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Archives for 10/14/2007 - 10/20/2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Little Help?

posted by on October 20 at 6:38 PM

Can somebody who speaks Japanese please tell me what in THE hell this video is about? Bathing suits? Hot springs? Lesbianism? Bonkew?

The Stranger News Hour. 710 KIRO

posted by on October 20 at 5:40 PM

This week’s installment should be rowdy. We’ll be talking about: Venus Velazquez’s DUI and our call to Vote No on the $17.8 billion roads and transit measure. Also: More fall out from Richard McIver’s arrest, Dave Reichert’s limp fund raising, and all those other endorsements we made.

Tune in tonight @ 7pm.

Values Voters Summit

posted by on October 20 at 3:57 PM

Guiliani and McCain were bitch slapped at this weekend’s Values Voters Summit. Via TPM:

1. Mitt Romney … 27.62 %

2. Mike Huckabee … 27.10 %

3. Ron Paul … 14.98%

4. Fred Thompson … 9.77 %

5. Sam Brownback … 5.14 %

6. Duncan Hunter … 2.42 %

7. Tom Tancredo … 2.30 %

8. Rudy Giuliani … 1.85 %

9. John McCain … 1.40 %

The religious right clearly hates Giuliani—but they hate McCain a little bit more. So it looks like sucking up to George W. Bush, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, et all, has gotten John McCain precisely nowhere. Take the knee pads off already, John, they never suited you.

John McKay’s Revenge

posted by on October 20 at 3:57 PM

The Spokesman Review has the story: disgraced and resigned U.S. AG Alberto Gonzales may face criminal prosecution for firing Western Washington U.S. attorney John McKay:

The U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month, the fired former U.S. attorney for Western Washington told a Spokane audience Friday.

His refusal to open a federal criminal investigation into voter fraud allegations in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s razor-thin victory over Republican challenger Dino Rossi in 2004 may be the reason he was fired, John McKay told the Federal Bar Association.

McKay said he was summoned to Washington, D.C., in June and questioned for eight hours about possible reasons for his firing by investigators with the Office of Inspector General, who will forward their final report to Congress.

“My best guess is it will be released sometime next month,’’ and likely will include recommendations for criminal prosecutions of Gonzales and maybe others, McKay said.

Gonzales “lied about” reasons for the firings when questioned under oath in July by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now has hired a lawyer and is refusing to answer questions from the Inspector General, McKay said.

Merci, PS.

The Phantom Crochet-er of Capitol Hill

posted by on October 20 at 3:44 PM

…strikes again. Seen on a park bench in Cal Anderson this afternoon:


Similar “urban cozies” had been spotted previously on sign posts and bike racks and often disappeared within a few days. This park bench cozy was probably applied recently.

College Republicans’ Goals Dovetail with Anti-War Left

posted by on October 20 at 2:19 PM

Today’s Seattle Times has an article on Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. The UW College Republicans are local sponsors for the events that are taking place at about 100 colleges across the country this week.

The UW College Republicans, organizer of the local events, say the week is intended to foster awareness of the terrorist threat posed by a small number of extremists within Islam.

The Web site includes suggested campus activities such as holding sit-ins outside women’s studies departments to protest “the silence of feminists over the oppression of women in Islam” and holding a memorial service for the “victims of Islamo-Fascist violence around the world.”

“What we’re going to be focusing more on specifically is the terrorist threat,” said Auggie Eck, vice president of UW College Republicans.

Certainly, I can understand why Muslims might be wary of such an event:

Amin Odeh, a board member with the local Arab American Community Coalition, … says Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week makes too general a link between extremism and Islam, and that the term “Islamo-fascism” links fascism with an entire religion.

And I’m sure it doesn’t ease Odeh’s fears that the headline after the jump in the newsprint article is: “Terrorism.”

But here’s the larger fucking point about this event that actually pisses me off: You know who needs Islamo-Fascism awareness week the most: The Bush Administration.

The Bush administration has spent nearly $450 billion on the Iraq war—a four-year misadventure that has nothing to do with Islamo-Fascism. Bush forgot all about al Qaeda and the actual war on Islamo-Fascism five years ago when he focused America’s resources on a bizarre, ill-informed invasion of Iraq. America was poised to capitalize on our victory over the Taliban and Islamo-fascism in Afghanistan, when unawares, Bush shambled into Iraq.

The College Republicans should team up with anti-Iraq war students and demand that America get some Islamo-Fascism awareness and get out of Iraq and get back to Afghanistan and western Pakistan—where al Qaeda regrouped while we were busy wasting precious time and money in Baghdad.

Good Idea? Or Stunt?

posted by on October 20 at 12:55 PM

Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Barbara residents are being urged to switch off their lights for one hour on Saturday in the first such organized bid in the United States to promote energy saving.

Much of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Los Angeles International Airport will go dark between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., apart from essential safety lighting. Lights in city buildings will be switched off and millions of residents in the three cities are being asked to follow suit.

The Lights Out campaign in California follows similar initiatives in Sydney, Australia; London, England; and Paris, France earlier this year. California organizers said they planned a nationwide U.S. event in March 2009.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said that if all of its 1.4 million customers turned off their lights for an hour, enough energy could be saved to power 2,500 homes for an entire year.

Bush Deserves It! Says FOX Pundit Mort Kondracke

posted by on October 20 at 11:40 AM

Morte Kondracke tasers Bush on the SCHIP bill.

It’s almost perfect—he calls Bush out for lying at the 2004 GOP convention.

I say “almost” because Kondracke fudges Bush’s approval ratings. He’s got him in the 30s. Wishful thinking. Try 24.

One Person’s Upload is Another Person’s Download

posted by on October 20 at 11:16 AM

Yesterday, I posted a conservative critique of Net neutrality. I agreed with the article for a half a second, but then I came to my senses.

Their analogy (that the Net is like a newspaper that can prioritize content as it sees fit) falls flat because the Net isn’t like one newspaper. The Net is more like the public library, where I can find every newspaper equally displayed on the shelves. And that’s the point of Net neutrality: The Net is a public resource that should not be used to discriminate against content.

The private companies that profit from operating this public resource, should not be able to discriminate against content providers.

According to an uncharacteristically opinionated and investigative-style story that broke in the AP yesterday, Comcast—the nation’s No. 2 internet provider—in an apparent effort to curb file sharing, is discriminating on the Net.

Here’s the AP lead:

NEW YORK - Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

The interference, which The Associated Press confirmed through nationwide tests, is the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider. It involves company computers masquerading as those of its users.

If widely applied by other ISPs, the technology Comcast is using would be a crippling blow to the BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella file-sharing networks. While these are mainly known as sources of copyright music, software and movies, BitTorrent in particular is emerging as a legitimate tool for quickly disseminating legal content.

The principle of equal treatment of traffic, called “Net Neutrality” by proponents, is not enshrined in law but supported by some regulations. Most of the debate around the issue has centered on tentative plans, now postponed, by large Internet carriers to offer preferential treatment of traffic from certain content providers for a fee.

And as I said, the must-read article is uncharacteristic for the AP. It truth-squads Comcast’s sound bites and makes the case for Net neutrality. Here’s a sample:

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable TV operator and No. 2 Internet provider, would not specifically address the practice, but spokesman Charlie Douglas confirmed that it uses sophisticated methods to keep Net connections running smoothly.

“Comcast does not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent,” he said.

Douglas would not specify what the company means by “access” — Comcast subscribers can download BitTorrent files without hindrance. Only uploads of complete files are blocked or delayed by the company, as indicated by AP tests.

But with “peer-to-peer” technology, users exchange files with each other, and one person’s upload is another’s download. That means Comcast’s blocking of certain uploads has repercussions in the global network of file sharers.

Comcast’s technology kicks in, though not consistently, when one BitTorrent user attempts to share a complete file with another user.

Each PC gets a message invisible to the user that looks like it comes from the other computer, telling it to stop communicating. But neither message originated from the other computer — it comes from Comcast. If it were a telephone conversation, it would be like the operator breaking into the conversation, telling each talker in the voice of the other: “Sorry, I have to hang up. Good bye.”

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on October 20 at 11:00 AM


‘Misuse Liable to Prosecution’ at On the Boards

The set is like a giant utility closet—too many brooms, a hammock woven out of extension cords, and clumps of clothes hangers drooping like wisteria from the ceiling. Nothing in this piece by New York choreographer John Jasperse could be bought; it’s all found or stolen. The gimmick is good and the dance is soft and hypnotic, a corporeal white noise punctuated by occasional hysteria: a little slam dancing, some comical folding and unfolding of blue jeans. With live musical accompaniment by electric harpist Zeena Parkins and some bagpipers. (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 8 pm, $24.)


“We Are the Watchmen on the Walls”

posted by on October 20 at 9:07 AM

I drove up to the opening of the Watchmen on the Walls convention in Lynnwood last night. I’ll be writing more about it for next week’s Stranger, but for now, here’s part of a statement that co-founder Scott Lively read to the group in response to all the media attention:

We are the Watchmen on the Walls.

We are a global coalition of men and women of every race, color and nationality who believe in the superiority of the natural family and marriage between one man and one woman.

We are against cohabitation, divorce, abortion, adultery and other behaviors that weaken the marriage-based society on which civilization depends. But we are especially focused against homosexuality, because those who practice this self-destructive vice, and have organized themselves into a political movement, are the chief enemies of the natural family.

We do not promote or condone violence.

We do not apologize for opposing homosexuality because it is morally, physically, psychologically and socially wrong, unnatural and harmful. This is self-evident to the vast majority of the citizens of the world, whom we represent.

Notice how the statement against violence is sandwiched between statements describing homosexuals as “enemies of the natural family” and as people who are “morally, physically, psychologically and socially wrong, unnatural and harmful.”

This reminded me of something I noticed when writing about a gay-bashing that occurred in Seattle in 2004. In that attack three young Russian-speaking evangelicals from Bellingham assautled a gay man near Capitol Hill on gay pride weekend, taunting him, kicking him, and stabbing him with a broken vodka bottle. They were later convicted of a hate crime. I spent a long time exploring how the messages these three young men received from their community and church had affected their behavior.

For my story, God Was With Them, I talked to a Russian-community religious leader in Bellingham:

Walter Ilyan, a respected religious leader in Bellingham’s Russian and Ukrainian community… [told me] that their community believes in a literal reading of the Bible: “The church says God destroyed Sodom because of them.” Could a person taught this in church then come to think it was fine, even God’s will, to harm gay people? “No,” says Ilyan, because the same Bible “tells us to love our enemies and to preach the gospel.”

This idea, commonly expressed as hating the sin and loving (as a means of hopefully converting) the sinner, was echoed by the member of Slavic Baptist who asked not to be named: “It’s in the Bible, and it says they beat gays or lesbians or something with rocks. But it also says somewhere that we’re not supposed to take matters into our own hands.”

The line between intolerance and incitement is approached, but not overtly crossed.

“According to the Bible,” Ilyan told me, “[being gay is] an abomination—That person is going to be damned forever.”

“But,” he added, “we teach our children no fighting.”

I also talked to Thomas Olmstead, the evangelical lawyer who represented the young men during their trial in King County Superior Court:

One day during the trial, I pulled Olmstead aside after court and asked whether his client’s religion had anything to do with the attack. With all three defendants choosing not to testify, their beliefs weren’t getting much airtime in court. Olmstead told me he’d never talked to Samusenko about that, which seemed hard to believe. We kept talking about Evangelicals, homosexuality, and the Bible, and at one point Olmstead took my notepad and began drawing a bell curve to demonstrate to me that gay people aren’t normal. It wasn’t much of a point; everyone knows that gay people are not, statistically speaking, normal.

But I sensed an opportunity. I suggested to Olmstead that we let the bell curve instead represent all Evangelicals who, like him, believe that homosexuality is an abhorrent sin. Given that Evangelicals are such a large group, I wondered, isn’t it inevitable that a certain percentage of them, however small, will focus more on hating the sin than on loving the sinner, and will find themselves inclined toward violence against homosexuals?

He conceded that yes, this was probably inevitable.

I asked whether that might not then be a cause for reevaluating parts of the Evangelical belief system.

“No,” he said. “Not at all. The belief system is fine.”

This morning the Everett Herald notes that even Scott Lively, the Watchmen co-founder who sandwiched that anti-violence message into his statement last night, has apparently had trouble restraining himself from violence:

A court in 1991 ordered Lively to pay $20,000 to a lesbian photojournalist he was accused of dragging by the hair through the halls of a Portland church, according to the [Southern Poverty Law Center].

Later this morning Redmond Pastor Ken Hutcherson addresses the group. I’ll be there to hear what he says.

Morning News

posted by on October 20 at 9:04 AM

posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

Myanmar: Curfew lifted.

Doctor recommended: FDA supports ban of children’s over-the-counter cold medicine.

Under the banner of heaven: Social conservatives still not happy.

Under the banner of heaven part II: With Brownback gone, social conservatives flock to Thompson.

Seattle becoming football town: Police give tailgating a pass.

Murder: Father of four shot in White Center.

Dumbledore = Gay

posted by on October 20 at 2:03 AM

Harry Potter fans, the rumors are true: Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay. J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling fantasy series that ended last summer, outed the beloved character Friday night while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall.

After reading briefly from the final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” she took questions from audience members.

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds “true love.”

“Dumbledore is gay,” the author responded to gasps and applause.

Quip away.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eye Sores

posted by on October 19 at 9:16 PM

Do you live in or near a butt-ugly condo/townhouse development? Y’know, one that reallllllly doesn’t fit into the neighborhood. Where’s it at? We want to know.

Conversely, do you live near or in a beautiful development? Where’s it at? We want to know.

Leave a comment or send me an email.

Re: Living in Heaven

posted by on October 19 at 5:50 PM

The taller the condo, the closer to God. At least, for some readers of Alaska Airlines’ hilarious in-flight magazine. It talks about Seattle as a city you’ve never seen: It’s a city that charts locations by proximity to the Pike Place Market; it’s a city that loathes rock and adores opera; it’s a city of steakhouses.

In Seattle, everybody owns a luxury condo.

Of the 17 ads for unbuilt developments, the largest is a 16-page matte-finish advertising section titled “New Urbanism,” which lures jet setters to the 1 Hotel & Residences with the schmaltziest copy ever written: “Seattleites instinctively have the need for balance in their lives,” and, “Not simply the concept of a privileged few, Seattle has created and is motivated by a common ground with many voices.”

Still a hole in the ground at Second Ave and Pine St, the 23-story “1” will apparently embody new urbanism by containing residential units, a spa, and a restaurant… all in one fortification.


Here’s the selling point: The environmental footprint of the condos is a women’s size 2, so empty nesters can, with a clear conscience, buy a condo (for $1 million to $5 million) that they use only two months a year. They’ll have similar company on Second Avenue.

Continue reading "Re: Living in Heaven" »

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on October 19 at 5:30 PM

Tons of stuff opening this week—and we’re ramping up into quality cinema season, so there’s a lot worth paying attention to.

In a crowded On Screen lineup, we’ve got reviews of three winners right off the bat: My Kid Could Paint That (Jen Graves says it’s “the most honest, direct movie about the dark side of art that I’ve ever seen”), Gone Baby Gone (Andrew Wright: “Ben Affleck’s adaptation of the [novel] absolutely nails the dismount, keeping the book’s thorny sense of morality while adding a living, breathing Boston atmosphere that most veteran directors would be proud of”), Ryan Gosling in Lars and the Real Girl (Lindy West points out that “Lars doesn’t want to exploit [his sex doll] Bianca, and Lars and the Real Girl doesn’t want to exploit Lars.”)


The list wraps up with 30 Days of Night (Andrew Wright says: “Impressive as the episodes of full-blown splatter are, it’s the quieter moments, such as an insta-classic extended overhead tracking shot of the town under siege, that make you kind of sort of wish that they had never flicked off the theater’s house lights”), Things We Lost in the Fire (Andrew Wright again: “The film has yet to be made that fully does justice to Benicio Del Toro’s alien transmissions, but director Susanne Bier comes awfully close”), a cartoon The Ten Commandments (Lindy West: “the animation fell out of 1995’s butthole”), the torture thriller Rendition (Jeff Kirby says it “could be celebrated solely for the fact that it’s a political thriller that actually has something relevant to say about politics”), and finally, the hit-and-run drama Reservation Road (Andrew Wright again—yes, I overworked him this week—says it “fails to make much of an impression”).

In amusing but pointless film publicist news, I received a press release regarding Lars and the Real Girl earlier this week. It said, in part,

Hello, I need to let you know that one of the images from the Sidney Kimmel Entertainment film LARS AND THE REAL GIRL has been removed from the press site and the studio would like it removed from circulation completely. The photo is the shot of LARS and the “pink bowling ball.” Essentially, the studio is asking that this image NOT be used in ANY opening day reviews or breaks.

What it so dangerous about the “pink bowling ball”? Well, I’ve been banned from showing you (though, curiously, the image has not been removed from the press site), but you can find it over at MSNBC. The bowling ball is so pink. So subversive. So mysterious. I’ve become obsessed.

There’s also lots worth checking out in this week’s limited runs. I love the sweet, smart Blame It on Fidel and defend the abortion closeups in the (overall mediocre) Lake of Fire. The microcinema series Independent Exposure has a Halloween showcase next Wednesday at Central Cinema. I’m intrigued by the “cinema of transgression” doc at Grand Illusion. There are small festivals for Vietnamese and Taiwanese cinema at the UW. Robert Horton is doing one of his fabulous Magic Lantern talks on David Cronenberg. Landmark is starting its Wednesday director series with Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo at the Metro. Northwest Film Forum is doing an evening with renowned avant-garde landscape filmmaker (and father of Sadie Benning) James Benning. And the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival continues with a boatload of queer titles (check under SLGFF). Enjoy!

Living in Heaven

posted by on October 19 at 4:36 PM

I’m in a cafe on Lummi Island. Bob Marley is playing on the stereo. The chorus of his song: “Think you are in heaven/But you are living in hell.” The subject of the song, a rich person, believes he/she is in a rosy situation, but in actuality he/she is living in the mud. The problem with Marley’s assertion? If you believe you are living heaven, and live like you are heaven, you are in heaven. If you believe you are poor, and live like you are poor, you are poor. Condemning the rich for living like the rich is empty. luxury has always been an illusion.

Speaking of Race Politics…

posted by on October 19 at 4:22 PM

People were a lot more enlightened in the 1970s … or at least less uptight.

Remember the whole big deal about the first black coach to win a super bowl thing earlier this year— which I bitched about at the time.

Well, this little history lesson from the 1970s puts all the self-congratulatory, self-conscious (and doth protest too much) Super Bowl ‘41 hype in perspective. Once upon a time, people didn’t feel compelled to posture about this stuff.

Dig me some 1975:

Courtesy, Bullets Forever.

To Bitch or Not to Bitch

posted by on October 19 at 3:59 PM

Our on-line endorsement for Seattle School Board in District 2 (north of the Montlake cut around Greenlake) reads like this:

…the incumbents—the two who chose to run again, anyway—are likely to get massacred this November. That’s a lucky break for one challenger, Sherry Carr, who the SECB thinks is an overrated PTSA mom who stumbled on our basic questions about high-profile issues like intelligent design and student free speech. Incumbent Darlene Flynn is kind of a bruiser, but that’s exactly why we think she needs to stay on the board. Flynn is a stickler with budgets and hyper about racial disparities and most importantly she’s willing to bring a necessary brusqueness to the board’s retarded bimonthly meetings. We want change on the board too, but we also think the board would benefit from an anchor like Flynn. Vote Flynn.

I’m highlighting this endorsement for two reasons.

1) Of all the races for school board, this one is paramount. The board must retain Flynn. There’s a throw-the-bums-out mood when it comes to school board right now (thanks to the no-win school closure situation). But Flynn doesn’t deserve to be booted (and by the way, her opponent, Sherry Carr, stands by the closures, just as Flynn does.)

Meanwhile, Flynn is largely responsible for some key successes in recent years: Shoring up the once-shaky-budget ($30 million deficit to a $20 million reserve); hiring a focused district Academic Chief, Carla Santorno; and getting rid of Raj Manhas and hiring a new super, Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

Flynn has helped set the board right, and voters would jeopardize the momentum of reform and undermine the board’s ability to keep a sharp focus on fixing racial disparities in the district if they recklessly booted her.

2. The print endorsement reads like this:

…the incumbents—the two who chose to run again, anyway—are likely to get massacred this November. That’s a lucky break for one challenger, Sherry Carr, who the SECB thinks is an overrated PTSA mom who stumbled on our basic questions about high-profile issues like intelligent design and student free speech. Incumbent Darlene Flynn is kind of a bitch, but that’s exactly why we think she needs to stay on the board. Flynn is a stickler with budgets and hyper about racial disparities and most importantly she’s willing to bring a necessary brusqueness to the board’s retarded bimonthly meetings. We want change on the board too, but we also think the board would benefit from an anchor like Flynn. Vote Flynn.

I got several outraged e-mails and calls (from Flynn supporters over that original endorsement.)

Here’s a sample:

I just finished reading your endorsement of School Board Director Darlene Flynn with dismay and outrage! With friends like this, who needs enemies? How is it possible, in this day and age, that grown folks who identify themselves as progressives would think that it is okay (or funny?) to call a highly accomplished, articulate, professional, and duly elected public official a ‘bitch’? What’s next? ‘Nappy headed ho?’ Director Flynn is a black woman who has worked hard for the last 29 years serving this city and her community. The value of Darlene’s vocal advocacy for women’s rights, access to educational opportunity, strong neighborhoods and civil liberties was trivialized and diminished with your use of one word ‘bitch’. I am sad, that as much progress as women have made, strong, focused, intelligent and vocal women are still plastered with this label. If words didn’t matter, there would be no reason to publish your newspaper. And, careless words hurt much more than a stick ever would. Calling a woman a bitch is designed to put uppity women back in their place and has a chilling effect on women’s voices. When I was growing up, to be called a bitch was ‘fightin’ words.’ To women of my generation it is not funny or cute to be called a bitch. It is deeply insulting. And, I don’t want the women of the next generation to be trained that this is the norm. You need to print an apology — not just to Darlene but to all of the women in this community!

So, I decided to change it on-line from “bitch” to “bruiser.”

The SECB intended the word “bitch” in that “you bet she is you bastards” kind of way. Flynn stands up for what’s right and gets it done. Not to get all fancy, but it’s a Third Wave feminist reclamation thing—with its roots going all the way back to the Patti Smith 1970s and emerging full blown in the Riot Grrl ’90s—that’s pretty standard. Heck, there’s a feminist magazine that’s been out for ten years now called Bitch.

Additionally, as opposed to other thorny “reclamation” terms like “faggot” and “nigger,” “bitch” is actually a descriptive term. That is, we were saying Flynn is a bad ass. “Faggot” and “nigger” are simply derogatory nouns that don’t come with any sort of descriptive judgment other than pure hatred (in the literal sense) or pure irony (in the reclamation sense.) Bitch actually assigns some intelligible info. In a good way.

So, why change it to “bruiser?”

Because it means the same thing really, without wading into the convoluted sexist and racist minefield that paralyzes politics in this city. In short, I want Flynn to win. The “bitch” reference could have helped her opponents (who are playing the “bitch” card in a literal way on the campaign trail); and ultimately, as I said, it was an easy fix.

Moreover, I’m a white news editor at what’s perceived to be an elitist white paper. And while I’d like to stand by a brand of politics that’s okay calling a tough-as-nails female politician a “bitch,” I understand that it was an insensitive call to a lot people who support Flynn.

I support Flynn as well. And the bottom line is: You should vote for her.

Today on Line Out

posted by on October 19 at 3:40 PM

Pick a Winner: Happy Cold & Flu Season from Biz Markie

Tonight in Music: Benga & Hatcha, the Saturday Knights, Galactic, and Modeselektor

Worsts: Blender Magazine’s 40 Worst Lyricists Still Better Than Blender Magazine.

Jews? Jesus? Jews for Jesus?: The Other J Word: Jamband

Home Taping Still Killing the Music Industry: Boards of Canada’s A Few Old Tunes

Stay Classy: Slate on Sasha Frere-Jones, Race, and Class

Rest in Peace: Slim McCarroll

Podcasts: Resident Advisor, Setlist

Badgeless at CMJ: Stranger Intern Molly Hamilton vs CMJ’s Annual Clusterfuck Music Marathon

Magical: Muppets.

Lucky Charms: Trent Moorman’s Adam Rich Talisman

Closer to the Edit: The Hacienda’s Greg Wilson

A Rainy Night in SODO: Jonathan Zwickel on the Pogues


posted by on October 19 at 1:44 PM

That look!
_41888516_07tanmodels_afp.jpg I cant find words for that look.

This Year’s “Rate Hike Heidi”

posted by on October 19 at 1:40 PM

In the spirit of the “Rate Hike Heidi” web site and hit pieces that helped take down incumbent Heidi Wills in 2003, City Council member David Della has a new anti-Tim Burgess web site: (Awkward/confusing tag line: “Tim Burgess talks like he’s from the left, but acts like he’s from the right wing!”)

How it works: You hit a “button” that spins an image of Burgess’s head (shades of the spinning Wills “electric meter” heads from 2003) and brings up a “left wing statement” along with a “right wing action.” As the person who wrote many of the “right wing” examples Della’s consultant, Michael Grossman, used to make this web site, I obviously have concerns about Burgess’s lefty credentials. But the whole “Twister Tim” concept looks like a desperate attempt by Della to recapture the throw-the-bums-out sentiment that sent him to office in 2003. That doesn’t work when you’re one of the bums yourself. And if you’re going to trash your opponent—especially if you’re the incumbent—you damn sure better have an impressive record to back up your negative campaign. Being a seat-warmer for four years doesn’t cut it.

“The Lingering Concequences of National Socialism” or Thoughts on Science in Europe

posted by on October 19 at 1:30 PM


I’ve just returned from a week long trip to Germany (Düsseldorf and Dresden) for scientific meetings on stem cell research and regenerative medicine—the land of cheerful public artwork, amazing cab drivers and tear-inducing-good mass transit. How many hybrids did I see? Zero

Some thoughts:


Human embryonic stem cell research in Germany is under tight restrictions. It is a criminal offense to destroy an embryo—defined quite conservatively as a fertilized egg after the fusion of the sperm and egg pronuclei. No stem cell line created after January 1st 2002 may be used at all, with private or public funds. Nor can research in Germany encourage the destruction of embryos elsewhere. In contrast, while public funded research is restricted in the United States to lines created before August of 2001, with private funds one can do essentially anything. The Germany policy, while more restrictive, is at least ethically consistent.

The policy reflects underlying conflict in the Germany constitution, between requirements to respect human life and the independence of science. This duality is reflected in North Rhine Westphalia Stem Cell Network’s structure, combining both scientists and ethicists together in a cohesive program. As one of the local scientists delicately put it, “concerns over the lingering consequences of National Socialism cause conservatism on the use of human tissues in research.” Slowly, the policy is liberalizing.

The embryonic stem cell ‘debate’ in the United States, between absolutist scriptural moralists and absolutist libertarians, is distressingly silly and unserious in comparison. (I personally favor an approach modeled from solid organ transplantation, in which the creation and distribution of human embryonic stem cells should be strictly decommercialized and regulated by an independent agency. And, I work on a near-daily basis with human embryonic stem cells.) The asinine Bush policies have guaranteed we will not have a quality debate on this subject. For that, one must go to the country where, not so long ago, my relations were processed into candles, buttons and soap.



The universality of English in science was startling to experience firsthand. Deep within the former East Germany—where Russian still predominates over English as the second language for “political reasons in the past” as per my host—scientific talks are given in English, even when no native speakers are present. Without fluency in English, one cannot publish in the most widely read journals, attend the highest quality conferences, or even access the vast repositories of biological data available online.

Here is where the NIH’s budget (comparatively paltry to the military budget) really pays off. For the decades following World War II, the brightest minds in the world have been drawn here, studied in American Universities and occasionally settled in our country. Those who return home become powerful ambassadors for American policy and worldview in the highly influential technocratic class. After now experiencing this effect firsthand, I’d gladly drink George Marshall’s bathwater.

With our newly punitive immigration policies—everyone gets fingerprinted and eyeball scanned upon arriving, a deeply unwelcoming act—, startling xenophobia of many Americans and steady cuts of the NIH budget (in real dollar terms) might finally kill off this effect. We’re fools for risking it.

If this post was insufficiently wonky for you, please continue to my blog to read an even more detailed breakdown.

Everything’s Better with Sherry

posted by on October 19 at 1:27 PM

The 20th anniversary season of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ literary lecture series began at the beginning of this week with a talk by the Nobel Prize–winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, although before he came out there was some celebrating-the-organization’s-history to be done. Board president Kim Brown Seely and board member Lisa Verhovek asked audience members who had been longtime subscribers to stand. Lots of applause. Then there was a video projected onto a huge screen with the heads of lots of famous writers from series past (Toni Morrison’s head, Jeffrey Eugenides’s head, Sherman Alexie’s head, et al.) swooping into the distance to a stirring soundtrack. More applause. Then, since SAL is currently without a director, Sherry Prowda, SAL’s founder, came out to introduce Pamuk, and as soon as Prowda stepped onto the stage the crowd erupted into whoops and whistles and thunderous applause.

“What a wonderful, warm, warm reception,” Prowda said. She wore black boots and a black skirt and talked briefly about her memories of starting the organization in the late ’80s, especially the generosity and curiosity and intelligence of the audience. Then she answered frequently asked questions about past lecturers. “There were about three writers who made me cry, and they weren’t tears of joy.” Laughter. “There were five writers I wished would ask me to run off with them, but none of them did.” More laugher. There were also, she said, writers she always wanted to have the chance to introduce but never got to, and one of them was Orhan Pamuk, so tonight was very special, etc.

Then Pamuk came out and gave a not particularly exciting (Chris McCann disagrees) hour-long survey of the books he’s written and talked about the pleasures of literature and the person I came with, a poet, dozed off.

Then Prowda came back onstage to lead the Q&A and the room woke up again. As a moderator, Prowda has a presence, an alertness, and a not-obsequious intelligence that’s been sorely lacking in the lecture series lately. For her first question, she asked Pamuk to comment on the just-approved House resolution to call the Ottoman Turk’s 1915 killings of 1.5 million Armenians a genocide, and Pamuk said, “I was expecting a political question, but not so fast. Smart journalists at least ask an easy question first.


Prowda volleyed, “I’m not a journalist.”

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if Prowda came back to Seattle Arts & Lectures? Or at least if she conducted the lecture intros and Q&As every now and again? (The last time she’d introduced someone was Chinua Achebe in 1998.) At the reception afterward, board president Seely admitted that, watching the evening unfold, the same thought had occurred to her.

Forward Seattle For Velazquez?

posted by on October 19 at 1:15 PM

Forward Seattle—the pro-business PAC that formed earlier this year and planned to spend more than $100,000 on behalf of city council candidate Venus Velazquez—has already spent just over $56,000 on polling and direct mail. The group’s latest disclosure report at the city, dated October 12, includes an additional $45,000 the group estimates it will spend on direct mail to support Velazquez in the future. Forward Seattle was widely believed to have picked Velazquez in large part because, as a new PAC, they wanted to come out of the gate with a winner. (Velazquez steamrolled opponent Bruce Harrell in the primary.) Will Velazquez’s recent DUI arrest lead them to withdraw their support? I have a call in to Forward Seattle spokesman Joe Quintana to find out.

Shakedown in Chinatown?

posted by on October 19 at 1:05 PM

Hillary Clinton is going to be in Seattle on Monday, and in honor of her arrival, Peter Masundire, media director for Washington for Obama, forwarded me this LA Times story.

NEW YORK — Something remarkable happened at 44 Henry St., a grimy Chinatown tenement with peeling walls. It also happened nearby at a dimly lighted apartment building with trash bins clustered by the front door.

And again not too far away, at 88 E. Broadway beneath the Manhattan bridge, where vendors chatter in Mandarin and Fujianese as they hawk rubber sandals and bargain-basement clothes.

All three locations, along with scores of others scattered throughout some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate — Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton’s campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown.

What’s going on?

Clinton has enlisted the aid of Chinese neighborhood associations, especially those representing recent immigrants from Fujian province. The organizations, at least one of which is a descendant of Chinatown criminal enterprises that engaged in gambling and human trafficking, exert enormous influence over immigrants. The associations help them with everything from protection against crime to obtaining green cards.

Many of Clinton’s Chinatown donors said they had contributed because leaders in neighborhood associations told them to. In some cases, donors said they felt pressure to give.

And there’s more. Read the whole story here.

Too Transparent: Scion’s Insistent Efforts to Invade the Scene

posted by on October 19 at 12:45 PM

by Jamey Braden

This message tacked to BLVD Gallery’s door greeted me before I pushed my way into the packed crowd during last Friday’s opening of the Scion Art Installation Tour 4: It’s a Beautiful World:

“Please take note that you are entering into an event where you may be videotaped or photographed.


The notice foreshadowed the heavy-handedness that seemed to inform much of the art there. Scion is no master of subtlety, brazenly coopting youth culture in an aggressive attempt to win over the demographic. The labels identifying the art have no prices (the work will eventually be auctioned for charity)—they have Scion logos. That night there were Scion gift bags to take. There was sponsor-supplied Colt 45 to drink.

The show’s first strike against subtlety is Sage Vaughn’s Untitled (Bat and Bottle). A bat appliqued with warm, aged-looking butterfly cut-outs is weighted down by an explosion of rusty nails, redundantly juxtaposing battle and beauty. Still it manages to be sweetly dangerous, looking like something your great aunt could have made in a delusional vision of grand self-defense. But wait! It’s paired with a grungy 40-ouncer, as if the bat-butterfly dichotomy weren’t enough to beat the viewer over the head.

Yoskay Yamamoto’s Negai contains a delicate globe adorned with soft coral and goldenrod mossy-looking stuff, capped by a small, whole bonsai tree. It is a beautiful world, inventing a new season on a planet where the Little Prince might camp under soft pink pine needle tufts. But this pretty piece is anchored to an ogre, a 4-foot-tall roughhewn ghost/monster/statue THING that looks like, well, a sculpted turd.
I walked through the gallery continually beaten over the head with proto-metaphors of opposing forces and preachy messages like “hope” and “preserve habitat.” As I was about to exit, the sour taste in my mouth was slightly sweetened by the vibrant collage Wodabe Sundance by Kelsey Brooks. It is a mess of National Geographic-looking images, composed in post-iPod ad campaign fashion. Planted coolly on a large white canvas, exotic animals peg the corners of a spread-eagled lady centerpiece modestly restored by an explosive, bright pile of cross-cultural creatures, people, places, and foods.

And right next to it was Cody Hudson’s painting I’m Starting to Feel Better, a day-glo orange eruption of light bulbs, diamond shapes, and obsessive lines. It is a breath of fresh air. It feels personal. Neither its title nor its imagery tell me what to think or feel, yet thankfully, because of it, I am starting to feel better as I leave.

Drinky Quiz!

posted by on October 19 at 12:45 PM

This just in from Hot Tipper Nic:

Not a Hot Tip, but a question: Who does Last Days think would win a drink-off between Jane Hague, Richard McIver, and Venus Velazquez? Would the veteran McIver’s experience win the day, or has he started slipping after decades of overindulging? Would the stick up Jane’s butt keep her upright even when she blacks out? Would Venus’ youth allow her to keep drinking all night, or would she show her inexperience by slamming shots early in the night and end up under the table? Inquiring minds need to know.

Dear Nic: Thanks for writing. In answer to your question, Last Days has no idea. And so we’ll turn the question over the city at large.

NPR Listeners on Venus Velazquez

posted by on October 19 at 12:35 PM

A lot of callers wanted to talk about Venus Velzquez this morning when I was on KUOW’s Weekday. And a number of those callers seemed to be reconsidering their support for her in light of her DUI arrest.

Their concern launched us into a long discussion of politicians and illegal behavior, politicians and hypocrisy, and so on.

But for me the Velazquez issue is not about hypocrisy (I’m not sure what the hypocrisy would even be in this case) or even so much about the illegal behavior. It’s mainly about judgment. If you’re going to drive home while drunk, or while tipsy, it’s not very smart to do it a few weeks before you’re up for election to the City Council, and right at a time when alcohol-related allegations are swirling around another City Council memeber. That Velazquez would do so suggests a less-than-savvy political mind.

I suppose you could spin it another way and say that Velazquez is a risk-taker, and that this might be good for the council: Someone willing to break a few eggs, and a law or two, if need be. But I don’t think that’s how most people are seeing this.

In any case, here’s what I see as the biggest lesson of the Velazquez DUI imbroglio: The need for more light rail and better mass transit.

I’m being somewhat facetious here, but only somewhat. I mean, look at what it’s come to: Politicians are now getting DUIs because they can’t easily get home from a Ballard bar without driving!

If we’d started getting serious about light rail and mass transit years ago, maybe Velazquez could have hopped (or staggered) onto a train or a reliable bus (or even a monorail) to get home. That’s what a lot of responsible drinkers do in other big cities.

Venus Velazquez: A victim of her own bad judgment, sure, but also yet another victim of Seattle’s lack of good mass transit options.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on October 19 at 12:30 PM

Crackhead in the Courthouse: Bush appointee prosecutes drug charges over murder.

Winehouse in the Bighouse: Caught with pot.

The Gays: Popping four times more Viagra than the straights.

The Straights: Middle school under pressure to not dispense prescription birth control.

The Pregnant: Woman miscarries after Walgreens gives her chemo pills.

That $15 Billion “Counter-Narcoterrorism” Contract? Blackwater wants it.

That $8.5 Billion Counternarcotics Program in Mexico? Might be as effective as reducing cocaine in Colombia and opium in Afghanistan.

That Part About Saying You’re an Alcoholic? Ninth Circuit Court considers whether court-mandated NA and AA classes violate First Amendment.

That Part About Cruel and Unusual? Supremes put lethal injection in stasis.

To Whoever Was Playing the Piano in My Apartment Building During Yesterday’s Power Out

posted by on October 19 at 12:11 PM

Thank you. That was nice.

Your Sadness Is Drunk

posted by on October 19 at 11:58 AM

By the Ugandan-born artist Zarina Bhimji.


In other words, the Turner Prize show is up.

In related international-slash-award news:

1. I just finished Simon Schama’s 8-hour BBC documentary series The Power of Art.

Considering his scenery-chewing, his embarrassing pronouncements (of the bombing of the Spanish town, he declared dramatically, “Guernica had gone Cubist”), and the skin-crawling cheesiness of some of his historical recreations (a sweaty Caravaggio thrusting his sword into empty air comes to mind), the following should not be possible: I love Simon Schama. My feelings are not entirely in my control. Check it out for yourself: The series goes Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso, Rothko. (Schama is especially fun in the pre-modern period, so if you must choose, skip Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rothko.) (Note: The Netflix “long wait” is really only a couple of weeks.)

2. Wednesday the 52nd Venice Biennale announced its awards for this year’s show, which is ongoing into November. The only one I want to call out here is the Golden Lion given to an artist under age 40, which went to Palestinian-born Emily Jacir for her installation Material for a Film.

The work was an archive of an assassination—the assassination of Wael Zuaiter in 1972, one in a series of killings by Israeli agents of Palestinian intellectuals, artists, and writers. Included were letters, books, media accounts, and photographs, including the image below, of the copy of The Thousand and One Nights that Zuaiter had on him when he was killed; it was pierced by a bullet.



Ben’s Bear Feet

posted by on October 19 at 11:30 AM

Ben, my host while I visited Boston College yesterday, was wearing flip-flops when he picked me up at the airport yesterday. Since Flip-flops had recently come up in “Savage Love”—or “thong sandals,” as this particular flip-flop fetishist insisted on calling the objects of his affection—I couldn’t help but notice Ben’s flip-flops. I’m not into flip-flops myself, or feet, or hairy toes. But for those that appreciate any or all of the above, this picture is for you…


Point of clarificatin: Ben’s not really a bear—just his toes. And I wanted to include this photo in the post I wrote yesterday about arriving in Boston but for some reason—some sophisticated foot/flip-flop fetish spam filter?—it took 24 hours to arrive in my inbox.

Say Goodbye to Thriftko

posted by on October 19 at 11:11 AM

Local thrift chain Thriftko is on its way out. This week, employees at Thriftko’s Aurora location were told that the store would be closing this Sunday.

“They came in yesterday and gave us a 3 days notice,” one employee at the Aurora store told me this morning. “The lease is up or there’s back rent due, or something.”

Thriftko’s other store—in Greenwood—has been steadily liquidating their inventory since August, after becoming a “casualty of urban redevelopment,” and will also be closing soon.


I’ve got a call in to Thriftko’s management to find out what happened.

Photo by Sprizee via Flickr

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on October 19 at 11:00 AM

Club Night

Broken Disco at Chop Suey

Broken Disco just keeps getting better. This month, Berlin’s Modeselektor returns to Seattle supporting their sophomore record, Happy Birthday!. The last time the duo was here, they leveled Re-bar with their booming, bass-heavy mix of electro, dub, breaks, and techno. Tonight, they’re joined by Seattle’s own tech-house wizards Jacob London and DJs Recess and Introcut. In the lounge, dubstep ambassador Struggle will be joined by Nordic Soul and Electrosect. Speakers will blow, foundations will shake, legs will liquefy. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $12, 18+.)



Kim Jones as Mudman at Henry Art Gallery

In a performance in L.A. in 1978, Kim Jones covered himself in mud and sticks. With a machete from his tour in Vietnam, he hacked at eight beer cans symbolizing his maternal grandfather’s eight murderers, smeared himself with feces, hugged an uncomfortable audience member, and walked out the door. Because the structure he wore was too big for the door, it stuck there, trapping the audience. Tonight, Mudman will perform at the opening party of his retrospective at the Henry. I can’t wait. (Henry Art Gallery, 15th Ave NE and NE 41st St, 543-2280. 8 pm, $10.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • More Wisdom from the Watchmen on the Walls

    posted by on October 19 at 10:54 AM

    In advance of the Watchmen on the Wall’s conference this weekend in Lynnwood, tireless Watchmen chronicler Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin has rounded up another wad of galling Watchmen wisdom.

    As Burroway writes:

    Earlier this week, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed several pieces of legislation which improves the rights of LGBT residents of that state. Much of that legislation is designed to protect students from harassment and bullying in public schools by making sure teachers and school administrators fully understand their responsibilities to protect youth. These protections for LGBT youth have generated howls of protest among leading anti-gay activists. Not the least of them are the Watchmen On the Walls, an emerging international anti-gay extremist group we’ve been monitoring recently.

    Watchmen figurehead Vlad Kusakin responded to Schwarzenegger’s support of the new legislation at last weekend’s Watchmen gathering in Sacramento:

    “Now it’s time to rescue our children from the public schools as from a hellish furnace. Just like one who would prescribe the burning of kids in the Nazi’s concentration camps furnaces, now 65 years later Arnold Schwarzenegger opened furnaces which are even worse for our children by his signature. Pray and fast for the kids and families of California and take your kids out of public schools.”

    And here’s Sacramento speaker George Neverov, issuing another one of the Watchmen’s chilling calls to theocratic revolution:

    “For how long shall we cowardly bend before a morality that is alien to us? For how long shall we swallow all that loathsome stuff that is imposed on us by immoral law-makers and minorities? When, O Church, will you raise in prayer and spiritual battle over the land that is entrusted to you?”

    Read Burroway’s full report here. And if you’re interested in protesting this weekend’s Watchmen gathering in Lynnwood, go here.

    Crocodile Drunkee

    posted by on October 19 at 10:47 AM

    This man is tough as nails. He’s also very, very stupid.

    Matt Martin was camping in an area of the northeastern state of Queensland known to be inhabited by crocodiles when he drank what he later described as “half a slab” — or 12 cans of beer.

    When he dived into the river at Cow Bay in the topical far north of the state, he landed on a crocodile.

    After a brief wrestling match with the reptile, Martin emerged with gashes on his face requiring 40 stitches, The Australian newspaper reported.

    Admitting his face was “pretty messed up” when he went back to his campsite, Martin, 35, from Newcastle city north of Sydney, then slept for seven hours before seeking medical help.

    His injuries were so bad that when he finally did make it to hospital, he was holding a blanket to his face to stop the bleeding, the newspaper said.

    Footage from our Prop. 1 Debate, Pt. 2

    posted by on October 19 at 10:13 AM

    In Part Two of our editorial board debate over the $17.8 billion roads and transit initiative, it’s the pro-side: campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik, Transportation Choices Coalition staffer Rob Johnson, and Environment Washington’s Bill LaBorde vs. the antis: Mike O’Brien from the Sierra Club, David Hiller from the Cascade Bicycle Club, and Mike McGinn from the Sierra Club.

    In this dramatic conclusion, Savage starts the debate by saying, “I want 50 miles of light rail so bad, I don’t give a shit if they pave 180 miles with baby mice”; the debaters reveal their real preferred transportation option; and David Hiller abandons Seattle’s standard passive aggressive MO and goes aggressive aggressive.

    Also, the Sierra Club’s McGinn gets the last word with a killer sound bite: “We shouldn’t be responding to what people in Olympia say is possible. They should be responding to what we say is needed.”

    Oh, and for those that can’t quite tolerate all the transit wonkery, Rob Johnson is—to quote a Slog reader commenting on Part 1—“being hot again.”

    Enjoy Part 2:

    In case you missed it: Here is Part 1.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on October 19 at 10:00 AM

    The criminal negligence trial of a Woodstock, N.B., woman and her former boyfriend continued Thursday, with more grim details emerging about the condition of a two-year-old girl who died from a perforated bowel while in the couple’s care….

    Among the disturbing testimony the court heard on Wednesday was that a nine-centimetre-long toy stylus had somehow ended up inside Juli-Anna’s large intestine, causing the perforation that ultimately killed her, doctors said.

    One Woodstock pediatrician who examined Juli-Anna in 2004 one month before she died said the girl was bruised, severely dehydrated and clung to her mother throughout the appointment. On Wednesday, the court also heard from a pathologist who said he found bruises all over the little girl’s malnourished body and herpes sores around her mouth and vagina.

    Most disturbing of all, he told the court that the pencil-shaped toy had been inside Juli-Anna’s bowel for between two and three days, and would have caused her excruciating pain before she died. The medical experts agreed that it was not an accident.

    Flickr Photo of the Week

    posted by on October 19 at 9:54 AM

    Good eye, litlnemo.

    There are hundreds of hot and silly shots in The Stranger’s reader-powered Flickr group.

    Assignment: Hire This Guy

    posted by on October 19 at 9:45 AM

    Steve Haber worked at Costco for fifteen years as an IT specialist. But Steve was laid off when his office moved from Canada to Seattle and he was unable to secure a green card. Now legally settled here, Steve contacted me because he needed help finding a new job.

    Steve and I met on 5th and Columbia in front of the Bank of America food court during lunchtime. Steve had laminated a sandwich board for me to wear with a large picture of his face and the words “Hire This Guy” written out in big black letters above his email address and phone number. I put the sign on. Then a big gust of wind came and lifted the sign up, hitting me in the head.

    Steve and I stood side by side in our sandwhich boards and began to pass out flyers with his contact info. Steve was very gregarious. He approached potential employers in business suits, smiled at passersby, and said “Hellooo there!” to the thuggy looking guys waiting for the bus.


    After a while I tried a different approach. Pedestrians hated the awkwardness that came from staring at my sign while I stared back at them. I turned my back to the pedestrains and then spun around right before I offered them a flyer. “Caught ya lookin!” Most pedestrains found the whole dance unnerving, but it kept me warm.

    A short asian lady waiting for the bus pointed and laughed at my attempts to get flyers into people’s hands. Every time a pedestrain rejected my offer, the asian lady laughed a little bit harder, covering her mouth. One older woman wearing a teal pea coat looked at Steve’s picture on my sandwhich board and said to me “Ohhh that’s the man who just won the Nobel Peace Prize. Al Gore.”


    I told her that I was actually wearing a picture of my friend Steve who needed a job in Information Technology, and I asked her if she knew anyone who might be interested in hiring a nice Canadian man with a hearty laugh and 15 years of IT experience. The woman looked confused. “No, this is a picture of the man who just won the Nobel Peace Prize.” she said. “Ok.” I said.

    I began to wonder what would happen to the flyers. Would people throw them away, thinking we were protesting Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize? Would anyone call Steve for an interview? How long could Steve last on food stamps? If I moved slightly to the left would my sign twirl around in the wind and hit me in the head again? Yes.

    We ended up passing out over 100 flyers—mostly to transients. Steve told me 1% of people usually respond to flyers they recieve on the street.

    Hi, one person. Please call my friend Steve. He really needs a job.

    Steven Blum
    Public Intern

    “Hi, My Name is Kim LeBiavant. There is a Secret Room Used by the NSA to Spy on Domestic Communications.”

    posted by on October 19 at 9:10 AM

    On November 28, the GOP candidates for President will do a YouTube debate like the one the Democrats did in July: People make video questions; post them on YouTube; YouTube viewers vote for the ones they like best; and the top videos get played and addressed by the candidates at the debate.

    Please vote for this one about AT&T, the 4th Amendment, and warrantless wire taps:

    In the Slammer

    posted by on October 19 at 9:05 AM

    Two Village Voice Media execs:

    Two executives from Village Voice Media — a company that owns a number of alternative weeklies including The Village Voice, The LA Weekly and The Phoenix Times — were arrested Thursday night in Phoenix on charges that a story published earlier in the day in The Phoenix New Times revealed grand jury secrets.

    Michael Lacey, the executive editor, and Jim Larkin, chief executive, where arrested at their homes after they wrote a story that revealed that the Village Voice Media company, its executives, its reporters and even the names of the readers of its website had been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor.

    On the Radio

    posted by on October 19 at 9:03 AM

    I’ll be on KUOW’s weekday this morning, yakking with Danny Westneat and D. Parvaz about the news of the week. Show starts at 10 a.m.

    What should we talk about?

    I’m Posting This One

    posted by on October 19 at 8:50 AM

    Traipsing around the Internet, I often end up at the on-line version of a quarterly magazine called City Journal.

    City Journal focuses on municipal planning and city issues and bills itself as a high-brow journal that’s all about “restoring the quality of life to America’s cities.”

    I thought I’d found a crew of urban agenda compatriots, but it turns out it’s a hotly partisan free market, Libertarian magazine. It’s a publication of the Manhattan Institute, the conservative think tank that powered Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s.

    Politics aside, if you ask me, it’s not a particularly high-brow or scholarly mag. It typically presents its arguments in a black and white, sweeping, judgmental tone without much evidence of research or reporting. Also, and I know this is goofing out on journalism stuff, the leads to most of the magazine’s articles take forever to get to the point.

    City Journal writes about a lot of the stuff I’m interested in, and typically I disagree with their Liberatarian take on things. I’ve been tempted to link a few of their articles on Slog as contrarian pieces here. (For example, they had one on cap and trade and another on muni wi-fi.) However, like I said, it turns out, their articles are underwhelming, and so, I never bother.

    I’m posting this one, though. It’s their rejoinder to the Left’s crusade for net neutrality.

    It’s written in that blockheaded City Journal style, but this time it actually had me reconsidering my pro net neutrality POV.

    Arguing that net providers are like newspapers and so have the right to run or not run whatever content they choose, here’s the crux of their argument:

    The Times apparently needs to brush up on the First Amendment. It’s certainly true that any government action restricting online speech in this fashion would be unconstitutional. When government censors, it does so in a sweeping and coercive fashion, prohibiting the public, at least in theory, from seeing or hearing what it disapproves of and punishing those who evade the restrictions with fines, penalties, or even jail time. Not so for Verizon or any other private carrier, which have no power to censor sweepingly or coercively. A world of difference exists between a private company’s exercising editorial discretion to transmit—or not transmit—certain messages or types of content and government efforts to censor.

    Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe made this point eloquently at a recent Progress & Freedom Foundation event. In his view, those who would impose net-neutrality regulations on First Amendment grounds fail to appreciate “the fundamental right of editorial discretion. For the government to tell that entity that it cannot exercise that right in a certain way, that it must allow the projection of what it doesn’t want to include, is a violation of its First Amendment rights.” The principle that Tribe articulated would apply equally to the New York Times’s editors if they decided, say, not to run an advertisement from the Ku Klux Klan. That’s why it’s particularly puzzling that the Times ended its editorial about the Verizon incident by arguing that “freedom of speech must be guaranteed, right now, in a digital world just as it has been protected in a world of paper and ink.” Does the editorialist believe, then, that government should regulate what ads the Times may run in its own pages?

    This twisted theory of the First Amendment cannot support net-neutrality regulation. The First Amendment was intended to protect us from tyrannical, coercive government power, not the silly mistakes of private companies.

    Who Feels Sorry for Larry Craig?

    posted by on October 19 at 7:51 AM

    Uh… not me.

    But Andrew Sullivan wrote a compassionate, thoughtful post after watching Matt Lauer’s thoroughly despicable and widely panned interview with Larry Craig and his wife Wednesday night. (Some of Lauer’s lousy reviews can be read here, here, and here.) Here’s Andrew:

    I forced myself. It was excruciating. Beyond embarrassing. Extraordinarily painful—especially for his wife. Why on earth they decided to subject themselves to prolonging this agony is a question worth asking. And the answer, I think, is: they have to. At this point in their lives, to allow the possibility that Craig is indeed homosexual, that he has sustained, lived, internalized a fundamental lie for his entire life, and involved his wife and children in that lie, would be to destroy themselves. I am not going to exonerate the man from hypocrisy because it is impossible. But I do think his problem is far deeper.

    He grew up in a different time, and a different place, where even the possibility of being gay was inconceivable. I don’t think he even thinks of himself as gay, or has any idea what being gay might actually mean. I think he thinks of his sexual orientation as a “lifestyle” (to use that hideous term Lauer kept referring to) that can be overcome the way one overcomes smoking or poor eating or sexual compulsion. And he constructed an identity in opposition to this “lifestyle” early, out of pain and defensiveness and terrible fear…

    [Craig] is a hypocrite; and he made his choices. I am not going to dispute that. His voting record helped sustain the misery for others that he lived with himself. He is for ever responsible for that. But he is also a victim. And to see such a victim’s pain exposed brutally in a public restroom pains me. He needs help. So do millions of others.

    There’s more to Andrew’s post, which can read in its entirety here.

    Now as much as I hate to disagree with my ol’ buddy Andrew—first Folsom’s “Last Supper” poster and now this!—I have to say that I feel no sympathy whatsoever for Larry Craig. And it’s not just that the scale of his hypocrisy outweighs whatever sympathy I might feel for another human being in pain. Or that the transparent lies and the self-serving machinations piss me off so royally. Or that only a monster would put his wife and kids up to and through what Craig has since his arrest became public.

    There’s simply no excuse for Larry Craig—certainly not the one Andrew points to.

    Craig turned sixty two in July, and Andrew and others have pointed to Craig’s age as a mitigating factor. Craig missed out on the gay rights movement. He couldn’t conceive of living as an openly gay man, there weren’t examples out there, no role models. Perhaps if Craig had been born later, none of this—Craig’s closet, Craig’s voting record, Craig’s arrest—would have happened. Craig’s a victim.

    Uh.. no.

    Craig was born in 1945, which would have made him 24 years old in 1969, when the Stonewall Riots occurred in New York City. I wrote a piece for The Advocate about Jim West, another closeted gay Republican with an anti-gay voting record, after he was outed in 2005:

    I felt sorry for them—for the older guys, the men in their 40s and 50s, that ever-present clump of middle-aged men who hung out in bars they were way too old for and lusted after guys who were way too young for them…. It was 1981, and I was three months shy of my 18th birthday. Unlike most of the other boys in the vapid crowd of just-out teenagers I was running with, I knew a little gay history and I could add and subtract.

    When those older men in the bars were 18, it was 1961 or 1951—and it might as well have been 1661 for all the difference it made. When they were our age it just wasn’t possible to be an openly gay teenager. We were talking pre-Stonewall! The dark ages! There weren’t gay youth groups or gay bookstores or gay neighborhoods. No PFLAG, no NGLTF, no FFA. “Give ’em a break,” I used to tell my friends. “They missed out.”

    But none of the sympathy I felt for middle-aged gay men I met in the early 1980s extended to West—or to any closeted middle-aged men today who fear getting caught.

    West is 54 years old. That means he was 18 in 1969, the year of the Stonewall riots. He was 26 in 1977, the year that Harvey Milk was elected to the board of supervisors in San Francisco. He was 29 years old when I was 17 and hanging out in bars in Chicago.

    He was 34 years old when my boyfriend was being beaten in his Spokane high school, in a district that West represented in the Washington State legislature.

    Jim West knew better. He knew he didn’t have to live a lie. He knew he could have lived as an openly gay or bisexual man—bisexual is all West has admitted to in most of his interviews, although no pictures of young women were found on his work computer—but he chose not to. Unlike the older gay men I met in 1981, West and other closeted middle-aged men today didn’t come of age at a time when no one could conceive of openly gay and lesbian people and communities. (Or politicians: Washington State has four openly gay members of its legislature.) Jim West chose the closet and shame and lies and hypocrisy.

    So while I had sympathy for gay men who came out late in life in the 1970s and 1980s, I find I have no sympathy for Jim West or other men like him today. Their stories aren’t tragic, they’re pathetic. They didn’t miss out. They opted out.

    Fuck ’em.

    Like West, Craig knew better. Craig didn’t marry his wife until 1983, for crying out loud. It was impossible for Craig—even in Idaho—not to know exactly who and what he was in 1983. In two years we’ll be marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. We simply can’t look at closeted guys in their sixties anymore and think, “Gee, how sad—he was too old to realize he could be out.” The men and woman that came out after Stonewall weren’t born in 1969. They were Craig’s peers.

    Craig knew he didn’t have to live a lie. He knew he didn’t have to inflict himself on that poor woman. Craig’s story isn’t tragic, it’s pathetic. Craig, like West, didn’t miss out. He opted out.

    Fuck him.

    The Morning News

    posted by on October 19 at 7:41 AM

    In Pakistan: Blast kills more than 120 in convoy carrying former Prime Minister Bhutto (who was unharmed).

    WIND! STORM! ‘07!: Eh, not so much.

    What Now?: SCHIP veto holds; Democrats look for compromise solution.

    Me, too! Me, too!
    : Sugar producers seek ethanol subsidy.

    Scrapped: At least 16 coal-fired power plants due to concerns over global warming and rising construction costs.

    Condemned: Bush’s anti-family planning family-planning appointee.

    Discriminatory: British fire department to charge fee for saving fat people.

    In Denial: Bush administration, which says there is “no scientific criterion” for widely accepted climate goal.

    Recipe of the Day:

    Butternut Squash, Sage, & Ricotta Lasagna (Recipe via Wasabi Cowgirl; photo via Creative Commons.


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    Boston T

    posted by on October 19 at 6:19 AM


    I tried to make up for my ridiculous limo ride yesterday by taking the Boston T to Logan Airport this morning. It took 40 minutes to get across Boston and to the Logan International Airport during the tail end of rush hour here. Best of all it was, er, free. I couldn’t figure out where to buy a ticket and no one asked me for one when I boarded the train. The T’s underground stations are pretty grimy, but the aboveground parts of the system are beautiful.

    But Logan? What a shithole. It’s like the Greyhound Terminal in downtown Chicago in the early 1980s. Ugly like Logan doesn’t happen by accident. Someone did this on purpose.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    School Bored

    posted by on October 18 at 9:40 PM

    I went to a school board candidate forum at Nathan Hale High School last night, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive David Blomstrom in the wild. He wasn’t there—which was disappointing—and neither were school board incumbents Darlene Flynn and Sally Soriano, who were at a school board meeting.

    It was a pretty unimpressive event, and a bit awkward talking to the folks we didn’t endorse. The blurst part? After the forum, one of the candidates shared a liiiiitle too much information with me:

    After repeatedly telling me how badly they had to pee, the candidate and I walked out of the half-filled performance hall. They turned to me and said “The hardest thing for me about these forums is that I have a small bladder.”

    Can you guess which candidate it was?

    Statement from Venus Velazquez

    posted by on October 18 at 9:38 PM

    UPDATE! Holy crap! I agree with Joel Connelly! (Except when he says we’ve “written off” Velazquez here at Slog. Commenters and Sloggers are not one and the same, Joel.)

    DOUBLE UPDATE! Unrelated note edition! Trying to save an unfinished Morning News, I accidentally posted it. Sorry for the confusion, folks!

    City Council candidate Venus Velazquez, arrested last night for alleged drunk driving, just issued a statement about her arrest. It reads in part:

    Today I want to apologize to the people of Seattle, my family, my friends and all of my supporters. I am more sorry about this incident than I can express in words. I have devoted much of my life to public service—and most of the year to my campaign for Seattle City Council.

    I do not believe I was impaired—I had two drinks with friends over dinner after a long day of campaigning—but I respect the system that will ultimately make that judgment.

    I would never intentionally put myself in the situation of putting others at risk or violating the great trust so many supporters have given me.

    Last night was a very stressful time for me. I did everything asked of me by the officer who stopped me, including taking a roadside sobriety test. The officer who stopped me treated me fairly and explained everything to me. When I was at the precinct I decided not to take any additional tests. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.

    As we move forward with this campaign, I remain hopeful that I will have the opportunity to serve the voters and the city of Seattle.

    So, a non-apology apology.

    I’ve been out sick all day, which is one reason I haven’t weighed in yet. But a bigger reason is that I don’t really know how to react. From the tone of the comments* on Josh’s initial post, it sounds like many of you think Velazquez should be drawn and quartered. (“Glad we see the real Venus now”; “There is no excuse for this behavior”; “She does not deserve to even be a candidate”; one person even accused her of endangering children and babies). But is driving after a couple of drinks really the sort of offense that makes you unfit for public office?

    I doubt any drinker who reads this blog can say categorically that they’ve NEVER gotten behind the wheel after a celebratory night, or two drinks with dinner (the amount Velazquez says she had). It’s a dumb idea, yes (and it can get you in a lot of trouble, as Velazquez discovered last night)—but, as one commenter pointed out, it’s not like she’s out there killing babies. She did a dumb thing, she got caught, and now she’ll pay a political price. Voters who were planning to support Velazquez should weigh this incident against her campaign and the issues she’s running on, and ask whether it eclipses her qualifications. If it’s a bigger deal than all the other issues in the race, they should vote against her. If it doesn’t, they should stick with her. The Stranger, for our part, will not be withdrawing our endorsement.

    By the Power of Gay Skull!

    posted by on October 18 at 7:46 PM

    Devil worshiping Ugandan grave robbers with a yen for putrefying heads, and homosexual rights in the West…what’s the diabolical connection?

    It’s an important question, and one we all find ourselves asking sooner or later. And only this extra special little report from is courageous enough to give the world the straight poop:

    “It seems globalisation will not stop at seeking recognition of only homosexual rights, but perhaps grave robbers will also soon ask for their rights too as they increasingly become a global phenomenon.

    As our homosexuals find it easier to seek asylum in the west on account of their persecution, the suspected skeleton robbers that were arrested in Kayunga, now out on bail, may soon also seek refuge in the capitals of our ‘more developed’ world.

    This is the era of rights, you see.

    Of course. As you persecute homosexuals, dear Uganda, they apparently flee to, um, America I guess, and then “traditional healers” in your country desecrate your graves and snatch your rotten heads (traditionally) to work some werid-ass hoodoo-mojo…and it’s somehow all the persecuted homosexual’s fault. In the West. Because of “rights”.

    It’s all so clear now!


    Art and the Wind

    posted by on October 18 at 6:50 PM

    Just days after the scaffolding came off of a four-story abstract sculpture outside the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, its top was blown off in a windstorm at about 2:35 pm today.

    “It was a big gust that came along and blew off a portion of the top of it,” said center spokeswoman Christi Loso.

    No one was hurt, she said. A broad area has been cordoned off around the sculpture, and a shuttle bus rerouted to protect people should any more of the sculpture collapse.

    Here’s a rendering by the artist, Portland-based Ed Carpenter, of the lattice of aluminum, glass, and steel, called Vessel:


    Carpenter has been notified about the incident, but no decisions have been made about the future of the sculpture, Loso said. The structure was completed, but the installation had about a month’s worth of work left on it, she said, mostly in finishing the base and landscaping.

    A scientist who formerly worked at the center, and who is remaining anonymous, is paying for the artwork. Loso said the center’s official figure to describe the sculpture’s worth is $500,000, but she couldn’t say for sure whether that referred to an estimated value or the budget of the commission.

    Obviously, the sculpture, which was selected in a competition process last year, will have to be reengineered and maybe, redesigned.

    It reminds me of one of the works by a star of Documenta 12 this summer in Kassel, Germany. It was a piece by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, a massive majestic assemblage of antique doors formed together to create an architectural scale arch that people could stand under.


    But when I was there, two-and-a-half months after the opening, I didn’t see that. I saw this:


    Organizers of the exhibition passed it off as a fortuitous accident, adding meaning to the piece. Buh. This photograph was taken from the one good remaining angle, the one dramatic viewpoint where chaos still looks meaningfully formed. From every other perspective around the sculpture, the ugly, jagged edges of beautiful doors forever destroyed stuck out of a sorry trash pile. The artist’s monument to the life of old culture in rapidly developing China instead joined in the killing, because of sloppy engineering.

    I’m not necessarily opposed to the potential of destruction in art. Several years ago, I advocated that Seattle artist Iole Alessandrini’s gorgeous, several-block-long installation of light in the dark heart of downtown Tacoma shouldn’t be restored after it was damaged in a windstorm weeks before it was supposed to come down.

    That piece, called Season of Light, was intended to be temporary, and the ruthless instead of planned ending seemed perfect in the context of an urban block that had become blighted because of the cruel whims—we’re interested, tear the historic buildings down, no, nevermind—of a couple of Seattle developers (one of whom, Paul Schell, later became Seattle’s mayor).


    Art and people are never safe in windstorms.

    (Thanks for the tip, Anne S.)

    Counter Programming

    posted by on October 18 at 5:43 PM

    The Lynnwood LGBT community is holding an event to coincide with the Watchmen on the Walls’ hate-a-thon this weekend.

    “Love and Pride: Lynnwood Responds to Hate” will feature a gathering of speakers, including members of the clergy, and a special free screening of Inlaws & Outlaws, a local-produced documentary featuring the real-life stories of Washington LGBT people.

    The event, sponsored by groups like Equal Rights Washington, Planned Parenthood and The Log Cabin Republicans of Washington (?!?), will be held at the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, October 21, at 3pm.

    Rep. Hastings Vetoes Health Care for 11,000 Children

    posted by on October 18 at 5:33 PM

    As I Slogged earlier, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA, 4) was the one member of Washington’s U.S. House delegation that voted to uphold President Bush’s veto of children’s health care expansion.

    The Democrats wanted to add $35 billion to the program and provide coverage for children in families making up to 300% of the federal poverty level ($51,510 for a family of 3). This would have increased enrollment from about 6.6 million to 10 million children. Bush vetoed the bill and today, the Democrats failed—by 13 votes—to override.

    Of the 72,000 uninsured children in Washington from families with incomes below 300% of the federal poverty level, an estimated 11,000 are in Rep. Doc Hasting’s 4th Congressional District.

    Earlier this month, Governor Gregoire sent a letter to Rep. Hastings asking him to vote to override Bush’s veto.

    On Ellen….No Ellen???

    posted by on October 18 at 5:29 PM

    If you’re like me, a fat Midwestern stay-at-home mom, you depend on the antics of spunky dykes with optimistic attitudes to get you through your drab, suicidal late mornings/early afternoons. And that’s why you love, love, LOVE the Ellen DeGeneres. Love her! And by “you” I mean “me”, and by “me” I mean, MAN! How I love me some Ellen! From the frosted tips of her floppy dishwater bob to the ties on her tennies, every lesbionic inch of her is a Disneyland of delight! If it weren’t for Ellen? Why, I’d have gutted and devoured more than my share of hobos by now, believe you me. And when Ellen gets upset, I get upset. Fortunately for everyone, Ellen never gets upset. That’s her charm. Her appeal. Her cache. That is…it WAS, until earlier this week. But now she’s upset. Very upset. Very, very, very upset. And she’s so upset that she’s canceling tomorrow’s show to “take a long weekend,” in a desperate attempt to be un-upset. And now I’m upset. And you’re upset. And everybody’s upset! And why? WHY?

    You know damn good and well why. The mean puppy lady.

    I admit that when Ellen emerged piggy-eyed and sopping to open her show on Tuesday and launched into a soggy monologue that went a little something like this…

    Well, at first, I thought for sure she was going to say something like I HAVE INCURRABLE CANCER of the EVERYTHING! or MY MOM’S HEAD EXPLODED AT BREAKFAST! or I’M ON FIRE! or BUSH HAS CLOSED THE BORDERS AND DECLARED MARTIAL LAW, RUN! or AN A-BOMB is HEADED THIS WAY, DON’T PANNIC, THERE’S NO POINT! but, no. Flipsy the cat hating puppy or whatever has been snatched from the arms of the hairdresser by the mean dog lady, and poor Ellen is SHATTERED. Shattered! And it’s all totally unnecessary, silly even, and it’s all one (if I may say, and I may) misguided, nasty (and Catholic-looking, if you ask me) biznatch’s fault.

    Puppy saver? Doer of doggie good? Humanitarian? Psh. Anybody who makes Ellen THAT upset HAS to be in league with the ultimate evil. And now Ellen has CANCELLED HER SHOW tomorrow. No fricking puppy, no fricking Ellen, no fricking nothing, cholo.

    Our course is clear. This puppy woman must be destroyed. Taken out. Extreme prejudice. Yesterday, if not sooner.

    And we’ve been all worried about Iran.

    Velazquez DUI

    posted by on October 18 at 5:10 PM

    Our news intern Brian Slodysko checked out Velazquez’s police report.

    According to the Velazquez DUI police report, at 11:30 pm, police witnessed Velazquez driving her Volvo station wagon 20 mph over the speed limit along NW Market St. in Ballard. They also observed her drifting around in her lane and crossing the road’s centerline.

    After pulling her over, the report indicates that the officer “detected the signs of alcohol intoxication.” After failing roadside sobriety tests, Velazquez was arrested on suspicion of DUI. There was a female passenger with Velazquez who had “also been drinking alcohol.” This passenger arranged her own ride home.

    At the police station, Velazquez refused to take a breathalizer test (asked three times) and eventually, after some wrangling, signed the implied consent form which means she will lose her license for a year.

    Velazquez requested a lawyer. The report states that she spent the next 15 minutes on the phone, after which the she was asked to hang up. She made two more phone calls, before the officer made her put the phone down.

    The officer later drove Velazquez home.

    As Promised: Footage from Our Prop 1 Debate

    posted by on October 18 at 4:22 PM


    Here’s the pro-Prop 1 camp and the anti-Prop 1 camp debating in front of our editorial board last Wednesday afternoon.

    Prop 1 is the $17.8 billion roads and transit measure (50 miles of light rail and 152 miles of general purpose lanes).

    We ended up coming out against the measure. Read our reasons here.

    The debaters are:
    Pro-Prop 1 (L-R)—campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik, Rob Johnson from Transportation Choices Coalition, and Bill LaBorde from Environment Washington.

    Anti-Prop 1 (L-R) Mike O’Brien from the Sierra Club, David Hiller from the Cascade Bicycle Clube, and Mike McGinn from the Sierra Club.

    Part 1, includes the following chapters:

    “If we vote ‘Yes.’”
    “It’s disingenuous.”
    “I’m going to be completely disingenuous.”
    “If we’re going to reduce it.”
    “So, you guys say.”
    “Politicians don’t get to say.”
    “And in response to Sandeep’s Question.”
    “What the Sierra Club has done.”

    I’ll post Part 2 shortly.

    The Hacienda

    posted by on October 18 at 3:43 PM

    So, I’m a shitty gatekeeper of comedy. Let me make it up to you. My friend Adam, a professionally renowned gatekeeper of coffee, took me to the Stumptown Coffee by Cafe Presse today, where they’re serving what he assures me is the world’s best coffee, Hacienda La Esmeralda, as their house drip. And it is good. I never drink black coffee, but this stuff is just fine without sugar or cream. It tastes like lemongrass.

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on October 18 at 3:31 PM

    Stranger Than Slash Fiction: Slash’s Autobiography

    The Best Kind of Sentimentality: Jonathan Zwickel on “A Rainy Night in Soho.”

    Finally: Twiggy’s Heaven in My Eyes

    Tonight in Music: Tuyllycraft, Liars

    The Next 8-Track: Universal’s USB Singles

    Halloween: Last Chance to Send Us Your Listings

    Glorious: Velvet Teen is Coming.

    Ballin’: Modest Mouse to Play Deck the Hall Ball

    God is Seven: Trent Moorman on the Seven String Guitar

    80s Hardcore Flashback: Kim Hayden on Government Warning

    Space Disco: Dexter Wansel’s “Life on Mars”

    What He Said

    posted by on October 18 at 3:06 PM

    Speaking of SCHIP…

    Here’s a taste:

    [The] Republicans are worried we can’t pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where ya gonna get that money? You going to tell us lies like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement. This bill would provide healthcare for 10 million children and unlike the President’s own kids, these children can’t see a doctor or receive necessary care.

    But President Bush’s statements about children’s health shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up. In Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.

    Tax Slaves for Ron Paul

    posted by on October 18 at 3:05 PM

    Via The Wall Street Journal, via Sullivan, and with a high percentage of local color:

    Paul’s third-quarter financial disclosure report is sprinkled with supporters whose self-descriptions of their occupations are unusual, to say the least. Wade Talkington of Panama City, Fla., who donated $1,000 to Paul, lists his occupation as “tax slave to the Federal Govt.” Erik Hovden of Olalla, Wash., is the “Head slacker in Chg” at Simpson LLC, and housewife Pamela Schuberg of Moorpark, Calif., a $2,300 donor, lists her employer as “our children.”

    Donald Cowles lists himself as self-employed and his occupation as simply “Capitalist.” On the opposite end, David Cameron of San Jose, Calif., lists his employer as “Looking for Work” and his job as “Unemployed.” Still, Cameron has given a total of $1,900 to the campaign.

    Griswold Draz of Wellfleet, Mass., a $500 donor, is a self-described “curmudgeon,” and Andrew Maul of Pittsburgh, Pa., is a “Citizen Fighting Tyranny.” Others are more coy. James Harper of Vancouver, Wash., a $600 donor, offered “guess? ;)” as his occupation.

    Starchild, a San Francisco-based escort and exotic dancer who ended up on Paul’s list as “Star Child,” contributed $300.

    Re: Where the Gas Is Always Greener

    posted by on October 18 at 3:03 PM

    Dom is feeling guilty about hopping a cab from the airport—well, Dom, check out the car that just picked me up at the Boston airport.


    Ben, the rep from the student group that brought me to Boston College for a talk this evening, was very apologetic. He called for a town car and they sent a stretch limo—complete with little twinkly lights on the roof the car and a wet bar stocked with champagne flutes, rocks glasses, and cut glass decanters. I felt like an ass crawling into this thing at the airport. I felt like a monster stepping out of it in front of the hotel near campus—in a progressive neighborhood full of students. There wasn’t a good spot to pull over so we literally had to stop traffic to get out—and once we were out we couldn’t make a clean getaway because Ben had to sign for the car. So we stood there, being glared at, feeling like we had just drowned a couple of polar bears with our bare hands.

    We’re going to walk to the event tonight—which is at a Jesuit college. Ben told me on the way into the city that he wasn’t allowed to put the word “sex” on the poster (the original mockup described me as a “sex columnist”), and I got this in the mail yesterday: “Boston College requires that the artist be respectful of the Catholic and Jesuit nature of the University.” When I asked for a clarification, I was told, “Basically, they don’t want a speaker up there trashing Catholics.”

    Wish me luck!

    No SCHIP Override. Thanks Rep. Hastings.

    posted by on October 18 at 2:58 PM

    The U.S. House needed 286 votes to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program expansion bill.

    They only got 273.

    Two of Washington’s staunchest conservatives, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8, Bellevue) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Eastern Washington), voted to override President Bush.

    Rep. Doc Hastings (R-4, Central Washington) voted No on overriding Bush.

    We’re calling the state to get a sense of the number of uninsured children in Rep. Hastings’s central Washington district.

    WSBA Dodges Watchmen Convention

    posted by on October 18 at 2:49 PM

    The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) has moved an event—originally scheduled for this weekend at the Lynnwood Convention Center—because of a potential conflict with the Watchmen on the Walls’ upcoming big gay Lynnwood party.

    WSBA spokeswoman Judy Berrett says they were concerned about “how clouded” things would be at the convention center, and didn’t want the 45 people expected to attend WSBA’s event getting caught up in the crowds.

    WSBA has moved the event to their downtown offices.

    How Was It? World Cyber Games Vs. Guitar Hero

    posted by on October 18 at 2:31 PM

    Seattle just hosted the 2007 World Cyber Games. Professional gamers from all over the world battled for cash prizes upwards of $11,000. Meanwhile, across town, at Goldie’s in Georgetown, there’s a Guitar Hero Tournament every Tuesday. Winner takes home some Pabst Blue Ribbon t-shirts and a frisbee. It’s more fun than you can even believe. Watch for Guitar Hero nights popping up in bars all over the city. It’s gonna be the new karaoke, mark my words.

    Special thanks to Sam Machkovech, the Stranger’s kick ass video game columnist!

    Dear Everyone,

    posted by on October 18 at 1:57 PM

    Please stop just vomiting in your mouth a little bit. I ain’t mad at cha, but this joke is deceased.


    Linda @ Call Center

    posted by on October 18 at 1:39 PM

    Where the Gas Is Always Greener

    posted by on October 18 at 1:05 PM

    I don’t drive—but I routinely take cabs. More comfy than bikes, less embarrassing than DUI charges.

    But it occurs to me that taking cabs produces more exhaust-per-trip than driving: Most cabs run 12 to 24 hours a day, and most of that time the drivers don’t have a passenger. They just tootle around or idle, waiting for someone to call or hail them, all while the car spews exhaust.

    So when I got off the airplane yesterday and the weather sucked, I felt a smidge of guilt as I flipped Metro the bird and caught a STITA Taxi. The company has a monopoly on fares originating from the airport but can’t pick up fares originating anywhere else, so the cabs never carry passengers more than half the time. And then, on the back of the driver’s seat, I saw this:


    It turns out, the car is among the majority of cabs in STITA’s 166-car fleet fueled by natural gas, which produces about 70 percent less carbon monoxide (and other crap) than gasoline. A few other STITA cars are hybrids. The company switched over from gasoline in 2006, as required by the Port.

    Obviously, STITA isn’t single handedly counteracting America’s impact on global warming, but it did temporarily assuage my liberal cab-riding guilt. And using natural gas is a decent stopgap for the cars that rarely leave the road. Even better, however, would be if Yellow Taxi and Orange Cab hopped on the bandwagon (they have 360 and 170 cabs, respectively), but they probably won’t. Neither will the average local car buyer. Although Southern California, where I just left, has 100 compressed natural gas stations, there are only seven in the Puget Sound region—two of which are publicly accessible. We should really install more. Beginning 2009, Washington will provide a sales and use tax exemption for alternative-fuel vehicles.

    Department of Corrections

    posted by on October 18 at 1:03 PM

    First error in the theater section this week: the woman who played the nurse and gave one of the few notable performances in The Women? It wasn’t Suzy Hunt; it was Marianne Owen. Mea culpa.

    Second error in the theater section this week: I neglected to include this item in the calendar.

    The next in the Brown Derby series, wherein Ian Bell and his minions stage fucked-up readings of movie scripts. This time, it’s Mahogany, the 1975 Diana Ross vehicle about a poor woman who becomes a fêted fashion designer in Rome. Starring Ade as Diana Ross and Nick Garrison as Anthony Perkins. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873. $10. Mon–Wed at 8 pm. Through Oct 24.

    Mea maxima culpa.

    111 Shirtless Men Storm A&F Store

    posted by on October 18 at 1:02 PM

    This is hilarious…

    More info here. Via Sullivan.

    Postman’s Asking the Wrong Question About Reichert

    posted by on October 18 at 1:00 PM

    There’s a lot of controversy about Rep. Dave Reichert’s latest fundraising report.

    Local blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer caused the flap—getting picked up by the national lefty blogs—by looking at the latest FEC reports and showing that Reichert’s campaign had overstated how much it raised in the 3rd Quarter.

    Corrections and clarifications ensued and the headlines changed from “Reichert out raised Burner in the 3rd Quarter” to “Burner out raised Reichert in the Third Quarter.”

    Indeed, Reichert raised $294,888 and his Democratic challenger Darcy Burner raised $304,901.

    At issue was how much money Reichert’s campaign actually raised from a Bush fundraiser earlier last summer. Originally, Reichert’s campaign had the total well over $200,000, but $47,100 had to be refunded from donors who had exceeded contribution limits. So now, Reichert’s camp is saying they raised $185,000 from the fund raiser.

    Fair enough. But the question shouldn’t be “How Much Did Bush Raise for Reichert?” (That’s what Postman is asking on his blog this morning.) Who cares about that? We all know 24% Bush isn’t going to be much help.

    The relevant question is: “How Much Did Reichert Raise on His Own?”

    Here’s what Reichert’s FEC report says on that score:
    He raised $294,888 this quarter, including 218,234.11 from individuals and $88,000 from PACS.

    So, if Reichert raised $185,000 from the Bush fund raiser and $88,000 from PAC’s and his total is $294,888, that means he only raised $21,000 from individuals in his own right. That’s some limp fundraising for an incumbent in a hot race.

    Burner raised $273,000 from individuals, 13 times as much as Riechert’s $21,000.

    Reichert’s Chief of Staff, Mike Shields, told me I was “going out of my way to look for a bad number.” He said: “You’ve somehow turned $218,000 from individual donors into [a smaller number.]” Shields reasoned that the Bush money shouldn’t be subtracted from the totals from individuals. “If you have a Bush event you’re going to put your eggs in that basket for that quarter. These are individuals who gave to Dave regardless of where they did it.”

    Complicated footnote, but still bad news for Reichert:
    Shields told me—and Reichert’s FEC form confirms—that $35,000 of the “Bush” $185,000 came from the state party’s Bush fundraising money. (Reichert and the Party agreed to share that money.) So, to be 100% accurate: Reichert himself only took in about $150,000 from the event, not $185,000. That means, in the scenario I described, Reichert got about $57,000 from non-Bush event individuals. Still, that would mean Burner got almost five times as much from individual donors.

    That Dorito Bag Condom

    posted by on October 18 at 1:00 PM

    In this week’s Savage Love—online now—guest expert Dr. W. H. assures curious readers that drinking piss is, relatively speaking, a safe activity. Gross, yes, but safe. When I mentioned his qualifications, I wrote…

    Dr. W.H., an ER physician at a big city hospital like the ones on teevee! Dr. W.H. has seen people “guzzling every nasty-ass secretion known,” and wasn’t fazed by your question. (He also says that he’s seen people use Doritos bags as condoms, but we’ll save that for another column.)

    Naturally people are curious about that Dorito bag, so I asked Dr. W.H. the obvious followup question: WTF?

    I have several horrible-but-true vagina stories. If they had titles, they would include:

    “Tampon Stuck for a Month”
    “I Cut Myself With a Grapefruit Spoon”
    “My Vibrator Disintegrated Inside Me”
    “Will You Fuck Me?”
    “The Crack Pipe”
    And… as a vagina proxy:
    “I Shoved Razor Blades Up My Ass”

    Then there are cock, ball, and ass stories, but I’m too tired to go into all that.

    Anyway—here’s how the Doritos bag story goes:

    An obese young woman came into our Emergency Department and said that her vagina didn’t feel normal and she wanted it checked out. No real pain, no bleeding, just a certain “fucked-up feeling” that had been bothering her for a few days.

    Peering into (not at) the vagina of an obese person can be a bit tough, but eventually an inspection revealed a crinkled, shiny wad waaay up there. My colleague removed it, then unrolled it to reveal a snack-size Doritos bag (original style, with a few strands of cheddar-based mucus clinging to it). When confronted with the evidence, the patient giggled and claimed she suddenly remembered a drunken fuck with her boyfriend where no condoms were available, so he grabbed the nearest snack wrapper at hand and went for it. Not exactly a James Bond kind of move. The bag apparently slipped off his cock after a few strokes and got pounded into a compact mass during the sex, subsequently drenched by his ejaculate and marinated in her own secretions and soothing Dorito oils. Afterwards they passed out and forgot the whole thing, until the aforementioned fucked-up feeling brought her to us.

    Amazingly, the sharp plastic crease on the bag didn’t seem to cause any noticeable laceration or injury, though superficial vaginal abrasions heal pretty fast, and it had been a few days.

    I would like to say that the patient later gave birth to a baby girl covered with orange powdered cheese, but the truth is she never returned.

    Aren’t you glad you asked?

    O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

    posted by on October 18 at 12:51 PM

    …indictment on child porn chargesproducing, not possessing.

    A former substitute teacher who also worked as a minister at a Bloomington church was indicted Tuesday on federal child pornography charges.

    James Love, 37, faces two counts of production of child pornography. He is accused of photographing two boys who are minors while they were sedated for the purpose of producing the child pornography…. Love also has been charged in McLean County with sedating and molesting four teenage boys who stayed overnight at his home.

    At this point it amazes that anyone take their children to church at all.

    Last Call for Halloween Listings!

    posted by on October 18 at 12:08 PM

    If you haven’t already, please send in your Halloween parties for the listings I am compiling for online and the web. There are so many awesome-sounding parties in there already, and I’m starting to get super-excited about our mini-guide. It’s going to be incredibly comprehensive, with parties or at least Halloween stuff to do (for grown ups) all over the city and every day of the week.

    Anyhow, if you are doing anything Halloween-related, please send me a little email with all the details to, and put “Halloween” somewhere in the subject line so I can find it in the barrage. It can be literally anything—a pumpkin-carving contest, a costume-trade off, or even a regular-old-rager—whatever it is, we’ll list it, as long as it’s open to the public and in Seattle or the surrounding areas.

    And for the rest of you, look for the listings in the paper and online next week. It’ll be like one-stop shopping, but with no money involved!

    Bonus-This is a great costume:

    Velazquez Arrested for DUI

    posted by on October 18 at 11:43 AM

    The Seattle Times reports that city council candidate Venus Velazquez was arrested for drunk driving last night.

    Erica’s on the story. So, we’ll have an update soon. But suffice it to say, in light of the recent Ricard McIver news, I think Velazquez just lost her bid for City Council.

    The bad news for her campaign certainly resounds off Erica’s article on McIver’s drinking in this week’s paper. The article was titled “On the Rocks” which now seems more appropriate for Velazquez.

    The Heart of Criticism

    posted by on October 18 at 11:22 AM

    The novel that most directly speaks to the critic, that defines, describes his/her function, mission, purpose, is Heart of Darkness. The narrative of Conrad’s short book is the narrative of any work of criticism. Marlow’s journey to the core of the colonial world has its double—its secret sharer—in the critic’s journey to the core of a work of art. That core is never apolitical. That core is always its truth. Upon reaching the point from which the work (a system of associations) radiates, glows, derives its power or aura, the critic must ask this: does it liberate or does it enslave? It’s one or the other. At the core of the colonial world, Conrad found an oppressor, Kurtz; at the core of other works, the critic might find the opposite: a liberator, a Moses, a Christ, a Muhammad.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on October 18 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Parting Glances’ at SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall

    The high point of this year’s Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival is a scrappy indie movie from 1986 starring Steve Buscemi as a rock star on the ascent who’s also an AIDS patient on the decline. Tender and resolutely unsentimental, Parting Glances avoided future AIDS movie clichés not because the example had yet to be set, but because its interests lay elsewhere—in a study of a sexually complicated friendship and in a loving portrait of bohemian New York suddenly aware of its own foreshortened prospects. (SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St, 7 pm, $9.)


    Kucinich on WWIII, and The Stranger on Kucinich

    posted by on October 18 at 10:45 AM

    I was gone last week, so I didn’t have a chance to post this Kucinich feature, which ran in the Oct. 11 Stranger.


    Meanwhile, this morning Kucinich has a few things to say about Bush’s recent WWIII comments. From a Kucinich press release:

    “The White House rodeo cowboy has gone dangerously too far and precipitously too close to igniting the war he claims to be trying to avoid,” Ohio Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said today. “You can worry about the Apocalypse, or, you can ensure it.”

    Please Give a Warm Welcome to the Helm Gallery

    posted by on October 18 at 10:29 AM

    by Jamey Braden
    The new Tacoma venue surely wants to do the same for you. The gallery is warm both literally (soft white light, honey-brown wood floors, a seeming 80 degrees on the thermostat) and figuratively—the first show was called the The Kindness of Strangers and owed its existence to the charity of artists that co-owners Peter Lynn and Sean Alexander mostly did not know.

    The artists were solicited by e-mail, for a donation of artwork to be shown and sold to benefit the gallery. They came from near and far. Painter Zach Marvick is rumored to live next door to the gallery, and much of the rest of the work is international. Sweden, Singapore, Paris, Moscow, Denmark, Japan, and Australia were represented in the show, which closed last Wednesday. Daniel Johnston even sent up some prints from Texas, with an invoice, scratched out and re-scrawled as “no charge.”

    Kindly, Lynn held the show over for an evening so I could catch the packed salon-style show. On the drive home, my carful was pressed to find one preferred piece among the 200-plus works. I had a family of favorites: the reserved, minimal, and quietly emotional “line-scape” drawings by Jennifer Nazzaro; the lush and uncomfortably close ink portraits by Londoner Mitch Blunt; the faded acid-bright portraits by Xin that felt fractured and re-patched, as if the artist was lovingly remembering her friends as a collection of characteristics and sewing them together with memories.

    The Helm has come a long way since its inception as a “let’s do it better” call-to-arms after Tacoma’s progressive art venture, Critical Line, closed up last winter after producing only four shows.

    On one day in April, Lynn and Alexander gave birth to the concept for The Kindness of Strangersnot only an exhibition but a way to build a nest egg for the new space, especially since its directors have ambitious plans that include a residency program—and about five days later, Lynn recalls, he got the keys to an old lighting showroom in an area of downtown Tacoma known as Antique Row.

    The excitement in an overnight (over-week?) decision like this carries over into the energy of the gallery. Lynn talked about the work with an unpretentious passion and expressed high, even rigid, ideals for the space. Shows will change every month, and Lynn insists on displaying work “people have never seen before,” in a balance of local, regional, national, and international artists. Viewers can regard The Kindness of Strangers as an epic trailer for the life the Helm would like to lead.

    This Thursday, the Helm opens a show of brand new work by Seattle-based Chauney Peck and Whiting Tennis.

    Peck’s work “draws inspiration from unconventional living situations in third-world countries,” the gallery’s web site describes. “Peck has created two-dimensional and sculptural work that imaginatively illustrates the lifestyles of the poor and downtrodden.”

    Tennis, winner of this year’s Neddy Fellowship for painting, makes work that “explore(s) the spiritual nature of everyday objects and materials…and through painting and sculpture will display how the completely ordinary can be imbued with life by the simple act of observation.”
    Or the simple act of making a decision and going with it.


    Philly TV Anchor Unaware of Muff

    posted by on October 18 at 10:28 AM


    Attention BUTT Fans

    posted by on October 18 at 10:22 AM


    Published and printed in the Netherlands since 2001 and sold wherever enlightened gays reside, BUTT is the pocket-sized, pink-paged quarterly magazine devoted to every imaginable type of artistic homosexual expression.

    Tonight at the Harvard Exit, the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival presents BUTT: SHORTS, a program of short films and videos devoted to the BUTT aesthetic. Originally conceived and curated for the Tate Modern in London, the BUTT film program spans 38 years of queer cinema, from a 1967 video portrait by Shirley Clarke to a David Wojnarowicz piece from 1989 to a Hidden Cameras video from the age of now. It will be totally queer and should be totally fun. (Plus there’s a post-party at Pony.)

    Full info and tickets here.

    Chicago to Smokers: Our Beaches Aren’t Your Ashtrays Anymore

    posted by on October 18 at 9:34 AM

    My hometown makes news:

    Smoking is now off limits at beaches, parks and playground in Chicago.

    The park district board voted unanimously Wednesday to pass the ban. It takes effect immediately. The penalty for violating the ban is a $500 fine….

    “I have a lot of sympathy for smokers, but not when second-hand smoke affects the health of other people,” Park District Superintendent Tim Mitchell said. Proponents also say cigarette butts and filters damage the environment. During a three hour cleanup of city beaches last month, they say they found some 35,000 butts in the sand.

    Second hand smoke at beaches seems like a reach, but… uh… all the butts in the sand is kind of gross. But even this non-smoking fascist wonders where the anti-smoking bans stop. Cities are banning smoking in cars with children, on beaches, in bars and clubs, and there’s talk of banning smoke in apartments (it creeps under doors and down halls). But, you know, all those butts in the sand is gross.

    And this is going to lead to some interesting 911 calls and a few shootings:

    Enforcement relies on citizens to turn smokers in to police.

    That sounds like a good plan.

    And it’s amazing that this ban takes effect immediately while the state of Illinois’ long overdue ban on smoking bars and clubs doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2008.

    Street Rules

    posted by on October 18 at 9:33 AM

    The 9th Circuit dropped its 2006 decision prohibiting the city of Los Angeles from arresting homeless people for sleeping on the street. (They had ruled in 2006 that arresting the homeless for sleeping on the street violated the 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.)

    The new ruling doesn’t overturn the 2006 ruling, it simply vacates it because the parties agreed to a settlement contingent on the 9th Circuit withdrawal.

    I guess it’s good news that the ruling wasn’t officially iced, but it’s bad news that the bold precedent no longer stands.

    From the initial ruling:

    We hold only that, just as the Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of criminal punishment on an individual for being a drug addict, Robinson, 370 U.S. at 667; or for invol- untary public drunkenness that is an unavoidable consequence of being a chronic alcoholic without a home, Powell, 392 U.S. at 551 (White, J., concurring in the judgment); id. at 568 n.31 (Fortas, J., dissenting); the Eighth Amendment prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter in the City of Los Angeles.

    In/Visible Is Up: A Walking Sculpture That Will Talk to You, Maybe Lie to You

    posted by on October 18 at 9:30 AM


    Around 1974, Kim Jones, a former painter and sometime sculptor, became a sculpture himself. He called it “Mudman,” and it meant him wearing a latticework of sticks on his back, and covering his body in mud and his head in pantyhose—but interacting with people more or less normally, which often, well, freaked them out.

    As Mudman, Jones walked the streets of Los Angeles and, later, New York. He gave performances that included smearing himself in his own shit while hacking at beer cans with a machete he got during his tour in Vietnam, and burning live rats to death, repeating something he and his fellow Marines had done during the war. (The rat act got him sent to court and put on partial probation.)

    In his retrospective opening Friday night at the Henry Art Gallery, documents from those performances join sculpture, installation, ever-evolving war drawings, and a timeline of his life that includes snapshots from his time in Vietnam and begins with a newspaper photograph of him when he was crippled from a polio-like disease as a child.

    At Friday’s opening, Jones will perform Mudman for the first time in a while. Before you meet him there, listen to him talk, on this week’s In/Visible podcast.

    Women In Love

    posted by on October 18 at 8:53 AM

    A Yakima woman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of her lover, who was found in the trunk of her car. Tracy L. Johnson, 46, was arraigned Wednesday in the death of 39-year-old Kelly Walsh…. Police found the body Thursday in the trunk of Walsh’s 1966 Pontiac Bonneville outside the women’s home. According to a police affidavit, Walsh had been shot a number of times and had been dead at least several weeks.

    Neighbors say the two women were together 10 to 15 years.

    In a perfect world, of course, the PI would be able to report that Johnson shot her wife, not her lover. Still, it was good of the PI to note how long the women had been together.

    UPDATE: A commenter points out—okay, implies—that this murder might have been prevented if light rail served Yakima.


    posted by on October 18 at 8:35 AM

    GOP Sen. Sam Brownback—once the darling of the religious right—is pulling out of the race for the Republican nomination. Can’t you feel the Huckamentum?

    The Morning News

    posted by on October 18 at 8:15 AM

    Iran: Prepping for “World War III,” according to Bush.

    Mukasy: Probably a shoo-in to replace Gonzales

    Legal Immunity: To telecoms that engaged in domestic spying.

    Climate Legislation: Coming out today, and already subject of contentious debate.

    Clinton’s Family Leave Plan: Not Sweden, but it’s a start.

    Ellen DeGeneres Puppy Drama: Entering day three. The world waits with bated breath.

    Holy Fucking Shit!: Swearing at work is good for you.

    Retiring: US counterterrorism director who declared US not “tactically” safer despite counterterrorism efforts.

    : According to Politico writer/self-hating chick Elizabeth Wilner, who laments a “lack of masculinity” in the Democratic field.

    Recipe of the Day: Linguine Non Carbonara (Photo and Recipe via Blue Kitchen)


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    They Recruit

    posted by on October 18 at 7:57 AM


    The Army, Navy and Air Force unwittingly advertised for recruits on a website for gays, who are barred from military service if they are open about their sexual orientation. When informed Tuesday by USA TODAY that they were advertising on, a networking website for gay professionals, recruiters expressed surprise and said they would remove the job listings.

    “This is the first I’ve heard about it,” said Maj. Michael Baptista, advertising branch chief for the Army National Guard, which will spend $6.5 million on Internet recruiting this year. “We didn’t knowingly advertise on that particular website,” which he said does not “meet the moral standards” of the military.

    Yeah, the military has such high moral standards these days.

    The Army made its recruiting goal last year despite an increasingly unpopular war by turning to people convicted of serious crimes.

    Recruiters signed up people who had committed such felonies as arson, burglary, aggravated assault, breaking and entering and driving while intoxicated.

    Gay accountants and lawyers? Not moral enough for today’s military. Arsonists, thieves, thugs, and drunks? Sign here, boys.

    Apple to Open iPhone Development

    posted by on October 18 at 7:53 AM

    Yesterday, Apple announced that the long-awaited iPhone software development kit will be available in February, allowing officially supported third-party applications to be developed for Apple’s mobile platform. Yay.

    The New York Times reports on this development today, and gets oh-so-many things wrong.


    After engendering frustration from some customers and software makers, Apple has changed its policy to encourage independent developers to build programs for use on the iPhone.

    I guess this is technically true, but misleading at best. This isn’t a change in policy, it’s what was expected—though un-announced—all along.

    Several weeks ago, Apple released an over-the-air update to the iPhone that erased programs made by independent developers and caused some phones to freeze up.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. The update was not “over-the-air,” and it didn’t erase anything. It restored iPhones to their standard state, that is, un-hacked. Making unsupported modifications to software is—guess what—unsupported. Phones that froze up were almost all “unlocked,” meaning the firmware had been fundamentally modified to allow them to work on carriers besides AT&T. These users were clearly warned not to apply the optional update.

    The article improves from there, in many ways contradicting the first half. It’s as if the reporter took a walk around the block to clear his head. He does close with a final bit of inanity, though at least it’s coming from someone else.

    Advocates of unlocking the iPhone and creating programs for it assert that they paid for the device and it belongs to them, not to Apple.

    “If Apple does something where they remove everything I did on it, I have a feeling that Apple is kindly lending me a phone to make phone calls,” said Mr. Houri, the executive from Mexens Technology.

    Sheesh. Yeah, it belongs to you. You can fuck with it if you want—go nuts. But if you’re stupid enough to run a software update after you’ve modified the phone’s firmware and to expect whatever you did to be left alone, you’re, you know, really stupid.

    K, bye.

    My Ride to O’Hare

    posted by on October 18 at 7:47 AM


    Traffic crawling along. Thank God—or thank Chicago’s taxpayers and competent-if-corrupt leaders—for extending the El’s Blue Line to O’Hare fifteen or twenty years ago. A cab to O’Hare is $40ish bucks. The El is $2. So why would anyone cab it?

    Oh, and it’s going to be 80 fucking degrees here today—in Chicago, in late October. Something’s not right. And, yes, I realize that I’m making climate change worse by flying from Chicago to Boston and not biking or skating. I did stay in Chicago for two extra days this week to avoid flying all the way back to Seattle from Chicago before flying to Boston. But, yeah, I fly too much, I’m part of the problem, I’m the reason it’s going to be 80 degrees in Chicago today. But it still freaks me out.

    And here’s a comforting headline—courtesy of Matt Drudge—to read right before you step on an airplane at O’Hare International Airport…

    Most fake bombs missed by screeners

    75% not detected at LAX; 60% at O’Hare

    We Saw Your Light On

    posted by on October 18 at 7:45 AM

    In the second chapter of The Great Gatsby, Nick goes into New York City with Tom Buchanan and Tom’s mistress, Myrtle, and they hang out in Myrtle’s apartment on 158th Street, “one slice in a long white cake of apartment-houses.” Myrtle’s apartment is on the top floor. It’s one of those apartments “crowded to the doors with a set of tapestried furniture entirely too large for it.” They invite some people over, including Myrtle’s sister Catherine. Nick (narrator) gets drunk for the second time in his life. Someone breaks someone else’s nose. It’s quite a little party. But before all that comes this knockout paragraph:

    The bottle of whiskey—a second one—was now in constant demand by all present, excepting Catherine, who “felt just as good on nothing at all.” Tom rang for the janitor and sent him for some celebrated sandwiches, which were a complete supper in themselves. I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight, but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild, strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.

    Anyway. The inspiration for this week’s feature wasn’t The Great Gatsby, it was The Portland Mercury. But it did involve walking by apartments at night, looking for lit-up windows, and wondering what was going on inside. We wanted to do it when the city was at its most dead. So we did it last Wednesday. At 2 a.m.—so, technically, Thursday. Fve Stranger writers (Megan Seling, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, Eric Grandy, Brendan Kiley, and I) went to five neighborhoods (Ballard, the U-District, Capitol Hill/downtown, Belltown, and West Seattle) with a sign, flashlights, and a buddy or two. And we found people who were still awake. And wrote about them. None of us were murdered.

    There’s a picture of the sign on this week’s cover.


    When you go out in the middle of the night and choose five people solely on the basis of their light being on—it also depended, of course, on their willingness to follow the instructions printed on a sign held up by some shady figures standing out in the street (in Georgetown, the first neighborhood I tried, someone came to the window, read the sign I was holding, waved, didn’t follow the instructions, and disappeared, never to return to the window [which is probably what I would have done])—what you get is a snapshot of five regular people, a random sample of the citizenry. Five instances of the inexhaustible variety of life.

    Here’s who we met, by neighborhood.

    West Seattle
    “We got out and stood under a crosswalk sign. We shined flashlights into the apartment while holding the sign. Someone came to the window. The person appeared to be Justin Timberlake—the jacket, the hat. After a pause, Justin Timberlake gestured toward the front steps. Justin Timberlake was coming outside to meet us.” [More…]

    The U-District
    “We were hurried inside Sigma Nu’s enormous house and led down to a cavernous kitchen turned into a makeshift dining room. A half-full bag of tortilla chips sat next to a half-empty bottle of Jameson. The four frat boys sized us up, trying to figure out why we were there. We asked what they were doing up at this hour, and they offered to show us.” [More…]

    The first thing I noticed about him was that he was drunk—slurred-speech, unable-to-stand-up-straight-for-more-than-a-few-seconds drunk. The second thing I noticed was his funny black T-shirt that had “HEAVY METAL” at the top and, below that, pictures of various kinds of metal from the periodic table—gold, silver, platinum, aluminum, etc.” [More…]

    Capitol Hill/Downtown
    “He walked us over to his new place at the Tower @ 801 apartments, that cool, cylindrical high-rise by the Paramount. His apartment was the shape of a large piece of pie.” [More…]

    “He was cheerful and talkative, not slurring at all, but it was hard to follow his conversation. First he said he was 30, then 35, but he looked like a hard-lived 40. His name was Billy. Then it was Alex. Then he asked: ‘Can you refer to us as Dana and Alex?’ Who’s Dana? ‘He’s in jail, doing 30 days in Monroe. But when he gets out, we’re going to burn that fucking thing down.’” [More…]

    Plus, a bonus: here are some 2 a.m. vignettes—from other nights—set in Pioneer Square, the Central District, Capitol Hill, and Aurora. Follow that link and you will find Brendan Kiley asking a prostitute who is shouting and jumping whether she is shouting and jumping because she is happy or shouting and jumping because she is sad.

    Good morning.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    The Great Debate

    posted by on October 17 at 6:46 PM


    As Erica and Dan have already slogged, our endorsements are out.

    One controversial endorsement is our recommendation to vote against the $17.8 billion roads and transit package (Sound Transit and RTID Proposition No. 1)

    Tomorrow, we’ll be posting footage from our editorial board interview, when we had the pro and con sides in to duke it out and answer questions.

    It was a heated, hour-long debate, and Kelly O. and I spent today editing it down into two 10-minute videos. (YouTube regulations.)

    Part One includes the following chapters:

    “If we vote ‘Yes.’”

    “It’s disingenuous.”

    “I’m going to be completely disingenuous.”

    “If we’re going to reduce it.”

    “So, you guys say.”

    “Politicians don’t get to say.”

    “And in response to Sandeep’s Qustion.”

    “What the Sierra Club has done.”


    Part Two concludes the debate with the following chapters:

    “I want 50 miles of light rail so bad.”

    “The revenue source.”

    “If we don’t take this opportunity.”

    “I’m not a political genius.”

    “I just don’t think it’s realistic.”

    “Holy shit.”

    Who Didn’t Fred Thompson Work For?

    posted by on October 17 at 4:31 PM

    Fred Thompson once did legal work for the Westboro Baptist Church:

    Members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church are urging Fred Thompson to support their stance on homosexuality—a position on which they say the Republican presidential candidate once “saw eye to eye” with them.

    Thompson was hired for a mid-1980s legal case in Kansas on the recommendation of Margie Phelps, daughter of Westboro founder Fred Phelps.

    The Topeka, Kan.-based church is now best known for protesting at soldiers’ funerals, claiming their deaths are retribution for the nation’s acceptance of homosexuality.

    Wherein We Tell You How to Vote

    posted by on October 17 at 4:25 PM

    Our election endorsements just came out. You can read the full lineup (and full-length versions of the endorsements excerpted below) here, but here are a few of the highlights.

    Prop. 1 (Roads and Transit): Vote No.

    Rather than letting compromised politicians tell us what’s possible, the people should tell the leaders what’s needed: more light rail without massive roads expansion. It’s time to flex some urban muscle. Seattle voters shouldn’t have to fund roads on the Eastside in order to get light rail.

    Seattle City Council Position 1: Vote Jean Godden.

    She supported a tax on commercial parking that now helps pay for transportation maintenance around the city. She stood up for cyclists when the powerful industrial lobby wanted to eliminate the planned “missing link” from the Burke- Gilman Trail in Ballard, and she says she’ll fight to restore a bike lane on Stone Way. And she has fought hard for her budget priorities.

    Seattle City Council Position 3: Vote Venus Velazquez

    We believe Venus Velázquez, a public-affairs consultant whom Steinbrueck has endorsed, will be a forceful, independent, and effective voice on the council. Her social-service advocacy on behalf of clients such as CASA Latina, her no-nonsense approach to negotiating issues, and her firm commitment to social justice and working-class people convince us she has what it takes to fill Steinbrueck’s shoes.

    Seattle City Council Position 7: Vote Tim Burgess: His past work for right-wing groups like (anti-gay, anti-woman) Concerned Women for America and (anti-sex, anti-birth control) Food for the Hungry gives the apostate progressives on the SECB the willies. [But] He’s in the right place on some of our most important issues, including nightlife and the environment. Sealing the deal: Lightweight incumbent David Della—a seat-warmer who never met an environmental policy he liked—simply isn’t intellectually fit to be on the council.

    We May Not Need Light Rail After All

    posted by on October 17 at 4:14 PM

    Turkey’s parliament okays an invasion of Iraq (since, you know, our invasion worked out so well), Bush predicts WWIII if Iran goes nuclear (it might take our minds off the current war), Russia President Putin crawls into bed with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (but not in a gay way), US politicians piss off Chinese (it’s not like they control our economy or anything). Things kinda look bleak, huh?

    Read It and Weep

    posted by on October 17 at 4:05 PM

    Our endorsements are out…

    Sound Transit/RTID Proposition No. 1


    The joint roads and transit ballot measure shackles expansion of Sound Transit’s popular light-rail system to a massive roads- expansion package that could never have passed on its own.

    After road proponents realized they didn’t have voter support for a stand-alone roads package (a major roads-expansion proposal died at the polls in 2002), legislators in Olympia linked roads expansion to light rail. This proposal is an attempt to use urban voters to pass a suburban agenda. Rather than letting compromised politicians tell us what’s possible, the people should tell the leaders what’s needed: more light rail without massive roads expansion. It’s time to flex some urban muscle. Seattle voters shouldn’t have to fund roads on the Eastside in order to get light rail.

    But by voting No on 50 miles of new transit, wouldn’t Seattle’s pro-transit voting bloc be cutting its nose to spite its face? No. By unwisely voting Yes on 182 miles of new roads, including four new lanes on I-405 to accommodate an extra 40,000 cars a day, they would be.

    Read the rest here—including our endorsement in the Della/Burgess race. Can you guess who we backed?

    Burgess Broke

    posted by on October 17 at 3:59 PM

    Says the PI:

    Tim Burgess, who seeks to unseat incumbent David Della, is about $115,000 in the red, including upcoming expenses. He says he’s not worried.

    And he’s not the only one: Venus Velazquez is $43,000 in the red and her opponent, Bruce Harrell, is looking at a $17,000 shortfall.

    McIver Charged

    posted by on October 17 at 3:48 PM

    City Council member Richard McIver has been charged with fourth-degree assault for allegedly grabbing his wife by the throat during a late-night fight last week. McIver, who was originally expected to return to work and grant one-on-one interviews to reporters last Friday, returned to City Hall today but will not be granting interviews. For more on McIver, check out my story in this week’s paper.

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on October 17 at 3:26 PM

    Tonight in Music: The Pogues and Lucero.

    Wanna Win the New Pleasureboaters CD?: Listen to this week’s Setlist and find out how.

    Happy Hump Day: Chixdiggit wanna hump you.

    Les Savy Fav: Genius.

    The Fiery Furnaces: Sam Machkovech reviews last night’s show at the Crocodile.

    Cosmic the Original: Terry Miller says Daniele Baldelli’s mix CD is it’s totally brilliant.

    However: Terry Miller thinks Sasha Frere-Jones is completely not brilliant.

    Roy Ayers: Jonathan Zwickel reviews Ayers’s set at Nectar.


    Re: One for my Ladiez

    posted by on October 17 at 2:58 PM

    The grand dame of all the “Holla” web sites is HollaBack NYC, where women who get harassed on the street can post cell phone photos of their harrassers. From the FAQs:

    Q: What exactly is street harassment?

    A: Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.

    At HollaBackNYC, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice tits” there are many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLA BACK!

    Question: Isn’t street harassment the price you pay for living in a city?
    Answer: No, local taxes are the price you pay for living in a city. We would love to see some portion of our local taxes go towards preventing street harassment, but alas, they don’t.

    Question: If you show off your boobage, shouldn’t you expect some compliments?
    Answer: Sure, expect them, but don’t accept them! Just because it happens doesn’t mean it’s okay. A compliment is not a compliment if it makes the recipient feel bad.

    Their motto: “If you can’t slap ‘em, snap ‘em!” NICE.

    Where’s the Outrage?

    posted by on October 17 at 2:35 PM

    Wait until flamin’ John Paul II sees this:


    I found this John Paul II “celebriduck” for sale at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square last week. Times Square is on the island Manhattan, which is also home to Bill Donohue’s Catholic League, last seen leading the charge against anti-Catholic stand-up comics and sacrilegious kink festivals. I fully expect the Catholic League to announce a boycott of the makers of Celebriducks and Virgin Megastores—I mean, anyone could buy this duck-billed representation of the pope, even kinky homos, and bathe with it. For shame.

    Or maybe the Catholic League will let this one slide. Unlike those horrible homos at Folsom, the makers of Celebriducks aren’t insulting our Lord and Savior, right?

    I’ve Got A Knife!

    posted by on October 17 at 2:20 PM


    Turns out the reported cocaine overdose, assault weapon wound in the shoulder and hostage situation in Lake Forest, CA, this March didn’t actually require a rifle-bearing SWAT Team response:

    As officers swarmed the home with assault rifles, dogs and a helicopter, a Lake Forest couple and their two toddlers inside their home slept unsuspectingly.

    Seems a Mukilteo teen’s 911 hack prompted a siege-style descent upon a suburban family—why couldn’t you just steal identities like the rest of your peers? But what’s alarming about the story, now in the news as a result of the 19-year-old’s arrest last week, isn’t the showdown that almost went down between the knife-wielding dad and the misinformed SWAT Team…it’s this tidbit:

    Authorities would not divulge details on how Ellis hacked into the system, stating that doing so would jeopardize the investigation and possibly create copycats.

    That translates into “We haven’t fixed the vulnerability at all whatsoever,” right? Somebody get the Governator on it.

    Official Protest Notice for Lynnwood Watchmen Conference

    posted by on October 17 at 2:05 PM

    Slog tipper Levi passed along the official announcement:


    Yes, it is happening this weekend and NO they are NOT welcome in our community! Let’s let them know it! RAIN OR SHINE!!! LOUD and PROUD!!!

    A peaceful protest is planned for this Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007. It is our goal to surround the Convention Center located at 3711 196 St. SW, Lynnwood, 98036 at 9:30 a.m. Their conference begins at 11:00 and we want to greet them as they arrive.

    Please follow these simple rules:
    DO NOT block sidewalks, intersections doorways or driveways.
    DO NOT stoop to the their level of hatred. Try not to be offensive and DO NOT be physical with any conference attendee.
    DO wear bright colors and draw attention to our cause
    Children are welcome (so let’s set a good example for them)
    Bring banners, signs, balloons, & any creative way to express your opinion
    IF anyone has a sound system or bullhorn they can bring this would be terrific! Chanting would be awesome! Singing would be great! I’d love to see us all link arms in a full showing of unity and support of one another and pray that THEY replace their hatred with love and acceptance. No one is born a bigot, it is a choice that can be changed.

    There will be no formal presentation. We simply want to gather as they enter so they can see a large showing of people from all walks of life, all ages, genders and sexual orientation telling them that Snohomish County is NO place for hate.

    This conference has drawn wonderful news attention. There will be media present and plenty of show of force by the Lynnwood P.D. Let’s make it a turn out that is talked about for a long, long time!

    Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that “Silence is Betrayal” and we must not ever turn our backs on prejudices. We must look it in the eye and say “YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE” Let’s remember and respect everyone’s right to free speech and to religious freedom, but let’s speak loud and proud and make it known that all people are loved in the eyes of the Great Spirit.

    Thanks to protest organizer Cindy, who says she’ll be “wearing a rainbow tie-dyed sweatshirt with a large rainbow umbrella.”

    Untrue For You

    posted by on October 17 at 1:57 PM

    Listen to the new music.
    HDBCD002.jpg Read about the new music.

    The S.S. Bongsmoke

    posted by on October 17 at 1:54 PM

    VICTORIA, B.C. — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is worried about marijuana use by British Columbia ferry crew members, based on interviews after a fatal ferry sinking last year.

    Board spokesman John Cottreau said today there has been no suggestion that crew members were high when the Queen of the North slammed into an island and sank in March 2006, but investigators were told pot use was not uncommon between shifts, on board as well as off the vessel.

    The government’s right to be concerned. This is exactly how Gilligan crashed that damn boat.

    Halo 3 Players for Ron Paul

    posted by on October 17 at 1:50 PM

    What does this sound like?

    college roommates (two guys, one girl) located in the southeast playing halo 3 noon to midnight live from our apartment.

    Why of course! It’s a Ron Paul fundraiser.


    If you can explain the connection between Halo 3 and Ron Paul I will be very grateful—and a little worried about you.

    Required Reading: Slate on Laws We’re Allowed to Break

    posted by on October 17 at 1:50 PM

    In the Unites States, using a computer to download obscenity is a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. Federal law makes it a crime to use “a computer service” to transport over state lines “any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, motion-picture film, paper, letter, writing, print, or other matter of indecent character.”

    Under the plain reading of the statute, most men in the United States may be felons.

    Gawker Stalker

    posted by on October 17 at 1:20 PM

    I read New York magazine on the plane yesterday, and in addition to this piece, which I’ll probably post about later, I devoured this great cover story by Vanessa Grigoriadis: Everybody Sucks: Gawker and the Rage of the Creative Underclass.

    Discussed in her tough and very funny story: One of my favorite snarky blogs; the alleged class envy that young bloggers feel toward older, old-style journalists; how much a Gawker writer makes per post ($12); how much Tom Wolfe makes per word ($6); how much Gawker took in last year (maybe $14 million); the exact location of the new KGB of media gossip; premature ejaculation; Neal Pollack; the man behind the IM handle DarkLordBalthazar; a polka-dot Nanette Lepore suit; and this quote: “We’re a drug ring, not a bunch of bloggers.”

    Worth a read, in my humble opinion.

    DV-One Trial Starts Today

    posted by on October 17 at 1:10 PM

    Toby Campbell—better known as Seattle DJ DV-One—is finally getting his day in court.

    Campbell was charged with assaulting an officer after cops grabbed his daughter for blocking traffic, following a high school football game. Campbell claims police made racist remarks and excessive force during his arrest and days later, pictures of a Campbell—battered and bruised—showed up on the internet.


    Last month, the SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA)—which investigates accusations of police misconduct—released a report which cleared officers of any wrongdoing. According to Campbell’s attorney, Lisa Daugaard, the OPA ignored or misrepresented the statements of several key witnesses.

    Campbell’s trial is being held at the King County Court House at 516 3rd Ave in courtroom W-817.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007 9am Thursday, October 18, 2007 9am Monday, October 22, 2007 9am Tuesday, October 23, 2007 9am Wednesday, October 24, 2007 9am

    Portland, Portland, Portland

    posted by on October 17 at 12:30 PM

    I too am just back from vacation—and limping along, technology-wise, because my laptop decided to die Monday in a very loud and dramatic fashion (which I have to say I somewhat admire). There were screeches, static groans, and a white screen that I suppose meant heavenly rest for my hardworking hardrive—and of course hell for me.

    In any case, I was on vacation in New York City, and everywhere I went people were talking about Portland.

    I went to a gallery opening in NoLita and the gallery director was just back from several weeks in Portland, gushing about the scene there and how much he liked the city, how livable it was, how well planned. A friend of his, who works in fashion, was also just back from Portland, also gushing. I went out to dinner nearby and The Shins were playing in the restaurant. The friend I was eating with didn’t know who The Shins were, but when I mentioned they’re from Portland, he said, “Oh,” in a tone that suggested their cache had just been raised immensely. A few days later I was in a gay bar talking to a couple guys, and when the conversation turned to where I’m from (Seattle) one of the guys said, I guess apropos of Northwest cities: “You know, I love Portland.” His friend immediately concurred.

    It felt like when I first went to New York, in the late 1990s, when talking about the Northwest inevitably meant talking about a certain hip new city. Back then it was my city, Seattle. Now it seems to be our southern neighbor.

    We’re All Gonna Die!

    posted by on October 17 at 11:41 AM

    It’s Windstorm ‘07!

    Elizabeth Taylor, Sergio Leone, and Me

    posted by on October 17 at 11:36 AM

    Hello citizens of the Slogosphere, I am officially back from my official vacation, officially.

    Aside from my gender reassignment surgery (success!), I spent the majority of my time off watching Sergio Leone’s four-hours-long-and-totally-amazing Once Upon a Time in America. I also spent at least four hours obsessively re-watching the clip below, in which Elizabeth Taylor exhibits the most impressive celebrity behavior in American history.

    I can’t begin to guess what kind of drugs are required to make a person do such things, but I’m content to spend the rest of my life trying to find out.

    Contraception is Murder

    posted by on October 17 at 11:27 AM

    Surprise! The woman George W. Bush has appointed to oversee family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services thinks contraception is a part of our “culture of death,” and that requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception isn’t about health, but about making “everyone collaborators” in that culture of death. Susan Orr is a Family Research Council alum and a big supporter, naturally, of the billion-dollar boondoggle that is abstinence-only education.

    George W. Bush is going to be in office for 13 more months.

    Via ThinkProgress.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on October 17 at 11:14 AM

    Christopher Paul Neil is “the world’s most-wanted pedophile.” He’s the creep that posted hundreds of images online of himself abusing boys; the boys’ faces were clearly shown, Neil’s face was digitally scrambled. Police were able to unscramble his face and identify Neil—and now we’re learning all sorts of interesting things about his past. Like the fact that he was seminarian and a youth pastor of sorts in British Columbia before becoming a fugitive.

    The school’s website Tuesday morning listed Neil as a Grade 7-8 history teacher, with a degree from The Seminary of Christ the King, in Mission, B.C. His name has since been removed from the school’s website.

    Archdiocese of Vancouver spokesperson Paul Schratz confirmed that Neil studied at the seminar. “He apparently left at some point when he was not invited to continue his studies for the priesthood,” Schratz told CTV British Columbia. The school’s rector is quoted as saying Neil did not have the qualifications to be recommended for the priesthood.

    Yeah, good pedophile priests are made of stealthier stuff—they can for decades without being caught. Still, despite not being invited to continue his studies, Neil was allowed to help other Catholics—underage Catholics—with their studies:

    Neil then shifted his focus to teaching and began volunteering at St. Patrick’s Catholic parish six years ago.

    “He at some point did some volunteer catechism instruction in the parish—so he would be working with students, preparing them for the preparation of the sacraments, their religious education, that sort of thing,” Schratz added.

    But let’s not talk about the creepy pedophile we sent to work with your kids! Let’s talk about JP2 appearing to us in a campfire! Look over there—it’s a miracle!

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on October 17 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Some Paintings by
    Derek Erdman’
    at The Anne Bonny

    An excerpt from Chicago painter Derek Erdman’s interview with himself: “I see that you’ve painted Hitler, KKK members, John Wayne Gacy, and many other unsavory characters. Is there anyone you would absolutely never paint?” “No. If I think I can sell it, I will paint it… if you paint Holly Hunter on a Honda CB200 held up by a candy cane on the roof of the Wieners Circle, well, you’re going to sell a couple of those.” His paintings are big, raw, and slightly out of control. (The Anne Bonny, 1355 E Olive Way, 382-7845. Noon–7 pm, free.)


    One for My Ladiez

    posted by on October 17 at 10:53 AM

    One of the coolest things about being a lady is that you get to be hella pretty. And one of the coolest things about being a gentleman is that, when you see a lady who is hella pretty, you get to tell her about your boner.

    Such unsolicited boner information is the subject of newborn blog Let Me Holler at You.

    For example, I fondly look back on the time when, at a Salsa club in Los Angeles, a gentleman with a handlebar mustache and a shiny purple suit called out to me: “You make a ole man cry!” Um, okay, I thought. Not a bad holler, if holler he must. He beckoned me closer and whispered, “You give me a hard-on!”

    Or, while walking across a parking lot wearing a polka-dotted dress, I was the grateful recipient of this holler: “If she move those polka-dots any further away from me, I’mma be BOOBATIZED till mornin’!”

    Or the time when my sister, innocently strolling the streets of San Francisco, passed a hobo lying in a doorway. “What’s up with your pee-hole, baaaaaby?” asked the inquisitive hobo.

    Dear Gentlemen:
    Why must I know about the situation in your underpants? What the fuck is “boobatized”? What is up with my sister’s pee-hole? AND WHY DO YOU JUST GET TO HOLLER WHATEVER YOU WANT IN A LADY’S FACE?

    From Let Me Holler at You’s mission statement:

    Sometimes, as ladies, we are doing nothing more than minding our own business when a passing stranger will comment on the size of our asses, the voluptuousness of our boobz.

    I invite you all to share with me your tales of woe, whether in regards to a dude leaning out of his car at you, a hobo peeking out from behind a dumpster at you, or even a stranger on a bike inquiring as to the whereabouts of your “man” when, in fact, your man is standing right next to you at the time.

    Please submit all entries to: International submissions will be accepted!

    So, ladies! Share your holler-related lady woes at Let Me Holler at You. So far, you can enjoy such submissions as “You don’t gotta get up, I’m just taking a piss,” and “There’s gotta be a whole lotta pussy behind that ass!”

    Do it for me. Do it for you. Do it for LADY JUSTICE!

    Dead Pope Flaming, Not Gay

    posted by on October 17 at 10:46 AM

    If a flaming image of, say, Oscar Wilde or Harvey Milk appeared in a campfire crazier Catholics would insist it was proof that Wilde or Milk are roasting in hell with Mahatma Ghandi, Anna Nicole Smith, Henry VIII, and all the other non-Catholics. But when an image—a blurry one, of course, because they’re always blurry ones—of John Paul II appeared to appear in a photo taken of a campfire, well, that’s proof that he’s in heaven, say the crazier Catholics.


    See how that works?

    Heavy Rail

    posted by on October 17 at 10:09 AM

    Yesterday afternoon I needed to get from McHenry, Illinois, where my mother lives, to Midway Airport, where I’m beginning to think I live.

    McHenry is deep in Chicago’s northwest ‘burbs, closer to Racine, Wisconsin, than downtown Chicago. Midway is on Chicago’s near south side. Googlemaps says you can make the 57.9 mile journey in “about an hour and 29 minutes,” which is a lie. It’ll take you closer to two hours, particularly at rush hour. Hell, during rush hours—6-9 AM, 3-7 PM—it can take two and half hours or more. And they’re miserable hours, stuck in traffic, crawling along Chicago’s congested expressways.

    Luckily for us, and luckily for my stepfather, we didn’t have to drive to Midway. The Chicago area is served by a large commuter rail system—heavy rail, not light rail—and the city has elevated trains and a subway system downtown. So instead of driving all the way to Midway we caught the 2 PM Metra from Crystal Lake, which got us to downtown Chicago in an hour and twenty minutes. Then we walked three blocks to the Orange Line, and caught the elevated train to Midway Airport, about a twenty minute ride. Total cost? $7.15. It took a bit longer than driving—if you don’t count my stepfather’s two hour drive back to McHenry after dropping us off—but the small amount of added travel time was worth it. We weren’t stuck in a car, crawling along the expressway, dodging psychos in Hummers. On Metra, we could spread out, read the papers, and, when we needed to, even use a bathroom if we needed to.

    Here’s the heavy rail we took to downtown Chicago…


    Our journey to the aiport, needless to say, wouldn’t have been possible on a bus, the mode of mass transit recommended by people that don’t ride mass transit. Well, I guess it would have been possible, provided buses run from McHenry to Midway. I don’t think any do—and I’m certain we wouldn’t have taken one if they did. A 58 mile bus ride treats commuters to all of the aggravation and delays of driving without any of the, yes, aesthetic rewards of train travel. The experience of riding a train is, simply put, more pleasant than riding the bus or, in my opinion, driving. Just looking out the windows of a train is a pleasure—you see towns and businesses and backyards, not other cars and neighborhoods destroyed when the expressway came through.

    And guess what else I saw when I looked out the windows of the 2 PM from Crystal Lake? Condos—lots of them. Dense, new developments crowded around the train stations in the ‘burbs. Most of the stops along the route were in ‘burbs that, once upon a time, were small towns in their own right, not just bedroom communities. And most had retail strips—stores, restaurants, and even old fashioned movie theaters—that were looking pretty derelict until the condos came in. Now instead of rail and auto commuters hunkering down in their split levels when they’re not driving to the mall, these little ‘burbs have lively downtowns of their own thanks to condo residents.

    Yes, yes: condos are always and everywhere destructive, a plague upon the land, a force for evil, etc. But the large and, in most cases, tasteful condo developments I saw from the train are making it possible for people to live in the ‘burbs—for the peace and quiet, for the schools, for the tedium or whatever—without having to rely on cars to get around or get groceries. The condos at the rail stations are also making it possible for people that might not otherwise be able to afford to live in the ‘burbs, i.e. people that can’t afford a detached house on a half acre, to live in a community that appeals to them.

    Anyway, blah blah blah. We have a transit vote coming up ourselves, don’t we? Fifty miles of light rail or something? Fifty miles seems like a lot, I’ve heard some people say. Shouldn’t we go slower? Build a line here, a line there, see if we like it? Putting those fifty miles in perspective: Fifty miles is roughly the length of the commuter rail line that took me from McHenry to downtown Chicago yesterday—and that’s just one of Chicago’s eleven commuter rail lines, which serve 230 stations along 495 miles of track. And then there’s the Chicago Transit Authority’s eight rapid transit lines that serve 144 stations along 222 miles of track.

    You don’t need a car to get around in Chicago. You must have a car to get around Seattle. We bicker, other cities build.

    And You Thought the Golden Space Needle Was Bad…

    posted by on October 17 at 9:49 AM

    Portland’s Northwest Film & Video Festival has just handed out its jury awards. Among the winners are Seattle’s James Longley, in the category of… um, “The Regarding The Pain of Others Award” (for the truly extremely empathetic Sari’s Mother).

    The other awards are as follows:

    THE LIFE IS MORE SUBTLE THAN WE THINK AWARD Creamery Birds-Director Brian Libby, Portland, OR

    By Modern Measure-Director Matthew Lessner, Nehalem, OR.

    And, my personal favorite,

    THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TROUBLED ENERGY AWARD Patterns II and Patterns III-Jamie Travis, Vancouver, BC.

    You can get a copy of the award-winning Sari’s Mother as an extra on the Iraq in Fragments DVD, available here.

    The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts. But…

    posted by on October 17 at 9:45 AM

    I missed this article from a few days ago. It’s worth putting on Slog.

    You know how the Bush Administration is always justifying its warrantless spying program by saying … “If we had had this before Sept. 11…”

    The implication of this scare-tactic politicking, of course, is that if the Democratic Congress doesn’t sign off on Bush’s creepy surveillance policies, the Democrats are aiding the terrorists.

    “They don’t understand the Post Septmeber 11 world,” Bush admonishes critics of his Stasi ways.

    In that context, this report from the Washington Post in which a telecom official from Qwest claims the administration may have been using illegal surveillance tactics seven months before September 11—is, if true—extra embarrassing for Bush.

    1) It means President Bush’s “Post September 11 World” rationale is a lie, and he’s been spying since the earliest months of his administration.

    2) It means, this extra spying shit doesn’t work to prevent things like September 11 anyway, and so Bush is telling a double lie.


    3) The Bush administration is so incompetent that even when they use drastic surveillance measures, they can’t stop the bad guys.

    From The Post:

    Nacchio’s account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.

    The Qwest exec also claims that the administration punished his company for not participating in the questionable spying program by canceling an unrelated, lucrative government contract.

    Paying Attention to the Auras

    posted by on October 17 at 9:31 AM


    I know it’s a day late, but I wanted to mention Orhan Pamuk’s talk Monday night at the opening evening of the 2007-08 Seattle Arts and Lectures season.

    Pamuk is Turkey’s best-selling novelist and the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. He writes dense, yet surprisingly accessible books that concern themselves with art, politics (in a non-political way), and what he calls “the irony of the minor detail in the major scene.”

    His talk last night was full of humor and the passion of an artist serious about his craft.

    A few highlights:

    He called Anna Karenina the greatest novel ever written, but said he got the most pleasure from Proust. “He gave me consolation that I’m normal,” Pamuk said. “He pays such graceful attention to all the minor things that we push under the carpet, and that attention helps us accept our humanity.”

    I love that phrase. “Graceful attention.” It seems an appropriate description of what Pamuk does so well in his writing. He also called himself a very visual writer. “When I write a scene, I don’t just write it for the drama or to tell a story. I pay attention to the auras.”

    Pamuk on the responsibilities of writing: “The obligation of the author is to write beautiful books. Novels are about identifying with people who are not like us and this is a very generous human capability.”

    Early on he talked about the Western conception of melancholy being a very solitary emotion, but that the Turkish word, huzun had a much more communal meaning, being, he claimed, the national feeling of Istanbul and indeed all of Turkey.

    But the best moment of the evening was the conclusion when he read the final section of this Nobel acceptance speech - the answer to the question he is most often asked.

    The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is: Why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write. I write because I can’t do normal work as other people do. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can partake of real life only by changing it. I write because I want others, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but—as in a dream—can’t quite get to. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.

    And then we all filed out of Benaroya Hall into the rain, filled with a delicious huzun. It felt just right.

    Seattle Arts & Lectures’ 20th season continues on November 19 with Diane Ackerman. The rest of the season’s stellar lineup is Colson Whitehead, Mary Oliver, Richard Powers, and John Banville.

    Just Keep Telling Yourself…

    posted by on October 17 at 9:30 AM

    …that the obesity epidemic is a myth.

    Obesity is more dangerous than smoking and will dramatically shorten the lives of millions, a landmark study has found.

    While smoking reduces life by an average of ten years, the research says being seriously overweight can cut life expectancy by as much as 13 years.

    Thou Shalt Not Freak Out (Yet)

    posted by on October 17 at 8:37 AM

    Yes, yes, the Oddfellows Hall—home of the Century Ballroom, Velocity Dance Center, Freehold, two well-loved fringe theaters, and bunches of arts organizations and non-profits—has been sold.

    Or is about to be sold. Or something.

    Neither the current nor the future owners have returned our calls, but rumor says it’s pretty much a done deal (pending one small legal matter, allegedly about property lines, that should be resolved within days if it isn’t already).

    Those rumors have been breathless and panicked, as members of the aforementioned arts organizations and nonprofits have wondered if their beautiful old brick building will be torn down to build a stack of ugly—if lucrative—condo units.

    The panic is premature. According to current tenants like Kara O’Toole, executive director of Velocity, the current owners have said repeatedly that they don’t want to sell to anyone who will annihilate its spirit and current community function.

    Another good omen—the purported buyer is one Mr. Ted Schroth, developer of the Trace Lofts, admired for its smart blend of preservation and renovation.

    And one of Schroth’s development collaborators, Liz Dunn, was described in our Political Genius Shortlist this year as “our kind of developer… rather than gutting existing urban shops and stores and shoehorning in awkward condo developments, Dunn’s kind of development… fits in and brings more life to the street.”

    Of course, Schroth can buy the building and do whatever he wants, but if his record is any indication, he’ll do some tasteful renovation, overhaul the retail on the first floor, add some residential floors up top, and let well-loved community organizations (Century Ballroom, Velocity) stay.

    Isn’t that what a smart developer would do?

    (In other not-terrible news for arts spaces in Seattle: Jim Kelly of 4Culture says the county has made an offer on the Washington Hall at 14th and Fir—former home of On the Boards, current home of the Sons of Haiti, an African-American Masonic lodge. Kelly says the SoH hasn’t answered yet, but he’s confident they can make a deal “Either we’re going to save some of these buildings to help preserve some of the independent arts in Seattle,” he says, “or we’re going to have to face the consequences.”)


    posted by on October 17 at 8:16 AM

    Bush hits a new low—and so does Congress.

    The dismal assessment of the Republican president and the Democratic-controlled Congress follows another month of inconclusive political battles over a future path in Iraq and the recent Bush veto of an expansion of the program providing insurance for poor children.

    The bleak mood could present problems for both parties heading into the November 2008 election campaign, Zogby said.

    Problems for both parties? Maybe ‘08 will be Ralph Nader’s year.

    The Morning News

    posted by on October 17 at 7:53 AM

    Rich: The religious right, with hundreds of millions in donations.

    Smeared: Another right-wing attack on a little kid.

    Iraqi Government: Blackwater must get out.

    Related: Dick Cheney, Barack Obama.

    Dry: Drought continues across US South.

    Human Nature: Study seeks out the elusive “gay gene.”

    Slumping: The housing market, according to Treasury chief.

    Profane: Woman who cursed at an overflowing toilet… in her own hoome.

    Condemned: The Bush Administration, for withholding information on corruption in Iraq.

    Off his rocker: Bill O’Reilly, who says Abu Ghraib was “blown out of proportion.”

    Recipe of the Day: Spicy Soba Noodles with Shiitakes and Cabbage (Photo and recipe via Smitten Kitchen)


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    Jive Turkey

    posted by on October 17 at 12:41 AM

    Obviously, the resolution is unfortunately timed (about a century too late), and obviously the situation on the ground in Iraq is pressing, but goddamn—shouldn’t this bit of semantics matter, especially now? Turkey is going to withdraw its support (which could mean not just pulling troops but also maybe raiding Northern Iraq to clash with the Kurdish Workers Party) if the U.S. House of Representatives acknowledges what we all know about their ugly past? How is that acceptable? And how craven do the reps on both sides sound when scurrying for cover? And, oh yeah, how many Armenians have to have been slaughtered because they were Armenians for it to be called a genocide 92 years later? Even by the country that committed it? Even a noted German leader understood this one (well, allegedly).

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Look What Hillary Started

    posted by on October 16 at 5:07 PM

    Influential conservatives are floating the idea of a Laura Bush for U.S. Senate campaign. Which ups the odds of Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton/Bush.

    We live in a banana republic.

    High Point Looking Up?

    posted by on October 16 at 4:38 PM

    Last night, while hanging out in South Seattle, I came across a glossy brochure advertising “one of Seattle’s most lively neighborhoods.” Here’s the front of the flyer:


    A designer boutique! A smiling blonde! What could this up-and-coming neighborhood be?

    High Point.


    Most people don’t think of High Point, a landlocked chunk West Seattle just north of Seattle’s southern limit that was once dominated by subsidized low-income housing, as “the kind of neighborhood you’ve been looking for” (as the brochure describes it). Most people probably think of it as either (uncharitably) one of Seattle’s last remaining ghettoes or (more charitably) a part of Southwest Seattle that has resisted gentrification. It has a failing elementary school; a high crime rate; and one of the highest poverty rates in the city. It has also long been dominated by renters (69 percent as of the last census) and, in 2000, had a population that was 70 percent minority. As of this past summer, homes for sale there had a median selling price of nearly $150,000 less than the Seattle median.

    High Point’s boosters hope all that will change when the “green” townhomes and high-end houses that replaced razed low-income housing sell to middle- and upper-income buyers. The High Point brochure includes ads for all of the new developments, including the Lanham Place Townhomes (two- and three-bedroom homes with attached garages, from the high $300,000s), the 31st Street Collection (two- and-three-bedrooms townhomes and cottages from the mid-$300,000s), and Polygon Northwest (single-family homes with one- and two-car garages). (No mention of bus routes anywhere in the materials promoting the development’s “green” credentials, although the area has good service to downtown.) There’s even a bouncy, upbeat web site: The High Point.

    Of course, most of the “vibrant” shops, restaurants and arts centers advertised in the brochure aren’t actually in High Point. Instead, they’re mostly in the West Seattle Junction—a ten-minute ride by bus, but not in the neighborhood. Another thing the high-gloss promotional brochure and web site don’t portray is the challenge of integrating a whole new group of (mostly white, middle-class) people into an area that has traditionally been diverse and lower-income.

    A community blog maintained by a High Point homeowner hints at what the newcomers want to change about the neighborhood. On it, residents list “low-income housing,” “loitering/gang-related disturbances,” and violent crime among their top concerns with the neighborhood. The blog, written by a recent homebuyer in the area, is full of barely veiled racism and openly classist hysteria. For example: “We’ve all been poor at some point. We all just didn’t pimp out our rides and jump our neighbors when we were poor. … Nevermind the fact that many a weekend afternoon I’ll be sitting in my living room with the window open listening to the sweet sounds of Baghdad. Has anyone else heard the Islamic music wafting through the streets??

    Good luck, High Point. You’re going to need it.

    More Problems with that Seattle Times Editorial

    posted by on October 16 at 4:19 PM

    Yesterday, both Erica and I pointed out the problems with The Seattle Times’ Sunday editorial, in which the suburban daily came out against the $17.8 billion roads and transit initiative.

    The Seattle Times explained that they don’t like transit, and they want more lanes for cars.

    While Erica and I took on the the ed board’s logic, we forgot to point out a factual error. The Seattle Times writes: “Many Portlanders are proud of light rail, but the last three times new light-rail plans have been on the ballot in the Portland area, the people rejected them.”

    So, the people of Portland rejected light rail three times?
    Let’s go to the video tape, shall we?

    Between 1994 and 1998, there were three Oregon votes and one Washington vote on financing light rail.

    In 1994, voters in the TriMet service district—Multnomah County (that’s Portland), Washington County (west of the Portland metro area), and Clackamas County (south of Porltand metro area)— approved a light rail line from Clackamas County into Clark County (Washington State). If you’re keeping score, that’s the People of Portland voting for light rail. +1

    In 1995, Clark County (Washington) voters rejected a ballot measure that would have raised $237 million for the Washington State portion of the South-North light rail line. This vote didn’t involve Portland. So, the score remains, People of Portland for light rail. +1

    In 1996, Oregon voters statewide rejected a package that included bonds for the South-North light rail project and millions of dollars for rural transportation projects around the state. While the measure failed statewide, it was approved by a majority of the voters in the TriMet region, which includes Portland.

    Score? The People of Portland for light rail, +2.

    In 1998, TriMet Service District voters rejected a new measure on the South-North light rail line funding. The measure failed in Clackamas and Washington Counties, but it passed in Multnomah County. Portland is the Multnomah County seat. People of Portland for light rail, +3.

    So, The Seattle Times editorial got its facts wrong. The people of Portland did not reject light rail the last three times it was on the ballot.

    Pretty sloppy.

    Thanks for the info Light Rail Now!

    The Rivet Auction

    posted by on October 16 at 3:59 PM

    From 6 to 8:30 tonight, in this place,


    work by this artist,


    this artist,


    this artist,


    and many others will be auctioned on behalf of this worthy cause.

    (Sorry you were left off our calendar, Rivet!)

    Losing the War on Drugs

    posted by on October 16 at 3:48 PM

    I had completely forgotten about this block of cheese from the ’80s…

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on October 16 at 3:42 PM

    Tonight in Music: Roy Ayers, Rogue Wave, and Say Anything.

    When Muzak Attacks: Trent Moorman tells us how to prepare for the inevitable.

    New Maritime Record: Heresy and the Hotel Choir is really good.

    TJ Gorton’s Don Ray Kick: Results in Golden Tears.

    Dr. Dog #1: Sam Machkovech reviews last night’s show.

    Dr. Dog #2: Jonathan Zwickel adds his thoughts.

    Out Today: Underworld’s Oblivion With Bells.

    Nazis Don’t Dance: Jonathan Zwickel proves it.

    Sasha Frere-Jones: Sean Nelson agrees with S/FJ’s logic, but disagrees emotionally.

    Last Night: Eric Grandy reviews the Go! Team at Neumo’s.

    Instrumental Bands: Just as exciting without dumb and distracting film projections.


    The Watchmen Saga Makes the Seattle Times

    posted by on October 16 at 1:46 PM

    Reporter Janet I. Tu has a good, even-handed story about the Watchmen on the Walls saga in today’s Times.

    Choice bits:

    “I would characterize Watchmen on the Walls as one of the most virulent anti-gay organizations we have seen in this country,” said Mark Potok, spokesman for Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights organization. The center recently issued a report saying Russian-speaking Christian fundamentalists, mostly from the former Soviet Union, have formed a “ferocious anti-gay movement in the western U.S.” Its report connects Watchmen followers with fierce anti-gay protests on the West Coast and in Riga…The center points out that another Watchmen leader, Scott Lively, co-authored a book saying gay people were central in forming the Nazi Party and orchestrating the Holocaust.

    Josh Friedes, advocacy director for Equal Rights Washington, which speaks on gay issues statewide, said groups like Watchmen have a right to assemble and speak.
    But “we believe they promote an extremist agenda that seeks to deny gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people the most basic civil rights. And we are deeply concerned that they would be willing to accomplish this agenda through means that might include violence or intimidation.”

    [Reverend Ken] Hutcherson, who will be speaking at the conference this weekend, says the movement isn’t violent. “You’re going to have extremists on any aspect on any teaching,” said Hutcherson.

    Josh Friedes is right: The Watchmen do have a right to peaceful assembly. And I’m glad to know the group’s potential for violence has been duly noted by the press and Lynnwood city officials. Now we just hope for the best and watch what happens and refrain from the type of retaliatory threats that have been popping up occasionally in comments to Watchmen-related Slog posts. (Keep it legal, angry homosexuals and homosexualists.)

    Thou Shalt Not

    posted by on October 16 at 12:26 PM


    Went down to the new Riverwalk by my mom’s place in McHenry, Illinois, late last night with the boyfriend. Since we couldn’t bike, board, blade or fish, we decided to straight-identify for a few minutes and have some of that public sex we’ve been reading about in the papers. It was furtive, stressful, and humiliating—just like I like it.

    Notes From the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on October 16 at 11:54 AM

    I’m still on vacation, but this note from the Prayer Warrior reached me in New York and seemed important…



    Dear Prayer Warrior,

    Please pray for me as I speak at the Watchmen on the Wall Conference this weekend. There has been misinformation and lies told about the conference. Pray that there will be a good turnout and there will be a clear presentation about what God is and isn’t pleased with.

    Pastor Hutch


    posted by on October 16 at 11:28 AM

    The family of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz is upset about a new Schulz biography.

    A recent International Herald Tribune story reported:

    Monte Schulz said that when he read Michaelis’s manuscript in December, members of the family were shocked by the portrayal of a depressed, cold and bitter man…

    Today’s installment of Peanuts in the Seattle Times


    Skillet: The Return

    posted by on October 16 at 11:21 AM

    First, there was love. Then, there was automotive mishap.

    Now comes Farro, an Italian barley.

    Skillet The Airstream Eatery is back up and running, and will spend today, Wednesday, and Thursday at Terry Avenue, and Friday at Ballard. (Check its web site for details, so you don’t go driving around aimlessly.)

    Here’s the menu:


    Kitchen scramble, chipotle braised pork, fire roasted salsa, tortillas

    Steel cut oats, cranberries, cinnamon brown sugar, whole milk

    Trailer Made Granola, organic milk

    Waffles, maple braised pork belly, two fried eggs

    Farm fresh eggs, scrambled, goat cheese, delicata squash, fresh herbs, crostini, freezer jam


    Poutine, white cheddar, herby gravy, fresh herbs all smothered over handcut fries

    Delicata squash and Farro risotto, sage, caramelized onions

    Tomato basil bisque, Crusty bread and butter

    Slow roasted lemongrass pork, cilantro daikon relish, red cabbage slaw, ginger mayo

    The Burger, ground sirloin, bacon jam, arugula, bleu cheese, soft roll,
    handcut fries or greens

    Crispy artichokes, chipotle aioli

    What Was Jake Sitting On?

    posted by on October 16 at 11:00 AM

    Heath, Merideth, Heath.

    Via GoodAsYou, who says…

    But if you think that’s a suggestive double entendre, just wait until later this week, when we hear she’ll ask Heath Ledger if he had any clue about what he was sliding into.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on October 16 at 11:00 AM


    ‘The Tenant’ at SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall

    Everybody’s seen Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown (what? you haven’t? well, they’re playing Friday and Saturday), but this mini-retrospective of Roman Polanski films digs deeper than the obvious masterworks. The jokey horror movie The Tenant, from 1976, is set in Paris where the housing market is painfully tight. When a woman commits suicide, a sad Pole—played by Polanski—gets her apartment. Then all paranoia breaks loose. (SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St, 633-7151. 7 and 9:20 pm, $9–$10.)


    The Attributes of Philosophy

    posted by on October 16 at 10:48 AM

    The sun, Alain Badiou, and a bird.
    AlainBADIOU_bird.jpg The one, the man, the life. The absolute, the thought, the being. Philosophy says almost nothing else than what is in this image.

    White Weakness

    posted by on October 16 at 9:58 AM

    Let’s think about this possibility:
    barack_obama.jpg …It is now possible, as opposed to impossible, for Obama to become America’s first black president. We hear that on the news and on the streets. But there is a real (or root) problem with this possibility: Obama is not black. He is mixed—that is the reality. Culturally, however, he is black.

    Now what does this mean in cultural (idealogical) terms? Blackness is more powerful than whiteness. Why? Because whiteness can only generate whiteness; or, put another way, only white people can make white people. Black people, on the other hand, have the additional and amazing power of making other races their own race. Blackness can transform something that it is not into something that it is. One drop of black blood is sufficient to make another person black. The blackness of Obama’s father, for example, was completely transmitted; his mother’s whiteness was totally blocked. Her whiteness could not go outward to the new but only around the same old.

    In the cultural weakness of whiteness (that it can only reproduce itself by itself and with no other) we might find one important source for the nation’s abnormally massive military budget. The problem of racial fragility is solved by warrior might. A race that does not have a sense of biological limitedness may not turn so quickly to the security of unlimited military power. Badiou calls this situation (the American situation) “the disaster of the unlimited.”

    What Will Be the World’s Next Top Religion?

    posted by on October 16 at 9:54 AM

    Pews might be empty in some urban parts of America, but the world is witnessing a huge explosion of Christianity, says [Dipshit] D’Souza who notes Christianity as the fastest-growing religion in the world and that the number of unbelievers is actually shrinking. In America, about half of the population goes to church and an overwhelming majority believes in God. But there are also “powerful currents of secularism” in this country that counter that, the author acknowledged.
    Mormonism is one of the fastest-growing religions in the world, with more than 13 million members, more than a third of those in Latin America, according to church figures…. The global surge of Mormonism has been hotly debated, with one scholar, Rodney Stark, claiming it is the fastest-growing religion in the world, rivaling Islam.
    The “Muslim terrorists” that Horowitz is pointing at are an incredibly minute minority in the Muslim community worldwide. Let me add that there are approximately 1.61 billion Muslims worldwide, and that Islam is the fastest-growing religion.

    They all can’t be the world’s fastest-growing religion. It seems to me that this is a job for reality teevee producers: What Will Be the World’s Next Top Religion? Devout contestants representing all the major world religions will be left on a deserted island with a large group of religious people, agnostics, and atheists. The religion that wins the most converts in, say, six months’ time wins the coveted “World’s Fastest-Growing Religion” title. No forced conversions allowed—no point of the sword stuff, Islam! And no conversions of children—no baptizing babies, Catholics, and no manipulative “teen nights,” Evangelical Christians! Points will awarded on a sliding scale: wishy-washy agnostics are worth 25 points; religious people—a.k.a. folks that already fell for it—are worth 50 points; honest-to-God atheists are worth 100 points.

    And may the world’s best religion win!


    posted by on October 16 at 9:26 AM


    Apple has announced the launch date for Leopard, their latest cat-based operating system, and it’s October 26—the same day the PATRIOT ACT was signed into law in 2001.


    Letter of the Day

    posted by on October 16 at 8:57 AM

    I don’t know if this counts as a Slog tip, but I was so amazed and appalled by what I saw this morning when I drove to work: around 7:50am I was stopped at a red light on the south side of the University Bridge at the infamously dangerous intersection of Eastlake Ave E and Fuhrman Ave E when a female bicyclist came barreling by me on my right (the bike lane) and proceeded to run the red light.

    I just couldn’t believe it and, I can’t be sure about this, but from her speed it would not have surprised me at all if she had just come down the hill without stopping at the light at Harvard and Eastlake.

    A bicyclist died at that intersection last month and this dumb fuck just positioned herself to become #2. Anyway, she was in her early 20’s wearing brown knickers, a black short sleeve shirt with a dark red long sleeved shirt underneath it and, thank god, a helmet. I passed her again as she was traveling north on the Burke Gilman Trail.

    Recount: Burner Actually Raised More Than Reichert in the Third Quarter

    posted by on October 16 at 8:21 AM

    Over at On the Road to 2008, blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer completely busts Rep. Dave Reichert’s initial and deceptive spin on his third quarter fundraising.

    Kirkdorffer reports that Reichert counted $47,100 in his grand total that he shouldn’t have. While Reicert did initially receive the $47,100 in question, he ultimately had to return it to donors who had made excess contributions.

    This is significant because initial reports put Reichert’s third quarter fund raising at $340,800 while Democratic challenger Darcy Burner had raised a little over $300,000.

    Subtract the nearly $50K from Reichert’s totals, and he really raised $295,538.74—compared to Burner’s $306,783.

    Here’s Kirkdorffer’s report, including a screen shot of the relevant FEC records, and this good news for Burner:

    More impressively, 89% of Burner’s contributions this election cycle came from individuals, while Reichert’s contributions from individuals made up only 57% of his totals, the rest, over $340,000, coming from PACs and campaign committees. Just about half of Burner’s contributions are unitemized, i.e. less than $200 a donation. Only 7% of Reichert’s contributions from individuals are categorized as unitemized. As much as anything that tells so much of the story regarding the breadth of Burner’s support and how much Reichert is having to rely on wealthier donors.

    According to Postman, the AP talked to Reichert’s folks about the supposed discrepancy in the initial spin on the numbers and Reichert Chief of Staff Mike Shields says the $47,100 is part of Reichert’s total. Explanation:

    Those refunds had to be issued because of mistakes in dividing the Bush money between Reichert’s re-election campaign and the state Republican Party, which shared the more than $500,000 raised by the president. The refunded contributions will be repaid, so Reichert is counting those contributions toward his third quarter total, Shields said.

    The Morning News

    posted by on October 16 at 8:05 AM

    McIver: Still out of the office, awaiting news on potential domestic-violence charges.

    Giuliani: Returning tacky $9.11 checks.

    In Denial: Republicans on Gore’s Nobel win.

    Indefensible: Bush attempts to explain vetoing health care for needy children.

    WTO: Rejects subsidies paid to US cotton growers.

    Birth Control: Lowers the abortion rate.

    Idiot Judge: It can’t be rape — she’s a prostitute!

    Idiot Jury: Alleged serial rapist “a menace” to all women… and not guilty.

    It’s In the Water: Drugs, and they’re starting to cause problems.

    Small farms: The latest victims of ethanol corn boom.

    Putting the Dis in Dysentery: ConAgra advises consumers to nuke pathogen-laced microwave products.

    Recipe of the Day: Roasted Shrimp with Smoky Tomato Coulis (Recipe and Photo via Well Fed)


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    Verizon is Listening

    posted by on October 16 at 7:50 AM

    The Washington Post reports that Verizon turned over phone and internet records to the federal authorities in 720 instances where the government did not provide a court order.

    The information came to light in a letter Verizion sent to Congressional Democrats this week. The Democrats are investigating the extent of the Bush Administration’s surveillance program.

    The letter also revealed that the Feds tried to get much more:

    Verizon also disclosed that the FBI, using administrative subpoenas, sought information identifying not just a person making a call, but all the people that customer called, as well as the people those people called. Verizon does not keep data on this “two-generation community of interest” for customers, but the request highlights the broad reach of the government’s quest for data.

    It’s a little annoying that the Post article doesn’t define an “administrative subpoena” more clearly or even explain how one is obtained, but the implication seems to be that there’s no oversight or check on the government’s demands for telecom records.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    If It Walks Like a Dyke…

    posted by on October 15 at 10:43 PM

    Gaydar. The 69th Sense. Enigmatic, subtle, stealthy, painfully accurate, horribly definitive, often fabulous in its implications. That spooky extra special thing that God or whoever gave homos (and other interested parties) so they could hone in on other homos. Does it really exist?

    Fuck yeah, gurl.

    New study suggests body movement gives clues to sexual orientation

    Researchers attached motion sensors to gay and straight volunteers to see if sexual orientation can be detected by the way people walk.

    Observers were only able to accurately guess the sexual orientation of men; with women, their guesses didn’t exceed chance. But what’s most interesting to researchers is understanding how that snap judgment can unleash a series of stereotypes — even from the most liberal-minded.

    But of course, you already knew that, instinctively somehow, didn’t you faggot?

    Of course you didn’t. Can you spot that gay sway?

    Is Hillary Clinton Listening?

    posted by on October 15 at 9:27 PM

    The GOP may have a solid hit on Hillary Clinton.

    The Hill reports:

    Republicans are focusing on an allegation in a recent book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, which suggests Clinton listened to a secretly recorded conversation between political opponents.

    In their book about Clinton’s rise to power, Her Way, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter at The New York Times, and Jeff Gerth, who spent 30 years as an investigative reporter at the paper, wrote: “Hillary’s defense activities ranged from the inspirational to the microscopic to the down and dirty. She received memos about the status of various press inquiries; she vetted senior campaign aides; and she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics plotting their next attack.

    “The tape contained discussions of another woman who might surface with allegations about an affair with Bill,” Gerth and Van Natta wrote in reference to Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. “Bill’s supporters monitored frequencies used by cell phones, and the tape was made during one of those monitoring sessions.”

    A GOP official said, “Hillary Clinton’s campaign hypocrisy continues to know no bounds. It is rather unbelievable that Clinton would listen in to conversations being conducted by political opponents, but refuse to allow our intelligence agencies to listen in to conversations being conducted by terrorists as they plot and plan to kill us. Team Clinton can expect to see and hear this over and over again over the course of the next year.”

    While condemning illegal surveillance is hardly the GOP’s best play, this zinger could certainly neutralize Clinton’s ability to attack Republicans for a creepy hallmark of the Bush years.

    The Star Wars Trumpet Solo

    posted by on October 15 at 7:20 PM

    She doesn’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but she plays with wonderful expression. Enjoy.

    Hillary Clinton Statewide

    posted by on October 15 at 5:53 PM

    Howard Dean famously said the Democrats needed to appeal to “the guy with the Confederate flag and his pickup truck.” It was one thing for a New England liberal to say that—to want desperately to do that— and quite another to actually get those votes.

    It’s the Howard Deans of the world that want to get the important lumpenprole vote, but can’t. Apparently, it’s the Hillary Clinton’s that can.

    I just got around to checking out Freaky Friday Slog. I haven’t seen the poll Comte quoted, but the results (evidently Clinton is beating Barack Obama in Washington state as opposed to just Seattle) make sense. Earlier this year, when I looked at the results of Clinton’s 2006 victory in New York, I found that Clinton scored well with the white working class.

    This isn’t particularly surprising given that Clinton is more conservative than progressive Democrats, but it does contradict the more widespread notion about her—that she’s a big turn off with the all-important mainstream and independent voter.

    In fact, according to a recent poll by the Washington Post, she’s beating Rudy Giuliani among independent voters 48-44.

    Re: Seattle Times Prop 1 Editorial

    posted by on October 15 at 4:24 PM

    I agree with Erica, but really, the dumbest thing about The Seattle Times editorial on the roads and transit proposal is this lazy logic:

    Consider Portland. That city opened its first light-rail line two decades ago, and has built several of them, all of which replaced bus lines. Overall, Greater Portland is no less car-dependent than Seattle. Its congestion has gotten worse, just as it has here. Many Portlanders are proud of light rail, but the last three times new light-rail plans have been on the ballot in the Portland area, the people rejected them.

    A. Of course congestion has gotten worse over two decades. Portland has grown phenomenally since building light rail. Imagine if they hadn’t built it and poured all that money into roads and buses. Would congestion have gone down? Hardly. Portland’s light rail riders would be sharing the roads with all the new folks who currently drive.

    B. “The last three times new light-rail plans have been on the ballot in the Portland area, the people rejected them.” Right. And that’s why congestion has gotten worse. Maybe if they didn’t reject light rail initiatives, congestion wouldn’t have gotten as much worse.

    Here are some stats on Portland’s light rail ridership:

    Between 1995 and 2005 overall ridership increased 53% with only a 20% increase in service. While transit remains a minority mode for travel, it is outpacing the 25% growth in vehicles miles of travel and the 16% growth in population over that same period of time.

    The Hadid

    posted by on October 15 at 4:16 PM

    Who will stop Zaha:
    rec_12827_10344_w500h500q75bw1_1034206958.jpg She and Calatrava are ruining the world.

    The Seattle Times Editorial Board Ought to Read Its Own Paper

    posted by on October 15 at 3:32 PM

    From yesterday’s imbecilic “no” endorsement on Prop. 1, the roads and transit ballot measure:

    Seattle may deny this, but the surest way to reduce congestion on roads is to build more lanes. So says a report issued by State Auditor Brian Sonntag last week, and so says human experience. New roads help. The part of Proposition 1 that goes for roads — a 0.8 percentage point jump in car tabs and a tenth of a cent on sales tax — would actually reduce congestion.

    (The editorial also argues that light rail is bad because Portland, which has light rail, still has traffic.)

    From today’s Seattle Times:

    If you believe the multibillion dollar roads and transit package on the November ballot would shave time off your highway commute, think again.

    Commutes will be longer than they are today — even after all the work is completed by 2027, according to research by the folks who put together Proposition 1.

    Things will likely get worse regardless, because a million more people are expected to be living here in 20 years. The added traffic would fill up all the new highway lanes the package would build, and then some.

    Someone ought to clue them in about induced demand, too.

    Oh, and guess what the Eastside-dwelling Times editorial board thinks would be a great transit solution for people in Seattle? Buses. Thanks, Seattle Times!

    Fox Sux Dix, Sez Vamp-Rox Fans

    posted by on October 15 at 3:26 PM

    Apparently, Fox has pulled the plug on the traveling Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Musical singalong that was in town this past June. Buffy geeks everywhere are outraged that Fox would kill a cult movie experience so clearly by and for the fans.
    I have to note here that, though I’m not a Buffy fan, I used to be roommates with the founder and MC of the Buffy musical, Clinton McClung. He’s a good guy, a great friend, and a talented blogger over at WFMU. If you’re a Buffy fan, or if you’re one of the thousands who helped fill the Egyptian to capacity (twice!) for the musical this past summer, please go to the Buffy: the Musical official website, where you can sign an online petition and voice your displeasure.

    What He Said

    posted by on October 15 at 3:26 PM

    I agree with Goldy.

    HUMP: How Was It?

    posted by on October 15 at 1:01 PM

    Kelly O asks HUMP! 4 audiences how it was for them…

    Gregoire’s Bizarre State Tour

    posted by on October 15 at 12:53 PM

    The Seattle Times reports that political opponents of Gov. Christine Gregoire are criticizing her statewide “Citizen Engagement Tour” as illegal state-funded electioneering.

    Like Josh, I attended this event at Town Hall a couple weeks ago, and I gotta say… between the cheesy staging (a huge banner reading “Building a Better Future for Washington’s Families”; bleachers filled with random people whose presence was never explained) and the bizarre scriptedness (cute kids asking obviously planted questions; a goofy moderator who forced everyone to ask their questions by first stating their “vision of success”), Dino Rossi’s campaign ought to be encouraging her.

    Persepolis: Exclusively in VO

    posted by on October 15 at 12:52 PM

    Fantastic news, in my opinion. According to David D’Arcy at Greencine Daily, Persepolis will not be released in the US in the dubbed version that’s been frightening me over at IMDB for months. (Sean Penn and Iggy Pop were among the credited voice cast.)


    The dubbed version already exists —and might show up as an extra on the DVD—but theaters will show the version originale.

    Assignment: Crash a Wedding

    posted by on October 15 at 12:48 PM


    Alexa, a Capitol Hill native, needed someone to go with her to a friend’s wedding because her ex was going to be there and she couldn’t stand the idea of running into him dateless. It didn’t matter to Alexa that I was 15 years younger than her: any man would do.

    I showed up early at St. Joseph’s, a Catholic church on 18th and Aloha. There was a small crowd of thirtysomethings standing around on the lawn in the Saturday afternoon sun talking to eachother. I paced up and down the lawn looking for Alexa. I had forgotten what she looked like on her myspace profile and was starting to worry that she wouldn’t show. It felt weird being alone at a wedding so I faked a phone call. “Hi there,” I said to my cell phone. “Oh. Just at the wedding ha ha.”


    Alexa arrived late, smoking a cigarette. We made pleasantries and hugged. By this time, the crowd was already starting to make their way into the church. Alexa introduced me to the groom. “This is my friend, Steven.” Alexa said. “We go way back.” We sat near the front of the church. Alexa looked around for her ex but he wasn’t there. “I really want to see that shit head,” she whispered to me.

    The pastor was an 80-year-old man wearing a Britney Spears mic-headset. He talked on and on about all the divisiveness in America and then told the crowd he was overjoyed that “two Christians were getting married,” adding, “O what a blessing it is when two Christians come together in holy matrimony.” Alexa and I groaned, the bride and groom exchanged vows and I spent the rest of the ceremony plotting a failed escape to the bathroom.

    I got hammered on Long Island Iced Teas at Rosebud with Alexa before the reception and I peed on some leaves in the parking lot of the Polytechnic building on Union and Broadway. Then Alexa and I wandered into the wrong wedding reception—a Jewish one with beautiful Chinese lanterns, free valet parking, and maybe one or two weak Christians.

    Eventually we found the right reception. I drank more. We ate dinner. Alexa still couldn’t see her ex anywhere but seemed thankful that I was with her. Together, we danced to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Brick House” in the center of the ballroom, surrounded by friends and family I did not know from Minneapolis and Buffalo. I got behind the bride and started dancing with her. “Who are you?!” she yelled over the music. “I’m Steven!” I yelled back at her.


    Eventually, I got tired and I told Alexa I wanted to leave. I thought that my role was to make her ex jealous and without him there, what was the point of it all? Alexa punched me in the arm and told me I was being a pussy. Then she said “I told you I get happy when I’m drunk! This is me happy!” I preferred the unhappy Alexa. I left.

    Steven Blum
    Public Intern

    John Lennon: Also Not Gay

    posted by on October 15 at 12:15 PM

    Dead? Yes. Gay? No.

    The Difference Between Gay Park/Toilet Sex and Straight Park/Toilet Sex

    posted by on October 15 at 12:14 PM

    The police are always busting men that have gay sex in public places but they never bust couples that have straight sex in public places. It’s proof that the authorities are homophobic and that men that enjoy public sex—gay and straight-identified cocksuckers—are being persecuted and it’s not fair!

    Sadly, no.

    While straight people can and do have sex in public—couples in sexually moribund LTRs are sometimes encouraged to have sex in public—there’s no such thing as a cruisy straight park. There isn’t one particular bathroom on, say, the UW campus where straight people go to have anonymous sex with other straight people. There aren’t websites directing straight men and women to corners of particular parks or choice public toilets or forested trails where they’re likely to find other straight people looking for quick, anonymous fucks.

    No, when straight sex happens in public it’s usually because an opposite-sex couple has sought out a private spot where they hope no one—not grandmothers out on walks, not heterophobic cops, not other horny straights—will discover them. Once they find that secluded spot, they drop their drawers, have their skeezy straight public sex, then leave and never return.

    Straights don’t overrun certain sections of certain parks, straights don’t turn a corner of a Volunteer or Woodland or Westcrest park into an open-air straight bathhouse, they don’t lurk in public toilets they’ve read about on the web. The police rarely get complaints about straight couples carrying on in one section of a park because straight people—even the ones that have sex in public—don’t carry on in one section of the park.

    When the police do get complaints about straight public sex they know that a failure to respond isn’t going to result in the area being overrun by straight people seeking public sex. By the time the police arrive the straight couple is long gone and unlikely to return. There’s literally nothing to police.

    So, yes, while both straights and gay have public sex, the impact of straight public sex vs. gay public sex is very different. Consequently the police response will be different. If anyone is applying a double standard here it’s defensive gay people that refuse to acknowledge that the similarities between gay public sex and straight public sex are few.

    Top and Bottom

    posted by on October 15 at 12:11 PM

    What is Harold Bloom’s problem?

    …American literary critic Harold Bloom called the academy’s decision [to award Doris Lessing the literature prize] “pure political correctness.”
    “Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable … fourth-rate science fiction,” Bloom told the AP.

    To begin with, Lessing, a Rhodesian-born author, has never been a good writer. All of her books/short stories/essays are not above the level of fourth-rate. So the prize has nothing to do with her writing. Nor has it anything to do with “political correctness.” That kind of thinking is going the wrong way.

    To see the actual meaning of Lessing’s award you must place it next to the peace prize awarded to Al Gore. First picture the two winners (one a white African; the other a white American) standing shoulder to shoulder; second, turn them away from each other; third, stop turning when they are back to back; lastly, picture the political opposite each faces: Robert Mugabe, on Lessing’s side; George Bush on Gore’s. Now we understand what the academy is really doing: slapping the worst leaders in the world. One slap is directed at a leader at the bottom of global civilization, Mugabe; the other is for a man at its top, Bush.

    Bloom’s complaint about political correctness only exposes his madness: he actually thinks the prize for literature should be about writing. Bloom is like a man who runs into the market place and tells everyone that God is dead, as if this is still big news.

    Richard McIver

    posted by on October 15 at 12:07 PM

    City Council member Richard McIver, who was arrested last week on suspicion of assaulting his wife, Marlaina Kiner-McIver, was supposed to be back at work on Friday. That didn’t happen. Then, he was supposed to be back in the office (and doing interviews with the press) today, after going to court at 10 a.m. to find out whether prosecutors would move forward with charges. That didn’t happen either. Instead, the court hearing was pushed to Wednesday, and McIver’s still a no-show at City Hall. There are two meetings of the council’s budget committee, which McIver chairs, on tomorrow’s council schedule. McIver’s staff didn’t know when he planned to return, but it probably won’t be tomorrow. What all this means for McIver’s future on the council is anyone’s guess, but staying away from city hall for a full week after his arrest last Tuesday certainly doesn’t look good.

    Seattle Times Sins of Omission

    posted by on October 15 at 12:06 PM

    Yesterday’s Seattle Times picked up my story from a couple of weeks ago about interim KC Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s failure to subpoena personnel files from the Seattle Archdiocese. A local attorney who had seen the files—and was winning settlements from the Church in child sex abuse cases—wrote a letter to the KC prosecutor’s office telling them they should see the files and file criminal charges.

    Part of my story focused on the notion that Satterberg’s position on a special Archdiocese panel to help the Church deal with sex abuse cases was a conflict of interest. After all, the attorney asked, wasn’t Satterberg the public law enforcement official who was supposed to be busting potential law breakers rather than helping them?

    That’s the issue that the Seattle Times focuses on. Their headline reads: “Possible conflict seen in work Satterberg did for archdiocese.”

    They do a typical daily newspaper “He said/She said” on the debate, which isn’t so bad in this case because it is a debatable question—and an interesting one.

    However, they give the last word to the “No, it’s not a conflict of interest” POV, quoting a UW Law Prof. They write: But “if his role was solely to give policy advice, where he never saw specific cases then I don’t see any conflict.

    Okay. Except, I asked Satterberg this very question—did he see any specific cases? (I don’t know if the Seattle Times asked Satterberg this question or not.) Satterberg told me he did see specific cases.


    The Watchmen on the Walls: The Mayor of Lynnwood Weighs In

    posted by on October 15 at 11:46 AM

    This morning brings another chapter in the ongoing drama of the Watchmen on the Walls, the international anti-gay group bringing their Taliban-esque mission to the Lynnwood Convention Center this weekend.

    The latest: An official statement from Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough:

    Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough Statement: Lynnwood Proudly Promotes Diversity While Respecting the First Amendment

    Our American society and culture revere those First Amendment Constitutional rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Assemble Peacefully. There are many passionate issues which stir citizens of our national community to take strong stands. Likewise, there are many racial and ethnic dynamics which stir passions on many sides of many issues.

    The City of Lynnwood has over the last several years actively stated its policy, and acted to engage in promoting, through our Neighborhoods & Diversity Commission “mutual understanding” and respect amongst and between all sectors of our community. We as a city, and I as a councilmember and now as mayor, have all worked hard to foster an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance.

    “While we must also value and respect the constitutional rights of everyone to exercise their freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble our city will not tolerate the actions of any person or group which violate the personal safety or constitutional rights of any other person or group,” said City of Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough.

    Mayor Gough also stated, “The City of Lynnwood wishes to make it also perfectly clear that it does not reflect, nor endorse the views and opinions of those who use the convention center and who may seek to polarize citizens through their own exercise of free speech and right to assemble peacefully.”

    In regard to the specific event of “Watchmen on the Walls,” we wish to make perfectly clear that:
    • The City of Lynnwood does not make decisions as to who rents or uses the convention center.
    • The City of Lynnwood did not have advance knowledge, nor has it “approved,” nor does it support, nor is it “hosting,” the “Watchmen on the Wall” Event.

    Respecting and valuing everyone’s peaceful exercise of their constitutional rights is a fundamental tenant upon which our community is based.

    It’s good to know the mayor and Lynnwood law enforcement officials are aware of the risk they’ve invited into their city. The problem for me remains the violent extremism of past Watchmen events, and the Taliban-esque quality of their stated mission. Jerry Falwell and his ilk are pricks, but at least they know the difference between a culture war and a WAR war.

    If there were any goal to this weekend’s Watchmen event—the repeal of gay-rights protections, the passage of an anti-gay ballot initiative—that would be one thing. Instead, the Watchmen seem to be all about stoking anti-gay hatred (see here for specifics) while offering their stoked masses no legal outlet for their fury, leaving them with what? Fists? Tire irons?

    The Watchmen’s determination to vanquish the Evil Gay Enemy is far too close to Taliban/terrorist talk for my comfort, and the “holy warrior” rhetoric is scary shit—when extremists see violent crimes in this life as a path to eternal glory in the next, ordinary citizens have a right to be afraid. Here’s hoping the City of Lynnwood keeps close tabs on what they’ve gotten themselves into.

    Cobain, Conspiracy Theorists, and Cops

    posted by on October 15 at 11:23 AM

    Local photographer Curt Doughty emailed me this report of some crazy haps at Friday’s screening of the new Cobain documentary

    “So, Friday night, I was at the 7:10 showing of Kurt Cobain: About A Son, the new movie based on the taped interviews by Michael Azerad, with still photography by Charles Peterson. They were both guest speakers and did a Q&A after the film. It was going well, with questions like “what was your favorite live Nirvana show?” and “what did Kurt smell like?” (Answer: a cross between cigarettes and heroin mixed with laundry detergent).

    About 15 minutes into the Q&A this total nerd with a video camera started geek-speaking his way through a tirade about “Michael Azerad, hours after the discovery of the body, you were sitting beside Kurt Loder on MTV News declaring his death a suicide?” and going on and on about how “holding onto the tapes for the past 13 years” was somehow an indictment of Mr. Azerad in a coverup of yet another “Kurt was murdered” conspiracy theory… This weirdo was quickly interrupted by the audience, who were shouting things like “get the f*ck out of here” and “you’re ruining this for everyone” and “shut the f*ck up, you moron” and “somebody call the police!


    Continue reading "Cobain, Conspiracy Theorists, and Cops" »

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on October 15 at 11:00 AM


    ‘About a Son’

    About a Son isn’t an argument about Kurt Cobain—it’s a eulogy, spoken by the deceased. Cobain’s plain voice, edited from 25 hours of interviews, “narrates” the film, a visual poem of the Pacific Northwest. Seeing the familiar sights—Neumo’s, the library, a lot of new condos—under Cobain’s soliloquies is a powerful reminder that he’s a building block of the contemporary psychic (and physical) architecture of the region, and also in danger of being forgotten—not as a face or a voice, but as an exponent of a certain regional character. (See Movie Times for details.)


    The Gay Old Taliban?

    posted by on October 15 at 10:48 AM

    Slate has a terrific video on a secret stash of strange and beautiful photographs of Taliban members discovered by a photojournalist in 2002, after the fall of the regime. The men are covered in flowers, holding hands, wearing black eyeliner, and clutching their guns.

    Monday Morning Mailbag

    posted by on October 15 at 10:39 AM

    The piece on ”The Game Plan” is probably the best film review I’ve read in my entire life. Seriously. Kudos.

    Video Store Clerk
    Middle of Missouri

    Welcome to the genius that is Lindy West, Missouri. Plenty more examples of said genius here.

    Hey! I’ve already gotten my absentee ballot. Where the hell is your 2007 cheat sheet? I rely on it! Why should I think for myself when The Stranger can do it for me? —Susan, in Ballard

    Look for it in the paper that comes out on Wednesday.

    So, your little helpful “set your clocks back” reminder on the cover of this week’s issue: was that a nasty trick or a complete fuck-up? I only remembered it when I woke up this morning (Monday) and thought “Crap, was I supposed to turn my clocks back yesterday? How odd that The Stranger was the only place I saw it mentioned.” Good thing I didn’t take your advice, or I would have been an hour late to work today.

    By the way, the actual date to turn our clocks back this year is November 4th.


    It was “a joke,” according to the person responsible.


    posted by on October 15 at 10:34 AM

    “Metro Atlanta could run out of drinking water in as little as four months according to dire predictions from top water officials on Thursday.”

    “Lake Sidney Lanier, metro Atlanta’s main source of water, has about three months of storage left, according to state and federal officials.”

    I’m no drought specialist, so I’m not sure how many cities cope, on average, with this kind of shortage, but I’ve got friends telling me that there’s a reason why these two articles, printed on the same day, have different timetables listed—because they could both be wrong. Water’s vanishing fast from Northern Georgia, and it appears that no national news organizations…er, few (kudos, commenter #9) are picking up on what is already an interesting bureaucratic battle between water-hungry businesses, spoiled lawn-loving residents, bumbling state utility companies and—hoo boy—the protection of endangered mussels species.

    The rumors are flying—a busted water main here, a lack of city response to reports of huge leaks there… Ultimately, it looks like plans to encourage conservation and negotiate a backup water supply have come way too late in the game, and while I’m not a fan of scaremongering news reports, data points at a dry Atlanta winter and, therefore, a shit-ton of scaremongering news reports in the very near future. But why panic? The flowers will still bloom, little boys and girls.

    Janet Cardiff at TAM

    posted by on October 15 at 10:33 AM

    I just heard from curator Rock Hushka that Janet Cardiff’s installation Forty Part Motet is coming to Tacoma Art Museum next summer. (Dates are still being set.)

    The piece is 40 black speakers standing around a room. (The room has ranged from the austere white cube of the Museum of Modern Art to ornate churches.)

    In each speaker is a recording of a single voice singing a part of Thomas Tallis’s Spem in Alium. Tallis, a Catholic, delicately wrote the piece—devoted to humility—to commemorate the 40th birthday of Queen Elizabeth in 1575. (For a delightfully bad film on the subject of Elizabeth’s nascent midlife crisis see this.)

    Cardiff, a Canadian-born, Berlin-based artist known for her audio tours, made Forty Party Motet in order to set the listener inside the music, a sensation that can’t be delivered via video. But click below for an elementary idea of what the room is like:

    Balls Upon the Brain

    posted by on October 15 at 10:32 AM

    Even though the “castrato” at last week’s screening of Brand Upon the Brain wasn’t a real castrato (Dov Houle, the fictional “Manitoba Meadowlark,” was lip synching to a woman’s voice—a terrible disappointment), that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about castrati all weekend. Here’s one, named Alessandro Moreschi:


    You can read about them here and here.

    It’s sad stuff—during the 18th century, poor families dragged their boys to village barbers by the hundreds to be castrated, hoping they’d grow up to be famous, rich stars. Most of them thought the operation produced a great singing voice, not preserved it. (Bumpkins—doing stupid shit since forever.)

    Also: The pope was rumored to have kept a castrato for his “private delectation” until 1959.

    Also: “As the castrato’s body grew, his lack of testosterone meant that his epiphyses (bone-joints) did not harden in the normal manner. Thus the limbs of the castrati often grew unusually long, as did the bones of their ribs. This, combined with intensive training, gave them unrivalled lung-power and breath capacity. Operating through small, child-sized vocal cords, their voices were also extraordinarily flexible, and quite different from the equivalent adult female voice… “

    Also: “At the height of his career at the age of 32, Farinelli was invited to Madrid by the Queen of Spain to sing to her husband Philip V who was suffering from what now appear to be schizophrenic episodes. His singing seemed to ameliorate the King’s condition—an early example of music therapy—and he became indispensable to the Spanish Royal Family for the following 20 years.”

    You can hear Alessandro Moreschi, the “last castrato” singing here.

    Dept. of “Research”

    posted by on October 15 at 10:22 AM

    This looks like money well spent:

    In a revealing study, University of New Mexico researchers (three altruistic guys) recruited 18 subjects (scantily clad women dancers) to log their work shifts, earnings and menstrual cycles (phone numbers, too?) on a Web site for two months, or about 5,300 lap dances. The naked truth: participants scored $335 per five-hour shift while ovulating compared with $260 per shift during the luteal phase after ovulation and $185 while menstruating. The dancers’ scientifically gyrating pelvises provided the first direct evidence for human estrus—the equivalent of a baboon’s bright red rump—the group reported in Evolution & Human Behavior.

    Maybe It’s Not an Either/Or Question, KOMO.

    posted by on October 15 at 9:30 AM

    Can’t it be a public park and a place for anonymous sex?

    Public park? Or place for anonymous sex?

    West Seattle grandmother says she is furious after she and her 3-year-old grandson stumbled onto men having sex in a public park.

    KOMO 4 News went to investigate Westcrest Park around noon last week. We watched men arrive alone, go to the park’s main trail and then almost immediately duck into the woods. Sometimes they didn’t come out alone. We couldn’t be sure what they were doing, but the woman who e-mailed insists she knows.

    “This is unacceptable,” said the woman, who we agreed to keep anonymous due to her fear of retaliation.

    Yes, be afraid. If you speak out against public sex the park sex ninjas will come in the night and spooge all over your lawn. Or something.

    I’m no great fan of park sex. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for guys that do it or get caught. I agree with, er, Jack at Seattlest, who suggests that public sexers get it on in their own backyards. But KOMO’s story is a bit hysterical. Guys have sex in parks. They shouldn’t. They know it. A few complaints bring in the police—and the heavy breathing TV news reporters—and the park fuckers move on to a new location. Can we cover this routine story without pretending to be shocked—shocked!—by the news that some men have sex in public parks?

    Oh, and kudos to Seattlest for their headline, which acknowledges that most of the men getting it on in Westcrest Park are straight-identified.

    Morning News

    posted by on October 15 at 8:25 AM

    McDirectors: Bush relies on unappointed, interim directors to head federal agencies.

    Faulty Parts: Medical manufacturer warns doctors and heart patients about heart implant malfunction.

    Imus: New York’s WABC will reportedly bring controversial host back.

    Palestinian State: “It’s time,” says U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

    Turkey in Iraq: Turkey looking to attack Kurds in Northern Iraq.

    Al Qaeda in Iraq: U.S. sees big gains against the group.

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Seattle Police Shoot 13-Year-Old

    posted by on October 14 at 4:19 PM

    From the Times

    A 13-year-old was taken to the hospital with leg wounds early this morning after a confrontation with a Seattle police officer during which the officer mistook a cellphone for a weapon.

    Seattle police said today that the officer was patrolling the area near the 2500 block of East Yesler Way around 3 a.m. when he saw two people acting suspiciously. The two people ran when they saw the officer and he chased them a couple blocks south to the intersection of South Washington Street and 26th Avenue South.

    The suspect took off a large jacket and threw it on the ground, then lifted up his T-shirt, reached into a pocket and pulled out a black object. The officer, who had his own weapon drawn, believed the teen was had a weapon and shot twice, Diaz said.

    The officer, a 3-year veteran of the force, was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the shooting review board. Police said he has no prior shootings on his record.

    Perfecting Jews

    posted by on October 14 at 4:11 PM

    I know, I know, I hate this acting-offended-by-Ann-Coulter’s-calculated-to-offend-though-actually-still-offensive-commentary-because-it-validates-not-only-her-but-the-whole-expert-industry-subintellectual-pundit-class-of-meretricious-douchebags-hijacking-the-worthless-corpse-of-American-political-discourse shit, too. But this is too good:

    Sunday is Funday

    posted by on October 14 at 2:08 PM

    Sure is a nice Sunday. Time to go play outside, right? Did you know that, right now, there’s a frickin’ mini-ramp setup almost right under the Space Needle?


    Today is Day Two of a weekend long benefit for the Marginal Way Skatepark, and there’s a whole lot goin’ on down at the Funhouse. It’s all super-fun, even if you don’t skate.

    There’s a mini-ramp, a bunch of contests, a BBQ, and raffle tickets…


    skate tricks, killer DJs…



    It’s all ages until 7 pm, then a bunch of bands play inside for all the 21+ oldies.


    Continue reading "Sunday is Funday" »

    Watchmen on the Walls, In Their Own Words

    posted by on October 14 at 12:27 PM

    Jim Burroway, editor of the Box Turtle Bulletin, sent me his overview of the Watchmen on the Walls, the international anti-gay group who’ll bring their Taliban-esque mission to the Lynnwood Convention Center for a three-day conference next weekend.

    Previous Slog coverage of the impending conference can be found here and here. Today I bring you a collection of quotes from the Watchmen’s August conference in Novosibirsk, courtesy of the aforementioned Jim Burroway:

    Said Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika, a widely reviled book of Holocaust revisionism that blames the rize of Nazi Germany on homosexuality:

    “There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals. All across the West, the sexual revolution changed the culture of the nations. The sexual revolution embraces the idea that there should be no limits on sexual conduct. And this is the design of the Devil to destroy civilization, because civilization is based on the natural family. One man and one woman united in marriage bringing children into the world and training them to replace them in the next generation. That’s the foundation of civilization and the heart of Christian living.

    And in the United States where the sexual revolution began, it was the homosexual political movement that designed this strategy to attack Christianity. The homosexual movement teaches sexual freedom, and its first target is the heterosexual people. The homosexual activists stayed hidden but they taught this philosophy through their activists. And out of the philosophy came the principalities and powers that is destroying the West: The pornography industry, the abortion industry, and the destruction of marriage through divorce. These things are the product of a way of thinking. They deny the Truth of God. They deny the design of God for human beings. And their purpose is the change the cultures of the world.

    Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization. And Watchmen on the Walls is an organization to fight against this collapse. Watchmen On the Walls is an organization of men and women with courage, who will stand on the Truth of God and without compromise demand that the culture will follow the guidance of God. That marriage and family must be held at the highest level.”

    Said Vlad Kusakin, host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle:

    If we allow the people who hate God to take control of all the centers of power, then they will change all of the rules and they will put barriers in the way of the Gospel. They will prevent us from telling the truth to the people around us. But if the people of God can step forward and take control of the centers of power, then we can make the rules work in favor of the Gospel. We can use the government to help us tell the message of Jesus Christ. And we must do this!

    Both Lively and Kusakin will be featured speakers at the Watchmen conference next weekend in Lynnwood, along with the Northwest’s preeminent anti-gay warrior Ken Hutcherson. As the Stranger’s public intern discovered, officials at the Lynnwood Convention Center thought they were renting their facilities to an entirely different organization called Watchmen on the Walls, a seemingly sweet and non-violent group of Christians that support Israel.

    That’s not who they’re getting. Instead, they’re hosting a group that has announced a mission as dangerous to democracy and human rights as the Taliban’s. Stay tuned.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on October 14 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Japan Envisions the West’ at Seattle Art Museum

    Seattle Art Museum began its life as a spectacular Asian art collection and now it is a power player in Asian art—so this should be good. In collaboration with the Kobe City Museum in Japan, an exhibition of 140 objects—some of which have never left Japan—provides a panorama of Japanese attitudes toward Western culture from the 16th to the 19th centuries. We’re talking paintings, prints, maps, ceramics, lacquerware, metal, glass, and textiles, plus works from SAM’s own stellar collection. (Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 654-3100. 10 am–5 pm, by donation.)


    You, Hypocrite at LaGuardia This Morning

    posted by on October 14 at 10:27 AM

    I didn’t realize my post about that woman blathering on her cell phone at Sea-Tac—yes, people have a right to blather away on their cell phones; it was her volume that was making everyone around her crazy—had kicked up such a ruckus until I got to Chicago this morning. That’s when I read my big brother’s post about this woman’s real sin:

    Almost every behavior that drives the Brother or the rest of us up a wall is a violation of semi-private space by someone who turns that space into their own private space. Remember when Slog featured Hot Tips about people flossing their teeth or cutting their nails on the bus? Why would that bother anyone?

    Because it transforms the semi-private public space of the bus into the private bathroom of the nail-clipper or teeth-flosser….

    But annoyance at this sort of behavior is perfectly rational, since people who transform the semi-private spaces of our shared public realm into their own little private worlds are petty tyrants who must be resisted.

    I agree—but I have to confess that, er, I flossed my teeth at LaGuardia airport this morning. I wanted to floss in the one men’s toilet, but it was too small and too filthy. There was just one toilet (occupied by someone taking a very noisy shit), one urinal (with four people lined up to use it), and one extremely filthy sink that I feared I would have to share with the noisy shitter. I’m sorry, but the toilets at LaGuardia are unfit for routine dental hygiene. So I slunk off to a waiting area were there weren’t that many people waiting. And I faced the wall. And I flossed as quickly as I could. And I felt terrible about it. But I did floss in public this morning.

    You know, full disclosure and like that.

    O They Will Know We Are Catholic Prelates By…

    posted by on October 14 at 9:09 AM

    …how transparently we project.

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican official suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man said in an interview published Sunday that he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

    In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico said he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about ”those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity.”

    In the Repubblica interview, Stenico said he had met with the young man and pretended to talk about homosexuality ”to better understand this mysterious and faraway world which, by the fault of a few people—among them some priests —is doing so much harm to the Church.”

    Yeah, it’s about time the Vatican did something about all us gay men out here damaging the image of the Church through with our homosexual activity. Maybe a few burnings at the stake would convince us to stop jackhammering away at the image of the Church. But, oh, it’s difficult to enter our “mysterious and faraway” world—my goodness, you need an Internet connection and everything.