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Archives for 08/12/2007 - 08/18/2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Beltre’s Biggest Fanatic

posted by on August 18 at 11:07 PM

Great game tonight. And we had some seriously great seats, right behind the Ms dugout on the first base line. A couple of rows back this nut in Beltre shirt had a giant Beltre bobble-head—with its own seat—and when Beltre scored he waved his giant bobble-head around.

Well, Beltre or someone in the dugout saw the nut and sent him a bat that Beltre autographed “to my biggest fan.” The nut just about fainted. Here he is, with his bobble-head and his bat…


Anyway, great game. Ms 7, White Sox 5.

In Des Moines, Iowa

posted by on August 18 at 9:00 PM

Des Moines is lovely. Who knew? Although I will allow that my hotel may be warping my perception. I am love with my hotel, the Hotel Fort Des Moines. I mean, check out the elevators:


I’m told this place is the “Democratic hotel” in town—owned by a prominent Democrat, patronized by Democratic candidates. It’s crawling with Democratic aides in town for the debate. Shortly after I arrived, I rode the elevator with Mandy Grunwald and two other Clinton campaign staffers. The elevator also had a mess of kids in it, so there was no striking up a conversation over the kids’ commotion. But from across the elevator I could hear the Clinton people talking about “She”—”She’s still 10 minutes out,” “She’ll probably want to get dinner.” A brush with Hillaryland in a beautiful retro elevator. Not bad.

I dropped my stuff in my room (if you like the elevator, you’ll love the rooms, that’s all I’m saying) and headed to Drake University…


…to pick up my credentials and, once that was done, hit the “media reception,” which I presumed, correctly, would be a cocktail party.


But honestly, that plate of shrimp was the most interesting thing at the party. On the way in, I received about four pages of bio on George Stephanopolous, the host of tomorrow’s debate, but there was no sign of him, or anyone remotely D.C. or New York, at the media reception. Granted, I was quite late because of when my plane got in. But by the time I arrived it was a lot of Drake students doing what resourceful college students do—weaseling their way into a fancy reception for some free booze and finger food. So back to the hotel.

I waited for a cab in front of this vision of small-city cuteness.


And then (can you tell?) I went and got a drink and some food. At Centro, which is apparently where all the politicos ended up. You can tell them by their black. Black slacks, black suits, a sharper, slicker black than people in Des Moines seem to be wearing. There was some sherry sipping and much Blackberry tapping. There was also a lot of silver hair, the kind of silver hair that makes me think of the northeast—perfectly shampooed, perfectly placed, almost metallic, a mark of a certain type of elegantly-aging intellectual. (In Seattle, Bill Sherman gets somewhat close to the kind of silver hair I’m talking about.)

I’m sorry, but I didn’t overhear anything that interesting at Centro. However, The Note tells me tomorrow may be very interesting.

A Burning Hatred for Townhomes

posted by on August 18 at 5:27 PM

It turns out that West Seattle fire was arson.

A West Seattle fire that injured two firefighters yesterday was intentionally set, according to the Seattle Fire Department.

Fire in West Seattle Was Arson

posted by on August 18 at 5:23 PM

It was arson, say investigators.

The Friday morning blaze that engulfed a three-story building in West Seattle was intentionally set, the Seattle Fire Department reported Saturday.

The fire caused $625,000 in damages and destroyed the building, which was under construction, department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said.

It was one of those condo developments…


…that aren’t beloved in Seattle but, uh, nevertheless sell like crazy. The units were priced “from the $400s,” according to the developers website. WestSeattleBlog is all over it.

Still Heading to the Dem Debate in Iowa

posted by on August 18 at 11:45 AM

I’m laid over in the Salt Lake City airport, eating a sandwich on white bread, surrounded by some of the whitest of white-bread Americans, and listening, per a friend’s suggestion, to Jesus and Mary Chain (which I think qualifies as that darned Rock and/or Roll). Current song: Half Way to Crazy.

Which seems appropriate mid-way along a trip that will take me back into the traveling circus of the pre-primary presidential campaign.

I’ve successfully answered the question from the ABC gatekeeper and am now on the list to be credentialed for the debate tomorrow. And, reading the latest political news online, I’m becoming even more glad that I’ll be able to see Sunday’s debate in Iowa because it looks like these debates may become a bit rarer.

Barack Obama announced today that he’s had enough of this season’s fast-proliferating crop of debates and forums. He’s not going to be accepting any more invitations from organizations or interest groups (like the AFL-CIO, YearlyKos, and Logo, all of which hosted Democratic debates in recent weeks).

“Unfortunately, we simply cannot run the kind of campaign we want and need to, engaging with voters in the early states and February 5, if our schedule is dictated by dozens of forums and debates,” said David Plouffe, the Obama campaign manager. “Ultimately, the one group left out of the current schedule is the voters and they are the ones who ask the toughest questions and most deserve to have those questions answered face to face.”

It’ll be interesting to see if other Democratic candidates follow suit. It’ll also be interesting to see, in Iowa, whether the national press corps is welcoming the possibility of not having to travel to so many smaller debates in the next few months. (Obama says he will still attend debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee.)

Meanwhile, with all eyes back (or still) on Iowa, The Politico says to pay no attention to the polls: The state is still very much up for grabs.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 18 at 11:00 AM


You already trust KEXP to stuff you full of new music—why not let them stuff you full of burgers and beer? Their fifth annual summer BBQ concert features 206 hiphop beacons Blue Scholars, ecofriendly indie rockers Cloud Cult, haunted folkies the Cave Singers, Brooklyn’s Pela, and the Blakes. KEXP’s website encourages blankets and lawn chairs, but warns that the lawn may fill up fast. (South Lake Union Discovery Center Lawn, 101 Westlake Ave N, 3 pm, $20 adv/$25 DOS, all ages.)

See what else is happening in Music on Saturday. Go!
Sportn’ Life Five-Year Anniversary Party (206 HIPHOP)

To celebrate five years of life, local hiphop label Sportn’ Life is hosting a big show that features, among others, DJ Jake One, Grynch, Cancer Rising, J.Pinder, and D.Black. This is Seattle hiphop of the highest order. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 8 pm, $8, all ages.)

See what else is happening in Music on Saturday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Heading to the Dem Debate in Iowa

posted by on August 18 at 8:04 AM

Remember yesterday? When I was dissing people who would wake up early enough on a Sunday to watch this weekend’s Democratic debate in Iowa?


Call it payback from the political junkie in the sky, or good karma, or whatever, but one day later here I am at SeaTac, getting ready to board a plane for Iowa, where I will be watching the Democratic debate live and in person at Drake University. (Which means I will be getting up ridiculously early Central Time on Sunday. Like, in time to get to an 8 a.m. Iowa-time debate.)

I could say payback’s a bitch, but really I’m not complaining. This debate looks like it could be a fiesty one, with Obama now joining Edwards in adopting a sharper tone on the stump, and Hillary looking like a likely target of attacks from all comers, especially now that she’s opened up a 30-point lead in California.

What’s it like to try to elbow my way into a nationally televised debate at the last minute while hailing from a publication with a somewhat scary name like The Stranger?

I emailed the debate organizers at ABC News asking for credentials and was hit with the usual question, sent from a Blackberry:

What kind of publication is the stranger?

Yikes. My flight is boarding. I’ll let you know what happens…

“What was the Question again?”

posted by on August 18 at 12:05 AM

Check out Dave Reichert on whether a pharmacist has the right to refuse to serve customers. This is from a 2006 debate between Reichert and Darcy Burner .

Watch the whole video. Right up to the end when Reichert asks James Vesely to repeat the question.

Somebody should repeat the question in 2008. And demand an explanation this time.

Just saying.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It’s Wetter in Jamaica

posted by on August 17 at 6:41 PM

So. Jamaica.

Jamaica is one of the most anti-gay places on earth. Gays and lesbians are routinely set upon by mobs and lynched. Wiki says

In the Caribbean, Jamaica is by far the most dangerous place for sexual minorities, with frequent and often fatal attacks against gay men fostered by a popular culture that idolizes reggae and dancehall singers whose lyrics call for burning and killing gay men.

And now a category 4 hurricane is headed straight for Jamaica.

So… what will the assholes that said the 2004 Asian Tsunami was God’s way of letting Sweden know that He hates Swedes for tolerating homosexuals, and that Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of expressing his displeasure with abortion, say now?

What they tell us if God has sent a hurricane to wipe one of the most homophobic countries in the world off the face of the earth?

Gee, maybe God hates reggae.

UPDATE: Some folks in comments are calling me out for wishing harm on Jamaica—not everyone’s a murderous homophobe, many lovely people, etc. Uh… you’re misreading this item. No where in this post do I wish harm on innocent or guilty Jamaicans. I didn’t write, “Yes, yes, yes! Come on, God! Destroy Jamaica and all who reside there!” I merely pointed out that when something bad happens to a place that’s relatively tolerant—hurricanes in New Orleans, tsunamis in Thailand, bridge collapses in Minneapolis—the anti-gay Christian whackos claim it was God’s divine judgment, punishment for tolerating homos. So what, I wonder, would they say if a hurricane destroys a place like Jamaica?

I’m not trying to trump the whackos anti-gay murderousness with anti-anti-gay murderousness of my own. I don’t want any harm to come to the people of Jamaica. I hope the storm turns away and, oh, hits Texas—those people really have it coming.

New Marriage Law in Arkansas Discriminates Against Gay Babies

posted by on August 17 at 5:32 PM

Now even babies can get married in Arkansas—but only, you know, if they’re straight babies.

A law passed this year allows Arkansans of any age—even infants—to marry if their parents agree, and the governor may have to call a special session to fix the mistake, lawmakers said today.

The legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent, bill sponsor Rep. Will Bond said. An extraneous “not” in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

“It’s clearly not the intent to allow 10-year-olds or 11-year-olds to get married,” Bond said. “The legislation was screwed up.”

Sierra Club Fails to Block Freeman-Led Anti-Roads and Transit Group

posted by on August 17 at 5:32 PM

The Sierra Club was to King County Superior Court this afternoon, seeking to get its pro-transit argument against the joint roads/transit package included in King County’s voter guide for November. The judge rejected the group’s motion for a temporary injunction (explanation below). They’re also seeking an injunction against the proposed ballot title, which they say glosses over the cost of the package and inaccurately describes what’s in it.

Sound Transit chose the committee that will write the statement against the joint Sound Transit/RTID package (RTID, which could have also had a say in the committee’s makeup, hasn’t met since June). Predictably, the committee is made up exclusively of anti-transit stalwarts (Will Knedlik, Kemper Freeman and Phil Talmadge), whose anti-light-rail message will be poorly received in pro-light-rail King County. The “con” statement, in other words, won’t include any anti-roads argument against the package, which includes billions for expanding freeways like I-405 on the Eastside.

The argument the Sierra Club made today was based on the requirement that the “con” committee be made up of people who are “known” to oppose the measure. The Sierra Club certainly qualifies; they’ve been one of RTID’s most vocal opponents. Their attorney, Roger Townsend, argued that the three people Sound Transit chose aren’t known for opposing the whole package, just the Sound Transit portion of it. Moreover, although Freeman has certainly been outspoken in his opposition to light rail expansion, Knedlik is a relatively obscure bus-rapid-transit proponent, and Talmadge has not been vocal about the package at all. Thus at least two of the committee’s members aren’t “known” for opposing any part of the package.

Why does Sound Transit get to choose the committee that will write the opposition statement against Sound Transit? As Mike O’Brien of the Sierra Club points out, there is “a perverse incentive for them to pick people who don’t adequately represent the position.” In Snohomish County, Sound Transit submitted a list of potential committee members to the Snohomish County Council, which at least takes the process out of the hands of Sound Transit’s (unelected, unaccountable) board. “On this issue, but really on any issue, it’s disappointing that there’s not a public process where they invite anyone interested in writing the opposition statement to apply,” O’Brien says.

“Phase two” of the ballot challenge, O’Brien’s attorney, Roger Townshend, says, is challenging the language of the ballot title itself—the 250-word statement that describes what’s in the package. (Most ballot titles are limited to 75 words; RTID and Sound Transit got a special dispensation from the Legislature to make theirs longer.) The ballot title describes the measure as primarily a bridge and safety program, which the Sierra Club disputes; additionally, it spells out every cost figure in words (e.g. “One billion one hundred million dollars), creating a wall of text in which numbers are hard to distinguish. Townshend didn’t know when that motion would move forward, but another source suggests it might go to court next week.

Day 2: Gardening

posted by on August 17 at 5:12 PM

Yesterday I received my second assignment: Go pull weeds out of someone’s parking strip.

I drove over to Will’s house near Gasworks Park around 2 PM and he gave me a tour of his herb garden. At first, it was difficult to understand what he wanted me to yank. Beige flowering bush? “If you have time.” Brown, wilting bush? “Please don’t touch, Steven.”

The only thing Will really wanted me to get rid of was the fennel. It was everywhere. For anyone who has never experienced the smell of fennel, imagine breathing in a jar full of licorice. For a while, I had to take breaks or I would start to feel that pre-puke saliva coating the back of my throat.

Finally, around the half an hour mark, I began to find my groove. Holding my breath, I would stick my small shovel under the fennel plants and yank them out one by one. It felt good to reconnect with nature. Bees everywhere smelled the fennel seeds on my clothing and followed me back and forth from the garden patch to the waste bin.


The last plant I extracted was a towering prickly mess. I have no idea what this plant is called but its primary goal seems to be intimidation. It didn’t intimidate me, though. I kicked it down and stomped on it.


Will lives next door to a wine conosseur and an elderly couple. Will had to leave and go to work but he told me that his neighbors would probably come over and say hi while I weeded. They didn’t.

—Steven Blum, Public Intern

California Ave SW and SW Genesee St

posted by on August 17 at 5:04 PM


West Seattle

This morning, just before 1AM, a loft/townhome development on California and Genesee burned to the ground.

Thirteen fire engines and ladder trucks were on scene, along with 70 fire department personnel. Two firefighters were taken to the hospital, one for a dislocated shoulder and the other for dehydration.

Earlier today, the West Seattle Blog broke news that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the fire, but it turns out their presence isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

According to Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick, the SFD regularly partners with the ATF for large fires and although the cause of this morning’s fire is under investigation, SFD has “no reason to think there’s anything criminal about it.”

Fitzpatrick says the investigation “may go a couple days because there’s so much debris to dig through.”

Today on Lineout

posted by on August 17 at 4:42 PM

TJ Gorton on Salsoul Orchestra.

Terry Miller reminds us of just how awful the end of Return of the Jedi was.

Happy Birthday Sportn’ Life.

The future Rilo Kiley…today.

Donte Parks is unapologetic about penning another Daft Punk post.

Geto Muppets and Geto Boys.

Banter with Trent Moorman.

Rainy weekend downloads, plus more from The Faber Book of Pop.


Does David Della Have A Split Personality?

posted by on August 17 at 3:57 PM

Over on City Council member David Della’s blog, it’s hard to tell who’s talking: Sometimes, it sounds like boilerplate David Della.

My family tradition is linked with the working waterfront. Today, there are nearly 125,000 jobs connected to Seattle’s industrial lands. These are, for the most part, good family-wage jobs that have been the backbone of our economy.

At other times, his blog appears to have been taken over by a mysterious second person.

The Alki Foundation of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce endorsed David’s campaign today.

The personality of the writing changes dramatically, too. From pleasant but bland:

As I’m walking around tonight’s gathering, one conversation keeps coming up–I’m hearing the mantra that as Seattle is growing, it’s becoming more unaffordable for middle class families.

To sarcastic and bizarrely angry:

As I was riding on the elevated monorail with David this morning between Ballard and West Seattle, I remarked to him how fortunate his opponent, Tim Burgess, is to have the endorsement of Tom Weeks, Board Chair of the wildly successful elevated train.

“Without him, 40,000 more people might be driving their cars today, causing more traffic and pollution. It’s a good thing Tom brought his sharp pencil to the job,” I said.

Who is this mysterious second voice? Does Della have two personalities—the nice David and the really, really super angry one? Does he just like referring to himself in the third person (and talking to himself)? Or could there be another explanation?

Notes from the Recovery Room

posted by on August 17 at 3:50 PM

This morning I had my second and final surgery for this stupid injury. The surgeon cut a hole in my right foot, stuck in a screwdriver, and pulled out a screw that had been anchoring an apparatus—pins, bolts, cadaver bone, tinker toys, chewing gum—that’s been holding my shattered heel together for a couple of months.

Screw You I: From my conversation with the pre-op nurse.

“Can I keep the screw?”


“Do lots of people ask for their screws?”

“Yeah. They do weird things with them because they think the screws are part of them or something.”

“Like what?”

“Use them in their decks or houses. Make jewelry. Make Christmas ornaments.”

Screw You II: From an advertisement in the Time magazine sitting on the recovery-room table.

If you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome, see your doctor. If diagnosed, ask your doctor if Requip is right for you. Requip Tablets may cause you to fall asleep or feel very sleepy during normal activities such as driving; or to faint or feel dizzy, nauseated, or sweaty when you stand up… Also tell your doctor if you experience new or increased gambling, sexual, or other intense urges.

China Syndrome

posted by on August 17 at 3:41 PM

Guess what?

Toys “R” Us said today that it was halting sales of all vinyl bibs after laboratory tests showed evidence that some of the bibs were contaminated with lead….

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that tests this summer financed by the Center for Environmental Health of Oakland, Calif., found lead as high as three times the level allowed in paint in several styles of the bibs purchased from both Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in California.

Wait for it… wait for it…

Those bibs were imported from China for Toys “R” Us by Hamco Baby Products.

Notes from Last Night’s City Council Candidate Debate

posted by on August 17 at 3:39 PM

In a rare one-on-one debate last night between City Council incumbent David Della and challenger Tim Burgess, held at the Calvary Church at 70th and NW 23rd in Ballard, Burgess said something I haven’t heard many candidates dare to say: He thought the recent police accountability scandal showed that our system works. I’ve been saying the same thing—and nobody seems to agree—so Burgess’s response jumped out at me.

After the debate (more city candidates should do one-on-ones, by the way … good on the 36th District Democrats, who hosted), I asked Burgess to explain what he meant. “The [job of the] OPA is to be the civilian eyes on the police department and on allegations of misconduct,” he said. “And the [OPA] review board wrote a report. And it was made public. That’s a good thing. In that sense, the controversy about how discipline is handled by the chief came to light. From my perspective that is an indication, at least at that level, the system of civilian oversight is working. Beyond that the question becomes how can we make it better. How do we introduce measures for more transparency and more accountability? Those are legitimate questions.”

So, does Burgess support the idea that City Council should have reconfirmation authority over the chief? Burgess said he did not. “I’m leery of that,” he said. “I’m leery of making it political.”

Isn’t the mayor’s solo authority also politicized—which explains why the mayor isn’t getting tough with the chief? Burgess nodded, but said that with nine council members it would be worse. “Public officeholders have multiple agendas,” he said. He was suspicious that their decision making process about the chief would be “less than objective and independent.”

So, what does Burgess recommend? First, he says the council should require the chief to document his conclusions and findings on OPA investigations (such as when he overturns them.)

Burgess also says the council already has the authority to make the chief come before the council to answer questions about things like how he’s administering discipline. I told Burgess that in fact, Council Members Nick Licata and Burgess’s opponent David Della have asked the chief to do just that, and the chief has been vague about his commitment to appear (says he has to check to see if that was kosher with the union.) Burgess said, “Well, he should [meet with council],” and added that the council also has subpoena power and could use it to call the chief before them if he refuses to do so voluntarily.

“The city charter grants council subpoena power,” he says. “It’s rarely used and I’m not suggesting it needs to be, but that authority is there.”

Burgess himself was a police officer from 1971 to 1978.

Gays and Lesbians = Cross Dressers, Child Rapers, Animal Fuckers

posted by on August 17 at 3:24 PM

So says Rick Scarborough of Vision America, a right-wing Christian group, wasn’t happy about the HRC/LOGO forum on gay issues.

…So far this political season we have had Frosty the Snowman asking questions over YouTube and now the “Gay Debates” to see just which candidate is willing to grant the most favor to a lifestyle which historical Christianity calls sinful. What’s next? The Cross Dresser Debates? Or perhaps the NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Lovers Association) Debates? Or here’s one for the ages — The Bestiality Debates. Not possible? That’s what I thought about our leaders attending a debate sponsored by homosexuals twenty years ago.

Jesus Fucking Christ. Does NAMBLA even exist anymore outside of the fevered imaginations of conflicted, right-wing Christian haters?

Via Americablog.

Give Me Liberty and Give Me Coffee!

posted by on August 17 at 3:18 PM

In this city where coffee is the biggest of clichés, where caffeine gluts our gutters darkens every day, it is difficult if not impossible to distinguish among coffee shops. We all know this. It’s a fool’s errand. Pointless. We all understand that Top Pot is where the doughnuts live (and it’s is a jaunty palindrome to boot), and that JoeBar is cute and crepe-y, if just a little way too fucking chatty when there’s a line circling the block twice. Everyone roosts in Victrola, where the six hour heartburn and the withering glare of serious typing poseurs are still preferable to sitting in a fucking Starbucks. But barely.

But among these staples, a mocha-scented rose has bloomed, quietly and unnoticed and tragically under experienced. And it is Liberty. Yes Liberty. On 15th.

Now, hush. I know you know liberty as the classic cocktail-cum-sushi bar with Ellen Forney’s big dirty hands paintings that make Catholic girls cry for reasons the can not possibly understand. And you’re right about that, I won’t argue. BUT! But! From day-to-day, a coffee-making angel is pulling the most magical brews on the entire Hill from the bar there. The coffee-puller’s name is Doug (he’s part owner of Liberty, and in charge of its coffee interests) and the coffee Doug’s so skillfully pulling until 4PM every day (hurry!) is delicious, delicious Stumptown—-Portland’s famous and wonderfully roasty roast. As far as I know, Doug at Liberty is the only source of this magical potion in all of Seattle, and he pulls is like it ain’t never been pulled befo’. And thus your mission is clear. Abandon Victrola, gather up your Powerbook and that withering glare, and walk them the extra two blocks to Liberty. Find this man…


…and make him make you coffee. He will. And it’s worth it. I promise.

Headline of the Day

posted by on August 17 at 3:12 PM

Right now at the PI

“Tacoma utility says yellow water safe to drink”

They’ll tell you the same thing at the Eagle, Tacomans. Don’t believe ‘em.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on August 17 at 3:09 PM


Blue Stealing: There’s a relationship between theft and meth, says the SPD, so the department has established Operation Crystal Blue Persuasion. Since January, the task force has rounded up a bunch of miscreants: 96 for narcotics, 7 for burglary, 11 for ID theft or forgery, 3 for violent crimes, and 9 for intriguingly vague “other crimes.”

Current Drug-Abuse-Prevention Campaigns At Work: A new student survey shows drugs are more prevalent in schools, parents in denial.

Language Barrier: English-speaking Latinos in Washington 13 times more likely than Spanish-speaking peers to report use of illegal drugs.

Rick Steves: If you don’t like my politics you can take a hike, with a different travel guide.

Family Ring Turns Daughter into Dealer, She Overdoses, Recovers, and Crusades Against Dangers of Excessive Consumption: But it’s just espresso.

Denver: City Council wants to pass I-75-like law only to strike it down in court.

Rush Kept His Medical Files from Prosecutors: But Oregon medical marijuana patients records have been subpoenaed by feds.

Don’t Start Rubbing Pot All Over Your Face: Cannabanoids found to clear dermatitis.

Bitter Pills to Swallow: FDA approving fewer pharmaceuticals.

It’s Next to the PI: Hempfest this weekend.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on August 17 at 2:56 PM

First, some news:

The physics in movies is all wrong. But you have to read German and have access to scholarly journals to find out the details. (Via ars technica; thanks, Josh.)

Fall calendars are out—or at least leaked—at all the the area independents. Here’s Northwest Film Forum (highlights include a mumblecore* series to complement the Seattle premiere of Hannah Takes the Stairs, Brand Upon the Brain [! the whole hog production I’ve been agitating for, at Cinerama, probably with some extra special guests that have yet to be announced], a Shohei Imamura series, an evening with James Benning, and lots more). Grand Illusion has a terrible website, but in addition to the new Kim Ki-Duk you can see there coming up next week, they’ve also got a “Psychedelic Summer” series starting Sept 7 featuring 16mm films made between 1966 and 1972 (thanks to a recent NWFF series, I’m most looking forward to the National Film Board of Canada production No Reason to Stay); starting Sept 14, Autism: The Musical; and starting Sept 17, The Gates. Down at SIFF Cinema, be on the lookout for Charles Burnett’s My Brother’s Wedding, the 1957 gossip-columnist noir Sweet Smell of Success, and a whole month of the distributor Kino’s eclectic back catalogue.

This Week’s New Releases:

In On Screen this week: the super-good Superbad; a “light comedy” by Lars von Trier entitled The Boss of It All; the truly execrable British farce Death at a Funeral; the awesome local doc The King of Quarters (see today’s Suggests, below); and a new film by the oldest working director in all of cinema: Belle Toujours.

The Boss of It All

Plus, Brendan Kiley has an amusing review of the Nicole Kidman/Daniel Craig vehicle The Invasion (it’s bad).

Film Shorts this week can be found at Get Out. Enjoy!

* For more about mumblecore, see this Greencine entry on Hannah Takes the Stairs.

Bullet Control

posted by on August 17 at 1:59 PM

One Billion Bullets

posted by on August 17 at 1:57 PM

The AP reports

Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than 1 billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments nationwide and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

That’s weird. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of bullets in Seattle.

Wanna Be My Film Intern?

posted by on August 17 at 1:38 PM

Details over here.

Pregnancy Test

posted by on August 17 at 1:14 PM

The 9th Circuit ruled today that companies can’t dock women’s retirement benefits based on pregnancy leave that took place before 1978’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act passed. (God, how greedy can a company get?)

Three cheers to the 9th Circuit (the left coast court) and all, but the ruling clashes with a Supreme Court ruling about retroactivity principles, and so, legal experts predict the ruling is doomed.

Free Trees

posted by on August 17 at 1:01 PM

Is your neighborhood a barren concrete wasteland? (I’m talking to you, Georgetown.)

Well, the Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications for FREE TREES through their “Tree Fund” program.

In exchange for free trees to be delivered by the City this fall, groups of neighbors attend a City sponsored training session and then organize their neighbors to plant the trees.

Seattle’s tree cover has shrunk from 40 percent of the city’s land area in 1972 to just 18 percent today, a decline that threatens nature’s ability to help manage storm water, reduce erosion, absorb climate-disrupting gases and clean the air.

Groups of five households or more on a street or block are eligible to apply.

Groups of households on a street or block can request a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 40 trees per project.

The application deadline is NEXT FRIDAY!!!So get on that.

Plant some trees, wait a few years, build a treehouse and then rent it out to some poor schmuck. That’s Mazooma in the bank.

Contact the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods at (206) 684-0464 or go to for more info.

A Couple of Weeks in Geek

posted by on August 17 at 1:01 PM


I read it for the articles - Study shows nearly half of time on web is spent viewing content (as opposed to sending e-mail, searching, shopping, etc.), up from 34% in 2003. The study doesn’t say so, but I bet this increase has something to do with pizza porn. «– NSFW, duh.

Under-reported story of the month - Workers at a drinks hut on a Dutch beach fished an 8-foot tall Lego man out of the sea. The giant, undoubtedly bent on world conquest, appeared to be heading for England. The beast now stands next to the drinks hut, biding his time. If we had any available military, I’d suggest that they be put on high alert.

A nation yawns - Blu-ray outselling HD-DVD 2-to-1. Really, format wars are so 1986.

Format King - The compact disc turns 25 today, and like all 25-year-olds, it’s best days are behind it and it will soon be dead.

Making people shit themselves in style - Taser introduces the latest in portable incapacitation—the C2 personal protector ($350). Now you no longer have to choose between delivering a 50,000-volt charge to scramble someone’s brain and being fashionable. Laser-sighted.

Finally! - TSMC says MSFT to use 90nm DRAM process for Xbox! Just thought you should know.

AHHH! - A Shepard tone - a “sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves… [creating] the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.” It’s freaking me out.

hyperstereo seattle

Seattle in Hyperstereo - Super genius Steve Lodefink of Finkbuilt has posted a couple of hyperstereo images of Seattle. Instructions and more examples on Finkbuilt.

Kill me - The Internet is too slow. Please send bandwidth.

My Long Personal Nightmare is (Almost) Over - TiVo finally releases a somewhat reasonably-priced HD DVR. I waited for the new Comcast software, which arrived last week. Shockingly, it still sucks. Looks like I’m going to have to bite the bullet. Go to hell, DCT6412.

Trans Awareness Week

posted by on August 17 at 12:50 PM

There are signs on light poles all over downtown Seattle proclaiming “TRANS Awareness Week.” I wasn’t even aware that we had a trans awareness week, so the banners are doing their job.

Trans Awareness Project (TAP) is the proud new recipient of a $15,000 City of Seattle Neighborhood Grant award, which will enable the first-ever week of Trans Awareness cultural festivities and events held in Seattle beginning this year 2007…. So far we have designed banners that will be displayed down the Pine and Pike Street corridors and will be the first visible demonstration of the Trans presence in this city, supported by the City of Seattle.

Trans Awareness Week runs from August 25 to September 1. You can read more about it here.

On Rock and/or Roll

posted by on August 17 at 12:26 PM

Earlier in the week Josh quoted me—out of context!—on the subject of rock and/or roll, the music that has defined… what? Three or four generations now? While it’s true that I don’t appreciate rock and roll, it’s also true that I’ve never made a secret of this fact. There are some rock bands that I actually like; I have the Beattles, the Stones, the Strokes, Queen, and Hedwig on my iPod (where is that thing, anyway?). But the most frequently played albums on my iPod are… Pacific Overtures, Company, Sweeney Todd, and Follies. All musicals, all by Stephen Sondheim, all wonderful.

One of my issues with rock and/or roll is… the electric guitar. I don’t much care for the sounds they typically make. Imagine, if you can, that you didn’t care for the sound of the french horn. Now image that for nearly sixty years popular music—the music of your generation, your parent’s generation, and your grandparent’s generation—was nothing but three jerks playing the french horn and one asshole on drums. It would get to you after a while, right?

Another of my objections to rock and/or roll is the volume at which it is typically played, which Kerri Harrop dinged me for in the comments. I have been know to ask DJs at Stranger events to turn the freakin’ music down—so that people can, you know, shout-and-talk instead of scream-their-heads-off-and-talk. I’ve also been known to get up on chairs in restaurants and unplug speakers when the music is too loud and it is my considered opinion that all live music is way, way too loud.

The problem with allowing DJs and musicians to set volume levels is that they’re all freakin’ deaf. They’ve been hanging out in clubs, right next to the speakers and amps, for years. Decades. And a comfortable volume for a DJ or a bass player is going to bloody the eardrums of the average human being.

But that’s neither here nor there. The point I wanted to make was this: Not like rock and/or roll frees me to like what I like. It never occurs to me to consider whether a band is cool or not. If I like it, I like it—and so rarely do I like a rock and/or roll band that, when I do, I’m not at all self-conscious about listening to their music openly, unashamedly. Like Mika. I like his album—“Life in Cartoon Motion-“-so, you know, sue me. And today at the gym I was treated to another artist I like… and a song that I, as a Catholic girl, particularly love: Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young.”


Since I know nothing about rock and/or roll, I don’t know if Billy Joel is cool and/or lame at the moment, and I don’t much care. I like the song. I’m going to go download it onto my iPod tonight—or my boyfriend is, since I can’t get the hang of iTunes. And then I’m going to listen to that song six or seven thousand times in a row—that’s how people that like musicals listen to music. Over and over again, until we’ve committed it to memory.

But I will, of course, listen to it at a reasonable volume.


posted by on August 17 at 12:15 PM

Who dumps a mattress in a park?


Perhaps this was some high-concept way of mocking the inadequacy of Cal Anderson’s trash cans (there are definitely too few of them), or an attempt at taunting the homeless people who sleep on the grass nearby. But I doubt it. Probably just hyper-aggressive littering. Lame.

Basketball Diaries

posted by on August 17 at 11:39 AM

I don’t want to harsh out anybody’s hoop time, but in the spirit of this classic book (Chris Ballard’s 1998 survey checks out and rates regular pickup basketball games nationwide), I’d love to hear about Seattle’s courts.

Where are the best regular games in the city? And is there anything like Greenwich Village’s West 4th Street game in New York, where average players and fans can just show up and watch some bona fide players run the court?


I know it’s risky to call attention to your regular game (you probably don’t want a lot of new people showing up and ruining things), but where are the best games at in Ballard, Crown Hill, Beacon Hill, Squire Park, West Seattle?

Where are the co-ed games, the clunky white guy games, the most competitive games, the friendliest games? Where are the best courts?

I know about Green Lake. What else is out there?

The Pre-Debate Show

posted by on August 17 at 11:30 AM

There’s a Democratic presidential candidate debate coming up in Iowa this weekend. (Yes, another one.)

The Caucus has a good round-up of the pre-debate posturing. And if you want to watch the debate live—well, if you want to watch it live, then I worry about the quality of your life outside of politics. The debate runs from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. CDT on Sunday.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 17 at 11:00 AM

‘The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters’ (FILM)

In 2003, Redmond resident Steve Wiebe set out to topple the long-standing all-time high-score on Donkey Kong. Little did he know that his assault on the record would spur the ire of the exceedingly arrogant Billy Mitchell, holder of the record for over 20 years. King of Kong, which conquered this year’s SIFF, chronicles the scheming, heartbreak, and absurdity that followed. The result is this year’s brightest, and most routinely hilarious, documentary. (See Movie Times for info.)

See what else is happening in Film on Friday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Good News for Hungry Drunks: Hallava Falafel Truck Coming to Capitol Hill

posted by on August 17 at 10:32 AM

The closing of Frites Belgian Frites left a big, greasy hole in the stomach of countless Capitol Hill revelers, but starting this weekend, that hole can be crammed full of falafel, thanks to the Hallava Falafel Truck, which will be stationed outside Cafe Vita on Pike from 8:00 pm till 2:00 am every Friday and Saturday night.

(But if you’re still missing the frites, consider the short stumble up to Cafe Presse on 12th, where paper cones of good, cheap, and greasy fries are served till 2:00 am every day of the week.)

Speaking of John Edwards and Early Polls in Iowa…

posted by on August 17 at 10:30 AM

Following up on the recent Slog discussion, Jenny Durkan, the Washington State Chair for the John Edwards for President campaign, is calling my attention to this new poll, which finds John Edwards leading in Iowa.

(Unlike this poll, which I mentioned in my Stranger column this week. It found Edwards losing ground in Iowa and statistically tied with Hillary Clinton.)

Both polls were conducted around the same time. The poll I cited has a smaller margin of error (+/- 3.5), contacted more likely caucus voters (787), and was conducted over the course of six days (July 29 - August 5). The poll Durkan is citing has a larger margin of error (+/- 4.3), contacted fewer likely caucus voters (509), and was conducted over a very short period of time (August 2 - August 3).

Warmth, Giant Black Toobs no. 4 Is On

posted by on August 17 at 10:21 AM


Until about 20 minutes ago, there was some question whether the fourth installment of Susan Robb’s toobs—written about Jen Graves last month here—was going to happen today. (The piece is solar-powered. Gotta have sun.)

Robb just made the call: There is enough sun. It’s on. It’ll be up at Volunteer Park from noon to 6 pm today. It’s free. Pack a picnic.

A preview:

Go to Safeco Tonight!

posted by on August 17 at 9:44 AM

Anyone who’s a fan of baseball should try to get to Safeco Field tonight to, potentially, witness history.

White Sox closer, Bobby Jenks, recently tied the Major League record for consecutive batters retired. 41 men have faced Jenks since July 17, and not one has gotten on base. Chris DeLuca in the Chicago Sun-Times argues that this feat is more significant than a the usual yardstick for pitching dominance, a perfect game, since that feat, after all, is only one game. Jenks has positively affected the outcome of 14 games in his streak, which is equal to one-and-two-thirds perfect games.

So, tonight, if the game is tied or the Sox have a lead in the ninth, you could see Jenks do something that no pitcher has ever done, in the 130-plus years of Major League Baseball history. If he gets that first man out, it’s a new record.

Then, of course, you root for the Mariners to rally to win and stay close to the goddamn Angels.

My Kid Could Paint That: The Movie

posted by on August 17 at 9:30 AM

The City by Marla Olmstead

So a 4-year-old cranks out big abstract paintings, some people buy them for thousands of dollars, other people gloat about the sham of modern art, and, inevitably, doubt is raised over whether the 4-year-old is getting help on her paintings from one of her parents. Sounds simple enough, and like something that has happened plenty of times before.

But Amir Bar-Lev’s new documentary, My Kid Could Paint That, is a mystery. (It will open this fall in Seattle; I saw an early screening today.) Bar-Lev travels so far into the center of the situation that he makes the human lust for “real” art—especially in a context where everybody declares that they know nothing about art—seem suspect, vain, and almost criminal, while at the same time utterly natural.

The film closes with a Bob Dylan song:

Someday, everything is gonna be different, when I paint my masterpiece.

Or, everything is gonna be different when you find a masterpiece, connect with it, and somehow make it yours, either by buying it or simply recognizing it, seeing it, and having it see you. Doesn’t everybody feel that way at least a little bit?

The toddler’s name is Marla Olmstead. She lives in Binghamton, N.Y., with her brother Zane, who is two years younger than she is, and her parents, Laura, a dental assistant, and Mark, an amateur painter and night manager at a Frito-Lay factory.

The first note I made in my notebook was about Marla’s art dealer, Anthony Brunelli. He introduced the family by describing every member as “perfect,” especially Marla and Zane, who “could be in Gap ads.”

Brunelli is probably the most unsavory character in the film. But he is the most revealing, too. Through all the twists and family dynamics—according to that footage, it looks like Marla made that painting, but according to this footage, it looks like she didn’t, but …—Brunelli looms in the background. He extols Marla’s genius on “60 Minutes” and praises the beauty of her paintings to his clients.

But he also divulges, when he’s exhausted of the publicity and when sales have slowed down because of the questioning, that he doesn’t like modern art. That he thinks it’s a “scam.” That it’s only through marketing that abstract art gains meaning. (Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times comes damn close to agreeing with Brunelli on this point, making the analogy to the relationship between Jackson Pollock’s raging persona and his wild paintings.)

Of course, by that logic, then, Brunelli is in the middle of perpetrating his own scam: selling Marla instead of the paintings. But Brunelli reveals more. We see him making his own photorealistic paintings, spending hours on details that the art world will not appreciate.

With Marla, “now, finally, I’ve got a way in,” Brunelli says.

The tensions between husband and wife, toddler and camera, are gripping. And there are deliciously painful sequences involving stereotypically clueless, Humvee-driving rich collectors that serve as reminders that, like laws, you don’t want to see how the art market is made. Or maybe you do.

By the end of the film, the biggest question is not about whether Marla has made the paintings alone, but whether the documentarian, Bar-Lev, will reveal to the family that he has his doubts. He so badly wants to believe, but he can’t get Marla making a painting from start to finish, and that missing footage becomes the magnetic black hole at the center of the movie. It’s the hole at the center of art, too—what exactly is in there, and why does it have such sway over us? When is it real, and when is it bullshit? What is it made of? Can it even be caught on film?

When the movie comes, watch it. It’s terrific.

Sweet Jesus…

posted by on August 17 at 9:12 AM

The War. And the War on Blogs

posted by on August 17 at 8:54 AM

While the U.S. military is busy cracking down on soldiers’ blogs to prevent info from getting out that could endanger U.S. operations—the army might be better served cracking down on their own official military websites.

According to data from the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC)—the DOD dept. that monitors official and unofficial military websites “for information and trends of data that could be used to breach security or pose a threat to defensive and offensive operations and military personnel”—there were about 28 content violations on 594 blogs between January 2006 and January 2007. By comparison: There were least 1,813 violations on 878 official military websites during the same period.

This data comes to light thanks to a smart public disclosure request by the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

WIRED has a report here.

Cultural Conservatives vs. Freedom of Religion

posted by on August 17 at 8:05 AM

Anti-gay Christian activists are crashing services at churches in Ohio that welcome, affirm, tolerate, etc., gays and lesbians.

A conservative Christian values group has been interrupting services at two central Ohio churches to protest their support for homosexuality. Minutemen United vowed to attend services every Sunday.

The group started its crusade when First Baptist Church in Granville hosted “Love Makes a Family,” a traveling exhibit by the Family Diversity Project showing photos of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families.

The night the exhibit opened in July, members of Minutemen United stood outside and protested the exhibit and the church’s open attitude toward homosexuality, said the Rev. Kathy Hurt, senior pastor at the Granville church.

Since then, the group has been visiting the church every Sunday, she said.

Could you imagine the shit storm that would ensue if gays and lesbians showed up at an anti-gay church and disrupted services? I can. ACT-UP—the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power—shut down St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in 1989 to protest the church’s opposition to AIDS education, condoms, and its attacks on homosexuals. It was hugely controversial, and roundly attacked by conservative and mainstream politicians and pundits. Bringing a protest into a house of worship—during services!—just wasn’t kosher, no matter the stakes.

I’m hoping that same folks that condemned ACT-UP in 1989 for its “Stop the Church” protest condemn these anti-gay bigots today. But I’m not going to hold my breath. Conservative religious people regard attacking others—holding anti-gay rallies in pro-gay cities like SF and Seattle, disrupting services at pro-gay churches—as their right, as protected religious expression. It’s just one of the double standards that the knuckle-draggers enjoy.

The Morning News

posted by on August 17 at 7:36 AM

In Convictions: Jose Padilla found guilty of terrorism conspiracy. “The conviction of Jose Padilla — an American who provided material support to terrorists and trained for violent jihad — is a significant victory in our efforts to fight the threat posed by terrorists and their supporters,” says Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “This trial clearly undermines the Bush administration’s unfounded fear that terrorists cannot — in their view — be tried in our criminal courts,” says the ACLU.

In Rescues: Three dead, six injured while attempting to rescue six trapped miners in Utah.

In Stocks: After yesterday’s rollicking market, the Federal Reserve made a half-percentage point cut in its discount rate on loans to banks.

In Medals: The U.S. is running short of Purple Hearts, which means some older veterans are being asked to buy their own.

In “Celebrities”: Steven Seagal wants the FBI to say it’s sorry.

In Government Contracts: $998,798 for shipping two 19¢ washers.

In Cheering: Nicole Brodeur admits to being one of the TImes’ staffers who cheered at Rove’s resignation.

In Police: Expect a larger police presence outside of crowded clubs in the downtown retail core.

In Squabbles: The University of Washington tells Disney to stick it.

In Traffic: The state DOT decides people are still getting to work too easily, close another lane on I-5.

And finally: A little Gerry Anderson weirdness to start your morning.

Seattle is Racist, but…

posted by on August 17 at 6:01 AM

this kind of gross behavior wouldn’t happen here.

Welcome to the east coast Ray Allen, where people show their true colors—and don’t like yours.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

What The Fuck?

posted by on August 16 at 5:16 PM

First she trashes my film; now she is trashing my film reviews:

Why Must Every Movie Review by Charles Mudede Begin with a Question?

Culled from the film section of The Stranger:

Belle Toujours: What is this movie really about? What is its core subject, its ultimate matter?

A Scanner Darkly: What is the core truth of this film based on a Phillip K. Dick short story of the same name?

Bratz: What is it that makes Bratz, as a cultural phenomenon, great?

What is Audrey’s problem? What has she against my blatant scholasticism. Has she ever read Thomas Aquinas? If so, what is wrong with borrowing from the scholastic approach? And why does she love cheese so much?

Re: Postman, Boardman, Cheering Etc…

posted by on August 16 at 4:49 PM

Josh Feit talks to Republican Mike McGavick! In Moses Lake! And to Republican Luke Esser! And Chris Vance!

There They Go…

posted by on August 16 at 4:41 PM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

In an interview with the conservative Hugh Hewitt show, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said that not only will he be resigning before the end of Bush’s term, a few others might be on the way out soon too:

HEWITT: Are there any other resignations upcoming, Tony Snow?

SNOW: I think that probably…as Josh said the other day, he thinks there are probably a couple coming up in the next month or so. […]

HEWITT: Your intention to go the distance, Tony Snow?

SNOW: No, I’m not going to be…I’ve already made it clear I’m not going to be able to go the distance, but that’s primarily for financial reasons. I’ve told people when my money runs out, then I’ve got to go.

via Think Progress

“Once You Get That STD, You Don’t Get a Second Chance”

posted by on August 16 at 4:26 PM

Is it any wonder why abstinence-only education fails?

(Swiped from my new favorite website GodTube.)

Re: Postman, Boardman, Cheering Etc…

posted by on August 16 at 4:25 PM

Whoa. Postman goes after me on his blog.

Guess I got under his skin by pointing out his executive editor, Dave Boardman’s bias. Executive editors at mainstream dailies aren’t supposed to have biases.

Since there’s no way to defend what Boardman said (that Ds are the activists and Rs are not) , Postman changes the topic and pretends I was denying that reporters are Democrats.

He writes:

Feit says: “Boardman is relying on some pretty out-of-date stereotypes.” [But Boardman] is actually relying on the most recent data. Studies after the 2004 presidential election showed what previous studies have as well: Reporters tend to vote Democratic.

But I didn’t challenge Boardman’s notion that lots of reporters are Democrats. I agree that they are. I challenged Boardman’s explanation of that phenomenon. Boardman says reporters are often activist types. So, Boardman’s assumption is that activists are Democrats.

I challenged that (outdated) assumption.

Check it. Boardman said:

That [newsrooms are filled with Democrats] is not particularly surprising, given how people make career decisions and that social service and activism is a primary driver for many journalists.

And I said:

Boardman’s assumption: Republicans aren’t drawn to activism or social service. How’s that dose objectivity strike you GOP readers out there?

Boardman is relying on some pretty out-of-date stereotypes. I hate to break it to him—maybe he hasn’t been paying attention to the tax slashing, anti-gay, pro-property rights, pro-intelligent design, pro-conscience clause, anti-abortion, anti-immigrant activism out there—but from initiative drives to legislation to legal efforts, GOP activists have been working overtime during the last decade. Successfully.

Postman also reports this: “Feit calls the Stranger a partisan paper and says it is all but impossible for him to talk to Republicans. He does his reporting by only talking to Democrats.”

Yes, I said the Stranger is a partisan paper. Everyone knows that.

But I did not say it’s “all but impossible” to talk to Republicans. Nor do I do my reporting by “only talking to Democrats.” (Is that a statement of fact, Postman?)

Here’s what I said: “I don’t think reporters talk to Republicans enough. I try to as often as I can, which is difficult at a partisan paper like The Stranger.”

Difficult, yes, but hardly impossible. And worth doing. I interviewed the Kittitas County GOP Chair just last week and on and on.

And I’m glad I did.

Today in Line Out

posted by on August 16 at 3:49 PM

Readings From The Faber Book Of Pop Pt. 4: Rave.

Mandy Moore: No, seriously. Mandy Moore.

Sound Check: Eric from the Long Winters and his bass pedals.

Amy Winehouse Leaves Rehab: Oh wait, no she doesn’t.

But: She does cancel her tour.

Palate Cleansing: Sonic Youth’s Teen Riot.

Psychic TV: Ari Spool loves them.

RIP: Max Roach.

How Gay: The 10 gayest record covers of all time.

Talented?: Bumbershoot wants to make you a star!

Stupid, Stupid Typo: The word anal is always funny.


The Most Cryptic Press Release Ever

posted by on August 16 at 3:37 PM

I just got this from SPD spokeswoman Renee Witt:

Please see the attached advisory regarding information for a press conference on Friday, Aug 17th. Unfortunately I am not able to provide a lot of information in the advisory as not to compromise this operation.

At the press conference you will provided a complete packet on this massive operation, including a DVD.

What could it be?

Is SPD planning a raid on the Stranger offices?



In January 2007, [the Seattle Police Department] formed a task force under the operational code name “Crystal Blue Persuasion”. The task force set out to attack the methamphetamine trade in Seattle, with the goal of impacting crimes fueled by methamphetamine users such as Auto Theft, Identity Theft, and Burglary.

Please join Seattle Police Chief Kerlikowske, US Attorney Jeff Sullivan and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Arnold R. Moorin as they announce the results of this massive operation.

Refreshments will be served.

Crystal Blue Persuasion is the name of my new band.

Fun With Wikipedia, City Hall Edition

posted by on August 16 at 3:30 PM

Hot Slog tipper Mike alerted us to this neat tool for looking up IP addresses whose users have made anonymous edits on Wikipedia. Of interest to Mike (and us): The City of Seattle (IP address:, where city staffers with a LOT of time on their hands made 437 anonymous edits in the past four years to Wikipedia pages, including those for right-wing radio host Laura Schlessinger, terrible Whoopie Goldberg movie Sister Act, civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, and chick magnetKlingon Language. Most interesting (and revealing) were the edits to Seattle politicians’ sites—both by identified Wikipedia users and anonymous City Hall lurkers.

Here are some of my favorites.

City Council member Peter Steinbreuck

May 6, 2007:
“He holds a degree in architecture from the University of Washington, although he is neither licensed nor practicing.”

May 7, 2007 (edited anonymously on a city computer):
“He holds a degree in architecture from the University of Washington and is a licensed architect.”

Deleted anonymously from a city computer, also on May 7:
During this time the Council went through the so-called Strippergate scandal, ending in three Councilmembers defeated for election in the 2003 election.

Also deleted (twice!), though not from a city computer:

“Rumors of his alledged [sic] state of mental instability are not confirmed, but he does have an ego that rivals other regional elected officials. Peter often appears as if he slept in his clothes the night before council meetings and can be incoherent before lunch. Blowhard would be an apt description, as he often tries to grandstand with no real intent to carry through on his half-baked ideas. A favorite sport of Council staffers is to count how many times a council meeting he mentions his father’s accomplishments (as if that translated into tangible results for Peter). Finally, Peter is well known for literally ducking out during controversial council votes to go to the bathroom so he can avoid having his vote tallied either for or against.

Mayor Greg Nickels

June 22, 2007:
They have two children, Jacob and Carey. Their son, Jacob Dyson Nickels was recently indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in San Diego, CA, in an alleged casino cheating organization.

July 3, 2007 (edited anonymously on a city computer):
They have two children, Jacob and Carey.

City Council President Nick Licata

July 2, 2003:
Nick Licata is the president of the Seattle City Council.[…] He has clashed with Mayor Greg Nickels on a variety of issues, including housing and transportation. His aides, Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold, and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

July 3, 2003 (edited anonymously on a city computer):
Nick Licata is the president of the Seattle City Council. His aides, Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold, and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

And then there’s this war, apparently ongoing, about whether Licata staffer Lisa Herbold is a hottie (as if there was any question!)

July 23, 2007:
Nick Licata is the current president of the Seattle City Council. His aides, Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold (totally [sic] hottie), and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

August 4, 2007:
Nick Licata is the current president of the Seattle City Council. His aides, Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold, and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

August 8, 2007, 9:01 pm: His aides [[1]], Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold (who many believe is a total hottie) and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

August 8, 2007, 9:03 pm: Nick Licata is the current president of the Seattle City Council. His aides, Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold, and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

August 8, 2007, 9:54 pm:
Nick Licata is the current president of the Seattle City Council. His aides, Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold, who is both attractive in her contributions to the policy arena and pleasing in her appearence, and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

August 9, 2007, 9:59 pm:
His aides, Newell Aldrich, Lisa Herbold, and Frank Video have worked for him since he took office in 1998.

And then there’s this, from July 2, 2007, which was removed immediately for obvious reasons:
“In June 2007, Nick Licata decided to “come out of the closet,” as he was quoted, and announce himself as a gay man. Licata announced his current relationship with local land developer Mark Russell to the public, saying ‘our passion is unparalleled.’”

The entire city council is listed on the Seattle politicians page, with one notable exception—council member David Della, who does not have a Wikipedia page (take from that what you will.)

Man Killed by Pet Spider, Eaten by Creepy Crawlies

posted by on August 16 at 3:22 PM

True story (via Digital Journal):

A police spokesman said: “It was like a horror movie. His corpse was over the sofa. Giant webs draped him, spiders were all over him. They were coming out of his nose and his mouth. There was everything there one could imagine in the world of reptiles. Larger pieces of flesh torn off by the lizards were scooped up and taken back to the webs of tarantulas and other bird-eating spiders.”

How to Get Busted for Pot After I-75

posted by on August 16 at 3:10 PM

According to the Ballard News Tribune

Reports of a suspicious male hanging around a downtown Ballard building were made to 911 at 8:20 p.m. on a Saturday night. Police contacted the suspect who told them he rented a studio in the building and that he had the keys. Officers smelled the odor of marijuana coming from his studio. They did a routine check on his identity and found a warrant in his name. Subsequent to his arrest, the suspect agreed to let police search his studio and they found two bags of marijuana. He spent the evening in jail.

Listen, folks with warrants, if you get caught for breaking one law and take police officers to your apartment with pot inside – and give them permission to search it – they will charge you with marijuana possession, too. Everyone else: If you’re gonna smoke pot, do it discreetly and bathe daily.

Since voters passed Initiative 75 in 2003, marijuana possession has been the City’s lowest law enforcement priority. (Full disclosure, I coordinated the campaign.) Charges for marijuana possession have dropped. But City Attorney Tom Carr, who opposed the initiative, says the decline in pot cases is unrelated to I-75. Are the fewer pot filings just coincidence? Is the decrease significant? Did the city save money? Did more people start getting high? The eleven-member Marijuana Policy Review Panel, which includes Carr and me, will hold what is ostensibly its final meeting this evening at 5:30 p.m. in room 370 at City Hall to answer those questions and iron out the final wording of a report to the City Council on the measure’s impacts.

Moving On

posted by on August 16 at 3:00 PM


Posted by Sage Van Wing

Today at noon in the Garden of Remembrance (a tiny wedge of an urban memorial to the Vietnam/Korean/Persian Gulf/Grenada Wars across from the new Seattle Art Museum), members of Seattle’s group gathered to protest the war in Iraq. There were 30 people there.

The impetus was a new report from MoveOn national detailing how money spent on the war could have been spent in our communities. Protesters at the event carried hand-lettered signs breaking down the details of this report:

“19,713 new elementary school teachers, or…”

“Health care coverage for 171,244 people, or…”

“15,449 port container inspector for Washington, or…”

Spokespeople from Democratic Representative Jim McDermott’s office read a letter from the Congressman. Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata also came down to speak for a few minutes. He showed up late and left early, but made a nice speech about how much we all need to fear a possible war with Iran.


The event lasted approximately 20 minutes. Protesters then wandered off to deliver their report to McDermott’s office. (Is it just me, or is Jim the last person in the world who needs to see these figures?)

Much as I wanted to be impressed, the whole thing was somewhat underwhelming. Two questions came to mind:

1. Are we all so depressed and inured to the idea of the war that we can no longer muster the outrage to attend protests? Sure, public opinion polls say the war is wildly unpopular, but what are we all doing about it? Okay, so this particular event wasn’t particularly well advertised and occurred in the middle of a workday, but even with all these scary statistics about how much our community has been affected by the war, our community certainly wasn’t there to represent.

2. Is this all MoveOn can offer? What is MoveOn doing about Iraq these days anyway? Are they really the organization that can galvanize public furor over the war and turn it into action. And if not them, who?

There were also similar events at Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee’s office in shoreline and Republican Congressman Dave Reichert’s office on Mercer Island. Pre-registration figures showed similarly sparse numbers signed up for those protests, too.

AT&T Makes the Case

posted by on August 16 at 2:47 PM

Arguing in federal court to have the case against its wiretapping program thrown out, AT&T maintained: Customers don’t have any proof that they were being secretly monitored.


Technology Liberation Front has a recap and link to yesterday’s 9th Circuit hearing blow-by-blow including this priceless quote from AT&T’s attorney, Michael Kellog:

“The government has said that whatever AT&T is doing with the government is a state secret,” Kellogg says. He adds, “As a consequence, no evidence can come in whether the individuals’ communications were ever accepted or whether we played any role in it.”

Great Bits in Mediocre Movies (Number 4 in a Series)

posted by on August 16 at 2:32 PM

Judged by any rational scale of criticism, Running Scared (Paul Walker, not Billy Crystal) is a mess. An extremely energetic, occasionally visually inspired mess, to be sure, but, nonetheless, this designer stubbly Tarantinoid crime saga is largely, as my colleague Lindy West once aptly put it, “a shiny, stylized, exploding pile of suck.”


Approximately an hour in, there’s a sequence where a little boy on the run stumbles into a clean-cut couple’s apartment, and things get … weird. Unsettlingly, rather brilliantly fairy tale weird. So queasily weird, honestly, that it temporarily vaults the picture into that rarified zone where it feels like absolutely anything is possible. (Then it proceeds to get dumb again, but I digress.) Anyway, dig this, and keep your eyes on the shadows.

(Thanks to commenter “moviefan” for the suggestion.)

The Case Against Sound Transit: A Response

posted by on August 16 at 1:58 PM

The Seattle Times has an op-ed today by light rail opponent Jim MacIsaac*, who claims that the tri-county Sound Transit II (ST 2) package (on the ballot, along with a massive roads expansion package, in November) is “flawed” beyond redemption. MacIsaac says he’s “discovered” a bunch of new facts that make light rail untenable. Among them:

• “The real cost to households is extremely high. Sound Transit claims that the per-household costs of the roads-and-transit package will be $150 per year plus $80 per vehicle. This is a lowball estimate that claims only 40 percent of sales-tax revenues are paid by household taxpayers and consumers. The combined ST1, ST2 and RTID taxes will actually be $888 per household in 2008.”

Most of this paragraph was lifted verbatim from a very similar editorial penned by former state Sen. Jim Horn, one of the loudest advocates for massive roads subsidies (and against transit) in the state’s recent history. MacIsaac came up with the stats as part of a study he did for The Truth About Traffic, a fringe anti-transit group formed by Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman. (Freeman, remember, is the same guy who called transit proponents socialists and terrorists.) MacIsaac came up with his $888 figure by including existing Sound Transit taxes in the total and assuming that the cost of goods and services would skyrocket at a rate much higher than inflation as businesses passed along their higher sales tax to individuals. A more accurate accounting puts the annual cost of the package at $150 a year in sales taxes for the average household, and $80 in fees on a car valued at $10,000, or $230 a year. And that’s for the entire roads and transit package—the true cost for Sound Transit is just 0.5 of one percent in sales tax, or $125 a year. (Does MacIsaac oppose new taxes for roads, or just the part of the package that pays for transit? Because roads aren’t free, and they cost more to maintain, too.

• “ST2 light rail will have minimal impact on our region’s traffic congestion.”

True: ST2 won’t reduce congestion substantially. The thing is, no one has said it will. By 2030, the 350 million vehicle miles ST2 eliminates will make up just one percent of vehicle miles traveled. But, as Josh pointed out yesterday:

Of course the 50 mile extension is only one percent of all the trips in the region. All the trips in the region annually include: every stoned 1am drive to 7-11 for Ben & Jerry’s, every trip heading out of town, every trip dropping the kids off at soccer on Saturday, etc.

Central commute routes (like the pending light rail line) barely contribute to total annual trips. For example, I-90 carries 1.6 percent of trips and I-5 carries 2.5 percent. Do the road warriors think those were worthy investments?

And by the way, building roads doesn’t reduce congestion either. It just creates an incentive to drive alone and live further away from jobs and services. Not one credible study has concluded that we can build our way out of congestion. (In fact, when faced with the prospect of more congestion, people are adaptable enough to find alternatives—as Seattle’s experience with the ongoing I-5 closure demonstrates.)

Finally, reducing congestion isn’t the only goal of mass transit, anyway. The real point is to give people options to sitting in congestion, alone, in their cars (and to make the whole system move freight and people more efficiently.) On that front, ST2 is a winner.

• “Sound Transit’s claim that ST2 transit will serve 40 percent of all peak-period trips is a huge exaggeration. ST means that, by 2030, transit will serve 40 percent of work trips to downtown Seattle, where only 10 percent of the region’s jobs are located.”

Actually, Sound Transit says transit will serve 50 percent of work trips to downtown Seattle—40 percent is the current number. More to the point, ST2 will also move people through the region to places like Redmond, Bellevue, UW, SeaTac, Tacoma… You know, those places where no one works.

• “The ST2 light-rail program will run where express buses currently operate. That in itself is mind-boggling.”

No, it isn’t. That’s exactly what light rail is supposed to do—replace slow express buses (buses that get stuck in traffic, get off-schedule, etc…)—with fast, reliable, mass rapid transit that runs in its own dedicated right-of-way.

MacIsaac goes on to lament the loss of so-called “bus rapid transit” on I-405 and calls for more buses (the preferred transit mode of every transit hater) along the 405 corridor. Never mind that RTID would add four general-purpose lanes to 405, not dedicated lanes for transit… meaning that MacIsaac’s buses would be stuck in the exact same traffic as every other car in the clogged 405 express lanes.

* MacIsaac also argued (along with Horn) for an eight-lane 520 bridge. So, you know, he’s a real transit guy.

“Leave my family alone.”

posted by on August 16 at 1:55 PM

Rudy Guiliani can dish it out but bitch can’t take it. Rudy’s son is estranged from him—they barely speak—and his daughter supports Barack Obama. And someone had the nerve to ask Rudy about it on the campaign trail today.

Answering questions at a town-hall meeting, Giuliani was asked why he should expect loyalty from GOP voters when his children aren’t backing him.

“I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America,” Giuliani said calmly and quietly. “The best thing I can say is kind of, ‘leave my family alone, just like I’ll leave your family alone.’”

His offer doesn’t apply, of course, to gay families. In an effort to make himself more appealing to the gay-hating nuts in the GOP base (it may be all they have left), Guiliani reversed his position on civil unions earlier this week. The man that lived with a gay couple while he divorced his second wife—the mother of the children that despise him so much—no longer supports civil unions that are “the equivalent of marriage.” Because that would come uncomfortably close to, shit, equality for same-sex couples. Can’t have that, not in America.

Because some families should be left alone (families like Rudy’s), and some should be marginalized and discriminated against and oppressed (families like mine).

Jenna Bush: Taken

posted by on August 16 at 1:24 PM


One Bush twin down, one to go:

Laura Bush’s office announced today that Jenna Bush is now engaged to Henry Hager, a former aide to Mr. Bush’s political strategist, Karl Rove. Mr. Hager is the son of a prominent Virginia Republican, John H. Hager, an assistant secretary of education in Mr. Bush’s administration and the former Virginia lieutenant governor.

Mini Storage and the Womb: A Politically Charged Advertising Masterpiece

posted by on August 16 at 1:03 PM

I am young, poor, and relatively thingless. Nevertheless, this brilliant New York billboard linking storage space to threatened women’s reproductive rights makes me want to march out and rent a closet from Mini Storage:


In my new and unnecessary closet, I’ll ponder the duality of my stored coat hangers (are they sinister—or helpful? Sinister? Helpful?), and hang my hopes that some day, groups like New York’s Catholic League—which called Mini Storage’s signs “absolutely disgusting… it’s strange enough that this company feels the need to advertise their pro-abortion stance on their billboards for mini-storage units, but the fact that they have to do it in so vile a way”—will open up their own storage company/baby barn, where they can stockpile their moral indignation somewhere other than up their tightly puckered assholes.

(Via Drudge)

The Thirty Days’ Diet

posted by on August 16 at 12:49 PM

From the everloving Maud Newton:

This diet tip is written in my grandmother’s copy of The New Settlement Cook Book, published by Simon & Schuster in 1954. It appears between the index and a handwritten recipe for chess pie.


“At the end of 30 Days, you will be the Skinniest, Shittiest, Sexiest, Drunkest Bastard in Town.”

Open Letter to John Solomon

posted by on August 16 at 11:51 AM

Dear John,

On the Washington Post’s election blog, you managed to make an ass of yourself.

Many religious conservatives, including President Bush, oppose the scientific use of embryonic stem cells because the cells often come from aborted fetuses.
(emphasis added)

This is objectively false. Many religious conservatives, including President Bush, oppose the scientific use of embryonic stem cells because they are ignorant fools.

Embryonic stem cells are NOT made from aborted fetuses. Embryonic stem cells are made from leftover embryos from IVF clinics. You know, the unregulated industry focused on bringing yet more children into a world of over six-billion people—a world that can sustain at most about two billion people with the Western lifestyle. Embryonic stem cell research is an alternative to fetal tissue research.

This isn’t an arguable point, like the idea that a clump of a hundred cells could be the moral, spiritual and legal equivalent to an adult human being. This isn’t balanced reporting. This is categorically false.

To help you figure things out, I’ve created and sent a T-shirt to you, c/o of the Post.


While brushing your teeth, washing your hands, or flossing, you can have a helpful hint right on your chest. Your back will help your editors—who allowed this to sit uncorrected for days—figure some things out as well.

Accurately Yours,

Thanks to Tom Robey at Hope-for-Pandora for the catch. Know of any other reporters, politicians or relatives who deserve a t-shirt? E-mail me at

Desperately Seeking: Wonder Bread Sign

posted by on August 16 at 11:25 AM


A friend who lives in the Central District texts:

This is probably out of your area, but they took down the Wonder Bread letters and started knocking down the factory today. I want to know where the letters went and what’s happening. Would you Slog about it?

I texted back and referred him to this 2006 article in The New York Times about locals clamoring for a piece of the sign. (You might need TimesSelect to view the article, not sure.)

The San Diego company that is developing the 1.6-acre property said the sign would be donated to the nearby Pratt Institute of Fine Arts. But that has some neighborhood residents worried that Pratt will auction it off to wealthy collectors. They strongly suspect that “Wonder Bread”, or “Wonder” or “Bread” — or just “W” or “B,” for that matter — would be a hot commodity for the growing set of neon industrial art aficionados.

Aficionados like my friend, who texted back:

I did see the nyt article. But that project fell thru and I think these are supposed to be new developers…

I now turn this matter over to the wisdom of the Slog crowd. Anyone out there know where the Wonder Bread letters went, and how a person can get his or her hands on one of them?

The all Important Dates

posted by on August 16 at 11:10 AM


Posted by Sage Van Wing

It turns out Rumsfeld actually resigned a day before the elections last year. His resignation letter was finally obtained this week after multiple Freedom of Information Act requests. It lists the date of his resignation as November 6th. According to the date stamp, the President saw the letter on election day. He didn’t announce the resignation until the day after.

Asked why Bush decided to wait until after the election to announce the resignation, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Wednesday that Bush wanted to avoid “the appearance of trying to make this a political decision.” Doesn’t it seem like the election might have gone differently if people had known that the guy in charge of the little-loved Iraq War had resigned? Doesn’t it seem like things might have gone a little better for the Republicans?

The Artists Speak: No. 30 and No. 3

posted by on August 16 at 11:04 AM

This week marks the occasion of my 30th podcast with artists, dealers, curators, and collectors. In case you’re new to this, the podcast is called In/Visible, it’s accessible to anyone who’s capable of reading Slog (you just click and it plays), and it means you get to hear people in art speak for themselves instead of being filtered through the likes of me.

In honor of the 30th installation—something about 30 feels like a substantial archive—I’m going to start recommending old podcasts every week at the same time as I steer you to the new ones.

New this week is the artist trio PDL, those three guys (Jason Pucinelli, Jed Dunkerley, and Greg Lundgren) who started out working together as, like, “miniature doppelgängers” of the artist trio SBC, and graduated into … well, you’ll see.

Here’s a taste of what they talked about all locked up in the Stranger’s recording “studio” (a conference room with a quite heavy stained-glass door).

You gotta start somewhere. If you can’t be kings of a tiny world, you’re never gonna make it in the medium-sized world.
I do believe when you take something out into a public environment and drop it on the ground or glue it to a wall or chain it to a post, it’s not yours anymore. Don’t expect to get it back.
If you put a chair in the grass at the Olympic Sculpture Park, is it a sculpture?

Listen here.

Alex Schweder is this year’s Stranger Genius Award winner for visual art, and his work is anxious and physical and strange and gorgeous. His podcast was last November, only the third one in the series. Here’s where he went with it:

How do you eat from a vertical surface, how do you construct a wall as edible?
Where we are cleaning ourselves, while we are making ourselves perfect, when we are sloughing off those parts of our body that are time-based, that point to us as objects in time, that’s where a kind of exchange happens between bodies and buildings. When we use a toilet or use a urinal or use a sink, we’re leaving parts of our body, we’re putting parts of our body into the building.

Listen here.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 16 at 11:00 AM

The Roethke Readings (CONFLICT OF INTEREST)

There is a small, moody cabaret in the bowels of ACT Theatre, with mirrors, dark carpets, and a small bar. Tonight the moody cabaret will see the fifth of its eight Roethke-themed readings, with prose from Jonathan Crimmins (shortlisted for a Stranger Genius Award), poetry from local treasures Catherine Wing and Allen Johnson, music by Ken Benshoof (a composer for the Kronos Quartet), and marimba and guitar from Erin Jorgensen and Sara Edwards of the French Project. It’s hosted by Brangien Davis of Swivel and The Stranger’s Brendan Kiley. (ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. 9 pm, free.)

See what else is happening in Books on Thursday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Letter of the Day

posted by on August 16 at 10:32 AM


EDITOR: I relocated back to Capitol Hill last April after having moved away and back, a few times, over the past 17 years.

When I originally arrived here from Boston in 1990, we had a 7th floor, city/sound view apartment for $425.00 a month. Broadway was vibrant with the many businesses, including supermarkets, banks, a multitude of many different types of restaurants, boutiques and other stores that made Broadway and the surrounding streets unique and quite charming.

There was very little graffiti, no litter, and only the occasional bum among the eclectic array of people who populated the area and were seen on Broadway.

Today, I ask myself daily, “WHY did you move back here”?
(The answer is because of familiarity).

That same $425 apartment now rents for $1300.
Empty stores abound. Stickers and paint cover signs, walls and windows.
Newspapers and other trash blow around in the breeze. But the most disturbing and annoying thing that is so “in your face” are the vagrants, addicts and beggars that line both sides of Broadway from Roy to Union St at any time of the day and night..

I live near Republican and work near Union. Because my car was stolen 2 weeks after we arrived here, I walk to and from work. I avoid Broadway at all costs.

Today, I had to go on Broadway, to stop in a store on the way to work.
As I walked along Broadway, I counted how many times I was aked for money.
I stopped counting at 23 times.

Along the way, I saw 4 people still asleep in the doorways of businesses.
I saw one guy sticking a needle in his arm in another doorway near the corner of Denny.
A girl with about $500 worth of metal in her face from piercings, holding a Starbucks cup, asked me for a cigarette. Over by the public restroom were a couple standing there, eyes closed, weaving slowly back and forth, obviously having just gotten high in the restroom.
The sidewalks reek of urine. You can smell feces as you pass some places.
It is absolutely disgusting.

What is going on here?
Where are the police?
Why arent the (remaining) business owners speed dialing 911 on a constant basis to remove these vagrants?
Why do BOTH QFC supermarkets allow these people to sit by their front doors all day harrassing people for money?
How can Dicks Deluxe allow the groups of beggars to take up camp 15 feet from where people are ordering food and taking out their wallets?
Why does Washington Mutual not have their security people move the beggars who sit 5 feet from the outdoor ATM all day asking for money?
I won’t support any business who allow loitering outside their door.

I just don’t get it.
Broadway has turned into a 1st Class GHETTO.
Why is nothing being done about it?

I can’t wait for my least to be up next April.
When I move from here this time, it will be the LAST time.
In case I don’t see you next April, Bub-bye Seattle. It’s been real.

And please, don’t EVEN get me started on Downtown junkies, beggars and crack-whores along Pine/Pike between 4th and 2nd.

Chris Canary

The Turn

posted by on August 16 at 10:24 AM

This is the first paragraph of a film review, “Bad Dreams,” I wrote nearly six years ago:

Why do I dislike Luis Buñuel? Because he was a surrealist, and I dislike surrealism because it takes all of its clues from dreams. And I hate dreams because they bother my sleep. In a word, I dislike Buñuel because I don’t like dreams. Dreams are bad! They do nothing except bring life to sleep. And sleep should be unto death, with nothing on the mind’s screen, or mind-dome (in the Truman Show sense), just blackness, emptiness—pure oblivion from which one awakes not traumatized by the dream-state/real-life transition, but reinvigorated by the journey to and from the land of the dead.

The end of that review:
Dreams are useless. Ignore them, and don’t try to decipher them like Joseph of Egypt.Speaking of Egypt, the ancient Egyptians believed that when one went to sleep, the sun, which had fallen in the real world, rose in the dream world. It was not a dream sun, but the actual sun that blazed over the shimmering terrain of this other place. If I were a sleeping Egyptian, I would have desired nothing more than a powerful gun to shoot down the ball of light from the sky so that the dream world and the real world collapsed into one great darkness.

I have now changed my thinking about dreams, and as a consequence changed my thinking about Buñuel, particularly his later films. The reason for the change? At the time of writing the review “Bad Dreams” I was, one, on the side of Nabokov in the war he started against Freud and dream interpretation, and, two, I had not yet lost a loved one? In sum, dreams counted for nothing but a waste of time and a bother. But after, one, realizing that any economic explanation of exploitation was incomplete without an explanation of the mental forms and physical nature of desire, and, two, losing a loved one, I came to see the value of dreams.

Dreams are above all good for this: the revival of the dead. Even last night a loved dead returned to a dream in my head. She entered a bright room and sat next to me on a couch. And there is no other way to feel the reality of a departed person except this way, in a dream. You can actually speak to them, hold them, share food with them. The feeling is wonderful because there is no sense of an illusion. The person is actually alive.

Now, in the movie Strange Days there is a device that allows the user to physically experience a memory. You can go back to a happy time and re-experience it. This however is not as good as a dream experience because it is in the end just a recording and not something that is happening in real time.

The ones we love must be in time. We must share the same time with them. If not, they are dead to us. The greatness of a dream is that it tricks the sleeper into the illusion of real time. You talk to the dead with a sense of “time future” and “time past,” a sense of “time present,” the eternity of the here and now. With the recording device in Strange Days, it is simply the illusion of “time past.” The dream is the illusion of time’s flow. And it is only in the flow of things (the light in her room, the smell of her hair, the black back of her hands, the texture of her couch) that we feel the presence of real happiness.

How Wi-Fi?

posted by on August 16 at 10:15 AM

There should be Wi-Fi everywhere in this city. In the park, on the street, in the elevator, in the bar, on the bus. Everywhere. I don’t know what the best way to achieve it is, but it should be done.

So, I was bummed to see this report in BusinesWeek that municipal Wi-Fi networks are floundering. The article isn’t reported too well and raises more questions than it answers (BusinessWeek has gone down hill in my opinion), but here are the problems they note:

1) Disappointing subscriber rates … which leads to…

2) a shortfall on the ad revenue that private telecom companies (companies that had partnered with cities) were banking on

3) Competition from private providers

4) Lack of funding from the municipality

Savage vs. Rock

posted by on August 16 at 9:53 AM

So, today is the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. I’m not a fan (not familiar with his music, not particularly interested…Sun Sessions, blah blah). Although the New York Times did publish a pro-Elvis essay in his honor last weekend that I thought it was pretty revelatory.

Anyway, I’d like to use this Elvis anniversary as an excuse to publish one of the weirdest best things Savage has ever said to me.

Dan knows nothing about rock music. Zero. He also hates it. He especially hates it when it “invades” his space. You know, like when he’s out at a bar.

Given his smarts and interest in 20th Century history, I’ve always been flummoxed by Dan’s lack of interest in rock. Rock music is obviously intertwined with the civil rights and counterculture rebellions that shook American history—and really helped create the alternative press that he and I both work in now, one of the last intact products of the mid-60s rock freak out.

Anyway, awhile ago, I asked Dan why he didn’t like rock music. He didn’t answer the question, but what he said was somehow perfect:

God, I hate rock music. Fuck reparations. Can we just give rock music back to black people and call it even?

Faggoty Faggot Fags Out, Fagness Ensues!

posted by on August 16 at 9:51 AM

Clay Aiken is not gay, God dammit.

He just seems to have had a terrible stroke of some sort.

My Kid Could Paint That: The Movie

posted by on August 16 at 9:30 AM

The City by Marla Olmstead

So a 4-year-old cranks out big abstract paintings, some people buy them for thousands of dollars, other people gloat about the sham of modern art, and, inevitably, doubt is raised over whether the 4-year-old is getting help on her paintings from one of her parents. Sounds simple enough, and like something that has happened plenty of times before.

But Amir Bar-Lev’s new documentary, My Kid Could Paint That, is a mystery. (It will open this fall in Seattle; I saw an early screening today.) Bar-Lev travels so far into the center of the situation that he makes the human lust for “real” art—especially in a context where everybody declares that they know nothing about art—seem suspect, vain, and almost criminal, while at the same time utterly natural.

The film closes with a Bob Dylan song:

Someday, everything is gonna be different, when I paint my masterpiece.

Or, everything is gonna be different when you find a masterpiece, connect with it, and somehow make it yours, either by buying it or simply recognizing it, seeing it, and having it see you. Doesn’t everybody feel that way at least a little bit?

The toddler’s name is Marla Olmstead. She lives in Binghamton, N.Y., with her brother Zane, who is two years younger than she is, and her parents, Laura, a dental assistant, and Mark, an amateur painter and night manager at a Frito-Lay factory.

The first note I made in my notebook was about Marla’s art dealer, Anthony Brunelli. He introduced the family by describing every member as “perfect,” especially Marla and Zane, who “could be in Gap ads.”

Brunelli is probably the most unsavory character in the film. But he is the most revealing, too. Through all the twists and family dynamics—according to that footage, it looks like Marla made that painting, but according to this footage, it looks like she didn’t, but …—Brunelli looms in the background. He extols Marla’s genius on “60 Minutes” and praises the beauty of her paintings to his clients.

But he also divulges, when he’s exhausted of the publicity and when sales have slowed down because of the questioning, that he doesn’t like modern art. That he thinks it’s a “scam.” That it’s only through marketing that abstract art gains meaning. (Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times comes damn close to agreeing with Brunelli on this point, making the analogy to the relationship between Jackson Pollock’s raging persona and his wild paintings.)

Of course, by that logic, then, Brunelli is in the middle of perpetrating his own scam: selling Marla instead of the paintings. But Brunelli reveals more. We see him making his own photorealistic paintings, spending hours on details that the art world will not appreciate.

With Marla, “now, finally, I’ve got a way in,” Brunelli says.

The tensions between husband and wife, toddler and camera, are gripping. And there are deliciously painful sequences involving stereotypically clueless, Humvee-driving rich collectors that serve as reminders that, like laws, you don’t want to see how the art market is made. Or maybe you do.

By the end of the film, the biggest question is not about whether Marla has made the paintings alone, but whether the documentarian, Bar-Lev, will reveal to the family that he has his doubts. He so badly wants to believe, but he can’t get Marla making a painting from start to finish, and that missing footage becomes the magnetic black hole at the center of the movie. It’s the hole at the center of art, too—what exactly is in there, and why does it have such sway over us? When is it real, and when is it bullshit? What is it made of? Can it even be caught on film?

When the movie comes, watch it. It’s terrific.

I Love My Gay Brothers…

posted by on August 16 at 9:28 AM

But that doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally do things that make me wince, like kill and eat their tricks, or name their gay-day groups Feather Boa Fathers, or, uh, this:

They’re called Bear Force 1. They’re from Holland. I have nothing more to add, except my appreciation of their ability to cram every song a gay person has ever liked into one hairy medley.

(Thanks to Hot Tipper Keith, who sent me the Bear Force 1 video back on Monday, when I was too busy to Slog it; today, I saw it again on MetaFilter, and decided to do my duty.)

The New John Edwards

posted by on August 16 at 9:15 AM

[Originally posted late yesterday, but moved up to this morning because of some interesting comments, including one from the Washington State Chair of the Edwards for President campaign.]

I know Rolling Stone is excited about John Edwards, and so are a lot of our commenters, but…


…as I point out in my Stranger column this week, John Edwards 2.0 (angrier, more populist, and relentlessly focused on winning Iowa) is in trouble, if a recent poll can be believed.

A lot of the optimism in that Rolling Stone piece was based on the assumption that Edwards can win Iowa. There’s some reason to think he could, since he’s been leading in polls in that state for much of the summer. But the recent poll, which appears to have come out after the Rolling Stone piece went to press, shows Edwards now losing ground in Iowa—dropping eight points and currently dead even with Hillary Clinton.

This Is What A Painting by Sylvia Plath Looks Like

posted by on August 16 at 9:00 AM


From the Guardian comes the news that a book of visual art by the young Sylvia Plath (she gave it up at age 20) is to be published in October.

(Via ArtsJournal.)

Suicide isn’t Just for Terrorist Bombers

posted by on August 16 at 8:21 AM

The AP got its hands on another grim report from the U.S. military:

Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday, found there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers during 2006, up from 88 the previous year and the highest number since the 102 suicides in 1991 at the time of the Persian Gulf War.

The suicide rate for the Army has fluctuated over the past 26 years, from last year’s high of 17.3 per 100,000 to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001.

Last year, “Iraq was the most common deployment location for both (suicides) and attempts,” the report said.

Courtesy of Think Progress

The Morning News

posted by on August 16 at 7:46 AM

Shaking: A 7.9 earthquake hit Peru yesterday, killing at least 300 people.

Meddling: The Bush administration wants the president of Pakistan to share authority with his longtime rival.

Snooping: Soon even our local police will have easy access to spy satellites.

Refusing: The charity organization CARE has turned down $45 million in annual federal financing.

Sinking: Stocks around the globe.

Expanding: Google, in Kirkland.

Scoring: Washington State high school graduates rank third in composite ACT scores.

Converting: Smith Tower has the official go ahead to make the move to condos.

Missing: A local Lotto winner hasn’t turned up to claim his/her $9 million.

And finally: A little Gerry Anderson weirdness to start your morning.

Newsflash: Activism Isn’t Just for Smelly Hippies Anymore

posted by on August 16 at 12:26 AM

Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman sent out another e-mail addressing the newsroom cheer that greeted word of Karl Rove’s resignation.

You can read the whole thing at Editor & Publisher, but there’s one line in particular I found curious—especially given The Seattle Times claim on objectivity.

I’ve bolded the line in the excerpt below:

I ask you all to leave your personal politics at the front door for one simple reason: A good newsroom is a sacred and magical place in which we can and should test every assumption, challenge each other’s thinking, ask the fundamental questions those in power hope we will overlook.

If we wore our politics on our sleeves in here, I have no doubt that in this and in most other mainstream newsrooms in America, the majority of those sleeves would be of the same color: blue. Survey after survey over the years have demonstrated that most of the people who go into this business tend to vote Democratic, at least in national elections. That is not particularly surprising, given how people make career decisions and that social service and activism is a primary driver for many journalists.

Boardman’s assumption: Republicans aren’t drawn to activism or social service. How’s that dose objectivity strike you GOP readers out there?

Boardman is relying on some pretty out-of-date stereotypes. I hate to break it to him—maybe he hasn’t been paying attention to the tax slashing, anti-gay, pro-property rights, pro-intelligent design, pro-conscience clause, anti-abortion, anti-immigrant activism out there—but from initiative drives to legislation to legal efforts, GOP activists have been working overtime during the last decade. Successfully.

Activism isn’t just for smelly Democratic hippies anymore. Has Boardman never heard of the Minutemen Project or MayDay for Marriage or Focus on the Family or Tim Eyman?

As for social service. Why do you think President Bush pushed his faith-based initiative legislation? This was a bone to the hundreds of thousands in the GOP base who are committed to social service work through church-affiliated groups. Does Boardman have data that defines and quantifies social service as primarily Democratic-based work?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sound Transit Cheerleading?

posted by on August 15 at 7:25 PM

Someone in the comments thread to my Sound Transit post wrote that my “post is filled with nothing but ST’s rosy pre-vote talking points.”

Another commenter wrote, “You’re back in monorail mode.”

And, well, here’s what I wrote in this week’s paper:
A column calling for King County voters to reject this year’s light rail initiative.

How’s that for being “rosy” on ST?

Just because I’m happy to call bullshit on misleading anti-transit propaganda, doesn’t mean I’m cheerleading to pass the ST ballot measure.


posted by on August 15 at 5:43 PM

This is some fucked up shit right here. Rudy Guiliani in drag again—but this time in lion drag. Purple lipstick, headdress, yellowish-green blush. And there’s a whole welfare subtext going on that some folks might find, oh, vaguely racist.

Courtesy of Wonkette.

Oh, and Another Funny Thing About Today’s News Section

posted by on August 15 at 5:10 PM

As I said on Monday : Read Mudede’s Police Beat column this week!

Pear in a Bottle

posted by on August 15 at 4:57 PM

Look at these pears in bottles. They amaze me.


I have had Clear Creek’s Douglas Fir concoction. It is like drinking sap, but kind of fun.

The Significance of Sound Transit

posted by on August 15 at 4:56 PM

A compelling selling point for Sound Transit Phase Two—that’s the $10.6 billion, 50 mile light rail expansion from the U. District up to Everett and across I-90 to Bellevue— is this: By 2030, Sound Transit ridership will have eliminated an estimated 350 million vehicle miles traveled annually.

Opponents pooh-pooh the boast, pointing out that the light rail ridership will only be 1 percent of all the trips in the region. That sounds like a pretty damning critique, but a little context:

Of course the 50 mile extension is only one percent of all the trips in the region. All the trips in the region annually include: every stoned 1am drive to 7-11 for Ben & Jerry’s, every trip heading out of town, every trip dropping the kids off at soccer on Saturday, etc.

Central commute routes (like the pending light rail line) barely contribute to total annual trips. For example, I-90 carries 1.6 percent of trips and I-5 carries 2.5 percent. Do the road warriors think those were worthy investments?

One main point of rapid mass transit (beyond spurring transit-oriented, dense development along the lines and giving people a choice of how they commute) is to take a bite out of peak hour commutes to and from work. And on that score, Sound Transit Phase Two means business. Expanding light rail will increase the percentage of peak-hour trips served by mass transit 25 percent—from 40 percent of all trips to 50 percent of all trips.

And I should add: the 350 million vehicle miles traveled stat is only for Phase Two. That doesn’t even account for Sound Transit’s Phase One line from SeaTac to the U. District—which will take its own bite off peak hour traffic.

Today in Line Out

posted by on August 15 at 4:21 PM

Readings From The Faber Book Of Pop Pt. 3: Burnouts and Metal Heads.

New Minus the Bear: Streaming straight to your ears.

No Horace Andy: Tonight’s Sly & Robbie show will go on without him.

Reggie Watts Wants to Know: “What about blowjobs?

Band of the Week: Open Choir Fire.

More Trance: Eric Grandy’s still in an editing trance, this time over the Fields.

The Race to Disaster: Who will win? Amy Winehouse or Van Halen? Vote now!

DJ Mudede: Songs of the past live on Charles Mudede’s iTunes.

Do They Suck?: No, and the drummer only has one arm.


Squirrel Defense System

posted by on August 15 at 4:06 PM

I’ve posted before on Slog about my severe distrust of squirrels. But even I have to admit this is pretty cool:

Squirrels are not as helpless as they may seem when confronted by rattlesnakes eager to make dinner of their pups. A new study reveals one of their most powerful tactics: the rodents heat their bushy tails and wave them back and forth to warn infrared-sensitive snakes they will not get fast food.


Infrared video showed that California ground squirrels’ tails warmed by several degrees, up to 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), when threatened by northern Pacific rattlesnakes, which detect the infrared glow from small mammals using so-called pit organs in their noses. But no heating occurred while the rodents defended against gopher snakes, which lack such heat seekers, according to a report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Today’s GOP

posted by on August 15 at 4:01 PM

From the Seattle PI:

The tomcatting of the elected prosecutor in this conservative rural town has jeopardized as many as four cases brought by his office and prompted a complaint to the state bar association.

Liam Michael Golden, a Republican who ran unopposed for Lewis County prosecutor last November, is facing allegations that he did not properly disclose past sexual relationships with the mother of a victim in one case and the mother of a defendant in another. His office also charged someone with cyberstalking a woman Golden had slept with, though Golden recently turned that case over to a prosecutor from neighboring Thurston County.

The fourth case involves a 16-year-old boy charged this month with providing drugs to the mayor’s 20-year-old son, leading to his fatal overdose. Some locals have questioned why any charge was brought in that case and suggested it was timed to deflect bad press.

Now wait just a minute—I thought Republicans believed that we were supposed to be abstinent outside of marriage. Liam Michael Golden is divorced. What kind of example does his tomcatting set for the children of Washington state?

Guess the Headline!

posted by on August 15 at 3:44 PM

So our redesigned paper hits the streets today, and I’m curious to hear what you guys think of it.

I’m also curious to know what you think the headline of Erica C. Barnett’s lead article is.

In some inevitable redesign screw up at the printer, Barnett’s article on city council candidate Bruce Harrell was printed with this headline: CccCCCccC CCccCCCCCCCc

And my column, on the same page, has a headline that looks something like this: THET008TOLUTION


My column was supposed to be titled: “The 2008 Solution.”

Contest: Pick up the new issue (don’t cheat by looking on-line), read ECB’s article and tell us what the headline was supposed to be.

Climbing Death Toll

posted by on August 15 at 3:32 PM

In today’s Morning News post I mentioned the orchestrated car bomb attacks in Iraq that, as of this morning, had killed over 200 civilians. Now CNN is reporting that the bombings killed at least 500 civilians, with the grim possibility that the total will climb even higher.

Where Hempfest Meets the Drug Czar

posted by on August 15 at 2:47 PM

Tune in to progressive talk on AM 1090, and you may expect ads promoting Hempfest this weekend, but you might not expect ads from Bush’s Drug Czar. But the White House drug ads are airing, so Pat Craig, a regular listener and 53-year-old grandfather, is on a mission: “I want them to stop calling themselves progressive or stop running those ads.”

One of the blurbs irking Craig portrays a talking MP3 player, which sounds like a young African-American man, warning parents their teenagers can access “blogs and podcasts and stuff like that. People are talking about everything you can imagine out there,” the voice says, “and a lot of times there are drugs involved… Talk to your kid and check out what he’s loading up.” The 30-second spot wraps up with the requisite tag that the message is sponsored by the ONDCP—the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The ad’s content isn’t particularly offensive to the liberal ear. But the ONDCP, which it promotes, could give pause to progressives like Craig. In the past several years, the office has spent millions on controversial ad campaigns that link pot with terrorism and dehumanize pot smokers (the campaigns actually caused an increase in drug use among young people according to the Government Accountability Office). But what has set Bush’s ONDCP apart from the office under previous administrations are federally funded campaigns to quash progressive drug law reform measures. Most locally, Drug Czar John Walters, the ONDCP director, attempted to thwart Seattle’s Initiative 75, which made marijuana possession Seattle’s lowest enforcement priority in 2003, by holding a press conference in town days before the vote to call the measure a “con.”

“There’s nothing progressive about prohibitions in general,” says Pat Craig on the phone. “The war on drugs is a war on black people, black men in particular,” he says, although he is white. “The [radio hosts] always say how can we can help is to help the advertisers. How can we help this advertiser? We help them with our taxes whether we like it or not.”

In defense of AM 1090’s apparent hypocrisy (the banner on their Web site proudly depicts a bottle of wine and a cup of coffee next to a sign reading “Keep Left), the station runs lots of government public service announcements, such as warnings about exposure to mercury and second-hand smoke. This may be part of a bundled package. However, AM 1090 didn’t return calls to explain why they include the drug ads or if station executives are considering Craig’s request to pull them.

Reverse Metaphor

posted by on August 15 at 2:29 PM

“Sania’s meteoric rise”
sania_mirza_sprite-03.jpg That is the headline for a news story about “the Indian ace Sania Mirza.” What gets me is this: meteorites do not go up, they fall. So what in the world is a “meteoric rise”? Who has seen such an amazing thing as this? No one. Why then is this impossibility a common expression in our language? Only when Sania’s career is destroyed by crack or some other bad habit can we say: “Sania’s meteoric fall.”


posted by on August 15 at 2:28 PM


It says (in case you can’t read it because the sun makes for terrible lighting today and my cell phone makes for terrible photo taking always) “all women are beautiful” and then handwritten below, “not the ugly ones.”

Credulous Weekly Story Gets It (Nearly) All Wrong

posted by on August 15 at 1:58 PM

In a story headlined “Why is Peter Steinbrueck Obsessing About Historic Preservation?” (equally querulous subhead: “Does He Think It’ll Lead to Higher Office?”) recent Seattle Weekly hire Aimee Curl speculates that City Council member Peter Steinbrueck proposed a survey of potentially historic buildings downtown because he’s running for mayor and wants an issue to run on. Here’s her evidence.

1) Downtown business owners think Steinbrueck’s decision was politically motivated.

Bruce Cowen, who owns the Ace Hotel building and the El Gaucho building (both in Belltown and included in the city’s recent inventory of potential landmarks), says the latest initiative smacks of grandstanding. “The general feeling seems to be it’s politically motivated and somebody wants to be mayor,” he says, referring to Steinbrueck. “It’s without total regard for the factors that make a building historic.”

First of all, anyone who has watched an election in Seattle, ever, knows that if you want to run for mayor, the last people you want to piss off are downtown business owners. Mayoral candidates succeed or fail on the support of downtown businesses. Conversely, historic preservation is extremely low on the list of political issues that decide elections in this town.

Second, the survey took into regard precisely the “factors that make a building historic.” Those factors are spelled out very clearly in the city’s landmarks preservation ordinance. (The designation standards are also listed in plain English here.) Steinbrueck’s legislation does not deviate from those very precise, very clearly delineated factors, whatever pissed-off downtown businesss owners happen to believe.

2) Art Skolnik thinks so. And he’s a former historic preservation officer for the state!

“I want to see as much history preserved as possible,” says Skolnik, who helped craft the ordinance that created Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board. But, he says, “You have to maintain the trust with the property owners or you throw out years of progress.” He adds: “Shame on Peter Steinbrueck, getting his name out there at a time when he’s running for mayor.”

Then, later in the story, this:

Skolnik’s helping to organize building owners for what could be either a lawsuit against the city or a ballot initiative that makes landmark designation a voluntary process requiring property-owner permission. He says there’s a lot of interest so far. “In terms of general public appeal, you have to think of this in terms of the whole city. The fact is, they can designate your house,” he says.

Let’s do a bit of Reporting 101. First rule: Consider the source. Art Skolnik—last seen seeking landmark status for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and sending the council vituperative letters for “failing” to save the Kalakala (a historic boat that was doomed in part by Skolnik’s political bumbling)—has a long history of “organizing” “movements” that fail to go anywhere—his fight move to save the viaduct being only the most recent example.

And Curl’s story raises an obvious question (one that she should have asked or at least addressed in her story): Why would a historic preservation advocate suddenly turn against historic preservation? The answer can be found in the second paragraph above: Skolnik wants downtown businesses to hire him to fight downtown historic preservation. Skolnik, in other words, needs a job. (He also ran for City Council in 2003). But his job search isn’t the one Curl’s interested in.

(Also, fact check: “They” can’t “designate your house.” As Curl knows, the downtown upzone to which the downtown historic landmarks survey was attached only applies in a small area of downtown, not citywide.)

3) The city’s going nuts with landmark nominations! Why, after years with virtually no landmark designations whatsoever, they’re nominating dozens! It’s a wholesale effort to halt downtown development in its tracks!

Last month, the city released a list of 37 downtown properties eligible for nomination as Seattle landmarks. They include everything from low-slung slabs to tall towers and five of the city’s waterfront piers. An additional 56 buildings were identified to be considered for nomination next year. […]

Skolnik says nomination of 37 buildings would represent a “nuclear pace” compared to the average of two buildings annually that the city typically nominates for landmark designation downtown.

The first paragraph is true, sort of: The city released a list of 38 (not 37) properties that qualify as “category 1” candidates for landmark designation under the process approved by the council last year. (And yes, they do include those silly piers—which, at more than 100 years old, just happen to be the oldest structures up for landmark status). Those properties will go through a lengthy process to determine whether all or part of each structure qualifies for landmark status. (Their owners then get two appeals if they don’t agree.) The 56 additional properties “to be considered for nomination next year” are properties that didn’t make the initial cut, meaning they’re lower on the city’s list and less likely to be designated. The remaining properties—Category 3s—are those deemed unlikely to be designated historic.

“Nuclear”? Hardly. The city began the process of funding a downtown historic-building survey nearly two years ago (incidentally, before Steinbrueck knew he wouldn’t seek reelection). So it’s hardly news to anyone, least of all downtown property owners—much less erstwhile historic-preservation advocates like Skolnik. And the reason for the “nuclear” pace, as Curl mentions briefly later in her story, is that the city finally has the funding to move forward with nominations—thanks to legislation approved, again, by the entire city council last year.

4) Designating 38 structures as landmarks is obviously an attempt to freeze development and harm property values downtown.

“When you throw the net out to 37 properties, you freeze a lot of real estate downtown,” [Skolink] says. “It’s an abusive action that threatens the cooperation between property owners and government to the point where it could undo that relationship.”

OK—except that the whole reason the downtown historic-preservation survey was approved in the first place was because the council gave developers between 30 and 40 percent more development capacity, in the form of height increases, last year. The historic-building survey was one of the tradeoffs developers accepted in exchange for higher property values. So it’s pretty disingenuous to say Steinbrueck did it without their “cooperation.”

5) Steinbrueck wants to keep people from fixing up their buildings. Worse, he wants to designate landmarks that aren’t even pretty!

If Two Bells is designated a historic landmark, for example, Lee could be prohibited from painting her storefront or adding signs. If the city finds value in the interior, Lee could also be prevented from changing things like the molding or the bar. (The City Council can also grant property owners relief by allowing rezoning to accommodate different uses, or bending building-code rules to make the building more marketable.) […]

“It’s not the Pike Place Market. It really isn’t,” she says of the Two Bells building. Without the facade, she says, it’s a “cinder-block building on a cement slab with a tar roof.”

The city’s landmark process is a negotiated process, not an arbitrary one. If the Two Bells’ interior isn’t historic, it won’t be designated historic. And landmark status doesn’t de facto prevent property owners from making changes; it merely requires that they bring their request before the landmarks board, which frequently allows changes to historic buildings, particular their interiors. Moreover, whether Two Bells (or Cinerama, which is also on the list) is pretty or made of “cinder block” is immaterial. The question is whether it’s historic and deserves to be preserved on that basis.

Two additional points:

1) Landmarks status actually makes financial incentives available to property owners, including grants, tax exemptions, tax credits, and zoning and use exemptions; a full list of federal, state and local incentives is available here. So it’s not a one-way street in which property owners lose value under oppressive city regulations; property owners gain value, too, in ways that are not available to owners of non-historic buildings.

2) Curl notes that historic preservation is “in [Steinbrueck’s] blood,” giving wink-wink credit to his late father Victor for helping preserve Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square. But Peter Steinbrueck has been a longtime advocate of historic preservation, too, working to preserve the Market (in the 1990s, when he founded the Citizens Alliance to Keep the Pike Place Market Public), the Pioneer Square pergola, First United Methodist Church downtown, and, ironically, the Kalakala.

Seattlest Seth is a Bona Fide Nerd

posted by on August 15 at 1:08 PM

Seth over at Seattlest slams State Senator Margarita Prentice for blaming Sonics stadium limbo on “Seattle’s elitist attitude” against sports. Adds Prentice, Seattle elitists are “too cool for sports.”

Says Seth:

Yes, if we weren’t such anti-sports snobs we’d have three 60,000-seat football stadiums within five miles of each other instead of just the two.

The best thing about Seth’s post is that it comes from Seth. Seth is the biggest basketball fan on the planet.

He dragged me to a Huskies game once (I’m strictly an NBA guy), and Seth sat there the whole time taking notes and keeping stats. Seth, who lives in Seattle, is definitely not too cool for sports.

And it looks like he’s keeping stats on you too Sen. Prentice.

Smile! You’re on Capitol Hill!

posted by on August 15 at 12:18 PM


Those civil libertarians at Capitol Hill Seattle note of the arrival of a new security camera at 23rd and John, hint darkly at vigilantism…

We won’t even get into the need or non-need for a camera to monitor this intersection (though we would approve the laying of speed spikes on certain parts of Aloha)—but the decision to mount a surveillance camera on a “welcome” sign on a street in the middle of one of the most rights focused areas you’ll find on the planet is, well, fucking stupid. That sign isn’t that high. We’re assuming somebody will restore your full civil rights shortly.

Notes on Black Ideology: Part One

posted by on August 15 at 12:15 PM

There is no innocence. What we see and read everyday is the result of system of power relations. Because the ideological system is meant to reproduce these relations of power—relations between those who express power and those who are oppressed by it—every belief must be confronted, first, with the question: Why does such and such a person believe such and such a thing? What is it about them (their background, social standing) that makes them believe this instead of that?

An example: In a new movie by
called What Black Men Think, several people are asked: “Are there more black men in college or in jail?” Invariable the belief is that there are more black men in jail than there are in college. The answer, however, is this:

In 2005, according to the Census Bureau, 864,000 black men were in college. According to Justice Department statistics, 802,000 were in federal and state prisons and jails, Morton said.

Between the ages of 18 and 24, black men in college outnumber those incarcerated by 4 to 1. Still, the idea that the opposite is true stems from an image that has been perpetuated, Morton said, by the government, the media and the black leadership.

So why does the bulk of this society want to believe what is not true over what is true? A closer look at the question will certainly reveal that the false belief has more economic value for those in power (even black power) than the other belief, the one closer to the truth. The false belief, its perpetuation, it general acceptance, is an expression of economic exploitation.

There is no such thing as naked racism. Racism is an effect not an essence. The most unfortunate (or crippling) belief for a black person to hold is that white people (or certain white people) actually hate the color of their skin. As if the hate of the skin came first and economic exploitation followed. That belief is nothing more than a distortion of the fact of power.

Ask Science Fiction

posted by on August 15 at 12:10 PM

Once every five months or so there’s an appreciation piece about great sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick.

PKD’s anthropology of the future was spot on, and movies like The Matrix owe their conspiracy conceits to Dick’s 4-D scenarios.

PKD, at his best in the 1960s, was a discombobulated futurist who was obsessed with: corporate power; androids; Potemkin Village realities; the latest opiate for the masses (figuratively as some media star, or literally as some weird drug pastime); and information. His masterpiece is 1969’s Ubik which is about, among other things, corporate advertising in the land of the dead.

I’m glad to see that the latest PKD essay (in this week’s New Yorker) says the overrated movie Blade Runner (based on a PKD book) got his aesthetic wrong.

Here’s a bit of the article:

Dick tends to get treated as a romantic: his books are supposed to be studies in the extremes of paranoia and technological nightmare, offering searing conundrums of reality and illusion.

Continue reading "Ask Science Fiction" »

A Fresh Dose of Alexyss Tylor

posted by on August 15 at 11:53 AM

My favorite public-access TV host is back with a fresh batch of sexual healing. Today’s topic: Gay guys and women shoving dicks all up in they ass. (Audio NSFW.)

Apparently, the woman to the left is Ms. Tylor’s mother (and neither woman has any use for butt sex).

Come on Down…and DIE, Mutherfucker! It’s Adrian’s Fourteenth Annual Mid-Week Celebrity Hootenanny!

posted by on August 15 at 11:53 AM

Here we go. Please forgive me.

Drew Carey, who is fat and rather hideous, had his stumpy little arms practically chewed off in the righteous maw of a dangerous man-eating Price is Right game of some sort (PLINKO? The little yodeling guy? We’ll never know for sure…) as he rehearsed replacing poor old Bob Barker. Experts agree that Mr. Carey totally deserved it, and considering the terrible fact that he was one of the only so-called “celebrities” to perform and/or appear at “president” Bush’s “inaugural” ball or whatever, he should get down on his porky little knees and praise the gods of karma that his face hasn’t been stricken with cancerous maggoty holes and/or he’s not vomiting hot beetles as we speak, as any celebrity and/or person who supported/supports Bush so clearly and truly deserves and should be. (See: Britney Spears.)

It has also been said (and by much wiser men than I) that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are adopting their six millionth Etheo-Tiwanee-Africo-Whatever orphan, in “secret”, at this very moment. “Look Angie! Our punch card! We get the next one for half price! Let’s pick something in a nice “coffee-n-crème”, like I wanted last time! Oooooh! Madonna’s gonna be so fucking PISSED!” Brad squealed like an excited little girl who has to pee real bad while he and Angie sat waiting in the drive thru to pick up the newest piece of their orphan collection. Angelina’s man-wo’ could not be reached for comment.

Or could he/she?

Paris Hilton has fled her two-gazillion dollar mansion because “Too many people know where I live”. Apparently random recognition bothers her. Experts agree that her next desperate move to avoid detection will be to the bottom of the sea, or into the body of Steve Martin.

A ragged old homosexual druggie calling itself George Michael has been seen gardening for the homeless in London. Said gardening was allegedly thrust upon him by the British courts or whatever as antidote to his recent drugging and aging and drugging and aging and aging and aging and driving and drugging and aging, and was not simply a natural manifestation of his huge, huge gayness. Why homeless people in England should have gardens is a question that’s truly beyond the scope of this work. Thank you.

Jessica Simpson is also at this moment secretly preparing to adopt a disenfranchised orphan of some sort. “Ohhh! I really want something in a nice “coffee-n’-crème,” she said. “Maybe something found in a DUMPSTER!” In response to this crisis of spoiled Hollywood types turning to orphans instead of small dogs as their accessories of choice, a spokespoodle for the IUPPC (the Internation Union of Poodles, Peekapoos and Chihuahuas) said, “Bark! Bark! Bark, bark, bark, bark!” and puddled on the carpet. Brad and Angie are gonna be so PISSED!

Lindsay Lohan is scrubbing toilets in rehab. This is, of course, totally redundant. These events throw into speculation the actual effectiveness of her latest rehabbing, as redundancy is, of course, a sure sign of drug use. Also, repetitiveness repetitiveness. And repetitiveness.

Lastly: “President” Bush ate another kitten’s head.

That is all.


The Man Stool

posted by on August 15 at 11:49 AM

I’m normally disinclined to click on a link called “man stool,” but in this case I’m glad I did. It’s not what you think.

First Day on the Job

posted by on August 15 at 11:46 AM


Today I got my first assignment: Buy a bottle of 409 and clean up one of Metro’s notoriously filthy buses.

I went down to the corner of 35th and 70th around 7:00 and waited. Feeling good about my public service that I began to clean the sides of the trash can next to the bus stop while I waited for the 65. I did this casually, as if this was something I did everywhere I went. Finally the bus came. I tucked the bottle of 409 under my shirt and paid my $1.25.

There were about eight people on the bus. I found a quiet spot in the back and unloaded my supplies: three dish towels, a pair of gloves, and my cleaning solution. I snapped on the gloves and took a look around. The windows were filthy. I started to wipe them down, eyeing the bus driver as I did. An asian couple stared at me.

Windows clean, I looked for discolored areas on the seats. I knew that a simple spray wouldn’t be enough to get the real set-in stains but I thought perhaps if I rubbed hard the stains would fade. But the more I rubbed, the brighter they seemed to glow. I was making stains more visible.

I gave up on the seats and started to tackle the floors. I got down on all fours and started scrubbing. Now more people started to turn around in their seats. Scrubbing the floor was more satisfying, because it made the bus look less dirty, not more. There’s now a bus somewhere near Lake City with a spotless floor. That was me.

I expected that the bus driver would kick me off at some point—in my head my first report was going to end with an angry bus driver marching me down the aisle. I’d already planned my passive aggressive response: “People can shit their pants on the bus but I can’t 409 the floor?”

But the driver never even glanced in my direction. Apparently a 20 year-old student on his hands and knees spraying 409 on the floor is just one of the many “what the fuck” visuals encountered by our city bus drivers on a daily basis.

—Steven Blum, Public Intern

Turn and Face the Strange Ch-ch-changes…

posted by on August 15 at 11:44 AM


Great Bits in Mediocre Movies (Number 3 in a Series)

posted by on August 15 at 11:13 AM

On paper, 1991’s Chains of Gold pretty much fits the definition of the straight to video doldrums: Has-been actor (John Travolta, pre-Pulp Fiction rebirth), Casio-grade soundtrack, vaguely topical storyline (social worker faces off against flashy crack dealer who, in an admittedly nice touch, has a gator pit in his condo). Late in the movie, however, comes immortality, via a bravura sequence featuring three of the most amazingly painful stunts I’ve ever seen.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of the guy who did the bridge stunt (or, more likely, his next of kin), please contact me.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 15 at 11:00 AM

‘Blow-Up’ (OUTDOOR MOVIE) , Havana’s outdoor movie series—in their parking lot on East Pike Street—presents the Michelangelo Antonioni (R.I.P.) hipster classic Blow-Up. A cool snapshot of blasé and swinging mid-’60s London (the bored-kid rock set from the Yardbirds is almost as casual as the full-nudity threesome), Blow-Up captures the sexier side of the countercultural revolution. Warning: There’s an interminable and inexplicable mime scene at the end. Thankfully, you’re at a bar. (Havana, 1010 E Pike St, 323-CUBA. 9:30 pm, $5.) JOSH FEIT
See what else is happening in Film on Wednesday. Go!
Sly and Robbie with Horace Andy (ROOTS) Without Sly and Robbie there is no hiphop. Drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare laid the rhythmic foundation for reggae in 1960s Kingston, recording on an estimated 200,000 tracks, from which sprang dub, dancehall, and, in the Bronx in the mid-’70s, hiphop. Their partnership with Jamaican vocalist Horace Andy goes back 30 years, and the three sound as vital in concert today as back when they were defining a culture. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $20, 21+.) JONATHAN ZWICKEL
See what else is happening in Music on Wednesday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

The Real Liberal?

posted by on August 15 at 10:30 AM

The current Rolling Stone offers a defense of John Edwards, a blueprint for how he could win the Democratic nomination, and a number of favorable quotes about Edwards from DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas. (Is a DailyKos endorsement in the future?)

New York May Ban Smoking in Cars if Kids Are Present

posted by on August 15 at 10:00 AM


Yes, yes: nanny state, blah blah blah. But asthma rates, blah blah blah.

Win a Super Bowl, Work Hard to Keep Gays From Marrying…

posted by on August 15 at 9:57 AM

…and land yourself a presidential appointment as a member of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation (whatever that is).


Shuffle the Deck

posted by on August 15 at 9:40 AM

Do y’all know what’s coming this afternoon? Something big. Something Stranger. Here’s a hint:
(I know; sorry.)

Attacked Ad

posted by on August 15 at 9:31 AM

Could the Hillary Clinton campaign get a nicer gift? The White House is attacking her first TV ad.

Meet the Public Intern

posted by on August 15 at 9:00 AM

Like all quality newspapers—the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Moses Lake Frontier BugleThe Stranger employs a public editor. A. Birch Steen scrutinizes The Stranger’s content and takes our editors and writers to task for omissions and errors. But great newspapers are not just created by editors and writers. The Stranger, like all great newspapers, also relies on a large group of unpaid interns.

Without the efforts of these trust-funded young men and women, paid staffers wouldn’t be able to drink at lunch and do bong hits at their desks and still put out Seattle’s Only Newspaper. We salute them, even if we don’t always bother to learn their names.

We held many discussions during our redesign process—a fresher, more confusing Stranger hits the streets today—about how we could better serve the public. During one of those discussions an editor pointed out that while we rely on interns to do our thankless grunt work—filing, sorting faxes, basic research, fetching coffee—our readers don’t have interns to do their thankless grunt work.

Until now.


Meet Steven Blum. A graduate of Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Steven is the first to hold the newly created position of public intern. So far as we’re aware, Steven is the first public intern at any publication in the United States.

What does a public intern do? Well, just as the public editor works on behalf of readers, the public intern interns on behalf of readers. Steven is your intern, Seattle, he works for you. So what do you need done? A little research? Some filing? Gardens need weeding?

Steven will be taking three assignments per week. Yesterday we gave Steven his first assignment: We handed him a bottle of Formula 409 and a roll of paper towels and sent him out to clean a Metro bus. Steven will be writing about his experiences as the public intern on Slog and you can read about how his first assignment went later today.

If you have an assignment for Steven—he’s your intern—e-mail it to, or suggest in the comments thread. Thank you.

‘On Making Comedy in a Time of War’

posted by on August 15 at 8:42 AM

That’s the title of the short essay by the artists Stanya Kahn and Harry (Harriet) Dodge in last November’s Modern Painters about their 25-minute video Can’t Swallow It, Can’t Spit It Out. I was bowled over by it in the Hammer Museum’s show Eden’s Edge, and for inexplicable reasons forgot to mention it in my column this week on LA.


That’s Kahn. Her character wears a Viking helmet and a green polkadotted dress, and carries a big foam Swiss cheese. Dodge is behind the camera.

At the start of the video, Kahn appears to have suffered some kind of trauma—has she just gotten off work at the Medieval Times, after a particularly medieval shift?—and she gets defensive when the camera trains on her.

But soon, she’s leading a tour of mostly deserted public spaces in LA, promising the filmmaker places where there’s “action,” surmising that the filmmaker is doing a sweep of the city for Rodney King-style abuses of power.

No action ensues. Instead, this mad, possibly divine, seemingly homeless Valkyrie regales the filmmaker with stories about her life. There was the time when a Vietnam vet got all PTSD in her backyard, or the time she saw her mother’s boyfriend get stabbed, or the other time she walked on water. “You should have been there for that” is her goofy catchphrase.

The video is hilarious and disturbing, and all of its parts are open to interpretation. What does the filmmaker want? What happened to the Valkyrie? Where is everybody in LA? How are the distant wars in Iraq and Afghanistan connected to this warrior?

In another Kahn/Dodge video also on view at the Hammer, parents and a child play together at home—all wearing neon detainee masks with smiley faces on them. The result, again, is hysterical, in both the comedic and the pathological senses of the word. It’s torture refashioned as slapstick with a veneer of cheesy horror films.

Count me a major fan of these two women. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

AT&T vs. The 4th Amendment

posted by on August 15 at 8:41 AM


The 9th Circuit will hear arguments today in the case against AT&T for its role in the NSA’s surveillance operation.

The complainants, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, lay out the high stakes on their blog:

We won’t just wait for Congress to come to its senses, though — Americans deserve their day in court right now. Backed by overwhelming evidence, including whistleblower testimony from a former AT&T employee, our lawsuit alleges an unprecedented program of dragnet domestic surveillance. AT&T has given the NSA unchecked backdoor access to its communications network and its record databases, violating the rights of its millions of customers. While we certainly hate Congress’ recent dramatic expansion of spying powers, even the new law does not authorize such far-reaching, illegal, and unconstitutional dragnet surveillance, and it doesn’t change AT&T’s culpability for helping the government in its illegal activities over the last six years.

But Congress’ capitulation does make our case even more critical. All three branches of government have a duty to protect your rights. If the Administration succeeds in using “state secrets” claims to shut down our litigation after scaring Congress away, we may never be able to hold AT&T and the White House responsible for violating millions of Americans’ constitutional rights. And, more importantly, we may not be able to stop it.

Here’s a good primer on your constitutional right to privacy and here’s a specific write up on the 4th Amendment.


posted by on August 15 at 8:27 AM

Eric Earling at Sound Politics stayed up late last night—for a Sound Politics blogger, at least—indulging in fantasies about the Stranger staff engaged in a circle jerk.

Don’t splooge all over your keyboard, Eric.

In Defense of Urban Hipsters

posted by on August 15 at 8:16 AM

Marie Claire gives three women the carbon footprint test. The winner is Nikea, “The Urban Hipster.”

The magazine is a little late with their contraniansim—”Guess who is earth-friendly and whose carbon footprint is to blame for drowning polar bears and worse: Is it the mountain maven, the globe-trotter, or the urban hipster? It’s not who you think. How do you stack up?”

I think it’s pretty well known that city living is best for the environment. But it’s excellent to see the point made again.

Here’s Marie Claire’s round up of rustic hippie, Melissa, vs. Nikea, the “Urban Hipster” who lives in Denver.

MELISSA: midsize footprint WHY: She’d be the winner if not for the fact that she burns so many tons of fossil fuels commuting from her rustic home to the city. “If she got a small hybrid for everyday commuting, she could cut the biggest part of her carbon footprint by a third or more,” says Henson. Melissa gets climate points for avoiding beef — the average American eats more than 60 pounds of it a year, and those cows generate a lot of greenhouse gas, both directly and indirectly. On the downside, as Melissa herself points out, she indulges in organic veggies grown halfway around the world — and shipped as far to her table. “A few more trips to the farmer’s market would help freshen her diet and further reduce her carbon footprint,” Henson says.

The eco-winner: NIKEA: the smallest footprint
WHY: You don’t have to nix dirty martinis or nights out on the town just to live lightly on the planet. Taking the bus to work, walking to get groceries, and sharing a modest duplex with a friend score her beaucoup eco-points. One simple step — putting in compact fluorescent lights — would seriously lower emissions and shave her utility bill. And if she signed up for her power company’s wind-power option, she could make her electricity emissions-free. One of Nikea’s small indulgences — bottled water — may be her biggest climatic transgression, Henson says, considering the fuels that go into the plastic and the energy used in shipping. Tap filters or in-refrigerator jugs would give Nikea fresh water without the extra emissions.

Courtesy Grist

The Morning News

posted by on August 15 at 6:33 AM

Declarations: The Bush administration is about to declare a substantial portion of Iran’s military, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, a “terrorist organization.”

Meanwhile in Iraq: Four truck bombs, two Kurdish villages—and over 200 dead in a single terrible evening.

Neo-Nazis: A group calling itself the National-Socialist Party of Russia released a video yesterday calling for the resignation of President Vladimir Putin. To let people know they were serious, they beheaded two young men on camera, then released the video to the internet.

A Mighty Wind: Hurricane Flossie kindly downgraded itself to a tropical storm before hitting Hawaii.

Technical Foul: Ex-NBA ref Tim Donaghy surrendered to authorities, is expected to plead guilty.

A Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Term: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wants to re-write the country’s Constitution so that presidential term limits are removed.

Today in Overturning: A Yakima man, convicted of rape nine years ago, became the state’s first person to have his conviction overturned due to DNA evidence.

Tolling For Dollars: The federal government says Washington State can have $139 million if a toll is imposed on the 520 bridge.

America’s Next Top Model: An army of would-be contestants invaded Alderwood Mall yesterday.

And finally: A little Gerry Anderson weirdness to start your morning.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Grave Problem with Living Near Your Workplace

posted by on August 14 at 5:55 PM

One of the most e-mailed stories at the Seattle Times right now is “Living near work? Great idea, in theory”. Doesn’t that sound like a promise to dismantle arguments about how lovely and convenient and economical and environmentally friendly it is to live near your work?

Actually, it’s an article about how developers built mixed-use “urban villages” at the outskirts of the outskirts of towns (Snoqualamie Ridge, eg), equipped them with services (a bank, a Starbucks), and waited for the jobs to come. They didn’t, but people and traffic did. Surprise!

It’s still a good idea to live near your work. But you can’t just build a house and wait for the work to come to you.

15th Ave NE & NE 43rd St

posted by on August 14 at 4:12 PM


University District

Rising Out Of The Shadows (ROOTS)—the U-District’s overnight shelter for 18-25 year olds—is in dire need of volunteers.

ROOTS gets most of its volunteer staff from UW. While staffing tends to be lighter in the summer when school is out, ROOTS Volunteer Coordinator Nica Wright says things have gotten so bad, the shelter has “[almost] had to close [its] doors on several nights.” Wright thinks things are only going to get worse.

ROOTS, which serves 25 young adults every night, recently lost 4 staff members—several of them were Americorp volunteers who only work through mid-July—leaving holes in their overnight staffing schedule. ROOTS has been working with a skeleton crew of 4 people, rotating through the overnight shift, but Wright doesn’t know how much longer they can hold out. “We almost had to shut our doors last night,” she says. “We’re really in a crunch here.”

ROOTS is looking for volunteers, but they’re also hiring for work study.

Send an email to for more information.

Sober Home Alabama

posted by on August 14 at 4:03 PM

If an upcoming ballot measure passes, the city of Athens, Alabama, may soon be dry.

A measure to end the sale of alcohol in Athens is up for a citywide vote, a rare instance where voters could overturn a previous vote to allow sales. Business interests are against repeal, but church leaders who helped organize the petition drive that got the measure on the ballot are asking members to pray and fast in support of a ban.

Christians who oppose drinking on moral grounds believe they have a chance to win, however small.

“If it can be voted out anywhere, it will be here because so many Christians are against it,” said Teresa Thomas, who works in a Christian book store.

Business leaders argue that ending the sale of beer, wine and liquor would hurt tax revenues and send the message that Athens is backward.

Rove’s Resignation: Worth Cheering For

posted by on August 14 at 4:03 PM

When Karl Rove’s resignation was brought up at a Seattle Times news meeting yesterday some of the assembled reporters cheered. This has, of course, bunched panties in cracks on Fairview Ave. Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman sent out a memo reprimanding the news staff: “That sort of expression is simply not appropriate for a newsroom,” he said. Adding, “As we head into a major political year, now’s a good time to remember: Please keep your personal politics to yourself.”

David Postman writes about the incident on his blog—which he probably got the green light to do because, as Boardman notes in his memo, there was an “outside guest in the room.” Hm. Wonder who that was. Anyway, here’s Postman:

It sounds like a conservative’s parody of how a news meeting would be run. I wasn’t there, but I’ve talked to several people who were. It was only a couple of people who cheered and they, thankfully, are not among the people who get a say in news play. But obviously news staff shouldn’t be cheering or jeering the day’s news…

Well, gee. Maybe the reporters cheered because they, of all people, are in the best position to recognize Rove’s departure as a positive development for the nation—and for the ideal that all journalists everywhere honor the most: the truth. Everything that came out of Rove’s mouth—even spit—was a lie. After six years of Bush/Cheney/Rove, all journalists everywhere, irrespective of political affiliation, should be glad to see Rove go. No one has made a move at the White House over the last six and half years without Rove’s okay; nothing has been said by the executive branch without Rove’s okay. And everything that’s come out of the White House—from the Iraq war to global warming to torture to the outings of CIA operatives to the firing of those eight US attorneys—has been false and/or misleading. And daily reporters have had to stand there, taking dictation, relaying the lies with a straight face, running off to find Democrats to tell them what they already know: It’s all bullshit—every paragraph, every sentence, every word. Any reporter that didn’t cheer Rove’s departure shouldn’t be a reporter.

Back to Postman:

Jokes get made in newsrooms, of course—even what you would call gallows humor. And Boardman wrote that he was “all for equal-opportunity joking at both parties’ expense.”

So it seems that even jokes at daily papers, like quotes and op-ed columns, have to be apportioned out equally. Why? Because charges of “liberal media bias” make you piss your pants. It must suck to work at a place where you’re not allowed to feel contempt for people that spit in your faces day after damn day.

Re: Dan’s Internal Monologue and His Islamophobia Series

posted by on August 14 at 3:40 PM

Dan and I have disagreed before on Slog about how, as Westerners, we should process some of the outrageous things that some Muslims do.

I’m a bit nervous about getting back into that debate, but Dan tells me to go for it, so here goes.

Continue reading "Re: Dan's Internal Monologue and His Islamophobia Series" »

My Great and Undying Hate for the Toyota Scion

posted by on August 14 at 3:37 PM

The whole premise of the Toyota Scion marketing campaign is barf (posters that look like they’re advertising goth dance nights, its whole “Little Deviant” character—oh, the deviance of new car ownership!), but the genocidal video game, wherein our Lil’ Deviant runs around a city, killing all the “sheeple,” is its nadir. The game is so bad, it’s almost a hate crime.

Visit this site. Type in the password “scralp,” which will take you to the “Slaughter Park” level (it takes a little while to load), where you can, in the words of the game, “track down each Sheeple and give them a beating that they will never forget!”

A screen shot:


Hm. A little urban badass running around a park at night “giving a beating” to barely human male-creatures who hang out behind bushes and paint the city in some white, viscous fluid—not to mention the clumsily Freudian addition of luring them to their collective doom with the, er, hot dog cart…


Is it just me, or is Toyota trying to sell cars with thinly veiled and extremely fucked-up gay-bashing fantasies?

(Thanks to Nevdon for the tip.)

Dan was Wrong About the War, and I was Wrong About This…

posted by on August 14 at 3:33 PM

The Seattle Times reports today that James Ujamma pleaded guilty to three terrorism charges, including a charge for his efforts to establish a jihad-training camp in rural Oregon.

I covered Ujamma’s trial back in the fall of 2002. My sense at the time was that Ujamma was involved in some bombastic tangential “plot” that didn’t amount to much, and that the Feds were leaning on him to get at some real terrorists.

Some of my coverage is here and here and here and here.

Today in Line Out

posted by on August 14 at 3:27 PM

Another Hiphop Battle: 50 Cent will quit if Kanye sells more records than him.

Tom Gabel is Hot: And shirtless and dripping with wine in the new Against Me! video.

Together Again: Van Halen and David Lee Roth reunite. For realz this time.

Readings From The Faber Book Of Pop Pt 2: Boy George.

A&Y vs. MMJ: Are Arthur and Yu copping Jim James’s style?

Tom Gabel is Angry: The whole violent outrage really kills the happy punk vibe I was digging about him.

Showbox SODO’s Showlist: The Pogues, Underoath, the Hives, and (gag) Dashboard Confessional confirmed to play the new venue this fall.

Leak of the Week: Magik Markers, Boss.

Yes, Yes, Yes: Amy Winehouse goes to rehab.

Compression’s a Bitch: Sam Machkovech calls bullshit on the PI.

Tom Gabel’s a Bitch: Eric Grandy calls bullshit on Against Me’s frontman.

Bored?: Let Them Sings it For You. Take two.

“Soul Flower Remix”: JZ’s love for the Pharcyde tune.


Comedy Dies at Fox News

posted by on August 14 at 3:22 PM

Fox’s The 1/2 Hour News Hour—its attempt to out-funny The Daily Show—has been canceled.

The Camo Bible

posted by on August 14 at 2:57 PM


Christian Outdoorsman is selling camo bibles—the perfect bible whether you’re just passing times in a duck blind or living off the grid once the secular humanists have taken over. There’s also a camo bible in pink just in case you decide to blend in amongst the homos in San Francisco—those Godless secular humanists would never think to look for you there!

Via Newspeak.

Laffhole All Ages Next Week

posted by on August 14 at 2:34 PM

When Laffhole moved from the Capitol Hill Arts Center to Chop Suey, they lost one thing: Laffstravaganza, their monthly all ages/21+ two shows plus a band wingnut of a night of entertainment. Other than Sundays in Ballard at Mr. Spot’s Chai House, it was the only place young ‘uns could go pick up some comedy.

Next week (8/22), Laffhole is going to be all ages once again (but not permanently), so if you are underage you should make sure to show up to see what is always a pretty funny time. Next Wednesday’s show features Dartmondo, Sean McCarthy, and Xung Lam.

Re: Some Meditations by Charles Mudede

posted by on August 14 at 2:16 PM

I don’t know much about guns, and so when I was out drinking with some gun nut friends the other night, I asked for a primer on hand guns and machine guns.

At the end of the primer—to show them that I understood (mostly their enthusiastic lecture obsessed over the difference between the AK-47 and the M16)—I said: So, the AK-47 is the Molotov cocktail of the second half of the 20th Century.

My gun nut friends ordered me to share that on Slog.

Mudede and the IDF gave me the opportunity to do so.

Made in China

posted by on August 14 at 2:15 PM

Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, today announced its second major recall in a month of Chinese-made toys contaminated with lead paint.
Nokia, the world’s biggest cellphone maker, warned consumers yesterday that 46 million of its handsets contained defective batteries made in China that could in rare cases overheat and even dislodge during recharging.
Toothpaste distributed in some luxury hotels is being recalled because it contains a chemical usually found in antifreeze. This is the third time this summer that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued such a toothpaste recall. As in the other incidents, this toothpaste was manufactured in China.
An Israeli woman was astounded to find a tattoo-sticker of a Nazi soldier inside a pack of bubble gum she had bought at her local store, the Israeli newspaper Maariv daily reported recently. “A surprise awaits you,” said the “Roll Bubble Gum” pack, showing a picture of a pink wrapper alongside what it said was the sticker, which showed a Nazi officer in uniform and wearing a swastika armband, Reuters and report…. [The] pack’s label was in Arabic and English and stated the gum was made in China but did not name the importer.

Re: CoCA, ConWorks, Vital 5, Artist Housing: All Gone from South Lake Union

posted by on August 14 at 2:00 PM

Good thing we didn’t build a big, public park where all those condos and biotech offices are going. Good thing we “saved” that neighborhood for the small businesses, warehouses, and artists that have all been forced out or sold out.

CoCA, ConWorks, Vital 5, Artist Housing: All Gone from South Lake Union

posted by on August 14 at 1:54 PM

“Even the physical history is evaporating, so that soon, you won’t be able to tell what this was,” Seattle artist Victoria Haven tells the camera in the 15-minute documentary “Heart & Sold,” about Paul Allen’s rapid gentrification of South Lake Union. “It’s just gonna be a big shopping mall.”

Haven used to live in South Lake Union, where once there was inexpensive housing. She also had a studio there; she still has one, but she’s there on a month-by-month basis depending on the whims of the landowners. CoCA has gone, ConWorks has gone. Only 911 Media Arts (a partner in producing this film), the Wright Exhibition Space, and a handful of commercial galleries remain.

Vital 5 Gallery owner Greg Lundgren points out that it’s not as simple as Paul Allen versus Art, but the melancholic film, made by Faith Ramos, Andy Royer, and Arash Shiva, contests that view. (I found out about the movie at PORT, thanks to Jeff Jahn.)

Paul Allen’s company, Vulcan, refused to comment for the film. Worst is the poor representative of the mayor’s office who was dispatched to share these drab sentiments:

“The mayor has said that he isn’t so certain that, you know, putting skyscrapers right across the street from such a fantastic park is such a great idea, but he is willing to listen to what the neighborhood has to say, so the neighborhood is going to be having that discussion,” he says, concluding: “The city will be listening, and the developers have largely been very good partners to work with, both for the city and for the community.”

Some Meditations

posted by on August 14 at 1:43 PM

From a recording of Charles Mingus’s Town Hall Concert:

This next composition was written when Eric Dolphy explained to me that there was something similar to concentration camps once in Germany now down South.. and the only difference between the electric barbed wires is they don’t have hot stoves and gas chambers to cook us in [the South] yet. So I wrote “Meditations” as to how to get some wire cutters to us before someone else gets guns to us.

The full title of the composition is “Meditations on a Pair of Wire Cutters.”

The long history of the struggle for human rights tells us no other story than this: What got to the oppressed first, wire cutters or guns? The history of the struggle (or the long march) also tells us that those who have the wire cutters tend to be much slower than those who have the guns. With this and Mingus’s words in mind, here are three short meditations on members of the IDF who are carrying what could easily have been wire cutters.

Meditation one:

Meditation two:

Meditation three:

My New Civic Mission Was Gonna be…

posted by on August 14 at 1:40 PM

stumping for Seattle to provide free Wi-Fi citywide.

Then I read this report by the New Millennium Research Council.

Here’s a snippet from the (convincing) Capitalist pigs:

Here’s the spin: municipal Wi-Fi networking is a widespread, growing, David versus Goliath effort to bring broadband connectivity to communities poorly served – if at all – by existing broadband providers. Impatient and frightened of being left behind in the information economy, these communities can build and operate their own networks at rates much lower than those offered by companies whose goal is to make a profit. Consumers will get free Internet access and it will cost the cities almost nothing.

The reality is very different.

There is no shortage of broadband in these cities, or in most of the rest of the country. FCC data shows consistent and aggressive double-digit growth in broadband deployment nationwide with 94 percent of all zip codes and all 50 states reporting broadband availability in June of 2004.4 Costs are also falling, as cable and telephone companies begin to recover the more than $100 billion they have invested in broadband infrastructure. Most major providers offer service for under $30 per month, and some as low as $19.95 per month.

Proponents of municipal Wi-Fi networks have been unable to provide a coherent list of the benefits taxpayers will receive for their investment. Though some have attempted to define benefits in simple and vague terms, they can provide no quantifiable cost/benefit analysis. There is no proven business model for such networks, and cities are unable to show any realistic research data indicating how many people will use the service, whether they will pay for the service, or how the city will pay for the network if the plan doesn’t pan out.

Great Moments in Celebrity Endorsements

posted by on August 14 at 1:22 PM


Remember when The Sopranos introduced the character Vito, the New Jersey gangster who also happened to be gay, at least until his fellow mobsters sodomized and fatally beat him with a pool cue?

Well, now you buy your very own “Vito” Signature Cue Stick, endorsed by Sopranos actor Joe Gannascoli himself.

Thanks to Towleroad, which also reports that GLAAD has asked cue-producers Rockwell Billiards to banish the phrase “A Cue to Die For” from their advertising, and apologize for ever having done so. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I look forward to Jodie Foster’s line of The Accused pinball machines. “You can’t say no to pinball!™”

The Constitution isn’t for Peace Activists

posted by on August 14 at 1:15 PM

According to a federal court ruling today, the Constitution “does not guarantee an unrestrained right to gather information” —especially, in this case—when you’re gathering information about the Iraq war.

Read the 2nd Circuit Court (New York) ruling here.

The ruling goes against minister Judith Karpova who had appealed her $6,700 fine for traveling to Iraq in 2003 as part of the “Human Shield” mission—a group of peace activists that tried to prevent U.S. bombings.

I-5 Clusterfuck Still Averted, Although Some Commuters Return

posted by on August 14 at 1:01 PM

Hey, remember how people learned to cope with lane closures on I-5 yesterday by taking alternative routes, riding transit, and changing their commuting schedule?

Well, although traffic remained generally mild this morning, some commuters apparently failed to to heed the lessons of the (very recent) past today, and crowded back onto I-5 , slowing speeds down below 45 mph.

So, repeat after me. Tomorrow: Take alternate routes, Ride transit, or change your commuting schedule. Seriously. It works.

On Children: Note Three

posted by on August 14 at 12:59 PM

From the best chapter Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity, “PART I, The True or Anthropological Essence of Religion”:

[T}he heathens considered man not only in connection with the universe; they considered the individual man, in connection with other men, as member of a commonwealth… Men pass away, but mankind remains, says a heathen philosopher. “Why wilt thou grieve over the loss of thy daughter?” writes Sulpicius to Cicero. “Great, renowned cities and empires have passed away, and thou behavest thus at the death of an homunculus, a little human being! Where is thy philosophy?”
Always in situations that seem impossible to bear (the loss of a child, the loss of a loved one, the loss of your sight) ask yourself: “Where is thy philosophy.”

The Best BBQ in Seattle

posted by on August 14 at 12:57 PM


…just might be in Olympia.

On way to Eugene for a wedding this past weekend, a friend and I cruised through the capitol hoping to find a lunch spot. Miraculously, we discovered South Bay Dickersons Slow & Low BBQ. There I ate the best ribs I’ve had in the Pacific Northwest.

Small and unassuming, in a run-down shopping center at 4th and Cherry, this place gave the immediate impression of “real deal.” Their menu was promising—good prices on pulled pork, brisket, chicken, game hen, salmon, and pork ribs, plus fresh brewed iced and sweet teas and fresh-squeezed lemonade and strawberry lemonade. The interior featured two roll-up garage doors, rolled up and screened in, sunshine pouring through onto early afternoon diners. Best of all was a guy playing acoustic guitar in the corner of the restaurant, unobtrusively strumming and singing “I Will Survive” while we ordered.

My friend’s pulled pork sandwich—moist, saucy, smoky. My mixed meat sausage—oily, tender, smoky. My sides—corn-pocked corn bread; creamy, crunchy cole slaw; and jalapeno-spiced mac n cheese—just right. My ulna-sized pork rib—PERFECT. The rib meat held the smoke better than the pulled pork or sausage, mild but persistent through a spice rub and South Bay’s tomatoey BBQ sauce. Every nick and strand of meat came off the bone—often the result of par-boiling the meat before smoking. I asked the young guy behind the counter and he assured me they don’t par-boil; 24 hours slow cooking over local apple and cherry woods yeild that supremely tender meat, as well as that sublimely smoky flavor.

What a find. We left very satisfied. Twice, actually—we stopped in again yesterday on our way back north to revisit the scene of the crime. I went berserk and ordered a whole slab of ribs—seen below, $22 dollars for about 15 bones—that I’m having cold for dinner tonight. I can’t wait.


They’re baaaack.

posted by on August 14 at 12:49 PM

Susan Robb’s creepy, beautiful, black macro-follicles—she calls them Toobs—will be doing their thing at Volunteer Park this Friday from noon to 6 pm. I haven’t seen the Toobs yet, but word is they are amazing. (If you’re just joining us, Robb took home a Stranger Genius Award in 2003.)

This installment is the fourth Robb has done of this work. It’s called Warmth, Giant Black Toobs no.4. Lawrimore Project—the gallery that represents Robb—will be providing snacks, but you are encouraged to bring blankets and whatever food you like and make a picnic out of it. How could you not? The video alone—and there’s no way a video can capture what it’s actually like—is transfixing:

If it’s overcast on Friday, Warmth, Giant Black Toobs no.4 will be postponed. Because the work is solar powered. Check Slog Friday morning to see if it’s still on.

Nightlife Rules Approved; Nightlife License Still To Come

posted by on August 14 at 12:48 PM

At yesterday’s meeting, the city council unanimously affirmed a two-week-old vote by the council’s neighborhoods committee adopting new regulations for nightclubs. The legislation gives the city the ability to shut down clubs for overcrowding; requires all clubs to come up with a written security plan; proposes a new nightlife enforcement team; and directs the mayor to propose additional regulations on clubs, including training for club security and licensing for promoters. Club owners and lobbyists joined the city council in supporting the new rules. Put off for at least a few more weeks: The far more controversial nightlife license, which would now be limited to violent incidents inside large clubs, and the new noise ordinance. The neighborhoods committee, chaired by Sally Clark, will take up the latest version of the license at its meeting this Thursday, August 16, at the High Point Community Center.

Wait a Minute…

posted by on August 14 at 12:46 PM

Last night on the Daily Show Bill Kristol told me—stupid, dumbfuck, remorseful, resolved-to-keeping-my-mouth-shut me—that the surge was making real progress in Iraq, but that the liberal media was working to create impression that we aren’t making progress in Iraq. So what’s up with this AP story?

Three suicide truck bombers targeted members of an ancient religious sect in northwestern Iraq on Tuesday, killing at least 20 people and setting apartment buildings and stores ablaze, while the crash of an American transport helicopter near an air base in Anbar killed five U.S. servicemembers.

Four more U.S. soldiers were reported killed in separate attacks—three in an explosion near their vehicle Monday in the northwestern Ninevah province and another who was died of wounds from combat in western Baghdad.

In a separate attack, a fourth suicide truck bomber struck a strategic bridge on the main highway linking Baghdad with the northern city of Mosul, killing at least 10, police said. The span was bombed three months ago and only one lane had reopened, according to the police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

And in Baghdad, dozens of uniformed gunmen in 17 official vehicles stormed an Oil Ministry compound and abducted a deputy oil minister and three other officials, a ministry spokesman and police said.

Perhaps the liberal media is actually staging these attacks.

Overhead in the Office

posted by on August 14 at 12:30 PM

Dan Savage: Who’s eating chicken and how long is the porn review supposed to be?

“Karl Rove Is Not Smarter Than the Rest of Us. He’s Just More Evil.”

posted by on August 14 at 12:19 PM

What Amanda said:

We’re going to be seeing a lot of partisan Democrats and boring old liberals write articles swearing to Rove’s Machivellian genius, or at least going forth with that underlying assumption. I’ve written about Rove’s “genius” before. This is self-aggrandizing stuff, the desire to blow up an enemy to larger-than-life in order to explain away your defeats.

While most of us are out there talking about framing and polling and all that jazz, Rove spreads a rumor that his opponents like it up the butt and watches the numbers roll in. He’s simply willing to do what makes most human beings with a scrap of decency left recoil.

Think about it this way: The Bush administration has, in the past, treated Karl Rove like he’s some kind of genius. They’re basically wrong about everything else, so there’s no reason to think they’ve got the read on the situation here. His major political victories involve a lot of race-baiting and gay-baiting. The big time Rovian win of Bush over McCain in South Carolina was based on spreading redneck-friendly rumors that McCain was mentally ill and that his adopted children are black (and possibly the result of an affair with a black woman). In Texas, he helped Bush defeat Ann Richards by spreading rumors that she was a lesbian and using her position as governor to orchestrate a homosexual takeover of the Texas government. Yes, only stupid, mean, crass, evil, small-minded people fell for these tactics, but remember, Rove was trying to build a permanent Republican majority.

But who cares? From the Bush administration’s point of view, “cheap and evil” is better than “political genius” anyway.

For more about the real substance of Rove’s “genius,” check out this LA Weekly article, this piece in the Atlantic, and this London Times story from yesterday,

Great Bits in Mediocre Movies (Number 2 in a Series)

posted by on August 14 at 11:52 AM

Released in 1993 (a time when Twin Peaks had temporarily softened the mainstream up for weirdness), the 6-part, multi-director television epic Wild Palms may have been too strange for its own good. Despite a few good digs at Scientology, creator Bruce Wagner’s nervous wit, and a hellacious performance by Angie Dickenson, it basically turned into a what-the-random-fuck swamp by the second hour. (Can anyone explain the rhino in the swimming pool? Anyone?) Murky as the whole thing is, though, there’s no denying that the climax of director Kathryn Bigelow’s sequence is just … well, check it out for yourself.

Wow. Ok, the use of the song (2 years before Scorsese snagged it for Casino) is brilliant, but the thing that knocks me out the most is how Bigelow choreographs the shootout at the hotel, whipping her Steadicam between participants without ever losing that crucial sense of spatial geography. When I first saw it in college, I was so excited that I spilled my can of Keystone Light.


Looking Forward to Bumbershoot

posted by on August 14 at 11:20 AM

The Stranger’s guide to Bumbershoot is online now. This year we’ve got a nifty configurable schedule—check off the acts you want to catch and print your own personalized must-see list. You can also read our take on just about every band, comic, author, and performing artist playing the festival.
This year’s lineup is gem-studded and jam-packed. The things we think you shouldn’t miss are marked with lime-green stars.

Staff-pick highlights:

Brendan Kiley is stoked on the sketch-comedy duo The Cody Rivers Show and Rude Mechanicals from Austin. He’s also really hoping that the usually awesome People’s Republic of Komedy guys can deliver at all six(!) of their shows.

Megan Seling is anticipating a bunch of things, most of all the Seaweed reunion and the comedy trio Stella (David Wain, Michael Showalter, and Michael Ian Black).

Paul Constant likes the country-gospel sounds of the Watson Twins.

Jonathan Zwickel points us to the folk-pop fusion of the Avett Brothers.

Eric Grandy is for sure going to see Wu-Tang Clan and Art Brut.

Ari Spool recommends the 33 1/3 reading and listening party.

Annie Wagner is looking forward to the short films of Miranda July.

And I’m recommending two Gypsy-punk mayhem-makers, Gogol Bordello and DeVotchKa.

Also note: Advance single-day tickets are $5 cheaper now through Friday; prices go up on Saturday, August 18. Get them at or at select Starbucks locations.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 14 at 11:00 AM

‘First Class’ (THEATER) Written by the poet David Wagoner, performed by the actor John Aylward, and about the great American poet Theodore Roethke, First Class is a one-man play that, in essence, is an examination of the substance, mechanics, and spirit of poetry. If you have a mind, then bring it to this play. (ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. 7:30 pm, $50.) CHARLES MUDEDE
See what else is happening in Theater on Tuesday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Interior Monologue While Reading a News Story

posted by on August 14 at 10:55 AM

From the Seattle PI

A former Tacoma elementary school teacher investigated four months ago for inappropriately socializing with students has been charged with kidnapping a 10-year-old Tacoma boy to have sex with him.

Oh. My. God. Please, please, please don’t let this teacher be a gay guy.

31-year-old Jennifer Leigh Rice was arrested on Saturday and charged yesterday.


Court documents say Rice told police detectives she had sex with the boy at a highway rest stop outside Ellensburg during the weekend and had engaged in sex with the boy four or five times before then.

Man, what is wrong with straight people?

Just kidding about that last part. There’s nothing wrong with straight people, just with this particular straight person. But if it had been a gay guy that raped that ten year-old, all the usual anti-gay suspects—Pat Robertson, Rev. Hutcherson, the Concerned Women for America, et all—would be screaming about how this incident proves that gay people are a danger to children. The responsibility for a crime is collective and the incident is instructive when a gay person commits it; responsibility is individual and there’s nothing instructive about it when a straight person commits the same crime.

Glamour Shot

posted by on August 14 at 10:44 AM

Obama makes the cover of GQ. Story by Ryan Lizza:


Angie and the Man-Wo’; Dykier Days, Remembered!

posted by on August 14 at 10:30 AM

In this strange today of compulsive mommyhood and Goodwill Ambassadoressing, as she drags her endlessly expanding orphan collection from one Bono-related country to the next, I believe that it is crucial that we all, as a nation, pause to consider, to reflect, to remember, and to think about in general the bolder, fierier Angelina Jolie of yesterday; that blade-wielding succubus, that brother-Frenching paradox, that polishing-Billy-Bob’s-knob-in-the-Porche-on-the-way-to-the-Oscars-ing, water-bed-lipped dominatrix who’d jam a pen in her neck before she’d let her friend Winona Ryder (remember her?) get in hot water with mean nurse Whoopie Goldberg. The old Angelina. The fierce and ferocious pre-Brad goddess. Even I fell under the dark power of her throbbing sexual heat, and I’ve got a dick in my mouth as we speak.

So then. To help us remember the Angie of yore, this brave and lovely Asian man-wo’ (pictured below) has stepped forward to share his-and/or-her Jolie-related insights. Allegedly, he-and/or-she dyked-out hardcore with Angelina on a regular basis in the mid 90’s, way before Angie destroyed Jennifer Aniston and started boffing The Brad. This is what she-and/or-he tells us:

“Angelina is an unbelievable lesbian lover. That’s where she gets her kicks — not playing happy family with one man. She loves danger and dabbling in the dark side. Angelina loves women too much. It’s like a drug and she was hooked.”

Angelina Jolie, hooked on dangerous lesbian sex? Lucky, lucky Brad! (I’m guessing here.)

Winona Ryder, of course, could not be reached for comment. As usual.


The Republican YouTube Debate: Back On

posted by on August 14 at 10:20 AM

So says Jose Antonio Vargas of The Washington Post. Romney is still noncommittal, however. He’s still complaining about the indignity of being questioned by talking snowmen, which has prompted this snowman response:

More than 1,000 questions have already submitted for the Republican debate, now set to take place in November. Among them:

A 21-year-old asks the thrice-married Rudy Giuliani if he really has the character for the presidency. A 26-year-old Mormon asks Romney, also a Mormon, to explain his changing views on abortion. A 69-year-old asks how the candidates to detail their plans to reduce the size of the U.S. government.

And here they are:

What Will This Do to Straight College Roommate Porn?

posted by on August 14 at 10:16 AM

Towleroad links to a USA Today story about how parents are using Facebook to screen their college-bound children’s assigned roommates.

As housing officials at colleges around the country send out roommate assignments to freshmen this summer, a growing number of schools say they’re getting more requests for changes—from parents who don’t like the roommates’ Facebook profiles.

“They were getting an impression—false or accurate—of what the student would be like to live with,” says Magda Manetas of The College of New Jersey in Ewing….

Maureen Wark of Suffolk University in Boston also ranked sexual orientation as a top concern of parents. Wark recalls getting a call from a parent who had “psychological and sanitary concerns” about a student’s new roommates, both of whom were gay men.

Other “areas of concern” for concerned parents: the race and religious beliefs of their children’s roommates. I suppose a black gay atheist would really set off alarm bells.

But still, “sanitary concerns”? I roomed with a bunch of straight boys at college and if anyone needed to worry about sanitation issues it was me. They were filthy. My straight male roommates prided themselves on their ability to live in squalor, avoid bathing, conserve toothpaste by brushing only a need-to-brush basis, wear clothes that smelled of vomit, and eat nothing but Dominoes Pizza and drink nothing but beer and/or Mountain Dew. When I complained once about being the only person in the house that ever cleaned the tub, one of my roommates pointed out that I was the only person that ever used the tub.

Being filthy was one of the ways the straight boys made sure everyone knew that they, theater majors all, were straight boys. Paying attention to personal hygiene was suspect, girly and/or gay. And who knows better how filthy straight teenage boys can be than their parents? So I’m thinking “sanitary concerns” is code for “I’m afraid my son’s gay roommate is going to fuck my son in his ass,” or, “What about all those shit-covered condoms his gay roommates are going to leave laying around?”

Re: Prop Comics

posted by on August 14 at 10:16 AM

A celebrity boxing match between Carrot Top and Henry Rollins needs to happen. Now!

Branson v. Colbert

posted by on August 14 at 9:35 AM

Apparently there was a spat on the set of the Colbert Report yesterday…

Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson hurled a glass of water of a TV presenter after he was banned from talking about his new airline, according to reports. The multi-millionaire, 57, was being interviewed by US political comic Stephen Colbert in front of a live studio audience in New York when he lost his cool.

But despite being drenched, the host, who Branson had named a plane after, refused to be phased.

He demanded a bottle of water from aides and then retaliated by flinging it that over his multi-millionaire guest. An unnamed member of the studio audience told New York’s media website FishbowlNY: “Branson was apparently upset that he wasn’t able to give a direct plug to the new Virgin service and doused Colbert with his guest mug of water.

The interview airs August 22.


posted by on August 14 at 9:14 AM

Yesterday I posted an item from the NYT about an author—Taslima Nasreen—who was publicly attacked at a reading for suggesting that maybe, kinda, sorta Islam oppresses women. And could there be a better way to refute the charge than by violently oppressing Ms. Nasreen? Indian Muslims have stepped up their jihad against Ms. Nasreen. More from the NYT today…

Attacked and Charged in India

The Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen will face criminal charges for what the authorities called her anti-Islamic views, which prompted an attack against her by Muslims last week in central India, Agence France-Presse reported. A police official in the city of Hyderabad said Ms. Nasreen faced a charge of “hurting Muslim feelings.” On Thursday lawmakers and members of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party expressed outrage over Ms. Nasreen’s criticisms of Islam for what she called oppression of women. The protesters disrupted a publication party by hurling objects at her and shouting for her death…. In March an Indian Muslim group from Uttar Pradesh state offered a bounty of 500,000 rupees (more than $12,000) for Ms. Nasreen’s execution.

Hurting Muslim feelings is a crime in India? Who knew?

The Morning News

posted by on August 14 at 7:24 AM

Off the Rails: A bomb blast derailed a train in Russia. No one was killed, but at least six were seriously injured.

Toy Story: Mattel is recalling 9 million toys manufactured in China due to swallowable magnets, lead paint concerns.

Because Throwing Money at the Problem Has Worked Well So Far: The U.S. is looking to give Mexico billions to fight drug cartels.

Rich Getting Richer: NASDAQ is starting a private stock market for obscenely wealthy investors.

R.I.P.: Yone Minagawa, the oldest woman in the world, died today at the age of 114.

Hawaii Uh-Oh: First there was an earthquake, now here comes a hurricane.

Foster Crooks: Local foster dad gets four years in prison for ‘sexual exploitation’ of his eldest foster daughter.

Rich Getting Richer Part Deux: Seattle is hoping to buy back some South Lake Union land it sold Paul Allen in 2001 — for a higher price, of course.

Carmageddon 2007: I-5 short of a clusterfuck yesterday, inspiring relief, gloating.

A Lion’s Gotta Eat: Looming horse meat ban has the Woodland Park Zoo thinking beef.

Skinerama: An employee at the Cinerama was arrested yesterday after a customer found a video camera in the women’s restroom.

And finally: A little Gerry Anderson weirdness to start your morning.

More Censorship from AT&T

posted by on August 14 at 12:15 AM

AT&T claimed the Pearl Jam censorship incident was a one-time gaffe by a bad apple in its webcast production crew. “An isolated incident.”

Not so, say fans of the Flaming Lips and the John Butler Trio.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

But yesterday, a reader e-mailed the Sun-Times saying AT&T’s Blue Room Webcast also had silenced comments during two performances at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee last June, cutting remarks by the John Butler Trio bemoaning the lack of federal response to Hurricane Katrina and comments about Bush and the war in Iraq by singer Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.

“The sound did not cut out at any other time — only when someone was talking about George Bush or the government in a negative way,” the reader, who identified herself as Andrea K., wrote. Flaming Lips management said the band was unaware of the edit but was investigating, and the John Butler Trio could not be reached.

Courtesy of Public Knowledge.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Overheard in the Office

posted by on August 13 at 6:49 PM

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee to me:

“Who’s Cheryl Tiegs?”



Overheard in the Office (I Know, I Know)

posted by on August 13 at 6:27 PM

Josh Feit to Dan Savage:

“Dan, did you get that blowjob yet?”

Sweet Police Beat

posted by on August 13 at 5:54 PM

One part of my job that I savor is editing Charles Mudede’s Police Beat column.

It’s relaxing—amidst all the chaos of getting a news section through every week—to sit down with Mudede’s weekly gem.

I mention this as a intentional tease for the installment that’s coming out this week.

Funniest Police Beat all year. I cried laughing. All I will tell you is it involves donuts.

Thank you, Charles.

In the Can

posted by on August 13 at 5:31 PM

A note to all the video voyeurs out there: make sure the camera’s off when you set it up, okay?

Police were called to Cinerama at 6:20 p.m. Saturday following a report that a woman had discovered the camera. According to police reports, the 24-year-old woman—who was at the theater to watch “The Simpsons Movie”—was moved to tears when she found out she was being filmed.

According to reports, the camera had recorded four women using the toilet.

A police officer showed the beginning of the tape to a theater manager, who identified the employee caught on film setting up the camera, according to reports. After being read his rights, police say, the man admitted to surreptitiously taping women at the restroom on one other occasion earlier this month.

Today on Line Out.

posted by on August 13 at 4:50 PM

My Dream Band Don’t Exist: My Dream of Neutral Milk Hotel.

Planet Rock: Terry Miller on David Toop and Bambatta.

Ys, Ys, Y’all!: Joanna Newsom at Benaroya Hall.

Yes Logo: Christopher Delaurenti on David Cotner’s Band Logo Blog.

I’m Sorry I Got Barf on Your Everything: Jeff Kirby Spews Up the Best Sentence Ever to Appear on Line Out.

Showboxing: The Fenix Becomes the Showbox Sodo.

Can’t Fake the Feeling: TJ Gorton on Geraldine Hunt.

What He Said

posted by on August 13 at 3:53 PM

Andrew Sullivan on the HRC/LOGO Democratic candidate forum

They need and want gay money, so they will talk to us. But none of the leading candidates supports our civil equality in marriage, the Ground Zero of the movement. And, more frustrating, none will say why. If you’re for civil unions but not civil marriage, you need an argument. One is simply the semantic one that your commitment to the heterosexual meaning of the word trumps your understanding that gays are also family members and deserve not to be shunted into a “separate-but-equal” institution. But none of them will admit that. The other answer is that they do support equality in marriage but fear losing votes if they publicly say so. As president, of course, they have virtually no role in the matter—it’s for the states. But they’re scared of the Rove machine—still. So they can’t say that either. So they all seem illogical. You can say this: if any of them does believe in marriage equality, their conviction is not as strong as their calculation. I guess that tells you something even about a candidate like Obama. If one becomes president and the Democrats maintain the House and Senate, we may get the trivial (and unecessary) hate crimes act passed. I’m not hopeful for much else in the first four years.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on August 13 at 3:38 PM

I’m an 18 year bisexual writing in response to your column on the “war” on teen sex. As the son of a social worker and a psychologist, let me give you the best advice I can: Stop fighting a losing battle. I can understand every parent’s concern about the matter. No one wants to be the mother/father of the pregnant homecoming queen and I know that STDs are a serious issue for everyone. No kid wants to be HIV positive, trust me on that one.

Do you really want teens to stop doing it? Sex is a beautiful experience and to deny us that is criminal. And telling us not to do it isn’t helping. One of the major components of teen psychology is the desire to define themselves, to discover who they are. This tends to result in us rejecting the advice of our elders and most authority figures and leaving judgment to ourselves. We want to experiment and make choices in a world where we believe we have a safety net (IE family and other providers) and will not yet face the consequences of an adult reality.

You mention putting castration chemicals in our foods: I personally find that sick and twisted on your part. What if the government, by the same token mentioned in your response, decided to stop gay sex in general by the same means? Not so fun now, is it?

Listen, teens having been doing it for centuries, it’s in our nature. If you’re worry is the consequences of a bad night, stop preaching “no” and teach the choir a new tune. Sing us a song of condom use and birth control. Tell us not to use any dangerous hormonal drugs or other stimulants during sex (for Health class, I had to lecture about the side effects of amyl nitrate. That changed a lot of minds.) But if you want us to stop altogether still, then you’re going to have to mouth the sweet melody of masturbation. Still gets the vibes across without any cost.

Yes, our reckless actions can sometimes lead to disaster. But we learn by what you teach, or contrariwise, what you don’t teach us. We aren’t all idiots, Mr. Savage. We’ve just gotten our lessons out of the wrong textbook. Maybe your generation can make a difference and teach us the right way.

Boy Rebelling Against Tyrannical Sex-stoppers

Damn. Pushing condoms and birth control and letting teens make their own choices—man, why didn’t I think of that! Thank goodness the 18 year-old bisexual child of a social worker and psychologist was there to set me straight. Because now that you mention it, stopping teen sex by dosing Doritos, Mountain Dew, lip gloss, and Axe body spray with chemical castration drugs does seem like an extreme measure.

What was I thinking! Thanks for writing, BRATS!

Interior Monologue While Reading a News Story (Or, Feeling Stupid)

posted by on August 13 at 3:30 PM

Chinese toy boss “kills himself”

Really? They make little plastic bosses that commit suicide? What’ll they think of next?

The boss of a Chinese toy firm involved in a huge safety recall has committed suicide, Chinese media has said.


The New Prussian Blue

posted by on August 13 at 3:22 PM

Now with less racism?

Remember Prussian Blue, the White Nationalist ‘folk-pop’ band fronted by twin girls Lynx and Lamb Gaede? Well, an eye-opening documentary, Nazi Pop Twins, which aired last month in the UK caught up with the girls, now 15 years old, to see how the media attention has changed their lives. The biggest shock is that we learn that the girls are really normal. They just want to play guitar and write love songs—a far cry from the hate pop they recorded when the were 11. It turns out that the girls aren’t into the whole racism thing after all; like other child stars before them, their mother, April Gaede, was just living vicariously through them.

The video is up at Jezebel. The interview is fascinating—and wait until you get a load of the April Gaede’s parenting style. Calling your daughter a “cunt” while the cameras are rolling and your mic is on, and telling her that they way she’s behaving is making her look bad (and not, oh, the racist CDs mom wants her to sign), well, she makes Alec Baldwin look like Parental Role Model of the Year.

Postcard from a Traffic Jam Near Cle Elum

posted by on August 13 at 3:07 PM

Yesterday around dinner time, traffic was stopped on I-90 near Cle Elum: dead stopped, then crawling along a little, then stopped, then crawling, and on and on for a good couple hours. It was pretty and all—


—but it was a punishing drive.

Except for one of the cars ahead of us—a white, four-door family car with bubbles coming out of one of the windows. Some kids were having a great time. And their bubbles were big!

As we got closer to the car, we saw that it wasn’t just an unusually big bubble ring someone was blowing through, but a handmade contraption.


Weirder still, the driver of the vehicle was responsible for the bubbles, not some kids in the back seat. Weirder than that, there were no kids in the back seat. The driver was alone, with this handmade device, bubbling up the traffic jam, grinning, and waving to other drivers. She looked not unlike the fairy godmother in Cinderella. She had on a purple shirt and was squeezing a handle at the base of her bubble device to wet the two vertical strings in the center of it, which then spread apart so that the wind could blow through them. As we passed her, she waved at us and yelled out across the highway, crazily, “Most fun you’ve ever had in traffic!”

Then, my cell phone (with a notoriously crappy camera) captured a lucky picture of a bubble in progress.


Live the dream, lady.

On Children: Note Two

posted by on August 13 at 2:59 PM

For this image:
Pictures%2028%20may%2005%20006-1.jpg A soldier named Lance Frizzell offered these words:

Here’s one of our guys showing pictures of his children to some Iraqi kids. The first question Iraqi chidren ask us when we are out and about is “do you have any children?” followed by “do you have pictures?” I don’t know if there is cultural background to the question (aside from being polite) but it is striking. And they love to see the pictures.
It’s pretty cute.

What is wrong with this? What Frizzell thinks is part of the “cultural background” of Iraqi children is really a defining part of children in general. What is it that all kids want to see? Always, other kids. They want to see the kids next door, the kids in your pocket, the kids on the TV. Kids do not want to see grownups, which is why all of the moral talk about spending more time with kids is simply empty. Kids do not want to spend any more time than they need to with those who are not just like them. Adults are an interruption, a break in their little worlds.

Calm Down, Everybody: Massive Clusterfuck Fails to Materialize

posted by on August 13 at 2:39 PM

Despite predictions of “nightmare” traffic, “survival tips” for dealing with the commute, an entire Seattle Times blog dedicated to “the Closure,” and even late happy-hour specials aimed at “waylaid drivers” (because what better way to calm those frazzled nerves than drinking rum for five hours before getting behind the wheel?), Traffic Jam 2007 didn’t happen. Not only that, but many commuters described the drive as smoother than ever.


Collective panic alone can’t explain the startling number that was reported by newspapers this morning: Of 120,000 cars that normally use northbound I-5 daily, about half simply disappeared. That is, their drivers took alternate routes, rode transit, worked from home, or didn’t take unnecessary trips. Which is, by the way, exactly what happened in San Francisco—and exactly what we’ve been saying will happen here if the viaduct closes down. You can’t argue that closing the viaduct would lead to disaster and then ignore the fact that eliminating half the lanes on a major freeway through Seattle actually made traffic better. And that’s without any additional transit service from Metro, the main transit provider in the region. Imagine how much smoother the commute on I-5 could have been with expanded transit to take another 20,000 or 30,000 cars off the road.

Great Bits in Mediocre Movies (Number 1 in a Series)

posted by on August 13 at 2:36 PM

The end credits to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events:

Seattle Collector at the NGA

posted by on August 13 at 2:30 PM

Modern Art Notes has the word this morning that the National Gallery of Art is sucking up to a Seattle collector. He also points out, humorously, that the last time this happened, it didn’t exactly pay off for the DC institution.

MAN questions the exhibition itself, devoted to the collection of Robert E. Jackson, described as “an analyst for a large global asset management company” in Seattle. My question is, who is Robert E. Jackson? I haven’t heard of him and I’m not finding out much about him online. Enlighten me?

T-Shirt Triple Take

posted by on August 13 at 1:53 PM

Spotted on Pike Street:


The text on the bottom reads, “In Our Hearts Forever.”

On the back (from memory): “It ain’t easy rulin’ the unruly. 1937-2006.”

Ask Math

posted by on August 13 at 1:34 PM

Historically, sex surveys have “confirmed” cultural stereotypes: Men will screw anything that walks, women choose their partners carefully. According to surveys of heterosexual men and women, the average man has had seven sex partners, while the average woman has had four. Women: close-legged. Men: Sluts.

Statistically, however, that’s impossible. Even accounting for female partners who may not be included in the survey (prostitutes, women overseas, etc.), there is simply no way that men can have nearly twice as many sex partners as women. The New York Times’s Gina Kolata proves it.

“By way of dramatization, we change the context slightly and will prove what will be called the High School Prom Theorem. We suppose that on the day after the prom, each girl is asked to give the number of boys she danced with. These numbers are then added up giving a number G. The same information is then obtained from the boys, giving a number B.

Theorem: G=B

Proof: Both G and B are equal to C, the number of couples who danced together at the prom.

The number of female and male heterosexual partners in the US must be roughly equal. And yet, in survey after survey, men consistently report having had many more partners than women. Why the discrepancy?

Possibility No. 1: Men may overreport, wanting to appear more “manly.”

Ronald Graham, a professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of California, San Diego, agreed with Dr. Gale. After all, on average, men would have to have three more partners than women, raising the question of where all those extra partners might be.

“Some might be imaginary,” Dr. Graham said. “Maybe two are in the man’s mind and one really exists.”

Women, meanwhile, may underreport, not wanting to look like “sluts.” The result: Statistically impossible conclusions that only reinforce the stereotype of men as promiscuous and women as chaste, compounding the problem in subsequent surveys.

If asked, a man, believing that he should have a lot of partners, may feel compelled to exaggerate, and a woman, believing that she should have few partners, may minimize her past.

“In this way,” Dr. Gale said, “the false conclusions people draw from these surveys may have a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.”

I Would Have an Easier Time Avoiding Feelings of Islamophobia…

posted by on August 13 at 12:59 PM

…if Islam didn’t give me so much to be phobic about.

Muslims Attack Feminist Writer

Incensed Muslims assaulted Taslima Nasreen, the exiled Bangladeshi author and feminist, at a publication party at the press club in Hyderabad, India, yesterday, Reuters reported. Lawmakers and members of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, outraged by her criticisms of Islam and religion in general for oppression of women, threatened Ms. Nasreen with a chair and hurled a leather case, bunches of flowers and other objects at her while some shouted for her death. With her forehead bruised, she described the attack as barbaric before the police moved her to safety. In 1994 thousands of radical Muslims demanded Ms. Nasreen’s death for blasphemy, and she fled into exile after a court declared that she had “deliberately and maliciously” injured the religious feelings of Muslims with her Bengali-language novel “Lajja,” or “Shame,” about riots between Muslims and Hindus. The European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought in 1994.

On Children: Note One

posted by on August 13 at 12:55 PM

The love that a man or woman feels for an adopted child is higher than the love that a parent feels for a biological one. The reason: In the former, the movement of the love is from an idea to an actual person; in the latter, it is from a person to an idea. The reason why the latter movement is weaker than the former: It is a given love; there is no work done here, no effort is made, it just is the case. The other love is not at all the case. It is a love that does not come from life (nature, the biological) but emanates from the being of the parent. The parent gives that love. It is for this reason Plato wanted to replace family (weak) love with a communal (higher) love. A love that you are given over a love that you give.

Real Creepy

posted by on August 13 at 12:33 PM


Got a real girlfriend? But would rather have a RealDoll, one of those life-size, life-like silicone sex toys? Problem solved.

It was probably only a matter of time before RealDoll fans and rubber mask fetishists put their heads together and came up with the ultimate fusion of the two ideas: The Dolly Catsuit is a shiny, flesh-colored (or at least pale pink) full-body outfit that turns a real live girl into a real living sex doll.

It Takes One to Know One

posted by on August 13 at 12:22 PM

Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe is inspired by Bush’s wiretapping program.

Courtesy of Think Progress.

Re: The Left and Ron Paul

posted by on August 13 at 12:10 PM

Andrew Sullivan, citing a speech delivered at the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday, says the honeymoon is over for Ron Paul, the Republican presidential candidate who has generated a considerable following on the libertarian left.

Why? Because in the speech, Paul attacks Roe v. Wade and comes out in favor of guns on planes. Sullivan is probably right that the honeymoon is over for Paul, but last weekend is not the first time Paul has espoused those views—and others that are likely to turn off people on the libertarian left.

In my Stranger profile of Paul, which came out last week, I mentioned his opposition to abortion rights and his belief that guns on planes (in the hands of passengers, even) could have prevented 9/11, along with something else: Paul’s retrograde stance on global warming.

Paul is still a global-warming skeptic, calling fears about the problem “overblown” at a time when even Bush has recognized the reality of climate change.

Paul’s solution to all environmental problems is essentially to do nothing and hope the market works everything out. Schrage, the Google executive, sounded skeptical of this approach and pointed out that market forces created the global-warming problem in the first place. “Climate change seems like something that wouldn’t, indeed hasn’t, been an issue that’s been well addressed by market forces today,” Schrage told Paul. “Seems like the perfect example of a market failure—that the external costs of pollution don’t get absorbed by companies—and thus a natural place where some sort of collective action, government intervention, might be appropriate.”

Paul disagreed, and suggested that a greater respect for private property in America, and a greater appreciation for how what one person does on his or her private property affects the environment on another person’s private property, could somehow reverse environmental problems. When Schrage pointed out the international nature of the climate-change problem—the fact that factories in America can ultimately affect the weather in India—Paul answered: “If there is manmade pollution…”

Which was one rather big if.

He continued: “If there is man-made pollution, it might be in China and I know I’m not willing to tax you or send troops over there to close down plants.”

You can watch video of Paul’s global warming statements here. (Global warming discussion starts just after 26:00.)

Today in Bizarre Myspace Advertising

posted by on August 13 at 12:08 PM


There are so many questions floating through my mind when presented with this image. Here they are, in outline form:

• Why don’t you know the name of the person you have a crush on?
• Why is shaving legs going to help you find out?
• Why is the woman so large that the evil men have to stand on stools in order to barely reach her knees?
• Why are the little men getting such nefarious pleasure from shaving the legs of this gigantic woman?
• Why does she need evil little men to shave her legs for her?
• Who decided to turn personal hygiene into a competition?
Why don’t I receive a free ringtone when I complete this contest?

Belly Trooper

posted by on August 13 at 11:55 AM

What more can I say?
AJC02.JPG Vader has got a gut.

Sonic Spinning

posted by on August 13 at 11:53 AM


In the wake of comments made by Sonic minority owner Aubrey McClendon to an Oklahoma City newspaper, the ownership group has been forced release a bit of damage control. First up is owner Clay Bennett:

“As the controlling owner, I admire my fellow owners and appreciate their support. While they are excited about the basketball operations and the future of the team on the court, they, like me, have been disheartened by the lack of progress we have made to secure a new arena for the Sonics and Storm. Aubrey expressed his personal thoughts and, in context of the story, was not speaking on behalf of the ownership group. It is my hope we will see a breakthrough in the next 60 days that will result in securing a new arena for the Sonics and Storm in the Greater Seattle area.”

And now Aubrey McClendon himself:

“I support our efforts to secure a new arena for the Sonics and Storm in the Greater Seattle area. Clay is the one who speaks for the ownership group. Today’s interview in the Oklahoma City-based business newspaper, Journal Record, simply reflects what has been my personal desire concerning NBA basketball in Oklahoma City. It has always been my hope that Oklahoma City would have an NBA team someday. That said, I was always aware and understood our number one goal was to work with officials to build a new arena in the Seattle area. I have supported Clay and the ownership group to use our good faith best efforts to secure a new arena and keep the teams in Seattle. I admire Clay’s tireless efforts and his persistence to get an arena and keep the teams in Seattle. I support him completely. The comment about my personal hopes cannot in any way be interpreted to mean the organization has not exhaustively pursued every reasonable avenue to get an arena deal done and keep the Sonics and Storm in Seattle. However, as Clay has consistently stated, a solution to the arena issue must be found by October 31.”

Meanwhile, Betweenwhile

posted by on August 13 at 11:52 AM

The newest chapter of Trapped in the Closet is up.

Let the pondering begin … now.

(I must have misheard the part about the old couple talking about birds crapping on their faces, right? Right?)

Power to the “Sheeple”

posted by on August 13 at 11:50 AM

Last week, I Slogged about a column in the police union newsletter. The Guardian editor, Detective Ron Smith, wrote that people who were calling for more accountability in the SPD were “the sheeple of Seattle” who “live with their heads imbedded in some dark place.”

On Slog, I voiced some concern that the SPD saw citizens as “sheeple.”

Well, Smith sent an e-mail over the weekend with a clarification. The SPD doesn’t see you all as “sheeple,” he sees you as “sheeple.”

“My writings are my opinion, and not the official position of any organization,” he e-mailed.

So, there you have it. The editor of the Seattle cops union paper thinks you’re “sheeple.”

I’m all for paying officers more money, but this is something the city should keep in mind when contract negotiations come up again.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 13 at 11:00 AM

‘Lost in Translation’ (ART) Diem Chau’s best-known work is her carved crayon figures, solid little bodies representing colorful stories. Her newest series, Lost in Translation, still refers to private family narratives, but in almost impossibly delicate figures sewn in outline onto white, shimmery fabric that has been stretched across the surface of porcelain bowls and plates hung on the wall. Red thread runs through their mouths and hands and dangles toward the gallery floor like veins of disconnected thought. (Gallery 4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Pl S, 296-7580. 8:30 am—5 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES
See what else is happening in Art on Monday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

What Has Become of September Eleventh

posted by on August 13 at 10:59 AM

As Josh pointed out yesterday, the Sunday New York Times led its paper with a blow-by-blow account of how Afghanistan has been lost. It is a story of incompetence, ignorance, indecisiveness, preventable disaster, and, of course, the adolescent fixation of a few men on one Saddam Hussein.

Here are a few choice bits:

The shift in priorities became apparent to Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon’s former comptroller, when Mr. Rumsfeld called him into his office in the fall of 2002, as planning for the Iraq war was in high gear, and asked him to serve as the Pentagon’s reconstruction coordinator in Afghanistan. It was an odd role for the comptroller, whose primary task is managing the Defense Department’s $400 billion a year budget.

“The fact that they went to the comptroller to do something like that was in part a function of their growing preoccupation with Iraq,” said Mr. Zakheim, who left the administration in 2004. “They needed somebody, given that the top tier was covering Iraq.”

In an interview, President Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, insisted that there was no diversion of resources from Afghanistan, and he cited recently declassified statistics to show that troop levels in Afghanistan rose at crucial moments — like the 2004 Afghan election — even after the Iraq war began.

But the former Central Command official said: “If we were not in Iraq, we would have double or triple the number of Predators across Afghanistan, looking for Taliban and peering into the tribal areas. We’d have the ‘black’ Special Forces you most need to conduct precision operations. We’d have more C.I.A.”

We’re simply in a world of limited resources, and those resources are in Iraq,” the former official added. “Anyone who tells you differently is blowing smoke.”

In September 2005, NATO defense ministers gathered in Berlin to complete plans for NATO troops to take over security in Afghanistan’s volatile south. It was the most ambitious “out of area” operations in NATO history, and across Europe, leaders worried about getting support from their countries. Then, American military officials dropped a bombshell.

The Pentagon, they said, was considering withdrawing up to 3,000 troops from Afghanistan, roughly 20 percent of total American forces.

NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said he protested to Mr. Rumsfeld that a partial American withdrawal would discourage others from sending troops.

In the end the planned troop reduction was abandoned, but chiefly because the American ground commander at the time, Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, concluded that the Taliban were returning and that he needed to shift troops to the east to try to stop them. But the announcement had sent a signal of a wavering American commitment.

“The Afghan people still doubt our staying power,” General Eikenberry said. “They have seen the world walk away from them before.”

To sell their new missions at home, British, Dutch and Canadian officials portrayed deployments to Afghanistan as safe, and better than sending troops to Iraq. Germany and Italy prevented their forces from being sent on combat missions in volatile areas. Those regions were to be left to the Americans, Canadians, British and Dutch.

Three months after announcing the proposed troop withdrawal, the White House Office of Management and Budget cut aid to Afghanistan by a third.

Gen. James L. Jones, a retired American officer and a former NATO supreme commander, said Iraq caused the United States to “take its eye off the ball” in Afghanistan. He warned that the consequences of failure “are just as serious in Afghanistan as they are in Iraq.”

“Symbolically, it’s more the epicenter of terrorism than Iraq,” he said. “If we don’t succeed in Afghanistan, you’re sending a very clear message to the terrorist organizations that the U.S., the U.N. and the 37 countries with troops on the ground can be defeated.”

Part of the reason I find this story so depressing is that it sounds so familiar.

As a reporter for The News Tribune in Tacoma, where Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base are located, I went to Taliban heartland in the fall of 2003. I was embedded with the U.S. military. I spent a week on the ground in Kandahar. The base there is at Kandahar Airport:


I wrote about what I saw.

The base-support operations run out of the building where the Taliban made its last stand. Airstrikes ravaged one end. A mosque near the airport is cracked and condemned. Next to it is the holding pen for Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists who continue to plague the south of the country.

The troops huddle in sandbagged bunkers when improvised rockets hit near the base about once a month. Most injuries can be treated at Charlie Med, the base hospital, which also takes a flow of local patients who step on land mines in the rural areas around Kandahar.

This is the Wild West compared to the northern capital of Kabul, where most of the 11,500 coalition troops are based. Kandahar is rife with tribal politics, poverty and lack of education, which spawned the Taliban in the early 1990s. Many say it is the part of Afghanistan that could jeopardize Operation Enduring Freedom in the long term.

The recent rise in insurgency has sent foreign aid agencies scurrying, leaving Kandahar with only six or seven compared to 24 a year ago, according to The New York Times.

Next year Congress has earmarked $1.2 billion for Afghan reconstruction. Critics such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D- N.Y.), who visited the base for Thanksgiving, say the money is not enough for this country of 28 million. Iraq has 24 million people and was allotted $18.6 billion.
Conditions in the Kandahar hospital are “horrid,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Wahl of Wisconsin, head of the surgical team. “The director there told me it was better under the Taliban. These people are getting slaughtered.”

Nearly all of Charlie Med’s patients are Afghans. But the coalition can’t easily send medical supplies into Kandahar’s hospital because of security threats, although Wahl occasionally sneaks supplies to them using flamboyantly painted Afghan “jingle” trucks.

The women have it the worst. Most never make it to a hospital, confined to their homes even if they’re injured, Wahl said. Those who do come are often domestic violence cases. One, whose husband shot her in the back, was recently treated and sent back to her husband.

Early afternoon sun streamed into the room as the dozen or so women spoke frankly through the translator, the older ones such as Najeeba defiant and furious at the years of abuse they suffered under the fallen Taliban regime, which forbade women from working, going to school or even leaving the house without a man’s escort.

Their burqas hung on the walls above them like ghosts.

“I have a heart full of sorrow,” Najeeba said loudly, interrupting a 16-year-old girl who said that wearing the burqa since she began menstruating at 13 was her choice.

Even on the best days, going into Kandahar is never carefree. The bad guys are terrorists. The good guys are drug-trafficking warlords.

Before it left the base, the crew had stopped to pick up a paid security detail from the Afghan Militia Force, controlled by a local warlord. He owns the KFC compound, sends his guys to work on base and stations men at checkpoints around the Kandahar province.

In return for employing many of the warlord’s 1,050 associates and renting his used vehicles for an exorbitant $1,300 per month, U.S. troops rely on his militia for safe entry into areas they hope to rebuild.

As long as we’re paying them, I guess they’re on our side,” Hoffman said.

The perimeter of the base was guarded by the forces of the local warlord (“the general”). He invited us to dinner.

We hop in the unarmored SUVs the Army rents from the general at exorbitant prices. The overpaying helps grease the wheels of the general’s protection. This is considered one of the more dangerous areas in Afghanistan. It was once the Taliban home turf.

Boys stand with their arms behind their backs at the front door of the red-roofed compound. Parked with its back end near the front door, under a Las Vegas-style carport with marble columns, is the general’s black Land Cruiser with tinted windows, the only gleaming thing in these dusty parts.

The boy opens the mirrored glass door to the compound, and we enter.

Inside, it’s like a rap star’s mansion crossed with a decorated cake. Sculpted flowers in pastel colors form frosting-like patterns on the ceilings. …

We’re led into a large room with eight sofas and four armchairs placed in rows down its sides, tall windows with closed curtains on one end and a blaring television set on the other. Men in bare feet and turbans stand up, and we walk from one to the next, shaking their hands.

Which one is the general? The eldest, with the beard?

We sit down, chatting. … On TV, a scantily clad woman is involved in a boat chase.

When the middle-aged man with greasy hair and wearing gold rings, crystal cufflinks and loafers walks in, everybody stands.

It is the general. …

When the servants finish silently clearing the table, the parties reunite. I ask for a tour and find all the rooms the same: cake- frosting ceilings, leather furniture, carpeting and green marble end tables. The kitchen is small and primitive, especially for the feast that came out of it.

Outside the kitchen door, not 50 yards away, we see a junked MiG fighter jet among other debris from the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

As we say our goodbyes on the marble porch, the general points out the big, black SUV. When the former regime scrambled out of town during the 2001 coalition air strikes, this was one of seven Land Cruisers left behind by Taliban head Mullah Mohammad Omar, he boasts.

Now, he owns it.

What She Said…

posted by on August 13 at 10:46 AM

Says Kerri Harrop

i don’t care who rents any park in town, as long as there are free fireworks. people are really freaking the fuck out about this. seems a bit sour grapes.

the SPD should herd all the troublemaking scallywags from 3rd & pine over to wallingford and give the neighborhood something real to bitch about.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on August 13 at 10:35 AM

Two notes from the Prayer Warrior from late last week…


Dear Prayer Warrior,

Please pray for me as I fly into Denver Colorado this morning returning this evening. I will be taping a documentary on my life and testimony. It will be a 4 hour long interview, pray that it will go well, for stamina, and that God will give me the words use for the greatest impact for those who will hear and see it. Also pray for safety during my flights, as it will be a long day.

Pastor Hutch

August 10, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Thank you for praying for the filming of the documentary yesterday. It was an absolute praise to God on how much we got done in one day.

I am one of twelve people they are doing a mini-series on for secular TV. Pray that my life story would be used to bring glory to God and change many lives for His glory and that many people would be blessed by this project.

Your Pastor,

Today in Method-Acting All-Stars

posted by on August 13 at 10:29 AM

Got the Monday-morning blahs? Then enjoy the peerless pick-me-up provided by this YouTube clip, in which a young woman playing Helen Keller in a production of The Miracle Worker takes method acting to the extreme.

Thanks, Blogtown PDX!

The John Edwards Book Deal

posted by on August 13 at 10:18 AM

As The Politico reports, here is John Edwards on Rupert Murdoch:

“The time has come for Democrats to stop pretending to be friends with the very people who demonize the Democratic Party,” [Edwards] said recently in a statement that referred explicitly to Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman and CEO.

And here are still more details about that book deal between Edwards and Murdoch-controlled HarperCollins:

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards recently defended taking a lucrative book contract from a publisher controlled by Rupert Murdoch — whose News Corp. empire Edwards has sharply criticized — by insisting that “every dime” of his $500,000 advance went to charity.

Left unmentioned by Edwards, however, was that Murdoch’s HarperCollins paid portions of a $300,000 expense budget for the book to Edwards’s daughter and to a senior political aide, Jonathan Prince.

The Brutal Efficiency of the Chinese

posted by on August 13 at 10:16 AM

It was just two months ago that the world was up in arms about the tainted pet food, powdered milk, and toothpaste being exported from China. As the bad goods felled pets and instigated recalls across the U.S., I wondered, “How will we ever get justice for the international perpetrators of this fiasco?” I soon got my answer, as news spread of the execution of the former head of China’s State Food and Drug Administration.

Today brings word of a similarly crude solution to another Chinese problem, as the boss of a Chinese toy firm involved in a huge safety recall of lead paint-tainted toys preempted his execution by the state by killing himself.

Yes yes, capital punishment and suicide are always wrong. Still, folks like Karl Rove could learn a thing or two about contrition from the Chinese…

The Leader of the Freeloading World

posted by on August 13 at 10:15 AM

John Kerry may look like a Frenchman, but George W. Bush vacations like one.

On Thursday, Bush left for a weekend in Kennebunkport, Maine, and his family’s summer compound, Walker’s Point. On Monday, he heads to his Crawford retreat, where he has spent all or part of 418 days of his presidency, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS News White House correspondent and meticulous record-keeper….

The presidential vacation-time record holder is the late Ronald Reagan, who tallied 436 days in his two terms. At 418 days, and with 17 months to go in his presidency, Bush is going to beat that easily.

Even so, this year’s August vacation for Bush is a contrast to previous years such as 2005, when he dragged out vacation in Texas to five weeks. That was also the year Bush remained on vacation immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit….

Bush, on his 10th visit to Kennebunkport as president (according to Knoller), is scheduled for lunch Saturday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Indeed, on the issue of vacation, at least, Bush is much like a pleasure-seeking Frenchman. According to, French workers get about 39 days off a year and generally take all but one.

The Hunt for Rove Continues

posted by on August 13 at 10:06 AM

Karl Rove may be gone (as of Aug. 31), but Democrats plan to keep hunting him even after he leaves the White House.

Clinton’s First Television Ad

posted by on August 13 at 9:55 AM

“Invisible” will begin airing tomorrow in television markets across Iowa, says the Clinton campaign.

The ad looks to be pushing the softer side of Clinton in Iowa, where a recent poll found her virtually tied with John Edwards. Until now, he had been leading the Democratic field in that influential early-caucus state.

O They Will Know We Are Christians By…

posted by on August 13 at 9:40 AM

…the Jesus fish sticker on our bumper and the 15 year-old girl we’re dragging behind our van.

Arrest warrants have been issued for two officials at a Christian boot camp accused of dragging a 15-year-old girl behind a van after she fell behind during a morning run, authorities said.

Charles Eugene Flowers and Stephanie Bassitt of San Antonio-based Love Demonstrated Ministries, a 32-day boot camp, face aggravated assault charges in the June 12 incident. The two are accused of tying the girl to the van with a rope, then dragging her.

UPDATE: Looks like we can add this teen-dragged-behind-van story to our “Youth Pastor Watch” series…

Investigators said that a San Antonio preacher has been arrested, after a 15-year-old girl from Floresville, claimed she was abused while at a Christian boot camp in Banquete. According to an arrest affidavit, the teenage girl was injured, when the camp director and another camp employee, tied her up to the back of a van and then dragged her along a dirt road.

Friday morning, Nueces County authorities arrested both the camp director and one camp employee in San Antonio. His name is Charles Eugene Flowers. According to a Web site for the Christian boot camp, or CBC, he spent 12 years in the Air Force before he started the boot camp up in 1995.

All the while, Flowers also served as the youth pastor of Faith Outreach International Church in San Antonio.

Dick Cheney on Iraq

posted by on August 13 at 9:30 AM

Man, I should have listened to early ’90s Dick Cheney, not early ’00s.

What’s the Matter With Wallingford?

posted by on August 13 at 9:06 AM

So I rode through Gasworks on Saturday night, shortly before guest started arriving for the super-duper-top-secret, splashed-all-over-every-newspaper-and-blog-in-town party. I rode right through security somehow—not intentionally, it’s just that no one asked me to stop—and quickly ran into Someone I Knew (SIK). SIK kindly escorted me from the closed section of the park, groused about his crack security detail, and told me in confidence just who was celebrating what.

SIK also told me that, just a few moments before I breached security, a Wallingford resident—one of the with-friends-like-these-who-needs-enemies “friends” of Gasworks Park—had treated him to a screaming fit. SIK told this “friend” of Gasworks that parks all over the city can be rented for weddings, and the “friend” of Gasworks insisted that his wasn’t the case, that it was theft, that it was a public park and what SIK and his crew were doing was illegal, blah blah BLAH.

Most of the park was open to the public, including a large lawn right next to the spot where the tents were set-up—the perfect spot to watch the fireworks display later that night.

I took my son’s dog for a walk after I got home from my party-crashin’ bike ride… and what do you know? There was a wedding in Volunteer Park the same night. Most of the lawn in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum was covered by a huge white tent. That lawn not only has the best views of the Space Needle and the reservoir, but it also happens to be my son’s dog’s favorite place to take a shit. I noticed that a couple of other dog walkers—park regulars, always fully clothed—nearby; apparently that lawn is a favorite for lots of neighborhood dogs. The best man was giving a speech about the lucky couple—when they met, when he first realized it was serious, how nervous the groom was the first time he met his future in-laws. The folks with dogs standing outside the tent joined in the applause at the end of the speech, and then strolled off to find other places for their dogs to crap.

No one screamed “theft!,” and no one threatened to sue. Everyone in the neighborhood seemed genuinely happy for the couple. The next day we got our park back, no harm done.

The Morning News

posted by on August 13 at 7:25 AM

Turd Blossom: Karl Rove has resigned, effective at the end of the month.

First Man Out: Tommy Thompson has dropped his presidential bid after a poor showing in the Iowa straw poll.

The Shaft: Attempts to rescue trapped miners in Utah continue.

What Is, Dead?: Merv Griffin, creator of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, has passed away at the age of 82.

The Price of Safety: It’s getting more and more expensive to keep all our fancy security gadgets at the ready.

Getting Rear-Ended: I-5 officially an absolute clusterfuck beginning today.

The Truth Shall Set Them Free: Seattle Sonics always headed out of town, one of the team’s owners tells an Oklahoma City reporter.

Lost and Found: A local lost hiker story with a happy ending.

The Great Gas Works Mystery Party of 2007: Covered here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and, uh, here.

And finally: A little Gerry Anderson weirdness to start your morning.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Correcting the Record

posted by on August 12 at 2:45 PM

God damn The New York Times is strapping today: A long overdue front-page article on the failures in Afghanistan; a major editorial on America’s inadequate health care system; a titillating NYT Magazine cover story “Can This Marriage Be Saved? A Year in the life of a couples-therapy group”; a lead book review on Harry Potter by Christopher Hitchens?!; and the Arts&Leisure section kicks off with an essay on my favorite movie ever Bonnie & Clyde.

However, it’s actually an article from yesterday’s New York Times that got clipped out and put on my fridge. Rock and Roll historian Peter Guralnick weighs in with: “How Did Elvis Ever Get Turned Into a Racist?”

I’m a big fan of the Rock & Roll era—late 40s “Race Records” right up through Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly—but man, I’ve never dug Elvis. Mostly because he seemed schmaltzy and pre-fab and mainstream. And yes, because I associated Elvis Presley with cultural thievery. I think I’ve relayed this story on Slog before, but back when I was a super odd-ball, I used to write the word ‘racist’ on those Elvis stamps that came out in the early 90s (?) before mailing letters.

Anyway, I liked being set straight by yesterday’s editorial which was published in honor of the 30th anniversary of Elvis’s death (this Thursday, August 16.)

Here’s some of Guralnick’s piece:

It was what he believed, it was what his music had stood for from the start: the breakdown of barriers, both musical and racial. This is not, unfortunately, how it is always perceived 30 years after his death, the anniversary of which is on Thursday. When the singer Mary J. Blige expressed her reservations about performing one of his signature songs, she only gave voice to a view common in the African-American community. “I prayed about it,” she said, “because I know Elvis was a racist.”

And yet, as the legendary Billboard editor Paul Ackerman, a devotee of English Romantic poetry as well as rock ’n’ roll, never tired of pointing out, the music represented not just an amalgam of America’s folk traditions (blues, gospel, country) but a bold restatement of an egalitarian ideal. “In one aspect of America’s cultural life,” Ackerman wrote in 1958, “integration has already taken place.”

It was due to rock ’n’ roll, he emphasized, that groundbreaking artists like Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, who would only recently have been confined to the “race” market, had acquired a broad-based pop following, while the music itself blossomed neither as a regional nor a racial phenomenon but as a joyful new synthesis “rich with Negro and hillbilly lore.”

No one could have embraced Paul Ackerman’s formulation more forcefully (or more fully) than Elvis Presley.

Asked to characterize his singing style when he first presented himself for an audition at the Sun recording studio in Memphis, Elvis said that he sang all kinds of music — “I don’t sound like nobody.” This, as it turned out, was far more than the bravado of an 18-year-old who had never sung in public before. It was in fact as succinct a definition as one might get of the democratic vision that fueled his music, a vision that denied distinctions of race, of class, of category, that embraced every kind of music equally, from the highest up to the lowest down.

It was, of course, in his embrace of black music that Elvis came in for his fiercest criticism. On one day alone, Ackerman wrote, he received calls from two Nashville music executives demanding in the strongest possible terms that Billboard stop listing Elvis’s records on the best-selling country chart because he played black music. He was simply seen as too low class, or perhaps just too no-class, in his refusal to deny recognition to a segment of society that had been rendered invisible by the cultural mainstream.

“Down in Tupelo, Mississippi,” Elvis told a white reporter for The Charlotte Observer in 1956, he used to listen to Arthur Crudup, the blues singer who originated “That’s All Right,” Elvis’s first record. Crudup, he said, used to “bang his box the way I do now, and I said if I ever got to the place where I could feel all old Arthur felt, I’d be a music man like nobody ever saw.”

It was statements like these that caused Elvis to be seen as something of a hero in the black community in those early years. In Memphis the two African-American newspapers, The Memphis World and The Tri-State Defender, hailed him as a “race man” — not just for his music but also for his indifference to the usual social distinctions. In the summer of 1956, The World reported, “the rock ’n’ roll phenomenon cracked Memphis’s segregation laws” by attending the Memphis Fairgrounds amusement park “during what is designated as ‘colored night.’”

An Elvis footnote from Seattle also came to light this week.

The Jackass Mormon Vs. The Dieting Christian

posted by on August 12 at 12:30 PM

So. The Iowa Straw Poll. Every major news story seems to be straining itself trying to prove that the results mean absolutely nothing, but that’s not exactly true, because if you read further down any news page, you’ll find a secondary story with a headline that goes something like: “blah-blah-blah-Huckabee-blah-blah-Surprise.”

This is some dangerous shit.

It’s dangerous because Mike Huckabee is a terrifically underestimated force in the Republican race. I’ve been scared of him since the very beginning, and I think he’s going nowhere but up after being declared First Loser to Romney yesterday.

Why did Huckabee come in second in Iowa? Well, besides the Elvis impersonator and the (by all accounts) barn-burner of a speech he made right before the polling, I think that maybe some good-old-fashioned religious intolerance helped him out.

Huckabee’s got a history of slyly using religious intolerance as a weapon. And since everyone was positive that Romney had bought the straw poll, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of Iowa Christians were getting a little nervous that a Mormon was going to hijack their Family Values Party. And so Huckabee didn’t have to spend money that he didn’t have on the straw poll: Christians were going to spend it themselves.

And it’s obvious that Huckabee is the only Red-State-Jesus-approved candidate: he’s a goddamned baptist minister, for Christ’s sake. He doesn’t believe in evolution, every other word out of his mouth is a prayer of some sort, and he’s not creepy like Brownback or any of the other fear-mongering jellyfish in the Republican race.
The big question is: what does he do with this win? If he’s smart—and that’s a big if—he’ll get a really good second-hand man. This Rove-in-training will then convince the Huckster to downplay the religious stuff for a while. What will he replace it with? Cogent policies? The strength of his convictions? Of course not. Be serious. The drum that Huckabee should start relentlessly banging on is his diet book. I’m convinced that the majority of people don’t elect politicians for who they are; they elect them for the stories that they tell. And, as US Weekly and People Magazine prove week after week, America loves a good diet story. The fat guy who gets thin—especially with a twelve-step plan that he created—and then starts a rock band is the kind of guy that a lot of Americans will want to have a beer with. And you know the kind of trouble that hypothetical beer can cause.

After my cocktail hour with Republicans, I’m not convinced that Romney is going to come out on top—Giuliani still seems to be their man, albeit half-assedly—but Huckabee, with this kind of a platform, can do some serious name-making. We’ve all been so busy laughing at the Republicans that we’ve forgotten the Christians. I expect to see much more from Huckabee in the coming months, and I don’t think I’m going to like one goddamned bit of it.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 12 at 11:00 AM

Eddie Izzard (THEATER) Long before he was spicing up such Hollywood fare as Ocean’s 39 or whatever installment they’re up to, British actor Eddie Izzard made an international name for himself as the world’s preeminent history-obsessed heterosexual transvestite comedic solo performer. This weekend at Seattle Rep, Izzard returns to his roots, with two performances of his new solo show, Work in Progress. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. 8 pm, $50.) DAVID SCHMADER
See what else is happening in Theater on Sunday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!