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Archives for 11/11/2007 - 11/17/2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Enter The Arab

posted by on November 17 at 8:16 PM

The plot thickens:

ITALIAN authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a fourth suspect following the murder of Meredith Kercher, the British student, in Perugia.

Police refused to name him, but he is believed to be a north African linked to drug-dealing who lived near the cottage where Kercher was killed.

Oh, Baby, You Make Me So Fair and Balanced

posted by on November 17 at 7:44 PM

The folks at Fox News want you to take a long, hard look at what they’re trying to beat. All these clips are taken from actual broadcasts.

We act surprised that the Republican lawmakers and evangelical priests who have railed against a sexualized culture are turning out to be the most sexualized among us. We’ve had the clues for years—demand begets supply. Pictures and more over here.

Thanks, tipper NaFun.

Fired and Brimstone at Mars Hill Church

posted by on November 17 at 6:14 PM

Originally posted Friday at 6:45pm

In late September or early October, Mars Hill—the hipster yet ultraconservative church—fired one pastor and put another on probation.

In a letter to church members, Pastor Mark Driscoll—one of the cofounders of the church—referenced the church’s recent rewriting of its bylaws, and stated that the two men, “curiously were among the least administratively gifted for that task, and chose to fight in a sinful manner in an effort to defend their power and retain legal control of the entire church.”
Pastor Paul Petry, who preached at Ballard, was fired, while Bent Meyer, who preaches at the Shoreline location, was put on probation. The dramatic move caused quite a stir at Mars Hill, and members of the church aired their grievances in a long and lively thread on the church’s private online message board.

Things got even uglier in a September 30 sermon, when Driscoll—who’s been the face of the church since it was first established in 1996—stated, sternly referencing the two dissidents, that “There are a few guys right now, if I wasn’t going to end up on CNN, I would go Old Testament on ’em. There’s no, like, attorneys and blogging, just like I punched you in the mouth, now shut up. That’s clean; it’s simple.”

According to one former Mars Hill member, there are people rescinding their memberships because of the decision. Mars Hill currently has five locations—in Ballard, Shoreline, West Seattle, Redmond, and Wedgwood, with a new site replacing the Tabella Nightclub in Belltown on the way—and around 24 pastors.

Neither Petry nor Meyer would comment.

Update:

“Members’ Site Temporarily Shutdown Article posted on Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear Members,

Unfortunately an unidentified member of Mars Hill has been giving contact information and/or access to this site to those outside the membership including media representatives. Therefore, for the protection and privacy of our members we are going to temporarily suspend access to the site.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you in the meantime. If there are vital pieces of information you need from the site then we would encourage you to email Pastor Zack Hubert who can assist you. We know this is inconvenient and it is sad that someone has violated their membership covenant and the privacy policy of this site.

We encourage you to spend this time in prayer for your church.

Sincerely,

The Elders of Mars Hill Church (posted by Pastor Zack)”


Holy Water

posted by on November 17 at 5:34 PM

Sunday November 18, 2007 The Observer

Health workers are struggling to control a surge in an ‘untreatable’ hospital-acquired infection that is estimated to be killing hundreds of patients a year. The number of cases of Pseudomonas rose by 41 per cent from 2,605 in 2002 to 3,663 last year, according to Health Protection Agency figures.

Cleaning agents that hospitals rely on to kill bacteria are proving inadequate, while most antibiotics that usually help patients repel infections are ineffective. It often contaminates water and moisture, so is a particular problem in breathing equipment, intravenous lines and catheters. One child cancer patient caught it when his lips were sprinkled with holy water at a Leeds hospital.

Italian Style

posted by on November 17 at 3:25 PM

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American Woman

posted by on November 17 at 3:05 PM

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American woman, get away from me
American woman, mama let me be
Don’t come knockin’ around my door
Don’t wanna see your shadow no more
Coloured lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
Now woman, I said get away
American woman, listen what I say.

The Anti-War Protests in Olympia

posted by on November 17 at 1:00 PM

posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

photos by Robert Whitlock

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Protesters at the Port of Olympia attempting to blockade military equipment returning from Iraq finally packed up their civil disobedience and went home Thursday, after the last equipment convoys left the port for Ft. Lewis.

According to the Olympia Police Department, the last of the military trucks departed at 4:20 p.m. to minimal resistance, though five arrests were made. Some equipment remains in railcars on port property, which Olympia Police say they will be keeping a close eye on.

It was a long ten days for all involved, with 63 arrests made over the course of the week plus. The few remaining protesters joked about setting up a dinner table at the entrance gate so they could sit down for a meal while blocking the last convoy.

Thursday’s demonstrations brought an anti-climatic close to a protest that began with powerful images of non-violent demonstrators standing down a military convoy.

And while the demonstrations started as a powerful, media concious effort, keeping a tight hold on the reins proved difficult for organizers as days passed.

On Tuesday an estimated 200 people took to the streets, resulting in 43 of the 63 arrests. After it was all said and done, dozens had been hosed down with pepper spray, a police cruiser’s windshield was shattered, a policeman was hit in the knee with a rock, and a few windows were smashed at a downtown Olympia U.S. Bank.

Noah Sochet of the Olympia Port Militarization Resistance, the group spearheading most of the effort, defended protesters’ actions, saying he was surprised the violence and vandalism were as limited as they were. Sochett said OPMR has no official leadership structure, which causes ambiguities in the group’s strategy.

Regardless, the night’s vandalism and violence stands in opposition to the OPMR’s stated goals and the “peaceful protest” mantra chanted by the crowd that week. It also doesn’t undo the all the attention the demonstrators brought to the ongoing occupation of Iraq; nor take away from the fact that they outmaneuvered the military for several hours, successfully shutting down the Port of Olympia.

“We don’t deny the things that happened, but the purpose of the demonstrations was to stop the shipment of military equipment. Because we don’t have central leadership everybody has a different idea of what the goals of port militarization resistance are,” said Sochet.

Tuesdays’s events turned the tables on the OPMR, which had benefited from a media savvy use of tactics, and the regional press has been pretty hard on them for not keeping things non-violent. Even the anti-Iraq war Olympian ridiculed
the group for protesting the war by blockading equipment that’s coming back from Iraq.

Conservative demagogue Michelle Malkin jumped into the fracas, labeling the activists as punks, whiners and thugs , before maligning them with Al Jazeera.

Sandy Mayes, who’s been serving as a de-facto media contact for the OPMR says Tuesday night’s coverage is hijacking the narrative of the week as a whole. She says she distinguishes between powerful images (people locked together across a freeway onramp) and sensational images (protesters throwing rocks), and placed the onus on those covering the events.

“It’s out of my hands, but out of everything that happened I consider [the vandalism] to be quite minor compared to everything else that happened. Someone throws a rock and it somehow eclipses everything that happened earlier in the week?”


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the Stranger News Hour. Tonight on KIRO. 710 AM.

posted by on November 17 at 11:57 AM

Christopher Frizzelle will be on with Goldy tonight at 7pm talking about this week’s arts feature on the Lawrimore Project plus Amanda Knox’s bad short story.

Goldy will try to steer the conversation towards Dino Rossi and Frizzelle will rightly direct it to this week’s national book awards.

Tune in tonight at 7.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 17 at 11:00 AM

Dance

‘Geography’ at On the Boards

There is a section of Geography when all seven dancers are lifting and tugging one another by the harnesses around their waists. One tries to jump forward, but four others pull her upward and backward, then lower her into a position of repose. She looks like a leaf blown around in slow motion. The dancers also shout, play complicated games of hopscotch, and get in each other’s way. Choreographer Molly Scott says the dance is about “the stress of proximity.” Part peaceful, part angry, Geography looks like autumn in the city. (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 8 pm, $18.)

BRENDAN KILEY

Morning News

posted by on November 17 at 8:34 AM

posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

Not resigning anytime soon: Hugo Chavez revises Venezuelan Constitution, mandates sweeping socialist reforms.

Sedition: 15,000 Pakistani troops headed towards Pakistan’s northern border to quell extremists.

Lynnwood PD corruption: FBI tailed deputy chief as he ditched shredded papers in dumpsters prior to raid of his home.

Breaking news: Giuliani pushed for increased health care coverage as mayor of New York, not as conservative as he says.

Back to the table: Studios forced to negotiate with writers as shows switch to re-runs.

One small step above LaRouche: Ron Paul supporters raided by FBI for minting “Liberty Dollars” bearing Paul’s likeness.

Catch a bus this holiday season: Gas prices expected to hit all time seasonal high.

Department of no shit Sherlock: Scientists say pesky issue of global warming must be addressed, suggest U.S. and China sign Kyoto Protocol.

This week in steroids: Prosecutors waited until Bonds broke Aaron’s record before proceeding with indictment.

An inconvenient pain in the ass: Al Gore going to White House to be honored by man who stole election from him and still won’t sign Kyoto Protocol.

Harvard football player: kicks the shit out of people on the field, sings Pavarotti in his spare time.


Friday, November 16, 2007

This Week on Drugs

posted by on November 16 at 5:45 PM

B.C. Dud: Dollar’s fall removes incentive for dope smugglers.

Sweet Craving: Sugar more addictive than cocaine.

Smart Shrinking: American Psychiatric Association backs medical marijuana.

Activists Cheering: Judge rules pot charge Unconstitutional—in Canada.

Victory Fleeting: Remember the Drug Czar boasting last week that we’d reduced the cocaine market in the U.S.? The Department of Justice’s 2008 Drug Threat Assessment says that “progress” will blow over.

In many of the cities in which cocaine shortages were reported, DTOs [Drug Trafficking Organizations] will most likely reestablish cocaine distribution at or near 2006 levels in the near term…. Despite the disruptions, wholesale distributors will most likely either reestablish distribution with their original sources of supply in Mexico or establish new sources of supply with other Mexican DTOs. In fact, cocaine availability may already be returning to previous levels in some areas.

He’s Still a Douche: Ron Paul would legalize marijuana by executive order. Of course, he will never do anything by executive order.

No, Mon: Judge rules against religious pot defense.

Hashing Out the Details: When is medical marijuana not actually marijuana?

Crosstown Trafficking: NYPD detective allegedly conspired in cocaine and heroin ring.

Salvia: Smokin’ in Seattle.

Pasco: Manufacturing meth could land Francisco Rubio-Perez in prison for life.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on November 16 at 4:43 PM

No news today, because I spent most of the day in the Church of Stop Shopping (comes out the 30th) and ’50s Paris (comes out next week). Is The Red Balloon the best kids’ movie ever or what? It gave me a tremendous craving for a Technicolor lollipop.

The Red Balloon

New to theaters this week:

Lindy West reviews the reanimated Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf: “Robert Zemeckis’s retardedly modern, 3-D, motion-capture reworking of Ye Olde English yarn uses technology to murder the shit out of entertainment.”

Grendel's MILF

Andrew Wright on the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men: “The most perfect fusion of literary and filmmaking sensibilities since Polanski’s hallowed Rosemary’s Baby.”

Me on the first Hollywood adaptation of a Gabriel García Márquez novel, Mike Newell’s Love in the Time of Cholera: “There’s nothing less magical—or less realistic, for that matter—than prosthetic sagging breasts.”

And in On Screen this week: Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko follow-up, the insane Southland Tales (Quoth Bradley Stienbacher: “Much like Mulholland Drive (a film it desperately wants to be), Southland Tales refuses to cough up easy answers; unlike Lynch’s film, however, you can’t help but feel that the only journey Kelly is taking you on is one deep inside his own bong.”); the surprisingly elegant and enjoyable food-policy doc King Corn (me: “If you’ve already read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, King Corn will be fascinating. If you haven’t read it, the facts will come as a shock.”); and Charles Mudede on a slick piece of dactylic tetrameter, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (“Everything is wrong with this film. In it, zero is new; dead tired are its plot, imagery, themes, and acting. The movie wants to look and feel fresh, but it instead presents us with a series of heavy corpses: the corpse of the music, the corpse of the set design, the corpse of the dialogue. Even the special effects are not special.”).

______________________________________

And hidden away in Limited Runs this week: SIFF Cinema’s 30 Years of Kino, with screenings of Metropolis, Andrei Rublev (warning: this isn’t the complete Criterion version), Wong Kar-wai’s Fallen Angels and Happy Together, Claude Chabrol’s Les Bonnes Femmes, and more; the lukewarm Bruce Lee mockumentary Finishing the Game along with Enter the Dragon at Egyptian midnights; the worthwhile music doc The Holy Modal Rounders; the totally awesome Oliver!; the mostly not-awesome The New World; King Corn, which was good enough to graduate to On Screen; and last, but never least, Surf II: The End of the Trilogy (sic, hic).

For all your movie times needs, Get Out.

Today in Line Out

posted by on November 16 at 3:52 PM

Tonight in Music: Grandy gets stoked for M.I.A.

The New Dreaming: Charles Mudede gets stoked for the Program.

The Real Dreaming: Jonathan Zwickel gets stoked about the songs he writes while he sleeps.

The Purest Hiphop: Charles Mudede gets stoked again, now for Zulu Radio Live.

Its Sounds Like Liquid: Trent Moorman gets stoked about the Boredoms and Senju Muneomi.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Music nerds get stoked for Idolator’s Critics Poll.

Last Night: Jeff Kirby got stoked for the Velvet Teen.

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Looking Down on the Olympic Sculpture Park

posted by on November 16 at 3:50 PM

The best thing about the Olympic Sculpture Park is Wake—graceful and industrial. The worst thing about the Olympic Sculpture Park is the concrete warehouse right behind Wake—a “historical site.”

Behold them both.

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And say goodbye to the ugly box. Constructed in 1939 for Glaser Brothers, purveyors of wholesale cigars and tobacco, the utilitarian one-story building at 3031 Western Avenue is now used as a parking garage. The Department of Neighborhoods calls it one of the category 4 historical sites, which “have been so altered that they would not qualify as Seattle landmarks.” But according to city data, there have been few alterations to the property. It’s just ugly.

Good riddance. Martin Selig, Seattle’s most infamous developer and delinquent payer of electricity bills, owns the site. And earlier this month he paid $2,370 to start the application process to obtain a master use permit. The preliminary proposal, says Michael Dorcy of the city’s Department of Planning and Development, is for a 14-story, 78-unit apartment building. Here’s a rendering.

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More after the jump.

Continue reading "Looking Down on the Olympic Sculpture Park" »

Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumors

posted by on November 16 at 3:43 PM

This just in…

You guys have any idea why a pair of helicopters has been hovering over the CD between 23rd/Jackson and 23rd/Massachusetts for at least the last 20 mins? Something must be going down.

Anybody?

Expropriate the Sonics

posted by on November 16 at 3:43 PM

Sports writer David Zirin argues that the citizens of Seattle should pull a Green Bay Packers on the Sonics and buy them from Clay Bennett.

Municipalization means turning the Sonics into a public utility; call it a kind word for expropriation. Basketball fans should press the state of Washington to sue for the right to buy the team back from Clay and his cronies. They should claim that the SuperSonics and Storm are the intellectual property — the eminent domain — of the people of Seattle, and therefore the city has far more of a claim on the team than the Bennetts of Oklahoma.

Courtesy Ingrid.

Pick Your Poison

posted by on November 16 at 3:25 PM

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This was in the night stand next to the bed in my hotel room in Portland last night. The newish Hotel Deluxe is in the old Mallory Hotel building. I miss the Mallory.

Hutcherson Threatening Microsoft—The Video

posted by on November 16 at 3:25 PM

What a drama queen. I’m sure God hates his guts.

(Thanks to Good as You.)

The British Thinking

posted by on November 16 at 3:13 PM

The body of slain student Meredith Kercher was returned to Britain on Sunday, despite a request for a second post-mortem from defense lawyers.

Seattle native Amanda Knox, who was Kercher’s roommate; Knox’s boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito; and Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, a 37-year-old Congolese immigrant who owned the bar where Kercher worked, have been detained as suspects in the Nov. 1 slaying.

We know what the Brits are thinking: Knox (the American hussy) is amoral to the core and (like the culture that made her) has the ability to tolerate extreme levels of violence. That African beast? Nothing to an American babe. They can take it. Poor Kercher, the delicate thing. Let her death be a lesson to our girls and government: maintain a good distance from Americans. They are a ferocious people.

babe2.jpg An American babe!

Don’t Dream It

posted by on November 16 at 3:12 PM

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In the Shadow of Schnitzer

posted by on November 16 at 3:07 PM

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8th and Virginia, MIDTOWN!

Residents at the Cosmopolitan condos, on 8th and Virginia, are banding together to stop a massive office development from blotting out the sun on the west side of their building.

Back in 2006, before the condos opened, developer Schnitzer West was working on a 14-story office project next door to Cosmo. That April, the city changed zoning regulations and Schnitzer resubmitted design plans for a 500-foot mega-office

Last week, in response to Schnitzer’s development and, they say, a lack of response from the city, Cosmo residents posted an open letter to Mayor Nickels, decrying the public process.

Because Cosmo was still vacant when Schnitzer’s designs were changed, the city’s requirement to notify nearby residents wasn’t triggered. Because of the lack of communication from the city, Clifford Tatum, Cosmo’s Community Committee Chair, says residents didn’t have the opportunity to back out purchasing their units without losing their deposits, which were between $15,000 and $50,000. “We entered into a purchase agreement in 2005. At the time, the lot across the street was permitted for a 12-14 story building. We were fairly comfortable with that,” Tatum says.

But hey, so what if rich people don’t have a view, right? Well, Tatum claims it’s about more than that. “It’s not about the view,” he says. “It’s the fact that this building is 15 feet away. There’s some consideration for light, for privacy—there would be office workers looking in our windows.” Indeed, a rendering from Schnitzer’s website does seem to indicate that the 500-foot office building will eclipse Cosmo’s west side.

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Tatum says attorneys are looking into the building plans but that he’s hoping this can be settled through communication with the developer. “We don’t particularly don’t want to go down the lawsuit path,” he says. “[We’d like to] facilitate a better neighborly relationship. “

Phil Spector, OJ Simpson, and Larry Craig—Now Hanging Out Near Annie Wagner’s Cubicle

posted by on November 16 at 2:51 PM

Those celebrity caricatures outside City Market loved muchly on Slog? Well, Cain Morehead—City Market’s resident artist—sent three of them to us and now they’re hanging in The Stranger’s office, high above Annie Wagner’s cubicle. Check it:

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Long live City Market! (Thanks, Cain!)

What He Said…

posted by on November 16 at 2:45 PM

…sounds a lot like what I’ve been saying. Daniel Politi at Slate on the Washington Post’s lady-like refusal to print the word “bitch”:

The WP’s Eugene Robinson writes about the now-famous incident where Sen. John McCain was asked at a campaign event, “How do we beat the bitch?” Except he can’t write the word “bitch” because, even though it’s regular fodder for prime-time programming, it’s “a word that most editors won’t print in a family newspaper.” Doesn’t this extreme puritanism surrounding “naughty words” ultimately just seem condescending to readers? And, just for the record, the Post has published the word several times, and the the NYT doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

Slate, of course, is owned by those timid bitches at the Washington Post—and Slate was recently called out for bleeping profanities on their podcasts.

Prison Bitches

posted by on November 16 at 2:23 PM

What the hell do you have to do to get sent to this prison?

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I mean besides a million crunches, regular body waxing, ruthless eyebrow plucking, cheekbone implants, etc.

Via Towleroad.

O They Will Know We Are Christians…

posted by on November 16 at 2:15 PM

…the way our very messy divorces expose our highly questionable “business” practices.

The Biblical Gospel of Matthew famously admonishes Christians not to try to serve both God and wealth. But a pastor’s estranged wife says he has blended the two so thoroughly that his church should be counted as an asset in their divorce.

A judge agreed in a decision published this week to hear arguments on the claim, and he ordered a financial appraisal of the church. Lawyers involved in the case said it could represent the first time anyone in New York state has tried to treat a religious institution as a marital asset.

The wife argues that her husband of 31 years used his Brooklyn church as a “personal piggy bank,” setting his own income, spending the congregation’s tithes as he pleased and running a catering business from the building, according to an account of the claims in state Supreme Court Judge Arthur M. Diamond’s decision….

The wife said $50,000 of the couple’s money went into starting the church, and she should share in value.

“That church is no different than any other business he might have opened,” said the wife’s lawyer, Robert Pollack.

A church is a business—in exchange for your your money you get guilt, hang-ups, and judgement—oh, and “salvation.” And every once in a while your kids get raped. Such a deal!

Holy Xenu!

posted by on November 16 at 2:03 PM

OMG, OMG, OMG! When I was looking at this, I, like, TOTALLY missed this.

How could I?

Thanks, Slog commenter, Matt.

In other news: Boy George has been charged, and will stand trial, for abducting a Norwegian manhooker. According to the best sources available to source on such short notice, The Boy and some unspecified other guy (who was totally Andrew Ridgley, I just know it), allegedly rendezvoused with the aforementioned Norwegian manhooker, and retired with him to George’s London flat. Then the pair promptly chained him to the wall and accosted him with various whips and big floppy dildos. Apparently the manhooker was less than pleased with these arrangements (what did he expect? Crumpets with nuns? I ask you.), for in a flurry of drama and intrepid general gayness, the manhooker broke free from his wall and ran flailing for the police. Which in London are called “bobbies”. Which has nothing to do with the absolute fact that Boy George has begun to look exactly like a bald Elizabeth Taylor—-and not Young Elizabeth Taylor who could totally pull that shit off, but the crazy-ish 8,000 year old hip-wreck Elizabeth Taylor, who probably actually is bald in real life now, come to think of it. Never mind.

Weird fucking British.

Rossi Addressing Evangelical Activist Retreat

posted by on November 16 at 1:41 PM

As opposed to his 2004 run when he obscured his social conservative views, Dino Rossi is quickly emerging as 2008’s religious right candidate.

He came out strong this week against state rules that prevent pharmacists from refusing to fill Plan B prescriptions on religious grounds.

Follow-up act? This weekend, Rossi is speaking at the Faith and Freedom Network youth leadership conference in Yelm. The sponsor, the Faith and Freedom Network and Foundation, is an evangelical lobbying group in Olympia.

There’s not an in-depth description of the “Change Your Culture” retreat. The only specifics I could find were these—on the registration form: “Students should bring: Bible, notepad, pen, pillow, 2 days worth of clothing & shoes, sleeping bag or linens & blankets.”


The Faith and Freedom Network and Foundation, a 501(c)4, describes themselves this way:

While [the] core mission of representing people of faith in Olympia, Washington, has not changed, the social environment has changed, particularly during the past few years. People of faith, their churches and their organizations have been pressed into even greater action by the issues surrounding gay marriage, the removal of the Ten Commandments, and other Judeo-Christian expressions of faith from our public life. The continual erosion of freedom to express their faith in traditional ways at sporting events, school clubs, graduation and commencement exercises, and even at Christmas, has caused all people of faith to focus on appropriate responses.

Another speaker who will be addressing the students at the Faith and Freedom Network youth leadership conference is Casey Luskin (an intelligent design advocate with the Discovery Institute.)

Spokane is a Lovely Place to Visit…

posted by on November 16 at 1:25 PM

…and Richard Curtis visited as often as he could because, hey, he wasn’t paying for it. Washington state taxpayers were. From the Spokesman Review:

An awful lot is known about then-state-lawmaker Richard Curtis’ recent trysts with men at a Spokane Valley adult bookstore and downtown hotel last month. But here’s something you probably didn’t know:

You paid for the trip.

Curtis’ travel records, obtained Thursday by The Spokesman-Review through a public records request, show that Curtis’ three-day trip to Spokane cost taxpayers nearly $800.

They also show that during his three years as a legislator, Curtis was a prolific traveler, racking up more than $18,000 in expenses in 37 overnight trips around the state, as well as to New York City, San Francisco and Boston. Several of those overnight stays were in Spokane.

It was on those taxpayer-fincanced trips to Spokane that Curtis became a regular at the Hollywood Erotic Boutique, where the staff dubbed him “the cross dresser,” and where he would ultimately meet Cody Castagna, the admitted hustler and alleged extortionist. The $800 tab the state picked up for Curtis’ October visit to Spokane was a steal compared to an earlier visit.

The biggest bill of Curtis’ legislative career, in fact, stemmed from a June visit to the city. Over the course of six days, taxpayers picked up a $2,876 tab for Curtis, including a $332-a-night room at the Davenport Hotel, airfare, and $443 to rent a black Chrysler convertible. For five nights, his hotel bill alone—including several in-room movies and room-service meals—was $1,937. The state didn’t reimburse Curtis for the movies.

Jesus… with the state picking up every expense save Curtis’ dirty in-room movies and the $10 he paid to lurk in the Hollywood Erotic Boutique’s “theater,” you gotta wonder why Curtis didn’t just pay Castagna the $1000 he demanded—“for the bareback sex,” says Castagna; “or else I’ll out you,” says Curtis—and consider it one very expensive lesson learned. Castagna left with Curtis’ wallet after the cross-dressed, freshly-fucked legislator fell asleep. Curtis should have cancelled his credit cards, given Castagna the dough, and made a mental note to always lock his wallet in the in-room safe before bringing a hooker back to his room.

Of course, I’m sure Curtis is kicking himself now for not paying Castagna and calling the police—in fact, the police report indicates the Curtis began kicking himself while the police were still interviewing him.

Assignment : Hand Out Bottled Water to Green Lake Joggers

posted by on November 16 at 1:05 PM

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On a gray and cold Wednesday afternoon, I decided to go to Green Lake and support intrepid joggers with bottles of water and free entertainment. I slipped on red booty shorts, a pink tank top and white orthopedic shoes I’d bought for a Richard Simmons Halloween costume and brought along an old boom box loaded with all the disco songs I could find on my friend’s IPod. I also brought a roll of white streamer paper people could tear through and feel as if they’d just reached the finish line of a marathon.

My friend Tristan helped me set up the finish line near Green Lake Stadium. It felt vaguely illegal tying a weak barrier across the congested path, but I figured I could lower the finish line with my hand if someone was trying to break a jogging record and didn’t want to slow down their time by tearing through the streamer. I lifted the streamer up from the ground and a jogger quickly tore through it. Then, while he was running, he turned his head back and glared at me intensely. This was the moment I realized I might die wearing a bad Richard Simmons costume.

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I turned to my friend with a pained expression on my face. In order for people to enjoy running through the finish line, we’d have to prepare them for it. I grabbed the streamer and yelled at the next jogger, “Would you like to run through this? Like in a race?” The woman was wearing headphones and she ignored me. She ran through the streamer like it was something that was always there. She didn’t even flinch. I retied the streamer to the pole. Another jogger came running by and I asked her the same question. She stopped, took the headphones out of her ears and said, “excuse me?” I asked her, “Would you like to run through this streamer? Like you’ve reached the end of a race?” She shook her head no, and carefully climbed over the streamer. “Yay,” I said. “You did it.”

By this time there was a large pile of discarded streamers on the side of the path and I was concerned I would receive some sort of trash violation. Besides, the finish line was supposed to be fun, and people did not understand the joke. I threw out the streamers and began passing out water to people. I offered water to a middle-aged couple and they politely refused. The next couple saw the first couple refuse, and also refused the water I’d bought for them. Finally, a woman took a water bottle. “It’s not poison,” I joked. She didn’t laugh. I watched her as she passed by the trash cans to make sure she didn’t throw out the bottle. Another disco hit by Ashford and Simpson began to play on my speakers and I readjusted my sweatband so that the dangling parts weren’t right in front of my eyes. Why weren’t people accepting free bottles of water from me?

The sky began to darken and rain trickled down into my headband. I still had about twenty bottles of water to pass out. That’s when a gray-bearded man wearing a Raccoon hat and walking a fully-clothed dog tapped me on the shoulder. “Could I have a bottle of water?” he asked me and shot me a huge grin. “Sure!” I replied, thankful someone was expressing interest in my assignment. “You know, I love what you’re doing here,” he said to me. “I’ve lived a lot of places and I’ve traveled to over seventy-five countries. I’ve taught English, Psychology, History and Political Science. I’m a gay man and I love life. Just love it. I’ve been very blessed…” I waited for him to say “And I’ve never seen such amazing generosity in Seattle, never before have I been greeted with such kindness,” but he didn’t. He just went on and on about his life. I felt like he was reading me a scripted monologue he’d been tweaking in his head for the past fifty years.

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In the end, I passed out about thirty water bottles, mostly to joggers, mostly younger folk. And I didn’t get beat up for wearing the gayest outfit Green Lake has ever seen.

Steven Blum
Public Intern

Assignments? PublicIntern@thestranger.com

Breaking! Sluttiness Not to Blame For Knox’s Alleged Part in Murder

posted by on November 16 at 1:04 PM

The Daily Mail—your source for the latest, most up-to-date news on the Amanda Knox case—now reports that, contrary to yesterday’s report, Knox didn’t kill her roommate because she was a slutty, sexually aggressive man-eater with a bitch for a mom and a heart of stone. At least, not entirely. Today, the Mail blames the falling-out with her roommate on Knox’s “hygiene habits”—specifically, her failure “to flush the lavatory.”

Miss Kercher, 21, from Surrey, is said to have had frequent arguments with her American friend who is now a prime suspect in her murder.

Friends said the girls fell out over 20-year-old Knox’s lack of cleanliness and after she failed to flush the lavatory in their flat in the Italian town of Perugia.

So now you know.

Victims of Children!

posted by on November 16 at 12:43 PM

O, those wacky Catholics! (Or “Wacacolics”.) What WON’T they do to defend their naughty, boy-buggering, probably-dead-person-stepping-over priests?

Now, from the minds that gave you ritualistic cannibalism and the general worldwide ban on genitals, The Greatest Insurance Ever Underwritten!

If you are a clergyman who has faced allegations of sexual wrong doing (molestation, rape, lewd behavior, sodomy, pandering, soliciting, etc.), we have many services available to aid you in this, your hour of greatest need.

Onsite quotes and roadside assistance optional!


Notes From the Prayer Warrior

posted by on November 16 at 12:38 PM

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11/16/2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

This article was written following an interview yesterday with Toby Harnden of the Telegraph, Britain’s No. 1 quality newspaper website.

Thank you for continued prayers as we fight the good fight.

Pastor Hutch

Meet Mike Huckabee

posted by on November 16 at 12:20 PM

Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

Trying to successfully register as press for the King County Republicans’ Fall Dinner while admitting that yes, you’re there for The Stranger, is something like approaching the desk and announcing you’re a sexual predator. In a room where one of the KVI right wing radio guys is being treated like a rock star and the tables for the silent auction gleam with almost erotic reverence for Ronald Reagan, you feel very much alone.

This wasn’t the story I was there for, however. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, newly minted by Iowa polling as tied with Mitt Romney for the lead, was making the keynote speech at the dinner and had agreed to a short press appearance, a rarity for candidates visiting this state and much-remarked-on by the assembled reporters.

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The press conference was somewhat sparsely attended: myself (yes, I was able to make it in), David Postman of the Times, Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker, Neil Modie of the PI, and a blogger from Sound Politics. Some of the highlights from the press conference:

Continue reading "Meet Mike Huckabee" »

Death in the Afternoon

posted by on November 16 at 12:01 PM

A body dies. It gets stiff. Its blood pools. It begins to rot, with bacteria rooting around in its animal proteins, ripping them up and grinding them down. Things fall apart; things smell bad.

Two organic compounds bloom on the putrefying body—putrescine and cadaverine. The pair is responsible for the foul smell of a dead body—and for the taste and smell of semen.

Every sperm swims into the womb with a little death on its back.

New Blog (But It’s Not for You, Old Man)

posted by on November 16 at 11:58 AM

The library has a pretty good new blog, although if you’re at least 20, you’re too old for it. It’s for you, teens.

The One Program

posted by on November 16 at 11:43 AM

The realm of the three kingdoms…
l_00e978ca2cdce9ea70b0acf4702454ca-1.jpg…will be represented during The Program, a five-day hiphop festival curated by the Blue Scholars.

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If Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland made even a little effort, the three cities could be experienced as one urban realm. The Program is a kind of hiphop expression for that desirable connection, the linking of the three into one idea, one consciousness, one movement. Swollen Members, Dyme Def, Sirens Echo are some of the many regional acts that will rock the one reality in the dead middle of December. To read more about The Program, go to its website. There’s lots to see; lots to think about.

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This is the new dreaming.

A Report From Last Night’s Skatepark Meeting

posted by on November 16 at 11:03 AM

Once again, last night’s Seattle Center skatepark meeting proved that no one wants a skatepark at 2nd and Thomas. A crowd of about 40 skaters, parents and members of the Seattle Center business community crowded into one of the conference rooms on the top floor of the Center House to express their dissent over the City Council’s push to replace the Seattle Center Pavilions with a skatepark. The biggest surprise of last night’s meeting had to be that both skaters and Seattle Center businesses seem to be on the same page.

The meeting started off with Center staff rifling off the numbers and details about the cost factors that lead to a reduction in size of the project (who knew it costs $5,000 just to relocate an ATM?). According to the Center’s numbers, 41-48% of the cost of the $2.9 million skatepark is attributable demolition costs.

The loss of either of the Pavilions—used by Bumbershoot, Folklife, the Children’s Festival and apparently as a homeless shelter—would require relocating events to the Bagley Wright Theater, Memorial Stadium, EMP or the Exhibition Center. The Center admitted that the move would have a fiscal impact on the events—$80,000 annually if Pavilion A is removed—which clearly miffed festival organizers.

During the public comment period, reps from the Italian Festival, the Bite of Seattle and the Japanese Cultural Festival all spoke to the geographical and financial hardships they’d likely face with the removal of Pavilion A, and were quick to suggest other sites on the Pavilion’s campus. Yutaka Sasaki, of the Japanese Cultural Festival, suggested the Center “give [the skaters] Mercer Arena,” he said, to much laughter and applause. Remove the roof, it’s got a deep pit, stairs and handrails.”

While Center businesses and festival organizers are clearly unhappy with the current plan, their ire was directed solely at the City Council and decision-makers at the Center.

Continue reading "A Report From Last Night's Skatepark Meeting" »

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 16 at 11:00 AM

Goth-Hop

Grayskul at Chop Suey

The perception: There’s Seattle hiphop and then, on the margins, there’s Grayskul. The reality: Grayskul is an integral part of Seattle’s current hiphop scene. The explanation: Emcees Onry Ozzborn and JFK make a more sinister brand of hiphop than Seattle is known for, darkened by eerie minor-key melodies, funereal gospel vocals, and stoically delivered wordplay. The conclusion: Grayskul’s insidious thump is anxiety inducing—if it doesn’t stop your heart, it’ll certainly chill it. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $10, 21+.)

JONATHAN ZWICKEL

Know Your Enemy

posted by on November 16 at 10:57 AM

A pet peeve I’ve got with the media—high brow, mainstream, and alt media—is its obsession with and ability to get inside the Democratic party and analyze and parse every utterance and cough.

There’s an obligatory attempt to do this with the Republicans, but it doesn’t strike me as earnest or consistent. Or successful.

That’s why I always appreciate it when Postman files interesting reports like this one about the GOP.

Notice, though, that Postman begins his account saying: “I learned this: Many Republicans remain undecided about the race for their party’s presidential nominee…”

Could you imagine if he was just learning that about the Democrats less than two months out from Iowa? Not a chance.

My point: The GOP remains a bit of an alien species to the press, and so, just getting the basic sense of GOP voters seems a mini-revelation to be posted on the The Seattle Times main political blog.

Diamonds and/or Pearls

posted by on November 16 at 10:45 AM

What was up with that weird (and seemingly inspired-by-Prince) closing question at the debate last night?

MARIA PARRA SANDOVAL: Maria Parra Sandoval, and I’m a UNLV student. And my question is for Senator Clinton. This is a fun question for you. Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Now, I know I’m sometimes accused of not being able to make a choice. I want both.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

MALVEAUX: Do we get to ask any of the other candidates or I supposed just Senator Clinton?

BIDEN: I’m for diamonds. Diamonds.

Marc Ambinder has the explanation for all this, and some back-and-forth between Ms. Sandoval, a Truman Scholar who is furious because she wanted to ask a more substantive question, and CNN, which had had enough of substance by the end of the debate.

Also: CNN has apparently done this before.

Evangelical Guidance Counselor=Pregnant Students=You’re Not Doing Your Job.

posted by on November 16 at 10:25 AM

The Fundy Pharmacists’ argument that they shouldn’t have to do anything on the job that conflicts with their religious beliefs got put to the test in the 7th Circuit. The fundamentalists’ argument lost.

In this case, a guidance counselor at a rural Wisconsin school complained that she was unjustly fired for following her religious beliefs on the job: She refused to give out literature about condoms and instead, gave out abstinence-only lit. Not surprisingly, several teens got pregnant. (She also prayed with students when they came to her with their problems. Probably the pregnant ones.)

The 7th Circuit ruled against the guidance counselor, as Decision of the Day nicely summarizes:

[She] was fired for her conduct, not for her religious beliefs. Although Grossman’s religious beliefs clearly influenced her conduct, in the end, the school has a right to police the conduct of its employees.

Here’s a great excerpt from the court’s decision which isolates the leap of faith that fundamentalists expect others to take with them, and explains why others shouldn’t be required to:

Were a jury to find that the school administrators wouldn’t have refused to renew the plaintiff’s contract had it not been for her religious beliefs, the judge would have to set aside the verdict as based on speculation rather than on a defensible view of the evidence. For at bottom the plaintiff has nothing to go on besides the words “philosophy” and “philosophical” in the notes of her conferences with her supervisors, as if the school administrators had engaged her in a theological debate. They had not. The reference to her preferring abstinence as a strategy for preventing teenage pregnancy to contraception (and likewise the references to her “belief” in abstinence and her not making a “good fit” with the school) related to her approach to the problem of teenage pregnancy rather than to her theological views. Those views were the cause of her approach, but so far as the record shows it was the approach that concerned the school administrators. So summary judgment was rightly granted for the defendants.

An argument I would add: If the guidance counselor wants the administration to believe that her conduct and philosophy aren’t separate issues, she’s acknowledging right off the bat that she was knowingly pushing her religious views onto students at a public school. Not allowed.

No War

posted by on November 16 at 10:16 AM

What’s happening in Iraq is not a war but an occupation. This distinction is very important. A war and an occupation are not the same things. The expression, “war on terror,” has the echo of some sense; the expression, “occupation on terror,” makes no sense at all. Yet that is what Americans are paying for: a nonsensical occupation on terror. A state of war requires a state. Iraq as a state is not at war with the US. It doesn’t have an army, and barely has a government. What’s there, what rules, is the force of an occupying power. Not war spending, but occupation costs.

“New & Improved Stereotypes”

posted by on November 16 at 9:45 AM

Nativeamericans.jpg

Here are many, created by Jeremy Kalgreen (whose graphic design stuff is also delightful.)

(Thanks for the heads-up, MetaFilter.)

A Little Good News for the Catholic Church

posted by on November 16 at 9:33 AM

Hey, not all Catholic priests are into raping altar boys. They still like ‘em powerless though:

A Roman Catholic priest who worked as a chaplain at a women’s federal prison pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexual abuse for having sex with two inmates.

Vincent Inametti, 48, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for two counts of sexual abuse of a ward, U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper said. Inametti, who remains free on bond, is to be sentenced in March.

Thanks to Slog tipper Todd.

Inside Heavy Lines

posted by on November 16 at 9:30 AM

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In this portrait by Roger Shimomura, a young boy—a stand-in for himself—finds himself painting the tar-papered barracks of a Japanese internment camp, as well as the Idaho landscape in the distance. Shimomura was in a camp from age 2 to 4, but this isn’t based on a memory. It’s a projection of his adult self backwards, a foreshadowing that this camp will always edge his way onto his canvases.

Shimomura’s show at Kucera through December 22 takes up the entire first floor of the gallery. I’ve always been a little undecided on his work, feeling that his heavy black cartoon outlines contain the heavy emotional content of the work in a way that’s slightly uncomfortable. All that rage refusing to roar. It’s using pop backwards, not to flatten affect but to heighten it in relief. Looked at another way, I suppose the lines seem about right for imprisonment.

When I visited the gallery yesterday, I was won over to their range. Kucera pointed out in particular a nice detail: that the shadowy portraits—the ones where the black oozes out of its outlines and into the subjects themselves—take on nuclear overtones.

This one’s called Bad Dream:

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This one is Shadow of the Enemy:

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In this one, Shimomura goes right for it and asks, Would you have done it to Ichiro?

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Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise

posted by on November 16 at 9:29 AM

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Does she spin clockwise, counter-clockwise, or both?

Clockwise? Your right brain is in charge. Counter-clockwise? Your left.

Explanations are here and here.

With every blink, she switches direction for me. Any wonder why my handwriting is so bad?

Last Night’s Democratic Debate

posted by on November 16 at 9:00 AM

The conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton is back on her game. I tend to agree. The debate last night was really heated, but Clinton joked about having brought an asbestos pant-suit at the beginning and then proceeded to knock back John Edwards and Barack Obama every time they trained their fire on her.

The crowd was also a factor in this debate (it was Las Vegas, after all). There were shouts that interrupted Obama and boos at Edwards for attacking Clinton after a question on the “gender card” and the “boys club.” You can read a bunch of reviews on the “That’s Why the Lady is a Champ” theme here. You can see a roundup of the television talking heads’ reaction here. And you can watch a “replay” of my liveblogging here, or, heck, with this cool new application we’re using I can just drop it in… here:

Fast Food Reality vs. Fast Food Advertising

posted by on November 16 at 8:42 AM

Burger King Whopper

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Taco Bell Nachos Bell Grande

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KFC Famous Bowl

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Yum! More here.

Morning News

posted by on November 16 at 8:00 AM

Heated: Democratic Debate in Las Vegas.

Rejected: District Court says Bush’s fuel efficiency standards don’t cut it.

Freed: Benazir Bhutto released from house arrest.

Charged: Home run king, Barry Bonds, indicted for perjury in steroids case.

Found: DNA—supposedly Amanda Knox’s and victim Meredith Kurcher’s—on kitchen knife.

Congressional Budget Stand-Off: “With no resolution of a stalemate that has tied up money for all agencies except the Pentagon.”

For Those That Don’t Like Creepy Corporations: “Just Following Orders” provision for Telecoms stripped out of FISA bill.

For Those That Don’t Like Creepy Corporations Pt. 2: PI catches Boeing spying on its employees.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Light Bright

posted by on November 15 at 10:15 PM

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I thought there was some sort of bike protest in Portland tonight—tons of brightly lit bikes, locking up multiple blocks downtown, with police cruisers escorting them through the center of the city. I took this picture on Broadway looking toward Portland’s Pioneer Square. The streets were dark and wet, but there were lots of parents with very young kids on the backs of their bikes—so not a “protest” crowd. Still, I thought it might be response to the recent deaths of two cyclists here. No, as it turns out, that protest is tomorrow, and it’s sponsored by the activist group Bike Portland. Tonight’s event was the Bike Light Parade, part of the Portland Department of Transportation’s “see and be seen campaign,” which encourages cyclists to light up their bikes for safety.

Anyway, it was an inspiring sight. Between Portland’s kick-ass light rail system and a city hall that actually listens and responds to the concerns of cyclists, well, Seattle’s got a lot of catching up to do.

Headline or Screenplay?

posted by on November 15 at 8:43 PM

“A Cowlike Dinosaur Comes into Focus.”

Liveblogging the Democratic Debate

posted by on November 15 at 5:00 PM

Here we go.

I’m using a nifty new liveblogging tool this time. It does away with all that hitting of the refresh button, which should be great (for you and me). However, it does have an automatic sound effect that we haven’t yet been able to silence. Each time I post you’ll hear the tapping of keys—unless you turn off your volume or hit the speaker button at the bottom of the liveblogging window.

Also: You can send me comments through the embedded liveblog (the spot for dropping your comments is right above the “Cover It Live” logo). Bring ‘em on. If they’re witty and/or wise, I’ll include them in my liveblog.

Another Photographer Detained

posted by on November 15 at 4:57 PM

Here’s another in the rash of tales since Sept. 11 about all sorts of photographers being questioned and detained for taking perfectly legal pictures.

KING-5 reports today that the Snohomish police cuffed an associate professor of fine art at UW, Shirley Scheier, for taking pictures of power lines.

Now the ACLU is suing the department.

Here’s a good primer on what you can and can’t shoot when you’re out there—and with few exceptions, the cops and the security guards crying “security” are wrong.

Keep shooting.

(Thanks for the tip, Betsey.)

Living in the Suburbs Rocks

posted by on November 15 at 4:47 PM

Over at the Daily Journal of Commerce, reporter Lynn Porter talked to civic activist Art Skolnik.

Skolnik—who owns a $359,000 home in Renton, according to the King County Assessor’s Office—praises life in the burbs and says Seattle has urban planning all wrong.

It’s a long rant, so I’ve put it below the jump. There are a lot of comments from urban folks. My favorite comment is from Ryan Bayne, policy director of the Downtown Seattle Association, who says: “[Skolnik’s] argument is built around two contradictory statements — that downtown living is undesirable and that downtown living is unaffordable. The market does not allow those two statements to both be true.”

Good call.

Continue reading "Living in the Suburbs Rocks" »

Oh, That Melba.

posted by on November 15 at 4:34 PM

“Spam”. Of course it’s delicious, everyone knows that, but it’s also just infuriating in the form of an email. And sometimes thought provoking, too. Especially and specifically when the randomly generated blabber that typically appears in the RE: portion of any given spam email reads like the one I just got. The email in question was secretly hawking VIAGRA, the bastard thing (as if), but in the Subject line it read thusly:

“Such a conspicuous fuckstick Melba.”

Wow. It just makes you think. You know?

spam.jpg

Gateway and Choke Point

posted by on November 15 at 4:12 PM

Even as the national housing market declines, Lexas Companies is banking on Seattle’s boom to continue. The developer, also behind the fancy 30-story Escala on Fourth and Virginia, has announced plans for a soaring twin-tower complex in the Denny Triangle called 1200 Stewart.

Denny – for decades a traffic funnel flanked with light industrial, parking lots, and a few terrifying restaurants – is becoming a high-density corridor. Awesome!

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About a dozen new residential developments are proposed or under construction, and 1200 Stewart, in its nascent stages, will likely be a giant among them. If approved, it will sit on the triangular lot wedged between Denny Way and Stewart Street.

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This image above is how the block currently looks to a satellite. Thanks, Google Maps.

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And this is a visual orientation of 1200. Thanks, Sclater Partners Architects.

“It’s the gateway to downtown,” says Dave Reddish, of Sclater Partners Architects, one of two architects designing the building. 1200’s footprint would fill the entire block. Planners propose commercial spaces in 1200’s 65-foot-tall base, topped by two towers, each with 150 condos, that would max out the city’s new zoning height limits at 400 feet.

At that height, 1200 would overlook the neighborhood, giving residents on the top floors a vantage to peer down on much of Capitol Hill. By comparison, the tallest of the three nearby Metropolitan Park towers (formerly the twin toasters, now the, um, toaster triumvirate?) is only 20 stories, reaching 279 feet. Photos and more after the jump.

Continue reading "Gateway and Choke Point" »

“Dreamboat” to Walk the Screenwriter Picket Lines

posted by on November 15 at 3:50 PM

The strike by writers who want to be paid for their online work continues, and tomorrow, fresh from tonight’s big debate, John Edwards will join their picket line. From an email apparently circulating among the strikers:

Tomorrow, there will only be a 6-10am shift at CBS TELEVISION CITY. Those wishing to picket after that, please get your asses to NBC BURBANK. Presidential dreamboat John Edwards will be marching. Don’t bring up 2004.

Media Debates Whether Knox Hot, Not

posted by on November 15 at 3:49 PM

Dylan at Metroblogging suggested that I respond to comments on the P-I’s latest Amanda Knox post objecting to the P-I’s description of the accused murderer as “attractive.” To wit:

I’ve seen several pictures of Miss Knox, and perhaps I’m missing something, but I fail to see why the media keeps reporting she is an “attractive” woman. She looks to be pretty unremarkable…an average early 20-something w/the advantage of being weight/height proportional (an increasing rarity in America, but nothing special).
…Actually, in the photo PI has been using pretty exclusively, she looks like one of the Bush twins (that chubby face/lack of cheek bones)….
As for the comments on this post, Amanda Knox (the suspect) is not particularly beautiful. Definitely a “plain Jane” - but with a little make up and a side part, she could resemble Martha Stewart in her prison jumpsuit.

To which I say: Eh. Focusing on what a white, female accused murderer looks like is par for the course for the American press. The media salivates over stories where pretty white girls go nuts, ergo the media obsessively describes American girls who go nuts as “attractive,” “pretty,” “sexy,” etc. (See also: Coverage of murdered rich, blonde, white girls vs. coverage of murdered poor, non-blonde, non-white girls.) So whether people think she’s ugly or pretty is irrelevant—they’re still commenting on something that has nothing to do with her guilt or innocence.

Anyway, if you think that’s bad, you should see the British and Italian press. Actual headline in the Daily Mail (not gonna link to that trash): “Foxy Knoxy, the girl who had to compete with her own mother for men.” Foxy Knoxy was Knox’s Myspace name. The article basically blames Knox’s mother for marrying a man “young enough to be Amanda’s brother” (actually 13 years older than Amanda, and 12 years younger than her mother—not exactly a shocking age gap) and turning her into a sexually aggressive slut and, eventually, a murderer.

“Looking back,” the Mail reports, the marriage

may well have been the turning point which ultimately culminated in Amanda allegedly holding down Meredith as her throat was cut with a pen knife during a sexual assault in which she died an agonisingly slow death.

Long before meeting Meredith, Amanda had begun to show a distrust of other women, which would manifest itself as she grew older in her inability to form close female friendships, outbursts of jealousy and increasingly rebellious and sexually aggressive behaviour.

Nearly all her best friends were men and, in order to capture the attention she so desperately needed, she tried to compete with them on their own terms. At Seattle’s University of Washington, she would spend her free time on the football field, or join expeditions to climb the perilous peaks which rim the West Coast city.

Mountain-climbing: The gateway sport to murder! Oh, and also:

Italian authorities believe that, on that fatal night a week ago, Meredith may have become the latest and most terrible victim of her resentment of other attractive women.

The Italian press, meanwhile, have taken to focusing on Knox’s “icy” blue eyes; according to the International Herald Tribune, the daily Voice of Perugia recently described her as a “cold man-eater.”

So yeah, I guess that compared to calling her an icy man-eater with a competitive bitch for a mom who killed her roommate because she was a sexually voracious little tramp, debating whether Knox is “attractive” seems pretty tame.

Dept. of Alcohol

posted by on November 15 at 3:47 PM

Tonight at Tini Bigs on Denny: In celebration of 4,000 continuous days in operation (including holidays, Windstorms™, and times of civil unrest), martinis are $4 from 7 p.m. until close. Ten-ounce martinis. Carnage! (Recommended before, during, and/or after: tamales at Bandits Bar.)

Always at El Tajin on Broadway: The dirtiest-minded drinks in town. At the tamer end of the spectrum: The Whore, Screw You, Mexican Asshole, 1-900-FUCKMEUP, A Piece of Ass. What, no Donkey Punch?

Reichert’s Reversal

posted by on November 15 at 3:21 PM

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8) voted for ENDA last week. ENDA is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which protects gays and lesbians in the workplace.

Reichert broke with his two Republican colleagues from Washington State to support the House bill. In fact, only 35 Republicans (out of 200) voted in favor of the bill.

Ideologically, it seems like an odd vote for Reichert. The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, gave him a lousy 25% rating last session. I’ve got a call into his office to get his thinking on the vote.

But it does make sense politically. In fact, it makes a lot of sense.

Reichert’s Eastside district and its major employer (Microsoft) are liberal on social issues like gay rights. Microsoft spokesperson Lou Gellos told me the company is “pleased by the passage of the bill.”

Reichert is in the race of his life next year, facing a well-funded Democratic opponent, Darcy Burner, in a year that one imagines will be hostile to Bush Republicans.

Also last week: To a noticeably startled Seattle audience, Reichert sent a pre-recorded statement opposing Federal Communications Commissioner Kevin Martin’s media consolidation proposal. His statement was an eloquent defense of “diversity” in the face of corporate control. (I’ve linked his statement below.)

Additionally, Reichert recently supported the move to override Bush’s SCHIP veto.

The question is: Are these moves in earnest? The ENDA bill, for example, was going to pass the House anyway. It passed 235-184. Similarly, the votes weren’t there to override Bush SCHIP veto. So, he was safe throwing out the “challenge.”

However, he can still claim on the campaign trail that on signature issues—gay rights and children’s health care—he voted with his increasingly liberal district.

So, the other question is: Will the voters be persuaded that he’s really with them?

Update: Here’s what Reichert’s press secretary Abigail Shilling says about Rep. Reichert’s vote for ENDA:

When dealing with this issue as well as the issue of hate crimes legislation, the Congressman relies on his experience as the Sheriff of King County. As the Sheriff, he dealt with this issue firsthand, and understands that federal law must employ fairness and equality on all fronts, especially in the workplace. This was his policy as Sheriff and it remains that today. He believes in equality of opportunity, that an individual should have an equal chance for success through hard work, without being denied their rights in the workplace, simply by virtue of who they are.

Reichert has an annoying tendency to make everything about his role as the Sheriff, but the last sentence is certainly compelling.

Continue reading "Reichert's Reversal" »

Today in Line Out

posted by on November 15 at 3:00 PM

Live Girl Talk Bootleg: From his Seattle show in January.

“Italian Spiderman”: Complete with a back story and some wicked drumming.

Tonight in Music: The Velvet Teen and the A-Sides.

U2 Gets Disco’d: “New Year’s Day” meets “Two Hearts Beat as One.”

Bizarre Love Triangle: Who did it better? New Order or Frente?

I’m a Creep: Star from The Office sings Radiohead.

Listen Three Times to Believe It: Fleet Foxes post new material.

Paris is Burning Tonight: And the after-party will be too.

Speaking of the Fleet Foxes: Robin Pecknold covers Boat.

This guy makes my eyes want to explode in a very good way:

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(Thank you, Bethany, for the link!)

The Closest Thing Contemporary Art in Seattle Has to a Center

posted by on November 15 at 2:38 PM

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Jen Graves on the Lawrimore Project phenomenon:

It would be insulting to other contemporary galleries to say that Lawrimore Project is the center around which the art world in Seattle orbits. But it’s fair to say that Lawrimore Project is the closest thing contemporary art in Seattle has to a center, and the only place that feels like a center, like a place where, at one point or another, everybody—and everybody’s energy—collects.

It pulls things toward it. Kids coming out of art school talk lustfully about Lawrimore Project. The most uniformly exciting bloc of young artists in the city is represented by Lawrimore Project: Anne Mathern, Tivon Rice, Isaac Layman, and Lee. Cris Bruch, the long-unsung local hero, is represented by Lawrimore Project. Four of the five visual artists who’ve won Stranger Genius Awards—Susan Robb, SuttonBeresCuller, Alex Schweder, and Lead Pencil Studio—are represented by Lawrimore Project, even though The Stranger has been through three visual art editors in that time…

And:

“I think that, in the end, Scott will have developed one of only two art spaces here in Seattle that were distinct from what everybody else did,” Greg Kucera said of his former protégé the other day.

And:

Lawrimore may be the first dealer in Seattle for whom winning means playing. He’s cashing in on the gamesmanship that’s been a part of art since Marcel Duchamp (his hero) declared a urinal a work of art in 1917…

And—well, you really should just go read the whole thing.

How Was It? The Ski Fever and Snowboard Show

posted by on November 15 at 2:23 PM

On October 27th, there was a big ski and snowboard expo down at Qwest Event Center. I went to go see what people were buying, how much they were spending, and well, if some sort of rivalry exists between the snowboarders and the skiers…

Also, the beginning of this video is a bit of footage from the 2nd Annual Downtown Throwdown. Amazing. They covered the steps of Qwest Center with fake snow, and “rail-jammed” away. That concrete looked hard. I can’t believe no one broke any bones. This event was put on locals Snowboy Productions. They have a gorgeous video for The Summit at Snoqualmie HERE. You can also watch more of the Downtown Throwdown, in yet another video, HERE.

Displaced Tenants: A Correction and Some Good News

posted by on November 15 at 2:20 PM

I’ve got a story in this week’s paper about the city’s refusal to back tenants who were booted from a University District triplex, in violation of tenant relocation regulations. Developers are required to obtain a “tenant relocation license” in order to evict tenants when demolishing a building, which is supposed to help evictees get relocation assistance.

In my article, I said that the city and the property owner would have been responsible for splitting $2,000 in relocation fees, but due to annual increases, that number should have actually been higher. Almost $1,000 higher.

If the city had not allowed a developer to exploit a loophole in their own regulations, the tenants in the triplex—who met income requirements—would have received $2,829. The developer has attempted to contact former tenants, but the city has said that they won’t be paying, or offering legal support, and tenants are on their own if the developer doesn’t come through.

In other city/tenant news, Council President Nick Licata along with Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Peter Steinbrueck have been working on getting money budget to help put a little extra cash in the wallets of tenants displaced by condo conversion.

Right now, tenants displaced by conversions—who make 80% or less of the median income, about $42,000—get 500 bucks. A number of displaced tenants I’ve spoken with have complained that $500 isn’t enough to cover a deposit, moving expenses or first month’s rent at a new place (although tenants should get their deposits back from building owners if their apartments are being renovated).

Well, somebody at the city listened. Council is earmarking $350,000 in the budget to increase payouts to people caught up in Condo Conversion Wars.

Under the proposed guidelines, households that make 30% of the median income would receive $1500 from the city. Households in the 31-50% range would get $1000, and those in the 51-80% range would get $500.

If council makes this happen—it appears to have full support—the money would be available January 1st., but it would only be a temporary solution. When it runs out, it runs out.

Rasmussen is expected to testify in Olympia again during the next session, in hopes of getting the state to hop on the tenant-assistance bandwagon which they failed to do last year. However, a renewed push for a condo conversion cap seems unlikely.


Seattle Will Win, and Barry Bonds indicted

posted by on November 15 at 2:13 PM

Seattle will win Sunday. I say this because the geniuses that run the Chicago Bears have decided Rex Grossman will start while Brian Griese lets his injured non-throwing shoulder owie heal. Grossman’s only problem as a starter is that he rattles easily, he cannot handle anything resembling an unpredictable blitz, and if it’s too noisy, he’s useless.

Seattle will rush unpredictably, rattle him, and the noise makes the over-under on fumbles on the exchange with center 3.5, with the over-under for false start penalties 7.5.

So. I surrender. The Chicago Tribune even ran a fawning story on Mike Holmgren’s genius, so I guess we’re doomed. And I just figured out that the seats I got, while about mid-field, are in the last row. The very last row. The one where the beer vendors are Sherpas with calves the size of watermelons.

But at least they will have gotten massively large the natural way, instead of the unnatural way, like newly-indicted Home Run King Barry Bonds. Lying to the Feds is a crime? Shit, who knew?

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on November 15 at 1:54 PM

Flickr pool contributor Grundlepuck is currently obsessed with autumn leaves. Meanwhile, I am currently in denial about autumn altogether. How did it happen that after living here almost my whole life, now I hate the weather? Anyway, here’s this:

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Think of it as a palate cleanser after the bowl full of geoducks.

Fever Pitch

posted by on November 15 at 1:52 PM

Seattle’s new MLS team has already sold more than 3,000 season ticket memberships.

“The phones have been ringing off the hook,” minority owner-general manager Adrian Hanauer said in a statement released by the Seahawks, who are providing operations support for the soccer team. “We are absolutely thrilled and excited with the response. There is already great response, and we have just begun.”

As for our new team’s name, though I like the snowball’s-chance-in-hell idea of the Seattle Green River Killers (pitched by a reader in this thread), my vote has to go for keeping the Seattle Sounders.

Uh… Project Runway, Anyone?

posted by on November 15 at 1:42 PM

Folks are asking why we don’t have a Project Runway post—don’t we care? We care, dammit, but I’m out of town and my damned hotel didn’t have Bravo and I missed the premiere of season four. Says Slog tipper Drew…

Why not Project Runway post? The water-spirit lady makes last season’s Vincent look like Alan Greenspan.

I’m not sure what this means, of course, since I didn’t see the show. Anyone care to clue me in?

Snow This Weekend?

posted by on November 15 at 1:13 PM

Rumor has it that snow will finally hit the North Cascades this weekend! Jesus! La Nina don’t let us down!

Baker already has a base of 15”, and could get another 15” by Monday morning. Web cams at Stevens show they have a trace. Even Alpental has been teasing us with cam pics of the white stuff! The top of Timberline at Mt. Hood is looking to open this weekend!

But Ma Nature keeps turning on the rain during the day and washing away a hard nights work.

It’s killing me!

So to bide my time during the weeks of waiting I’ve been watching these great new vids from Forum Snowboards that just arrived at iTunes for $1.99 a piece. Devun Walsh (I am totally growing my hair out and bleaching it blond!), Stevie Bell (the OG of snowboarding), Eddie Wall, and Travis Kennedy show us how to take snowboarding from the mountain to the streets.

Whistler backcountry, Sweden… there’s even a beautiful scene in a skatepark in some European town. The boys just take it down.

Here’s Devun at Whistler from “That”:

…and Stevie with some cute little bears on the street somewhere in Sweden from the same (nice laugh track!):

Don’t miss the other two vids, FYI and North, South, East, West. And go get your board tuned and waxed. Snow’s almost here!

Unity

posted by on November 15 at 12:38 PM

Ladies and gentleman, this may be the shape of your universe:

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Lisi’s inspiration lies in the most elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics, called E8 - a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern with 248 points first found in 1887, but only fully understood by mathematicians this year after workings, that, if written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan.

E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional and is itself is 248-dimensional. Lisi says “I think our universe is this beautiful shape.”

What makes E8 so exciting is that Nature also seems to have embedded it at the heart of many bits of physics. One interpretation of why we have such a quirky list of fundamental particles is because they all result from different facets of the strange symmetries of E8.

Lisi’s breakthrough came when he noticed that some of the equations describing E8’s structure matched his own. “My brain exploded with the implications and the beauty of the thing,” he tells New Scientist. “I thought: ‘Holy crap, that’s it!’”

UPDATE: To get in the mood, let’s listen to Linda Perhacs’s psychedelic celebration of geometry, “Parallelograms,” from her album by the same name.

Terrorists Are Rich and Smart: A Long Post on a Longer Research Paper

posted by on November 15 at 12:18 PM

It’s one of those ideological litmus-test questions that’s unwise to ask at the Thanksgiving dinner table: Is terrorism caused by problems than can be socially engineered away, like ignorance and poverty?

Or is terrorism caused by, you know, evil?

Fascinating new research by Alan Krueger, an economics professor at Princeton, says neither.

So all that popular guff about fighting terrorism with economic development? Not so much.

Here’s some of Kreuger’s evidence.

From a survey of 1,300 Palestinian adults, regarding armed attacks against Israel:

while 26 percent of illiterates and 18 per cent of those with only an elementary education opposed or strongly opposed armed attacks, the figure for those with a high school education was just 12 percent. The least supportive group turned out to be the unemployed, 74 percent of whom said they support or strongly back armed attacks. By comparison, the support level for merchants and professionals was 87 percent.

(To distill from his slightly tortured economist’s prose: Opposition to armed attacks is higher among illiterates; support for armed attacks is lower—although 74 percent hardly seems low—among the unemployed.)

He also finds that suicide bombers come from wealthier families and that almost 60 percent of them have “more than a high school education, compared with less than 15 percent of the general population.”

The same kinds of wealth-and-education statistics hold for Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Iraqi insurgents—most of them wealthier and better-educated than their non-terrorist peers.

These aren’t just the strategists and the figureheads like Bin Laden—these are the foot soldiers, the cannon fodder.

So what gives? Why are the wealthier and more educated—the people with more to lose, from an economist’s point of view—becoming suicide bombers and terrorists?

On the supply side: Terrorism, Krueger says, is less like crime (more popular among the poor) and more like voting or protesting (more popular among the rich).

On the demand side:

… terrorist organizations want to succeed. The costs of failure are high. So the organizations select more able participants—which again points to those who are better educated and better off economically.

What isn’t surprising: Terrorists aren’t starved for money, they’re starved for civil liberties.

Using data from the Freedom House Index, for example, I found that countries with low levels of civil liberties are more likely to be the countries of origin of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks. In addition, terrorists tend to attack nearby targets. Even international terrorism tends to be motivated by local concerns.

So how to fight terrorism, Professor Krueger?

That suggests to me that it makes sense to focus on the demand side, such as by degrading terrorist organizations’ financial and technical capabilities, and by vigorously protecting and promoting peaceful means of protest, so there is less demand for pursuing grievances through violent means.

The answer still isn’t “invade Iran.”

Zoe Strauss

posted by on November 15 at 12:05 PM

This morning, United Artists Artists announced its picks for 2007—artists who’ll receive $50,000 each—and Philadelphian Zoe Strauss is on the list.

By coincidence I was glued to Strauss’s web site yesterday, looking through dozens of her photographs, which form a portrait of her neighborhood in Philly. The influence of Robert Frank is unmistakable, especially this side of Frank (SAM recently had this up but the museum changed photography exhibitions two days ago):

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Here are a few of Strauss’s images:

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Strauss will be the next artist-in-residence at Open Satellite, the new contemporary art space in Bellevue fascinatingly funded by a developer. The space is designed to bring artists from around the country to the Seattle area to work—and to work on the Seattle area.

LA-based Olga Koumoundouros inaugurated the program in September, with an installation inspired by a couple of little brown abandoned houses nestled, still strewn with household goods, in the middle of downtown, beneath the construction cranes and rising skyscrapers of developing Bellevue.

Strauss will focus not on downtown Bellevue, but on Factoria:

In the Seattle metropolitan area, Strauss continues her visual study of broken promises engendered by failed social and economic programs. Specifically, she looks to the Factoria neighborhood of Bellevue, citing the district’s ambitious intentions–suggested by its name–to become an industrial manufacturing hub. These plans never materialized, and the area’s name endures as a reminder of unfulfilled aspirations. Open Satellite presents Strauss’s new Seattle-area photographs, as projections and large-format prints, alongside a selection of her earlier work.

The exhibition opens December 1, with a party and a slide show from 6 to 9 pm.

Also on the list of USA visual arts winners are Uta Barth, Allan Sekula, Ann Hamilton, Edgar Arcenaux, Charles Gaines, and Paul Chan.

The only Seattleite to win a grant is Maggie Orth, in the craft and traditional arts category. Her electronic textiles have been on display at McLeod Residence.

The Art of History

posted by on November 15 at 11:54 AM

I watched I Am Cuba again last night, and what I loved about it when I wrote this review two or so years ago (the national feeling, cinema as a unified expression, the lack of individuals, the long march of history) is what I love about it now. It is the greatest movie ever made.

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I Am Cuba is an epic that contains neither hard individuals nor personal experiences, but only subjects of a world-historical movement, a mass advancement, a triumphant (and bloody) march from a state of raw economic exploitation by multinational corporations and the American tourist industry to a new state of socialized production, education, transportation, and health.

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The subjects in the movie are wired to the spirit of the times. The melancholy prostitute, the severe soul singer, the serious student, the mountain peasant, the sugarcane farmer, his beautiful children, even his horse—from within each the whole idea of freedom is emerging.

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And the greatness of the revolution is matched by the greatness of the film’s form. Cinema rarely gets as pure as I Am Cuba. Shot by Sergei Urusevsky and Alexander Calzatti, the camera’s essential, superhuman achievement is the near total unification of the internal condition of the film’s subjects with their surroundings. The camera comes close to their bodies and then suddenly pans up to view the rich landscape, the body of their country. The camera is fluid and moves almost as though it has no operator. At one point, it flies out of a window and glides above the funeral procession of a young martyr—the will of the people defies gravity in the same way that it defies the global market system.

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The camera is the mind of the people. This is why the movie has very little dialogue. The subjects of history do not have to say very much: We see who they are, what they are thinking, what they desire. We watch them labor, suffer, and struggle with the forces of capital. I Am Cuba also gets to the heart of work, the beauty of cutting sugarcane, the glory of sweat. I absolutely love this movie.

But First, a Memo From the Clinton Campaign

posted by on November 15 at 11:20 AM

In keeping with tradition, the Clinton campaign has released a memo to “interested parties” heading into tonight’s debate. It gives an implicit nod to all the “gender card” turmoil of the last two weeks and then seeks to move on to another topic, the “leadership card,” which, according to the polls cited in the memo, Clinton has played rather well:

To: Interested Parties

From: Mark Penn, Chief Strategist

Re: State of Play Going Into the Debate

What is the most important card in this race? The leadership card.

That is the card that we see in poll after poll that analyzes why people are voting for Hillary Clinton.

And so while opponents are strategizing and re-launching their campaigns with aggressive personal attacks on Sen. Clinton, one truth remains – running for president is not a qualification for president.

The voters are looking for someone who has the strength and experience to lead, and little has changed in the last few weeks outside of the massive media coverage of the attacks.

As Senator Clinton has said, change is just a word unless you have the strength and experience to make it happen.

So let’s look at the ratings voters give the three leading candidates on the qualities they look for in a president.

On the questions of who is best able to handle Iraq and Iran, Hillary Clinton is the runaway leader. More than half of Democratic primary voters say Hillary can best handle Iran (52%) and Iraq (50%) – more than twice the number for Barack Obama (23% on Iraq and 22% on Iran) and John Edwards (14% on Iran and 16% on Iraq) (ABC/Washington Post Oct 29-Nov 1).

Senator Clinton also has an overwhelming lead among Democrats on being knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency (76% for Clinton and 41% for Obama), having the strong leadership qualities needed to be president (72% for Clinton and 55% for Obama), being inspirational and an exciting choice for president (64% for Clinton and 56% for Obama), being a good commander in chief (63% for Clinton and 43% for Obama) and bringing real change to the direction of the country (63% for Clinton and 52% for Obama) (NBC/WSJ Nov 1-5).

Finally, as the polls come in, they show that Obama 2.0 isn’t working any better than the previous version. After shifting to a negative attack strategy, Obama remains stalled.

Rest of the memo in the jump…

Continue reading "But First, a Memo From the Clinton Campaign" »

Democratic Debate Tonight

posted by on November 15 at 11:10 AM

There’s a big Democratic debate tonight in Las Vegas. I’ll be liveblogging it here on Slog starting at 5 p.m. Pacific, and if all goes well I’ll be using a fancy new liveblogging gizmo that makes a liveblog feel like an IM chat (and therefore makes many of our readers feel dirty).

While we wait for the debate, bone up on your boxing metaphors (they’re in Las Vegas, after all; Drudge, for his part, offers BO KO HRC? as his teaser). Also, keep in mind that Wolf Blitzer will not play nice with Hillary, despite some media-leaked warnings not to pull a Tim Russert.

Predicted question topics: Drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, the “gender card” issue, the air travel mess, Iraq, Iran, Yucca Mountain, and maybe, just maybe, another go at Kucinich’s UFO beliefs.

Debate starts at 5 p.m. Pacific on CNN. See you on the liveblog.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 15 at 11:00 AM

Film

‘Terror’s Advocate’ at Varsity

At the start of his career, French defense lawyer Jacques Vergès represented the bomb-planting Algerian women immortalized in The Battle of Algiers. He so identified with their anticolonial cause that he even married one of them. But by the ’80s, he was friends with members of the Khmer Rouge and accepting huge infusions of cash from the man responsible for the murder of Congolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba. This movie is packed with so much glamour and carnage you won’t believe it’s a documentary about one man. (Varsity, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755. 9:40 pm, $9.25.)

ANNIE WAGNER

Theater

‘American Buffalo’ at Theater Schmeater

David Mamet’s 1976 classic profiles one day in a claustrophobic junk shop in Chicago and three men who talk, worry, and fight over a robbery they’re planning for that evening. The performers are fevered and desperate, particularly Mark Fullerton as a ne’er-do-well, who flaps and sputters around the stage like a spastic, pissed-off scarecrow. We already know how it ends—with one of the triumvirate bleeding, one smashing up the shop, and the third watching helplessly—but the conclusion is still alarming. (Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave, 800-838-3006. 8 pm, $15/$18.)

BRENDAN KILEY
  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Another “Sex Offender” Violates Inanimate Object

    posted by on November 15 at 10:45 AM

    We’ve Slogged about this poor bastard before—now apparently known as “Bike Sex Man”—but he’s made the news again:

    Bike sex man placed on probation

    A man caught trying to have sex with his bicycle has been sentenced to three years on probation. Robert Stewart, 51, admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex.

    Sheriff Colin Miller also placed Stewart on the Sex Offenders Register for three years.

    Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr. Gail Davidson, prosecuting, told Ayr Sheriff Court: “They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply. “They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white t-shirt, naked from the waist down.

    “The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex.”

    Both cleaners, who were “extremely shocked”, told the hostel manager who called police.

    What the fuck? He was alone, behind a locked door, in his own room—his own private room, not a shared room. And he didn’t answer the door because he was having a wank. How was he supposed to know the FUCKING MORONS on the other side of the door had a key and were about let themselves in?

    And for this offense—for beating off on a bike—this poor bastard lands on a sex offender registry. Because he’s a danger to the public? No, because his sexual interests—assuming he’s actually attracted to bikes, and wasn’t just seeking new and different friction—make people uncomfortable. Check this quote out:

    Sheriff Colin Miller told Stewart: “In almost four decades in the law I thought I had come across every perversion known to mankind, but this is a new one on me. I have never heard of a ‘cycle-sexualist’.”

    Yeah, and you never would have, Sheriff Preening Douchebag, if Stewart’s privacy hadn’t been violated by a couple of prissy cleaning women, an idiotic hostel manager, and a police officers with way too much time on its hands. Christ!

    Annex Theater Has a New Artistic Director

    posted by on November 15 at 10:34 AM

    … and his name is Bret Fetzer—playwright, director, fabulist, movie critic for Amazon, sometime Stranger theater critic, and artistic director of Annex Theater from 2000 to 2004.

    It’s a happy, bloodless coup—Gillian Jorgensen (also a playwright and director) was artistic director from 2004 to 2007, and is stepping down after leading the company through its tumultuous itinerant phase and helping it find a home in the old Northwest Actors Studio space on Capitol Hill. (She’s also fixing to have a baby.)

    Congratulations Annex, congratulations Gillian, and congratulations Bret.

    Stay On The Motherfucking Ground

    posted by on November 15 at 10:28 AM

    For real, for real. No flying for me until 2009.
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    Dumbass Letter of the Day

    posted by on November 15 at 9:50 AM

    Gotta love reason #4:

    Dear Editor:

    Here are the Top Ten reasons to skip the turkey this Thanksgiving:

    10. You will pardon a turkey—just like President Bush, but for the right reasons.

    9. You’ll celebrate life and good fortune, rather than death and misfortune.

    8. You won’t suffer nightmares about how the turkey lived and died.

    7. You won’t have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.

    6. You won’t have to sweat the saturated fat and cholesterol.

    5. Your vegetarian friends will adore you.

    4. Your kids will tell their friends about their cool “tofurky.”

    3. You won’t fall asleep during the football game.

    2. You are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball”?

    1. Commercial turkeys are too fat to have sex. Could happen to you.

    This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health, and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of vegetables, fruits, and grains. My family’s Thanksgiving dinner menu will include a “tofurky,” lentil roast, mashed potatoes, corn stuffing, stuffed squash, chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and perhaps even carrot cake. An internet search on Vegetarian Thanksgiving got us more recipes and other useful information than we could use.

    Sincerely,

    Eugene Krautt

    Yeah, my kid’s going to brag about that cool “tofurkey”—and then get his ass kicked. And, I’m sorry, but I wanna sleep through the football game—and if my vegetarian friends don’t “adore” me already, well, they can choke on their own tofurkeys.

    “You Dirty Jew”

    posted by on November 15 at 9:27 AM

    This infamous video of Amanda Knox drinking with friends supposedly proves what a drunken slutty murderess she was. (Btw, be sure to read Frizzelle’s review of Knox’s equally infamous short story in this week’s paper.)

    Knox, of course, is the UW student who’s now being held in Italy as a central suspect in the lurid Hollywood Babylon-style sex murder case.

    However, one thing about the video that’s not getting much attention is the weird “dirty Jew” comment that one of her friends spits out. Is this common parlance at UW these days?

    Name That Major League Soccer Club

    posted by on November 15 at 9:07 AM

    Name-the-Club.jpg

    It’s official: A professional Major League Soccer team will begin playing in Seattle in 2009, and now that profesional Major League Soccer team needs a name. MLSinSeattle is soliciting suggestions from the public.

    Got a good name for Seattle’s professional Major League Soccer team? Submit it by clicking the image above.

    (My top picks: Rat Town Rushers, Emerald City Kick Squad, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Goal-Makers.)

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Ben.)

    Rossi Supports Pharmacists’ Right to Refuse Patients

    posted by on November 15 at 8:52 AM

    In the wake of the federal court decision that suspended a state rule requiring pharmacists to dispense Plan B, I’ve been trying and trying to get GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi to state his position on the issue.

    Seattle Times reporter David Postman got the answer from Rossi today.

    Here’s Rossi’s spokeswoman’s answer:

    Rossi spokeswoman Jill Strait told me by e-mail:

    Rossi supports the decision by Judge Leighton and believes that pharmacists should not be forced to do something that is against their conscience or religious beliefs.
    In 2006, the state Pharmacy Board was prepared to adopt regulations, supported by the Washington State Pharmacy Association, that protected the right of conscience. Unfortunately, Gregoire refused to let the board do its job and interfered. She threatened the board to see things her way and they ultimately complied with her heavy-handed tactics.

    The federal judge put the brakes on Gregoire’s strong-armed approach and protected the constitutional rights of pharmacy professionals following their consciences.

    For Gov. Gregoire’s position, check out what she told me when I interviewed her last week:

    I asked Gov. Gregoire for her reaction to yesterday’s District Court decision suspending state rules that direct all pharmacists to make Plan B (emergency contraception) available to women. Gregoire said she was “very disappointed” in the decision, and she’s looking at filing an appeal with the Attorney General. Asked why she was disappointed, she said, “A woman’s right to a lawful prescription should not be subject to the biases and prerogatives of a pharmacist.” She also stressed that the issue was broader than Plan B, saying, for example, that an AIDS victim shouldn’t be prevented from getting medication because the pharmacist might not “agree with [that person’s] lifestyle.”

    Additionally, Postman’s got this official statement from Gregoire:

    “This is about private medical decisions between patients and their physicians and pharmacies filling doctor prescribed medications. “While this court decision weakens protections for victims of sexual assault, and interferes with a women’s right to choose, it also allows any patient to be denied their medication for no apparent reason.

    “Third parties should not come between doctors and patients in medical decisions. This is about the right of personal privacy and medical access.”

    Morning News

    posted by on November 15 at 7:58 AM

    Insecure: Undercover federal agents smuggle explosives past airport security.

    In Court: OJ Simpson on trial again. This time for burglary and kidnapping. Faces life sentence.

    I’m Pro-Cloning, and I Vote: Researchers in Oregon create cloned monkey embryos.

    I’m Pro-File Sharing, and I Sue: Comcast subscriber sues the ISP for blocking file sharing.

    Strings Attached: House Okays more money for Iraq contingent upon troop redeployment by December ‘08.

    End it Now! Anti-war protests continue to rock Olympia.

    Benazir Bhutto: Trying to unite opposition parties in unity government.

    Sherman Alexie: Wins the National Book Award

    The Sonics: Win their first game after going 0-8.

    Talk About Blaming the Victim: Shiite Saudi women gets 200 lashes after suffering gang rape.


    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Chemistry Mid-Term. Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic?

    posted by on November 14 at 7:04 PM

    I’m guessing this is an Internet hoax because I’m not finding the supposed original post by the UW professor anywhere.

    However, whether it’s a hoax or not, this story about a student’s supposed answer on a mid-term chemistry exam, which includes passages like these:

    As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

    Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

    With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially…

    is a lovely read.

    If this isn’t a hoax, will the UW student who wrote this perfect theorem please stand up and take a bow.

    People Suck

    posted by on November 14 at 5:59 PM

    And here’s the proof.

    Amanda Knox’s Fiction

    posted by on November 14 at 4:29 PM

    booksleadmagnum.jpgSTR/AFP/Getty Images

    There’s a review of her infamous short story—weirdly, not much has been written about it—in The Stranger’s book section this week.

    Longview Versus White Supremacists

    posted by on November 14 at 4:26 PM

    City leaders in a Washington town outside of Seattle are squabbling over whether a bigoted religious group should be allowed to rent a city facility. No, the Watchmen on the Walls aren’t coming to Lynnwood again. But, the Church of Jesus Christ—Christian (CJCC), which reportedly has ties to the Aryan Nations, is seeking to rent the McClelland Arts Center in Longview, WA, and several members of the city’s government—including Mayor Dennis Weber—have vocally opposed the group’s plans.

    Longview Councilmember Kurt Anagnostou has been battling with the Mayor because he believes that the city’s efforts to ban CCJC would violate their constitutional rights. “We cannot try to object to this group using our public facilities based on their religion, he says. “Especially if we disagree with it, [but] we don’t have to support their religious beliefs either. These are not nice people.”

    According to Anagnostou, several swastikas have recently been spraypainted in the neighborhood around the McClellan center. Police are investigating.

    Longview’s city attorney is examining the legal ramifications of barring CCJC from the facility. Mayor Weber was unavailable for comment.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens here. Lynnwood wouldn’t ban the Watchmen because they would’ve undoubtedly been sued. Maybe Longview’s city officials have brassier balls—or better lawyers—than Lynnwood.

    On the Cover: Geoducks!

    posted by on November 14 at 4:13 PM

    Go ahead, say it: Eeeeeeeew.
    Yes, it’s gross. But it’s also somehow quintessentially Northwest, don’t you think? This image comes to us from Emily Martin via the Stranger’s Flickr photo pool.

    1710cover.jpg

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on November 14 at 3:48 PM

    Konichiwa Bitches: Trent Moorman Does Japan

    Tonight in Music: Fog, Isis, the Roches.

    Today in Music News: Flaming Hamster Wheels and Robot Guitars

    Modern Tribes: Kill Me Tomorrow and Celebration

    To the Dome: Mono in VCF Rock the Laser Dome

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on November 14 at 3:30 PM

    Warrant: Man Killed Toddler, Then Watched Football

    A man charged with killing a 2-year-old in Groton told police he held her face against jets in a bathtub, then left her there and went to watch football, according to a search warrant unsealed this week.

    Treau Bemis died in a bathtub at her aunt Kimberly Bemis’ house Sept. 16. Bemis’ fiance, Craig Betancourt, was baby-sitting while she was at work….

    Kimberly had custody of Treau, who had been living with the couple and their 7-year-old daughter for about a year. The state Department of Children and Families had found Treau’s parents unfit to care for her.

    Clinton Comes Out Against Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

    posted by on November 14 at 3:15 PM

    Two weeks after the issue was raised in a Democratic debate in Philadelphia, and one day before another Democratic debate (this one in Las Vegas) that’s sure to see more questions about whether the candidates support drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, Hillary Clinton has come out against the idea:

    As president, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including border security and fixing our broken system.

    The Page rounds up the reaction from her fellow Democrats:

    Edwards: “We’re dizzy.”

    Obama: “When it takes two weeks and six different positions… it’s easier to understand why the Clinton campaign would rather plant their questions than answer them.”

    Dodd: “It’s flip-flopping cubed.”

    I predict another one of these from the Edwards campaign:

    Regarding Cider

    posted by on November 14 at 3:10 PM

    I just read this Seattlest lament about the sudden shortage of cider on tap (oh, go get some Rockridge at the U District Farmer’s Market), and was reminded of a question that’s been bothering me for months.

    I submit to the commenters: Why does Normandy hard cider taste distinctly of farm? Not like bales of hay. Like, barnyard. Like, nasty. How does that taste even get in the cider? Are they rolling the apples in the pigsty before popping them into the press?

    I was in Normandy in September, and Washington should obviously get on making imitation Calvados: It’s delicious, and buying imported is too expensive. But I shudder every time people start saying our fair state should be making French-style cider. Have you ever tasted it? It tastes like shit.

    Re: “You’ve Got A Problem on Your Hands.”

    posted by on November 14 at 3:09 PM

    We’ve already established that Seattle Weekly’s Laura Onstot is not good at math. (She reversed the numbers at the secretary of state’s election site and concluded, contrary to all other media reports, that the simple majority for schools measure was losing when it was actually winning.) However, she apparently wants to make that really, really clear. In a post about how tough the WASL is (Annie, wanna weigh in here?) she posed this question as an example of a really hard math question:

    test.jpg

    Kent is using the scale to compare the weight of various solids.

    How many spheres will balance one cube?

    A. 2
    B. 3
    C. 4
    D. 5

    “Remember,” she notes, “you’re being timed.”

    Now, I’m certainly not a fan of high-stakes standardized tests like the WASL, and I do think there should be different standards for ESL students and those with learning disabilities. But I’m a little shocked that 42 percent of high school kids didn’t answer that question correctly. I haven’t had any kind of math at all in more than a dozen years, but I figured it out pretty fast. It’s B, 3. I’ve buried the math below the jump.

    Continue reading "Re: "You've Got A Problem on Your Hands."" »

    Nuns Exist, and They Molest People

    posted by on November 14 at 2:55 PM

    Unlike Savage and Wagner—who both had Catholic upbringings and are forever in possession of baroque metaphors for everything, not to mention rich opinions of popes and nuns and such—I find the Catholic church boring. For the longest time I didn’t believe nuns existed. They always seemed like a thing Hollywood invented. I think because of Sister Act. Anyway, we got a Slog tip this morning about a certain nun who did a very bad thing, but I ignored it because, again, this is not my area. But then we got another Slog tip about this nun, and another, and another—all just links to the same story:

    A Roman Catholic nun pleaded no contest yesterday to two counts of indecent behavior with a child in connection with accusations from the 1960s when she was a principal and teacher at a Catholic school in Milwaukee.

    The nun, Norma Giannini, 79, faces up to 20 years in prison for what prosecutors say was sexual abuse of two male students

    See? I thought all nuns were lesbians. I’m more confused than ever.

    (Hat tip to everyone!)

    John Edwards Won’t Commit To Endorsing Hillary

    posted by on November 14 at 2:47 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    Heading into what is expected to be another highly-charged Democratic debate tomorrow, John Edwards is already setting an aggressive tone. Last week, for example, he refused to commit to supporting Hillary Clinton should she emerge the Democratic nominee. As reported on the New York Times political blog, The Caucus, Edwards was twice asked whether he would support Clinton should she come out on top, and both times demurred.

    The move has apparently done nothing to help his popularity among his peers. Chris Dodd responded:

    This is not the same John Edwards I once knew. Of course, we should all come together to support the nominee. I wonder which of the Republicans John prefers to Hillary?

    Obama weighed in too:

    “I am a Democrat, and I would support the Democratic nominee,” he said. With a smile, he added, “I intend it to be me.”

    Biden affirmed his loyalty to the party—and back-handed Giuliani (again!):

    “Of course. What’s the choice, Rudy Giuliani?”

    The debate is scheduled to kick off Thursday at 5PM on CNN. Check back for liveblogging details, and get ready for more Democratic fisticuffs.

    Meet the New Dixie Chicks

    posted by on November 14 at 2:45 PM

    chia3nbridge.jpg

    These women won a bridge tournament in China—and held up an anti-Bush sign when they collected their trophy. Well, not necessarily an anti-Bush sign. The sign simply said that they didn’t vote for Bush. The 23% of Americans who still back Bush would regard anyone holding up that sign as having insulted themselves. But no matter: These lady bridge champs are now being hounded off of the pro bridge circuit. In addition to insulting Dear Leader, officials at the United States Bridge Federation are concerned that these ladies might have insulted the tournament’s hosts. Says the USBF’s lawyer…

    This reflects a complete disregard for the fact that the Chinese government, which does not exactly have a history of sympathetic views toward political dissent, provided the bulk of financial support for both the 2007 World Championship and the 2008 World Bridge Olympiad.

    Ah, yes. We Americans have to watch what they say in China about our own government lest we tick off the Chinese government, which doesn’t want its own citizens getting any ideas about speaking their minds. Because, you know, if we piss off the Chinese they might start putting lead in our children’s toys.

    The New York Times has the story. John at Americablog has the rant.

    Ribbed For Whose Pleasure?

    posted by on November 14 at 2:41 PM

    In an alarming move to further erode the public’s responsibilities about, well, anything, Nintendo has begun giving away cushy little jackets for their Wii console’s remote controllers. You know, the little white controllers that walk around the house when you’re asleep and gouge themselves into flat-screen TVs?

    My guess is, Nintendo’s legal department decided that last year’s “threw the remote while playing Wii Bowling” stories had enough merit to potentially spark a class-action lawsuit. You know, a lawsuit that ignores the millions of warnings that ship with: * the Wii system; * each Wii game; * the start-up screen for each Wii game; * the human mind. At this point, they might as well go the McDonald’s route and label the motion-controlled gizmos with tags like “CAUTION: DANGEROUS WHEN THROWN.” Or maybe “YO, STUPID!”

    Anyway, my Wii condoms just showed up in the mail. No, really:

    wiijacket.jpg

    Come on! These things are big, rubbery vacuums just waiting to be filled with cock. [Insert topical, political joke here] The tactile ribbing around the shaft; the spongy, circular shield over the head; the convenient opening at the bottom for your balls. (Fine, the last one is a stretch. Literally.) And they’re sending these things to every Wii-owning kid in the nation.

    …on second thought, these remote jackets are a great idea. Nintendo is subverting middle America’s abstinence bent by teaching kids about safe sex through gaming accessories! Awesome. Here’s to hoping for a motion-controlled follow-up.

    In all honesty, they’re not so bad. Comfy, even. Other companies already charge for these kinds of controller jackets, so if you want a free solution to SHS (sweaty hand syndrome), order away.

    I’m No Expert…

    posted by on November 14 at 2:13 PM

    …but I’d say the “holiday” displays at Sea-Tac Airport look a lot like a clump of dammed Christmas trees.

    xmesstrees.jpg

    The Port of Seattle announced back in October that they were getting out of the Christmas tree bidness. No Christmas trees at Sea-Tac this year. But while the display above may feature the wrong kind of tree—it’s birch, not evergreen, and I’m totally racist when it comes Christmas trees—the branches have been trimmed into a suspiciously conical shape, which is very Christmas-tree-ish. And the icicles hanging from the branches look like the kind of icicle decorations often found on Christmas trees.

    Oh, and there are now advertisements on the bottoms of the plastic bins you have to put your laptop computers, shoes, and other crap in at the security checkpoint. For an online shoe company. I was going to write, “that didn’t take long,” but it actually did—it took six years. Still, it seems like the space could be better used. Perhaps a message that says, “Hey, dumbfuck, take the change out of your pocket and put in here, along with your cell phone and fountain pens and belt buckles and anything else that might set off a the metal detector you’re about to walk through. Christ.”

    The Dead Island

    posted by on November 14 at 1:41 PM

    This is Bannerman’s Island:
    1985769000_65c12fd528_o.jpg
    BLDBLOG’s narrative:


    Bannerman’s Island [is] an old, half-flooded and fire-damaged derelict mansion built on a small island in the Hudson River…

    …As American Heritage describes it, “this island fortress was once the private arsenal of the world’s largest arms dealer.” And that was Frank “Francis” Bannerman.
    Bannerman, we learn, “bought up ninety per cent of all captured guns, ammunition, and other equipment auctioned off after the Spanish-American War. He also bought weapons directly from the Spanish government before it evacuated Cuba. These purchases vastly exceeded the firm’s capacity at its store in Manhattan and filled three huge Brooklyn warehouses with munitions, including thirty million cartridges.”

    …Bannerman died a week after the end of World War I – and the island had sunk into a state of “monumental decay” by the 1960s.

    It was then gutted by arsonists.

    In the 18th century, there was an understanding that might seem strange to us in the 21st century. A new building was not only judged for its existing beauty or elegance but also for how it would decay. Factored into the life of a building was its death, its form of decay, its method or way of falling apart. A building that looked good could be considered bad because it would look bad when it became a ruin. The Greeks, according to this view of things, were great architects because they made great ruins.

    With the mansion and other structures on Bannerman’s Island, we come to another understanding: a building that is born bad might become great when it is dead. The ruins on the Island are simply beautiful.

    Twelve Strikes and Counting

    posted by on November 14 at 1:32 PM

    strike (n.)
    “concentrated cessation of work by a body of employees,” 1810, from verb meaning “refuse to work to force an employer to meet demands” (1768), from strike (v.). Perhaps from notion of striking or “downing” one’s tools, or from sailors’ practice of striking (lowering) a ship’s sails as a symbol of refusal to go to sea.


    200px-Colossal_octopus_by_Pierre_Denys_de_Montfort.jpg


    The TV writers’ strike in LA: Finally we’ll get British-quality television.

    British screenwriters could be the unexpected beneficiaries of the writers’ strike crippling Hollywood as American television and film producers try to beat the stoppage by hiring non-union staff overseas.

    The news writers’ strike at CBS: The news will be reruns, too.

    The transportation strike in Paris: Good for the city’s bicycle economy.

    The Broadway stagehands’ strike in New York: Good for Off-Broadway and smaller theaters.

    Also: Strikes in Germany (rail drivers want another €14 an hour), South Africa (construction workers want another $0.74 an hour), India (doctors), Australia (teachers), maybe more in India (lawyers), Ireland (bus drivers) Bulgaria (nurses), and so on.

    Also-also: A hunger strike by students at Columbia University who want, among other things, to be able to major in ethnic studies.

    Forgive & Forget?

    posted by on November 14 at 1:08 PM

    This week brought a most beguiling Thanksgiving card to my Stranger mailbox.

    The front:

    scaled.Cardfront030.jpg

    The inside:

    scaled.Cardinterior031.jpg

    I’m not sure what to think. But thanks!

    This is New York

    posted by on November 14 at 12:49 PM

    According to presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who will start airing this ad (his first TV ad of the campaign) in New Hampshire this week:

    Child Rape Inc. Instructs Members on How to Vote

    posted by on November 14 at 12:31 PM

    Can’t the Catholic church lose its tax-exempt status for this?

    Roman Catholics voting in the 2008 elections must heed church teaching when deciding which candidates and policies to support, U.S. bishops said Wednesday. And while the church recognizes the importance of a wide range of issues—from war to immigration to poverty—fighting abortion should be a priority, the bishops said.

    Oh, and those U.S. bishops? They’re the same U.S. bishops that elected Chicago’s Cardinal George to head their little club—the same Cardinal George that protected a known pedophile for years, moving him from parish to parish, allowing him to prey on more kids.

    Racists for Ron!

    posted by on November 14 at 12:15 PM

    story.jpg

    Hey, look! Ron Paul’s true constituency is stepping forward to claim their boy!

    Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, whose long-shot campaign has been gaining media attention in recent days, apparently has the support of an unusual constituency — the white supremacist movement. Stormfront.org, a white supremacy web site, as well as others, such as WhiteWorldNews.com, have actively supported Paul’s bid for the presidency, including directing donors to his campaign. Stormfront has also endorsed Paul for president.

    “Once in a great while a presidential candidate is presented to us. A candidate who not only speaks to us, but for us…I am supporting Ron Paul in his run for the presidency,” the Stormfront endorsement says.

    “Whatever organization you belong to, remember first and foremost that you are a white nationalist,” the endorsement continues. “Put your differences with one and other aside and work together. Work together to strive to get someone in the Oval Office who agrees with much of what we want for our future. Look at the man. Look at the issues. Look at our future. Vote for Ron Paul 2008.”

    We know who David Duke’s voting for, too.

    Oh, and bonus! Here are some of the charming things Paul has said over the years:

    “Opinion polls show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action.”

    “We are constantly told it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.”

    “We don’t think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That’s true for most people, but black males who have been raised and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such.”

    “Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the ‘criminal justice system,’ I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

    I just hope all those Seattle liberals who put “Ron Paul: Hope for America” signs in their windows because he’s, like, against the drug war and the war on terror or something at least learn a little more about the candidate they’re so wholeheartedly supporting.

    How to Relax After a Pastor Threatens Your Company

    posted by on November 14 at 12:02 PM

    Bill Gates, fresh from Pastor Ken Hutcherson’s attempted tongue lashing during the Microsoft shareholders meeting yesterday, apparently unwound at the Kelly Clarkson concert.

    Give One Get One

    posted by on November 14 at 12:01 PM

    olpc.jpg

    The ever-controversial “$100 laptop” (now only $200!) is now available through the “Give One Get One” program.

    For $399, you get a weird new laptop for yourself, a $200 tax deduction, and a second laptop is sent to “empower a child in a developing nation.” T-Mobile will also give you 1 year of free access to their goddamned HotSpot network—a $350 value, by their loose definition of that word.

    Considering that these things are waterproof—and presumably coffee-, juice-, and donut-proof—we might just have to get a few of them for Stranger staffers.

    Yesterday’s Note From the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on November 14 at 11:45 AM

    For those wondering what the heck Pastor Ken Hutcherson was talking about yesterday when he told his Prayer Warriors that he’d had a meeting with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and others:

    Yesterday was Microsoft’s annual shareholders meeting. So Hutcherson only had a meeting with Bill Gates in the sense that anyone who owns one share of Microsoft (today trading at around $34/share) could have had a meeting with Bill Gates yesterday—a big, public meeting filled with other shareholders. Hutcherson made his comments not at a private sit-down with Microsoft executives, but during a shareholder Q&A session.

    Someone in our comments who sounds like he was at the shareholders meeting described it this way:

    Any stock holder can attend and speak at a stockholder meeting. So for the price of less than $40 you get into the room.

    When they opened Q&A there was the customary pause caused by no one wanting to be first to speak. Hutch doesn’t have the restraint of a well moderated ego so he stepped into the vacuum immediately. As Hutcherson spoke, only one person clapped out of the 500-600 people present.

    Hutch has been trying to get the attention he craves but nothing has been working. His last resort is to fallback on the one thing that worked for him - baiting Microsoft.

    Another stockholder asked what they could do to counter the hateful ideas and actions of people like Hutcherson. There was a more enthusiastic wave of applause in the meeting. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Legal Counsel, responded with this:

    “As a company, we’ve had a clear policy with respect to the way we treat our people, and we believe in that policy. It’s a policy that’s founded on non-discrimination, it’s a policy that we believe has served our employees well, it’s served our shareholders well, and I think that was reflected last year when all of our shareholders were asked to vote on that policy, and over 97 percent of you and all of our other shareholders stood up and agreed with us. And I think that it is precisely in that form that shareholders have the opportunity to continue to make their views known, and we very much appreciate that support.”

    No Microsoft executive agreed to meet with him. Microsoft’s EEO policy in no way agrees with him.

    Just another sad grab for PR from a man with a size 4 soul in a size 12 body.

    Gov. Gregoire Corrects the Record

    posted by on November 14 at 11:40 AM

    “I owe you an apology,” Gov. Chris Gregoire called late yesterday afternoon to say.

    In an earlier interview, Gregoire told me she hadn’t endorsed the Democratic candidate for King County Prosecutor, Bill Sherman, because Sherman had never asked for her endorsement. That’s not what Sherman’s folks had told me, I let her know. But she stood by her story.

    However, she called yesterday to say she had her story wrong. She had forgotten that Sherman asked, she said. She acknowledged that the story Sherman told me—that he had asked for her endorsement in person at a fund raiser last summer and had followed up several times with her political director Ron Judd—was accurate.

    She said the reason she chose not to endorse Sherman is because, “I didn’t want to get involved in the race because I’m close to Norm’s [Maleng’s] family and it was too close to the funeral.”

    I asked if her Jenny Durkan—an influential Democratic lawyer and close friend of Gregoire’s who had endorsed Republican Dan Satterberg in the KC Prosecutor race—had anything to do with her reluctance to back Sherman.

    Gregoire said: “Absolutely not. She never talked to me about it. I learned in the papers that she had endorsed Satterberg.”

    Taking Recycling Too Far…

    posted by on November 14 at 11:17 AM

    …in China:

    Used condoms are being recycled into hair bands in southern China, threatening to spread sexually-transmittable diseases they were originally meant to prevent, state media reported Tuesday.

    In the latest example of potentially harmful Chinese-made products, rubber hair bands have been found in local markets and beauty salons in Dongguan and Guangzhou cities in southern Guangdong province, China Daily newspaper said.

    “These cheap and colourful rubber bands and hair ties sell well … threatening the health of local people,” it said.

    Despite being recycled, the hair bands could still contain bacteria and viruses, it said.

    People could be infected with AIDS, (genital) warts or other diseases if they hold the rubber bands or strings in their mouths while waving their hair into plaits or buns,” the paper quoted a local dermatologist who gave only his surname, Dong, as saying.

    Update: A number of Slog commenters think the story is a fraud, much like July’s Chinese Cardboard Bun Hoax. Which certainly seems possible.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on November 14 at 11:00 AM

    Barterism

    Kyle MacDonald at Form/Space Atelier

    For the last two and a half years, Kyle MacDonald has been conducting a massive experiment in the relative value of objects and experiences. On July 12, 2005, he went on Craigslist and offered to trade a red paper clip. Almost a year later, he ended up with a house at 503 Main Street in Kipling, Saskatchewan. He’s in Seattle to sign his book and tell his story, which includes a Ski-Doo, a ceramic doorknob, a man who traded a role in a movie for a snow globe, and an afternoon with Alice Cooper. (Form/Space Atelier, 2407 First Ave, 208-9843. 7 pm, free.)

    JEN GRAVES

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on November 14 at 11:00 AM

    Barterism

    Kyle MacDonald at Form/Space Atelier

    For the last two and a half years, Kyle MacDonald has been conducting a massive experiment in the relative value of objects and experiences. On July 12, 2005, he went on Craigslist and offered to trade a red paper clip. Almost a year later, he ended up with a house at 503 Main Street in Kipling, Saskatchewan. He’s in Seattle to sign his book and tell his story, which includes a Ski-Doo, a ceramic doorknob, a man who traded a role in a movie for a snow globe, and an afternoon with Alice Cooper. (Form/Space Atelier, 2407 First Ave, 208-9843. 7 pm, free.)

    JEN GRAVES

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on November 14 at 10:34 AM

    Colorado:

    A Boulder district judge declared a mistrial this afternoon in the sexual assault trial of a former youth pastor suspected of having a physical relationship with a minor who was attending his Longmont church.

    Judge D.D. Mallard said the jury was deadlocked 8-4 after deliberating the fate of Peter Kim, 40, all day today. A juror told the Camera that the eight votes were in favor of conviction.

    Kim was arrested last fall after a teen who attended Central Presbyterian Church, 402 Kimbark St., told her therapist that she was sexually involved with Kim between January 2001 and January 2004.

    Kim is charged with child sexual assault by a person in a position of trust and a pattern of child sexual assault. He has a previous misdemeanor conviction for having a relationship with a teen he met while working with children at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church about 10 years ago.

    Yoga Clothes

    posted by on November 14 at 10:00 AM

    The label says this pricey yoga T-shirt contains seaweed and “releases marine amino acids, minerals and vitamins into the skin upon contact with moisture,” and the company that makes ‘em says their seaweed shirts reduce stress and have magical anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, hydrating and detoxifying powers. Neato! I’ll take three!

    Or maybe not.

    The New York Times commissioned a laboratory test of a Lululemon shirt made of VitaSea, and reviewed a similar test performed at another lab, and both came to the same conclusion: there was no significant difference in mineral levels between the VitaSea fabric and cotton T-shirts.

    In other words, the labs found no evidence of seaweed in the Lululemon clothing…. When told about the findings, Lululemon’s founder said he could not dispute them.

    The Hospital Ceiling

    posted by on November 14 at 9:37 AM

    In my review of Jim O’Donnell’s beguiling A Spectral Glimpse show up now at Platform Gallery (great slide show here), I mentioned Chicago-based artist Adam Ekberg only briefly.

    His two photographs in the show depict the rainbowy flare of the sun on the camera’s lens as it points toward the sky from the floor of a forest. They’re large and gorgeous, and in their hippy-dippy awestruck way they nod to a video by Ekberg I’ve only heard about and never seen, of a light show on the top of a mountain in the dark. Here’s a still:

    ekberg.jpg

    This, in turn, reminds me of this (an illuminated tree photograph by Charles LaBelle):

    Illuminated-Trees2.jpg

    (It also reminds me of an illuminated tree series by Rob Fischer, an example of which I can’t put my finger on online.)

    But what I really wanted to share is Ekberg’s series of hospital ceiling photographs, which are not in the show (but are on his web site). He didn’t compose them; he took them by flopping himself down on the beds and shooting whichever way he fell.

    hospitalceiling.jpg

    hospital_.jpg

    As much as these images are all thick with death and dying, their abstraction pulls away the melodrama and leaves only the image, the last thing you might see.

    Is There an Academy Award for Best Preview?

    posted by on November 14 at 9:32 AM

    There should be, and this should win.

    Runner-up: This one, featuring Mork as an soulful musical cowboy hobo.

    Case Reports from the Field

    posted by on November 14 at 9:30 AM

    WhyNeverHadGirlfriends.jpg

    You ask:

    I think my girlfriend is faking her orgasms. Is there any way, scientifically, to figure out if an orgasm is real or not?

    I write:

    Sweaty feet are a good place to start. Having an orgasm, at least to your autonomic nervous system, is akin to being chased by a lion or getting into a drunken bar fight. For men and women, the medical school mnemonic (you’d be horrified to find out how most medical students pass their tests) for sex is “point and shoot,” because it’s the parasympathetic nervous system—the feed-and-breed regulator—that handles arousal, getting all hot and bothered, erect and wet. Only at the moment of orgasm does the sympathetic nervous system—the fight-or-flight, adrenaline-rush regulator—take over and end the show. If you want an objective measure of an orgasm that doesn’t require specialized equipment, graduate students to operate it, and a multiple-Tesla magnet, Science suggests you look for sympathetic nervous system signs: a jump in heart rate, a sudden dilation of the pupils, or sweaty palms and feet.

    You Reply:

    my girlfriend pointed out to me a long time ago that our tongues are cold right after the event? (we’re dykes). this has always been the case, but it’s always the case i.e. there isn’t a warm tongue to compare it to… i mean sometimes there could be but we don’t check.

    keep up the good work. i love your column and the stranger even though you guys are all popular and don’t write back and shit.

    hugs and nipple pinches

    I have been under the impression that goosebumps are a necessary consequence/indicator of authentic orgasms in men or women. My extensive research has yet to prove otherwise.

    From one of my friends at a bar: “As a dyke, I’m telling you behind-the-knees sweat is the best sign.”

    And my all time favorite, from one of my ex-girlfriends: “How in the hell would you know?” Ha! Ouch.

    Three observations:
    1. All are sympathetic nervous system signs. Hurray for science!

    2. Lesbians appear to be the population for female orgasms, with both the largest prevalence as well as the most high risk behaviors.

    3. More please.

    We’re Doomed

    posted by on November 14 at 9:15 AM

    It’s always nice to wake up to the sound of blithering fuckwits blathering away on NPR. No one in Georgia thought to propose, oh, water conservation while reservoirs dropped to dangerously low levels. In fact, officials in Georgia didn’t take action until the drought gripping the region reached crisis stage. Now a major American city is on the verge of running out of water—sort of photo-negative of the Katrina disaster. And so what’s the plan now? Prayer.

    Lakes and rivers have fallen to record low levels in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, states hit hard by a severe drought in the South. Most farmers have been forced to rely on irrigation, if they have it. And water restrictions put in place months ago don’t seem to be enough to conserve resources.

    At the state capitol in Georgia Tuesday, the governor tried something different. On a partly cloudy warm fall day, hundreds of people from the region came to join Gov. Sonny Perdue in a prayer service for rain….

    Many who attended the event are serious about the effect they believe prayer can have. Carla Clark and her pastor, David Harris, came from Cumming, Ga.

    “There’s no doubt in our minds,” Clark said. “We came prepared with our umbrellas because we fully expected the heavens to open.”

    But it didn’t happen—the heavens slammed shut despite the prayers of Carla and her pastor.

    The Real Estate Boom is Over…

    posted by on November 14 at 9:08 AM

    …everywhere but here.

    …Seattle will continue as one of the bright lights, which it’s been this year. Median year-over-year home prices have risen every month save October, when they were down slightly. But Seattle’s strength may go beyond the usual reasons: a strong local economy and good job growth propelling housing demand.

    Yun suggested that Seattle may be joining such cities as New York and San Francisco as “superstar cities” whose desirability attracts affluent newcomers who bring the buying power to continue pumping up housing prices.

    Resigning for Ron Paul

    posted by on November 14 at 9:06 AM

    Vijay Boyapati, the local Google engineer who was featured in my August 9 profile of Ron Paul, tells me that he’s decided to quit his cushy Google gig in order to campaign for Paul full time as part of Operation Live Free or Die.

    What’s that? It’s a group devoted to helping Paul win the New Hampshire primary—which may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

    “You’ve got a problem on your hands.”

    posted by on November 14 at 8:51 AM

    Super weird report over at Seattle Weekly.

    After 4204 pulled ahead yesterday, this is what they wrote:

    Simple Majority Losing Ground

    Posted yesterday at 4:54 pm by Laura Onstot

    After coming within 2,000 votes in the morning tally, the Simple Majority for Schools folks are down this afternoon by 6,532. There are still votes coming in, but when a measure passes in five of 39 counties, outstanding ballots isn’t necessarily a good thing. Measure 4204 picked up 58.5 percent of the vote in King County, where 402,801 people cast a ballot. 156,994 people in Pierce County turned out on the measure and it there by more than 52 percent. Throw in a couple more high population county losses and you’ve got a problem on your hands.

    We’ll check in tomorrow.

    Topics: Schools

    Permalink | Comments (1)

    A commenter—they actually had one about 5 hours later—set them straight:


    Comments

    Can you do Simple Arithmetic?

    Every other news outlet has been able to figure out that Simple Majority is LEADING in the polls, and the trend is positive. There aren’t any more “high population county losses” left uncounted.

    Geez.

    No wonder nobody reads this blog.

    Posted yesterday at 9:55 pm by I Can Count

    The Mean Streets of…Wallingford?

    posted by on November 14 at 8:40 AM

    Seattle police are searching for a suspect who shot a man in Wallingford Tuesday night.

    About 7:45 p.m., police responded to a call of three shots fired near the intersection of North 41st Street and Wallingford Avenue North.

    “We responded and could not find anything,” police spokesman Mark Jamieson said. “We were later contacted by University of Washington hospital security who said the victim had been transported there.”

    Seattle police gang unit detectives were on the scene.

    41st and Wallingford is one block away from Wallingford Park and Hamilton Middle School. You can Insert your own joke here about Seattle’s parks and schools needing a license.

    SPD doesn’t have any news on the shooting yet, but I’ll find out more later today.

    Waterboarding Is Torture

    posted by on November 14 at 8:15 AM

    So said the Mississippi Supreme Court—in 1926, when “the water cure” was used to extract a confession from a black man. It’s safe to say that the judges in Mississippi in the 20s weren’t exactly bleeding heart liberals, and that blacks weren’t exactly treated fairly by the courts. But the use of waterboarding was so offensive, so outrageous, that the Mississippi Supreme Court tossed out the confession and ordered a retrial. From the blog IsThatLegal:

    In a case called Fisher v. State, 110 So. 361, 362 (Miss. 1926), Mississippi’s highest court ordered the retrial of a convicted murderer because his confession was secured by a local sheriff’s use of the water cure.

    Here’s the court:

    The state offered … testimony of confessions made by the appellant, Fisher… [who], after the state had rested, introduced the sheriff, who testified that, he was sent for one night to come and receive a confession of the appellant in the jail; that he went there for that purpose; that when he reached the jail he found a number of parties in the jail; that they had the appellant down upon the floor, tied, and were administering the water cure, a specie of torture well known to the bench and bar of the country.

    Fisher relied on a case called White v. State, 182, 91 So. 903, 904 (Miss. 1922), in which the court took—as I understand history in those parts—the unusual step of reversing the murder conviction of a young African-American male, charged with killing a white man (it appears), because his confession was secured by *the cure*. The court said:

    … [T]he hands of appellant were tied behind him, he was laid upon the floor upon his back, and, while some of the men stood upon his feet, Gilbert, a very heavy man, stood with one foot entirely upon appellant’s breast, and the other foot entirely upon his neck. While in that position what is described as the “water cure” was administered to him in an effort to extort a confession as to where the money was hidden which was supposed to have been taken from the dead man. The “water cure” appears to have consisted of pouring water from a dipper into the nose of appellant, so as to strangle him, thus causing pain and horror, for the purpose of forcing a confession. Under these barbarous circumstances the appellant readily confessed …

    If “the cure” was seen as a barbarous form of torture in Mississippi in the 1920’s, I guess I’m at a loss to understand exactly how our attitudes about the process have progressed to see it as an acceptable means of interrogation 80 years later.

    Via Sullivan.

    Morning News

    posted by on November 14 at 8:15 AM

    Blackwater: FBI investigation finds Blackwater shooting unjustified. What will new AG Mukasey do?

    Education Funding vs. War Funding: Bush veto sparks federal stand-off.

    What Does the War Cost?: GOP challenges Democratic report on “Hidden Costs.”

    Pakistan: Imran Khan, cricket star and opposition leader arrested.

    Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants: Spitzer withdraws controversial proposal.

    RIP Ira Levin: Author of Rosemary’s Baby (the best movie ever) and The Stepford Wives dies.

    School Funding: 4204, the school funding measure, pulls ahead.

    Anti-War Protests Continue: 50 more arrested at Port of Olympia.

    Drag Out at Gay Bingo?

    posted by on November 14 at 8:02 AM

    This was originally posted yesterday at 5 PM.

    GLAMcop.jpg

    For the past seven years Thom Hubert, a.ka. Glamazonia, has served as the drag hostess of Gay Bingo, a fundraiser for Lifelong AIDS Alliance. Seattle’s Gay Bingo—the first gay bingo event in the world—has always had a drag hostess.

    But at a meeting at Lifelong’s offices today, Dave Richart, Lifelong’s new ED, fired Hubert. Considering the reasons for Hubert’s firing, it seems that drag isn’t welcome at Gay Bingo anymore.

    “We’ve been going back and forth with my contract,” says Hubert. “We met two weeks ago, and they gave me the new contract for the season, and most of it was pretty standard. But they told me that everyone at LLAA had gone through sexual harassment training… and Lifelong’s new sexual harassment policy was paper clipped to the back of my contract.”

    Hubert was told that all Lifelong vendors and contractors had to be familiar with the sexual harassment policy. Then Hubert noticed some new provisions contained in the contract itself.

    “There was language how “the performer/mc will prepare material avoiding sexually suggestive material… will use appropriate language and avoid vulgar language,” says Hubert. “As a drag queen, if I stuck to this stuff by the letter, why, I’d have to wear a black robe and stand behind a podium and just read the numbers out. The contract said, ‘the host will not act in a flirtatious manner, will not wear reveailing clothing, will not make sexual gestures or comments.’ How could any drag queen appear or perform under these guidelines?”

    Two words were specifically banned: fuck and cunt—and “any derivation thereof,” says Hubert, such as fanfuckingtastic.

    “I don’t use ‘cunt,’ when I perform,” says Hubert. “But fanfuckingtastic? If we sold out I would be fired if a ‘fanfuckingtastic’ slipped out?”

    Hubert asked for some time to look the contract over. He expected to sign the contract when he arrived at Lifelong’s office today; he had written some questions down about the new provisions in the contract, but he thought they would be able to work out an agreement. He was shown into a conference room with Dave Richart, someone from Lifelong’s HR department, and a member of the board.

    “I was very cordial,” says Hubert. “I congratulated Dave on being named ED and then Dave took a breath and said, ‘Well, unfortunately, we’ve arrived at a crossroads and it’s time for us to sever our relationship with Glamazonia as host of Gay Bingo.’”

    Hubert told Richart he was shocked but not surprised. Hubert then explained to the board member present that while he supported anti-sexual-harassment policies and would have been willing to undergo the same anti-sexual-harrassment training that Lifelong’s staff had, he didn’t see how any drag queen could serve as host of Gay Bingo under their proposed restrictions.

    “I told them good luck finding someone who could perform within those guidelines,” says Hubert. “I stood, shook their hands, and told them it was a great run.”

    Hubert posted the news of his firing to his MySpace page, where most of the commenters—Glamazonia fans, of course—are shocked and angry about the news.

    Since its inception Gay Bingo has been a slightly naughty evening of bingo for gays and lesbians, and the event has been hosted by a string of drag queens—Mark Finley, Dan Savage (ahem), Chocha Fresca, Glamazonia—that specialized in revealing outfits, risque banter, and good-natured sexual ribbing. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are still, presumably, a part of Gay Bingo. But many of the sisters’ names are sexually suggestive, so maybe they’ll have to go too. And what’s going to happen when the O-69 ball comes up?

    I’ve got a call in to Dave Richart at Lifelong.

    Portland Art Museum’s Winners

    posted by on November 14 at 7:57 AM

    More on this later, but here are the basic facts: For its first round of Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, Portland Art Museum has selected Dan Attoe, Cat Clifford, Jeffry Mitchell, Whiting Tennis, and Marie Watt.

    My first impression is: Go Seattle. Three of the five are from here. And: Where are all those amazing Portland artists we keep hearing about in every news outlet in the country?

    Details:

    Recent and new work by these five artists will be featured in the Museum’s inaugural Contemporary Northwest Art Awards special exhibition, June 14 through September 14, 2008, which will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue and Museum programming. Each award recipient will receive an honorarium. During the exhibition’s opening celebration, one artist will awarded the Arlene Schnitzer Award for Northwest Art, a $10,000 cash prize named in honor of philanthropist and longtime Museum patron Arlene Schnitzer.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Slog Tracking Poll: Results

    posted by on November 13 at 5:07 PM

    This is an unusual result, at least relative to our previous Slog tracking polls. Either John Edwards is surging this month among Slog readers (he’s been third in our poll since August), or some of you have way too much time on your hands and are spending it manipulating our results.

    School Levies Measure Pulls Ahead…

    posted by on November 13 at 4:50 PM

    by 5,057 votes.

    Given what I wrote yesterday, I don’t have much of a right to cheer the news, but I still think it’s pretty cool.

    Update: While King County’s drop certainly helped (60% yes), it’s the counties where the measure is losing overall but where batches of late returns are going 4204’s way that’s helping tip the scales.

    Island County, for example, where the measure is still losing 51-48, scored 56 percent yes today.

    Speaking of what I wrote yesterday—which in part, was this:

    Additionally, while the measure remains behind in other counties, the deficit is generally shrinking with each successive return. In Pierce County, for example, 4204 was losing with 44.9 percent after the first returns. However, with successive batches in isolation coming in at 45.3, 46.6, 48.7, 49.9, and the latest batch actually ahead 50.3, the measure has ticked up to 46.7 percent overall. Counts like that can’t hurt…
    I should report that today’s batch from Pierce County hit 51.7%.

    There are about 73,000 votes left to count statewide, and 32,000 of those are in King County.

    Today in Great Ape-Related Crap I Watched on TV

    posted by on November 13 at 4:30 PM

    I don’t know if you guys know, but there is a thing that exists in the world called a BABY ORANGUTAN. I was watching Animal Planet the other day (as uuuuuusual!) and it was broadcasting a program into my eyeballs called Orangutan Diary. You should probably check this shit out.

    The title is misleading. Although orangutans might look like your grandpa (except more orange), they don’t actually have a written language or bookbinding technology. Also, an actual Orangutan Diary would be tres horrific (“Dear Orangutan Diary, A farmer killed my mom with a machete today. Plus, I am so sick of eating bamboo pith. TTYL! Love, Baby O”).

    But anyways, the orangutans live in Borneo or something, where humans like to cut down the jungle (so that they can plant palm oil plantations and then make money for food or clothing or jungle huts), which results in dead orangutan moms and orphaned orangutan BABIEZ. (Is it racist that I said “jungle huts”? I was just trying to allude, in an oversimplified way, to whatever complicated shit causes humans to cut down jungles. The orangutan sanctuary people seem to think that the Borneo people just HATE ORANGUTANS. Surely that is not the case. However, I am not an economist.)

    The baby orangutans are devastatingly cute and lonely, and they go live at this sanctuary where they attend “Forest School” for six years. The humans teach the orphaned orangutans how to be wild orangutans, like: “Look at this termite! It’s hella delicious!” or “This plant is poisonous, dumbass!” or “YOU GUYS. DO NOT HUG SNAKES.”

    Sometimes the orangutans were kept as pets, so they’re all neurotic and bald. But then they’re SO HAPPY when they get to go sit in a tree and poop on a leaf. Anyway, in the end, when they graduate from Forest School, the orangutans all go live on a MAGIC ISLAND in the middle of a river, where they lounge on the beach and eat bananas ALL DAY.

    Are you crying yet?

    Moral of the story: I love orangutans.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 orangutan poops.

    Next time in Great Ape-Related Crap I Watched on TV: A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. She looks like that Carl’s Jr. mascot made flesh. Plus a prostitute. Minus hamburgers.

    Our Stupid Country

    posted by on November 13 at 4:00 PM

    After a decade’s worth of abstinence education—a billion dollar’s worth—should we really be reading headlines like this one:

    U.S. sets record in sexual disease cases

    More than 1 million cases of chlamydia were reported in the United States last year—the most ever reported for a sexually transmitted disease, federal health officials said Tuesday. “A new U.S. record,” said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    More bad news: Gonorrhea rates are jumping again after hitting a record low, and an increasing number of cases are caused by a “superbug” version resistant to common antibiotics, federal officials said Tuesday.

    Man. That’s depressing news. But there’s a silver lining:

    Syphilis is rising, too. The rate of congenital syphilis—which can deform or kill babies—rose for the first time in 15 years.

    Abstinence education kills babies! Just like abortion, RU-846, Plan B, the morning after pill, and swallowing! Quick! Someone tell the American Taliban!

    Reward for Info Leading to Arrest of Cyclist Shooter

    posted by on November 13 at 3:48 PM

    The Seattle International Randonneurs, in cooperation with the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, has raised more than $7500 as a reward for information leading to the arrest the driver who shot bicyclist Peter McKay as he was biking home along Delridge earlier this month. Information on contributing to the fund can be found here.

    Nickels’s Budget Moves Forward With Park Rangers But No “311”

    posted by on November 13 at 3:37 PM

    The City Council will vote in a week or so to finalize the 2008 city budget. Yeah, I know, what budget, right? This year’s budget process was especially placid, thanks in part to the fact that we’re in the middle of the budget cycle (the council has already “endorsed” it) and in part to the swimming economy. But, as always, the council did make some tweaks (including the elimination of the mayor’s most-touted program.) Here’s a partial rundown:

    • The council basically eviscerated Mayor Greg Nickels’s heavily hyped “311” system, which would have created a new phone number citizens could call to access city services. The council cut that down from $8.9 million to $500,000, apparently unconvinced by Nickels’s claim that the aftermath of Wind!Storm!2006! could have been prevented with more layers of bureaucracy.

    • But they also kept $600,000 Nickels requested to fund half a dozen “park rangers,” unarmed city employees who will patrol downtown parks and shoo the homeless away. (For more serious problems, the park rangers will have to call real cops.) The park ranger idea was rejected as silly a year ago—hey, maybe 2008 will be 311’s lucky year!

    • The council threw in an additional $350,000 to provide relocation assistance to renters whose landlords convert their buildings to condos. Currently, renters who are converted out of their homes get just $500—a number council member Tom Rasmussen hopes to increase.

    • The new budget restores the position of city demographer, which, as I wrote when they cut that position a few years back, is a “boring but invaluable” job that involves compiling important demographic information about the city and providing it on the city’s web site. The last demographer, Diane Cornelius, was laid off in 2004.

    • The budget adds $1.5 million for sidewalks, which sounds like a lot but actually will only build a few new blocks of sidewalks, which are grotesquely expensive. Still, it’s a start.

    • There’s also new money for the Seattle Center skatepark, domestic violence education and outreach, new library books and other library materials, low-income housing production, AIDS pervention, and low-income dental clinics. If you’re interested in more detail (and who wouldn’t be?) check out the council’s budget page here.

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on November 13 at 3:27 PM

    South Park’s Still Funny: Guitar Hero is where it’s at, real guitars are for old, gay people.

    XOXO: TJ Gorton on Love & Kisses’ “I’ve Found Love (Now That I’ve Found You).”

    Wu-Tang Return to Seattle: They’re playing Showbox SODO Dec 30th.

    Cover Me: Boat’s “Month of Covers” comes to an end.

    Today in Music News: Thom turns down Paul, Boy George captures a model, and more, more, more.

    Vote for Vera: Seattle’s all-ages venue is in the running to win a MySpace Impact Award and $10,000.

    Caught on Video: Poster Giant’s caught tearing down legit show posters. Bad move.

    Tonight in Music: Celebration and Kill Me Tomorrow.

    loveandkisses.jpg

    This Is Not A Smile

    posted by on November 13 at 3:23 PM

    From a piece on the endlessly grinning artist Yue Minjun in today’s NYT:

    Karen Smith, a Beijing expert on Chinese art, suggests that Mr. Yue’s grin is a mask for real feelings of helplessness.

    “In China there’s a long history of the smile,” Mr. Yue said. “There is the Maitreya Buddha who can tell the future and whose facial expression is a laugh. Normally there’s an inscription saying that you should be optimistic and laugh in the face of reality.”

    “There were also paintings during the Cultural Revolution period, those Soviet-style posters showing happy people laughing,” he continued. “But what’s interesting is that normally what you see in those posters is the opposite of reality.”

    Mr. Yue said his smile was in a way a parody of those posters. But, since it’s a self-portrait, it’s also necessarily a parody of himself, he added.

    “I’m not laughing at anybody else, because once you laugh at others, you’ll run into trouble, and can create obstacles,” he said.

    “Obstacles” were especially dangerous in China in 1989, when Yue developed his style in the aftermath of the student uprising at Tiananmen Square.

    Several of these famous smiles are found in a single piece at Seattle Asian Art Museum in the exhibition Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art through December 2:

    YueMinjun.JPG
    Yue Minjun’s Garbage Dump (2005-2006)

    Another artist in the exhibition, Xu Bing, will give a talk called Between Vision and Language at SAAM Thursday night at 7. The talk is free with museum admission.

    Fundi Pharmacist Hearts Dino Rossi

    posted by on November 13 at 3:15 PM

    Dino Rossi has yet to answer my (or Susan Paynter’s) question about where he stands on letting pharmacists refuse to dispense Plan B.

    However, the answer might be right in front of us. Stormans INC., the Olympia pharmacy that’s taking the state to court over state rules preventing pharmacists from refusing to dispense Plan B, was a major contributor to Rossi in 2004, donating $1,000.

    Btw: The group that’s representing Stormans in court is the Alliance Defense Fund, a convoluted right wing group I interviewed at length over this issue here.

    Visual Art Intern Needed

    posted by on November 13 at 2:53 PM

    Here’s the text of the classified ad.

    Wanted: Stranger Visual Art Intern

    Three months of Shangri-La with my wry and well-outfitted viz-art intern, Jamey Braden, are about to come to an end.

    The good news for any incoming intern is that she’ll train you, and she is worth knowing. The job involves putting together the art calendar every week, and occasionally Slogging about what you see out there, art-wise. It’s probably an 8-hour weekly commitment that lasts about three months, and you should be able to come into the Capitol Hill office to work.

    My ideal candidate is someone who wants to be an art critic eventually—and while the internship is unpaid, most of my interns write at least one published review, if not more, by the end of their time—but minimally, I have to have somebody who knows the basics about contemporary art and the local scene (who’ll notice if a big gallery is missing from the listings, for instance).

    What else? Attention to detail, naturally. Sense of humor, I beg you. No flakes. Send me a note and a resume if you’re interested: jgraves@thestranger.com. And tell me, if you could transport yourself to any art show in the world right this second, which one would it be, and why.

    Here’s a depiction of the work:

    Man%20with%20a%20Hoe%20Jean%20Francois%20Millet.jpg

    Congress to Universities: You’re Either With the Government or the File Sharers

    posted by on November 13 at 2:37 PM

    The education bill moving through Congress right now—the bill that provides student aid dollars—comes with yet another heavy-handed industry attempt to squash file sharing.

    The bill would require universities to promote legal file sharing businesses (which de facto makes student aid dependent on promoting certain companies) and would require universities to bust students for file sharing—meaning campuses would have to monitor all student activity on-line.

    Electronic Frontier Foundation has details and an e-letter to send Congress.

    Northwest Fish & Chips: A Correction

    posted by on November 13 at 2:31 PM

    scaled.219150.JPG

    In last week’s <10: Good Grub Under Ten Bucks, columnist Sage Van Wing praised Northwest Fish & Chips for its “starch and protein, lovingly fried in glowing trans fats [that] will fill you up nearly as quickly and cheaply as PBR through a funnel.”

    Unfortunately, as NWF&C honcho Dhiresh Tewari informed me in a very polite email, Northwest Fish & Chips involve zero trans-fat. Apologies to Mr. Tewari, congratulations to his fish and chips.

    Priests: A Closer Peek!

    posted by on November 13 at 2:23 PM

    Priests (Pedofilius Catholicus) are bewildering and morally suspect creatures, and they have been since the moment Jesus said, “Hey! Peter! You’re my ROCK or whatever!” and levitated up to heaven to begin ignoring us all. But is the sketchy reputation of these beasts called “priests” truly deserved? Does the knee-jerk prejudice that so many of us harbor against the altar boy-boffing men in black warrant a closer look?

    Yes. And no. Respectively.

    Now, I know a thing or two about priests, thank you, for three reasons: I was born and raised in ostensibly the second most Irish Catholic town in the country (Boston is #1) and that shit just doesn’t wash off, I am the illegitimate great grandson of a priest (true story, don’t ask), and I’m face-fucking a priest at this moment. So I know my priests, yes sir, and howdy. And against all evidence, I’ve always wanted to believe in the noble image of what a priest should be—-and what a priest should be is Father John Patrick Mulcahy. From Mash. 4077. And you do TO remember, don’t make me smack you. Father Mulcahy was the perfect priest: kind, forgiving, gentle-eyed, soft voiced, totally useless, ambiguously gay, but nary a copy of Teen Beat, the Zac Effron Edition in sight. Father Mulcahy was unafraid to do what was right, to speak his little mind, and always handy for rushing in at a moments notice, rosary beads a-clackin’, to give some poor doomed extra a quick Last Rites. Father Mulcahy: The perfect priest.

    Well, he only exists in fiction. I understand that now.

    Here’s what happened:

    Last Sunday (rather ironically) I found myself walking past a terrible accident: A woman (I could tell by the shoes) was on the ground, clearly in unhealthy circumstances, head and torso completely covered by a black coat, not moving, possibly dead, surrounded by intense looking people on cell phones. A typical accident scene. Approaching from the other direction (hallelujah!), a Catholic Priest. I watched, curious as a cat, to see exactly what he would do. Would he drop to his knees with a hearty Hail Mary! and begin holy-oiling the poor woman into heaven? Would he begin CPR? Would he engage the crowd, find out what happened, offer to provide what help he could? Give the poor woman an aspirin? A tic-tac? A hug?

    The priest stepped over the woman’s prone body, and…just…kept…walking.

    Indeed.

    Father Mulcahy! Where the fuck are you?


    FatherMulcahy.jpg

    Why Is the Seattle P-I Putting the Military and All Americans in Danger?

    posted by on November 13 at 2:22 PM

    Bill O’Reilly wants to know.

    Notes from the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on November 13 at 1:43 PM

    unknown.gif

    11/13/2007

    Thank you so much, Prayer Warriors, for praying for the meeting, which went well.

    Bill Gates, Chairman; Steve Ballmer, CEO; Brad Smith, Executive Vice President of Legal; and Chris Liddell, CFO, were present in today’s meeting.

    I addressed the meeting, letting them know I would love to work with them. However, if they refuse, I am putting together the largest contingency of Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims to challenge Microsoft’s support of people and policies that challenge America’s moral beliefs since its inception.

    My final comment was, “I could work with you, or I could be your worst nightmare, because I am a black man with a righteous cause, with a host of powerful white people behind me. I hope to hear from you and if not, you will hear from me.”

    Pray God will take this to their hearts and minds and that they will respond to me.

    Pastor Hutch

    The End of Ambiguity

    posted by on November 13 at 1:10 PM

    The way it is now:


    WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — President Bush on Tuesday vetoed a major spending measure that would have funded education, health care and job training programs, saying it contained money for too many of the special projects known as earmarks. But he signed a $459 billion bill to increase the Pentagon’s nonwar funding.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on November 13 at 12:33 PM

    There’s a lot of great new photos on The Stranger’s Flicker pool at the moment (like this, this, and even this), but my favorite, for no other reason that the fact that I love anything gummy, is this:

    bears.jpg

    Thanks to b_ed_b.

    Wait—Does India Have Gay Marriage?

    posted by on November 13 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t think they do—so how come men are marrying dogs in India? I thought gay marriage came first, then man-on-dog marriage. Guess they do things differently down there.

    Man marries bitch to beat curse

    An Indian man has married a female dog, believing the union will help him atone for stoning two other dogs to death.

    The “bride” wore a sari and a garland. P Selvakumar, 33, said he had been cursed since the killings, suffering paralysis and a loss of hearing.

    The wedding took place at a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu state. The “bride” wore an orange sari with a flower garland and was fed a bun to celebrate.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Reggie.

    California Democrats Move to Censure Dianne Feinstein

    posted by on November 13 at 12:29 PM

    Right fucking on.

    Thanks for Listening, Dude

    posted by on November 13 at 12:14 PM

    FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin has formally proposed loosening the cross-ownership rule in top media markets. The panel-wide vote is slated for next month.

    Previously, and the governor’s take.

    Cardinal Sins

    posted by on November 13 at 12:09 PM

    The next time some dimwitted representative of the Catholic Church attempts to lecture you about your sexual orientation and ethics, or your legal and consensual sexual practices, ask ‘em to explain how Cardinal George of Chicago managed to get his child-rape-enabling ass elected as the head of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    NPR had a great story this morning. George, “[an] outspoken advocate for cleaning up the sex-abuse crisis in the church,” did nothing to stop Father Daniel McCormack, a Chicago priest, from raping boys. And, yes, the Archdiocese knew all about it.

    The boy told [his mother] that at least twice in December 2003, McCormack cornered him, put his hands down the boy’s pants and fondled him. When she heard this, the mother says she called Leah McCluskey, the official in the archdiocese in charge of abuse investigations. She still has the phone records; one call lasted 22 minutes.

    She says McCluskey promised to investigate. Under the zero-tolerance policies that Cardinal George promoted, the archdiocese was required at this point to call the police.

    But the archdiocese didn’t call the police—and guess what? This wasn’t the first time someone reported Father McCormack to the Archdiocese.

    In 1992, two men and one minor accused McCormack of sexually abusing them while he was in seminary. A letter is put in McCormack’s seminary file. That letter has disappeared.

    In October 1999, the assistant principal at the school where McCormack taught informed the Office of Catholic Schools and the archdiocese that McCormack had allegedly abused a fourth-grade boy. She says she later wrote a letter and delivered it to the archdiocese. The investigator never found the letter. Church officials say they never received it.

    In September 2003, a woman called the archdiocese and reported that her grandson was molested by McCormack. She left her phone number but not her name.

    At no time did the archdiocese call the police.

    But Father McCormack eventually got busted—he’s in prison now—so someone did the right thing eventually, right? Yes. But it wasn’t Cardinal George or anyone at the archdiocese.

    “My assistant principal called me and said, ‘We’ve got a problem,” recalls Principal Westrick. “She said, ‘This kid says he’s been molested by Father Dan.’ I said, ‘I’ll be right over.’”

    Westrick immediately called the parents, the police and the archdiocese. McCormack was arrested Jan. 20, 2006. In March 2006—only after McCormack’s arrest and 14 years after the first complaint—Cardinal George publicly apologized.

    Westrick called the parents, the police, and the archdiocese—in that order. Thank God Westrick didn’t call the archdiocese first. Someone at the archdiocese was protecting McCormack—where did those letters go? records of phone calls?—and the archdiocese might have prevented Westrick, an employee of the archdiocese, from calling the cops. Only after Cardinal George’s archdiocese could no longer cover up for Father McCormack, moving him to new schools and parishes where he could go on raping and fondling children, did Cardinal George apologize. And what does Cardinal George have to say for himself?

    “I should have found at least some fashion in the canons to remove provisionally Father McCormack,” he said in a press conference after releasing the results of two investigations that showed how the McCormack case went wrong. “I take responsibility for not doing that, and I’m saddened by my own failure, very much so.”

    The cardinal is sad. Boo fucking hoo for the cardinal.

    Good God. Cardinal George says he would’ve removed Father McCormack if only he could’ve found some provision in the canons, or church law, that allowed him to do so. Well, gee. Are we supposed to understand that there’s nothing in church law that specifically forbids raping children? Never mind that raping kids is against the law in the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the United States of America, and that priests and cardinals are subject to those laws. Instead of pouring over the canons—no doubt tearing his hair out in frustration—George could’ve called the fucking police. You know, just like that principal did and just like George’s own policies on the abuse of children require him to.

    Let’s face facts, shall we?

    Someone inside the Chicago archdiocese was protecting a known pedophile and a serial child rapist. And someone in addition to Father McCormack needs to go to jail. When is a prosecutor going to launch an investigation into the conduct of the Catholic Church—into one of these coverups—and indict some of the motherfuckers that let it happen? Or are conspiracies and pedophile rings somehow less criminal when the child rapists and their accomplices claim to be Jesus Christ’s representatives on earth?

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on November 13 at 11:00 AM

    Music

    Celebration and Kill Me Tomorrow at Crocodile

    Celebration, a trio from Baltimore, marries sultry and spacey vocals to subdued rhythms, flowering guitars, and bright organ melodies. Their songs range from wide-eyed paeans like “Evergreen” to the more carnal rites of “Pony.” Kill Me Tomorrow is the opposite—a trio whose brooding, paranoid art rock is street-dirty and racked by guitar twitches, broken drums, and menacing bass. With Seattle’s Dead Science. (Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611. 9 pm, $8, 21+.)

    ERIC GRANDY

    Implied Violence on the Death of Pike/Pine

    posted by on November 13 at 10:52 AM

    It’s not official yet, but the good folks at Implied Violence have sent us advance word of a new “huge and extremely guerilla” show called the status of the name you miss, love, and search for has now become ambigious and remote.

    It will begin at “promptly at 1:30 am” on December first on the roof of a building near the soon-to-be-demolished Kincora/Pony/Bus Stop block:

    There will be 333 free tickets that will get you into the building and 66 tickets costing 10 bells that will allow you on the roof.
    I think it will be a really cool really beautiful event, considering most of the people participating were/are still actual residents of the building.

    Implied Violence, which claims Gertrude Stein and Wu Tang Clan as its primary influences, makes spectacular work. They’re threatening to move to Berlin sometime in the near future, so your chances to see them are dwindling.

    Some photos from their recent performance in the barns and fields at Smoke Farm:

    dr9.jpg

    dr5.jpg

    dr2.jpg

    Getting the 66 rooftop tickets will be a slightly cloak and dagger affair that involves going to a certain crepe stand at a certain time on a certain day—IV says it’s “trying to avoid the problems of the Bridge Motel“—but more about that when the show is official.

    They’ll Be Right Back After These Messages

    posted by on November 13 at 10:45 AM

    My sit-com writing brother in L.A. is on strike. He forwarded me this clip.

    Mannequin Fucker Cleared

    posted by on November 13 at 10:42 AM

    23283764.jpg

    If you have sex with a mannequin—or “simulate sex” with a mannequin—behind a closed door, all by yourself, all by your lonesome, and a guard walks in and finds you humping that mannequin but doesn’t actually see your genitals, only you “adjusting yourself,” are you guilty of “indecent exposure”? Should you be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life?

    A magistrate in South Dakota thought so and found Michael James Plenty Horse guilty of indecent exposure. A circuit court upheld the conviction. But today the South Dakota State Supreme Court ruled that Plenty Horse, though plenty kinky (sorry), wasn’t guilty of indecent exposure, which “criminalizes sexual gratification by displaying or showing one’s genitals in public,” and overturned Plenty Horse’s conviction.

    If the court hadn’t have tossed out his conviction, the “offender,” who was just 19 at the time of the “crime,” would have had to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life—which would have made it impossible for Plenty Horse to find a place to live or a job for the rest of his life.

    The abuse of sex offender registries is an outrage. Originally created to alert people to the presence of dangerous sexual predators, sex offender registries increasingly sweep up people only “guilty” of being a little bit kinky, a little bit crazy, or a little bit of both—but not a danger to anyone. To be placed on a sex offender registry is to be suffer a social execution. And unless someone is a sexual predator and actually a danger to others—other human beings, thank you—placing him or her on a sex offender registry has to amount to an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

    Via Pandagon.

    Notes from the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on November 13 at 10:41 AM

    Received yesterday…

    unknown.gif

    11/12/2007

    Dear Prayer Warrior,

    Please begin praying now for tomorrow’s Microsoft stockholder’s meeting. I had a great conference call today with Christian leaders in preparation for this meeting.

    Pastor Hutch

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on November 13 at 10:30 AM

    Arizona:

    Last year, Morningstar Academy principal Carolyn Kennedy was sentenced for failing to report the abuse of one of her students. The charges stemmed from allegations that her son, Bobby Kennedy, a teacher at Morningstar and a youth pastor, had molested teenage girls in his class.

    Today, Bobby Kennedy, 29, is on the run from police and listed by Apache Junction police as one of their “Most Wanted.”

    And Carolyn Kennedy, 53, who police say attempted to protect her son and conceal the abuse allegations, is still in charge of the Apache Junction charter school.

    Price of Stupidity

    posted by on November 13 at 9:44 AM

    The estimated cost of the terrorist action that’s now called 9/11: $500,000

    The estimated cost for maintaining the War on Terror: $1,500,000,000,000

    The hidden costs ‘raise US war price.’ The US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing nearly double the amount previously thought, according to a report set to be released by Congress.

    …The report calculates that the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the average US family of four more than $20,000.


    Horny for Car

    posted by on November 13 at 9:41 AM

    This ad has been creeping me out for months. When will it go away? (And what’s wrong with you freaky straights?)

    It Ain’t Inherit the Wind

    posted by on November 13 at 9:35 AM

    … but then again, reason lost that round.

    The NOVA episode I slogged about earlier is airing tonight at 8 pm. (And again 9 pm Thursday for people in Seattle.) It’s about Kitzmiller v. Dover, the landmark trial that ended with Judge John Jones, a Bush appointee, thoroughly repudiating the “theory” of intelligent design. Fascinating stuff.

    A Brush With Death

    posted by on November 13 at 9:29 AM

    pd_paddle_brush.jpg

    A young man was fatally shot last night in a hail of 20 bullets fired by five [NYPD] police officers who responded to his mother’s 911 call for help in a domestic dispute in Brooklyn, the authorities said.

    The police said they believed that the man, Khiel Coppin, 18, had a gun. But when the gunfire stopped, it turned out that he had been holding a hairbrush.

    Lord have mercy.

    Wal-Mart Saves America!

    posted by on November 13 at 9:00 AM

    Just in the nick of time:

    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Wall Street on Tuesday rebound after four days of losses, with investors cheered by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s surprisingly good results, which could bode well for the all-important holiday shopping season.
    “The lack of any substantial event risk - i.e. bank write-downs - and Wal-Mart’s stronger than expected earnings are boosting equities this morning,” said Tom DiGaloma, head of U.S. Treasury trading at Jefferies & Co. Inc.

    And then there’s this bit of bright news for those in the dark belly of the American monster:

    The company, according to data available for the first time, is offering better coverage to a greater number of workers. Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, provides insurance to 100,000 more workers than it did just three years ago — and it is now easier for many to sign up for health care at Wal-Mart than at its rival, Target, whose reputation glows in comparison.

    Wal-Mart finally enters the late age of soft exploitation.

    Slog Tracking Poll: Who Do You Want to Be the Democratic Nominee?

    posted by on November 13 at 9:00 AM

    It’s time for our monthly Slog Tracking Poll on the race for the Democratic nomination.

    Since our last poll… Gore won the Nobel but still has no campaign, so we’re going to stop offering a second poll that includes him in the list of candidates. And Gravel is out of the debates but he’s still in the race, so we’ll keep him in the poll.

    Speaking of Democratic debates: The next one is this Thursday in Las Vegas. Who will have the momentum of a first-place Slog poll finish going into the Showdown on The Strip? (Make that the Showdown Near The Strip.)

    Let’s find out. The question is simple: Who do you want to be the Democratic nominee?

    Poll closes at 5 p.m.

    Charlatan? Genius? Star of an Elaborate Conspiracy?

    posted by on November 13 at 8:59 AM

    What has intrigued me about the Benazir Bhutto story is this: It’s never seemed to me like she was much of a popular figure (she was booted from office twice in disgrace). Her support has seemed soft in the Musharraf years. She hasn’t struck me as the type to swoop back in after exile, tap a real and formidable following, and spark a velvet revolution. Yet, that’s the role she appears to be playing.

    Weird. At first, it made me think she was some kind of political genius: Exploiting the opportunity, foiling the actual formidable force in the country, the Islamists, and rising to power.

    But now I’m not so sure. Musharraf’s focus on her, unwittingly turning her into a folk hero, seems so block headed that I’m actually starting to think he’s doing it on purpose. He’s turning her into a political symbol so he can pretend to relent by cutting a deal with her, rather than with the Islamists.


    Two of Pakistan’s bigger opposition parties said Monday that they would probably boycott the elections if emergency rule was still in place. Ms. Bhutto has not said whether she would pull her party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, out of the elections. General Musharraf said Sunday that emergency rule would continue at least until the elections…

    Raza Zafarul Haz, the chairman of one of the country’s biggest parties, the Pakistan Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said that for free and fair elections to go ahead, emergency rule would have to be lifted and judges who were fired after the imposition of the rule would need to be reinstated…

    As the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, which has usually commanded about a third of the popular vote, Ms. Bhutto is trying to steer a path between a desire to return to power and not to appear to be too close to the widely unpopular president…

    Despite Ms. Bhutto’s tougher comments on Monday, analysts said they believed she had not completely moved away from her original plan, devised with the backing of the Bush administration, to seek a power-sharing deal with General Musharraf…

    Ms. Bhutto was prime minister of Pakistan twice and was twice dismissed before she was able to complete her terms.

    Vitter v. Craig: Senatorial Double Standards

    posted by on November 13 at 8:55 AM

    U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) consorted with opposite-sex prostitutes—while wearing diapers, according to unverified, undependable reports. U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) solicited from a same-sex undercover police officer in a restroom at an airport. The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating Craig, but not Vitter—and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force isn’t having it. The Hill reports:

    A leading national gay rights advocacy organization is pressuring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Ethics Committee, to drop an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). As a result, Democrats may question the merits of pushing the embattled Republican out of Congress.

    The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which last week helped push gay rights legislation through the House, has written a strongly worded letter to Boxer and Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the Republican vice chairman of the ethics panel, criticizing their investigation of Craig as unfair.

    The group argues the Ethics Committee has singled out Craig because he allegedly solicited gay sex but has ignored allegations of impropriety involving Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) because Vitter’s alleged behavior was heterosexual.

    The outspoken critiques by national gay rights leaders puts pressure on Boxer to reconsider an ethics committee action that gay political leaders view as a witch hunt motivated by the homophobia of GOP Senate leaders.

    Boxer, a liberal Dem, should drop the Craig investigation—why is she carrying water for the homophobes in the GOP?—or launch an investigation into Vitter’s sexual conduct. Now that would be some CSPAN programming worth watching.

    And a note to The Hill: NGLTF didn’t help push gay rights legislation—ENDA—through the House. NGLTF opposed ENDA because it didn’t include transsexuals, just like NGLTF’s acronym.

    Seattle Ain’t Green

    posted by on November 13 at 8:49 AM

    Seattle’s yellow—afraid to put action behind all those lovely green words. London is about to ban plastic shopping bags or tax them out of existence.

    Iran Doesn’t Have Any Homosexuals…

    posted by on November 13 at 8:34 AM

    …left. From the Times of London:

    Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learnt.

    Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged…. Britain regularly challenges Iran about its gay hangings, stonings and executions of adulterers and perceived moral criminals, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) papers show.

    The latest row involves a woman hanged this June in the town of Gorgan after becoming pregnant by her brother. He was absolved after expressing his remorse.

    Don’t Worry Dan, the War’s Not All Your Fault Anymore

    posted by on November 13 at 7:55 AM

    An analysis by Politico explains why the 2006 Democratic majority in Congress can’t end the occupation of Iraq: It’s all Washington state Rep. Brian Baird’s fault.

    But once Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), a staunch war opponent, returned from a visit to Iraq and applauded the surge, any chance of a compromise clampdown ended.

    Courtesy Think Progress

    Morning News

    posted by on November 13 at 7:45 AM

    Pakistan: Government troops blockade Bhutto’s house and arrest members of her opposition party. Bhutto calls for Musharraf to step down.

    Kids: New studies show that bad behavior in kindergarten does not predict later academic performance.

    Gas Prices: An anticipated .20 increase at the pump could push gas prices over record high $3.22 a gallon.

    5 Million Missing E-mails: Federal Court orders White House to stop destroying e-mail records.

    Replacing 520: In wake of Prop. 1 defeat, Gov. Gregoire says state will take responsibility for replacing 520 bridge.

    Amanda Knox Video: Surveillance tape contradicts murder suspect’s alibi.

    Jamieson’s Column: PI columnist gives ink to story of Seattle man missing in Brazil.

    UFOs: Former pilots and officials call for investigation into sightings.

    The Italian Job

    posted by on November 13 at 7:11 AM

    Things aren’t looking good for UW student Amanda Knox…

    The American university student at the heart of the police inquiry into the death of Meredith Kercher was caught on camera entering the building where the murder took place on the evening of the killing, it emerged yesterday.

    Police revealed that Amanda Knox was picked up by CCTV cameras situated above the building where she lived with the Leeds University student, contradicting her previous claims that she had spent the night with her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

    Since her arrest 10 days ago, Ms Knox has repeatedly changed the story of where she was on the night of the murder, and officers investigating the killing are said to be hopeful that seeing the footage will force her to confess to being at the scene of the crime.


    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Hey, what time does that game start?

    posted by on November 12 at 6:33 PM

    Ok, this is a little late for the live-slogging I promised, but it was a beautiful 60 degree day here in flat bicycle-able Chicago, so I went for a little 25 mile spin and am running a bit late. And I stopped at Chicago’s best bar, the Hopleaf, on the way to Bruno’s, and that slowed me down too.

    But, anyway, Seattle seems to be dominating the lowly ‘49ers, which is not a surprise. Missed the first TD, but saw the turnover that the ‘Hawks couldn’t turn into more than a field goal. This whole 12th man cult you guys have going seems to work, though, as false start penalties for SF seem as common as cunt jokes in Shakespeare. Maybe I’ll bring some earplugs.

    The updates will follow after the jump, so the sports-phobic need not be distracted from politics and music and other such shite.

    Continue reading "Hey, what time does that game start?" »

    “She Does Owe Us a Candid Explanation.”

    posted by on November 12 at 6:05 PM

    Last Friday, I had a quick interview with Gov. Christine Gregoire in the lobby of Town Hall after her testimony at the FCC hearing.

    One of the questions I asked her was why she didn’t endorse the Democratic candidate for King County Prosecutor, Bill Sherman. (Sherman lost last Tuesday to the GOP candidate, Dan Satterberg.)

    Here’s my rant about her non-endorse. And here’s the interview, where she told me Sherman never asked her for her endorsement. I told her the Sherman campaign said otherwise. But she maintained she’d never been asked directly.

    I talked to Bill Sherman today, and again, he says he did ask Gregoire for her endorsement in person. He says it was at a League of Education Voters/Gregoire fund raiser over the summer at League President, Lisa Macfarlane’s home. Sherman says Gregoire told him politely that she looked forward to talking about the endorsement. At the same event, Sherman says he talked to Gregoire’s political director Ron Judd about getting the governor’s endorsement.

    He and his consultant Christian Sinderman then exchanged a series of e-mails and phone calls with Judd about the endorsment—the “appropriate organizational protocol, she has a lot of demands on her time,” Sherman says. E-mails and calls also went out after Sherman won the Democratic primary and again just a week or two before election day. They were never directly told ‘No,’ Sherman says, but they never got her endorsement.

    Sherman says, “This isn’t sour grapes. I’ve contributed to the governor, and I’ll continue to support her. But she’s asking for strong support from King County voters, and she does owe us a candid explanation for that [why she didn’t endorse the Democrat.] What she told you was incorrect.

    *Sherman did indeed give Gregoire $100 in 2004.

    *Both Sherman and his consultant Sinderman are on vacation right now. Sherman didn’t have access to his e-mail, but says he will send the e-mails to me when he gets back on Wednesday. I couldn’t reach Sinderman.

    Swift Kids for Truth

    posted by on November 12 at 5:12 PM

    Courtesy HorsesAss

    Support Your Local Skater

    posted by on November 12 at 4:47 PM

    This could be a big week for SeaSk8. The Skatepark Advisory Committee (SPAC) is holding a public meeting on Thursday—at 6:30 on the 3rd floor in conference room A—to discuss the proposed demolition of one of the Center’s Pavilion sites. The Pavilions are used by festival organizers—like the Bite of Seattle and Bumbershoot—who hold a lot of sway around the Center.

    Things could get heated as, presumably, the festivals want to continue to use the space, while skaters don’t want to shuffled around anymore. SPAC has already been told that the new SeaSk8 is going to face a reduction in size due to unforeseen costs, and a strong lobby from Center heavies could force SeaSk8 out of yet another location.

    SPAC’s also holding a meeting at the Seattle Parks Building tonight (7pm at 100 Dexter Ave), to discuss the future of SeaSk8, celebrate the start of construction at Lower Woodland, and figure out what to do with the money the Mayor has allocated for skaters in his 2008 budget. The new Parks Superintendent is also expected to attend tonight’s meeting.

    Bring your love/hate/indifference/totally rad deck to this week’s meetings.

    Skate_or_Die_NES_ScreenShot1.jpg


    A Very Hairy Christmas

    posted by on November 12 at 4:46 PM

    BearForce1’s new single hit YouYube today…

    Not nearly as funny as their first video. But still over 30,000 hits in less than 14 hours. More over Chris Crocker… now there’s something meatier!

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on November 12 at 4:40 PM

    Tonight in Music: Sean Hayes

    RIP Donda West: Kanye West’s Mother Dies

    Bro: Nude Dude Tased at Girl Talk Show

    Happy New Year: In Rainbows to See Physical Release on January 1st

    Hot Lunch: Kurt B Reighley on Lydia Lunch

    Errr…Wot?: Mark E Smith Speaks

    Today in Music News: Weezer, Wentz, and the “Woodies”

    Mojo Moustache: Arthur & Yu’s Tour Diary

    Revival: Molly Hamilton Rediscovers Mark Lanegan

    School Levies: The Good News & The Bad News

    posted by on November 12 at 4:33 PM

    It’s true, 4204, the simple majority for school levies, might actually pass.

    Currently, the measure is about 1,036 votes behind. There are something like 58,000 votes still left to count in King County, where the measure is up 58-41 and where the spread on each successive batch keeps breaking more heavily in favor of the measure. King County will announce its next count tomorrow at 4:30pm.

    Additionally, while the measure remains behind in other counties, the deficit is generally shrinking with each successive return. In Pierce County, for example, 4204 was losing with 44.9 percent after the first returns. However, with successive batches in isolation coming in at 45.3, 46.6, 48.7, 49.9, and the latest batch actually ahead 50.3, the measure has ticked up to 46.7 percent overall. Counts like that can’t hurt.

    There’s a sense that squeaking out a victory here will change the “take away” from last week’s election. Currently, the conventional wisdom is that the GOP scored a bit of vengeance on Tuesday: Yes to a rainy day fund (a GOP idea, coopted by the Dems last session and sent to the voters); No new taxes for transportation; Yes to Tim Eyman’s no new taxes without a two-thirds vote; Republican Dan Satterberg over Democrat Bill Sherman for KC Prosecutor; and again, the No on the simple majority for school levies.

    I’m not convinced that eking out a win on school levies is significant. Nor am I much convinced that last Tuesday was a harbinger for a GOP renaissance. With a decisive win in a fight between two competing core ideologies from each party —consumer protection vs. the magic of the free market—the trial lawyers walloped the insurance industry, 56-43 (Referendum 67).

    As to the significance of the school levy issue: Shrug. We endorsed it, but I can’t say we we’re chilling the champagne about it. It’s not like school levies have much of a problem passing around here anyway. And, as SECB member Annie Wagner pointed out during our deliberations, the levies are just a way of helping the state abdicate its fucking responsibility (Annie has such a juvenile vocabulary) to fund schools. So yeah, go go go you Democrats.

    A Lesson for Us All

    posted by on November 12 at 4:27 PM

    Don’t tell your boss you’re going home to NYC for a family emergency…

    kevincolvin.jpg

    …and then post pretty pictures of yourself at a Halloween party in Massachusetts on your Facebook page.

    I Will Fight! I Will Fight! I Will Fight!

    posted by on November 12 at 4:18 PM

    Here is Steve Ballmer starting a presentation at Microsoft:

    Here (via WFMU) is audio of Jim Jones inciting his followers to commit suicide. The former immediately made me think of the latter. Now I’m going to go make a nice autumn stew and lie down and take a nap.

    Yikes

    posted by on November 12 at 4:12 PM

    Republican Tom Tancredo launches his first television ad in Iowa, and it’s provocative to say the least:

    From the Dept of Blind Love

    posted by on November 12 at 3:14 PM

    Regarding Raymond Chandler and his first wife:

    “Cissy was a raging beauty, a strawberry blonde with skin I used to love to touch,” Chandler would say later. “I don’t know how I ever managed to get her.” It took awhile: Cissy, twice-married, a former New York model who liked to do housework in the nude, kept him at arm’s length at first.
    Cissy and Chandler didn’t marry until 1924, when Chandler’s mother—with whom he’d been living—died at last from an agonizing cancer. Only then, or a little later, did Chandler learn that Cissy was not eight years older than him, as he’d thought, but eighteen. He was 35, and he’d married a woman of 53.

    Sexist Jokes No Laughing Matter

    posted by on November 12 at 3:12 PM

    So, for everyone who said I should “lighten up” about the disembodied-tits-as-prey and women-as-toilets products that seem to be increasingly common these days (confidential to commenter tsm: Find me ONE example of a man-as-urinal besides the one Dan posted; I couldn’t), I give you:

    Jokes about female drivers and dumb blondes may be told in good fun, but they can promote discrimination against women, researchers say.

    Via Shakesville.

    urinal2.jpg

    Obama’s New Speech

    posted by on November 12 at 2:57 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    Time’s Ana Marie Cox reports on the revived Barack Obama stump speech, which got another airing in Iowa over the weekend. Apparently she enjoyed the speech:

    The speech mixed inspiration and contempt, passion and outrage, autobiography and attack. It balanced language that both harkened back to the rich, poetic phrases of Martin Luther King (he cited King’s reminder about “the fierce urgency of now”) and the less subtle patois of contemporary politics — his boast that “when I’m your nominee, my opponent won’t be able to say that I supported this war in Iraq; or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran,” was a deft jab to the very center of Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses in the Democratic primary. Unless you think he got to the center of her weaknesses here: “Not answering questions because we’re afraid our answers just won’t be popular just won’t do it.” Or maybe here: “Telling Americans what they think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won’t do it.” And yet he ended on a soaring note: “In this election — at this moment — let us reach for what we know is possible. A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.”
    This reported resurgence from Team Obama would seem to jibe with the newest polls out of New Hampshire: While Hillary still has a commanding lead of 14 points over Obama, she’s slipped from previous highs that had her support at 40% of eligible voters.

    Here’s the video of Obama’s big speech on Saturday in Iowa:

    Planet BMW

    posted by on November 12 at 2:51 PM

    This is the outside:
    5bmw.jpg

    This is the inside:
    9bmw.jpg

    There are the masters of the planet:
    13bmw.jpg

    This is the fucking place:
    6bmw.jpg

    Who here is happy? Not a single one. All are sad and silver.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on November 12 at 2:46 PM

    Florida:

    Marshal Seymour, the married church volunteer charged with molesting three teenage boys he met through the First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, was refused Thursday in his bid to get his bail reduced from $325,000 to $21,000….

    Judge Donald Jacobsen heard testimony from Lakeland police Detective Richard Rose that Seymour had confessed to some of the crimes he was accused of, including a confession that Seymour performed a sex act on a teenage boy he met through the church.

    Rose also testified that he has spoken to 12 to 15 additional potential victims and said he has forwarded information on at least seven of those potential victims to the State Attorney’s Office. All of them were boys between the ages of 14 and 18, Rose said.

    Assistant State Attorney Mark Levine testified that Seymour has been accused of similar acts in Mississippi and that he was convicted of an assault on a 16-year-old boy in Mobile, Ala., who he met when he was a youth pastor at the Parkway Assembly of God. In all of those cases, Levine told Jacobsen, Seymour, 40, met his victims through the church.

    Courts into Plowshares

    posted by on November 12 at 2:24 PM

    Today’s Washington Post features a story about Wayne Hauge, a North Dakota bean farmer suing the federal government to cultivate industrial hemp despite federal laws banning pot. North Dakota’s legislature saw the crop’s benefits – profitable, environmentally sound, useful – and passed a law in 1999 allowing farmers to grow hemp, the same genus as marijuana, provided it contains less than .3 percent of the psychoactive compound THC. But federal agents have ripped up every crop planted.

    Godspeed, lawyers and farmers. I’m all for legalizing hemp – shit, I was director of Hempfest for years – but social activism around this issue is a box canyon.

    It’s ridiculous to think that laws will change if enough people wear clothes that look like burlap sacks. And unlike the hippie lettuce, which people use in small quantities and can be decriminalized at the state level without tangling in the fed’s jurisdiction, hemp is always grown in enormous fields. Attempts to grow 2,000 acres of marijuana are sure to end up before a federal judge. And federal law on pot is steadfast—it’s set by Congress, beholden to the DEA, which couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the popularity of hemp lip balm. The DEA tenaciously argues that pot and hemp can’t be visibly distinguished, so if hemp were legalized it would disguise vast pot farms. They also contend that the traces of THC in hemp could turn teetotalers into pot addicts—maybe the same way poppy-seed muffins turn pastry eaters into heroin junkies.

    So sue the fuckers to bypass the DEA and change federal law! But if this legal strategy fails to yield results, the path to sanctioning the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp – we currently import it from 30 other countries – is by loosening the fed’s grip on pot laws. This might upset the hemp purists who don’t want to confuse alternaculture with agriculture, but Hempfest embraced the connection years ago. The event is overtly about pot now. Hemp’s illegal because of our mindfuckingly backward pot laws. We legalize pot for adults and we get a windfall of other benefits.

    Video Games

    posted by on November 12 at 2:23 PM

    Here’s a shocker from the NYT: Most parents think video games are a waste of time, and don’t play ‘em with their kids. The exception? Younger, single parents with part-time jobs. In other words, bums.

    Where’s Willie Mays Hayes When You Need Him?

    posted by on November 12 at 2:12 PM

    WillieMaysHayes.jpg

    How deliberate is the Sonics ownership acting in trying to split town? I went to Key Arena last night without tickets and wound up in the back of a ticket-buying line of hundreds and hundreds of people. My friends and I arrived 30 minutes before tip-off and got our tickets after a 30 minute wait in line. Reason? Only three out of eight ticket sales booths were staffed. For all of Clay Bennett’s whining about Key Arena being an insufficient facility, maybe the man should consider hiring sufficient staff while it’s still an NBA arena.

    But worse than that is what happened once I got into the place. The Sonics players deserve all the credit in the world for mounting a near-comeback against the Detroit Pistons last night, but their loss by 4 points is all on coach P.J. Carlesimo, who yanked key players in the final minutes just as the Sonics returned from double-digit deficits to tie it up. The box score might say otherwise, but Green and West played where it counted in the fourth quarter, only to be thrown on the bench to watch the rest of the team blow the game. Worse, Robert Swift was allowed on the court for 12 boo-ridden minutes as he blew shots, rebounds and defensive series like some washed-up version of Shawn Bradley (and that’s saying something). Had he been yanked earlier, perhaps the Sonics wouldn’t have been down by 18 in the first place.

    So let the conspiracy theories continue. What else have you seen in this 0-7 Sonics start that you consider a deliberate season spike? At least in the movie Major League, the Cleveland Indians had a spirited (if mustachioed) coach to fight the owners’ evil ways. At this rate, don’t expect Carlesimo to hoist up a locker room cardboard cut-out of Bennett in a bikini anytime soon.

    Can Absinthe Please Stop Returning?

    posted by on November 12 at 2:03 PM

    Lead story in today’s NYT arts section:

    Absinthe Returns in a Glass Half Full of Mystique and Misery

    To which I have only one thing to say: Stop it. Just fucking stop it.

    Hasn’t absinthe been “returning” since, like, 1996? Haven’t scientists established that there’s nothing special about wormwood, at least not in the trace amounts in commercial absinthe? Isn’t it just booze that tastes like licorice and lighter fluid? Isn’t it already legal everywhere? Doesn’t Marilyn Manson already have his own brand? Do the goths really have that much control over the newspapers? Can’t we just get Donald Trump to gargle some on TV so nobody will ever want to talk about it ever again?

    donald_trump12.jpg

    Can everybody please just get over it?

    Shakespeare’s Best Cunt Joke

    posted by on November 12 at 1:48 PM

    For Annie…

    In Twelth Night the servant Malvolio examines a love letter written, so he’s been told, by his lady. He examines the handwriting and exclaims…

    By my life, this is my lady’s hand these be her very C’s, her U’s and her T’s and thus makes she her great P’s. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.

    In performance, of course, “and her T’s” comes out “N her T’s,” thus spelling out CUNT—and it is with her cunt that Malvolio’s lady makes her great P’s.

    Ah, the classics.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on November 12 at 1:38 PM

    I come to you with a question about children’s psychosexual development. My son has always loved women’s feet—since he was two. I kid you not. He is now 5. The other night he was laying on the floor playing with my feet. He suddenly got up, face very red, and said he wanted to marry my feet! He also had an erection! I cannot tell you how odd this all is to me—I was never around boys much as a child, so sometimes I am bewildered by how they operate. I told him I loved him, but that marrying me and/or my feet would not work out. I let him know that he would find a nice person to marry one day, and gave him a hug and changed the subject. 1. Could you rate my response? 2. WHAT THE FUCK? So many questions are swirling in my head about his behavior, I don’t even know where to start. Is it common for young boys to be aroused by their mothers? Is he turning into a foot-fetishist? Was the erection purely random and just so happened to be at the same time as the foot playing? Does that seal the deal forever? I asked my husband and he was as confused and slightly embarassed as I was. Can you help? Anonymous

    Hm.

    When I put the odds of a five-year old boy that liked musicals, makeup, dresses and Zac Efron growing up to be gay at 99%—you can read that column here—a couple of hundred thousand “Savage Love” readers attempted to rip me a couple of hundred thousand new assholes. After assuring me that they weren’t the least bit homophobic, these outraged readers peppered me with angry questions: What was I thinking?!?! Who was I to say the kid was gay?!?! Didn’t I know that not all kids that like musicals, makeup, dresses and male teen heartthrobs grow up to be gay?!?!

    Well, yes. The ones that don’t account for the 1%. Like, duh.

    So when this letter arrived I thought… hm… I wonder if I’ll get in as much shit when I tell this woman that there’s a 99% chance her son is going to grow up to be a foot fetishist? Probably not. Because despite the protests a lot of the people that wrote in to complain about my advice for the aunt of that five year-old boy were being homophobic. Just a tad.

    The reaction I got to that column reminded me of a reaction I once got from friend at college. We were discussing another kid in our theater program—a good-looking guy that didn’t have a girlfriend and didn’t seem much interested in acquiring one. For that and other reasons I concluded that he was a fag, like me. When I told my non-homophobic friend what I thought, she rolled her eyes. “Oh, Dan,” she said. “Must you always think the worst of everyone?”

    Even for many non-homophobic straights, believing someone to be gay—a five year-old boy with a crush on Zac Efron, a 19 year-old boy without a crush on anyone (who came out later that year)—remains the worst thing you could possibly think. When it comes to homosexuality, it seems, even avowed & admitted homosexuals are required to extend benefit of the doubt. Because it is a terrible thing to be gay or even be thought of as gay. So how dare I think that five year-old is gay?

    Anyway, Anonymous…

    1. Your response was perfect, spot-on. Well done. Bravo.

    2. Your son will be a foot fetishist when he grows up. Hell, he’s a foot fetishist now. The deal is sealed—well, let’s say 99% sealed.

    UPDATE: Anonymous is reading Slog right now. If you have some advice or insight for her, toss it up in comments.

    Anti-War Protests at the Port of Olympia

    posted by on November 12 at 1:25 PM

    Two months ago, I wrote a column titled “Got Protest?”

    Here’s what I said:

    Noticing that youth were absent from Baird’s meeting led me to another, more jarring realization: There’s no substantial protest movement at all. For all the complaining we do about Bush’s creepy war on democracy at home to fight for democracy abroad, the left hasn’t actually stood up for democracy at home when we most need to tap its possibilities. No wonder Bush feels okay teaming up with AT&T to clamp down on American citizens.

    Locally, the antiwar movement had its only and finest hour (or 24 hours) when a band of protesters occupied Senator Maria Cantwell’s Seattle office in April 2006. Cantwell was forced to alter her position on the war.

    Would Baird have given cover to President Bush if he’d known there’d be consequences—confrontations, road blocks at Ft. Lewis, maybe. But Baird knows the tone of today’s antiwar movement isn’t at that scale. Consider: We’re four years into this war. Four years into the Vietnam war this country witnessed the most raucous antiwar protest in the country’s history at the Democratic Convention.

    Four years after we invaded Iraq? Baird got an earful from voters like Barbara Wills of Vancouver, who whispered to me at the meeting, “Well, of course, I’m going to vote for him.”

    All was quiet as I drove home up I-5, passing Fort Lewis along the way.

    Well, there’s action along the I-5 corridor now. Protesters blockading military shipments from the Port bound for Ft. Lewis were pepper sprayed Sunday morning. Three people were arrested. Twelve protesters were arrested on Saturday.

    The Olympian reports:

    The confrontations Sunday began after about 8:45 a.m., when protesters began marching back and forth across Franklin Street at the Market Street intersection. As 18-wheelers towing cargo began rolling down Market Street about five minutes later, two protesters lay down in the road, creating a human blockade. Police officers sprayed both with pepper spray.

    Another caravan of vehicles began leaving the port about 9:45 a.m., prompting protesters to run out ahead of the vehicles. Police arrested at least one man who witnesses said was in the road and later arrested two others.

    Those arrested on suspicion of violating the city’s pedestrian interference ordinance were Joshua Elliott, Montgomery Gondolfi and Luke Noble, according to Olympia City Jail.

    Collection of Flickr photos here and some blog accounts here.

    I was dead set against this war when it started. In a 3000 word essay, that was drowned out by Dan’s 900-word sidebar, I wrote: “Securing sweeping democratic reforms in Egypt and the rest of the aforementioned list of Middle Eastern nations will produce the overdue death knell of bin Ladenism, something attacking Iraq surely won’t achieve.

    But I’ve been reluctant to take an absolutist withdrawal position since then: Scared of the chaos that would ensue; leery of “al Qaeda” victory (Yes. Yes, I get it, but bin Laden is good at spin.) But now I’m all for the get the hell out position. The war is the worst foreign policy blunder in this country’s history. It didn’t work, yo. Acknowledging that as a way to jump start other policy approaches is the only way to diminish the damage.

    We need to disengage and focus on al Qaeda (really), help create a Palestinian state; encourage civil rights in states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

    And so, three cheers to the protesters in Oly. If Bush isn’t going to listen to the 2006 election and the 5000 percent of Americans who show up in polling every month to say the war was a mistake, and we should get out now, I say, shut it down.

    My Incredibly Juvenile Inner Monologue As I Was Reading a Seattle PI Article

    posted by on November 12 at 1:20 PM

    Toxins found in Oregon residents

    The Oregon Environmental Council this spring tested the blood and urine of 10 Oregonians for almost 30 toxic chemicals. The results are back and each person had at least nine of the chemicals in their bodies.

    Ha-Ha! Take that, Portland! You seem to be the apple of everbody’s eye right now, but look at your terrible toxic secret!

    Other studies have shown similar levels in residents of Washington and other states.

    Dammit.

    “I was surprised I had that much in me of so many different things,” he said.

    No, That’s what SHE said! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Re: Letter to the Editor from a Self-Appointed Representative of “the Literary Field” Regarding Annie Wagner’s Review of Elizabeth: The Golden Age

    posted by on November 12 at 12:59 PM

    In my defense, if defense is necessary:

    Dear Charles W.,

    Vulgarity was appropriate because the film is completely vulgar. Have you seen it?

    Furthermore, the word “cunt” is terribly Elizabethan. Shakespeare adored it.

    And lastly, the gowns in Elizabeth: The Golden Age are the only reason the film will be remembered, if it is remembered at all. I predict it will win an Oscar in costume design.

    I remain, sir,
    yr mst obd &c,
    Annie Wagner

    Identity Matters

    posted by on November 12 at 12:49 PM

    Guess which one of the leading presidential contenders has the whitest campaign staff of all? Why, it’s Rudy “Whitey” Giuliani, who, you’ll recall, also has the most male-dominated staff, with just one female senior staffer. Hillary Clinton, the only leading contender whose staff is not dominated by men, also has the highest percentage of minority staffers, followed somewhat distantly by Richardson and Obama.

    2008-prez-candidate-staff-diversity.jpg

    Via Alas, A Blog.

    Letter to the Editor from a Self-Appointed Representative of “the Literary Field” Regarding Annie Wagner’s Review of Elizabeth: The Golden Age

    posted by on November 12 at 12:36 PM

    Charles W. writes:

    Annie Wagner’s critique of Elizabeth ~ “The Golden Age” was pretty useless in nature to begin with, then unnecesarily vulgar! People searching the internet for Seattle movie reviews have made the mistake of clicking on “The Strangers” link for their movie reviews thinking your paper actually has a legitimate, proffessional, talented writer on staff! Her writing is comparable to an unarticulate child who has just discovered cuss words. Naturally the child as your “so called writer” shove their new words into any sentence whether related or not and certainly not in context! Her use of the word “cunt” was so very unecesary! What did her gown have to do with anything?? And what’s under it certainly does not pertain to the movie or movie review, if you can call it that, ( I don’t!) Your paper will never be taken seriously in the literary field if you continue to have untalented juveniles writing for it!

    Who Likes the Youth Vote?

    posted by on November 12 at 12:30 PM

    The conventional wisdom has been that Barack Obama is cleaning up among young voters, partly because they like his idea of turning the page on the old battles and grudge-matches of the 1960s (even if some ’60s-era icons don’t like Obama trying to turn the page on them). However, a recent poll suggests that it’s actually Hillary Clinton who leads among young voters. Interesting.

    I was at a Clinton campaign organizing event in south Seattle on Saturday morning (more on this in the upcoming Stranger) and heard a young Clinton campaign staffer, keying off the above report, bragging to a largely middle-aged crowd of Clinton supporters about Clinton’s strong support among young people. He was trying to rally local Clinton-backers to help her win the Washington State Democratic Caucuses on Feb. 9.

    I took note of this, since I write for a paper with a lot of young readers.

    But then, later that night, I read how, over in Iowa, where young Barack Obama supporters were out in force at a big event that is seen as a show of candidates’ pre-Iowa-caucus strength, the Clinton campaign was spinning the large turnout of young people for Obama as a bad sign. The spin:

    Obama’s sections are right out of Facebook — young, and unlikely to caucus.

    “Youth voters” of America, be warned: In case you didn’t know it already, you too can be used as political fodder—and used to make two different and somewhat opposing points, in two different states, by the same campaign, in the same day.

    Policy of Truth

    posted by on November 12 at 12:13 PM

    Alain Badiou breaks it down like this: democracy, philosophy, and politics. Democracy makes philosophy possible. Without democracy there can be no thought. And thought is the search for truths, universal truths. As for politics, something bad happens here for philosophy. Because philosophy is about truths—locating and articulating them—it finds the environment of politics hostile to its ends. Politics is the area of action, of translating thought into actuality. But politics (the area of action) is not the area of (or dominated by) truths, but about (and dominated by) opinions and persuasion—doxa and peithein.

    An example: Kucinich’s recent resolution to impeach Dick Cheney for grossly exaggerating the danger that Iraq posed to American security. Though having its source in a Democratic representative, Kucinich, the Republicans promoted it; they wanted the Democrats to vote on the resolution, to take an official position on the matter—impeach for Cheney or don’t impeach Cheney. The Democrats were able to kill (or park) the resolution with a 218 party-line vote. Why did the Democrats not act on the resolution? Because of public opinion.

    Such a clash would have forced Democrats to choose between their liberal base, which might cheer a Cheney impeachment, and a broader electorate…

    The politicians were worried about opinions and not about the truth, which is this: Cheney fabricated “a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the war in Iraq.”

    “Impeachment is not on our agenda,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). “We have some major priorities. We need to focus on those.”

    The area of politics has been hostile to philosophy, and its project and policy of truths, since the death of Socrates.

    Jeebus Horses

    posted by on November 12 at 12:04 PM

    The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky—where true science (did you know dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark?) comes alive—is expanding. Actually, the opening line of this article from the Kentucky Herald-Leader puts it better:

    Northern Kentucky’s Creation Museum is evolving into a larger facility.

    The museum opened last Memorial Day. Since then, some 250,000 delusional souls (and not doubt a number of gawkers) have passed through its doors—as many visitors in the first five months as the museum expected for its entire first year.

    Here’s a CNN segment on the museum:

    (Via Fark.)

    Let It Snow

    posted by on November 12 at 11:59 AM

    Finally, some precipitation! It’s been way too dry in the Northwest this month, at least for snow hounds. The latest from Mt. Baker:

    SUNDAY NOV 11: A small system moved in last night bringing 4 inches of snow. It is currently 29 degrees, snowing lightly and more storms are brewing. There is a significant storm sitting off the coast of Washington right now which is expected to move ashore on Monday pointed right at Mt. Baker. With gale wind warnings currently issued for the Coast of Washington in anticipation of this next system moving in, it certainly seems to be packing a punch and it is very possible that the North Cascades (i.e. Mt. Baker only) could end up with 30 INCHES OF SNOW BY TUESDAY NIGHT…. La Nina is brewing… .

    It’s snowing today at Crystal and Stevens, and Timberline at Mt. Hood is scheduled to open on Friday.

    Facts Are Problematic Things

    posted by on November 12 at 11:16 AM

    Will abstinence educators—beloved by hypocritical Republicans, coddled by cowardly Democrats—stop citing a study linking teen sex with juvenile delinquency now that it has been debunked?

    Researchers at Ohio State University garnered little attention in February when they found that youngsters who lose their virginity earlier than their peers are more likely to become juvenile delinquents. So obvious and well established was the contribution of early sex to later delinquency that the idea was already part of the required curriculum for federal “abstinence only” programs.

    There was just one problem: It is probably not true. Other things being equal, a more probing study has found, youngsters who have consensual sex in their early-teen or even preteen years are, if anything, less likely to engage in delinquent behavior later on.

    I’m not holding my breath.

    Letter to the Editor about This Week’s Feature Story by Someone Who Hasn’t Actually Read It

    posted by on November 12 at 11:08 AM

    Randy M. writes:

    While walking past a bird cage that a friend of mine has, appropriately I saw the latest edition of “The Stranger” lining the bottom of the cage. Peering through the bars of the cage, I read the headlines on the feces soaked wannabe periodical  that read something to the effect of “Mr. Savage goes to Spokane in search of more restroom action”. This caught my eye for two reasons: One being that I get “confused” with these gay marriages. Is Dan “U” Savage a “Mr.” this week? The other reason was that I thought there is plenty of gay restroom sex in Seattle, he has to seek it out in Eastern WA now? (of course in the name of “journalism”). Have fun over there Dan. Be careful though, some of those boys from the wheat country don’t take a liking too much to some guy west of the mountains lisping and checking them out while on “ASSignment”.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on November 12 at 11:00 AM

    Exquisite Indian

    Mirch Masala at Mirch Masala

    Fact #1: Indian food is the best thing to happen to vegetarianism since Morrissey. Fact #2: Mirch Masala makes the best Indian food that has ever been served on Capitol Hill. In the Broadway space that once housed Macheezmo Mouse and 17 subsequent joints, Mirch Masala dishes out Indian delights that are exquisite but not expensive. Entrées are kept hot in steel pots suspended over individual flames, and the fresh, flaky saag is a thing of wonder. (213 Broadway E, 709-0111. 11 am–10 pm.)

    DAVID SCHMADER

    My Photo of the Day

    posted by on November 12 at 10:38 AM

    My great friend Lee was visiting last week. The finale of his stay went down at Seattle’s Best Karaoke at 1818 Minor Ave. in Denny Triangle.

    I’m not much for Karaoke at the bar in front of big groups, but this was a great time: You get a room ($27 for 4-6 people); a “banquet permit”—from the WSLCB ($10)—so you can byob (bourbon); and a bag full of junk food (cheese nips), and you are set.

    And, after all these years, the words to REM’s “Radio Free Europe” were revealed to me.

    This is Lee:

    download-2.php.jpg

    Now I Lay My Hopes to Rest

    posted by on November 12 at 10:05 AM

    Al Gore joins venture capital firm.

    Freed Beams, Rolling Barrels, Dumped Bricks

    posted by on November 12 at 9:41 AM

    The stomach-churning pleasures of visual poo metaphors, as found in the latest All-Bran commercial.

    Slate weighs in here. (And thanks to MetaFilter for the reminder.)

    Veterans Day Bloopers

    posted by on November 12 at 9:30 AM

    At an otherwise standard Veterans Day event, Hillary Clinton exits to a four flag collapse. (In Waterloo, no less.)

    Flickr photo of the Day

    posted by on November 12 at 9:27 AM

    Has anybody noticed this interesting new trend in graffiti? It’s been cropping up around Capitol Hill for a while now, and I wholeheartedly approve. Who’s making this stuff?

    graffiti.jpg

    Thanks to regular Stranger Flickr pool contributor Slightlynorth for today’s photo. Check out the pool for much, much more…

    Gov. Gregoire Missing Golden Opportunity for Real Tax Reform

    posted by on November 12 at 9:23 AM

    During last year’s legislative session in Olympia, the Democrats flirted with the idea of codifying Tim Eyman’s 1-percent-property-tax-cap into state law. (At the time, Eyman’s rule—passed in 2001 as I-747—was before the Washington State Supreme Court.)

    I bitched at the Democrats for considering the move. 1) Why hand Eyman a victory? And more important: 2) If constituents were still complaining about property taxes, than obviously, 747 (in effect since ‘02) wasn’t solving the problem. And no wonder—it’s a regressive tax, with the lowest bracket paying 6 percent of their annual income in property taxes while the top notch pays just 2.8 percent.

    Now that the Court has tossed 747, the supermajority Democrats have a chance to leave Eyman’s pseudo-populist fix in the dust, and enact real property tax reform for the masses by tying increases to income. (A more mainstream Democratic alternative would tack increases to inflation, so that the government can maintain service levels. However, that fix doesn’t address the taxpayer side of the equation.)

    I discussed the income-based idea last session:

    The idea works like this: When property tax bills reach a certain percentage of a homeowner’s income, they get a tax credit. The proposal developed by the Budget and Policy Center is, they claim, revenue neutral and would give the poorest 20% of homeowners a 14.9% tax cut; the next 20% would get about a 12% cut; the middle 20% would get a 1.9% cut; and the top 40% would see a 2% increase.

    The legislature didn’t end up doing anything last session, but I hoped the Democratic majority would move on it this year. And now, thanks to the Court, they have the opportunity….

    Unfortunately, Gov. Gregoire is all set to pull a Gov. Gary Locke. (Remember when Locke caved and instituted Eyman’s 695 car tab limit and voter approval for taxes mandate after that one was declared unconstitutional.)

    On Friday, she announced she’s going to push legislation to put 747 on the books.

    Hypeless or Hopeless? You make the call!

    posted by on November 12 at 9:21 AM

    Let the countdown to next Sunday’s Bears-Seahawks battle begin. This epic showdown between two teams—one mediocre, the other really pretty bad—promises not much. Yesterday’s Bears-Raiders game was perhaps the most boring and badly played football game I’ve seen this century, and the Seahawks-49ers game for tonight doesn’t look like it’ll be much better.

    Nonetheless, once I shell out umpty-hundred dollars to some season-ticket holder who’s given up on his team (thanks, anonymous stub-hubber!), and bought a ticket for a flight that leaves Chicago mere hours after my weekly bar shift ends, it’s psychologically necessary to come up with some reason to give a shit. So, tonight I’ll live-slog the Seahawks game, looking to see how they might handle our ridiculously inept offense, our clueless defense, or our pretty good special teams. (And holding up an NFL teams’ kicking and punting units as a strong point is like pointing out that the utterly unattractive person you just endured a blind date with “has a nice personality”).

    So, I’m primarily interested in feedback about the quality of the food at Qwest Field. Anybody have any recommendations? I’ll be in line for concessions with the nephew a lot, I suspect, as there won’t be much on the field worth staying in the seats for. And how much is the beer? I might have to take out a bank loan before I head for Midway on Chicago’s sterling mass transit.

    Morning News

    posted by on November 12 at 8:29 AM

    Loophole: Millions in undisclosed contributions lined up for 2008.

    Bloodshed in Palestine: Hamas opens fire on Fatah rally in Gaza, killing six.

    Newspeak in Pakistan: Musharraf to hold elections under martial law. Meanwhile, Bhutto’s protest plans called illegal.

    Blackwater II: Private security firm, DynCorp, kills Iraqi cab driver.

    Invasion of the Clones: Scientists create cloned embryos from adult monkey cells.

    Obama Returns: Obama scores big at important annual Iowa shindig with powerful speech.

    Power Outage: Windstorms hit Northwestern Washington, 20,000 homes and businesses lose power.

    Getting Close: School funding measure and Port of Seattle race still too close to call.

    Not Fighting While Black: African American enlistment has dropped by half during during Bush years.

    U.S.: Second Deadliest Place in World for Infants

    posted by on November 12 at 8:00 AM

    ABC News reports, US Among Worst in World for Infant Death.

    The United States ranks near the bottom for infant survival rates among modernized nations. A Save the Children report last year placed the United States ahead of only Latvia.

    First: Holy fuck.

    Second: In your face, Latvia!


    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    You Know What I Like About Obama?

    posted by on November 11 at 12:26 PM

    I just watched Barack Obama on Meet the Press. (Here’s the transcript if you missed it.) And I have to admit—as much as I hate to acknowlege my loyalty in this primary is being swayed by personality and not just the issues—I love the way he speaks. What everyone missed during the furor about Biden calling his opponent “articulate” (“clean” was probably the real clue to Biden’s racial consciousness) is that when Obama is talking about an issue, he actually lets us see the way his mind is working. His reasoning is as if not more evident than his positions. (Okay, maybe “articulate” was not the right word. I’ll go with “eloquent.”) That style of rhetoric is probably all wrong for a presidential campaign—it can’t be easily reduced to soundbites, it can sound overly “professorial” and insufficiently decisive. But what a relief it is after seven years of listening to George W. Bush, whose most alienating quality is not inarticulateness (though he has that too) but an absolutely opaque mind.

    Look at the way Obama responds to Tim Russert on a patented MTP quote question implying that he’s been inconsistent on Iraq:

    MR. RUSSERT: You were not in the Senate in October of 2002. You did give a speech opposing the war. But Senator Clinton’s campaign will say since you’ve been a senator there’s been no difference in your record. And other critics will say that you’ve not been a leader against the war, and they point to this: In July of ‘04, Barack Obama, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know,” in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: “There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” That was July of ‘04. And this: “I think” there’s “some room for disagreement in that initial decision to vote for authorization of the war.” It doesn’t seem that you are firmly wedded against the war, and that you left some wiggle room that, if you had been in the Senate, you may have voted for it.

    SEN. OBAMA: Now, Tim, that first quote was made with an interview with a guy named Tim Russert on MEET THE PRESS during the convention when we had a nominee for the presidency and a vice president, both of whom had voted for the war. And so it, it probably was the wrong time for me to be making a strong case against our party’s nominees’ decisions when it came to Iraq.

    Look, I was opposed to this war in 2002, 2003, four, five, six and seven. What I was very clear about, even in 2002 in my original opposition, was once we were in, we were going to have to make some decisions to see how we could stabilize the situation and act responsibly. And that’s what I did through 2004, five and six, try to see can we create a workable government in Iraq? Can we make sure that we are minimizing the humanitarian costs in Iraq? Can we make sure that our troops are safe in Iraq? And that’s what I have done. Finally, in 2006, 2007, we started to see that, even after an election, George Bush continued to want to pursue a course that didn’t withdraw troops from Iraq but actually doubled down and initiated the surge. And at that stage, I said, very clearly, not only have we not seen improvements, but we’re actually worsening, potentially, a situation there. And since that time I’ve been absolutely clear in terms of the approach that I would take. I would end this war, and I would have our troops out within 16 months.

    MR. RUSSERT: Some involved in the anti-movement have said that in 2004, 2005, 2006 Barack Obama voted to fund the war. Every time there was a proposal to have a fixed date withdrawal you said no, it would be a slap in the face to the American troops, it may create bloodshed and more division, that American credibility was at stake, that you were not a leader in trying to stop the war until you ran for president and got to Iowa and got to New Hampshire and had a sense of the anti-war, war fervor in the Democratic base.

    SEN. OBAMA: No.

    MR. RUSSERT: Where was the leadership?

    SEN. OBAMA: I, I, I disagree with that. You know, throughout I was a constant critic. The first hearing that I had was with Condoleezza Rice in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This was a few months after I had been sworn in as senator. And I told her at that point, we need to wind this war down. It is true that my preference would not be to end this war simply by cutting off funding. My preference would be for the president to recognize that we needed to change course, and that was what I continually pushed for. At the point where we realized the president was not willing to change course, I put forward a very clear timetable for when we should remove our troops. And, when that was vetoed, I then suggested that the only way to get the president to the table to negotiate how we’re going to move in a different direction in Iraq is by not giving him a blank check when it comes to funding.

    Ka-pow. Look, as regular Slog readers will know, I’ve stayed with Obama’s original position on the war much longer than most people who initially opposed the war. I still have serious misgivings about premature withdrawal, and think the surge has been working better than most Democrats are willing to admit. In the long term, though, I realize that I’m losing that argument. (Blackwater is not helping my cause.) And there’s no way I would resort to hawkish Republicans (with their truly reprehensible positions on global warming and taxes and gay rights, not to mention abortion and intelligent design) to keep troops in Iraq. So Obama’s relatively moderate position is acceptable to me. But what really gives me comfort is the way he reasoned through this policy transition. The fact that he was right on the war to begin with isn’t just a “ha ha, I told you so” issue for me. It’s a signal that he reasons correctly and vigorously. And I see the logic in—though I’m not persuaded by—his gradual change of heart. I just love seeing someone stand up to Russert’s plaintive reduction of ideas to political maneuvers: It did take leadership to resist early calls for complete and immediate withdrawal. It still takes leadership to admit troops will remain to protect American interests in Iraq for a long time.

    Say what you will about Donnie McClurkin. (And I’m sure you will in the comments: for the record, here’s the relevant section of the MTP transcript.) Please continue to put pressure on Obama about his contributor-inflected energy policy. I still feel a wave of relief—and yes, hope for the future of politics—when I hear him speak.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on November 11 at 11:00 AM

    Classic Cinema

    ‘Rear Window’ at Central Cinema

    Alfred Hitchcock’s claustrophobic, voyeuristic classic—most recently pinched for the Shia LaBeouf screamer Disturbia—comes to the adorable Central Cinema, where films are projected off DVD (boo, say the cine-snoots) and food, beer, and wine are brought to your table (hurrah, say the lazy gluttons). (Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave, 686-6684. 7 and 9:45 pm, $5, late show 21+.)

    DAVID SCHMADER

    Morning News

    posted by on November 11 at 9:06 AM

    posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

    Those cheap cardboard-like Jeno’s pizzas? FDA’s E. Coli loophole allows companies to sell pre-cooked infected meats.

    Pakistan: Musharraf refuses to set date to end of martial law. Bush says he and Musharraf “Share a common goal.”

    Nukes: Unrest in Pakistan raises concern about country’s nuclear stockpile.

    War on Terror: Iraqi businessman turned U.S. weapons cache into personal arms bazaar.

    War on nightlife: Nickels asks Liquor Control Board to suspend Ximaica’s liquor license.

    This week in teen sex: Study finding links between early sex and delinquency debunked.

    Economic downturn: Investors brace for recession.

    Oil spill: Russian oil tanker splits in two, dumps cargo into the Black Sea, creating a disaster officials say “May take a few years to solve.”