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Archives for 04/15/2007 - 04/21/2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Governor Signs Domestic Partner Law

posted by on April 21 at 5:36 PM

In their minds, Carol McKinley and Barbara Gibson have been married since a 2001 ceremony at their church. Now, under a measure signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire today, they’ll get some of the rights that come with matrimony.

The new law creates a domestic partnership registry with the state, and will provide enhanced rights for same-sex couples, including hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations and inheritance rights when there is no will.

The law takes effect July 22—here’s hoping my boyfriend doesn’t drop dead before that date, otherwise I won’t have the distinct honor of donating his organs or authorizing his autopsy.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful to have these rights, and we’re going to get DP’d as soon as we can. Mad props, as the kids were recently saying, to Ed Murray, Jamie Pedersen, the Dems in Olympia, and the governor. But we’re really not going to be content until we’ve secured the other, oh, 1200+ rights and obligations that come with marriage.

But, hey, we’ve got those autopsies nailed down. It’s a victory and, considering what the last few years have been like, we’ll take it.

Our Gun Culture

posted by on April 21 at 5:28 PM

The Virginia Tech shooter—mentally ill, a danger to himself and others—bought his ammo on eBay.

Via Americablog.

Re: It Can’t Happen Here

posted by on April 21 at 5:13 PM

Joe writes in the comments attached to Josh’s earlier post about the Blue Angels crash in South Carolina…

I think the headline is referring to all the handwringing that comes out of some quarters of Seattle whenever SeaFair rolls around. There are a bunch of people who are terrified one of the Blue Angels is going to fall on their heads (or just object to them on principle but use this as an excuse). The reality is that far more people will die in fiery wrecks in the Seattle area every year while minding their own business — they’ll just be in cars.

Well, speaking as handwringer, my concern that the Blue Angels will fall on our heads someday is genuine, not merely an objection to the noise, waste, and freakin’ pointlessness of it all. (Although I object to all that too.) But whenever I’m like, “One day one of those fucking planes is going to plow into something — a neighborhood, a house, Columbia Tower,” I’m told that It Can’t Happen Here. That the Blue Angels never crash, that there are better things to worry about. (Who says I don’t worry about other things too? Can you only worry about one thing at a time?)

Blue Angel fans are very dismissive when anyone expresses any concern about the potential for a crash—and if one should crash, the loss of life could be pretty spectacular. A jet slamming into an office building or, say, a densely packed neighborhood really can’t compare to a fiery car wreck that kills one or two people.

There’s a reason air shows are held in big empty fields in the middle of freakin’ nowhere. Because it can happen — and despite what we worries have been told over and over and over again, it can happen here.

Now just imagine this

A Navy Blue Angel jet crashed during an air show Saturday, plunging into a neighborhood of small homes and trailers and killing the pilot, the county coroner said. Witnesses said the planes were flying in formation during the show at the Marine Corps Air Station and one dropped below the trees and crashed, sending up clouds of smoke. At least one home was on fire.

Raymond Voegeli, a plumber, was backing out of a driveway when the plane ripped through a grove of pine trees, dousing his truck in flames and debris. He said wreckage hit “plenty of houses and mobile homes.” “It was just a big fireball coming at me,” said Voegeli, 37. “It was just taking pine trees and just clipping them.”

…happening at Broadway and John or First and Pike.

It Can’t Happen Here

posted by on April 21 at 2:57 PM

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - A Navy F-18 Blue Angel plane crashed during an air show Saturday, according to televised reports. Witnesses said the planes were flying in formation, and then one dropped down below the trees and apparently crashed.

“The next thing I seen was just a big black cloud of smoke,” Gerald Popp, who lives nearby, told CNN.

It was not known if the pilot survived.

At the Blue Angels command headquarters at Pensacola Naval Air Station the petty officer duty said he “had no comment at this time.”

The Mike Daisey Experience: The Video

posted by on April 21 at 1:26 PM

As monologuist Mike Daisey alerted us yesterday:

Last night’s performance of INVINCIBLE SUMMER [at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA] was disrupted when eighty-seven members of a Christian group walked out of the show en masse, and chose to physically attack my work by pouring water on and destroying the original of the show outline.

To read Brendan’s original post on the fiasco (and the attendant hubbub in comments) go here.

And to see video of the weird-as-fuck walkout/attack and Daisey’s masterful handling of it, look below.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 21 at 12:00 PM

The Slip

(Music) For over 10 years, the Slip have chased a sound that refuses to settle. Eisenhower, their recent breakout record, is experimental and sentimental, with tightly wound hooks snagging on intricate, intimate compositions. Hopelessly caught up in the process of self-discovery, the East Coast trio stretches the indie-rock form to its most eloquent and introspective. Generation Whatever might be the most narcissistic of all time, but, judging by the music it makes, it’s also the most talented. With Holy Fuck and Bronze Fawn. (Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611. 9 pm, $15, 21+.) Jonathan Zwickel

What He Said

posted by on April 21 at 11:26 AM

John Aravosis at Americablog:

Media, please ask every Republican the following question: Do you think we’re winning in Iraq?

The Republicans are so upset, we’re to believe, that Harry Reid said that Bush has lost the Iraq war. Fine. Then they’ve opened the gates to the question as to whether they think we’ve won the war, or at least are winning.

I think it’s time for every Republican member of Congress, starting with GOP Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, and every senior Bush administration official from the president through the Pentagon on down, to say publicly if THEY think we’re winning in Iraq. I want them on the record, publicly, in front of their voters saying that they think we’re winning the war in Iraq. Then let’s see if they get re-elected or laughed out of the room. They’re so brave, answer the question.

So Long, Limbo

posted by on April 21 at 10:54 AM

My brother Billy was born was born prematurely and a Catholic priest was rushed to the hospital to baptize him and perform last rites. This was done so that Billy would get into heaven if he died and not have to spend all of eternity in limbo.

Looks like my parents needn’t have bothered.

So the Vatican admits that for 500 years the Church got that limbo thing wrong. Wrong. The Church has been wrong? Yeah, they also admitted a few years ago that they wrong about the whole sun-rotates-around-the-earth thing. Maybe one day they’ll admit they were wrong about the gay thing, the condom thing, the birth control thing, the female clergy thing…

Driven to Extinction

posted by on April 21 at 10:40 AM

So much for the mayor of New York City’s rumored plan to impose “congestion pricing” on idiots that insist in driving into that city’s most congested areas, which Erica wrote about yesterday. The New York Times reports today that any plan to impose fees modeled on the one that reduced traffic congestion in London by 17% would have to be approved by the state legislature—and the opposition of even a single state legislator could derail the whole plan.

Predictably enough, legislators that represent suburban areas have already “expressed concern.” Their constituents, of course, regard the ability to drive their SUVs where ever they like, when ever they like, without a thought for the environment or the quality of life of the people who actually live in, say, the most congested parts of Manhattan, a sacred constitutional right. It’s hard to see this thing happening.

“God Hates the World and All Her People!”

posted by on April 21 at 9:27 AM

Words fail me.

Is that the ghost of Larry “Bud” Melman there at the end? At what point along the continuum does religious faith become a mental illness? How is it not child abuse to teach this crap to your children? And is it sinful to pray for a workplace shooting at Westboro Baptist Church?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Adventures in Food with Ari and Jonah

posted by on April 20 at 8:40 PM

The day: Friday

The mission: Disrupt the workplace as much as possible

Weapon of choice:

Durian, the smelly, oft-maligned member of the Malvaceae family, made a brief appearance on Anthony Bourdain’s TV show A Cook’s Tour many years ago, where I vaguely recalled him describing the “king of fruits” as “cheesy.”

Bourdain’s description intrigued me and I began researching the strange fruit. When I found food and travel writer Richard Sterling’s description of durian as being something like

“pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock,”
I knew I had to have one.

Yesterday, Ari and I concocted a super-double-secret plan to bring a durian into the office to see what would happen. A new Asian supermarket recently opened not far from my house, in the old Larry’s Market location, so I dropped by yesterday and picked up the heaviest, spikiest durian I could find. I left it in my car overnight only to return this morning to discover that my car, already a museum of strange sensory sensations, had taken on a bizarre “funky melon” smell. After the drive to work, I placed the bagged fruit on the edge of my desk. The countdown to stinky-town had begun.

11:45 - Ari Spool arrives in style, laying out a copy of another local “newspaper” on a desk in the middle of the offices, while I get down to business with a serrated knife. Our antics are immediately halted when Erica Barnett scolds us. Dan Savage sends us to another floor of the building.

Ari and I wander upstairs carrying a large ugly fruit, a 10-inch serrated knife and a camera. No one even notices. We plop everything down a large conference room table and get to cuttin’.

Continue reading "Adventures in Food with Ari and Jonah" »

Slog Poll: Who Are the P-I Pissers?

posted by on April 20 at 4:45 PM

Of course we’d rather be bringing you the alleged video of Seattle Post-Intelligencer staffers allegedly pissing on the Seattle Times front lawn, but while we wait (and hope) for the video, a Slog poll:

Which of the following P-I staffers do you think is most likely to have been part of the alleged piss parade? (We hear there were probably multiple pissers, including a woman who supposedly squatted to mark Frank Blethen’s territory as her own, but you can only vote once, so pick the person you think is most likely to have been in the pee group.)

Osama bin Laden was Right

posted by on April 20 at 4:05 PM


…Americans are immersed in nonsense bourgeois distractions.

I mean, check this out: A Can cover night?

Can, if you don’t know, and it’s likely you don’t, was an early 70s experimental rock band from West Germany. Once upon a time, they had an album called Tago Mago that was supposedly influential.

A Can cover night?!? How do you even cover a Can song; much less have the time to learn a Can song? These songs, freak out improvs, typically clocked in between 8 and 20 minutes.

Fellow weirdoes! We are going down the rabbit hole if we are covering Can, and going to see Can cover nights.

Having said that: Burn on Osama bin Laden. That’s why Capitol Hill and freak zones like it all over the USA are great. I hope someone does “Paperhouse” from Tago Mago.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 20 at 4:05 PM

First, the news. The Cannes lineup has been announced. We probably won’t see these movies for a long time—in most cases, SIFF, which comes right on the heels of Cannes, can’t get its hands on anything. Last year, I believe only one film, A Scanner Darkly, showed at both festivals, and at SIFF it was a sneak preview screening. SIFF 2006 did, however, have a handful of Cannes 2005 films, mostly lower-profile or Eastern hemisphere stuff that hadn’t opened theatrically. So read it and drool.

There’s some loud buzzing around the fact that Cho Seung-Hui might have gotten the idea for his hammer photo from Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. (Here was Andrew Wright’s 2005 review.) Not to point out the obvious, but if Cho had tried to imitate the hammer scene with an actual hammer, the carnage would have been significantly diminished. (See also response from Dave Kehr and Richard Corliss, via GreenCine.)

Opening this week:

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Charles Mudede writes up The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a Cannes 2nd prize winner from last year: “The political message is here reduced to the function of being nothing more than a stage for the real star: the exceptional beauty of Ireland itself.”

Hot Fuzz

Andrew Wright assesses Hot Fuzz, the newest from the Shaun of the Dead team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. Seems it’s kinda slow for an actioner.

And in On Screen this week: Year of the Dog (Bradley Steinbacher says it’s “comedy built mainly upon loss,” and it’s surprisingly good), Fracture (Lindy West finds it GUILTY! [tchung tchuung!]), The Cats of Mirikitani (you’ve never seen the story of the Japanese internment told like this before), The TV Set (saved by an excellent—“most likely overqualified”—cast, says Andrew Wright), After the Wedding (bourgeois dreck dressed up as an anti-bourgeois Oscar contender, say I), and In the Land of Women (it’s all about the cancer stick, contends Christopher Frizzelle, forgetting to mention that its star Adam Brody played a bit role in Thank You for Smoking).

In Lighter News…

posted by on April 20 at 4:05 PM

You have 15 minutes to find one.


Happy 4/20, Sloggers.


posted by on April 20 at 4:03 PM

Tonight from 7 to 10 p.m., the opening reception for new work in the medium of embroidery and hankies by Allison Manch at No Space Gallery, corner of Summit and Mercer.


This hankie, “Fools Gold” (2006), makes a plain white Club Room™ hankie from Macy’s look like a fool here.

Fuck You for Talking

posted by on April 20 at 3:30 PM

From Mike Daisey:

Last night’s performance of INVINCIBLE SUMMER was disrupted when eighty-seven members of a Christian group walked out of the show en masse, and chose to physically attack my work by pouring water on and destroying the original of the show outline.

Daisey’s offense? He said “fuck.”

I doubt I will ever forget the look in his face as he defaced the only original of the handwritten show outline—it was a look of hatred, and disgust, and utter and consuming pride.

Rest of the story here.

(Back in 1918, H.L. Mencken wrote in Damn!: “He’d be a much nicer fellow if he had a good swear now and then.” Obviously, Mencken’s wisdom stands.)

Today on Line Out

posted by on April 20 at 3:20 PM

Best Song Ever (This Week): Zwickel loves M. Ward’s “Chinese Translation.”

Dig The Scene: Soul Train, eat your heart out.

Baby Mice: MM’s modest beginnings.

Club Easy Street: Record store hosts rock, serves booze.

More on DJ Struggle: Does dupstep clash with sunshine?

Where Were You When…: Seattle’s nightlife had five minutes of silence? Ari was at Tommy’s, Brendan was at Marcus’s, and I accidentally fell asleep at 9 pm. Oops.

More Tour Tales: Trent’s still out on the road.

Get Stoked, Geeky Goths: NIN to release an alternate reality game. Seriously.

Pop Conference Criticism: Kurt B. Reighley don’t wanna hear yer fancy words, ya snobby writers.

Awe, BFFs…


The Deterioration of an Image (NSFW)

posted by on April 20 at 2:54 PM

A famous album cover:
electric1.jpg In his collection of essays, Small Acts, Paul Gilroy (the leading black intellectual of the 90s) writes:

In Britain…[Hendrix’s], portrait was banished to the interior of the Electric Ladyland sleeve by David King’s celebrated photograph of nineteen naked women. Eighteen of them are ‘white’: a lone woman sits vacantly in the right mid-ground, offering a striking image of Hendrix’s own displacement and isolation [in the UK] .

That is the main meaning and power of the image. The black woman is isolated, an island, a stranger in a strange ladyland.

30 years after the photo was taken by King, 1968, another photographer duplicates it for the music magazine Q. The image in this case has little power and meaning because the black woman is gone and Moby, a big star at the time, is in it. Not only is he in it, he is unbelievably disinterested in the women. Moby’s disinterest seems to say that the original had no meaning outside of this: nineteen naked and bored women are posing for a photographer. Hendrix is iced by Moby.

In 2004, an Italian rock star, Zucchero (which means “sugar”) remakes the image, and though he returns the single black women to her lonely place, he, like Moby, places himself inside of the image. Whereas the original image was about a strange land of women, this image is about a king, Zucchero, in the happy land of his women.

Gunman Opens Fire in NASA Building

posted by on April 20 at 2:54 PM

No injuries are reported in Houston, but the building is locked down and the gunman is probably still inside.

Happy Feet

posted by on April 20 at 2:16 PM

Lala is a 14-year old king penguin rescued from a fishing line by a Japanese family. After they nursed the bird back to health, it refused to leave their home. Now Lala the pet penguin wears a penguin backpack on his way to the fish market to pick up fresh seafood for his adopted family and grab a snack for himself.

Penguins got soul.

The Seattle P-I Piss Tape

posted by on April 20 at 2:15 PM


If a bunch of drunken Seattle Post-Intelligencer staffers pull up in front of the Seattle Times building in a rented limo and proceed to piss all over the lawn in order to celebrate the end of the Times vs. P-I court battle, does this uninvited lawn-watering get caught by the Times’s security cameras?

I wondered this when I heard about the recent “day-long, celebratory bacchanalia” that apparently ended in just such a golden shower.

And now I have it on good authority that there is, indeed, a Times security tape of the events in question. I’m told it shows a limo pulling up to the front of the Times building late at night. I’m told it also shows some people getting out of the limo and dancing around. Apparently, the security department is still reviewing exactly how much of the pissing itself was caught on camera.

Memo to the Times: We know you might not want to publish this decency-offending video, once it is fully reviewed, on your own web site. So we here at The Stranger stand ready to assist. Perhaps a copy of the tape could appear in our incoming mail. Or perhaps a digital video file could appear in my email in-box. Don’t worry, we’re old pros when it comes to handling unusual video submissions.

The Stranger: Ready to meet all your piss-video-hosting needs.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on April 20 at 2:13 PM


18-Year-Olds: Could be too young to smoke in Texas.

Seven-Year-Old: Discovers 89-gram crack rock in his pocket.

Outlaws: The only ones with fresh-scented refrigerators if Missouri restricts sale of crack ingredient, baking soda.

In Laws: Feds sued to restore aid for convicted students.

Priests: Say legalize medical pot.

Gram Cracker: Driver allegedly chews crack rocks.

Toppled: Truck spills an actual ton of cocaine.

Gouged: Canadian pot patients paying 1500 percent markup.

Caffeinated: Soap.

Hyyyyyaaaaammmered: Former SPD officer blows six times legal limit.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang!

posted by on April 20 at 2:07 PM


Tired of being murdered by psychopaths with easy access to sub machine guns? Worn out from dodging bullets on your way to class? The grocery store? The bathroom? Elder rock person Ted Nugent has the solution!

“Anybody see what the evil Brady Campaign and other anti-gun cults have created? I personally have zero tolerance for evil and denial. And America had best wake up real fast that the brain-dead celebration of unarmed helplessness will get you killed every time, and I’ve about had enough of it.”

That’s right, America, get out there and arm yourself to the tits…Ted has had enough!

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Sneak Peek at GOP Message

posted by on April 20 at 1:51 PM

I hung out with former state GOP chair Chris Vance this morning. He’s currently working as a Republican consultant—most recently working against the PBDE ban in Olympia. (He lost.)

Anyway, he laid out Dino Rossi’s strategy for 2008, which is: Bash Gov. Gregoire for expanding the budget by one third. He doesn’t have that quite right, but he’s not way off. If you don’t adjust for inflation, the increase between the ‘03-05 budget and the brand new budget is not a third, but it is nearly 26%.

The budget that Gov. Gregoire inherited, the ‘03-05 budget, was $25.5 billion. Her ‘05-07 budget was $29.6 billion—a 16% increase.

She’s about to pass a $30.1 billion general fund budget—an 8% increase. Obviously, that first 16% jump accounts for most of the so-called expansion, the aforementioned 26%.

But, keep in mind, the ‘03-05 budget was a recession budget, and when the economy came bouncing back, there was ground to make up.

And this isn’t the way you should compare budgets over time anyway. Indeed, the right way to do it is to look at what percentage the state budget represents of the overall economy. After all, as the economy grows, the state has a responsibility to service it and keep it humming by meeting education, transportation, health, and regulatory needs.

And the fact is: Gregoire’s budget is consistent with every budget going back 10 years. Including the Rossi/Locke budget. It’s about 6.1% of all income earned by Washingtonians, a common way of looking at the size of state government, according to this report by the Washington Budget and Policy Center. The Rossi/Locke budget clocked in at 6%.

Moreover, Gregoire is hardly “expanding” government. In fact, she’s still playing catch-up to meet our needs. Education is a perfect example. The $1 billion in “new” education spending isn’t really all new spending—the budget is just finally making good on long-standing voter initiatives 728 and 732 to reduce class sizes and give teachers cost-of-living increases. It also includes back-filling pensions that were supposed to be funded in the ‘03-05 budget, as well as the first installment of estate tax spending on education. These are all things the voters have demanded.

So, the onus bounces back to Dino Rossi and the GOP. If Gregoire has actually “expanded” government, what should get cut?

Another Republican for the Environment

posted by on April 20 at 1:34 PM

Why is it that while Democrats like Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire are convening task forces to discuss blueprints for possible future action on global warming, it’s Republicans who are actually doing something about it?

The latest action on climate comes from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who plans to advocate more than 100 new proposals to slash air pollution, ease traffic congestion, create housing, and develop new mass transit. The proposals include charging drivers to enter the busiest parts of Manhattan, and creating zoning and tax incentives to encourage new home construction in the city. The Manhattan toll, similar to a $16 charge levied on drivers who enter downtown London, could go as high as $8; the money would be invested in new large-scale transportation projects. “Unless we considered the full range of challenges to our city’s physical environment, the progress we’d worked so long and so hard for might be at risk,” Bloomberg said at a speech last year. “And it became clear that to secure a stronger, cleaner, and healthier city for our children and grandchildren, we had to start acting now.”

Amen to that. Gregoire?


posted by on April 20 at 1:26 PM

Dinesh d’Souza wonders where the atheists are

Notice something interesting about the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings? Atheists are nowhere to be found. Every time there is a public gathering there is talk of God and divine mercy and spiritual healing… What this tells me is that if it’s difficult to know where God is when bad things happen, it is even more difficult for atheism to deal with the problem of evil.

Maybe the atheists aren’t around because atheists don’t feel a need to insert themselves into other people’s lives? Maybe the atheists aren’t around because we’re not interested in telling other people how to grieve? Or hijacking other people’s grief for our own ends? Or maybe it’s because we don’t proselytize generally? Maybe we’re not around because we’re not the ones that see a potential PR bonanza in every tragedy? Or maybe the atheists aren’t because we don’t have to account for evil in the world because we don’t tell people they have an all-powerful imaginary friend/God that gives a shit about them, can works miracles, and answers their prayers?

Or maybe the atheists aren’t around because we’re not assholes?


Modest Beginnings

posted by on April 20 at 12:51 PM

We’ve just dug up, from the vault of Strangers published before the internet, one of the earliest things written about Modest Mouse—and also one of the earlier pieces written for The Stranger by then-music editor Kathleen Wilson. It’s her account of hanging out with them for an afternoon in 1996, when they were still in high school.

Here’s a random excerpt from a scene at a llama farm:

Isaac knows how to tell the difference between the “ladies” and the “men” among the llamas; according to his theory, it has something to do with the length of the necks. He cautions me to not get too close to the matted beasts, claiming a llama can hock a loogie backed with enough velocity to knock me flat on my ass. Because his llama-blend cardigan creates a certain solidarity with the beasts, Jeremy walks right up to a big ol’ “man,” offers him some grass, and escapes unbesmirched.

The whole thing’s here. Note the photo. All together now: “Awwww.”


What Is Club Z Advertising These Days?

posted by on April 20 at 12:31 PM

Long ago and far away I wrote a history of the terrifying and deathy bathhouse Club Z, and one of the points I made in that essay was that, as AIDS really started becoming a problem in the mid-’80s, the ads Club Z was publishing in Seattle Gay News got bigger and sexier.

[In 1985], when the New York Times was reporting that 6,481 people in the U.S. had died from AIDS and 13,332 people were living with death sentences, Club Z’s ads had ballooned to full pages, with photographs of men on beaches, in wrestling rings, lathered in soap, beside swimming pools, glowing in the sexy bliss of life itself.

But there were also a slew of ads with weirdly morbid overtones.

Another ad in 1985 depicted a naked jock, his back toward you, with the words, “You’d better sit down for this.” That’s a butt-sex joke. It’s also what your doctor says to you when he has really bad news—and 1985 was a big year for bad news. Another ad that year asked: “Where Have All the Real Men Gone?” Hmm. The hereafter?

Well, the other day Savage came by my desk to show me the latest Club Z ad in the Seattle Gay News and, well, look at it.


Um. What’s being advertised here? Other than a decaying body? Well, let that red circle—not mine—guide your eye. Worms. Worms are being advertised. Come get a dead body and some worms. Mmm! Really puts you in the mood, huh?

(PS—Does anyone know why the Club Z redevelopment project never happened? No one returns my calls.)

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 20 at 12:00 PM


(Art) From his artist statement—”I see a world where blood and sweat mix with sunsets and snowdrifts”—Rhode Island photographer Jesse Burke sounds like a cheeseball. But his work delivers on the romantic promises he makes about depicting masculinity as both fragile and bloodthirsty. Never, never have shotgunning beer and looking out onto a lake through a curtain of flowers fit so perfectly together. And the salon installation is gorgeous. (Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave S, 323-2808. 11 am—5:30 pm, free.) Jen Graves

Dina Martina: B-Sides

(World-Class Freak) When she’s not making Seattle audiences weep with nausea-tinged joy, chanteuse/raconteur/train wreck Dina Martina plies her trade for lucky audiences in Provincetown and New York City. Her new Seattle show, B-Sides, compiles the best treats from the P-Town and NYC extravaganzas, and anyone who appreciates so-bad-it’s-brilliant satirical camp would be stupid to miss it. Through May 26. (Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 325-6500. 8 pm, $18, 21+.) David Schmader

A Fantastic Script

posted by on April 20 at 11:59 AM

Why I hate big-time screenwriters:

The Shawshank Redemption filmmaker Frank Darabont has hit out at movie mogul George Lucas for preventing Steven Spielberg from shooting his script for the upcoming Indiana Jones sequel, claiming his efforts were “a waste of a year.” Darabont wrote a screenplay for the highly-anticipated movie, which is still known by its working title of Indiana Jones 4, and insists director Spielberg was happy with it. However, producer Lucas didn’t think it was good enough. Darabont tells, “It showed me how badly things can go. I spent a year of very determined effort on something I was very excited about, working very closely with Steven Spielberg and coming up with a result that I and he felt was terrific. He wanted to direct it as his next movie, and then suddenly the whole thing goes down in flames because George Lucas doesn’t like the script. I told him (Lucas) he was crazy. I said, ‘You have a fantastic script. I think you’re insane, George.’ You can say things like that to George, and he doesn’t even blink. He’s one of the most stubborn men I know.” He adds, “I have no idea if there’s a shred of (my script) left. It was a tremendous disappointment and a waste of a year.” And Darabont has no plans to reveal what his Indiana Jones script contains: “At this point, I don’t give much of a damn what George thinks, but I wouldn’t want to harm my friendship with Steven.”

A wasted year? Primo, you’d think he’d written Ulysses or something. Secundo, he was certainly paid a mountain’s worth of money for that year of very hard and earnest work.

4/20 Brain Teaser

posted by on April 20 at 11:30 AM

Grab a calculator.

1. Key in the first three digits of your phone number (NOT the area code)

2. Multiply by 80

3. Add 1

4. Multiply by 250

5. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number

6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again

7. Subtract 250

8. Divide by 2

Recognize the answer?

Can someone explain to me—before I get stoned—how the fuck this works?

Concrete and the Sea

posted by on April 20 at 11:22 AM

This happened two years ago:

‘Mafia-style’ killing · Corpse in concrete:

The case of two people arrested for the death of a man whose body was found encased in concrete, was postponed in the Boksburg magistrate’s court on Monday.

Superintendent Andy Pieke said Willie Theron, 28, and Desiree Oberholzer, 43, would appear in court again on September 5.

Theron said that he would be lodging a formal bail application.

The victim was found encased in concrete with only his feet and part of his legs sticking out in July, when a Boksburg resident forced open a dustbin left behind by a former lodger, allegedly Theron.

He was identified as Gisli Thorkellson, of Iceland, who had been living in the country since 1994.

Thorkellson was self-employed at the time of his death and he was also single.

His body was repatriated to Iceland, following the release of dental records from the United States confirming his identity.

A post mortem conducted at the Germiston mortuary found that he had been shot in the head.

Theron and Oberholzer face charges of murder, theft, fraud and defeating the ends of justice. - Sapa

Few sights are more amazing than that of a human corpses in concrete.

More recently, a ghost yacht:

‘Ghost yacht’ found off Australia.

The Kaz II yacht… was found with its engine running, and a table laid for dinner, but there were no signs of any people.

An air and sea rescue operation has been launched to retrace the yacht’s voyage, and pinpoint the search area.

The boat left Airlie Beach on Sunday bound for Townsville on the first leg of a voyage around northern Australia.

The 12m (40 foot) catamaran was spotted by a helicopter on Wednesday drifting off the Great Barrier Reef, but a rescue team only reached the boat on Friday, and confirmed that there was no one aboard.

The detail that gets the reader is: “the table was laid for dinner.” Remove that detail and you remove precisely what makes this disappearance spooky.

Re: Fuck Earth Day

posted by on April 20 at 11:17 AM

Puget Sound-area travelers can do something different to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday: travel free by bus…. “Rather than drive alone in your vehicle, just hop on a bus that Sunday to shop, worship or run errands,” said King County Executive Ron Sims.

Earth to Ron Sims: Riding the bus sucks. Earth day, non-earth days (?), free, $1.25—the fucking bus sucks. There’s nothing celebratory about being stuck on a fucking bus.

People don’t ride public transit to be altruistic, do-gooders. They ride public transit to get from Point A to Point B. To compete with cars, Ron, public transit has to be faster, easier, and more reliable than driving. There’s a tiny number of smug, stupid assholes out there that will get on a bus because they get to say, “Hey, look at me! I’m saving the planet!” to themselves. And most of those assholes are already on the bus, content to sit in a pool of urine left on their seat by some bum that got on and off the bus in the downtown “ride free/rolling homeless shelter zone.”

If we want to get people out of their cars—and we do—then we need to build a mass transit system that’s faster and more convenient than driving. Guilt trips—excuse me, free trips—on Earth day ain’t gonna do it.

The Wonderful World of Suicide Food

posted by on April 20 at 11:01 AM


It’s something that’s confused and disgusted me ever since I was a kid in Texas, where there are too many barbecue joints with jolly cartoon pigs as mascots to count: Depictions of animals excited about being eaten, or, as the masterminds behind this website put it, suicide food:

What is Suicide Food? Suicide Food is any depiction of animals that act as though they wish to be consumed. Suicide Food actively participates in or celebrates its own demise. Suicide Food identifies with the oppressor. Suicide Food is a bellwether of our decadent society. Suicide Food says, “Hey! Come on! Eating meat is without any ethical ramifications! See, Mr. Greenjeans? The animals aren’t complaining! So what’s your problem?” Suicide Food is not funny.

Even if you don’t share the Suicide Foodies’s opinion that meat is murder and thus suicide-food images are murder porn, you’ll want to check out their richly disturbing gallery of classic suicide food, including come-hither ribs, self-saucing hogs, and, uh, this.

Thank you, MetaFilter.

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 20 at 10:51 AM


If its true, as described in “Trash Across America,” that everyone’s favorite shit-band was pulled over just for a random drug check and confessed to the drugs, they should know their rights and check out the Supreme Court’s ruling in City of Indianapolis v. Edmond. The ruling: while it’s okay to do random checkpoints for DUIs because they are a real threat to other drivers, the cops cannot pull you over just to check for “ordinary criminal wrongdoing” (i.e., weed in the glove box). Unfortunately, if you’re pulled over for some kind of traffic infraction, they can legally get the K9s out for a quick wiff. Also, when I lived in Missouri the dick sheriff used to set up signs on I-44 that said “K9 Drug checkpoint 1 mile” a quarter mile from a freeway exit only a few hillbillies used. Even college boys with some leftover stems would get scared, see the exit and pull off, only to get nailed at the end of the exit. The act of getting off the freeway was considered enough probable cause for the search. The lesson here: next time you are trashing across America, stay on the highway and don’t give up your stash during any kind of random search.


Male Camel Toe

posted by on April 20 at 10:44 AM

Via Newspeak.

Despair, Thy Name is DIESEL…

posted by on April 20 at 10:42 AM

Death of our biosphere? Bring it on! Fashionable footwear is the answer!

Indeed, expensive shoes will spare us all from the terror of global warming…and fill chilly European city squares with fun and cheerful Fruitloops birds! (Follow that nose!) We are assured of this via this jaunty DIESEL ad, which I’ve ripped from some wretched style rag that I don’t read…


So, fret not, sad world! Shoes! Shoes are the answer!

Doomed. That’s what we are. Pull out your Visa card and kiss your ass goodbye.

Three Keys

posted by on April 20 at 10:34 AM

The key to Joseph Conrad:

Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn’t even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush. It appears the French had one of their wars going on thereabouts. Her ensign dropped limp like a rag; the muzzles of the long eight-inch guns stuck out all over the low hull; the greasy, slimy swell swung her up lazily and let her down, swaying her thin masts. In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. Pop, would go one of the eight-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech—and nothing happened. Nothing could happen. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of natives—he called them enemies!— hidden out of sight somewhere.
This key passage from Heart of Darkness opens all that Conrad had to say about the world which his novella closed when it first appeared in 1899. Indeed, this passage might be the key that discloses the entire 19th century.

The key to Li Po:

From a pot of wine among flowers
I drank alone. There was no one with me—
Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three.
Is there anything else this Tang Dynasty poet ever said? There is even a story that he drowned after a drunken attempt to embrace the moon’s reflection in a river. (Li Po’s fame in the Occident comes by way of Ezra Pound, who translated a number of his poems into English from the odd distance of a Japanese translation of the original Chinese poems.)

The key to Hegel:

Consciousness knows and comprehends nothing but what falls within its experience; for what is found in experience is merely spiritual substance, and, moreover, object of its self. Mind, however, becomes object, for it consists in the process of becoming an other to itself, i.e. an object for its own self, and in transcending this otherness. And experience is called this very process by which the element that is immediate, unexperienced, i.e. abstract — whether it be in the form of sense or of a bare thought — externalises itself, and then comes back to itself from this state of estrangement, and by so doing is at length set forth in its concrete nature and real truth, and becomes too a possession of consciousness.

This key passage, which is in the key preface to Phenomenology, is one of the many keys to all that Hegel has to say about human development: first there is simple consciousness; second, consciousness is alienated, third, it returns to itself, and subject and object becomes one. Hegel says nothing else. And it drives me crazy that I’m well aware of the fact and yet still read his time-devouring books. Borges had a similar effect on me a decade ago.


posted by on April 20 at 10:28 AM

Oregon extends civil rights protections to gays and lesbians

Oregon is the 18th state to adopt a law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. Those states account for nearly half of the nation’s population, said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force based in Washington, D.C. California has an anti-discrimination law, and Washington’s went into effect last year.

No one expects a spike in discrimination complaints in Oregon, just as no one expects a spike here in Washington. Oregon’s most populous counties, Multnomah and Benton, as well as Portland, Salem, and eight other Oregon cities, already have anti-discrimation laws on the books. Increasingly the passage of state civil rights protections for gays and lesbians are largely symbolic victories—unless, of course, you’ve been discriminated against and are unlucky enough to live in an areas that isn’t covered by a city or county’s gay rights protections. Then these laws matter very much—provided you’re out.

You can’t access the protections afforded by gay civil rights laws if you don’t want anyone to find out you’re gay—you can’t sue your boss or landlord without getting your name in the papers, papers that your mom and dad might read. People living out in the boonies are not only likelier to be discriminated against, they’re also less likely to be out. So… the laws are important victories. But the total amount of good a gay civil rights bill does versus, say, passing civil unions or gay marriage, is relatively minor.

But the point is moot—Oregon is on the verge of passing a civil unions law that would grant same-sex couples all marriage rights the state has the power to grant. So Oregon is leapfrogging past Washington state, which passed limited domestic partner benefits this legislative session.

Fuck Earth Day

posted by on April 20 at 10:16 AM

This Sunday should be “the last Earth Day,” says Alex Steffen* of WorldChanging, the ordinarily sunny-side-up sustainability web site. His argument: Earth Day accomplishes virtually nothing, and lulls us into a sense of complacency about the very large, very real changes we need to be making in our everyday lives:

The biggest problem with Earth Day is that it has become a ritual of sympathy for the idea of environmental sanity. Small steps, we’re told, ignoring the fact that most of the steps most frequently promoted (returning your bottles, bringing your own bag, turning off the water while you brush your teeth) are of such minor impact (compared to our ecological footprints) that they are essentially meaningless without larger, systemic action as well. The strategy of recycling as a gateway drug — get them hooked on it and we can move them on to harder stuff — has failed miserably. We can do better.

[…] What may be worse is the recent plethora of “green issues,” “green guides” and special Earth Day sections that have blanketed our media. A decade ago, we would have been excited to see green ideas (even lame ones) given such prominent play, but these days, such editorial eco-ghettos strike us more as an admission of skewed priorities, with ecological sanity presented as a product feature, like a well-designed cupholder, rather than as a fundamental strategy for avoiding widespread collapse.

Much more, including ideas for what you can do to make more than a symbolic difference, here.

*AKA my significant other, hence the conflict-of-interest tag.

Welcome to the Heartland

posted by on April 20 at 9:34 AM


A gay teenager is taking a boy—another gay teenager, thank God—to his high school prom. It was big news when it happened in Chicago in the early 1980s. And it’s big news when it happens in Fargo, North Dakota in 2007.

Prom is about grand dresses, sharp suits and tuxedos, and good times with friends and classmates. Jakob Paper and Steven Goering hope to add acceptance to the list.

Paper, a Fargo South High senior, and Goering, who is getting his high school degree from the North Dakota Division of Independent Study, plan to attend the South High prom Saturday at the Fargo Civic Memorial Auditorium. The 18-year-olds will do the Grand March together as boyfriends and be introduced on stage in turn with the other couples.

“Nobody’s ever done it as far as I’m aware,” Paper said of two gay men attending a local prom.

Paper has been open about his homosexuality since eighth grade. Goering, who recently moved to Fargo from Mayville, N.D., said he told his parents four years ago. He told most of his friends in January.

The right-wing haters can spew—and they’re spewing on the website of the Fargo-Moorhead Forum—but I don’t see how you can set the clocks back to the 1950s if gay teenagers are coming out to their families at 14. In North Dakota.

UPDATE: As commenters have pointed out, not everyone at the Forum’s website is spewing hate about the gay teenagers going to prom. If anything, these kids are getting more supportive comments than they are slams. Another reason for hope.

Thanks to Slog tipper Kim Winnegge.

The Dangers of Pot

posted by on April 20 at 9:32 AM

The stronger the pot, the likelier you’ll wind up making out with someone you really shouldn’t be making out with.

Pot: The gateway drug to some deeply freaky shit.

Originally posted on 4/19, moved up to 4/20 for all the obvious reasons.

Myths of the “Holy Day”

posted by on April 20 at 9:30 AM

Holy hemp-huffin’ hippies… Friday is 4/20, the official day to get stoned. I know what you might be thinking—it’s stupid to recognize a holiday for stoners who already get stoned all the time to sit around and get stoned some more. But consider this: We have lots of alcoholidays, such as New Year’s Eve, Cinco de Mayo, and St. Patrick’s Day for drinkers to get drunker. And they’re awesome. So let the stoners have their fun.

If you’re one of them, please take note as we correct a few myths about 420:

Myth #1: “The term ‘420’ originated from some police code for ‘pot smoking in progress.’”

Fact: That’s totally bullshit, just like these other half-baked theories. The real answer is that 420 started in the ’70s when a bunch of high-schoolers in San Rafael started referring to getting high as “Four-Twenty Louie.” Boring but true.

Myth #2: “420 is only celebrated by hippies who crawl into moldy basements and wallow in their own filth while passing around greasy chillums.”

Fact: You don’t need to be a basement hippie to wallow in your own filth (gone to the Comet lately?) or to hit the hobbit leaf. In fact, millions of fastidious soccer-mom types smoke pot just so they can chill the fuck out. Keep it up, filthy hipsters and stony neat freaks!

Myth #3: “An underground Nazi police force named April 20th a holiday so they could take over the free world on Hilter’s birthday, when we’re all too incapacitated to resist.”

Fact: That’s fucking insane, you paranoid hippie.

Myth #4: “The best place to celebrate is in the City Attorney’s Office at City Hall, because Tom Carr is totes into your funky junk.”

Fact: Not so much.

Myth #5: “The 4/20 munchies can only be cured by consuming megadoses of Cheetos and strawberry Fanta.”

Fact: Pot could make dog shit delicious, but you’ll still feel like crap after eating it. Best to prepare in advance by ordering pizza. Please note, über-stoners that have to get stoned at 4:20 on 4/20, Hot Mama’s won’t deliver before 5:00 p.m. Harsh toke, I know.

Now go forth, informed readers, and enjoy your pot holiday however you see fit—as longs as you do so safely and responsibly.

Originally posted on 4/18, moved up to 4/20 for all the obvious reasons.

Re: It’s in the Pee Eye

posted by on April 20 at 9:10 AM

The end of the legal battle between the Seattle Times and Seattle Post Intelligencer seems to have unleashed the pent-up pranksters at both papers.

First, some P-I reporters go for a boozy limo ride and piss on one of Frank Blethen’s lawns. And now comes a suggested new logo for the P-I, which I assume has Times staff fingerprints on it somewhere.


Morning News

posted by on April 20 at 7:17 AM

Senate Judiciary Committee Vs. Gonzales.

Senate Majority Leader Vs. the war.

New Drug, Lybrel Vs. that time of the month.

The State of Vermont Vs. President Bush.

Even More Incriminating Revelations Vs. Wolfowitz.

Insider Trading Laws Vs. former Qwest CEO.

Joint Terrorism Task Force Vs. Somali-owned Travel Agency in Tukwila.

Renters Vs. Seattle-area market.

Hackers Vs. government computer networks.

John McCain Vs. Iran.

The British Vs. the Americans. On April 20, 1775 the 11-month siege of Boston begins.

This Year’s Port of Seattle Elections are About to Get Interesting. I Swear.

posted by on April 20 at 12:50 AM

Do not yawn.

Finally, thanks to the PI’s big scoop (without public notice, public review or a public vote of approval by the Commission, Port Commissioner Pat Davis okayed a $340,000 severance package of one year’s salary to outgoing Port CEO Mic Dinsmore), this year’s Port of Seattle elections are going to be interesting.

Tonight, for example, the 46th District Democrats called for an investigation and subsequently, possible resignation of Commissioner Pat Davis (and any other commissioner who was privy to this kooky $340,000 severance package deal). I’ve linked their resolution below the jump.

Two commissioners are up for reelection this year: Conservative Bob Edwards and liberal Alec Fisken. Fisken has voiced his disbelief and outrage at Davis’s weird move. He told the PI:

This is outrageous, and I can’t imagine where it came from. Pat said we had approved this, but I have no recollection of it at any meeting — it would still have to come to a formal vote for payments to be made.

Edwards has not condemned Davis.

Fisken, a meticulous reformer is facing a stiff challenge from a well-funded Republican and export consultant Bill Bryant.

Erica C. Barnett had reported on Bryant’s GOP credentials last month:

Port Candidate Hearts Republicans

Port commission candidate Bill Bryant, who is challenging liberal commissioner Alec Fisken, quotes Democrat Barack Obama at length in a recent campaign mailing. He also cites preserving “family wage jobs” and cleaning up polluted Elliott Bay as his two top priorities. So he’s a union proponent and an environmentalist, right? Actually, no—he’s a Republican. Since 1999, the waterfront trade consultant has donated thousands to conservative Republicans, including former U.S. Representative Senator Slade Gorton ($1,000), President George W. Bush ($3,000), Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike McGavick ($4,200), Republican Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell ($1,000), Republican gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi ($1,500), and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Carlson ($500), among many others who aren’t exactly environmental and union stalwarts.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Edwards is facing a challenge from a tough-as-nails liberal, Gael Tarleton, who works for UW’s Office of Global Affairs.

Both challengers, obviously, are poised to ride the wave of this scandal.

However, it would be bad karma if a reformer like Fisken got unwittingly swept out by angry voters .

Look for Fisken to continue being critical of Davis. I’ve heard that he and fellow reform-minder Commissioner Lloyd Hara and even the more status quo John Creighton may call for Davis to step down.

It’s not clear what Edwards, who may be caught up in the Davis scandal as well, is going to do.

(Edwards is also being challenged by Burien City Councilman Jack Block Jr.)

Read the 46th District Democrats Resolution below.

Continue reading "This Year's Port of Seattle Elections are About to Get Interesting. I Swear." »

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Frosty the Sn-oh my god he’s crazy

posted by on April 19 at 11:28 PM

UPDATED: Video below.

Frosty Hardison, the parent of 7 who in January prevented Federal Way schools from screening An Inconvenient Truth was on The Daily Show tonight.

Holy. Shit.

I mean, the simple description above is enough to know this guy is nuts, but I had no idea he was actually, like, NUTS.

No video yet (come on Internet!), but here are some choice quotes:

“The global warming we’re experiencing right now would have to be God’s wrath… These are precursors to the rapture, which should occur in about, you know, 5 to 7 years…”

“If you have not accepted Jesus Christ, then you are basically left behind, and a bowl of God’s anger is poured upon the sun, that allows the sun to burn…”

“… waters of the earth, turned to blood, you can’t drink it…”

“… and God comes to live with us and we live with God, and I’m looking forward to having a recreational vehicle and spending a lot of time with my family.”

This bit came a little after he did a mock interview with Al Gore in which he played the part of both himself and Al Gore, that somehow segued into a Mickey Mouse impersonation.

So, not only is the school board listening to this lunatic, but he’s apparently allowed to be near children.

Bitter Irony

posted by on April 19 at 9:14 PM

What happens when you have a hearing on nightlife in a neighborhood without any bars?

You get a hearing where all anybody wants to talk about is potholes, P-Patches, and traffic signals, as I learned tonight at the Bitter Lake Community Center, where council member Sally Clark presided (solo) over a “meeting” of her neighborhoods committee.

Residents, many of them white-haired members of the Bitter Lake Historical Society, lined up to kvetch to Clark about the “chuckholes” (look it up, kids) along Linden Ave. North, the lack of a P-Patch down the street from the community center, and the lack of additional city amenities (including a sidewalk all around the partially capped Bitter Lake Reservoir) in the neighborhood. What they didn’t talk about was the mayor’s proposal to create a Nightlife Advisory Board along the lines of San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission, which was the central item on the committee’s agenda. While council staffers Mike Fong and Ketil Freeman painstakingly outlined the differences between San Francisco’s commission and the mayor’s proposed one (basically, Seattle’s commission wouldn’t have true regulatory power, and it wouldn’t come with as much staffing as San Francisco’s) visibly disinterested Bitter Lake residents filed out of the room, slept, and tapped anxiously at their chairs with pens, awaiting the roundtable on neighborhood issues that followed the nightlife presentation. One could even be heard muttering, “Are you DONE yet?”

Maybe next time they could hold a hearing on Social Security at the Venom nightclub.

WASL Showdown

posted by on April 19 at 5:44 PM

In addition to the budget, there’s one more big legislative skirmish knocking around in the legislature before the session ends this Sunday. The fight is about a WASL reform bill.

Citing high failure rates (about 49%) Democrats in the House want to delay the high school graduation requirement that says students must pass the math and science portion of the WASL.

However, Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1, Bothell), want to amend the bill to also delay the requirement that students must pass the reading and writing portion of WASL to graduate.

Neither the House nor the Governor (the bill was originally her’s) like the idea of delaying the reading and writing requirement.

However, the Washington Education Association does. Here’s the spin from their recent legislative outlook newsletter:

WEA supports delaying all sections of the WASL and using the delay to review, revamp and improve the current student assessment system. Math WASL scores have received a lot of attention, and there appears to be agreement about delaying that part of the high-school WASL. The House and Senate have passed versions of Senate Bill 6023, which delays the math WASL and makes other changes. But, looking at the state’s own statistics, it’s clear there’s a larger problem with the WASL and its use as a graduation requirement. According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, only 45.1 percent of Washington’s eligible high-school students have passed the reading, writing and math sections of the WASL. The 10th-grade WASL is required for graduation under current law. WEA has long advocated against using a single test to make high-stakes decisions about students and schools. WEA supports an assessment system that measures student achievement in multiple ways.

You’ll notice, however, that not passing math is included in WEA’s analysis. My suspicion is that it’s the math portion that’s dragging down the pass rate, not the reading and writing sections.

Indeed, Rep. Joe McDermott (D-34, West Seattle), who opposes Sen. McAuliffe’s amendment to delay the reading and writing graduation requirement, reports that the pass rate for the reading and writing sections of WASL are much higher than the pass rate for math and science sections.

A Possibility

posted by on April 19 at 5:09 PM

Is there a possible connection between Sanjaya’s defeat last night on American Idol and the Virgina Tech massacre? Sanjaya Malakar; Cho Seung-Hui? Maybe this was the worst week in the show’s history to be an Asian male? The headline for a post on The Village Voice’s blog: “Sanjaya Malakar: America’s Long National Nightmare Finally Ends.”

Letters from the Lorax

posted by on April 19 at 5:04 PM

A downtown resident sent in a letter and some photos, following up on my Vulcan piece from a few weeks ago.

Terry and Lenora 2004


Then this happened:


Dear Stranger,

Poor 2200 Westlake tenants. They fell for Vulcan’s sales pitch and watched their high end urban dreams lie in a heap - much like the pile of trees sacrificed for Paul Allen’s expensive “Motel 6.”

The disgruntled tenants may recoup their losses but no lawsuit can restore irreplaceable downtown canopy. Mr. O’Leary better hope the city protects bilked investors better than its natural resources.

L. Schaack

Because trees just couldn’t afford $600 a square foot.


posted by on April 19 at 4:59 PM

What are you doing in two hours? I, unfortunately, have to jet off to a preview screening in the U District, but you should definitely be seeing…


… at Northwest Film Forum, 7 pm, $10. Read more about this great series, programmed by Three Dollar Bill Cinema, in my review/preview this week: “Good and Gay.”

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 19 at 4:45 PM

Xiu Xiu

(Music) Part of the fun of watching Xiu Xiu is imagining that singer Jamie Stewart could break down sobbing at any moment. But the band’s ill-medicated, bipolar pop swings from hesitant joy to abject grief with surprisingly little melodrama. Stewart’s wounded, whispering vocals are cushioned by carefully controlled atmospheres and highlighted by unlikely song structures. His lyrics find emotional extremes in both the mundane and the surreal. Live, Stewart’s energy is balanced by Caralee McElroy’s cool presence on keys and Ches Smith’s nimble drumming. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $10, all ages.) Eric Grandy

Alec Baldwin Is a Big Man

posted by on April 19 at 4:44 PM

As TMZ reports:

An enraged Alec Baldwin unleashed a volcanic tirade of threats and insults on his 11-year-old daughter, Ireland, calling her a “thoughtless little pig,” and bashing her mother Kim Basinger—and TMZ has obtained the whole thing unfiltered and raw. And, we’ve learned, the tape could cost Baldwin his visitation rights.

You may hear the whole amazing thing here.

How Was It?

posted by on April 19 at 4:17 PM

Kelly O and I were out with our microphone and camera this weekend: Soul Night on Eastlake; Soul Food at 25th and Cherry; and the Tattoo convention in Sea-Tac.

We’ve got one question. How Was It?

Speaking about Speaker Chopp

posted by on April 19 at 4:10 PM

David Postman has a critique of the Chopp story I published in the Stranger last week.

Postman’s got two basic points. 1) You can’t blame Speaker Chopp for all the progressive bills that got iced this session.

(My story reports that the Dem leadership in Olympia has gutted, tabled or thwarted a number of no-brainer legislative items this session: comprehensive family leave, a cap on payday-loan interest rates, a bill closing the gun-show loophole, a bill to keep tabs on corporate tax breaks by including those de facto expenditures in the budget, legislation preventing employers from holding “captive audience” anti-unionizing meetings, regulations requiring disclosure from pharmaceutical-industry lobbyists, an overall cap on CO2 emissions, tenant relocation assistance and a cap on condo conversions, legislation preventing strip-mining operations on Maury Island, protecting student free-speech rights, a homebuyers’ protection bill, full funding for health-care workers in nursing homes, and a cool follow-up to the infamous $3.2 billion tax break Boeing got in 2003, making the money contingent on a requirement that the company doesn’t engage in union busting.)

And #2, Postman says I actually didn’t get a lot of people to specifically criticize Chopp on the record.

Let’s start with Postman’s first point. Well, he’s right that Chopp isn’t to blame for everything on my list. For example, it was the Senate that nuked one of my favorite bills this session, the student press bill, which passed Chopp’s House. Additionally, Chopp has to play ball with his caucus. He can’t just ignore stubborn committee chairs nor the politics within his caucus.

(Although, as I did point out in my article, Chopp can control the landscape. He had longtime House Finance Chair, Rep. Jim McIntire, ousted because he didn’t agree with McIntire on tax reform. He also moved a tax break bill through committee even though he saw it didn’t have the votes. This is evidence that Chopp, obviously, has more power than most and should be held accountable for that extra power.

Still, Postman’s right that Chopp can’t be blamed for all the disappointments on the liberal side. And granted, that is what my headline said. Headlines though, as Postman well knows, are often beyond the control of the writer, and so, I’ll admit I wasn’t 100% happy with the headline. That said, I’m not backing away from the premise of the story, which is that Chopp remains weirdly risk averse when it comes to pushing a progressive agenda even though he has a commanding majority, and he has a unique and disproportionate amount of power within that super majority.

And so: He should also be held disproportionately accountable.

He’s the Speaker of the House. He sets priorities. It is not unreasonable to lay the failures (as progressives see them) at the feet of the leader—especially a leader who’s elected from the Dennis Kucinich 43rd. If Chopp can prioritize a tax break by yanking it out of a hostile committee, he can prioritize things like the pay day loans cap and yank them out of hostile committees? My story points out that he didn’t.

My story also points out that Chopp was on the receiving end of serious donations from the pay day loan industry, the building industry (with a targeted lobbying dinner too), and the Maury Island strip mining company, Glacier NW.

Postman’s second point is that I really didn’t have tons of people laying the blame on Chopp, specifically. (This critique grew out of a piece Public Radio reporter Austin Jenkins did where Jenkins reported how hard it is to get people to go on record criticizing Chopp. Jenkins went on to rehash an old story on Chopp’s centrist philosophy, which we all covered at the beginning of the session: the Dems made a lot of pick-ups in suburban swing districts in the 2006 landslide and didn’t want to “overreach” and lose those tentative seats. Leaders like Chopp believe that’s the blunder they made in 1994.)

Anyhow, Savage did a post yesterday showing that in fact, I had gotten several people to go on record about Chopp. Postman challenges that contention.

Continue reading "Speaking about Speaker Chopp" »

Warm, Bubble-Wrapped Beer

posted by on April 19 at 3:54 PM


The promotional swag rolls downhill here at the Stranger, so I’ve inherited Savage’s latest shipment of free booze, consisting of two warm, bubble-wrapped and zip-loc’d bottles of lager. The dilemma now is whether or not I should drink them before heading off to the EMP Pop Conference, or: Do pointy-headed music criticism and drinking mix?

Today on Line Out

posted by on April 19 at 3:44 PM

Choice Voice: Kevin Suggs says how to successfully record vocals.

Love for Al Stewart: And his Love Chronicles.

Book Report: You’re not punk, and I’m telling everyone.

Shut Up: No, seriously. Local clubs want you quiet.

Need to Kill Some Time?: Terry has the playlist for you.

It’s hard to beat a baby hippo… but this baby zebra sure is sweet:


5 Minutes of Silence For Seattle Nightlife

posted by on April 19 at 3:17 PM

Tonight, to raise awareness about Mayor Nickels’ Nightlife Proposal, several Seattle bars will be observing five minutes without music or service at midnight.

Continue reading “5 Minutes of Silence For Seattle Nightlife”

Adoption Issues

posted by on April 19 at 2:57 PM

Good column today—I enjoyed reading it as usual. I wanted to point out, though, that one comment you made to the effect that all adoptions should be open really struck me as naive. In a situation like the one of the young woman in last week’s column, yes it would be a nice option to have an open adoption.

In my case, my family of four (wife, me and two boys) adopted two kids from Ukraine in 2005. The littlest one was 18 months old at the time, and the elder was 3 1/2. The birth mom abandoned the little one at birth in the hospital, and the state came and took the elder one. She had—and has, as far as I know—severe alcohol problems, and is suspected of abuse (the elder has some pretty questionable scars). Do you think that she gives a shit? Do you think that if she ever wakes up and actually does give a shit that I ever want her showing up at my door saying “Mommy’s here!” or anything else, for that matter? Not a chance.

I know it is highly unlikely, as she is half a world away. I also know that in the US, four weeks in re-hab, finding Jesus, and deciding she is a good mom after all is all most judges need to remove a child from a loving adoptive home. Precisely why we went to Ukraine. In Ukraine, the adoptive are, in the eyes of the law, and on the birth certificate, recognized as the birth parents.

Yes, it would be nice if everyone was nice, but it ain’t so. Some people just should not be around children. Doesn’t stop them from having them, though, does it? As you well know, if everyone had to go through all the trouble (and expense!) of adoption to get pregnant, the world’s population would plummet.


I hear you, B.F. But not all “open” adoptions are alike—they don’t all involve high degrees of contact; some don’t involve any ongoing, real-time contact at all. Some bio parents are so unfit to parent that even phone calls, let alone visits, are a danger to kids they couldn’t take of in the first place. I still support “openness,” however, even for what, in practice, may be closed adoptions.

In your case, I hope that your kids know their birth stories, where they come from, how they came into your lives. I feel they have a right to that information—no secrets, no lies. That is open adoption too.

Also, B.F., in Oregon, where my boyfriend and I adopted our son, the state placed my name and his on the birth certificate, and our adoption could only have been reversed if fraud was proved—and then only in the first year. So not all open adoptions involve the kind of risks you’re concerned about.

Many parents that adopted in closed adoptions live in fear of their children’s birth parents precisely because they know so little about them and imagine the worst. (Maybe what you imagine to be true about your children’s birth mother is accurate, but maybe not.) In cases when it’s possible for an adoptive parent to know his or her child’s birth parents (and that’s most cases, I believe), having the birth parent’s blessing—to be chosen by the birth parent!—is tremendously empowering. It also honors the sacrifice that the birth parent is making. Knowing the birth parents can alleviate the anxiety—you don’t have to worry about the birth parents coming for the child if you’ve met them, they picked you, and they’re content with their choice.

In a closed adoption, the only way for the birth mom to ever see her child again is to sue for custody—to try and disrupt or reverse the adoption. In an open adoption—which, again, simply isn’t possible in cases like yours—the birth parent or parents can have some mutually agreeable degree of contact, and see or hear from the child, without having to disrupt or reverse the adoption. I don’t have stats but I would imagine that birth moms that have done open adoptions are, therefore, less likely to try and reverse the adoption—and, indeed, reversals of adoptions are pretty rare to begin with.

Thanks for writing.

Flaubert & Writing Oneself

posted by on April 19 at 2:56 PM

Apparently, the Paris Review isn’t all that great anymore (right, Christopher? I can’t recall why or when it happened), but the new issue contains some never before published letters from Flaubert to himself. Maud Newton has an excerpt from a fascinating introductory essay explaining their provenance.

Here’s one of the letters, which were written on the occasion—and the subject—of friends’ deaths. This seems appropriate. I’ve been thinking a lot about inadvertent or sideways autobiography lately: Rachel Corrie’s letters and journals, meant for an imagined public, surely, but maybe not this public at the Seattle Rep; Cho Seung-Hui’s multimedia self-portrait as oppressed martyred madman, meant for NBC and the world—but while the images speak loudly, the words are nonsensical and censored. Also, our interest in both of these is a result of death (Corrie’s, Cho’s victims), and so death becomes in some sense their subject, even as they fussily preserve a life.

We’d be interested in Flaubert’s letters even if they weren’t about death, of course. But the fact of their being about death seems one reason why they were meant for himself, for a public of one—and therefore why they joined this odd species of incidental, morbid autobiography.

But I don’t know. I really haven’t read much Flaubert. (Don’t tell Mudede.)

Home of the Brave

posted by on April 19 at 2:50 PM

Bomb scare in Lynnwood; ROTC practice causes scare at UW; students with loaded guns and extra ammo arrested at high school in Federal Way.

Today In Silly Internet Advertisements

posted by on April 19 at 2:29 PM


Let’s Stay Together

posted by on April 19 at 2:23 PM

A few weeks ago, a friend introduced me to Roberto Bolaño. My friend handed me a copy of The Savage Detectives, Bolaño’s long Chilean novel about young poets in Mexico City. The first four sentences were exciting and fun:

I’ve been cordially invited to join the visceral realists. I accepted, of course. There was no initiation ceremony. It was better that way.

But then things got a little dull. The story fell away into smoking pot, talking about girls, talking about other poets. My attention wandered. I picked up other books. (Daphne Merkin! I had no idea!) I felt bad about that. Not just because leaving one book mid-stream feels like a tiny breakup, but also because Bolaño is supposed to be all kinds of exciting. People compare him to Borges. I don’t see it.

Reading this review in Sunday’s New York Times (I know, I’m slow) felt like looking up an old girlfriend on myspace. Checking up, seeing what I’m missing, getting a flavor of the thing without having to actually do the work:

The best way to offer a sense of this writer might be to take a scene, and a sentence, from “By Night in Chile,” still his greatest work. The book is narrated by Father Urrutia, a dying priest and conservative literary critic, a member of Opus Dei, who comes to emblematize, by the novella’s end, the silent complicity of the Chilean literary establishment with the murderous Pinochet regime. In one episode, Father Urrutia is sent to Europe, by Opus Dei agents, to report on the preservation of the churches there.

Wow. It sounds like Bolaño and I got off on the wrong foot—Opus Dei and Pinochet trumps young poets with wispy mustaches any day. And then, when the character gets to Europe:

Father Urrutia discovers that the chief threat to the churches comes from pigeon excrement, and that all over Europe churches have been using falcons to kill the pests. In Turin, Father Angelo has a fearsome falcon called Othello; in Strasbourg, Father Joseph has one named Xenophon; in Avignon, the murderous falcon is named Ta Gueule.

Pigeon shit—funny. Awesome. And then the actual sentence:

Ta Gueule appeared again like a lightning bolt, or the abstract idea of a lightning bolt, and stooped on the huge flocks of starlings coming out of the west like swarms of flies, darkening the sky with their erratic fluttering, and after a few minutes the fluttering of the starlings was bloodied, scattered and bloodied, and afternoon on the outskirts of Avignon took on a deep red hue, like the color of sunsets seen from an airplane, or the color of dawns, when the passenger is woken gently by the engines whistling in his ears and lifts up the little blind and sees the horizon marked with a red line, like the planet’s femoral artery, or the planet’s aorta, gradually swelling, and I saw that swelling blood vessel in the sky over Avignon, the blood-stained flight of the starlings, Ta Guele splashing color like an Abstract Expressionist painter.

That is a hell of a sentence. I’m going to give our relationship another shot.

The Gonzales Testimony

posted by on April 19 at 1:40 PM

TPM’s Joshua Marshall, who helped push the fired US Attorneys scandal into the public consciousness, says he’s only hearing bad things about Gonzales’s testimony before Congress today:

From the buzz I’m hearing today, if Alberto Gonzales were a stock, we’d be at that point when those automatic trading halts kicked in because so many people are trying to sell.

Here, also courtesy of TPM, are a couple of the day’s testiest exchanges, both of them between Gonzales and New York Senator Charles Schumer:

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 19 at 1:32 PM

Who’s Worse? The Shooter or the Media?

Shame on the fucking media! NPR too! The media’s response to this shooting [at Virginia Tech] has been so sensationalistic, so sickeningly reactionary and so violence obsessed it boarders on fetishism.

What kind of sick people flock to the scene of such a brutal crime, and immediately begin interviewing children (18 and 19-year-olds) who are in a state of shock, and broadcast their images across the world? Within hours, they have swarmed upon this college community with a total and complete disregard for the well being of the people. It’s sick!

What is the media’s excuse? They look as though they’re foaming at the mouth! The reporters get to flex their acting muscles, putting on their condescending and phony gestures of disgust and solemn remorse. All the while, they fail to hide the gleam of excitement and anticipation in their eyes. They report on the tiniest minutiae as though they were unlocking the secrets to the universe. Are they providing the news? Hell, no! They’re creating a story to sell to us, in the form of a reality show; one that everyone will watch, full of drama, mystery and violence. Their purpose is singular: get people to watch so they can make more money. Then the whole event becomes a platform for the media to push the political agenda’s of their corporate sponsors.

And of course, there is everything that is not talked about, which could fill the pages of several books. Although public buildings in Iraq are being bombed daily it is reported on as a mere sideline. “Stocks fell 50 points today, continuing to feed rumors of a recession. In Iraq, 27 women and children were killed today when a car bomb exploded just outside a Baghdad hospital. (Momentary pause) In local news, Gov. Christine Gregoire discusses the potential for public funding of a new Sonics Stadium….”

Now, I’m waiting for the impending rise in hate crimes towards anyone of Asian descent. This will be reported with that familiar tone of shock, and the media will exclaim that it is non-sense such violent behavior could occur in this day and age. All the while, the elephant sits in the middle of the room getting fatter and fatter as it gorges itself on a super-sized helping of ignorance and a side of corporate propaganda. If this had happened in any other part of the world (England excluded, maybe…actually, probably not) it would be just another sidebar, given the same airtime as would be given news of a movie star’s admittance to rehab, or a government official being charged for tax evasion. All of which is given less airtime then either sports or the weather. So, why can’t I turn the goddamn news off? Its like watching a car wreck. I’m compelled to do it! I’m caught in the media tractor beam. Help!

It’s in the Pee Eye

posted by on April 19 at 12:38 PM

Wait a minute: I thought we were the juvenile paper!

P-I employees had no doubt who won this battle of the old media dinosaurs, immediately breaking into a daylong, celebratory bacchanal that culminated that night with a rented limo full of drunken reporters pulling up to Fairview Fanny… and unceremoniously emptying their bladders on the Times’ front lawn.

No, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture grizzled newspaper-war veterans sottedly writing their names in the grass, but the image of a certain female reporter squatting on Frank Blethen’s lawn — marking his territory as hers — that is sure to become an oft repeated tale of local journalism lore.

Once a bunch of Stranger employees snuck into the Weekly’s office, smoked pot, and stole a bunch of Seattle Weekly coffee cups. But we kept our dicks in our pants. Because we’re, like, adults.

Save $2.50, the Earth

posted by on April 19 at 11:35 AM

If you haven’t been riding the bus and/or watching PBS’s America at a Crossroads series this week, you may not be aware that Metro buses are free, free, free all day Sunday, in honor of the Earth. (Speaking of honoring, check out the new MLK favicon on the King County websites. And you thought the logo was only for badass letterhead.)

On a normal Sunday, it would only cost $2.50 to get an all-day pass anyway, so you’re not saving much. (Other than, you know, the planet.) On the other hand, Sunday is the best day to go to Uwajimaya on the bus, because the 49 reverts to its old 7 route and you can go straight to the ID without transferring. I think I need some frozen wheat gluten.

Defending Our Freedoms

posted by on April 19 at 11:24 AM

From my book Skipping Towards Gomorrah

Whenever some lunatic pulls out a gun in a school… and starts blowing people away, the National Rifle Association helpfully suggests that the problem isn’t too many guns in the United States but too few guns. If only the murdered teachers, students, or coworkers of the deranged shooter or shooters had themselves been armed, they could’ve returned fire and saved lives. Guns aren’t the cause of gun violence, the NRA insists, but the solution to gun violence….

Gun nuts talk and talk about needing guns to protect the rights and freedoms that all Americans enjoy, but when the rights and freedoms of Americans are under siege, guns nuts are nowhere to be found. I don’t recall seeing any NRA members, for example, ever protesting an assault on the free speech rights of Americans by the feds—or the federal government’s successful efforts to undermine our constitutional protections against government surveillance and unreasonable searches, their attempts to regulate speech on the Internet, limit abortion rights…

So while gun owners are always saying that owning guns is about defending freedom, the only freedom gun owners seem interested in defending with their guns is the freedom to defend their freedom to own guns. For a freedom fan such as myself, this seems a little limited. All that firepower—200 million guns—dedicated to defending just one freedom? Charlton Heston, the actor and president of the NRA, says he “cannot stand by and watch a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States come under attack,” and yet I don’t recall seeing Charlton Heston on television complaining about John Ashcroft’s recent assaults on, say, attorney-client privilege….

If gun nuts want to convince non-gun nuts of the value of an armed citizenry, perhaps they should use their guns to defend all of our freedoms, not just their freedom to own guns.

If American gun owners saw themselves as, say, the armed wing of the ACLU then our society would all benefit in some small way from our gun culture/fetish. As things stand, however, we get nothing in exchange for the risks we all must face thanks to all those fucking guns—nothing except death, bloodshed, and pain. It’s a bad deal, gun nuts.

Edwards in Seattle

posted by on April 19 at 11:20 AM

He’ll be here May 1 to answer questions from union members as part of the AFL-CIO’s endorsement process.

(Via Postman)

Collegiate Massacres/Erosion of Women’s Rights/Continuation of Horrifying War Getting You Down?

posted by on April 19 at 10:52 AM

Before you indulge in suicide fantasies or whiskey shots before noon, please experiment with the rich narcotic properties of Boomshine. (For best results, hit your mute button.)

On weekends, I like to mix it with a bong hit and Sonic Youth’s A Thousand Leaves.

(Thank you, MetaFilter.)

Simon Cowell Cleared of “Eye-Rolling” Charges!

posted by on April 19 at 10:37 AM

Yesterday we were debating the latest “controversy of the century™”—American Idol’s Simon Cowell allegedly rolling his eyes while contestant Chris Richardson was paying his respects to the victims of Virginia Tech. As expected, Simon issued a statement on last night’s episode claiming he didn’t hear what Chris was saying, because he was talking to Paula… hence the “eye-roll.” But here’s something unexpected! Instead of just taking his word for it, the producers put together a split-screen clip of what actually happened during that moment, and from all appearances it clears Simon of all “eye-rolling” charges. Ahhhhh. HE MUST FEEL LIKE O.J. SIMPSON!
Check out the video here (the part you’re interested in starts at the 1:15 mark).

Anal Wink

posted by on April 19 at 10:27 AM

Anal Wink. Anal wink. anal wink. ANAL WINK. Anal Wink. Anal wink. aNaL wInK. A N A L  W I N K . Anal wink »

Speaking of, all your stuff are belong to gays.

The Sticks and Mud

posted by on April 19 at 10:10 AM

The day after a day of bashing America (its shortsightedness, its weak perspective, its weak gun laws), let’s turn and bash Iran. From the New York Times:

The Iranian Supreme Court has overturned the murder convictions of six members of a prestigious state militia who killed five people they considered “morally corrupt.”
Now what is this nonsense? You can kill a person because you happen to believe they are “morally corrupt”? Yes, in Iran you can!
According to the Supreme Court’s earlier decision, the killers, who are members of the Basiji Force, volunteer vigilantes favored by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considered their victims morally corrupt and, according to Islamic teachings and Iran’s Islamic penal code, their blood could therefore be shed.

The last victims, for example, were a young couple engaged to be married who the killers claimed were walking together in public.

Members of the Basiji Force are known for attacking reformist politicians and pro-democracy meetings. President Ahmadinejad was a member of the force, but the Supreme Court judges who issued the ruling are not considered to be specifically affiliated with it.

Iran’s Islamic penal code, which is a parallel system to its civic code, says murder charges can be dropped if the accused can prove the killing was carried out because the victim was morally corrupt.

This is true even if the killer identified the victim mistakenly as corrupt. In that case, the law requires “blood money” to be paid to the family. Every year in Iran, a senior cleric determines the amount of blood money required in such cases. This year it is $40,000 if the victim is a Muslim man, and half that for a Muslim woman or a non-Muslim.

Now that there is some real primitive shit. These people are nothing more than worms living in the mud. Even the 4th century Greeks had come to the conclusion that the execution of the law must not be in the hands of the house (oiko) but in the hands of the public (agora). Does Aeschylus’ trilogy, The Oresteia, have any other meaning? And here we are in the 21st century, reading on the internet that there are still places on this interconnected planet that allow individuals to take the law into their own hands, their own house—the locus of divine law and other such inhumane mysteries/miseries. It’s utterly amazing.

Thursday Morning Sports Report

posted by on April 19 at 9:56 AM

“Gut feeling, I think Felix will be OK. I have nothing to base that on.”

So says Mike Hargrove. Let’s hope his gut turns out to be right. As Dave at U.S.S. Mariner put it:

Now we just hold our breaths and hope like crazy, because without Felix, rooting for this team is about as much fun as having your eyelids ripped out.

UPDATE: U.S.S. Mariner is now reporting some good news:

Preliminary reports are that there is no structural damage.

As for the game itself, watching Beltre hustling for home only to be thrown out by a yard and ending the game was painful in its own right. Thankfully, the Twins leave town after today’s game. 3:35 start. FSN, KOMO.

Also: The Mariners signed Jose Lopez to a four-year extension; White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle came within one walk of a perfect game; the Sonics ended their season on the bad side of a blowout; and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was fined $100,000 for wearing the wrong hat on Super Bowl media day.

Finally: Fantasy Football players, be wary of drafting Vince Young next year.


Alert Arizona’s Male Escorts!

posted by on April 19 at 9:36 AM


Everybody’s favorite disgraced pastor, Rev. Ted “Meth and Man Ass” Haggard, is moving his wife, kids, and 100% heterosexual self from Colorado Springs to Phoenix, Arizona. “Have a nice heterosexuality!” says Newspeak, Colorado Spring’s only newspaper, and to help Ted do just that Newspeak thoughtfully provided this link.

And because it’s still funny… click here to hear “Meth and Man Ass on a Sunday Morning.”

This is What Theocracy Looks Like

posted by on April 19 at 9:21 AM

Okay, our Supreme Court is bad. But Iran’s is worse.

Six members of a state militia that routinely attacks reformist politicians and violently breaks up pro-democracy meetings had been convicted of murder by lower courts. But the Iranian Supremes overturned the lower courts’ decisions.

According to the Supreme [Court]… the killers, who are members of the Basiji Force, volunteer vigilantes favored by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considered their victims morally corrupt and, according to Islamic teachings and Iran’s Islamic penal code, their blood could therefore be shed

And what were these moral bankrupts guilty of? Well, one 16 year-old girl—immediately hanged in public after an improvised trial—was suspected of “chastity crimes.” A young couple—engaged to be married—was executed for walking together in public.

In other Iran news: John McCain jokes about bombing Iran…

Oh, New York Times Thursday Styles

posted by on April 19 at 9:15 AM


Will you ever fail to make my morning a bit better?

Morning News

posted by on April 19 at 6:18 AM


NBC Broadcasts Killer’s Video: Cho Seung-Hui declares,“You Brats.”

Iran Supreme Court: Condones infamous murders, a-okays lynch mob justice against “Immoral” citizens.

U.S. Supreme Court: A-okays ban on partial birth abortion.

Baghdad: More than 170 killed in a deadly day of bombings.

AG Gonzales: Testifies in front of Congress.

Wolfowitz: Top deputy tells him it’s time to go.

Yahoo Sued in U.S. District Court: For alleged role in cracking down on Chinese dissidents.

Okay. This one’s a big deal. At sunrise on April 19, 1775, after a late night slog from Boston, an estimated 800 British troops, under the command of Colonel Francis Smith and Major John Pitcairn, arrived in Lexington on their way to Concord to seize weapons. At the Lexington town green outside Buckman’s Tavern, the British regulars came face to face with between 40 and 70 American minutemen. A fracas broke out and shots were fired. No one knows who fired first. However, the Lexington skirmish left eight colonists dead and ten wounded. The British sustained one injury. (They also failed to capture Rebel leader John Hancock and rabble rouser Sam Adams, who—reportedly happy that violence had broken out—exclaimed, “What a glorious morning, this is!”) The British marched off to Concord—six miles east of Lexington—and arrived a few hours later, at 8am. Here, one large division led by Pitcairn and Smith searched the central village for military stores. (The minutemen, under the command of James Barrett and John Buttrick had surrendered the town, retreating to a hill above the Concord River, overlooking the North Bridge.) The British did not find much weaponry in town. Thanks to advance intelligence and Paul Revere’s warning team, most of it had been moved and hidden on farms. However, the British set fire to some of the empty artillery carriages, destroyed 60 barrels of flour, stormed through several homes, and occupied the main building in town. A separate British division, about 115 men, headed out to search minuteman John Buttrick’s property by the North Bridge where the minuteman maintained their position, gazing down on the plumes of smoke billowing up from town. About 35 British troops guarded the North Bridge, while another 80 men crossed the bridge. There, however, they ran into the minuteman contingent, which numbered about 500. The outnumbered British began heading back to the bridge, and panicking, fired—killing two minutemen. Patriot Buttrick called out, “Fire, for God’s sake men, fire!” and, indeed, the minutemen returned fire (“The Shot Heard Around the World.”) Three British regulars were killed. The British contingent retreated back to town rejoining the main force. Smith ordered the British troops back to Boston. The road back, particularly between Concord and Lexington, was flanked by inflamed minutemen and farmers who shot at the retreating British from behind trees, stone walls, and large rocks. When the British finally got back to Boston, they counted 73 dead with 200 others wounded. The Colonists counted 49 dead (not all military) and 41 wounded. The Seige of Boston and the American War for Independence was on. We win and grow up to emulate the British.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nothing New

posted by on April 18 at 9:50 PM

We’re tired of writing it and you’re tired of reading it, but the anti-war movement is just uninspired and tiresome. I hoofed it down to the student walkout/protest/non-conformist convention at Westlake Park to see what the young protesters would be up to. I was, once again, disappointed.


Just like the “grown-up” anti-war protest I attended a month ago, the walk-out was disorganized, unfocused and totally fucking boring. 300 (and I’m probably being generous) high-school aged protesters filled out just under half of the small concrete park across from Westlake Center.


Just as the rally started, the PA system went dead. For the next half hour, organizers used bullhorns in a futile attempt to hold the attention of a group of twitchy high schoolers. Half an hour later, the sound came back on.


The event went through the motions, with guest appearances by speakers ripping the administration for its war on immigrants, Democrats’ weak attempts at troop withdrawal and the importance of getting “the message” out via Rupert Murdoch’s Myspace.


My disappointment with these events isn’t just some snarky, disaffected-hipster, Stranger-y thing. These events are totally functionless, silly, traffic-snarling wastes of energy. If you really want to hold an impressive rally and take a clear stand against something, pick one, maybe two, issues.

I totally agree with your grievances. This war is fucked. Our government is fucked. The socio-economic disparity in this country is fucked, but a crowd full of kids still dipping their toes in the activist pool, yelling “George Bush can suck it,” only makes your rally look like it’s full of pranksters who just wanted to skip school. I’m sure some of you are very bright and well informed, but the least-informed seem to be the loudest—and they’re making you all look bad.

When the march took off down Pine towards City Hall, I left to get a burrito.

American Idol

posted by on April 18 at 7:20 PM


Spoiler Alert: Sanjaya is….

Continue reading "American Idol" »

Sonia & Amy Ruiz

posted by on April 18 at 6:21 PM

Just got a fancy card in the mail from former Stranger reporter, Amy Jenniges. (After going from star news intern to star news reporter, Amy left The Stranger in late 2005 to head up the news shop at the Portland Mercury.)

She moved to PDX with her g.f., Sonia.

Anyway, here’s the flowery, creme-colored card I just got in the mail:

On Friday, April Thirteenth, Two Thousand And Seven

Sonia Alicia
Amy Joan

Married in Vancouver, British Columbia.

They Look Forward To Celebrating The Day That Their Vows

Of Love, Commitment And Unity Are Honored At Home.


Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on April 18 at 5:07 PM

The Prayer Warrior was in New York today…


Sent this morning:

April 18, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

I just got off the train in New York, and heading to BET (Black Entertainment Television) to sit with a panel of 7 people to discuss homosexuality and the black church. Pray for wisdom, courage, and strength, and most of all, that God gets the glory!

Pastor Hutch

Sent this afternoon:

April 18, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Well, after 2 hours of taping, I am tired! It was confrontational and combatant [sic], but God was awesome. It was three against 1 1/2 (one other person who believed homosexuality is a sin). One pastor had a homosexual choir. They tried to throw everything at me, including accusations, but it didn’t work.

Thank you for praying. God was glorified.

Pastor Hutch


posted by on April 18 at 5:05 PM

As noted in this morning’s Morning News, the P-I has an impressive (and kind of shocking) scoop today: Port Commissioner Pat Davis authorized a severance package for outgoing Port CEO Mic Dinsmore extending his $340,00 salary for a year, without consulting the other commissioners.

Appropriately enough, her colleagues were stunned. The P-I got great quotes from Davis’s fellow commissioners:

“Mic Dinsmore retired of his own accord, and granting him a large severance package is entirely inappropriate,” Port Commission President John Creighton said.

[Port Commissioner Alec] Fisken said it made no sense for the commissioners to be discussing Dinsmore’s severance so far in advance of knowing his plans.

“This is outrageous, and I can’t imagine where it came from,” Fisken said. “Pat said we had approved this, but I have no recollection of it at any meeting—it would still have to come to a formal vote for payments to be made.”

And my favorite one, from Lloyd Hara:

“Pat claims it was authorized, and that she prepared it based on, well, whatever, I don’t know,” Hara said.

Here’s the potential follow-up story, people. I mean, seriously. WTF?

The Church of Scientology Emailed Me Today

posted by on April 18 at 4:37 PM

At least it looks like they did:

Date: April 17, 2007 8:42:43 PM PDT
The side effects of anti-depressant drugs are often suicidal impulses and violence—you have not covered that possibility in your stories.

Apr 18, 2007 4:17 PM

posted by on April 18 at 4:36 PM

Sent to me a moment ago:

Subject: Happy “Independance” Day Zimbabwe!!!!
Body: As many of you dont know… today is the 27th year that Zimbabwe has been ‘independant’ of the clutches of the British colonizers..(american spelling)… however the country continues on a downward spiral towards self destruction and mayheim… now under the clutches of a new tyrant… Needless to say.. Happy Independance day to all my fellow zimbabweans out there… keep your head up and hold it high!!! You damn sure know i will!!!

Holla at your boy!!!!

The Candidates’ Reactions

posted by on April 18 at 4:27 PM

The NYT has the ‘08 presidential candidates’ reactions to today’s Supreme Court decision. A few excerpts:


Today’s decision blatantly defies the Court’s recent decision in 2000 striking down a state partial-birth abortion law because of its failure to provide an exception for the health of the mother. As the Supreme Court recognized in Roe v. Wade in 1973, this issue is complex and highly personal; the rights and lives of women must be taken into account.


The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweeping prohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to the health of individual women. This hard right turn is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election. Too much is at stake - starting with, as the Court made all too clear today, a woman’s right to choose.


I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.

And from the Republicans:


Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written.

The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. I agree with it.


Today, our nation’s highest court reaffirmed the value of life in America by upholding a ban on a practice that offends basic human decency. This decision represents a step forward in protecting the weakest and most innocent among us.

Good News For Carnivores

posted by on April 18 at 4:15 PM


It’s OK to eat veal again!

From the NYT:

When photographs of formula-fed veal calves tethered in crates where they could not turn around appeared across the country, sales of veal plummeted. They have never recovered. In the 1950s and 1960s Americans ate four pounds of veal a year on average. Today per capita consumption is around half a pound a year.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that some farmers finally got the message and changed the way their calves were raised.

Some returned to the old-fashioned method of putting them out to pasture with their mothers. …

Others got rid of the crates but kept the calves in barn pens, letting them mingle with other calves and giving them room to walk and turn around. …

Those changes on the farm have led to corollary changes in the kitchen — a culinary serendipity that is just beginning to be recognized. Veal from calves fed sufficient grass or grain as well as milk has real character and flavor. For anyone who knows only the bland old-fashioned veal, it is as if a brand-new ingredient has been discovered. Tasting this new veal is not unlike biting into your first heirloom tomato from the garden after a lifetime of eating supermarket tomatoes bred for durability.

This is exciting news for those of us who like to eat meat but feel guilty causing undue suffering and environmental awfulness. Now if only they can figure out a way to deal with that methane problem…

Today on Line Out.

posted by on April 18 at 3:15 PM

But It’s Not Your Fault: The Divorce Don’t Love Each Other Anymore.

New Lineup on the Block: Girl Talk, Aesop Rock to Play Capitol Hill Block Party.

Animal Musk: Trent Moorman on Trans Am, Tour.

Free Ride: Win Tickets to Trans Am.

It’s Only Diazepam: The Rolling Stones and Horse Tranquilizers.

Good Medicine: Megan Seling on Last Night’s Ted Leo Show.

Click on My Selector: Music Programs You Can Play at Work.

Steamy, Sexy, Slightly Gay Disco: Terry Miller on Theo Vaness.

An Amicable Divorce: It’s Nobody’s Fault, and The Divorce Still Love Each Other.

And now, a baby hippo and a tortoise:


Re: It’s on TV Tonight

posted by on April 18 at 2:48 PM

The story of Cho Seung-Hui takes another creepy turn:

The gunman responsible for the shootings at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute mailed photographs, video and writings to the NBC television news network, apparently sending them off between the two attacks on campus that killed 32 people and himself.

The network will air details of the “multi-media manifesto” tonight.


It’s on TV Tonight!

posted by on April 18 at 2:43 PM

• In a blatant attempt to lure the nerdlings back to the fold, starting with tonight’s episode, comic author Brian K. Vaughan (of Y: The Last Man) will be co-writing LOST (ABC 10 pm). You may now change your underpants.

• Fox is replacing tonight’s new episode of BONES (Fox, 8 pm) with a rerun, because of the plot is too reminiscent of the Virginia Tech shootings. Cue Simon Cowell to roll his eyes.

• Speaking of AMERICAN IDOL (Fox, 9 pm)… what about SANJAYA?? While Chris should get the boot for his cloying attempt at invoking sympathy from the Virginia Tech shootings, after Sanjaya’s performance last night—which was even worse than usual—TONIGHT COULD BE THE NIGHT WE FINALLY SAY BYE-BYE! (Sorry, Sanjaya, the “Aunt Jemima” will never top the “Pony-Hawk.”

Cross Purposes

posted by on April 18 at 2:34 PM

Over at Crosscut Austin Jenkins has a post about Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp.

The piece lays out the basic explanation for Chopp’s “One Washington” strategy: Chopp wants to protect his big majority by tacking centrist.

Josh Feit wrote about Chopp’s centrist “One Washington” in a long piece the Stranger last week—and asked a pertinent question: What’s the use of Dems having a supermajority if they’re afraid to use it?

Josh detailed how the Dem leadership in Olympia has gutted, tabled or thwarted a number of no-brainer legislative items: comprehensive family leave, a cap on payday-loan interest rates, a bill closing the gun-show loophole, a bill to keep tabs on corporate tax breaks by including those de facto expenditures in the budget, legislation preventing employers from holding “captive audience” anti-unionizing meetings, regulations requiring disclosure from pharmaceutical-industry lobbyists, an overall cap on CO2 emissions, tenant relocation assistance and a cap on condo conversions, legislation preventing strip-mining operations on Maury Island, protecting student free-speech rights, a homebuyers’ protection bill, full funding for health-care workers in nursing homes, and a cool follow-up to the infamous $3.2 billion tax break Boeing got in 2003, making the money contingent on a requirement that the company doesn’t engage in union busting.

Jenkins doesn’t enumerate these disappointments, nor, with exception of one anonymous lobbyist, does he quote progressives who are fed up. He does write…

It’s difficult to find dissenters in Democratic circles who will openly criticize the Chopp approach as too safe or too middle-of-the-road.

Huh? Josh found plenty of “dissenters in Democratic circles” willing to go on record: folks from the Sierra Club, SEIU, and the Washington Tax Fairness Coalition. Even a Democratic State Senator and a State Rep.

Here’s a sample:

“Frank Chopp never came close to acknowledging the environmental reality,” says Kevin Fullerton, chair of the Political Committee of the Seattle Sierra Club. “Instead, what he did was take this typical centrist position, which says, ‘We’ll build auto capacity first and then whatever, transit, comes second.’ And if we get anything at all we should be happy.”

Some legislators in Olympia were coming around to the Sierra Club’s view, says Fullerton. But “the fact that [Chopp] was so adamant prevented more-reasonable members from coming over. No one was going to say anything with Frank posturing the way he was.”

And another:

“In the fifth or sixth year of Democratic control now,” says David Rolf, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 775, “neither chamber has looked seriously at tax loopholes. We’re subsidizing the Realtors and the chemical fertilizer industry, for example, with millions.”

Indeed, a bill pushed by the liberal Tax Fairness Coalition that would have tracked these corporate tax breaks had 17 co-sponsors, including lead sponsor Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37, South Seattle). Santos’ bill was passed out of the Finance Committee to the Rules Committee, but leadership yanked it from Rules and sent it back to Finance, where it’s now wasting away.

And from Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island)…

“This is democracy at its worst,” Weinstein told me in an interview. “Here is one guy who overruled 30 Democratic senators and the Democratic House Judiciary Committee. There’s no point in doing the fact finding, holding eight hours of hearings, of doing the right thing, if a dictator can just pull the rug out from under you.”

Josh worked the phones and reported this story. Jenkins phoned his in.

Night and Day

posted by on April 18 at 2:32 PM

The international edition:

The national edition:


The question: which site is closer to world consciousness? Meaning, which is closer to the truth—the truth being the total situation?

(Thanks to Aexia for bringing the international edition of CNN to attention.)

The Butterfly Problem

posted by on April 18 at 1:59 PM

When it comes to my son, I know what to tell him: no crying no matter what, no emotional outbursts, no tantrums, no moodiness, keep your zipper up, keep your hands out your pants, and so on. But with my daughter, what am I supposed to do about the fact that she doesn’t like to wear clothes? The minute she walks into the apartment after school, she throws off her pants, her shirt, and starts running around. If it were my son, I would tell him put his things back on that very instant (“Do you live in a cave?”), but with my daughter I cant do anything. I have to let her be who she wants to be. Why? Because its like enforcing an alien standard on her freedom. It’s repressive and might stunt some female form of expression that’s never had a chance at fulfillment because of male intervention. What am I to do? How do you control a free butterfly like my little daughter?

Zoo Story

posted by on April 18 at 1:57 PM

There’s an article about Charles Mudede’s new film Zoo in the current issue of Newsweek.

“Eerily beautiful” … “Casts a dark, disturbingly lyrical spell…” “Using techniques that scramble our notions of documentary and fiction.”

I was more buzzed when Mudede landed in the NYT a couple of Sundays ago, but Newsweek certainly brings our dear Charles and his dialectic to the attention of the masses. Congrats Mr. Mudede.

Next Year at Seattle Arts & Lectures

posted by on April 18 at 1:56 PM

The speakers in next year’s Seattle Arts & Lectures literary lecture series are going to be announced tonight before Jonathan Lethem’s lecture. They haven’t been announced on SAL’s website yet.

The series begins with a special event with Wangari Maathai, winner of 2004’s Nobel Peace Prize, on Sept 19.

Then there’s Orhan Pamuk (who just won the Nobel Prize for Literature) on October 15; Diane Ackerman on November 19; Colson Whitehead on January 14; Mary Oliver on February 4; Richard Powers on March 5; and John Banville on April 29.

The question people always ask about SAL’s lecture series is: So, what’s the idea behind the programming, other than: Here are some people who are famous and old? I just got off the phone with Hollis Palmer, SAL’s Director of Events and Marketing, and so I put the oft-repeated question her: “Were these people chosen for next year’s series because they’re famous and old? (A quick look at birthdays: Oliver was born in the 1930s, Banville in the 1940s, and everyone else in the 1950s, except Whitehead, who was born in 1969.)

Palmer’s reply: “The line we like to take is we try to present the outstanding literary figures of our time.

Tiny Movies! Massive Prize!

posted by on April 18 at 1:38 PM

The Seattle International Film Festival is almost upon us, and that means our annual 28 Seconds film contest is accepting submissions.

Basically, you make a really short movie (28 seconds long—at that length, you could even go animated!) that somehow incorporates The Stranger. We select our favorite, and that movie plays in front of all Stranger-sponsored films at SIFF. Plus, you get 2 full passes to the festival (that’s around a $1,600 value). Your movie can be of any genre, but it had better be clever.

Entries must be on DVD and submitted by May 11. Details here. Good luck!

Seattle’s Mud Room

posted by on April 18 at 1:02 PM

I went to a public hearing of the Century 21 Committee to report on their vision quest for how to actually turn the Seattle Center into “Seattle’s living room.” (Now it’s more like Seattle’s mud room, a place you have to tromp through, but never linger in, on your way to the Rep, the opera, a stoner laser show at the Science Center, etc.)

There were a few different proposals (knock down Memorial Stadium, replace it with underground parking and a lawn on top). There were a few quibbles from the audience. (Most comically from a guy who thought altering Memorial Stadium would insult the veterans. Look, pal: It’s an ugly-ass stadium. Leaving it up is an insult to the veterans.)

All the proposals mentioned renovating the bejesus out of the Center House (which has one feature worth keeping—the art-deco north wall, making the Center more “porous” and “green,” leaving Key Arena as-is, and razing the fun forest.

Happily, one of the proposals featured a ferris wheel—the only part of the Fun Forest worth fixing and keeping.


Everyone’s a Critic

posted by on April 18 at 12:46 PM

A man found several stolen glass sculptures designed by artist Dale Chihuly in a vacant lot less than a mile from where they had been taken, authorities said Wednesday.

The red glass reeds were found Tuesday in poor condition in and around a trash pile, said Detective Peter Cuervo, a spokesman for the Coral Gables Police Department. Eight reeds had been stolen from the exhibit at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and authorities believe they recovered them all.

“It looks like they were just thrown and discarded,” Cuervo said.

Justice Ginsburg’s Dissent

posted by on April 18 at 12:05 PM

Today, as Dan noted earlier, five men decided that even a nonviable fetus has more rights than a living woman. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the first total ban on an abortion procedure with no exceptions for a woman’s life or health. Most so-called “partial birth abortions” are performed because a fetus is terminally ill, or to save the life of the woman. The only woman on the court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wrote the dissent:

Today’’s decision is alarming. … It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It blurs the line… between previability and postviability abortions. And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health.

“There was a time, not so long ago,” when women were “regarded as the center of home and family life, with attendant special responsibilities that precluded full and independent legal status under the Constitution.” Those views, this Court made clear in Casey, “are no longer consistent with our understanding of the family, the individual, or the Constitution. Women, it is now acknowledged, have the talent, capacity, and right “to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation.” Their ability to realize their full potential, the Court recognized, is intimately connected to “their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Thus, legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’’s autonomy to determine her life’’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.

In keeping with this comprehension of the right to reproductive choice, the Court has consistently required that laws regulating abortion, at any stage of pregnancy and in
all cases, safeguard a woman’’s health. We have thus ruled that a State must avoid subjecting women to health risks not only where the pregnancy itself creates danger, but also where state regulation forces women to resort to less safe methods of abortion.

The Court offers flimsy and transparent justifications for upholding a nationwide ban on intact D&E sans any exception to safeguard a women’’s health.
Ultimately, the Court admits that “moral concerns” are at work, concerns that could yield prohibitions on any abortion. Notably, the concerns expressed are untethered to any
ground genuinely serving the Government’’s interest in preserving life. By allowing such concerns to carry the day and case, overriding fundamental rights, the Court dishonors our precedent. (“Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.”)

Revealing in this regard, the Court invokes an antiabortion shibboleth for which it concededly has no reliable evidence: Women who have abortions come to regret their choices, and consequently suffer from “[s]evere depression and loss of esteem.” Because of women’’s fragile emotional state and because of the “bond of love the mother has for her child,” the Court worries, doctors may withhold information about the nature of the intact D&E procedure. The solution the Court approves, then, is not to require doctors to inform women, accurately and adequately, of the different procedures and their attendant risks. Instead, the Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety.

This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women’’s place in the family and under the Constitution——ideas that have long since been discredited. …

Though today’’s majority may regard women’’s feelings on the matter as “self-evident,” ante, at 29, this Court has repeatedly confirmed that “[t]he destiny of the woman
must be shaped … on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society.”

One wonders how long a line that saves no fetus from destruction will hold in face of the Court’’s “moral concerns. ”The Court’’s hostility to the right Roe and Casey secured is not concealed. Throughout, the opinion refers to obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons who perform abortions not by the titles of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label “abortion doctor.” A fetus is described as an “unborn child,” and as a “baby,” previability abortions are referred to as “late-term,” and the reasoned medical judgments of highly trained doctors are dismissed as “preferences” motivated by “mere convenience.

In sum, the notion that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act furthers any legitimate governmental interest is, quite simply, irrational. The Court’s defense of the statute provides no saving explanation. In candor, the Act, and the Court’’s defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court— and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women’’s lives.

American Idol Eye Roll? YOU MAKE THE CALL!

posted by on April 18 at 11:58 AM

So last night on American Idol, that Justin Timberlake wanna-be CHRIS RICHARDSON sang a fairly awful—and extremely NASALLY—rendition of the hayseed hit “Mayburry.” After a little back and forth between him and SIMON COWELL, Chris abruptly flipped the script and gave a shout-out to his friends at Virginia Tech, and the victims of this week’s shooting. The camera then cuts to Simon WHO ROLLS HIS EYES? Producer Nigel Lythgoe claims Simon was not responding to Chris and was simply turning to talk to Paula—but I’m not so sure. Check out the tape and YOU MAKE THE CALL!

CYNICAL BONUS QUESTION: Was Chris using the shout-out as a strategy to stay in for another week?

Young People Are Opposed to the War—Right?

posted by on April 18 at 11:44 AM

You can read this at the top of the PI’s website right now:

TRAFFIC ALERT: Expect traffic congestion around downtown Seattle this afternoon as an estimated 3,000 students hold a march and rally against the war in Iraq. The rally starts at 1 p.m. at Westlake Park, then protesters will march south to the Federal Building and Seattle City Hall downtown before heading to Seattle Public Schools headquarters in Sodo. See map of the route.

And you can read this at the New York Times website right now:

The younger generation is opposed to the war in Iraq, right? Wrong. Actually, they’re divided on the war, far more so than their grandparents, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll in March. Seems younger people are more supportive of the war and the president than any other age group.

Forty-eight percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old said the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, while 45 percent said the United States should have stayed out. That is in sharp contrast to the opinions of those 65 and older, who have lived through many other wars. Twenty eight percent of that age group said the United States did the right thing, while 67 percent said the United States should have stayed out.

Some Perspective

posted by on April 18 at 11:37 AM

Unreal America:

More than 170 dead in Iraq blasts.
A US troop “surge” has not stopped insurgent attacks
At least 170 people have been killed in a string of attacks in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad - the worst day of violence since a US security operation began.

In the deadliest incident, some 120 people were killed in a car bombing in a food market in Sadriya district.
A witness said the area had been turned into “a swimming pool of blood”.

My point. It’s time for the next stage of consciousness to be realized and operational. At the moment it’s all talk; we talk about the transnational circulation money, goods and services, the affordability of jet travel, the surprises of the internet, the globalization of Hello Kitty, and so on. But this is very limited if transnationalization is not actually a form of consciousness, a way of thinking, connecting, and mapping. We no longer have the luxury of seeing things that are near as more important than (and unrelated to) things that are far. The day has long passed for that value system to crumble—a value system that is the ground on which the present administration stands and lives of. We are now in a position to see all of it all at once. It’s our only hope. Actual global consciousness. (Yes, Josef Krebs, this type of consciousness has much to do with what I was going on about last night at the Rosebud.)

Did Soul Force Change BYU?

posted by on April 18 at 11:30 AM

I was very skeptical about the value of the Soul Force Equality Ride when it rode into Seattle last week.

But over at Pam’s House Blend, one of the bloggers is floating the theory that Soul Force is directly responsible for the new Brigham Young University policy on homosexuality, which makes it much easier (relatively speaking) to be gay at the Mormon university.

The policy went from this:

Brigham Young University will respond to student behavior rather than to feelings or orientation… . Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code.

To this:

Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or orientation and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards… . One’s stated sexual orientation is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.

(For an explanation of what the change means as a practical matter, click here.)

I’m still not ready to get completely behind Soul Force, and I actually find the official BYU explanation (that the change came after input from BYU students, not Soul Force) to be plausible. But if Soul Force did bring about this change at BYU, then… go Soul Force!

First Round of Capitol Hill Block Party Bands Announced!

posted by on April 18 at 11:09 AM

What do the Silversun Pickups, Girl Talk, and Grand Archives all have in common?

They are booked on this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party! Head on over to Line Out to find out who else is going to show up!

Department of Unfortunate Timing

posted by on April 18 at 10:07 AM

From Hot Tipper Brad:

I don’t know if you watched MadTV this past weekend but there was a skit set in a university class where one student gets incredibly agitated and freaks out when people laugh at what “comedy” shows he thinks are funny. So he says, “Fine, I’m going home to my house where I live with my mother and I’m going to go into the basement to the cot where I sleep behind the washer and dryer and I’m going to get my automatic submachine gun and come back in an hour and herd you into a classroom and blow off your heads.” And he comes back, only to find that everyone is still there, despite his warning, so he gets ready to kill them, but they’re saved by the fact that it’s time for How I Met Your Mother and the gunman goes home. This wasn’t a repeat, either. SPOOOOOOKY.


Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 18 at 9:41 AM

‘The Light in the Piazza’


(RAVISHMENT) Born at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, The Light in the Piazza—based on the classic novella by Elizabeth Spencer—returns for a two-week stint at the Paramount after taking Broadway by storm. Adam Guettel’s lush score and Bartlett Sher’s ace direction won the Tonys, but it’s Craig Lucas’s exquisitely crafted book that gives the show its magical traction. If you think there are no new love stories to be told, you must see The Light in the Piazza. (Paramount, 911 Pine St. 7:30 pm, $25—$72.) DAVID SCHMADER

Local Koreans Apologetic, Fearful

posted by on April 18 at 8:52 AM

Wouldn’t it be nice if this PI headline read “Local Heterosexual Men Apologetic, Fearful After Virginia Tech shooting: They have mixed feelings over need to apologize.”

DAMF: Strolling in Baghdad

posted by on April 18 at 8:39 AM

How’s the surge working out?

Last week we were told that a deadly bombing in Karbala was the result of our troops surging into Baghdad, making it so hard for insurgents to operate in the Iraqi capitol that they quit Baghdad for other cities. Then came the bombing of the Iraq parliament building inside the must-always-described-as-heavily-foritified Green Zone. And today… bombs are going off all over Baghdad. The body count ranges from 127 to 170.

We’re two months into the surge—the surge John McCain told us was working. We’re making progress, buying carpets, and Baghdad is safe for strolling. Or not. From the NYT:

U.S. officials had cited a slight decrease in sectarian killings in Baghdad since the U.S.-Iraqi crackdown was launched Feb. 14. But the past week has seen several spectacular attacks on the capital, including a suicide bombing inside parliament and a powerful blast that collapsed a landmark bridge across the Tigris River.

”We’ve seen both inspiring progress and too much evidence that we still face many grave challenges,” Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman, told reporters Wednesday. ”We’ve always said securing Baghdad would not be easy.”

It’s the Beginning of the End…

posted by on April 18 at 7:46 AM

of abortion rights in the United States.

The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion—which is going to make some heads explode on the radical right and the liberal left. Religious conservatives loathe Kennedy for authoring the courts 1996 decision invalidating a Colorado constitutional amendment that barred gays and lesbians from any anti-discrimination protections; he also wrote the majority decision in 2003 overturning all anti-sodomy laws in the United States. Religious conservatives were talking about impeaching Kennedy—a Reagan appointee—over those decisions. After today’s decision all is no doubt forgiven.

One of the liberals “pitted against” the conservative majority on the court—John Paul Stevens—turns 87 on April 20th. George W. Bush has 642 days left in office. Pray for Stevens. Another Bush appointment to the US Supreme Court would be a disaster for women, gays, minorities, prisoners, “enemy combatants,” and the environment.

In addition to praying for Stevens, anyone that cares about the rights of women, gays, minorities, etc., needs to register to vote, get behind a Democratic candidate, write checks, support the Democratic nominee whoever that person is, vote next November and make sure all your friends do the same. No pouting if your preferred candidate doesn’t get the nomination. And no squandering votes on third-party candidates.

Morning News

posted by on April 18 at 6:00 AM

Who Was Cho Seung Hui? Chilling portrait of the Virginia Tech Killer.

Why Was There a Two-Hour Delay? Parents, Students demand answers, accountability.

Why Are Men So Fucking Creepy? UW gymnastics team targeted by cell phone stalker.

Who Gave Port Commissioner Pat Davis Permission? … to do that?!?

What Was Sen. Domenici’s Role? Senate Ethics Committee zooms in on Iglesias Firing.

Why Would Shiites Arm Sunnis? To fight the U.S., of course. U.S. says it has seized Iranian weapons bound for Taliban.

Is Global Warming an Issue of War and Peace? Citing destabilization, U.N. Security Council takes up Global Warming.

What to do About Darfur? One day after UN agreement signed, Sudan caught violating accord.

On April 18, 1775, late in the evening, on orders from British General Thomas Gage, 800 British soldiers began their march from Boston to Lexington (to arrest on-the-lam-rebel-leaders, John Hancock and Sam Adams) and to Concord (to seize a Colonist weapons cache). Aware of the British plans in advance, thanks to inside intelligence, Paul Revere and smuggler/disguise artist William Dawes set out to Lexington to warn Hancock and Adams and to warn the militia in Concord. Revere took the quicker route than Dawes, rowing across the Charles River and borrowing a horse on the North shore at Charlestown—heading through Medford and onto Lexington. Dawes took his horse the roundabout Southern land route through Roxbury and North to Cambridge and onto Lexington—both men alerting colonists to the British advance along the way. Revere arrived in Lexington first—around Midnight (thus “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride”) where he told Hancock and Adams that the British were coming. Dawes arrived around 12:30am. (So, it’s actually April 19 now.) After eating and drinking with Hancock and Adams, the duo left for Concord at around 2am. Luckily, they were joined by a fellow TSOL, Dr. Sam Prescott, who had been visiting a “friend” in Lexington and was returning home to Concord. Why luckily? Because in the town of Lincoln, halfway between Lexington and Concord, a British patrol intercepted the galloping trio, capturing Revere and tripping up Dawes, who fell off his horse and scrambled off to hide. Only Prescott galloped away to Concord to warn the Concord Minutemen. Revere, who was released after about an hour, ended the evening trudging on foot through the dark back to Lexington. At around the same time (2am), the 800 Redcoats advancing from Boston, already having ferried across the Charles themselves around Midnight, set out on the 17 mile march toward Lexington and Concord—unaware that the rebels were waiting and ready.

On Obama on Virginia Tech

posted by on April 18 at 1:33 AM

Zooming in on Barack Obama’s speech about the Virginia Tech massacre, Ben Smith at The Politico has a concise critique of the high-profile Presidential candidate.

Reacting to Obama’s speech— “there’s a lot of different forms of violence in our society, and so much of it is rooted in our incapacity to recognize ourselves in each other” — Smith says:

it captures what moves a lot of people about Obama, and bothers others: His instinct for abstraction and large themes, and his sense that America’s problems have at their root solutions that have as much to do with hope and process as with any specific course of action.

Kind of obvious, but it’s worth checking out. Smith says it well (“Many politicians would avoid, I think, suggesting that outsourcing and mass-murder belong in the same category,”) and there’s a lengthy-beyond-comprehension discussion in the comments.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

There’s Hope for the Sonics. Wining & Dining (Pt. 3)

posted by on April 17 at 5:07 PM

Every time I post lobbying reports or campaign finance reports to highlight the influence that lobbyists have on legislation, I get eye rolls from politicians. “Josh, it just doesn’t work that way.”

So it is to my delight that a politician finally agrees with me. Check out House Democratic Finance Chair Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) quoted in today’s Seattle Times on the Sonics legislation:

Still, some lawmakers questioned the Sonics’ lobbying effort.

When Seahawks owner Paul Allen was pushing his stadium funding proposal 10 years ago, he unleashed an army of lobbyists and made a high-profile pitch in Olympia.

“The Sonics just have not done that kind of full-court press,” said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, chairman of the House Finance Committee, who opposed the proposal. “I don’t know that they’re serious.”

Hunter said he got more pressure this year to support public financing for a theater-renovation project in Yakima than from the Sonics.

Come on, Sonics. You heard the man. There is hope for you. Just come back next year and spend some money lobbying these guys. According to the Democrats House Finance Chair, that’s the way it works. I wasn’t wrong after all.

Talk Nerdy To Me

posted by on April 17 at 5:07 PM

Middle-Earth fans rejoice! J.R.R. Tolkien’s new book The Children of Hurin comes out today. The book was compiled from Tolkien’s notes and an almost-finished draft by his son Christopher.

From the AP:

As the tale begins, Morgoth has destroyed a vast army of elves and men and taken one of its leaders, Hurin, prisoner. The dark lord tries to bend Hurin to his will, but the great man defies him. So Morgoth pronounces a curse on Hurin’s children, Turin and his sister Nienor.

Hold your wad, here’s a sample from the book:

“In this way, before the summer had passed, the following of Turin had swelled to a great force, and the power of Angband was thrown back. Word of this came even to Nargothrond, and many there grew restless.”


I’m going Orc hunting after work. How ‘bout you?

It’s On TV Tonight!

posted by on April 17 at 3:59 PM

• It’s “Country Night” on American Idol (YEEEEEE-HAW! HOW EMBARRASSING!) and Sanjaya will reportedly be singing “Boot-Scootin’ Boogie.” This I gotta see.

• Remember that episode of The Shield (FX, 10 pm) when Vic mashed that drug dealer’s face against the burner on a stove? Tonight’s episode is gorier than that.

• According to USA Today, our fave teen detective Veronica Mars has already been cancelled. BOOOOOO!!!

• Want to stare into the eyes of The Office’s Jim Halpert all… day… long? Buy this painting of him for only $8.50! (I’m going to pretend we’re playing a prank on Dwight! Sighhhhhh……..)



posted by on April 17 at 3:38 PM

Shorter Mossback: Housing is expensive? Must be the condo owners’ fault!

Longer Mossback (from Skip Berger’s new column on Crosscut):

The folks at the Sightline Institute take great joy in Seattle’s skipping gaily over the edge into becoming a dense Pugetopolis. They and most of the environmental community have convinced themselves that growth is good, as long as it is stuffed into high-rise shoeboxes that someone has dubbed “green.” Look at Portland’s light rail! Admire Vancouver’s skinny towers! Envy San Francisco’s density!

Hmmm… Ad hominem much, Skip? First, I don’t think enviros like Sightline just take “someone“‘s word when they say their housing is “green.” In fact, they have some really specific standards you might want to check out when you’re done sneering. Second, growth is going to happen no matter what we do (and it ain’t gonna happen in North Dakota, as Goldy points out). Skip’s idea of “old Seattle” appears to be a Seattle with no growth whatsoever, but that’s never been the case. Mossbacks like Skip frequently forget that Seattle has been growing steadily for decades (except for a dip in population between 1960 and 1980, the trend has been steadily upward). If the alternative is sprawl on the Sammamish Plateau (and in Skip’s no-growth Seattle utopia, that would be the only alternative), you’re goddamn right I want to see some “skinny towers” in Seattle. And yeah, we fucked up on light rail, way back in the “good old days”—1969, when Seattle voters rejected Sound Move. We’ve been scrambling to catch up ever since. It’s hard to see what Skip has against light rail, since he mocks it without explaining why, but I’m guessing it’s because it makes people want to live here. And that, in the Mossback view of the world, is a bad thing.

The dense ones, however, believe they are on the winning side of history. Time for a “mission accomplished” lap, perhaps, along with the developers and big business interests that willingly greenwash their corporate goals to co-opt labor, enviros, and progressives into supporting urban development policies that roll over the little guy. This is the coalition that powers Greg Nickels’ machine, the mayor who can’t say no to “more.”

Well, Will at Horse’s Ass responds to this one best, so I’ll just quote him here:

What an unbelievable load of shit. Labor, enviros, and progressives all want more growth inside urban boundaries for different reasons. Union guys who swing hammers get construction work. Environmentalists like the fact that denser urban development is energy efficient and allows people to walk to work. Progressives like it because, well… it’s cool. And we don’t want to move to Auburn.

Exactly. And because, if you accept the fact that demand will continue to rise, increasing the supply of housing is a good thing. Supply doesn’t create demand—it responds to it (thanks, as Sightline’s Clark Williams-Derry points out in his comprehensive response, to “demographic trends … that Seattle policymakers have essentially no control over”). If supply remains static while demand continues to rise, the price of the available housing stock goes up. If the market responds to demand (by increasing the supply of housing), housing won’t suddenly become cheap, but affordable housing will be much easier to come by than it would be in Skip’s no-growth paradise. (Hell, I’ve never had to pay more than $850 a month, and I have a pretty nice market-rate apartment. But I’m guessing Skip hasn’t actually looked for cheap housing in a decade or two.) I’m not saying we shouldn’t have incentives for the creation of affordable housing—we should, and we do. But, as de Place notes, opposing condos qua condos is idiotic:

[T]hink of what would happen if there were no new apartments, duplexes, townhouses or condos in Seattle — say, if the city council passed a law that downzoned all of the land that’s currently zoned for multi-family housing, or put some sort of moratorium on new construction. … Housing close to downtown would reach even more ridiculous levels. Young folks of moderate means would have no option but to move far away from the city center, to distant suburbs where — quite literally — all of the new housing would be located.

Back to Mossback:

We know that these green-backed policies are making the city more unaffordable. They are helping to drive the poor out of town. They are displacing long-standing communities. They are changing the scale of a once-egalitarian city that featured few poor people, few rich people, and a lot of folks in between. This old middle class Seattle is now seen as unsophisticated, not worthy of protection, backward even.

No, “we” don’t “know” that. What we do know is that the poor are being driven out of town by a lack of affordable housing. Building more dense, affordable housing will help remedy that—putting a moratorium on new development won’t. And whether the egalitarian Seattle Skip remembers from the ’70s was better or worse than today’s more stratified city is, ultimately, irrelevant. Cities aren’t like that anymore—anywhere (or at least anywhere people want to live. I hear Oklahoma City’s still pretty affordable). Nostalgia won’t make that model come back.

I loved San Francisco when I lived there in the mid-70s — the era of Patty Hearst, Rolling Stone, Harvey Milk, Tales of the City, Herb Caen, and Italian mayors. I love it still when I visit. But what made San Francisco is something you cannot copy. It has to do with when a city is built, by whom, and when it comes of age. It has a unique essence we couldn’t replicate if we built a thousand Victorian homes on our hills.

So… There is a city Skip doesn’t hate? Nope:

But while many of San Francisco’s charms are intact — it was a city built for pleasure, unlike our nanny town — the city of today is less than it once was. Even in the 1970s, natives, the few you could find, complained that it had gone downhill, had lost it neighborly, even small-town, charm. As [Gore] Vidal observed, the Seattle it always imagined itself to be. Since 1950, San Francisco has not only stolen hearts but robbed bank accounts: Real estate prices have increased at double the national average for the past half century. The New San Francisco is truly a Golden Gated community.

Today’s San Francisco is unbelievably expensive. A city for rich people. Its black population all but driven out. … Has San Francisco’s density and affluence, has its progressive politics, redeemed the Bay Area? Did it save it from becoming a megalopolis? If Seattle doubles its density to match San Francisco’s, if we take down the Alaskan Way Viaduct, if we cater to “knowledge workers,” can we be assured that central Puget Sound will remain less paved?

Obviously, San Francisco is a fantastically expensive place to buy a house. But even this “megalopolis” does have a substantial low-income population—thanks not to a ban on new condos, but to affordable-housing policies that allow poor people to live in the city. (Thirty thousand people live in subsidized or public housing in San Francisco proper, according to the city’s housing office). And while no one’s claiming that “catering to ‘knowledge workers’” will render central Puget Sound magically pristine, building freeways and protecting dying industries rather than tearing down the viaduct and nurturing growing industries like biotech will help destroy the environment and the economy, respectively.

But maybe, ultimately, that’s what Skip wants: An environment so ravaged by cars and an economy so pre-modern that people will just stop moving here. And then the urban density proponents’ vision—the “Ecotopia” at which Skip sneers—will be replaced by an ugly, polluted, underpopulated small town where only Mossbacks want to live.

Two Steps Forward for the Gays

posted by on April 17 at 3:15 PM

Today Lambda Legal announced that it is filing suit against the city of Bellevue, seeking equal benefits for the city’s gay and lesbian employees and using a firefighters and a 911 operator as the faces of this effort.

And in Oregon, the state House of Representatives approved domestic partnership and anti-discrimination bills.

David Mamet Directs Car Commercials

posted by on April 17 at 2:52 PM

Pulitzer Prize–winning David Mamet?
Yes, Pulitzer Prize–winning David Mamet has directed TWO commercials for Ford.
Car commercials?
Car commercials.

Mamet only directed the commercials. The “dialogue” was apparently written in Mamet’s trademark style by an ad agency.

Watch them at your own peril:

Today on Line Out

posted by on April 17 at 2:45 PM

Moorman’s Tour Tales: And his dreams about the Trashies.

DJ Mehdi: Ed Banger’s YouTube treasures.

Hearting the Hackensaw Boys: Before he was in Modest Mouse, Tom Peloso played bluegrass.

Drummer Boys: Speaker Speaker’s Jasen Samford interviews Chris Wilson, his idol.

Combat Rock: Admit it. You think it’s the best Clash record too.

House Party: Simian Mobile Disco want to play at your place.

And now for something cute:


Letter from Colorado

posted by on April 17 at 2:37 PM

Once upon a time everything we knew about Colorado we learned watching Mork & Mindy. Then one day the American Evangelical Movement upped and move to Colorado, turning Colorado Springs into their batshitcrazy Vatican, and in 1992 Colorado voters passed an anti-gay-rights amendment to their state constitution. (It was later overturned by the US Supreme Court.) Colorado voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004.

So Colorado—it’s a red state, right?

Maybe not. Something is up in Colorado. In the last few weeks Colorado state legislators—did you know that Colorado has a Dem governor and that Dems control both houses of the Colorado legislature?—passed a pro-gay adoption law; now state legislators are moving on a law that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace.

What’s going on in Colorado? I put that question to Noel Black, one of the crazed geniuses behind the late, great Toilet Paper and now Newspeak, and a resident of Colorado Springs. Here’s Noel’s take:

Yes, it’s a good questions why Colorado is suddenly a bastion of pro-gay state legislation like THIS, and THIS.

We’ve got a Dem in the governor’s mansion (Bill Ritter) and a Dem controlled house and senate. In all honesty, I have no fucking idea why this is happening beyond what my “work spouse” (isn’t that a disgusting term!?), Aaron Retka, posted HERE. Pointed out as the obvious, Retka says: Ted Haggard pretty much ruined the credibility of evangelicals everywhere, George Bush and the Republicans on the national level are fuckin’ up the program for lesser neo-cons everywhere, the war is dumb, etc.

Jay Ferguson, a friend who works for the rapidly growing El Paso Country Democratic Party here in Colorado Springs, notes that, “the thing that’s interesting in Colorado is that if you look at it is as a whole, we’re basically divided neatly into thirds between dems, republicans and independents. So it really just depends on which way the wind is blowing.” He believes the numbers show that Colorado will continue to blow even farther blue for forseeable future.

He also pointed out that social issues aren’t on people’s minds right now as much as things like water, and our lack of it. And Ritter ran on energy and water. A lot of the new democratic legislators also ran on issues of energy and they tend pragmatically progressive. Jay also suggested that many repubs may have voted for Ritter and other democratic legislators because if we run out of water, the housing boom will end and wealthy areas like Castle Rock and South Denver are going to be hard hit.

Now, there’s the paradox of Referendum I, which was also on the ballot in November 06 and got beat 60/40 53/47. That ref would’ve legalized civil unions for same-sex couples, and polls at the time suggested that it had about a 50/50 shot at passage. Jay again pointed out an odd fact about the way Colorado voters tend to behave at the polls: We almost always vote no on amendments we don’t fully understand or don’t think can be reversed. Interestingly, says Jay, Ref I simple didn’t motivate a lot of voters and didn’t end up being a wedge at all. So, even though Ref I lost in the election, polls indicated that there was enough political will to begin passing progressive protections for queers in the legislature.

It is intersting that the Dems will be holding their convention in Denver in 08. I think they see Colorado as a model for state tipping.


A Very Brief History of Clearings

posted by on April 17 at 1:59 PM

This is Mark Hollis:
Let’s begin with the birth of architecture. One old theory goes that architecture was born when a clearing was made for a god to appear. In the 20th century, another theory (this time ontological, rather than architectural) proposed that for being to be disclosed to the self a clearing needed to be made. The clearing at this point of history was for a human being and not a supreme being. But deep in the 20th century, long after the death of god (Schopenhauer) and the death of man (Foucault), the band Talk Talk made a clearing of rock music for a part pagan/part Christian spirit to appear in. The rock song is “I Believe In You,” the outstanding track on The Spirit of Eden (1988).

In “I Believe In You,” the drum beat is wide open, and melodies (from the electric guitar, harmonium, and organ) float in and out of this space. The singer, Hollis, calls out to a spirit, letting it know that a clearing of music has been made for it. And a spirit does appear! In fact it appears twice! The first time, it’s a faint, blue orb of a boy’s voice. Its volume increases a bit…and then it altogether vanishes. By the sound of their instruments, we can tell that the members of Talk Talk are startled by this occurrence, this miniature miracle, but the beat doesn’t stop. A few more measures, a few more melodies, a few more calls from Hollis, and the boy angel returns in full glory. It’s a glowing alto of prepubescent purity, a sky bliss of blue, a heavenly whole mouth open. The spirit is there before the rock stars and it doesn’t vanish until the song ends in peace. The clearing is closed and has remained closed ever since.

Leave Out the Bad News

posted by on April 17 at 1:57 PM

There’s a poll out there. (I think I’m sparring with Goldy about it.) But I’m not sure we’re disagreeing. I’m not even sure what he’s saying. I’m saying: I think it’s unfair and self defeating to be required to vote for roads to get mass transit.

Anyway, the whole thing started cuz Goldy published the results of a Sound Transit poll on the joint light rail/roads measure (61 percent in favor) to disprove the notion that it would flop in November.

Problem is: The data isn’t so solid. When the pollsters tested the negatives (see questions 54-60), they basically just toss out some boiler plate anti-government, anti-tax stuff like “Taxes are too high already, we can’t afford another $16 billion,” rather than offering up the real negatives like: Oh, despite this $16 billion package, there’s not actually enough money earmarked here to finish the 520 project. Oh, and, if you knew that mainstream environmental groups were coming out against this package, would you still vote for it?

If they had asked those kinds of questions, the positive numbers would have surely come down.

Additionally, they don’t test the real ballot title. Here’s the real ballot title: “Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) and Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Prop. #1 Regional Roads and Transit System.”

Go to question #15 to see the title they tested. It’s all about the great projects the measure would fund. Pollster wonks tell me testing the real title makes a big difference.

More important, I’d like to see stand-alone polling done on a light rail ballot measure and a roads ballot measure. My guess is that light rail would do just fine and roads would not. So, why are we voting for roads?

Where’s the Rent?!

posted by on April 17 at 1:39 PM

This video is so funny.

It stars Will Ferrell and a small child screaming at him.

I would just post it here, but unfortunately it does that annoying “auto-play” thing, and we couldn’t turn it off. So you’ll have to click on the link to enjoy. But it’s worth it, I promise.

I can’t stop laughing.

And thanks to Danny O. for the link.

Re: A Theory

posted by on April 17 at 1:22 PM

Killing time, killing space: Turns out Cho Seung-Hui was a playwright.

Here is a page from his short play Mr. Brownstone.

Here is a page from his short play Richard McBeef.

Where is the Seattle company that will produce these works immediately? They’re both crude, but Mr. Brownstone, I’m guessing, was written later. It feels more mature and has more surprising language. Mr. Brownstone, the villainous math teacher is described as “such a wicked old flapper.” The kids sing—and parse—the Guns ‘n’ Roses song. One character sighs: “After a long, ravishing day at school, we just want to be left alone.”

I like that phrase—a long, ravishing day.

Iraq in Reverse

posted by on April 17 at 12:59 PM

Whatever with polls. But, for the first time, a majority of the U.S. believes we will “lose” in Iraq.

In Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim is up late one night when he starts to slip back in time slowly, just a little bit, so that he sees the war movie he’s watching on TV in reverse. From page 74:

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody again.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby

Your Daily Dose of Vagina Power

posted by on April 17 at 12:44 PM

The teachings of Alexyss Tylor, reportedly a kooky superstar on Atlanta public access, here discussing the threat of doggish men turning women into dildo-wielding come junkies. (NSFW audio, so use your headphones and watch to the end—the last few seconds are priceless.)

(Thank you, Nick and Nico.)

Profiles in Courage

posted by on April 17 at 12:12 PM

This week: John Derbyshire of the National Review.

As NRO’s designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn’t anyone rush the guy? It’s not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness’ sake—one of them reportedly a .22.

At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren’t very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can’t hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage—your chances aren’t bad.

Yes, yes, I know it’s easy to say these things: but didn’t the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It’s true—none of us knows what he’d do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I’d at least take a run at the guy.

Stupid victims. Why didn’t you man-up?

UPDATE: Christ, here’s another one. From Nathanael Blake at right-wing booby hatch Human Events:

College classrooms have scads of young men who are at their physical peak, and none of them seems to have done anything beyond ducking, running, and holding doors shut. Meanwhile, an old man hurled his body at the shooter to save others.

Something is clearly wrong with the men in our culture. Among the first rules of manliness are fighting bad guys and protecting others: in a word, courage. And not a one of the healthy young fellows in the classrooms seems to have done that.

When Kip Kinkle opened fire in Thurston High School a few years back, he was taken down by students, led by one who was already wounded. Why didn’t that happen here?

Like Derb, I don’t know if I would live up to this myself, but I know that I should be heartily ashamed of myself if I didn’t. Am I noble, courageous and self-sacrificing? I don’t know; but I should hope to be so when necessary.

I don’t know if you’re “noble, courageous and self-sacrificing” either, Nathanael. But I do know your post makes you a walking colostomy bag.

Dept. of HELL YES

posted by on April 17 at 12:10 PM

If Garbes’ review of JoAnna’s Soul Cafe got you hungry for gumbo, honey-dipped fried chicken, and such, but the parenthetical prices got you mournful about the state of your wallet, get yourself to the Rose Pedal Cafe, for Ms. Helen is back. (One of her previous returns is documented here.) The name of the place puts you in mind of riding a bicycle made of flowers directly into Ms. Helen’s loving embrace, does it not?


What He Said

posted by on April 17 at 11:19 AM

Condos are evil, screams the condophobe. Oh, blow it out your mossy butt says Will over at Horsesass:

Truth is, Skip’s no-growth heroes (Brian Derdowski being one of them) were never for zero-growth. They just believed growth should pay for itself. And, growth should be funneled away from undeveloped areas and into cities. You know, like Seattle. So Skip’s anti-growth beliefs are really just a part of the problem. After all, if a young couple can’t buy a townhome in Seattle, they’ll buy a house in Sammamish.
We know that these green-backed policies are making the city more unaffordable. They are helping to drive the poor out of town. They are displacing long-standing communities. They are changing the scale of a once-egalitarian city that featured few poor people, few rich people, and a lot of folks in between. This old middle class Seattle is now seen as unsophisticated, not worthy of protection, backward even.

The middle class folks who bought houses in the 50’s have sold them in their old age. Houses that went for 20 grand back in the old days are now 900k investments that have paid off. The middle class of Seattle’s yesteryear has cashed out.

Skip is against growth inside the city. He’s also against growth outside the city, as he’s favored growth management far and above the current law. Where does he want growth? Fucking North Dakota.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

A Theory

posted by on April 17 at 10:45 AM

The serial killer has been replaced by the mass murderer. The serial killer works in time, whereas the mass murderer works in space. The reason for this transition? New DNA technology and increased surveillance (or infoscape systems) have made it more difficult to kill many over time. Without DNA technology Ridgeway would still be a free man; and as for Pickton—who is alleged to have killed over 20 women in a wide area of time—because he erased the visible traces of his victims (they were eaten by his pigs), the case against him is largely built on DNA evidence. But corresponding with significant improvements in DNA technology, there has been significant improvements in weapon technology (the rate of rounds, the power and speed of bullets, and so on). From the advancements made in both technologies results the shift from killing in time to killing in space. All of this is a matter of adaptation for the killer.

Sanjaya’s Big Mo

posted by on April 17 at 10:34 AM


It looks like I’m not the only editor/perv that finds the American Idol inexplicably alluring. (Actually I find his allure is entirely explicable.) The editors of Maxim Magazine—the magazine for straight boys that lack Internet connections but still require jerk-off material—has named Sanjaya their “Girl of the Day.”

You’ve no one but the Devil’s lawyer to blame for this androgynous American Idol stowaway, who, despite being detested by the judges, somehow remains in the hunt for the show’s coveted prize as this year’s top 40 footnote…

Yeah, somehow Sanjaya remains in the hunt, week after torturous week. Somehow.

The Gay Pride Parade Awards

posted by on April 17 at 10:30 AM


The Stranger is proud to announce the First Annual Pride Parade Awards. We’re still hammering out the details—but now that it’s a sure thing I wanted to get the news out right away so that people can get their asses in gear and create some kick-ass floats for this year’s pride parade. The Stranger will be awarding four cash prizes recognizing the best floats or marching contingents. These prizes will be handed at Seattle Center immediately after the parade…

Gold/First Prize: $2,000
Silver/Second Prize: $1250
Bronze/Third Prize: $1000
Honorable Mention: $250
Honorable Mention: $250

And, yes, the winners will also get medals to wear around their necks and everything!

Who’ll be judging best floats? Stranger ‘mos—me, Eli Sanders, David Schmader, Amy Jenniges—along with Ed Murray, Jamie Pedersen, Sally Clark, and other notable ‘mos to be named later.

A few years back some local folks offered cash prizes for best entries in the pride parade—and mad props, as the kids once said, to them for their efforts (especially you, Greg)—but there was never much excitement about those awards. That was probably because the prize money didn’t to go the “winners,” but to a community-based non-profit chosen by the winners.

Not anymore: Pull together a kick-ass float, a great marching contingent, or stunning individual costume and you—your group, your bar, you and your creative friends—can do whatever you like with your prize money. You can spend it on boys and beer or girls and Gatorade. Or, hell, you can give it a community-based non-profit of your choosing. But it’s your prize money. It’s our way of rewarding folks who go out of their way every year to make the Seattle’s Pride Parade bigger, better, and more spectacular—the best party in town—and encouraging more people to get in on the fun.

More details to come—watch for news on Slog, in The Stranger, or over at the But start brainstorming with your friends now about what you’re doing for the pride parade this year. Go for the Gold!

Originally posted last Friday, moved up to keep spreading the word.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on April 17 at 10:16 AM

The Prayer Warrior, in D.C. today on a lobbying trip, pauses to reflect on the Virginia Tech tragedy but then pushes forward with his efforts to prevent hate crimes legislation…


Dear Prayer Warriors,

Due to the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech yesterday, the decision was made to cancel the press conference regarding the hate crime bill. As God is so gracious and sovereign in all His ways, He has allowed us to give individual interviews to various TV and Radio shows here in the DC area. Please continue to pray for the families of those who lost their lives in the shootings at Virginia Tech and for the family of the young man who did the shooting. God will make something good out of this.

At 11:00 AM PST, 2:00 PM EST, I will be addressing the Conservative Group of Congress regarding the hate crime bill and all that it will do to negatively impact churches, if it is passed. Please pray that I will be God’s voice to speak the truth and that they will hear the truth and act accordingly.

Thank you again for your prayers, they are fervent and righteous!

Pastor Hutch

Dancing with the Stars: Heather Mills Wipeout!

posted by on April 17 at 9:34 AM

Only the most masochistic TV viewers (like me) watch Dancing with the Stars every week — primarily because we are still not-so-secretly wishing for HEATHER MILLS’ prosthetic leg to go flying off into the crowd like so much NASCAR wreckage. And while our wish didn’t come true last night, Heather’s fakey leg did turn against her at the end of her routine, sending her bouncing on her butt. Naturally, the judges thought her fall was ADORABLE and praised her bravery for so elegantly landing on her ass. Ummm… hey judges… she’s got a fake leg, she’s not RETARDED.
Let’s go to the video! (BTW, her partner—who is retarded—got his chest shaved, hence all the “oil and hair” jokes. Ew.)

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 17 at 9:30 AM

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists


(MUSIC) One shouldn’t appreciate Ted Leo just for his badass guitar playing and knack for writing passionate and intelligent pop songs that’ll make you think and dance. You’ve also got to admire a man who can pull off a bright-pink T-shirt with white jeans and still look completely hot and not gay in the least (not that there’s anything wrong with that). See preview. (Showbox, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. 8 pm, $15, all ages.) MEGAN SELING

The Turner Prize for the Northwest?

posted by on April 17 at 9:09 AM

That’s what Jeff Jahn over at PORT is calling the new plans for an exhibition program that will overhaul the Oregon Biennial and instead turn it into the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards: an authoritative, curated, $10,000 award-ceremony with an in-depth, small-roster exhibition attached.

The decision by Portland Art Museum director Brian Ferriso, chief curator Bruce Guenther, and Northwest curator Jennifer Gately sounds like it will certainly ramp up the museum’s biennial in scope and excitement. Portland carves out a place of authority for itself with living artists this way; it’s a position Seattle or Tacoma could have taken, but didn’t.

Selections begin not with an open call, but with a nomination process.

The Museum will invite a select group of respected arts professionals, including regional curators, scholars, dealers, writers, artists, and critics, to nominate visual artists based on the quality of their work, innovation, skill, relevance to community or global issues in the arts, continuity of vision, commitment to their practice, and level of development in their career. Nominees may be both emerging and well established artists currently living and working in the Northwest, defined by the Museum as Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

“What excites me most about this new approach is its organic, community-oriented nature that engages with the region’s great wealth of arts professionals. In essence, the program’s success is a reflection of them and the result will be something that has the potential to be highly regarded nationally, much like San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Award,” said Gately.

Working with a special guest curatorial advisor from outside the region, Gately will review the nominees’ materials and select finalists whose studios she will visit. The Museum is pleased to announce the curatorial advisor for this inaugural exhibition will be James Rondeau, Curator and Frances and Thomas Dittmer Chair of the Department of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

By December Gately plans to present her findings to the Museum’s curatorial staff and announce the award recipients. The number of recipients selected will vary depending on the quality and scale of work. The work of these artists will be will be featured in the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards exhibition opening in June 2008. At that time, the recipient of the first Arlene Schnitzer Prize will be announced.

“This approach will provide an opportunity to experience a greater number of works by a given artist than is possible in survey-style biennials, thus allowing for a deeper understanding of the artists’ concerns and creative practices,” said Gately.

According to Jahn’s post, the nominees who are shortlisted and who get studio visits with the curators will be announced, a la Turner Prize. (The museum, Jahn writes, is still deciding whether to publicize the nominating committee.)

I’ve written extensively about what I thought were the procedural contradictions and tediums that sucked the wind out of this year’s Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum.

The Seattle Art Museum’s only comparable effort is the annual Betty Bowen Award, which doles out about $11,000 to an artist in an entirely private process. Michael Darling, SAM modern and contemporary curator, is already making the Betty Bowen more appealing by setting aside room in the downtown museum for a solo show for each year’s winner. But what about the selection process there? I hope Darling and other art professionals get the chance to become more active in that, too.

Gay Men: Want to Lower Your Risk of Contracting HIV?

posted by on April 17 at 8:59 AM

Don’t sleep with gay men that use crystal meth.

Men who have sex with men and used crystal methamphetamine in the last year were five times more likely to test HIV-positive than MSM who did not use the drug, according to preliminary data collected by the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, the Los Angeles Times reports. The center also found that 25% of the 6,360 MSM it tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in 2006 reported using crystal meth at least once, compared with 18% of the 5,300 MSM tested in 2005. Mike Rizzo, the center’s manager of crystal meth recovery services, said 43% of people newly infected with HIV report some meth use. “There’s no doubt in the minds of most experts that meth contributes not only to the transmission of HIV but other” STIs, Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said.

Ahem: This is not a Nancy Reaganesque, just-say-no message. We want you to say yes to other drugs, better drugs, less destructive drugs.

Via Towleroad.

Virginia Tech Massacre: Who’s to Blame?

posted by on April 17 at 8:39 AM

The gays!

We’re so welcome in Virginia, you see, the state with the most draconian anti-gay laws in the country. So Fred Phelps and the rest of the gang from the Westboro Baptist Church are planning to picket the funerals of the victims of yesterday’s shootings.


posted by on April 17 at 8:30 AM

Via Sullivan:

Imagine that this kind of massacre happened every day. Imagine a police force that was far too small to even respond to most of them. Imagine this occurring repeatedly for years until the perpetrators and their accomplices became the de facto power-brokers throughout the land. Imagine the shootings also being accompanied by the brutal torture of victims. Imagine families never having finality on whether their own siblings or parents or children have been murdered or not.

This is Iraq today. Now think of the justified rage many feel at the VT campus police chief and university president for misjudgments. Now imagine them presiding over several more massacres in the same place. Ask yourself: why do we not feel as enraged by those responsible for security in Iraq? Are those victims not human beings too? Are they not children and mothers and fathers and sons? Are we not ultimately responsible for them, having destroyed the institutions of order in their country? Now go watch John Bolton tell the victims to go help themselves.

Morning News

posted by on April 17 at 6:09 AM

Virginia Tech Massacre: Gunman, identified as student Cho Seung-Hui, murders over 30 in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

Iraq: Democratic Congress squares off with Bush over war funding.

Darfur: Sudan allows 3,000 UN peacekeepers in, stalling immediate sanctions.

Sonics: Tax subsidy fizzles out in Olympia.

2007 Pulitzer Prizes: The Oregonian’s report on stranded family wins for breaking news and The Boston Globe’s coverage of Bush’s signing statement strategy wins for national coverage. And in music, good god, man the Pulitzer list also includes — Ornette Coleman!?!

2007 Fortune 500: Wal-Mart and Exxon top the list. Washington companies include, in order by revenues: Costco, Microsoft, WaMu, Weyerhaeuser, Paccar, Amazon, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Safeco, Expeditors Int’l (?), Alaska Air, Puget Energy, Expedia, Plum Creek Timber (?), and Potlach (?)

Sen. Barack Obama: His personal income drops to $991,296

Monday, April 16, 2007

No Sonics Legislation This Session

posted by on April 16 at 8:38 PM

There are, technically, six days left in the legislative session, but after a confab in the Governor’s office this afternoon, legislative leaders say there will be no vote on Sonics legislation.

Here’s the Sonics’ statement:

Statement by Clay Bennett on Lack of Action on Legislation
Authorizing King County to Develop a Multipurpose Events Center

This a staggering and quite likely a debilitating blow to our efforts to develop a world-class arena facility. Clearly at this time the Sonics and Storm have little hope of remaining in the Puget Sound region.

We believe we have gone to extraordinary lengths with significant time and resources to craft a proposal for a global caliber multi-purpose event facility that would be a valuable public asset for the region for years to come and have minimal impact on taxpayers. By its inaction the Legislature has delivered the message that they are indifferent to the notion of the Sonics and the Storm leaving the market.

We remain willing and available to work with the Governor and the Legislature to explore every conceivable funding option for the building. We are also receptive to analyzing any private financing mechanisms that are brought to our attention. But at this time we have no other concepts on the table.

We want to recognize Senator Margarita Prentice and Representative Eric Pettigrew for their courageous leadership in the Legislature. We also want to thank the good people of Renton who have enthusiastically supported these efforts. In addition we wish to thank the many supporters and advocates who have worked hard on our behalf.

As owners we remain absolutely committed to restoring the Sonics to a championship caliber team -– on this subject we will not waver. Further we are committed to delivering the very best fan experience and sponsor value that we can. We thank our fans, season ticket holders and sponsors from the bottom of our heart. We also thank our professional staff, our players and coaching staff, all of our friends who work at Key Arena and everyone who has believed in us.

“We believe we have gone to extraordinary lengths…”


Check me here, but they wanted a $400 million handout and wanted all profits from all non-NBA events. To paraphrase a Slog commenter from earlier today: Bennett is a major Republican (you know, bootstraps, no government handouts.) What the heck is he doing asking King County to extend expiring taxes for his stadium?

Pie Chart for a Monday Evening

posted by on April 16 at 6:32 PM


(via second-hand e-mail)

Re: The First-Ever De-Suggests

posted by on April 16 at 5:41 PM

First of all, one reason we bothered to De-Suggest the Clear Cut event was because this nice person was wondering how it went:

It’d be great if all of the Stranger Suggests authors could give a respective recap. Like The Gong Show this week definitely got lots of props for sure, but I’m wondering about last night’s suggestions. I actually went to the Frye but now I’m thinking I should have gone to the Clear Cut Happening. The Frye was a stuffy socialite scene, even though the Leipzig exhibit is hands down off the wall badass creepy marvelous. Still, the Clear Cut thing sounds really intriguing. Anyone go?

Yes, I went, and yes, Matt Briggs, I circulated among the crowd. I talked to Matt McCormick, who’s always the nicest person in the world. I’d like to write more about Future So Bright sometime, but this is not the right post. I talked to Greg Lundgren to place a bid (hey, did I win?) on one of the three good Michael Brophy paintings there. I even aimed some words at Eric F., but I think he’s still mad at me for reporting a certain story a million years ago. However, the crowd was not particularly atmospheric.

At my section of the table: a six-and-a-half-year-old girl who—I swear to god!—flirted with my boyfriend; the sixty-something father of a prominent local gallery curator, who lives in Tuscon but had been visiting long enough to admire the Seattle Weekly’s ridiculous Real Change story and observe that The Stranger contains “no articles” and is filled entirely with sex ads; an employee of One Pot who did, bless her heart, inform me that “these events usually don’t cost that much”; and, way down the table, a fellow English major alumna of the University of Virginia who recently wrote a book.

But who cares about the atmosphere? I do care that I paid $35 for—it must be said—a small portion of food (and I don’t eat that much). I do care that it was freezing cold and there was, as far as I could tell, only a single space heater. I care that the $35 didn’t include wine.

Furthermore, I care deeply about the “announcement” by Clear Cut, which was arrogant, rambling, and downright insulting, most of all to the people who had been invited to provide the aforementioned atmosphere. The heart of it was this: Matthew Stadler, a writer and editor whom we all respect, was passing the Clear Cut baton to Rich Jensen, a former record business exec who claimed not to have read very many books. Stadler lectured us about how subscribing to Clear Cut was like surrendering your taste and discernment to better-informed people. In other words, my tastes, my preferences, my opinions don’t matter. Maybe there were some rich ignoramuses who felt comforted by these words, but I sincerely doubt it. Nobody likes being told their tastes are irrelevant. And surely Stadler noticed that the audience was composed in large part of people who make their livings exercising taste and discernment. The curator kitty-corner to me. Me. Matt McCormick, who runs his own video distribution business and used to curate an experimental film festival. The other Stranger writers. Eric Fredericksen, for gosh sakes. How many of you want to surrender your taste and discernment to Rich Jensen? I subscribed to the last series, but Friday I saw no evidence that Clear Cut was still an interesting, challenging enterprise. I did observe that Clear Cut would accept my money if I held it out.

Lesson learned.

(I do still want that Brophy painting.)


posted by on April 16 at 4:44 PM

While I was so busy grousing over the news that The Race Beat won the Pulitzer for history, I missed the news that The Looming Tower won for best general non-fiction. I reviewed that book for the Stranger too.

Now, that book was great.

Sonics Owners May Be Linked to Anti-Union Money

posted by on April 16 at 3:49 PM

Opponents of the $500 million Sonics subsidy mined Oklahoma campaign finance records this weekend to uncover some info they hope will influence Democratic lawmakers to vote down any proposed hand out for the new Sonics owners.

Anti-stadium leader Chris Van Dyk reports that five of the eight new Sonics/Storm owners, including Clay Bennett, were contributors to a controversial “Right to Work” initiative that passed in Oklahoma in 2001. This news, Van Dyk hopes, will help Dems stand up to the Washington State Labor Council, which is pressuring Dems to go along with the proposal.

I’m still looking over the records to confirm the contributions, which may include $15,000 from new Sonics owner Bennett, and $200,000 from Chesapeake Energy—where new Sonics owner Aubrey McClendon is the CEO and another new Sonics owner, Tom Ward, used to be the CEO.

This would be two strikes against the new Sonics owners for Democrats. Late last Februray, I reported that the two of the new Sonics/Storm owners had bankrolled an anti-gay marriage group—not pleasing news to Storm fans.

I didn’t report that news as a ploy to undo popular support for the deal, I just reported it: It seemed newsworthy given the Storm’s fan base.

However, when the news broke, Robert Jamieson, over at the PI, wrote a pretend contrarian truth column saying it was finicky and unfair to reject the Sonics deal over the owners’ politics. Never mind that their politics, funding an anti-gay marriage group, had/has a tangible effect on a big bloc of Storm fans who would potentially be giving money to that cause. In short, rejecting someone for what they “think” is one thing … rejecting them for what they “do” is quite another.

Anyway, I bring this up because when I reported the anti-gay marriage contributions, accusations flew that I was advocating a boycott or something. I wasn’t. Again, deal or no deal in play, it seemed like big news when I found out that some owners of the Storm were heavy contributors to an anti-gay marriage group.

However, Van Dyk, by busting out this news about anti-union contributions today—as a Senate vote is pending on a Sonics deal—is obviously operating politically.

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 16 at 3:25 PM

Parsing Hard: Andrew WK’s Inscrutable Exit Interview.

Crazier Than AWK: Megan Seling on The Devil & Daniel Johnston.

Edit the Sad Parts: Modest Mouse’s Perfect Set.

Hard Labor: Dave Matthews vs. Burning Man.

A Comet Appears: Ari Spool’s Ode to the Comet.

Best Disco: Donte Parks on Broken Disco.

Fried Gold: Kelly O Loves Trannyshack.

And now, a very content-looking pig:


Gun Nuts

posted by on April 16 at 2:01 PM

In November of 1999 a man walked into an office building on Lake Union, shot four people, and then fled on foot into Wallingford, where my family lived at the time. Here’s the piece I wrote for Salon about the shooting, my open garage door, and our inability to do anything about national gun problem. Sadly it all still applies. My conclusion:

With so many guns, so many nuts and so many spineless politicians taking orders from the National Rifle Association, it’s really only a matter of time before “it” will happen in every city in the United States. So common is gun violence that “routine” shootings don’t even make news anymore. My boyfriend was robbed at gun point, and so was my older brother; a good friend of my sister’s was standing on a street corner in Chicago with his fiance when he was shot dead by gangbangers; a friend of my family was shot and killed on a subway platform. None of these events made the news.

Sadly, when the latest mass shooting is pointed to as evidence that we need tough national gun-control laws (and a complete ban on handguns and concealed weapons), professional gun huggers and their congressional apologists cry foul, accusing gun-control advocates of exploiting a tragedy. There’s a difference, however, between exploiting a tragedy (as Columbine parent Misty Bernall did with her bestselling book “She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall”) and learning from it.

When a plane drops out of the sky, we search for the cause and pass laws if needed to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Why do we not do the same with guns? To declare the scalding proof that we need tough gun-control laws off-limits when discussing gun control—and the evidence builds with each new mass shooting—makes about as much sense as declaring the crash of EgyptAir’s Flight 990 off-limits during a discussion of airline safety.

So, another day, another mass shooting.

The Latest: 33 Dead, Another 29 Wounded

posted by on April 16 at 2:00 PM

after today’s shooting at Virginia Tech. It is the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

From ABC News:

Law enforcement officials tell ABC News they believe there was a single gunman, firing at least two 9mm semi-automatic pistols. They said he may have been wearing a bulletproof vest.

It is unknown at this time if the guns had standard or extended clips, which can fire as many as 30 shots before the gun has to be reloaded.

The gunman, whose identity has not been released, is among the dead. Campus police would not say whether the shooter had killed himself.

From the BBC, there’s this scary account from a student:

The sound did not register immediately, even though it was startlingly loud.

When it started again seconds later, the girl sitting by the door decided to close the door.

She peeked out into the hallway, and saw the shooter, so she immediately closed the door shut.

Three other students moved a table that was in front of the room and barricaded it against the door.

A few seconds later, the shooter tried to open the door, but my classmates kept it well shut, as they held the table against it.

The shooter shot the door twice at chest level, which resulted in two holes in the door, one of which hit the podium in the front of the classroom and the other continued out the window.

Meanwhile, over at Instapundit, one of the right’s biggest bloggers, this was up shortly after news of the shooting broke:

Nobody seems to know much yet on what happened. These things do seem to take place in locations where it’s not legal for people with carry permits to carry guns, though, and I believe that’s the case where the Virginia Tech campus is concerned. I certainly wish that someone had been in a position to shoot this guy at the outset.

Expect this to be a common theme among the right in the week ahead. Guns don’t kill people, but people with guns kill other people with guns. Everybody needs guns. Guns, guns, guns.

And over at Americablog, a commenter writes:

I know it is too early for comments like this (really, my prayers are with those people in Blacksburg)—but I just have to say it. 30+ kids killed and who knows how many injured and this is all we’re gonna hear about for weeks. But is it really that outrageous compared to what’s going on in Iraq every day? Politicians say Iraq is ok and no worse than any city in America—and the media for the most part don’t hold them accountable for comments like that. If there were consistency, this Tech thing wouldn’t be that big of a story.

President Bush, meanwhile, has already delivered some remarks:

Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today. The exact toll has not yet been confirmed, but it appears that more than 30 people were killed and many more were wounded.

I have spoken with Governor Tim Kaine and Virginia Tech President Charles Steger. I told them that Laura and I and many across our nation are praying for the victims and their families and all the members of the university community who have been devastated by this terrible tragedy.

I told them that my administration would do everything possible to assist with the investigation and that I pledged that we would stand ready to help local law enforcement and the local community in any way we can during this time of sorrow.

Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community.

Today our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech. We hold the victims in our hearts, we lift them up in our prayers, and we ask a loving God to comfort those who are suffering today.

Thank you.

The First-Ever De-Suggests

posted by on April 16 at 1:58 PM

Sometimes, we fuck up our Stranger Suggests. Sometimes there’s an event that looks good—good concept, good players—but turns out it isn’t. Turns out it blows. And we owe you a mea culpa for steering you wrong. So here it is, the first edition of The Stranger De-Suggests:

Clear Cut Press Potlatch
This event has trouble describing itself. According to the invitation, it is a “maelstrom” in “a cathedralesque barn of a space” with a “steaming sulfuric acid bath.” Matthew McCormick plays a new music and video piece. Matthijs Bouw gives a slide talk, Michael Brophy’s paintings are auctioned, DJ Masa mixes, and the few who made reservations eat dinner. (Chateaux Duwamps, 207 S Horton St. Dinner at 7, register at Auction/party at 8, no registration required. The invitation says: “Money will be recycled at the door.” We’re not sure what that means.) Jen Graves

“Money will be recycled at the door” made me hope they’d do something crazy and pot-latchy. Like put your money through a shredder. Or randomly redistribute it. (“This lady gets fifty bucks! This dude gets a nickel!”) Or something fun. But “money will be recycled at the door” was actually just a sly way of saying, “we’ll just take your money and stick it in our pockets.” It’s a small complaint, but that kind of cute dishonesty was indicative of all the problems that night.

The dinner, by One Pot’s Michael Hebberoy, was actually $35. And BYOB (which, actually, was a nice touch because everyone was expected to share so it turned into a giant tasting with a sip of prosecco here, a sip of white rioja there, a sip of Miller Genuine Draft way over there). The food was fine, but not $35-fine: mixed greens you could’ve bought in a bag at the store, some beets. Then a significant wait for the second course: Long-simmered pork and asparagus on a bed of croutons. There was a vegetarian option (artichoke with asparagus, I think) somebody described as: “a vegetarian meal made by someone who doesn’t know any vegetarians.” (To Mr. Hebberoy’s credit, he said up front that he had relatively little control over this night’s event. Other people say he has hosted some excellent dinners.)

The paintings, by Michael Brophy, were small and romantically sad and good. The table they were on seemed sort of remote in the room’s arrangement, so they didn’t have much presence. But here is one:


The “steaming sulfuric acid bath” was not steaming.

The announcement from Clear Cut Press seemed to take hours to say two simple things: (1) Matthew Stadler is leaving, ceding editorial duties to his partner Rich Jensen who, at one point, said something humbling, self-effacing, and disconcerting for the new editorial duty-doer, something like: “I don’t know much about books.” And (2) something to the effect: “give us your money because we’re awesome and you might get some good books from us.” Which, if we take Mr. Jensen’s word for it, seems unlikely. Plus, Clear Cut Press is not a kid to whom we should give an allowance just because. Plus, it’s unwise to treat your prospective patrons like ignorant sacks of money who need you to tell them when a book is good. Because that doesn’t make me want to give you anything. It makes me want to say: Fuck off. And still they kept talking.

The tablecloth was bubble-wrap, which was nice and fun to pop. And when people got bored with the blah-blah-blah, they’d announce their displeasure by popping some. Great idea, right? Give your audience an anonymous, easy way to communicate when it’s bored and encourage you to hurry the fuck up. But no such luck. Instead, the speakers, when confronted by the snap-snap of the bubble wrap, glared and smiled tensely, as if to say: “You all are not using that in the way we intended you not to.”

After the blah-blah-blah, I left.

The movie, by Matthew McCormick, was reportedly very good.

The slide talk by Matthijs Bouw was canceled due to indifference. (Update: Sorry, that was bad information—the Bouw lecture was merely postponed until 11:30 pm. I’m sorry I missed it.)

The atmosphere, the major selling point, was thin. It never became a party. Hebberoy kicked off the evening by making it sound like a whatever-make-your-own-party-free-for-all, but there was a real program: “now eat,” “now listen to me,” “now watch this.” Either tell us what to do or let us have a free-for-all. Either one is fine. But to pretend everything is permitted when that is not, in fact, the case, is another cute lie.

It ended, someone said, with “people huddled around being cold.”

For those of you who might have attended it because we suggested it—we’re really, really sorry.


posted by on April 16 at 1:57 PM

The Race Beat, a book that purports to document the stories of the reporters who covered America’s civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, just won the Pulitzer Prize for history.

I reviewed this disappointing book for the Stranger’s book section a few weeks ago. Here’s what I wrote:

The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation

by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff

(Knopf) $30

Add to the growing list of civil rights surveys The Race Beat, which purports to tell the stories of the newsmen who chronicled the historic drama during the 1950s and ’60s. Given the media’s role in the civil rights struggle (indeed, it’s no stretch to say the movement would never have succeeded if front pages and TV screens hadn’t given us Emmett Till’s mangled face and Bull Connor’s police dogs), an account of the press is overdue. Unfortunately, this book does a lackluster job documenting the stories behind the news stories. And so, while we get perfunctory details about reporters, it’s still the legendary events themselves—the showdown in Little Rock, the disappearance of three voting-rights workers in Mississippi, and the Billy clubs in Selma—that provide this book’s energy.

Interestingly, though, by casting reporters as the heroes, the authors do manage to tweak one traditional reading of the civil rights story. Birmingham ‘63, with fire hoses blasting black protesters, has long been the era’s defining moment—raw hatred exposed. But in this telling, a different defining moment emerges: the white riot that struck the University of Mississippi in 1962. Here, with besieged reporters on the scene being bullied out of upholding the First Amendment—one reporter is murdered—mob rule routs federal troops and Mississippi’s delinquent governor thumbs his nose at the federal courts. Racism’s larger threat to America, the unraveling of the Constitution, is laid bare.

Despite today’s news, I stand by it. Yes, the scene at Ol Miss is riveting. And one thing I didn’t have room for in the review was to gush over some of the original reporting that co-author Gene Roberts relayed about the scene when Stokely Carmichael busted out the term “Black Power” for the first time. Indeed, as a young reporter, Roberts was on the scene during the 1966 march where tensions between MLK and Carmichael provided one of the most significant turning points in modern American history.

However, this book did not deserve the Pulitzer in History. It’s basically this: Lackluster biographies of reporters glued on top of famous events from the civil rights stories. The original reporting about the battles between integrationist and segregationist editors in the Southern press was fine, but hardly revelatory. And the early chapter on the black press (the first group to cover the emerging civil rights movement) is much-better researched and documented in a 1999 documentary called The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords.

One big problem with the book is this: The authors chose the admittedly important 1944 study by famed Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, as the leaping off point, and central metaphor, for their story. The monumental study helped inform the Brown v. Board of Ed decision and was prescient—predicting that the media would (and must) play a pivotal role in the civil rights cause.

However, the authors are so enamored and hung up on the significance of Mydral’s prediction and his study, that they keep circling back to it in heavy handed, clunky, and sophomoric ways.

For an example of a Pulitzer-worthy history book that deals with the story behind the story (that is: a book about reporters), see Once Upon a Distant War by William Prochnau, a great book about the small press corps in Vietnam in the early days of U.S. involvement.

Dept. of Homeland Security

posted by on April 16 at 1:40 PM


It looks like I have to weed my t-shirt collection.

This morning my son walked into the kitchen, where I was downloading email on my laptop, and said, “Go to, dad.”

Excuse me… what? Why would a nine year-old want to go to How would a nine-year old even know about, the “largest provider of medical toys, products and apparel for the medical fetish, nurse fetish and the medical BDSM scene on the web”?

It took me a split second to realize that I was standing there in my black t-shirt. The nice folks that run the nation’s premiere medical fetish website sent me a couple of t-shirts after I mentioned them in a “Savage Love” column a couple of years back. My kid assumed it was a toy store—a toy store that specializes in toys for, you know, playing doctor. And it is. But it’s for adults that want to play doctor with speculums, medical restraints, catheters, etc.

My t-shirts are two of my favorites. But it looks like they have to go. There’s no end to the sacrifices we parents have to make.

Cormac McCarthy For President

posted by on April 16 at 1:30 PM

Over at GalleyCat, they’ve got the list of Pulitzer Prize book winners up, and, oh, man, Cormac McCarthy has won the Pulitzer Prize for The Road. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really do think that The Road is a great novel, but: America, how are you feeling? Apocalypse much? Why didn’t anyone go this crazy over McCarthy’s last novel, No Country For Old Men? All that book got was a Coen brothers adaptation.

In other Pulitzer news, it’s not a bad year as far as the Pulitzers go: the non-fiction winners all look pretty good, and The Echo Maker, which was on the shortlist for fiction, is a pretty astounding novel, but apparently not even Powers could stop the juggernaut that is Cormac McCarthy’s charred dystopic husk of Future America. We should reserve the Oscar for the upcoming movie. The end is nigh!

The Role of the 21st Century

posted by on April 16 at 1:20 PM

Rushdie’s great cause?
Salman_Rushdie_rdax_351x420_80.jpg To determine “The Role of the Writer in the 21st Century.” What’s embarrassing about this mission is not just the audacity of trying to locate some supreme role for the writer in our post-disenchanted age, but the very mention of “the Writer,” the artist of words. Do people still call themselves that and really mean it, really feel it? If so, how sad and backward. Calling yourself a writer to us—the generation far beyond Nietzsche’s “builders of bridges”—is the same as a savage putting paint on his face and calling himself a doctor. The writer thinks words are important, that language is holy, and that his/her job is to redeem human kind with the magic of words. (To see these kinds of feelings in a frenzy, all you need to do is attend this year’s poetry festival.)

This is why I admire Jeff Mills (techno) and Burial (dubstep). They have the sanity not to call themselves saints—meaning, musicians—and yet what they make sounds like music. They understand something was lost on the way to the 21st century. That thing was the halo in Baudelaire’s prose poem “The Halo.” The bell has cracked, and at best all we can do is to free ourselves from the weight of the dead.

Mills and Burial also understand that what they are making may not even be music as such, music as Bach, as Coltrane, as the Stones. This kind of understanding is absolutely absent from the world of literature. Poets still believe they are poets, novelists novelists, playwrights playwrights. But everything around us has changed. We are not really writers (in the sense that Joyce was a writer) but something closer to Mills and Burial—data retrievers, data processors, data deployers. It’s nothing more than weak or strong affects, weak or strong sequences. And one should not take this art business so personally, as writers do. You are but a flickering node in a restless network.

Licata Wins OPA Fight

posted by on April 16 at 1:15 PM

Council president Nick Licata has prevailed in his effort to get a new sergeant assigned to the Office of Professional Accountability, the Seattle Police Department’s self-policing, investigatory arm. The OPA’s average investigation response time has been slipping for years—to 119 days in 2006, 29 days longer than the 90-day-maximum goal. Last year, the council allocated $120,000 to hire a seventh sergeant-detective to do internal investigations, but police chief Gil Kerlikowske decided not to fill the position—in part, he said, because SPD had already assigned an “acting sergeant” to OPA to do case intake, freeing up the other six sergeants to do investigations. Community groups such as the NAACP have complained that the OPA lacks teeth.

Last week, however, Licata met with Kerlikowske and convinced the police chief to move one of SPD’s 144 sergeants into the position. “Over the course of the hour-plus discussion, I think he came to understand that there was a pretty strong paper trail that we’d built up” in support of the new position, Licata says. “I don’t think it was going to play very well out in the press. So he said, ‘I’ll switch a sergeant over, we’ll give the OPA director six months [to evaluate response times], and see how it goes.” If investigation times improve, the money could be allocated in next year’s city budget; either way, it won’t be spent until the new OPA director, Kathryn Olson, decides if the new officer has improved response times.

Picture Me Ballin’

posted by on April 16 at 12:30 PM


Aside from the unfolding drama of the Renton-Oklahoma Sonics, the sport of basketball gets virtually no love around here. I place part of the blame on the utter mediocrity of the local team (specifically Bob Hill, Bob Hill’s hair, Nick Collison’s big, slow-moving lady hips, and a lack of inside game), but there are other reasons too (like impenetrable whiteness, but that’s a discussion for another time…)

Yesterday when I should have been doing things like, say, my taxes, I watched the Bulls destroy the Wizards in embarrassing fashion (they are nothing without Gil and Caron) and a tight game between the Mavs and the Spurs (who, with the exception of Manu Ginobli, make me want to fall asleep). To quote the slogan, I love this game. I fucking love this game, actually. The current athleticism and skill level in the NBA (not to mention number of bad/amazing tattoos) surpasses that of any other professional sport in America.

So fear not NBA fans (and I know there must be at least two of you out there)—the playoffs begin this Saturday, April 21, and I’ve taken it upon myself to be your guide. Lots of interesting things afoot—Nuggets seem to have finally found some kind of rhythm, Pistons are doing magical things with the addition of C-Webb, Dirk is Dirk, Baron Davis and his beard may just get the Warriors into the playoffs, D-Wade and Shaq are back. Stay tuned.

My pick? SUNS ALL THE WAY, baby.

Re: The Best Show on Television

posted by on April 16 at 11:42 AM

This just in: Tommy Thompson pays the Jewish people a compliment—and you know how those people just love getting paid!

Former Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential hopeful Tommy Thompson told Jewish activists Monday that making money is “part of the Jewish tradition,” and something that he applauded.

Speaking to an audience at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington D.C., Thompson said that, “I’m in the private sector and for the first time in my life I’m earning money. You know that’s sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that.”

Thompson later apologized for the comments that had caused a stir in the audience, saying that he had meant it as a compliment, and had only wanted to highlight the “accomplishments” of the Jewish religion.

Didn’t I tell you? The race for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination is the best damn show on television. Hilarious! Oh, and Thompson’s attempts to apologize? Almost as hilarious as his initial comments…

“I just want to clarify something because I didn’t [by] any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things,” he said. “What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You’ve been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that.”

Making money = the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. Man, it’s like Borat is running for president or something.

Via Atrios.

The Stranger’s Gong Show Video

posted by on April 16 at 11:26 AM

Missed it? Watch it now!
With each and every last contestant….

On Soul Food and the Discomforts of Home

posted by on April 16 at 11:10 AM

In additional must-reads: Angela Garbes, as others have noted, wrote an absolutely lovely review for the current Stranger. It’s about a local soul food restaurant, a nice night, and the mind-fuck of working from home.

There’s a lot in this piece to make you glad you read it, but as someone who’s spent a good bit of time working from home, I most enjoyed reading Garbes’s spot-on description of the bad times:

There’s a gradual, almost imperceptible shift that occurs when you work from home: You go a little crazy. Daily living gets skewed. Keeping up appearances becomes less of a priority. Sometimes it’s necessary to remind myself to shower before 4:00 p.m., put pants on, talk to other people, and sit at a desk (as opposed to pulling my laptop into bed with me). More difficult than all this, though, is the profound feeling that I’ve somehow lost touch with the comforts of my own home. At the end of a long work day, I don’t get to decompress with a coworker over impromptu drinks, walk up the hill, collapse on my couch, then do nothing besides enjoy being home. Instead, I shut down my computer and look around the room I’ve been sitting in all day. I’m less inclined to have friends over, something I’ve always loved doing, because I’m sick of being in my house, yet it’s harder to motivate myself to go out since, well, I’m already home.

What does all this have to do with soul food? Keep reading.

The Best Show on Television

posted by on April 16 at 11:09 AM

The comedy continues…

Mitt “Morman Underpants” Romney flip-flops on gay rights, can’t remember when exactly he went small-game hunting but he distinctly remembers shooting something somewhere sometime and he absolutely loves, loves, loves guns, even if he doesn’t own one and has never gotten a hunting license. John McCain, like George “Embraceable You” Bush, has no “Plan B” for Iraq. Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer, has been married three times, and is certifiably crazy. Rudy Giuliani has been married three times (and so has his wife!), does drag and makes out with men, is pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, and thinks the GOP base should just get the hell over the whole abortion issue. The actor Fred Thompson has cancer and is “not a Christian,” according to Rev. James Dobson. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin is dogged by rumors of marital infidelity and bad plastic surgery. Crazy religious nut Sen. Sam Brownback is such a tool that not even his crazy religious nut pals are taking his candidacy seriously.

Oh, and for the first time ever Democratic presidential candidates are raising money at a faster rate than GOP presidential candidates.

Could it get any worse? Don’t see how… unless Mitt Romney attempted to up his pro-gun cred by, say, shooting a gay fetus. The GOP base woudn’t know what to do with that. They love them guns and they hate them gays—but they love them fetuses too. But they hate them gay fetuses. In fact, the religious right hates them gays so much that they’re prepared to stop insisting that homosexuality is a choice and accept evidence of a genetic basis for homosexuality—but only if they can genetically engineer the gayness out of them fetuses.

The race for GOP presidential nomination is the most entertaining thing on TV at the moment—better than The Office, better than Entourage, better than reruns of Seinfeld.

A Must, Must Read

posted by on April 16 at 10:30 AM


Whatever you think of Thomas Friedman, his piece on the geopolitics of climate change in the recent New York Times Sunday Magazine is tremendously important and well done, and should be read widely.

If you know anything about the problems of dealing with global climate change, you understand that they are primarily financial and political—but mostly financial.

The scientific “debate” is a distraction. The question is not whether global warming is happening and will cause catastrophic problems in the future if left unchecked. That question has been settled. It is, and it will. The real question now is: How do we make the switch to clean energy without having a seriously negative impact on the economies of both the developed and developing worlds?

Friedman answers that question in this piece and, most powerfully, he does so in a way that is comprehensible to people without advanced degrees in economics, international politics, or science.

This essay could be for the political class what An Inconvenient Truth was for the journalistic class: A way to move away from old, phony debates and toward real issues of importance.

And, while An Inconvenient Truth was mainly a warning and a call to action, Friedman’s piece provides politicians of both parties with an actual blueprint for action and a very pro-American way of framing the steps that will need to be taken to save our “way of life.”

Read it now. And then watch to see if politicians—especially the presidential candidates, who Friedman brutally calls on the carpet in this piece—start changing their talking points on global warming:

We need a Green New Deal… Bush won’t lead a Green New Deal, but his successor must if America is going to maintain its leadership and living standard. Unfortunately, today’s presidential hopefuls are largely full of hot air on the climate-energy issue. Not one of them is proposing anything hard, like a carbon or gasoline tax, and if you think we can deal with these huge problems without asking the American people to do anything hard, you’re a fool or a fraud.

Being serious starts with reframing the whole issue — helping Americans understand, as the Carnegie Fellow David Rothkopf puts it, “that we’re not ‘post-Cold War’ anymore — we’re pre-something totally new.” I’d say we’re in the “pre-climate war era.” Unless we create a more carbon-free world, we will not preserve the free world. Intensifying climate change, energy wars and petroauthoritarianism will curtail our life choices and our children’s opportunities every bit as much as Communism once did for half the planet.

Equally important, presidential candidates need to help Americans understand that green is not about cutting back. It’s about creating a new cornucopia of abundance for the next generation by inventing a whole new industry. It’s about getting our best brains out of hedge funds and into innovations that will not only give us the clean-power industrial assets to preserve our American dream but also give us the technologies that billions of others need to realize their own dreams without destroying the planet. It’s about making America safer by breaking our addiction to a fuel that is powering regimes deeply hostile to our values. And, finally, it’s about making America the global environmental leader, instead of laggard.

Advice From the Lamppost at Pine and Broadway

posted by on April 16 at 10:25 AM


Never give sex to a white boy The White boys whore definition—a minority girl (asian, lain, native ect) that gives sex to a white boy instead of the guys of her own race. Also known as Sellout, racetraitor, the white boys bitch, The white boys nigger, or the white boys pet monkey. It is degrading to your race to give sex to a white boy. It brings shame and disgrace to your people. There is nothing more racist than to give sex to a white boy. Giving sex to a white boy Proves that there is something wrong with having dark skin or non white features It also shows that your race is inferior to the white race. Never call the whiteboys better You are racist if you do. If you minority Girls (Asian, Latin, Native ect.) call the whiteboys better you are also insulting yourself after all you are not one of these white people so what does that make you and your people? do for your own race what you did for the white race. Let the whitegirls take care of their own kind. The only reason they look down upon minoritys is because of the whiteboys whore.

We have the right to fight Racism.

“Polly wanna cracker”
“for what she had done make her die slowly!”

Horrific Morning News Update

posted by on April 16 at 10:00 AM

Shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.

21 killed. Gunman dead.

AP has the death toll (including the shooter) at 31. CNN reports.

The Gays: Incapable of Synchro?

posted by on April 16 at 9:45 AM

Rome this weekend hosted AquaRomae 2007, the first international GLBT swimming tournament, including the synchronized swimming team “SyncDifferent.”

Even leaving aside the fact that the name “SyncDifferent” is an oxymoron, gay synchro appears to be a shameful bust. These blobby, messy forms: Horror!



Gays, if this is how you plan to behave, all willy-nilly, then get out of my sport!

(Hat tip to the lovely, form-fitted Ariel.)

The Power of Positive Beatings

posted by on April 16 at 9:31 AM


Researchers in Australia have discovered three very interesting things about folks into BDSM. First, engaging in BDSM makes people—kinky people—happy. Who’da thunk it? Second, folks into BDSM were not abused as children at higher rates than folks who aren’t into BDSM. Third, gays, lesbians, bi, and the heteroflexible—a.k.a. sexually adventurous straights—are likelier to be into BDSM.

The new sex study has revealed that two per cent of Australian men and 1.4 per cent of women admit to enjoying dominance, submission and sadomasochism-type sex in the past year…. The survey results, to be presented at the World Association of Sexual Health congress in Sydney this week, give the first snapshot of Australians involved in bondage behaviour.

These fetishes were most common among gay, lesbian and bisexual people and heterosexuals who are “bi-interested”, said Dr Richters, the lead researcher…. They were [also] no more likely to have suffered sexual difficulties, sexual abuse or coercion or anxiety than other Australians.

In fact, says Dr Richters, men into BDSM scored significantly better on a scale of psychological wellbeing than other men.

“This seems to imply that these men are actually happier as a result of their behaviour, though we’re not sure why,” she said.

“It might just be that they’re more in harmony with themselves because they’re into something unusual and are comfortable with that…. Researchers said the study helps break down the reigning stereotype that people into bondage and discipline were damaged as children and were therefore “dysfunctional”.

Hello, Dr. Drew? Please unclench long enough to stick the results of this survey up your ass.

Oh, and the reasons that GLBT folks are likelier to be into BDSM? Because queers are crazy and out of control and sexually perverted? Nope, we’re just likelier to admit being kinky. The Australian researchers interviewed 20,000 people about their sexual habits, and say they concluded that lots more Australians get into BDSM than care to admit it.

“There will definitely be more men and women who have sexual tastes in this direction but won’t call it this,” said Dr Juliet Richters, of the University of New South Wales. “[They] just happen to like being tied up and spanked as part of foreplay. “Ask them if they’re into BDSM they’ll say ‘Yuck, no’.”

These “Yuck, no” folks, it seems, were not counted among the 2 percent of men and 1.4 percent of women that “admit to enjoying dominance, submission and sadomasochism-type sex.” People that are openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual are likelier to own up to—and happily indulge—their kinks and fetishes. For us, coming out is the mountain and kink is the molehill. Before we can be sexually active we have to let go of “normal.” Once you’ve embraced your sexual difference—and perhaps paid a steep price for your honesty and integrity—what point is there in not doing the things that really turn you on?

For straights, on the other hand, kink is the mountain. Straight people don’t have to let go of “normal” to be straight. So often kinky straight people have a harder time embracing their kinks. Half my mail at “Savage Love” is from straight men and women who want to be reassured that their kinks—from BDSM to cross-dressing to fucking animals (!)—are “normal.” Kinky gays and lesbians never ask me if their “normal.” They’re not, they know it, they’ve moved on, and they’re happier for it.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 16 at 9:23 AM

‘The Third Man’


(FILM) Exactly two years ago in this paper, I called Chinatown the greatest film of all time. I meant to say: except for The Third Man. Vertiginous expressionism, European accents, kinky intrigue, the Ferris wheel scene, Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard, the kitty at Orson Welles’s feet, ORSON WELLES!!!—just a few highlights from the Carol Reed and Graham Greene masterpiece that yields new pleasures every time you see it. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT? (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.) SEAN NELSON

BREAKING: Seattle Times and P-I Settle Their Joint Operating Agreement Dispute

posted by on April 16 at 9:03 AM

Under the terms of the agreement, announced this morning, the Seattle Times Company will pay $49 million to the Hearst Corporation, which owns the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in order to end Hearst’s right to collect a percentage of Seattle Times revenues in the event that Hearst closes the P-I.

In addition, Hearst will pay $25 million to the Times Co. to guarantee that until 2016, the Times Co. will not try to end the papers’ Joint Operating Agreement due to the Times losing money under the arrangement.

That means two daily newspapers will continue to publish in Seattle, for now. At first glance, it also means that Hearst has lost one of its incentives to close the P-I (the guaranteed share of Times revenue) while the Times Co. has lost one its easy ways to slip out of the JOA (claiming the JOA needs to be ended because the Times is losing money under the arrangement), at least until 2016.

Here’s a memo that just went out to Seattle Times employees:

From: Company Communications

Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 8:45 AM

To: All Seattle Times

Subject: Message from Frank Blethen and Carolyn Kelly

We are pleased to announce our long legal battle with the Hearst Corporation has been settled. Today Hearst and The Seattle Times Company signed a settlement agreement that ends four long years of litigation. A copy of the press announcement and a summary of the key elements of the agreement are attached.

The settlement is a good outcome for the Times, Hearst and the community. The JOA will continue with both papers continuing to publish for now. This allows us to refocus on the transformation we have talked about as we try to establish the business model for the future and deal with our continuing revenue problems.

Serious market challenges remain. Ultimately, advertising revenue and readership will determine our success and whether this market can continue to support two daily publications. Both parties want to preserve multiple metro newspaper voices in this market, but there are no guarantees. Going forward, our ability at the Times to adapt to marketplace changes, to innovate and to manage the business effectively will be critical to returning this paper to stability and profitability.

In this time of great uncertainty, the legal challenges have been an additional burden. Your support as we have worked through these complex legal matters has been essential and immensely gratifying. Thanks to each of you for your focus, commitment and hard work during this challenging time.

For now, celebrate with us that we can stop diverting precious resources to legal expenses and return our full attention and resources back to journalistic and business excellence, working toward the transformation necessary to compete in this new and changing climate for newspapers.


Frank Blethen
Carolyn Kelly

Secularism and the Hispanic Immigrant

posted by on April 16 at 9:02 AM

Remember listening to right-wing religious nuts—and Karl Rove and his flying monkeys—talk about how they were going to reach out to immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and South America? Remember right-wing religious nuts claiming that Hispanic immigrants were “natural” allies of socially conservative religious fascists here in the United States? Remember hearing that Hispanic immigrants were family-focused, church-going Catholics—a minority among Catholics—and therefore immune to the blandishments of secular American culture? Remember how Karl Rove was going to fold these church-going, immune-to-secular-culture immigrants into the GOP base, thereby ensuring a permanent Republican majority? Remember how the GOP was going to be able to do outreach to Hispanic immigrants the same way they do outreach to crazy white people? By going into their churches?

Well, file this story—from yesterday’s New York Times—under “Chickens counted prior to eggs hatching”:

For Some Hispanics, Coming to America Also Means Abandoning Religion

A wave of research shows that increasing percentages of Hispanics are abandoning church, suggesting to researchers that along with assimilation comes a measure of secularization.

Several studies show that Hispanics are just as likely as other Americans to identify themselves as having “no religion,” and to not affiliate with a church. Those who describe themselves as secular are, without question, a small minority among Hispanics—as they are among Americans at large. But, in contrast to many of the non-Hispanic Americans who identify themselves as secular, most of the Hispanics say they were once religious….

A separate study of 4,000 Hispanics to be released this month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Hispanic Center found that 8 percent of them said they had “no religion” — similar to the 11 percent in the general public. Of the Hispanics who claimed no religion, two-thirds said they had once been religious. Thirty-nine percent of the Hispanics who said they had no religion were former Catholics.

A larger survey, called the American Religious Identification Survey, a study of 50,000 adults, including 3,000 Hispanics, found that the percentage of Hispanics who identified themselves as having no religion more than doubled from 1990 to 2001, to 13 percent from 6 percent.

Oh, and remember how the GOP assumed the religiousity and cultural conservatism of Hispanic immigrants left them no choice but to vote Republican—so it didn’t matter how viciously Republican elected officials, conservative radio talk-show hosts, and FoxNews “personalities” bashed illegal immigrants?

Mistakes were made.

Morning News

posted by on April 16 at 6:00 AM

Clinton’s Donors: Shifting to Obama.

Sadr’s Followers: Announce they are leaving Iraqi cabinet

Google’s Advertisers: Set up to get special deal on Clear Channel radio stations.

Gonzales’s Testimony: Released in advance of this week’s Senate hearings.

Taliban’s Revenge: The Taliban takes credit for deadly suicide bombing in Northeastern Afghanistan.

Wolfowitz’s World Bank Job : Oversight committee puts it in jeopardy.

Egypt’s Outlawed Political Party, The Muslim Brotherhood: Says it will field candidates in upcoming Egyptian elections.

UN’s Renewed Role: UN and African Union sign yet another deal With Sudan

Abbas and Olmert’s Big Meeting: Palestinian and Israeli leaders kick off yet another round of talks.

Domenici’s Big Request: The Albuquerque Journal had the big scoop yesterday on Republican Senator Domenici’s role—and President Bush’s role—in firing U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

April Showers: East Coast trashed by heavy storms.

On April 16, 1775 (Easter Sunday), Paul Revere took a ride out of Boston to Lexington to tell John Hancock and Sam Adams (in hiding there) that the British would soon be sending troops to the town to arrest them and to seize military stores. Revere advised that minutemen should be moved in. When he got back to Boston, he set up a plan so lantern signals would alert the countryside to the Red Coats’ route—by land or by sea. The colonists were ready.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Definition of Insanity

posted by on April 15 at 12:16 PM

A congressional study has found that abstinence education is “ineffective,” which is a polite way of saying that the federal government is wasting $176 million a year on a program that doesn’t work. Children subjected to abstinence education have the same number of sex partners as children that are not; they also lose their virginity—oh, the horror—at roughly the same age (14.9 years old) as children that are not subjected to abstinence education.

So it doesn’t work, this abstinence education crap. So what’s the remedy? Why, more abstinence education of course!

Bush administration officials cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the study…. Officials said one lesson they learned from the study was that the abstinence message should be reinforced in subsequent years.

“This report confirms that these interventions are not like vaccines,” said Harry Wilson, associate commissioner of the Family and Youth Services Bureau at the federal Administration for Children and Families. “You can’t expect one dose in middle school, or a small dose, to be protective all throughout the youth’s high school career.”

Because, hey, if we keep doing the same thing eventually we’ll come up with a different result, right?


Because we wouldn’t want to take that $176 million and spend it on something useful—something like, say, mental health care for Iraq war vets. Let’s try to see that $176 million through the eyes of Bush administration official: Even if it only saves one precious hymen, it’s money well-spent.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 15 at 10:01 AM

Modest Mouse


(MUSIC) Pigeage à pied is the age-old winemaking technique whereby barefoot youths climb into a vat of ripened grapes and squish the fruit to render its juice for fermenting. For 14 years, Isaac Brock has used a similar process with Modest Mouse, cramming musical influences through the cracked filter of his imagination and stomping heavily. The band’s most recent vintage, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, should be quickly uncorked. (Paramount, 911 Pine St, 467-5510. 8 pm, $32.50, all ages.) JONATHAN ZWICKEL

Donnie Davies Gets His Ass Kicked By A Girl!

posted by on April 15 at 9:33 AM

Move over, Donnie Davies! Here comes Sandy Belle:

Fake country music videos have officially surpassed babies wearing wigs as my favorite contemporary art form. Thank you, MetaFilter.

The Morning News

posted by on April 15 at 8:19 AM

McCain: GOP candidate Sees no Plan B for Iraq. Wait—did anyone see a Plan A?

Oh, Right… Plan A: Four car bombs explode in surge-protected Baghdad, killing 37. Two British helicopters crash near Baghdad, killing two.

Hearts and Minds: If you can’t win em… splatter ‘em all over the place. Probe finds that US soldiers shot 40 Afghan civilians after a suicide bombing in a village near Jalalabad last month.

This Is What Fascism Looks Like: Hundreds of protesters arrested, beaten in Putin’s Russia. But how could this happen? George W. Bush looked into his heart and pronounced him a good man!

You Want Fries With That? Fat gene discovered by scientists.

What’s Killing Off Bees? It might be your cell phone.

The Devil Himself: Karl Rove visits Seattle… in an effort to somehow cheer up local Republicans.

I Blame Don Imus: Hawaii’s Don Ho dead at 76.