from the accountability process.) It helps that he’s still got some cop in him too. “Black teenagers are smoking crack not pot,” he scolded the Election Bowling League after we tried lecturing this black man with our white liberal analysis about black kids getting unfairly busted for weed.

But Manning’s not a simplistic tough-on-crime guy. He told us he’d vote to repeal Mark Sidran’s impound ordinance because it unfairly hits the poor. In fact, Manning’s got a flair for common sense: Running the monorail through Seattle Center is “a natural,” he said emphatically, while Nickels’ plan to fix Mercer is a waste of money.

Manning did resign from the council in 1996 after two domestic violence arrests, but we’re confident he’s come out on the other side of counseling and reflection a changed man. Manning: highly recommended.

Re: Church of the WHAT?

posted by on March 30 at 5:21 PM

Your wish

If only someone would replace that P with an O…

…is our command.


This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on March 30 at 5:10 PM

First, the news: An extra bombed the set of Samira (The Apple) Makhmalbaf’s film Two Legged Horse, currently in production in northern Afghanistan, according to Variety. A horse was killed and several actors were injured. The target appears to have been Makhmalbaf herself. Charles Burnett’s student film Killer of Sheep, set in Watts in the mid-1970s, opens in New York this week; the IFC Blog has a good rundown on the current crop of critical response. Killer of Sheep plays Northwest Film Forum starting June 22, when we’ll all be exhausted from SIFF, so get stoked now. Meanwhile, reports the New York Times, the Federal Trade Commission is about to assess violence aimed at kids in the latest generation of horror and splatter films. And the official trailer for Charles’s very own Zoo is up now at THINKFilm’s website.

Opening today:

Beyond the Gates


Charles Mudede assesses Hollywood’s recent penchant for placing social problem films in Africa. Wondering what “theodicy” means? I looked it up!

OED: The, or a, vindication of the divine attributes, esp. justice and holiness, in respect to the existence of evil; a writing, doctrine, or theory intended to ‘justify the ways of God to men’.

Andrew Wright has some serious respect for The Lookout; and in a web exclusive, he interviews the writer-director Scott Frank.

More web extras: Lindy West loves Meet the Robinsons, especially the mustache. And Megan Seling can’t quite bring herself to review Blades of Glory, but it does prompt her to ponder procreation.

And in On Screen this week: I review the Maine lobster tale Islander, Tom Shortliffe tackles the hipster party guide The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down (coming in 2009: The Boys and Girls Guide to Being Gay), and I talk about Godard’s pet preoccupations in Two or Three Things I Know About Her.

There are tons of fantastic movies tucked away in Film Shorts this week.


Into Great Silence is about the French monks who make Chartreuse, but the movie is more of a full-body immersion in chanting and praying and silence and light and darkness and seasons and Alps. Very worth seeing, if you have 164 minutes to spare. Plus, the awesome (and much shorter) Le chat dans le sac at Northwest Film Forum (next Tuesday and Wednesday), which really deserves its own still.


Plus, the German-produced documentary about one of the first American marines to die in Iraq, The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez (variously known as Guti, Tono, and more) is on at the Grand Illusion. And SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall has Japanese films in the Janus collection, with a new crop of New Wave favorites starting Wednesday.

How Was It?

posted by on March 30 at 4:51 PM

Kelly O. and I will be out and about this weekend with our vid camera and microphone asking Seattle week-enders the $64,000 question: “How Was It?”

Be prepared for us as you’re leaving the rock show, restaurant, play, dance performance, concert, reading, … bushes.

Here’s what happened the first time we gave you the mic.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 30 at 4:23 PM


Head Like a Kite
(Music) Occasional Stranger contributor Trent Moorman is also accomplished as a one-man rhythm machine and one half of audiovisual rock experimentalists Head Like a Kite. Moorman hits skins and triggers samples while musical mastermind Dave Einmo plays guitar and synth and sings. The band cuts from mellow space explorations to power pop while home movies and found footage flicker behind them, lending their show a glow of psychedelic nostalgia. Heads will soar. With Voyager One, Heavenly States, and Bluelight Curtain. (Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611. 9 pm, $7, 21+.) ERIC GRANDY

Today on Line Out

posted by on March 30 at 4:17 PM

Ari Takes a Bite Out of Apples (in Stereo): And that dumb blond bitch in the back.

Charlie Louvin: Kurt B. Reighley interviews the Country Music legend.

100% of Dissin’ You: Some Mark Farina love for the day.

April Fools?: Or are the Locust really over?

Sykes Central: Jesse, Jesse, Jesse!

NunSlaughter: Whatevs thinks they’re predictable. Whatevs thinks everything is predictable, though.

South African Women Rock: And Terry ain’t just talkin’ ‘bout Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Push it Real Good: He started it!

Pac vs. Biggie: Larry’s in love.

BSE (TW): The Refused are fucking dead. And still really awesome.


kitten bucket.jpg

Jerry Saltz Leaving the Voice for New York

posted by on March 30 at 4:11 PM

First Christgau, now Saltz.

Story here.

(Hat tip to D.K. Row’s Oregonian blog.)

Re: Prosecution Shift for Prostitution

posted by on March 30 at 4:09 PM

Just got an update from Olympia on the teenage prostitution bill that news intern Jonah slogged about.

Senator Kohl-Welles (D-36, Seattle) reports that the bill, which equates patronizing a teenage prostitute with sexual abuse of a minor (while also trying to change the focus of law enforcement, by putting the spotlight on johns), made it out of Rules.

It’s now in play on the House floor.

Mother Mary

posted by on March 30 at 3:51 PM

At this point of the first great movie of the 90s, To Sleep With Anger, Mary Alice, who plays Suzie, asks Danny Glover, who plays Harry, the ultimate question: Are you a friend?
hhhhh3.jpg The question breaks my heart every time I watch To Sleep With Anger, and not because of the words themselves (“Harry, are you a friend?”) but because the of existential immediacy, the spiritual heaviness, the absolute frankness Mary Alice gives these words. It is as if no other question is more important than this one, the question of intention: Do I have a wolf in my house? Are you scheming against me? Am I exposed to harm? Should I have my defenses up? Can I trust you? Who are you? What is in your head? Do you want me dead?

Suzie’s honesty is a clearing on which only an honest response can make an appearance. Harry knows this. There is no out of the way that has been cleared for the truth of who he is to appear. And he reveals himself like the wicked fox in ancient Japanese ghost stories. (“That old fox,” a born-again Christian calls Harry at another time in the movie.) Harry is not a friend, he is trying to kill her husband and master her troubled son. “I want you out of my house,” orders Suzie. As he leaves the kitchen, he leaves her with a final truth: he is what he is and he will only become better at what makes him what he is, evil. The clearing is recovered and the movie, Suzie, turns to the end which happens under the light of a full moon.


posted by on March 30 at 2:36 PM

What’s billed as the first text messaging competition will take place in Los Angeles on Saturday, pitting scores of players in a race to determine who is the fastest.

The snag is that popular text shorthand will not be allowed.

“Texting has become such a trend and kids are using texting as a form of communication. It’s become like, ‘Who can text the fastest?’ Everyone thinks they are a good texter,” said Amy Jones, spokeswoman for organizers LG Electronics.

Players will compete in groups to see who can text set phrases quickest and without errors, with the winner getting a $10,000 prize and advancement to the finals in New York City on April 21.

Via Reuters

The Best of Survivor (in Ten Seconds or Less)

posted by on March 30 at 2:19 PM

There really is no reason to watch this season of SURVIVOR: FIJI. Especially when the best stuff of the season has been boiled down to THIS TEN-SECOND VIDEO which pretty much says it all.

Thanks TVgasm!

He-Said-He-Said at the Justice Department

posted by on March 30 at 2:18 PM

Today the attorney general says he wasn’t intimately involved in the US Attorney firings.

Yesterday his former chief of staff said he was.

But hey, it must all be a problem of confusion and fuzzy memories.

Prosecution Shift for Prostitution

posted by on March 30 at 2:17 PM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

For the last two weeks, I’ve been following the attempts of the King County prosecutor’s office to incarcerate a teenage girl for a year and examining the flawed financial system in place to support programs that helps get teens off the streets. Prosecutions of teenage prostitutes have been steadily increasing over the last three years, and funding for outreach programs has rapidly declined. This disparity has created a vicious cycle on Seattle’s streets: Teens are often picked up by police and cycled back onto the streets dozens of times before any real intervention occurs.

A passage in Senate Bill 5718, proposed by Seattle Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles(D-36) illustrates the problem:

On a recent ride-along targeting prostitution, four out of six prostitutes picked up were juveniles. These young women are arrested, driven to the station and are then back on the street.

Kohl-Welles’s bill has passed the senate and is in the final stages in the house before it goes to a vote. If approved, 5718 would reclassify transactions between johns and juveniles as “commercial sexual abuse of a minor,” and would force a shift in the prosecution’s pursuits. Minors would now be treated as sexual-assault victims and be referred to appropriate services, while johns would face increased sentencing. In addition:

A person who patronizes a juvenile prostitute may also be charged with the rape of a child or child molestation… If a person is guilty of rape of a child or child molestation… an additional one-year enhancement must be added to the standard sentence range for the crime.

Law enforcement is already at a disadvantage when attempting to catch johns. Seattle’s vice squad, which is solely responsible for handling street prostitution arrests, is ludicrously understaffed. While SB5718 will force police to reexamine their priorities and tactics, there is some doubt among law-enforcement officers about whether an increase in penalties will deter already difficult-to-catch johns from patronizing teenage prostitutes.

An editorial in the Times by Kohl-Welles and City Council President Nick Licata notes that since 2002 in Washington State,

there have been 84 convictions of juveniles for prostitution—but only two for patronizing.

Arrested johns often face fines which are split between city vice operations and the Sex Industry Workers Fund, which was established in 2002, to funnel fine payments into new treatment programs. (Only Richard McIver voted against the ordinance, saying he opposed earmarking funds for specific programs.) Currently, the fund only provides money for additional case workers and support groups, rather than for housing or other vital services. However, Terri Kimball, the director of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention in the city’s human services department, says they “are developing a plan to do a thorough review” of the program.

Is it Sexist to Hate Hillary’s Voice?

posted by on March 30 at 1:59 PM

ThinkProgress thinks so. So does Aravosis.

I don’t know… Couldn’t a person reasonably find Hillary’s voice annoying simply because he or she finds it annoying?

I mean, clearly this guy, Glenn Beck, is trying to equate Hillary’s voice with that of a nagging wife. And yes, that’s probably sexist. But plenty of other people don’t like Hillary’s voice because they just don’t like it. Are they all sexist?

Church of the WHAT?

posted by on March 30 at 1:52 PM

Walking back from lunch in, ehm, Capitol Hill, down 13th Avenue.
I’m not trying to assume anything, but…


Soulforce’s Gay “Freedom Riders” Being Arrested, Prosecuted, Sent to Prison in Mississippi

posted by on March 30 at 1:45 PM

Tell me again, Rev. Hutcherson, how the gay and lesbians civil rights movement, lower case, bears no resemblance whatsoever to the African American Civil Rights Movement, upper case?

Sitting in a courtroom and facing possible jail time in Clinton, Miss. on March 22, a group of five activists in their early 20s discovered that they could pay a heavy price for their efforts to advocate for LGBT rights. The students are part of Soulforce’s second Equality Ride, in which young activists trek across the country in buses, stopping at Christian colleges and universities with anti-gay policies and trying to start a dialogue with students and administrators about embracing LGBT people and ending their discriminatory policies. Prior to reaching Mississippi the five students and their fellow riders on the eastbound bus (a separate contingent of Equality Riders are on a bus headed west) had faced few major legal consequences as a result of their work; several schools had had them arrested for trespassing, but the riders were released after either paying a fine or being told to return to court at a later date to resolve the charges. But not in Mississippi.

After administrators from Mississippi College had the five riders arrested for walking onto university property, the judge decided to bring their case to trial…. Yet the threat of jail time has not deterred the young activists. DeVries said he plans to continue participating in civil disobedience throughout the ride, crossing the property lines onto college campuses where the Equality Riders have been banned from entering, even though doing so will mean that authorities in Mississippi will issue a warrant for his arrest….

And in some cases the riders received an even worse reception from law enforcement officers than they did from school officials. Prior to arriving in Mississippi the Equality Riders were contacted by Clinton, Miss. law enforcement officials and told that they were not allowed to assemble in a large group outside of Mississippi College. Soulforce contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which in turn contacted the city and argued that those restrictions were unconstitutional. Clinton officials relented, but according to a complaint filed by Soulforce with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office police officers repeatedly harassed the bus driver and told the Equality Riders to “get out of town.”

Reality Check

posted by on March 30 at 1:39 PM

I’ve had a friend in town this past week. He prides himself on being a hayseed who scoffs at the pretensions of big city ways. (He’s from Minnesota. His name is Dallas. He likes his peace and quiet.) He was struck by how urban Seattle seemed compared to the Twin Cities.

We were downtown this morning, and as we passed by the light rail construction, I said: “There’s our light rail. It was supposed to be up and running already. You guys have light rail.”


“What do you mean?”

“Well, all it does is go from downtown to the airport.”


The Children Are Our Future

posted by on March 30 at 1:39 PM

From the PI:

Two 12-year-old girls have been arrested for allegedly trying to poison their teacher on Thursday afternoon, police said. Bainbridge Police Deputy Chief Mark Duncan said the two girls did not want to attend the teacher’s class at Sakai Intermediate School….

Duncan said the girls knew the teacher was highly allergic to strawberries, so they put strawberry lip gloss in the teacher’s coffee and water bottle. The 58-year-old teacher drank from the cup and immediately had an allergic reaction that required medication to counteract.

“These students actually [discussed] whether they should use real strawberries or synthetic, and decided that if they used real strawberries that that might kill the teacher,” Duncan said. “They just wanted to make here sick.”

Hot Sweaty Travolta Fridays

posted by on March 30 at 1:38 PM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Now that I have your attention:
my second favorite quote of the day comes from a This Is London article which criticizes John Travolta for his environmentally damaging lifestyle.
JT (as he’s known around the office) provides his own unique solution to global warming, stating:

“I’m wondering if we need to think about other planets and dome cities.”

That is all.

Farther Out at On the Boards

posted by on March 30 at 1:20 PM

Crystal Pite Kidd Pivot.jpg

That is the iconic image On the Boards has been using for its 2006-2007 season. It’s from a dance piece called Farther Out by the Vancouver company Kidd Pivot that is playing now as part of a split dance bill with another Vancouver company called MovEnt. It’s pretty great.

(Although “split bill” has always seemed like a weird term—especially on OtB’s current marquee, which reads “Split Bill Dance.” Which sounds like a chorus line of injured ducks.)

Farther Out is, nominally, about an astronaut who is assaulted by an alien. It’s also about telling the same story several different ways. It’s also about a writer (the astronaut) in front of her typewriter, wrestling with an idea (the alien). There is a great looped and fucked-with voiceover by Annie Dillard. There is a typewriter suspended from the ceiling that the astronaut spins, then releases, then dances beneath. The alien moves like an alien—with the stop-motion specificity of a bird or a breakdancer—and the astronaut moves like her whole body is moonwalking.

There are surprises. There is tap dancing. There is intellectual and emotional content beneath strange, beautiful, can’t-stop-watching-it choreography. It’s theatrical and smart and fun.

Kidd Pivot.jpg

Surge by MovEnt, was very good, very competent, though not nearly as imaginative. But the three ladies on stage worked hard, chugging and thrashing and kung-fu kicking like human dynamos to the sounds of trains and pianos and machines welded together into strong, sometimes unsettling, rhythms. (By Alan Brodie and Gordon Cobb.) As one audience member put it: “It’s like George Winston meets Rammstein.”

It looked like this (but with only three dancers):


It’s fine. It’ll make you want to get some exercise. But Farther Out is the one you’ll remember.

The Cutest Killer

posted by on March 30 at 1:16 PM

Baby chicks!


Announcing the First-Ever Stranger Gong Show

posted by on March 30 at 12:22 PM


Attention talented freaks and those who love to gawk at them: On Thursday, April 12 at the Crocodile Cafe, The Stranger will be presenting its first-ever Gong Show, hosted by yours truly.

In advance of the show date, we’re looking for any and all unique and entertaining acts hungry to strut their stuff before a panel of drunken judges for fabulous prizes. This means jugglers, magicians, yodelers, strongmen, stand-up comics, clog dancers, air bands, contortionists, jug bands, sword swallowers, vaudeville acts, and anyone else with an act that’s under four minutes long and doesn’t involve fire or minors. (The Croc is a bar.)

For more info and to sign up for the competition, go here. (Talent may also sign-up at the door the night of the show.)

And if you just want to gawk/cheer/heckle the drunken celebrity judges (including Sarah Rudinoff, Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, and On the Boards artistic director Lane Czaplinski), show up at the Crocodile on Thursday, April 12 for the fabulous and totally free freak parade kicking off at 9pm.

In an earlier post, Kerri “Jaye P.” Harrop expressed her dream of a Stranger Gong Show contestant recreating the magic of the original Gong Show’s Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. I have my own dreams, one of which involves a Stranger Gong Show contestant replicating this priceless bit from Richard “I wrote Arrested Development” Day’s amazing Girls Will Be Girls, in which the character Varla improvises an aria while eating an entire can of spray cheese.

Goodbye Mr Smith

posted by on March 30 at 11:34 AM

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Attention rock-lovin’ queers of Seattle: After fourteen years, tonight is your last chance to hear DJ Mr Smith kick out the jams at the Seattle Eagle. The party starts circa 10 PM. Don’t miss it. You’ll be sorry when he’s gone.

Better Than Audiotape

posted by on March 30 at 11:00 AM

Yesterday was the premiere of the play adaptation of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, but I wouldn’t advise reading Ben Brantley in the New York Times to find out how it went. Here is a representative, deeply pompous paragraph:

Such moments erupt often enough throughout this production, which is directed with austere eloquence by the playwright David Hare, to raise the show well above the level of an audiotape. Students of acting are advised to buy tickets as close as possible to the stage to observe the presence and craft that allows one woman to hold an audience’s attention for 90 uninterrupted minutes.

Don’t you just want to wash yourself? I guess I’ll have to wait for the New Yorker.

The Flesh Becomes Word

posted by on March 30 at 10:59 AM

Product designer Nadine Jarvis takes “in remembrance” to a new level altogether:


Carbon Copies

Pencils made from the carbon of human cremains. 240 pencils can be made from an average body of ash—a lifetime supply of pencils for those left behind.

This is only one part of her project on post mortem traditions. See also her bird feeder and her precariously brilliant Rest in Peaces urn.

Death, where is thy sting now?

Sweet Jesus

posted by on March 30 at 10:45 AM

An New York City artist plans to display a life-sized, anatomically-correct, bare-ass-nekkid Jesus H. Christ on a Crossmade entirely of chocolate. People that make their living being outraged are, surprisingly enough, totally outraged.

“It’s an all-out war on Christianity,” fumed Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Really? Chocolate is all it takes to declare all-out war? So, like, for decades now Easter has been an all-out war on bunnies?

The Cracked Rocket

posted by on March 30 at 10:43 AM

So it appears that Lloyd’s Rocket may not be dead after all. While passing the former gas station the other night, a blood-red neon light read that the place was open, and inside I saw a cook cooking for nobody and a bartender tending a bar without people. Lloyd’s refusal to die, its commitment to a long and slow death that has no end in sight, reminded me of the last part of Baudelaire’s poem “The Cracked Bell.”

And when in sorrows, it wishes to people the cold air of the night with its songs/ Often it happens that its feeble voice seems like the thick death rattle of one wounded /Forgotten by the side of a lake of blood, under a great weight of dead /Who dies without moving amongst enormous efforts.

Offender Outtake: The Women’s Movement and Sex Offender Laws

posted by on March 30 at 10:40 AM


I have a feature in this week’s Stranger about the life and crimes of Jefferson County’s only Level 3 sex offender. It’s a long piece, but that doesn’t mean I could fit in everything I found fascinating about the debate over how best to punish and rehabilitate sexual criminals. Here’s one thing that didn’t make it into my story:

When I asked Alisa Klein, spokeswoman for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, why punishments for sex offenders have grown increasingly harsh over the last few decades, she pointed to a force that I hadn’t considered: The women’s movement.

Speaking for herself, and not for her organization, she told me:

We have seen, pretty much consistently since the 60s, a pendulum swing toward a lot of attention to this issue, and increasingly, every decade since the 60s, a lot of punitive and sort of knee-jerk attention to this issue.

This is due in part, she believes, to the women’s movement:

What the women’s movement did, because they wanted to get people to pay attention, and take this seriously, is, in my opinion, they threw their lot in with the criminal justice system to be the main system for responding to sexual violence.

Klein believes that violent sexual predators, and other sexual criminals, should be punished. But she also believes many of them can be treated, and should received better treatment than they do. Further, she believes that that the current public focus on extending sentences for sex offenders, and on restricting their movements after they are released back into society, can create a false sense of security.

Most rapes of adult women are committed by someone known to the victim. Most sexual assaults committed against children are perpetrated by someone known to the child (in about half the cases, by a family member). But the current push for harsher and harsher sex offender punishments grows out of public concern over “stranger danger,” which itself grows out of highly-publicized cases of children being abducted by strangers—a horrifying, but relatively rare, occurrence. (Read more about this phenomenon of televised child abduction stories driving policy in my piece.)

Klein believes that the current focus on “stranger danger” can confuse the public on where the most common danger really lies—with friends, acquaintances, and family members. “It ends up becoming a kind of deterrent to our society’s ability to respond before the fact,” she told me.

Back to the question of how all of this intersects with the women’s movement, here’s a letter to the editor we just received about my piece:

I enjoyed Eli Sander’s piece on Erik Mart. I’m sorry that the system has so mishandled Mart’s case, punishment and treatment. I’m also sorry that he was apparently molested by his father and that society never addressed it.

But I feel even more sorry for the two women he assaulted. I can imagine the absolute terror they must have felt and, later, the furious anger at the audacity of their assailant.

I think this country has severe punishments because we have such severe crimes. But, if we’re going to “rate” sexual crimes on a scale, obviously the more violent or repeat offenders should get a higher rating. But how is raping a child more wrong than raping a 30-yr-old woman or a 70-year-old retiree? And this is where the problem of sexual assault runs head long into the issue of feminism and the institutionalized objectification and dehumanizing of females. Until just a few decades ago, sexually assault was considered okay in certain situations.

Today, outside of the U.S. rape is the norm, not the exception, in dozens of countries. Women and children are bought and sold as sex slaves in Russia and other eastern European countries. In South Africa, Egypt and Mexico the incident of sexual assault — including child molestation and incest — is calculated in minutes, not annually.

If our judicial system is taking a hamfisted approach to the treatment of sexual predators, it’s still better than what most foreign governments do — which is nothing, partly thanks to misogyny…

— M. Murphy

Re: I Missed My Calling

posted by on March 30 at 10:30 AM

Never mind. In seventeen minutes I fell in and out of love. Fresh Meats is just a hoax.

I sent them an email and got this response:

Dear Sir/Madam,
Unfortunately, we’ve been forced to temporarily suspend our service due to overwhelming interest. And the fact that Fresh Meats is a sophomoric April Fools’ con job, courtesy of Thrillist. If this causes you to lose all hope of ever personally beheading a Cornish Game Hen, take heart: you can still forward Thrillist to friends — then tease the gullible ones mercilessly despite the fact that the 1st isn’t until Sunday.

The Best Place to Live in Seattle

posted by on March 30 at 10:25 AM

My old friends at Seattle Metropolitan have a brand new issue on the stands. Somehow they managed to do a cover story that doesn’t emphasize a numbered friggin’ list, which should be a cause for celebration.
However, this issue’s cover story is Best Places to Live. Do you know where Seattle Metropolitan says the best place to live in Seattle is?


Kent is the best place to live in Seattle. Thank you, Seattle Metropolitan! See you next month!

Bitter Herbs

posted by on March 30 at 10:20 AM

I’ve been a bad Jew. My family was killed in the Holocaust, less my grandmother and her sister. Then my father, after being born and stuff, married a Catholic woman who carried her faith through the maternal line. So I’m only Jewish by genealogy. I was baptized and took Communion; I didn’t get circumcised or have Bar Mitzvah. I never once brought home a nice Jewish girl.

However, in a desperate attempt to connect with my ancestry, I attended my first Seder last year. Adding insult to long-standing injury, I even fucked that up – I got stoned before the feast.

Getting high during Passover didn’t seem like an offense at the time. But as Brendan slogged yesterday, my pot-activist brothers in Israel made the dour announcement that pot is on the “no” list for Passover. Harsh. If my fellow rope-smokin’ rabble rousers can even consider the inappropriate times to toke – with shells exploding around every corner – then skipping the dummy pipe for however long Passover is (I told you I’m a bad Jew), is some serious shit.

Forgive me, Y*****; I knew not what I did.

As for this year, unspoken one, I promise to stay in the clear. I will lay off that bitter herb indefinitely, and during the Seder feast I’ll be in heaven, or some place. I’ve always been more a friend of the vine than the stalk anyway. And the Seder is packed with lectures about morals, punctuated by slugging glasses of wine. That’s my kind of party, err, ceremony.

You Killed Queen Elizabeth II! You Bastards!

posted by on March 30 at 10:18 AM


The Brits are not amused

The news that an episode of South Park features the Queen committing suicide is provoking a blizzard of outrage in certain sections of the British media. In the episode, already broadcast in the US and entitled The Snuke, an animated Elizabeth II fatally shoots herself in the mouth after her attempt to overthrown the American government fails. Most commentators have been unanimous in declaring that South Park has gone too far this time. Leaving the rest of us unanimous in concluding that the same commentators can’t be too familiar with South Park.

Don’t the Brits have better things to worry about right now?

I Missed My Calling

posted by on March 30 at 10:13 AM

New York City’s “underground gourmet scene” has produced a pack of guerrillas called Fresh Meats:

… a group of relentless carnophiles who provide dinner parties the absolute freshest meat possible. This involves bringing a soon-to-be-delicious animal to your apartment, then taking it through all stages of preparation, starting in your bathtub, and ending in your oven. That’s right: you choose an easy-to-smuggle, live delicacy (chicken, duck, squab, rabbit, even a snake or frog), and FM will lead it to your tub and do-what-must-be-done. Once it’s dead and bled out, they’ll work with the meat in less horrifying ways (cleaning the carcass, rending the cuts, stewing it in a delicate béchamel sauce, etc) until it’s ready for a glorious presentation to you and any guests who haven’t defected to a PETA tofu roast.

Goddamn. I think I’m in love.

Goodbye, everybody. I’m moving to New York.

(Via Dethroner and Mr. Christopher Bragg.)

BREAKING: Pope Hates In-Vitro Fertilization, Celibate Jury-of-One Still Out on Snowflakes

posted by on March 30 at 10:00 AM

This just in

The Catholic Church has yet to issue any authoritative teaching on embryo adoptions, said Peter J. Cataldo, an ethical consultant to the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center.

At issue is what may morally be done to the excess embryos created through in vitro fertilization and frozen for possible later use. Over the years, many have been discarded while some have been adopted…. The church teaches that in vitro fertilization is not morally acceptable because the egg and sperm are joined outside of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife. The 1987 document “On Respect for Human Life” (“Donum Vitae”) from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, noted that through in vitro fertilization, “(T)he generation of the human person is objectively deprived of its proper perfection: namely, that of being the result and fruit of a conjugal act.”

Those who believe embryo adoption to be illicit follow a similar argument.

Hee-hee. I love the Pope—the man’s hilarious. And so is his flock of Cardinals, and all those US Bishops. All those old, fruity celibates telling the rest of us what to do in the sack, in the lab, in the voting booth, in our Democratically-elected parliaments and congresses.

What I don’t love is the deference the media shows the Pope when he’s got something idiotic to say about gay issues. The Pope sure doesn’t get the same “God Has Spoken!” treatment when he speaks about straight issues. In-vitro fertilization is pretty much a straight issue, and the church is pretty much con. Strongly con. And yet you don’t hear much about that—I’ll bet you didn’t know the Pope was opposed to in-vitro fertilzation. And that’s because when it comes to straight sex and issue that touch on straight sexual rights and freedoms, straight reporters, editors, publishers, and readers aren’t interested in what Pope Ratzi has to say. The Pope is against birth control—big deal. The Pope says divorce is a mortal sin—who gives a fuck. The Pope thinks yoga is satanic (really)—nothing to see here.

But when the Pope say something equally idiotic about gay people—when he comes out strongly con concerning our sexual rights and freedoms—we get screaming headlines about the Pope’s “non-negotiable” positions on gay marriage, civil unions, same-sex couples adopting children, and on and on, as the Pope’s position suddenly matters or should matter.

Uh, straight people? If you’re going to ignore the Pope when he says idiotic, backwards, retrograde crap about you, then we really ought to ignore him when he says idiotic, backwards, retrograde things about me. And remember, straight folks, every idiot thing the Pope says about gay sex is grounded in the same fearful, idiotic, anti-pleasure arguments the Pope makes against birth control, in-vitro, blowjobs, and jacking off, etc.: If it can’t make a baby, it’s not okay with the Pope.

Unless straight people are prepared to limit their sexual rights, freedoms, and expression and live in as the Pope would like you to—no birth control, no blowjobs, no pre-marital sex, no yoga—then straight people should stop making an elaborate show of deference and respect for the Pope’s delicate feelings when it comes to my sexual rights, freedoms, and expression.

Ignore the Pope or not. But don’t ignore him when he has something to say about your sexual conduct and then prick up your ears when he’s got something to say about mine.

Anonymous Whine About Inevitable Development

posted by on March 30 at 9:48 AM

This morning brought the following letter to I, Anonymous. The letter is boring and riddled with typos and the letter-writer’s motivating complaint has no merit, but…enjoy! (Sic throughout.)

The wine/coffee bar called “LIBERTY” is trashing up street poles all up and down 15th ave east. The street appeal will soon have the appearance of broadway or the Pike/pine area. A group of us good neighbors have informed them that all street pole ads are being removed to keep our neighborhood looking nice but they keep placing the ads higher on the poles and we keep taking them down. I decided to live in this neighborhood because it was not trashy and fairly clean compared to down the hill—Broadway. This may seem like a small problem to sum but its amazing how the pole litter attracts more pole litter. I think this establishment is a BAD NEIGHBOR in a good neighborhood. Just wanted to inform somebody. I’m in the process of figuring out how to get other businesses on the street to tell the owner of this place to respect the neighborhood.

Some might say “respecting the neighborhood” means accepting totally legal street advertising (dismissed by Anonymous as “pole litter”). Some people also know how to spell “some.”

Bush-Appointed Opponent of Birth Control Out as Head of Office of Population Affairs, Which Oversees Programs Providing Birth Control to Poor

posted by on March 30 at 9:34 AM

A little good news

The head of the federal office responsible for providing women with access to contraceptives and counseling to prevent pregnancy resigned unexpectedly Thursday after Medicaid officials took action against him in Massachusetts.

The Health and Human Services Department provided no details about the nature of the Massachusetts action that led to Dr. Eric Keroack’s resignation.

Just five months ago, Keroack was chosen by President Bush to oversee HHS’ Office of Population Affairs and its $283 million annual budget. The pick angered Planned Parenthood and other groups that support abortion rights, which viewed him as opposed to birth control and comprehensive sex education. Keroack had worked for an organization that opposes contraception.

Hm… I wonder what action Massachusetts is taking against Keroack, and why. Here’s hoping Gonzales is next.

BREAKING: Pope Catholic

posted by on March 30 at 9:32 AM

The Pope wants us all to know that the Church’s opposition to gay marriage is “non-negotiable.” He’s ordered all Catholic politicians everywhere to oppose gay marriage—and civil unions. Even a proposed law in Italy that would allow same-sex partners access to each other in the hospital is unacceptable to the ol’ Nazi.

Gee, the Pope’s non-negotiable on gay marriage? That’s so out of character. I mean, seeing as how flexible the Church is on choice, birth control, condoms, female priests, and just about every other issue that touches on human sexuality. It’s really just on the issue of gay marriage that the ol’ Nazi is digging in the heels of his red leather Prada pumps.

Meanwhile in England… the Pope is arguing that laws aimed at protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination actually discriminate against the Church. Passing laws that protect gays and lesbians is “legislating for intolerance.” Because it’s intolerant to be intolerant of the Pope’s intolerance. Because he was intolerant first, so he had dibs.

If it’s any comfort to the Pope, gay Catholics are oppressed regardless. If the laws aren’t passed, we’re discriminated against for being gay. If they are passed, we’re discriminated against for being Catholics, cruelly deprived of our fundamental right to oppress ourselves.


posted by on March 30 at 9:07 AM

There are 500,000 children in the United States—live children, already born and everything, in need of temporary homes—and 100,000 children ready to be adopted—actual live children, already born, ready to adopted, kids that need of stable homes, parents, siblings, and families.

And Americans are adopting snowflakes.

Panty Raid 2

posted by on March 30 at 9:02 AM

Washington State’s panty bandit is safely behind bars—but a panty bandit, of sorts, is on the loose in Virginia. He—it’s gotta be a he—has broken into four homes, but hasn’t actually stolen anything.

Police say the panty bandit is going through women’s dressers and then laying out clothes, such as lingerie and shoes, on a bed in the home.

The Morning News

posted by on March 30 at 6:45 AM

Gonzales: Involved in prosecutor firings, according to former aide Kyle Sampson, who testified yesterday. Which means Gonzales, the top law-enforcement official in the country, lied to Congress. Which is a crime.

Vague but incriminating: Sampson on the stand. (See also here, here, here, here, and here.)

Rude Welcome: Bombs kill more than 100 on new US Ambassador’s first day in Iraq.

Shut It Down: Defense secretary Robert Gates tells Congress Guantanamo should be shuttered.

Shorter Phyllis Schlafly: Better lie back and enjoy it, because once you’re married, you can’t say no.

Charges Dropped: In goat spray-painting case (?!?).

Oh, Oh: Single women have more orgasms.

The Farm Bill: Why you should care.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

They Are Precious In His Sight

posted by on March 29 at 4:53 PM


Via Apostropher.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 29 at 4:22 PM


‘Ten Painters’
(ART) If you want to see Seattle painting, go to Francine’s. Works by 10 painters are spread throughout the space—in the downstairs and upstairs galleries, in the bathrooms, resting on the desks. The concentration is impressive, and yet this isn’t a swallow-them-whole survey, but a chance for individual contemplation of Bolinger’s irresistible candy-colored cubicles, Burgert’s devotion to yellow grids, Borysewicz’s dark and religious “oven” collages, Jones’s pink-based carnivals of abstract marks, and the aftermath of Chambers’s violence to her surfaces. (Francine Seders Gallery, 6701 Greenwood Ave N, 782-0355. 11 am—5 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

Today On Line Out.

posted by on March 29 at 4:15 PM

Gaybe I’m Agayzed: Is Mika Or Isn’t He?.

Root Hog Or Die: JJ Grey & Mofro’s Endangered Country Ghetto.

Mix Master: Sound Advice From Balance Engineer Gary Reynolds.

Shalt, Shalt, Let It All Out: Sound Advice From Unbalanced Ranter Scroobius Pip.

Common People: Sing Along With Jarvis Cocker.

Here We Are Now: Entertain Us, Paul Anka.

Bumber Deal: Discount Passes To Bumbershoot On Sale For a Limited Time.

Repetition, Repetition: Go Go Bang Bang Update Update.

And, for Ari:


It’s On TV Tonight!

posted by on March 29 at 4:06 PM

Catch up on the best episodes EVER of THE OFFICE tonight when NBC runs a mini-marathon of the hilarious show (8 pm- 11 pm). (Inexplicably, they are inserting a new ep of Andy Barker, P.I. right smack dab in the middle at 9:30 — so that’s a good time to make a sandwich or shoot up a goofball.) Here’s the lineup according to NBC:
8 pm DIVERSITY DAY - Michael tells everyone it was his idea to hire a special consultant (Larry Wilmore) to teach racial tolerance and diversity, when in fact it was his behavior that necessitated the training.
8:30 HEALTH CARE - When Dwight gets the authority to choose a health plan for everyone, the power quickly goes to his head, infuriating his co-workers.
9:00 SEXUAL HARASSMENT - When Michael’s best friend, sales representative Todd Packer (David Koechner), pays him a visit, Michael starts behaving even more inappropriately.
10:00 THE INJURY - After he has an accident while using a George Foreman grill, injured Michael demands attention from the entire Dunder Mifflin office.
10:30 GAY WITCH HUNT - Michael unintentionally outs a gay employee.

IMPORTANT! If you can’t watch all of them, at least catch GAY WITCH HUNT where Michael makes out with Oscar to prove he likes gays, and THE INJURY, where Dwight suffers from head trauma and throws up all over his car. HERE’S A CLIP!

Lobbying 101: Wining & Dining

posted by on March 29 at 3:46 PM

The author of the amendment that undid the bill to protect Maury Island from Glacier Northwest’s mining expansion, Rep. Al O’Brien (D-1, Mountlake Terrace), doesn’t show up Glacier Northwest’s lobbying expenditure reports.


Rep. Larry Springer (D-45, Kirkland), the other member of the Select Committed on Puget Sound who helped derail the Maury Island bill, sure does. Indeed, according to the report, Glacier lobbyist Steve Gano had Rep. Springer over for dinner at Gano’s house on February 22.

Politicians always scoff and say it doesn’t work this way. But it really does.

Not Accurate

posted by on March 29 at 3:36 PM

More bad news for Gonzales:

“I don’t think the attorney general’s statement that he was not involved in any discussions about U.S. attorney removals is accurate,” the former Gonzales aide, D. Kyle Sampson, said under questioning at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on March 29 at 3:25 PM

Annie Wagner: “I just hate commenters.”

Michael Jackson Hospitalized with Pneumonia!

posted by on March 29 at 3:04 PM

Fox says so!

The International Herald Tribune says not!

Plans to build a 50-foot, laser-equipped Michael Jackson robot which would roam the Nevada desert continue apace.

We’re doomed.


posted by on March 29 at 2:59 PM

The American dream?
90985dcabe27.jpg Or in this image on a brick wall in the ID do we see the future death of all that is not this plain American smile, health, and wealth. From the wild variety of the many we end history with this one standard. And is it bad news? Is the standardization of human culture a bad thing? Will the finishing of difference make us more peaceful?

One beauty (one type of belly) will soon rule the world:
gg3.jpg But deep in history there was an African king who was famous for forcing his wives to drink beer so that their bellies and bodies would grow to a fatness that finally aroused him. Gone is that king and his type of “jungle boogie.” Women fattened by beer are no longer the model for humans in what Vico would have recognized and named “the age of man.”

Hey Poets—Sharpen Your Pencils!

posted by on March 29 at 2:51 PM

This just in.

We are looking for creative writers who like to write poetry and would like to see it published.

I work for DiamondSafe which is now holding its first poetry competition for Mother’s Day. We are awarding a grand prize of a diamond pendant worth $1,600, plus we will be publishing the top 5 winning poems on our web site.

Go here to enter your poem into a web form. The instructions are, um, not exactly intricate:

1. Write a short poem.
2. Include the word ”Diamond” or ”Diamonds”.
3. Submit your poem.

It’s free, there’s no entry fee, and you can enter as many poems as you want before May 1. I really, really want some great Seattle poet to win this thing. Heather McHugh? Joshua Beckman? Anna Maria Hong? James Arthur? Rebecca Hoogs? Frances McCue? Shannon Borg? If you’re reading Slog, you have a couple extra minutes. Just go toss something into that web form. Anything at all. Look what you win:


I think that’d look really nice on you, Joshua.

Congrats ECB!

posted by on March 29 at 1:15 PM

In one fell swoop the Muni League ruins its credibility and ours.

Dear Friend of The Municipal League of King County,

You are invited to the:
2007 Civic Awards

April 26, 2007 6-9 PM
Seattle Space Needle - Skyline Level

The Municipal League of King County is hosting the annual Civic Awards at the Space Needle. The evening includes an open bar, heavy appetizers, an awards ceremony, and a silent auction to benefit the Municipal League Foundation.

Learn more about the Civic Awards at

Attend the event and help us celebrate the 2007 awardees:
Walt Crowley, Citizen of the Year
Fred Jarrett, Public Official of the Year
William Ruckelshaus, Warren G. Magnuson Memorial Award
Randy Revelle, James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award
John Okamoto, Public Employee of the Year
Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Organization of the Year
Erica C. Barnett, Governmental News Reporting of the Year
George Cheung, Doug Mason Memorial Award
Kathy Elias, Mary Skelton Memorial Volunteer Award
The 2007 Civic Scholar will be announced shortly before the event and awarded a $1,000 scholarship at the awards ceremony.

Documentary Video & Rachel Corrie

posted by on March 29 at 1:12 PM

If you haven’t read Brendan’s smart review of My Name is Rachel Corrie at the Rep, do.

Few Seattle theater productions ever become a common point of reference for people outside the theater scene, but I think Rachel Corrie has the potential to do so. And it should. What struck me over and over again about the play was how local Corrie’s writings were. People say that her diaries weren’t written for publication, but I think that’s at least half wrong. Everyone who keeps a private journal has some consciousness of a future audience, whether you’re aiming at your older self or fantasizing a public ravenous for your juvenilia. Corrie didn’t seem to imagine the entire world as her audience, I think—it was more like her friends and neighbors, her insistently local “community.” (And of course, her letters home are aimed at a specific audience, also with common points of reference.)

It’s far easier to understand My Name is Rachel Corrie if you recognize Corrie as a specific type—not a generic patchouli hippie activist, but an Evergreen student, and an Olympia kid. Not a flower child, a flower-bed child. A cultivated specimen. Evergreen as a school for crafty rebels who really just want to camp out forever in their parents’ backyards. A school that emphasizes experiential learning over—yes, at the expense of—critical thinking. (A friend of mine earned at least as many credits welding metal as she did reading books.) As played by Marya Sea Kaminski, Rachel Corrie seems almost identical to another friend I had growing up in North Seattle—who alternately aggravated and stimulated me in the exact same way. Even the declamatory style Kaminski uses (probably overuses) in the first half struck me as powerfully familiar. (That said, Kaminski, native Washingtonians say “too-wer” for tour, not “torr.”)

But what I really want to talk about is the video of Corrie as a 10-year-old kid, speaking clearly and precociously about her goal to end hunger by the year 2000, which closes the play.

I’m here for other children.
I’m here because I care.
I’m here because children everywhere are suffering and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger.
I’m here because these people are mostly children.
We have got to understand that the poor are all around us and we are ignoring them.
We have got to understand that these deaths are preventable.
We have got to understand that people in Third World countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.
We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.
We have got to understand that they are us. We are them.
My dream is to stop hunger by the year 2000.
My dream is to give the poor a chance.
My dream is to save the forty thousand people who die each day.
My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there.
If we ignore hunger, that light will go out.
If we all help and work together, it will burn free with the potential of tomorrow.

It’s a really, really interesting choice, and without it, the play would be far more curt and aggressive—it would look more like the agitprop its detractors describe. The video raises innumerable questions, and I still don’t think I have a handle on all the possible directions it takes the audience.

1) Are we supposed to freeze Corrie in our minds as a 10-year-old kid, her ideology forever immature and fantastical?

2) Further, does this sort of thing contribute to the condescension we enlightened viewers employ when talking about Corrie—a “girl,” not a woman; a fragile blond naïf who let herself be used by those with more sophisticated political agendas; a randomly oriented radical who could just as easily have been protesting the G-8 or chaining herself to redwoods.

3) Why do we teach kids to be so stupid? Corrie obviously didn’t grab that kind of language out the ether—it’s the kind of artless useless optimism we DEMAND from children.

4) Was Corrie in a gifted program? She probably needed to be around smarter kids so she wasn’t constantly talking up to cooing adults.

5) Or alternately, are we supposed to regret the direction her life took? Are we supposed to see this 10-year-old as a pure little potential genie, who just should have been unbottled somewhere on the East Coast, who should have gone on to the Peace Corps or some sexless NGO that really aimed to facilitate food distribution and stop hunger?

But the video just sits there. It’s a little pile of recorded “objectivity” at the end of a play that otherwise ventriloquizes Corrie’s own words and opinions. It argues with her older self, I’m sure. I’m just not certain what point it’s making.

Re: Where Have All the City Hall Candidates Gone?

posted by on March 29 at 12:58 PM

Yesterday, when I slogged about the fact that not too many people are running for City Council, I added this caveat: “I imagine with all the consultants in town talking people into running (so that they’ve got some business), more candidates will file.”

Soon enough, this e-mail landed in my in-box:

There is only one consultant in town who goes around recruiting people. It’s a Seattle political tradition for Cathy Allen to recruit somebody with high name ID and then wait until filing week for them to announce.

So, who do you think Cathy Allen will get this year? Jean Enersen? Bill Nye The Science Guy? Matt Hasselback? Dan Savage?

I can tell you that Dan is not running. (Nor ECB, for that matter.)

No Pot for Passover

posted by on March 29 at 12:51 PM

So says Green Leaf, Israel’s pro-pot party.

Gentiles are still permitted to fill their Easter baskets with grass.


Anyone Out There Speak Latvian?

posted by on March 29 at 12:30 PM

The major paper in Latvia, V-Diena has an article out today that appears to be about the Hutcherson controversy.

Can someone offer a translation?


Maury Island Bill Stripped

posted by on March 29 at 12:23 PM

Sen. Erik Poulsen’s (D-34, West Seattle) bill to stop Glacier Northwest’s from expanding its mining operation on Maury Island passed out of the House committee yesterday, but only after an emotional fight (in the Dem caucus) stripped the bill clean.

A devastating amendment offered by Rep. Al O’Brien (D-1, Mountlake Terrace) stipulates that if the commissioner of public lands (Doug Sutherland, who wants to keep Glacier on Maury Island) isn’t able to find comparable mining land for Glacier by November, 2007, the company can expand its operations as planned.

Supporters of the bill, however, are happy that it even made it out of the House Committee (it was in the Select Committee on Puget Sound—a new committee that oversees environmental issues), and they are crossing their fingers that the bill will be strengthened back to relevance on the House floor and/or in conference with the strong bill that Senator Poulsen passed out of the Senate.

However, bill sponsor Poulsen tells me that’s not likely. “The chance of it making it out of the House at all, much less with its teeth put back in is pretty slim.”

Senator Poulsen, who represents Maury Island, sounded bitter about the defeat: “Glacier got to a few key legislators [Rep. O’Brien and Rep. Larry Springer (D-45, Kirkland)] to make sure the bill never made it out of the House in tact. This is the classic story of a huge multinational corporation with unlimited resources against a tiny community that doesn’t have political muscle.”

Opponents of the bill, like lobbyist Steve Gano, argued that preventing Glacier from expanding wasn’t fair play for a company that already had leasing agreements, and more important, that it would cost the island jobs.

I’m checking into lobbyist expenditure reports to see exactly what Senator Poulsen meant about Glacier’s lobbying campaign on Reps. O’Brien and Springer. More on that soon.

Gano’s firm, Gano & Associates, is, by the way, the fourth biggest lobbying firm in the state when judged by revenues. They took in $602,000 in compensation last year according to the Public Disclosure Commission.

Found on the Street: Cheater’s Guide to Wingdome!

posted by on March 29 at 12:22 PM

I’ve got the key to the test you have to take if you want to be an employee of WINGDOME. And I’m sharing.

Apparently, there are many things you should know. For instance:

The “Four cryin’ out loud sampler” comes with how many flavor choices?

I’ll give you three guesses. Also, did you know that buffalo sauce can be user-friendly?

What all comes on the “Hot cross fries?”
3-alarm and blue cheese crumbles.
When a guest says they woudl like their wings extra wet, what does this mean?
They would like the wings saucier then they come

Necessary information for your everyday life. That is what we provide here at the Strangler.

The entirety of the test is after the jump. Please feel free to study hard and get a job at Capitol Hill’s most elusive entity, the mysterious Wingdome.

Continue reading "Found on the Street: Cheater's Guide to Wingdome!" »

If the Right Didn’t Like Hillary’s Power as First Lady…

posted by on March 29 at 12:16 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani says if elected, he’d be open to his wife attending Cabinet meetings on issues in which she’s interested.

American Idol: Buh-Bye Chris Sligh!

posted by on March 29 at 11:38 AM

Once the most beloved of Idol contestants for his snappy comedic stylings (and lightning quick Simon jabs), the overweight mop-topped CHRIS SLIGH has been given the boot from AMERICAN IDOL. Could it have been because of his Tuesday night massacre of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” or his revelation that he is a “Christ follower”? From Chris Sligh’s blog

I am first and foremost a Christ-follower. I am also a rock star. I don’t feel the two are diametrically opposed. If you do…I feel bad for you.

Hmm… defensive much? See ya in hell, Chris.
Anyhoo, glad he’s gone, because that means more fun from Mr. Pony-Hawk himself, the evil SANJAYA! It’s becoming more and more apparent that his fellow contestants are going bat-shit crazy over the fact that Sanjaya is more pervasive than genital warts, and like the STD, refuses to go away. This could be super bad news for “J” who is now on day 12 of her hunger strike, and will have to go without food for AT LEAST another week! If she keeps it up, pretty soon she’ll be able to fit into Nicole Richey’s bikini!

Not crying for Chris.

Gabriel García Márquez’s Black Eye

posted by on March 29 at 11:28 AM


That’s the picture of García Márquez in today’s New York Times, taken on Valentine’s Day 1976, two days after Mario Vargas Llosa slugged him.

The feud between the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez and the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, onetime best of friends, had all the elements of a literary classic: accusations of betrayal, jealousy and adultery, and a brutal encounter 31 years ago when things turned bloody.

I didn’t know about this feud. (God knows I love a feud.)

This Has the Potential to Be A Finely Crafted Internet Hoax

posted by on March 29 at 11:20 AM

Next month’s issue of German Vanity Fair:
knut polar bear cub german vanity fair.jpg

Apparently, Knut is Germany’s most famous citizen right now. Cute Video Here.

Via Gridskipper

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on March 29 at 10:55 AM

Looks like the Prayer Warrior is going to be on with Anderson Cooper. Will Anderson ask about Latvia?


March 29, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Again another opportunity for me to go to battle for the truth of God has come knocking at my door. Today at 2:30 PM I will be taping a show with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. It is a part of their Christianity Specials that they are currently producing. The one that I have been asked to be on will be a round table discussion with a Rev. Jo Gayle Hudson out of Dallas TX. We will be discussing Christianity and Sexuality. This will touch on the broad issues tied to homosexuality and faith: sanctity of marriage, tolerance, reparative therapy, and why it has often been a divisive issue among Christians. Please pray for the Words of the Lord to speak directly through me, that I will have great courage and wisdom, and that the truth will be heard by those who hear its message.

For such a time as this, God has given me favor. Please continue to pray as we all stand in the gap on these and other important issues of righteousness.

Your Pastor,

Café Presse: YES!

posted by on March 29 at 10:44 AM

Or OUI!, as the case may be. The website for Café Presse—the new place from the people of Le Pichet that will open on 12th just south of Madison in June (which means July or August or maybe even September)—is up, including the insanely reasonably priced menu. Can something be insanely reasonable? In a world gone mad… Bibb lettuce salad with hazelnut vinaigrette, $4; croque monsieur, $5.50; steak tartare with pommes frites and watercress salad, $16; Pichet’s famous roasted chicken for two, $26; et cetera. HOUSE-MADE PASTRIES. With a NEWSSTAND. And A BAR. In which they’re going to show SOCCER GAMES. FREAK the fuck OUT.


Sweeney Hiphop

posted by on March 29 at 10:43 AM

Is everyone aware that Johnny Depp, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter are starring in a Tim Burton adaptation of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, currently in production? Sounds fucking rad.

Except. Says Liz Smith in Variety:

SPEAKING OF cutting remarks, Sacha Baron Cohen is trying to cut his co-star, Johnny Depp, dead. These two are filming the Stephen Sondheim musical “Sweeney Todd” at Pinewood Studios in London—wherein Cohen plays barber Adolfo Pirelli and Depp plays Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. There is a competititon to see which actor can best shave another person with a straight razor. The “Borat” star put his own real life barber on the payroll as adviser and has had 16 hours of razor training. They say that Cohen has had problems with singing Sondheim’s lyrics and that he has been given permission by the film’s director, Tim Burton, to sing in a rap style. Cohen has to warble and shave customers at the same time in this film.

Ummm. (Via Thompson on Hollywood.)

In/Visible Goes Inside the Seattle Art Museum Conservation Studio

posted by on March 29 at 10:24 AM

With the charming English conservator Nicholas Dorman and the resident Tiepolo. Check it here.


The Rap Game

posted by on March 29 at 8:42 AM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

1988: Dan Quayle condemns rap music

1993 The White House has Eazy-E over for dinner.

Now this:

The Morning News

posted by on March 29 at 7:23 AM

Out of Touch: Bush vows not to negotiate a timetable for Iraq withdrawal.

Busted? Former Gonzales chief of staff to testify that justice department knew about the “origins and timing” of prosecutor purge.

Confession? British sailor “admits” trespass into Iranian waters; Downing Street says confessions were made under duress.

Sympathy Surge: Edwards campaign contributions increase 50 percent.

Slow to develop: mammals, which took between 10 and 15 million years to flourish after dinosaur extinction.

Saudi King: Iraq occupation is “illegitimate.”

In support of a timetable for withdrawal: 60 percent of Americans.

Better than nothing: Burger King moves toward cage-free eggs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Manning’s In

posted by on March 28 at 7:03 PM

John Manning (previous coverage here, here, here, and here, for those who don’t remember who he is) is in the running for the seat Peter Steinbrueck is vacating this year. (My story about the other two contenders, Bruce Harrell and Venus Velazquez, is here.)

Now That’s Corporate Support for Living Artists

posted by on March 28 at 6:40 PM

SOIL, Seattle’s oldest artist-run nonprofit gallery, announced today that it has received an unusual and unexpected gift that could be its biggest donation ever: a cache of 26 maritime oil paintings it can put up for sale at auction.

The paintings, given to SOIL from Safeco Insurance’s collection, will be sold through the auction house of Bonham’s & Butterfield’s, said SOIL member artist Randy Wood. They were appraised, he said, at $100,000. While that may or may not be indicative of what they’d bring at auction, of course, SOIL’s operating budget for an entire year is around $40,000, so “either way, it’s a big deal for us,” Wood said. The gallery, financed by an auction, donations, and artist dues, plans to use the money for an endowment that will simply help the doors to stay open, he said.

Jackie Kosak, Safeco art curator, was unavailable for comment this afternoon. In a press statement, she wrote, “With our move to a new headquarters located in downtown Seattle, we took the opportunity to evaluate our art collection in light of our mission to collect the work of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists. … As we considered where to make the donation, we looked for organizations that could store the pieces safely, effectively organize them for auction, and use the proceeds to enrich the Northwest arts scene.”

The gift was a pleasant surprise to SOIL, Wood said: “I guess one of the curators over there was just hip to SOIL. It was pretty crazy.”

The artists, many British, include Edwin Hayes (1819-1904), Frederick James Aldridge (1850-1933), Hugh Boycott-Brown (1909-1990), John Brett (1831-1902), Gustave de Breanski (1856-1898), and W. Ayerst Ingram (1855-1913). Other artists are John DeLacy, Jenny Guo, George E. Hering, D.H. McLean, Arthur J. Meadows, Thomas R. Miles, Ernest Roe, G. Rogers, Clarkson Stanfield, Theodore Weber, William Wilcox, and William H. Williamson. (I’ll admit to never having heard of any of these artists, but several have auction records online.) The press release did not disclose when the paintings came into the Safeco collection, whether all at once or as part of a long-time collecting pattern. Maybe it was a strategy of taking in waterside art for a waterside city?

I can’t help but be reminded by this of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, which is selling off some of its oldest works because of its focus on modern and contemporary art. That decision has raised a firestorm in Buffalo and beyond, and a group of Buffalonians even tried to stop the museum from putting the works up for auction, but they lost. The museum prevailed, and is selling its treasures in order to help pay to support newer art and artists. (A level-headed summary of the action there is here.)

When art disappears from public walls and passes into private living rooms, protests are understandable. And the trend of selling art to protect art institutions seems backwards, if not perverse. But in this case, Safeco is sending privately held, little-if-ever-seen pieces possibly to equally obscure locations—but benefiting, along the way, a public Seattle gallery where living Seattle artists get to experiment in a non-commercial venue. Sorry, Hugh Boycott-Brown, but that sounds like a worthwhile exchange to me.

Frederick James Aldridge.JPG
Frederick James Aldridge’s Crabbers Returning in a Squall will be up for sale to benefit SOIL.

Re: Democrats 4 Eyman

posted by on March 28 at 5:15 PM

Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina), chair of the State House Finance Committee, told me yesterday that the Democrats would be taking up a bill to codify Tim Eyman’s I-747 (the one percent property tax cap) in caucus today.

Word is: that didn’t happen. That’s a good thing.

Why the super majority Democrats would even consider handing Eyman a victory these days is questionable enough. More questionable though is why they would respond to voter concerns about property taxes (the poorest homeowners pay 6 percent of their income in property taxes—seniors are particularly hard hit—while the richest bracket pays 2.8 percent) by codifying a “fix” that’s already in play and so—obviously isn’t a fix.

Luckily, there is a way to address the problem of regressive property taxes. The concept is known as a property tax circuit breaker. It works like this: When property-tax bills reach a certain percentage of a homeowner’s income (say five percent), they get a tax credit. A circuit breaker proposal developed by the Washington Budget and Policy Center is, the Center claims, revenue neutral. It would give the poorest 20 percent of homeowners a 14.9 percent tax cut; the next 20 percent would get about a 12 percent cut, the middle 20 percent would get a 1.9 percent cut, and the top 40 percent would see a 2 percent increase.

Where Have All the Candidates Gone?

posted by on March 28 at 4:44 PM

Erica’s got a story in the new Stranger about this year’s race for City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck’s open seat. (Steinbrueck, elected in 1997, has decided not to seek reelection, so he can be a full-time activist for the surface/transit option on the waterfront.)

One thing we didn’t have room for while profiling the two candidates, Venus Valazquez and Bruce Harrell, was a nagging, larger question: Why are there so few candidates running for City Council this year?

Five out of the nine positions are up this year and so far there are only four candidates running: Valazquez and Herrell for Steinbrueck’s open seat—and Tim Burgess, running against incumbent David Della. Meanwhile:

(Former Council Member John Manning—who had to leave the council in disgrace in 1996 because of domestic violence arrests—is also going to be running against Steinbrueck.)

Tom Rasmussen, Sally Clark, and Jean Godden are still unopposed.

I don’t know if the Seattle Times endless harping about the “Circus Animals Council” worked to the point that the council is no longer considered an important or worthy body; if transportation and education (the two issues everybody’s obsessed with, even though education isn’t on the Council’s docket) seem so hopeless that the public has simply become disengaged; or if the bickering between Mayor Nickels and the council has become so juvenile that no one wants anything to do with City Hall.

But seriously, five seats are up—and the only story so far is that one Council Member (Steinbrueck) decided the council was so irrelevant he’s leaving the council?

I imagine with all the consultants in town talking people into running (so that they’ve got some business), more candidates will file. But it’s nearly April already, and with the primary bumped up to August, filing deadline is June 8—as opposed to late July. Where are all the candidates?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A way to get people more engaged in municipal politics would be to make our council elected by districts—rather than the 9 at-large seats. With districts, candidates wouldn’t be able to get away with their disappearing acts (anybody seen Richard Conlin lately?). They’d have a constituency and accountability. And come election time: Opponents.

Two Items from Cinematical, Two Items From My Childhood (or Youthier Youth)

posted by on March 28 at 4:18 PM

From Cinematical comes news of two possible releases:

On DVD: Disney is “strongly considering” releasing the notorious Brer Rabbit/Tar Baby tale Song of the South, featuring Uncle Remus, a happy story-telling slave (or worse, a happy, post-Civil War, voluntary virtual slave).


I know I saw either Song of the South (which was rereleased in theaters in 1986) or, possibly, the expurgated Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby (released on video in the ’90s) as a kid—I’m pretty sure I saw the original, actually, and I definitely had a record or tape of the soundtrack. In some ways, I’m almost more offended by the fact that kids can see cleaned-up versions of Song of the South (like the 2006 The Adventures of Brer Rabbit)—it’s weird to know and cite Tar Baby stories (not to mention the Oscar-winning song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”) without being aware of their charged “publication” history. Americans always seem to prefer to suppress memories (blackface minstrelsy is another good example) instead of acknowledging them as a problematic cultural inheritance. I can’t endorse that. And any parent who lets their kid watch Song of the South without pointing out its racist elements is probably already feeding them prejudice with their Cheerios.

In theaters: David Duchovny is again forecasting a feature-length The X-Files sequel. Erik Davis at Cinematical wonders whether the plan will work: “One thing Duchovny did note back in 2005 was that the sequel will not pick up where the last film left off, or involve some sort of alien conspiracy. Instead, it will be a regular old supernatural horror film. No word on what that means for Agent Mulder (will he be hunting down ghosts on MySpace alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar), but ditching the whole “alien aspect” might not sit well with those die hard fans.” Don’t be ridiculous. Any real die-hard fan (10th grade through senior year of college, ladies and gentlemen!) will tell you that the alien through-line didn’t start until the second season (when Gillian Anderson was 8 months pregnant and Scully had to be abducted) and never made any coherent sense. The stand-alone episodes, usually featuring some isolated supernatural horror, were always the classics. Remember Flukey?

McCain’s Rose Colored Glasses

posted by on March 28 at 4:07 PM

Over at Americablog, John McCain is getting skewered for saying, on CNN, that the new top American general in Iraq is able to ride around in an unarmed Humvee these days:

General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You see, you are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media.

McCain also said:

There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today.

To which a CNN correspondent in Iraq replied:

Honestly, Wolf, you’ll barely last twenty minutes out there… It’s unclear what part of Neverland that Senator McCain is talking about where Americans can stroll the streets of the capitol Baghdad. If Al Qaeda doesn’t get an American, if a Shia militia isn’t…tipped off, if the Sunni insurgents don’t grab them, then a criminal gang will see dollar signs and take them immediately.

Watch the video of all of this here, it’s quite something.

After the video came the McCain denial (hard to deny something that’s on video) and the smack-down from the DNC, and the retired general contradicting McCain, and then this from McCain:

The consequences of failure are catastrophic because if we come home, bin Laden and Zarqawi, they are going to follow us.

To which an Americablog blogger replied:

Um, Senator … Zarqawi is dead. Not only is he dead, but the Senator used his death, which occurred nearly ten months ago, to smear those who advocated redeployment: “[Zarqawi’s death] has got to be viewed as a success,” he said. “It’s got to be viewed as perhaps a bit of a rebuke against those who are advocating that we cut and run out of Iraq.”

McCain knows his age is going to be an issue as the presidential campaign goes forward. (If he wins, he would be the oldest president ever to take office.) If McCain is serious about this race, he shouldn’t be handing out such easy ammunition for those who want to paint him as forgetful and out of touch.

Today on Line Out

posted by on March 28 at 3:52 PM

Baby turtles!


Now that I have your attention, here’s what’s going on today over in Line Out…

Vying for Volta: Videos, music, and weirdness leak from Bjork’s upcoming album.

Thin Lissie: Trent Moorman interviews Badly Drawn Boy’s opening act.

Sasquatch Updates: The Beasties ditch words and a few more artists get added to the already crazy good line-up.

Dead Animals, Arrests, and Adderall: The Trashies are still on tour, and still (surprisingly) alive (unlike that poor little bobcat in the freezer).

Balls-Out Riff-Slinging: Ratatat review can be found here.

This Week’s BOTW: Jacob London.

Repetition Repetition: Is the new new trend trend.

Impending Awesomeness: No really, “Awesome” is playing later this week.

New Column!

posted by on March 28 at 3:46 PM

Our new issue is online. Starring sex offenders, teenage prostitutes and…


What’s What’s Up Up With With Go Go Bang Bang

posted by on March 28 at 3:34 PM

Look at me, I’m becoming Dan Savage—tearing down posters of hot guys, putting them up here…


My questions:

1. Go Go Bang Bang, what are you? A DJ? A club night? A shoot out? I don’t know what you are but I love you already. Because of my Ninja Turtle fetish.

2. If you are a club night—and you are, and who doesn’t love a new club night?—can you explain this phenomenon of doubled-up, single-syllable names for club nights? (Once upon a time there was Club Club. More recently, the excellent Sing Sing. You see those stutterers and you raise them: a doubled-up, single-syllable name times two. Trend alert!)

3. Who are you, dude? Are you real? Will you be there? Will you be dancing? According to some intelligence gathering, there will be go go boys at Go Go Bang Bang. Eat your heart out, Comeback!

Last-Minute “Awesome” Show

posted by on March 28 at 3:19 PM

Way back in the day, before “Awesome” got all (provincially) famous and started playing rock clubs and fancy literary events and theaters like On the Boards, they did a series of intimate (but packed) shows in the long, dimly-lit theater in the Rendezvous that always, always makes me think I’m in a bordello.

(Even though it doesn’t look particularly bordello-ish. Did it used to be a bordello? Are the ghosts of cheerful turn-of-the-century prostitutes, gruff-but-sweet barmen, and a diminutive piano player named Mac floating around the place? I’d like to think so.)

Anyway, those old shows were great—surprising, conspiratorial, like you were in on a secret. They’re still my favorite “Awesome” shows. Special guests with improbable-looking horns (big saxes, long trumpets) kept coming out from backstage. A tub of water was used as a percussion instrument, getting the tub-player soaking wet. The national anthems of other countries were sung. Lots of people wore suits. Some guy behind me kept barking load, hoarse yeah!s every time a song ended. And drinks, of course, were drunk. Those were good nights. They looked like this:


(The photo in the banjo was, I think, of Patrick Swayze.)

This Friday, March 30, “Awesome” returns to the haunted bordello known as the Rendezvous for one night. The 8 pm show is sold out. The 10:30 pm show is almost sold out. You can get a ticket here.

It’s On TV!

posted by on March 28 at 3:08 PM

Tonight on the tube:
• On LOST (ABC, 10 pm) Sun finally discovers why The Others kidnapped her. (I suspect it has something to do with her being hot.)

• On AMERICAN IDOL (FOX, 9 PM), another poor, unsuspecting dork is voted off. GO SANJAYA’S PONY-HAWK!

• On AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL (CW, 8 pm), the girls try to make up for last week’s faux pas where they posed as mutilated corpses, by posing as men (who mutilate corpses).

• And on SOUTH PARK (COMEDY CENTRAL, 10 pm), it’s big trouble when Hillary Clinton comes to town, and Cartman discovers a new Muslim student who OBVIOUSLY must be tortured… 24-style!

And by the way! Though THE SOPRANOS doesn’t return until April 8, here’s the trailer for the sixth and FINAL season. Who you think is gonna get whacked, you fuckin’ mook!?

I Just Checked in On One of My Favorite Bills in Oly…

posted by on March 28 at 2:11 PM

one that would have required health care providers to disclose to patients any gifts they received from drug companies, and it turns out it got killed in the Rules committee last week after sailing out of the Senate’s Health Care Committee last month.

In the Health Care Committee, the opposition came from Republicans—recipients of loads of money from the pharmaceutical industry. Seriously Dude: I found every drug company you can name on committee member GOP Senator Cheryl Pflug’s (R-5, Maple Valley) donor list.

Being in the minority, though, she and her drugged-up GOP colleagues couldn’t stop the bill.

I’m trying to get a beat on why the bill crashed and burned in Rules, where Democrats have a 12-6 advantage. I looked at the donor list of Senate power player and Rules Committee member, Majority Leader Senator Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane)—and she’s not on the dole from big Pharma. Neither is the vice chair of the committee, Senator Rosa Franklin (D-29, Tacoma).

I’ve got a call in to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Seattle), to see she what she has to say about it. I’ll keep you posted.

Phyllis Schlafly, Then and Now

posted by on March 28 at 2:05 PM

Yes, Phyllis Schlafly still exists, and she’s still got it in for the ERA.*



“What I am defending is the real rights of women. A woman should have the right to be in the home as a wife and mother.”

“ERA means abortion funding, means homosexual privileges, means whatever else.”

“The fact is that women already enjoy every constitutional right that men enjoy and have enjoyed equal employment opportunity since 1964.”

“ERA would take away women’s traditional exemption from military conscription and also from military combat duty.”

“ERA would put ‘gay rights’ into the U.S. Constitution because the word in the amendment is ‘sex,’ not ‘women.’ Eminent authorities have stated that ERA would legalize the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and generally implement the gay and lesbian agenda.”

“Most husbands do support their wives because of love, but the high divorce rate proves that many husbands do not love their wives. Love may go out the window but the obligation remains, just as the children remain. ERA would remove that obligation.”



The social security system rests on the concept of the dependent wife. I get my social security based on my husband’s income over the years, and I am sure that is true of many women here today.”

“ERA would lock abortion into the U.S. Constitution so that reversing Roe v. Wade would make no difference.”

“You didn’t hear a single benefit that women will get out of the ERA.”

“What it will do is make all of our laws sex neutral. … The ERA would treat women exactly the same as men, and women do not want to be treated the same as men in the military or in combat. The constitution is already sex neutral.”

“[The ERA says] if you deny a marriage license to a man and a man you have discriminated on account of sex.”

“Feminists made divorce a major component of women’s liberation.”

Bonus! Here are some opinions Schlafly now says were “too controversial” for her to express during the ERA’s first go-round:

“It would wipe the out laws of the constitution. It would wipe out laws against bigamy. It would reduce the age of consent to 12. It would eliminate Mother’s Day.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Those hairy feminazis won’t take away my mom’s special day unless they pry it from my cold, dead hands!

*Full text: Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Grace and Charles

posted by on March 28 at 1:52 PM

Ladies and gentleman, the great Grace Jones:
grace-jones.jpg Always in my dreams, always for me the point at which the immense powers of mass/commercial society are translated into the ur-unit of human power, Grace Jones. She is for all of us, the power of a rhythm, a being, a body, a slave. Her beauty is industrial strength.

Charles_Baudelaire.jpg What a handsome poet Charles Baudelaire was. After him, poets turn ugly and remain ugly.

Spot the Typo

posted by on March 28 at 1:47 PM

Get out your White-Out and Sharpie markers: At the top of tomorrow’s cover, “BEATONE” should be “BEANONE.” Dammit.

Why Worry About a Little Thing Like Turbulence

posted by on March 28 at 1:02 PM

when there’s Cold War crap falling out of the sky?

Pieces of space junk from a Russian satellite coming out of orbit narrowly missed hitting a jetliner over the Pacific Ocean overnight.

The pilot of a Lan Chile Airbus A340, which was traveling between Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand, notified air traffic controllers at Auckland Oceanic Centre after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane about 10pm last night.

According to a plane spotter, who was tuning into a high frequency radio broadcast at the time, the pilot “reported that the rumbling noise from the space debris could be heard over the noise of the aircraft.”

According to this story from the BBC, the “current estimate is that there are over a million bits of debris orbiting the Earth” and that much of it is “bits of nuclear reactor coolant that are leaking from old satellites.”

The piece of Russian satellite mentioned above was bigger than that, and had it hit the airliner the result would have been disastrous. Again, from the BBC story:

Although most of the debris in space is small, it’s traveling extremely fast. Below altitudes of 2,000 km, the average relative impact speed is 36,0000 kmph (or 21,600 mph).

At this speed, collision can be dramatic:

• A 1mm metal chip could do as much damage as a .22-caliber long rifle bullet.

• A pea-sized ball moving this fast is as dangerous as a 400lbs. safe traveling at 60 mph.

• A metal sphere the size of a tennis ball is as lethal as 25 sticks of dynamite.

Still, as scary as the idea of satellite debris hitting an airliner is, the odds are pretty slim. And besides, there’s an even bigger threat from space debris, one which could make it impossible for future space travel, or even satellite launches. From the International Herald Tribune:

For decades, space experts have worried that a speeding bit of orbital debris might one day smash a large spacecraft into hundreds of pieces and start a chain reaction, a slow cascade of collisions that would expand for centuries, spreading chaos through the heavens.

Debris smashing into debris, creating even more (smaller) debris. And this chain reaction, as it turns out, may be just around the corner:

Now, experts say, China’s Jan. 11 test of an antisatellite rocket that shattered an old satellite into hundreds of large fragments means the chain reaction will most likely start sooner. If those predictions are right, the cascade could put billions of dollars’ worth of advanced satellites at risk and eventually threaten to limit humanity’s reach for the stars.

For its part, NASA, as far back as 2000, has been worried about space debris:

NASA is to test a laser “broom” capable of removing debris in the path of the International Space Station (ISS), on a space shuttle mission in 2003, the British magazine New Scientist reports in its Saturday issue.

The broom, dubbed Project Orion, is designed to stop objects between one and 10 centimeters (0.4 to 4 inches) in diameter, which could puncture holes in the hull of the ISS.

The laser “broom” didn’t pan out, however. Which means our space junk problem can only get worse.


Licata in Congress

posted by on March 28 at 12:50 PM

City Council Member (and anti-sports stadium subsidy rabble rouser) Nick Licata is in DC testifying in front of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the US House tomorrow. The topic: Are sports stadiums worthwhile investments for the public?

Here’s Licata’s testimony:

Licata Testimony

Licata Testimony Continued.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Deluxe Adjustable Nipple Clamps

posted by on March 28 at 12:40 PM

Does Jesus Christ approve of BDSM? Yes, says Sir Gardener at, but only when the man—the straight married man—is the top.

Does [Christian BDSM] differ from “secular” BDSM?

It does differ from secular BDSM in that the relationship is (or should be) confined to a husband and wife in male dominant/female submissive roles. Also, the Bible is the ultimate authority… if something is “accepted” in BDSM circles but prohibited by the Bible, then it is prohibited in a Christian BDSM relationship.

Are BDSM relationships different in Christian BDSM? If so, how do they differ?

They are different since there is a specific spiritual component to their relationship. The Master and submissive/slave worship, pray and grow together as Christians. The Master is head of the wife. She submits to Him. Christ is the head of the church. Master and submissive are both in submission to Christ. A Christian submissive’s first responsibility is to God and His commandments. Unlike her secular sister, a Christian submissive should not participate in something against God’s teaching, even if ordered by her Dominant/Master.

Can we do anything we want in Christian BDSM?

CAN we? Of course! SHOULD we? Of course NOT!

If not, what are the prohibitions for Christian BDSMers?

Anything prohibited by the Bible, plus anything not agreed upon by the couple.

Hm… the bible says you can kill your kids if they smart talk you. So if your submissive wife is down with murdering her children… uh… Christian BDSMers can kill their kids. Femdoms, male subs, and kinky fags with uppity children, however, just have to put up with their brats giving ‘em lip.

There’s no porn—heaven forbid!—at But anyone that’s ever asked himself “WWJD with these tit clamps?” can find Godly direction and spiritual uplift clicking here.

Announcing the First-Ever Stranger Gong Show

posted by on March 28 at 12:39 PM


Attention talented freaks and those who love to gawk at them: On Thursday, April 12 at the Crocodile Cafe, The Stranger will be presenting its first-ever Gong Show, hosted by yours truly.

In advance of the show date, we’re looking for any and all unique and entertaining acts hungry to strut their stuff before a panel of drunken judges for fabulous prizes. This means jugglers, magicians, yodelers, strongmen, stand-up comics, clog dancers, air bands, contortionists, jug bands, sword swallowers, vaudeville acts, and anyone else with an act that’s under four minutes long and doesn’t involve fire or minors. (The Croc is a bar.)

For more info and to sign up for the competition, go here. (Talent may also sign-up at the door the night of the show.)

And if you just want to gawk/cheer/heckle the drunken celebrity judges (including Sarah Rudinoff, Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, and On the Boards artistic director Lane Czaplinski), show up at the Crocodile on Thursday, April 12 for the fabulous and totally free freak parade kicking off at 9pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy this face-numbingly weird tidbit from the original Gong Show:

German Press Agency: Hutcherson Told Latvian Officials He Represented the White House

posted by on March 28 at 12:05 PM

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the German Press Agency, has a report out today that adds further details to Ken Hutcherson’s controversial visit to Latvia.

One of the central questions about this visit is whether Hutcherson passed himself off as a White House envoy without White House permission, a possible federal crime. DPA reports:

While in the country [Hutcherson] met with senior officials, including the minister for integration and the head of the parliamentary human-rights committee - both of whom believed him to be linked with [the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives].

“Yes, he is working as this organization’s envoy,” said the head of Latvia’s parliamentary human-rights committee, Janis Smits.

“He said he was a representative of the office. The ministry of integration should be open to all, so I generally trust people and don’t ask them if they have their credentials,” added Integration Minister Oskars Kastens. Hutcherson was carrying a file bearing the US coat of arms, he said.

In this DPA story, Hutcherson continues to claim that the White House was behind him, although he appears to now be backpedaling on his claim that he asked for, and received, the title of “Special Envoy” from the White House:

White House officials contacted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur denied that Hutcherson had any link with the office.

Hutcherson “was not appointed ‘special envoy’ by [the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives],” said White House spokeswoman Alyssa McClenning.

He has no official status or links with the body which would legitimately allow him to claim to represent the White House on a foreign visit, she added.

Hutcherson responded angrily to the comment, saying that he “did not appreciate being called a flat liar” and that the White House press office were unaware of his role.

“I never asked for a title: I asked for the power, the clout… The people in the press office don’t know what’s been going on in the upper office,” he said.

Perhaps. It also appears that Hutcherson does not remember what he wrote to his followers on March 6…

March 6, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Thank you for praying. What a blessing in answered prayer!

I just received the Special Commission from Faith Based regarding Family Values, Adoption, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief. The head of Faith Based is contacting people in the State Department to follow up on the Ambassadorship.

Receiving a Special Commission is a HUGE answer to prayer. Thank you for your continued prayers,

Pastor Hutch

…and on March 16:

March 16, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Thank you for praying for my call to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. It went very well.

I was honored to receive a commission by the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives as a Special Envoy in the following areas: Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief, which allowed me to meet with the Latvian government….

Continue to pray that the new influence that God has granted through me serving as a special envoy for the White House will be effectively used as I deal with the adoption issue in the United States this next week.

Your Pastor,

Sanjaya Rocks the “Pony-Hawk”

posted by on March 28 at 11:59 AM

Due to a TiVo freak out of monumental proportions, I missed last night’s ep of AMERICAN IDOL: The Gwen Stefani Edition! If you did too, then fret not—because according to everybody on the internet, SANJAYA’S “PONY-HAWK” stole the show right out from under Gwen! What’s a “pony-hawk”? Well… it’s like a mohawk… made with ponytails… and… and… oh, just watch the video. (I gotta say, as long as Sanjaya keeps distracting people from his lousy voice, he’s going to stay in this competition.)

P.S. If Sanjaya’s voice begins to remind you of chewing on aluminum foil, skip to the 2:35 mark when Simon comes in.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 28 at 11:58 AM


Laff Hole
Wednesday night’s most reliable diversion continues at Capitol Hill Arts Center, where tonight brings another installment of Laff Hole, the weekly standup roundup corralled by the People’s Republic of Komedy. This week’s main attraction: Black Daisy, the video-making comedy troupe who’ll be celebrating the release of their new DVD. Also on the bill: booze, bombs (there’s always one, at least), and a bunch of comedians with impressive track records for hilarity. (CHAC Lower Level, 1621 12th Ave, 388-0569. 9:30 pm, $5, 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER

The Mega Millions Lottery: The Hairy, Bemoled Woman’s Last Best Hope

posted by on March 28 at 11:45 AM

I’ve been seeing these billboards around town for months, and in my own quiet way, I fucking hate them.



That is all.

Landmark Theatres’ new Book Club!

posted by on March 28 at 9:53 AM

Somewhere around the time that the local Landmark Theatres publicist got laid off, and all communications duties were passed on to a centralized publicity machine in San Diego, I started receiving weird publicity materials. Like a Landmark CD, featuring music that may or may not have been featured in movies that may or may not have played at local Landmark theaters. I think it’s still somewhere in the mountain that is my desk. Or maybe I threw it at the music writers. In any case, I wasn’t too annoyed.

But this email, which I received yesterday, is taking things too far:

Dear FiLM Club Member,

Welcome to Landmark Theatres’ new Book Club!

Each month we’ll provide you with an amazing selection of film-related books available for purchase at a great discount, shipping included! You’ll find everything from beautiful film photography books to books with the actual screenplay to those that have a direct connection with the great films we’re showing.

Check out our picks for this month…The Namesake: A Portrait of the Film, written by the film’s director, Mira Nair. The best-selling Maxed Out, an exploration of America’s dependence on credit and problems with debt. The Seventeen Traditions, Ralph Nader’s thoughts on the evolution from childhood into responsible adulthood. Dreamgirls: The Movie Musical, a chronicle of the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of one of the most successful stage musicals of all time […]

OK, I understand that Landmark is a chain of movie theaters, not a book seller, and thank god, right? We wouldn’t want them chomping into Elliott Bay revenue or anything like that. But if you were deciding on a book tie-in for Mira Nair’s The Namesake, wouldn’t you consider—at least consider—the novel it’s based on? Seriously, who wants to read a book written by a director? I want to read a book written by a writer!

Well, the Washington Center for the Book may choose obvious books, but my god, at least they choose obvious books! This year’s Seattle Reads selection is the actual The Namesake, and its gorgeous author Jhumpa Lahiri will be in town May 14-15.

An Army of None

posted by on March 28 at 9:40 AM


The Army’s new acting surgeon general said Tuesday she is concerned about long-term morale because the military lacks money to hire enough nurses and mental health specialists to treat thousands of troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

We send our troops into combat without proper armor. We keep soldiers in Iraq well beyond their expected tours. Then when they get out, we don’t even have the staff available to help them through their post-war trauma. And as usual with the Iraq war, it all comes back to this:

“When the original plans were made, we did not take into consideration we could be in a long war,” said Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock. She became surgeon general earlier this month after Kevin Kiley was forced to resign in a scandal over poor treatment of war-wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

But hey, at least acrotomophiliacs are getting something out of all this.

(Via Think Progress.)

Some Good News for the Gays

posted by on March 28 at 9:26 AM

The proposed ban on gay foster parents in Arkansas—which would have banned placing foster children in the homes of their fit-to-parent gay and lesbians relatives (so much better to ship those kids off to strangers!)—dies in committee.

Iowa State Senate approves gay and lesbian civil rights bill.

Georgia Supreme Court rejects lawsuit brought by the America’s Least Favorite Lesbian.

Staten Island has its first openly-gay elected official.

Maybe We Should Feed Them to the Rabbits in Woodland Park?

posted by on March 28 at 9:12 AM

The city of Seattle needs to dispose of 110 parakeets. The birds were seized from a man that lived in a one-bedroom U-District apartment.

“It sounded like a flock inside this apartment,” said Neil Deruyter, a humane law enforcement officer with the Seattle Humane Society, adding that several neighbors had complained. “You could hear the noise from the street.”

The owner, who Deruyter said is in his 50s, admitted conditions for the bright, multicolored birds were less than ideal and the animals were beginning to overwhelm him. He had been collecting birds in his one-bedroom apartment for about five years, officers said.

We would send Brendan down to adopt a few parakeets before lunch but the “Seattle Animal Shelter reserves the right to refuse adoption,” according to the PI, and we don’t think Brendan could pass the background check.

“The laws of this country will trump their religious tradition.”

posted by on March 28 at 9:07 AM

Some Somali immigrants in Minnesota are ticking off the locals. More than 40,000 Somalis have immigrated to Minnesota, of all places, since the early ’90s. And many of these Somali immigrants—most of them Muslim immigrants—believe they shouldn’t have to do anything on the job that violates their faith.

Many Somalian cabdrivers—who dominate the airport taxi business—refuse to transport passengers carrying alcohol. Some Somalian cashiers will not handle pork products; instead, they’ve begun asking customers to scan their own bacon. To the immigrants, it’s a question of religious freedom—and protecting themselves from sin.

“This is not something we are choosing to do. It’s part of our religion,” said cabdriver King Osman, 37. “It’s forbidden to carry drink. Forbidden!”

Over the past five years, 4,854 passengers have been denied taxi service by Somali cab drivers for the sin of carrying booze. Folks in Minnesota are pretty ticked off.

The widespread response: This is America, and you’re free to practice your faith. You’re not free to inconvenience others because of those beliefs.

“If they don’t want to do that work, they shouldn’t be in that business,” said Christine Benson, 58, who owns a knitting store in a largely Somalian neighborhood. “They can stuff it.”

I particularly loved this man’s comments:

Jon Wohlwend, punching his code into the pharmacy’s ATM, looked up, sharing her outrage. “You call a cab, but he can’t give you a ride,” he started.

“Because you have alcohol on your breath,” Psihos said, finishing his thought.

“I mean, that’s why I need the ride!” said Wohlwend, 39. “Because I’m hammered!

And I couldn’t agree more with this guy:

[David A.] Miller, executive director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Yale University, said that when the Somalis took their jobs, they knew what they would be required to do: Scan every item in a grocery cart; drive every passenger who needs a ride. If they can’t do the work, he said, they should look elsewhere.

“Chances are,” Miller said, “the laws of this country will trump their religious tradition.”

Yes, yes, yes: You’re free to practice your religious faith here in America—however simplistic your faith, however idiotic, however destructive—but you’re not free to inconvenience others because of your beliefs. If your religious beliefs prevents you from doing a particular job, well, then don’t take a job that conflicts with your religious beliefs. I trust the same folks in Minnesota shouting those sentiments at Somali cab drivers are equally upset with fundamentalist Christian pharmacists that refuse to dispense the morning-after pill to women citing their religious beliefs. A woman seeking birth control shouldn’t be inconvenienced by a fundamentalist pharmacist, she shouldn’t be sent on a wild goose chases through town seeking a pharmacist that will fill a proscription.

If the laws of this country trump the the religious traditions of one, they trump the religious traditions of all.

Slurp, Slurp

posted by on March 28 at 8:37 AM

My God…

Who put this smut on YouTube? My God, children watch video clips on YouTube! Who is to blame for this? Why, those gay pornographers at the American Family Association.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

posted by on March 28 at 8:31 AM

If my “Every Child…” posts offend you, then don’t click here.


posted by on March 28 at 8:01 AM

The Alberto Gonzales scandal is shocking, and it gets people like me in a fevered partisan pitch about Bush’s fascism and his Stalinist purges and the end of Constitutional rule.

But you don’t have to be Dennis Kucinich to feel outraged or … hurt.

My dad is long retired. I called him on Monday to wish him a happy birthday. What he wanted to talk about though, was the Attorney General.

You see: My dad worked at the DOJ for over 30 years. Sometimes I forget he worked there because he finished up his career at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But his heyday was definitely at the DOJ in the Solicitor General’s Office. (I’m proud of my old dad. He argued in the U.S. Supreme Court 13 times, representing the feds, getting a government salary while arguing against some corporate gun who was probably making equivelant pay just for that day’s big gig. I got to see my dad argue in the Supreme Court twice.)

“What do you think of this Gonzales stuff?” dad asked me.
Spacing out on the significance of the question coming from my dad, I leapt off into some riff from dailykos probably about contempt of Congress.

“I worked there,” my dad said, interrupting me quietly.
“Yeah,” I said. “Yeah, I know that.”
“I worked at the DOJ,” he said. “Isn’t this a disgrace?”
I stopped with the rave, and said, “Yeah. It’s a disgrace.”
We started talking about something else.

Thanks for ruining my dad’s birthday, Alberto Gonzales. For that alone—you should resign.

The Morning News

posted by on March 28 at 6:16 AM

“Shamefully unacceptable”: Inquiry into Tillman’s friendly-fire death in Afghanistan.

Not “worth the effort”: Wal-Mart concedes New York market.

“Evolve or migrate”: Biodiversity could decrease rapidly as up to two-fifths of Earth’s land surface becomes hotter than anything that currently exists.

“Not a prize to be won or lost”: Hagel on Iraq after Senate resolution backing pullout.

“Of particular concern”
: Mothers who eat a diet heavy in hormone-laced beef may have sons with “sub-fertile” sperm.

“Absolutely no justification”
: Blair on standoff with Tehran over 15 British hostages.

“Early intervention”: British euphemism for government custody and “active management” of criminals’ children.

“Horrifying”: Torture at Abu Ghraib, according to a district court ruling dismissing charges against Donald Rumsfeld.

“Not going to comment”: Gonzales, just before fleeing press conference.

“The brother can’t drive”: “Undercover Brother” star Eddie Griffin on his maybe-a-hoax $1.5 million Ferrari crash.

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”: The ERA, back in play.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You’ve Heard About Drinking Liberally. But What About Science on Tap?

posted by on March 27 at 9:17 PM

Politics heads pride themselves on being wonked out goofballs—taking over bars and talking about DOJ e-mails, Hillary vs. Obama, and circuit breaker property tax reform.

But has anyone ever been to this—Science on Tap in Ravenna?

Holy nanofabrication! Yesterday night there was a lecture on nanotechnology given by the director of the Center for Nanotechnology at the UW.

Science on Tap meets at the Pub at Ravenna Third Place Bookstore (corner of 20th Ave NE and NE 65th Street) on the last Monday of every month at 7pm.

The next event meeting features Peter Vitaliano from UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences giving a talk (which sounds a bit depressing) titled: “Stress, Aging and the Effects on our Body: is Caregiving Hazardous to Your Health?”

Slogging Live From Sanjaya’s Hair!

posted by on March 27 at 8:28 PM

This is extra special corespondent Adrian Ryan Slogging live from 10,000 feet, tangled atop the amazing gravity-defying FAUHAWK that SANJAYA chose to to wear on American Idol this evening. He’s singing a selection from No Doubt, which sucks. (Fortunately, I can barely hear it from way up here.) From this height, I can see APOLO OHNO, Olympic guy and also a person from Seattle, who we are all totally ignoring waaaaaaay over at Dancing With the Stars. Kind of sad, really. That is all. I’m getting dizzy.

In the Hall, Cutting-Room Floor Edition, Take 2

posted by on March 27 at 6:07 PM

In a letter to representatives of the Regional Transportation Investment District last week, Mayor Greg Nickels expressed alarm that many of the projects Seattle needs to have finished before the viaduct is torn down in three years won’t be funded, under the latest RTID plan, until as late as 2027. “It is imperative that the funding for these projects is made available at the earliest time possible,” Nickels wrote. WSDOT’s David Hopkins says RTID has to balance the concerns of all the cities in its jurisdiction when deciding where to spend money first. “Obviously, it’s not just Seattle that’s asking for changes in project time frames,” Hopkins says. “The RTID board is going to be considering all requests.”

Flex-Fuel “Fraud”

posted by on March 27 at 6:06 PM


As President Bush pushes Congress to “move expeditiously” to pass his legislation to increase the use of alternative fuels and develop flex-fuel cars, environmental and consumer groups like Public Citizen noted that flex-fuel cars can run on regular gasoline, allowing automakers to claim a break on federal fuel-economy rules for the rest of their fleets while doing nothing to help the environment. According to Public Citizen, the fuel-economy break reduces the fuel economy carmakers’ fleets must achieve

under an assumption that these vehicles use gasoline 50 percent of the time and E-85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) the other 50 percent. Using this loophole, Ford saved itself as much as $135 million in fines it would have received for model years 2003 to 2005 for not meeting the actual fuel economy standards. In reality, Ford and other automakers are cheating the system because E-85 is not widely available, and some vehicles designated as FFVs do not operate properly with the fuel.

Only about 1,100 gas stations nationwide sell E85; 22 states have fewer than 10 E85 stations, and 11 have no providers at all.

And anyway, switching to ethanol isn’t the answer. Because the vast majority of ethanol under production in the US is corn-based, providing crops for ethanol sets up a competition for resources between cars and people, which isn’t that important if you’re a wealthy Western World-er but could be devastating if you live in a country that relies on corn as its staple food—like, say, Mexico. Farmers can respond to higher prices by planting more, but that will require diverting land from other crops or turning virgin habitat into farmland. The UN predicts that 99 percent of Indonesia’s rainforest will be gone by 2022, and similar destruction is happening all over the world, from Africa to Brazil.

Moreover, conventional ethanol production takes lots of energy not just to plant and grow the corn (requiring diesel powered machinery, tons of fertilizer and pesticide, and water for irrigation) but also to make the final product. Distilling the ethanol takes more energy still—so much energy, overall, that ethanol use reduces greenhouse-gas emissions just 13 percent compared to using ordinary gasoline. (Cellulosic ethanol made from other plants, like switchgrass, is much better, but growing switchgrass still takes up land that could be used for growing food crops.)

British journalist George Monbiot goes so far as to call for a complete five-year moratorium on the development and production of biofuels, noting pointedly that

The reason governments are so enthusiastic about biofuels is that they don’t upset drivers. They appear to reduce the amount of carbon from our cars, without requiring new taxes. It’s an illusion sustained by the fact that only the emissions produced at home count towards our national total. The forest clearance in Malaysia doesn’t increase our official impact by a gram.

One idea Bush doesn’t seem so hot on, but which my hometown of Austin is actively promoting: Plug-in cars, which could feed back into the electric grid when they aren’t being used.


Vivace to Move to North End of Broadway

posted by on March 27 at 4:07 PM

A spokesman for Vivace Espresso Roasteria, whose flagship location is being displaced by a Sound Transit light rail station from its longtime home at the corner of Broadway and Denny, called today to tell me some actual good news for Broadway (and Capitol Hill): The flagship store will move into the new Brix Condos, AKA the big hole in the ground at the corner of Broadway and Mercer. The condos, which will replace a one-story Safeway and displace countless families of rats, are expected to open in 2008. The new Vivace-anchored building, along with another being developed by Bill Burkheimer across the street, should bring life to what had been a completely dead block anchored by two grocery stores, a Taco Bell, and an empty parking lot.

“Pirate vs. Ninja”

posted by on March 27 at 3:42 PM

One of the highlights of the very first HUMP, the Stranger’s annual locally produced porn festival, was lesbian sex romp “Pirate vs. Ninja.” It featured a buxom pirate and a butch, mohawked ninja battling it out for the, uh, hand of a bound, blindfolded babe kneeling in a treasure chest filled with other booty. It had the best dialogue of any HUMP entries that year—to say nothing of the best swordplay and, once the ninja defeated the pirate, some of the hottest sex. Turns more than one way to swallow a sword.

If you missed the first HUMP, or you had your head in your date’s lap during “Pirate vs. Ninja,” the video is now available for purchase at It’s a steal at $3.99.

And while you’re at the site check out some of the other fine, original, and locally produced BDSM porn at If you though the Stranger’s 2006 Sexiest Personal Trainer—Miss Candy—was hot, then you’ll wanna check out her star turn at TwoBigMeanies.

Oh, and speaking of HUMP…

We’re gearing up for HUMP 3 and we’re looking for a good tag line. Last year we called it “HUMP 2: Electric Boogaloo.” So far we’ve come up with “HUMP 3: Free To Screw You and Me.” Anyone got any better ideas?

More HUMP 3 details coming soon. We’re going to have bigger prizes, more prize categories, and more fun get-this-in-your-video challenges for filmmakers. This year’s HUMP goes down October 19-20. Mark your calendars, call your sexually adventurous friends, and make plans to make porn!

NOTE: None of the links above are safe for work (though you’d have to be a fucking moron not to deduce that from the phrases “lesbian sex romp” and “BDSM porn”).

Today On Line Out.

posted by on March 27 at 3:40 PM

Double Your Pleasure: The Good Lookin’ Alessi Brothers.

Sunday Mournings: Brain Weber Kicked Out of the Saturday Knights.

Party & Bullshit: Ratatat DJ Tonight at Hotel Motel.

Party & Bullshit, pt 2: Ratatat Remix Biggie Smalls.

Chocolate Frosting: Megan Seling Stops Hating.

Puking and Crying: S Cancels Upcoming Vera Show.

Historical Headtrip Ian Svenonius’ Psychic Slideshow.

John McCain Supports Gay Marriage

posted by on March 27 at 2:46 PM

At least that’s what his MySpace page says.

U.S. Senate Supports Timetable for Withdrawal from Iraq

posted by on March 27 at 2:45 PM

WASHINGTON — Defying a veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly signaled support Tuesday for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next March.

Republican attempts to scuttle the non-binding timeline failed on a vote of 50-48, largely along party lines. The roll call marked the Senate’s most forceful challenge to date of the administration’s handling of a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 U.S. troops.


posted by on March 27 at 2:24 PM

One hundred and thirty million dollars: That’s what banning adoptions by gay and lesbian couples will cost the the US foster care system. Per year. The Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School released the results of a study today on gay and lesbian adoptive parents. Using census data, the Williams Institute found that not only can gays and lesbians be good parents, not only are same-sex couples already adopting and parenting children, but same-sex couples often possess the very traits that state agencies look for when they’re recruiting foster parents:

Same-sex couples raising adopted children are older, more educated, and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents.

Another interesting finding: While half of gay men say they want to be parents, only 41% of lesbians do.

Why will it costs the states money if they ban adoptions by same-sex couples? Because there are already half a million children in foster care right now, and 100,000 children waiting to be adopted. Gays and lesbians are often willing to adopt children that same-sex couples are not: older children, infants with HIV, children with drug and alcohol exposure. Remove same-sex couples from the pool of potential adoptive parents and more children will remain in foster care longer. Some will remain in foster care forever.

Some states already ban gays and lesbians from fostering or adopting children: Florida, Mississippi and Utah. Florida, famously, forbids adoption by same-sex couples but allows same-sex couples to serve as foster parents.

According to Mother Jones, eleven states—California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Vermont—and Washington D.C. forbid agencies from using sexual orientation as a basis to prevent adoptions or turn away potential foster parents.

Hello, Ed Murray and Jamie Pederson? Why isn’t Washington state on this list?


posted by on March 27 at 1:59 PM

Oh, baby!

Sanjaya Anthem

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Ian McEwan’s Brother

posted by on March 27 at 1:01 PM

In case you’re just learning about this—apparently it’s been all over the British press for years—here’s the story as the Telegraph has it.

English novelist Ian McEwan (read Sean Nelson’s terrific piece from 2004 about McEwan here) has a brother he was never told about. (This gets complicated, so pay attention.) McEwan’s brother’s last name is Sharp and he’s six years older than McEwan. He was born to McEwan’s parents, Rose and David, illegitimately, while Rose was married to a soldier who was off fighting in Africa. Since she was married to another man, they put their child up for adoption, and the Sharps adopted him. Then Rose’s husband died in Normandy and she married the man she’d had the affair with, David, and they had a second child, Ian. “He and his brother were brought up only 20 miles apart but in ignorance of each other.

As a 50-something-year-old adult, Sharp—who is a bricklayer and who’s first name is also, confusingly, David—tracked down his brother, the famous novelist, who had never been told by his parents of his older brother. Their father had died, so McEwan couldn’t introduce Sharp to him. But their mother was still alive, so McEwan took Sharp to meet her. Only thing was, by this point, she’d developed dementia.

McEwan hasn’t spoken about the whole thing until now.

Asked whether the tale could have formed the plot of his own books, McEwan said: “People say that, but I’ve not written a novel as good as this. It’s more a Victorian novel, more Dickensian.”

Panty Raid

posted by on March 27 at 12:46 PM

Pullman’s panty thief has been busted .

The five bags of undergarments discovered by police at Garth Flaherty’s Pullman, Wash., home weighed approximately 93 pounds and contained an estimated 1,500 pairs of women’s undergarments—bras and panties of all shapes, colors and sizes.

It was enough for Pullman police to arrest Flaherty, 24, and declare that they had finally found their suspect after a months-long panty-thief mystery that targeted the Washington State University college town.

Police first heard reports of stolen panties in and around the Washington State campus in the latter part of 2006, Tenant said. The reports came from five different apartment buildings with common laundry rooms that primarily house college students….

“So far in 2007, we had already had about a dozen actual reports,” Tenant said. “I guess you could say we live in a target-rich environment if this is your fetish.”

Today in Motherfuckers

posted by on March 27 at 12:44 PM

Part the Motherfucking First: Wikipedia says the earliest use of “motherfucker” was from the records of the Texas Court of Appeals in 1889. But the first usage cited by the Oxford English Dictionary is in 1918: “You low-down Mother Fuckers can put a gun in our hands but who is able to take it out?”

The sentence seems to be from a letter to Crisis, the journal edited by W.E.B. Du Bois, regarding an article about black American soliders and WWI.

Part the Motherfucking Second: From a photograph of a school, sent today by my friend Nevdon, who teaches the children of foreign ambassadors in India:


Part the Motherfucking Third: From DAMN! A Book of Calumny by H. L. Mencken:

Herbert Spencer’s objection to swearing, of which so much has been made by moralists, was not an objection to its sinfulness but an objection to its charm. In brief, he feared comfort, satisfaction, joy. The boarding houses in which he dragged out his gray years were as bare and cheerless as so many piano boxes. He avoided all the little vices and dissipations which make human existence bearable: good eating, good drinking, dancing, tobacco, poker, poetry, the theatre, personal adornment, philandering, adultery. He was insanely suspicious of everything that threatened to interfere with his work. Even when that work halted him by the sheer agony of its monotony, and it became necessary for him to find recreation, he sought out some recreation that was as unattractive as possible… Brought to bay by his human need for a woman, he directed his fancy toward George Eliot, probably the most unappetizing woman of his race and time. Drawn irresistibly to music, he avoided the Fifth Symphony and “Tristan und Isolde,” and joined a crowd of old maids singing part songs around a cottage piano. John Tyndall saw clearly the effect of all this and protested against it, saying, “He’d be a much nicer fellow if he had a good swear now and then.”


posted by on March 27 at 12:27 PM


The following was sent this morning to I, Anonymous:

I’m sorry I was amused by your butt crack

Despite the questionable fashion choice that led to your butt crack’s open airing while you sat on a barstool, I recognize that you have every right to enjoy your beverage unmolested by strangers. I was drunk and trying to amuse my friend—no excuse, merely an attempt to explain my outburst. For the record, we certainly did not touch you, and you really shouldn’t have hit me. Luckily, I’m a “walk away” kind of a girl.

For more prose poems about modern living, see the I, Anonymous forum.

My New Dwindling Community

posted by on March 27 at 12:18 PM

Last night at around 3 am, I joined the mailing list for the Zimbabwe Jewish Community. Though the present number of Jews in Zimbabwe is extremely small, around 250 (and mostly old people who can’t leave the horrible place), not too long ago their number was beyond 7,000 and growing.

This web site aims to celebrate nearly 110 years of Jewish Communities in Zimbabwe and help record the history and details of a unique period for the benefit of both current and future generations. From a peak of some 7,500 Jews in the early 1970s - the total Zimbabwe Jewish community in 2006 is approximately 270 souls (from 294 in 2005). This is the story of a once vibrant community who settled for many different reasons in what was originally Rhodesia - later to become Zimbabwe. Time however, is of the essence as the numbers of those that can “tell the story” and the remaining community dwindle.

The ZJC’s remaining mission is “to collect data on the Jewish cemeteries in Zimbabwe [and] have every tombstone photographed, in all the cemeteries of Harare, Bulawayo and the smaller towns.”

The website also has great pictures like this one:
smaller-weizman.jpgWhat a lovely bracelet on that wrist.

I did not join the Zimbabwe Jewish Community’s website out of boredom brought on by insomnia (I was actually enjoying a book by Jean-Luc Nancy on the subject of restlessness), I joined it because one of the few pleasures left in the mess, misery, and miscarriage that is generally known as Zimbabwe is looking at its history, its hopeful days. When your country is dead in every way—a dead passport, dead dream, dead reality—then its past becomes frozen in time. There is no continuum; no line that stretches from now to then. There is a rupture, a clean break between us and them. The people in these promising pictures exist in a world that we in the infinity of the present know will become nothing else than the history of a community.

It’s On TV Tonight!

posted by on March 27 at 12:14 PM

• Tonight there are two reasons to check out AMERICAN IDOL (FOX, 8 pm): 1) Special guest GWEN STEFANI will be onboard to teach the kids a thing or two about not being so shitty, and 2) the girl who is starving herself because Sanjaya hasn’t been voted off is STILL STARVING HERSELF!

• Plus there’s the much-ballyhooed appearance of JENNIFER ANISTON on the failing FX dramedy DIRT (10 pm) starring Aniston’s old Friends co-star COURTNEY COX. (Advice to both: Jennifer, go back to the Leprechaun movies, and Courtney you may return to dancing onstage with Bruce Springsteen.)

• Naturally, you should check out DANCING WITH THE STARS (ABC, 8 pm) if for no other reason that to see endless repeats of one-legged wonder HEATHER MILLS doing an extremely dangerous “backward walk-over.” (Something she perfected while endlessly nagging Paul McCartney.)
BTW, since you and everyone you know really want to see Heather’s leg fly off, here’s a computer-generated version of this eventuality as commissioned by Jimmy Kimmel.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 27 at 11:56 AM


Wild animals have all kinds of ways to make themselves appear larger than they actually are—cats arch their backs, cobras show their hoods, bears rise up on their hind legs. Ratatat, the slight pair of Evan Mast and Mike Stroud, pull off a similar trick, inflating their guitar/synth studio hybrids into arena-sized instrumental jams via the magic of multitracking. Live, the duo sound like an army of axe-men riding on loose grooves and bedroom hiphop beats. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $13, all ages.) ERIC GRANDY

Good Times with Dell Tech Support

posted by on March 27 at 11:39 AM

Fourteen minutes of my life I’d really like back.

03/27/2007 01:08:32PM Agent (RTS Shelia S): “Thank you for patiently waiting. You have reached Dell Hardware Warranty Chat Support. My name is SHEILA and I will be assisting you today. In order for me to help you, can you provide details about the issue you’re having?”

03/27/2007 01:09:52PM Anthony Hecht: “I’m trying to install Vista, but it won’t boot from the DVD drive. I’ve successfully booted from CDs in the drive, but the Vista DVD media won’t boot. I pressed F12 to go to the boot menu, selected the CD-ROM device option, but it just goes right ahead and boots XP

03/27/2007 01:11:04PM Agent: “Anthony, have you chatted with Dell about the issue with installing Vista?”

03/27/2007 01:11:27PM Anthony: “no”

03/27/2007 01:12:01PM Agent: “To ensure we are working with the correct system, are you chatting about the *DIME521* listed on your account?”

03/27/2007 01:12:10PM Anthony: “yes”

03/27/2007 01:13:13PM Agent: “I understand the issue you are having with installing Vista, I will do all I can to resolve your issue in my scope of support.”

03/27/2007 01:13:23PM Agent: “Are you currently on the system?”

03/27/2007 01:14:08PM Anthony: “yes”

03/27/2007 01:14:49PM Agent: “What troubleshooting steps have you done?”

03/27/2007 01:16:48PM Anthony: “i’ve checked the DVD-ROM drive’s firmware, and installed the latest update from your site, no change. I’ve tried booting from both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Vista DVD Media, neither worked. I’ve gone into the BIOS options (F2) and set the DVD drive to boot before the hard drive, as well as hitting F12 during start up and telling it to boot from the DVD that way. In all cases, the DVD drive spins up for a second, but then the XP loader takes over and XP loads from the hard drive.

03/27/2007 01:18:23PM Agent: “Did you purchase your copy of windows from Dell?”

03/27/2007 01:19:12PM Anthony: “The copy of XP that is currently installed on the machine is from Dell. The copy of Vista is not.”

03/27/2007 01:20:40PM Agent: “Did you purchase your copy of windows from Dell?”

03/27/2007 01:21:22PM Anthony: “you already asked me that. The copy if Windows XP that is installed on the machine is from Dell. The copy of Windows Vista was purchased from Microsoft.”

03/27/2007 01:21:44PM Agent: “Okay thanks.”

03/27/2007 01:22:45PM Agent: “I will not be able to assist you with installing the third party software.”

Democrats 4 Eyman

posted by on March 27 at 10:10 AM

UPDATE: Rep. Hunter called to say I misunderstood our conversation this morning. He’s right. Hunter said it’s likely the courts will reinstate Eyman’s I-747. As for the House Democrats, Hunter says he just doesn’t know. However, the Dems are taking up the 747 bill this week in caucus, a bill that never made it through committee. I have edited my original post to correct the record.

State House Finance Committee Chair Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) just told me the Democrats may enshrine Tim Eyman’s 1 percent cap on property taxes on the books.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Democratic House caucus is taking up a bill to do just that.

(Eyman’s 747, which handcuffs local governments from keeping pace with inflation, stalling the ability to provide services, was tossed by a KC superior court judge last year.)

Says Rep. Hunter, who’s heading up the discussions: “I don’t know what we’re going to do. We might reinstate 747. We might not. I don’t know. I think it’s likely the court will reinstate it.”

I understand that Dems feel compelled to do something about property taxes. Indeed, the poorest homeowners pay 6 percent of their income in property taxes (seniors are particularly hard hit) while the richest bracket pays 2.8 percent. Certainly, this doesn’t seem like a fair system. But, considering that Eyman’s system has been in play for 5 years now, it hardly seems like 747 is the fix.

Nervous that the Dems were still interested in codifying 747, I wrote this column in last week’s Stranger.

Bill Scott, RIP

posted by on March 27 at 10:02 AM

I woke up this morning to some sad news from Metroblogging Seattle. Local icon Bill the Beerman has lost his battle with colon cancer.


Rep. Helen Sommers Vs. The World

posted by on March 27 at 9:59 AM

The state Senate will unveil its budget tomorrow. Their budget is certain to include a rainy day fund. The budget released by the state House yesterday does not include a rainy day fund.

So now: It’s the Governor and the Senate vs. longtime House Appropriations Committee chair, Seattle area Rep. Helen Sommers (D-36). Sommers doesn’t think the legislature should have its hands tied when it’s doing its budgeting.

Prediction: The Senate and the Governor win—and voters decide the issue this November. (Creating a Rainy Day Fund requires a Constitutional amendment).

Candy-Flavored Meth

posted by on March 27 at 9:24 AM

Ripping a page from the tobacco and alcohol industries’ playbooks, the folks that bring you crystal meth have started offering candy-flavored meth—and Washington state is apparently one of the test markets. From USA Today:

Reports of candy-flavored methamphetamine are emerging around the nation, stirring concern among police and abuse prevention experts that drug dealers are marketing the drug to younger people. The flavored crystals are available in California, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Texas, New Mexico, Missouri and Minnesota, according to intelligence gathered by Drug Enforcement Administration agents from informants, users, local police and drug counselors, DEA spokesman Steve Robertson says.

Meth now comes in strawberry, chocolate, and cola flavors—in addition to blue meth, or “Smurf dope,” that one meth maker had selling in Missouri. While most of the USA Today story stokes anti-drug hysteria—they’re selling candy-flavored meth to our kids!—USA Today does eventually get around to pointing out that meth use in the United States has been falling for years, and that the emergence of flavored meth is a sign of desperation among dealers.

“The traffickers know the word is out about what a horrible drug this is,” Burns says. “They are having a tough time selling this product, especially to young people. What do people in marketing do when they have a tough time selling a product? They have to come up with some sort of gimmick.”

Following the Money, and Hutcherson, in Latvia

posted by on March 27 at 8:58 AM

On his blog, Postman is continuing to dig into the details of Pastor Ken Hutcherson’s recent visit to Latvia (and into Hutcherson’s claims that he had backing from the White House for his activities there).

Until now, it hasn’t been clear what, exactly, Hutcherson was referring to when he complained that the U.S. Embassy in Riga, the Latvian capital, was funding gay right groups. Postman seems to have found the answer:

The Latvian newspaper Ritdena reported last week that the Embassy gave Mozaika [a Latvian gay rights group] $956 in July 2006 to help organize events in Riga, and $7,179 in September to publish pamphlets and produce an amateur theater performance designed to fight discrimination against gays and lesbians.

He also notes:

By joining in an alliance with the New Generation church and conservative politicians in Latvia, Hutcherson is working against U.S. policy. The Embassy has helped organize events with Mozaika to promote tolerance of lesbians and gays — as has the embassies of the UK and Sweden — and the ambassador and Embassy staff have worked to protect gay rights activists when violent anti-gay protests broke out in Riga last year.

Those anti-gay protests grew out of a controversy over Riga’s gay pride parade, which was canceled last year after threats of violence. An alternative event was held, but that, too, drew threats of violence, particularly from a group called “No Pride.” It also led to some heated confrontations on the streets of Riga. Postman has details, including accounts of the U.S. Embassy getting involved to protect U.S. citizens, eggs and excrement being thrown at gay rights supporters, and “black jeeps, with tinted windows and No-Pride signs on them, patrolling the old city, driving slowly, as if looking for something.”

In this clash, Hutcherson, apparently, sided against the U.S. Embassy and with the anti-gay protesters. From Hutcherson’s account of his recent visit:

It went extermely well with American embassy… they aren’t very happy right now, because I had to lay it out, they are not representing American values well.

Best Buy?

posted by on March 27 at 8:21 AM

Speakeasy, the great, locally-owned ISP, just announced it’s sold out to… Best Buy. Price: $97 million.

The Morning News

posted by on March 27 at 6:44 AM

Scandalous! Smithsonian head resigns after audit reveals museum paid for perks such as chauffeurs, catered meals, five-star hotels and private jets.

Fraudulent! Ex-Reagan budget director charged with conspiracy and fraud.

Accidental: Anna Nicole’s death, which resulted from a lethal mix of a powerful sedative plus nine other prescription drugs.

Back in Baath: Iraq eases laws against Saddam’s party.

Sleazy: Alberto “protect the kids” Gonzales accused in child sex abuse coverup.

Taking the Fifth: Gonzales aide refuses to testify. Nothing to see here.

Involved, but not responsible?: Gonzales passes the buck.

Rudy who?: Giuliani’s GOP support drops 13 points.

In no shape for war: Army deploys injured soldiers.

Classy: Katie Couric cites anonymous “some people” who interpret Edwards’ choice to stay in the campaign as callousness or “insatiable ambition.” Says Ehrenreich: “Is Couric forgetting that she was working as a $7 million a year NBC anchor while her own husband was dying of colon cancer?”

Monday, March 26, 2007

In the Hall, Cutting-Room Floor Edition

posted by on March 26 at 10:47 PM

Today, at 4:00 pm, the city’s deadline for appeals to its proposed strip-club legislation passed. (Opponents predicted a flood of appeals and applications by would-be strip-club owners after the citywide strip club moratorium was overturned in 2005.) Guess what? Not one person filed an appeal. The proposal would allow strip clubs in commercial areas throughout the city, except in places that are 800 feet or less from schools, day cares, parks, and other places where children congregate.

Planet Earth

posted by on March 26 at 9:35 PM

If you have an HDTV*, you gotta check out the Planet Earth mini-series on the Discovery Channel. The narration is typical, cheesy, nature show pablum, but the footage is simply incredible. The premier episode, Pole to Pole, includes tons of breathtaking images, many—as Sigourney Weaver repeatedly and irritatingly points out—never successfully filmed before.

SEE! A great white shark launch itself ten feet out of the water in super-slow-motion! A white wolf chase a baby caribou 5 miles across the tundra! The hilarious and bizarre dance of the blue bird of paradise!


The show premiered on Sunday, and is now airing pretty much constantly on Discovery.

* If you don’t have an HDTV, well, I’m sorry.

Army Recruiter to African American Gay Man: Take Your Black Ass Back to Africa

posted by on March 26 at 7:15 PM


That’s what an army recruiter Sgt. Marcia Ramode told Corey Andrew in an email after he revealed that he was gay. Romode also told Andrew that, as an African-American, he couldn’t possibly have “deep roots” here in the United States, and she also insisted that she has “more rights than you.” Which is true, of course. Romode does enjoy more rights than Andrew—and isn’t that a crying shame?

Oh, and it wasn’t like Andrew was baiting Romode—at least not at first. Andrew posted his resume to a website, and Romode contacted him about enlisting.

A Funny Thing Happened on Our Way to Last Week’s Story About KC’s Prosecution of a Teenage Prostitute

posted by on March 26 at 6:26 PM

When our news intern, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, showed up at King County Juvenile Court last Tuesday morning for this story, Judge Carol A. Schapira stopped the proceedings mid-stream and spoke directly to him—warning him that he was not allowed to use the teenager’s name.

Judge Schapira was wrong. Public hearings are public hearings, and it’s startling that a KC judge, KC Judge Carol A. Schapira, would say such a thing—presumably trying to intimidate a reporter.

Certainly, naming people who have been arrested, particularly a teenager, is a dicey and sensitive issue. However, that decision is up to the newspaper.

We chose not to name the teen (and made that decision early on in our pursuit of the story). But Judge Schapira was out of line.

Some More Art

posted by on March 26 at 5:13 PM

Charles brings us the totally hetero, totally creepy “Woman With Octopus.” I present the totally homo, totally creepy Boytaur. Here’s a safe-for-work ‘taur…


And here’s a pair of totally NSFW ‘taurs

Rick Santorum Just Won’t Shut Up and Go Away

posted by on March 26 at 4:48 PM

Can we make fun of his crying children now?

The former Pennsylvania Senator, who was defeated in a landslide last year by Democrat Bob Casey Jr., plans on directing two Gore-style documentaries, the Allentown Morning Call reports. Santorum’s planned documentaries… will be at the other end of the political spectrum from Gore’s, to put it mildly.

According to the Morning Call, Santorum is planning as an hour-long work that will “explore the relationship between radical Islam and the radical leftists in various countries around the world.

Wait a minute! According to right-wing darling Dinesh D’Souza, Islamic radicals hate America because of leftists. In his latest book The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, D’Souza—that amoral, traitorous America-hater—argues that abortion, homosexuality, pornography, equal rights for women, and everything else near and dear to the hearts of leftists so pissed off Islamic radicals that they really had no choice but to fly planes into office towers full of abortionists, homosexuals, and pornographers office workers, waiters, and bankers.

But now Rick Santorum says that leftists are actually in league with the Islamic radicals. Which of these America-haters are we to believe? The man the frothy mix is named for? Or the man that has urged us to surrender to Osama bin Laden and adopt Islamic cultural “values” like stoning adulterous women, beheading gay men, and refusing to educate girls?

I would ponder this question at length but I’ve got to peruse this new batch of gay abortion pornography just arrived at the office and then I’m off to teach some little girls how to read. Will someone sort this out and get back to me, please, and let me know if I’m working with the Islamic radicals or against them. Thanks.

Her Name Was Rachel Corrie

posted by on March 26 at 4:39 PM

My Name Is Rachel Corrie opened at the Rep last week and Seattle is again abuzz about the activist who died under a bulldozer in Rafa. Brendan Kiley has complicated feelings about the production—you’ll see his review in Wednesday’s paper—but Annie Wagner and Christopher Frizzelle both liked it. Anyway, this reminded me of Eli’s 2003 piece on Corrie for which he went to the Gaza Strip days after her death to talk to people on both sides of the conflict about what happened. It’s worth a read if you missed it the first time.

Some Art

posted by on March 26 at 4:24 PM

This work of 19th century Japanese art, “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife,” is safe for work:

This work of 19th century French art, “L’Origine du Monde,” is not

Today on Line Out

posted by on March 26 at 4:20 PM

Nashville Bound: Korby Lenker relocates.

Sea of Hands: Electronic-music nerds have a nerdy new nerd spot on the nerdweb.

Discopunk Poetry: Women have anger AND metallic fabric.

Is this going to be a problem for you? The New York Times says Apple and iTunes are killing the album.

Acting is Hard: Billy Joe Huels looks back on Buddy.

Rawkus/Blue Scholars controversy: Mudede chimes in.

I still think this phrase sounds dirty: Skerik Justifies His Pod.

It probably deserves the abuse: We make fun of a CD we’ve never actually bothered to listen to.

It’s always a bad weekend for former punk-rockers: Rape, stabbings are just part of the package.

And to continue Friday’s tradition of anthropomorphizing animals, here’s a really creepy painting of a dog playing the guitar:

from this guy’s website.

Snubbing Both the Governor and the State Senate, the State House…

posted by on March 26 at 3:51 PM

…passed its version of the budget today and did not include a rainy day fund.

At the beginning of this year’s session, Governor Gregoire requested and the state senate passed (unanimously) a Budget Stabilization Account bill (aka a “Rainy Day Fund”).

The idea is this: Every budget cycle, a certain percentage of revenues is set aside into a savings account. That money can only be accessed by a simple majority vote in years when economic growth is below one percent (slamming revenues) or if there’s a state of emergency (an earthquake, a volcano etc.) Otherwise, it takes a super majority vote to get at the money.

Creating such an account would take a constitutional amendment: a two-thirds vote in the senate (which happened); a two-thirds vote in the house; and then a simple majority vote of the people this November.

However, judging by the “architecture” of the budget (to use House Appropriations Committee jargon) that the house passed today, it doesn’t look like they’re on board with the “Rainy Day Fund” idea. Or at least, it doesn’t look like House Appropriations Chair Helen Sommers (D-36, Seattle) is into it. The senate’s “Rainy Day Fund” bill has been sitting in the House Appropriations Committee for over a month.

The house passed a $29.8 billion general-fund budget today with a $510 million reserve fund. (All in all, with dedicated accounts and federal money, it’s a $56 billion budget with a $654 million reserve fund.) Reserve funds are intended for easy access in the second year of the budget cycle to help fund state programs, and they don’t require the kinds of access prerequisites I mentioned above.

Meanwhile, the senate is poised to pass its budget this week. If indeed the senate budget includes a budget stabilization account rather than the traditional reserve account passed by the house, the “Rainy Day Fund” idea will come to a head when the two houses synthesize their budgets later in the session.

UPDATE: Senate sources say, indeed, the Senate budget will factor in the “Rainy Day Fund.”

I’ll Have the Hetch Hetchy, Please

posted by on March 26 at 3:20 PM

As noted on Slog last week in the Morning News, some Bay Area restaurants are now serving carbonated local tap water rather than imported bottled water as part of the New Sustainability. (I trust everybody’s riding the BART or their bikes to these restaurants to bubbleate/serve/drink this water.) A few years back at a schmancy Frisco restaurant (it makes them crazy down there when you say “Frisco”), the schmancy waiter offered me whatever-schmancy-brand bubbly water, whatever-schmancy-brand still water, or (gravely, seriously) Hetch Hetchy. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, in Yosemite National Park, is the source of San Francisco’s tap water, said to be among the highest quality in the nation. I went (gravely, seriously) with the Hetch Hetchy.

The name means “grass-seed valley” or “acorn valley” in the Miwok language—the grass-seed or acorn valley long since flooded by the white man’s dam.



First to the Fifth

posted by on March 26 at 2:46 PM

Is Monica M. Goodling:

The senior counselor to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales will refuse to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the unfolding U.S. attorneys scandal, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, her attorneys said today.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 26 at 2:43 PM


‘Father and Son’
Louise Bourgeois’s fountain monument to the limits of masculine family relationships is finally finished and marking the southwestern corner of the Olympic Sculpture Park. The thick columns of white water that alternately cover stainless-steel father, then stainless-steel son obscure them from each other as their hands reach across the divide. To me the figures are stiff and the psychology overdetermined compared to much of Bourgeois’s work, but the shoots of water are pleasantly solid, almost like two pure white marble shrouds. (Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave, 654-3100. 7 am—6 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

More on the Miranda July Thing

posted by on March 26 at 12:40 PM


Even though we just announced it and it’s still months away, emails have been pouring in about the Miranda July event The Stranger is putting on at Neumo’s on May 17.

The latest:


Thanks for the early scoop on Miranda July’s upcoming appearance. I called Neumos where the recording directed me to TicketsWest. I called them and they said Miranda July isn’t showing in their system.

Is there another way to get tix or barring that, do you know when they go on sale at TicketsWest? I’m a
big fan and really want to see her.


Ah, good question. The reason the Miranda July event isn’t showing in TicketsWest’s system is because there aren’t any tickets to the Miranda July event. Like all of The Stranger’s ooey gooey super chunky double stuff literary happenings—actually, like almost everything magical The Stranger does—it’s free.

Though if you’re “a big fan” you’d be smart to arrive early—like, already be waiting when doors open at 7 pm. At the Jonathan Safran Foer event at Chop Suey a couple years ago, we had to turn away more than a hundred people.

July will read from her first book of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, followed by a live interview. Who will the special guests be? The whole lineup isn’t set, but it will include Becky Stark from Lavender Diamond, “Awesome” (the official band of Stranger literary events), and possibly another music act. Plus, there will be dancing. It will be quite the party. Rent a costume or something.

Iraq Idol

posted by on March 26 at 12:13 PM

If LBJ only had this incredible weapon, the Vietnam War (or the Vietnamese Revolution) would have been over before it began:

A television station in communist Vietnam has bought the rights to screen Vietnam Idol, a local version of the hit talent contest American Idol, a spokesman for the station here said Monday.
Thousands of singers are expected to take a stab at fame in the spinoff, with semi-finals planned for June and the final round for July, said Kieu Van Tan, head of the arts and music department at Ho Chi Minh City Television.
“Anyone can become a star on Vietnam Idol, including you,” promises the show’s official website. “Vietnam Idol gives you support to be the brightest and the most professional on stage.”

We Might be Warming Up to Nickels Again (No Freeway on the Waterfront!), but the Haters are Still Hating

posted by on March 26 at 11:57 AM

The Sacremento, California-based Pacific Justice Institute (a conservative legal group that pushes its religous agenda in the courts) filed its brief in appeals court today challenging Mayor Nickels’s 2004 order that the city of seattle honor same-sex marriages from other states when providing employee benefits.

Thanks for the tip Towleroad.

Announcing the First-Ever Stranger Gong Show

posted by on March 26 at 11:26 AM


Attention talented freaks and those who love to gawk at them: On Thursday, April 12 at the Crocodile Cafe, The Stranger will be presenting its first-ever Gong Show, hosted by yours truly.

In advance of the show date, we’re looking for any and all unique and entertaining acts hungry to strut their stuff before a panel of drunken judges for fabulous prizes. This means jugglers, magicians, yodelers, strongmen, stand-up comics, clog dancers, air bands, contortionists, jug bands, sword swallowers, vaudeville acts, and anyone else with an act that’s under four minutes long and doesn’t involve fire or minors. (The Croc is a bar.)

For more info and to sign up for the competition, go here. (Talent may also sign-up at the door the night of the show.)

And if you just want to gawk/cheer/heckle the drunken celebrity judges (including Sarah Rudinoff, Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, and On the Boards artistic director Lane Czaplinski), show up at the Crocodile on Thursday, April 12 for the fabulous and totally free freak parade kicking off at 9pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy (and perhaps draw inspiration from) this tidbit from the original Gong Show:

Stefan Sharkansky vs. Reality

posted by on March 26 at 11:23 AM

Sharkansky: “The early debate on the Viaduct election has been dominated by those who … ineptly misinterpreted the results as NO-NO.”

City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 1 (Tunnel): 69.7 percent NO, 30.3 percent yes.
City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 2 (Elevated): 57.4 percent NO, 42.6 percent yes.

Sharkansky: “There’s absolutely no basis to claim a “NO-NO” victory.”

City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 1 (Tunnel): 69.7 percent NO, 30.3 percent yes.
City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 2 (Elevated): 57.4 percent NO, 42.6 percent yes.

Sharkansky: “We don’t know exactly how many people voted NO-NO.”

Technically true. Relevant? Not really, when you consider that, in reality:
City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 1 (Tunnel): 69.7 percent NO, 30.3 percent yes.
City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 2 (Elevated): 57.4 percent NO, 42.6 percent yes.

No matter how many ways you slice it (and Sharkansky’s obsessive math shows he’s pretty eager to slice it every conceivable way), both options lost. Viaduct lovers like Sharkansky need to deal with reality instead of wasting time splitting semantic hairs.

Man or Machine

posted by on March 26 at 11:07 AM

I have a goofasaurus book worm friend in town, and last night he made me take this quiz.

You are given a line of text and you have to say if it’s a quote from William Faulkner or if it’s a computer-generated translation of some German writer.

Oh, he’s also an English teacher at a fancy private school, and he’s starting a class next year on 21st-century literature—fiction and nonfiction. He’s drawing up a reading list of books that are distinctly 21st-century either stylistically (graphic novels? digital lit?) or thematically (we concluded that so far, with catacalysmic examples like 9/11 and Katrina jarring our sense of well-being, the 21st century is about impending End Times: global warming, pandemics, and terrorism).

He didn’t ask me to, but I thought it’d be fun see if Slog land had any suggestions for books that fit the bill. Seems to me he needed fewer white American men on his list of writers. Oh, and keep in mind: The readings should be appropriate for upper-level high schoolers.

An Open Letter to Donald Byrd and the Dance Critics at the Times and PI

posted by on March 26 at 11:05 AM

Dear Donald Byrd:

Never-Mind last weekend at the Moore was shameful. Awful, boring, insulting. And a waste of the on-stage talent.

Choreographing to Nirvana? Great. (Though your picks were a little juvenile—mostly the abrasive tracks, as if you were less interested in exploring the music than making the dance fuddy-duddies squirm. Am I right, Donald?) The background dancers? Okay. (Though their spasming and hurling upstage through Pennyroyal Tea was distracting and too goddamned literal.)

But the Kurt and Courtney characters? Fucking awful. Awfuller than I can express. Those poor, capable, misused dancers. Never has so much technical ability been blown on something so vapid. It was like watching Virginia Woolf being forced to write greeting cards.

The bad wigs, the floppy flannel, the eyeliner, the lip synching, the ripped jeans, the bad wigs, the freeze-frame silent screams, the heavy-handed boring-ass literalism, the tired Courtney-killed-Kurt overtones, the shotgun blasts, the whole goddamned thing was an embarrassment. I say this as an admirer, Donald: Do yourself a favor and please, please, please don’t ever mount Never-Mind ever again.

The first two acts were great—the short dance vignettes over Mystikal’s aggro-rap were weird and fun. Your spazzy techno-nightmare remix of the 1841 ballet Giselle (with vampire ghost ladies!) was awesomely creepy and heartbreaking:


You’re great, Donald. A gutsy, shit-talking, my-way kind of guy. I’m glad you’re around.

But walk away from Never-Mind. Pretend it was a fever dream. Act like it never happened.


* * *

Dear Alice at the PI and Mary at the Times

“Byrd at his best”? The “spot-on grunge-rock costumes”?

Are you all fucking nuts?


Surprise, Surprise

posted by on March 26 at 10:51 AM

Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose.

But who knew about her near-fatal butt trouble?

Smith had also been receiving injections of drugs in her buttocks. On the Monday before she died, a blood infection from one of those injections caused a 105-degree fever. Smith’s friends asked her to go to the hospital to treat the fever, but she refused. “A fever of 105 is life-threatening,” Broward County Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper said, “but she refused and she’s not a child — she has the right to refuse and the people around determined that she had the capability to make such a decision. If she had gone to the hospital, I think that yes, she would have had a chance of survival.”

Full grim story here.

It’s About TV!

posted by on March 26 at 10:09 AM

• First things first… who watched last night’s season finale of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and what did you think? (Talk about in the comments below.) All I have to say is this: Who knew Jimi Hendrix was a Cylon? (BTW, producer RON MOORE discusses the season finale here! Geek… OUT!)

• Football players are almost NEVER funny. And while PEYTON MANNING is also almost never funny, they let him host Saturday Night Live anyway, which for the most part, wasn’t funny. Except for this. This was funny.

• Are you sexually attracted to certain cast members of THE OFFICE? Then you’re in luck! Because Dwight Schrute is naked on the cover of this April’s WIRED magazine. (Fine, I was just kidding. It’s actually JENNA “PAM” FISCHER.

• And last but not least… the MacGyver theme song, as played on a RULER?!? (Trust me, it’s awesome.)

Protecting Americans

posted by on March 26 at 9:43 AM

Time magazine: Pro spreading the good word, con giving Americans bad news. From the Huffington Post:

This week, Time’s cover story is an essay arguing in favor of teaching the Bible in schools, which can be boiled down to this: “Of course the Bible should be taught in schools. Duh. It’s religion that shouldn’t be.” On the cover of its international edition is a story that is less easily boiled down: “The Truth About Talibanistan,” about the resurgence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (and also, Pakistan), and how it’s “the next battleground of the war on terrorism.”

time echoes newsweek on jihadistan-thumb.JPG.jpg

Today’s Worst Lesbian in the World

posted by on March 26 at 9:33 AM

With apologies to Keith Olbermann…

Meet today’s Worst Lesbian—hell, person—in the world: Sara Wheeler.

Once a proud lesbian, she’s now a pariah in the gay community—arguing that gays don’t have the legal right to adopt children.

Wheeler, 36, and her partner, Missy, decided to start a family together and share the Wheeler last name. In 2000, Sara Wheeler gave birth to a son, Gavin, through artificial insemination. Two years later, they decided Missy Wheeler should adopt the child and legally become his second parent….

Sara and Missy Wheeler had split by July 2004, and Missy was fighting for joint custody of the boy. The two sides do agree about one thing: The case is about a mother’s rights. “Everybody seems to forget we’re not talking about lesbian rights,” Missy Wheeler’s attorney said.“We’re talking about a child who’s been bonded with a mother.”

Sara Wheeler is making the legal argument that, since nothing in Georgia law specifically allowed gay adoption, the adoption should be tossed out.

The case has aroused the ire of gay groups, who say it could set gay rights back a century.

Sara Wheeler defended her decision, saying, “I’m not doing anything else a mother wouldn’t do to fight for her son,” she said. “Some people may think it’s the unthinkable, but if they were put in my shoes, they’d do the same thing.”

American Facts

posted by on March 26 at 9:28 AM

From the New York Times: “Dr. Joshua Perper, the medical examiner, said Ms. [Anna Nicole] Smith was taking a variety of drugs including methadone for back pain, antidepressants and others, some by injection. He said traces of nine different prescription drugs were found in her blood.”

From Norman Mailer’s Marilyn: “Factoids … that is, facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority.”

All Creatures

posted by on March 26 at 9:17 AM


I’ve seen this guy around town lately with what, at first glance, looked like the biggest rat I’d ever seen. Perched on his shoulder. Turns out it’s a possum. I didn’t know possums could be pets, or be tamed, or really be anything besides road kill.

Well, as it turns out, this possum was destined to be road kill—until Montana found him.

Montana rescues small animals and birds—that’s what he does, he told me. He lives on Beacon Hill and he saw this baby possum get hit by a car near his house. He paid for the possum to have surgery on its jaw. He thinks the possum is about nine months old. And since the possum’s going to weigh 60 pounds one day, Montana is training him walk on a leash. But for now, until the possum recovers from his jaw surgery, he gets to ride on Montana’s shoulder.

Raban on Sullivan

posted by on March 26 at 8:31 AM

One of The Stranger’s favorite writers reviews one of the Slog’s most frequently linked bloggers, in the current New York Review of Books.

The Morning News

posted by on March 26 at 7:53 AM

NCZZZ… Excitement, but no big surprises in the Final Four. And in any case, it’s no World’s Strongest Man Competition.

Out of control: “Terror” list balloons to 435,000.

A bright spot: Legislation to require medically accurate sex education is introduced.

Unraveling: The prosecutor scandal spins out of Bush & Co.’s control.

See no evil: Bush stands by his man, claiming “complete confidence” in Gonzales.

“This is not a monarchy”: GOP Sen. Hagel on Bush’s abuse of power.

Backtracking: Second-place greenhouse-gas producer China is backing away from environmental commitments.

Downsize me: Restaurant chains like Friday’s buck the supersize trend by offering smaller versions of gargantuan entrees.

Brave: Elizabeth Edwards says cancer has spread to her hip, but campaign continues.

A disgrace to humanity: World-class hypocrite Rush Limbaugh accuses Edwards of turning to the campaign instead of God.

Prejudiced: Florida city commissioner fired by his colleagues after announcing he planned to become a woman.

Not wholesome: Pet food contaminated with rat poison. And don’t even get me started on “animal extract.”

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It’s Fascinator’s Last Night!

posted by on March 25 at 12:03 PM

Read all about it on Line Out!

Seattle Times Needs to Go Back to High School

posted by on March 25 at 11:05 AM

In an editorial titled “Free Speech, In and Out of School,” published this morning in the The Seattle Times, the editorial board urges the US Supreme Court to protect free speech for students. Or so it seems at first.

Weighing in on a case that’s currently before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a student from Alaska who got in trouble for holding a provocative banner across the street from his high school (the banner read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”), the Seattle Times writes: “The courts should not overturn Tinker [a 1969 SCOTUS case that guaranteed students’ First Amendment rights.]”

Unfortunately, the Seattle Times doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of Tinker.

They correctly argue that the student was standing across the street from the school, so the state has no right to qaush his right to free speech. But they add that if the student had been on school grounds it would be a different story. They write:

The student was in a public setting — across the street from the school but not on its grounds — and should have been free to exercise free speech… The court should not overturn Tinker. But there are limits to free speech, particularly inside a school. School administrators, for example, can regulate speech on campus or at a school-sponsored event if it is vulgar, disruptive or interferes with education. An administrator of any school, public or private, needs that authority.

The Seattle Times needs to go back to high school. By drawing a distinction between off-school grounds and on-school grounds, they completely miss the point of Tinker, the standard they claim to support.

In Tinker the SC famously wrote:

It can hardly be argued that…students…shed their constitutional rights to freedom of the schoolhouse gate. Students in school as well as out of school are ‘Persons’ under our Constitution. They are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State. In our system, students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the State chooses to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved.

So, by drawing a distinction between on and off-school grounds, The Seattle Times is in fact coming out against Tinker. Indeed, The Seattle Times uses today’s editorial to come out against Rep. Dave Upthegrove’s bill, currently moving through the state legislature in Olympia. Upthegrove’s bill aims to reinstate the Tinker Standard.

What The Seattle Times doesn’t seem to know (or chooses to ignore?) is that Tinker was overturned in 1988 in the Hazelwood decision —which held that adminstrators could censor speech for purely educational (subjective) reasons.

Luckily, states are allowed to be more liberal than the Feds when it comes to protecting rights. There’s currenlty a move in state legislatures all over the country to reinstate Tinker—which makes censorship, particularly of student papers, a more difficult task for school administrators. Under the Tinker standard, administrators would have to show that the speech in question actually disrupts the school day. This is parallel to citizens’ rights to speech in the real world—where speech is broad, but certainly limited: You cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie house. Rep. Upthegrove’s bill is part of this effort.

What everyone misses in this debate on student speech in newspapers (where students should have the same rights as journalists in the real world) is this: There is a check on students akin to the check on professional reporters in the real world: The faculty advisor acts as an editor, checking for the things that real editors check for, like libel. More important, journalism teachers give out grades. Like an editor in the real world who has authority over a reporter, the teacher’s power to hand out Cs, Ds, and Fs deters students from publishing irresponsible journalism.

However, if the teacher is like an editor-in-chief, the principal is like the state. If the article makes it past the teacher it shouldn’t get shut down by the state. This is a valuable civics lesson for student journalists who one day will be acting as journalists in the real world, holding the state accountable. They should not be taught the undemocratic lesson that the state has the final say.

The Morning News

posted by on March 25 at 9:15 AM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Just because you’re paranoid:
Massive NYPD spy effort
preceded ‘04 RNC

Doesn’t mean they’re not after you: Terror watch list quadruples

By popular demand: Gonzales is totally fucked

Kangaroo court: Australian man to be first Gitmo prisoner to stand trial

Attention Hazzard County: Moonshine is making a comeback

Back on the menu: Yellowstone Grizzlies no longer endangered
Plan your next meal here

Porn still OK online: Internet breathes sigh of relief