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Archives for 04/22/2007 - 04/28/2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

At Liberty

posted by on April 28 at 5:41 PM


I was at Liberty this afternoon when an email arrived for the bar’s owner, sitting at the table next to me, via Liberty’s website

I was looking at your website with the intent of possibly checking out your establishment, but based on your presentation, and you’re overpriced menu, I have to say that I will probably never set foot in your bart. The concept for a “neighborhood bar” is where people can come to relax and spend comfortable time with old friends and make new ones. Not to sit around eating sushi and “artisan drinks.” I have to say I think you are doomed to failure because there are not enough attitude queens and pretentious snobs on 15th Avenue to support a business. Good luck to youj!


Well, Jeff, I live in the neighborhood and I was at Liberty this afternoon having a beer with an old friend—and there were a dozen or so other folks in the bar. And I had drinks and some sushi at Liberty last night with the boyfriend—and the place was packed. So it would appear that there are more than enough of “attitude queens and pretentious snobs on 15th Avenue” to make Liberty a success.

Either that or you’re wrong about the place.

And what’s wrong with youj, Jeff? What kind of dweeb goes to a bar’s website before deciding to check it out?

The DOJ: Partisan Firing and Hiring

posted by on April 28 at 2:39 PM

The Washington Post revealed today that the DOJ wasn’t only firing people for political reasons, but hiring new people— through its revered Honors Program for young stars— along partisan lines as well.

From the Post’s article:

The Justice Department is removing political appointees from the hiring process for rookie lawyers and summer interns, amid allegations that the Bush administration had rigged the programs in favor of candidates with connections to conservative or Republican groups, according to documents and officials.

The decision, outlined in an internal memo distributed Thursday, returns control of the Attorney General’s Honors Program and the Summer Law Intern Program to career lawyers in the department after four years during which political appointees directed the process. …

The changes come as the Justice Department is scrutinized for its hiring and firing practices because of the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys. Some of the fired prosecutors were removed because they were not considered “loyal Bushies” by senior Justice and White House officials.

Justice officials said the change was prompted by a contentious staff meeting in early December, which included complaints that political appointees led by Michael J. Elston, chief of staff for Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, had rejected an unusually large number of applicants during the most recent hiring period. Last year, about 400 applicants were interviewed for the honors program — the primary path to a Justice Department job for new lawyers — down from more than 600 the year before.

The honors program, established during the Eisenhower administration, is a highly regarded recruiting program that attracts thousands of applicants from top-flight law schools for about 150 spots each year and has been overseen for most of its history by senior career lawyers at Justice. Then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft reworked the program in 2002, shifting control from career employees to himself and his aides.

The changes alarmed many current and former Justice officials, who feared that the Bush administration was seeking to pack the department with conservative ideologues. Many law school placement officers said in 2003 that they noticed a marked shift to the right in the students approached for honors program interviews.

Complaints about the program emerged again this month after Senate and House investigators received a letter from the unidentified Justice employees, who alleged that hiring at the department was “consistently and methodically being eroded by partisan politics.” The letter singled out the honors and intern programs, alleging that senior political appointees appeared to reject applicants who “had interned for a Hill Democrat, clerked for a Democratic judge, worked for a ‘liberal’ cause, or otherwise appeared to have ‘liberal’ leanings.”

The Post article was flagged for me by my dad, a long-retired DOJ lawyer who’s sad about the Dept. right now.

Banana Republic Watch

posted by on April 28 at 11:09 AM

We now have a two-tiered prison system.

For roughly $75 to $127 a day, these convicts—who are known in the self-pay parlance as “clients”—get a small cell behind a regular door, distance of some amplitude from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer on which to compose a novel, or perhaps a song…. The clients usually share a cell, but otherwise mix little with the ordinary nonpaying inmates…

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 28 at 11:01 AM


Adult. and Erase Errata (MUSIC) Erase Errata scavenge the ruins of riot grrrl and disco punk to bring us dark, nervously energetic rock that sounds both paranoid and passionate. The trio jams coercive rhythms, twitchy guitar, and the odd blast of trumpet into quick, careening tracks that are just a second shy of exhausting. Adult. make clean, icy electro and skuzzy, gothic no wave, bound together by the disaffected vocals of Nicola Kuperus. The recorded output of Adult. may not be what it was, but their live shows, like Erase Errata’s, are still totally magnetic and unsettling. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $10, 21+.) ERIC GRANDY

Port Watch

posted by on April 28 at 9:45 AM

After initially pooh-poohing this scandal, The Seattle Times has a big scoop this morning confirming that former Port CEO Mic Dinsmore was slated to get the $340,000 in “severance” pay despite the fact that the Port did not follow proper procedure and vet the issue publicly. Moreover, Dinsmore wasn’t in line for severance pay anyway—he wasn’t laid off, he was retiring.

According to e-mails obtained by the The Seattle Times, it was only, after HR had signed off on the sweetheart deal ($340,000!?!) that it went public and was ixnayed by a vote at the last minute.

Why did HR sign off on the deal? As the PI scooped it last week, Port Commissioner Pat Davis authorized it—signing a memo without the consent of her fellow Commissioners.

Pat Davis’s alibi is problematic on its face. She says her lone signature authorizing the Dinsmore severance is kosher because the deal had been discussed by the Commission in executive session with her fellow Commissioners. And while this morning’s report in the Seattle Times indicates she’s right about that, it also points to a larger problem, a little theory I’ve been Slogging out loud this week: State law says the Commission isn’t allowed to make decisions about compensation in closed door Executive sessions in the first place. In other words, the Port violated state law by authorizing this in Executive session.

I asked the Port’s legal staff about this on Thursday, and they said the sessions were kosher because only “final action” on compensation packages for individuals need to be done in public.

The legal staff is correct about the language, but here’s what I wrote about that yesterday:

I’m not sure it clears Davis. It seems to me a final action had already been taken: Davis signed a memo authorizing the payment to Dinsmore. It only came to light, according to sources at the Port, when an HR person brought it to the attention of the new Port CEO, Tay Yoshitani, before presumably trying to make good on Dinsmore’s “severance.”

Indeed, this morning Seattle Times story confirms this scenario.

I also interviewed Port Commissioner John Creighton about this yesterday. He said: “Whatever happened in Executive session, that memo should have never been signed without a Commission vote in public.

Some previous Slog coverage on this mess—including the contention that investigating a derelict closed-door Executive session with an investigation slated to be presented in a closed door Executive session is unacceptable: here and here and here.

The Morning News

posted by on April 28 at 8:00 AM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

Sunshine: Exemptions to Washington State’s Public Records Act to come under review.

Warmer: Canada fails to meet its Kyoto goals.

Empty?: Secret CIA prisons in use again.

Mellow Cello: Mstislav Rostropovich is dead.

Smartypants: Computers now as smart as half a mouse brain.

Truth In Advertising: Dolphin-safe tuna still dolphin-safe.

Gender Bias: Clothing tariffs are irrational.

Royal Mess: Prince Harry in the crosshairs.

Compromise?: Bush will veto Iraq withdrawal bill, but the rhetoric is changing.

Choppers: Several good reasons not to fly in a helicopter.

Beam Me Up, Scotty: Actor’s ashes launched into space.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

posted by on April 27 at 8:12 PM

A former Medford man who converted to Judaism wants his 12-year-old son to do the same. That requires circumcision—something the mother adamantly opposes.

The divorced couple has been battling over the issue for three years, including whether the boy wants to undergo the procedure. So far, Oregon courts have squarely sided with the father, who has custody….

The mother responded by going to court, saying her son told her that he was afraid to defy his father, but didn’t want the procedure.

Bush Administration Official Resigns

posted by on April 27 at 8:00 PM

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias has resigned. It seems that Randy was patronizing escorts in D.C., and he just got caught. Before joining the State Department Tobias was the Bush administration’s AIDS Czar—and a big backer of abstinence and monogamy over condoms.

Just another Republican urging us to “screw as I say, not as I screw.”

Says Joe over at Americablog

Abstinence is for the little people, not the loyal Bushies. They don’t have to practice what they preach.


This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 27 at 4:53 PM

An astonishing number of films opening this weekend didn’t screen for the press. Take this to mean this week’s releases are all awful, take this to mean critics are outdated, take this to mean whatever you like.

But first, the news:

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for Robinson Devor and Charles Mudede, whose documentary Zoo (which was preceded by this feature in The Stranger) was accepted into Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. (Via GreenCine: a quick rundown of critical response following the NYC opening.)

In the New York Times, Sharon Waxman reports on the rapid fade on female powerbrokers in Hollywood. The past 14 months have seen the departure of three of the four women in top jobs at Hollywood’s major studios:

Nina Jacobson, president of Disney’s motion picture group, lost out in a power play. Gail Berman, the president of Paramount, did not mesh well with her boss, Brad Grey, the studio’s chairman, and was pushed out. And Stacey Snider, the former chairwoman of Universal Pictures, chose to defect to DreamWorks, now a Paramount subsidiary, rather than continue to labor under the pressures of Universal’s ultimate corporate parent, General Electric.

Opening today:

Jen Graves and David Schmader squabble amicably over the 30-year-old Annie Hall. They do agree on one thing: It’s the best romantic comedy EVER.

Brendan Kiley hates, hates, hates on The Condemned: “If watching a good movie is like eating fine steak and watching a bad movie is like eating a cream puff, watching The Condemned is like eating air.”

Plus, Next, Kickin’ It Old Skool, The Invisible, Wind Chill, and more.

And in On Screen this week, the zany slowness that is The Taste of Tea at the Grand Illusion (Charles Mudede: “This could have been a perfect picture”), the abs&ass parade that is Boy Culture at the Varsity (Dan Savage: “Filmed in Seattle, Boy Culture would have us believe that our sleepy little burg is a city of wet, neon-streaked streets crawling with hustlers, wannabes, and the kind of broad-shouldered, big-titted, narrow-waisted gay men you’re more likely to find strolling through West Hollywood (and through casting agencies in Hollywood) than dancing at any gay club that exists in Seattle”), and the delayed coming-of-age that is Diggers (Me: “As a movie, Diggers is affable and lazy—its purpose obscured by a swarm of clichés. As a comic sketch about Frankie and Julie, it’s great”).

Movie Times can be found over there in the upper right-hand corner, or click here. Nice to know: Rear Window is screening at MOHAI next Thursday, so you can do a Disturbia double-header; the Seattle Polish Film Festival (official website) is screening movies about patricidal ideation, depressing towns, and police officers having mental breakdowns; there’s a special big-screen revival of Dirty Dancing; Rudy Ray Moore is in town for a doc about his life and work; and Silent Movie Mondays launches Monday with exciting Harold Lloyd shorts.

Sen. Murray Proposes Job Security for Abuse Victims

posted by on April 27 at 4:50 PM

Badass WA Senator Patty Murray has proposed legislation to help domestic-violence victims overcome the financial dependency that often keeps them in relationships with violent partners.

The bill, called the Survivors’ Empowerment and Economic Security Act, would give domestic-violence survivors the right to take off work, without penalty, to appear in court, seek legal assistance and access help. Survivors would also qualify in every state for unemployment benefits if they are fired or forced to leave because of abuse, and they would be protected from discrimination in employment and insurance.

Opponents, predictably, claim that the bill discriminates against employers and will discourage companies from hiring people who could be victims of domestic abuse. Given that one in three American women will report physical or sexual abuse by a male intimate partner in their lives, that argument strikes me as pretty specious.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on April 27 at 4:37 PM

Do the Right Thing: Thailand defiantly manufactures Abbot Labs’ patented HIV drugs.

Free Willie: On the road again.

Other People’s Money: Paying cocaine users for research draws ire.

The Cell: FDA hears major support for innovative HIV treatment.

Nutty Professors: Hawaii may drug test all teachers.

Meet the Parent: Sanjaya’s mom grew pot.

Cast Away: Pot-smokin’ tots to stay with CPS.

Indiana Jones: Speed.

In the Heat of the Night: Officers plead guilty to killing 92-year-old woman during drug raid.

Traffic: Dominican Republic to fire at all suspicious aircraft.

Field of Dreams: Stronger, greener, different.

Look Who’s Talking: Slog’s atrocious 4/20 “coverage” mimicked by Sound Politics.

And now—just to keep you guessing—an image related to the post:


This Is a Post about Poetry, and It’s Long, So Those People Who Hate Everything Should Just Keep Scrolling

posted by on April 27 at 4:04 PM

Ah look, you started reading. Cool.

You know something strange is happening to you when you find yourself reading poetry at the gym. Especially if you’re usually sort of hostile to poetry. I’d forgotten how much I love Heather McHugh’s poems. Then I caught her reading at the close of the Seattle Poetry Festival last weekend (recapped in this week’s Nightstand). The next day I was talking with a friend who was looking through the new New Yorker and said, “I don’t like poetry,” and I said, “Have you ever read Heather McHugh?” And because he hadn’t, I spent part of the next day typing her poem “Intensive Care” into the body of an email. “Intensive Care” is the one that begins: “As if intensity were a virtue we say/good and. Good and drunk. Good and dead.” And ends: “Today we were bad/and together; tonight/we’ll be good and alone.”

The reason I was typing that into an email—typing it straight out of my hardcover The Paris Review Book of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal… and Everything Else in the World Since 1953—is because “Intensive Care” isn’t anywhere to be found online. Makes sense, since it’s copyrighted. But the Poetry Foundation—as I learned in that NYer article that pissed everyone off—has something called the Poetry Tool, a searchable online library of poets’ “best and most representative poems,” and they have eight poems by McHugh.

But, uh, Poetry Foundation: on what planet are these Heather McHugh’s best poems? These are okay, totally fine, but you have so many to choose from! Can’t you put up some more? For the sake of poetry? What about “Intensive Care”? Where is “Where,” the one that starts: “I leave the drink and cigarette/where the music is, and go/outdoors where nothing/is the whole idea.//The winter zeros in on eyes and/orphans everyone, and clear//is not a kind of thought./Outside you’re not/as gone as in a house…”

And where’s her sense of humor in these eight poems you’ve chosen, Poetry Foundation? What about, like, “20/200 on 747”? From near the beginning: “Given an airplane, chance//encounters always ask, So what/are your poems about? They’re about/their business, and their father’s business, and their/monkey’s uncle, they’re about/how nothing is about, they’re not/about about. This answer drives them/back to the snack tray every time./Phil Fenstermacher, for example, turns up/perfectly clear in my memory, perfectly attentive to/his Vache Qui Rit, that saddest cheese.” And it gets better, plus there’s even more making-fun-of-Phil: “Mister Fenstermacher is relieved/to fill his mind with the immediate/and masterable challenge of the cheese/after his brief and chastening foray/into the social arts.”

What about one of the fucked up love ones, like “The Most”? (“We are, for your comfort, far from the town/of your friends, of mates and mistresses, and of/amends.”) Or “Preferences,” which pretends to be about Antarctica (where “the plain truth oversimplifies/the human state”) but isn’t (suddenly, outta nowhere: “The heart’s two-timing, thicketed and wrong/but reason doesn’t simply make us single”).

Most of these are in the National Book Award finalist Hinge & Sign: Poems, 1968-1993, the book I’ve been reading at the gym, pedaling a bike to its rhythms, because she has the best rhythms, like “one by one the winters nailed/more cold into her house.” Or like:

The fruit is heavier to bear
than flowers seem to be.
But that’s a lover talking
not a tree.

Here’s a picture of her back:


And here’s an audience review she wrote for The Stranger after a reading she did in 2004.

Heather McHugh is the bomb, the shizzle, the kahuna, the mack, the tits, the g. She’s dope. Sweet. Tight. Phat. All that. And she lives in the same city you do, if you live in Seattle.

Re: Barnett Takes Home Muni League’s News Award

posted by on April 27 at 4:00 PM

I pointed out to ECB that her award was made of lucite, and that lucite is a petroleum product. When I asked her how she could in good conscience accept this award—isn’t she concerned about climate change? shouldn’t the Muni League be recycling awards?—ECB just shrugged. Without a doubt three Bangladeshis will drown as a result of ECB’s situational ethics. Your drive to work? A mortal environmental sin. Her Muni League award? A bit of deserved recognition.

One thing ECB and I agreed on: We were happy to be standing behind this guy during the awards ceremony…


There are some foxy guys in the Muni League—who knew?

All Lost in the Supermarket

posted by on April 27 at 3:56 PM

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled 7-2 yesterday that it’s illegal to carry protest signs while moving through the common space at the mall.

No matter how older, stupider and conservativer I get, it’s impossible to abandon my Clash T-shirt-10th-grade-brain and accept the shopping as private property/NSA/ Corporate Superstate on this one.

Here’s a clip from Justice Richard Sanders’s dissent.

Because it is a public forum, Westlake Center’s restriction on signs must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest. However, this regulation absolutely prohibits any form of picketing anywhere, anytime, under any circumstance. Furthermore, the prohibition leaves no alternative channel for would-be picketers to express their message. This blanket prohibition violates the First Amendment.

Beth Sanders and William and Patricia Daugaard planned to attend an antiwar protest at Seattle Center. They went to Westlake Center to use the Seattle Monorail. The Daugaards, after seeing the long lines for the monorail, decided to leave the station. As he exited, Mr. Daugaard refused to succumb to repeated commands to lower his protest sign. Beth Sanders decided to ride the monorail and as she waited she held her sign high, peacefully proclaiming her discontent with the war in Iraq. No passengers reported being disturbed or delayed; there were no reports of violence or
injuries. Nevertheless, Sanders was eventually forced to lower her sign. Picketing is a basic and essential means of protest, clearly protected by our right to free speech.

And here’s the majority ruling.

Today in Line Out

posted by on April 27 at 3:43 PM

Day = Ruined: Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz flaunts his celebrity and opens a bar. At least he’s not flaunting his dick this time.

The Blakes, Poop, and T-Shirts: Somehow, Eric Grandy finds a connection between all three.

Best Song Ever (This Week): Mirah’s “Cold Cold Water” makes me shiver.

Metal Vegan Cooking: Extreme Noise Teriyaki Kabobs! (Insert badass metal scream here.)

Oh Canada: Terry’s love for Canadian disco.

R.I.P.: Mstislav Rostropovich died.

Dream Police: Carly Nicklaus’s Britney-inspired nightmares.

And now, we have the lovely Jessie and Danny to thank for this:


Genet & Anger

posted by on April 27 at 3:15 PM

I went to the Un Chant d’amour/Kenneth Anger screening yesterday, and it was awesome. Except at SIFF, I’ve never seen so many people packed into a screening of experimental films. This is the good that gay content can do. (For the bad that gay content can do, see Dan Savage’s review of Boy Culture, which was, embarrassingly, filmed in Seattle.)

The surprise of the evening for me was one of Anger’s less admired films, Rabbit’s Moon. Here’s Brian Frye’s description in this week’s DVD column:

In Rabbit’s Moon, Pierrot pantomimes his love affair with the moon. Shot in 35 mm on a Paris soundstage, it represents Anger’s re-creation of the theatrical Hollywood fantasies of his youth.

I’ve never been particularly excited about commedia dell’arte, perhaps because I’ve never seen it done or used well. (Incidentally, I’ve concluded there exists no good web page on commedia. Can somebody get on that, please? This one, which is in French, is along the right lines.)


Anger’s Pierrot (André Soubeyran) is adorably rabbity, with neither twitchy nose nor curled up paw-fingers to assist. It somehow seems right that he’d be in love with the rabbit in the moon. And the repeated moon sequence—close, closer, split-second of craters!—is just great. Admittedly, Claude Revenant (the actor who plays Harlequin) sucks. And it goes on too long. But Rabbit’s Moon is incredibly interesting: it’s Kenneth Anger without the testosterone, where performativity is inherent and isn’t just this coy leather costume that veils muscles as it draws attention to them.

If you missed it, you need this DVD:

Un Chant d'amour

And this one:

Kenneth Anger

First Casualty of Last Session’s Viaduct Fiasco?

posted by on April 27 at 2:33 PM

Transportation Secretary Resigning

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Transportation Department Secretary Doug MacDonald is resigning in July. The resignation was announced on Friday by Governor Gregoire, who thanked MacDonald for his leadership over six years. MacDonald plans to live in Seattle and pursue new opportunities in the environmental and transportation fields.

If MacDonald wants to pursue transportation and environmental opportunities, this is a smart move, because that combo is not an option at the state’s road agency.

The Week in Geek

posted by on April 27 at 2:20 PM

OMFG! It’s the Stranger’s first ever Week in Geek!

Geek quiz: If you know why this photo is funny, you win.

VOIP safe, for now — Appeals court issues a stay in Verizon v. Vonage, but the future of cheap internet phone calls is in doubt. Fuck Verizon.

China scans students — Chinese college uses fingerprint scanners to take roll, attendance rises to 95 percent.

Continuing their strategy of entering markets 5 years late (see Zune, the), Microsoft takes aim at Adobe’s Flash.

Storage Porn — Ooh, baby.

Despite the inexcusable use of the word “faire”, Maker Faire participants make cool shit: like a life-sized version of the classic mousetrap board game that drops a 2-ton safe instead of a plastic basket.

Happy Geekiversary! — As Star Wars turns 30, thousands get painful reminder of just how long they’ve been living in their parents’ basement.

Paparazzi got you down? Tired of your random prancings around town ending up on your idiot friends’ myspaces? Get yourself some FlickrBlockrs!

Command of the Week: sudo lsof -i | grep LISTEN

And finally, here’s Jodie Foster—in teenaged triplicate—singing Je T’attends Depuis la Nuit des Temps.

Barnett Takes Home Muni League’s News Award

posted by on April 27 at 2:00 PM

Last month, I announced the cool news that our very own Erica C. Barnett had won a reporting award from the Municipal League of King County: Governmental News Reporting of the Year.

Last night was the big night. Cheering, munching on veggie egg rolls, and drinking the free wine, Dan and I (along with Stranger publisher Tim Keck) went to the packed shindig at the doughnut shaped Space Needle skyline room where ECB and the other honored guests (like local historian Walt Crowley, Citizen of the Year, and suburban Rep. Fred Jarrett, Public Official of the Year) got their plaques.

Leave it to ECB. Erica gave a great (and appropriately) iconoclastic speech, stepping away from the polite, fluffy thank you speeches that were delivered by most of the winners. Explaining that she reports not only on what’s happening in the city, but what should be happening in the city, Barnett called for shaking up Seattle’s (bad for the environment) status quo. Then, the Muni League presented Erica with her award—a heavy, bad-for-the-environment—hunk of lucite.

Erica’s had a great year, and I think the award ( quite beautiful, anyway—a big water drop) is long overdue.

Afterwards, the evening got a bit blurry, as a pack of us, including City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck (pictured below) toasted Erica at Black Bottle in Belltown.


Virgin Bride! Vietnamese? Chinese? You Pick!

posted by on April 27 at 1:07 PM

What began life as a simple Vietnamese shoe factory has become…oh so very much more than a simple Vietnamese shoe factory.

From the site:

Mr. Cupid guarantees the arrival of the bride within the agreed time frame. Should the bride fails to arrive, the company shall arrange another Matchmaking and Marriage Trip for the client absolutely free.



Innocence, shield thine eyes!

Port Watch

posted by on April 27 at 1:00 PM

Among other weird things coming to light about the Port lately, I noticed that every one of their twice-a-month public meetings is preceded by a closed door executive session.

As someone who covered city hall for years where executive sessions came up only for special circumstances like confidential real estate discussions or personnel matters, the Port’s practice strikes me as curious.

Executive sessions before every public meeting? What are they talking about in there? Are they scripting the upcoming public meeting?

I brought this to the attention of Port Commissioner John Creighton this morning. (I ran into Creighton last night at a Municipal League shindig, and he gave me his card telling me to call if I ever had questions about the Port.)

Creighton, elected from the moderate right over super liberal Lawrence Malloy in 2005, told me this morning: “It’s the way the Port has been doing things for years. And I think it bears looking into.”

State law enumerates when it’s appropriate to have executive sessions. So, I took his advice and started looking into it. With him.

I asked Creighton if if these regular meetings actually fit the bill as described by state law. He acknowledged that a recent meeting about real estate had “devolved into a political discussion” and two commissioners, including himself, questioned whether or not this aspect of the meeting was appropriate. Creighton, in fact, says he brought it to the attention of Port legal staff, and they told him the Commission was advised to “reel it back in.”

Obviously, with so many regular “executive sessions,” the Commission is getting lackadaisical about following the rules. Given the $420 million Port’s taxing authority—$68 million in property taxes—this is red flag situation.

I also talked to Creighton about the recent scandal. (It came to light last week that Port Commissioner Pat Davis signed a memo without the consent of her fellow Commissioners authorizing a hefty retirement package for former Port CEO Mic Dinsmore.)

In particular, I asked Creighton about the point I Slogged yesterday: Pat Davis’s alibi is problematic on its face. She says her lone signature authorizing the Dinsmore severance is kosher because the deal had been discussed by the Commission in executive session. But those types of discussions are supposed to be public.

(I asked the Port’s legal staff about this yesterday as well, and they say only “final action” on compensation packages for individuals need to be done in public.)

The legal staff is correct about the language, but I’m not sure it clears Davis. It seems to me a final action had already been taken: Davis signed a memo authorizing the payment to Dinsmore. It only came to light, according to sources at the Port, when an HR person brought it to the attention of the new Port CEO, Tay Yoshitani, before presumably trying to make good on Dinsmore’s “severance.”

Creighton seems to agree with me. He told me: “Whatever happened in Executive session, that memo should have never been signed without a Commission vote in public.”

As for why the Commissioners didn’t call for Pat Davis’s resignation? Well, there had been a rumor that new Port CEO Tay Yoshitani had threatened to quit if the Commission didn’t defuse the scandal. Creighton closed in on confirming that rumor. He told me this morning: “We have a new director. He doesn’t want a squabbling commission. He didn’t want to hold his head in his hands and head back to Baltimore.” (Yoshitani was the Director of the Maryland Port Administration in the late 90s.)

How Was It?

posted by on April 27 at 12:10 PM

It’s spring. Anyone over 25 is at least thinking about exercise. I know I’m debating that gym membership I haven’t used in four months, two weeks, and three days. I’m also feeling terribly guilty every time I look at those unopened Turbo Jam DVDs, I bought from a way-too-convincing Sunday-morning infomercial… oops.

Anyway, for this week’s HOW WAS IT? episode, I thought I might see what people were up to for exercise. I went to Kent to see some girl-on-girl oil wrestling, a downtown Seattle gym, and the 2007 Emerald Cup Bodybuilding and Fitness Expo over in Bellevue. Please enjoy.

Me, I think I’m still a firm believer in the immortal words of my wise Aunt Roach: “Thin may be in, but a li’l fat’s where it’s at”

The LGBT Community Center Supports Capitol Hill—Except When It Doesn’t

posted by on April 27 at 11:59 AM

The LGBT Community Center wants to wrest control of the pride parade from SOaP and move it back to Capitol Hill.

They say they oppose the downtown parade because Capitol Hill is the historic home of Seattle’s gay and lesbian community. That’s why the parade belongs here. Moving the parade downtown and the rally to Seattle Center was, they insist, an unforgivable betrayal of the gay community and, more to the point, gay business owners on Capitol Hill. (In actual fact Capitol Hill only became Seattle’s gay neighborhood in the 1980s. Pioneer Square is the “historic” home of Seattle’s gay community. Maybe the parade belongs there?)

The LGBT Community Center’s biggest annual fundraising event is the Fruit Bowl Awards, which honors “individuals and organizations in Seattle whom have made significant contributions to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community.” Last year the Fruit Bowl Awards ceremony was held on Broadway, at the old Safeway. And where is this year’s Fruit Bowl Awards ceremony being held?

Seattle Center.

Anti-Abortion Terrorists Attack in Austin

posted by on April 27 at 11:47 AM

Media says: Yawn.

Granted, the Austin American-Statesman did a really good, thorough job with its story about yesterday’s attempted bombing at a South Austin abortion clinic (the device, which contained explosive powder and nails, would have caused “substantial harm” if it had detonated, which it was capable of doing, according to Austin police). But national media, including the AP (380 words, generally truncated to fewer than 100) CNN (300 words) Reuters (195 words) and Fox (350 words) treated it as a virtual nonstory.

Because obviously we can’t call it “terrorism” when women are the victims and right-wing lunatics are the culprits.

Questions for SOaP

posted by on April 27 at 11:39 AM

Weston Sprigg has been a board member of Seattle Out and Proud for three years. We spoke this morning.

So what exactly went down? Why did you guys decide to go ahead with the parade downtown?

We met Tuesday night with an attorney present—he was sitting there basically to make sure we were doing everything appropriately. Then we started laying out our options—fold, declare bankruptcy, give up on the festival and the parade—but we also discussed the press we’d been getting and the public reaction. We had all been getting feedback, tons of it, coming into by email and phone. We heard from people that said they got a taste for what the event could be last year when it moved downtown and they didn’t want to go backward.

The support for the downtown parade was overwhelming. And people were telling us that we had an obligation to stick with it—not just the downtown parade, but stick with it so we could pay our bills, that we had an obligation to pay our bills, that we shouldn’t run from them. And people were saying they would help us do that.

And the SOaP felt that only its continued existence—deciding not to fold—could ensure that the parade remained downtown, that it didn’t move backwards?

Yes, absolutely. The LGBT Community Center had already proposed stepping into the void that would be created if we folded and they had committed to moving the parade back to Capitol Hill. They’re committed to Capitol Hill generally—not in a bad way, but they’re committed.

We had to weigh that against what people were telling us. And they were telling us that they wanted to the traditional Sunday parade and they wanted it downtown, just like last year. It really meant a lot, being downtown, for a lot of people it was the first time they felt accepted by the wider community, like they belonged here. But SOaP folding meant no downtown, and the loss of that. And that, we felt, was valuable.

How do you plan to pay your bills?

By doing what’s always been financially successful, the parade, and chipping away at rest of the debt. In reality only half the patient here was sick—the festival. That’s why we brought in IES in the first place, that’s why we took on a producing partner with experience running festivals.

The parade has never made a ton of money. It might generate an extra ten thousand dollars this year, which will go towards the debt.

We’re also raising money for the parade and the debt. People are going to the site and making donations. We’ve seen donations of $100 and donations of $10. We raised a thousand dollars last week at a Bucca De Beppo fundraiser. People are stepping forward and saying, “I understand now that even though I’ve participated on the sidelines and enjoyed it I need to make a contribution and really support it.”

What are you doing to right your financial ship administratively?

An independent auditor has stepped forward, a professional auditor, who man that works for a bank as an auditor. He’s going to help us establish an audit and oversight committee, independent of the board, to take us to the next level of transparency and accountability.

Many people are wary of getting involved with SOaP, or any pride planning group, because of the non-stop drama. What would you say to people that want to step forward and help but are, frankly, afraid of getting dragged into the pride mud?

Now’s the time to get involved. All we can say is that if people don’t get involved now the drama will happen all over again, and probably be worse.

You know, last night I volunteered for Lifelong AIDS Alliance’s Dine Out for Life fundraiser. I spent the night at the Broadway Grille, volunteering for a different community non-profit. This weekend I’m volunteering at a Seattle Men’s Chorus auction.

It’s easy right now to volunteer for these groups. They’re well organized, with large, professional staffs. It’s harder to volunteer for us. But if people don’t volunteer it will never get easier to work on pride events. Seattle has the largest gay chamber of commerce in the country, the largest community chorus in the world, and probably the second largest AIDS organization in the country. All these groups are powered by volunteers. We should have one of the largest and strongest pride groups in the country too.

How can people donate?

They can donate online at

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 27 at 11:08 AM

Dear Stranger: I am writing to tell you that I found your “Jesus Blog” feature to be in very poor taste. This was every bit as offensive as the infamous Dutch [sic] cartoons satirizing Mohammed. It is interesting to note that no major U.S. media outlets would publish the cartoons [though The Stranger did —Ed.], because many saw them as bigoted and intolerant. However, while other religions are respected, Christianity is apparently fair game for all kinds of low humor. Perhaps this is because offended Christians merely write Letters to the Editor, instead of burning down embassies. In any case, I implore you to be more tolerant of other’s beliefs, rather pointlessly subjecting them to ridicule for cheap laughs.

Nathan Tamm

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 27 at 11:00 AM


The Blood Brothers (MUSIC) Suggesting that music lovers of Seattle go to a Blood Brothers show is about as pointless as telling Anna Nicole Smith that she’s dead. You already know all about the Blood Brothers and their hyperactive, pioneering, snotty prog-meets-hardcore sound that, when played live, turns the room into a dripping, sticky pit of flailing limbs. Right? Right. I’m sure you do. (The Showbox, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. 8 pm, $13 adv/$15 DOS, all ages.) MEGAN SELING

Impressionism Plus Politics

posted by on April 27 at 10:55 AM

For Eighty Cents! (Per ottanta centesimi!), 1895, oil on canvas, by Angelo Morbelli.

Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia & Anarchy: All right.

(Straight-up impressionism makes its next celebrity appearance in Seattle a year from now, in this.)

A Dickens of a Character

posted by on April 27 at 10:24 AM

In this week’s feature on Gage Academy of Art, I write about the academy’s conflicted director, Gary Faigin.

Faigin is one of my favorite characters in Seattle art. He is eccentric and stubborn, and openly admits he is threatened by a newfound open-mindedness that has taken him over in the last few years. The fight at the heart of Gage Academy is the fight at the heart of Gary Faigin, between an emphasis on time-tested skill in art—the stuff you can’t bullshit—and ideas, feelings, all the things you can’t measure, but which ultimately make art what it is.

Actually, that’s the conflict at the heart of art, too. Which must be why I like Faigin so much—he invites the conflict and sits with it.

What I couldn’t fit into the story were the details of Gary’s life. As one-half of the couple that founded Gage Academy (Pamela Belyea is the other half), Faigin might seem from a distance to be a patrician. After all, he’s the guy behind Seattle’s only “classical” academy, a place from which all manner of finely honed drawings of nudes and genteelly painted still-lifes issue forth like a parade of dead white kings.

But Faigin is no silver-spooner. Here’s a section I had in the original draft of my story, but which got cut for space:

Faigin got started in art the way most artists do: by drawing. He dropped out of college in the name of political activism (among other things, Faigin protested the Democratic nomination of Hubert Humphrey over the anti-war candidate, Eugene McCarthy, in 1968) and generalized hippie wandering (“a couple of guys came and said, well, there are whole sheets of blotter acid in San Francisco, and what were we doing wasting our time in Ann Arbor?”). Then, he tried becoming a novelist. He discovered he liked doing illustrations in the margins better than writing. His first complex drawing from life was in his 20s, of his own feet sticking out of his sleeping bag. (Belyea still has the drawing.) He was so satisfied with the act of achieving a likeness that he decided to go back to school—”art school, not college.” In December of 1976, Faigin and Belyea hitchhiked from Vancouver, B.C., to New York on less than $100. He was headed for the Art Students League of New York. In a catalog he’d found, the school listed its prerequisites as, “There are none.”

Yesterday, in a perfect twist, I found out that Faigin plays prominently in a new photograph by Thomas Struth—the artist who shoots museum visitors as they survey masterpieces. Turns out Faigin was leading a Gage tour at the Prado, and gesticulating in front of Velazquez’s Las Meninas when the photo was taken, in 2005. (The photograph is up at Marian Goodman Gallery in NY through this weekend.) Faigin is the only person in the photograph whose face really shows, and in an April 10 review in the NYT, Michael Kimmelman mentions him, “the smiling tour guide, leaning into a goggle-eyed scrum of visitors who lean oh so slightly away from the Velázquez, as if intimidated by its reputation.”

“How about that for a crossover of the Classical and the modern?” Faigin emailed me. Indeed. Thomas Struth had no idea what he’d captured.




Charlie Chong

posted by on April 27 at 9:59 AM



posted by on April 27 at 9:55 AM

Damn you, Tyler Green!

Yesterday, Modern Art Notes reported that Aqua Art Miami, the fair concurrent with Art Basel Miami Beach run by two Seattle artists, Jaq Chartier and Dirk Park, will be expanding this December.

And not just expanding, but doubling—and improving.

In addition to the hotel part of Aqua on the beach, Chartier and Park will be renting out a warehouse across the bridge in Wynwood, near where NADA holds its popular fair. Asked whether Aqua is going head-to-head with Nada, Chartier told MAN: “Definitely.”

Aqua’s warehouse presentation will have larger booths than NADA, permanent walls (since Aqua will be renting the warehouse year-round—which raises the question, is Aqua expanding beyond a December phenomenon?), and a layout that does away with the usual shopping aisles setup.

Bold, bold, bold, bold, bold.

Speaking Gigs

posted by on April 27 at 9:39 AM

This is why I go speak at colleges…

I’m a student at Western Washington University. I was at your Savage Love talk on this past Wednesday and I must say it was one of the most powerful talks that I have ever been too.

I first want to say, Thank you! One of the questions you answered was about people having a “gay voice.” All my life I have been know as a “sissy fag” and I’ve always tried, no matter what, to change my voice, my walk and my mannerisms. Even my gay friends thought I was a little bit much at times. Never in my entire life has anyone said to me that it’s ok to be a sissy and have the “gay voice” and it was natural and something I couldn’t control. No one.

You don’t know me personally or anything but hearing you say that made me feel finally accepted, and that I need not be ashamed of who I am. You don’t know how much it means to me to hear that told to me after years of trying to hide or change who I am. For that I am thankful.

I must also admit that I am what you would call a chicken-shit. I’m a college student at a very liberal university but I still can’t admit to some of my friends that I’m gay. But you have inspired me; I guess I have never really thought about the fact that if they don’t accept me that maybe I don’t want them as friends anymore. I need to be more honest and accepting of who I am if I wish to be happy.

Thank you very much. I wish I got a chance after the show to let you know how much of a positive impact your talk has had on my life but alas I promised to drive a friend home. I know you get lots of emails a day and I don’t know when you will see this but I just wanted to let you know that you in the course of a couple hours have truly impacted and made a difference in my life.

Okay, the money’s pretty good too. But this email really made the drive up to Bellingham worth it—and that’s saying something, considering that the boyfriend brought the poodle, which promptly got car sick and threw up all over my coat, computer bag, and the back seat, and the car stank—stank—of dog vomit all the way up to Bellingham and all the way down to Seattle.

Not All Celebrities Are Drunk-Driving, Dine-n-Dashing, Baked Bean-Throwing Freaks…

posted by on April 27 at 8:51 AM matter what Adrian says below.

Some want to help us learn and grow.

Ladies, gentlemen, Showgirls fans: Ask Elizabeth!

(FYI to those wondering about the double surname: Elizabeth Berkley is married to Ralph Lauren’s son. Also, don’t let my flip introduction to Berkeley’s website read as condemnation of its contents. Clearly “Ask Elizabeth!” has its heart in the right place and is a force for good. Nevertheless, Berkley’s progression from TV’s Saved by the Bell to Verhoeven’s Saved by the Pole to her own Saved by Self-Esteem is too juicy to ignore.)

(Thanks to the blessedly returned Hot Tipper Jake.)

This Morning’s International Celebrity Rap Sheet Roundup!

posted by on April 27 at 7:56 AM

Today dawns legally contentious for the famous as the long and punitive arm of the law reaches to ensnare a herd of fresh celebrity fuck-ups, each spotlighted for new peccadilloes. These included, but are not limited to:

Hugh Grant!
Sore whores, relax! Hugh has been arrested for assault with a deadly legume. He lost his cool British temper at some dude that was following him around with a camera, and retaliated by hucking a Tupperware container full of his limey beans at the poor guy’s head. He also reportedly pranced up and kicked him in the knee like a little girl. No official charges have been filed. Yet.

Richard Gere!
Gerbils, relax! (Sorry.) Richard is wanted in India for kissing (a woman, ahem) in public. There has actually been a warrant filed for his arrest. Indians are apparently so offended by kissing (women, ahem) in public that angry and very prude crowds burned the almost-60-year-old actor in effigy in three major cities. Which is the least he deserves.

Snoop is not wanted in Australia. He overstayed his visa in February and has been refused reentry into the country. (They say his extensive rap sheet also might have had something to do with it.) And did I ever tell you about the time I rubbed his shoulders? I love that story.

Tyra Banks dine-‘n-dashed on her $100 lunch bill at a New York restaurant. The New York Daily news tattled on her, so she got all embarrassed and went back and paid and claimed it was an accident. But everybody knows she’s lying. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. Fucking liar.

Eve wrecked her car in L.A., and has been arrested on suspicion of drunk-driving. Sean Penn offered to bail her out. I wonder where he got the money. He owes me 10 bucks.

Creepy Bean Thrower!

Slog Poll: Where Should the Gay Pride Parade Be Held?

posted by on April 27 at 7:55 AM

The organization that moved Seattle’s Gay Pride Parade downtown last year has collapsed come back (yet again) from the brink of collapse, leaving the location of this year’s parade uncertain the same as last year (although perhaps with a competing parade on Capitol Hill yet again). We Sloggers certainly have our own opinions about where the parade should be held, and we’ll probably be posting a lot more about what we think should happen. But never mind us. What do you think? Where should Seattle’s Gay Pride Parade take place?

Originally posted on Tuesday. Poll closes on Sunday

The Age of Treason

posted by on April 27 at 7:04 AM

And what is the use of this?

George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, has lashed out against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials in a new book, saying they pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a “serious debate” about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States.
Big fucking deal! It matters naught that he comes out now with something he should have come out with five years ago. The stuff of Tenet comes from the bottom of the pit.

Giuliani’s Gay Marriage Flip Flop

posted by on April 27 at 7:00 AM


Remember how Rudolph Giuliani’s position on same-sex marriage—flower girl—was going to hurt him with the religious right? Not anymore. Yesterday Giuliani pulled a Romney-esque flip flop on gay marriage, coming out—get it? coming out?—against New Hampshire’s new law creating civil unions for same-sex couples. There’s a lot of very thoughtful commentary out there already about Giuliani’s craven attempts to appease the religious right—Giuliani’s the Neville Chamberlain of gay marriage!—but I think Gawker says it best…

America’s Mayor is a Liar

Yesterday Rudy Giuliani announced that he had been pretending for years that he believed that the gays should have civil unions—including the gays he lived with when he was kicked out of Gracie Mansion by his spurned former wife, right after he broke up with her via press conference—and said that he would now immediately begin pretending to believe that he is firmly against civil unions. Giuliani, the most rat-faced and most-married of all the former mayors of New York, is now running for President on a platform that his advisers refer to as Operation Two-Faced Gay-Traitor, which is intended to convince national voters that clearly he will use any opportunity to seize power and then turn this country into a morally-pure fatherland united in opposition to both the filthy Arabs and anyone who doesn’t want to have sex with Judith Regan—a transformation he can effect in just under ten days, unless he’s too busy cheating on a wife or committing incest.

The Morning News

posted by on April 27 at 6:17 AM

Debate: Dem candidates find unity in Bush-bashing

Crisis: UN struggling to aid Somalia

Scapegoat? George Tenet rails on administration

Executive Privilege: Condoleeza Rice shirks subpoena

Civil Unions: Now available in New Hampshire

Another One Bites the Dust: Arizona GOP Rep under investigation, could resign

The Man Who Rated Movies: Former MPAA chief Jack Valenti dies

So That’s Where I LeftThem: UW opens time capsule, finds porno mags

Fun Superhero Fact of the Day: One time, The Avengers were on Letterman


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Debate Night

posted by on April 26 at 9:34 PM

Apparently there was a democratic debate tonight. Some folks went to the trouble of liveblogging the thing. Some thought it was deadly dull. And now that it’s over others want you to vote for who thought made the best impression. (Edwards is winning the vote over at Kos.)

Anyone in Seattle catch the debate?

BREAKING NEWS: Hostage Situation Domestic Dispute

posted by on April 26 at 5:13 PM

At 1:55 PM Seattle Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the Cottage Grove neighborhood in West Seattle, after they received a call from Terry Wendt that his “ex-boyfriend [was] destroying his car.”


After Wendt refused to go out and purchase beer and cigarettes for his domestic partner, Robert James, he went outside to mow his front lawn. James came outside and began to stomp on the lawnmower before picking up several bricks and throwing them through Wendt’s BMW’s windows. James then then used an ax to smash the body and windshield of the car.


James then ran back into the house that he rents with Wendt and two other tenants, barricading himself in the basement.


Patrol officers arrived at the house on Delridge and SW Brandon and cordoned of the block. A negotiator and the SWAT team arrived and spent the next 3 hours attempting to coax James out of the house, eventually firing tear gas canisters through several windows in an attempt to force him out. There were early reports that he had taken hostages, but SPD confirmed that James was alone in the basement and was not in possession of any firearms. James surrendered to police and is currently being held at the southwest precinct.

Terry Wendt

According to Wendt, “this was at least the fifth or sixth time” James had been arrested for a violent outburst. There was a no-contact order in place between the couple and James had completed a four month jail sentence last November for violating the order. James was staying with Wendt because, he says “I couldn’t turn him out on the street.”

Wendt says that James battered his BMW because “he knew that I loved my car. He couldn’t stand for me to leave the relationship with the car [intact],” adding that “It’s just a car really. I can go back to riding a bicycle.”

As the police tape came down and the news crews drove off, Wendt returned to mowing his lawn.

I Owe Frank Chopp an Apology

posted by on April 26 at 5:07 PM

After my Frank Chopp article hit, I received a few official phone calls from Democrats, including state chair Dwight Pelz, officially dressing me down.

I listened, but told them I was happy with the article.

However, there is one thing I regret about the story. I threw in a pretty weird line:

“Chopp, who looks a little like Dick Cheney, explained his philosophy to me this week….”

I typically try to add a descriptive dash when I’m quoting somebody a lot, to engage the reader a bit more. I think I once had Casey Corr looking like Ron Howard.

Anyway, the Cheney line was gratuitous and distracting. Chopp’ll never believe me, but I honestly wasn’t trying to cast him with GOP overtones. Particularly not a GOP monster like Cheney.

Unfortunately, I heard that of all the substantive criticisms in my story, it was the off-handed Cheney description that irked Chopp the most.

It evidently became a gag for a few Democratic caucus members (making light of the story a few days after it hit) to joke with Chopp that they looked way more like Cheney than he did.

Again, and honestly, there was no double meaning to the Cheney comparsion, but seriously?



The Night I Was Recruited For the Police Academy

posted by on April 26 at 5:06 PM

Last night I attended the Neighborhood Policing Open House at the Woodland Park Zoo. Residents and community groups from Seattle’s north police precinct crammed into the small, windowless ARC building conference room, where I once dissected owl pellets in the 2nd grade. The room was lined with tables filled with brochures and pamphlets about emergency preparedness, graffiti prevention and there were order forms for “Vehicle Anti-Theft Device The Club.” I grabbed a copy of “Can I Park Here? 20 Ways to Avoid Parking Tickets.”

Mayor Nickels stood in front of the crowd to pitch a new neighborhood policing plan to improve response time, redistribute precinct workloads and create a more proactive police force where “officers will feel some ownership” and be more accountable to the areas they patrol (didn’t former Police Chief Norm Stamper pitch something like this in the mid-90s?). Nickels talked about improving police response time -currently at 7 minutes- referencing the high profile Jewish Federation and Capitol Hill shootings, emphatically stating that “we have to be able to respond quickly, with force.”

The discussion turned towards the numbers game involved in improving Seattle’s policing as Nickels was joined by Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer who pleaded with the crowd to help the department recruit new officers.

S.P.D. already has to hire 50 to 60 new officers every year to keep up with retirements, but Nickels has proposed hiring an average of 21 additional officers annually till 2012. The neighborhood policing plan is also intended to more evenly distribute officers and workloads amongst the city’s five precincts.

After Nickels and Kimerer wrapped up their sales pitch, Kara Ceriello, co-president of the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce - citing an article in the PI which challenged Nickels’ assertion that the city could afford so many new officers- aggressively questioned the financial feasibility of the Mayor’s plan. Nickels assured the crowd that “My budget will have 20 new officers.”

On my way out of the meeting I was accosted by a large man who wrapped his giant meat hooks around me and asked me “if I liked video games?” “Uh, sure” I responded, not knowing where the conversation was headed. The gentleman in question proceeded to attempt to recruit me for the police academy, luring me with tales of the Firearms Training System, which sounded a lot like a grown up version of Duck Hunt. I told him that working for The Stranger would probably disqualify me from working in law enforcement and went on my merry way.

Must-See TV

posted by on April 26 at 4:40 PM

Strip searches your kink? Ever fantasize about, say, Rick Springfield being ordered to strip and spread ‘em? You’re going to love this FBI training film from the early ’80s.

“Check the armpits. Take your time. Look carefully…. If he’s uncircumcized, ask him to pull back the foreskin. Be professional and alert. Remember: the inmate is feeling vulnerable.”

Via Fleshbot.

O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

posted by on April 26 at 4:27 PM

sexual hypocrisy.

A conservative Episcopal priest who helped lead a 2004 revolt against the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles over homosexuality has resigned as rector of a Newport Beach church after a female parishioner complained about unwanted attention from the married clergyman.

The Rev. Praveen Bunyan, who ministered at St. James Church, resigned last week after confessing to “inappropriate conduct” with the woman, said church spokeswoman Karen Bro. Church officials declined to identify the woman, but another priest said there was no sexual contact involved.

Reichert’s Risk

posted by on April 26 at 4:01 PM

Washington’s U.S. House delegation split along party lines on yesterday’s Iraq vote.

And while it’s not surprising that eastern WA conservatives like Cathy McMorris (R-5) and Doc Hastings (R-4) went along with Bush, it seems increasingly risky for Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8) to stand by the war in the shapeshifting (Eric Oemig, Roger Goodman, Rodney Tom) Seattle suburbs … especially if Reichert draws a stronger opponent than Darcy Burner in 2008.

The lefty PAC Americans United for Change fired off a press release blasting Reichert, which I’ve linked below the jump.

Continue reading "Reichert's Risk" »

Today in Line Out

posted by on April 26 at 3:41 PM

Attack of the Puppet People: I love Genesis. With and without Peter Gabriel.

I’m Not Gonna Lie to You: Sometimes local bands are good (the Hungry Pines), and sometimes they wear argyle sweater vests with trucker hats (17th Chapter).

Fuckin’ Up Other People’s Music: Eric Grandy saw Soulwax last night.

Theremin, Man: An ode to the craziest musical instrument on the planet.

The Teenagers: You probably don’t know about them yet. You should.

Pre-Show: Prepping for Coachella 2007.

Now, because I’m still obsessed with my new pink Nintendo DS, here’s what’s currently cute:


(Sadly, I couldn’t find a pitcure of Yoshi and baby DK to show you. Forgive me.)

And A Victor Emerges…

posted by on April 26 at 3:35 PM

And it’s Donald Trump!

Rosie O’Donnell
can be called many things. “Employed” is no longer among them. Massive psychic pressure born upon waves of sheering hatred aimed at Rosie by The Donald set certain terrible forces in motion that have finally lead to Rosie’s latest TV demise. Citing “contractual disagreements with ABC” or some bullshit like that, Rosie has announced her intention to abscond from The View, effective not soon enough for me. Not that I have ever watched The View or whatever, or even know what the hell it is. Stop looking at me like that.


Meanwhile, in actual things:

The intrepid prophet Bill Moyers (God bless him) has cobbled together a brilliant and devestating report called Buying The War for PBS that aired last night, and, oh….adjectives. It made me want to drink, then cry, then go live in a cave and drink and cry. It details the terrible culpability of the press in creating the national disgrace and disaster that is Iraq, and leaves one (or at least me) with one burning question…

Well. I won’t tell you what it is. When next it airs, watch it, and you’ll figure it out yourself. I insist that you do. You must.

Here’s a taste:

Why the bleeding fuck haven’t the Bushies been arrested? Why? WHY? Oh, God…WHY?

Pardon me. Tourette’s.

Jean Godden’s Kickoff

posted by on April 26 at 3:04 PM

City council member Jean Godden, who is currently running unopposed for her second term, threw a kickoff party last night at Tom Douglas’s Palace Ballroom that, in the words of her fellow council member Tom Rasmussen, “raised the bar” for this year’s political events.*

I’ve been to dozens of campaign kickoffs. Here’s the standard format: Supporters arrive, mill around, eat cheese and olives off paper plates. Prominent supporter introduces candidate. Candidate says a few words about accomplishments, what an honor it is to serve the voters. Someone else comes out and does the “ask”—a request for money above and beyond the price of entry. Applause, more milling. Go home.

Godden’s event wasn’t like that. The first difference: the food was actually good. (I sampled it strictly for research purposes, obviously.) Curried chicken salad on wafer-thin crackers; piping-hot mini spring rolls; creamy polenta with ham; mushroom tapenade with goat cheese on crostini—yum!

The second: Instead of doing the standard speech, Godden and Douglas did a cornball skit—the script for which, according to a Douglas assistant, had just been plopped in his hands 15 minutes before.

OK, it was a bit like watching a weird, cheesy puppet show. (Tom: “I spice things up with chiles, salsas and cayenne pepper. How do you spice things up, Jean?” Jean: “When I spice things up, it’s usually because I’ve done something to upset the mayor.” Aaaand… cut!) But for some reason, perhaps because it was Jean Godden it worked. (I can’t really picture Nick Licata putting on an apron and clowning around with Tom Douglas, much less posing for pictures like the one below.)


Or Tom Rasmussen, for that matter. When I ran into Rasmussen outside the ballroom, the super-earnest council member seemed concerned that his own kickoff, to be held at the Swedish Center on Dexter, might not measure up. “We can have Swedish meatballs,” he mused, half-joking. He added: “I have a zydeco band. Does that help?” Then, muttering something about being “off to the food bank,” he hopped in his gray Acura and sped away.

*Note to Slog readers: This is not an endorsement of Jean Godden. I liked her event, and I’m writing a fluff piece about it. A “Jean Godden” piece, if you will.


posted by on April 26 at 2:30 PM

I’ve been to Cafe Stellina a dozen or more times for lunch. I’ve never had anything but great service and the food has been uniformly good. I don’t recognize the restaurant described in Bethany’s review and, er, ECB’s measured response to a letter in this week’s paper responding to Bethany’s review.

Cafe Stellina — the food is good, the service is good, and reviews are subjective and opinions are personal. I like Stellina and I’ll be eating there again.

When You Open A Restaurant, You Don’t Get Credit for Trying

posted by on April 26 at 2:13 PM

Lori Pomeranz, co-owner of a furniture store a few doors down from Cafe Stellina on 12th Ave., takes issue in this week’s letters section with Bethany Clement’s review of Stellina in last week’s paper. After accusing Bethany of being ignorant, writing “drivel,” and attempting to “ruin the livelihood of Cafe Stellina’s owners,” Pomeranz makes a point that I hear too frequently about local ventures that don’t measure up: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

You said that it would not be difficult to write this drivel about a corporate eatery. You claim that it was difficult to write it about a “mom and pop” establishment whose owners are so obviously working their butts off (like you said, you can see them working behind the counter) but… you wrote it anyway. […]

I feel weird having to say it, but Bethany, you need to reread your article, interrogate yourself, and ask what, why, and how your overly opinionated editorial truly assists Cafe Stellina in strengthening its high points and improving upon its shortcomings.

See, that’s exactly the point. Editorials (technically reviews, but let’s not be picky) are supposed to be opinionated. The point of a review is to tell readers what to expect when they go to a restaurant (or performance, or art show, or movie)—and whether they should go at all. Hand-holding, pulling punches, is intellectually dishonest. It’s also a disservice. The idea that we have an obligation to grade local ventures on a curve insults our readers and trivializes the efforts of local businesses that are not only “working their butts off,” but actually doing a good job.

If anything, I thought Bethany was reserved. On my visit there with her, the best thing I had was a beet salad that was just so-so. The rest ranged from vaguely icky to downright stomach-turning (that would be the hominy tinged with the taste of burned Teflon.) The mussels with chorizo, while at least not brain-cell-destroying, couldn’t by any stretch be called good: A mayonnaisey sauce, squeeze-bottled hither and yon, sat uselessly on top of the shells or curdled into the chicken-y broth, giving the whole thing a clumpy, unappetizing texture. The chorizo was still in its casings, and chopped into unappealingly irregular bits: Some bites were barely a morsel, others were easily two inches long. (And it was, as Bethany mentioned, grainy.) The potatoes, meanwhile, had disintegrated into mush. Many mussels had sunk into the broth unopened, a sign of shellfish you don’t want to eat; reports from others’ subsequent visits confirmed that this was not a one-time occurrence. The rice, unflavored by so much as broth or salt and pepper, tasted like Minute Rice; the vegetables were, indeed, incredibly dry. The “warm spinach salad” was pretty much cooked throughout, as if the chef had turned her back on the pan while the spinach was wilting (which should be a two-second operation). And the desserts were, frankly, a huge disappointment. The milk-chocolate mousse, which Bethany described as a “mousse pile,” evoked exactly what that phrase implies; the blueberry tart was grainy and almost tasteless, except for the off-puttingly sour interior.

Need I go on? It’s your job to serve good food, Stellina. It isn’t a reviewer’s job to cover for you when you fail to do so.

Good News for Gays

posted by on April 26 at 2:03 PM

Iowa is one signature away from becoming the 19th state to enact civil rights protections for gays and lesbians.

New Hampshire today passed a civil unions law that provides same-sex couples in that state—that famously Republican state—with all the rights and obligations of marriage. Well, the rights and obligations the state can provide—married same-sex couples in Massachusetts and same-sex couples with civil unions in New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, and soon Oregon.

New Hampshire lawmakers authorized same-sex civil unions on Thursday, in a bill that will complete New England’s transformation into a unique U.S. region where gay and lesbian couples have some form of legal recognition and conjugal rights.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 14-10 along party lines to give gays and lesbians nearly the same rights as married couples. The bill sailed through the House of Representatives on April 4, and Democratic Gov. John Lynch said last week he would sign it.

New Hampshire, known for its official motto “Live Free or Die,” will become the fourth U.S. state to allow same-sex civil unions when the law takes effect on Jan 1. The law marks a shift in the state’s traditionally conservative politics.

I’m pro the domestic partnership law that Ed Murray and Jamie Pedersen got through the state legislature this year, even if it is very limited in scope. But its increasingly clear that Washington state, even with our new domestic partnership law, is behind the curve on this issue. It would be nice if next year we could say that the entire West Coast of the United States (California, Oregon, and Washington state), like all of New England, recognized the rights and dignity of same-sex couples.

No more piecemeal efforts. Full marriage rights or civil unions.

State Law Calls Port Commissioner’s Alibi into Question

posted by on April 26 at 12:55 PM

Defending her lone signature authorizing Mic Dinsmore’s controversial $340,000 retirement payout, Port Commissioner Pat Davis insists she discussed the matter with her fellow commissioners at two executive sessions last year. Three of her four colleagues say the package was never discussed.

Guess what? It seems to me that debate is irrelevant. I’m certainly not a lawyer, but as I read the subsection of the Open Public Meetings Act that deals with Executive sessions, it seems you’re not allowed to discuss salary and related issues behind closed doors in the first place.

The Open Public Meetings Act lists nine topics (A-I), including matters affecting national security and discussions of real estate transactions in which a public discussion may increase the price, where agencies are permitted to close the door. Compensation is not one of them. In fact, (see bullet point G on the list), it’s explicitly verboten.

The rule says:

discussion by a governing body of salaries, wages, and other conditions of employment to be generally applied within the agency shall occur in a meeting open to the public, and when a governing body elects to take final action hiring, setting the salary of an individual employee or class of employees, or discharging or disciplining an employee, that action shall be taken in a meeting open to the public;

I’ve talked to Port spokesman Mick Shultz, and he’s forwarding my question about executive sessions on to the Port’s legal staff.

In Other Small-Arts Pathos

posted by on April 26 at 12:52 PM

A few months ago, Theater Schmeater announced it was going to maybe-sorta-kinda get the ball rolling on a new performance festival by hosting Open Stage, a kind of mini-fringe, timed to match the summer Canadian fringe circuit, so that it might eventually grow into a full-fledged, big-city festival, with touring acts and everything.

You know, like they kind they have in bustling, grown-up cities like Saskatoon (population 200,000, nickname: “POW City!”).

Theater Schmeater was going to accept applications, choose twelve plays by lottery, help small companies produce their own shows. But it ain’t gonna happen. Only six people sent in applications. One-half of the minimum number needed.

It might’ve been the $500 venue fee. It might’ve been bad advertising. It might’ve been timidity. I guess we’re just not ready to pony up and join bustling, grown-up cities like Winnipeg (population 630,000, nickname: “The Peg”) and Regina (population 180,000, winner of the 2004 “Cultural Capital of Canada” designation—in the over 125,000 population category) and good old Saskatoon.

Thrift Store Folds

posted by on April 26 at 11:15 AM

Backstage Thrift, on 11th and Pike, right next to the Northwest Actors Studio, is going out of business.

Greg Kerton, a former NWAS student, opened the thrift shop in 2003 to try and help the struggling theater/acting school. The theater is still there. Soon Backstage won’t be.

Kerton has run up personal debt in trying to keep the thrift store alive. How much? “Too much,” he said. “So now I get to go be someone’s star employee.”

“It’s a little embarrassing,” he said. “I feel like it’s my fault—I came at it kind of ignorant about how to run a business. My intention was to be supportive.”

Do-gooders take heed.

From Boeing Field to Pimped Out Escalades

posted by on April 26 at 11:11 AM

There’s a plan afoot for King County and the Port of Seattle to swap the King County airport (Boeing Field) for the “Rails-to-trails” corridor on the east side. The Port would buy Boeing Field from KC and the County would use the money to buy the 40-mile inactive railway corridor and transform it into biking and hiking trails.

However, KC Council Member Larry Phillips doesn’t like the deal because he wants to retain County control over Boeing field so he can continue to push for noise mitigation.

Fighting to keep hold of the airport, Phillips makes an unrelated, although compelling argument. The PI reports:

Phillips speaks of the “blue-collar” airport that pays for itself, an economic asset for the county since it opened in 1928.

Compelling until you read stuff like this from personal blogs of people who date Vulcan employees:

Wednesday, October 20, 2004 I completely forgot to mention what I did this past weekend, which was so incredibly fun. So..last Friday, Ajay (who works at Vulcan) gives me a call and says “Whatcha doin’ tomorrow night? Cuz’ I just got invited to fly down on Paul’s plane to check out the Trailblazers game—wanna come?” Hell yes. I can’t believe I even hesitated (I had to cancel some plans). On Saturday, we drove over to Boeing Airfield to the Vulcan Flight Operations hangar and boarded Paul’s private 747. This was my first time on a private plane and it was just an incredible experience. It’s exactly like what you see on TV—there was a bed, shower and loungy couches everywhere…so incredibly comfortable. Within 25 minutes, we were in Portland and getting whisked off to the Rose Garden Stadium. We entered through this back entrance where we got to see some of the player’s cars parked (and they were all pimped out—Escalades, Rolls Royce, etc…chrome wheels, everything). We headed up to the Owner’s Suite and got some food and wine and then got seated for the game. Ajay and I scored by having COURTSIDE tickets. We were literally sitting right behind the Trailblazer girls the entire time. So sweet. What an amazing experience it was. The Trailblazers won (yay!) and we headed back to the plane right afterwards. All in all, I flew to Portland, watched a game and flew back in about 5 hours. Incredible. I’m working for the wrong company. This was a nice perk.

Indeed, while Boeing Field does cater to the working class shipping industry, it’s also a bit of a yacht club, with folks like Allen, the Nordstroms, and charter flight companies docking there too.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 26 at 11:00 AM


‘Un Chant d’Amour’ (Film) Jean Genet, the baddest bad boy of French letters, made only one film, and this gorgeous swoon of a semipornographic prison fantasy is it. First smuggled into this country by Jonas Mekas, Un Chant d’Amour attracted some hot censorship action before slipping into obscurity for nearly 50 years. See it tonight in pristine 35 mm, alongside short works by Kenneth Anger: Fireworks, Scorpio Rising, and the world premiere of Elliott’s Suicide, a film about Elliott Smith. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9:15 pm, $10.) ANNIE WAGNER


Gary Shteyngart (READING) Most readings aren’t great because most writers aren’t great readers. Then there’s Gary Shteyngart, who, if he hadn’t moved with his family to New York City when he was 7 and grown up to become a best-selling writer of comic literary fiction, probably would have ended up as some sort of charmer in a Russian circus. He reads from the paperback of Absurdistan, a novel narrated by a grossly overweight man with “a pretty Jewish beak.” (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7 pm, free.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Frito Pie in Georgetown!

posted by on April 26 at 10:57 AM

Update: I was rushing out the door to get to a campaign event when I posted this last night, and I later learned that the second photo was nonsensical. So, I give you: Chips and queso!*

I was thrilled to learn last week that Smarty Pants in Georgetown, where you can get a hot sandwich the size of a baby, also serves Frito pie!

Frito Pie, you’ll recall from a previous discussion, is basically chili, cheese, and chopped white onions dumped on top of a pile of Fritos. It’s standard cafeteria fare in Texas, where I grew up, and it looks like this:


Smarty Pants’ Frito pie veers from tradition—it includes (horrors!) beans—but it’s otherwise a damn fine Frito pie, topped with spicy pickled jalapenos and a generous dollop of cooling sour cream.

My conclusion? Mention it on Slog, and it shall be so.

Chips and queso… Chips and queso… Chips and queso…


*Bonus recipe for sitting through this again:

1 lb. Velveeta or similar cheeselike product
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Beer to thin

Melt cheeses together in a Crock-Pot for about ten minutes; thin with beer. Place a scoop of guacamole in a ramekin; pour queso on top. Serve with tortilla chips.

Until there was Slog You Only Had God

posted by on April 26 at 10:45 AM

Today’s is Slog’s 2nd birthday. On April 26, 2005, with two lonely posts (and no comments threads?), we launched Slog.

As a result, time is now divided between pre-Slog and Slog.

Here’s what we wrote on that first day.

Posted at 3:40 pm: Burn on Us?

and at 5:48 pm: permafrost

That’s it.


posted by on April 26 at 10:35 AM

Yesterday, in a post about Seattle’s neighborhood movement, I referenced Christopher Hitchens’s term “Reactionary Utopianists.”

Well, lo and behold, an e-mail came in this morning talking about this.


posted by on April 26 at 10:02 AM

The press preview for the new, expanded Seattle Art Museum begins right now. I wasn’t in Seattle for the opening of the Robert Venturi building downtown in 1991, the first of the rash of capital projects across the region. But I was at the early walk-throughs for the Bellevue Art Museum, then the revamped Bellevue Art Museum, the Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Art Museum, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic, and I’m tempted to consider how this building stands up to the others.

I’ve been through the new SAM a few times already. These spaces are much, much better than the Venturi galleries. But I don’t think this museum will steal the title of best work of Northwest museum architecture from Antoine Predock’s 2003 Tacoma Art Museum, which manages to be open and light-filled while providing a surprising level of intimacy and subjectivity in each space. It’s also warm where the new SAM is cool, even corporate.

This is TAM (photos from SAM forthcoming as they’re available):




One exception: I’ve never been in love with TAM’s great big high-ceilinged contemporary gallery. I’m not sure whether it’s the dark slate floor that dampens the place, or the way the window slits are placed at the base of the room instead of up high. SAM has a gallery in the same mold, but, I think, far better—with a large corner window, a lookout onto the public area of the museum, and a cutout in an upper wall into the antiquities gallery.

Which One is Dead?

posted by on April 26 at 10:01 AM

I’m still too flummoxed by last night’s American Idol’s “Idol Gives Back” charity performance to figure out how I feel about it. (I don’t know… it’s kind of like a porn shop raising money for muscular dystrophy.) And while the show was chock-a-block with celebrity performances, I really don’t know how I feel about Idol featuring dead people. Watch the video below, and see if you can correctly choose “WHICH CELEBRITY IS DEAD?”

Smooching News

posted by on April 26 at 10:00 AM


In India, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Richard Gere, wanted for public obscenity after kissing Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness event in New Dehli. (Full story here.)

And in Gig Harbor, WA, authorities at Gig Harbor High School have tightened restrictions on the use of the school’s security videotapes after the dean of students showed a pair of concerned parents footage of their daughter kissing another girl in a school hallway (after which the parents transferred the same-sex smoocher to a new school.) Full story here.

Finally, may I interest you in a game of Kissopoly?

Western Washington University

posted by on April 26 at 8:46 AM

I spoke to a large crowd of horny college students last night at Western Washington University. So what’s on their minds up in Bellingham? Here are few of the questions put to me by WWU students…

Since when is sticking ones tongue and/or finger up the other’s asshole without asking them 1st okay? And is it okay when they call you a pervert for liking it, even when you don’t?
Can straight men enjoy sex toys? How & which ones?
Do you ride a unicycle?
How do you know you’re in love?
Is there any tactful way to bring up the topic of sexual prowess with an older man one is trying to seduce? Say, an insecure older man one hasn’t succeeded in convincing of his sexiness yet?
What is it you don’t understand about transsexuality? Why is gender identity so hard for people to grasp?
How’s your poodle?

The Morning News

posted by on April 26 at 6:10 AM

The Godfather Ending: Dems subpoena everybody

Showdown: House passes Iraq spending bill, troop withdrawal

Revealed: US soldiers used “comfort women” after World War II

“Legal Black Hole”: Justice Department wants fewer lawyers at Guantanamo

Seung-Hui Cho: 9 minutes, 170 bullets

The Super: Seattle Schools get a new superintendent

Cell Phones Pesticide Fungus: What’s really killing all the bees

You Will Believe a Man Can Fly: Stephen “Smartypants” Hawking all set for takeoff

Why I Plan To Steal Erica Barnett’s Bike: Summer gas could cost $4 a gallon

Bullshit: Snoop Dogg not allowed into Australia even though we let Crocodile Dundee in

Fun Sad Superhero Fact of the Day: Iron Man is an alcoholic


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Suburban Archipelago etc…

posted by on April 25 at 9:49 PM

The legislative session ended this past Sunday, but this cool letter just came in.

The writer, from the 42nd legislative district (Whatcom County), wrote in about the sex ed bill —which passed the House as usual, 63-34, and the Senate finally, 30-19, under the leadership of suburban R-turned-D Senator Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue). Apparently, though, we need some more Rs-turned-Ds in Whatcom County.

Happily for kids who live in Washington State, our legislature recently passed the Healthy Youth Act, which mandates that public schools that choose to teach sex education must use a comprehensive, medically accurate curriculum. However, I was very disappointed that Representative Doug Ericksen A (R-42, Ferndale) used his floor time to oppose the Healthy Youth Act, claiming that that this was a “Seattle issue” and that he had not heard from anyone in his district regarding this bill. In fact, 50 of his constituents signed postcards asking for his support of the Healthy Youth Act. A delegation of constituents from the 42nd District went to meet with him in Olympia, but he cancelled the meeting leaving us with no other option but to leave materials about the bill with his staff. I personally sent him a hand-written note about the bill after he cancelled his meeting with us, and I also sent him several emails regarding the issue. I know others from our district have contacted him as well. Not only did Ericksen ignore his constituents’ support of the issue of medically accurate sex education, he lied during the debate.


Lisa Van Doren
Bellingham, WA

I Know Museum Budgets for Art Acquisitions Can Be Stingy, But …

posted by on April 25 at 5:35 PM

Did the finance and operations director of the Austin Museum of Art really have to steal at a street fair?

Caught art-handed in Texas, thanks to the Art Law Blog.

Two Art Books Out Today

posted by on April 25 at 5:35 PM


The Back of the Line is a collaboration between artist William Powhida (remember his enemies and friends lists?), writer Jeff Parker, and the design firm DECODE (Stephen Lyons of Platform Gallery). It’s $25 and available here or by calling Platform Gallery, which, by the way, is having this great show by Jesse Burke.

Here’s the description of The Back of the Line:

Through four stories interwoven with images, The Back of the Line follows the plight of ornithophobic, cuckolding, leering, scooter-thieving, laundromat loving, peeing-while-sleepwalking James J. Wreck. The narration—in the suspect, second-hand account of James’s best friend—sometimes agrees and sometimes conflicts with the documentary evidence of James’s deeds, creating fissures in the story as each of the two men see it. Motivated alternately by revenge, jealousy, altruism, and obsession, they continually misread one another in a train wreck of egos and desires.

I wish I could show you an image of One Shot, the other release today, because it’s a good-looking little black book with an even littler white pistol embossed on the cover.

This is the parting work of Visual Codec, which was a great online regional art mag run by M until earlier this year, when she needed her life back. One Shot is simple, like the process that prompted it. A group of jurors working individually (including Liz Brown of the Henry, Beth Sellars of Suyama Space, Greg Bell of 4Culture, and me, representing Seattle, plus jurors from Portland and BC) received a series of single images, one from each artist, but without names, cities, artist statements, or gallery affiliations attached. The only information we got was medium and title.

The images the judges chose are in the book, which is a straightforward, vivid parade with little text to clutter the experience of a regional overview.

The book is $20, on sale at Powell’s in Portland (or online) and Wall of Sound in Seattle. The Hideout hosts the release party this Saturday night from 6 to closing, and One Shot also will be for sale at the opening of the Lead Pencil Studio show at Lawrimore Project the night of May 3.

Bring Back that Blog!

posted by on April 25 at 5:21 PM

I sure wish this blog was still active. Sadly, reform Port Commissioner Alec Fisken, who hasn’t posted on his Port Watch blog for over two months, tells me it took up too much of his time.

Fisken’s blog, while certainly doubling as a campaign tool, was also a first and refreshing dose of transparency at the opaque Port.

Speaking of transparency, or lack thereof… Where’s George Bush and the NSA when you need them?

Let me get this straight: The Port’s independent ethics board, a five-person board with two seats currently vacant, is going to investigate the Pat Davis/Mic Dinsmore matter and report back to a closed executive session of the Commission.

This is nonsense. It is, however, a pretty metaphor: A closed executive session to resolve a matter that stems from closed executive sessions.

Indeed, the whole problem started in executive session (which, by definition, are closed to the public) — two executive sessions last year to be exact, where Commissioner Davis says she discussed Dinsmore’s $340,000 “severance” package with her fellow commissioners. Three of her four fellow commissioners, Fisken, Lloyd Hara, and John Creighton, say that never happened. One of them, Bob Edwards, isn’t clear on the matter.

Then, earlier this week, the divided board held another closed executive session to discuss this scandal. Curiously, the divided board emerged for a public meeting yesterday, where they unanimously passed all sorts of stuff: Such as doing an investigation that would report back to a closed executive session. Boy, that’s reassuring.

And why the sudden consensus anyway? Guess, we’ll never know.

Again, executive sessions are closed to the public and commissioners are not allowed to talk about them.

They also voted to void any “severance” package for Dinsmore and to tape all future executive sessions, so that subpoenas can resolve future disagreements like the one currently in play. Those are both good votes, but why and how did they come about? There had been talk that the Commission was going to call for Davis’s resignation. What happened to that? Was it worked out in the executive session? Fisken would only tell me “we didn’t have three people.” When I asked him if the missing vote was Creighton (Hara and Fisken are seen as progressive reformers while Creighton is seen as more of a business as usual conservative), Fisken said coyly: “I don’t recall suddenly.”

As I’ve Slogged previously, the King County Democrats voted last night to call for an investigation into Davis; and GOP good-government activist Chris Clifford filed a recall petition.

What’s the big deal with Davis’s memo granting Dinsmore a “severance” deal?

Well, I put severance in quotation marks because outgoing CEO Dinsmore wasn’t laid off, he retired… and he was already getting a comp package. So he wasn’t entitled to a severance payout.

Furthermore, you have to have a public vote to do something like pay out $340,000 to an outgoing Port CEO. Davis insists that they had a public vote—last night. That’s a suspect assertion, though. Dinsmore has been retired for months. Why wasn’t his “severance” approved last year when he got a controversial salary bump, or when he left? Moreover, it’s certainly weird that there was this sudden vote after the Davis memo came to light last week—which only happened after a Port staffer brought it to the attention of the other Commissioners and the new Port CEO Tay Yoshitani.

Questions. Questions. Questions. All to be answered in a closed executive session.

Bullets Found in High-School Bathroom

posted by on April 25 at 5:06 PM

Just after 11:00 a.m. on April 24, Seattle Police arrived at (my alma mater!) Nathan Hale High School near Lake City Way, after a male student found a clip of 22-caliber bullets in the handicapped stall of a first-floor bathroom across from room 124.

According to the police report filed by Officer Outlaw (yes, that’s really his real name), the item was secured and placed into evidence for fingerprint analysis. The report notes that “there is currently no information on the item’s owner.”

After the Virginia Tech shootings just over a week ago, this incident was certainly a cause for alarm. In a letter to families, Nathan Hale principal Lisa Hechtman stated that “she was very proud of the student who reported the found items” and reiterated the school’s “Zero-Tolerance policy” regarding weapons on school grounds. “Some kids were upset,” said a teacher at Nathan Hale addressing the incident. “It’s sort of a symptom of the fear and violence that is frighteningly common in our American society. We need to work on building communication and decreasing the attention on violence.”

Still trying to get more information on this, will update when possible.

Strip Clubs to Oppose Steinbrueck Legislation

posted by on April 25 at 4:54 PM

Strip club lobbyist Tim Killian says his clients will oppose new legislation sponsored by city council member Peter Steinbrueck that would limit strip clubs to areas 800 feet or more from schools, parks, day cares, and community centers. “There’s nothing necessitating this move,” Killian says. “They haven’t laid out any rational reasons for taking this step.”

Killian notes that there have been no applications for new strip clubs since voters rejected the four-foot rule last year, despite the fact that strip clubs are now allowed in all areas of the city where performing-arts theaters are permitted. (A map of those areas can be found here.) And he calls the new proposal too restrictive, because it would limit strip clubs to a very small area of the city that could get smaller. (Including, as this map, shows, the land currently occupied by Qwest and Safeco Fields.) “It severely restricts where these clubs can go, and in short order—two, three, five years out—this map is going to be even more restrictive, as more of these land uses, like child care centers, open up,” Killian says.

Steinbrueck, for his part, has noted that just because no one has applied for a strip-club license yet, that’s no reason to believe no one ever will. And he points out that his proposal is far less restrictive than the mayor’s, which would have restricted clubs to a small area of South Seattle near Georgetown. “This is an attempt to liberalize legislation proposed by the mayor,” Steinbrueck says. “It’s not my goal to unduly restrict strip clubs—it’s to apply a common set of principles to every neighborhood.”

Today on Line Out

posted by on April 25 at 4:14 PM

Icky Thump Leak: New White Stripes song went up today.

Trying to Forget You: I don’t want to be Alicia Silverstone anymore.

Nacho Attack!: The local band bombards another bill.

Appreciation for Ella: Happy birthday, Miss Fitzgerald.

Keep It Like a Secret: Don’t tell anyone that USE is playing the Comet this weekend.

Kurt’s One Night Stand: Tiny Vipers and Cornelius equals love.

Now, prepare to fall into a cute overload coma:


(Thanks to Mr. Nipper for sharing.)

Who Would You Rather…

posted by on April 25 at 3:54 PM

A friend and I were talking yesterday about guys (as we often do) and the crushes we have on guys (which we often have). I admitted to loving Adam Brody (geeky and obvious, but not so weird) and she admitted to liking… the Geico cavemen (not at all obvious, and very, very weird).


I couldn’t see what she was attracted to, and she couldn’t explain it. All she could say was “It must be kind of like how every woman has a thing for Jack from Jack in the Box.”


What!? Every women has a crush on Jack from Jack in the Box? My mind was blown; I’ve never heard of such a thing. Fantasizing about Jack from Jack in the Box? Seriously? She insisted that yes, there are many, many women who’d jump Jack’s bones if given the opportunity (there’s a “big head” or “box” joke in there somewhere, but I’m too classy to make it).

Is this real? Do women love Jack? Do women love the Geico cavemen? I mean, really?

Your Pervy Right-Wing Attempt at Comedy For the Day

posted by on April 25 at 3:48 PM

comes courtesy of Michelle Malkin.

More Happy News

posted by on April 25 at 3:06 PM

Three Dollar Bill has added a second screening of Un Chant d’amour to the Scandalous! series that I’ve been praising to the heavens.

The only film by French professional bad boy Jean Genet is the one must-see screening in the series. It’s a stunningly photographed thinking-man’s porno, which was originally meant for private collections and later disavowed by Genet. Fairly hot, very smart, and embarrassingly romantic and beautiful.


Plus, and perhaps even more excitingly, Genet’s film will be accompanied by shorts by Kenneth Anger, including the classics Fireworks and Scorpio Rising and a brand, brand new world premiere of Anger’s latest, a film about Elliott Smith.


Curious trivia: You might think that Genet influenced Anger, and not the other way around, but in fact Genet saw the then-teenage Anger’s Fireworks in Paris a year before he made Un Chant d’amour. (For a deluge of other meticulously researched facts, see Edmund White’s masterful biography Genet.)

Tomorrow: Thursday, April 26, 7 and 9:15 pm. Northwest Film Forum. Get your advance tickets here.

Also, check out our DVD review this week: Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1.

New Column!

posted by on April 25 at 2:38 PM

Poor Jesus. Also, the new issue is online.

Light Slogging

posted by on April 25 at 2:38 PM

Sorry about being MIA on what would otherwise be a big Slog day for me—what with Seattle Out and Proud’s decision to go ahead with the pride parade downtown. But I was at the dentist all AM, and now I’m off to the airport. Hopefully I’ll be all over the Slog tomorrow. In the meantime please enjoy this video of Laura Bush explaining that no one—no one—suffers more as a result of the Iraq war than George Bush himself.

A Small Bubble of Heaven

posted by on April 25 at 2:29 PM

My god! Sharing a marquee with Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep) and Alain Resnais (Private Fears in Public Places).
mudede364%282%29.jpgThis is as close to heaven as I will ever get. Those who hate my work, my very being, every idea I produce, please allow me this moment of real happiness. Burnett is the greatest African American director, and Alain Resnais is the greatest French director of his generation. Realistically speaking, I’ll never make a work of art that can compare with Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger or Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour, and so it is nothing more than enough that I get to share this Manhattan marquee with the gods of my imagination.

They’re Coming Up

posted by on April 25 at 2:24 PM

Last year was a great one for new, graduating talent in Seattle: Susie J. Lee and Tivon Rice, among others, emerged from the crop. In a few weeks the annual BFA and MFA shows will open up, on May 11 at Cornish and May 12 at the Henry.

I know of at least one grad who’ll be in the UW show at the Henry, Nola Avienne. I ran into her work recently in the UW Art School gallery, and was momentarily stopped in my tracks at its spidery strangeness. Avienne makes her small sculptures (that also function as spatial drawings) out of metal filings and magnets:




What I Missed Yesterday

posted by on April 25 at 2:08 PM

1. This spicy conversation over at Artworld Salon about the Jerry Saltz v. Alanna Heiss, museum v. market debate. Clearly the subject is ready for an exhibition taken from the other side: how the museums are part of the market, not separate from it. Any curators out there willing to take on that ball of wax?

2. Great post by Tyler Green over at Modern Art Notes called “The national mood as reflected in arts criticism”.

3. Robert Storr with Richard Lacayo on the big show at the Venice Biennale this summer:

The underlying premise of the show is that there has been a division between the conceptual and the perceptual, between the “criticality” crowd and the beauty crowd. The argument of the show is that first rate work is always both conceptual and perceptual and the artists making art are far less concerned with these divisions than people who write about them.

The Pathetic State of (Dance) Criticism at the Seattle Times

posted by on April 25 at 1:44 PM

Rather than writing extensively, critically, and authoritatively about the changes that have taken place at Pacific Northwest Ballet since the arrival of artistic director Peter Boal, the Seattle Times reports that the New York Times likes PNB! Like, really, really, likes us!

Cannes’t Buy Me Love

posted by on April 25 at 1:15 PM

Breaking news: Zoo, written by our very own Charles Mudede, has been accepted into Cannes. (I assume that means one of the non-competition sections, but I don’t know for sure.)


And here, in the New York Times, the inimitable Manohla Dargis gives Zoo a good thrashing and—can it be?—comes out in favor of horse sex.

Okay, technically, she reasons thus:

After all, Bible-believers notwithstanding, if you eat and wear animals and agree that it’s O.K. to torture them in the name of science and beauty, what’s the big deal? Human beings subject animals penned in factory farms to far more grievous abuse than anything apparently done to the horses in “Zoo,” and on a daily basis human beings also subject themselves to greater risk. One zoophile’s fond memories of cooking up ham for his brethren indicate that theirs was not a PETA-approved animal love, true. But, as Mr. Devor makes clear, again and again, these were men who truly loved their animals in sickness and in health and, at least in the case of one unfortunate soul, till death finally did part them.


Charles confirms that Zoo is in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar, where it’ll join Caramel, the Ian Curtis biopic Control, Apres lui, and more to be announced May 3.

“A Big, Sprawling Space Saga of Rebellion and Romance”

posted by on April 25 at 1:13 PM

Speaking of space: Please enjoy the original Star Wars trailer in all its cheesy glory.

Who Was Subcomandante Marcos?

posted by on April 25 at 12:51 PM

Hey, Stranger arts staffers, you may reel at all my posts about state politics from Olympia or the recent stuff about the Port scandal, but I’ll have you know that way back when (1995), I was published (along with arts writers like Greil Marcus, Dave Marsh, and Sarah Vowell) in a round-up of our choices for “Artist of the Year.”

Click on the above link, scroll past the essays on Eddie Vedder, Jane Austen, Sirius B, Howard Cruse (Dave Marsh’s choice), and other stars of ‘95, and you’ll come upon my choice.

p.s. Sarah Vowell’s choice was Ian Brown, the American Public Radio host for the Canadian show, “Sunday Morning.”

Sanjay-A-Round the World… And Your Private Parts!

posted by on April 25 at 12:32 PM

Did you miss him at the White House? On Letterman? Singing “Besame Mucho” (ugh) on Regis and That Spastic Blonde Chick? Do you, like millions, have difficulty expressing the depth of your feelings for the world’s greatest American Idol loser? Well, despair not even a little! There’re a gazillion easy ways out there to say, “I want to (bleep) you, Sanjaya!” Choose from classic rainbow thong:


Burning infant body suit


Or wag your Sanjay-a-ffection to the world with every flop in your boxers!


Available now at Cafe Press!

Sinful Analysis

posted by on April 25 at 12:31 PM

I have tried and tried (without much real success) to describe the strange political hybrid—call it reactionary populism or pseudo populism—that festers in Seattle’s old-school Left, now circling the wagons in the vestiges of the “Neighborhood Movement.”

These are the folks whose knee-jerk reaction to every attempt at smart density policy is to dismiss those policies (increased heights, lowered parking requirements, surface/transit on the waterfront) as “Elitist” or “Corporate Liberalism.”

It’s an ugly transition from Left to Reactionary Populism. (When discussing international politics, Christopher Hitchens has a better term for the phenomenon. He calls the strain, Reactionary Utopianism.)

Anyway, below the jump, I’ve linked a shot I took at describing this phenomenon back in May 2005.

Way better, though, linked right here, The Seattle Sinner has an editorial in their April issue that criticizes the convoluted equation of Seattle’s own Reactionary Utopianists. Appropriately enough, the Sinner uses the recent battle over the Viaduct as its metaphor and jumping off point, correctly criticizing the anti-surface/transit folks as “paralyzed.”

Here’s the heart of the editorial, by Jeremy M. Barker:

The historical causes of our current situation are pretty simple: it’s the continued struggle between Seattle’s old guard, blue collar population and the younger, urbanite population that’s been transforming the city since the tech boom of the 1990s. The old guard was behind what used to be known as Seattle’s “neighborhood movement,” where neighborhood activists came to wield substantial power over city planning. A lot of people embraced the neighborhood movement as a sign of intelligent growth: neighborhoods were helping ensure a higher quality of life, reinvigorating civic participation and serving as a bulwark against heartless redevelopment.

But that was a mistaken impression. The neighborhood groups also represented the status quo, consolidating power in older, richer, more established neighborhoods fighting to keep a disproportionately big share of the pie. The neighborhood movements, in other words, were pretty happy with they way things were; they were political reactionaries fighting against progress. They helped scuttle Seattle Commons, Paul Allen’s ambitious civic project for SLU. They made nice with homeless advocacy groups to give their greed for city money the veneer of progressive politics. Organizations like the Seattle Displacement Coalition and the hobo newspaper Real Change took to advocating strange positions: Real Change used to give disproportionate article space to Magnolia residents opposing a tunnel, and the Seattle Displacement Coalition’s John Fox became a point man for criticizing the city’s redevelopment priorities, opposing things like streetcar service between downtown and SLU.

Continue reading "Sinful Analysis" »

Pride on the Water?

posted by on April 25 at 12:18 PM

After yesterday’s vertiginous now-Pride-is-cancelled-and-now-it’s-not updates, the Pride parade is slated for Fourth Avenue. Sweet Jesus, that’s good news.

However, the Pride rally appears to be… non-existent? The LGBT Center has plans for something called Queerfest in Volunteer Park. But the idea of trudging two miles up hill after the parade makes me want to drink, starting now. Dan suggested marching right into Seattle Center without a permit and setting up camp on the lawn by the fountain. That might be kinda relaxing, until the police arrive in riot gear and tell us to haul our gay asses up the hill.

There’s another option: Rallying at a big park downtown. You know, the one overrun by stoners in August: Myrtle Edwards Park. Here’s a picture from Hempfest to help you imagine what the Pride rally could look like:


Myrtle Edwards Park is near the parade route, it’s big enough for a large event, we could have a big sound system, and it’s a public space without usage fees. And if SOaP is to ever pay off their huge debt at Seattle Center—and pay for this year’s parade—a rally site will help them raise the money they need. Down at Myrtle Edwards Park, they could sell vendor spaces, sell water, host a beer garden!, and collect donations at the narrow little entrance.

Oh, about that narrow little entrance. A hundred thousand parade marchers funneling into the waterfront park would be a tight squeeze. But with line managers and help from the cops, we could have our parade and our rally, too. Of course, this is just an interim location until SOaP shapes up or another organization forms that can hold the rally in Seattle Center without incurring six figures of debt.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 25 at 12:12 PM

‘A Married Couple’

(Documentary)While watching this dark Canadian masterpiece from 1969, my boyfriend and I became obsessed with whether it was real. “It has to be fiction. Look at those facial expressions!” “It’s a documentary, but he’s wearing bikini briefs because it’s funny.” “But they’re constantly at each other’s throats.” “I think they’re us.” “I am not hysterical.” “Well, you’re the guy, and she’s me.” Then they started hitting each other, and we were both too alarmed to speak. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.50.) Annie Wagner

Spring Fashion

posted by on April 25 at 12:12 PM



More from “the lighter side” line by Jesus Togs here.

South Lake Union: Awash in Brown?

posted by on April 25 at 11:17 AM

KING 5 is one of many outlets reporting the basic facts: This morning, a Seattle construction crew broke or damaged a 20-inch water main near Harrison St., causing major flooding in the South Lake Union area.

I heard John Richards give thanks for KEXP’s placement uphill from the flooding on the radio this morning, and read a Slog commenter’s report of brown water bubbling from the toilets at her workplace—anyone else out there in the thick of it?

The Poor Man’s Yacht

posted by on April 25 at 10:26 AM

On Sunday, the Elliott Bay Water Taxi resumes service between Pier 55 (at Spring Street) and Seacrest in West Seattle. File this idea away for the next time you have relatives in town—it’s $3 well spent on a sunny afternoon. At Seacrest, you’ll find a small park with a postcard view of the city, a walking path that leads to Alki, and a fish-n-chips place (but if you’re picky, the fried seafood at the Ivar’s fish bar at Pier 54 is better).

William Faulkner or German Translating Machine?

posted by on April 25 at 10:03 AM

From the folks at Reverent Entertainment comes this inspired literary quiz: Can you guess which phrases were written by the Nobel Prize-winning Faulkner, and which were created by a German translating machine? Good luck!

(Thank you, MetaFilter.)

Jewish Thing? Let’s Not Forget Joker’s Boner…

posted by on April 25 at 9:41 AM

And what a big boner it was!


Earth 2

posted by on April 25 at 9:38 AM

Exciting news on the science front:

Astronomers reported on Wednesday they had discovered a “super-Earth” more than 20 light years away that is the most intriguing world found so far in the search for extraterrestrial life.

About five times the mass of Earth, the planet orbits a cool, dim “red dwarf” star located in the constellation of Libra, the team from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said in a press release.

The star, Gliese 581, has already been identified as hosting a planet similar in size to Neptune, the frigid gas giant on the edge of our own Solar System.

The new planet is 14 times closer to Gliese 581 than the Earth is to the Sun. But because Gliese 581 is so cool, the planet is not scorched by solar radiation. It zips around the star at express speed, making just 13 days to complete an orbit.

“We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40°C, and water would thus be liquid,” said lead researcher Stephane Udry of Switzerland’s Geneva University.

Here’s an artist conception of what the “super-Earth” looks like:


Meanwhile in Britain

…bookmakers wasted no time slashing the odds on aliens being discovered after astronomers announced Wednesday that they had discovered an Earth-like planet.

William Hill cut the odds on proving the existence of extra-terrestrial life from 1,000-1 to 100-1.

“We felt we had to react to the news that an Earth-like planet which could support intelligent life had been discovered — after all, we don’t know for sure that intelligent extra-terrestrial life has not already been discovered, but is being hushed up,” said spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Even at 100-1 it’s still a sucker bet — especially since the wager only pays out if “the prime minister [confirms] officially the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life within a year of the bet being placed.”

And Now… The Seattle Gay Pride Organizing Committee Says It’s Not Disbanding, It’s Not Filing For Bankruptcy, and the Downtown Pride Parade is Back On

posted by on April 25 at 7:40 AM

[Originally posted at 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday]

Troy Campbell, a board member for Seattle Out and Proud, just called to tell me that contrary to his group’s earlier press release, they have now decided to stay together, scrap their bankruptcy plans, and organize a Pride Parade downtown again this year.

(If you feel like you have whip-lash from following this story, try writing about it…)

Campbell tells me that his group decided to reverse course after receiving an overwhelming amount of encouragement today from people who want the Gay Pride Parade to remain downtown.

“People really, really enjoyed the civic feel of the downtown parade,” he said.

However, the group will not plan any festival in conjunction with the parade this year, leaving plans for any post-parade celebrations to others. Out and Proud thinks that the parade, which has always been profitable, can help the group gradually pay back the $100,000+ debt it incurred from running a wildly unprofitable post-parade celebration at Seattle Center last year.

“The board has decided that we owe it to our debtors and the community to produce the parade, and so we are going to go forward,” Campbell told me.

And what will people do to celebrate after the parade this year? “There’s a variety of events that are being produced around the city,” Campbell told me. “And there’s the Center itself, which is a large park with amusement rides and games.”

Sounds like he’s been listening to Dan.

The Morning News

posted by on April 25 at 6:14 AM

Fightin’ Words: Cheney, Reid exchange barbs over Iraq timetable

Who’s Under Investigation This Week? If you guessed MC Rove…you’re a winner!

Finally: Bellevue backing domestic partnerships

Blind Eye:OSHA avoiding policymaking and enforcement

Triumph: Abortion legalized in Mexico City

Study: No connection between abortion and breast cancer

11,000,000: The global warming death toll in the next three decades

Hottest New Real Estate Market: The Gliese 581 System

People Food: Possibly as dangerous as pet food

Fun Superhero Fact of the Day: Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing, is Jewish.


King County Democrats Turn Up Pressure on Port

posted by on April 25 at 2:15 AM

The King County Democrats passed a resolution on Tuesday night, similar to the one passed by the 46th District Democrats last Thursday, calling for an investigation into Port Commissioner Pat Davis.

It came to light last week that Davis had signed a memo authorizing a hefty pay package for outgoing Port CEO Mic Dinsmore. Three of her four Commission colleagues say they were never informed about the deal. One, Bob Edwards, has not directly addressed the issue.

The KC Democrats’ vote comes only a few hours after a recall petition on Davis was filed with King County by good government activist Chris Clifford, a Republican.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Love Sam Harris Too! Oh, Wait…

posted by on April 24 at 8:13 PM

Oh! OH! I thought you meant SAM HARRIS, 80’s Star Search pseudo-phenom, whose vibrato could rattle windows underground on Mars and whose Judy Garland covers brought even her corpse to tears! Remember? Remember?

I don‘t.

Ladies and gentleman…the ORIGINAL American fucking Idol (and, uh, Liza)…


What is he doing now, do you think? And what is his relationship with Jesus? I wonder…

I Love Sam Harris

posted by on April 24 at 7:16 PM

If God loves the world, he has a terribly noncommittal way of showing it. Why rig a silly game in which only the poorly educated and mentally unbalanced are perfectly tuned to glimpse the truth of your existence, while smart, well-adjusted, and well-educated people (like yourself) must wrestle with doubt, barricade themselves behind euphemism, and cling to spurious “mysteries” to keep from tumbling into unbelief? You beckon me to a world in which George Bush and James Dobson have an effortless bead on the deepest conceivable truth; meanwhile, 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences may well be doomed for eternity by their skepticism. It’s hard for me to imagine that this scenario seems even remotely plausible to you—but this is Christianity at a glance. I am not the first to notice that it is a strange sort of loving God who would make salvation depend upon a person’s ability to believe in him on bad evidence.

Finally, let me say that there is something tragically unnecessary about all of this. I do not doubt the consolations you get from your faith. But faith is like a pickpocket who loans you your own money on generous terms. Your resultant feelings of gratitude are perfectly understandable, but misplaced. You are the source of the love that you attribute to Jesus (how else can you feel it?). Realizing this, what need is there to feel certain about ancient miracles?

Buy his books….

Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith.

Oh, and buy Richard Dawkins’ book—The God Delusion—while you’re at it.

Wait a Minute…

posted by on April 24 at 7:02 PM

…didn’t we have our first 9/11 after the Republicans won?

Giuliani warns of ‘new 9/11’ if Dems win

How the Mighty Have Fallen

posted by on April 24 at 4:41 PM

A burrito wielding Captain America, apparently back from the dead, has been arrested for groping several women in a Florida bar.

As if a battery and disorderly conduct charges weren’t damaging enough to the Sentinel of Liberty’s credibility, Cap was also caught flushing a bag of weed down the toilet while in police custody. He was then charged with possession and destruction of evidence.

Can’t a superhero get a break?

And now, Captain America as a werewolf:


Via The Smoking Gun

Ammo? Check. Rubber Duckies? Check.

posted by on April 24 at 4:39 PM

Virginia Tech mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui spent $21.50 last year in two online auctions to procure three dozen small rubber duckies—and one giant one (not pictured)—from an Illinois dealer who specializes in rubber bath toys. There’s a joke here, but I don’t know what it is. TSG has the story.


Port Update & Recall Petition

posted by on April 24 at 4:33 PM

The Port of Seattle Commission tried to lower the temperature today, voting to refer the Pat Davis scandal to a Port ethics board rather than calling for Port Commissioner Davis to resign. Davis signed a memo a-okaying a hefty retirement package for former Port CEO Mic Dinsmore without the consent of her fellow commissioners. She says they knew about it. They say they didn’t.

However, longtime open government activist and Renton resident Chris Clifford filed a petition with King County to recall Davis. Clifford reports that KC rejected the petition on technical grounds, and says he’s complying and sending it back in tonight.

Here it is:



COMES NOW, Christopher P. Clifford, a resident of the City of Renton, in King County, in the State of Washington, being 18 years of age or older, being a registered voter in King County Washington, swears under the penalty of perjury, and under the laws of the State of Washington, that the following is true and have knowledge of the alleged facts upon which the stated grounds for recall are based.

On or about January 10, 2006, the Port of Seattle Commission met in an executive session.
On or about June 8, 2006, the Port of Seattle Commission met in an executive session.
On or about October 10, 2006, Port of Seattle Commission signed a memorandum granting Mic Dinsmore an outgoing employee of the Port of Seattle, $339,841.00 of extra compensation outside the original employee contract for that employee.
On or about March/April of 2007 Mic Dinsmore sought to collect the monies granted to him by Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis.

Acts of Malfeasance and Misfeasance
1) Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis committed an act of malfeasance by signing an agreement to provide a “gift” of public money to an individual outside the employee contract approved by the Port of Seattle Commission.
2) Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis committed an act of malfeasance by obligating the Port of Seattle to pay monies not voted on or approved by the Port of Seattle Commissioners at a regularly scheduled public hearing.
3) Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis committed an act of misfeasance and malfeasance by using her position as Port Commissioner to provide a “gift” of public money to her personal friend and political ally Mic Dinsmore.
4) Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis committed an act of malfeasance by voting on an issue in an executive session on or about January 10, 2006, in violation of the Washington State Open Meetings Act.
5) Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis committed an act of malfeasance by voting on an issue in an executive session on or about June 8, 2006, in violation of the Washington State Open Meetings Act.
6) Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis committed an act of malfeasance by knowingly violating the limited context of the executive session exclusions of the Open Meetings Act to improperly negotiate and vote on a “gift” of public money.
The acts of malfeasance and misfeasance regarding Port of Seattle funds are evidenced by the October 10, 2006, memo signed by Pat Davis to Mic Dinsmore. Further evidence of these acts are Mr. Dinsmore’s attempt to obtain the monies stated in the October 10, 2006 memo in 2007.
The Acts of malfeasance and misfeasance regarding violations of the open meetings act and the executive session exemption are evidenced by the public statements of Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis.
Dated this 24th day of April, 2007

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 24 at 4:30 PM

Awesome: Other Music Opens Digital Store.

Terrorist Spinach Attack: Trent Moorman’s Shitty Tour.

Rememberment Plan: Megan Seling Still Loves You, So Many Dynamos.

Hovercraft Camaros, But No Trans Am: Zombi’s Prog Grandeur.

Overkill: Too Many Promo CDs.

And now, a playful harbor seal:


Exodus: The Conclusion

posted by on April 24 at 4:06 PM

For those of you following the Mike Daisey vs. angry Christians saga, you can read its conclusion here.


• Daisey hunts down the “Christians” who were actually from a public high school in Norco, California: “the people in charge freely identified themselves as a Christian group, until reporters call and they remember they are from a public high school.”

• An administrator at the school says that they had to evacuate their students after Daisey said “fuck” (even though they were told when they bought tickets that the show contained adult language) because of, uh, safety:

she insisted it was a “safety issue”, and that “we had to get our students out of there.” There was no discussion of language or appropriateness—it had become a safety issue, as though the students were in danger of being physically assaulted. I think it is tremendously chilling that the language of the war on terror, the language of security, has been appropriated for even this—we can’t even begin a dialogue about what is and is not appropriate, because it has all become a “safety” issue. That ends a conversation before it has even begun.

• Daisey talks to the angry jackass who splashed Daisey’s table and notes with water: “His name is David… He has three kids—one is 21, and two are 17—and he’s terrified of the world.”

• And then they start talking about God…

(Check here to watch the video of the original incident.)

Pride Parade: The Rat City Rollergirls’ Dilemma

posted by on April 24 at 3:56 PM

Dear Dan:

In the planning stages for our 2007 roller derby season, the Rat City Rollergirls were excited to learn that Key Arena was available the day of the Seattle Pride Parade. We immediately placed a hold, and set about trying to partner with the organizers of Pride to be a part of the post-parade Seattle Center events and entertainment. The result of our joint planning was “The Big, Gay Bout at Seattle Pride,” which was to be be held in Key Arena late Sunday afternoon on June 24 after Pride-goers were sun-crisped, pleasantly drunk and looking for a seat and a spot of air conditioning before heading to the all-out, into-the-night dance party in the fountain.

Several weeks ago we both announced this partnership (SOaP in a press release, us on our Web site). The Rat City Rollergirls were to assume all costs for playing in Key Arena, and were happy to offer a discount, day-of ticket to the masses (normally $20-25) for $10 in order to make the event available and affordable to as many Pride-goers as possible. Also, on top of our original plan to donate 10 percent of the “Big, Gay Bout” profits to Lambert House, we were also looking to donate $1 from every ticket sold back to Seattle Pride to help the organization with its costs, past and present. We were just excited to be a part of it all!

Like many, we were surprised and saddened by news of the change in Pride plans, though we certainly understand SOaP’s position. Our league’s support for the principles and ideas behind the annual event rise above scheduling details or business partnerships—no matter when and where it is, we’d really like to participate.

However, we are now a bit worried about not only playing in a venue more than five times the size of our normal Magnuson Park Hangar with no larger celebration going on outside at Seattle Center, but also that if Pride events are held elsewhere that day, we may suddenly be competing with the very events we had hoped to be a central part of.

I write to you because it seems that The Stranger’s Slog has become a town hall, real-time discussion of what’s next for Pride. Obviously the decision ultimately rests with those who are willing to do the heavy lifting to organize and plan Pride, but after reading what you and others have had to say, we wanted you to know of our Pride plans, and that we still somehow want to help and be a part of it.

If the parade remains downtown, even if there is no formal mass gathering at Seattle Center, we may consider keeping our event at Key Arena in the hopes that it would provide a fun place for people to assemble and celebrate. If the parade moves to Capitol Hill, we will likely need to seek an alternate venue. No matter where we (or Pride) end up, the beneficiary, theme and spirit of our June roller derby bout will remain the same—wherever it is, it will benefit Lambert House, it will be sometime during Pride weekend, and it will undoubtedly be as big and gay and fabulous as we can possibly make it.


Jennifer Warnick
aka Shovey Chase
Media, marketing and PR manager
Rat City Rollergirls

LGBT Center: In It for the Money, Honey

posted by on April 24 at 3:14 PM

This LGBT Community Center e-mail—written by Shannon Thomas—was forwarded to Stranger HQ:

Hi all,

I wanted to email you all as soon as possible regarding MAJOR changes that The Center is implementing this week. I’m sure you’ve all heard the new about Seattle Out and Proud and “pride”. They are unable to produce an event this year, and we are stepping up. I’m attaching a press release we’re about to send to the media. IT HAS NOT YET BEEN RELEASED, SO IT IS CONFIDENTIAL TO YOU ONLY AT THIS TIME.

I’m emailing because this is a huge opportunity for The Center and we will be tying all our programs and services and other events (Fruit Bowl) into this fundraising and marketing opportunity. This will allow us to fundraise in a greater capacity than ever before—to raise dollars immediately for staff and infrastructure.

Hence, I need all the volunteer time any of you have.

We will have a launch meeting for QueerFest: Seattle’s new 2007 Pride Festival tomorrow night at 6pm - if you’re interest in joining a committee, please join us. ALSO, Fruit Bowl will need MORE volunteers as the scope of what The Center does has just increased, and FBA will be HUGE this year.

I also need volunteers to just come in and help me out with projects that
have now become more critical.

We have a GREAT opportunity to finally showcase all the good community-building The Center does and I’d LOVE you to be a part of it.

First on my list is someone who can take the Helpline and Volunteer Coordination off my plate. I need one loyal and dedicated person to help me schedule and recruit more volunteers in this interim time. I also have numerous other projects - in addition to the TONS of volunteers we’ll need for Pride and Fruit Bowl.

Any takers?

MY HUGE THANKS! This is going to put us on the map!


Well, well, well. SOaP hasn’t disbanded yet and so far as anyone knows, the permits for the Pride Parade are still in SOaP’s hands—and currently in the name of one of SOaP’s members. Nothing has been transferred to the LGBT Community Center. But, hey, there’s money to be made here, and Shannon is all over it.

It seems pretty clear what’s going on here, huh?

In the press release, Shannon quotes herself as saying…

We’re just ecstatic to be able to offer our communities the opportunity for a fantastic Pride Celebration.

Uh-huh. It looks like what Shannon is most ecstatic about is the opportunity to rake in the dough.

Full text of the LGBT Community Center’s press release after the jump.

Continue reading "LGBT Center: In It for the Money, Honey" »

Lornet Turnbull, Seattle Times Staff Reporter

posted by on April 24 at 1:56 PM

Smile, Lornet Turnbull, you’re on Slog!

Lornet called our offices to ask me a question about the pride parade. Brad told her she’d have better luck getting me via e-mail. Lornet told Brad she didn’t want to send me an e-mail because she “didn’t want to end up on Slog.” Well, well, well.

What the Voices in My Head Sound Like…

posted by on April 24 at 1:46 PM

Ladies and gentlemen…shhh. I give you, Miss Shirley Q. Liquor!

Oh, glury!

The Pride Parade and Its Meanings

posted by on April 24 at 12:45 PM

With the news that Seattle’s Gay Pride organizing committee has collapsed and will file for bankruptcy, a lot of the discussion about next steps will concern money and logistics: Can the Pride Parade and festival be made profitable? Who should run it? Why, exactly, did the festival fail at Seattle Center? Etc.

That’s all important, but I want to talk for a moment about symbolism, which is what parades are all about—grand symbolism, on a scale that alters the city-scape and perhaps the mind-scape of participants and observers.

The idea of moving the parade downtown last year may have been motivated, in part, by practical and financial concerns (specifically, that the size of the event was outgrowing Capitol Hill and Volunteer Park, and that organizers thought the Seattle Center would be more conducive to running a celebration that brought in money through beer gardens, merchandising, and perhaps ticketed performances).

But it’s important to remember that the move was sold to the community using symbolism that tugged at the yearnings of gay people to be accepted and celebrated in the heart of their city.

Now, it must be said: Anyone, gay or straight, who ties his or her entire sense of self to a parade deserves to be disappointed.

But, it must also be said: People love parades. They line sidewalks to watch them. They march in them. They link huge meanings to them, even if their more rational instincts tell them not to. In the case of the gay community, which has historically used parades in cities across America to push for acceptance and equality under the law, parades come with tremendous emotional baggage and symbolism attached. They become an embodiment of a city’s gay community at a given moment, a snapshot of its best, worst, and most bizarre aspects. The fact that they happen at all—that gay communites are able to parade their best, worst, and most bizarre members down the streets of major American cities each summer—is a testament to how far gay Americans have come since the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

Thus, the location, within a city, of a particular parade, is important and hardly devoid of meaning. When the Seattle parade’s move downtown was sold last year as a major symbolic statement—an announcement that gay people here were not just denizens of the “gay ghetto” on Capitol Hill, but in fact a central part of the civic fabric—people bought into that. They bought into the meaning of the move.

And they loved it. As Dan noted earlier, Ed Murray, dean of this state’s gay legislators, summed up the sentiments of lot of gay parade-goers with this statement after last year’s march down Fourth Avenue:

“There was a sense, marching down the streets today, of having arrived. Of being viewed as equal,” said state Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, who strode down the broad, leafy avenues of Fourth Avenue holding hands with his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki. “I think the fact that people felt comfortable downtown is new. Michael and I hold hands on the Hill. We don’t downtown. But we did today.”

The organizers of the Pride Parade should of course be accountable to their bottom line, and they shouldn’t put on an event that can’t support itself (why they weren’t able to turn a profit on an event that draws 200,000 people is another, very mind-boggling, question). But the current and future organizers also need to see themselves as accountable to the symbolic storyline that the gay community was sold, and enthusiastically bought, last year.

By “voting with their feet,” as Dan says, and picking the downtown parade over the scraggly counter-parade held last year on the Hill, gay Seattleites were saying, among other things, that they see themselves as part a grand narrative that begins in the gay ghetto and ends on Fourth Avenue, or around the fountain at the Seattle Center. It’s a narrative that begins with marginalization and scorn from the wider community and ends with integration, acceptance, and celebration in the heart of Seattle’s civic space.

What would it mean for this narrative, then, if this year the Pride Parade and celebration slinks back up to the gay ghetto on the Hill, due to the gay community’s inability to create a self-sustaining celebration in the center of Seattle?

The abject failure of the Seattle Pride organizing committee, however well-meaning and devoted its volunteers may have been, is already a huge embarrassment to the larger gay community in Seattle.

Whoever picks up the pieces of the organizing committee’s financial mess will not just be dealing with a financial mess, however. They will need to fix a symbolic mess, too, and answer this question:

Is retreating back to Capitol Hill simply adding embarrassing, self-inflicted insult to embarrassing, self-inflicted injury?

Local Trivia

posted by on April 24 at 12:15 PM


I was editing a piece for this week’s paper and looked up the term “P-Patch” in the dictionary. It wasn’t in there. Weird, right? I discovered that P-Patch is a phrase particular to Seattle. Hmm. I asked a coworker from California if she had heard it before she moved here—she hadn’t. Who knew?

Apparently, the P stands for Picardo Farm in Wedgwood, the original local community garden. Fun fact: There are now over 50 P-Patches in Seattle.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 24 at 12:09 PM

‘Trapped in the Closet’

(It’s Back!) For years, the Brown Derby reading series has turned movies—from Flashdance to Alien—into entertaining, always-almost-falling-apart comedy clusterfucks. But the decision to do Trapped in the Closet—R. Kelly’s inadvertently hilarious serial hip-hopera—was inspired. Considering how much audiences loved last year’s production of Derby’s Closet, the decision to bring it back is just merciful. Starring Sarah Rudinoff, Nick Garrison, Rebecca Davis, Ian Bell, and other funny fucks. (Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873. 8 pm, $12 DOS, 21+.) Brendan Kiley

Can the Pride Parade Go on Without a Rally Site?

posted by on April 24 at 11:38 AM

I just spoke with someone in the loop about the pride parade. He recently had a conversation with a city official about the possibility of staging the pride parade without the route ending at an official rally site. The city official was doubtful at first—the parade needed a gathering spot at its end. But the person-in-the-loop pointed out that Seattle’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade don’t terminate at rally sites. They just… end… at the end of their designated routes. (Does anyone know if the same is true for the SeaFair Parade?)

That being the case, the city official conceded that, yes, the downtown pride parade could go on—even without an official rally site. And the route right now—click here to see it—ends at the entrances to Seattle Center, which would be a lovely site for an unofficial rally.

Concerned Crackers

posted by on April 24 at 11:31 AM

The Concerned Women for America hate homos. But apparently they looooove racists. John Aravosis busts ‘em over Americablog.

Re: The Pride Parade

posted by on April 24 at 10:51 AM

Gotta love Sean’s comment:

Jesus Christ. If Seattle has one defining characteristic, it’s the inability to reach anything approaching consensus on any issue, no matter how large or trivial.

If you want true meaning and symbolism, move the parade to the viaduct.

Equal Pay Day

posted by on April 24 at 10:51 AM

Today, April 24, is Equal Pay Day, the date on which the salaries of full-time working women catch up to what full-time working men made by December 31 of the previous year, controlling for age, hours worked, education, work experience, union status, and region of the country. (The data used to calculate the wage gap includes only full-time workers who do not take extra time off, and not, as some conservatives claim, women who take time off for maternity leave or work part time.)

According to a new study by the American Association of University Women, titled “Beyond the Pay Gap,” the pay gap between the genders already exists one year after college and only widens over time. One year out of college, women working full-time make 80 percent of what men make, accounting for hours, occupation, and whether a worker is a parent. Ten years later, women make just 69 percent of men’s earnings. “One year out of college, men and women should arguably be the least likely to show a gender pay gap,” the study said, “since neither tend to be parents yet and they enter the work force without significant experience.” This was also true despite the fact that women tend to outperform men academically.

In Washington State, college-educated women working full time made 71 cents for every dollar made by their male couterparts, putting us in 42nd place nationwide—in front of only Massachusetts, Florida, Kansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia, and New Jersey.

Something Strange Happened to Me on My Way to Work Today

posted by on April 24 at 10:46 AM

I bought a bike on Saturday! Woohoo! I was riding it to work today, even though I only live four blocks away. Since I live so close, I was taking it slow, riding down Nagle Avenue. Since Nagle doesn’t have a stoplight, I turned left onto the sidewalk on Pine. Riding along at a leisurely pace, with only two people on the sidewalk, I hummed to myself, “La di da da, I’m riding my new bike. Yay!” Then, as I was riding past the second person who was walking on that wide sidewalk, he said:

“Stupid female, breaking the law.”

It is not against the law to ride on the sidewalk as long as you are not endangering anyone by riding fast or riding through crowds. And you sir: You ruined my nice morning.

Dorky, Timid, Pushy

posted by on April 24 at 10:29 AM

Those are the three words used to describe the VA Tech Killer by his last known escort.

For the full, weird, and not-all-there story (the killer used a credit card to pay the escort for a hands-off dance party in a motel room?), go here.

(Like I said, it’s not much of a story, and the most interesting parts are what are left out. Still, if the media’s going to show photos of the killer looking tough with guns, it’s also important to show him looking stupid with call girls.)

This Is Not A Coincidence, And It Is Irritating

posted by on April 24 at 10:22 AM







I just returned from a weekend in New York, where I saw fashionable women en masse. They all wore shirts and dresses that made them look pregnant. Every last one.

But you know what?


The Pride Parade

posted by on April 24 at 10:15 AM

SOaP—the group that moved the pride parade downtown last year—is having a meeting tonight to decide what the hell to do. They owe Seattle Center 100K and the planned post-parade festival at Seattle Center has already been cancelled. Tonight SOaP is meeting and may decide to disband and/or cancel the downtown pride parade too.

Let’s back up for a minute:

Last year whiners predicted that a downtown parade would be a poorly attended disaster and under the divisive “leadership” of the LGBT Center (never writing them a check) hosted a competing event on Capitol Hill. The Seattle Gay News did its level best to create the impression of controversy and predicted that the parade on the hill would be bigger and and better attended than the parade downtown.

On Pride Weekend 2006 Seattle’s gays and lesbians voted with their feet: the LGBT Center/SGN “Queer Fest” was a poorly attended disaster; the downtown parade and the festival at Seattle Center were a smash. The downtown parade attracted ten times as many people as the Capitol Hill parade. (And that’s if we accept the LGBT Center’s doubtless inflated estimates of Queer Fest attendance.) People were giddy after last year’s parade through downtown; the parade was invigorated, meaningful again, symbolic of the arrival of gays and lesbians in the mainstream of this city’s cultural life.

The shit storm over this year’s pride events can’t be allowed to erase the positive memories of last year’s event. It’s worth pausing for a moment to review some of the coverage of last year’s pride events. The 2006’s post-parade coverage can be read here, here, and here.

And here are some choice quotes from last year’s Pride Parade wrap-ups in the Seattle Times, PI, and Stranger:

The march traditionally has been held on Capitol Hill, the epicenter of the city’s gay community. But this year the parade for the first time marched from Westlake Park to Seattle Center. For many, the walk right through the heart of the city was special.

“There was a sense, marching down the streets today, of having arrived. Of being viewed as equal,” said state Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, who strode down the broad, leafy avenues of Fourth Avenue holding hands with his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki. “I think the fact that people felt comfortable downtown is new. Michael and I hold hands on the Hill. We don’t downtown. But we did today.”

Most interviewed at Sunday’s parade, supported the move to downtown. “With so much going on with legislation about our rights, it’s really important to be seen as just a part of the larger community,” said Keith Smith of Seattle as he stood near the Belltown fire station on Fourth Avenue.
On Saturday evening, the business-backed rival parade on Broadway, meant to be a finger in the eye of the Seattle Out and Proud committee, turned out to be little more than a whimpered lament grafted onto the normal night-before-Pride dyke march. Then, on Sunday morning, under a hot sun, more than 200,000 gays and gay-watchers voted with their feet, gathering along Fourth Avenue to watch Seattle’s first downtown Pride Parade. The sidewalks were clogged and the spectacle was well-received. The appearance of so many homosexuals (and their fans) in the heart of downtown Seattle accomplished its un-ghettoizing aim. And afterward, the Seattle Center grounds were packed with celebrants. A dykeish-looking female police officer was spotted dancing in the Center’s main fountain with a large group of half-naked homos.

That’s what really happened, folks: the leaders at SOaP made the right choice in moving the parade downtown. People went, people loved it—ten times as many people attended the parade downtown. Bear that in mind when you read quotes like this one from yesterday’s PI:

“They were doing things that were not the will of the people,” said Susan Benner, who helped coordinate last year’s Saturday-night parade. “I am very pleased to hear that it is not going to be downtown. Whatever happens up here on the hill will be much more to the people’s liking.”

Huh? Who is this douchebag and where does she get off speaking for “the people”? The will of the people was pretty clearly expressed last year: people preferred the parade downtown. There were ten times as many people at the parade downtown than there were at the Capitol Hill sulkfest. The parade downtown was much more to people’s liking than the parade on the hill.

The one thing the parade downtown failed to do, of course, was raise enough money to cover its expenses—some of which appear to have come as a surprise to SOaP. (From today’s Seattle Times: “On the surface, it appeared a huge success. Then the city sent a $97,000 bill — a figure that came as a surprise to some Seattle Out and Proud members — and letters asking for a payment plan.”)

So what to do? Well, SOaP—which in the time its taken me to write this post has moved from contemplating disbanding to actually disbanding—has the permits for a parade through downtown on Sunday June 24, 2007. What SOaP doesn’t have is the right to stage a festival at Seattle Center after. But as I pointed out yesterday, Seattle Center is open to the public—there’s actually nothing to stop SOaP—or the group they decide to hand off their parade permits to—from staging the pride parade along the downtown route. Then after it’s over the gays can quietly file back up the hill. Or we can storm into Seattle Center anyway, take over the fountain, and have a big DIY picnic party blowout. If you can’t party without booze, fill a water bottle with vodka. If you can’t enjoy the fountain without pounding house music, bring a boom box or your iPod. We can have what we had last year—just without the elephant ear stands and community group booths. And is that really a loss?

I also want to second, again, what Dom said yesterday. There’s a role for the city to play here. The pride parade had not only outgrown the Broadway route and the Volunteer Park rally site symbolically, it had outgrown both sites physically. It needs to be downtown, and the city knows it. And the city should step up, forgive the debt, create a new permitting process that makes Seattle Center available for “free-speech evnts” at reduced rates, and help make this event happen.

Sadly, as things stand now, the parade will most likely limp back up the hill and into the arms of the reactionary douchebags that did all they could to discredit last year’s move downtown. These douchebags claimed to speak for the whole community then—people like Susan Benner, the idiots at Seattle Gay News, a useless LGBT Center that actively works against the clearly expressed wishes of the gay community—and they’ll claim to speak for the whole community now. It’s galling enough to see them win. We don’t have to let them re-write history: The parade downtown was a success, people preferred it, and but for SOaP’s financial crack-up there would be no question about the route of this year’s parade.

Source: Gay Pride Organizing Group to Fold, Declare Bankruptcy, and Give Up Control of Downtown Parade

posted by on April 24 at 9:49 AM

A source close to the Seattle Out and Proud Committee’s process tells me that the committee, which has traditionally organized the parade and festival, will unanimously vote today to disband, file for bankruptcy, and surrender control of the downtown parade (in addition to giving up on the post-parade festival at Seattle Center, which it has already done).

UPDATE: It’s official. Here’s the release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, April 23, 2007 Seattle – In 2006, the Seattle Pride March and Festival moved from Capitol Hill to Downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center. Event attendees, organizers and city officials all hailed the events as great successes. Unfortunately, the increased scale of both the March and Festival produced poor financial results including the well publicized and still unpaid debts.

The move created a lot of controversy and a competing event was produced that divided sponsorship opportunities and divided the community. Simply put, the income from both events was not adequate to cover the costs of the March and Festival.

In 2007 Pride organizers Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP) voted in new leadership and SOaP’s primary concern was to produce a financially sound March and Festival in 2007. This week, after months of intense research and negotiation, it has been concluded that producing a Pride Event at Seattle Center is not financially prudent at this time. While most people believe that the 2006 March and Festival in Downtown Seattle showcased the LGBT Community extremely well, a fiscally responsible 2007 March and Festival, no matter their physical location, is the most important goal.

With all of the baggage that has built up over the last year, the SOaP board has decided the best thing for the community and the future of Seattle Pride is for SOaP to step down from producing the Seattle Pride Parade and Festival, and allow someone else to step in and take over Seattle Pride.

We have honestly tried to do our best as a volunteer board with no agenda other than to produce a great celebration for our community. We hope that whoever does step in can unite the community behind them and likewise lead with no alternative agenda. We look forward to supporting whichever group of people can step up. We must agree that as a community we must cut our losses and start anew. We must keep moving forward with energy, strength, unity and passion.

The SOaP Board of Directors will be meeting tonight to start working out the details. This press release is being sent out as heads-up and courtesy to the community. A formal press release will follow in the near future. No further information or interviews will be granted until after our Board meets tonight.

Good News for Goths

posted by on April 24 at 9:48 AM

The Pentagon is officially allowing pentacles.


From NYT.

In other military news: The Pat Tillman thing, Bush vetoes war spending bill, and Jessica Lynch castigates “Pentagon efforts to turn her into a ‘little girl Rambo’, accusing military chiefs of using ‘elaborate lies’ to turn her into a hero.”

The Pentagon initially put out the story that Private Lynch - a slight woman who was just 19 at the time - had been wounded by Iraqi gunfire but had kept fighting until her ammunition ran out. In fact her gun jammed and she did not fire a shot.


Lesbian Sex and the Single Teenager

posted by on April 24 at 8:50 AM

A Bentonville, Ark., man is seeking $20,000 from the city after his two teenage sons found a book on lesbian sex on a public library bookshelf. He also wants the library director fired.

Earl Adams said his 14- and 16-year-old sons were “greatly disturbed” after finding the book, titled “The Whole Lesbian Sex Book.” Adams said the book caused “many sleepless nights in our house.”

I’ll bet it did.

The Morning News

posted by on April 24 at 6:21 AM

Impeachment: Kucinich goes after Cheney

March 31st: Dems set date for Iraq troop withdrawal

Presidential Seal of Approval: Bush still rootin’ for Gonzales despite common sense

Cruel and Unusual: Lethal injections

3,333: Car bomb kills 9 more US soldiers

Gas-vestigation: Washington state analyzing prices at the pump

Don’t Expect Any Mercy in the Great Robot Wars: Can robots be trusted?

Fun Superhero Fact of the Day: William Moulton Marston, the man who created Wonder Woman and her Lasso of Truth, helped invent the polygraph!


Monday, April 23, 2007

Rainbow’s End

posted by on April 23 at 8:49 PM


RIP Rainbow Grocery on 15th. More details at CHS.

Gay Marriage: Who You Gonna Believe?

posted by on April 23 at 6:24 PM

Your gay son/nephew/cousin/brother/friend and his boyfriend? Or the child-raping freaks at Child Rape Inc.?

The Vatican’s second-highest ranking doctrinal official on Monday forcefully branded homosexual marriage an evil and denounced abortion and euthanasia as forms of “terrorism with a human face.”

The attack by Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the latest in a string of speeches made by either Pope Benedict or other Vatican officials as Italy considers giving more rights to gays.

Re: A Confession.

posted by on April 23 at 6:00 PM

Erica’s in love with a car. I’m in love with my new pink Nintendo DS Lite.


Like Erica, my love is also wrong. Very, very wrong.

Because of my pink Nintendo DS Lite, I was up until four o’ clock in the morning playing “Yoshi’s Island.” I love the way the little baby Mario cries “Yoshi!” and I love how Princess Peach flies through the air with a pretty pink parasol. Baby Donkey Kong is my favorite; he can climb vines and do this cool power stomp thing to knock out enemies. VrooomSTOMP!

I’m up to level three, but I have a few embarrassingly low scores in the previous levels, so I’ve been replaying some stuff and trying to find all the big gold coins and stars and shit. But one thing that I can’t seem to do, is unlock the mini games. I only have one so far. ONE! One lousy mini game!

There’s gotta be more. Where are they?

I’m addicted. I will not sleep until I find them.

Re: The Seattle Center Bill

posted by on April 23 at 5:26 PM

I want to second what Dom said—it’s great idea, the city should do it.

But if the city doesn’t act… well… what’s to stop pride parade participants going to Seattle Center anyway, permits or no permits? We can have the parade down 4th Avenue end just across the street from Seattle Center… which is open to the public, right? And the gays are a part of the public, right? (We’re a large part, as Dom mentions.) So we pass the word around the parade and up and down the route: “Meet up at the fountain after the parade.”

There wouldn’t be special tents or beer gardens or disco divas or a drag stage (not a bad thing, that last item), but there would be a Space Needle, a Center House with tons of food and some bars, the lawn, and the Fountain. How could they keep us out?

The Seattle Center Bill

posted by on April 23 at 5:24 PM

As the second-gayest city in the US, Seattle deserves an awesome Pride parade. It also deserves an affordable venue for large rallies. But, alas, it has neither. That can be changed.

Currently, three city parks can realistically accommodate sizable political events – Volunteer Park, Myrtle Edwards Park, and Gasworks – but they only hold about 30-40 thousand people at one time. And the city’s multi-department Special Events Committee, currently being audited for delaying permits, has historically placed onerous restrictions on rallies in those parks to appease the NIMBYs. What’s a growing event to do?

Pride escaped from Volunteer Park to Seattle Center, which is actually designed for large events. But they experienced the fate organizers of other events feared could happen there: owing tens of thousands of dollars and losing their permit. It’s not Seattle Center’s fault – they’re simply charging the mandated union labor and usage fees. It’s also not Pride’s fault – as a controversial political event, they can’t raise corporate sponsorship on par with Bite of Seattle or Folklife to pay those costs.

But, clearly, Pride is an asset to the city’s culture and should be allowed to flourish. Furthermore, the city shouldn’t risk getting sued every time the Special Event Committee places unconstitutional restrictions on permits in order to squeeze big rallies into small parks.

Here’s the solution:

The Council should pass a bill that requires Seattle Center to provide the lawn and fountain areas at greatly reduced rates for free-speech events that have outgrown city parks. Sure, Seattle Center will kick and scream and bitch about the cost of repairing their precious lawns and maintaining the grounds. So change the terms of the Center’s operating contract with the city. Subsidize the events with money saved from lawsuits. Do what you must, council. But make it work.

Sad. David Halberstam Dies.

posted by on April 23 at 5:17 PM

All-star reporter David Halberstam—who cut his teeth as a reporter during the Vietnam War, eventually writing the landmark The Making of a Quagmire and winning a Pulitzer for his NYT reporting on the war— died in a car crash today.

The First Victim Is Truth

posted by on April 23 at 4:54 PM

Christine Wenc, a former editor of The Stranger, sent in a link to this piece at Mother Jones and asked me to Slog it. Here are the money graphs:

The first person killed by Cho Seung-Ho, a freshman named Emily Hilscher, was initially rumored to be Cho’s current or former girlfriend – the subject of his obsession or jealous rage. It now appears that she never had a relationship with Cho, but the rumors were spread quickly, especially by blogs and by the international tabloid press. The UK’s Daily Mail headlined the “Massacre Gunman’s Deadly Infatuation with Emily,” while Australia’s Daily Telegraph published a photo of a smiling Hilscher with the line “THIS is the face of the girl who may have sparked the worst school shooting in US history.” (The page is still up.) Some accounts stooped to suggesting, with zero evidence, that the victim had jilted Cho, cheated on him, or led him on.

More significantly, local police and university administrators appear to have initially bought this motive, and acted accordingly. In the two hours between the murders of Hilscher and her dorm neighbor Ryan Clark, and Cho’s mass killings at another university building, they chose not to cancel classes or lock down the campus. (They did choose to do so, however, in August 2006, when a man shot a security guard and a sheriff’s deputy and escaped from a hospital two miles away.) Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said authorities believed the first shooting was a “domestic dispute” and thought the gunman had fled the campus, so “We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur.” The assumption, apparently, is that men who kill their cheating girlfriends are criminals, but they are not crazy, not psychopaths, and not a danger to anyone other than the woman in question. (Or, as one reader commented at Feministe sarcastically, “Like killing your girlfriend is no big deal.”)

Says Christine:

From the very start of this coverage most reporters blithely went along with the “just a domestic dispute” idea, and implied that the young woman in the dorm—the first one killed—was somehow romantically connected with Cho and this is what set him off. I admit that I thought this was probably the case myself at first, since this sort of thing is so common. When I used to read the news on public radio there would be something on the wire about a man murdering the woman he was involved with about once a week. It’s not a feminist harangue—it’s just true. It has become part of our social wallpaper, kind of like car accidents.

Even so, from the start of the Cho coverage I was angered by the idea that somehow it wasn’t a big deal because it was “only” a domestic dispute. (As well as the implication that she somehow brought this upon herself, if only for being a pretty young woman).

So I’ve been waiting to see if someone would write something about how disturbing it is that we seem to find shooting your girlfriend so ordinary. I was very happy to see this Mother Jones article. As it turned out, she was not involved with him at all.

Propaganda Emissions

posted by on April 23 at 4:51 PM

Earlier this month, the local chapter of the Sierra Club sent a letter to Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg explaining why the Puget Sound-area environmental community was going to come out against RTID.

High on the club’s list of complaints was Pierce County’s SR 704 (the Cross Base Highway), which the Sierra Club included on its list of “Bad Projects: Viewed as ‘Poison Pills.’” The group said the project violated all the Sierra Club’s criteria: consider multimodal uses; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and preserve dollars for transit and pedestrian projects.

Ladenburg, a big RTID and SR 704 supporter, responded.

I’ve linked Ladenburg’s response—in which he misspells the word environmentally—after the jump.

For starters, though, he hauls out a road-expansion argument that’s getting really tiresome: Expanding roads will allow cars to move faster, and so, without cars idling in gridlock, there will be less CO2 emissions.

He writes:

The highway will reduce greenhouse gases by shortening thousands of trips that currently are forced to travel north to HY 512 before they can go south on I-5. Taking that traffic off of 512 will also speed up traffic on that route and reduce emmission there also.

Stop it already. Adding more lanes ultimately adds more cars. More cars = more C02. Furthermore, cars don’t emit less emissions at 65 mph. Going about 45 mph is actually best to reduce emissions.

Anyway, read his letter yourself.

Continue reading "Propaganda Emissions" »

Deliberate Meaningfull Poets Should Widen

posted by on April 23 at 4:47 PM

From my inbox—unedited—in response to this week’s Nightstand.

after reading neighboring piece nichols line “whose work is best appreciated at home, alone, book in hand, silently”, [ ever the faithfull cynic, [ i spell all those with 2 l’s,]
[and yet by definition, part hopefull,]
it connected me to the perpetuation of the “problem” by you
with headers like “kaminsky beats beckman”
and the meritorious negative connotation of “competition”
to a realm where it should not enter,
leaving me all but convinced the natural gulf between word percussionists,
[ rap, stage poets et cetera,] and deliberate meaningfull poets should widen,
allowing at least a whit chance of retarding the extinction of this art
that deserves to be thought about, considered,
and the only path that distuinguishes it from candy,
however infectious its beat or dramatic its reading…
yes, i revel in the essence of the “right voice” for the right work,
[ eliot, pound, lowell speaking theirs with their unique vocal stamp,]
but that’s not what the gravamen of this is about…
i’ll leave in between the lines for you…


PNB Success, Ballerinas Wear AssAss

posted by on April 23 at 3:58 PM

When I interviewed Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Peter Boal for this column about the inaugural spring dance festival (this year’s theme: Northwest choreographers) he seemed, in his gently subdued way, excited and nervous about everything: Will our subscribers come see modern dance? Will non-PNB regulars buy tickets? Will people notice? Will people care?

“There might even be press in from New York,” he said. “Or, I think there will be. I hope there will be.”

Judging from today’s New York Times story on Northwest choreographers and PNB, Mr. Boal got his wish.

And judging from reports by attendees (including Annie Wagner and an Unpaid Intern), lots of people, both PNB regulars and newbies, noticed, cared, and showed up.

Now please enjoy this surprisingly dirty etymology of the word “tutu”:

ballet skirt, 1910, from Fr. tutu, alteration of cucu, infantile reduplication of cul “bottom, backside.”

That entry is too polite. Cul is less bottom and more “ass.”

A Small Environmental Quandary

posted by on April 23 at 3:58 PM

When I got my most recent Seattle City Light bill, I received an invitation to join the Green Up program, through which I can pay a bit extra for my electricity in order to assure that some (or all) of the energy I consume at home is coming from clean, renewable wind power.

This sounded nice. It would only cost $12 extra a month for me to power my place using blowing air.

What’s $12 a month if it means zeroing out my home emissions? Also, I think wind turbines are pretty:


But then I remembered this New York Times Magazine piece by Thomas Friedman. In it, he writes about how the biggest problem facing the planet right now is figuring out how to produce clean energy “at scale” — that is, at a cost that is cheap enough for the average person to afford. When the average person experiences no adverse economic consequences from switching to clean energy, the thinking goes, everyone will switch. Until then, it’s unreasonable to expect anyone but the most wealthy humans to switch.

And here begins my quandary: Obviously, wind power is not currently cheap enough to be sold to City Light customers at the same cost as normal power. Otherwise, City Light wouldn’t be asking its customers to pay a surcharge for wind power. But if the goal is to get wind power to become cheaper as quickly as possibly, am I actually working against that goal by signaling that I am willing to pay more for wind power now? Doesn’t this offer something of a disincentive to wind power producers who might otherwise be moved to innovate more quickly in order to bring the cost of their product down?

Or am I thinking too hard about my measly twelve dollars?

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 23 at 3:57 PM

Bursting With Enthusiasm: Kurt B Reighley on Rufus Wainright.

Way Hotter Than Bette Davis: Ari Spool on Betty Davis.

More on The Scene: Donte Parks on A Number of Names.

Switch-Craft: Eats Tapes and Lucky Dragons’ Wonderful Toys.

Pop Bubble: The EMP Pop Conference.

And now, the very definition of monkey cuteness (thanks, Amy Kate):


My Last Chopp Shot, Courtesy of Seattle Sen. Erik Poulsen

posted by on April 23 at 2:42 PM

The P-I gave the Democrats a dreamy front-page headline this morning— “Health, environment and education win big”—with a list, in splashy color just below the headline, of what the Dems passed: Domestic partnerships, family leave, a budget including big chunks of money for education, health, and the environment.

It’s true that the Democrats did some heavy lifting this session. Lining up the funding to ensure health-care for low-income children is huge. (Weird, though, as labor activists have pointed out to me, that the super majority Democrats couldn’t get adults on that list. But still, applause is in order.) They also got off some culture war victories: a Domestic partnership bill and a bill mandating accurate sex ed.

However, one bill, the family leave bill, actually threw the spotlight on some “pent-up” anger, according to Senator Erik Poulsen (D-34, West Seattle).

Indeed, the Senate had passed a more sweeping family leave bill, and one that was actually funded—as opposed to the bill that eventually passed in the House. The original bill would have included leave to care for family members who were suffering a serious illness, as well as for new children. The current bill only includes leave for new children. And it isn’t funded.

“I was just appalled at the way family leave was watered down,” Poulsen told me. “We had a much broader bill. And we found a way to pay for it. We faced the same pressure from big business that the House did, but we sucked it up and took the tough vote.” Lobbyists from the the Association of Washington Businesses didn’t like the bill because they thought it would cost them money. “The House refused to take that tough vote,” Poulsen says, “and they passed a study [for how to fund it.]”

Poulsen says it was a big mistake to put off defining the funding source until next year because “next year is an election year. It’s always hard to impose a tax in an election year. Especially when you have someone like Speaker Chopp. History shows that in an election year, he puts the races in front of everything else.

Poulsen’s anger is related to another bill (his own), which he says the House “torpedoed,” that would prevent mining company Glacier NW from expanding its gravel-mining operation on Maury Island. “Coming on the heels of what the House did to the Maury Island bill, that was the last straw.

For my coverage of the Maury Island bill, click here.

Oh, and click here to check out a top-dollar contribution from Glacier NW to Chopp.

Poulsen concluded:
“Traditionally, the Senate is more conservative… more hesitant to be bold. And historically, the House has been the body that pushes the envelope. This session has been a complete role reversal. The Senate was pushing out progressive legislation like comprehensive, funded family leave, and the House was shutting us down.”

Eternal Mammy

posted by on April 23 at 1:15 PM

Florida and James:
In the ’70s TV show Good Times Florida was played by Esther Rolle and James by John Amos; both were talented actors, and both loathed Jimmie Walker, the man who played J.J., Florida and Amos’s eldest son. J.J. became the star of the show because he was a buffoon. The youngest child, Micheal, was a genius and progressive; the sister, Thelma, was practical and beautiful; the eldest son was an illiterate idiot. But the J.J. matter is for another post (I will one day post about meeting Jimmie Walker in a bar in Harare, Zimbabwe. He was in the country filming Going Bananas, and it was instantly evident to me and all the rest who were there that no line existed between the personality of Jimmie Walker and his stupid TV character J.J.)

What I want to point out for now is that in the picture John Amos ( James) is 34 and Esther Rolle (Florida) is 53. Meaning Esther is old enough to be John’s mother, yet on Good Times they are husband and wife, not mother and son. Now, what does this mean? Here is my answer: The role Esther actually played had its essence in the eternal mammy; as for John, it was the “buck nigger”—remember the role John played in Roots, a recalcitrant African, Kunta Kinte, who was emasculated by an axe and broken by a whip.

When the producers of the show were presented with a script that imaged a married black couple, instead of drawing the characters directly from life, they drew them from myth. The myth of Uncle Tom married to the myth of mammy was not possible because Uncle Tom is asexual (how could they have kids?), and so the producers gave up and picked a buck as the one who fucked mammy and made all of these kids happen. The marriage, however, did not last long. The buck was out of the show after two seasons. The buck could not be domesticated (in real life and in the show) and so it was left to mammy to bring up the two smart kids and the one dumb kid.

Pop Con

posted by on April 23 at 12:37 PM

I wanted to go to the EMP Pop Conference this weekend, but I didn’t get a chance. I ran into Eric Grandy on the way to work this morning, and when I asked him if I had missed anything, he went on excitedly for the rest of our stroll, beaming and pondering over the stuff he saw.

In particular, he had a lot to say about a presentation by an editor of Pitchfork, who trashed navel-gazing old-school music critics.

Grandy promises he’ll have a Line Out write up later in the day.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 23 at 12:00 PM

‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’

(Beauty) What we get lots of in this IRA movie by British director Ken Loach is not 1920s politics or guerrilla warfare, but beauty. There are lots and lots of beautiful Irish men, women, villages, huts, valleys, mountains, trees, shrubs, pubs, towns, streets, courthouses, animals, voices, hands, hair, hats, horses, hay, air, sky, clouds, shoes, earth, rocks, vests, milk, jails, maids, nights, mists, deaths, ruins, and music. Loach has finally surrendered everything, even his dependable socialist realism, to the power of beauty. (Varsity, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755. See Movie Times, for more information, $6.25—$9.25.) Charles Mudede

Central Cinema: Heavenly

posted by on April 23 at 11:43 AM

I mentioned it in this week’s Last Days and now I want to gush some more: Central Cinema, the movie-house-with-beer-and-wine-and-food in Seattle’s Central District, is just wonderful.

I’m a big fan of Austin’s Alamo Drafthouses (cited by the Central as a key inspiration) but I’d never actually gotten myself to a Central Cinema screening until A Fistful of Dollars the weekend before last. The movie was great (duh) and the venue was aggressively charming.

Like the Grand Illusion, the house is entered by a middle aisle. Down the slope to the right, viewer/diners are seated at banquettes and slender tables. Up the rake to the left, viewer/diners get individual seats tricked out with swing-arm dining surfaces, like school desks you wouldn’t be afraid to eat from.

As for the food: Central Cinema specializes stone-oven baked pizza, but on my first visit I stuck to an odd starter and a standard classic. The veggie Pig in a Blanket came with a fierce aoli sauce and was exactly as strange and humble and yummy as they menu had led me to hope. The popcorn came in a thin wooden bowl and was better than normal.

As for the entertainment: Tickets cost $5. The night I attended, previews consisted of ancient Popeye cartoons and a truly bizarre and fascinating cinematic marital aid, a 1950s instructional film about a young husband and wife learning to communicate, budget, and yes, love. Also, there is beer. It’s good and cold and brought directly to your seat by attentive waitstaff. There is also wine, and coffee, and dessert. Just past the movie’s halfway point, there’s a five-minute intermission for smoking and peeing. It’s all so civilized. And the screen is large—big enough to make it feel like The Movies.

Here is the Central Cinema’s schedule of upcoming screenings. If there’s anything that’s even remotely interesting to you, go. (If you’re a fan of John Waters, Arrested Development, or brilliantly offensive comedy, I recommend this weekend’s screenings of Richard Day’s Girls Will Be Girls.)

Stare at the Sun

posted by on April 23 at 11:40 AM

NASA has just released a series of 3-D photos of the the Sun.


Way to be late to the game NASA. You should’ve dropped these last Friday.

Re: Another Republican for the Environment

posted by on April 23 at 11:29 AM

As predicted, on Sunday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to turn New York into ” “the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city” by implementing 127 new projects and regulations across the city and region. Unfortunately, the most contentious (and potentially effective) proposal, an $8-a-day “congestion tax” on people who drive their cars into Manhattan below 86th Street, faces an uphill battle in the state Legislature, which would have to approve the program.

Bloomberg’s proposals also include: A $200-million-a-year investment in major infrastructure like the new Second Avenue subway; the construction of platforms over rail yards and highways to create land for housing; the elimination of sales taxes on hybrid cars; a new system of bike paths; the planting of more than a million new trees; and improvements in express bus service in neighborhoods poorly served by subways.

New York is responsible for almost one percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions; however, it is home to three percent of the nation’s population, making New Yorkers’ per capita emissions just one third of the national average.

Smelly Britches, Crusty Sleeves or, Re: Sheryl Crow v. Karl Rove

posted by on April 23 at 11:22 AM

Yesterday, I was indifferent to Sheryl Crow. Today I have learned to loathe her.

First, there’s the Rove incident that Dan posted earlier:

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, “Don’t touch me.” How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, “You can’t speak to us like that, you work for us.” Karl then quipped, “I don’t work for you, I work for the American people.” To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, “We are the American people.”

Ugh. That awful, presumptuous twit.

Then there are these selections from the quotable Crow, as reported today by the BBC:

I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating…

I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.

In her war against paper napkins, Crow has also designed a clothing line with a “dining sleeve.”

How removed from reality must a person be to think grown-ups will want to wipe their mouths with their sleeves?

Stupid Sheryl Crow.

And More Props to A Deserving Seattle Artist

posted by on April 23 at 10:48 AM

Untitled (Gene Simmons Inspires Me), alabaster, weathered foam, 2006

I like you (I almost don’t hate you anymore), mixed media, 35 x 21 inches, 2007.

Untitled (neck crack), alabaster, 8 x 6 x 7 inches,2006

Debra Baxter is the only sculptor—and one of only two emerging artists—to be nominated by Bard College to receive the Joan Mitchell Foundation 2007 MFA grant award. (She goes to Bard in the summers but lives here the rest of the year and is a member of SOIL, where she recently had a striking show that included the Gene Simmons homage and the neck-crack in alabaster above.)

The award is $15,000. It is designed to “help painters and sculptors as they begin their professional art careers outside the academic environment,” according to the foundation’s notification letter.

This year’s round of awards includes about 50 graduate schools, each of whom was invited to nominate two candidates. The jurors will select up to 15 finalists to receive an award. Past winners have included Tara Donovan, Nicola Lopez, and Anthony Goicolea.

UPDATE: Seattle’s Tivon Rice won the award last year and is heading out for a recipient’s group show this June in NY.

Lead Pencil Wins the Rome Prize

posted by on April 23 at 10:36 AM


Betsey over at Hankblog broke the news about Lead Pencil Studio: They’re winners of this year’s Rome Prize!

They’ll spend 11 months in Rome starting in September, working on a project centered around X-raying the volumes of architecturally beloved spaces using something called Lidar technology.

They explained this to me about a month ago (I was holding onto it until the academy made its announcement), but this morning I called for a review. The technology is “not exactly an X-ray, but works in a similar way,” Annie Han, one-half of LPS, said. “It’s survey equipment that sits on a tripod and is often used in mining, to see how deep a tunnel goes. We’ll be using it to map the interior spaces of the great buildings of Rome as well as the spaces between buildings.”

The interiors of the Parthenon and the cathedrals, the pockets of space in the narrow streets between huge buildings—Han and partner Daniel Mihalyo will be measuring them, capturing them, seeing “what we find out.” They’ll bring the results back to Seattle next August.

This prize is a great honor for the artists, but no surprise to me. My love for LPS is well-documented here, here, and here.

They have an installation up at the Exploratorium in San Francisco through June 3, and when I talked to them this morning they were in Colorado to give a lecture. Ten days from now, on May 3, they open their first solo exhibition at Lawrimore Project, with all new work, including installations, drawings of fictional spaces, and manipulated and documentary-style video and photography works based on Maryhill Double, their outdoor installation last summer.

It’s worth noting that Seattle artist/architects are becoming a franchise in Rome: Alex Schweder won the prize last year, and returned with all new bodies of work, including the beautiful A Sac of Rooms Three Times A Day, which recently closed at Suyama Space.

A Confession

posted by on April 23 at 10:26 AM

As regular Slog readers know, I am a proud non-car-owner. I get around by bike, on foot, and by bus. Occasionally, I use FlexCar. Which brings me to my confession: I am in love with a car. Specifically, this one:


OHMYGOD, this car is fun to drive. If the regular FlexCar Civics are boring, rugged mountain bikes, this is a supersleek road bike—all you have to do is think about turning, and the thing turns. Even better, you can park it pretty much anywhere. And everything about it is unbearably cute—from the giant cartoon speedometer in the middle of the dash to the podlike rearview mirrors to the “tic-toc” sound it makes when you signal. Oh, and also? It’s fast. The best part is that it costs the same as all the other FlexCars—between $9 and $10 an hour.

The only disadvantage: Now I want to drive ALL THE TIME. Thanks, Flexcar!

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 23 at 10:21 AM

Perhaps I have missed something in the past several issues of The Stranger, but I find your silence as to one subject somewhat startling and disturbing. If you are not aware, the Fox network is currently running what amounts to a racial smear campaign of propaganda against Middle Eastern immigrants featuring “Oleg the Cab Driver.” For further details, Fox has provided a website. This is quite possibly the most offensive racial bigotry perpetrated by a national network I have ever encountered. In fact, I can find zero media coverage as to this blatantly offensive stain on the face of television and the American public. I am appalled that nothing is being said or done to stop this. This is not institutionalized racism, which may slip unnoticed into general western behavior, this is a slap in the face to racial equality that has seemingly flown under the radar for far too long. I do not understand how a network can perpetuate this sort of racial prejudice, seemingly without purpose, and not come under fire for it. Especially considering the recent events with Imus, this is particularly frightening.


Hutcherson’s Sweet Deal

posted by on April 23 at 10:10 AM

The Seattle Times has an interesting story this morning about a former Lake Washington High School principal who caused a lot of concern among his supervisors in the Lake Washington School District.

Mark Roberston, the former principal, eventually agreed to leave the district in exchange for a settlement, but not before looking at a porn newsletter on his district computer, hiring his sister against district policy, and firing a football coach in a manner that led to a lawsuit and a $60,000 settlement paid to the former coach by the district.

You can read the story here. The Times frames it as a look into the difficulty of dealing with a problem employee in a public school setting:

Robertson’s story exemplifies challenges districts face when dealing with a low-performing school administrator.

However, for those keeping tabs on eastside pastor Ken Hutcherson and his Antioch Bible Church, the story also offers a look into Antioch’s financial dealings with Lake Washington High School, which rents Antioch its gym each Sunday so that Hutcherson can hold services there. (Antioch Bible Church has no physical church; instead it rents public school property.)

Robertson is a member of Antioch Bible Church, and the arrangement Lake Washington High School reached with Antioch while he was principal may suggest one reason that Antioch was in no hurry to stop holding services in a high school gym: It was getting a sweet deal.

As principal, Robertson was in charge of rental agreements for groups using school space. The biggest of those groups is Antioch Bible Church, headed by pastor Ken Hutcherson. Robertson is a church member.

Hutcherson said the two agreed it was best for Robertson not to be involved in Antioch’s rental agreement. A school staff member handled the contracts.

Still, the schedule Robertson approved for the 2002-2003 school year was not updated for three years, although the district increased fees during that time, said Reith, the district spokeswoman.

In 2005, the district discovered that Antioch had been undercharged by $1,100 to $1,400 a month. The estimated loss: $30,000.

This raises the question: What is the Christian thing for Hutcherson and his church to do in this situation?

Due to the apparently lax oversight of one of his church members, the school district whose facilities Hutcherson uses for his Sunday service lost $30,000. Will Hutcherson offer to repay this lost money?

San Jay-Jay!

posted by on April 23 at 9:34 AM

Oh shit.

Sanjaya is singing “Besame Mucho” on Regis and Kelly right now. As I type this. This very moment.

He’s awful.

I adore him.

Big Kids

posted by on April 23 at 9:07 AM

Wow—it seems that there’s a connection between stuffing kids with sugary crap and childhood obesity.

Stockholm schools that banned sweets, buns and soft drinks saw the number of overweight children drop by six percentage points in four years, a Karolinska Institute study published on Monday showed. The number of overweight or obese six-to-10-year-olds dropped from 22 to 16 percent in the 10 Stockholm schools that participated in the study by banning sweets and introducing healthier lunches, the Swedish research institute said in a statement.

A control group of schools that did not introduce specific food regulations saw the number of overweight or obese children rise from 18 to 21 percent.

Sheryl Crow v. Karl Rove

posted by on April 23 at 9:02 AM

It seems that MC Rove doesn’t like being touched by attractive women. What a fag.

Bizarre Apologist Editorial in This Morning’s Seattle Times

posted by on April 23 at 8:27 AM

The Seattle Times is off the mark this morning. Wildly. They’ve got an editorial trying to head off any investigation and perhaps resignation (of Pat Davis) at the port.

Davis, to the outrage of three of her four fellow Port Commissioners, unilaterally signed off on a bloated severance package for former Port CEO Mic Dinsmore.

Even conservative commissioner John Creighton has joined liberals Lloyd Hara and Alec Fisken in publicly denouncing Davis’s weird arrogance. Davis compounded the outrage by saying her fellow commissioners were in fact privy to the deal. Contradicting Davis’s story, Creighton called the Stranger after we did a minor Slog on the scandal last Friday, to announce: “This was not a question of lapsed memory. I was never at a meeting where severance was discussed.”

The Seattle Times, however, comes out for halting any investigation, saying the commissioners should apologize and “get back the people’s business.”

Commissioners!?! No. So far, only one Commissioner owes the public an apology. That’s Pat Davis.

Meanwhile, the people’s business should certainly include a full investigation into Davis’s derelict pledge.

Here’s the original PI story.

Evergreen Politics weighs in on the Seattle Times tone deaf editorial.

If You Have a Life…

posted by on April 23 at 8:17 AM

Then you probably missed these posts this weekend…

One of the Blue Angels crashed at an air show in South Carolina. Could it happen here? Weekend Sloggers discuss.

It must be April: the pride parade must be deep trouble, Seattle Center out as post-parade rally site, and it’s uncertain if parade will even be downtown. Or be, period. Weekend Sloggers discuss.

The Mike Daisey Experience: Christian assholes walk out, dump unholy water on Daisey’s outline/script. We’ve got the video.

Poster of the Day

posted by on April 23 at 7:57 AM


I spotted this poster last night. It was pasted to the promotional signage that surrounds the hole in the ground on Broadway that will one day be the Brix condo development. I went to the website——expecting the poster to have something to do with the condo, i.e. “If we stop buying these things, maybe they’ll stop building them!” It turns out that has nothing to do with condo development.

For the record: I think the Brix—a condo going up on a lot that was 50% parking lot and 50% empty, ugly, cheaply constructed ex-Safeway—is a good thing for Broadway, the right kind of dense, in-fill development. The Brix displaced no one and destroyed nothing.

Moscow, Moscow, Moscow

posted by on April 23 at 7:53 AM

Boris Yeltsin is dead. The Russian democracy he helped to establish preceded him in death.

The Morning News

posted by on April 23 at 6:12 AM

RIP: Former Russian Leader Boris Yeltsin dies.

Fulfilling Commitment: NY Governor Spitzer to introduce gay marriage bill

Tear Down This Wall: al-Maliki halts construction of Baghdad barrier

Despair and Disparity: Infant deaths on the rise in the South

Straight Shooters: Schumer, Spector pushing gun law reform. Meanwhile, legislators in Olympia are firing blanks

Place your bets: Will Wolfowitz or Gonzales resign first?

Food for thought: FDA can’t keep up with food processors

Delaying the Inevitable: House votes to postpone science and math WASL requirements

End of Session Compromise: Family leave bill goes to Gregoire

Today’s Fun Superhero Fact: Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy was a heroin addict!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Ideal Education

posted by on April 22 at 6:36 PM

I received a standard British education, which was not the best education for the sensemaking of the world we live in, the Western world. The ideal education for the sensemaking of this particular experience would involve mastering Classical Greek and Hebrew—that’s it. If you know Jerusalem and Athens, then English, Europe, the 19th century, the American century is readable and vulnerable.

Why Aren’t We Talking About What Cho Actually Said?

posted by on April 22 at 3:47 PM

When al Qaeda killed 3,000 people there was a refrain among the left, “I don’t condone it, but I understand it…” The implication was that U.S. foreign policy had driven bin Laden to desperate acts. Of course, this was something of a stretch given that U.S. foreign policy had actually helped expel the Soviets from Afghanistan (bin Laden’s cause celebre.)

Nonetheless, despite bin Laden’s delusions, a discussion started about root causes: From our presence in the Gulf to our support of Israel. And despite bin Laden’s looniness, that’s not a bad thing.

Similarly, in the face of other horrible events—the Duke rape case, the Imus case, the Naveed Haq shooting here—the conversation quickly turned to gender, race, Haq’s anti-semitism/U.S. support of Israel. Potential root causes. Substantive issues.

While conventional wisdom has it that we’re scared to talk about root causes, particularly race, I actually think questions about context (again, particularly race) pop up quickly—even when the actors (al Qaeda, Haq) are deranged, and far removed from legitimate political conversations.

However, I’ve noticed a weird thing about the Seung-Hui Cho story. The guy gives a screed that is 99% focused on class, and well, no seems to be talking about class.

Cho’s rant:

Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust funds weren’t enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.”

Cognac? Who did he think he was: John Dawkins, the Artful Dodger?

Look, it’s clear Cho was mentally ill. Today’s profile in the NYT describes Cho’s fantasies about dating women who “lived in outer space” and “travelled by space ship”; he often said his name was “?” a man “who lived on Mars and journeyed to Jupiter;” he said he was friends with Vladimir Putin and told roommates that he was vacationing with Putin in North Carolina over Thanksgiving.

But I imagine if Cho had given a speech about being a Korean immigrant, we wouldn’t be shying away from talking about race.

Honestly, I don’t think people are scared to talk about race. From school funding to Imus to Kramer, Americans are quick to discuss, tackle, and deal with racism.

I do think we’re scared to talk about class, though.

Why in this case, are we ignoring Cho’s explicit explanation. Yes, I recognize that he’s crazy, but many of us did not ignore bin Laden’s rants. We considered them. “Why Do They Hate Us?” was a Newsweek cover story shortly after 9/11.

In this case, we should at least be talking about class. Hell, of all the high-income nations, the United States has the most unequal distribution of income, with over 30 percent of income in the hands of the richest 10 percent and only 1.8 percent going to the poorest 10 percent.

If there is a good article discussing Cho’s class antagonisms/delusions/whatever, I missed it. Please link it in the comments.

It’s odd to me that his explicit speech is being written off as an unintelligible rant. It doesn’t seem unintelligible to me.

If Cho had dished out some rant about the violence in Iraq, I imagine we would be talking about Iraq. Why, in this instance, are we ignoring what he said?

Gilbert for VP

posted by on April 22 at 3:45 PM

As my work colleagues know, I’m an HRC fan.
But man, here’s a ticket I could get behind.


And yes, I know the Wizards got iced today.

USDA Admits Posting Social Security Numbers “Not Appropriate”

posted by on April 22 at 12:45 PM

The U.S. Census Bureau has had the Social Security numbers of 63,000 people posted on public web sites for more than 10 years. The massive oversight was discovered by an Illinois farmer who was Googling herself (for shame), and found more than she expected.

… Marsha Bergmeier said she was bored April 12, so she did an Internet search for her farm’s name. It brought up a link to, a site created by OMB Watch to allow monitoring of federal spending.

The site includes a searchable database of federal contract information, and her farm loan amount, under an Agriculture Department program, was listed. Also listed, Bergmeier discovered, were the Social Security numbers of 28,000 farmers.

“I was in disbelief,” she said.

The breach is likely a violation of federal law.

“We take full responsibility for this and offer no excuses for it,” said Terri Teuber, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “We absolutely do not think it was appropriate.

If you’re among the tens of thousands of people who’s personal data has been compromised, take heart, the government means to make it up to you:

The USDA is offering one year of free credit monitoring to those affected.


A Little Bad News: Seattle Center OUT as Location for Pride Festival, Independent Producers OUT, Route of Parade and Location of Festival Uncertain

posted by on April 22 at 12:21 PM

We just got this press release…

Seattle - In 2006, the Seattle Pride March and Festival moved from Capitol Hill to Downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center. Event attendees, organizers and city officials all hailed the events as great successes. Unfortunately, the increased scale of both the March and Festival produced poor financial results including the well publicized and still unpaid debts. Simply put, the income from both events was not adequate to cover the costs of the March and Festival.

In 2007 Pride organizers Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP) voted in new leadership. SOaP’s primary concern was to produce a financially sound March and Festival in 2007. In order to accomplish that end, Seattle Center encouraged SOaP’s new Board of Directors to bring in professional event management. After meeting with several event management companies, SOaP decided to explore partnering with the professional event producers IES. SOaP also hired Baccetti Inc. to solicit and manage corporate sponsorship opportunities.

This week, after a month and half of additional intense research and negotiation by IES, the new SOaP Board of Directors and the Seattle Center, it has been concluded by all that producing a similarly scaled Pride Event at Seattle Center is not financially prudent. While most people believe that the 2006 March and Festival in Downtown Seattle showcased the LGBT Community extremely well, a fiscally responsible 2007 March and Festival, no matter their physical location, is the most important goal. As such, new discussions are taking place about where both the march and festival make the most sense this year.

We appreciate the work of John Merner and Robert Nellams at the Seattle Center during this transitional time, as well as the guidance of IES and Baccetti Inc., both of whom will continue to advise SOaP in this process. Details of the event modifications are expected early next week. One thing is certain; there will be a great and financially responsible Seattle Pride this year.

For questions on anything press related please contact Eric Albert-Gauthier at

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 22 at 12:00 PM


(Shopping) More than 60 local designers have their work in this year’s Thread, a fashion party/shopping melee that, according to organizers, 1,500 people showed up at last year. Goods is showcasing rare vintage sneakers, Blvd Gallery is hosting screen printing and a graffiti wall, Vain is doing something involving wigs, and goodie bags (with giveaways from Sub Pop) will be given to the first 250 shoppers. (Fremont Studios, 155 N 35th St, 11 am—6 pm, $7 adv/$10 at the door.) Christopher Frizzelle

I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller

posted by on April 22 at 10:47 AM

There is strong coffee and fried rice on hand. At halftime of Game 1, the Wiz are miraculously only 7 points behind the Cavs. We’re less than 90 minutes away from Game One of the Suns-Lakers series. Fuck Kobe and welcome to my beautiful Sunday.


Last week I posted up with some thoughts on the NBA, the reasons being, like my stomach, purposeful and two-fold: indulge personal basketball obsession and hear what Slog ball fans have to say. The range of comments—blind and informed predictions, observations, player hating, knowledge droppin’—give me hope for the possibility of an ongoing conversation about basketball: the sport as reflection of culture, yes, the evolution of the game’s style, yes please. (Though if I have to hear the current “no defense” line one more time, I will round up Ben Wallace, Marcus Camby, Tayshaun Prince, and we will beat your ass). But mostly I just love hearing what appeals to and appalls individual fans.

Sports fandom should be one of the best manifestations of self: idiosyncrasy indulged. Fans aren’t limited to rooting for the local team, they can cheer based on the best set screens, odd player personalities (a personal fave), the number of international players on a team, whatever. While I absolutely respect regional fandom (especially through a team’s dark, multi-season losing period) players are traded often and management can be a struggle. What I prefer is a fan knowing what s/he loves about the game and rooting for it, wherever and in whomever s/he finds it. The best fandom is not tethered to reality; its fiercest loyalty is to what maintains passion.

Fandom is what allows me to believe the Suns can complete a successful championship run this year, despite having to meet San Antonio and Dallas en route. It leaves me able to say, perhaps unwisely, that this afternoon Iverson and Melo will embarrass that annoying little Frenchman-cum-rapper Tony Parker and the Spurs. We can break down the plays later. Right now, anything is possible.

A Little Good News

posted by on April 22 at 9:44 AM

Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.

Two members of Mr Gore’s staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again.

Gore/Obama ‘08!

Fart Joke!

posted by on April 22 at 1:23 AM

I went out. I came home. This was on my laptop.


That’s it.